Category: cooking + baking

rhubarb simple syrup

rhubarbsyrup-1With rhubarb season coming to an end next month, now is the perfect time to whip up a batch of simple syrup to celebrate the last few weeks of summer (sorry, but you all know it’s quickly approaching!). Simple syrups can be added to alcohol such as rum for rhubarb mojitos or sparkling water for a non-alcoholic version and left over cooked rhubarb can be used in yogurt or as a topping on your favorite desserts!

rhubarbsyrup-2rhubarb3Chop up 3-5 stalks into small pieces.

rhubarb4rhubarb5Add rhubarb to the following in a large pot – 1 cup sugar // 2 cups water // optional: pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon or a dash of vanilla. Simmer for approx. 5 minutes and let cool. This recipe may be easily doubled or tripled if you plan to host a party. Store in a mason jar or pitcher in the refridgerator for up to one week. Happy weekend!

in a pickle!

Making-Pickles-1Every year when the season begins to change, I tell myself that I’m going to try making pickles. Last year, I even went as far as buying all the ingredients minus the actual cucumbers and seasonings! So when I started spotting fresh dill and cucumbers at the farmer’s market, I declared that this was the year of the pickle! I don’t even know why I had put it off for so long. These were easy!

Making-Pickles-3Making-Pickles-4adapted from freutcake

Ingredients:
fills 4 medium (5 cup) jars

  • 4.5 cups of distilled white vinegar
  • 6 cups of water
  • 6 tsp of kosher salt
  • 4 pounds of small cucumbers (slices or spears)
  • handful of fresh dill

optional: sliced garlic, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, chiles, fennel, peppercorns, cloves, garlic scapes

Making-Pickles-2

Directions:

  1. Throughly wash your jars, lids, cucumbers, and fresh dill. Cucumber pickles do not need a water bath as the vinegar will stop any bacterial growth. If you wish to process them in a water bath, it will extend the shelf life (up to one year). 
  2. Combine all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved.
  3. Pack the cucumbers in the jars, dividing the dill and other herbs.
  4. Once cooled, ladel the liquid mixture into the jars making sure to cover everything.
  5. Seal tightly and refrigerate. We used a mixture of dill, garlic, and fresh jalapeños. Obviously, the longer it sits, the more flavourable, but we couldn’t resist sampling them after a few hours and you could already taste the mix of seasonings!

cooking :: chinese jung

cooking jung 1DIY jung 3As a young girl, I remember helping my grandmother make chinese jung in the kitchen – one pot of sweet jung and one pot of savoury jung (my favourite!). Traditionally made during Dragon Boat Festival, chinese jung is basically sticky rice with meat and an assortment of lentils, mushrooms, egg yolks and then wrapped inside a bamboo leaf before cooking for an hour or two on the stove.

I’m a purist when it comes to jung, favouring a simple blend of chinese mushroom and pork belly marinated in soy sauce and covered in glutenious rice. At first glance, making jung may seem a bit overwhelming, but these tasty packages are great to keep in the freezer and once you get a rhythm going, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the cooking pot fills up!

cooking jung 2DIY jung 4

ingredients:
2kg bag of glutinous rice
1.5lb of pork belly ** optional
Soy sauce
1 package of dried bamboo leaves
string

optional: mung beans, chinese sausage, salted egg yolks, mushrooms (dried or fresh)

Makes about 15-20

step one (the night before):
Meat – Cut the pork belly into bite size pieces and marinade it in soy sauce.

Mushrooms – If you are using dried mushrooms like I did, make sure to soak these overnight.

Bamboo leaves – To prep the bamboo leaves, soak the leaves in a mixture of 1 tbsp of baking soda and boiling water for one hour. Rinse and soak in fresh water overnight. You will need 3 leaves per jung and a few extra in case it rips.

DIY jung 5step two (the next day):
Take two bamboo leaves and fold it in half width wide and shape it into a cone.

DIY jung 6DIY jung 7step three:
Holding the base, scoop 1/4 cup of rice in the base followed by the pork belly and mushrooms. Try not to overfill as it will make it hard to wrap later. Scoop another 1/4 cup of rice on the top (you should have rice in the bottom and the top).

DIY jung 9step four:
Here come’s the tricky part! Pat down the ingredients. Hold everything firmly and wrap a third leaf around the top of the opening to make the cone even bigger. Fold the sides into the middle and then fold down the top (see clockwise). (Don’t squeeze too hard as it may tear the leaves).

DIY jung 8
step five:
While you grasp everything in one hand, use the other to tie the entire package in string – Make sure you wrap it properly and double knot it as you don’t want it to spring open while cooking or have any of the rice leak out.

step six:
Put all the jung in a large stock pot and cover it completely with water. Bring to a boil and keep it at medium-low heat for 1 to 1.5 hours. Give it a good stir every once and awhile so that the jung on the bottom make it to the top.

Once cooked, unwrap, and eat! Also try them dipped in soy sauce! (can freeze up to two weeks, but the probably won’t last that long!)

the everyday :: vancouver pastry school

van pastry school collageHappy Friday! What do you have planned for the weekend? Lately, I have been feeling exhausted when I wake up. You know… always playing catch up… always trying to get one step ahead. I was hoping to take a few days off to do nothing, but decided to squeeze in a mini mid-week break to Seattle. I find that I relax best when I’m away. Do you feel the same way?

Robert has been taking baking classes at the Vancouver Pastry School since last November. So far, he has participated in 4 pastry classes ranging from the basics to the perfect afternoon tea and he just completed his first artisan bread baking class last Tuesday. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but now that he has signed up for 3 more bread classes including learning how to make croissants, I think I am in trouble!

cooking :: chinese hot pot

chinese hot pot 1chinese hot pot 2chinese hot pot 3chinese hot pot 4chinese hot pot 5chinese hot pot 6To celebrate Chinese New Year, we invited a few friends over for Chinese hot pot, or as some call it, Chinese fondue. For those unfamiliar with the term, hot pot is basically table top cooking where you place a pot of broth on a portable cooker in the middle of the table along with dishes of meat, tofu, and vegetables. The shared pot of broth is kept simmering while you place thin slices of meat, vegetables, tofu, fish balls, dumplings, noodles, etc in the pot to cook. Each person is given a mini ladle to help scoop out the items into your bowl.

The cooked food is usually eaten with a dipping sauce that can be enjoyed on its own or poured over rice. Oh, and it’s all about the sauce! I’ve been told that the best mixture is fresh ginger, green onion, chili, garlic, and soy sauce, but the options are endless. Try adding shallot sauce, hoisin, oyster sauce, and / or fresh cilentro!

All items were purchased from T&T supermarkets, but can be found at any asian grocery.