New Years ramble

So it’s been almost 10 months more or less since I’ve last blogged, I am actually too ashamed to even check the exact date of my last blog so I can’t be certain how long it’s been. I’m not even entirely sure what the reason of my stopping was – laziness? motivation? I certainly gave myself enough excuses to not do it – I’m trying to find a new job, I’m too tired (but never too tired to watch endless hours of tv), the lighting in my kitchen is too dark to take pictures, I’m in too much of a rush to take pictures of my cooking process!!!….I’ll do it tomorrow. Basically every excuse one can think of and it boils down to laziness and procrastination, guess I haven’t progressed much five and a half years post graduation…

Funnily enough, starting a food blog was one of my 2015 New Years resolutions and I feel I kicked it off with a bang. I tried very hard to be creative and entertaining but soon that became like a chore to me and I was always trying to keep up. No I didn’t stop eating and cooking throughout this time, trust me, my jelly belly can attest to that. I somehow faltered at the thought/expectation that I had or was expected to write something significant, like a fancy meal or dish. So this self imposed expectation led to procrastination which led to the silence of the blog.

Alright, enough reminiscing and rehashing and reflecting, it is now 2016. What are my blog goals this year without scaring myself away?

  1. I want to just write, my thoughts and opinions and quirks. So to whoever will be reading this, this will become a personal journal of sorts, you’ll just have to read it, TOO BAD.
  2. There are no recipes too easy or small for this blog. If I like it, it’s going in (this will be my own personal reference recipe blog as well).
  3. Cookbooks – I am super guilty of this. I get drawn in by the allure of hard covered, pictured filled books on food. I buy a lot of them. If I go to a restaurant and the chef has a book, I will likely go home with it and place if on my bookshelf. That’s it. It sits there and sometimes I flip through to peer at the pretty pictures and make myself hungry. This year is the year to use them. Not going to go crazy here, but let’s start with a hopefully achievable goal of making a recipe from a cookbook AND blogging about it once every two months.
  4. And four…I think that is all for now. I am tired and therefore it is bedtime. I will ramble on in a future blog that will hopefully feature some food as well.

Night all!

 

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Anatolia’s Gate

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long long while since I’ve blogged, things have been crazy between work and moving and most recently taking out my wisdom teeth. Worry not though, I have been cooking and eating out so I have a large backlog of recipes and restaurants to share.

As mentioned, I recently moved from Burnaby (Edmonds area) to downtown Vancouver. Whilst there are many fabulous restaurants in downtown, there are some gems that I have left behind in Burnaby that I do miss! Today I am going to blog about one of my favourite and most frequented restaurants in burnaby – Anatolia’s Gate.

Anatolia’s Gate is a family run Turkish restaurant. It is a bit of a hole in the wall but with it’s own character. Decorations are in there are sparse but unique with large panorama shots of Turkey and a very cool tea making contraception that I unfortunately failed to take a picture of.

Lavish Bread
Lavish Bread

So further fails, I literally just realised I don’t have any pictures, I mean I’m sure I do, I’ve eaten there at least once or twice a month for the past two years – what have I been doing?? Alas all is not lost, I managed to find one picture, the most important one – lavish bread! They make each order of this bread fresh to order and depending on the size of the meal you’ve ordered, the size of the bread is different!

This bread is amazing! It comes to your table fresh and hot, straight from the oven, slightly crispy and slightly chewy. The bread is topped with a generous drizzle of olive oil/or butter and topped with sesame! The bread is the perfect accompaniment for the mixed plate that comes with a sample of all their cold salads and dips including hummus, baba ganoush, roasted eggplant salad, bean salad, stuffed grape leaves, carrot salad, red cabbage salad and other items! This is a perfect sampler. (And apologies, I do not have a picture of this).

Other items that I frequently order at Anatolia’s are the chicken durum, and any of the kabob dishes. The chicken durum is simply roasted chicken, vegetables and yogurt sauce wrapped in a freshly baked lavish bread. The kabob dishes are served with your choice of meat, rice, and 3 salads. One noteworthy thing to mention is that everything is cooked in a wood burning oven in the front!

If you are ever in the area, do check out Anatolia’s Gate for their lavish bread! It’s so good!

Happy eating! – J

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Spiced maple apple upside down cake

Hi everyone,

Today’s post will be a short but very sweet one. I want to share with you a delicious, comforting, incredibly moist apple maple cake with you. 176

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Have these pictures convinced you that little description is needed for this cake? No? Yes? This cake will sure to be a hit with whoever you choose to share it with! And the best part of it, it’s technically healthy for you; there are apples in it after all. Right? Perfect for breakfast I must say – heated up with a cup of coffee, how could you go wrong?
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182 - Copy Continue reading

Fish en Papillote

Hi everyone,

Mediterranean style fish en papillote
Mediterranean style fish en papillote

Growing up in an Asian family, steamed whole fish was a staple in our diet. I remember going to to the Asian supermarket with my parents and watching the fish swim in the tanks. And lo and behold, one of those swimming fishes would end up on our dinner table. Nowadays, live fish are available in most supermarkets but now living by myself, I realise that I do not have the stomach to cook a whole, recently live fish by myself. Instead, I choose to buy fillets and bake them. Recently I saw a picture of fish en papillote – a mix of steam and baked fish on the internet and was inspired to switch up my norm!

Asian style fish en papilotte
Asian style fish en papilotte

Over the weekend, Chipgirlfoodie and Alicia came over to try out my brand new Anova precision cooker (more to come later)! We decided to sous vide some duck breast, roast vegetable, make spicy Korean rice cakes and make fish en papillote! A lot of food for 3 girls, I know and we managed to polished  it all off save a few carrots….

Anova Precision Cooker
Anova Precision Cooker

To save you all from reading a ridiculously long post, I am only going to focus of the fish en papillote in this post. I was so impressed with the way the fish turned out, I made it again for dinner tonight! Because the fish is wrapped and baked in liquid, the fish comes out incredibly moist and flaky. From start to finish, this recipe will take you no longer than 20 to 30 minutes depending on what you decide to add to the dish. For our little dinner party, we decided to make a Mediterranean style fish and for dinner, I decided to recreate the flavours of my culture with a twist with a brown butter, soy, ginger, garlic, chilli fish.  Continue reading

Simple butter free loaf cake

Hi everyone,

I have a weird fixation with cake. I love cake and frosting, specifically cream cheese frosting but I don’t like all baked goods, like cookies, I’ll eat them if I’m desperate, but won’t go out of my way to eat them. At work recently, I had an intense craving for egg-y, vanilla cake. I also knew that with my unpredictable work schedule, I wouldn’t have time to wait for my butter to soften if I wanted to get to bed a decent hour. Instead, I needed to find a recipe that required no softened butter, so melted butter recipes or coconut oil recipes.017

A couple clicks on google and up popped a “Lemon Pound Cake with Coconut Oil”. Looked simple enough and I had most of the ingredients save the half and half but I had buttermilk, same difference right? So off I went!022

The cake was incredibly moist and dense. I altered a few things based on what I had and what I had energy for but the cake still turned out really well! The only thing I would change is the cooking time and temperature. At 300 degrees F., the cake needed every minute of the suggested 1 hour and 30 minute bake time to fully cook through. Because of the long bake time, the loaf was able to develop and nice crunchy crust that was delicious. The next time I make this though, I will try bake it at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time. Continue reading

Coconut vegetable curry

Hi everyone,

Busy season has come full force. My days have been full of working papers, tie outs, and red pens. It doesn’t leave much time for me to do much else … like grocery shopping, cooking, laundry etc….Luckily, I was able to sneak in a few hours on Sunday to watch the Superbowl with my friends. While the outcome was not exactly what we were rooting for, the company more than made up for it :).

What’s a get together without some great eats with the gang. I was a bit too eager to dig in and neglected to take a picture of all the goodies we were indulging in. I did remember to snap a picture of the nachos that chipgirlfoodie and I made based on seriouseats.com. Seriously, they were joking when they said these were the ultimate nachos, that cheese sauce…I could just drink it.

Gameday nachos!
Gameday nachos!

Of course with any successful get together, there is bound to be a ton of leftovers….including 6 large fully baked russet potatoes… chipgirlfoodie has some serious potato eating to do…sorry inside story. Just a few hours ago, there were 6 wrapped baked potatoes in my fridge. I have now recycled two of them in this vegetable curry I made…four more to go…

Coconut vegetable curry
Coconut vegetable curry

In addition to the said potatoes, I also had a left over vegetable platter to take care of.  What better way than to use up all the leftovers than to bath them in a creamy, spicy coconut curry. This recipe was really simple and since all the vegetables came pre-cut, preparation and clean up was also minimal! I loosely based my recipe on one found on finecooking.com subbing in ingredients that I had and really kicking up the spice level.  Continue reading

Turkey chili with cheddar biscuits

Hi everyone,

I don’t think I have professed my love yet, but I love my cast iron skillet. I picked up my handy heavy duty skillet from Crate and Barrel during Boxing Week and never looked back. I effectively use this pan for everything now. I love that the pan can withstand and handle a high heat point making it easy pan fry and sauté. Because I have flat electric elements on my stove, there is no point of getting a wok because the sides won’t heat up sufficiently. Since the cast iron skillet can withstand a high heat temperature, I just wait until the pan is screaming hot (use an oven mitt) and quickly throw my ingredients and make my stir fries that way.

Orion loves chili and freshly baked goods. There may have been certain instances where I have made banana loaf and before I know it, the whole loaf has been devoured. With the weather steadily dropping (Vancouver’s warm spell has come to an end), I decided to make a lazy one skillet chili dish and top them off with Pillsbury biscuits… wait wait…I mean homemade cheddar biscuits! How hard can it be right? I mean I learned how to make scones in Foods 12….10 years ago…..

The biscuits were surprisingly easy to make and turned out light and flakey! I will definitely be making different variations of these in the future! I used a 10 inch cast iron skillet and it was big enough to make the whole chili in it without any spillage. This one pan recipe was a hit with Orion and Gail and clean up was a breeze – one pan recipe remember? One note of advice: have everything ready to go for the chili, the pan is hot so the food cooks fast. There isn’t much time in between steps to prep the ingredients.  Continue reading