Two-Banana BreadThe next morning I also tried making banana bread french toast by dipping the mixture in egg and milk before frying it in some oil (I was too lazy to pull the butter out from the fridge).
Makes 1 5"x9" loaf
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 90 mL (3/8 cup) vegetable oil or unsweetened applesauce
- 5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla extract
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 330 mL (1 1/3 cup) whole wheat flour (obviously all-purpose is fine)
- 2 mL (½ tsp) baking soda
- 1 mL (¼ tsp) baking powder
- 160 mL (2/3 cup) sugar
- 2 mL (½ tsp) salt
- 60 mL (¼ cup) each chocolate chips and chopped walnuts
- Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour loaf pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix bananas, vegetable oil, vanilla and eggs together until smooth.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until everything is moistened.
- Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan (this is important! Many a time I have been impatient and turned the loaf pan over too early, causing part of the loaf to fall out and part of it to remain in the pan... reconstructive surgery for banana bread is not very classy.)
Friday, January 26, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
At my house, where six of us live, we have a tradition called "Family Dinners", where the six of us all sit down together for dinner. It's usually lots of fun and lots of laughs. For this semester, we decided to do theme nights based on our ethnic backgrounds. Audrey, my roomie from Martinique, decided to host a Creole night and served Colombo de Poulet. Here we are, gathered around the table.
Colombo is actually a Caribbean curry that was brought over by Indian labourers back in the day. According to various sources on the Internet, it may contain cumin, mustard seeds, fenugreek, coriander, turmeric, pepper, fennel seeds, thyme, anise, saffron, tamarind and cloves. I've also seen recipes where you add fresh ingredients, like garlic cloves, which I think makes it more of a paste as opposed to a powder. In our case, Audrey took the "easy" route and went to buy some at Marché Atwater. I put "easy" in quotation marks because apparently the first time she went they were out of stock. So this stuff is hard to find, but easy to make if you have the right blend of spices.
But what's in the pot? Well first she marinated some chicken legs (two for each of us, so a dozen) with lime juice, onions, and garlic for about an hour. She then heated some oil in the pot before adding the chicken, marinade and all.
In my world, you can't have meat without vegetables, and she accommodated that by adding zucchini and eggplant to the dish. Here is the veg, peeled and cut up, ready to be added to the pot.
You then add water to cover everything and then let it simmer until the chicken is cooked (i.e. doesn't bleed when you poke it, or if you want to get all food safety up in here, until it's 170°F (77°C).
For dessert we had a variation on Bananas Foster. I couldn't get a good shot of the rum all lit up in blue flame, but here are the bananas happily in the pan with some butter and brown sugar.
Monday, January 15, 2007
This is it, the last Hong Kong (circa Christmas holidays) post before it's back to Real Life™ in Montreal.
We really busted out the classy Japanese food this trip, what with Sakurada and now Moéh. Moéh is located in Island Beverley, which is an office building in Causeway Bay, with the first... nine (?) floors all being restaurants with a variety of cuisines from Asia. Moéh is a little bit of a hole-in-the-wall size-wise, but when you first walk in you'll notice the clean, modern white lines. I was also amused by the fact that for the first little bit it felt like all the music they were playing was ripped out of my iPod. As the dinner progressed, different songs came on, but all of the music was still stuff that's popular in North America.
The food is a bit more "experimental" than your average Japanese restaurant; my family and I had the Set Dinner for Two and then we added some other dishes, but I still wish I got to try their other recommended dishes, like Homemade Tofu Cheese and Pumpkin Croquette. I didn't get to take a picture of everything we ate since my family was very eager to dig into the food, and because the restaurant was so small, the waitress was basically hovering over us the entire time, but I hope you get the idea.
Although the set menu was very tasty, I was automatically intrigued by the "Seared Sushi Platter". From left to right, there was scallop, salmon, squid, tuna and yellowtail sushi. The searing gave the sushi a bit of a smoky taste and a texture that I liked since it cooked the fish to a certain degree, making it more flaky and giving it less "resistance" than normal sushi.
My sister insisted on ordering unagi, which is her favourite kind of sushi. It looked like more "effort" was put into this unagi than at usual sushi restaurants; the unagi had more of a seared surface as opposed to just being cooked and then having sauce slabbed on. There was also a smidgen of sesame on top.
The set menu came with assorted sashimi and I was obviously impressed by the huge crayfish heads. Those were not just for decoration! They were actually still attached to the rest of their bodies, which were shelled. I'm usually not a fan of shrimp sashimi because of the texture, but the crayfish were definitely more tender than tough and were not as "fishy" tasting as shrimp.
On top of the set meal, my family could not resist ordering an extra plate of sushi. As you can see on the right hand side, my dad is hungrily chopsticking away the yellowtail (hamachi). Pretty standard fare.
Our meal came with Japanese fried rice. I think what's different between Chinese and Japanese fried rice is that the Japanese add carrots, which gives the rice and orangeish yellow colour. This one also had peas and seaweed. Possibly my best food shot of 2006.
There was unfortunately no black sesame ice cream to be had at this meal, we were given glutinous rice balls stuffed with green tea or red bean paste. My sister gave me the red bean one. It was good; rich and not too sweet. I think the waitress said that the red bean is better because the green tea tastes a bit artificial.
Monday, January 08, 2007
Sakurada is a relatively upscale Japanese restaurant located in the Royal Park Hotel in Sha Tin. My family went there for teppan yaki (鐵板燒, where a chef cooks in front of you on a flat metal grill) although of course we couldn't resist ordering some sushi as an appetizer!
The teppan yaki was very good; the chef had this interesting technique of giving us each a piece of toast and then serving our food on it so that the bread will "soak up all the oil". Of course in the end I didn't eat the toast--it was white bread and when scientific studies are using that or glucose as the reference to measure a person's glycemic index you know that can't be good for you. (Ironically, I still eat buns even though they're basically the same thing, just a different shape.)
I was disappointed to find that the teppan yaki chef was less "showy" than what I'm used to, say at Sakana Grill or Japanese Village in Calgary. Granted, Sakana Grill is the brainchild of Peter Kinjo, who might possibly be the funniest man in Calgary Japanese cuisine, but if you're watching someone cook he should either be really talented or really entertaining.
The highlight of the night was when the chef poured wine directly on the grill as a sauce and it burst into a flame, causing my brother to squeal like a girl. "Thank you," the chef said, "I should've been the one screaming."
The meal was kicked off by a simple salad; there was lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and shreds of meat (chicken?). Notice the fancy slip we got on our chopsticks.
The sushi was delicious and combined traditional and "new age" ideas. Unfortunately my siblings devoured most of it and I was stuck with the tuna rolls (which were still good). I did also get to try the piece second from the right; it was a cooked fish with some scallop on top. My dad loves sea urchin, so he got that piece - very interesting to see it not in roll form.
If you look very carefully between the second and third pieces from the right you'll see that it was garnished with a sprig of basil with magenta blossoms (the one that I'm growing in my room had white blossoms).
Also, behind the sushi you can see lobster and toast being grilled on the teppan.
Here is some lobster, releasing its oils into the toast.
The rest of the lobster was made into a soup with fish and tofu; the former made the soup fairly sweet tasting, which was a different contrast from the miso soup we usually get when we go out for Japanese. My sister here looks excited about her soup but really she didn't eat it until it got cold and less tasty.
I'm embarrassed to say I was most excited about this dish; grilled tofu and eggplant. I can never make eggplant well myself.
Scallop cooked on the grill and then put back in its shell. I believe this was the dish that used the wine sauce, but it wasn't too overwhelming. Mmm scallop.
Steak (tenderloin?) with deep-fried garlic. We actually tried two kinds of steak that night; I believe one was Kobe beef, or something of a similar grade, y'know, where the cows get massaged and fed pretty things so that their fat will be distributed evenly. You could definitely taste the difference between it and the other steak, which was just a regular AAA cow, the former was definitely more tender. My mom actually preferred the second one because there was more texture to it, whereas the other felt "too fatty".
Closed off the dinner with some steak fried rice.
And for dessert, we had ice cream. Do not dis the grey sludge; it's my favourite flavour—black sesame! I like it because I feel like there's so much depth in the flavour, and it's not too sweet. The manager recommended a sake vanilla ice cream to my parents, who let me try a spoonful. It was very good and you could actually taste the sake in it. Even with the alcohol, the flavour wasn't too rich, it was very light and like the black sesame, not too sweet either.
3/F, Royal Park Hotel, 8 Pak Hok Ting Street
Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong
Sunday, January 07, 2007
For me, no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a trip to Lei Yue Mun. We go so often that the photo you see from above is actually from summer 2004 ;)
This Christmas, my brother made sure to let my parents know this was the place we wanted to go for dinner the night I arrived from Shanghai. The thing that's unique about this place is the way it's set up. The streets are lined with seafood stores; you pick what you want to eat and they take it right out of the tank. My family usually gets shrimp for steaming, scallop in the shell, various clams, and a fish to steam also. Next, the fish vendor will take you to their buddy the fruit vendor and you choose what fruit you want for dessert. Finally, the fish and the fruit are all sent to one of the restaurants in the area, where they sit you down, you can order rice and veggies to go with your meal and that's that.
In Chinese, seafood is called 海鮮, with the second character meaning "fresh". If this isn't fresh, I don't know what is.
I didn't get to take photos of this meal (There's no doubt that I'll be going back some time, especially now that our new apartment is a boat ride away from there), but here are my brother and sister goofing off at the fish vendor:
Over the Christmas holidays, I travelled to Shanghai and Hong Kong. While in Shanghai, I stayed with my friend Jane's family, and was treated to a handful of great Shanghai restaurants--We had dim sum, Shanghai cuisine, and hot pot, to name a few. The highlight for me was obviously the steamed pork buns (soup dumplings as some people call them) at some of these places. I've loved them for quite a while now, but this was the first time I've actually tried them in their place of origin. I swear, I've never seen steamed pork buns so packed with soup, ever. When you picked them up with chopsticks, the bottom would actually sag with the weight of the soup (so I didn't have time to take the picture because I couldn't coordinate holding them in my chopsticks in such a way that they wouldn't break). But seriously, steamed pork buns will never be the same (although I will still love them, regardless).
So, onto the real subject of this post: One night Jane and her family were invited to a wedding banquet, and thought it'd be too awkward if I tagged along, so I was left to my own devices and instructed to make fried rice when I got too hungry.
Seeing as I was left alone, I felt it appropriate to document this entire "adventure" in photographs.
The ingredients were simple; chicken leftover from the night before (that I did a horrible job deboning because I don't know how to do it properly), celery, lettuce and an egg that I found in the fridge and rice from the night before. After I took this photo I also found an onion in the fridge. Note that I chopped everything skilfully with that cleaver I was holding in my hand before.
The gas stove is on and the apartment is still in one piece. Yay!
Here, everything has been tossed into the pan (The sequence was onions, then veggies, chicken, rice, eggs... easier than most fried rice because the meat was cooked) and waiting to be seasoned. I ended up throwing in some salt and pepper, I think. Maybe soy sauce and sesame oil as well, which I sometimes do at home.
Tada! I served it with a glass of water and a healthy dose of State Media.