Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chambar

Last week's Wednesday was a Tuesday, as we all went out for a lovely Dine Out meal at Chambar.

When I was trying to figure out why they called the restaurant Chambar, I went to their website, which informs me that they are a 'Belgian restaurant where three-star-Michelin-trained chef Nico Schuermans is winning rave reviews'. And another site tells me that 'Chambar is a stylish and hip restaurant downtown that offers Belgian cuisine in a fun and lively atmosphere'. Well, that was certainly true. But would Schuermans win rave review from us?

Their front window - Sean will surely inform me of the name of the artist whose work this is ... right?



They had a fantastic view from this large picture window - too bad I didn't get the lit-up Science World in this picture.



Flora's drink came. It was pretty and luminous. And decorated with a petal. Cool.





The prawn starter enjoyed by several of us - in fact, everyone but me, I think. Saffron prawns with soba noodles on the side and raita. Very Belgian.



I had salad - mainly because I'm not a big saffron fan - which had its good points. These were the shallot crisps, the candied pecans, the shaved parmesan and the dressing. Mm. But too much cress and endive made it generally bitter.



The kitchen hard at work



A blurry dark Sean enjoying his mussels - he was the only one to have that as entree, but they were fantastic. If I do say so. The waiter said they were the best in the city. Was that before or after he spilt Sean's water all over him?



The braised beef entree, had by Michelle, Flora and Darryl, I believe.



Michelle and I mid-course.



Trout entree, had by me and Meg. This blurry one is mine. It was great - liked the almond butter/panko crust. The sweet black rice on the side was a good idea, but not very flavourful.



Meg and Darryl. Clearly Darryl is saying something important.



Sorbet d'ananas et citron. If you put everything in French on your menu, does that make your food Belgian?



My waffle dessert. Definitely the best part - fantastic vanilla ice cream and the choooocolate sauce. Mm.



Flora leaving our lovely round table.



Everyone outside Chambar - Michelle, Flora, Sean, Meg & Darryl.



Do comment - I feel like I can't be the only one to comment on this dinner, and everybody probably has their own opinion on whether the food was good or Belgian at all!

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fresh, Flavourful Coleslaw

I must say since my first encounter with this recipe at Meg's I have loved it. I am not even a big fan of cabbage but this is a dish I could eat without stopping. It is very simple to make and will be a hit all round.

Ingredients

Dressing:
1 egg
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp salted capers, rinsed
1/3 c. olive oil

Salad:
1/2 cabbage
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c. flat leaf parsley
4-8 radishes, thinly sliced
cracked black pepper


Dressing Preparation:
1. Process egg, vinegar, and capers in a food precessor or blender until combined
2. While still blending, slowly add oil until incorporated

Salad Preparation:
1. Slice cabbage into thin wedges/slices and place on serving plates or bowls
2. Add thinly sliced green onions, chopped parsley and thinly sliced radishes
3. Mix all items together, plate
4. Spoon dressing over each portion and add pepper to taste

This coleslaw is fresh and flavourful. You can't go wrong with this as a side.
To view the finished results, please look at the previous post. Quiche with a coleslaw side. MMMMMmmmmm tasty.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

An harmoniously-coloured meal

So this was actually last Wednesday, 'cause this Wednesday was a Tuesday. If that makes any sense. (Tuesday entry to come). We made quiche with two kinds of milk (though perhaps soy milk would be a good choice in future), Bombay hummus (is that correct? and perhaps it should be Mumbai hummus!) and Donna Hay's coleslaw. Recipes to follow!

The mushrooms were very sturdy:



Whisked egg mixture for quiche:



Hummus process:





Slaw in progress. Michelle makes the dressing.





Meg adds goat cheese to her quiche:



The egg custard goes in:



Finished dinner! Photo angle inspiration provided by Darryl's recent food stylings:

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Finnish Pastry Pinwheels

So, after dinner (see previous post!) Raisa bravely decided to make the Finnish pinwheel pastries (first mentioned in this blog by Meg a month ago, on December 21st). Here is the diagram Raisa drew Meg, showing how to make the pastries:



The prunes were prepared:



Raisa and YoonJu place prune mixture in centre of pastry:



We all took turns squishing the ends of the pastry together - the two sharp corners - to make the pinwheel shape:





The baked pinwheels with a little icing sugar sprinkled on top (mm).



The woods behind Raisa's house the following morning. We watched the birds make patterns in the snow.

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Garlic emergency narrowly averted

So we almost had a garlic-free meal, but thankfully Flora brought the garlic drought to our attention, and all was well.

This was during the making of two varieties of shepherd's pie (a carnivore's kind and a veg kind, for Sean, our fishatarian) at the lovely belated Christmas celebration we had at Raisa's last weekend.

Secret santa gifts were exchanged. Some secrecy was preserved.
Delicious appetizers were made. Champagne and amaretto were had. Crosswords and Pictionary were puzzled over.

Pictures to follow. Please let me know if I get something wrong!

Here is one of the appetizers made by the unbeatable Raisa/Alisha combo:



Alisha cutting cherry tomatoes for Jamie Oliver's bruschetta.



Me, YoonJu and Meg chopping various things.





Us in the kitchen.



Sean mixes potatoes for the shepherd's top. There were at least three potato-mixing methods employed in this shepherd's pie - fork-squishing, mixing-squishing and sean's-hand-squishing. Mm.



Potatoes Sean squished form a pretty pattern.



Meg mixes salad - pear and greens and ALmonds.



Potato topping on the shepherd's pie. The meaty bit included leeks, mushrooms, onions, (carrots), garlic (of course), meat (or fake meat), worcestershire sauce, beef (or veg) stock . . . and that's it, I think. The potato-y bit was topped with cheese.



As you can see.



Post dinner:



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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bits and pieces

Just a few leftovers from my UK holiday. So to speak. Unintended food pun!

Mushrooms for a risotto I made for myself and my dad (these dried chanterelles were reconstituted with marsala). I liked their cool reflections, so i actually added more to make the picture better!



Jenny had left a school flute in the middle of the island where I was cutting ingredients for the risotto:



The cooker before risotto. There used to be a fireplace there at some point in history instead, as you can probably tell.



My dad awaiting his dinner after a day at work (had I possibly taken too many photos by then?)



The finished risotto on The Independent travel magazine. This risotto involved chanterelles, regular button mushrooms, leeks, red and white onion and (mm) bacon. And lots of beef stock, because the butter was unsalted. Oh, and some creme fraiche at the end.



Ben in the kitchen eating a breakfast fry-up one morning. Okay, so maybe it wasn't morning. Maybe it was noon. I was sitting at the other end of the table.



Jenny made a lovely roast dinner, and on Sunday too! Very traditional. Points to anyone who can guess what all these things are:

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