RSSArchive for July, 2010

Easy Herb Pestos

Karen also demonstrated an Easy Herb Pestos in this food preservation session as we had leftover basil leaves from the herbs that Arzeena brought from the Richmond Sharing Farm.


There were two types of basil leaves here, red and green ones. Karen suggested that the red ones gives a different colour contrast to food. Pesto is commonly used to flavour pasta. It is sometimes served on sliced beef, tomatoes and sliced boiled potatoes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh herbs, i.e. basil, cilantro, mint, stem removed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, or combination of vegetable oil and flavoured oils
  • 2 tablespoons seeds or nuts
  • optional: up to 1 cup of shredded (not powdered) hard cheese, i.e. pecorino or parmesan
  • optional: fresh garlic or roasted garlic, 2 to 4 cloves

Source: Karen DW

Yield: 1 cup

Karen also shared some flavour combinations as follow:

  • classic: basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.
  • red-leaf basil, sundried tomatoes. If tomatoes are packed in oil, use the oil. If tomatoes are dried packed, rehydrate in hot water for 20 minutes and drain before using.
  • cilantro, or combination of cilantro and parsley, up to 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil and fresh ginger; no nuts or cheese for this.
  • most versatile; just basil and olive oil. Add other flavourings when ready to use.

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Making Flavoured Vinegars

The main theme for this food preservation session is making flavoured vinegars with herbs from the Richmond Sharing Farm. Karen demonstrated two types of flavoured vinegars i.e.  Herb Vinegar and Fruit Vinegar.

The above are the herb vinegars we made which consist of winter savory vinegar, thyme vinegar and rosemary vinegar. Herb vinegars can be used in salad dressing or marinade recipes calling for white, or white wine vinegar. Be sure to taste as you go.

The above are the freshly picked herbs from the Richmond Sharing Farm brought by Arzeena, the coordinator of this program. The herbs include winter savory, rosemary, thyme, red and green basils.

For this demonstration, Karen brought several types of vinegars for us to taste and use for making flavoured vinegars. From left to right, pure white vinegar, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, sherry vinegar and red wine vinegar. I remembered seeing the price tag on the champagne vinegar was $13.99 and Karen told us that the white wine vinegar is about $4 per liter from Galloway.

Besides that, Karen also brought some flavoured vinegars from her home for us to try. The far right bottle is strawberry vinegar.

Among all the vinegars, I like the strawberry vinegar and champagne vinegar.

Ingredients

  • vinegar
  • herbs or fruit

Source: Karen DW and The Vinegar Institute (USA)

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No Sugar Pectin Jam

The Richmond Food Security Society started a regular drop-in canning session every Tuesday night at the Garratt Wellness Center since 20th July 2010. The event is from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Participants can either preserved their own produce or help to preserve fruit and vegetables harvested from the Sharing Farm in Terra Nova for food bank and community meals.

These sessions are free and child care will be provided upon request. For more information, check out the Richmond Food Security Society website here.

These informal canning sessions allow participants to learn the canning techniques hands on. An instructor will also be on hand on certain dates to guide the participants. Hot water bath canners and jars will be provided for those participants who wish to can their own fruits. Just bring the ingredients like fruits, pectin, sugar, etc.

I attended the second session of this wonderful drop in program this week. I’m so pleased to see Karen DW again who volunteered as the instructor. For this session, two participants brought their own fruits for canning; blueberries and apricot.

Both of the participants used Bernadin No Sugar Needed Pectin to make the jam. This pectin do not require substantial quantities of sugar to gel.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chopped or crushed fruits
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 package No Sugar Needed Pectin
  • Sweetener, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter (to reduce foaming, optional)

Source: www.homecanning.ca

Yield: 4 to 6 250ml jars

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Talay Thai Restaurant on Granville and 68th, Vancouver

Here is one more restaurant that is recommended by a Friend of Chowtimes. This one came from Jaime who wrote to us saying:

Hi Ben and Suanne,

I actually wanted to recommend both of you to try a new Thai restaurant that opened up less than an year ago on Granville. It’s right next to Rogers and took over a Japanese restaurant that used to be there. It’s called Talay Thai and it’s down to earth, authentic Thai food. The owner, cooking staff, and waitresses are all Thai. Their food is very well flavoured and it’s a great place to have authentic Thai food in a casual setting. My best friend and I discovered this place while doing our regular restaurant scouting missions haha. Because I’ve only gone there twice, I haven’t tried much, but what I can recommend is their green curry (I tried it with chicken), prawn cakes, and fish cakes. The last time I came, I saw many tables ordering Thai iced tea and it looked amazing! Next time I go, I will order myself a glass of that! Oh, and if you go for lunch, they have lunch specials and they serve it with a really tasty springroll. This is probably the largest single portion of a spring roll I’ve had in a restaurant.

Talay Thai is nearby and we had not done enough Thai dine outs lately. So we thought this would be great to check out Jaime’s recommendation.

Talay Thai is located on the southern end of Granville, near the intersection with 68th Ave. It was just next door to the Ming Tak HK Style Restaurant which we had blogged before (see link here).

As we walked into the restaurant, there was a sign extolling the fact that they serve authentic and traditional Thai food. It also said that it is operated by two Thai women, Dtua and Dtoon and they hail from the Chalnat Province (central Thailand, north of Bangkok).

The service is very good. It is very typical of Thai hospitality. The waitress was very polite, soft spoken and have a charming smile. And very pretty too. Actually she was the second most prettiest woman in the restaurant that time we were there.

Do you all agree that Thais are gentle and soft spoken people, particularly the women? I always find that their speech is like sing-song. Let’s see … I think the only Asians that are polite and gentle are the Thais, the Japanese and the Koreans … in that order. The roughest womenfolk in Asia are … I think I better not get there. :-)

Am just kidding OK?

The inside of the restaurant was pretty cozy. They have booths. Some big, some smaller ones. The bigger ones are configurable too. The seats are wooden benches with thrown pillow — much like those you see in Korean restaurants.

The (2nd prettiest) waitress told us that the word Talay means “sea” on the Thai language. So dishes with the word Talay means mixed seafood.

The names of the dishes are in their Thai name rather than being translated into English. If you notice the menu above, many of the dishes are served with a choice of:

  • Chicken, beef or pork (the cheapest)
  • Prawn or fish for $1 more
  • Talay (mixed seafood) for $2 more

In Talay Thai, I guess you got to pay $2 more for a Talay version.

First thing first. We order the Thai Iced Tea ($2.50) that Jaime was talking about. It was pretty unique and we enjoyed it.

It is made with red tea with milk and served unstirred. It does make it look a lot more appealing. After stirring, it turned orangey. Good drink. Good recommendation, Jaime.

For starters we ordered the Tom Yum Soup and opted for the prawn version which is $9. I don’t know … I always order tom yum with prawns. That is my favourite version.

The soup was good — sourish and savory. This hot and sour soup has in it mushroom, lemon grass, tomatoes, lime leaves, green onions and cilantro. The only thing is that it is … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Kurumba Cuisines of Asia on St Johns Street, Port Moody

I don’t normally travel that far just to check out a restaurant as you know. There are a lot more places that we have never try before within 20 minutes drive from home. OK, maybe I would take a long drive if it is just Suanne and I. With the boys, it is not that easy. They will grumble and complain the moment we drive over the bridge … any bridge. As long as we keep within the boundary of the island that is Richmond, they are fine.

But this one is different.

Earlier this month, Mike wrote to us about this restaurant that he likes a lot. He was telling us about the owner chef who specializes on Sri Lankan food and named a few dishes that he had tried that sounded very interesting.

This time, we did not tell the boys where we are going. They kept asking. I kept telling them it’s a secret. When they saw me driving along Stevestons Highway and then onto Highway 99, they knew it is not good. They knew it is not going to be anywhere in Richmond. Then I turned onto Highway 91 and that very instant both of them knew something is not right. We are going somewhere far far away. LOL!

They even timed the journey and told me that I took away 45 minutes of their life cooped up in the car. *shrug*

Kurumba is located on St Johns Street in Port Moody. We had never blogged about any restaurant in Port Moody before. We even had to create a new “Vancouver Restaurants > Port Moody” category just for this post.

The inside of the restaurant is very clean and neat. It is an average sized restaurant — maybe seats 40 or so. We made reservation thinking that this restaurant might be very popular but it seems like reservation was totally unnecessary. At 5:30PM, we were the only customers. There was a table that had a reserved sign prearranged for 12 people though which I thought is a positive sign.

Service was really good. They have three front staff who were really friendly and helpful. The more senior one, we initially mistook for the owner because she was boldly asking us about the camera and straight away asked if we were journalists. We said no and that we just like taking pictures of the food we eat. Often an employee will not ask so point blankly but an owner would.

It turned out that the senior lady is just in charge of the dining area. I thought that for a restaurant this quiet, they are over staffed.

We learned a few things. Since Mike said that this is a Sri Lankan restaurant, I assumed that the name Kurumba came from the name of the largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo. Wrong. It is named after a kind of coconut common in Sri Lanka.

This is going to be confusing, I know. I am kind of confused myself. Mike says that this is a Sri Lankan restaurant and that the chef is Chinese who lived for a long time in Sri Lanka. When I asked the senior lady about the chef, she said that the chef was a Malaysian and the mum of the chef is from Indonesia. See what I mean when I say I am confused.

It kind of figured because the signage outside the restaurant (see 1st picture above) says “Kurumba Restaurant — Cuisines of Asia”.

The restaurant had been in operation for three years already and yet they are relatively unknown. There is no word of this restaurant on Urbanspoon but at least on Dinehere.ca there are quite a number of entries. Anyway, when you look for restaurant reviews what do you normally use? I mean aside from blogs. I find that I trust dinehere.ca more than Urbanspoon. Urbanspoon is too lop sided if you know what I mean. Yelp? I don’t even check them anymore. Both Urbanspoon and Yelp, I find, prey on reviewers vanity by giving them incentive to review more to get a higher rank. Anyway, I digressed.

I find it kind of puzzling why this restaurant had flew under the radar for so long because the food here is more than decent. It was pretty good.

When we read the menu, it made more sense. Most of the menu items are Sri Lankan and Malaysian dishes, albeit Chinese Malaysian dishes.

The Sri Lankan dishes are easily identified. Most of the have the word “Sri Lankan …” on it. :-)

Then there is dishes with words like sambal, roti canai amidst other Chinese Malaysian dishes.

The menu speaks of spiciness in a lot of the dishes too. The thing is that they did not indicate if the dishes are spicy nor did they ask us how spicy we want it — just like in Asia, they don’t ask you. They will make it as spicy as it is meant to be. And oh boy … it is spicy. Both Suanne and I broke sweat eating here which is rare because we grew up eating chilli every day.

The Char Ho Fun is their most popular dish. Even Mike was telling us that he saw many people ordering the few times he was there.

We ordered the seafood version which is $12. It is available with beef or chicken version which is a dollar cheaper.

Fantastico … made just like the way we remember it in Malaysia. This is not spicy of course and is common to Chinese Malaysian. In KL this is popularly known as Cantonese Fried Noodles or Gong Fu Chow but this one has more sauce.

The sauce is what makes this dish great. It is a thick … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Burger Burger on 6th Street, New Westminster

Nanzaro was happy when I told him that we are not going out for Asian food for a change and asked him what he wants to eat. The instant reply was “gourmet burger”.

He loves burgers. He used to love sushi. Twice a week he will call me at work just to ask me to bring something back for him. It used to be sushi, in particular, spicy tuna roll AND California roll. Nothing else, he doesn’t want any fancy rolls … just spicy tuna roll AND California roll. Oh … he is so fussy with his sushi. We must make sure that the wasabi and ginger does not get packed along with the sushi. He will refuse to eat the rolls if it is contaminated with “wasabi” or ginger.

And then for the last three months, he doesn’t want sushi anymore. Now he is always asking me to bring home a Big Mac … and it must be a combo. The drinks must be a medium Coke with no ice and the fries must be a large one. He is a creature of habit.

Gourmet Burger? So I brought him to a place I heard a lot of. A lot of people liked it but I did not know much else about it. For some reason, I thought Burger Burger is a “gourmet burger” restaurant just like Splitz Grill or Burger Etc.

I was rather taken aback when we arrived at Burger Burger. Suanne and I was looking at one another rather puzzled and for a split moment we were wondering if we should just go somewhere else. The place did look beat up and was not particularly tidy.

No, it wasn’t a problem with me. It is just that I went with one expectation and did not expect to find Burger Burger to be a hole-in-the-wall. For some (odd?) reason, I was thinking that this is gonna be like Burger Etc.

The inside were rather untidy. Sorry, I am just telling it as I find it. There were papers and magazines strewn on some tables. There were some left over burger baskets and drink cans uncollected. The windows were stained with finger prints and oily marks — more so because this is a burger place where people eat greasy burgers with their fingers. The plastic Coca-Cola clock on the wall was chipped. The floor is a bit sticky too.

It is truly a burger shack in every sense of the word.

The place is not really big with about 7 small tables that seat two. I like the chairs. It is so retro. I don’t think you can find these kind of chairs these days.

So much for not wanting to go to an Asian place. Apparently, Burger Burger is owned and operated by a Korean couple. They are really friendly people especially when I was so undecided on what I wanted.

Click on the image above if you find it hard to read the menu. We pretty much focused on the Burgers section and ignored the rest of the menu. It doesn’t do justice to get anything else but burger in a place called Burger Burger.

They have all sorts of burgers including Bulgogi, Teriyaki, Salmon, and BBQ Beef Bun.

Besides what is on the board above, they also have combos which included fries and a drink.

Nanzaro decided really quickly. He immediately said he wanted the Burger Special Combo A. I was curious why he chose that when I don’t think he knows what is in it. You know his answer is? He said anything with “A” is better … just like AAA beef is better. *shrug*

This is really cheap. It is only $5.69 and it included a drink and fries too. The Korean lady told me that this is their … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Bubble Fruity on Saba Road, Richmond

I asked Suanne to write this post. She refused.

I don’t want to write a post about a dessert place. I don’t know how to write about desserts. Dessert places are a girl thing. Guys hang around in these places just because we want to keep the girls happy. Tell me, you have never caught a group of guys going for desserts have you? It’s always the girls. And if you happen to see a guy there, it is always with a girl.

Like me.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the only dessert place we know of in Richmond. It was in this post about the 100% Healthy Desserts. Cathy who writes on the blog Yum-Yum in My Tum-Tum told us about this other place called Bubble Fruity on Saba Road.

So with that, Suanne made sure that we went at the slightest hint of heat. We drove to Saba Road. It is a quiet stretch of road right off the middle of the busiest area in Richmond. I know, it is kind of weird. On No 3 Road, you risk life and limbs crossing the road there but the moment you turn into Saba Road, you can jaywalk across the street anytime.

The biggest problem of this location is the lack parking … no, I mean the lack of free parking. The city Richmond had learned from Vancouver the ridiculous habit of gouging folks like us through street pay parking. There are plenty of parking spots along Saba Road and yet no one wants to park there. It is $2.50 an hour and it is in effect until 9PM, seven days a week!

Richmondites are mostly stingy people. We don’t believe in pay parking.

You could try to park in the Richmond Public Market and walk over. But when we where there, it was already 7:30PM. I remember that the Richmond Public Market closes their parkade at 8PM.

Without any choice, we had to park on the street.

The inside of Bubble Fruity is small. Anyway, dessert shops like these need not a lot of space to operate. It is bright, clean and neat. The chairs and tables are definitely from IKEA.

I was surprised to see that they have a CRA award plaque hanging behind the counter. They apparently won the CRA award for Best Dessert. Looks like we are in the right place.

This little dessert place is manned by a husband and wife team. The man who works the front was helpful and friendly especially when we could not decide what we wanted. He even brought Suanne a printout of the menu when he saw Suanne taking notes from the menu on the table.

The menu above is clickable to display a larger image.

Bubble Fruity serves mainly Hongkong style desserts. Most of the desserts are $4 with some off the menu specials at $6. Those are posted on the windows and walls. They also serve light food like sandwiches and noodles too.

Suanne had the Durian Flavour Sago Cream ($4). This is served with basil seeds and sago. If you love durians … More on following page. Click here to continue reading

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Lemon Curd Tartlets

For dessert, Jorge made some Lemon Curd Tartlets. This is not for the faint hearted people as the recipe calls for lots of eggs, sugar and butter. Portion control is the key to a healthy diet.


We learned from Jorge that we have to understand the recipe well before we start working on the recipe. For example, this recipe calls for some special equipments that needs to be prepared first. Stainless steel pan is crucial in this recipe as we are cooking with lemon. Also, a bowl of iced water is needed in this recipe to immediately cool down the lemon curd to prevent it from curdling.  Jorge uses this phrase ‘Mise en Place’  i.e. making sure everything is in place.

Ingredients

  • 12 tart shells
  • 200ml lemon juice
  • finely grated zest of 4 lemons
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter


Source: Jorge  Viduenez

Prep time: 30 minutes;  Yield 12 servings.

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