well... i should known not to buy chinese pastries from HBC

It's been a rather blah morning - nothing horrendously horrible, but nothing particularly exciting either. Somehow I ended up at the Bay food counter on my daily lunch quest. Food is cheap, it's decent, and I was in the neighbourhood anyway. AND... they carry Dufflet's pastries... which is really cool when you're craving a decent sweet snack that isn't a chocolate bar from the corner convenience store.

Imagine my surprise as I perused today's offering and saw... OMG... CHINESE BUNS! The ULTIMATE lunch food of my childhood (or cold, lumpy mac and cheese). So I had to buy one. BBQ pork the sign said.

One bite in and alas, I should have known better than to buy chinese buns from HBC. T'was not BBQ pork to be had... but rather, some type of curried meat... could be chicken, could be pork. All taste same.

it ain't pretty...

This is my New Year fish. I have no idea what it is called in English. In Chinese, it is called "lang yu" and I only get to have it once a year - at Chinese New Year. I believe it's imported from China, but since I have no idea what it's called, I can't Google anything about it. My grandmother makes it every year on New Year's eve, but we have to wait until the New Year to eat it - old superstition about how abundance (Chinese word sounds like the word for fish) in the old year will lead into abundance in the new year.

It's an extremely boney little sucker. The bones are extremely sharp and are forked, so swallowing one could be really uncomfortable. It takes a lot of patience (and a lot of silence) to eat one of these properly. Pan fried with just a bit of light soy... yum... my fav.

what do you get when you take two of my favourite things and put them together???


Step one:

Freeze the creme eggs.

Step two:

Chop up the creme eggs. Lick fingers.

Step three:

Mix up batch of your favourite chocolate chip cookies. Stick on a piece of frozen creme egg. Bake until done.

Step four:

Enjoy with a big glass of milk.

After thought... sweet... super sweet cookie. The sticky fondant melted and formed a nice crusty layer on some of the cookies. But the effect was inconsistent (but still tasty). The Cadbury milk chocolate never melted as I thought it would, so some of the creme egg filling was left behind and hardened nicely.

Not sure if I would repeat this recipe, but I did have to "taste test" a whole bunch of them to decide whether or not I liked the cookies. ;)

cooking for one can be fun...

As much as I love to cook, cooking for one is a really big pain in the ass. There are always leftovers to contend with and sometimes freezing said leftovers isn't a viable option. (I refer you to the infamous freezer incident of 2006.)

My self-restraint at portion control is nonexistant and because I tend to want to use up all my ingredients (i.e. say the WHOLE bulb of fennel instead of HALF the bulb of fennel), I tend to make much, much more than the recipe promises. I have authority issues. Following directions is extremely difficult for me. And I pay for it by having to eat the same thing day after day for about a week. Not an ideal situation in my world.

Last week, I took advantage of having the kitchen to myself (FINALLY!!) and cooked up a storm - mushroom strudel, homemade red wine vinaigrette, bouillabaisse with fresh, crispy (store-bought) baguettes. My friends and I went to town, gorged ourselves silly and in the end, there was still had a ton of leftovers. But the leftovers were so good the next day... and the day after... and the day after that.

bouillabaisse schmassion style


1 small bulb of fennel - diced (reserve fronds)
1 - 1.5 cup chopped onions
couple of cloves minced garlic
1 - 1.5 cups peeled and chopped tomatoes
1 lb or so of small white potatoes - cubed 1"
2 - 3lbs of seafood (cubed salmon, mussels, clams, scallops, etc.)
0.5 cups white wine
stock (chicken or fish or both)
a few good splashes of gin/annisette etc
salt & pepper to taste
2 sprigs of thyme
hot chili pepper (optional)


Heat up some oil in a large pot. Throw in garlic, onions, fennel and cook until soft. Deglaze with the white wine. Add tomatoes, cook some more. Splash in some gin/annisette etc, cook a couple of minutes and throw in potatoes, fennel fronds, stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender. Throw in thyme and the whole chili pepper (optional, for spicier, cut open and throw in deseeded pepper... pepper seeds can be nasty).

Here's where you have options.

If you don't have perpetually late friends (unlike me), gently slide your seafood into the soup. I kid. Just throw it in according to size and required cooking time. Simmer until seafood is done, remove thyme and chili pepper, season and serve.

If you have perpetually late friends, simmer the soup until they get there. Bitch about it when they get there, and maybe drink the rest of the bottle of white wine while you wait. Depending on how late your friends are, you might want to pour in more stock or wine if your soup base has simmered away. Bring to a boil, throw in seafood as above.

Feeds a party of 6 with 4 days of leftovers for 1.

And for dessert on Day 4 of leftovers... swirly choco chip cookies... YUM!

smushy mushies... on ice...

For as long as I can remember, my sister has loved mochi balls. Maybe it's a soft texture thing, because she also loves mashed potatoes, baby beef rice, chicken and cream of corn on rice and a whole bunch of things she doesn't really have to chew...

The first time that she had mochi ice cream (have I ever mentioned before that ice cream is a breakfast food in this house?), she went positively ape$hit. No one was allowed to touch any of the mochi ice cream that was in the freezer. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but that was the extent of her love for the cold little treat.

So when I saw the recipe in the Nobu cookbook, I knew it was a must try. I went to J-town, bought some mochi flour (which is really hard considering that A) I don't read Japanese, and B) I didn't realize that mochi flour and rice flour were the same thing) and set out to make this seemingly easy dish.

Yeah right.

Nobu's recipe has a wee misprint, methinks. It calls for 30 sec of microwaving the mochi, sugar, water mix and then vigorous "beating" of the paste with a wooden spoon, upon which the paste was supposed to get thick and elastic-y. Repeat 3x. Well, I microwaved for the requisite 30 seconds, beat the liquid (with the consistency of very, very thin white glue) vigorously for neigh on 10 minutes, and NOTHING HAPPENED. Repeat 5 x.

It wasn't until I googled mochi ice cream that I found out that the microwaving is supposed to cook the mochi flour, sugar, water mixture, so that it really DOES become thick and elastic-y... and instead of microwaving for 30 sec like the book says, I was actually supposed to microwave it for at least 1.5 minutes.

Big difference.

Once I found out, I was no longer splashing around in sweet flour water. I actually had a super sticky dough that I could kinda work with (with the help of A LOT of cornstarch).

At the end of the night, I was covered from head to toe with mochi remnants, but I also had some amateurishly shaped yet pretty darn tasty mochi ice cream. I don't claim the recipe to be a complete success, but it's a start and I'll definitely try it again the next time Sista comes home for a visit.