Monthly Archives: February 2015

South Korea: Lunar New Year!

새해 복 많이 받으세요, Happy Lunar New Year all!

It’s crazy to sit here and realize that this is our 4th and 5th Lunar New Year in Korea. Honestly, WHOA! Anywho I’m sure if you’ve been following along with our blog from the beginnings you know what Lunar New Year is all about. FOOD! Kidding… well kinda, sorta. It’s about family and being together, much like our own special holidays in the US. And FOOD.

So to celebrate Lunar New Year, why not get festive and gather up your friends and teach them how to easily make dumplings? Just remember two magic words, fill and fold and the rest will come into place for you. The great thing about dumplings is that you can be as basic, or crazy creative with the filling ingredients as you’d like and they will still be delicious. This time around we kept ours fairly simple, easy to follow and vegetarian.

Remember…Confucius say, “Man with one chopstick go hungry.”


^If you are in Korea these bamboo steamers and steamer liners are EASY to get a hold of. If you can’t find any liners, use some cabbage leaves and call it a day.

Easy Steamed Dumplings

About 15 shiitake mushrooms, or your favorite kind, sliced
1/2 of a small onion, sliced
EVOO- Extra virgin olive oil, used to drizzle
1 Cup shredded carrot
1 Cup shredded cabbage
3 Inch slices of fresh ginger, diced
3 Cloves garlic, diced
1/2 Cup of mixed yellow, red and green bell pepper, diced
1/2 Of a block of tofu, diced into small squares
1/4 Cup chopped scallions
4 Tsp soy sauce
4 Tsp hoisin sauce
2 packs of wonton wrappers
Salt & pepper, to taste


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the mushrooms and onions onto a baking sheet and drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Roast in oven for approximately 10-15 minutes, checking for a nice golden brown coloring. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

After the mushrooms and onions have cooled, combine all of the dry ingredients and add in a pinch of salt. Add in the sauces and toss together.

You want to fill the wrapper with about a tablespoon scoop of the mixture. You will know if it is to full by the way it’s folding together for you. Take your finger, wet the outside edges of the wrapper with a bit of water and begin to pinch and fold edges completely closed, as shown on the wrapper instructions.

Place the dumplings inside and steamer for approximately 9-10 minutes, or until the wonton skins are soft.


Click, Ship & treat yourself!

Seoul: TWG Tea

I invited some friends to join me on Valentine’s Day for afternoon tea and sampling delectable little delights from TWG- The Wellness Group. This visit to TWG has been a long time coming and FINALLY is getting crossed of my Seoul bucket list. Plus I’d never live it down if I went without my British gal-pal and posted this review.

TWG officially opened its flagship store and terrace in the Seoul district of Cheongdam, South Korea around this time last year in 2014. The two-story TWG Tea Salon and Boutique and outdoor terrace has over 800 varieties of teas from over 45 regions around the world. I felt like I drank all of those teas too as I swam later that afternoon to the subway. HA-HA! Black tea, green tea, white tea, iced-tea, tea-shakes, Christmas tea…you name it.

I have become obsessed with a very light tasting tea, WHITE HOUSE TEA . The tea is described as an ethereal white tea with fruits and fragrant roses, that leaves an enduring aftertaste of ripe berries. A diplomatic and balanced tea of sophistication. It is delightful!

The menu was slightly overwhelming and just unfolded and unfolded across our table, but I’m not complaining. It was rather hard to choose especially when they all have ridiculously sweet little names like Silver Moon, lovers tea, Happy tea, Jade Dragon and Weekend in Casablanca. Hands down I am a newer fan of coffee, but I feel like coffee would never get away with such cutesy little names.

Being a foodie I was instantly intrigued with the food at TWG. I had done some research and found that TWG offers many food items that are tea-infused to include tea-infused ice-creams and sorbet. YUM! Even our little rolls were tea-infused!

^ fresh mushroom butter

We decided to share and ordered Lasagna with bolognaise ragout with their signature homemade tomato and fresh basil sauce infused with Moroccan Mint Tea, and a seared tuna salad. We ended the meal with tea service complete with clotted cream, Geisha Blossom Tea Jelly (This stuff is AMAZING and I tried to purchase but the Seoul district doesn’t sell it. boo.), macaroons, scones and all! Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the food and felt it was worth the price. We all decided we will return again to treat ourselves and of course try another round of teas.

I don’t even think that Alice herself could have had more fun at The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! Pinkies up!



TWG Tea at Cheongdam, Seoul
82-1 Cheongdam-Dong, 1F, 2F, Gangnam-Gu, Seoul Korea
Tel: + 82 (0)2 518 1837
Opening Hours:
Monday – Sunday, 10.30am – 10pm
Menu: Here
Website: Website Here

Click, Ship & treat yourself!

Backpack Bees First Annual Supper Club

The only thing that seems to be regular around here is my lateness in blog post lately. EEK! So what have you been up to and what in the world have we been up to? Well, I can fill you in on us and you’ve got to leave us some comments below on you. Lets see… Ah! We hosted our first annual supper club at our place last weekend.

Yup, we gathered up 7 sort of strangers around our wooden table in our cozy little South Korean apartment, added a touch of good tunes- mind you it has to be an excellent mix, had oodles of laughs, kept the wine glasses filled, took a heavy dose of creativity and openness from both the host and the supper club goers.. and welcome to the Backpack Bees first annual supper club! (Sounds like the opening of the The Real World , right? LOL..Na…nowhere near as dramatic).

We had these bigger than big ideas to whip out our KitchenAid Ravioli Maker and make homemade ravioli. Pretty awesome, right? Right and it was! Let’s fast-forward to the actual day of the supper, when we quickly realized we had never even used our ravioli attachment… oops.. How hard can it be? I mean we used the pasta attachment for spaghetti before. Easy-peasy!

HA-HA..well in the end the pasta came out delicious but I’ll keep it real and give you the backside of the story. Mr. B whipped up an excellent homemade tomato sauce and the ravioli vegetarian filling (ricotta, spinach and shiitake mushroom). Then moved onto dredging the eggplant into a Smoked Paprika breadcrumb mixture, later to be deep fried. While I on the other hand was struggling with the dough, on the verge of almost a mini-panic attack. Thankfully in walked two of our dear friends with vino, smiles and helping hands. Together we all quickly went to town manning almost assigned kitchen stations and managed to pull it all together. Thanks again guys!


Rolls (Thanks Danny & Katie)

Fresh Greek Salad

Lemon Parsley White Bean Salad (Thanks Mandy)

Breaded Smoked Paprika Eggplant Bites

Vegetarian Homemade Ravioli -Stuffed with Ricotta, Shiitake Mushroom and Spinach Topped with Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream

Homemade Strawberry Basil Ice-Cream

Homemade Apple Tart (Thanks Megan)

Who’s joining us for dinner next?


Click, Ship & treat yourself!

Indulge: Seared Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce

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I have to admit, the weekends are rather sacred to me. Actually, thinking about and envisioning the weekend is often the only thing that gets me through my Monday through Friday’s. I’m hopeless, I know. I look forward to that time that I can just rest, recover and reconnect with the Mr. This past weekend my special moment just so happened to be over a truly perfect dinner prepared and cooked right in our own kitchen!

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We picked up this Emeril by All-Clad E6019764 Cast-Iron 2-Burner Reversible Grill Griddle, Black
for our gas stove and seared some steak. It worked out rather nicely and the sirloin was medium perfection! We then dipped the steak into a secret sauce! It’s all about the sauce, ’bout the sauce’, yah baby! (Sorry I hear this song on re-play all day at work). If you follow along on Instagram, you know about THE secret sauce. Half of me wants to be selfish and keep this sauce to myself, butttt what fun would that be? None, so of course I’ll share with all of you!

Hope your taste buds are prepared to p-a-r-t-y! I’m not the biggest meat-eater, but even my taste buds were cheering!

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Seared Steak with Green Peppercorn Sauce


4 Filet Minion (or your favorite 8oz cut)
3 garlic cloves minced
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk lactose free
½ Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tbs Hungarian paprika (use 2 Tbs if not using smoked paprika)
4 Tbs Madagascar Green Peppercorns in brine
(use 2 if sensitive to pepper)
1 Tsp white fine ground pepper (can substitute black fine ground pepper)
1 shot / approx. 3 Tbs Sherry (can substitute a mixture 2 Tbs Brandy 1 Tbs red wine)
Course Ground Pepper
2 shallots chopped finely
Kosher Salt

Grind the following in a pestle:

½ Tsp Fennel Seed
½ Tsp Oregano
½ Tsp Rosemary

THE Sauce:

In a skillet sauté onions and 1 clove of minced garlic, do not let burn. Just before garlic browns pour in Heavy cream and milk and sherry. Add green peppercorns, 1 Tbs Hungarian paprika, ½ Tbs course ground pepper, 2 pinches salt. Reduce the sauce to about ½ original size and keep it on VERY low heat to prevent a skin forming while temps true slowly cools and helps prevent from over cooking.

Prepare the Steak: (sauce needs be ready prior to cooking steaks)

In a small bowl place:
2 cloves of minced garlic
½ Tsp smoked paprika
½ Tsp white pepper
2 pinches of Kosher Salt

Now dump in the ground pestle mixture from above and shake/ stir so the spices coat the garlic and set aside.

Now that the garlic is flavored, press the garlic pieces into the steak using your hands, or a tooth pick if there are larger pieces. Don’t be scared to get those fingers a bit messy! Top each side of the steak with a pinch of salt and coarse ground pepper to your taste.

Next, make sure the grill, or cast iron skillet is heated to med-high heat. Place steak on grill for 2 minutes (reduce time if stove temp is too high) Rotate (DO NOT FLIP) steaks 90 degrees for 1 minute.
Then flip the steak and cook for 2 minutes, Repeat and rotate the steaks again 90 degrees, cook for 1 minute. Serve & eat!


Click, Ship & treat yourself!