a lovely brunch

Arounna had such a nice birthday brunch last weekend. I especially appreciated the three kinds of bacon and crispy (yet fluffy) waffles that John made.


cherry turnovers

I had some leftover pie dough sitting in my fridge so I whipped up these cherry turnovers as a little treat.
The filling is just a mixture of chopped fresh cherries, a couple of tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon or so of cornstarch. Easy!


backyard korean bbq

Seema and I both love Korean bbq, so we decided to have one in her backyard. 
* side dishes: both Korean & Japanese 
* Seema made 3 types of gyoza using ingredients from her garden

When it came to meats, Seema made chicken yakitori and I brought samgyupsal (sliced pork belly)and marinated a ton of kalbi (Korean short ribs). 
* samgyupsal lettuce wrap (w/ kimchi and seasoned dried anchovies)

Dessert was sweet and simple: black sesame ice cream with strawberries and condensed milk.

Seema has a nice backyard. Check out her blog for more pics.


taco time

Most of my Sundays are spent holed up in my small kitchen prepping food for the upcoming week. But sometimes, when I have a busy week and an even busier weekend, things get thrown off track. Which means more dinners out. Like this impromptu Monday night meal at Tacos El Asador. I need to go here more often. I also need to eat more tacos.
Jarritos: tamarind flavour and Mexican Cola
Nachos: Not your ordinary cheese-laden variety, these come topped with refried beans, chunks of ripe avocado, queso, cilantro, jalapenos, sour cream, tomatoes and onions.
Chicharron papusa (a hand-made, griddled thick corn tortilla stuffed with pork)
Al pastor soft taco (marinated pork + pineapple)
Chicken soft taco

Tacos El Asador
690 Bloor St. W


yard sale-ing

I dropped into the annual Trinity Bellwoods yard sale on Saturday morning. It was busy (and hot!), but I scored a couple of sweet deals.
This General Food Kitchen Cookbook from 1959 was $1. Some of the recipes and pics are hilarious (who wants to fight for that sardine, boiled egg and tomato sandwich?) and uber-kitschy (where can I get a soup tureen that looks like a head of cabbage?).
I was really drawn to these needlepoint pieces for some reason. They were $1 each.


max's restaurant

Over the weekend, me and the fam trekked out to Vaughan for some Filipino food at Max's Restaurant. Max's is a chain in the Philippines and is known for it's fried chicken. At 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, we had to wait about an hour to get a table. Service was quite slow, but the food was classic Filipino deliciousness.
Max's teasers appetizer plate (Lumpiang Shanghai/Filipino springrolls, crispy calamari)
Our table
Whole Max's chicken
Garlic rice (fried rice with A LOT of garlic)
Lechon kawali (crispy deep-fried pork belly)
Pancit canton (stir fried egg noodles, vegetables, pork, chicken, shrimp)

Then onto dessert! We went for the Halo Halo, shaved ice topped with sweet beans, ube (yam) ice cream, jackfruit, coconut jelly, palm nuts, leche flan (caramel custard), evaporated milk and crunchy rice flakes.
And Buko Pandan, young coconut mixed with Pandan gelatin, condensed milk and Macapuno (a type of coconut) ice cream, topped with crunchy rice flakes.
Max's Restaurant
1520 Steeles Avenue W.


obsessed: speculoos spread

I've been obsessed with Speculoos spread since I picked up a jar in Paris. Growing up, Speculaas (those spicy, windmill shaped cookies) were a favourite amongst the Dutch side of my family. This spread has the same spicy taste, is the texture of peanut butter (even sticks to the roof of your mouth), and tastes mighty fine on toast. But my favourite way of eating it is on a spoon, straight out of the jar.


screaming for ice cream...sandwiches

Sometimes all you need is a good cookie to make a bad day better.
But when you've had a really bad day, you'll need something more. Like two cookies. And some ice cream in between.


saturday dim sum

Rol San doesn't have the cart ladies that I love so much, but the dim sum is always fresh and consistent. Plus, even though you'll most likely have to wait in line if it's a weekend, the dishes come out fast. Our table was overflowing with baskets and plates just 10 minutes after ordering.
Rol San
323 Spadina Ave.


sweets & treats

I fear that over the last few weeks I've developed quite the sweet tooth. One culprit? Caramel au beurre salé from Paris. It's rich, sweet and slightly salty. It's perfection really.    
* salted caramels (so good that I'm rationing them and kicking myself for not picking up more)
* Franck Kestener "Atlantique" dark chocolate bar w/ salted caramel and crisp butter cookie

I picked up a couple of the above bars at A L'Etoile d'Or, a small shop in Montmartre. The owner, Denise Acabo (pictured below) is a sweetheart. She showed me clippings of publications she's been featured in, asked me which blogs I've seen her on, and I loved how she would suggest chocolates for me then sample a few right there saying she was hungry. I guess she never got sick of eating chocolate.
* A L'Etoile d'Or
30, rue Fontaine (9th)


easy preserving

I haven't started any real preserving since not a lot of fruit and veggies are in season yet, but I did make a simple apple jam recently as a spread for a pork belly sandwich. It's pretty quick to make and tastes like applesauce, but with the texture of a thick jam. I used this honey lemon apple jam recipe, but divided it in half.
* pork belly (using the Momofuku technique but with skin on for crunchy crackling)
* pork belly sandwich

I also ran out of candied jalapenos last month (because I dropped an entire jar and it smashed all over my floor), so I promptly made some more. When I made these last time, I didn't remove the seeds, which resulted in some wickedly spicy pepper rings. This time I de-seeded about half.
And here is some Vietnamese pickled carrot and daikon that I made. These are quick pickles and you can eat them about an hour after making them. I added them to a refreshing cold soba noodle salad.


musée de la chasse

While we were in Paris we visited the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (the hunting and nature museum) due to a recommendation from a friend who said it was really cool. It's not as well known as the Louvre or Pomidou and I think it has only been open to the public since 2007, so it's pretty quiet and a perfect getaway from the crowds. The museum has three floors and houses an extensive collection of art, hunting relics and taxidermy. It was a neat way to see the role hunting had in France (and Europe) throughout the years. 
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
62 rue des Archives (4th)