Saturday, November 27, 2010

lobster fest

A happy memory, this.

There are a few weeks every year when fresh B.C. spot prawns are at their best. Seeing them dance around the tank, we also felt the urge to pick up a few lobsters, a Dungeness crab and some cold, cold beer. A few phone calls to some hungry friends and a giant pot of boiling water later, and the feast was on.

everyone in the pool

Everyone in the pool! We kept it all super simple, since everything was so fresh and (until very recently) lively.

The pile starts...

sauce and things

We threw together some quick sauces too - soy chili, lemon butter, a green onion-coriander-ginger concoction, lemon slices and of course, tabasco.

one done, one to go


D gets to work cracking those shells...

b.c. spot prawns

And we're ready to dig in. (Bibs optional!)

digging in

finger food

There's nothing quite like a good eat on! That, and a group nap afterwards.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

today, i...

...laughed out loud this morning when I saw my sock-shoes from the night before.



Doodled for a bit, headed to work.


Had a buttery good meal. (I like it when D makes eggs.)


Stopped for a bit to admire how shockingly bright the peas were.


Saw pasta being rolled...


...and made into these fat pillows.


Snacked on a bit of radish,


and wondered what kind of salad was on the mozzarella tubs.


Plated some pumpkin pies.


Home again. We had grilled cheese sandwiches, and D attacked some Nazi zombies on Call of Duty...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

things to do on a rainy day #2

Some afternoons just call out for making soup.


Today in particular, with its gusty winds and plain grey sky, demanded cabbage.


(Simmered with a good amount of fatty pork, from this recipe.)


Speaking of, how sweet are these fellas? A birthday gift from my aunt.


The pot simmers away. Take the pooch out for a walk.


Letters and numbers.


Surprise! A package awaits.



Thank you, P. You sure do know how to spoil me!


A few minutes more, and ready to tuck in.


(It's not the prettiest thing, but it sure was delicious.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

"the usual"





It's nice to have your regular spots...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

remembering what's good

Sometimes, it's not about the new or the flashy. Recently, it took us a (lucky) series of events to remind us just how good the simple is.

We've long frequented the popular Mother's Dumpling, following it after its move from its first smaller home. Even though I want to love the new location, so badly I do, but sadly the growing pains are clear...bigger isn't always better. (Hopefully things will be smoothed out soon. Even so, I will always have a soft spot for their Juicy Pork Buns. Damn, they are tasty.)

It was late, we were unusually indecisive, and we were getting hungry. Mother's was closing so we kept walking down Spadina. We were almost at Dundas before stopping to turn around:

"Hey, the Dumpling House is open. We haven't been there in ages."

"Um, yeah, that's cause it's old and yucky."

reading the menu

Ok, so I might have said that. I was pretty cranky at this point, and it's sort of true. Even though I'd often check out the cool looking prep area by the front window, I had obviously written off the functional, spare, slightly run-down nature of the space, preferring it to its flashier neighbour up the street. Oh, shame on me!

Because you know what? The dumplings at this house are seriously amazing.

a little hot and sour soup to start

The dough is slippery-but-with-a-little-chew, and the fillings taste simply of what they should be. The boiled pork and salted cabbage dumplings are completely addictive.

boiled pork and salted cabbage dumplings

Fried pork and chive dumplings. Love that crispy lace.

I could also eat these every day. Love that the skin is a touch thinner on them, so that they're a bit more delicate and nicer to eat with that crispy fried bottom layer.

Another awesome thing...the fried dumplings are left open on the ends to let the steam out.

Simple. Great. Tasty goodness. We'll definitely be back again soon.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Have you ever had that feeling of instant connection to a cookbook? There's that eye blinking series of moments where you flip through the first few pages (and if you're liking what you see, perhaps you slightly push out your lower lip while nodding at the pictures), and yes indeed you proceed to zoom in to actually start reading the recipes...

And if you're lucky, once in a while you'll truly enjoy the author's banter - personally I like a mix of casual storytelling, with a bit of hows and whys thrown in (but not too educational, if you know what I mean). Most important of all, however, is that somehow this new personality that you've just met, guided along with mouthwatering pictures - friendly and real, rather than too obviously "touched"- makes you want to cook. And eat.


This, dear friends, is something I would like to share with you. Because the lovely M, from my favourite store in the world (good egg. love it!) was kind enough to share it with me, knowing that I'd get a kick out of it. And some great new dishes too...

This was one of the first pictures that drew me in. Isn't it just amazing? Ravioli with Lemon, Chilli and Goat's Cheese.

Ottolenghi (named after its founder, Yotam) is an incredibly popular restaurant/take away shop with several locations around London. I've seen the gorgeous displays of prepared salads and baked goods - unfortunately not in real life, yet! - and can say that the generous spirit and simplicity in which everything is prepared is so welcoming, and very much up my alley. (Would Toronto be open to having an Ottolenghi-style spot? With self serve platters and communal tables? I wonder...)

Plenty is Yotam's second book, and has the quiet distinction of happening to also be vegetarian. As I am most definitely not a vegetarian (and neither is the author, who often suggest fish or meat dishes to complement some of the side recipes), it's inspiring and refreshing to be reminded of just how fantastic cooking with (um, not meat?) obviously good-for-you ingredients can be.

The chilli in this recipe is a Turkish spice mix called kirmizi biber. Wouldn't this be great for brunch? With a great big pile of buttered toast....

There's something about the English sensibility to putting flavours together that I find so intriguing. Infuse that with the spices and flavours of Yotam's Israeli background, and you'll find yourself thinking about eggplants, saffron, cumin and tahini in a whole new way...


Here's another few that I can't wait to try out. I do love a good lentil salad. You'll also see some nice black mission figs in the market these days, and I like the idea of using pomegranate molasses in the dressing to draw out their sweetness...


Yes, it's definitely time to do a spot of shopping and then some cooking. (I think that's a good sign that you and your new favourite cookbook are going to be great friends!) Hope you have a chance to check it out. Until next time!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

mother's sandwich shop


I'm happy that this sign is still up, even though the shop itself is long gone. I feel like I would have really liked the sandwiches there.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

greedy little lunch



rillet, crackers, pickles.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

things to do on a rainy day

happy yellow necklace
making happy yellow necklaces to brighten up the gloomy outside....

happy yellow necklace

glass, wood, pyrite

comfort food #6

Speaking of cheeseburgers...

shake shack

I'm enough of a nerd to spend my time googling the words "shake" and "shack" (having never been, so sad, oh so sad) to get this little bugger to be just so.

Deee. Lish. Ooousss. And addictive as hell!

Firstly, a small, handheld size is best. No commitment, just instantaneous love. Nice, freshly ground beef (I seasoned mine with just a few shakes of worchestershire and s & p).

You gotta make conservative little pucks of meat, which you then proceed to sear over incredibly high heat. And as you do, it's all about the forceful SQUISH-ing down of your patty with the flipper. It's all about the crust, believe me! And maybe a squirt of fake yellow mustard right on top as its cooking. (It's like Animal Style+ Shackburger = extra goodness).

A soft bun - lightly toasted - is key. All the better to soak up the thousand island, er, secret sauce. (That's mayo, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, and a touch of mustard. Yes, I watch the Triple D religiously as well.) As the patty finishes up cooking, lay on a slice of melty processed cheese and cover to let it finish steam/melt. Please, please, don't feel the need to be fancy and slap on "real" cheese...I promise that once you believe in the power of good ol' American cheese (Kraft Singles around these parts), you will be a convert for life.

A few pickles, iceberg, a slice of tomato (s&p of course), and you're good to go.

We had ours with a cold root beer. Highly recommended!

Monday, September 27, 2010

lean and mean

And oh so clean.

At least, that's how I felt after knocking back this awesome plate D put together. Yes, I am one very lucky gal. It's almost worth overdoing it on greasy cheeseburgers - for, ahem, example - to crave something fresh and crisp for a change. Veggies and fruit, who knew?

cucumbers, orange, grapefruit, avocado, shallots in lime juice...

white bass marinating in lemon and lime juice, yeah!


Dinner is served! Coriander, basil, radish and a touch of olive oil to top it all off.