10th September 2010  •  1 Comment


From Asia to the Middle East

After a long honeymoon and travels through East, Central, and Southeast Asia, I’ve made it — to Kabul. I’ll be working in Afghanistan for the next few months. Stay tuned for lots of discoveries and recipes over the next few weeks!


2nd July 2010  •  1 Comment

Rural Japan = surprisingly little internet, but great pictures to put up when you get the chance…but haven’t had the chance yet…

Rural Mongolia = no power, no net, no posting.

Back on the 11th, with stories of dairymaking with nomads in the steppes. I hope I develop a taste for fermented mare’s milk…

22nd June 2010  •  0 Comments


Fruit stand at Shilin Night Market, Taipei

…Just arrived in Taiwan and astounded at the variety and deliciousness of the food. This is a typical fruit stand at a night market, highlighting fruits I’d rarely seen before like a “wax apple,” ume-stuffed cherry tomatoes, and raw papaya dressed with passionfruit sauce.

The fruit here is served with a variety of spicings. First is the plain sugar. Next is the chili powder. Finally is a pale purple sour-sweet topping that I vow to find before we leave.

More pictures from the market and updates as I continue to travel in Taiwan…

16th June 2010  •  1 Comment

The last cooking lesson I received in Korea taught me how to make a candy (or cookie, as Koreans tend to refer to them) that I’d previously been gifted for Christmas…we’d been lusting after it ever since.

Some traditional Korean hangwa, or tea snacks, are honey-candied walnuts.

These are no ordinary candied walnuts. The nuts are first parboiled, to remove any bitterness. They are marinated in a honey syrup that is gradually reduced, laminating the nuts to a high sheen. Finally, the nuts are fried at a high temperature, up to the soft-crack stage, to create a crispy inside and slightly hard, slightly gooey exterior.

When you make these, be sure to watch the temperature of the oil with a candy thermometer. When placing them on a plate to dry, make sure the walnuts are not touching.  You can alter the proportions of the recipe, but make sure to use half the weight of the nuts in sugar (I used 60 grams of walnuts and 30 grams of sugar).

Finally, Koreans call this a “winter candy” since the heat and humidity of summertime can make these sticky to the touch. Cool dry weather lets them cool so they can be handled without licking your fingers…so I say you can have these any time of year.

Try them and tell me what you think. If you use other nuts, I’d love to see how they turn out…


Separate the nuts so they don't stick together.

Korean Walnut Cookies


60 grams of nuts

200 grams or 1 cup of water

30 grams of 2 full tablespoons of sugar

Pinch of salt

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 bottle of vegetable oil for frying


1.) Boil your water. Remove the pan from heat and add in walnuts. Soak for 5-10 minutes to remove the bitterness from the walnuts.

2.) Drain the nuts. Add sugar to the pan and place nuts on top of sugar. Add enough water to just cover the nuts. Add a pinch of salt.

3.) Boil the water, the reduce heat to low. Spoon the syrup over the nuts until the amount of liquid has been reduced by half.

4.) Stir in honey. Continue to spoon the syrup over the nuts until only 3 tablespoons of syrup remain.

5.) Drain the nuts. Heat your oil in a large pan to 140 C. Maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process. Carefully place nuts in the oil and stir constantly. There will be lots of bubbles!

6.) When the bubbles surrounding the nuts almost disappear, and when the color is golden brown, remove the nuts carefully using a strainer.

Spread the nuts on a disk, separating them lest they stick together. Let cool completely before eating.

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