So it was my first time participating in Dine Out Vancouver (yay!) and my friends and I decided to check out Smoking Dog Bistro as none of us had eaten here before and the $28.00 menu was unique and appealing. Our waitress was helpful, friendly, and forthcoming about what her favourite dishes were and what we could expect. The whole process happened so fast, I would have liked to have sat, digested, and savoured the experience a little before the next dish was brought out.
I ordered the Smoked Salmon Terrine. I loved the red onion jam, as it really rounded out the saltines of the terrine. With the grilled baguette this was very satisfying for an appetizer.
My friends ordered the Flank Steak with Ratatouille. The steak was tender and perfectly cooked, and I especially liked the slight char. The ratatouille was “flavoured perfectly”. The portion was really small however.
We debated which entrée to order, each option sounded delicious, however we craved something hearty and ended up all ordering the lamb shank. I did see the salmon leaving the kitchen and felt a pang of regret because it looked very good – however, I was not disappointed with the lamb.
The meat fell off the bone it was so succulent, and I loved the creamy polenta/sun-dried tomato flavour combo – that sauce was so good it could have been it’s own dish, I wish there had been more of it! I ordered a glass of the Sandhill Cabernet-Franc, the suggested pairing, and thought it went very well together.
We ordered all three desserts and decided unanimously that the French lemon pie with raspberry coulis and hazelnut whipped cream was the best. It had a tart, fresh (you can almost taste the individual lemons) citrus flavour which was refreshing after the richness of the lamb shank.
I’ve never had bacon in a dessert, so the candied bacon chocolate fudge cake (an important distinction, since the online menu states that this is a fudge, not a cake) sounded like something I should try. The chocolate fudge and hazelnut cream were great. However, I felt the bacon cooked into the cake, although tasty, was underwhelming overall. The pieces were a little too big, so you’d be left chewing on chunks of bacon in the end.
The wild berry parfait with raspberry coulis and white chocolate whipped cream was mediocre, and as my friend pointed out it’s still “just a parfait”. It was a really small portion, despite probably being the cheapest to produce, and only had a scant scattering of berries. It didn’t help that they put such a small portion into such a large cup. At the level of their other fare, if you are going to serve a fruit and yoghurt dessert, it better be amazing.
Fa, la l la la, la la… la….laaaa!
Yes, the season of gluttony is upon us and what better of a way to celebrate than with festive eats. Finger food is a fun feature at a holiday party, who doesn’t like miniature food!? And it provides the perfect opportunity to try out a few new recipes.
I found this inspiring take on a classic at The Party Dress. I love the colours in a Caprese salad, perfect for the holidays, and this presentation gives it a new twist. Because you’re using a whole tomato, it will probably be too juicy for a stand up canape, and no one wants tomato juice/ oil on their party dress. However, as an individually plated appetizer it would be perfect. Check out the website for directions!
It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little holiday cheer and this Baked Brie recipe sounds scrum-diddly-umptious. The recipe calls for Khalua, but it would be great with other flavoured liqueurs too ( think Amaretto, Peach or your favourite fruit). I absolutely LOVE Brie, one of my fave cheeses because it is so versatile. If you’re craving a less dessert like cheese snack, swap out the pecans for a red pepper jelly spread. I found the recipe on My Life as a Mrs, more great photos and directions can be found there.
If you have any strength left in you after the 24 days of madness, this is fun idea for a family breakfast. In addition to Christmas morning eggs and bacon, our family has a waffle breakfast sometime between Christmas and New Years. This year I would love to introduce Holiday Pancakes! Totally time-consuming, but don’t those mini trees look more delicious than regular pancakes?!?
I found this gem on the Williams Sonoma website, my FAVOURITE cooking/winter store – if only I could live in it!!…. The site is selling the pancake molds with fancy handles but I don’t see why you couldn’t McGyver molds out of cookie cutters. Just remember to grease the insides so the pancakes don’t stick when you remove them. Oh, and don’t burn yourself!
Colour coordinating food. I need not say more, great way to get in the mood for the holidays. We used to make popcorn garlands to hang on the tree but covering the kernels in caramel and eating them sounds better. This treat also makes a great present, gift wrapped in a mason jar or just in a clear bags with decorative ribbon. Thank Baked Perfection for the recipe.
For the perfectionist, this is the treat for you! No recipe required, just a lot of patience. A mouth full of these would be heaven. Coined by Saucy’s Sprinkles
I came across this recipe accidentally during one of my many
wasted well spent afternoons surfing the web. I got the idea from The Pastry Affair, a blog about all things pastry, and became inspired to recreate these edible nests. They are so cute!
The first time I made a dessert with chocolate and chow main noodles was in Grade 2 when our class made Chocolate Spiders to sell at the school talent show. They were an instant hit with parents and kids alike, I think more so with the kids because after getting your hands all chocolatey and marshmallowy, you got to eat them! As soon as I saw this recipe I was transported down memory lane and knew I had to make them.
The Easter Egg Nest recipe involves peanut butter. I’m not a big fan of the chocolate-peanut combo so I was considering omitting it, however my entire family loves chocolate and peanut butter so I thought this would be a lovely Easter treat for them. Low and behold I liked them as well, mainly because the peanut butter didn’t steal the show and created an equal balance with the chocolate. Thanks Pastry Affair for such a great Easter treat!
Easter Egg Nests
Makes 8-10 nests, about 3 inches in size
3 cups Chow Main Noodles
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Smooth Peanut Butter
30 Cadbury Mini Eggs (or whatever you’d like to fill your nest with)
Lay out a baking sheet covered with wax paper.
In a small pot melt chocolate chips and peanut butter. Stir until smooth, then pour over the chow main noodles. Stir noodles until evenly coated, then arrange your nests on the wax paper, sculpting out a place for the “eggs” to rest.
Let your nests cool for 30-40 minutes in the refrigerator before serving, and store in an air tight container.
Okay, so I baked. I never bake. This is because when a recipe calls for “exact measurements”, I tend to freak out. I’m the type of cook that flies by the seat of my pants, and sticking to strict guidelines makes me anxious. But I sucked it up and baked some capital D-licious carrot cake cupcakes following a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen.
I prayed to the baking gods that these cupcakes turn out okay and my prayers were answered: I followed the recipe to a T and look what emerged from the oven! But here’s the thing….I didn’t make a cream cheese icing. I know, I know, blasphemy. Partially by fault ( i forgot to buy cream cheese) and partially on purpose (carrot cake muffins are just as good, right?) I proceeded with the recipe. I’ve had a carrot cake craving ever since my cousin teased me with a couple of slices of her carrot cake last week. I told her we’d bake together, I wanted to bake together… butttt I baked alone, and should have waited for a veteran carrot caker to supervise my icing decisions.
Here’s the Smitten Kitchen recipe and directions I followed:
“2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional) * I abstained
1/2 cup raisins (optional) * I went for it
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them. Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each.
Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes or so, then transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.”
The butter icing was delicious, but it just didn’t feel right on a carrot cake. When I realized I’d forgotten the cream cheese I was fine with making carrot cake muffins instead. But once the first batch came out of the oven I needed an icing on top, so I found a recipe online for basic butter frosting. I didn’t have vanilla extract (I know, what was I doing baking!?) but I substituted maple syrup for it instead, very delicious nonetheless. Alas, the void in my stomach I hoped these little babies would fill remains unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, the cake itself was perfect – moist, flavourful, exactly what I wanted – but without the cream cheese icing… ugh… Stay tuned for Carrot Cake round two.