Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekday Dinners: Moules Mariniere, Chickpea Frites, and Dukkah!

We love our freezer. It holds such goodies like black cod, back ribs, homemade spring rolls, and on this particular occasion, frozen New Zealand mussels!

I know that fresh mussels are always better, but M and I are usually too busy on the weekdays to shop for an assortment of food other than fresh vegetables or such, so this was handy to have around.

I also had been looking for an excuse to prepare Sara's Chickpea Fries. What else goes with mussels? Fries of course!

I had prepared the mixture for the chickpea fries ahead of time, and fried them prior to preparing the mussels.

For the mussels, I simply sauteed shallots and garlic in a pan, deglaised with white wine, deglaised with a small amount of seafood stock, added the thawed mussels and some diced bell pepper, covered with a lid, and allowed to cook for another 3-5 minutes. I then removed from the heat, stired to bring up all the juices and cooking liquid, garnished with chopped parsley, and plated.

The cooking rich liquid was later added to a seafood soup. Yum!

The dukkah recipe I used was from Allrecipes. It actually tasted a little bland the first day, but after storing in a jar in the fridge for a day, the flavours developed and tasted really good with leftover chickpea fries, in meatballs, and on tortilla chips dipped in a little bit of olive oil!

Photos can be found at my flickr photo set.

Related Sources:
Allrecipes Dukkah Recipe.
Sara's Chickpea Fries.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Review: The Pear Tree (Burnaby, BC)

We celebrated Valentines Day a week later to avoid the hectic rush. Who wanted to run around town like crazy people for sub-standard service? Not us.

M took the reins this year and booked a reservation at The Pear Tree in Burnaby for a romantic night out. I've heard many good things about The Pear Tree, but I'd also heard stories of disappointment. Fortunately, our night was of the former instead of the latter.

The small menu is elegantly laid out, and the first page is a seasonal "fresh sheet" of a daily set menu. On the day we visited The Pear Tree, it consisted of tuna tataki with a chicory and cress salad, a main of pork belly, spot prawn rigatoni, celeriac puree, steamed veggies, and hon shimigi mushrooms. Guess what I ordered. :)

We started out with the scallop and risotto starter. The scallops were a little on the small side considering the price tag, but the dish was delicious! M commented that he loved the way the risotto tasted and the creamy texture. Although the dish was fragrant and smooth from the addition of cheese, the grains of the arborio rice were still distinctly (and pleasantly!) noticeable.

As you might have guessed, I ordered the Berkshire Pork Belly. It appeared to be braised in a pressure cooker and the thick ribbons of pork fat just melted in your mouth, typical to how Chinese "cou yuk" is braised until tender. I really loved the celeriac puree and the steamed vegetables - I just wished there were more! The spot prawn rigatoni had lots of flavour as well, and I loved how the chef kept the vegetables and the rigatoni "naked" as to balance out the richness of the pork belly.

M ordered the braised lamb shank, which was tender and and succulent. You could have literally eaten either of our meals with a spoon, the meat was just that tender. He was also extremely pleased to find that the same risotto accompanied his lamb shank. I had to agree - the risotto was a pleasant background to the meaty lamb. The staff also brought over a complimentary pea shoot and apple salad which went really well with the lamb shank.

For dessert, we had a choice between a chocolate ganache, creme brulee, a poached pear, cheese plate, or a lemon tart. Since M is not a dessert person, we shared a chocolate ganache, which was enough for both of us. It came with a streak of salted caramel and chocolate orange sorbet. The dessert portion was perfect, since the ganache was deliciously, sinfully rich. Although that was great on its own, I loved the canelle of orange-chocolate sorbet, which was garnished with candied orange peel.

We really enjoyed our dinner at The Pear Tree. The dining room is a little cozy, with a beautiful wine cabinet and pear tree art adorning the walls. Along with our bill, the maitre'd offered us bite-sized hazelnut macarons sandwiched together with a mascarpone filling. It was a great way to end the meal!

The Pear Tree
4120 East Hastings Street [map]
Burnaby BC
Reservations Strongly Recommended

Pear Tree on Urbanspoon

Photos can be found at my flickr photo set.

Industry Event: BCFT 2009 Suppliers Night

The annual BCFT (British Columbia Food Technologist) Suppliers Night was held at the Coast Hotel and Convention Center in Langley, BC this year.

Although the weather detered some, the event was a success with a number of students, consultants, suppliers, processors, and industry representatives present.

I attended a free seminar put on my Kerry Flavours & Ingredients where they presented several of their products, and allowed us to sample yogurts that had stevia added to them. It was a good presentation, and since we were sponsored by Kerry, we were allowed admission into suppliers night free!

I bumped into many old friends and colleagues and it was good to see old faces, and meet newer ones as well. It was also reassuring to see some of the suppliers still working for the same companies. The Ajimoto (sp?) guy was still permatanned, and friendly staff at Bakers International were still offering delicious baked goodies and their infamous serrated knives.

The Langley Coast Hotel & Convention Center prepared a nice spread of fresh veggies, sandwiches, and hot and cold hors d'oevres. My personal favourites were the zucchini sticks, the roast beef, and the vegetables samosas. Yum!

Near the end of the night, Peter Taylor of Cantest Labs Ltd. represented BCFT and drew attendees names for door prizes.

My former classmate, Ganga, was fortunate enough to have her name drawn by Peter. She won a garlic press, offered by Sensient flavours for the draw.

Of course, last but not least, let us get down to the good stuff: swag!

Apparently, good things come in twos - where I liked a sample or company product, I managed to get two... like the squishy chef cows from Butterbuds! My sister loves cows, so I picked one up for her...and one for myself. :) Other things I picked up, clockwise from the cows:

- a sample bag of infused dehydrated blueberries from the US Highbush Blueberry Council
- The Virginia Dare representative offered me some vanilla extract when I hopefully asked for a bag to carry some pamphlets, so, of course I grabbed a couple.
- two sample packes of honey roasted sunflower kernels from the National Sunflower Council
- a International Bakers Services serrated knife - perfect for camping and general use! I have one in my kitchen and someone can pry it from my cold dead hands if they want it because seems to last a lifetime.
- Sonic Rocks from Caravan Ingredients
- a bottle-shaped pad of post-its, a pen and a bag from a flavour company I hadn't heard of before, Abelei. They specialize in fruit, citrus and other flavours for beverage, confectionary, and seasoning companies, and have a new wasabi flavour out. The guy was nice, but unfortunately he was a little lonely, with two empty supplier tables on either side of him.

The prize for the coolest swag goes to Caravan Ingredients for their Sonic Rocks. Honestly, M tossed them around for a good fifteen minutes before I could wrangle them away from him (all the while he was proclaiming them "his") for a photo. They are strong shiny magnets that are oblong but with rounded edges. When you throw them in the air at each other, they make a neat squealing / whirring / buzzing sound. If you didn't manage to grab a pair of these, tough luck. Seems I've lost mine to M!

The *tastiest* swag of the night goes to Kerry Ingredients for their delicious chocolate covered cheesecake pop! I wished I had adhered to my "good thing comes in twos" (or fours, or tens) with this one. It was silky, creamy, and fragrant tasting. Now I understand the allure of the cheesecake pop!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Recipe: Chocolate Bread Pudding

When I purchased a birthday cake from Harvest Moon Bakery Boutique in Richmond for my sister last week, I also purchased a trio of "Chocolate Croissants" for a snack in the car. Unfortunately, they were nothing like the chocolate croissants I was expecting - I was expecting a luscious, sinful bar of chocolate rolled into the middle of the croissant like the Vancouver Croissant company does. (Note: Vancouver Croissant is an commercial bakery and not a retail one - you can purchase their delicious, fluffy croissants at retail bakeries like Uprising Breads on Venables. And if you do, buy a bag of their Ginger cookies too - they are SO GOOD!!!)

However, Harvest Moon Bakerys' chocolate croissant was disappointing. It was basically a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) croissant. There was only the (fake) chocolate topping on the outside to satiate my sweet tooth. Boo. (The Strawberry Napoleon birthday cake that I bought for my sister was delicious though! Everyone asked me where I had purchased it.)

So, I ate one croissant in the car on the way to the restaurant (I was famished!) and another croissant in the car on the way home one day (it was a busy week). Meanwhile, the last, final and lonely chocolate croissant sat on my kitchen island for couple days. M asked me what I was doing with it - "It's getting a little hard," he said, poking it.

When SNBM (SuperNice Boss Man) gave me a day off on Monday, I decided to make Chocolate Bread Pudding with the lonely little croissant! I developed this recipe when I worked for a food consultant a number of years ago.

Ingredients - Custard
2/3 cup half and half cream
2 squares bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 t butter, unsalted
1 t cocoa powder
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar

Method - Custard
In a medium heat-proof bowl, combine chocolate, butter, and cocoa powder.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the half and half over medium low heat until small bubbles start to form. Temper the chocolate by adding a couple spoonfuls of the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate, and mixing until the cream cools slightly and the chocolate melts. Add the remaining cream in a find stream, mixing the chocolate until the mixture is uniform.

In a small bowl, beat together egg and egg yolk. Add in sugar and beat quickly to incorporate.

Ensure that the cream mixture has cooled slightly, then beat in egg mixture. Cover with film and refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight to allow custard to thicken.

Ingredients - Bread
1/3 cup half and half cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 T cocoa powder
1-2 stale croissants, slices of broiche, challah, or other loose-grained pastry/bread, cut or sliced into rounds or ~1" dice

Method - Bread
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat and stir half and half cream, sugar, and cocoa powder over medium low heat until cream is just beginning to bubble, and sugar and cocoa have been incorporated.

Place croissants slices or bread cubes into a shallow dish. Pour hot cream mixture over the bread, and turn the bread so that the cream has a chance to be absorbed. Allow the cream to cool and the bread to soak while the oven preheats to 350ºF.

Method - Assembly
Prepare 3 ramekins in a round cake pan or other 2-4" deep vessel.

Spoon a layer of thickened custard into the bottom of each ramekin. Top with a layer of drained bread. Repeat the layers, ending with a spoonful (or three) of custard.

Bake in a bain marie for approximately 30-35 minutes, until the custard is cooked all the way through. Cool immediately in an ice bath.

Enjoy warm or cold!


Miss 604 has a Wine Fest Contest!

Rebecca at Miss 604 has two tickets ($60 value!) for the California Wine Fair coming up in March!

The California Wine Fair is presented by the Arts Club Theater, who brings Vancouver productions like Les Miserables, and the Altar Boyz.

Comment at her site with the answer to her question to win!

Bento of the Day: Meatballs & Chocolate Bread Pudding

I arrived home last night to find that M had made meatballs! Not just any meatballs, but giagantuan (sp?) meatballs the size of a small orange! ...ok, not quite that big but when I saw the huge suckers I was like, "whoa!"

They were so big and so many in number that I could only have two at dinner, and we packed some for lunch today.

Above we have a ramekin of chocolate bread pudding that I prepared on my honourary day off (bossman was supernice and gave me a day off for working a couple hours on the weekend - sweet!). We also have one and a half meatballs topped with a mushroom and corn gravy, on a bed of steamed rice. I also added some cucumber and avocado for a healthy veggie side.

Recipe for the bread pudding later!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I'm back. At least in mind!

Had a good week of "quiet time".

Also had a day off, a romantic dinner at the Pear Tree in Burnaby, and will be attending the annual BCFT (British Columbia Food Technologist) Suppliers Night tomorrow!

Have a great day and great week!

We all need a little break every now and then.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Be back in a couple.

Our cat passed away this weekend, and I'm just dealing with having an "empty" home as a result.

I miss Summer a lot, he was a great cat and just such a friendly guy. I regret not having the chance to say goodbye, but I know that he is having fun and chasing balls of yarn in kitty heaven with no vacuum cleaners, hair blow-dryers, or rustling plastic bags in sight.

Love you Sum Sum. I miss you all the time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Recipe: Ketchup Prawns

I am sincerely glad that M and I have such varied tastes. Indian, fusion, Chinese, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Afghan - we've had it and we love it all.

As I've said before, I just don't get people who don't like food. Even as a child, I loved food - my favourite foods included my mothers' pillowy soft water-steamed eggs mixed into steamed rice, and steamed broccoli and cauliflower. Yes! I was a four-year-old who loved broccoli!

Since we've been living together for a while, various family and friends have been pushing us to get married, with the ultimate result of having children. I am all for getting married, and I am all for having children, but logically, I realize that our current financial states might not allow us to do this soon.

On an irrational level, part of me fears that I'll have children that don't like food! Or rather, what if they don't like my food? Or even worse, what if they have some crazy food allergy that doesn't allow them to enjoy all the foods that we enjoy???! brain is like that.

I came across a Chopstick Recipe for Ketchup Prawns last night. Of course, I just *had* to make it. It conjured up memories of my mothers' ketchup prawns, with their sweet, vinegary and salty flavour - and after all, all kids like ketchup right?

Ahhh. day my kids will like ketchup prawns. My ketchup prawns.

2 T oil
5 slices ginger
1 green onion, cut into 2" sections
1 shallot, sliced
3 garlic cloves, smashed

~1/2 pound black tiger shrimp (I used 21/25 sized shrimp, thus I ended up with about 12 good-sized shrimp), peeled and deveined

2 T cooking wine
1/4 c water
3 T ketchup
1 T vinegar
1 t sugar
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste
1/4 t cornstarch

In a medium sized pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Saute ginger, garlic, shallot and onion until fragrant.

Add shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes. Flip over; deglaise with cooking wine. Allow to reduce slightly, then add water, ketchup, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir ingredients around in the pan until sauce thickens slightly and shrimp are cooked through (orange and no longer translucent). Dissolve 1/4 t of cornstarch in a teaspoon of water. Add to pan slowly, stirring until a thin glaze is formed.

Plate and serve.

I liked this, simply because it was kind of a nostalgic recipe. Although, if I were to do it over again, I'd make it more "adult" and add some piri-piri or Sambal Oolek hot sauce! (I'm kind of on a spicy sauce binge right now. Can you tell? :) I would also take out some of the sugar as I found it slightly sweet for my tastes (although I'm sure kids would LOVE the sugar), and I would also decrease the amount of water and cornstarch solution that I used. I'm just not a huge fan of cornstarch.

But. There you go. Nostalgic food.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review: Seri Malaysia (Hastings-Sunrise, Vancouver, BC)

Yes, I know this is a little late.

We had Seri Malaysia in the summer time, but that was simply take out - we enjoyed showing MB our "new" apartment and exposing him to some new experiences (the boy is super-sheltered and had *never* been inside a Chinese grocer. Wtf?! And he’s lived in the Greater Vancouver area for most of his life!)

So our first impression of Seri Malaysia (in the summer) was a definate hit; however, every weekend when we were in the area to grocery shop, we were dismayed to find that the restaurant was closed for the afternoon, or not open until the next day / later in the evening!

Seri Malaysia, a Malaysian restaurant in the Hastings Sunrise area of Vancouver, BC, Canada, makes a mean Beef Mee Goreng!

This weekend, we had the pleasure of actually eating in the restaurant. The decor is nothing too special, although there are some photographs and posters of Malaysia and some conical woven hats adorning the walls.

It appeared to be a two person show. There were two larger parties and two smaller ones finishing up their meals when we entered the establishment; they seemed to have enjoyed their meals and had food leftover to take home. Service to some could be a little faster, but we enjoyed how it was laid back, Malaysian style.

We ordered Beef Mee Goreng, and Quey Toew Rendang with Seafood, as well as the Beef Rendang for take out. We requested that the dishes be made to medium spiciness.

Both dishes were delicious, generous in portion, and each were garnished liberally with a shower of fried onions / shallots. These were tasty, and added to the complexity of each dish. Both M and I remarked that the portions were almost two to three times the size you get at other "Malaysian" restaurants in the Vancouver area, but at the same price!

Seri Malaysia, a Malaysian restaurant in the Hastings Sunrise area of Vancouver, BC, Canada, makes a delicious Char Quay Teow

We really appreciated the great flavour and the larger portions. Like I told M, "the bad part about Malaysian food, if there is a bad one, is that you can't stop eating it!" It was just so good!

Our bill came to less than $30 for three dishes (we had take out), and we tipped more than our usual amount - we want to come back to enjoy more meals!

We do plan on making Seri Malaysia part of our regular restaurant circuit, and we have recommended the restaurant to others.

Seri Malaysia

2327 East Hastings Street

Vancouver BC

Tel: 604-677-7555

Seri Malaysia on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Yummy, Dinner!

We went to Seri Malaysia and had a delicious lunch on the weekend. And, you know. Some goodies to go. (Malaysian food is SOOOOO good!)

From left to right, we have some steamed rice (M insists on making it - he made it a little soggy that night), beef rendang (and such a great deal! $11.50 for a large portion of meat stewed in delicious spices), and pepper sprouts (they were 99 cents for a large bag at Donald's Market, across the street from Seri Malaysia).

I sauteed the sprouts in a little bit of oil and half of a shallot, sliced. I also added some salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Recipe: Braised Tofu with Mushrooms and Carrots

I had a conversation with M this weekend about being given the choice to give up vegetables or to give up meat. For me, I could cut out meat. For him, it was the opposite.

Before I moved in with him, I would have primarily meat (usually chicken) once a week for lunch; for dinner, I'd have lots of vegetables with small amounts of meat. Now, I eat meat everyday. Sometimes I have it for breakfast as well! Now, I like meat, but I love vegetables as well. Sometimes I actually crave certain vegetables.

It must have crept into my subconcious, as we went grocery shopping yesterday and I decided to make braised tofu with roast pork - however, when we were done dinner, I put some leftovers away and said, "what's that in the corner? Oh! I totally forgot to add the roast pork!" And I (I can only speak for myself) didn't even miss it.

Thus, we have a recipe for Braised Tofu with Mushrooms and Carrots. :)

This recipe was inspired by Kylie Kwong's Food TV show, "My China". Her dish was Braised Tofu with Tomatoes - I actually didn't feel like having tomatoes, so mushrooms and carrots would suffice.

1/4 c canola oil
1 package (350g) firm tofu, cut into 3/4" slices (I used Sunrise brand)
~1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1" of ginger, sliced
1/2 carrot, sliced

3 T Chinese cooking wine
1 T sugar
1/2 t dried red chilis (or to taste)
1-2 T soy sauce
2 T white vinegar
Green onion, sliced, for garnish

In a large pan, heat canola oil at medium heat.

Drop in slices of tofu away from you, and allow the slices to brown slightly. Flip over with tongs and allow to brown. Remove tofu from pan.

Saute ginger until fragrant. Add mushrooms and carrot and saute until mushrooms are soft. Add cooking wine to pan and stir. Allow to evaporate for about a minute before adding sugar, chilis, soy sauce and vinegar. Make some space for the tofu; add the tofu into the pan and baste with the pan juices. Allow to braise and heat through until sauce has reduced by half.

Plate, garnish with green onions, and enjoy with steamed rice!

I found the tofu nice and "pickle-y". The leftovers were nice for lunch as you could taste the spiciness of the chilis, and the sweet / sour / saltiness of everything else. Num!

If I would change anything, it would be to change to a medium tofu. Although the firm tofu was nice, it was a little too chewy for this dish. Still, a healthy recipe keeper.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Review: La Casita in Gastown (Vancouver BC)

La Casita is a family run Mexican Restaurant meets sports bar meets "place to hang out on the weekends with the guys". The portions were substantial and being that we weren't quite satisfied with our dineout meal, we wandered into La Casita and were warmly greeted by the manager and waitstaff.

We were, admittedly, half-full, but it was the weekend and after flipping through their large menu, we decided to split combo #4, and two drinks that the waiter recommended, the Casita Sunrise. It was like a tequila sunrise, but with pineapple and orange juice, and (if I heard it correctly, 2 oz of tequila). Personally, I don't think it was two ounces of tequila, but it could have been the food that made me full, and not boozy.

Combo four came with two chorizo and mushroom quesadillas, a salad, and six hot wings. M really liked the quesadillas. He said that the flavour of the mushroom and chorizo really came through. I would like to note, and I appreciate that he tortillas were home-made. Home made tastes better!

I was actually getting a little full, and liked that the salad wasn't a plain green salad. It was a marinated slaw of sorts, and I love that they had fresh avocado garnishing the plate. The chicken wings were average, although I liked that there was extra hot sauce on the table for you to add as you pleased! Another bonus was that the food, although filling and rich, was not greasy. Finally, a Mexican restaurant that is not all about greasy fingers and shiny lips!

Service was great, considering that we had just come from a higher end restaurant with no service but almost triple the price tag!

We were really too full at this point but we finished the entire combo nonetheless. For under $30 and full bellies, we would love to visit La Casita again, perhaps to watch UFC? I was told that there was a larger group area downstairs, with karaoke and televisions!!

La Casita

101 Cordova Street [map]

Vancouver, BC

Phone: 604-646-2444

...I forgot to note that the bill came with a unique touch: the double bubble gums! haha! To freshen the breath, and for an after-dinner comic. :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chowtimes has an Invite for a Cocktail Night at Pearl Drops Teahouse!

Correction: I'm so s-m-r-t. I totally assumed that this was somewhere else without checking my facts. Pearl Drops Teahouse is on Willingdon near Hastings - read, near the Chevron gas station and across from the Safeway.

They are having a Free (virgin) Cocktail Night this Saturday, February 7th from 7pm to 10pm. There are more details at Chow Times including a map.

You do need to RSVP at

Pearl Drops Tea House

422 Willingdon Avenue

Burnaby BC

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Review: Dundarave Sushi

Me and M were in Dundarave killing some time before we ate mountains and mountains of pasta at his moms house.

We visited the consignment store, and a womens' boutique (M excused himself and went to the man / hardware / etc store nearby). Since we'd only had breakfast, and it was already late afternoon, we knew that we had to have something to eat.

sushi sashimi West Vancouver Dundarave Sushi Review restaurant tempura

Dundarave Sushi looked great - inexpensive, quick, and light. There was a great bargain advertised on the sandwich board outside. Two combos at only $6.95 each! Of course, being the piglets that we are, we ordered something else off the menu. For $13.95, we shared a combo that included miso soup, tuna, tai, and salmon sashimi, two pieces of california roll, tuna, salmon, ebi, tamago and kani sushis, a green salad, and side of tempura of generous proportions.

At first I was reluctant to agree to order the combo, but once the tray of food came, I was glad I ordered it.

sushi sashimi West Vancouver Dundarave Sushi Review restaurant tempura

The food was delicious and the fish was so fresh! I literally ate my first piece of tai sashimi and said to M, "the north shore is really the place to go for sushi."

I'm glad to have found Dundarave Sushi - it offers fresh sashimi and sushi at a great price. And to boot, it's across the street from one of the best yarn stores in town!

Dundarave Sushi

2459 Marine Drive [map]

West Vancouver, BC

Tel: (604) 922-5588
Dundarave Sushi on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 2, 2009

Recipe: (Almost) Banana Baumkuchen!

While we were antiquing on Main street a couple weeks ago, I pulled M into a small Filipino grocery store to explore and pick up some goodies. We wound up pestering the store lady (who was really nice and informative!) and chose a couple items to purchase and savour later. One of the bottles that I picked was none other than a tiny $2.39 / 25ml bottle of banana flavouring.

When I was a little girl, and throughout my teenage years, I had an aunt who would travel to Singapore every couple of years or so. Being Chinese, she wound up packing edible goodies for her family at home in Canada. One of those, I remember, was a fragrant banana-flavoured cake with layers and layers of millimeter-thin sheets. She'd tell us stories of how she had to stand for hours in line *just* to get a couple cakes for us, but it was worth it.

Years later, I thought I would try to replicate the cake. I wanted specific tools, like a retangular crepe pan. A foodie friend from BCIT would end up gifting me one - but, it didn't work. I tried making a "stacked crepe cake", but it was nothing like what I had tasted years before.

Finally, I came across a recipe for baumkuchen. What is baumkuchen, you ask? Baumkuchen is a German layered cake. Traditionally, it is made on a metal spit. The metal spit is heated up and a thin batter would be brushed on. The spit would be rotated to coat, and due to the heat of the spit, it would cook quickly. Another layer of batter would be deposited on the cooked batter and thus the thin layers were prepared.

My method created a rectangular cake with a sort of "souffled pancake batter". Although the batter did, in fact, souffle at times, the end result was something that I was visually happy with. The flavour, however, leaves something to be desired, but I'll experiment with it and come up with a suitable substitution. Recipe can be found below.

8-10 egg yolks (eight if you're using large eggs, 10 if you're using medium eggs)

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 banana flavouring (need to add more!)
1/2 vanilla extract

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt

8-10 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

Grease a 5" by 9" loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-coloured. Set aside.

In mixer bowl, beat together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in banana flavour and vanilla extract. Incorporate egg yolks until well combined.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form.

Fold egg whites into butter mixture until incorporated.

Heat broiler up to high, or 400ºF. Adjust oven racks so that loaf pan will be approximately 8-10 inches away from top heating element.

Pour / scrape about 1/3 cup of batter into pan. Gently spread with a spatula so that a thin layer of batter coats the bottom of the pan. Broil for 1-3 minutes until the batter is an even golden brown. Remove from oven and spoon 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter onto cooked layer. Broil again for 1-3 minutes until the batter is an even golden brown. Repeat process until all batter is used up.

Cool in pan ~10-15 minutes. Loosen from pan using a sharp knife; invert onto cooling rack. Trim the crisp edges from the cake; wrap and chill.

It is a somewhat arduous process, but the visual effects (and nostalgia for me!) are very beautiful.

I presented my aunt with a batch of baumkuchen yesterday. Even though the flavour wasn't exactly spot on, I hope she'd appreciate the effort!

Saturday Night at Ms Moms house

M has four siblings. One of his brothers has a daughter and a son; M's sister has one daughter and two sons. Ms mom also has a homestay, and his sister has two homestays. To say the least, when their family gets together, she creates a mountain of food! Behold, a mountain of pasta!

My camera died before I could take other photos, but there was also soy, ginger, and garlic-marinated chicken thighs, garlic toast, and sticky ribs (mmmmm!).

I think I want spaghetti again for dinner tonight. It was so good!
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