BBQ Master?

I must confess I have a BBQ duck addiction. Duck is my favourite meat, possibly, because I have no idea how to cook it and ruin the glorious restaurant glow in my mind. I came to BBQ Master with high high expectations, having lost count of the days since my lips had touched greasy, crispy duck skin.

The duck unfortunately did not live up to my dreams. As you can see, although the skin of the duck was slick with oil, there was not enough meat for a good comparison. Although the dark leg meat was flavourful, there wasn’t enough of it in order to pass judgement.

The pork was decent and the skin had a great crisp to it.

fsfsdf

So this review isn’t really a review at all. I decided that there was not enough meat in order to get a real sense of what this restaurant can do. Which makes me sad 😦

 

Anyone know of any good places for BBQ Meat in the lower mainland BC? Plus 20 if it is skytrain friendly and near english bay!


BC Spot Prawns

Spot prawns are in season and I’ve never tasted them before. I was ready to blow my mind of shrimp awesomeness. Instead I had a panic attack and almost cried in a corner. It seems I’m a lover and not a fighter.

I bought some extremely fresh (and kicking) BC spot prawns from some Granville island fisherman for 12 dollars a pound. They seem to be doing brisk business with a bit of a small line up forming. They are oceanwise and sea choice approved. What does that actually mean? During this short time period (between May – June) spot prawns are in season. I can’t seem to find a source on what that means. Anyways eating them is better for the earth than gourging on AYCE sashimi.

What’s also interesting is that they go from male to female in their last two years of their 4 year lifespan!!! Someone needs to write a witty comment for that.

Also slighty interesting was that Japan suposively takes 90% of the season’s catch. Yah that’s all my random spot prawn trivia for this post.

The problem that cause aformentioned panic attack? I named this one Jumpy. Look at him all cute and vunlerable on a cutting board. Look at my omnious shadow.

I couldn’t find any how to guides on butchering shrimp but I did read that the best way to freeze spot prawns is to chop off its head and freeze the tails.

So I cut off the tails of two prawns. They moved violently and then not at all, so I thought I had killed poor Jumpy. My heart sank when I realized that Jumpy and another of his friends that I just decapiated are actually still alive. I quickly turned on my kettle and poured hot water over them. I needed to do much more research on how to cook these creatures.

For the rest of the prawns I used the boiled hot water trick, and let them sit in hot water for 5 minutes. Afterwards we chowed down. They were sweet and oh so tender. Although I was scarred from being a horrible butcherer, the cooked prawns were such a delight.

Anyways I froze the rest of the prawns for curry later and started a soup with the heads.

Shrimp head soup anyone? Actually it was fantastic broth!  I just boiled the heads for a couple of hours. I think I only did two because I wanted to let it cool before I stuck it in the fridge.

Afterwards I turned it into a curry based soup with tumeric, onions, garlic, ginger,salt, a couple of bay leaves and some thyme. I loaded on some carrots, celery, potatoes, green onions and cilantro. I was sort of sick so I don’t remember the measurements but there should be dozens of soup recipes via google.

Even after my tramatic experience, I am actually looking forward to my next encounter with these lovely delicious spot prawns. If you are in BC, you still have time! The season will probably end late June.


Le Gavrouche

I went to the charming Le Gavrouche resturant for a lovely romantic dinner. The food was good however it was the service that would make me come back again. It may of helped that we were there on a wednesday night and there were only three other parties in the restaurant. But none the less it was wonderful.

The amuse busche of crab cake and pickled fennel was good. The picked fennel sometimed overpowered the crab in this small bite but the taste was balanced with the sauce.

This red wine was recommend by our wonderful server and it worked well with the rest of our dinner.  I need a 12 hour course in wine or a glass a night to wax poetry though.

Terra bread 😀 Delish!

Below is the artistic green salad. Bacon Walnut, Olives = fatty love. The different fats work well with the salad. It was definitely not greasy at all but it was a hearty, manly salad. The salad was beautiful. The bacon vinergrate was dellicous and the toasted walnut married with olives led to a nice salty finish

Oh yes there were roasted tomatoes! Sorry I was starring at the bacon.

The lemon sorbet was light and worked well as a palate cleanser.

A bit of prawn and steak. I only had a bite of this. This was the blue goose farm beef tenderloin, an organic, grass fed and BC owned and operated farm in the interior of BC. The mash potatoes and leeks were okay but the star was definitely the meat.

The salt spring lamb was okay. It was cooked very well but I honestly didn’t love the sauce that much (I’m not too sure why. It just didn’t jive for me)  and I wasn’t in love with a potato fondant. This was actually a new cooking technique to me so it could be the technique itself, however there could of been more flavour.

The cream burlee was really great!

It had a very crunchy top and the pudding itself was very smooth. It was a beautiful finishing act when you cracked the top and dipped into the pudding. Underneath the crust was a fine powered of sugar.

The damage? It was brutal. This was fine dining so it sort of blows away my 30 dollar a week budget. I did use a flash sales voucher and the total was around 150 for two people including tip. However for a special date, this is great dining.

One bite summary?

Service was excellent!

Le Gavroche on Urbanspoon


Look grandma, no packets! chocolate cake edition

This series Look Grandma, no packets! Will be easy and dead simple recipes that substitute the boxed equivalent.With each recipe, I will ask myself if this is easier, faster, healthier and cheaper than the packaged alternative.

So I will start series with a simple recipe for chocolate cake! I’ve modified (by accident) Pioneer women’s excellent chocolate sheet cake. 

In a large mixing bowl, mix one cup flour, one cup sugar and a pinch of salt (1/8 of a teaspoon if you want to be exact)

Melt butter and add in two heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add in 1/2 cup of boiling water and let cool.

Mix chocolate liquid with flour.

Take 1/4 cup of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and let it stand for a couple of minutes. Or use 1/4 cup of buttermilk. I never have buttermilk so I usually do the milk and vinegar shortcut. However I did not have vinegar so I skipped this step. I would not recommend it though! It should make the cake more fluffy.

Add one egg and beat slightly, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Mix the milk egg mixture into the chocolate and pour into a pan. I used an 8×8 pan. I probably should of used a larger pan but I wanted to make a 4×4 cake.

It sort of scared me how liquidly the cake was but it all came out a-okay!

Here’s a close up look at the cake. I admit that the addition of two eggs made this cake sponge like, Sort of like a light brownie.

Not that theres anything wrong with brownies 🙂

My cake decorating and icing skills can be critised in another post. On to the review out of 5! 5 being the best.

Easy 4
Theres a lot of small steps, like melting butter and boiling water. And I had to wash a saucepan and a bowl, the horror! Steps could be simplified.

Cheap 5
There are no additional ingredents that need a degree to understand (im looking at you xanun gum) and this recipe is very pantry friendly.

Healthy3
There is no oil added and you can reduce the sugar. I definately would if you are using icing. However by the scary nutritional factors that I found from here. You are still eating cake!

Time 4

20 prep 20 cooking, it is on par with box

Recipe modified from Pinoeer Women

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1/4 cup of buttermilk or milk with a touch of vingar
  • 1 egg (not two!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix one cup flour, one cup sugar and a pinch of salt (1/8 of a teaspoon if you want to be exact)
  2. Melt butter and add in two heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add in 1/2 cup of boiling water and let cool
  3. Mix chocolate liquid with flour.
  4. Take 1/4 cup of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar and let it stand for a couple of minutes. Or use 1/4 cup of buttermilk.
  5. Add one egg and beat slightly, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  6. Mix the milk egg mixture into the chocolate and pour into a pan. I used an 8×8 pan. I probably should of used a larger pan but I wanted to make a 4×4 cake.
  7. Bake the cake fro 20 minutes in a 350 oven or until cake is set

the flying tiger

Good tapas with distinct asian flavours. Every dish tasted like they would at their own ethic restaurant. That is a huge feat!! It’s like taking a very cheap gastronomical trip to Asia. You won’t have the huge selection but you will have the flavours.

The only downside to this restaurant is the location. Maybe I’ve grown soft living close to English bay and being so close to the skytrain, getting to the kits is kind of hard. I arrived late so my friends already ordered. No worries!

Please note that I was dining with a friend who has a brother working in the kitchen. I doubt this changed our experience of this restaurant from what you will experience  but I thought I should bold this run on sentence just in case.

Mmmm sliders look good! I arrived too late to take a bite.

I didn’t have a bite of the sliders, however I heard they are “GREAT!” Yummy” and annoying to make.

We tried to ask for another slider, but they are annoying to make. So they did make us this dish instead.   The tuna was seared and served takiki style with sprouts underneath. The tuna was heavily spiced and it was HOT.

This was my favourite shot of the night but not my fav dish. The noodles were lightly covered with seame oil but had a buckwheat taste. I was sure that it was buckwheat but after examining this photo, I’m not so sure… I think the texture of the noodles had turned me off. The other components, shitaki mushrooms and sprouts were fine. They had a great umai flavour.

The beef ribs (Kalbi Ribs) were very nicely marinated and grilled to perfection. The marinade is very similar to a korean style bbq sauce, a bit sweet and salty. They were served medium raw and were very juicy and tender. I’m not a kimichi connoisseur but these tasted the same as always.

Oilly mass close up. Mmmmm.

This was the Chala Masla The bread actually reminded me more of bannok than the indian equivalent. I think it was because it was more heavy and dense than the traditional version. But anything deep fried is automatically tasty anyways.  I could eat much more of these.

I don’t eat enough indian food to let you know what the names of these five dishes were. I’m terrible I know.  They were a mix of curry. Some of them, such as the green beans in the middle, needed a bit more heat or taste. However the chickpeas were great!

The sablefish was fantastic! Crispy skin and cooked well. The sweet soy sauce was mild and a good companion to the light tasting sablefish.

The absolute star of this dish was the shitaki mushrooms. They were glazed with a sweet soy and possibily a smoky flavour. In fact these two items were so memorable, I really can’t remeber the greens on this dish at all.

This was part of the duck crepes which were excellent and my favorite dish of the night. Some people hate DIY dishes but I like them. I liked the sprouts in contrast to the luscious pulled duck.

The duck was confit and then pulled so it was like a fusion of pulled pork taco without the heat and veggies and peeking duck. The sauce had a hint of 5 spice but it was not overpowering.

Dessert! We were very full after all these dishes however the table next to us ordered this dish. After seeing it, we were definitely curious.

I’ve never had anything like this before. The crunchy almond flavour shell was very sweet and light. It was a beautiful contrast with the soft and silky whipped cream. I wonder if this dish would be better with a touch of lemon to cut down the sweetness. However, that would be to my taste. My other dining partners did not even notice it.

We did use an entertainment book coupon so our total was discounted. We also didn’t drink. However I was satisfied with the amount and quality of food we received. Service was excellent.

One bite summary

Come here to nibble on asia!


Waffle smackdown WE Cafe

WE cafe is located on robson st, close to the ramen epicentre of robson and denmen. Its been open since last fall and its still impeciabley clean. The black and white design keeps it looking fresh and modern. I’m not usually impressed by design, but I could stay in this cafe for a long while writing my epic bestselling novel…

As it is a cafe (with free wifi) it is important to note that there is a 3.89 min per person. This is about the same price as a medium cappuccio or a handcrafted drink (anyone know why its called handcrafted? I always feel like its made with more love and free spirits when I say “handcrafted drinks”. Starbucks has brainwashed me) . They also offer a selection of waffles, sandwiches, and dessert items.

I bought a voucher last dec from indulgene living and decided to use it. I came here on a beautiful rare saturday morning for brunch. I decided on waffles.

I have to admit that i have a love affair with waffles. I sing and dance when Iknow i will be eating waffles soon. Most people know and exploit this weakness.

Therefore im going to write a series of waffle reviews of wonderful waffles. This will be reviews on recipes and resturants. I hope to continue this series until the day I stop blogging.

So on to the actual review!

I ordered the waffle sandwich of strawberries and nutella and took a lot of bites of the sesonal fruit troi and here is the smackdown out of 5:

Crispiness 3

Due to the manufacturing of their waffle maker, it was only crispy on one side. The side that was crispy was good and had a solid crunch.

Topping 3

The fruit selection was good. Ingredients were fresh and the whipping cream was real cream. However they were not original. The waffle sandwich was two pieces of waffles with the toppings in the middle. I was expecting a thinner crisper waffle with a bulging toppings in the middle.

Prices 3

They were market price however the cafe was more on the expensive side.

Visual appeal 4

They were pretty. Especially the fruit trio

SMACKDOWN SCORE

Crispiness 3

Topping 3

Prices 3

Visual appeal 4

Will I return?

Maybe. Theres no novelty but the space was beautiful. This would be a better alternative to starblenzs in the area for a good chat with friends. I might try their desserts.

So here’s to the first review! Are there any restaurants you would recommend? Should I change up my critera? Send me any comments you have!

WE. Coffee on Urbanspoon


Nutella Peanut Butter Bar/Fudge or I dream of nutella

What do you do when you realize you have guest coming over and JUST enough food to feed everyone? In my family… you make much more food.

So I frantically searched online for something that was easy to do, with ingredients in the pantry, and a potential crowd pleaser. I found these from Fresh and Foodie which I then changed it up a bit to reflect what I had in the kitchen. Please check out the original recipe to see their verison.

This is a no bake recipe, one pot and pan. Cleanup is minimal if you line your pan with parchment paper. Sounds easy right?

Grab some peanut butter, melted butter, icing sugar, graeme crackers, dump and mix. I used smooth peanut butter, but I would be tempted to use a nutty verision to give the bottom layer a bit more bite.

Next layer the peanut butter mixture in your lined pan. I used a square pan. Not the most attractive, I know! But next comes the nutella chocolate!

Melt the chocolate chips with the nutella until it is slightly melted. Try not to make it boiling hot or it may be hot for the bottom layer to handle.

Now spread the chocolate on top, trying to neat, balanced and all that jazz.

If you are like me and smear chocolate everywhere except on top the peanut butter its okay! You’re just going to cut it up and make it look pretty anyways.

See? All better 😀 happy eating

No bake nutella and peanut bars

Modified from this verison

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup  melted butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup  peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella

Instructions

  1. Grab some peanut butter, melted butter, icing sugar, graeme crackers, dump and mix.
  2. Melt the chocolate chips with the nutella until it is slightly melted. Try not to make it boiling hot or it may be hot for the bottom layer to handle.
  3. Now spread the chocolate on top, trying to neat, balanced and all that jazz.
  4. Place bars in fridge to chill and harden before serving. Best served cold