Tag: snack

Vacuum-packed Cooked Duck Wing

Vacuum-packed Cooked Duck Wing 1

I actually picked this product up on a whim while shopping for some other items at Kowloon Market, my favorite Asian grocery store in Ottawa. These vacuum-packed duck wings area product of China and intended to be used pretty much ‘as is’ rather than requiring any preparation. The picture on the front of the pack, which shows the plain wings sprinkled with a little green onion and sesame seeds, describes this as being a ‘serving suggestion’. Anyway, I was intrigued by this product, which appears to require no refrigeration, and I brought some home with me.

Anyway … when you open the main package, there are 5 of the individually vacuum-sealed wings inside. I am not sure how the wings are cooked (the package is silent on the issue), but I think they may be slow baked after being marinated. When you open one of the wings, the dominant aroma is of star anise, and I was expecting to not like the wings as I am not keen on the flavor. I tasted one, before reading the ingredients and I found, to my pleasant surprise, that the dominant taste seemed to be fennel. This proved to be correctly identified as the ingredient list reads (for flavorings):

Chili, soy, salt, sugar, aniseed, pepper, Sichuan pepper, fennel, liquorice, kaempferiae (Galanga), cinnamon, cardamom, clove, bay leaf, and ginger.

In truth, I think some of the additions may be… well, theoretical, as I couldn’t identify much beyond the fennel (which, luckily, I like a lot). The chili, which is listed first, and should thus be a major ingredient, is nowhere apparent, and the product is not remotely hot at all… Continue reading “Vacuum-packed Cooked Duck Wing”

Notable Nosh: The Fish Taco

Highlander Fish Tacos

A while back, I dropped into the Highlander Pub in Ottawa for a beer and decided to partake of their $5 taco special. I am not a huge fan of Tex-Mex food, and usually give tacos a miss, but there was a choice between chicken, pulled pork, tofu, and fish, and I was rather hungry. I have only ever had fish tacos once before (and those were actually a Japanese-fusion sort of thing), and so I decided to give that selection a try…

The tacos themselves were pretty simple and straightforward, consisting of just a plain flour tortilla, along with some tomato, shredded lettuce, and a Chipotle Mayo for enhancement. The last time I had fish tacos, the fish was Yellowjack that was sliced and then just lightly floured and seasoned before being grilled. Here, the fish was, as far as I could tell, cod that was battered and deep-fried just as it would be in a regular old fish-and-chip special. It might sound a little mundane and boring but, in fact, the crunchy batter and thick succulent flesh worked really nicely both in terms of texture and flavor.

The only criticism I really had was that the large, rather oddly shaped chunk of fish made it a bit difficult to folds the tortilla around it and the eating of it was a bit messy. Probably two or three thin strips would work a little better. The spicy mayo was okay, if not particularly spectacular, but on the whole, I like this nice little lunch. I have been meaning to try making fish tacos ever since the first ones I tried, and, when I finally do, I may give the battered strips a shot first…

Ratatouille Bruschetta

Ratatouille Bruschetta

Today, I am illustrating a use for home-made Ratatouille that is a something of an Italian-Provencal fusion. Quite simply, it is little more than the delicious Provencal relish piled atop Italian Bruschetta.

Usually, Bruschetta is drizzled with olive oil (and it can be delicious with nothing more than this other than ‘scrubbing’ the grilled bread with a piece of raw garlic). Here, though, after grilling my slices of Baguette style bread in a ridged grill pan, I spread them with butter and it allowed it to melt before adding the Ratatouille. This made for a lovely snack and would also be a terrific Antipasto as part of a larger meal…

Notable Nosh: Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki 2017-07 1

Okonomiyaki has sometimes been called the ‘Japanese pizza’ but, though the appearance is similar (and occasionally cheese is used) the resemblance is superficial at best. Rather, this particular specialty is more closely similar to the Korean savory pancake known as ‘Pajeon’. Basically, the Okonomiyaki (which means ‘cooked as you like it’) consists of a pancake base made from cabbage, and sometimes other shredded vegetables, in a batter. This maybe cooked on both sides (or one only in some styles) and then toppings are added along with a sweetened Worcestershire type sauce and (commonly) mayonnaise. Seafood or meat can be included in the pancake and shaved Bonito flakes are a common topping.

I ate the one you see pictured above at Wasabi, in Ottawa, and, though it wasn’t the prettiest I have seen, it was very tasty indeed. The batter contained both cabbage and scallions and was well cooked through. It was a little dark in places but this did not ruin the flavor at all. The topping, in addition to more scallion, included shaved bonito and little strips of toasted nori. The bonito flakes were still fluttering when I received the dish, meaning it came straight from the griddle, and the nori added a nice nuttiness.

The one thing that made this particular variety different was that cheese was used in place of mayo… I was a bit leery of this but, in fact, it turned out to be very nice indeed. I have had Okonomiyaki a few times before this (some not very good) and I am looking forward to trying many more to explore the different structures and styles I’ve heard about.

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 …

 

Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings

Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings 1

After making a dish using Sea Cucumber, I had a little under half of one left and I thought it might make an interesting textural component in a dumpling filling. I decided to use ground beef as the main ingredient and that I would cook the dumplings as Guōtiē (鍋貼), more popularly known as ‘Pot Stickers’ …  Continue reading “Beef and Sea Cucumber Dumplings”

A ‘Murta-Dilla’ ?

Murtadilla 1

The rather whimsical name of today’s feature comes from the fact that it is something like a cross between a Quesedilla and he lesser known mid-eastern/south-east Asian snack known as a Murtabak. I wasn’t actually planning this dish with a blog-post in mind (I was just hungry) but it began to get interesting as I worked on the idea and so I thought I would share…

Anyway, a proper Murtabak uses a raw flat-bread dough (of the Roti type) folded to enclose a thick filling of meat, eggs, or whatever you like, which is then griddle fried. This particular version, like a Quesadilla, uses a prepared Tortilla as the wrapper, but it incorporates cheese with a spicy beef mixture and is folded Murtabak style before being grilled…  Continue reading “A ‘Murta-Dilla’ ?”

Cauliflower Pickle

Cauliflower Pickle 1

I often buy a commercially made pickle consisting of sections of gherkin, cocktail onions, and cauliflower florets with turmeric as a main flavor component. The cauliflower is my favorite part but I usually find that there are too few pieces in each jar and, with most brands, they are often just a tad too sweet. Accordingly, I made a batch of pickle containing nothing but cauliflower, just a little sugar, and a spice blend to suit my own taste…  Continue reading “Cauliflower Pickle”

Foodstuff: Chili Salangids

Chili Salangids 1

I accidentally came across this product while reaching for a jar of XO Sauce whilst shopping down south a while ago. The jar was on the shelf alongside several varieties of XO Sauce and it wasn’t until I picked it up and looked more closely that I saw I had chosen something rather different.

Salangids are, in the strictest use of the term, small fish belonging to the family Salangidae (sometimes called the ‘noodle-fish’ due to their shape and translucency) but I rather suspect that the term is used a bit like ‘anchovy’ and often applied to many sorts of similar fish. Suffice it to say though, the fish in his product, are very tiny, immature fish rather like the ‘Silverfish’ I highlighted in my post on ‘Silverfish Peanuts’. Anyway, biological quibbles aside, I was interested to see what this condiment might be like…  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Chili Salangids”

Recipe: Souvlaki

Souvlaki 01

For ages, I thought Souvlaki was just a Greek version of the Donair, except with grilled chunks of meat rather than the slices cut from those huge rotating cylinders of meat that always look rather like somebody stole a spare thigh from the local morgue. In fact, Souvlaki, in Greek cuisine are simply grilled skewers of meat and, while they can certainly be served Donair-fashion on pita bread with sauces and toppings, they may also be eaten out of hand as is, or come with fried potatoes, rice, or other sides. If asked, I probably would have guessed that lamb would be the most popular souvlaki meat in Greece but Wikipedia tells me it is actually pork and it is pork souvlaki I am making for today’s post…  Continue reading “Recipe: Souvlaki”