On the shelf
One of my biggest baking challenges was macarons - the delicate pastries are notoriously temperamental. Now that I'm making them consistently well, I've been attempting to branch out and make some unusual flavours. At baking shop Twins (1/F, 137 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 8111 3090), I found some lovely freeze-dried extracts - plum (HK$30 for 55 grams), rose and osmanthus (HK$35 each). They're quite powerful, so a little goes a long way. I tint the macaron shells an appropriate colour (pale purple for plum, pink for rose and yellow for osmanthus) then fold the extract into a lightly sweetened whipped-cream filling. I also like the store's powdered green tea (HK$10 per sachet), which I use to flavour both the shells and filling.
I love ginger ale, so I was excited to see a new product on the shelves. The Bruce Cost 'fresh ginger ginger ale' is unfiltered, so it has a cloudy sediment that sinks to the bottom of the glass. The original flavour tastes best: it's made with fresh ginger, cane sugar, carbonated water and citric acid. I also tried the jasmine green tea flavour but found the floral notes interfered with the spicy, warm taste of ginger. Bottles (355ml) cost HK$15.90 each at Great, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 9986.