This past week saw me doing a lot of walking all over Bangkok as part of a new freelance job. I’ve been taking pictures of various sights and points of interest in the city, spending whole days on my feet. I forgot how sprawling this city is.

My legs and feet are tired, I think I lost a ton of weight and I saw some parts of the city I did not exactly care to see. On the upside I saw some parts of the city I have not been to before and stumbled onto a really pretty temple.

Wat Ratchabophit lies somewhat east of the palace grounds and is therefore not nearly as visited and popular as the wats around the palace. I arrived here late in the afternoon and the grounds were virtually deserted except for a small group of devotees congregated in the main viharn. The temple was built in a circular style with vibrant tiles adorning its walls.

I know I’ve been terrible with blogging and reading blogs and keeping things up. Blame it on all the walking. We’re heading south today though and hopefully I’ll get a little more time to update again. And remember to send me you entries for HHDD#23.

Today we are leaving our Bangkok apartment for the last time. Everything has been packed up and sold or shipped, leaving behind bare walls and empty spaces. The last couple of days our apartment resembled the same apartment we moved into in August of last year; just a lot of empty space.

As we are saying goodbye to one home…


… we say hello to some new temporary ones.


We will be on the road again for a couple of months, traveling to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and potentially Singapore. We have decided it was time to make a move again, and what better way to start a move than by going traveling?

I’m sad about the fact that I won’t be able to bake or sew again. But excited about the new places we’ll be going to and the much bigger journey lying ahead. I will also try to catch up on some old writing during this time and of course update you on our journey.

Goodbye then Bangkok, home for a year, and hello new adventures!

When Alexander first arrived in Bangkok, just over a year ago now, I took him for lunch at Rakk on Pha Arthit. On the previously unused stairs going to the upper level was a big bag filled in which we could just make out the small stuffed toys that it contained. We were curious to know about the contents, but thought it polite not to enquire.

Some days later, while walking down the street, our questions were answered when we saw an old lady sitting at a sidewalk table, the contents of the bag now neatly displayed. She had a collection of small mammals, all handmade from rejected pieces of old cloth. I fell in love with them and since we’ve made a point of always stopping by whenever we’re in the neighborhood and she’s out. Whenever she is not there I feel deeply disappointed and and when she is I have to pick something up.


In this way we have collected a giraffe and frog, squirrel and kangaroo (a gift from my friend Nicole), a snake and a cute monkey, one of her first bigger designs, that Alexander bought for me. My friend Nicole also bought me a rhino, but the poor thing has decided to slip into my sister’s luggage and move to Pretoria.


She always has something new, lately she’s been working on a lot of larger toys including a kangaroo with joey in the pouch. Although I really like them too I think the small ones are more appealing, and considering that we are building a collection of these soft toys more manageable in our small apartment.


The one stuffed toy we did not buy from her is this monkey I picked up in Hanoi. He’s made from cut-off Hmong fabric and with his nose missing was just calling out to me to be taken to Bangkok. I think him and the other monkey get along very well.

Taiwan was a shopper’s paradise. This, together with a decent disposable income, made it the ideal place for me to spend six years of my life.

By the time I left at the start of 2006 I had a fine collection of clothing mixing some designer labels, funky street wear, and cheap socks. Shopping for clothes was definitely something I missed a lot when I returned back to South Africa.

Besides being a student again last year and therefore pretty poor, I just did not find the same wide range of inexpensive and trendy clothing. As a result I spent almost no money on clothes last year, in fact, I only bought one cool hooded sweater and three pairs of socks. If not for the hoody it would have been the most bland year for my closet since primary school.

So after not really shopping much for a year, and then traveling for another year and also not shopping much for clothing, I recently started going mad at all the brilliant clothing stalls at markets around Bangkok, especially at Chatuchak Weekend Market. Not since Taiwan have I seen such an enormous selection of cute, hip, sexy and cheap T-shirts, Bordeaux staples.

Here are a couple of examples. Cool, don’t you think?

There are numerous pretty parks in Bangkok that we’ve only seen in passing so far. There is the enormous Lumphine Park, the Benjasiri Park near Emporium and Chatuchak Park next to the weekend market going by the same name. We have long been threatening to visit one of these parks, so inspired by an article in this week’s BK Magazine I suggested going for a picnic yesterday.

While I was still being lazy in bed, Alexander made fresh tortillas. I’ve never had home made tortillas before, so I was used to the generic taste of the store bought variety. The ones Alexander made was super fresh and oh so delicious! I was bouncing around with excitement (literally), while being fed bites of warm tortillas.

So into our picnic bag went the still warm tortillas, some cupcakes, hummus and tomatoes picked up at the Emporium Gourmet section and two coffees. We went and hung out at the lush and inviting Benjasri Park. There weren’t too many people and the atmosphere was relaxed. I thought too late about taking a picture of the tortillas, so this blurry image of the best tortilla I’ve ever had will have to do for now.

And of course we enjoyed cupcakes for dessert.

This picture of a used cup was taken by Alexander. I like how the bit of pink icing that dropped onto the bench contrasts with the grayish background.

Out of all the places we viewed around Bangkok as possible new home we decided to settle into a funky new building just off Sukhumvit Road. It is spacious, partially furnished, clean, came with Wi-Fi, located near a sky train station and between two shopping centers.

The one thing our apartment did not have was a proper kitchen. We have shelving and cupboard space in the living room area and a tiny balcony leading from the balcony with a sink and small work surface, but nothing like a working (or workable) kitchen.

This was a problem to us as we were both so hungry for being able to have a home and begin our own cooking again, but we decided to view it as a challenge. We really wanted this place and so we decided we would make it work somehow.

Over the next couple of weeks we browsed around kitchen departments at numerous department stores around town, measuring tape at hand, and came up with some ideas of how to organize the living room and balcony into becoming a working kitchen/pantry/living space for us.

The shelve became our pantry. We searched out attractive colors for our crockery to brighten up the living space and the bottles of sauces and spices added some additional fun colors to the shelve. We bought the stuffed toy animals beside the blender from a lady selling them on her street side table on Phra Arthit.

I bought the large shopping bag for Alexander in Siem Reap, Cambodia and the slightly hidden pink one for myself here in Bangkok. It cost only B10 and it is pretty strong and very funky.

We picked up a camping stove to use for cooking. The large cutting board doubles as a work surface when we are preparing meals outside. I got quite used to cooking outside on the balcony, but it is a bit of a bother when we are hit by monsoon rains sometimes and the whole area gets flooded.

Below are two of my favorite items in the kitchen. I believe the soy sauce brand name translates to something like ‘fat baby’. I love the image and design as well as the colors. The basil plants was a surprise for me from Alexander. It brightens up our balcony and has served us well in the kitchen!

At the top end of the stairs of a pedestrian bridge we often use on the way to work sits a tiny old beggar lady. Her gray hair has been bleached yellow by the sun and her eyes look eerily large on her tiny sunburned face. Whenever she sees us appearing at the top of the other end her right hand shoots out in front of her in the hope that we’d have something for her.

Yesterday on the way home I noticed her sitting at the top of the stairs again and decided to pick up some freshly cut papaya from a street vendor for her. It was a really hot day and I thought a fruity snack would be appreciated. However, when we got to her and I held the bag of papaya out to her she dismissed it with a wave of her hand and clearly indicated to me that she was holding out her hand in such a way that she should be receiving money, not food.

I was pretty taken aback and continued across the bridge, stunned silent with Alexander giggling beside me at my shocked expression.

When we arrived at home I was still carrying the rejected bag of papaya with me. I decided to make smoothies with it at some point, so I put the whole bag in the freezer.

This morning I took out the frozen bits and threw it into the blender with some milk and a sweet banana. The result was a icy cold and fruity rich papaya smoothie with breakfast. So in the end I guess having my kind offering rejected worked out just fine.

My friend Nicole’s visit was sadly cut short by one day when she realized yesterday afternoon that she was off to Greece a whole 24 hours earlier than she originally thought. It was a pleasure entertaining her at our new home and exploring a new island while she was here.

We visited tiny Koh Si Chang last weekend. It was the ideal weekend getaway, only 3-4 hours travel by boat and bus, not at all frequented by loads of tourists, fresh seafood and and a perfectly relaxed island atmosphere. My highlight food wise was the fried squid and cashew nut. A satisfying mixture of sweet and salty flavors and chewy and crunchy textures!

Monday night we finally got around to Suan Lum night bazaar near Lumphini Park. After finding out how to dodge the tacky tourist stalls we all left with new wardrobe items- a new T and funky work shirt for Alexander, a fall jacket for Nic and a T-shirt for myself.

We traveled by public boats on the klong (Bangkok’s canals) to Banglamphu on Tuesday, where we had yet another pleasing and inexpensive meal at Roti Mataba and browsed around the stores and shops on Phra Athit.

For great pictures and some more about the past week, Alexander photographed and documented our trip to Koh Si Chang and Roti Mataba.

On to cooking. We planned to go out hunting for a mythical Ethiopian restaurant last night and then I would have cooked for Nic tonight, but we had to change our plans a bit and so I decided to cook last night before she left. I had been planning a bit of a menu throughout the day, so i just had to pick up a couple of items from the store and I was ready to start dinner.

Unfortunately for me we got hit by an enormous storm last night and preparing dinner did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. Having the kitchen on the open balcony meant that the wind kept on dumping buckets of rain over everything and I had to wait until it was less windy before I could do anything. But finally I did manage to get the cooking done, even though I still got a bit wet.

Our dinner consisted of a grilled tofu salad with cashew and cilantro pesto (my own creations!) and chicken kebabs on lemon grass skewers with a satay sauce. For dessert we had ice cream with crushed sesame and peanut brittle.

It all came out lovely, even if I have to say so myself.

Grilled Marinated Tofu Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Cilantro and Cashew Nut Pesto

There are kind of two recipes falling under the heading of this salad, first the tofu then pesto. In the end they all contribute to one salad. I’ll try not to make it too confusing.

Gather around:

a block of firm tofu

6 red cherry tomatoes

For the marinade:

juice of one lime

fish sauce

soft brown sugar

green lettuce leaves for garnish

For the pesto:

a handful of cashewnuts

3 small garlic cloves, minced

a bunch of fresh cilantro

olive oil


Slice the tofu into about .1 inch thick slices.

For the marinade- mix the lime juice, a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of fish sauce in a bowl or container (I believe it should be non-metallic) put the slices of tofu and toss to coat. Cover and refrigarate for about an hour.

While you are marinating the tofu, start on the pesto.

Put the cashew nuts, garlic and cilantro into a blender or food processor and chop lightly. Add a tablespoonful or so of olive oil and blend just a little more so you have a chunky pesto. Note that I made this on a whim and therefore did not take correct measurements into calculation. I just went with what I hoped would work and it came out pretty good.

Line a platter (or in our case a plate) with the lettuce leaves and slice the cherry tomatoes into rounds and set aside.

Remove the tofu from the fridge after an hour and grill quickly over low heat in a griddle pan, a couple of seconds on each side. Place the grilled tofu on a bed of lettuce, put one or two slices of the tomato on the tofu and top it off with a little pesto on each slice.

Not only did it look pretty, it was also very tasty and light.

Chicken Kebabs on Lemon Grass Skewers

This turned out to be a very easy dish, much easier than my first attempt using minced pork.


500g chicken mince

1 long red chili

3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed to fit into a pan and halved lenghtwise

sesame oil


Seed the chili and thoroughly mince it. Mix the chili in with the chicken mince until it is well combined. Shape the chicken into 6 balls and place it on a cutting board, flatten the balls slightly and place the lemon grass stalks onto the balls, the chicken should be about at the middle of the stalks. Fold the chicken over the stalks and flatten the top slightly. Brush the chicken with some sesame oil.

Heat some sesame oil in a pan over a moderately high heat.

Put the kebabs into the pan and cook until ready to be eaten and serve on the lemon grass skewers.

What I love about this dish is that it is super simple and tasty, the meat really gets infused with the fragrant lemon grass.

Ice Cream with Chopped Peanut and Sesame Brittle

This dessert is really easy to make but tasted quite yummy. Sadly the ice cream was very soft, I tried to find a ‘harder’ ice cream at the grocer, but for some reason they were all really soft and not even my freezer helped.

You’ll need:

vanilla ice cream

peanut and sesame brittle


Break bits of the brittle off and throw it into a food processor or blender. Chop until fine but still a little chunky. Mix about 3/4 this with the ice cream and serve, sprinkled with the rest of the chopped brittle.



– adjust to your liking, add or subtract a bit here and there, have fun.

I thought I would not get around to any writing while my visitor is here, but seen as I am unable to fall asleep again I might just as well spend some time blogging instead of rolling around in bed.

Nic is here from Taiwan and currently on a round-the-world trip that will take her to Greece, Turkey, parts of Europe and then Canada. I am jealous, even though I’ve spent most of this year living in foreign countries, Taiwan, the US, and Thailand, and have been traveling a lot I always feel a tinge of jealousy when I hear about other people’s travels.

I met her and after some initial problems with the airport bus we decided to take a taxi straight home. Alexander had fresh coffee and some delightfully delicious toasted sandwiches with tomato, mozzarella, and fresh basil from the balcony waiting when we arrived.

I suggested that we go to Ban Chiang for dinner. It is the same place I took Alexander on his first night in Bangkok and we decided back then that we should come back at some point in the future, Nic’s arrival seemed the perfect excuse.

We made a stop in Siam first to satisfy my craving for a tall, warm latte. Vanilla Industry in Siam Square seemed like the perfect option. This coffee shop/ bakery/ restaurant/ bake shop was a surprise discovery some weeks ago and is probably the most adorable and stylish coffee shop in Bangkok. There are many pleasant and nice places here, but this one takes first prize in my books.

My latte urge was pleasantly satisfied and I also convinced the others to share a brownie with me from the cake stand full of tempting goodies like sunken chocolate cake, banoffee pie, heavy chocolate cake and nine-layer vanilla cake.

We spent some time browsing around Siam Square and discovered It’s Happened To Be  A Closet. A store that mixes interiors, fashion, food, and beauty in a tiny space with a lot of creativity and style. Anybody with a love of food, design and style who ever finds themselves in this part of Bangkok should make a point of visiting these two establishments. Big must-not-miss places!

After Alexander picked up a sexy new T-shirt and Nicole and I contemplated some new wardrobe items we headed to Ban Chiang near the Surasak BTS stop. Tempting as it was we opted not to sit outside in the lush tropical garden but rather in the air conditioned comfort of the old teak house, pleasingly decorated with antique Thai furniture and old family portraits of the Thai monarchy.

The highlight on the menu on our previous visit was the minced chicken wrapped in kale leaves. But this time we opted for papaya salad, tofu marinated in lime and ginger, and fish souffle in a coconut shell. Everything was fantastic and this time the fish souffle was the highlight. A coconut shell gets filled with some shredded cabbage, fish and some aromatic Thai herbs and spices. The fish turns melt-in-the-mouth soft during the cooking process and the flavors spread throughout the fish, the cabbage and the coconut flesh. After we finished the dish Alexander and I scooped out generous helpings of the soft white interior until only the shell was left.

I would have loved to try some dessert, but the meal was satisfyingly filling and we so we decided to call it a night and return home.

This is what we had for breakfast one of the lazy mornings I had last week, banana french toast.


It is a fairly simple and delicious way to start the day. I first had it at Ricky’s Café in the Banglamphu area of Bangkok, a brilliant little spot for breakfast, brunch or lunch.


1 or 2 very ripe bananas
4 slices of bread (I used black sesame bread from Tops)
2 eggs
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Mush the banana(s) in a bowl and add the cinnamon to the mixture. Spread the mixture on the slices of bread.

Lightly beat the two eggs in a plate or dish and add the pinch of salt.

Spray some cooking spray onto a griddle pan and heat the pan over a moderately high heat. Cover the slices of bread with the egg mixture and quickly fry them in the pan. Serve with some fresh fruit and any other condiments you deem necessary, I served it with lychee jam.


Suggestions for banana French toast:
– Alexander always suggests adding a splash of orange juice or dark rum to the egg mixture for some tropical flavor- unfortunately I had neither in the kitchen the day I made this.
– if you are a real sweet tooth you may consider adding a little soft brown sugar to the banana mixture