RSSArchive for October, 2008

Tour to Westham Island Herb Farm in Delta

Arzeena organized a field trip to the Westham Island Herb Farm in Delta for the Greenhouse Social Club which is part of the Richmond Fruit Tree program. The tour is to visit the facilities and get a tour of the farm.

This farm was established since 1916. This is a family owned farm. The farm is easily access from the main road and clients from Vancouver and Burnaby do come to the farm for vegetables.

Sharon is the third generation owner of the farm. She is our tour guide for this field trip.

Our first stop is the barn. Sharon told us that the farm started with some dairy cows but had switched to beef cattle now. Sharon’s dad is more on the commercialization of the farm while Sharon concentrate more on promoting the farm through farm tour. Majority of the tours are from school groups.

The farm also produces hays for their own cattle consumption.

After the barn tour, Sharon brought us to their Janet’s Henhouse. The Henhouse has about eight to ten or so hen and a rooster. Sharon feeds them with all sorts of produce from the farm. The eggs for mainly for own consumption.

After the tour to all the animals, Sharon brought us to a huge barn. We were astonished by the mountain of potatoes in the barn when the door was opened. These potatoes are called white potatoes. They are primarily supply to restaurants only. You can’t find these potatoes in the grocery stores. The reason is these potatoes are susceptible to light and have to be stored in a dark, cool and airy place. Once these potatoes are exposed to light, they will turn green and become toxic. These potatoes are great for mash potatoes.

We were brought to the farm as the last item of the tour. Unfortunately, at this time of the year, there is nothing much in the farm for us to see. Sharon showed us the area of the farm which is planted with strawberries, blueberries, potatoes, peas, garlic, etc in spring and summer.

The farm employs integrated pest management which uses minimum spraying and the spraying is mainly on the rim of the farm. Early detection is the best way to deal with pest.

Sharon explained to us that the soil in this area is very heavy and it’s only good for root vegetables. There are plenty are pumpkins, squashes and gourds in the market of the farm for sale. The farm also has a pumpkin patch for school tours.

I particularly like this decor for Halloween. It’s very creative and family oriented. There are lots of pumpkin carved for the Halloween all around the market area of the farm. Click on Read More to see more photos from the farm.

Ben and I would like to wish all chowtimes reader a happy Halloween and have a safe trick-or-treating night.

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Tapioca Pearl Tart

Heidi made a Tapioca Pearl (Sago) Tart for dessert. The Tapioca Pearl Tart is best eaten cold as the tapioca will be more chewy when chilled.

The translucent tapioca looks like little pearls, very delicate and soft but it has a chewy texture unlike it’s look.

The salted egg yolk and sweet yellow mung bean paste filing complements one another well.

Ingredients

Sago Layer:

  • 400g tapioca pearl (soak in 6 cups of cold water for 6 hours, drain)
  • 50g coconut cream powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon wheat starch
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Filings:

  • 1 cup yellow mung beans
  • 2 oz butter
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 salted egg yolk (cut into quarters)

Click on Read More for the instructions.

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Thai Flavour Pork Cheek Salad

Heidi shared two recipes in the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen. Heidi made a salad and a dessert. It is always a pleasure to have Heidi demonstrates in the kitchen as her recipes are always very original.

The Pork Cheek came out very tasty and tender. Heidi used Mirin, a Japanese sweet cooking seasoning to marinate the pork cheek which gives the sweetness to the pork. The Thai flavour dressing gives a kick to the salad. The sour and spicy dressing certainly brings up ones appetite.

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces of pork cheek

Marinate

  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot and garlic each
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce (good quality)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, shallot and Thai chili each

Heidi emphasized on using a good quality fish sauce for the dressing as it makes a big difference in taste. Cheap fish sauce usually has too much salt in it and does not taste good. Fish sauce is usually used in small amount and a good quality bottle just cost from $7 to $10. A bottle goes a long way.

Click on Read More for the instructions.

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Shat Kek Ma

A dear friend brought this back from Malaysia for my family. It’s a popular snack food in Malaysia. The snack is called Shat Kek Ma. To me, goodies from Malaysia which I cant find in Vancouver are precious commodities. I am so thankful to friends who made their trip to Malaysia and come back with such priceless gifts.

Shat Kek Ma is a sweet snack made from flour, wheat molasses, sugar, cooking oil and eggs. You can find other brand of Shat Ket Ma in Chinese groceries like T&T but they are not as good as this particular brand from Malaysia.

This Shat Kek Ma is manufactured by a famous restaurant in the state of Perak in Malaysia called Pun Chun Restaurant. Actually, Pun Chun Restaurant got it’s fame from another product called Chicken Biscuits, a crispy chicken flavour biscuits made with pork lard, wheat flour, vegetable oil, eggs, nam yue, sesame seeds and sugar. Chicken Biscuits get its distinctive flavour from nam yue and sesame seeds.

The package has four pieces of Shat Kek Ma and cost about CAD 1.40. Do you have a favourite brand of Shat Kek Ma that you can find in Vancouver?

I know, Shat Kek Ma is not a very healthy snack but having it once in a blue moon should be ok.

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Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup

The soup which the seniors made in the South Arm Community Kitchen is called Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup. Soup is just great for the colder fall weather. Moreover, most soup can be frozen in small batches for up to 2 months. Reheat the soup on the stove gently and you can have a bowl of hearty soup anytime.

October is the harvest time for cranberries and Richmond is the top producer of cranberries in BC. Cranberry is a superior source of nutrition and vitamins. It is an excellent source of antioxidants which helps to protect against cancer, heart disease and bladder infections. Cranberry juice is also rich in polyphenol content as in red wine which makes it a heart-healthy drink.

This Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup is a sweet soup with a hint of tanginess from the cranberries. It has a very strong flavour of cinnamon.

While one team is working on the soup recipe, another team worked on the dessert which is Apple Banana Muffin. I had blogged on the muffin recipe here.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 large yam, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups low salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional), recommend to change it to 1 teaspoon as the cinnamon flavour is too overpowering
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • parsley for garnish

Click on Read More for the instructions to make the Cranberry Sweet Potato Soup.

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Southern Apricot Chicken

The South Arm Community Kitchen for Seniors met again for another cooking session. This week, the seniors made three dishes, a chicken dish, a soup and a dessert. I love to watch the seniors at work. They are always working in teams and they worked in harmony. It is a great place where they get great company and make delicious food. They always have food to take home too. Some of the seniors are living by themselves and it’s very hard to cook for one or two people only.

The first dish is called Southern Apricot Chicken. This is such a simple dish that even a kid can make it. A great sweet and saucy chicken dish which is great with steam rice or noodle.

Minoo made a big platter of safflon flavoured basmati rice with wild rice to go with the Southern Apricot Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken thighs (remove skin if preferred)
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Click on Read More for the instructions.

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Nat’s Bistro & Convenience Store

Updated: 19th July 2011: This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Updated: 6th Jan 2011: This restaurant is now called Bailey’s Bistro & Specialty Stores according to Urbanspoon.

Polly and I met up again for our ladies’ get together. We have change our cake meet day from Tuesday to Friday. This time we went to Nat’s Bistro & Convenience Store.

Nat’s Bistro & Convenience Store has opened only for about 3 months. I got to know of this place through an advertisement in the local papers they put up sometime in August when they newly opened. But, I did not get a chance to visit it until now.

Nat’s Bistro & Convenience Store is located at a small strip mall on Westminster Hwy between No. 1 & 2 Road. It is perhaps a new concept where they combine a bistro and convenience store in location.

The place is very clean and new. It has a siting capacity of 10 people. What I noticed is that there are 5 high definition televisions in the store. It might be a good place to go watch a hockey game with friends on game night. But the metal chairs are really not comfortable though, cold and hard.

As usual, we ordered a few items to share. The first piece is a Mango Raspberry Cheesecake. The mango and raspberry flavour came through very well on the cheesecake layer. However, the cake base is on the dry side.

The Chocolate Cheesecake is very creamy and the oreo base is thin and crisp. We like this piece better.

The last item we shared is a Steak and Onion Pie. The pie needs 10 minutes to be heated up.

The Steak and Onion Pie has lots of chunky beef in it. The crust is very flaky. This pie will definitely satisfy a beef lover.

All the food items above cost $4.25 each. We also had two regular coffees which cost $1.39 each. All in all, the bill came to $16.31.

Nat's Bistro & Convenience Store on Urbanspoon

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Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes

The next dessert which Ming made is Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes. I had blogged about two versions of Ma Lai Ko here and here but Ming’s recipe is slightly different. Ming’s version of Ma Lai Ko is steamed in paper cup and it only takes 10 minutes to steam. This recipe is very handy when you have unexpected guests.

Ming made 2 versions of Ma Lai Ko Cup Cakes, one regular flavour and another with grated Parmesan cheese. The one with the Parmesan cheese has a stronger flavour and I’ll bet Arkensen will like this version as he is a cheese lover.

Ingredients

  • 100g all purpose flour
  • 50g castor sugar (was substituted with granulated sugar)
  • 60g egg
  • 70g water
  • 5g baking powder
  • 10g grated Parmesan cheese or custard powder (optional)
  • sweetened dried cranberries for garnishing

Click on Read More for the instructions.

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