Month: April 2015

The Move is on…

Moving 1

Not long ago in my post entitled ‘Our New Island Home’, I announced that we would be moving to a farm in Nova Scotia, with Darlene making the transition first. Well, yesterday, I waved goodbye to Darlene and our four cats for what will be a pretty lengthy separation (even for us)…

Little Bear, pictured above, was quite disturbed and unsettled by the activity, but his brother, Squeakers, found it very exciting and had the time of his life. As for the wife and I, the usual stress of packing was compounded by the fact that we have been having serious construction being done at this house for nearly two months and we have both agreed that the experience has been one of the worst for both of us. Thankfully, the hardest part is over, even though I still have a lot to do before this place officially goes on the market.

Anyway, I am now living with a seriously diminished kitchen and my blogging is going to be a little haphazard and infrequent for the next little while. Have patience….

Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef

Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef 1

Dry-frying, in Chinese cookery, can mean both that a dish is fast-fried with little or no sauce, and also that the main ingredient is fried, often in more than one step, to yield a dry, chewy result. Here, both ends are achieved with beef that is first deep-fried and then stir-fried along with celery and carrot. That vegetable combination is quite common in dry-fried beef preparations but here I have expanded on the usual theme by lightly pickling the veggies first and then spiced the whole affair up with lots of garlic, cumin and dried chili for a definitely Western Chinese flavor…  Continue reading “Dry-fried Sour and Spicy Beef”

Shrimp and Peas with Egg

Shrimp and Peas with Egg 1

I have previously posted a recipe for Chines-style Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp but in today’s dish the focus is on the shrimp (along with peas), and the eggs are more of a secondary ingredient. This is a very simple preparation and could easily be served as light repast itself, or as one of several dishes in a Chinese or South-East Asian meal… Continue reading “Shrimp and Peas with Egg”

Foodstuff- Canton™ Brand Fondue Broths

Canton Broths 1

I don’t do a lot of hot-pot or fondue meals and when I use stocks or broths in cookery I mostly make it myself from scratch. That being said, though, I do like to keep a bit of commercially made stock on hand for emergencies and, generally, Campbell’s Chicken Broth is my ‘go-to’ product of choice as it is good tasting without a lot of herbal of other flavorings that might limit its use.

Recently, I came across the three products you see pictured above. They are manufactured by Canton, a Canadian company, and although I did not immediately recognize the name I saw, from their website, that they also do a line of prepared fondue and dipping sauces. I haven’t actually tried any of these but I have at least seen them in grocery stores.

In any event, the broth products are manufactured primarily for making fondues and hot-pots and, while I was not interested in buying them for this purpose, I thought I might give them a try to see how they might fare as an ‘emergency’ broth to have on hand…  Continue reading “Foodstuff- Canton™ Brand Fondue Broths”

Chicken and Grapefruit Salad

Chicken and Grapefruit Salad 1

I came across the idea for this dish in a Chinese cookery book featuring home-style meals. That version used plain steamed chicken and contained nothing else beyond the grapefruit other than some sliced green pepper, all of which dressed in grapefruit juice with a little sugar added. I have jazzed up the basic idea by using grilled chicken, replacing the bell pepper with celery, and adding some of the Chinese Black Fungus commonly known as ‘Tree-Ear or ‘Cloud-Ear’, for color and texture.

By the way, I am using some ready prepared sections of pink grape-fruit I bought at my supermarket. This saves having to peel the fruit and remove the membranes from each piece. The variety I bought also had some sugar added to the juice. You can use fresh grapefruit if you like but make sure to save at least 3 or 4 tablespoons of the juice as you section it. You will likely want to add a little sugar to taste, as well…  Continue reading “Chicken and Grapefruit Salad”

Foodstuff: Calbee™ Brand Snapea Crisps

Snapea Crisps 1

Regular readers will know that I love trying new foods and my interest certainly includes some of the less revolting-sounding snack concoctions that appear from time to time. Today’s product is manufactured by the Calbee Corporation which is headquartered in Japan but has a North American division as well.

The Snapea Crisps are simply snap-pea pods that have been lightly salted and baked. The ingredients list on the package includes rice and I rather think that this might be manifested in the whitish coating on the individual pieces. The package and the company website hints at a certain healthiness to the product, specifically mentioning high fiber and vitamin benefits but, as usual, I will avoid commenting on this as I always view such claims with a jaundiced eye. I will say, however, that the ‘low salt’ claim didn’t really spark much enthusiasm in me as I tend to like peanuts, chips, etc., to be liberally salted and I found the salt a little lacking in this case.

Overall, I can’t say that the crisps tasted of anything in particular, and certainly didn’t suggest snap pea pods. The closest comparison I can make is with a certain brand of potato chip formed into French-fry shape that bear a close resemblance in flavor and texture. In all honestly, I probably would munch on these in that mindless way typical of snack foods if a bowl was set down in front of me alongside, say, beer, but, really, there was nothing to ‘wow’ me about these and I doubt I would buy them over the usual snack stand-bys …


Chicken with Preserved Vegetable

Chicken and Preserved Vegetable 1

This recipe is built around the Sichuan Preserved Vegetable I featured in a foodstuff post recently. I am going to be cooking it with diced chicken breast and cashews in a hot, sweet, and sour sauce using chili, sugar and vinegar. This particular combination is pretty much ‘ad hoc’ for today’s dish but it is very much in the general tradition of Sichuan cookery…  Continue reading “Chicken with Preserved Vegetable”

Our New Island Home!

New House 0

Well folks, subject to a few contingencies, it looks very much like we are going to be trading our home on the world’s fifth largest island (Baffin Island), for a much smaller one off the Fundy Bay coast of Nova Scotia.

Long Island is a short ferry ride from mainland Nova Scotia, the closest point being a little peninsula known as ‘Digby Neck’, shown at the top, right of the photograph above. To the southwest is Briar Island, which can be partially seen to the south-west.

Anyway, if everything pans out inspection-wise, Darlene will be heading down with our cats early next month but I will be staying on here in the North for a quite a little while. We still have our current house to sell (it took 8 months to sell our last one) and I have work booked at least as far as December…  Continue reading “Our New Island Home!”