Happy Halloween

After the sweet fix at Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery, we still have a lot time to kill and we went to Granville Island to soak up the sun. It was a glorious bright sunny day after a week of lousy wet and gloomy days.

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I love the colour of fall, red, brown, orange and yellow. It is very beautiful especially with a blue sky in the backdrop. So, enjoy it while you can as it won’t last.

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Soon, the leaves will be gone and we’ll have to wait for spring to arrive to see them again.

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I kind of like this shot of the awning with fallen leaves. Can you make up some maple leaves from the shadows?

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Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery

It’s cake meet Tuesday again. This time, Christine joined Polly and I to Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery for a sweet tooth fix. This is the first time we come to this place and we did not have a pleasant experience. I’ll tell you why later.

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Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery is located at 3150 West Broadway between Trutch St and Balaclava St. The business is geared more on the take out than eat in although they have a tea room for sit in customer.

Our bad experience came to the fact that we are only allowed to eat the cake we purchased at the tea room with extra service charge provided that we get a drink too. A sign posted in the tea room indicated that there in a minimum charge of $3 or $4 with reading.

Anyway. since we were there already, we just agreed on the extra service charge. Moreover, they do not allow photography of their counter displays as they told me that they do not want other people to copy their products. Hmm, what do you think about that comment?

Here is what we ordered. Christine and I ordered coffee which came in a small metal jug. It is somewhat unique. The coffee costs $1.70.

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Salted Egg Yolk Red Bean Pastries

Zoe made a marvelous Chinese pastry in the Caring Place Community Kitchen. The Salted Egg Yolk Red Bean Pastries were very flaky and the salted egg yolk complements the sweet red bean paste really well. A great dim sum dessert for tea time.

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You can see the many layers of the pastry which make this dessert so flaky. You must check out the steps in the instructions below to see how it is done. It is a bit time consuming but worth all the effort. Zoe emphasized that many cooks will not spoil this recipe but many hands are needed to do the rolling.

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Ingredients

Outer layer dough:

  • 450g high gluten (bread) flour (in Canada, all-purpose flour will do)
  • 180g water
  • 180g lard or shortening

Inner layer dough (flaky dough):

  • 300g low gluten (cake) flour
  • 150g lard or shortening

Filing:

  • 15 egg yolk from salted eggs, divided
  • 2 lbs sweet red bean paste

Garnishing:

  • 1 tablespoon toasted black sesame seeds (toast on dry frying pan until fragrant)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons syrup
  • 1 teaspoon oil

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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The Diplomat Bakery in Steveston

Updated 4 Jun 2009: Diplomat Bakery has moved to London Rd

Polly and I had resumed our cake meet since the school reopened in September. However, we cant find any new place to go to, so we had been visiting our old favourite places like Le BonBon Cafe and ll Pappagallo Cafe. If you have a favourite place of yours, please share with us as we are running out of ideas of where to go.

We discovered the Diplomat Bakery through the Richmond News Readers’ Choice Award. Even though we live in Richmond, we have never been to this bakery before.

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The Diplomat Bakery is awarded with the best bakery and best cake shop and best desserts for 4 years since 2004. We had trouble locating the store because the Richmond News printed their new address on London Road which is south on No. 2 Road, near the Dyke. The Diplomat Bakery will be moving to this new location in the middle of October.

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There are quite a number of cakes, tarts, bars, pies and biscotti in the bakery. The prices ranges from $2 to $3.50 per slice.

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We ordered three slices of cakes to share. (more…)

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Steamed Hairy Gourd Stuffed with Minced Pork

While the Pork Neck Bone and Pumpkin Soup is simmering away, Julie prepares her second dish which is Steamed Hairy Gourd Stuffed with Minced Pork. Hairy Gourd is another winter squash which is in season too.

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Meanwhile, Vanessa prepared a simple fried rice with egg and green bean to accompany the Steamed Hairy Gourd.

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Ingredients

  • 4 hairy gourds, peel and cut into 1 inch round
  • 2″ knob of ginger, minced
  • 1.5 lbs lean ground pork
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 egg, optional
  • corn starch

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Pork Neck Bone and Japanese Pumpkin Soup

Julie is back from Taiwan and Vanessa immediately catch hold of her to demonstrate in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Julie demonstrated two Chinese dishes. The first one is Pork Neck Bone and Japanese Pumpkin Soup. In this time of the year, pumpkin and winter squashes are abundant in the farmer’s market.

Pumpkins are orange because they contain massive amounts of beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is essential for good eye sight.

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Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork neck bone
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 small Japanese pumpkin (Kabocha), cut into chunk
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, slice
  • salt and white pepper to taste

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Click on the link below for the instructions.

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Roasted Chicken with Apple Stuffing

Karen demonstrated to the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen a Roasted Chicken with Apple Stuffing which she will be preparing for the community meal the next day. The original recipe has bacon in it but Karen tries not to include pork in the meal as to respect the dietary restriction of some of the people who come for the community meal.

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The stuffing is cooked separately and used as the base for holding the chicken instead of stuff inside the bird. This way of cooking the stuffing is more safe as we do not have to worry about the stuffing not cook through.

What I like about this recipe is that it uses chicken pieces instead of the whole bird.

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Ingredients

  • 4 pieces of chicken legs or thighs
  • 6 cups cubed French bread
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 red apple, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped fresh sage or a sprig of fresh sage
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

A few tips on preventing the apple from browning after cutting.

  • Use Honey Crisp apple.
  • Sprinkle the cut apple with canned pineapple juice.
  • Soak in lightly salted water.

Click on the link below for the instructions.

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