RSSArchive for August, 2006

Asam Fish

Wai Bing brought me this Assam Fish paste from Malaysia recently when she and her family landed in Vancouver early this month. Assam is better known as tamarind and is a popular spice used in Asian and Latin American cuisines. It is also the same stuff used to make Worcestershire sauce and HP sauce.

We love assam fish with lady fingers. The sour and spicy gravy is best eaten with steam rice.

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Ingredients

  • 1 packet of asam fish paste
  • 1/4 lb lady fingers
  • 1 tomato if desired
  • 1 lb fish fillet, I used salmon.

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Simple Stone Fruit Tart

I found this simple recipe from a newspaper and it’s a perfect dessert to enjoy the sweet taste of summer. You may use any stone fruit for this recipe like plums, cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, etc. All these stone fruits are high in fiber and rich in vitamins A and C and low in calories.

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The Simple Fruit Tart is best served warm with ice-cream as a topping. The pastry is flaky and the taste is a mix of sourness (depending on the fruit) and sweetness. I think you will like this.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 cups pitted and sliced stone fruit (you may mix the fruit)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • turbinado sugar, such as sugar in the raw (optional)

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Blackberry Shrubs

There is a bumper crop of blackberries this year in Vancouver. This has been brought about by lots of rain in June followed by hot, dry weather after, creating ideal condition.

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Blackberry shrubs are found all over the lower mainland — roadsides, fence lines, stream banks, railway tracks — and they grow just about anywhere.

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I bike to work on most days in summer. Along the bike route there are also a lot of blackberry shrubs. These shrubs I find along the route are largely untouched because unless you are on the route you will not know they are there.

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There are two spots that I find a lot of unpicked blackberry shrubs. The first is the Kent Bike Route near Ontario St in Vancouver. The shrubs is parallel to the railway tracks. If you walk over to the side on the railway, you get even more blackberries.

The other secret spot is the shrubs under the Oak St Bridge in Richmond (see picture below). If you bike between Richmond and Vancouver across the Oak St Bridge, you will see the untouched shrubs.

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If you drive, you can turn off Hwy 99 north bound just before getting on the bridge. Drive round under the bridge and you’ll see them shrubs. (Polly, you should check this out on this Google Map. Amanda and Anna would love this)

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The blackberries are at various stages of ripening. The pictures here were taken about 4 days ago. I think by now there are even more ripe ones.

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One thing though, the blackberry shrubs are very hardy plants and have very sharp spines. If you really want to pick a lot of them, you bring something to cut the long stems and wear gloves so that you don’t get cut by the sharp thorns. You just need to cut away a few stems and you’ll be able to get to the better ones in the middle of the shrub.

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Duffin’s Donuts on Main St.

This restaurant had closed, updated on 11th Oct 2008

I can’t really describe this place. Duffin’s Donuts had been an icon in Vancouver Eastside for a long time. Driving past a Duffin’s Donuts, one gets the impression that it’s a shop selling donuts only but when you get into the store, you’ll find that it’s definitely much much more than just donuts.

Duffin’s is actually a Cambodian family owned joint, originally located on Main and 33rd. They are famous for their homemade fresh donuts and Vietnamese subs. But then they also serve all kinds of food from Mexican Tortas, bubble tea, fried chicken, Chinese rice and noodles, — the selection is amazing.

We went to the Duffin’s Donuts on 41st and Main.

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Arkensen ordered a double cheese burger for $4.79. The burger looks juicy. I like the buns in that it’s does not look dry at all.

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Suanne ordered Machaca sandwich for $3.50. The hot sandwich is made up of shredded beef, lettuce, tomato, slice onion, pickled pepper, avocado on a crusty roll — tasty and filing.

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Nanzaro ordered fried rice noodle with honey pork and chicken. They were just ho-hum but I guess Nanzaro just wanted some dry noodles and did not care much about what sides it came with.

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For me, I ordered a seafood chowmien which is loaded with prawn, squid, pollock, fish, sweet pea and carrot. The seafood portion were surprising large considering that it costs about $8.

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We also ordered a coffee mocha with pearl to share.

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It’s not in any sense elegant dining but for us, this place sure beats McDonalds for a fast, and cheap meal.

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PNE

It has been a ritual for Vancouverites to attend the PNE every summer. The crowds at the PNE is at times unbearable. So, I took a day off work during the week to bring the boys when the crowds are much thinner. During the weekend, it’s quite impossible to get from attraction to another.

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The PNE (Pacific National Exhibition) is normally held the last two weeks just before school reopens. It is because if this timing that Vancouverites had considered the PNE to be the final event of summer.

The exhibition has been held in Hastings Park since it first took place in 1910. The biggest attractions of the two-week fair are its numerous shops, stalls, performances, a nightly fireworks show, and the PNE Prize Home.

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We love the Wiggle Chips at the PNE, having first tried it in Revelstoke. A bag costs $3 or for $5 you get two bags of freshly sliced and fried potatoes. It’s served hot straight out of the fryer — yummy!

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The sign on the stall reads “We slice’em, You spice’em”. There’s a table full of all kinds of seasonings to spice up your potatoes. We tried almost everyone of the spices!

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Family owned & operated since the 1920?s, Jimmy?s Lunch serves the famous hamburgers loaded with fried onions. Hot Dogs, fish & chips and french fries are among other traditional favourites at
the PNE.

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They fry their onions in the front of the stall where they take your orders. Just looking at them and the smell itself will pull you to have a closer look. I like the huge pile of onions.

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We ordered the two-piece fish and chips just because of the size of the fish. Reminded me of the fish and chips I had in London once.

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We cannot remember exactly how much it costs — seems like about $9.

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We had also the funnel cake below for $5.

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For more pictures around the PNE, click the link below.

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Banana Blueberry Muffin

This Banana-Blueberry Muffin is a recipe from Betty Crocker. Banana and blueberries blend well together with the sweetness from the banana and tartness from the blueberries.

I got this recipe from the web in my early days of learning how to cooking six years ago. Since then, it’s been a classic in my family every blueberry season.

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Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mashed very ripe banana (1 medium)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed and well drained) blueberries.

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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U-Pick Blueberries

Updated on 29th July 2012

Click here for a list of organic blueberry farms in BC.

Updated on 8 August 2009

This year’s blueberries price is right for comsuners as supply outstrips demand.  The following are blueberry farm sales extracted from the Richmond Review and other source:

Farm Address Phone Notes
Bakshi BlueberryFarm 9431 No. 6 Rd. 604-275-9163 gate sales and U-Pick
Blueberry Lane 7000 No. 5 Rd. 604-273-6871 gate sales
Fishers Blueberry Farm 9311 No. 6 Rd. 604-916-6401 gate sales
DFG Organic Blueberries 11071 Blundell Rd. 604-273-5829 Open weekends for U-Pick only
No. 5 Blueberry Farm 7040 No. 5 Rd 604-303-8733 gate sales and U-Pick
KNN Blueberry Farms 11590 Granville Ave. 604-781-9993 gate sales and U-Pick
Birak Berry Farms 6311 No. 5 Rd., 3600 No. 6 Rd., 9111 No. 6 Rd. 604-328-9269 gate sales and U-Pick
Birak Berry Farms No. 4 Rd & Francis gate sales and U-Pick
Canwest Farms Ltd Blundell and Sidaway (look for red barn) 604-244-0488 gate sales
Sandhu’s Farm (Cal-San Berries) 12791 Blundell Rd. 604-715-6644 gate sales
Driediger Farms 7361 240 Street, Langley 604-888-1685 U-Pick

Polly invited us to the U-Pick Blueberries last weekend. We have never been to pick blueberries before and never knew where the U-Picks were; even though there are a lot of blueberry farms all over Richmond.

Polly found one on 11071 Blundell Rd. Coincidentally the owner of the farm were from Malaysia too. We found it spooky when another customer in the farm on that day were also from Malaysia. You can always spot a Malaysian accent with their unique version of English — I call it Manglish!

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This farm does not sell blueberries at all because he apparently had a lot of orders. He told us that he had already orders for batches of 50lbs or 100lbs that he can hardly fulfill!

Blueberries are native to North America and Eastern Asia. They grow on shrubs as high as 8 ft tall. The blueberry season typically runs from May to October every year.

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The fruit are pale-greenish at first, then turns redish-purple before ripening and turning blue or dark purple.

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The blueberries in this farm are organic. The organic blueberries costs … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Sesame Twist

Sesame Twist is a simple quick bread which is simple to make without having to wait for rising time. It is good for after school snack.

I would recommend the Sesame Twist to be enjoyed with a bowl of soup or a simple mayo dip. This is because it is quite dense and a bit dry to eat on it’s own.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 2 large eggs, each in a separate bowl, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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