Saturday, December 13, 2008

Have you missed me?

Haven't blogged updated by blog in some time. Maybe 6 months. Hoping to do so very soon. The kiddies are been keeping me very busy and tired. Baby #2 is almost a full year and Baby #1 is well...not so much baby anymore but a mini human. At some point I will have to change how I reference them here. As for their eating is so odd that they have such differing appetites. So very strange - they are not even 2 years apart and yet baby2 doesn't have an appetite close to what baby1 had.

I know some of my trusty blog readers have come to see me here once in awhile. I thank you all for having visited me while I've been away. Your patronage is most appreciated. Do not fret, I have sporatically been photographing my on-going food experiences.

A few blog entries are sitting in my post log just waiting to be completed and published. I just never got to them. The time just ran out between feedings-cleaning up-diaper changes-feedings-cleaning up-diaper changes-keeeping babies company-well needed relaxation time of just plain vegging.

I may have to rethink my posting formats join in the blogging community again. Short yet simple and still oh so yummy.

(Here is just a small glimpse of the entries I may still come to post.)

Blueberry Custard Tart
From eatingSticks

Soba with Pickerel & Shanghai Bok Choy
From eatingSticks

Mini Banana Muffins
From eatingSticks

Here's to a lovely egg as an ode to a new blogging beginning...(Accompanying posts coming soon.)
From eatingSticks

Monday, June 16, 2008

BBQ Ribs

Our condo complex just installed a couple of barbeques outside.  This is the first time we used it.  I bought the ribs as part of our father's day dinner but it started to rain so I couldn't use the new bbqs.  This rain was a benefit to me, it allowed me to marinate my ribs for even longer.  The next day, I raced out to the bbqs in the afternoon with my hubbie and babies.  More storm clouds were looming overhead again the next day so we had to make it a quick cooking trip downstairs.  The ribs turned out looking great but I found the bbqs produced very little visible flame.  The bbqs are KitchenAid stainless steel.  Nice bbqs but not sure if I like these new fangled things.  It uses gas but the gas is covered up my these metal plates, so it seems the meats are never really exposed to any open flame.  Just the heat.  The ribs looked great but they lacked some of that bbq'd flavour that we were looking for.  I'll be adding my marinade recipe shortly to this post.  Oh yes, I grilled some zucchinis and pineapples.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day Brunch: Four Seasons, Avenue Lounge

Restaurant:  Avenue Lounge, Four Seasons Hotel
Where:  21 Avenue Rd., Toronto, ON  416.964.0411

The day for the other parent, Father's day.  Another breakfast brunch at a different hotel.  I had another idea but I will save that for another year when the babies are older.  It fun and interest of it would be lost on them and us because they are so young.

This day, we went to the Four Seasons, Avenue Lounge.  It was a nice spread but the consensus was, we enjoyed the brunch at Intercontinental Hotel's Azure Restaurant more.  Don't get us wrong, the spread was nice but due to our taste, we thought the selection at Azure was more to our liking.  (Plus, it was more inexpensive.)  A change of scenery was good as well. The thing was, Avenue has a larger anit-pasti selection which we didn't care for as much.  I found the dessert selection wasn't as good either.  The decor was nice but it was much too cramped.  Oh ya, and they threw in 1 golf ball for the fathers.

- mussels, lamb, mini burger, French toast, smoked salmon/bagel -

- orange juice & some tabletop arrangement -

- dessert:  tirimusu, creme brulee, lemon tart, fruit/cake with chocolate, fruit tart -

- cold shrimp -

- view from our table of the bar (elevated section) -

- antipasti bar -

- bowl of shrimp -

- dessert selection -

Macarons - an attempt (not very good one)

I've been seeing these delicately perfectly little French pastries in many places these days.  So, I attempted to produce my own.  No wonder these little discs of perfection can be quite pricey.  As you can see from my results, their appearance does not reflect the description of delicate and perfect.  If you search on the internet for "macaron", you will see its true appearance.  Macarons are supposed be smooth discs, not round bumpy crater like cookies.  I suspect my error is in the coarse results of my ground almonds and the too stiff whipped egg whites.  Nonetheless, our taste buds have no eyes, so it's flavour is just the same.  Although I have not had the pleasure of indulging in a professionally made macaron, I have spied a package of 6 at Thuet Bakery on King St. W.  I couldn't bring myself to shell out >$12 for said item but maybe next time I pass by I just might have to (for research sake). ;)

The recipe is quite basic.  Through my research, I have come up with this recipe.  It's an adaption of a few different recipes.

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup of ground almonds (might have to source of almond powder/flour next time)
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (will use less next time - a little too sweet for my liking)
  • 5 tblspn granulated sugar (will probably reduce this next time)
my ganache recipe:
  • 4 ounces bittersweet/semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 whipping cream
In a mixer, whip egg whites to until peaks are medium (so that when piped, they will be loose enough to disperse on it's own to perfectly round smooth topped discs).  Combine confectioner sugar and ground almonds together.  Mix sugar/almonds with meringue.  Pipe into 1 1/2 inch discs.  Bake at 300F degree for 20 - 25 minutes.

Prepare ganache my combining ingredients in a double boiler.  When melted, set aside to cool.

- sliced almonds -

- almonds in food processor -

- ground almonds -
(see how the ground almonds are not fine enough)

- just out of the oven -

- chocolate ganache spread - 

- assembly line -

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trout & Shanghai Bok Choy

My dream kitchen is one of those that has professional grade appliances.  An exhaust fan that sucks up all cooking odours would be wonderful.  Only recently did I get my hands on a portable electric burner.  Actually my parents say they don't really use it anymore because they have another one that burns propane.  Luckily I have an outlet on my balcony, so I go out there and pan fry my fish.  The vent I have above my stove just doesn't do the job when it comes to fish especially.  It's a microwave/vent combo.

Today, my fish of choice was trout.  It's similar to salmon, it is from the same family of fish.  It too is high in omega 3.  Baby1 used to love salmon but now she doesn't seem so into it. :(  I think she prefers fish that is more white.  Oh well...  I paired the fish with some shanghai bok choy.  Simple & easy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Molten Chocolate Cake

Another one from Martha. This Molten Chocolate Cake recipe it fast and easy and the portion is perfect for us.  It makes two cakes in no time.  If you love chocolate, this just hits the spot.  It's not too rich the size is just right to not over-indulge.

The raspberry sauce I added.  I enjoy my sweets with fruit.  It cuts the balances out the sweetness with a little tart and raspberry flavour marry so well with chocolate.  It's easy to make raspberry sauce.  Just put a 1/2 pint of raspberries in a small sauce pan with some water and sugar.  Bring to a boil and simmer until the raspberries are soft and broken down.  Then pour sauce through a strainer to remove seeds.  As a garnish, I had some blackberries.  The blackberries contrast so well against the red of the sauce.

- simmering raspberry sauce -

- cakes just out of the oven -
(rice bowls were used, I didn't have any ramekins)

- cake unmolded -

- another view of unmolded cake -

- finished presentation -

- mmmm so good -

Purple Dinner

Another quick dinner.  This past weekend when I went to the supermarket I happened onto these purple potatoes.  I've seen them on tv but not at any regular supermarkets.  I don't have the time to search them out from any specialty markets just to have some uniquely beautiful produce on our plates.  I would like to though.  Wow...aren't they Wow.  Look at the colour and the patterns...just adore how they look.  I should make them into chips next time, that would keep the integrity of the visual more than just smashing them.  That's how I served them, smashed.  I cut them in halves and boiled the potatoes.  Then I pressed the palm of my hand on them and roasted them in the oven.  Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  Still loving the purple after they've been squished.

Oh ya.  I roasted some chicken drumsticks while roasting the potatoes and voila, there's dinner.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lee Restarant

Restaurant:  Lee
Where:  603 King St. W., Toronto, ON.  416.504.7867

The grandparents are still here to babysit (one more day).  So, out for another meal.  The meal at One, sucked.  Then there was Colborne Lane but I have to pictured for that because it just wouldn't be appropriate at a business dinner.

The meal at Lee would be what we considered one of the best meals we've had in a long time.  Everything we ordered was good and most of exceeded our expectations.  I would eat here anytime (and all the time if we could).  I was a bit delinquent in my photography duties because I missed a few of our plates; probably because the food was so interesting.  The lighting wasn't the best for food photography.  My side of the table had a spotlight over it.  You'll be able to see that in the pictures.

The service was excellent.  Our waiter was knowledgeable in the food served at Lee.  The selection on the menu was great too.  We ordered the chickpea battered onion thing (pakoras basically), the watermelon salad (delightfully refreshing - ice cold watermelon cubes with balsamic & feta), singapore slaw (it was okay buy not spectacular - was recommended by people hubby knows but it would've been my last choice on the menu), black cod (this was tres excellent) and szechuan pork loin (thought it would be heavy but rather very light - slices of perfectly cooked pork wrapped around crisp julienne celery and apple).

- our lucite table - 

- chickpea battered onions -

- singapore slaw -

Oh, ya.  We ordered dessert too.

- his dessert, a warm banana choc cake with ice cream -

- my dessert, a mango pana cotta -

Sunday, June 08, 2008

One Restaurant: Don't believe the hype.

Restaurant:  One Restaurant
Where:  116 Yorkville Ave, Toronto, ON.  416.961.9600

Given the ratio of price to food satisfaction, I would say that this was the worse meal I have ever had.  For what we shelled out in cash for this meal, the quality of food, workmanship and service was not worth it at all.  Yes, One is what people may consider a swanky restaurant but I would never step foot in it again.  I've had much better meals for a fraction of the price.

If you want to show off your newly purchased painted on dress, too tight t-shirts, designer wares and yourself, then this is the place to go.  If you're there for a good meal for your money, this isn't the place to go.  I too can go out and buy an expensive cut of beef and slap it on my fry pan, cut angled slices with my sharp $20 knife and serve it on a metal platter from Little India to my hubby on our balcony.  I too can serve oysters on the half shell without knowing where they're from along with condiments and a dirty sticky spoon.  I too can fry onion rings in old oil that makes my batter all brown and low temperature oil so that it's dripping with grease, serve it to my hubby and call it tempura onion rings.  The less expensive sushi establishments that dot Queen St. W and this whole city can give a lesson to their kitchen staff on how to fry a light tempura - not day old oil that oozes greases when bitten into.  I too can serve a concoction of juices in a martini glass and tell my guest it's very special without letting know what's in it.

Might I just add, I don't want to go to a restaurant of "supposedly" this calibre and be told by the wait staff that at least 6 items listed is not available.  If such items are difficult to source, just don't include it as a regular item on the menu.  If you happen to have it, then add it as a special insert.

What we ordered:  1/2 dozen oysters, terrine of foie gras, kampachi, 12oz strip steak, tempura onion rings & medley of mushrooms (special of the day - this was to rook you in the buy a more expensive version of the morels that they didn't have).

The olive bread was good though, that was probably outsourced.