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Tai O – An architectural masterpiece – Photodiary

This week we visited the little known architectural wonder that is Tai O fishing village in Hong Kong. A fishing village built entirely on stilts, visited mainly buy tourists wanting to purchase dried fish and eat local snacks. But look a little further, delve into the back streets and you will find a community that has built (and is still building) an entire village on stilts in the inlet of the South China sea. Here is our photo diary of a quiet Sunday spent exploring the structures that seem to defy gravity, and watching the villagers build new structures and maintain the old houses. Tai Po eclectic east15

Tai Po eclectic east11 Tai Po eclectic east7 Tai Po eclectic east4 Tai Po eclectic east16 Tai Po eclectic east14 Tai Po eclectic east13 Tai Po eclectic east12Tai Po eclectic east Tai Po eclectic east10 Tai Po eclectic east9 Tai Po eclectic east8 Tai Po eclectic east5Tai Po eclectic east2Tai Po eclectic east6Tai Po eclectic east7Tai Po eclectic east3

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Festive Friday Food Post – Traditional Christmas Pudding with Thai Rum and Candied Yuzu Peel

Our Friday food post has gone festive this week with a traditional christmas pudding. We have a little twist of course! Eclectic East Christmas puddingYou might think Thai Rum (known as Sang Som) is better suited to being drunk from buckets on a beach in Koh Phangan in the glow of the full moon, and you might be right! But we challenge you to change your preconceptions about and give this a go – it might bring back some happy memories! Our second unusual ingredient is candied yuzu peel. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with a milder zest than a lemon or lime – the candied version is quite mellow and adds a nice depth of flavour to this pudding.

Eclectic East Christmas pudding tahi rum and japanese yuzu

Eclectic East Christmas pudding ingredientsWe can’t take credit for this winning recipe. It comes courtesy of the failsafe Delia Smith – you can find it here. We can only take credit for adding the Yuzu and Thai Rum which certainly gives the pudding an Eclectic East kick. If you want to try the same, substitute the rum for Sang Som and sustitute the candied peel for yuzu candied peel.

Eclectic East Christmas pudding thai rum

Garnish your pudding with some yuzu peel (shown below) and serve with flames powered by Sang Som rum and some brandy (or Sang Som!) butter.

Eclectic East Christmas pudding2Ours is currently wrapped in brown paper and waiting for the big day. We can’t wait – Merry Christmas!

Eclectic East Christmas pudding wrapped

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Christmas Wreath – Eclectic East Style

A christmas wreath is a tradition, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be traditional. Follow our easy DIY wreath and give your guests a colourful surprise to look at whilst they stand on your doorstep.

eclectic east wreath11

eclectic east wreath9You will need….

  • 2 old wire coat hangers
  • Wire for securing everything in place
  • Wire cutters
  • A long strip of fake fern
  • A can of white spray paint
  • Colourful feathers
  • Newspaper to protect your home

Start with spray painting your fake fern. Do this outside and make sure that you fully cover the area with newspaper before you begin spraying.

eclectic east wreath1

eclectic east wreath2eclectic east wreath3When you have fully covered the fake fern in spray paint, allow to dry.

Now make 2 circles with your coat hangers, one smaller than the other and secure them together with the extra wire. Try to get a round shape but it really doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, nobody will see it because it will be covered up with all your wonderful decorations.

eclectic east wreath4Now start to attach the fake fern. Starting with small sections, build up from the outside in. You will need to use the wire to secure the fern. We added 3 rows, one on the outer circle, one on the inner circle and one between the two. If you place them in alternate directions you will get a nice bushy effect.

eclectic east wreath5eclectic east wreath6Once you are happy that your fern is nicely placed and secured with the wire, you can start adding the feathers. Add them in small sections building up as you go. Keep checking that it looks balanced. eclectic east wreath7Keep going until you are happy with the overall effect, then secure all the feathers in place with the wire.

eclectic east wreath8

Now proudly hang on your door and wait for your bell to ring! eclectic east wreath10

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Eclectic East Feather Baubles

feather finalAs promised yesterday, here is our DIY how-to for our super funky feather baubles.

You will need…..

  • Clear glass or plastic baubles
  • Colourful feathers
  • Colourful tape or string for hanging
  • A chopstick!

feather 1

 

How to…..feather 1a

Start by removing the hanging stand from your baubles and pull the feathers off the tape, selecting the colours that you want to use.

feather 2

feather 3Carefully insert the feathers into the baubles, pushing inside with a chopstick. You can use the chopstick to poke them about and make the arrangement look nice.

Once you have put in all the feathers that you want to, put back the hanger stand and add a colourful tape to hang the baubles.

feather final2Hang on your tree with the other baubles that you made from yesterday’s post and enjoy your Eclectic East christmas!

feather final on tree

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Christmas Baubles – The Eclectic East Way

We are super excited about our first Christmas at Eclectic East. Today we have been giving an Eclectic East makeover to last year’s baubles in preparation for decorating our tree. So we decided to do a little DIY “how-to” and help you bring a bit of Eclectic East merriment into your home this year. Today we will show you how to make the beaded, sequin and fabric baubles. Look out for tomorrow’s post on the easy peasy feather baubles. ballsWe had a ball getting messy and creative, be prepared to get sticky and glittery!

Balls making2You will need……

  • A selection of baubles, we are using large silver balls, but feel free to use any baubles you have – it’s all about recycling!
  • Beads, sequins and glitter for covering the balls.
  • Fabric to make the fabric baubles
  • PVA glue
  • colourful tape or string to make ties (We sourced some neon leather tape)
  • A glue spreader and lots of newspaper to protect your table

Multicolour beaded balls

Multicolour balls on tree

We’ve been yearning for these neon beads since we saw them when we were making our post Behind The Scenes Of Your Wardrobe, it seemed that Christmas was a perfect time to bring some neon into our lives!

Multicolour balls1Start by filling a small bowl with your beads.

multicolour balls2Now cover your bauble in PVA glue

multicolour balls3 Multicolour balls4Dip the bauble into the beads and twist to make sure it is covered in beads all over.

Leave to dry on a flat surface (otherwise the beads will fall off!) and thread some colourful tape or string to create a hanger.

We also did the same process with sequins and glitter. Tip – try to get as even a coverage as you can but don’t worry if they affect is a little random at times, this is part of the beauty because you will see the silver colour coming through.

pink ball1

pink ball2

black sequin ball3

mini world on tree

Our Mini World baubles were made by first covering the baubles in blue glitter and then adding random patches of glue and re-dipping them in the neon beads to create your very own planets!

Fabric Baubles 

We have also been trying to find a use for these stunning neon fabrics that we bought in India. These easy fabric baubles are colourful and really effective at adding style to your tree.

balls square

fabric ball1

Start with cutting a piece of square fabric a bit bigger than your bauble. Remove the hanger stand from the bauble.

fabric ball2Cover in glue and wrap place the ball  in the centre and pull the fabric up to the top.

fabric ball3fabric ball4Once dry, trim the edges and replace the hanger stand. Add colourful tape or string and hang on your tree!

fabric ball5

all ballsWe hope you enjoyed this post and feel inspired – embrace your creative side and prepare to get messy!

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Friday Food Post – Sweet Chilli Popcorn

After a very hectic week, Mr EE and I are settling in to a Friday evening with a movie. So naturally a movie night calls for popcorn…. Eclectic East style!

sweet chilli popcorn finalThis is easy peasy and seriously tasty.

Ingredients – makes a big bowl – plenty for 2 people – probably enough for 4! 

  • 1/2 Cup of popcorn kernels
  • 2 Tablespoons of castor sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons of chilli flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of corn oil (or other tasteless oil)
  • 1 Teaspoon of chilli oil

swwet chilli popcorn ingredients

Method 

Start by grinding your sugar, salt and chilli in a pestle and mortar until it becomes a fine dust (the chilli flakes probably won’t grind up completely – this is fine)

sweet chilli popcorn step 1sweet chilli popcorn step 2sweet chilli popcorn ground mixOnce ground, your seasoning will look a bit pink.

Now put your popcorn and oil into a heavy based pan. Make sure that the oil fully covers the bottom of the pan and all the kernels.

swwet chilli popcorn step3Turn on the heat to medium and put on a well fitting lid. You will start to hear pops after about 2-3 minutes. It will pop for about 5 minutes. When the pops start to slow down you can take a peak, once they have slowed to 3 seconds apart it is done.

sweet chilli popcorn step4In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle your seasoning all over the popcorn, mixing well and making sure everything is coated.

sweet chilli popcorn step 5Serve with a glass of wine and enjoy the movie!

sweet chilli popcorn final2

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Friday Food Post – Seriously Garlicky Kale Salad

Kale and Garlic saladThis week, our Friday Food post is brought to you from Weihai. I am unable to cook this week but I have done a lot of eating of delicious local cuisine. This particular dish is right up my street; fresh, flavoursome and bursting with nutrients. Kale is having a bit to a hipster moment in the west right now, but in China it has always been eaten when in season. This salad is an age old dish which is typically served with other cold appetisers at the beginning of a meal. Tradition aside, the hipster hype is not without substance – kale is extremely high in iron, antioxidants, and vitamins A and K. It is also low in calories and tastes delicious – what’s not to love!?

I must warn you, the high content of raw garlic makes it quite antisocial! So make sure you serve it to all your friends and don’t plan any dates after eating this one. The recipe comes courtesy of Chef William Yang of the Huancuiyuan restaurant in Weihai. It is super easy, no cooking required. I ate it with vegetarian dumplings and clear vegetable soup but I think it could go really well with grilled fish or meat, or even as an accompaniment to pasta since the fresh acidity will offset any rich sauces.

Ingredients – Makes a large bowl of salad for sharing

  • One large bunch of kale – approx 400gm.
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic (depending on how much garlic you can take!)
  • 4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • a pinch of salt

Method

1. Wash and dry your kale and roughly rip it into biteable pieces using your hands. Place in a large salad bowl.

2. Now crush and finely chop your garlic – in the photos below you can see the garlic on the kale leaves, this is about the size you are going for.

Kale and Garlic salad3

3. Put the garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well until completely combined.

4. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss together to thoroughly coat the kale in the dressing.

Serve as an accompaniment to your selected dish – I’m going to try it with grilled salmon when I get back to the kitchen. Or try your hand at making fresh vegetable and tofu dumplings like I did in Weihai – a good recipe is here.

Vegetable dumplings

Kale and Garlic salad2