sticky chicken burger

sticky chicken burger

I haven’t posted in a long, long time. Was busy… getting ready to move here to Saudi Arabia! So we went from Eating in Moose Jaw, to Comox, and now to Riyadh.  Today I tried making our favourite burger in the Comox Valley – the sticky chicken burger from Cornerstone Taphouse. It’s chicken breast with a balsamic reduction, roasted garlic and fried feta.  This turned out SO good.  I still have some roasted garlic and balsamic reduction leftover so am thinking of making this again tomorrow!

(This will make more roasted garlic than you need for this recipe but since you’re putting in the effort anyway, might as well have leftovers you can keep in the fridge. Roasted garlic is the best!)

To make 4 burgers: 4 chicken breasts / 4 burger buns / garlic cloves from 5 heads / 1/2 cup olive oil (plus extra for frying) / 1/2 cup vegetable oil (plus extra for frying) / 1 cup balsamic vinegar / ~250 grams feta cheese / a heaped tbsp of flour / ~4 tbsp mayonnaise / romaine lettuce for topping / salt and pepper


First make the roasted garlic. I used to do this all the time in the oven but now I tend to confit it (so not really roasted, but basically same result) as it’s much quicker.  Put all the cloves, the olive oil and the vegetable oil into a small saucepan over medium heat. (Depending on the size of the pan, you need just enough oil to cover the garlic.) Once the oil has heated up and the garlic is sizzling a bit, lower the heat to medium-low.  Let the garlic cook for about 40 min or until they’re soft (I like to check by piercing with a fork) and golden brown.


In the meantime, heat up the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Lower the heat until it’s just a simmer and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. It will have taken on more of a syrupy consistency and will thicken up more as it cools down.  Set aside.


Using a sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Heat up a large frying pan with a little bit of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Cook the breasts on both sides until completely cooked through.  Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a plate and spoon over the balsamic reduction.


Cut the feta into slices a few centimetres thick.  Lightly coat both sides of the slices of feta with flour.  Heat up a thin layer of olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and then fry the feta on both sides until golden brown. (The feta I got from the shop was a much softer texture than any other feta I’ve had before so I didn’t get the neat slices I was expecting.  Definitely not photo-worthy but oh well. Will go searching for more feta options!)

While the feta is frying, mix some of your roasted garlic with the mayo and give your burger buns a light toasting under your broiler.


Now finally, put everything together! One chicken breast per burger, some feta, lettuce, the roasted garlic mayo plus a few extra garlic cloves for good measure. Enjoy!


yook bang (steamed pork cake)

my grandma’s yook bang (chinese steamed pork cake)

This was my absolute favourite thing to eat when I was a kid and I finally made it myself for the first time! I was such a horrible picky eater growing up but I loved this Cantonese dish that my grandma would make for me.  It’s freshly minced pork mixed with a bit of dried turnip, shaped into a patty and then steamed.  It probably doesn’t sound particularly amazing and it definitely doesn’t look amazing but it is soooo good. I can very vividly remember my grandma using a big cleaver to duk or mince pork on a round wooden cutting block for this dish. She unsurprisingly doesn’t have a ‘real’ recipe for this or any precise measurements for the ingredients but I found that the following worked out well.  Tasted exactly like my childhood!

500 grams pork shoulder / 1/2 tsp salt / 1/2 tsp sugar / 1 tsp light soy sauce / 1 tbsp cornstarch / 1 tbsp diced dried turnip* / grapeseed (or any other) oil just for greasing the dish

*You can find dried turnip (which is weirdly packaged as just ‘dried vegetable’) at an Asian supermarket


Using a large heavy cleaver, mince the pork. And by mince, I mean hack away at it. You want it about the consistency of ground pork that you would buy from the supermarket.



Using chopsticks, mix the pork with the salt, sugar, soy sauce, dried turnip, and cornstarch just until everything is combined. Lightly grease a pie dish or a large rimmed plate with the oil. Get your steamer ready and put the pork mixture into the plate and shape into a round patty.


You’ll steam this for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.


And there you have it! You will have some liquid in the pie dish which you absolutely should not pour out. Serve this with some veggies and steamed rice and be sure to spoon some of the liquid over the rice.

Galettes Bretonnes

galettes bretonnes (buckwheat crepes)

For Le Chandeleur (February 2), Rock always insists on us eating crepes.  Some sort of superstition about having a prosperous year…? I don’t mind; any reason to eat crepes! This year we tried making these savoury buckwheat crepes from Brittany.  I had never tried buckwheat before but turns out it’s highly nutritious and not actually related to wheat but rather to rhubarb.  You can fill these with anything but apparently ham, Gruyere and an egg is a classic, so that’s what we went with.  This recipe is from Lonely Planet’s France: From the Source cookbook and comes from one of the oldest creperies in the Brittany town of Quimper.

Makes 5 crepes.

250 grams buckwheat flour / 1/2 tsp sea salt / 1 egg / 500 ml water / melted butter for frying / fillings of your choice


Mix together the buckwheat flour, salt, egg and half of the water for about 4 or 5 minutes by hand.  The recipe calls to refrigerate overnight but I just did it for a few hours.


Mix in the other half of the water.


Heat up a large frying pan over medium to medium high heat and melt some butter in the pan.  Ladle some of the galette batter into the pan and turn the pan to spread the batter into a circle.  While the galette is cooking, place your fillings in the middle.  I cracked an egg in the middle and using a spatula just kind of spread the egg white around a bit and then added cheese and ham.  Season with a bit of salt and pepper too if you’d like.


When the galette is a bit crisp on the bottom and the egg whites have cooked through (I covered the pan with a lid just to make sure the yolk was heated a bit too), use a spatula and fold down the four sides to form a square.

Galettes Bretonnes

We started cooking with our toddler recently as a fun rainy days project so if you want to see the little video I put together of him cooking these galettes, check it out here!

paneer butter masala

paneer butter masala

I really like Meera Sodha’s first cookbook so Rock ordered her second book, Fresh India, from the UK last year… I think for Valentine’s Day!  I prefer getting a cookbook over chocolates any day.  I just looked and this book is still not coming out in North America until this coming May so, good job Rock!

Anyway, I have my go-to butter masala recipe but I decided to try Meera’s recipe and it turned out really great!  It’s definitely different from my go-to but just as good.  I did make some alterations, mainly to measurements, and I substituted the tomato passata and double cream (which we don’t readily have here in Canada) with crushed tomatoes and coconut cream.  And if you’d like, which I didn’t but Rock and Aymeric did, you can sprinkle over some toasted flaked almonds to serve.

Serves 4.

grapeseed oil  / 400 – 500 grams of paneer, cut into 2 cm cubes  /  3 tbsp unsalted butter  /  1 large yellow onion, finely chopped  /  4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated  /  6 cloves of garlic, crushed  /  800 grams of crushed tomatoes  /  1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves  /  1 tsp ground cinnamon  /  1/4 tsp ground cloves  /  1/4 – 1/2 tsp chilli powder (I used 1/4 so that it would be pretty mild for our 10 month old)  /  2 tbsp honey or sugar  /  1 and 1/2 tsp salt  /  150 ml coconut cream, plus a bit extra to serve


Heat up about a tablespoon of oil to a large lidded frying pan over medium heat.  Fry the paneer until the cubes are a bit golden on all sides and then transfer to a plate and set aside.  Next, heat up the butter in the pan and fry the onion for about 10 minutes or until they’re translucent and turning a bit golden.  Add in the ginger and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.


Stir in the crushed tomatoes and cover with the lid and cook for about 12 minutes.


Stir in the fenugreek leaves, cinnamon, cloves, chilli powder, honey and salt.  Then stir in the paneer, cover back with the lid and let it cook for about 5 minutes.


Mix in the coconut cream and let it cook for another few minutes.


And you’re done! Drizzle a bit more of the coconut cream over and serve with basmati rice.  Really delicious!

paneer butter masala

ultimate hot chocolate mix

Tis the season for hot chocolate!  I just made a giant double batch jar of this awesome hot chocolate mix from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food cookbook.  It makes a really chocolatey (thanks to the dark chocolate AND cocoa), and most importantly thick (thanks to the cornstarch), hot chocolate, which I really like.  Feels super indulgent. Nothing worse than a watery hot chocolate!

For 16 servings.

7 oz good quality dark chocolate  /  1 cup good quality cocoa powder  /  3/4 cup icing sugar  /  1/3 cup cornstarch  /  1/3 cup malted milk powder like Ovaltine or Horlicks  /  pinch of sea salt


Put the chocolate in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes (I was impatient so stuck it in the freezer instead) and then chop in a food processor with a pinch of salt until fine.


I just have a mini food processor so I did this in two batches.  If you have a large food processor, just add the rest of the ingredients and pulse until mixed.  Mine’s too small so I just mixed everything by hand in a large bowl.  (More like I put my toddler to work. Ha! He did some mixing and some getting chocolate all over my pants.)


OK and that’s it for the mix!  Just keep it in an airtight jar and you’re ready to make yourself a fresh mug of hot chocolate whenever.

To make one serving of hot chocolate, put 1 cup of milk (I use almond milk) and 2 heaping tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix into a saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring it regularly.  It’ll really thicken up.


Pour into a mug and add some mini marshmallows, fresh grating of chocolate, cinnamon or whatever you want.



matcha mochi

matcha mochi

We love mochi (Japanese rice cake)!  So soft, chewy and yummy.  But we never thought to make homemade mochi until we were visiting friends and they had made some.  Of course Rock immediately wanted the recipe.  Turns out homemade mochi is actually really easy to make.

1 and 1/2 cups glutinous rice flour  /  3/4 cup sugar  /  1/2 tsp baking powder  /  2 tbsp matcha powder  /  3/4 cup coconut milk  /  1 cup water  /  1/2 tsp vanilla extract  /  cornstarch for dusting


Preheat the oven to 275F and line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and in another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.


Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together until there are no more clumps.  Pour into the lined baking dish.


Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an hour.  After the hour, take off the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.


The recipe says to cool overnight but let’s be real; I’m way too impatient for that.  So I let it cool for about 15 minutes on the counter and then I covered it and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours.  I’m happy to say it did no harm and just let me eat my mochi sooner.  I wouldn’t leave it in the fridge for any longer than that though ‘cus I read that refrigerating mochi makes it hard and lose it’s chewy texture.

In order to cut it, I lightly dusted a chopping board with cornstarch and then flipped the mochi out of the dish upside down onto it.  Carefully peel the parchment off as the mochi is quite sticky.


Dust with some more cornstarch and cut into pieces with a sharp knife.  I just cut squares but you can cut it up however you’d like.  I’ve already eaten two squares but I just read that mochi doesn’t stay fresh for more than a day or two so I better eat more!

IMG_4026matcha mochi


shake shack cheese sauce

I am obsessed with Shake Shack.  Hands down best burgers ever.  And oh my god the cheese fries.  The cheese fries!!!  Even had our American Thanksgiving dinner there while we were in Las Vegas the other week (and we weren’t the only ones!)  This is the recipe for the sauce that they put on their cheese fries which I got from the Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories book.  Actually, it’s called their ‘(close enough) cheese sauce’ since their recipe is a secret but I think this make-at-home version is really, well, close enough!

Makes about 6 cups.

1 tbsp canola oil  /  1/2 onion, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick  /  6 thin slices jalapeño  /  2 tsp whole black peppercorns  /  1/2 tsp kosher salt  /  1 tbsp white wine vinegar (which I substituted with apple cider vinegar)  /  2 tsp white wine (which I got from a can.  I didn’t even know wine came in cans!)  /  2 cups heavy cream  /  2 cups grated cheddar cheese  /  2 cups grated American cheese*

*My American friend said American cheese is basically Kraft singles!  Well I always have a supply of Kraft singles so I can repeatedly re-live my childhood in the form of grilled cheese sandwiches.  Anyway, I just used those, ripped into pieces, instead of buying a block of Velveeta and I weighed it out – works out to 8 slices of cheese.


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and then add the onions, jalapeño, peppercorns, and salt.  Cook, while stirring often, for about 5 minutes.  Add the vinegar and wine and cook for another 5 minutes or so.


Add the cream and then take the saucepan off the heat.  Let the cream steep for about 30 minutes.


After steeping, put the saucepan back over medium heat until it gets very warm but don’t let it come to a boil.  (I didn’t heat it enough at this stage so my cheese wasn’t melting all the way through so just make sure it’s quite hot.)

Put the American and cheddar cheeses into a large heatproof bowl and then pour the hot cream through a strainer over the sauces.


Stir until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. (Since my cream wasn’t hot enough, I put the bowl over a pot of simmering hot water and that did the trick.)  The sauce can be kept covered in the fridge for up to 1 week and can be reheated in the microwave.


The recipe says the cheese sauce would be good on burgers, hot dogs and veggies.  And of course, put it on fries!!!


milk bar’s chocolate-chocolate cookies

We’ve had the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook by Christina Tosi for a couple years now but we only actually got to try something from one of their bakeries last week!  We went on a last minute trip to go surprise Rock’s mom in Las Vegas and we ourselves were pleasantly surprised to find that a Milk Bar (and a Momofuku!) had opened up right next to our hotel.  We got one of their bagel bombs and a half dozen assorted cookies and now I want to bake everything from the book.  This is only the second recipe I’ve tried from the book (the first was 2 years ago – I made the birthday cake for Aymeric’s first birthday and it took me an entire day) and the recipes can be a bit complicated, as well as very specific, but you just need follow the directions in the recipes exactly.  (I learned this the hard way with that birthday cake.  When it says mix for 6 minutes, you mix for the damn 6 minutes!)

Anyway, these chocolate cookies are AMAZING.  INDESCRIBABLE.  Rock just said these are the best cookies we’ve ever made.  You have to try them.

Makes 10 – 15 cookies.

There’s 2 parts to the recipe: the chocolate crumb that gets mixed into the cookie and the cookie dough itself.

Chocolate crumb:  1/3 cup all-purpose flour  /  1/2 tsp cornstarch  /  1/4 cup sugar  /  1/3 cup cocoa powder  /  1/2 tsp kosher salt  /  3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Dough: 225 grams (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature  /  1 and 1/2 cups sugar  /  2 tbsp corn syrup  /  1 egg  /  1/4 tsp vanilla extract  /  2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate  /  1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour  /  3/4 cup cocoa powder  /  3/4 tsp baking powder  /  1/4 tsp baking soda  /  1 and 3/4 tsp kosher salt (I went out and bought kosher salt just for this and I’m gonna have to say it was worth it.)


Start with the chocolate crumb by heating the oven to 300F.  Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed, mix together all the ingredients except for the butter.  Add the butter and mix on low speed until the mixture starts forming small clusters.  Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, breaking them up every now and again.  Let the crumbs cool.


Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar and corn syrup on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.


Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add in the egg, vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat for 7 to 8 minutes.


Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute.  (The recipe specifies: “Do not walk away from the machine during this step, or you will risk overmixing the dough” !!!)


Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and then add in the chocolate crumbs.  Mix on low speed just until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

Using a 1/3 measuring cup, portion out the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Pat down the tops of the dough so they are a bit flat and then wrap the entire sheet pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  (Here the recipe says: “Do not bake your cookies from room temperature – they will not bake properly.”)


Heat the oven to 375F and arrange the chilled cookies at least 4 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  (I had to do 2 batches.)  Bake for 18 minutes.  Let the cookies cool completely on the sheet pans.


I’m so stoked, these turned out PERFECT.  Possibly even better than the one we bought in Vegas ‘cus they’re fresh out of our oven. It says the cookies can keep fresh in an airtight container for 5 days or you can freeze them for up to 1 month.  Let’s be real though, these cookies aren’t going to last the 5 days.


Danish raspberry slices (hindbærsnitter)

danish raspberry slices (hindbærsnitter)

These traditional Danish pastries look like pop tarts but they are definitely not pop tarts!  These slices are homemade raspberry jam sandwiched between tender shortbread-like biscuits (some recipes call it cakes) topped with icing and sprinkles.  I got one for Aymeric when we were in Denmark last year ‘cus it looked like a fun treat for a kid but it was so good that Rock and I ended up eating most of it.  Anyway, we’d been meaning to try making them and we finally got around to it this past weekend when we had friends visiting.  I used a recipe from a book that Rock got me a while ago by Trine Hahnemann called Scandinavian Baking: Sweet and savoury cakes and bakes, for bright days and cozy nights. How hygge is that!?

Makes 8.  I wish we had made double the recipe.

300 grams frozen raspberries  /  1/2 cup superfine sugar  /  1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a bit more for dusting  /  150 grams icing sugar (if you don’t wanna weigh it, 1- gram = 1 tbsp)  /  100 grams (7 tbsp) chilled butter, chopped  /  1/2 egg, lightly beaten  /  sprinkles (the recipe calls for pretty light pink sprinkles but I just used what I had on hand)


Put the frozen raspberries in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Add the superfine sugar and turn the heat down to let the jam simmer for 20 minutes.  It didn’t say if you should keep stirring so I just did anyway every now and again to be sure.  Take off the stove and set aside to cool.  It should be quite thick.


While the jam is cooling, you can make the biscuits.  Sift the flour and 50 grams (5 tbsp) of the icing sugar into a bowl.  Then rub in the butter with your fingers until the mixture has the texture of crumbs.  Add the half an egg and mix the dough until it can come together in a ball.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F and roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface until it is 40 x 22 cm (or 16 x 9 inches).  Rock took this very seriously and dug out the measuring tape to make sure he got it perfect.


Now cut the dough into two 20 x 11 cm (or 8 x 4.5 inches) rectangular pieces.  Prick all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes.


Let the biscuits cool on a wire rack.


In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 100 grams of icing sugar with 2 tbsp of water until you get a smooth consistency.  Spread the icing on one of the biscuits.  The recipe said to leave the icing set first and then put the sprinkles on but it didn’t really work out for us ‘cus the sprinkles kinda just rolled off and we had to gently tap them into the icing which caused it to crack.  So instead of doing that, I would say sprinkle over the sprinkles before letting the icing set for 30 minutes.

Place the other biscuit on a chopping board and spread with the raspberry jam.  We didn’t end up using all of the jam.


Place the iced biscuit on top of the biscuit with the jam on it.


Cut into triangles and dig in!  You can keep these in an airtight container for 4 or 5 days but I doubt they’ll last more than a day before you eat them all.


They didn’t turn out perfect looking but not bad for our first batch!  And they tasted amazing. Already thinking about when I can make these again.

Danish raspberry slices (hindbærsnitter)IMG_3587




classic banana bundt cake

This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours.  We’ve made this twice in the last two weeks (once was for friends! once was just us…) and it’s just a really good and easy cake to make.  No more difficult than a banana bread and gives me an excuse to use my beloved bundt cake pan.

3 cups all-purpose flour  /  2 tsp baking soda  /  1/2 tsp salt  /  1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature  /  2 cups sugar  /  2 tsp pure vanilla extract  /  2 large eggs, ideally also at room temperature  /  4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 and 1/2 cups)  /  1 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)


Preheat your oven to 350F and generously butter a bundt pan.  The recipe calls for a 12 cup pan but I’m pretty sure mine is a 10 cup and it works just fine.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda and the salt.

Then, using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the butter until it’s creamy.  Add the sugar and then beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy.


Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after adding each egg.  Turn the mixer down to low and then add the mashed up bananas.  Next, mix in half of the dry ingredients, then the yogurt, and then the rest of the dry ingredients.  Transfer the batter to your pan and tap the pan a bit on your kitchen counter to get any bubbles out and smooth out the top.


Slide the cake into the oven, placing the pan straight onto the oven rack.  Bake for about 65 to 75 minutes or until a dry spaghetti noodle comes out of the centre clean.  If the cake is browning too quickly – give it a check after about 30 minutes – tent a piece of aluminum foil and loosely cover the cake.  When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes on a cooling rack before unmolding it onto the rack to finish cooling.


The recipe’s side bar serving suggestion is to serve with coffee, tea or a slurpable mocha milkshake.  I love how specific that is!  Wrapped airtight, the cake will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days but our cakes never lasted that long before being finished off.

classic banana bundt cake