On the shelf
I love fried foods but I'm never sure what to do with the used oil. I know I shouldn't pour it down the drain, so I usually end up putting it into an empty water or wine bottle, sealing the top, and throwing it in the bin. But then I came across Daiso Japan's used-oil disposal agent - also known as a frying-oil hardener - at the Jusco $10 Plaza Plus shops (branch in Causeway Bay at M/F, Wing Tak Mansion, 15 Canal Road West, tel: 2892 1812). Containing five sealed packs, the contents of each can quickly solidify 650ml of spent cooking oil, making it far easier to dispose of.
I first spotted these tiny metal moulds in a catalogue specialising in French pastries, but was shocked at the price. I purchased this set for a far more reasonable HK$98 at Man Kee Chopping Board (340 Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, tel: 2332 2784). They make beautiful, petit four-sized cakes, and the intricate shape means they don't need any decoration.
I'm not sure where my Japanese-Hawaiian friend living in a southern Californian suburb learned to make Scandinavian rosettes, but it was at her house that I learned to make (and love) these delicate fried fritters. Cooking them was fun - we'd take turns dipping the moulds into the thin batter, before placing them in hot oil. The heat of the oil would detach the batter from the mould so it could be lifted away, and the batter would fry into a crisp, pale, delicate pastry that we'd dust with icing sugar before eating. I haven't made these for years because I didn't have the moulds, so I was pleased to find this set of four metal shapes for HK$39 at I Love Cake (338 Shanghai Street, tel: 2671 2671).