life, and a drink

life, and a drink


It’s been almost 16 months since the moment I sat my lame ass down before a computer, and pessimistically inserted a few doubtful letters down at the domain-registry… “… hmph, yeah right.”  Well, turned out I sort of was.  Disregarding any form of success measured by any numeral digits (it’ll come it’ll com…), this place has been an unexpected release for my moderate creativity and infinite opinions, to vent itself in the form of a blog.  As unconvincing and self-indulgent as I formerly thought it would be, much healthier than a reckless Ebay spree as it turned out… (I confess nothing).

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Along the way I’ve made some friends.  Yes, you, for reasons beyond my comprehension, are willing to listen to my twice-weekly obnoxious moaning, and oops, I’m doing it again.  Just in case it hasn’t been obvious for some, the name of the blog is dedicated to a certain female-figure of my life – MOI – and a few canines that I adore, children really.  And as if the previous instance with my 13-years old Dumpling wasn’t climatic enough, my 9-years old Bado was just diagnosed with highly probable epilepsy today.  Yes, the whole house is going nutso.   For the next few weeks, she will need constant care-taking and monitoring before a hopeful stabilisation.  Without going into details, this is more or less going to affect the performance of this site.  Less frequent post, or shorter writings (I hope I don’t hear clapping at this point…), I don’t know.  But if it so happens, just if, please bear with me as life is momentarily kicking me in my imaginary nuts.  I do hope I’ll still see you on the other end.  Before that, let’s have a drink…

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Serving: 3~4

This is a non-alcoholic drink that I find refreshing and relatively healthy at the same time.  It requires a flavoring agent called Angostura bitter, by all means familiar to cocktail-lovers but rather difficult to acquire in Beijing.  If you have store-bought, legit Angostura bitter, by all means use that.  Or if you want to spend 2 ~ 4 weeks brewing the-whole-nine-yards homemade Angostura bitter, by all mean knock yourself out.  Here and here would be a nice reference point to start from.  Meanwhile, you see what I have to deal with (↑), so I’m going with the complete cheater’s version:

Not-even-close simple Angostura bitter:

  • 1 small piece of cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cardamon
  • 1/8 tsp of ground allspice
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, sliced open and cut into very small segments
  • 1/2 tbsp of raisins, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of molasses
  • 1 tsp of orange zest
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of whiskey

Smash cinnamon, cloves and cardamon in a mortar (or on a chopping-board with a knife) into coarse pieces.  Add the spices into a glass jar with ground allspice, vanilla beans, raisins, molasses, orange zest and lemon zest.  Pour in 1/4 cup of whiskey and close the lid tightly.  Shake vigorously and leave it on the counter to brew for at least overnight (the longer the better), shaking it once every few hours.  Strain the liquid through a super-fine sieve or cheese-clothe into another container.  Keep in the fridge for whenever needed.

Celery collins: adapted from Saveur magazine

  • 4 large celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of simple syrup (instruction follows)
  • 1/4 tsp of simple Angostura bitter
  • 1 can of club soda
  • Lots and lots of ice cubes
  • Thin Asian celery for garnish

Add celery stalks and 1/4 cup of water into a blender and blend until smoothly pureed (the more finely chopped the pieces are, the easier to blend).  If you have a juicer, you can directly juice the celery stalks (you may need 1 more stalk to make up to the same amount).  Strain the liquid through a very fine seive or cheese-clothe.  Press/squeeze on it to get as much liquid out then discard the solids.

To make a simple syrup, simply melt equal amount of sugar with equal amount of water (by volume) over medium heat.  Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup and simple Angostura bitter to the celery juice.  Stir to combine evenly.  Pour the mixture into a glass filled with ice cubes, then add 2~3 oz of club soda to each (approx 1/3 cup).  Garnish with a few sprigs of Asian celery.


  • Erin B

    August 5, 2013 at 4:40 AM Reply

    Oh, girlfriend, my heart goes out to you. I, too, have been blessed with a dog that has epilepsy. After a few months of watching his seizures get worse (we were hoping it was a reaction to something he ate or the flea meds or… anything and it would go away) we took him to the vet and he’s been on potassium bromide ever since. It’s working out, only one seizure in the past 6 months, but they are pretty rough to deal with. I’m going to need to make this drink for myself so we can comiserate together. Life indeed is a bitch, sometimes. Hope everything works out. Love to you and family.

  • Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    August 5, 2013 at 7:32 AM Reply

    I can not express enough sympathy for your situation in. I love my dog too and she has been the slow decline as well. Her bones are not not good and her whimpers are becoming more frequent. I am sending you my best wishes and hope you can feel my love when I make this drink in honour of you today

  • Mandy L.

    August 5, 2013 at 1:47 PM Reply

    Erin, Belinda;

    Thanks guys! Really means a lot to me :)

  • Vashti

    August 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM Reply

    I’m so sorry about your pup! I just wanted to let you know that I am IN LOVE with your blog. Thankyou for the recipes and the smiles. Praying the pup gets better soon.

  • rach

    August 6, 2013 at 12:51 AM Reply

    So sorry to hear about your pups. Not sure if you know this website, they have natural supplements for many canine illnesses, might be worth a try. My own doggie is a happy consumer of their products and they do work for her conditions. Sending positive thoughts to your dogs!

  • roddie

    August 6, 2013 at 3:06 AM Reply

    I, for one, am glad that you found your way to starting this blog. I’m always in awe at how you’re able to converge all of these talents – cooking, photography, writing – to one place for us to enjoy. I’ve made one of your recipes a couple of times (Kogi BBQ, hello!), with another five or six in the queue. Crazy goodness.

    All the best to your dogs!

  • Todd @ HonestlyYUM

    August 8, 2013 at 7:44 AM Reply

    Mandy, sending positive vibes your way.. <3

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