My new loves

December is here!

We’ve made it to the final month of 2021. This year flew by too quickly. However your year has been, let’s finish strong and with a BANG!

There’s a lot happening during the month of December. At least for me. However, I often reflect on the year and orchestrate goals for the new year, while living through and experiencing my most favorite time of the year.

Culinary journey thus far…

My pâtisserie course is coming to a close in two weeks. I will have completed two courses by the end of the year. I’ve learned so much in the last five months of culinary school. Applying to Escoffier has made me get out of my comfort zone. I have cooked and baked so many different dishes I never thought of making prior to this program. Things like fresh bread and pasta, sauces/condiments, and purées. Some dishes have been challenging, but it’s been worth the frustration. It’s taught me to have a lot of patience. These culinary skills continues to fuel my passion every week. Furthermore, it’s reminded of why I started this journey. I love to cook! And, sharing my dishes with others is the absolute best!

Highlights this week

This week, I’m highlighting two of my newest favorite sauces and condiments that are simple to make: tomato raisin chutney and mostarda. Chutney originates from India and mostarda derives from Italy. Chutney can be used as a dipping sauce, a glaze, a spread; with cheese, gamey meats, in sandwiches… You name it! Mostarda is served with meats and cheese that make up a beautiful charcuterie board.

These sauces were so fun to make. And oh-so-yummy! I plan to make a variety of chutneys and mostardas, using different dried fruits this holiday season. I can’t wait! It’s going to be phenomenal!


Tomato raisin chutney:

  • 1 lb 4 oz fresh tomatoes
  • 1 oz garlic, chopped
  • ½ oz fresh ginger root, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fl oz red wine vinegar (1st quantity)
  • 3 fl oz red wine vinegar (2nd quantity)
  • 4 oz sugar
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp chopped hot chiles
  • ¾ oz raisins
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Food scale
  • Cutting board
  • Chef knife
  • Paring knife
  • Sauce pot
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Food processor (or blender)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Airtight container


  • 4 oz dried fruit (i.e., raisins, cranberries)
  • ¼ of red onion, minced (or 1 shallot)
  • ¼ c dry white wine
  • ¼ c white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Food scale
  • Sauce pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Food processor or blender (optional)
  • Airtight container

Production steps:

Tomato raisin chutney:

  1. With a paring knife, make an “x” on the bottom of the tomatoes.
  2. Blanch tomatoes in boiling water for 10-20 seconds to loosen skins.
  3. Peel and trim.
  4. Cut tomatoes into quarters.
  5. Combine garlic, ginger, and first quantity of vinegar into a food processor to purée.
  6. Combine tomatoes, purée mixture, second quantity of vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan.
  7. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.
  8. Cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes thick. 
  9. Add the chiles and raisins. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and cool.
  11. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for up to a week.


  1. In a small sauce pot, combine dried fruit, red onion (or shallot), wine, vinegar, and sugar and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and cook until dried fruit is hydrated.
  3. Stir in mustard powder.
  4. Cook, uncovered until mostarda has a jam-like consistency.
  5. If desired, mostarda can be pulsed in a food processor for a smoother texture.
  6. Store in an airtight container, refrigerate for up to a week.

Holiday wishes and tips

Wishing you and yours a jolly holiday season. Remember to enjoy this time of year and not stress out. The holidays can be very busy and hectic with all the hustle and bustle. This weekend, I’ve been reminded to set small, reasonable goals to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Also, to accept what is and do what I can. One of the many things that’s important to me is being able to reminisce and create new memories during this special time.

Be safe, stay well, and take care of one another.


FS x

Three of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Cookies

Happy Monday! It’s day three and I’ll be sharing the third thing that this year has taught and reminded me. Plus, we’ll be talking about some yummy holiday cookies.

3. To keep on persevering, even through the challenging times.

The word, perseverance, has been the central theme of my life these days. It’s not always easy to be tenacious, especially during tough times. We often feel like giving up; throwing in the towel, and just say “forget it.” I know I’ve felt that way many times. But at the end of the day, I keep reminding myself to persist and endure, no matter how hard the fight is. I’m a fighter and I don’t give up! I’m a conqueror!

The new Taylor Swift album, folklore, has been powerful. Her lyrics have a deeper meaning than ever before. One song in particular, “this is me trying,” immediately resonated with me as soon as I heard it. I thought about many people across the globe who are trying their best every single day. I think as long as we’re trying and doing the best we can in life, that shows courage, fortitude, and stamina as an individual.

Ok, let’s talk cookies. Over the last few holidays, I’ve been trying to perfect a butter cookie recipe that my late grand auntie used to make when I was growing up. She didn’t write the recipe down; only the ingredient list that was actually created by my grandfather. It took multiple tries to get the cookies down-packed. I felt like I was doing a science experiment project. Eventually, I was able to make the cookies my own, which was my ultimate goal. Baking is not like cooking. It’s very important that baking recipes are followed to the T. Too much of this or too little of that, will turn your baking dish upside down.

Until tomorrow… Keep persevering.

FS x

Two of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Cornbread

Happy Sunday! We are 12 days away from Christmas Day. The days are flying by! Though, we are celebrating the holidays differently this year, I’ve never been more busier than this holiday season. I’m doing more baking and slowly expanding Foodnista Soul…, just to name a few…

I spent a lot of time this year thinking and reflecting upon myself, my family and friends, my life, my goals, my actions, thoughts, and emotions during our stay-at-home orders. There were many things- good, bad, and ugly, that were revealed to me during these periods of isolation. I think a lot of us can relate and say that we had a lot of time on our hands to sit, reflect, and even dwell in and on our own thoughts way more frequently than usual.

For the next 20 days, I am thrilled to share 20 things the year has taught and reminded me. My hopes in sharing these revelations would be to instill optimism, inspiration, realization, and knowing you’re not alone if you’ve felt like this, too. Plus, let’s talk about one dish each day. Food, for me, has always brought happiness, comfort, and togetherness. Cooking and baking, especially for me, brings joy and happiness. I also love trying new foods in my community, though, it’s been a little challenging to do that this year with a lot of restaurants closing, not fully operating at 100%, and the anxiety of being out in public places amidst the pandemic. 2020 lesson number two is…

2. To believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand why.

I’m sure we’re all wondering why this year turned out the way it did- with all the distressing events that happened and are still happening amongst us. I envisioned 2020 to be a start to a brand new decade, full of clarity, vision, and new beginnings and opportunities. But that wasn’t necessarily the case for many of us. There’s a reason behind why 2020 was the year it was. It doesn’t make sense to the human mind. It’s confusing, frustrating, anxiety-provoking. Nevertheless, I know that there’s a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. The light is coming. Soon.

Life is mysterious and complex. Life is challenging sometimes, and “not always fair.” When good and not-so-good things happen in our lives, we don’t always understand the meanings behind them. At least for me, I sometimes find that to be the case. Over the span of several years, I began to look at life, including mine, differently. I began to instill the notion that everything happens in life for a reason- wonderful things, not-so-great things, and terrible things… We may not always understand why, especially when things turn south. Sometimes we’re meant to learn something from the event. Sometimes it’s meant to show us something that may or may not have an influence in our lives in the future. Whatever those reasons may be, I find it important to keep the faith, no matter what, and to keep moving forward. It wouldn’t do good, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically, to always dwell in the negatives. Something great always arises from disappointments. Another door is opening; another opportunity is coming. A better one.

During the week of Thanksgiving, I was craving cornbread. I wanted to try making cornbread with creamed corn. Well, the recipe I followed, didn’t produce a yummy dish. The cornbread was very dry. It was not very appetizing. I still wanted to satisfy my craving of eating some good cornbread, so I tried again over the Thanksgiving weekend. I found a different recipe and omitted cream corn from the ingredient list. I also added almond flour to the dish. It was the first time I’ve ever used almond flour. I’ve been eyeing it for quite some time. It is a healthier alternative to white flour. Well, this second attempt at baking cornbread was a success (featured image)! It was a lot more moist, and it tasted great with the almond flour. Therefore, I was inspired to now use almond flour in future baking recipes. One of my goals when in the kitchen is about utilizing healthier ingredients in my cooking.

Have a wonderful new week. Until next time.

FS x

Afternoon tea with my girls!

My girlfriends and I had afternoon tea at Vintage Café at Ala Moana last weekend to celebrate the belated holidays. It was such a busy season last year, we couldn’t get together before Christmas or New Years. Ah! So glad we finally got together to have a much needed celebration.

It was a lovely and relaxing afternoon. I absolutely loved it there. I’m always a fan of afternoon tea and love trying different places that offer afternoon tea. I would definitely go back to Vintage Café again- and I will…next month, haha! I love the daintiness of having tea. The dishes are beautiful and the food is so quaint and cute. I also love those tea places where you can dress up with hats and shawls. Super fun!


I ordered the Georgia peach nectar rooibos tea- non-caffeinated. That was amazingly delicious. I loved how it smelt so peachy.  Refreshing! It tasted better with honey.


Yummy finger food!!!! I just love the tray.


Mmm! Could I eat the entire tray? Aww, darn… Only could choose one…


I ordered the Jidori club, which was a chicken sandwich with arugula and eggs. Yummy!


The homemade scone was amazing. It came with sweet cream and mango/ginger jam. Interesting jam flavor, might I add. I did enjoy the sweet cream. The dessert of choice was a banana tart/pie.

Afternoon tea is every day from 12-3pm. They have two prices: $18 and $34- includes champagne.

Vintage Café
Ala Moana Center (next to Bloomingdale’s on the street level)
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, 96814