here and there

Friday, February 1, 2019

Chinese New Year, Year of the Pig, 2019

Menu for 2019 Year of the Pig

It is always fun to visit the Asian Market especially before Chinese New Years.  I can now get most of the ingredients at our local supermarket.  However, I was looking for specific items, ginger preserved in syrup, pickled plums and anise extract, which I did not find.  In returning to my local supermarket, I did find fresh plums which I will use for the duck.  I also find fresh Shiitake at the Asian Market which I wanted to use for the Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms instead of dried shiitake.  I will be added the recipes and pictures next week. 

Image result for year of the pig

Our Mascot will be this Vintage Piggy Bank that my mom bought for my son, who will attending. I have also extended an invitation to his in laws who are Korean.. Talk about adding extra pressure on me. 

I had such fun planning Chinese New Years for Year of the Dog and Year of the Roaster,  that I decided to plan a menu for this Lunar New Year.  Here is my planning menu


Shrimp Toast, Baked 
Pearl Meat balls
Shrimp Cakes
BBQ Pork Buns
Stuffed Shiitake Mushrooms
Asian Drums of Heaven

Crispy Duck with Plum Sauce
Chinese ‘Char Siu’ BBQ Pork 
Long Life Noddles


Tiger Tiger Ice Cream
Ginger Pear with LycĂ©es 

Menu for Year of the Dog, 2018*

*All the recipes are in the same in the same blog

Cantonese Duck Recipe 2*

Long Life Noodles for Chinese New Year


Sushi rice with Asian flavoured Coleslaw
Stir Fried Bok Choy 
Asian Pork Ribs 


Strawberry Mochi (Ichigo Daifuku) 

*The two Cantonese duck recipes are very different  One marinades the duck, the other plunges the duck into boiling hot water 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Fish Aspic

This is a dish that my Mom always had on the table for Christmas Eve.   

Fish was delivered before Christmas to our village by a fisherman in the area.  I remember people picking out whole frozen fish from the back of his truck, ie Jack Fish, Pickerel and White Fish.   
White Fish

The fish was cleaned and cut into pieces.  The whole fish was used for the broth including the head.  The stock pot was filled with water and to this was added chopped celery, onion, chopped parsley, a bay leaf, salt and peppercorns.  Although, Jack Fish has lots of bones, it was the best for the broth to gel.   Once the fish was cooked, the fish was taken out, the bones and skin were removed and the cooked fish was placed in a dish or mold  The broth was then strained through muslin to assure a very clear broth.  Adjust the seasonings before pouring into the mold.

My Mom liked to add julienne carrots and celery to the mold.  The fish is chilled, then flipped over on to a bed of lettuce, decorated with lemon slices. Truly a beautiful dish!

The recipe I share is my memory of my Mom making this dish for Christmas Eve. 

A mixture of vegetables were chopped up and added first to the stock pot
  • Carrot
  • parsley chopped
  • chopped onion
  • bay leave
  • peppercorn
After preparing this dish this year,  I realized that my Mom used carrots only a garnish.  As I have found out in making turkey gravy, carrots add sweetness that I do not like.  Also the carrots take away from the clarity of the broth. Something that my Mom was most particular about!  

Wash you fish well inside and outside with cold water.  Remove the fish scales with a serrated knife.  Make sure that you check carefully to remove all the scales.  Give another wash to remove any scales.

Cut into smaller pieces for the pot.  I was surprised how tough the fish was.

Place the Fish pieces on the vegetables

Cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Skim the foam.  Reduce to simmer as soon as it comes to boil and simmer until fish fork tender. 

Carefully lift the pieces of fish from the broth.  Remove the the bones and  place in a mould. Strain the broth through a cheesecloth so that it is clear.  Taste for seasoning.   There should be enough gelatine from  the fish bones but; 
1-2 packages of plain gelatine* can be soaked in 1/3c cold water.  
Mix gelatine with hot broth
Pour over fish and chill. 

*gelatine is collagen in the skin, bones, and connective tissue of an animal which breaks down into gelatine.  For the purists at heart, skip this step but if you use fish pieces, it will not jell!  On the plus side, it does make a delicious fish soup aka bouillabaisse.

I did make two dishes and did freeze both for Christmas Eve.  

Friday, January 25, 2019

APPLE CROW’S NEST, vintage recipe


I came across this vintage recipe that uses apples, but since I had a bag of pears from Christmas, I decided to use them instead and reduce the sugar.  

Not only did the name catch my attention but so did the presentation of the dessert.  Basically it is like the Blueberry Grunt made in the Maritimes but not flipped over.  How creative!  
This recipe is a keeper and showstopper for brunches

  • 4 med. tart apples* I used pears
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 tbsp. baking powder* I used only 1 Tbsp
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. shortening* I used about 4 T butter
  • 1/3 c. milk* I used more milk about 3/4c 

Melt butter in cast iron skillet

Slice apples, arrange apple slices 
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.  Since Pears are so sweet, I did not use sugar.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  
Cut in the shortening/butter. 
Add milk to make a soft dough and spread over apples.(wet back of spoon to promote better spreading of dough.)  I did use more milk so as to be able to spread it better

I did take care to bring the dumpling batter to the edge to aid in flipping the dessert over. 

Bake 400 for 25 to 30 minutes. 
Make sure apples/pears are cooked well. 

When cooked completely, invert on plate. 

Dust dessert with icing sugar.. Also did drizzle Maple Syrup when served.

Or serve with ice cream or sweet and sour sauce.  

Sweet and Sour sauce

  • 2 large tbsp. flour 
  • 2/3 c. sugar 
  • large piece butter 

Mix together in a sauce pan; Add

  • 2 1/2 tbsp. vinegar, 
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water 
  • cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cook until thickened and serve over crow's nest.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bavarian Apple Torte

A dessert that we shared in Paris this summer, reminded me of the Bavarian Apple Torte that I used to make in our last home.  The Patterson Apple tree that we planted, yielded tons and I mean tons of cooking apples.  These apples didn't keep well so I would freeze sliced apples to be used during the winter.  The dessert is a custard with slices of apples arranged on top or as in this case arranged on the cookie base before the custard was added.  I think it looks better if the apple slices, very thin are arrange on the top of the custard.. The apple slices were arranged different in the dessert in Paris.  The slices were thicker and tended to sink. 

Once again, I made another cake for a birthday family celebration.  Our Granddaughter's grandparents both have birthdays in September.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Number Seven Brownie Cake

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the best!

Since we were invited to a family supper for our grandkid's birthday, I decided to bring a dessert.  

This was easy to put together as it was a brownie recipe baked in a 8 X 8 pan, frosted with butter icing


The food for the Seven Year old birthday party was Calzones

The recipe used was Refrigerator Bread dough which is certainly a staple in my kitchen

A visit to the local Italian market was a great spot for a variety of sliced meats, mozzarella, mushroom, fresh basil and tomato sauce.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Birthday Slime Cake

I have always made the birthday cake for my kids, which usually meant two cakes, one for their Birthday Party, the other for school on their birthday.  I must say I am not a baker but have had fun with the creative side of making a cake.  I have made Batman, Oscar the Grouch, Tigger, Big 'Yellow' Bird, Cookie Monster, Barbie Doll, ET to list a few.. The cakes were usually baked in a circular pan for the head  and a rectangle pan for the body.  I have come across some of my sketches for the cakes. The cakes were covered in Buttercream Icing.  The cakes were baked ahead and frozen to make them easier to frost.  The cakes were always a surprise and decorated a day before and stored on the top of the china cabinet! 
The Birthday Cakes became Trifle cakes when my kids were teenagers and I was called the "Trifle Queen" by one of my son's friends.  

This year, my Grandchild who was turning seven asked me to make the cake with certain conditions. The cake had to be pink, with strawberries and a puddle on top!  She drew out her cake as we chatted.   Now this was a challenge as not sure about a puddle on top.. I did find ideas for the puddle but they were mostly mud puddles held together with chocolate wafers or bars. Some had pigs in the mud!  Since the birthday craft was making Slime, I thought a Slime Cake would fit the bill better.   

The only problem was to figure out how to have the slime pour out when the cake was cut!   

I had seen Strawberry Jello cakes and decided that this would be the pink and adding fresh chopped strawberries would be perfect.

Vibrant Pink Strawberry Jello Cake

  • 1 White Cake Mix 
  • 3 oz strawberry Jello 
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 1/2c Flour
  • 1 c oil
  • 1/2 c  milk 
  • 1 c freshly chopped strawberries

Mix together
Pour into 3 - 8in lined circular pans
Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees*
*350 is too high as the  cake browned too quickly 

Strawberries Butter Cream 

 3/4 c Shortening
 4 - 5 c icing sugar 
1/2 - 3/4 c freshly chopped strawberries
4 -5 T milk

Beat butter until fluffy, added the strawberries, gradually add the icing sugar and milk until you have the right consistency.

The original buttercream recipe with this much of fat calls for 3 c of icing sugar, but with the amount of strawberries, I did add milk and more icing sugar.. I just played around with it until I had enough butter cream for 3 layers of cake and the right consistency for spreading on the cake.  This amount just covered the layers and all of the cake. 

Green Slime
Mix vanilla instant pudding as directed on package, add green food colour 
Chill, and don't panic like I did if it seems liquidy.. it needs to chill!

Assembling the cake
First place strips of wax paper under the cake to protect the serving dish a
These strips are pulled out after the cake is decorated. 
Apply a thin layer of butter cream to top of a cake, cover with fresh sliced strawberries, apply a thin layer on the strawberries so the second layer sticks
Cut a 5 inches circle in the middle of the second layer

Fill the centre with 2/3 of the green pudding mixture
Spread buttercream and strawberries on the outside ring

Add the top layer  
Cover with Buttercream

The cake had to be transported to the party, so I used skewers to hold it in place