Not So Healthy Lunch!

2015-04-15_1357_0019  Sometimes I just want comfort food, something simple and yummy. I love warm bread with fresh lemon curd BUT lemons are not easy to get here so my Cambodian twist on it is orange, passion fruit and lime curd. Also the bread really has to be freshly made and not this nasty bought stuff, it is the anticipation when you smell the bread cooking! I had to make do with my gluten free bread but it still tasted nice.


Orange Passion Curd2015-04-15_1328_0010

  • 3/4 c juice
  • 1cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c cooled melted butter
  • 1 TBS zest from oranges or limes
  1. Juice of 1 orange, 2 passion fruit and about 10 limes to make up 3/4 cup juice (make sure you sieve it to remove pulp and seeds)
  2. Whisk the eggs in the juice until they are mixed throughrally
  3. Add sugar, butter and zest and mix
  4. Cook at 1 min intervals on high, stir each time with a metal spoon until the mixture turns thicker and coats the back of a spoon
  5. Put in sterilized jars and put the lids on and allow to cool before eating.


  • 1/2 tsp yeast mixed with 1TBS sugar and 140mls warm water. Mix and leave to begin to bubble
  • Mix in 4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS oil
  • 200 mls water
  1. mix all the ingredients together and knead for about 15 mins until smooth and silky.
  2. Put in a bowl and cover and allow to rise for 45-50mins until double the size
  3. Shape into a loaf and put in a greased pan. Cover and leave about 30-40 mins until double the size.
  4. Cook for 35 mins at 180-200. You will know it is finished if it has a nice golden crust and has a hollow sound when you tap it. Allow to cool for about 20 mins before eating.
  5. Alternatively you can put it in a bread maker and follow the makers instructions.



Easter 2015 Cambodian Style


When I think of Easter I dream of blue skies, daffodils, hot cross buns, roast lamb dinner with friends and family, Easter day services at church, walk in the spring sunshine where you are not quite sure if you need to take a coat and of course Easter egg hunt in the garden. In Cambodia, it is important to do things that are significant in our home culture but  this version of Easter is quite difficult to replicate.

First of all the temperature at the moment is about 37 degrees and sometimes 75% humidity, so we have blue skies but no fresh Spring weather or daffodils.When you move you sweat, so definitely no desire to go for a walk.

Then no one here celebrates Easter so there is nothing in the shops unless you know where to go! Easter Eggs are nearly impossible to find however after trawling Phnom Penh I found some very yummy Easter eggs at The Shop on St 240. I managed to smuggle them in and hide them in the fridge for three days and none of my children found them! We did a chocolate coin hunt round the house and ended with the chocolate eggs which had quickly been removed from the fridge!

At school I did an activity where the students found 12 different items which told the Easter story from Good Friday to Easter Sunday based on the idea of Resurrection Eggs activity. We then repeated this on Sunday with our guests. I like it as it is a very visual way of thinking about different parts of Easter.

Hot cross buns have to be hand made and this year Colin and Lucia got to make them and did a great job. I did not make any gluten free ones yet so maybe I will have a go soon.

I bought some duck eggs and we blew them until all the egg white and yolk was outside then we dyed them with food colouring and vinegar. These were put on the table as decoration with sharpie pens so that our guests could decorate them.

On Easter Sunday while the lamb was roasting I went out for a high tea with some friends from church at Sugar and Spice.

As for family they are too far away so this year we decided to invite anyone from church who would appreciate a roast lamb dinner. There ended up being 23 of us from UK, US, France, Scotland/Korea and Cambodia. We managed to find a NZ leg of Lamb which was delicious from Smokey Dah Boar, mint jelly from Thai Huot. It was a lovely meal with lots of fun people who we love doing life with, so Easter Cambodian style was not much different, except with the very hot weather and minus immediate family.

Pchum Ben

We have just had a week off school as Cambodia celebrates Pchum Ben. I have written about it in a previous post so if you want to know more then read here
The celebrations for Pchum Ben start 16 days before the actual holiday with very early chanting from the monks at the nearby wat (sometimes as early as 4.30 depending on who has arrived at the wat and requires the monk to chant) So this month has been somewhat sleep deprived!
As people are leaving offerings at each wat for their deceased relatives inside and outside the wat will be these piles of food with a cut out of a person or skeleton. Normally I don’t see them but this year I noticed them outside a nearby wat.




As this is one of the holidays where shops could be closed for up to a week, many Cambodians return to their family in the provinces. It is a time where Phnom Penh is super quiet especially on the roads and the roads going out of Phnom Penh can be busy, so we have always stayed at home and just had a quiet week. This year was no exception! After the actual Pchum Ben day on Wednesday the wat fell blissfully silent and a lie in was actually possible!
I finally finished a project I started 6 weeks ago before school started to make a giant family planner for the wall. Giant it is… and also very bright!




We were also able to get away to a local hotel with a nice quiet pool where they let you swim as a day visitor…well it was quiet until we arrived! We were the only people using it and it was a nice break from the house. We then finished off the day out with a meal at Divine Pizza.



One thing I really love about Cambodia is all the people I meet from different countries. I find out so much about their life and culture. Tonight we were invited to a Hangi by the lovely Hasseltine family. There house is right on the river front quite a way out of town. All the children had gathered in their house while the adults were across the road.
I could not go with out my facepaints! So amongst the bunnies and butterflies and tigers I got try out some cool Maori designs. It was so much fun! Katy one of the NZ teachers also joined in doing some of the arm tatoos.

Some non Maori designs just because I liked them…..

A Hangi is a Maori way of cooking. As I am not a Kiwi and would not want to misquote what a hangi is here is wikipedia…..

Hāngi (pronounced [ˈhaːŋi]) is a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven still used for special occasions.
To “lay a hāngi” or “put down a hāngi” involves digging a pit in the ground, heating stones in the pit with a large fire, placing baskets of food on top of the stones, and covering everything with earth for several hours before uncovering (or lifting) the hāngi.
There are many variations and details that can be altered. Hāngi “experts” have developed and improved methods that often, like the stones themselves, have been handed down for generations. Another name sometimes used is umu, for instance the umu tī, used in the South Island to cook Cabbage trees (Cordyline australis).

Removing the earth
Taking off the cloth covering
Lifting the Hangi

So the meat looked like it was wrapped in foil withthe veg piled on top. The meat and veg all cook together very slowly for nearly the whole day. It was absolutely delicious. We had lamb, pork and chicken plus squash, sweet potatoes and potatoes. The meat was so tender it fell off the bone and the veg had a lovely meaty smokey flavour.

Roast Potatoes from Hangi
Phoebe with her friend

I had to take this picture of a VERY happy little girl. She had spent the whole time running around and scrabbling in the dirt. In fact she looked like she had crawled through the hangi pit!

Super Heroes

Our Sports Week is a bit different. It is a week where the school is divided into 3 teams the Red Lions, Blue Dolphins and the Green Eagles. We have a dress-up theme for the day and some team games. It is a way of encouraging group participation and community throughout the school and also a lot of fun. It ends on friday with a sports morning from 7am-12.
Super Heroes Day
Poison Ivy
Dash from the Incredibles
Bubbles from the Powder Puff Girls
The Amazing Mrs. Incredible Jane!
Even Batman needs a cuppa
Twin Day
Unfortunately not I didnt seem to get many pictures on Twin day that came out well. Pity as there were some great costumes!
Class Day
This was where as a class you decided the theme and everyone came dressed as the theme…there were Kings and Queens, Animals, Pirates, Household Items, Professional Athletes, Medical, Sleepover, Nerds, Mad Scientists, Super Cool, Formal Dress and  Khmer Formal. These were our kids classes and my class…..

 My class had fun today attacking a few classes as we were pirates….

Tomorrow is the last dress up day….the theme “Your Dream Job” and has got all of us thinking what will we be?

Explosive Art Lessons…..

JAGS by year 7/8

One of the things I am loving about HOPE school is the opportunity to broaden my teaching expertise. I am a trained primary teacher but when I trained I did Art and Design as my main subject. This was to degree level and so any opportunity to teach art is always a delight to me.
There is something so fun about giving children unusual and unique opportunities to explore materials, ideas, artists and techniques. The new art curriculum called Interact Art is so amazing. We are looking at five modern artists and how they interpret the vehicles in the world around them through art and sculpture.

This week we were looking at an artist called Richard Goodwin who makes these amazing sculptures out of pieces of cars or motorbikes. It looks like the cars/motorbikes are exploding.
The class thought is was so awesome and I really wanted them to have a go but was struggling to come up with something practical and which didn’t stretch the budget!
I had bought these Styrofoam models of cars but I only had two so I photocopied them and we stuck them onto the polystyrene trays you get food in. Then they coloured some bits in and cut out all the little shapes. Then we randomly (but planned random of course) stuck the pieces together with toothpicks.
I was not sure how it was going to work but was so excited about the way their models turned out. The class had really taken the idea on board and produced some wonderfully crazy models…..

I am excited to see how art can promote discussion and deal with ideas and issues that are in the world rather than creating pretty pictures ( which are nice) that don’t really say anything. Art is about what you are passionate about and should reflect something of you in it.

I am interested to see how my other Y7/8 class interpret this artist!