Coconut Chocolate Cluster

Minoo prepared a no bake snacks cum dessert for the Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen to end the meal.


We enjoyed this Coconut Chocolate Cluster as it’s chewy with a crunch and not too sweet. I brought a couple home for Arkensen to try and he kept asking me to make it.


  • 2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon finely shredded unsweetened coconut, lightly toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds, cooled and chopped
  • 7 to 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans (optional)
  • a big grain finishing salt – we omitted this


Source: this recipe is adapted from 101 cookbooks

Makes 36 clusters.


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Roasted Asparagus with Orange Juice

Minoo prepared a Roasted Asparagus with Orange Juice for the side dish to go with the Zucchini Meat Loaf.  Aparagus is a spring vegetable.


You may check up this post for the nutritional values of asparagus.


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minces
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Source: this recipe is adapted from Taste of Home

Yield: 4 servings.


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Zucchini Meat Loaf

The Richmond Community Kitchen resumed operation in September. The first kitchen took place at the Gilmore Park Church.


Minoo prepared 3 recipes for this first kitchen. The main dish is a healthier version of meat loaf with the incorporation of zucchini. Zucchini is a summer squash. Zucchini has a delicate flavour and requires little cooking cooking time. You can steam, boil, grill, bake, barbecue or fry it.

Here are some of recipes using zucchini that we had made in the community kitchens:

Zucchini is low in calories (approximately 15 calories for 100g of fresh zucchini). It contains useful amount of folate, potassium, Vitamin A and manganese.


  • 4 tablespoons Dijon honey mustard
  • 2  to 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 pound zucchini (about 2 small zucchini), coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef


Source: via Minoo


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Neptune Seafood Restaurant on No. 3 Road, Richmond

Emily S organized a meet up for dim sum at Neptune Seafood Restaurant on No. 3 Road. There were five of us. The group include Lorna, Jean, Peggy L and me. We were supposed to meet at 10:30AM in the restaurant. Emily S made the reservation. We were all there on time except Emily. Emily turned up only after 11:00 AM as she overslept. We were all wondering if we or she had mistaken the place.


Neptune Seafood Restaurant was closed a while ago. I heard that the owner sold the place but the transaction did not fall through. It was reopened with the word “shakrfin” removed from the English name but the Chinese name remains the same. You can see the old frontage from the post here.


The restaurant is very busy. At 10:30AM, it was already 70% full and this is a weekday. We placed the order before Emily arrived because there is a 20% discount on dim sum before 11:00AM.


Prices here are on the high side. For dim sum, small is $3.68, medium is $4.38, large is $4.98. For specials, SK is $6.98, SLK is $7.98 and SKK is $8.98. I have no idea what the SK, SLK and SKK stands for. Anyone has any idea?


You can click on the menu to view them larger.


The cutlery is simple and nice. Even the teapot cover is labeled with the tea of your selection.


Lorna ordered the above Abalone with Compoy Rice Wrap. This rice wrap is normally eaten during Dragon Boat festival. This item is categorized under SLK which is $7.98.


The rice used for this rice wrap is glutinous rice. This is filled with abalone, dried scallop, pork, green beans and salted egg yolk. Look at the pork fat at the photo on the right. The rice wrap is boiled for few hours until the pork fat melts in your mouth.


The above Dice Chicken, Squid & Mushroom Rice Casserole is from … (more…)

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Canning Herb Jelly

It’s summer and it’s time for canning all the bountiful fruits and vegetables. The Richmond Food Security Society once again is hosting a number of Canning Drop-in.

The Canning Drop-in started on Aug 2nd and for the month of August, it will be held at Garratt Wellness Center. The Canning Drop-in is scheduled every Tuesday from 5PM to around 8PM. You can bring your own produce to can and use the equipment and jars there or you can help to preserve produce from the Sharing Farm for the food bank.

Some of the participants did take advantage of the facilities and brought their own fruits for canning.


The above are apricot jam and raspberry jam made by some of the participants.


For the first Canning Drop-in, chef Karen DW showed us how to can herb jelly and made some garlic herb pesto. Here is the link to the recipe of making easy herb pestos that Karen DW did last year.


We made two types herb jellies, i.e. basil jelly and mint jelly. The herbs are harvested from the Richmond Sharing Farm that morning.


Karen brought some of the jelly that she made earlier for us to taste. The green color is mint jelly (with food coloring) while the amber color is basil jelly. They were delicious. Anyone has any idea of how to use these herb jelly other than enjoying them with bread?


  • 2 cups (500 ml) coarsely chopped fresh herbs, loosely packed
  • 1  1/2 cups (375 ml) unsweetened apple juice or dry white wine
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 cup (250 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 5 1/4 cups (1300 ml) granulated sugar
  • 1 pkg (57 g) powdered Fruit Pectin


Source: Karen DW; Bernadin

Yield: 6 x 250ml jars

Chef Karen DW will demonstrate how to can Tomatillo Salsa in the next Canning Drop-In.


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Community Kitchens meet at Red Mirchi, Richmond

Updated: 4th Oct 2011: Red Mirchi has moved a few doors away to 4119 #5 Road.

The Richmond Community Kitchen met for the last time before the summer break. This luncheon is attended by 13 members from various Richmond Community Kitchens.

I filled in for Minoo to organize this luncheon because Minoo has a last minute personal matter to attend to. It was a good turnout.


We had lunch at Red Mirchi at the corner of No. 5 Road and Cambie. The location had been determined during the previous week’s lunch at Cucina Manila. We love to enjoy various ethnic cuisines in our multicultural community kitchens.


Red Mirchi offers buffet lunch and daily lunch specials at reasonable prices.


Red Mirchi’s regular menu items ranges from $10 to $15 for the Indian dishes. You can click on the menu to view them larger. Red Mirchi also serves pizza and pasta.


Red Mirchi has a very pleasant setting with booth seats and single rectangular tables that can be joined up for a large group. It is spacious.

We were told by the server that this restaurant has been in business for 15 months. The server who served us told us that she used to work at All India Sweets in Vancouver for 5 years before her family decided to open this restaurant. This is a family run business, managed by two brothers and two sisters.

The server also told us they are often mistaken to be related to Mirchi on Granville St. in Vancouver. However, they are not related at all. They even have customers who call up for take out orders but went to the Mirchi in Vancouver to pick up the order and only found out it’s the wrong Mirchi.


Since we had a big group and the majority of them opted for the buffet, we decided the whole group to have the buffet. It’s easier to manage this way. The buffet is $10.95 per person.

The main dish in the buffet is … (more…)

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Community Kitchen meets at Cucina Manila, Richmond

The Richmond Community Kitchens celebrate the end of the session with dining out. We decided to try Filipino cuisine at Cucina Manila in Richmond. There were 14 members attending this dining out from various kitchens like South Arm, Caring Place and Gilmore Park Church.


Cucina Manila in located at the strip mall across Richmond Center where Staples is.


Cucina Manila serves Filipino food on steam buffet table like those you see in food court. This is a self service restaurant where you help yourself with the cutleries, water and sauces.


Although the food is served food court style, the setting is nicer than the food court.


There is combo of 2 dishes with rice for $8.50. You can also order by the dish itself which comes with bigger serving for sharing. The price for the main dish ranges from $8 to $10. Dessert price is $2. You order and pay for the food at the counter.


We ordered a lot of food to share. Linda, a volunteer in the Community Kitchen in charged of the ordering as she is from the Philippines. Some of the members asked her if she cooks similar dishes at home and she said she cooks most of the dishes and agrees to demonstrate some of the dishes in the community kitchen in future. We look forward to that.


Here are the dishes that we tried. The above is … (more…)

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Ian Lai’s Healthy Asian Cooking: Broccoli and Beef Stir Fry

Are you overwhelmed when you shop at the sauces aisle in Chinese groceries? I am. There are so many types of sauces that even as a Chinese I have not try all of them.


Ian Lai shared some of the more common sauces that he uses in the Healthy Asian Cooking workshop. They include soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, hot bean sauce,  etc.


One of the sauces that stands out is the Korean Gochujang Hot Pepper Paste because Ian Lai said it is MSG free. As for soy sauce, the Japanese Tamari is also MSG free.


The last recipe in the Healthy Asian Cooking is Broccoli and Beef. Ian’s Lai take for the popular Broccoli and Beef you find in Chinese restaurants is very different. He cooks the beef separately and he added multigrains and goji berries into this dish.


  • 1 flank steak
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into flowerets, slice stem to same bite size so that they cook evenly
  • 1 package of snow peas
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch of water crest, rough chopped
  • 1 handful of goji berries, re-hydrated in cold water for a few minutes until plump
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • 2 slices of ginger

Marinate for flank steak

  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 big tablespoon Gochujang
  • 1 big  tablespoon of oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar


  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1/2 block of soft tofu
  • 1/4 teaspoon of togarashi (Japanese spice mix)
  • salt to taste


  • 2 cups of multigrains
  • 3 cups of water


The above is the package of multigrains that Ian used. You can get them from T&T or Osaka Supermarket. The 2 kg package costs around $1o to $12.

It’s a very cultural thing for Chinese to eat steamed white rice with dishes. The rice is usually washed a number of times until the water runs clear. Ian shared with us that their family gradually changed to not washing the rice as it’s his daughter’s responsibility to cook rice. After much complaints, they forgo the washing of the rice. Nowadays, they try to eat other grains instead of white rice. White rice has the least nutrients as all the good nutrients have been polished away.


Continue ReadingIan Lai’s Healthy Asian Cooking: Broccoli and Beef Stir Fry

Ian Lai’s Healthy Asian Cooking: Garlic Green Bean

In the Healthy Asian Cooking, Ian Lai described the Chinese cooking as lots of greens and a little meat. Chinese likes to cook with quick stir fry which is quite oily in the sense of splattering and strong odour. That the reason why in many Chinese homes, they have two kitchens where one of the kitchen is located outside the house for stir frying.


Chinese likes to use lots of green vegetables like mustard green, sweet peas, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, water crest, green onions, cilantro, etc.


Here is the recipe for the Garlic Green Bean:


  • 1 pound green beans
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 slices of ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pf togarashi (a Japanese Spice Mix)


The above is the bottle of the Togarashi. You can click on image to view it larger.

Togarashi is typically made of coarsely ground red chili pepper, ground sichuan pepper, roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, hemp seed, ground ginger and seaweed.


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Ian Lai’s Healthy Asian Cooking: Potato Noodle with Mustard Green and Chinese Sausage

The Richmond Food Security Society organised a Healthy Asian Cooking workshop in conjunction with the Asian Heritage Month celebrations. The 2 days workshop is hosted by Chef Ian Lai. Chef Ian Lai is a Chinese who grew up in South Africa. Chef Ian Lai told us that he became more comfortable with the Chinese culture only after he came over to Canada which is very cosmopolitan.

The Chinese culture evolves around the kitchen. Whether it’s a birthday, baby full moon, marriage and even funeral will evolved around food. Besides his Chinese background, Ian Lai is married to a Japanese lady. Therefore, his cooking is more of a global Asian cooking and not traditional Chinese cooking.


Ian Lai prepared 3 recipes for the workshop. The first recipe is Potato Noodle with Mustard Greens and Chinese Sausage.


The Potato Noodle with Mustard Greens and Chinese Sausage is more like a salad noodle dish. I did not have the step by step picture of this recipe. But here is the what I learned from the workshop.

Ian Lai likes to use potato noodle because the noodle remain soft even the next day, unlike other noodle which will harden if leave overnight. Ian Lai likes to prepare extra food so that he can used them for lunch or dinner the next day.


The Potato Noodle Salad dish has a distinctive flavour which comes from the hot bean sauce as shown above. It is fermented soy bean or broad bean and you can get them spicy or plain version.

Here’s the recipe for the Potato Noodle with Mustard Greens and Chinese Sausage: (more…)

Continue ReadingIan Lai’s Healthy Asian Cooking: Potato Noodle with Mustard Green and Chinese Sausage