Dried Abalone in a Dish
Dried Abalone in a Dish

Dried Abalone is one of the more expensive ingredients used in Chinese cookery. Like Dried Shark’s Fin, or the famous ‘Bird’s Nest’, much of its cachet is less about the taste than it is the fact that, being so expensive, it is very much limited to, and associated with special occasions. It takes a lot of time to prepare Dried Abalone for use in the kitchen, and, ultimately, some people feel that the taste experience really isn’t worth the time or expense. Still, that being said, it remains as one of those things that ought to be tried at least once.


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Simple Pork Dumplings
Simple Pork Dumplings

These Simple Pork Dumplings are perfect for those beginners to dumpling cookery who would like to try their hand at making Pot-Sticker Dumplings entirely from scratch, but who are not quite ready enough to tackle any difficult folding techniques with the wrappers. If you follow along here, you can learn a Chinese trick or two for preparing a delicious dumpling filling, as well as the easiest way to make and roll a home-made dumpling dough.

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Octopus Sashimi at Kiko Sushi

Octopus Sashimi at Kiko Sushi in Ottawa

Kiko Sushi is a very nice Japanese Restaurant, situated, somewhat incongruously, in Ottawa’s Little Italy District. It is a little out of the way from where I usually stay when I am visiting the City, and, for that reason, I have only visited it once so far. All the dishes I was served, however, including the Octopus Sashimi shown above, were very nice, and made the place worth noting as somewhere to visit again.

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Spicy Fried Alligator Bites
Spicy Fried Alligator Bites

Spicy Fried Alligator Bites

This little appetizer is my own rendition of the way I have most commonly been served Alligator in restaurants, that is to say, deep-fried with Cajun seasonings. Sometimes, this consists chunks of Alligator meat that are battered, but I much prefer them when they are very lightly breaded, as I have done here. The process is quick and simple, and the result is very nice indeed.


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Chiu Chow Fun Gor at Fan's

Chiu Chow Fun Gor at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

This Dim Sum specialty was described on the menu as ‘Dumpling Diced Meat w/ Peanut’, but the Chinese character listing identified it as the classic 潮洲粉粿 (Cháozhōu fěn guǒ). The filling was very nice, although containing fewer ingredients than other versions, but the wrappers were not that good at all.

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Roasted Vegetable Soup
Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Vegetable Soup

I was first inspired to use roasted vegetables in order to make soup after one of my fellow bloggers, , Lola Rugula, posted a recipe for a Roasted Garlic and Vegetable Soup. Up until then, I had never even thought of trying it and I was very pleasantly surprised by the depth of flavor that resulted. Here, I have made a soup using roasted Cauliflower, Leek, Carrot and Parsnip, all four of which are beautifully enhanced by the rich flavors produced during the roasting process.


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Bean-Curd Roll at Yimin Dim Sum House

Bean-Curd Roll at Yimin Dim Sum House in Ottawa

I ordered five different Dim Sum items at the Yimin Dim Sum House in Ottawa’s Chinatown when I visited to try the place out. The Steamed Bean-Curd Roll with Pork was not only the best of all those I sampled, but is, as of this writing, among the very best of all the versions of this classic I have been served.

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Homemade Ratatouille
Homemade Ratatouille

Ratatouille is a famous braised vegetable preparation from Provence in the South of France. The main ingredients typically include Eggplant, Tomato, Onion, and Bell Peppers, but Zucchini and Fennel often appear, with Mushrooms and Black Olives being added in some versions. It can be served as a hot, as a vegetarian casserole or vegetable side dish, and, once cooled, can be served as a relish, or used as an ingredient in more complex preparations.


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An American Alligator and its Meat
An American Alligator and its Meat

Alligator Meat may a bit of a daunting culinary prospect for many people, given the alien and prehistoric appearance of these fearsome beasts. However, although they don’t actually taste like chicken, as often claimed for reptiles and other ‘exotics’, the taste and texture is familiar enough that those who like chicken, will usually like Alligator Meat as well.


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Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer
Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer

Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer

Lamb Chops tend to be the focus of a Main Dish serving in most Western households. Here however, nice plump loin chops are marinated in a tangy Mint Sauce, Grilled with Yoghurt, Garlic, and Rosemary, then served atop a bed of Sweet Bell Peppers sautéed with Sherry. They make a lovely appetizer, and could just as easily be served as one dish in a Tapas style meal.


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