Friday, July 30, 2010

Something about this summer just doesn't feel like summer.

Well I came down with a cold, I know, colds are a winter or cold weather thing... anyway, I've been eatings tons of ice cream too.

Thank God for PC's new soft serve flavours which I couldn't resist. Oh and they were on their tour at my store so I got the CUTEST mini ice cream cone!!!!!!!!

The flavours I bought were root beer, sprinkle party cake, and tiger tail which was the BEST!! I've never finished so much ice cream in one sitting, I'm not even an ice cream fan!!

My freezer is now jam packed full of ice cream, cones, klondikes, popcicles, oh gosh how did I get so carried away?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shopping and Cooking - solo

Some tips and tricks that I found helpful through experience, I hope you find them helpful too :)

Fruits and veggies:

Shop frequently for fresh items, it's easy to pop in the grocery store and pick up a what's fresh throughout the week.

Time your fruits depending on their lives, a hard avocado can last days in a fruit bowl, or longer in the fridge, papayas not so much so buy fruits in stages so you'll have the chance to eat a ripe fruit everyday until you take your next shopping trip. You don't want a whole bowl of ripe fruit on your hands the next day that you force yourself to eat then have to make another trip.

Fruits like pomegranate, oranges, apples last quite a while so eat those types of fruits towards the end of your week and the fresher fruits like berries, apricots, figs, grapes in the beginning of the week.

- Buy watermelon quarters

- Buy small melons, papayas or pinapples

Veggie tray, easier than buying so many veggies and having them lay around or forced to make something with them buy a:

- Veggie tray with broccoli, cauliflower, celery .. perfect stew/curry ingredients for a single meal. Leftover Tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh items can go in salad.

- Buy little packets of celery sticks rather than the whole celery which can go limp or bad if not used often.

- Buy potatoes and onions by the piece. Garlic and ginger too.

- Buy small gourmet cucumbers and baby carrots

- Buy baby bok choy instead of the large one

Fish and Meat:

- Buy fresh fish the day you plan to cook it from supermarket or fish market
- Frozen shrimps are good to have on hand in the freezer
- Canned tuna in oil comes in handy.


- Buy single serving plain yogurts if you need
- Buy small egg cartons
- Buy small milk containers/cartons/bottles.

If you have a cheese store in your city I highly recommend going there, it's not only convenient for buying in smaller portions but it's an experience all on it's own.

- Find cheesemonger and see what you can learn about cheese..


- French style bread baguetts are perfect, pitas can be frozen or refridgerated. Small toast loafs are great too and make bread pudding with leftover pieces of stale breads.

Easier to buy dried and soak overnight then boil, or buy tiny cans and coordinate foods in the week

Pasta: Buy dried and save in cupboard or buy fresh small package.

Grains: Couscous is a great starch to have on hand, easy to prepare and always comes in handy.
Rice (Basmati, and calarose) as well, I don't skimp on rice or buy it from a bulk store, I buy a good quality stuff. Borrow from parents/relatives the amount you need if you have to from time to time.

Baking supplies: If you don't bake a lot buy small bags of flour, brown sugar..etc. Buy yeast packets when you need them, and baking powders come in small containers. Make a homemade pancake mix that you can mix what you need when you crave it.

While a lot of recipes can't be halved or they turn out bad, at the same time a lot are pretty good, I've made small pancake batches as well as waffles, crepes and it always turns out good.

Condiments: A lot of them come in small jars, pickles, pestos and the like.
- buy olives by the weight from your supermarket or local gourmet store. Because this way you can also mix and match, and select a little of the varieties you like rather than just have a big jar of one kind.

Buy from bulk store: certain spices (not all, as they lose their taste and aroma and are useless), grains, cereals or items can be bought from the bulk store, cornmeals and bread crumbs for breading are good to have in small amounts as sometimes a package is too much or expensive.
A dollar store or ikea sales are great for tiny containers to store things instead of having bags of stuff everywhere or save store glass jars because they're perfect after running through the dishwasher and removing the paper labels.

The biggest secret for the solo chef/shopper is coordinating a weeks menu with a grocery list as not to waste ingredients, because shopping for "smaller" things unfortunately is more expensive and I'm all for savvy shopping but I hate wasting too.
If you think you can use up that whole head of cauliflower then by all meals pick it up and see what you can do with it... certain veggies and aromatics can be frozen for later use, like celery and leeks, a little prep in advance goes a long way, just be sure to store things in an organized fashion with proper labels so things don't get lost in the freezer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Into the hot pot they go..

Here are some steps for making hot pot from the other night, it's as easy as 1 2 3 .. to me the most important part is the good quality fresh ingredients and a good flavourful broth.

Following a Vietnamese pho broth recipe would be a good idea, I like to add some star anise, ginger, a few tomatoes for acidity a dash of vinegar and some sugar for sweetness and it all comes together nicely. A little bit of root beet went in too this time as I couldn't resist sampling it while making dinner, it was fantastic!
Toppings the final bowl with green onion and some thai basil is great also! Use any veggies you love and if you're noodle is super starchy like mine pre boil it a bit and wash the starch off so it doesn't cloud your final product.
Meat can be obtained from a butcher, you can choose a piece of frozen meat and have it sliced or slice it yourself at home while it's frozen, a little time consuming but worth it because the thinness of the meat has it cooking within seconds of touching the hot broth.
And don't forget to keep the broth at a rolling boil!! Use a portable element if you want to enjoy hot pot at the dinning table!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010


This post is waaaaaaaaay overdue.
Upon posting a few of these shots of the delicious traditional egyptian dish (national dish?) I realized that I hadn't posted or taken any molokhia shots before, which was a shocker considering how it's up there with some of my favourite meals like Dolma (stuffed grape leaves) and stewed bamia (okra in tomato sauce) ..

We'll here it is anyway! The green herby garlicy stew that scares a lot of people off by it's gooey slimy consistency but you have to try it, it's delicious!
If there is no goo then it's just not molokhia, cooking the leaves beyond a certain temperature destroys the goo and you don't want that but it is realistically the simplest thing in the world to make and every time I make it I'm reminded of how easy it is.

-Boil some chicken in stock or water
-Flake the chicken meat and set aside.
-Add the frozen purchased thawed molokhia leaves to the hot stock and melt it down cooking just until the mixture is all warmed up if the greens are still "cold" and remove from the heat.
- In a teeny sauce pan grate a few cloves of garlic, add a bit of butter, samna (ghee) or oil and 2 tbsp of dry ground corriander spice and sauté on medium low until garlic is fragrant but not burnt.

- Dump the garlic spice blend into the molokhia stew and mix it up. It's ready to serve with rice! I always squeeze some lemon over it too and pickled peppers, turnips or any pickle goes well on the side.

Molokhia can be purchased from middle eastern grocery stores in the west, it is frozen in a thin slab, you can get it ground up (which is what is required for this recipe) or in leaves which is used in Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian recipes.
If you want to try growing it by all means it would be a fun experiment, the plant grows tall and is a bit "weed" like, the leaves are also used in Japanese cooking which I learned recently. My mother used to say that we had a garden filled with fresh molokhia when I was a little girl growing up in Pakistan and in my late teens in Yemen where it is also popular (not sure how they cook it though) I purchased some fresh and tried my hand at it. The issues with that is the washing, grinding it smooth and fine into a paste, which in egypt is done traditionally using a Mezzaluna knife, which looks like a crescent with two handles,

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Go for Tea

I've been eying this place for a while. It looks very modern and gorgeous from the outside and I was curious if they had anything other than asian styles teas but as soon as I read a review about the great condensed toast I decided to give it a try, after all they had bubble tea too and who doesn't love that!!
The inside of the cafe surprised me, it was beyond gorgeous and a fun hip place to sit and grab a quick bite, order an appetizer or just eat dessert. They have lovely cakes and all their desserts go on sale for half price in the late afternoons. The condensed toast was thick and sweet, to die for, I could only finish half because it was that rich!! Lychee slushie was refreshing and the appetizer hot pot was a great little "snack/meal"

They have two locations in the GTA, so if you're ever in the area and wonder what to do I say to you "Go for tea!"


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Crepe dinner

Originally uploaded by Adventuress Heart
French Crepes

2 cups milk
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon butter to brush the crepe pan

Add milk and eggs to blender and combine. Add the flour 1/2 a cup at a time, blending after each addition to ensure there are no lumps. Add pinch of salt and melted butter then blend for 30 seconds until you achieve a smooth, silky consistency. Set aside in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to rest.

Dip a piece of kitchen paper in butter and grease a small frying pan. Ladle a spoonful of batter into the pan. With a flick of the wrist swivel the pan in order to get a nice even covering all over. A good crepe should be paper- thin.

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence from


Strawberry sauce is just a few strawberries blitzed with a freshly squeezed orange and mixed with the chopped berries and some sugar, it's absolutely delicious and refreshing!

Friday, July 16, 2010


Originally uploaded by Adventuress Heart
They say not to mess with a good thing, and my german grandma's goulash is good, no it's VERY good actually!

I was surprised with the results the first time I decided to try my hand at it, and I'm proud to say it tasted just like hers. My childhood memory of her putting some together and vaguely describing the process to us while we were on our housekeeping morning routine paid off.

We love the stuff and I did not dream of messing with her recipe ...

until today.. even so I hesitated with the idea of throwing carrots in but I knew by time dinner rolls around I wasn't going to be making any veggies so in they went with some button mushrooms and a dash of tomato sauce for richness.

It was pretty good but it won't happen again grandma ;)