Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Chinese Breakfast

Hmmm... I was just waking up from a wonderful nights sleep (don't get too many of those :P) and I thought I might whip up something for breakfast. I settled on Chee Cheong Fun, my younger sister adores the stuff... unfortunately most pre-packaged Chee Cheong Fun has shrimp as a main ingredient (and since my sis is allergic to shellfish, she rarely gets to eat it :( unless it's plain... which isn't fun at all). I followed the recipe from kuali.com but had to search around the internet for a fool-proof method for preparing this dish. It seems like this recipe is one of the more tricky ones to prepare. I found an great step by step (with pictures too) set of instructions from lilyng2000.blogspot.com. So since my sister is allergic to prawn I decided to use shredded chinese mushroom, ground pork and finely-diced lap cheong as my Chee Cheong Fun add-ins.
My dad had also purchased some Yao Char Kuey, and I used it to make one of my favorite Yum Cha dishes... Yao Char Kueh wrapped in Rice Paper.

My parents quite enjoyed both of my breakfast dishes. Mom was very impressed that I could make Chee Cheong Fun, and so was I :P My sister appreciated the effort I put into making her the Cheong Fun without shrimp, and she gobble it down. I enjoyed mine with some good old hoisin sauce and sesame seeds. Mom and dad like their's with soy sauce, sesame seeds, sambal olek and sesame oil. My sis just likes it plain, with maybe a little bit of hoisin. Whatever way you eat this dish, it's delicious... believe me!

Jackie's B-day Outing!

I know, I've already posted a ton of stuff about Jacqueline's Birthday... but hey, it only happens once a year. This time around we set out as the entire family to dine at our favourite family eatery... the Old Spaghetti Factory.

Again, I failed to take photos of the food... I'm not sure what's wrong with me, it just seems like everytime I dine there I only remember to take pictures of the bread and salad *grrrr* I'm hope I'm not losing my shutter-bug touch. Anywho... I ordered the Chef's Special (which is basically a choice of two sauces ontop of spaghetti, I chose the clam sauce and spicy meat sauce), Janessa had her usual (Cheese-filled Tortellini), Mom enjoyed Seafood Fettucini, Dad had his Veal Parmigiana, and the Birthday-girl had the House Lasagna.

We just love lounging about in the Lobby area... that stained-glass window and our family go way back :P

All-in-all, it was an enjoyable night out... and after the dinner we all had a good laugh watching the Simpson's Movie (I shall add a movie review when I get a chance, but right now I'm kind of back logged in the blogging department)!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bubble World

Rating **** out of *****
Okay, so this is basically another post about my sister's 12th birthday. Seems like we do a lot of celebrating within this family of five, doesn't it? Well, the movie thing is considered the "family celebration"... but I decided to treat Jacqueline to a fun outing with just Janessa and I, no parentals involved! Boy was she excited. It was probably the first time we'd ever gone out for a meal without mom and dad around (to monitor what we ordered :P). I decided to take my sisters to the Bubble World in Surrey, they'd never been and were very intrigued...

Jacqueline: "Cool"
Janessa: "They serve food and bubble tea? Amazing!"
Me: "Yup!" *drool*

Janessa settled on the rice noodle bowl... it was only $4.95 and as big as my face!!! She couldn't finish the whole thing (even with our help :P) so we packed half of it to go! P.S. it was really tastey

Jacqueline wanted to try out their Curry-yaki Udon. It was also a very large portion, and not too spicy. $6.95

Can't go to Bubble World without buying a milk tea. Since Jacqueline isn't too fond of milk tea, Janessa and I shared a banana one. It was only so-so, tasted like a banana smoothie... I could probably make it at home. $4.25 (pretty pricey for a drink... I think it's more expensive if you dine in, than if you take out)

I think these gyoza were the highlight of the meal, for my sisters anyways. They devoured these deliciously crisp and juicy pockets of pork + veggies like wild dogs :P $4.95 for eight, which ain't bad (pardon the pun)

I couldn't figure out what I wanted until the very last minute. Their menu has such a variety of dishes and flavours for quite reasonable prices. Eventually I settled on the Satay Lamb lunch set...

Which came with a beansprout salad...

Braised tofu...

And of course, the satay lamb. I had never tasted lamb before, and though it slightly reminded me of salted fish (you know, the one that smells like stinky feet). It had a very intense, yet addictive flavour and the satay sauce was very rich. For only $6.95, and coming with a bowl of rice as well, I thought that my dish was the best deal of the day.

But who cares about deals? It's Jackie's Birthday!!! Hope you had a great time with your sisters, can't wait to do it again next year...


In honor of the Simpsons Movie, which I am going to see tomorrow as a birthday event for my little sister, I decided to make donuts. I know that yeast and I have not been on the best of terms (until my naan bread revelation) so I searched the internet for a recipe that didn't use any. It was a bit of a challenge, but I think I made the right choice in the recipe I found at allrecipes.com. Albeit, they don't taste like true donuts (since they're oven baked... I just can't stand the sight of deep frying food... I see enough of it at work "thank you very much" XP) but they are extremely tastey in their own way. They taste kinda like a giant cinnamon cookie, and have a great chewy texture to them. Cover them in chocolate and sprinkles, or roll them in cinnamon sugar and they are even better!

Happy Birthday L'il Sis :D

I didn't make this beauty... it's courtesy of DQ, we love their ice cream cakes.

Yay! You're turning 12... getting on the old side :P Jkjk. Well, it was actually my sister's birthday yesterday, but I was working really late that day so we couldn't celebrate as a family :( So today, my mom bought a cake and I made a really cute cake for my awesome sis. At first I wasn't sure what to prepare; seeing as how was working everyday prior to her celebration, it would have to be something quick and simple. So I decided on a chocolate cheesecake... she loves chocolate and cheesecake too, so what better thing to give her? She also loves blueberries, so I decorated the cake with some fresh blueberries and strawberries... it gave this simple cake quite an elegant flare. I got the recipe from the philadelphia cream cheese website and the only alteration I made to the recipe was to divide all the ingredients by two, so that the cheesecake would fit into my cute 6-inch spring-form pan. I also prepared my own chocolate-crumb crust, using six (crushed) chocolate chunk cookies + 1 tbsp of butter.

The 6-inch mini chocolate cheesecake I prepared...

Topping a regular old cheesecake with my sisters favorite fruits gave this treat a beautiful finishing touch.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Beef Rendang

I choose to make Rendang for supper because I had a bulk of the ingredients on hand at the time. All I really needed to buy was the beef and galangal. It was actually quite difficult to find the galangal. I went to T&T but was unable to find it in the produce section, so I ventured into the dried/preserved vegetable aisle. I found a package of dried galangal for only $0.79! Not too shabby... and all I needed to do was soak the slices for 1 1/2 hours and I would have "almost-fresh" galangal.

You would not believe how many variations of Rendand they have posted on the internet. I know, I know, you're probably saying, "Then why use an internet recipe anyways?" I don't really know, but I'm sure that my laze factors into the equation somehow! That and I don't have a recipe for Rendang in any of my cookbooks.

I finally settled on the recipe from foodsafari.com and the only change I made was to double it. You know what probably sold me to this recipe? The fact that there's a "how to" video for this recipe! I love watching cooking shows... and when they're making things that I have all the ingredients for, it's the best :)

Looking at the Rendang I was thinking of a way to improve the presentation of my meal. I spent so much effort making it, and I didn't want to just slap it onto a bowl of rice and serve... that would not be worthy of my masterpiece. I had always wanted to make Nasi Lemak, and so that's what I decided to present my Rendang as.

"Nasi-Lemak" with Rendang

- Pickle some onions and cucumbers in a mixture of vinegar, salt and sugar (to taste)
- Hard-boil 2 eggs (or more if you like), quarter them and place two on each plate
- Mould some steamed rice in a bowl and place one mound on each plate
- Top rice with some pre-made ikan bilis
- Finally, just before serving, spoon the rendang onto each plate.

My parents were quite impressed with the full flavour of the Rendang. It tasted way better than the packaged stuff and the spice was extremely intense. Even my mom, who's use to eating spicy foods found my Rendang to be very hot.

Picnicing Fun at Buntzen Lake!

Well, this time around my family went out for a real outdoor picnic (unlike the backyard one me and my sisters had a couple weeks ago :P). We met up with some church friends and prepared for a lovely time outdoors. Buntzen Lake was fun, although it could have been warmer... perhaps then I would have ventured into the frigid water. But, I was content to sit on the pier and watch the little kids fish and dip my toes in the cool lake. We played some card games, ran around on the beach and of course... ate!

Playing Uno! The best card-game in the world!

My contribution to the picnic was a Marbled Matcha Loaf and some Marbled Mini Matcha Cupcakes. I used the same old matcha cake recipe from matchasource.com but instead of adding green tea powder to all the batter, I added it only to 1/2 the batter. I then proceeded to add some vanilla extract to the "white" batter and then marbled the cakes as usual. I planned on making all of the batter into mini-cupcakes, but I only had one mini-muffin pan and making all the batter 12 cupcakes at a time was going to be tedious. I gave up and just made a loaf :P

Another lady from the church made these beautiful konnyaku jellies in the shape of koi. The taste was amazing, I must attempt this recipe sometime soon. But first I must buy some konnyaku!

The picnic was a success! If you take a close look at the first picture in this post, you'll see a KFC bucket of chicken :P Yup, I just can't escape the colonel and his deep-fried poultry. Well, since my boss goes to my church it was inevitable that he would bring his beloved chicken. I actually overheard another picnic-ing group talking about the chicken, they joked about coming over to join us and have some of the "Summer Picnic Meal". We were about ready to go home around 8:45pm since the park closed at 9pm, but the rain beat us to the punch. At first when it started to drizzle, we thought it was just the boys playing with their water-guns and spraying us... but then we realized that the down-pour was increasing. We grabbed our gear and made our way back to the cars as quickly as possible. Even with the rain, I must say I had a great time at the Lake.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's for Breakie?

First off, you may be asking yourself, "What is that purple thing on her plate?" Well, it just so happens that the purple thing is my quick and easy breakfast. It seems like I'm getting into the "quick & easy" business, but don't worry... (I'm still my ol' baking & cooking self) I just love rice dumplings. Savoury or sweet I'll eat them all!!! Muahahaha... they're so yummy, gooey and simple to cook up. You buy them frozen, and whenever you want to eat one just pop it into your steamer for 15 minutes and you have an instant meal. This one is made with glutinous and red rice, filled with sweet adzuki bean paste... super delicious when sprinkled with sugar!

Lunch-time Delight: Chicken Fajitas

I was feeling super lazy for lunch today! What to do, what to do? I have been working 6 days a week at KFC and closing each night means that I have tons of chicken to bring home! You may think that I am a chicken-lover (which I am), but after a while you grow weary of the Kentucky Fried variety. I wanted to use up some of my KFC chicken but was unsure of what to do. Then I remembered that I had a whole bag of peppers to use up, and a bunch of mini-tortillas... that means "Fajitas Time"! I went out to Save-on-Foods and bought the Taco Time brand Chicken Fajitas seasoning, and voila... instantly delicious and semi-healthy lunch! My sisters weren't too keen on the veggies, but they pounced on the chicken. Yeah! This was actually the first time my sisters had ever eaten Fajitas. (They've only ever had burritos with their tortillas, but I'm trying to ween them off beef :P)

Dim Sum in Vancouver

Rating: ** out of *****
Last weekend my family went out for yum cha, but instead of driving all the way to Richmond we decided to try out this place in Vancouver. We went there right after church (12pm) and had to wait 15 minutes for a table (not too bad, considering we were there at peak time). The restaurant was very crowded and it seemed as if they squeezed as many tables as they could into the restaurant while giving minimal space for the push-carts to move. I had my chair hit a couple of times by the food-carts, but I didn't mind... the smell of the food distracted me :P

The food they wheeled around on the push-carts was well varied. They had noodles and many different types of baos, dumplings and vegetable dishes.

Braised Beef Tripe, I didn't find it flavourful enough. I thought it needed more ginger.

Deep-fried Shrimp + Chive Dumplings, I quite liked these. They were stuffed with lots of shrimp, and the crunchy wrapper was nice and light.

Almost like Har Gow, but the skin was a bit thicker. These were pretty good too!

My sisters called for the chicken wings... nothing to rave about.

I really enjoyed the stuffed eggplant, they're larger than the ones at Neptune and have more spice to them.

The water chestnut cake was my favourite dish. It was sweet, soft and chewy.

Their mango pudding was just okay, my mom makes a nicer one.

My sister loved the mai lai koh. The push-cart carrying this cake had a giant bamboo steamer (probably 18-inches in diameter) holding that 18-inch cake!

Although the food was fair, the service was very poor. Albeit, the restaurant was very busy at the time (never go around noon, unless you want to wait long to be seated) but they still need to work on their customer service. This one lady in particular must've been having a crappy day, or something. When we asked her for some chili sauce, she begrudgingly gave us one tiny dish. We then asked her for a second one (because one was for sure not enought for the 5 of us) and she gave us one more, but with a frustrated face. After about 3 dishes, we ran out of chili (yes, my family is renouned for our chili using abilities) so we asked for some more chili. The closest server to our table was, unluckily, the same lady who gave us chili the first time. My mom held out the dish, and the lady walked right past her! When my mom asked again, the lady grabbed her chili bottle and angrily squirted my mom's dish and then quickly stormed away.

It wasn't just the server that made the atmosphere tense, but the whole restaurant seemed to be in a "rushed" mode. The push-carts were being wheeled around like race cars, and the servers were talking so quickly you could barely make out what they were asking. It was as if they wanted you to eat-and-leave ASAP. It was a bit more expensive than Neptune. We were lured to East No. 1 because of it's sign, "Dim sum for $2.00 everyday until 3pm". But when we got the bill, the only dish that was $2.00 was the mango pudding! The false advertising was quite disappointing. Being that this place was more expensive than Neptune, and the service was much, much worse, I do not think we will be returning to East No. 1 in the future.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Way Past Mooncake Season

... but oh well, who cares? The reason I'm making mooncakes now is because I didn't have the moulds to make them before. These moulds are ridiculously difficult to find here in BC. So difficult in fact, that I was planning on ordering some from China or through eBay... but thank goodness for Ming Wo!! Yup, I was browsing around the local mall because there was a sidewalk sale going on... funny thing is that I didn't even buy any sidewalk sale items. I perused the sale goods and then for the heck of it decided to enter the store. I didn't expect to find anything new (since I go into that store quite often) but to my surprise, sitting in a ceramic display bowl were about 6 of these beautiful Mooncake moulds. I was ready to buy them... no matter the price. Amazingly they were only $2.65 each! What a steal, considering it costs $5 online plus shipping and handling... what a rip! I bought the 2 designs and was on my way home to cook up some mooncakes.
I found my recipes from kuali.com, a great website for Malaysian cuisine. There were so many variations on mooncakes, it was hard for me to choose. I literally sat at the computer (trying to find the perfect mooncake recipe) for 2 hrs... kind of obsessive, but hey that's me! I settled on a chocolate-skin mooncake with durian flavoured bean filling.

Durian Flavoured Bean Filling


- 1 1/2 cups white beans (I used black-eyed pease), soaked for 3 hrs

- 2 tsp durian paste

- 1/4 cup sugar

- 1 tsp oil


1. Drain the beans and place in a pot of boiling water. Boil for 1-2 hrs, or until the beans are soft enough to mash.

2. Strain the beans and place in a wok, use a potato masher or fork to mash the beans into a paste. Add in the durian paste and sugar.

3. Add oil to the wok and fry the bean paste on medium heat for about 2 minutes.

4. Remove paste from wok and allow to cool. Once able to be handled, use filling as directed in mooncake recipe.

My youngest sister was turned off the mooncakes because of the durian, but my other sister found it tasty. My mom isn't particularly found of mooncake, but my dad liked them alot! Personally, I found these mooncakes okay, they weren't awesome (the best ones are with the egg yolk inside) but they weren't bad. I also had some left-over so I brought them to work. My co-workers were intrigued by the durian flavour... some liked it, and some didn't. I chose this recipe because I'd never had a chocolate mooncake before and was also craving some durian flavour. Durian has been freakishly expensive lately, but when it's on sale I will have to buy one... maybe two, who knows. Next time I might try an agar-agar mooncake or a ping-pie (snow-skin) moooncake.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Kwik-E-Mart in Coquitlam

I've been anticipating the release of the "Simpsons Movie" and it comes out the same day as my sister's birthday, so maybe it'll be her little birthday treat since she loves the Simpsons too. But until watching the news the other night I was unaware that Canada's own Coquitlam 7-eleven had transformed itself into the Kwik-E-Mart. For those of you who are not familiar with the Simpsons, the Kwik-E-Mart is the local corner store owned by the lovable Apu. I was so excited to visit the store and was impressed that of all the 7-elevens in Canada, the one in Coquitlam had the honor of becoming the Kwik-E-Mart... if I were to guess, I would have thought they'd make it in Toronto or something. But no, they've chosen beautiful British Columbia.

Hey! How did Bart and Millhouse get up there?

Most of the good stuff was gone by the time we arrived. I guess we shouldn't have put off going to the store until so late, seeing as it opened at the beginning of July... but who knew that the Simpsons were so popular :P

We did manage to grab ourselves some refreshing Squishees though. I decided to try out the new Blue Wohoo Vanilla. It was actually pretty good. It tasted almost like a vanilla sherbert, and the best part is that it gives your tongue a dashing blue hue.

Seemed like a very busy day for the Kwik-E-Mart. I had to hang out with Marge and Comic-book Guy while drinking my Squishee... jkjk I just wanted a picture with these two :P

Hey Ralph! Where's your dad?

There he is! Chief Wiggum and his beloved donut... I want one!

And a donut I shall get. Heck! Why not make it 2?

Apu's watching you... remember, "A mounds bar is not a sprinkle. A Twizzler is not a sprinkle. A jolly rancher is not a sprinkle sir. Perhaps in Shangri-la they are, but not here!” ~ Apu

Hehehe... I want one of those Kwik-E-Mart bowling shirts, they're ever so stylish!

Oh, Apu... such smart marketing strategy. Blatantly rip off the customer so that they don't think they're being ripped off!

Over all the trip was fun. Although they didn't have Krusty-O's (which I really wanted to try), Buzz Cola, the collectable cups/straws, the Radioactive Man comic or practically anything I did enjoy myself. Whoever came up with this marketing ploy (probably not Apu) was a genius... I just wish that they would have anticipated the excitement that this promotion would create and stocked up on more of the Simpsons merchandise. I asked around and it seems that they're not getting anymore shipments in anytime soon... which is a bummer, but don't worry the 7-eleven in Coquitlam is not the only one that sells the Simpsons merch. I decided to stake out the 7-eleven in Cloverdale and I managed to grab the 5 collectable cups and a 6-pack of Buzz Cola. Sadly, I am still in search of Krusty-O's... I hear that they'r just like Fruit Loops but 10 times more artificial. So maybe it's a good thing I didn't find it :P

I am definitely going to go see the movie on JULY 27TH!!! It's gonna be great... hopefully I'll get to watch it on the IMAX screen *crosses-fingers*. I should probably buy my tickets soon!