Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meat Pie, Pigs in a Blanket

Time was winding down on our visiting family from Aus (Australia). Aunty T mentioned that although there are meat pies everywhere in Aus, the pastry just didn't taste as good as the stuff here in Canada. That gave Mom the idea. She wanted to show off her pie pastry.

The meat filling had to be made first. I sweated off a boatload of diced onions, browned the beef, seasoned it with a variety of spices, and then simmered with water that barely covered the mix.

Mom made the pie crust and then the pies were baked off. Along with a few squirts of ketchup, dinner was served. The pastry shattered into tiny shards. Amazing.

We also made some pigs in a blanket. We used breakfast sausages and puff pastry. The puff pastry was picked up from the Rideau Bakery.

Lookin' gooooood! The puff pastry was on the greasy side. Whoever made this batch didn't add enough flour. They still tasted great though.

Since there was a bit of leftover pie dough, we tried wrapping the breakfast sausages with them to see how they compared to the puff pastry-wrapped ones. Which one would you prefer?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup, Paninis, Macarons

On Saturday evening, I got together with some friends for some food, hockey, and board games.


VN and I went grocery shopping for the ingredients. Do you ever look at other people's shopping cart contents when you're in line at the grocery store and try to figure out what they're planning to make? I thought it was funny when we checked out of one stores because of what we picked up. Ignore the creepy cyclops in the photo.

Let's focus on the Nutella, havarti cheese, and chicken broth for a second. Those three ingredients would be hilarious in one of those mystery box challenges in a cooking show. How about a french onion soup with Nutella croutons? Uh... savoury soufflé with a Nutella sauce? Err... how about a sweet and salty Nutella havarti quesadilla with chicken broth mousse? No? Okay.



VN and DG made the banh pâté chaud using a homemade pork filling (ground pork, celery, onions, fish sauce, salt, sugar, black pepper, cornstarch) and store-bought puff pastry.

The butternut squash soup was very easy to make. After the tough squash skin was sliced off, the diced butternut squash was added to a pot of sweated onions. The chicken broth was poured into the pot and then the contents were brought to a simmer. Once the diced squash became tender, the contents of the pot were blended in batches and then returned to the pot. The puréed soup was seasoned with cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and a hint of nutmeg.

Butternut Squash Soup
Revised from the Food Network's recipe

1 Butternut Squash
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 Small Onions, Diced
5 cups Chicken Broth
Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Black Pepper

The spiciness of the soup, from the cayenne pepper, increased with every spoonful of soup that we enjoyed. Not everyone was able to handle it. But the person in question is a lightweight when eating spicy foods. And that's where the variety of paninis became saviours.

To eat with the butternut squash soup, we made a few paninis out of a variety of proteins and bread. There was a rotisserie chicken with avocado one, a spicy cappicolo with havarti, and a serrano ham with Granny Smith apples. The sandwiches were pressed and then cut into slivers so that people could try multiple combos.

The paninis broke up the spiciness and allowed our palates to enjoy different flavours and textures. Why are paninis and soups so amazing together?

JL brought over some Oreo cheesecakes that he made. It's too bad that almost half the people there were sensitive to lactose. The cheesecakes tasted good to me.

We attempted to make macarons after being inspired by my friend behind the blog Delishsis. Nicole and her sister made cute heart-shaped strawberry macarons for Valentine's Day and I thought: hey, we can try making macarons for dessert! It doesn't look that hard. I was foolish to think that. We based our macarons on Anna Olson's french macaron recipe. And as you can tell from the top photo in the collage above, we didn't have enough egg whites. When VN piped the macaron batter onto the baking tray, they ended up looking like piles of turd. Quite lovely, if I do say so myself. They're not supposed to look like that. Hahaa!

Despite not being photogenic, the Nutella macarons were quite yummy. One of the problems we had was using almond meal that wasn't ground finely. The texture of the almonds went with the Nutella filling. It was like a deflated Ferraro Rocher macaron.

I'd definitely like to recreate everything we made. The butternut squash was easy and tasty. It was fun to try different combos when making paninis. And those macarons; the results have not discouraged me one bit.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Weekend at Mont Tremblant

Blueberry Lake Resort1


This past weekend, we brought our Aussie relatives up to Mont Tremblant. We rented a chalet and did some sightseeing. As soon as we got back to the chalet, people were either grazing or making food - sometimes both. Let me just say that the photos cover most of what we ate.

Mont Tremblant

Beavertails at Mont Tremblant
On the first full day we were there, we went up to the Mont Tremblant Village and walked around a bit. The weather was -20 Celcius with blue skies. We didn't stay there long at all. After a brief BeaverTails break (the Kilaloe Sunrise is pictured on the bottom left; cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice), some of us went tubing while everyone else went back to the chalet.

Blueberry Lake Resort2

Prime Rib Dinner

Prime Rib Dinner2
That night, we had a spectacular prime rib dinner with a few sides: mashed potatoes with mint, side salad, heart of palm salad, and gravy. There was also Japanese-marinated chicken (soy sauce, palm sugar, ginger, and garlic) for those who didn't like beef.

South East Asian Fruit Punch
There wasn't anything for dessert that night, unless you count the southeast asian fruit punch that JN made. We used some canned jackfruit, rambutan and some of the liquid, longan, pineapples, lychee jelly, and fresh strawberries with Sprite, tropical fruit juice, and Grey Goose.

On the following morning, we breakfasted on bacon, breakfast sausages, bagels, rice, toast, coffee, hot chocolate, and/or tea. Then we snacked on some boxed white cake with fresh blueberries.

Fruit Platter

Before we had lunch, there was a fruit platter of guava, papaya, strawberries, and asian pears. Containers of hummus and baba ganoush were opened along with a few bags of chips.

Marinated Ox Tongue

Lunch consisted of marinated ox tongue, which Uncle TS prepared and marinated the previous night. It was served with a nuoc cham-like sauce: fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, garlic, cilantro, green onions, and chili peppers.


Both the ox tongue and dipping sauce were addictive. Delish!

Blueberry Lake Resort3

Mom, Lucy, Jimmy, and Richard arrived with some homemade bo kho for lunch as well.

We (Lucy, Jimmy, Richard, and I) left the chalet before everyone else ate a lobster dinner. We arrived in Ottawa just after 9:30pm. I was so exhausted that I don't remember getting into bed. There was just so much food!


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