It's the Toffees' first Christmas together and they are very excited! They just got their stockings and are trying to figure out what to do with them ....
they finally figure to put them up by the fireplace and wait for Santa
they try hard to keep awake but fall asleep in a huddle in no time
the next day - they are happy with their pressies but sad to have missed Santa.
Next year they will sit apart - perhaps when it is not too snuggly, they will be able to stay awake for longer.
D has 3 nieces and 2 nephews aged 2- 12. We celebrated Christmas morning with homemade breakfast - scones, crepes and bacon.
With so many presents under the tree, the kids were extremely well behaved and sat through breakfast. When they were allowed to start opening the presents, it was utter chaos - ripping of paper, exclamations of "this is awesome!", "cool" ...
I'd forgotten what it was like to be a kid on Christmas morning and have so many presents waiting under the tree.
Christmas is a time of celebration - being together with loved ones, for the kids - getting new toys and books. Let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Christ- which often gets lost in the crazy, frantic shopping for food and presents as well as the parties.
Seafood in the mountains can't get any better than this! We had an early seating and were seated by the fireplace - so romantic and cozy
I started with the Monterey Calamari sprinkled with sea salt & pepper, pan sautéed with hummus, olives & grilled Pita while D had the mussels. While the mussels were delicious, the calamari was outstanding. It was done just right that it melts in your mouth and was flavourful, paired with the hummus and pita bread - not the typical deep fried calamari rings.
which followed by the Crab & Salmon Cakes avocado, cucumber, tomato salsa & chili lime aioli and the Smoked Sablefish Brandade with Lobster
arugula, tomato oil & bread sticks
For the main I was tempted to have the Filet Mignon with peppercorn sauceand D had the bison ribeye. The meal had so far been fantastic and I forgot to take a photo of the main. All we got was this ...
We could not fit anything else by then and had to pass on desserts.
2nd ski lesson at Whistler. They have tons of programs to choose from and I settled on an all women 2 day ski camp. As a beginner, they go through all the basics and the instructors are very patient. I was lucky to have a 1 to 4 instructor -student ratio which provided an ideal environment to learn to ski. After the 2nd day, I could make it down a green run. To top it all off they provide muffins and coffee for brekkie as well as an apres ski with beer and light appis which we all could use after a hard day on the slopes. This was truly enjoyable - learning to ski and making new friends :)
Since the caramel macarons, I've come to the conclusion that 1) It is worth every cent paying for Pierre Herme macarons and 2) I can't separate egg whites - even D's 9-year old niece A can do it better. I've been messing around with the recipe substituting the egg whites for carton egg whites - these don't whip up into a proper meringue but more or less works without me wasting tons of eggs to get a couple of egg whites.
The recipe for the macaron remains very much the same, just varying the colouring and changing the cream filling.
So far I've made Rose Lychee Macarons, Peppermint Macarons and Chestnut Macarons
I also had the mad mad idea of making these for my wedding favors. D is glad that it was really a fleeting moment.
Coming from Singapore - this place is as close to the hawker food you find in Singapore. Given that Malaysia and Singapore are only separated by a small strait and Singapore was once part of Malaya, there are some similarities in our food.
We started off with a Roti Canai, similar to Roti Prata in Singapore, served with curry. This was delicious - slightly crisp yet still fluffy when you bite into it. Sorry I didn't bring a proper camera so these dim pictures were the best I could do.
There were only 2 of us but we followed with an order of beef rendang, hokkien mee and a hainanese chicken rice. I was drooling over the chicken rice and forgot to take a photo (this happens very often)
The hokkien mee had the wok fried smoky taste and the beef rendang was sedap :). Satisfied my craving for hawker food.
I'm so glad there is "tau huay" in Vancouver or soy pudding as they call it here. In Singapore, I eat a tub of tau huay for brekkie almost everyday. Here, I'm lucky if I can finish a tub in a week! and that's a medium size :)
It is already sweetened but you can also buy extra sugar or ginger sugar to add to your snack
Excellent Tofu and Snack Ltd
160-4231 Hazelbridge Way Rmd
(near Aberdeen Centre)
I was apprehensive trying out the macarons as there seemed so much room for error. I used the recipe from Girl Cook in Paris where she had described everything methodically so that I could follow it step by step easily. I wasn't sure how long I should have whipped the Italian meringue and caramel buttercream but it turned out alright. Apparently Italian meringues are much more stable and easier to work with so that must have helped my batch! I'm also happy that it worked out relatively well on the first try and am encouraged now to try new recipes. Thank you Girl Cook in Paris!
My first batch which I stuck into the oven directly after piping them out spread too much and they kind of just blended together into a mass, didn't have much feet and cracked on the surface. I then piped the next batch further apart and left it to rest for about half and hour so that there was a layer of skin before baking and they turned out smooth and nice. I will endeavour to pipe more regular meringues as most of them turned out quite a few sizes :) The next time I try it I'm also going to go for much smaller ones so that I don't get that sugar rush and high after just one macaron.
Yippeee! I'm definitely going to be trying out more recipes to satisfy my macaron cravings.
It was supposed to be a simple recipe using a box of chocolate brownie mix, some nuts, butter, milk and eggs, stick it in the over at 325F for 35-45min and viola the simplest chocolate torte - ever. I did everything the recipe called for, I couldn't figure out why the centre was still so wet after 45min. So I put it in for another 5min, then another 5 min - after which I decided to take it out regardless. Oh well, even though the sides were a bit dry, it still did taste good. Afterall, with so much butter and the box of triple chocolate Ghiradrelli brownie mix - how could it not?
I was still perplexed - what did I do wrong?
Finally, as D was helping wash up he said, " Did you know you had 2 baking pans here?" OOOHHH
Want to satisfy those late night cravings for something savoury? Then you have to try this. It is simple to make if you just happen to have a panini press and some fatty roast pork and applesauce on hand. YUM.
The lovely red and yellow leaves are all falling. Yesterday, there was some snow, if you can call it that - not the lovely snowflake shaped ones that you imagine, they just look like salt crystals and melt once they hit the ground. D tried to convince me that I was seeing things...
Anyway this morning, it was cold and I craved hot steaming waffles. I decided to try my hand at it - didn't have any baking soda and added baking powder right at the end, might be why it turned out a little heavy. The finished product still looks yummy especially topped with mango- peach jam, maple syrup and vanilla and white chocolate ice-cream.
This is the first time I'm baking from scratch. I realize there is a whole new vocabulary I have to learn...baking tray, parchment paper ... I used the recipe from the America's Test Kitchen and it was simple to follow though for a beginner like me, instructions like cut the butter into 1/4 inch pieces had me scratching my head. Was it 1/4 inch cube or just 1/4 inch cut right from the block of butter I had in front of me? Plus being used to the metric system, I had to convert the recipe from ounces/cups to ml and g. After all that, I think it came out rather well.
I was flipping through the recipes looking for my next project and chanced upon one for macarons. Having just come back from Paris and tasting those delectable Pierre Herme macarons in every flavour... dare I try to make a macaron as my next project? I think I need a KitchenAid Mixer first and more experience trying to bake but I will try to make a batch before the year is out :)
We had a pot luck at our place with D's close friends - to officially announce our engagement and popped a 1990 Pol Roger magnum to celebrate. By now all of them had already heard but it was a good night :)
Vancouver is host to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Olympics torch relay has started across Canada. We also realised that the Olympics logo was lit up and could be seen from our kitchen window.
My first fall - leaves turning lovely reds, browns and yellows. It is cold for early November I hope...Coming from a tropical climate when it is a humid 30 degrees all year round, this will take some adjusting to.
Not having to work makes me lose a sense of time. It is a luxury which I am enjoying. I will learn how to cook and bake. I will also continue my line of jewellery with new inspiration.