Beginner’s Choice: Food for Thought

A simple starter

Have you ever thought of de-constructing guacamole? Well, Elena has done an excellent job. There are skills which are beyond survival skills, we call them home-chef’s skills.

It’s great to start a new year with some small details, like a nice starter. A de-constructed guacamole is fairly simple to make and it’s healthy. Guacamole is basically chopped avocado, tomatoes, red onions and cilantro in a dressing of lime juice, vinegar and olive oil.

When I watched Elena make her de-constructed guacamole using special metal rings, I remembered watching a chef at a cooking demo in Macau who said that anyone can make a special round tuna, tomato and alfalfa salad using a tin (like an evaporated milk tin) without the top and the bottom of the tin. It’s just a matter of packing one ingredient on top of another and then sliding the content out of the tin.

Thanksgiving without the turkey

New Year’s Day marks a fresh start, which is a reason for giving thanks. Last year Cecille sent a photo of the roast lamb she cooked. She said she chose lamb because it was easy to cook: “…only season  with garlic and rosemary…leave it in the oven and that’s it.”

Roast lamb

Andrea had an article on baked oriental pork ribs. If you are thinking of doing ribs, Andrea’s recipe is a “must try”.

Family Traditions: Baked Oriental Pork Ribs – HomeBlog by HomSkil

If you prefer a something cool, drunken chicken is a hot favourite of many.

The Refreshingly Cool Chicken in Shaoxing Wine – HomeBlog by HomSkil

Cool edible art

Desserts always bring a lot of cheer. They can be simple yet special. A banana split in the shape of a boat on the shore by the sea! Can you get more creative than that? The sea is made of jelly and the sand is made of digestive biscuits. Yes, the credit goes to Elena again.

Banana boat

Home-made fruit cake is good with home-made ice cream. Angie had an original idea. She packed brownies with fruitcake on top in paper cake boxes (duo cake gift pack). Fruitcake and brownies a la mode was an interesting combination.

Fruit cake on top of brownies

The Three Kings

The feast of Three Kings or Epiphany is another day for celebrating, and this year it falls on the 2nd of  January. In some countries (like Spain), it’s the day the Kings bring gifts (instead of Santa Claus). While in other countries, like the Netherlands, St Nicholas brings gifts on the 6th of December.


The Three Kings brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to offer to the Christ Child as a gift of homage. While the shepherds had brought lambs earlier. The tradition of giving gifts goes back to the first Christmas.

Hummingbirds as gifts

Hummingbirds have become popular as ornaments, especially for Christmas. If you are lucky, the Three Kings might also bring you one, like this crystal hummingbird.

The Hummingbird Special Edition

Hummingbirds are small and colourful, but what makes them so interesting is that they can fly in all directions – backwards and forward, up and down. They can even fly and remain suspended in one place. Their wings can move in a figure 8 motion.

A mother hummingbird takes great care to make a nest for her eggs, the final touch is to line the nest with the softest material that she can find.

She teaches her fledgelings to fly by not feeding them enough -to leave them hungry- so that they will have to look for food. She flies over them with food so they have to exert effort to fly to reach the food.

We can learn a lot from hummingbirds – like how they use food to teach their young to fly, and how they make their nest neat and comfortable. But perhaps the most outstanding quality of the hummingbirds is their joy. They are among the busiest hardworking birds, but they hum as they work. I have noticed how people who enjoy their work hum happy tunes as they work. The truth is that hummingbirds are not singing when they hum, the humming actually comes from their wings. In any case, hummingbirds are associated with peace and joy. They are also good homemakers and educators in their own way.

Original gifts

A lawyer friend received a beautiful painting from a colleague. She explained that they had secret Santa gifts in her firm, but the gifts had to be original works. They could be poems or literary pieces. I think they are a group of intellectual property lawyers. I must say that it’s the most original gift idea I have come across so far.    

Wishing you a Happy New Year and many memorable moments.

By Chayo, HomSkil Editor 1, 1 January 2022

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