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Friday, December 2, 2016

Pressure Cooker Chicken Congee (Gai Jook) - Winter is Coming

So, what is congee, you might ask? It sounds exotic but it's really just a nice, soupy, savoury rice porridge that is the perfect remedy for frigid winter mornings. Even though we go for dim sum regularly, we don't usually order this because it's really filling and it cuts down on the amount of dumplings I can scarf so it's something I save for home, but, pre Instant Pot, I didn't make this as often as I would have liked. Since my wizard pot truly lets me set it and forget it, I plan to make a batch of this every weekend over the winter. I am NOT a sweet breakfast girl oat porridge, but any porridge with brown sugar and cream doesn't hold any appeal to me but any porridge that lets me garnish it with crispy pork, chilis and other savoury treats is the food of my cold, dark heart.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sous Vide Duck BiBimBap

We all love a tasty rice bowl and I absolutely depend on it as a way to use leftovers without anyone suspecting they are eating leftovers, especially when I'm left with a little bit of this and that. It's the perfect way to stretch one leftover piece of protein,  a few tbls of leftover grilled vegetable or a small bowl of shrimp to that it can feed everyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Adventures in Croissant and Brioche Making at Bonnie Gordon College

Can you believe I made those with very own hands??/

I was invited to take a course, free of charge, at the Bonnie Gordon College and if I liked it, to share my experience and since I loved it, I am sharing. When it came time to pick a class, me being me, I immediately chose the one that terrified me the most - Croissants and Brioche

Yes, I was that mom. At least I was not actually in costume

I am an artistic gal and I am relatively sure I could crank out some decent sugar flowers - I was pretty much the reigning queen of over the top birthday theme cakes when The Kid was little. My giant castle cake that I fashioned for his Medieval themed Jousting Tournament party took me three days to finish and I had to leave the room when it was time to let the little heathens dig into it. I pretty much know how to make decent bread and The Kid has taken over the pie making duties so that left me staring the one class that made my stomach roll over.

I set off to find the school on a Saturday morning and found that, on the weekend, there was little traffic and the journey was much shorter than I anticipated. The school is housed in an Industrial area of north Toronto and it houses the actual College, where you can come and get a diploma in either Pastry Arts (39 week program) or Confectionary Arts (16 weeks)  or certificates in Designer Cakes (9weeks) and Bakery Essentials. (20 days). They take International students as well as Canadians but you don't have to make that kind of committment because they also offer weekend classes, like the one I took.

List of Weekend Classes

So, the down and dirty of my experience:
This class costs $225 and it runs from 9:30am to 5pm
You will make croissants, brioche and almond cream and Chef Michael Smith (no, not THAT Michael Smith) will demonstrate how to turn those basic doughs into a variety of pastries and styles of brioche.

 We were paired off and then after we watched him demonstrate the first step of croissant making, we were on our own to follow suite. Chef Smith is really an amazing teacher. He is clear, concise, managed to simplify the process sufficiently so that everyone appeared to be confident and comfortable with something that could be quite a daunting process. He continued to demonstrate every new step and talked us through everything, walking around and ready to jump in and answer questions and help us along the way.

I have to tell you, the process of kneading a pound of soft butter into the brioche starter dough was at once disgusting, amazing and therapeutic. Just when I thought that we were all being punked, the dough started to come together, the butter was truly being incorporated and we were left with a beautiful dough.

At the end of the class, Chef Smith bakes off all of our creations and we are sent home with a lovely box full of our very own pastries to thrill and amaze our family and friends.

Yes, I was given the opportunity to try this class out for free but I will tell you that I would absolutely pay to take it again and I will definitely go back to take some more classes in the future and you can take that to the bank.

Most importantly, I actually left with the confidence to do this again, at home, on my own.
First it was canning, then deep frying, pressure cooking and now, I have made my own pastry.
Go me!

To see what they have to offer in the way of weekend classes and register, go here

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Taste Canada Awards - Hug A Canadian Cookbook Writer

This week I attended the Taste Canada Awards  to witness a parade of Canadian talent in the world of cookbook writing (with a category for best food blog as well now!)