Monday, February 28, 2011

Thai Chicken Soup

This is a recipe that I have come up with over the years using bits and pieces out of other recipes and is a favourite January girls weekend lunch, though of course it is never quite the same, as it depends on available ingredients.  Sunday Morning when I got up this is what it looked like out of my front window.

A winter wonderland in Port Moody
My thoughts turned to soup, chicken soup, fortunately the day before I had gone to TNT and bought some lime leaves, lemon grass and Thai basil so Thai chicken soup.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Red bean and Quinoa salad

Quinoa is one of the "it" foods right now and seems to be appearing everywhere. In fact it has been cultivated for over 3,000 years in South America so it certainly is not a new food. It is gluten free a good source of protein and dietary fiber and is high in iron.  It has a lovely light fluffy texture when cooked right and makes a wonderful salad.

I like salads that can be made ahead and be held for a while especially when feeding a crowd and this is one that I will add to my repetoire for summer barbecues.

This recipe is adapted slightly from Yanuq cooking in Peru We reduced the dressing a little as it seemed too much and the peppers that were called for were not available in Canada so we improvised.  Any way this is the recipe as adapted.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stir fried pork with red peppers and cashews

Tonight I was craving some Chinese flavours.  One of the good things about living in a city that has such a cosmopolitan population is that you can eat in restaurants of almost every cuisine in the world and there are not many ingredients that you can not find if you try hard enough. I also have friends from many different cultures and I am always trying to pick their brains for techniques and recipes.

I have been working on my Chinese food over the years, and though this may not be completely authentic, I think it is pretty close and it tastes good.

Serves 3

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nostalgic lunch in Bellingham

It would have been my Mother in laws 90 birthday on Sunday, she passed away a couple of years ago and is sadly missed by her family. My sister in law used this as a motivation to get the 5 siblings and their partners together.  She lives in a very unusual house down in Bellingham Washington State.

There is a lovely deck which they have just finished, with a view looking over Fairhaven to the Pacific.  Though the sun was shining it really was too cool to be sitting out yet but it will be wonderful when the weather warms up.

Mary Ann cooked every ones favourite dishes that there mother used to make.  Some exactly as she had done them like Macaroni cheese which she had made in one of her mothers baking dishes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saute chicken in white wine cream sauce

This is a simple weeknight dinner, but in fact would be good for company too.  I had chicken thighs (really my favourite part of the chicken), but you could use breasts or a mixture of chicken pieces.

Serves 3

  • 6 chicken thighs or equivalent
  • 3 green onions or shallots
  • 1/2 cup of chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup of white wine (then you can drink the rest with dinner)
  • 2 tablespoons of 1/2 and 1/2 cream

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chicken Pot pie -Comfort food

Though there was definitely spring in the air today bright and sunny and at last you can feel the days getting longer, there was still that nip of winter and felt like something comforting and warm. My thoughts turned to chicken pot pie.

This amount would make enough for 4 generous portions, we had 3 for dinner (a unusual occurrence on a Saturday night) and enough for 2 lunches in the fridge.

For the filling

  • 1 whole chicken (or equivalent in pieces)
  • 4 carrots 
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2 medium potatoes cut in to chunks
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of butter

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Steamed coconut pudding

Pudding has several meanings in England. Over here in north America it means a type of custard, but in England pudding is used in the same way as we use desert. It also means a dish that is steamed in a bowl this could be savoury like steak and kidney pudding or sweet like treacle pudding.

Steamed coconut pudding is one of my fathers favourite old time recipes, I don't remember my mother making this that often but when she did I always enjoyed.

Like parkin this is one of the recipes I found in the little hand written note book of my mothers recipes, and I had never made it before, in fact I don't think I have ever steamed a pudding of any sort before.  My mothers instructions as ever were cryptic at best, but I vaguely remember watching her make it when  I was young.  (I hung out in the kitchen a lot when I was little)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunday night pot roast

This Sunday my husband was in SanFrancisco with his brother for a long weekend and I was off work on Monday, so I decided to invite over my good friends Connie and Dov, my Father and 2 rather recently widowed neighbours.  There were 3 men over 70 who would welcome both the company and a good home cooked meal.  It has been horrible cold and wet here recently so I felt like a pot roast something warming comforting and slow cooked.

  • One quite large crossrib roast
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 cup of beef broth
  • 1 cup of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage
  • 2 bay leaves (if you have had them in your cupboard more than a year throw them out and buy some new ones.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Soba noodle salad and Tempura - Daring cooks challange

My heart sank a little this month when I saw two Japanese dishes were the challenge.  Don't get me wrong I am sure there is much good Japanese food out there and I have had my fair share of California rolls and tempura but it is just not a food I have ever been able to be very enthusiastic about.

To make matters worse one of the dishes was a cold noodle salad and cold noodles is one thing I really don't care for, on the upside I do like tempura any way here goes.

The February 2011 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by Lisa of Blueberry Girl. She challenged Daring Cooks to make Hiyashi Soba and Tempura. She has various sources for her challenge including,, and

I decided to make the best of this challenge, keep an open mind and invite some friends over. Connie and I headed over to TNT supermarket that sells all things Asian, always an interesting experience, and picked up the ingredients we needed, including the soba noodles dashi and fixings for making sushi.  If we were going to have a Japanese meal then we would go all out and added chicken karaage and sushi to the two dishes mandated.

soba (buckwheat noodles)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken Adobo

This is a traditional Philippines dish Nancy and stumbled across this recipe when searching for something interesting to do with chicken a while ago.  This recipe is adapted from the recipe though there are many out there and of course they are all a little different and many call for marinating the chicken in the vinegar and soy sauce.  We did not have the time for that after wasting the afternoon in Ikea, and it was very tasty with out it.

The first time we made this, the recipe that we were using called for a special cane vinegar, but that really tasted a lot like plain simple white vinegar which is what we used this time.

4 whole chicken legs (6 drumsticks and 2 breasts which is what we had)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar (rice or white wine would probably be good too)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed lightly
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (if using white vinegar)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Cactus Club Broadway and Granville

Yesterday I very reluctantly went in to work on what was supposed to be a day off as there are somethings I find really hard to do when everyone is there and constant interruptions.  My good friend Nancy was in the same situation, so we decided to make the best of a bad lot and meet up for a glass of wine and something to eat.  The Cactus Club is next door to where I work so a frequent haunt. I find the people who work there very friendly and efficient, though the waitress "uniform" does nothing for me, then I am a middle aged women not a middle aged man. But I have got over that now and surprisingly the food is very good.

We ordered 3 appetizers as sharing small bites is really my preferred way to eat, that way you get taste lots of different things.  We ordered korean style bbq pork lettuce wraps, beef carpaccio and the prawn and ravioli trio.  These are all Rob Feenie signature dishes, and though obviously he is not cooking them, he knows how to put flavours together.

The prawn and Ravioli dish was recommended by one of the waitresses and I probably would not have ordered it otherwise.  But it ended up being my favourite of the 3 dishes.

Ravioli with prawns (Sorry about the picture quality)
The ravioli was stuffed with butternut squash and topped with a large perfectly cooked prawn and a delicious cream sauce with a hint of truffle.  I think a little truffle goes a long way like sesame oil just a hint is wonderful a little too much is overwhelming.  There were 3 large ravioli and we finished off the sauce by dipping the bread in it.

Beef carpaccio is something I often order at restaurants as I love it and it is not something I make myself, and this is a very good beef carpaccio I have had many times.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Phnom Penh Restaurant

Thursday evening I met a former work colleague for dinner, she and I both enjoy food and trying new restaurants and she had recently returned from a trip to England.  Before going on her trip she wanted my suggestions for places to stay and things to do in London and I was eager to hear how the trip went. We decided to revisit Phnom Penh on the outskirts of China town 244 E Georgia Street.  This is an old favourite and I had not been for a while so I was looking forward to a very tasty meal.

Now the first thing you must know about Phnom Penh is it is illegal to go there and not order the deep fried chicken wings, at least that is what you would think if you looked around.  I don't think I have ever been there and seen a table that did not have them.  This is for good reason they are amazing. So being law abiding citizens we ordered the deep fried chicken wings.  Though I have to say last night they were good but not amazing. Neither of us could put our finger on what the problem was, was there just not enough salt, or was something else missing.  Any way they were good and though we had far too much food we almost finished the the whole plate.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Meat loaf or is that meatloaf

Meatloaf is very much a North American dish, I do not remember it in England growing up, and it is not something I have made very often.  But a couple of weeks ago The Superstore (or Stupid store as we affectionately call it) had a meat loaf tin with a lift out insert to drain the fat.  This really appealed to me and I bought it so this Sunday when it was Superbowl I had to make Meatloaf.

I checked on the Internet for recipes, but most of them included packaged food of some description and I kind of knew what I wanted to do. So this is what I did.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Roast parmesan fennel

As I think I may have said before fennel is a vegetable that I think is much underused.  This method of cooking it is trying to replicate how I had it cooked in Italy a couple of years ago and is now a regular accompaniment to our Sunday dinner.

Very simple like a lot of Italian food it all depends on good ingredients.

1 medium fennel bulb sliced
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons of good fruity olive oil
Juice of one lemon.

Cut the top of the fennel bulb

Decapitated fennel bulb

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pork tenderloin with a lemon sticky glaze

Saturday night My Father and husband were going to "The kings speech" (great movie) as we were going to the early show I needed something quick and using what I had in the house as I was not going shopping.
I did a little research and found this recipe on the Canadian Living website I have adapted it a little as I did not have any limes and it sounded a little sweet for my taste and any way it is almost genetically impossible for me to follow a recipe verbatim.

Marinade/sauce ingredients

1/4 cup  soy sauce
1 tablespoon liquid honey
2 tsp  grated lemon rind
Juice of one lemon

3 green onions cut

2 tbsp  minced ginger root
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Saturday, February 5, 2011


A good friend in England who I have known nearly all my life was asking for my Mothers Parkin recipe she remembered how good it was.  It was something that I had not thought of in a long time but I too remember my Mothers parkin fondly, but I could not find the recipe.

But the other day when I was looking for something else,  (which I probably did not find) I came across a small notebook with my Mothers handwriting in it.  I think it was the recipes that she took from her Mother when she got married in the very early 1950's.  What a treasure, and lo behold in it was the recipe for Parkin.

I looked Parkin up on Wikipedia and this is what it said. Parkin or Perkin is a soft cake traditionally made of oatmeal and molasses,[1] which originated in Northern England. Often associated with Yorkshire, particularly the Leeds area.  My Mother grew up in Tingly a small town very close to Leeds in Yorkshire, so Wikipedia seems to be very accurate in both the source and the ingredients.  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

warm Prawn salad

Last week we had a warm sunny day you could feel spring in the air even though it was late January.  I had a friend and her sister coming for dinner so I felt like making a favourite summer dish even though in fact it is still midwinter.

Sadly it turns out my friend does not eat prawns but any way she enjoyed the salad and dressing and we had a very nice loaf of bread I picked up on the way home. So more prawns for me. This is the same dressing that I have blogged before it is one of my favourites