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Smells (and Tastes) Like Summer

Smells (and Tastes) Like Summer

Sadly, the photo came out wobbly, but I was ridiculously excited at the thought of biting into that fat burger Joe made for dinner tonight.

200 grams (7 oz) of all-beef patty cooked over charcoal, mild cheddar cheese, tomato, onion, baby arugula on a chargrilled bun. A bottle of chilled cava and a nice strong red to go with.

Those few perfect days before the unpleasantly hot months kick in, when there’s that still-cooling breeze in the air just before the sun goes down, before the mosquitoes begin their relentless attacks and humidity becomes a distraction.

We’re holding onto the last lingering days that isn’t quite spring and not yet quite summer. And, we’re loving it.

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Meet the Taste Tester

Meet the Taste Tester

Meet Joe, my taste tester. He’s also le boyfriend.

Joe is a Frenchman from Paris who’s lived in Seoul since 2008. It’s one of those stories of a foreigner coming to Korea for a short stay–in his case, to visit his childhood best friend, Sam, the previous year–had an absolute blast, and ended up coming back with a new-found job. This is his sixth year in Seoul. His job has since changed, but his love for the city hasn’t.

Joe is also Portuguese, which means, he loves to build things with his bare hands, drink beer, and eat good food. By default. The taste tester mostly has good things to say about what I make. Actually, he has never not liked anything that I’ve cooked. Then again, he’s a nice guy who avoids conflict at all costs.

Joe mostly does the eating in this relationship but does cook from time to time. He makes a gorgeous tomates farcies, his mousse au chocolat is to die for, and he recently made a cake of zucchini, lardons and gruyere that blew our guests away. He also loves to eat plain pasta with ketchup, but I try not to judge him because we all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to food. Mine is vegemite. I can’t live without it.

Who am I?

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Hello and thanks for finding me!

I’m Korean and I’ve been calling Seoul, South Korea, my home since 1997, but I’ve spent a good part of my life growing up overseas. I was born in Morocco in 1978 and was raised in South Korea, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Italy.

I’ve enjoyed a career in radio broadcasting since 2001, but my main passion lies in food. Eating. Cooking. Entertaining.

Memories from my childhood are irrevocably linked to the exotic flavors and smells of the places I’ve lived in, and my curiosity and appreciation for food were nurtured early on, thanks to my parents who were avid travelers as well as adventurous foodies.

As kids, my sister and I were encouraged to try everything. Fiery, fragrant Sri Lankan curries eaten with our fingers; all manner of tropical fruits, including the notoriously stinky durian, the king of its kind; the freshest abalone, gathered by our dad, from the cold pristine New Zealand waters; just-picked oysters, plump, briny and sweet, tasting like the ocean; the flesh of the fish we had caught ourselves, eaten both raw and cooked; offal; pungent fermented side dishes, a staple of our motherland; everything Italian.

In hindsight, I think I started cooking so much in my kitchen out of necessity for the lack of variety of non-Korean cuisine one could find in Seoul. However, the culinary landscape in Seoul is changing, and I know it’s only going to get better in the future. My daily inspiration for cooking comes from whatever I feel like eating– Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, French, Italian, Spanish, Indian, Lebanese, Moroccan, American. I have to say, cooking non-Korean dishes at home in Korea has become much less of a task in recent years, thanks to the better availability of foreign food products.

This is my food journal with recipes, photos, musings and travel stories. You are all invited. I hope you enjoy it and feel free to leave comments here or shoot me messages or questions at spark778@gmail.com. I’ll do my best to respond quickly.

PHOTOS & RECIPES

Unless noted otherwise, all of the content on this site is made by me. You may post my images on your own blog for personal use, as long as you link them back to this site to provide credit. Under no circumstances should the contents of this blog be copied and re-posted elsewhere, unless you have prior permission from me to do so.

RECIPES

I have personally cooked or baked all the recipes on this site. Should you find any error, please email me to let me know.