Posts Tagged ‘Food’

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Happy Mother’s Day 2012!

It was Mother’s Day! I love cooking, so I made something special for my mom. Actually, me and 2 of my sisters were the kitchen workers today. I made a salad. So I know my mom likes this shrimp and avocado salad that is served at the restaurant where I went to culinary school. Fine. I’ll make that. Again. At home. For her. 🙂

This is how it turned out:

This was a sample plate I did. I changed the plating a bit… moved the tomatoes face-down on the cucumbers.. and added a full steamed prawn. But it looked something like this.

It was good! If I were to do it again, I’d play around with the plating some more… and I’d make the balsamic reduction thicker (when I tried to spell “Mom” in cursive on my mom’s plate, it gradually expanded until you couldn’t read it…. >.< ). But it turned out pretty good. But the chive oil… oh man… is it ever perdy. Put it in a custard cup in some good light: sexy.

That other thing in the photo is dry whole wheat pasta – another experiment. ^_^

Happy Mother’s Day!


After hurting my shoulder, I had to take a 2 month break from culinary school. Hopefully, I’m fit for the kitchen again, because I go back to school tomorrow. Better start doing more cooking!

Last night, I had company coming that I knew liked dessert. There wasn’t going to be many of us, so I decided to make crème brûlée, a classic French dessert.

Turned out good, but I guess I could have caramelized them a bit more.

Then I had the dilemma of what to do with the egg whites. I’ve seen a few Australian cooking shows recently, and pavlova is something that is always mentioned and held in high regard. So I decided to try it.

I guess it turned out okay. No weeping at the top, but the bottom had a bit of syrup weeping out. I’m thinking it may have been slightly undercooked. It deflated a bit as it was cooling, but that’s normal, apparently.

All pavlova recipes I found on the Internet called for an insane amount of sugar, so I found the most reasonable one and cut it back a bit. Even after cutting the sugar in the recipe, I still found it cloyingly sweet. So for a sauce, I made a tart raspberry and mango coulis. The combination was actually quite good. It should also be served with fresh fruit and some kind of creamy sauce… pastry cream or whipped cream or something. Since we were already having crème brûlé, making a creamy accompaniment wasn’t really appealing to me. Was thinking fried bananas might be nice. Next time.

Back to School with Cheesecake

Recently, I’ve been busy for a variety of reasons. The most significant reason? I’ve gone back to school! 😮

Shocking, I know. But it’s probably not what you expect. Since April 11th, I’ve been going to culinary school in downtown Vancouver. It’s an 11 block program (each block consists of 4 weeks, so… 44 weeks) – I should be done in February 2012. In addition, I just completed a 4-month stage (unpaid internship) at a hotel. I would go there after class (or before class, depending on the class) about 3 times a week. Lots of getting up early, and some getting home late. It can be tough work. I’ve been physically exhausted. Heck, I’m exhausted, right now. And you know what? I love it. There is something really satisfying about cooking. You produce something you can be proud of in relatively short period of time… and the kitchen can be an exhilarating place to be. I’ve always liked a bit of adrenaline in my life and I guess I didn’t find that in an office environment.

Anyway, I haven’t been taking photos at school. And I should be. So today I took some photos. I’m currently in block 7: baking and pastry. Here are some cheesecakes I decorated today. My partner and I had finished pretty much everything, so we had lots of time to play around. 🙂

whipped cream rosettes with orange segments and strawberry. Probably should have left the orange bits off the rosettes, but oh well.

rosettes on top of kiwi slices, with strawberry on top of orange segments.

The cheescakes turned out really well. No burning, no cracks (thanks to a sour cream topping), and quite level and smooth. Clean!

Spent way too much time on this, but had a lot of fun doing it. Marzipan pumpkin and chocolate "Booo" leaning on rosettes, Messy spider is 2 strawberries covered in chocolate with marzipan eyes and chocolate disc legs. All on chocolate webbing.

The cheesecakes go for $18. It’s a good deal considering how much cream cheese is in them… each about 750g? But whoever gets that halloween one will have a bunch of chocolate shrapnel when they attempt to cut it. Hah! 🙂

Mother’s Day Lunch and Knife 4 Life

I made a late lunch for my mom on Mother’s Day.

Yup. There’s that omelet again! My mom wasn’t here when I made it last weekend, so naturally, I had to make it again. 🙂

I stuffed these with a lot of onion and mushroom. Not a bad thing, at all, but it certainly prevented them from being sealed. 🙂

And I think I’ve finally found the right pans. It’s funny, I kept trying to do it on non-stick pans, and low heat. Well, it works much better on buttered steel pans, over high heat. (Bit-a-butter-makes-it-better?) Plus, it’s way quicker! You just have to be careful not to burn it, or overcook it.

Also on the weekend, I got myself a new chef’s knife. I will have this knife for the rest of my life. Using it is an absolute pleasure.


Yes, I’m alive. And I’m well. It’s been a long time since I posted anything…. I have 6 posts categorized as drafts, so it’s not like I’ve completely ignored blogging. ^_^ But wow, it’s been a while. This post will basically be some pictures, since it’s not hard to put together. I took some casual cooking classes, a while back, in November. It was lots of fun, met some great people, and learned quite a bit. My interest in cooking, food, and the kitchen has only increased. But cooking… I’m still just starting.

On Friday night, I had the house to myself and made myself a nice meal: inside round steak on top of spinach, red pepper, asparagus, green beans, carrot, mushroom. Cooked and paired with some cheap pinot noir. 🙂

Still practicing cooking meat. I like medium-rare. As I get more confident, I’ll buy nicer cuts of meat. 🙂 And the great thing about steak? It’s super quick and easy!!

Saturday afternoon, I made a French-style omelette for myself and two homestay students. In hindsight, this was slightly overcooked and the pan I chose was not the best for the job… but at least it wasn’t browned and I know better for next time.

I’ve attempted this elusive French omelette a few times, but I don’t normally put that much effort into the rest of the plate. I had some fresh spinach from the night earlier, and I thought tomatoes and lightly fried zuchini would go well with everything. Sprinkled a bit of olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, grated cheddar and mozzarella….. Inside the omelette was sautéed onion, mushroom, red pepper, garlic, spinach, and melted cheese.

There was certainly a lot of work put into this single dish, but man did I enjoy it. Everything. The preparation, the cooking, and the eating. 🙂

Gourmet couch candy

I’ve really been enjoying these shows: Good Eats, Chef at Home (though I hate the theme music), and Posh Nosh.

Baking Powder Biscuits

Another potluck lunch at the office, and I took another easy way out. But these really are great, and ridiculously simple.

Cheddar Cheese Baking Powder Biscuits!


  • 2 c flour
  • 4 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cream of tartar
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/2 c shortening
  • 2/3 c milk


Sift the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut in the shortening. (Optional: Add grated cheese.) Stir in milk. Knead. Pat out to 1/2″-3/4″ thick. Cut with floured cutter. Bake at 450F (230C) for 10-15 minutes.

Makes 6-16 biscuits, depending on size. (This recipe would probably only make 6 of the large pictured biscuits).

New Digital Camera: Canon PowerShot D10

(photos below)

My beloved Canon IXY (ELPH) digital camera has finally (mostly) died, thanks to me putting it in a bag that had falsely secure liquids. (It got beer on it and now it behaves very strange and lacks some features, such as playback.) Oops. Anyway, I don’t like having to be so careful with my camera; it interferes with my lifestyle. So, a logical choice for my next camera would be… a waterproof camera? 🙂 And since I know I like Canon cameras already, a waterproof Canon would be great! Luckily, Canon released their first waterproof camera, this year.

I’ve had the Canon PowerShot D10 (youtube, dpreview, dpreview group test) for 2 weeks now and taken over 100 photos. The interface and features are a nice refinement over my old Canon camera, but there are a few notable things that irritate me. It’s a little larger and heavier than I would like for a point-and-shoot; most importantly, I can’t put it in my pocket. 🙁 It lacks HD video, which I would love and is common for digital cameras this size and price point. It seems to select a rather high ISO setting, compared to my IXY, when on Auto and in lower-light situations – I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not, but I have to get used to it. And, of course, making a camera waterproof puts some restrictions on the physical interface: no sliders, no knobs or dials… just buttons. But overall, I have tested it indoors and outdoors in different lighting, in the pool, the ocean, and the rain, and it seems to work pretty good. It turns on really quickly, and the battery life is fantastic (it’s just started flashing for the first time, and I’ve taken a lot of video, as well). In addition to being waterproof to 10 metres, it’s shock resistant and cold-resistant, so I will definitely be using it on the mountain, this ski season. It’s certainly not perfect, but I think I’m going to keep it. 🙂

Here are a selection of photos taken with it:

Dinner: Sautéed Salmon

Sauteed Salmon and Asparagus

Eager to use some new kitchenware I bought over the weekend (a post in itself, perhaps), I made dinner last night. Along with the salmon, I stir-fried veggies & rice and attempted a simple white sauce using a white wine reduction. All things considered, it went pretty well. The biggest problem was that the salmon was too dry by the time we ate: I shouldn’t have fully cooked it, because it became a bit overcooked while staying “warm” in the oven waiting for me to finish the rest. I used a single sauté pan because I wanted the flavours of everything in the reduction/sauce – so I should have planned better. I also think I used a bit too much oil. I had never tried making a white sauce or a reduction before, but they turned out quite decent. The red onions used as garnish on top of the salmon were also sautéed in a little white wine, making them sweet. The sauce ended up compensating for the dry salmon. I had a decent lunch today. And it was pretty low carb, too! 😀

I like my new pots. And knives. Cooking’s fun. 🙂

Monthly Expenses?

I try to make all my purchases on credit card. This lets me easily review all my expenses each month, or at any time using online banking. (wooh, technology). So for my last statement, I downloaded it as a spreadsheet, did some grouping, and made a chart. I had to pull in some data from my debit card statement, as well, which wasn’t so accommodating (no CSV download), but I managed.

Monthly expenses: mid-April - mid-May 2009

Monthly expenses: mid-April - mid-May 2009

The three categories at the top with a bold line around them are pretty static and not going to change much in the immediate future: rent, bus, and phone. The three categories at the bottom with grey outlines were exceptional and help make this month a more expensive one: a trip to whistler (all expenses, including eating out, hotel, etc), some clothes (which I don’t buy often), and a new computer. These make up more than half of my month’s expenses. The rest of it is the interesting stuff. Eating out and liquor account for the greatest remaining expenses…. and eating out includes drinking out, whereas liquor is basically for drinking in – so already I could drastically reduce my expenses by drinking in more and drinking out less, right? 😀 (I don’t see drinking out decreasing drastically, any time soon, however….)

Food is miscellaneous groceries I’ve bought, and is very small because I live at home and don’t generally buy groceries. For that same reason, my rent should actually be half of what it is, but I plan on paying at least double, for the time being. I find it funny that coffee (when I buy a coffee and or any muffin or baked good) has its own slice of the pie – but not unexpected. Because I don’t have a car, gas is ridiculously small, but I like to replace what I use when I borrow my mom’s car.

For me, it will be interesting to see what changes next month. 🙂 And who knows, at this rate, that might be the next time I blog! haha. ^_^;;

Oh, and I’ll be going to EAT!Vancouver, this weekend. I might even attend multiple days. I went last year and enjoyed it. It’s a barrage of samples and people trying to sell you stuff… and it’s where I tried and bought my RADA cutlery, which I like quite a bit. Thinking I might get a tomato knife or something. It’s only $12. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, give me a shout. 😉

Tuna Teasers

We have a potluck lunch in the office, tomorrow, so I did something I never do: bake. 😮 I know, I know. Anyway, I decided on these things called Tuna Teasers – I remember enjoying when my mom had made them. Then I looked at the recipe. My god, was it simple! And quick! It’s from a recipe book called Fast and Fantastic, so I guess it holds true, in this case. 🙂 Here’s the recipe:

Tuna Teasers


  • 1 c flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp onion salt (I substituted with onion flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 can flaked tuna fish, drained
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely minced green pepper (I substituted with green onion)


Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Combine first 5 ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add milk and stir until blended. Add last 3 ingredients. Mix well. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 36 small puffs. About 15 medium sized.