Cooking the impossible.

Baked lemon caper salmonWhat I mean when I say “cooking the impossible” is cooking things that I can’t eat or try. I’m allergic to a ton of things. When I was little, I was allergic to nuts of any kind, all seafood, and deli meats, or anything that contained MSG. Luckily, some of my allergies have alleviated themselves. I can now eat hazelnuts, almonds, tuna, black cod, shrimp, scallops, oysters, clams, cashews. However, some allergies remain — one of them being salmon.

There were two whole salmons in my freezer and I wasn’t going to eat them. Luckily, my boyfriend is not allergic to salmon, or to anything for that matter (lucky bastard). And since I was going out of town for the weekend, I couldn’t think of a better opportunity to cook this lemon, caper and white wine salmon dish.

But would it be successful? That was the question.

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First attempt: pad thai.

Pad thaiThis year, not only do I have a list of resolutions and goals for my life in general, but I also have one for cooking and baking. My theme for this year is to be fearless and to not be afraid of failure.

There are a number of food dishes that I know I want to accomplish this year: tonkotsu ramen, pho, Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and pad thai. Lucky for me, I was able to cross the latter off my list.

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Banana bread perfected.

Almond butter banana breadI am beyond excited. After many trial and errors, flavour combinations, and healthy additions and subtractions, I have finally perfected my banana bread recipe!!! Low fat, healthy, moist, and full of banana almond flavour, my whole wheat almond butter banana bread is likely to knock off your socks.

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Deep frying with…ghee?

TonkatsuSo ever since I’ve gotten into the deep frying thing, I’ve been wanting to experiment even more. And the dish I had in mind? Tonkatsu.

Tonkatsu is lightly breaded and deep fried pork that has been pounded thin and is commonly served with a side of an accompanying Worcestshire and ketchup-like dipping sauce. Kind of like a Japanese schnitzel. However, there was a problem: I was out of canola oil. Shit. What to do, what to do… The pork was already defrosting. Olive oil was definitely out of the question. Then I thought of it: ghee. I was going to try to deep fry with ghee.

This was going to be an adventure.

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Baking for large functions.

Mini quicheBeing the owner of my own cupcake dessert company, I do get quite a few large orders per year. I have done a number of weddings, customer appreciation days, networking events, launch parties, and Christmas parties that require a lot more work than just the standard 2 dozen order. I often get asked, “How do you do it!?!”. And although I now have my own employee, I didn’t have one before October of last year and had to do everything by myself. I did have help on one occasion but besides that, it was all me.

Planning. Calculating. Anticipating.

It’s hard work but it pays off. It sometimes leaves you with a ton of leftover ingredients, like tart shells for example. Thanks to a 1000 cupcake and pie order last month, I am now stuck with a large box of tart shells containing 200 pre-made pie shells.

What to do with them? Mini ham, caramelized onion and scallion quiche.

Luckily, my boyfriend’s friend’s 40th birthday was coming up. Perfect opportunity use up a fraction of these shells.

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Cooking/baking fears: pie crust.

Chicken pot pieIf there’s one thing that I’ve been intimated to make, it would be homemade pie crust. I’ve tried it once before, food processor and all, and it was tough. It was nothing like the flaky, buttery crusts I’ve had before. It was gross. It was an overall failure. I can’t remember exactly when that happened, but it had scarred me for life.

Until now.

With a hearty chicken and ham pot pie on the menu, I was determined to make the perfect pie crust.

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Cold noodles on a cold day…why not?

ZarusobaI know it may seem kind of odd to be eating a cold noodle dish in the dead of winter. But hey, it’s something new and I’ve got the ingredients on hand so why not?

Enter, zaru soba.

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GindaraMiso-marinated black cod. Also known as THE BEST DISH THE JAPANESE HAVE EVER INVENTED. EVER. This is seriously my “must have” dish at Hapa Izakaya or Guu. But now that I know to make it, I might not ever order it again!!! Muahaha… And because I’m nice and generous, I’ll share the recipe with you.

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Avocado…in dessert?

Avocado pieI really don’t know why avocados are so commonly seen as more of a savoury type of ingredient. It is very neutral in flavour and so rich in nutrients, Vitamin E, and high in fatty acids yet, it is always associated with salty food. You can thank guacamole for that.

I grew up with avocados. As a child, the only way I would eat them was the way my mom taught me – roughly cut up with a spoon with milk and brown sugar – kind of like oatmeal or a really chunky avocado soup or something. It was so good. But I outgrew the texture of the “soup-like” concoction and started blending them into smoothies and into my favourite pie — avocado pie.

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