This past weekend in Hong Kong was a blast. I did a lot of damage on the shopping front AND I got to go to one of my favourite restaurants. Janice and I went to Sai Kung for some Thai food at a restaurant called Sawaddee Thailand. BEST THAI FOOD I’VE EVER HAD (I have yet to make it to Thailand). I’ve been to this restaurant several times now; I’ve been able to visit it each time I’ve come to HK. My favourite dish here is the pork neck. After we ate dinner, we wandered around the shops for a bit (I bought a new hat, thank you for asking,) and then we went to Sweetheart Desserts for some fried ice cream!
Thai papaya salad.
Thai spring rolls.
Pork neck-this is my favourite dish here. The beef skewers are a close second (not pictured in this post).
Fried ice cream. This was really well done, it was crispy on the outside and not greasy at all. Vanilla ice cream on the inside.
I really enjoyed spending Saturday with Janice! Thanks, girl!
I’ve mentioned hot pot before-it’s something I highly enjoy and I have some photos from the last hot pot party that Jen hosted. She really knows how to throw a hot pot party! (Jen, are you reading this? Come back here and throw another one!) It was a small group of people, but she went all out: shrimp, different meats (including my favourite: beef!), assorted veggies, mushrooms, tofu, meatballs, fish balls: it was a feast! I also loved all the little sauce bar she had set up: onions, garlic, peanut sauce, hot sauce, soy sauce-all laid out nicely so we could make our own custom dipping sauce.
Meatballs and crabsticks.
What a fun and delicious night of eating!
Wow, it’s already Thanksgiving weekend! I will be blogging less for several reasons:
1. School is getting heavy and I have a bunch of papers to write. Boo on writing.
2. I’m making an effort to have some semblance of a social life, so I actually have fun things to do in October, including attending the symphony and going to a fancy breakfast (and I will be blogging about that.)
3. I’m currently testing a video game for a friend, and I’m currently addicted to it.
In spite of all that, I will still try to blog now and then. Mostly during class time…multi-tasking, you know…
Anyway, I mentioned in my past post that I bought a giant zucchini at the market. It was great, it only cost me a dollar! The problem was, even after I used about half of it for veggie packets for a dinner party, I still had some left. I needed to use it up and my sister M suggested that I use it to make zucchini fritters. Great idea: anything battered and fried is bound to taste good.
I Googled a recipe and modified it, and ended up with something like this:
- 1 lb zucchini, grated
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 egg
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp baking powder
- grated parmesan cheese
After you grate the zucchini, toss it with a bit of salt (a teaspoon should suffice) and let it sit in a bowl. Squeeze out as much water as you can (I recommend using a cloth for this.) You’d be surprised how much water there is. Mix in the rest of the ingredients to form a batter-the cheese, salt and pepper are to your taste. I suggest using less salt because the cheese is salty. You can always add more at the end once you’re done frying them if you find that there is not enough flavour.
Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and, working in batches, fry up your fritters! I used medium high heat and fried each side for maybe 3 minutes each. Drain them on paper towels. I think next time I would add some green onion or chives to it. Also, I would use more zucchini-I didn’t have one pound, so my fritters were more pancake like. Tasted fine though! I had my fritters with a bit of plain yogurt. You could also dip them in sour cream.
I love going for walks. It’s my way of pretending I do SOME exercise during the school year (and a way for me to avoid writing memos and papers.) I highly enjoy browsing food markets and the local farmer’s market. Lately I’ve been walking to Byward Market. I figure I better enjoy the last few weeks of local fresh produce before the long, cold, barren winter sets in. The only thing is, every time I go, I want to buy everything I see. There are so many good deals at the market, I have to exercise a lot of self-control in order not to overspend. After all, the produce will go bad if I don’t use it up in time. I did snag some good deals on carrots, spinach, and a GIANT zucchini (which will be featured in a future post.) Yummy!
I love the vibrant colours of fresh produce!
Wow, summer is just flying by! I’m having way too much fun. I’m very happy to be home though, as fun as my trip was, there really is no place like home. Seeing all my family and friends is always a good time, and, of course, I’m always just so well fed when I come back for a visit!
This time around, I’ve been spending mornings with Gretchen. She is a fabulous cook (she gets it from her mom), and my breakfasts have been really something. I went to her place on Friday and she fed me a delicious gourmet breakfast (no, it was not all made that morning, some of it was leftover from the dinner her mom cooked the night before.) I had a salad with homemade dressing, gourmet mac and cheese, French onion soup, roast lamb, apple and cheese puff pastry, coffee, and leche flan. DELICIOUS!!! We chatted for a few hours while I ate my way through all that food. And after that breakfast I didn’t need to eat lunch!
I got to leave with some mac and cheese, and her recipe!
Gourmet Mac and Cheese
*recipe adapted from The Best of the Best in the Best of Bridge Series
- 2 1/2 cups shell pasta
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 cups any semi-firm to firm cheese, grated
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 1/3 cups cottage cheese
- 1 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs or panko
- handful of potato chips, crushed (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- paprika to taste
Cook and drain pasta. Melt butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Stir in flour, and mix well. Add milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add salt, sugar and cheese. Mix well. Mix sour cream, cottage cheese, and paprika into sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour pasta into the sauce pan, mix thoroughly with the sauce, and then place in a casserole dish. At this point, you can serve it, bake it, or freeze it for later.
If you’re baking it, you can sprinkle it with the bread crumbs or the panko, then bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes.
If you’re freezing it, then don’t add the bread crumbs or the panko right away. Instead, store in individual Tupperware containers. Thaw in the microwave for 3-4 minutes, pop it into a ovenproof bowl, and then sprinkle with the bread crumbs or panko. Broil for about five minutes, until the crust is crunchy and golden brown. Note that for the crust, Gretchen used a combination of panko crumbs and crushed salt and pepper thick-cut Kettle Chips for extra crunch.
Also a note about cheese: The quality of mac and cheese depends on the quality of the cheese. You can use a combination of whatever you have on hand. However, higher quality cheeses obviously means it’s more expensive. If you don’t indulge in gourmet cheeses, use a large amount of ordinary cheddar or mozza and then spice it up with small amounts of higher-end cheese.
This recipe was so delicious, I can’t wait to have more sometime!
As mentioned previously, I was (and still am) really excited about my new cookbook. Laura and I promptly flipped through it and found a few things to try. One of them is a favourite of her’s, penne carbonara. Super tasty and easy to make.
- 1 lb penne (we used one bag, no idea how much was in it)
- 10 slices of bacon
- 5 egg yolks
- 7 tablespoons heavy cream
- 4 1/2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and pepper
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until done to your liking (I like mine al dente). In the meantime, fry up the bacon until nice and crispy-drain on paper towels. Mix the yolks, half the cheese, and the cream together (this is the sauce.) Once the pasta is done, drain it and immediately add your sauce to the pasta and stir well-the residual heat will cook up your sauce. Add in the bacon and serve. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
To go with our delicious pasta, we tried a drink from the cookbook, and then made another version based on the original.
- 5 oz fresh ginger, grated (I just eyed it and used a decent sized knob since I like ginger)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2-3 lemons
- 4 cups soda water or sparkling mineral water
- fresh mint
Zest the lemons. Mix the ginger, zest, and brown sugar in the bottom of a pitcher. Add the juice from the lemons and then pour in the water. Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow flavours to blend. Taste it and add more sugar or lemon juice as needed. You can adjust the amount of zest to your taste: I love lemons so we used a lot of zest, but you can start with the zest from one lemon and go from there. You can strain out the ginger and zest before serving. Garnish with the mint.
Grapefruit and Raspberry Punch
- 2 grapefruits
- handful of raspberries
- 4 cups of soda water or sparkling mineral water
- fresh mint
Zest the grapefruit. Mix the zest and raspberries in the bottom of a pitcher. Add the water. Add sugar to taste if necessary. Garnish with mint when serving.
A note about the grapefruit: we picked it from Adam’s mom’s backyard!!! That was so awesome, there is NOTHING like picking fresh fruit. Especially when it’s January. It was so delicious, and we didn’t even need to add sugar to our punch! I also devoured a few of those grapefruit before I left. Our evening of cooking was a big success!
While in Phoenix, Laura took us to a MASSIVE secondhand bookstore. MASSIVE. It’s called Bookmans, and I was in awe. I honestly wanted to buy out the store (Pat tried, she left with a pretty big bundle of books). I headed straight to the Cooking/Baking section to look for some good cookbooks, and I found a couple that I liked (and refrained from purchasing even more than the 2). One of them was Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days with the Naked Chef. I love the style of his cookbooks: beautiful pictures, simple recipes, and directions that are written like he’s standing there chatting with you. Plus, the British slang makes it more interesting to read.
I also picked up The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is an insanely addictive book. But I digress. Back to cooking…
So I had a weekend left in Phoenix, Pat had left, and I had some new cookbooks. 2 foodies, new cookbook, and several things we wanted to try. So let’s start with the breakfast burritos.
- one onion
- one cactus leaf
- couple sausages of your choice
- tortillas (3-4)
- one red pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated cheddar cheese
First, you have to remove the spikes from the cactus. Take a sponge with one of the tougher scrub sides and just rub the spikes off with it under water. And then trim the edge of the cactus off.
Dice up the cactus, onion, and pepper. Saute the veggies in some oil and set aside. Fry up the sausage (break it up into bits) and bacon. Assemble your burritos with the veggies, sausage, bacon, and cheese. Eat up!
I’m so lucky that I get to do a fair amount of travelling. Of course, when I travel, I like to try the local cuisine. I, along with my travel buddy Pat, recently visited Laura and Adam in Phoenix. It was nice to escape the cold and be in a place that had no snow. We did some hiking in the Grand Canyon (all the way down and all the way up!!! 14 hours total!), hiking in Sedona, and some shopping (where I was tempted to buy out the entire Banana Republic store). And eating-always eating lots!
We ate at a fabulous Mexican restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory (Big Bang Theory Fan here), and a couple fun frozen yogurt places, Yogurberry and Mojo Yogurt. For the uninitiated, there are a bunch of different flavours of yogurt that you can mix and match and then add a variety of toppings, including candies, granola, dried fruit, and different syrups. Then you are charged by weight. It was very yummy and fun!
We also hit up something called Food Truck Fridays. The idea originated in LA (I would go to LA just to attend this). Various food trucks gather downtown at lunch, and you can pick and choose what you like from the offerings. There were taco trucks, sandwich trucks, fish and chips, hot dogs, and even a crème brûlée truck!!! I had a grilled cheese sandwich with pasta salad and lemonade; it was so fun to wander and look at all the food choices.
After lunch, Laura took us to The Ranch Market. For those who are familiar with the T & T chain, it’s a similar concept, but for Mexican food!!! I have never had so much fun at a grocery store before, my head was spinning from all the neat stuff available. I was introduced to a drink called horchata, which tastes like milk that had Cinnamon Toast Crunch soaking in it-it was really good. I think I’ll attempt to make some later on. But by far the most fun thing we found at the market were cactus leaves. It was the perfect ingredient to experiment with.
What did we end up making? Breakfast burritos!!! Check out my next post for some of the fun things we ended up cooking over a weekend.
It’s a little late (ok, a LOT late), but I was browsing my photos and found some lovely photos of the turkey my sister made for Thanksgiving. She roasted the turkey with some herbs and butter and it was DELICIOUS. Then I got to take the carcass the next day to make turkey congee.
She also prepared an appetizer spread which included homemade cranberry sauce.
The combination of brie and cranberry sauce on the baguette was so tasty. And the cranberry sauce was so easy to make-no one should be using the canned stuff! EVER!
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar (I would start with less and add more as needed)
- some red wine
- orange zest
- one bag of cranberries
Bring wine and water to a boil, and add the cranberries and zest. Add half the sugar. Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer and let the cranberries pop. Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
I suppose now that it’s so close to Christmas, you can just take this recipe and make it for your Christmas dinner!
It’s been a rough few weeks, but my exams are over and I can catch up with blogging. And over the next few weeks there shall be blog posts galore related to many holiday parties and antics. So here’s a post to get me started.
Several weeks back my friend Jon made lamb meatballs. No idea what was in them aside from lamb, but they were awesome. They were slightly spicy and served with rice and chickpeas.
Don’t they look delicious? Thanks Jon!