November 2008

I spoke to soon. We are stranded in Bangkok. I have never heard of anything so ridiculous as what the PAD is doing over here. Claiming it is for the greater good of the country. It’s so stupid. And so many people’s lives are getting completely disrupted while they sit around at the airport cooking, doing there laundry and making a mess of everything. Ugh!

I started sorting through some pictures from the past year and a half a while ago to do a pretty photo entry, my last in Asia for a long time. Then time started really flying and work got in the way and on and on and in the end I just mashed a couple of shots together. It will have to do for now.

Apart from 18 months in South Africa and the US, Asia has been my home for the past 9 years. First Taiwan and then Thailand. Since we came to Thailand last year we traveled all over the country and visited Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. I became even more deeply attached to this part of the world and would gladly stay longer, but the time has come for us to move on to new adventures.

We are flying back to the States later today to spend Christmas and New Years’ with Alexander’s family, something we’ve been looking forward to now for months. We will finally get to meet his niece and enjoy having a kitchen again and the company of his family.

And then it’s off to South Africa to start a new life in my home country. I’m scared of leaving this part of the world, but excited about what is lying ahead. And of course, this is not my last time here. So to Asia I say Tot weersiens for now. Untill I see you again.

We spent a couple of days in Georgetown recently, taking a break from working around southern Thailand. It was exactly what we needed. Staying in a quiet town with lovely old architecture and colors and about as many inexpensive eating options as Hanoi. We were again munching non-stop and could easily have spent much more time there. Hopefully we will get to return someday and enjoy more of the sights and brilliant food of Georgetown. For more on our trip, check out Alexander’s accounts of our time in Georgetown.

Months ago now, when we were still living out of built-in-closets in our own apartment, I baked some mocha brownies. The recipe came form a brownie book I got from my friend Nicole for my birthday this year. It was the kind of gift that had both Alexander and myself pretty excited, full of varieties on the standard brownie and beautifully illustrated.

Alexander took some pictures for me, so that I had something baking-related to blog about while on the road, or on the seas actually. I completely forgot about them though, until I was going through some old pictures yesterday and happened upon the folder containing these pictures. It made me miss the kitchen and long for a home with an oven and a pantry shelve with tins containing sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, chocolate chips, sprinkles, vanilla… you get the idea.

I wish I were able to share the recipe with you, as these brownies were terribly delicious with a slight crust and fudge-like layer inside, but the book is in some box, either in South Africa, or already there. If it is not in the box that may be lost. Blah!

It’s actually really easy to make mocha brownies though. Take any regular brownie recipe and mix in a small amount of strong black coffee, about a tablespoon. I also made a chocolate sauce mixing cream, dark chocolate chips and another tablespoon of black coffee. I like my brownies crunchy on the outside and gooey inside, so I always increase the amount of chocolate and make sure I remove the brownies from the oven once the crust seems hardened. Easy!

Hay! Hay! It’s Joey’s day. Again! She won the hearts of voters this round with Indian inspiration, creating a superb chai-spiced yogurt. In the spice mix were cloves, cardamom, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, blended with honey, yogurt, and cream. Genius!

Congratulations Joey on winning another round of HHDD, your creation was brilliant. Can’t wait to see what challenge you are going to send our way this time round- especially since I will probably have access to a kitchen again soon.

Hay Hay it’s Donna Day is an event created by the darling Barbara of Winos and Foodies, and now being managed by Bron at Bron Marshall (she PICKS her own apples and makes wonderful things with it).

Finally some voting of another kind to get excited about. It has been a busy time for us, we’ve been island hopping around the Andaman. Quite literally. It sounds idyllic, but really, it is quite exhausting and frustrating at times. But we’ve been seeing pristine beaches, swimming in clear waters and, oh, weathered some nasty storms on a dingy long-tail boat!

Luckily we still get to stable internet connections from time to time so I have a moment to post the roundup to the yogurt challenge for Hay Hay it’s Donna Day. It was a small but exciting round. I am a big fan of yogurt, so receiving these innovative and tasty entries made me yearn to have a kitchen again to try them out. Well done, ladies, your entries were outstanding and I am curious to see who is going to this round and host the next one.

The first entry is from Tartasacher of Mil Postres over in Spain. Her blog is in Spanish, but it’s got this funky Google Translate device on her page, so you can read her entries in a variety of languages. Any Cyrillic readers out there? Tartasacher created one of my favorite kinds for her entry, honey yogurt. I usually just mix some honey in with plain yogurt, but she had a whole new process for creating a thick and decadent looking yogurt.

Bron, our lady in charge of Hay Hay it’s Donna Day in New Zealand, went a little un-seasonal for the Southern Hemisphere, turning out a pumpkin pie flavored yogurt. Never in a million years would I have thought of combining pumpkin puree and spices with yogurt, but Bron proved that it is doable and the results seem delightful, no matter which season you enjoy it in.

Joey, my Southeast Asian neighbor in the Philippines and the person who got me to enter my first HHDD had me grinning with delight at the thought of a chai spiced yogurt. Need I say more? Actually, yes, besides coming up with yogurt flavored with chai spices she went one step further and topped it all with pine nuts. Terrific as usual, Joey.

Lael of One Hungry Soul, a blogger from the US with a lot of brilliant baking going on, created a refreshing yogurt blending mint and rose water. And not content with just giving us an excellent yogurt, she included a family recipe for muesli to be enjoyed with the yogurt. Love it when people share a good thing!

Last of the entries is winner of the previous round, Suzana of Home Gourmets in Portugal. Suzana knows pretty and delicious and she clearly demonstrated it in her entry with pomegranate and pistachio yogurt, an excellent blend of fresh pomegranate juice, bits of the fruit and crushed pistachios. Brilliant!

And now you can start casting your HHDD ballots. I know it is going to be tough! You can email your votes to me at, I will announce the winner a week from too on November 11.  Be patient if I am a little late, I’m never sure where I will have a connection or not, but I’ll try my best.

Thank you for all you ladies who made time to enter such great creations and also to Bron for managing this fun event and to Barbara, the creator behind Hay Hay it’s Donna Day.