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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Indian Pumpkin Laksa Soup

I love anything pumpkin. I've actually never carved a pumpkin in my life but I love cooking with them. Usually I end up making pumpkin scones or pumpkin chocolate chip squares but this time I decided to go the savoury route with a Jamie Oliver recipe for Indian Pumpkin Laksa Soup. It is for a thick soup with coconut milk, lime, cilantro, pumpkin and basmati rice. Yum.

First I started off with the onions. I think practically every recipe I do starts with onions. That or bacon.

Let's not forget the chilies. I always keep a stash of fresh chilies in the fridge and I always leave the seeds in for heat. The Husband thinks I have managed to sear my taste buds which is why I always require lots and lots of chilies in order for dishes to be hot enough.

Lemongrass. I couldn't find it fresh so I bought the stuff in the bottle. It was a little sad tasting and not very strong. I think next time I will just add lime zest.

The chilies and the lemon grass went to join the onions and hang out for a little while.

Let me just say that peeling, cutting and seeding a pumpkin is a special kind of pain. Usually I use canned pumpkin for baking but since I wanted more texture in my soup and I didn't want the pumpkin to be completely pureed I decided to be hardcore and get a whole pumpkin. I am actually impressed that I didn't cut myself during this process. I really should have used my biggest knife, instead of my second biggest knife.

The pumpkin got tossed in the pot along with enough chicken stock to cover everything.

Once the pumpkin softened a bit I added some rice.

While waiting for that to cook I sauteed some chicken breast. It wasn't in the recipe but I need my protein or else I am still hungry even after I have finished eating.

Once the rice was finally cooked...

I added a can of coconut milk. Oh how I love this stuff and always make sure to keep some in the house.

I stirred in the chicken at the end along with a generous amount of fresh cilantro and a large splash of lime juice.

Lunch was served.


This was a great meal. I loved the creaminess of the pumpkin and the silkiness of the coconut milk. The rice made it hearty and the freshness of the cilantro and the lime juice helped to bring out all the flavours. I need to add a lot more chilies next time, the heat was good but it could have used more. This recipe made a ton of leftovers and warmed up really well. This is definitely a repeat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Atti- Korean Restaurant Review

One thing Montreal needs more of is Korean restaurants so when the Montreal food blog group that I belong to decided to go to a Korean restaurant I was really happy. They really are a great bunch of people and it is always nice to spend time with other people who are as passionate about food as I am. If you're a food blogger in Montreal drop me a line and we'll invite you to the next meetup.

It took a while for everyone to get there but when we did we all took our time looking at the menu.

I ended up ordering the Bibimbap with chicken and spicy sauce. Basically it is different vegetables with chicken on rice served with small side dishes called banchan.

Service was a bit spotty. We had a hard time getting water refills even though the waiters were just standing around most of the night. One of the foodies, Elaine, ordered tea. When they brought it to her they gave her a cup of hot water and a tea bag. I found that a bit off as every Korean/Chinese/Japanese restaurant I have ever been to gives you tea for free and they serve it to you from a tea pot.

The food took a while to arrive, but to be fair there were around 10 of us there. Doesn't my main course look colourful? It was served with red rice which I had never had before but which I really liked. I mixed everything up (so much for the nice little piles) and asked for extra sauce since the chicken was a lot on the dry side.

There were three small side dishes served with the meal. The first one was a scallion omelet with seaweed in the middle. This was my favourite part of the meal. The eggs were nice and fluffy, just firm enough and not overcooked.

Next came the Kimchi which is hot pickled cabbage. I love this stuff and could eat it alone with rice and be happy.

This was just plain beansprouts with some seasoning. This was ok but nothing special.

There was also a soup. It tasted a bit like miso and was incredibly salty.

Here are some dishes which other people ordered:

Tofu stew. The person who was eating this, Victor, actually ended up adding water to it since it was also was very salty. Maybe the cook messed up a batch of broth?

I think this was Bulgogi but I don't remember.

I can't remember what this was. Sorry! We actually went a few weeks ago so my memory is a bit hazy.

These were seafood pancakes with Kimchi which were actually really good. Judy, the person who ordered them very nicely gave people a taste. I had never had them before and this will be what I will probably order next time.

Overall the restaurant didn't dazzle me but it was decent. The price is right and you can get dinner for under 20 bucks including tax and tip. I would go again since this is downtown and in a convenient spot. They opened up not too long ago so maybe over time they will improve and tighten up their service and food standards.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sugar Pie

One of the greatest desserts known to mankind has to be Sugar Pie. If you love super sweet desserts like me it is a must try. The recipe is here. If you don't speak French run it through babelfish or some other translation program and you should be fine. It is very easy to make and utterly delicious.

First of all: the pie dough. This recipe is a bit different in that it calls for egg yolks in the pie dough which gives it a nice yellow colour. Since you've all seen me make pie dough a million times I won't give you the blow by blow description but you still get the photos.

I think I am a pretty accomplished cook but I suck at crimping pie dough. My sister can do it so her pies look perfect but alas, mine end up looking a wee bit more rustic.

If you're wondering what the weird little balls are, they are pie weights which I use to blind bake pies. I looked for them forever and finally found some at Williams-Sonoma (I really wish we had one in Montreal!). Every time I go there when I go to Toronto it is like a pilgrimage.

The filling for Sugar Pie is mostly comprised of those things which make life worth living: carbs (sugar) and fat (cream and egg yolks), along with a tablespoon or so of flour to thicken everything up and some vanilla extract.

The filling is cooked until it comes to a boil and then poured into the pie crust which is then returned to the oven.


Once it comes out the pie has to cool otherwise the filling is too runny. I of course, had to resist the urge to cut myself a piece right away.

I love sugar pie. Pie crust + sugary filling = instant winner. It is however rich enough that even though I am tempted I won't eat it with ice cream. I actually double the amount of filling because I love it so much. Since it is terribly indulgent I rarely make it but whenever I do it doesn't last long!
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