Tag Archives: oatmeal

Fall Food

This week felt so long because I was looking forward to Thanksgiving this weekend! Finally it’s here, since I don’t have class Fridays. Lately I really embraced fall in my food for all meals of the day.



Apple and cranberry oatmeal. After boiling a 2/3 cup of water, I threw in a finely chopped apple along with 1/3 cup oatmeal, half a banana, thinly sliced, and a good dash of cinnamon. I simmered that for about four minutes on medium. Then I stirred in some cranberries, frozen from last year (ahem), and cooked the oatmeal on low heat for several more minutes until a good thick consistency.

I had been meaning to bake with pumpkin for the last two weeks, but for whatever reason I hadn’t, so I got my pumpkin fix in quicker ways.

Pumpkin oatmeal! I followed the recipe here. This time I used 1/3 cup of milk, 1/3 cup of oatmeal, half a banana, thinly sliced, and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, and heated them, stirring continuously until it was just about bubbling. Then I stirred in a 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree. I turned down the heat and let it reach a thick consistency.


I also made some pumpkin smoothies. I soaked 1/3 cup of oatmeal in a cup of milk overnight to soften the oats. In the morning, I blended the oat mixture with some pumpkin puree, half a frozen banana and some cinnamon and nutmeg. This could have been sweeter, but it was still fun for breakfast.


For lunch one weekend I made pumpkin mac and “cheese” using Oh She Glows’ recipe. I say “cheese” because I used nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a yeast that comes in flakes with a tangy “cheesy” flavour (and a very cheesy orange colour!) that vegans often use to substitute for cheese. I bought some a couple of years ago and I hadn’t used much of it. If you have any good recipes that calls for nutritional yeast, I am all ears! This pumpkin mac and cheese was pretty good–it was not quite the same as a regular mac and cheese, but the pumpkin gave it a thick and smooth texture.


I didn’t use pumpkin for dinner, but for the past month, each Saturday or Sunday I made a big pot of something and ate it throughout the week. It was not exciting, but it worked for my schedule since I had night class three to four times a week. I liked not thinking about what was next for dinner.

Chickpeas with cauliflower, tomato and homegrown basil.


Pork tenderloin roasted with grapes and red onion.


Meatloaf: I know this is not a flattering picture, but I swear this was very good and simple to make. It was a mixture of ground beef, bread crumbs, an egg, ketchup, cayenne pepper, onion and broccoli for some greens. Something about meatloaf screamed homey, even though I didn’t grow up with meatloaf.


A simple beef stew.


And finally, pot roast.


Unfortunately the meat in my beef stew and pot roast turned out slightly tough–not like my mom’s beef stew or pot roast at all. I suspected I didn’t cook them long enough, since I knew that the meat I used, beef chuck, was inherently tough. It was still edible and nutritious, especially with all those veggies, but it was disappointing.

I suppose this calls for more experimenting. Life of an aspiring home cook!



Filed under Baking & Cooking

Rude Veg!

I had the great luck somehow to win front row centre tickets to see Jamie Oliver at Massey Hall in Toronto last Friday. I have never sat in the front row before, so this was extra exciting. We did have to look up from our seats, but we didn’t have to crane our necks at all.

Jamie was very charming, and talked about a mix of strange childhood and parenting anecdotes, as well as some serious points about food and our communities. For example, grocery stores divert vegetables such as carrots or potatoes that look like “rude” things or body parts, ahem… Jame called these “rude veg.” Ha ha! Not selling rude veg wastes a lot of food though, so it is also an important issue. Of course, the whole talk was in Jamie’s lovely British accent. Matt Galloway from the CBC interviewed Jamie.

My own experiments in the kitchen have been a little non-existent, but here are some highlights.

Simple, yet comforting: tortilla wrap with peanut butter and banana. What a grade school lunch 😉

Oatmeal with banana and Mutsu apples from the St. Lawrence Market, using up the last of the peanut butter in the jar.

I made pork chops recently by frying them on both sides. I deglazed the pan with orange juice and marmalade to make a tangy sauce. This dish was from a recipe in Michael Smith’s Fast Flavours. I am really cooking through a lot of the recipes in this book.

Finally, my sister was super swell, and made us roast beef last night – a perfect Sunday roast. She didn’t use a recipe from Jamie’s new cookbook, Jamie’s Great Britain, which came with the ticket to the talk, but I thought it was appropriate to show it in this photo. I hope I can try some recipes from Jamie’s book soon. I’ve certainly been admiring all the wonderful pictures inside.


Filed under Baking & Cooking, City


Two hours of class until Thanksgiving! Ever since starting university, Thanksgiving has become one of my favourite holidays, because it’s a time for family and fall.  This year I haven’t been home since starting school, so I am looking forward to Thanksgiving even more. Weirdly enough, I am looking forward to the cold leftover turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce. Yum.

Here are a few things from my kitchen:

Oatmeal with banana, cottage cheese and a tablespoon of cocoa.

I am aware this does not look appetizing, but it was chocolatey and delicious. The added bonus was the iron in the cocoa. You see, at the end of summer, I went to my doctor for my annual physical and got my blood work done. My doctor called me a week later and told me I was low in iron. I realized that over the last year, I ate less red meat, although not intentionally, which might have explained my iron levels. I am now taking iron supplements, but I will also take my iron wherever I can get it, including kale and chocolate 😉 In all seriousness though, if you have ideas on getting more iron in a diet, let me know.

Over the weekend I made some cottage cheese pancakes from Shutterbean. Oh my gosh, these were so good, fluffy and just slightly sweet. I have a bunch of pancakes in my freezer now, ready to be eaten on a busy morning: never let solo living stop you from making pancakes. I had the pancakes with of gala apples, which I have been digging lately. Usually I get Macintosh because they are usually less expensive, but it is fun to change it up. Galas are so sweet and crispy.

Finally, I broiled salmon fillet with molasses and grainy mustard glaze for about 15-20 minutes — hello, smoky, sweet and slightly spicy flavours. The recipe was from Michael Smith’s Fast Flavours. It was yet another successful and simple recipe.


Filed under Baking & Cooking

word up

Fall is officially here: time to eat oatmeal with diced apple, my first apples of the season!

And time to make a pot of spicy lentils with kale and sweet potato, from this recipe. After an unpleasant experience with jalapeno peppers when I was about ten, I have a slight fear of handling peppers, so instead of seranno pepper, I sprinkled on some red pepper flakes.  Cooking bucket list item?

I stopped by Word on the Street for a couple of hours on a rainy Sunday fall afternoon.  I enjoyed seeing the different publishers and magazines all around Queen’s Park Circle.

I must admit I was mostly there to see Food Network celebrity chef Michael Smith speak about cookbooks. He was pretty honest about his status in the book world, when he acknowledged that he was following a talk by John Ralston Saul and preceding one by David Suzuki and Jeff Rubin. He made, however, a very passionate case about the food we eat and where it comes from.

After the talk, I picked up his new cookbook, Fast Flavours. I met him briefly when I got the book signed — indeed, he is very tall!

Tonight I made a recipe from Fast Flavours: apple chicken with rosemary vanilla chutney.  Well, I didn’t have dried rosemary so I used thyme; I guess that would make it thyme vanilla chutney. I also felt like adding cinnamon to go with the apples and so I did, in true Michael Smith fashion. The key to the “fast flavours” was browning the chicken before cooking it covered to speed up the cooking time. It was quite a pleasant fall dinner.

There are a lot more recipes from Fast Flavours I hope to try. They actually seem approachable both in terms of ingredients and the time required.

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Hong Kong Revisited: Breakfast Edition (Tsui Wah + Kam Fung)

Earlier this summer during the months of May and June, I was working and living in Hong Kong. I still have remaining a few entries I’d like to blog about, so please excuse the lateness!

I have been asked what people in Hong Kong eat for breakfast. I conducted some primary research by asking locals and seeing what restaurants offered. One breakfast that may be a bit different from a North American breakfast is soft pasta in chicken broth with ham. Don’t expect al dente in the slightest, and you may like it. My mom used to make it for me and my siblings when we were sick. Now I know where she got it from. Sometimes families will have dim sum for breakfast on the weekend. People also have noodles or congee. Eating more “lunch time” meals for breakfast is normal here. Others may just eat toast or cereal.

Here are a couple breakfasts I had dining in Hong Kong, which are more similar to North American breakfasts, but with a slight twist: porridge and  a baked good: bo lo bao (pineapple bun), to be exact.

First up, we have Tsui Wah. Tsui Wah is a ubiquitous line of restaurants that began as a humble cha chaan teng. It is now a well-known restaurant for typical Hong Kong fare for all meals of the day. Over the summer, they even went through an IPO. I’ve heard some negative comments about Tsui Wah, but, to me, they serve standard and consistent food in an efficient manner.

Tsui Wah offers savoury dishes including curry rice and noodles. For breakfast, they have the pasta dish as I mentioned earlier, as well as a crispy bun with condensed milk. However, my mom highly recommended their porridge, so I tried that even though I would not associate porridge/oatmeal with Hong Kong.

This porridge is also called “double milk” porridge because it is made with two kinds of milk: evaporated and condensed milk. It came a huge bowl — I actually took some home to enjoy later. Was this oatmeal ever creamy, thanks to the milk. The condensed milk added a hint of sweetness. They also gave a small “shot” of condensed milk to pour on top. I think I might have to put some condensed milk in my oatmeal here for a little indulgence now and then. If you are looking for something plainer, but still delicious, try the porridge at Tsui Wah.

Milk tea, my staple.

There are many Tsui Wah branches in Hong Kong. I went to the one  in Central, Wellington Shop, at G/F-2/F, 15-19 Wellington St., Central, Hong Kong.

Later on in my stay in Hong Kong, I went to Kam Fung Cafe  (金鳳茶餐廳) in Wanchai, because I heard that it had (one of) the best bo lo bao in Hong Kong. I was game.

I like the people waiting outside reading a newspaper.

Kam Fung is a cha chaan teng with modest decor, like many other cha chaan tengs. It was still quite charming. I called in the morning to make sure they were open since it was a holiday Monday. Well, when I got there, the place was packed full of families, so I should have known better!

I got a bo lo yau which is a pineapple bun with a slice of butter (“yau“) about an eighth of an inch thick. I was really looking forward to this, so unfortunately, my bun was cold and slightly damp on the bottom. That ruined the rest of the eating experience. I did enjoy the denseness of the bun. The sweet topping was interesting since it had a tighter grain. It was a bit out there to eat that slab of butter, but this was actually one of my favourite (and a little guilt-ridden) parts. It added some contrast to just eating bun, as much as I like eating bo lo bau on its own.  I wish I could have had a warm, fresh bun, but I suppose that’s timing. The chicken pies are also good here, apparently.

The milk tea got a solid grade: steeped long enough for a bold flavour.

Fresher buns?

Kam Fung is located at 41 Spring Garden Lane  Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Wanchai in the morning.

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