What’s Beethoven’s favourite fruit?
Guess what? I survived second year!
Just as last year, my exams once again ended on the last day. Luckily though, I had a bit more time to linger in Toronto this time. So this post, and the next few, are essentially visual records of my adventures with some awesome humans in the past week or so. Hope you enjoy this potpourri of photographs.
Toronto is known for a lot of things: CN Tower, Raptors, Drake, TIFF, Rob Ford, to just name a few. Did you know though, that last year Vogue rated the Queen West area of Toronto the second hippest neighborhood in the world! After doing some exploring there myself, I can say that the neighborhood truly lives up to its reputation. Queen Street West is filled with independent boutiques, adorable stationery stores and countless highly Yelp-rated cafes and restaurants.
We strolled down to Trinity Bellwoods park where we relived our childhood on the playground and talked about how we used to swing a lot higher and climb the monkey bars a lot better… sigh.
Outfit details: Sunglasses: F21; Top: Dynamite; Sweater: Gerry Weber (thrifted); Boyfriend jeans: Style & Co. (thrifted); Flats: China; Tote bag: MUJI
Hello friends. Hope all is swell with you.
Living at home in the past week has been lovely. I can’t describe the feeling I get tasting those familiar notes in my mom’s home cooking again. Of course eating out is great – your taste buds get to experience the world! But mom’s cooking is something entirely different – it’s comforting, it’s natural, it’s the taste of home.
My mom’s signature 糖醋排骨 (sweet and sour ribs) welcomed me home, along with some of my favourites: 土豆丝 (sauteed matchstick potatoes), 炒青菜 (baby bokchoy), 红烧猪蹄 (braised pork hock)．These are all simple dishes. But it’s the one extra teaspoon of light soy sauce, or the 5 minutes less of cooking time, or that extra zing from the chopped ginger, that makes these dishes taste like home.
I had to set five alarm clocks to get myself to get up before my mom does. As a small Valentine’s Day gift, I prepared a surprise breakfast for my mom – hearty oatmeal with goji berries and and a poached egg hidden deeply into the porridge itself; topped with banana coins, frozen raspberries and some sunflower seeds for extra nutrition value!
*a recipe for this oatmeal, along with some other creative ways to eat oats, will be posted on the blog soon!
The good feels were reciprocated at dinner. Mom made a table full of noms – baby short ribs, shrimp, cauliflower, just to name a few. We also opened up a bottle of Merlot. Side note: drinking wine with my mom makes me feel like a real adult.
On Sundays, we make fries. Just kidding. This was actually only my second time making these oven baked potato wedges and if I’m being honest, I think the first time was actually better. But that’s okay! I made some guacamole to compensate for the lack of crispiness of the fries. Yeah that blob of chewed-grass-look-alike, that’s the guacamole … Blame it on the oxygen okay. And the red mess next to it? That’s a ketchup-mayonnaise mixture (fail). But as long as it tastes good right?
On Monday I had a sushi/dim sum date with my high school friends. We went to this restaurant that just opened last summer called Fusion and it really lives up to its name. It caters a wide array of foods, from the standard California rolls to Cantonese custard buns, General Tso chicken to steamed beef tripe, and so many more. Having had sushi so so so many times, we order a lot of dim sum dishes and they were heavenly! All their dim sums are apparently made on the spot in the kitchen, unlike most Asian restaurants (unless they specialize in dim sum) that just buy the packaged frozen ones from Asian supermarkets.
And of course there’s always room for dessert. Their mango ice cream was topnotch – tasted super rich and creamy, different from that of a typical sushi joint, perhaps it’s house-made too.
Tuesday was Chinese New Year’s Eve Eve, or as my mom likes to call it 小年夜. Usually we save the big family dinner on 大年夜 which is Chinese New Year’s Eve. So on Tuesday my mom and I had a pretty simple meal. But she made one of my favourite Asian desserts – coconut milk tapioca. I remember making this for our Food Fair back in grade 12 but obviously my mom’s version is much better. Sometimes she would add taro but this time she chopped up some sweet potato but a nicer color and it actually tasted so delish!
Moving onto Wednesday (Lunar New Year’s Eve), we went over to my auntie’s house and had a huge 10+ course meal with the family. It’s like Christmas all over again, but a little bit better. I wrote a blog post about it, you can read it here if you are interested in learning more about Chinese New Year traditions and the 2015 Year of the Sheep! 🙂
After overindulging in 3 plates of duck, salmon, and ribs (and some veg too of course), I needed a quick detox. So on Thursday, I made myself a smoothie bowl. Banana, apple, raspberries, yogurt, blend ’em up. Easy peasy!
I didn’t do any ‘reading’ until the third last day of Reading Week. On Friday night, it was finally time to get my act together! Mom made a stew – with bokchoy, nagaimo (“long potato”), beef and fish balls, shrimp, oyster mushroom, and fish tofu. Yum！It was so good it made studying a bit less painful 🙂
Saturday. It’s my last day at home! I don’t wanna leave 😦
I am writing this post as I gobble down this paratha (Indian flat bread) with an egg (hidden inside), topped with some avocado. I couldn’t wait to eat this beaut so food presentation really wasn’t a priority here.
Annnnnd my last meal at home. It was an all vegetarian meal with layers of flavor! (Yes you can eat eggs if you’re vegetarian. Only lacto-vegetarians do not eat eggs.) Needless to say, it was scrumptious as usual and it makes me want to go back to my tiny apartment even less. But you got to do what you got to do. Toronto and school work, here I come!
Not too much of a story to tell here. This was my first attempt at a no-bake dessert and it actually turned out pretty well, so I thought I’d share it with all you wonderful people of the internet.
So first things first, this recipe makes roughly about 12 bite size cheesecakes. But then again, every time I bake, I find discrepancies between the supposed portions on the given recipes and my own portions. Potato, po-TA-to. If you make less than 12, oh well; if you make more than 12, the more the merrier, right?
Here goes the recipe.
For the crust:
- 1 C graham cracker crumbs (you can crush the crackers yourself or buy pre-crashed ones from the store)
- 1/4 C regular granulated sugar (or substitute for healthier alternatives – ex: 4-6 packets of Stevia would be ample)
- 1/4 C melted butter (unsalted/salted, doesn’t really matter
For the filling:
- 1 package of Philadelphia cream cheese (250g), room temperature
- 1 C plain Greek yogurt (I used Liberté, but any brand will do)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 C honey
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- a pinch of salt
- fresh or frozen blueberries
- mix together the crust ingredients until well combined
- using a spoon, firmly press the mixture into a muffin tin
- beat the cream cheese with a mixer until it has a creamy consistency
- add in all the other ingredients for the filling (except for the blueberries)
- fill the muffin tins half full with the filling
- place a few blueberries on top of each, and add another layer of the cream cheese mixture
- once you are all finished with that, cover the muffin trays with some plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer for at least 4 hours (overnight is better)
- take them out 10-20 minutes before serving
- add toppings as desired