Blog Archives

Pho Party

This pho party has been a couple of months in the making.  It started on Facebook when I mentioned I wanted to make pho and needed a good recipe.  Thanh gave me his, and after some discussion about pho on his wall, party planning started.  I *think* it was Jodie who suggested that he cook for us, and the plans sprung into being.

Jodie and I arrived at Thanh’s at the same time last night, and we were both really excited to eat.  The pho was amazing-I really need to keep practicing to improve mine!  After two bowls of pho, we had creme caramel for dessert!


Garnishes: Thai basil, lime, chili peppers, hot sauce, and hoisin sauce.

Creme caramel for dessert!

Thanh’s recipe for pho can be found here.  He used this recipe for the creme caramel.

Thanks for a great dinner, Thanh!  It was a lot of fun!



Breakfast with Jan #1

Being back home is great.  In between all the mad writing, I’ve been eating.  My mom made TONS of food (she’s cooking as I write this) and I managed to snap some pics of her food.  Unfortunately, I never did get to the chestnut cake before my sister dug into it, so I’ll have to get a pic of that next time she makes it.

This morning I went to Jan’s house for breakfast.  I missed our breakfast dates so much!  Today’s menu included scones with whipped cream and jam, baked apple oatmeal, and cafe au lait.  We had a good time catching up, and planning our next breakfast date.

Cafe au lait.

Baked apple oatmeal.

Scones, all ready to be put in the oven.

Light, crisp scones!

Thanks for the wonderful breakfast, Jan!  You never fail to impress me!


I’m back, with banana bread…

I just finished my one and only exam today!  Unfortunately, I still have some papers to finish, but I’m not going to worry about that just yet.  I went back into the kitchen and cooked and baked up a storm.  I made some banana bread as a treat for myself for finishing off the semester, and also to keep a couple of friends sane over the next few days while they study for their next exam.

I’ve been making banana bread for several years, and it’s my mom’s recipe.  She has been making it for as long as I can remember, and it’s one of my favourite things to bake.  Just make sure your bananas are actually ready to be used for baking; I once got very impatient and used bananas that were not quite ripe yet, and the bread did not taste good.  Your bananas should be quite brown and soft, almost on the verge of rotting.   This will ensure your bread is moist and sweet.

Banana Bread 

  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening (I use Crisco vegetable shortening)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (3-4 medium-sized bananas)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but I add them when I have them around.  I think it’s tastier with them.)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, place shortening and sugar together, and work with a spoon until soft.  Add 2 eggs and beat.  Add flour mixture and mix.  Add bananas and walnuts, if using.

Bake in a loaf pan for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I would recommend greasing the pan.  It’s not necessary, but it just makes clean up easier.

Hope everyone is surviving exams!  Good luck for those who are still writing exams or papers!


Annual Thanksgiving Potluck, 2011 Edition

Every year my sister M throws a Thanksgiving potluck.  She’s been doing it for quite some time now; she and Antony started the tradition back when they were in university.  M does the turkey, and Antony does the stuffing (and both are very good at their jobs.)  The party is always great fun, and this year was no exception.  M made a 16 pound turkey (!) with herb butter, and Antony made a beef and lamb meat stuffing.  The spread at the party was very impressive and very tasty-there were vegetables, potatoes, bread, and desserts.  The drink of the night was Kir Royale: champagne with blackcurrant liquor.  It was tasty and pretty!  M also made a plum torte for dessert, and I’m sharing the recipe she used from The New York Times.


Turkey-before & after.

Drink of the night-Kir Royale.

The beautiful turkey-carved and plated by Ian.


Cookies and plum torte (and a caramel apple torte in the background.)

Plum Torte

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 halves pitted purple plums
  • sugar and cinnamon for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream sugar and butter.  Add flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs.  Beat well.  Spoon batter into a springform pan (use an 8, 9, or 10 inch round pan.)  Place the plum halves skin side up on the top.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.  Bake for 40-50 minutes.  Best served warm; serve with plain yogurt or ice cream.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!


Smurf Cakes

Hi folks!!!  It’s been a while.  Summer just flew by and it’s been far too long since I’ve blogged, so it’s time that I get back to it!

About a week ago, Rachel and I got together and decided to bake.  She needed to take some cupcakes to the office, and I was all for helping out.  Apparently, there was some ongoing joke about Smurfs and the movie floating around at her office, so it was decided that we’d bake white cupcakes with blue frosting-aka Smurf Cakes.

It was super easy.  All we did was use a white cake mix and bake some mini cupcakes and regular cupcakes.  Then we took canned frosting, dyed it blue, and frosted.  Topped the minis with some blue decorating gel, and voila, SMURF CAKES!!! They were fun to make and even more fun to eat: turned your tongue blue!

Watch my blog for the next cupcake adventure coming up!