Spinach and Hazelnut Stuffed Mushroom

The second dish in the theme of using food in season is Spinach and Hazelnut Stuffed Mushrooms.


This recipe makes a great appetizer or a vegetarian meal when served with salad and crusty bread.


  • 4 large flat portobello mushrooms (you may substitute with baby portobello mushrooms if price is a concern)
  • a bunch of fresh spinach, chopped, rinsed and dried (or 1 package frozen chopped spinach)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts (or walnuts)
  • 2 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumb
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan (or cheddar)


Source: this recipe is adapted from Waitrose  Recipe Cards

P/S: Michelle confirmed that the amount of  ingredients for the filings for this recipe has to be doubled


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Roasted Beet and Pear Salad

The South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors resumed in September. I missed the first session as I was attending the Multicultural Community Kitchen in Gilmore Park Church. Unfortunately, the schedule collided again.

Michelle Li who facilitates this kitchen always briefs the group before the start of the cooking. In today’s kitchen, she talked about using what is local and in season. The reasons include:

  • reduce carbon food print; did you know that the average ingredient in a North American meal travels 1.500 miles from farm to plate?
  • support local farmers
  • local food is more fresh and more tasty; i.e. they are not bred to last for the long distance travel
  • fresh food is more flavourful and more nutritional; nutrients like Vit C, Vit A, etc loose quickly once the food is harvested
  • local food tends to have less pesticides that food imported from third world countries
  • eat food that is in season when they are peak in nutrients and when they are cheaper
Here is a list of the local produce in season in fall/winter:
  • kale, cabbage, broccoli
  • beets, carrots, onions
  • apples, pears
  • mushrooms, hot house produce (peppers, eggplant)
  • hazelnuts


In line with the theme of using local food and food in season, Michelle selected a beet and pear salad.


  • 1 bunch beets, trimmed and washed
  • 1/4 cup chopped natural hazelnuts (or sliced almonds)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 Asian or other pear, cored and julienned
  • 3 cups greens (arugula, mache, mixed greens, etc)


Source: this recipe is adapted from epicurious.com


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Xian Day 3: Dinner

We had dinner at Master Kong upon return to the Xian railway station.


We ordered some marinated beef tripe and tendon for appetizer.


Ben had a spicy beef noodle with mixed meat for my main. It was perfect for a cold fall night.


Our noodles came with some sides; marinated tofu and peanuts, stir fried wood ears and marinated eggs. (more…)

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Xian Day 3: Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum

After visiting the Terracotta Warriors site, we took a shuttle bus to the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum.


Qin Shi Huang was the first Qin Emperor and also the first emperor of China. The Mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shi Huang is the largest imperial tomb in China.


Actually, there is not much to be seen here. The hill in the above picture is believed to be the site of the underground palace. However, excavation had been hold off to preserve the mausoleum. This is to prevent the same mistake made in the excavation of the Terracotta Warriors where the painted decoration quickly lost it’s colour when exposed to air. (more…)

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Xian Day 3: Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Warriors site is the most popular tourist attraction of Shaanxi.


We came across some sculptures of horses before reaching the pits where the Terracotta Warriors were found. There were 3 pits that we visited.


The site of the Terracotta Warriors was listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1987.


A mural along the way to the pits. I remembered it was a long walk before we reached the pits.


The buildings at the background house the pits where the Terracotta Warriors were found.


Rows and rows of Terracotta warriors in Pit No. 1.


Pit No. 1 is the largest and the first to be opened to the public in 1979. There are over 6,000 Terracotta Warriors and horses in this pit. (more…)

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Xian Day 3: Lunch and Snack

After the visit to Huaqing Hot Springs, we continued our journey to the Terracotta Warriors site.


It was lunch time when we arrived at the Terracotta Warriors site. There are several restaurants right at where the bus dropped us. We came across the above sign which has the most complex Chinese character that I’ve seen. Apparently, it’s called Bian Bian Noodle and it’s very popular here. It must be a night mare for a kid to learn to write that Chinese character which has 57 character strokes.


Without hesitation, we ordered the Bian Bian Noodle to try. It was vinegarish and slightly spicy and there were some vegetables in it.


The only distinctive feature was the wide piece of noodle, almost like half the size of a wonton wrap. Two bowls of noodles cost RMB30 (CAD5). (more…)

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Xian Day 3: Huaqing Hot Springs

The plan for the 3rd day was to visit the Terracotta Warriors. We took a cab to the railway station to take the bus to the Terracotta Warriors. The bus ride was RMB6 (CAD1) per person.


The first stop of the bus 306 was Huaqing Hot Springs and the conductor told the commuters that this is a good place to see. We did not plan for this but we decided to get down to check it out.


We made the right decision as Huaqing Hot Springs is very scenic. The entrance fee is RMB70 (about CAD12) per person.


The willow, the man made pond and the rocks made a wonderful landscape. The mist added charm to it. Huaqing Palace is located at the foot of Li Shan in Litong county. The mountain at the background of the above photo is Li Shan.


When we came upon the above poem engraved on wood slaps. I knew why the name Huaging Hot Springs sounded familiar to me. It’s a Cantonese opera song that I’m familiar with because my mother played this song recorded by my father in a radio show over and over again during my childhood. The name of the song is “Tong Gong Hern Si” in Cantonese. It’s a song about a sad romance story of an emperor in the Tang Dynasty with his concubine. Part of the lyrics of the song is actually taken from the above poem. (more…)

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Lunch at Fenders Restaurant in Richmond Automall

It’s time to service my car at the Richmond Automall. Since it’s summer break, Nanzaro accompanied me with the condition that I buy him lunch.


I brought Nanzaro to Fender’s Restaurant as he likes diners food.


Nanzaro ordered the Beef Dip with Fries for $9.95. The Beef Dip looked smallish.


Although the bun looked small, it was piled high with roast beef. (more…)

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New Spicy Chili Restaurant on No. 3 Road, Richmond

When Ben is around town, he will bring me to Szechuan restaurant as he knows that the chances of me going to one with the boys will be very minimal. The boys will always protest but daddy will overrule them. The funny thing is they usually enjoy the meal most of the time.


We went to New Spicy Chili Restaurant in Richmond. I’m not sure if there is a change of management or just a change of the English name. This restaurant was known to be Golden Spring Szechuan Restaurant. However, the Chinese name remains the same.

Parking is not easy in this strip mall. There is a parking attendant that directs the traffic here.


This restaurant is always busy. The seating in this restaurant is pretty tight.

We do like the menu here which has color photos of the dishes. The servers here mostly speak Mandarin.


For appetizer, Ben ordered the Sliced Beef and Beef Tripe with Special Spicy Sauce. This is a cold dish and costs $13.99. It is garnished with cilantro and crushed peanuts. Although my boys do not like vegetable, they do like cilantro. They enjoy this dish very much. (more…)

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