Category Archives: Around the House

Quick Recipe – Dutch Chocolate Pudding

Instant Chocolate Pudding - $1.99

There are days where I just don’t have time to make something good.  But not all good things require a lot of time like this Chocolate Pudding from Trader Joes.  Since we don’t have a TJ in Vancouver, it’s not like you can skip out of the house and pick this up.  It’s something that you may want to get while you head south for some shopping.  The closest TJ to Vancouver is in Bellingham (check website for address and directions). Read the rest of this entry

Healthy Soup – Winter Melon Soup with Pork

A light 'cooling' healthy soup.

Here is a nice, clear soup that is easy to make, cheap, and good for you.  I like making this winter melon soup because a big pot would last my family for a few days.

The main ingredients are pork tenderloin/shank (depends on what you prefer), duck eggs (for saltyness) and winter melon.   Winter melon can help detoxify the body and is normally used in soups, and stews.  Some fancy chinese restaurants serve the soup in the melon (after it’s scooped out) but will require advance notice to order. Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Dinner Part 4 (Final) – Duck on Duck Action

Duck breasts were Patch’s money dish of the night along with a foie gras sidedish.   It was really good but so so fattening.  But then when you’re on a roll with crab brains and foie gras, why stop and think about your health?

I am aware of how ducks are raised and force fed to get them and their liver plumped but I am sorry, I just don’t think about it… and if I do, I end up craving instead.

Duck Breasts with port and Cherry Sauce
Foie Gras Side Dish

Duck Breast Ingredients: Fresh duck breasts (skins on), 1 chopped shallot, handful of pitted cherries, half a can of chicken stock, and port.

Foie Gras Ingredients: foie gras, pitted prunes, port. Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Dinner Part 3 – Shellfish Party Like It’s 1999

Bah. Whatever that means.  So this was the dish that I made.  Patch doesn’t eat shellfish so he picked up some shellfish and the rest was my responsibility.

Shellfish Cooked in Wine

This is an extremely simple dish.  The secret is to get fresh ingredients.  One of my favourite places to get seafood is from The Lobster Man in Granville Island.  It is not too expensive, what you would expect a proper fish store would charge (T&T, Superstore, etc are not fish shops!).

My 2.5lb crab was $25, and mussels and manila clams were $5 per pound.  I got a pound each of mussels and clams.  Read the rest of this entry

Valentine’s Dinner Part 1 – Italian Style Turnip Soup

This is the first part of our epic meal. It also has the least action photos because well, I was helping Patch… but not in terms of cooking. When he’s cooking, all of Little Patch’s duties would be mine while he cooks. That didn’t take long for me to calculate it’s a good trade of my baby sitting service for a gourmet meal. Oh wait, that child is mine too.

Italian Style Turnip Soup
(inspired by Gordon Ramsay’s ‘Cooking for Friends’ recipe)

I love turnips, radishes and beets. Sometimes I get them confused even though eating beets makes my teeth look like Gollums afterwards.

Ingredients: 2 medium turnips (1cm dice), 1 medium onion (1cm dice), pancetta (Gordon calls for bacon), 150g risotto rice, 800ml chicken/veg stock, 5-6 tbsp freshly grated parmesan. This calls for parsley but I don't like parsley so we left that out.

How to pick turnips - choose small turnips with unblemished skin that's dense and heavy for its size. Overgrown turnips may seem easier because you don't have to peel as many turnips but they can be woody tasting.

Add butter and oil in the saucepan. When the butter begins to foam, add the panchetta and stir fry until golden brown.

Stir in the onion, turnips and salt and pepper and cook until the veggies are soft.

Add the rice and oil to the veggies and stir until the rice is toasted. Then pour in the stock to cover and partially cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season to taste. Stir in the parmesan just before serving.

We fed Little Patch some of our risotto. He loves risotto. Now there's more Italian in him than Chinese. He can be the first Chinese-Guido to be cast on Jersey Shores.

It's tasty because of the panchetta, turnips didn't add too much flavour, but this is a nice 'stew'. I wonder if it's supposed to be thick or if the rice expanded while we were finishing up the other dishes. But I would make this hearty soup again.

Valentine’s Dinner Part 2 – Panchetta is the New Bacon
Valentine’s Dinner Part 3 – Shellfish Party
Valentine’s Dinner Part 4 – Duck on Duck Action

Today is ‘What Mo Wants’ Day

Figured out tonight’s menu last night and Patch made a trip to Granville Island this morning to get the ingredients.  I will contribute to the cooking of course!  I will also try to take photos along the way of preparation.

Prepared by Patch:
Italian-style Turnip Soup (Gordon Ramsay)
Soup Au Vin (Anthony Bourdain)
Duck Breasts with Port and Cherry Sauce (Gordon Ramsay)
Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Panchetta (Gordon Ramsay)
Fois Gras (simple preparation)

Prepared by Me:
Dungeness crab, manila clams and mussels in white wine (not really a recipe, it’s just what I want to eat – shellfish in alcohol yeah!)

… and tonight, We Shall Feast (well, for as long as Little Patch allows us to enjoy our time eating)!

Silky Smooth Like Buttah

I absolutely love butter beef so I’ve tried to make my own recently.  Even though I used a wrong cut of meat, it still turned out really well and my tummy didn’t have to pay for it.

Ingredients:  thinly sliced beef (I used round eye because Patch bought it for a roast but he cut out a part for me to experiment this dish with – freeze it so that you can easily cut the beef into thin slices), cilantro, a bulb of garlic (yes, a bulb!), red onion, lemon, lime, fish sauce and butter.

Beef, fish sauce, lemon, red onion, lime (not shown), cilantro and butter.

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The Answer to Living with Mister ButterFingers

Patch’s nickname is Butterfingers.  The last 2 things he broke were the chinese ceramic soup spoons.  Last time I went to restock my cutlery, I bought an extra one just in case he breaks one.  Since he broke a second one of the same collection, that means it’s time for a visit to the warehouse (see what I did there?).

I have 2 requirements when I buy porcelain ware – one is a gloss finish because scraping a metal utensil on unfinished ceramic (think Ikea) sends chills down my spine and the other one is that it can’t have a rough mole on it.  What I mean is that cheap ceremic has this unfinished spot which sticks out, you will definitely find these on cutlery in some chinese restaurants.

China Pottery Trading - 13900 Bridgeport Road, Richmond

I buy my chinese ceramics from China Pottery Trading.  It’s over the Knight bridge west of Ikea on Bridgeport.  Once you arrive and walk in the front doors, there’s no one to greet you, there’s no counter and just a couple of closed doors and a hallway.  Go through the hallway and it will lead you directly to a warehouse where you may see a couple of ppl working on packing boxes or moving pallets.    Just walk in like you know where you are going, even if you don’t.  It’s better to wander than stopping someone for directions because you will only get a weird look!  These guys are warehouse workers or accountants, not sales people. Read the rest of this entry

Quick Recipes – Wine Chicken

Wing Tat Specialty Chicken

My family ordered a box of specialty chickens from Wing Tat poultry.   A box comes with 8 chickens (they are on the small side) and it comes to around $5.50 each.  What a deal, you can’t even find that at a chinese BBQ shop (siu lap poe).  This is including FREE DELIVERY straight to your doorstep (plus tips for the driver).

So I decided to make wine chicken. Read the rest of this entry

The Best Fishy Smelling Balls I Have Ever Tasted

I love fish balls.  Curry fish balls, vinegar fish balls, fish balls in noodle soup broth, you name it, I love it.  Part of this obsession has something to do with the flavours it’s drenched in.  Good curry makes good curry balls.  I don’t really eat plain fish balls on its own because most of the time, it’s just all right.  Until now…

Read the rest of this entry