Monthly Archives: May 2014

Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana “Dibs”

These taste just like banana split!

collageIMG_6214

I saw this idea as I was browsing through Instagram and I thought that these would be a great snack to have around in the freezer (also because I wanted to make use of the bananas I have at home before they become overripe). They remind me of those bite-size Dibs frozen dessert but these are made with fruits instead :D.

IMG_6236IMG_6273

I thought of adding freeze dried strawberries to the idea. Although the freeze dried strawberries were intended to be used as a garnish, I was pleasantly surprised that its addition would result with something reminiscent of banana split. If you can’t find freeze dried strawberries, crushed nuts would also work. Better yet, top these treats with both freeze dried strawberries and crushed nuts for the ultimate banana split flavour! I know I would have if I only thought of that idea before taking the photos :P.

Just going bananas,

– Ricelessasian

IMG_6266

Frozen Chocolate Covered Banana “Dibs” 

Ingredients

1 banana
~ 100 g  chopped dark chocolate
Chopped freeze dried strawberries and/or chopped nuts

Directions

  1. Prepare baking tray with parchment paper. Chop banana crosswise into 20 pieces.
  2. Using a ramekin or a small deep bowl, microwave chocolate every 30 seconds, mixing the chocolate in between until it has fully melted.
  3. Using two forks, dip chopped banana pieces one at a time into the melted chocolate. Place chocolate covered banana pieces on top of the parchment paper. Top with a generous amount of freeze dried strawberries while the chocolate has not yet set.
  4. Freeze until the bananas become frozen.  Do not thaw; these taste better frozen!

IMG_6238

Vancouver Eats

In between our baking adventures for Sam’s birthday order, we decided to do a lot of sightseeing in Vancouver. Actually make that eating our way through the city for 7 days. There were so many more cafés and afternoon tea places that Matchachoco wanted to bring me, but I guess that will just have to wait for the next visit 😉

Matchachoco: yes, we forgot beta5chocolates, Earnest Ice Cream, Secret Tea Garden, and the list goes on….

collage IMG_4735Outpost Mini Donuts
110 – 12240 Second Avenue, Richmond, BC

Somewhere along the streets of Steveston is this lovely vintage looking store which sell mini donuts. We came in a bit early as the store was still closed, so we waited outside as we smelled the fragrance of fresh donuts being prepared. We got half a dozen of mini donuts containing lemon, blueberry, vanilla bean, and Canadian maple flavours. While we were disappointed with the vanilla bean mini donut, we savoured the lemon and blueberry mini donuts. We loved the concept of fresh mini donuts with a variety of flavours, as well as the interiors and display outside the store.

IMG_4660Timothy’s Frozen Yogurt
3800 Bayview Street, Richmond, BC V7E 6K7
http://www.yelp.ca/biz/timothys-frozen-yogurt-richmond

This was one of the best and freshest frozen yogurt desserts I’ve ever tried! Pictured here is a fresh blueberry frozen yogurt served with a waffle cone made fresh in store.  Sharing is not recommended 😉  I would definitely try their other flavours when I come back.

IMG_4744Steveston Pizza Co.
3400 Moncton St, Richmond, BC 

This pizza is kind of a funny story. As Matchachoco and I continued to roam around Steveston, we passed by Steveston Pizza Co. which we’ve heard has one of the best pizzas in Richmond. We came to the store intrigued about their menu (they have a $120 and $450 pizza!) and came just in time as we witnessed a family devour the extravagantly priced $120 seafood pizza in the store. The pizza looked appetizing and it was topped with a variety of fresh seafood such as Icelandic scampi and lobster ratatouille (we wish we had a photo of it). We also had a brief chat with the friendly owner and we were pleasantly surprised (somewhat shocked) that he offered to make us a generously-sized margarita pizza on the house.The pizza was piping hot and had a thin crust with lots of bocconcini cheese! You could definitely taste the freshness of all the ingredients. While it wasn’t the most expensive item on the menu (lol), it was truly one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had.

I later found out that Steveston’s $450 pizza has beaten Gordon Ramsay’s $148 pizza for the Guinness World Record title for the most expensive pizza in the world.

collage2The Stock Market (Granville Island)
1689 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC V6H3R9
http://www.thestockmarket.ca/

One of the best parts of my trip was going to Granville Island as I was mesmerized with the countless of food shops/stalls that they have. We had soup from The Stock Market (a huge props to the owners for creating such a witty name!). We got the Smoked Salmon Chowder and the Chicken Barley Soup. We found the Smoked Salmon Chowder to be too salty, but we enjoyed the Chicken Barley Soup as it was hearty and had a nice balance of earthy flavour (although we could be biased because we love barley!). Both soups came with fresh focaccia bread. I liked the bread and thought it paired well with both of the soups, but Matchachoco wished the bread could’ve been warmed.

IMG_4312collage4IMG_4320Black & Blue Steakhouse
1032 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2V6
http://www.glowbalgroup.com/blackblue/

This was a super heavy dinner! Pictured here are some of the dishes that we tried in addition to the meat selection display  (from top to bottom, left to right): Medium Rare Sirloin Steak, meat display, Stuffed Mushrooms, Blue Cheese Bread, Beef Carpaccio, and Surf & Turf. I never thought I would like raw beef, but that beef Carpaccio hit the spot. I also enjoyed the roasted brussels sprouts (not in photo) which had hint of sourness and was probably the lightest menu item we got (although Matchachoco thought it was too sour for her taste because of the balsamic vinegar). This place definitely has meat and seafood done right, but we found some of the dishes too rich and heavy.

IMG_4344IMG_4357IMG_4382IMG_4347Thierry
1059 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1A1
http://www.thierrychocolates.com/

Just across Black & Blue steak house is this crowded patisserie called Thierry. The place seems to be jam packed every time we passed by it. We came here quite late and they only had two flavours of macarons left: coffee and lime coconut (shown in the photo). I thought that their macarons were quite different from previous macarons I’ve had before as their macarons were relatively richer in taste and texture. The macaron shells were dense and had no air pockets whatsover (translation: it’s a sign of a good macaron and it’s not a rip off lol). Matchachoco and I weren’t a huge fans of the coffee macaron, but I enjoyed the lime coconut macaron. I gave some chocolates to my brother and he commented how shiny the chocolates were. I think most of the chocolates we got were dark chocolate based, and coming from a dark chocolate lover, Thierry gets a thumbs up.  We didn’t have any of the cakes and other pastries, but I was fascinated with their display. One of the cakes that particularly got my attention was the passion fruit cake (as shown in photo), which had mini macaron shells on the sides. I was really amused with how small they were able to pipe the macaron shells.

10346637_10152375598987969_6004380931402416712_nWhite Spot
1616 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC
http://www.whitespot.ca/

After a long bike ride at Stanley Park, we were starving, so we headed to White Spot. We decided on White Spot because it was a certain professor’s favourite burger place in Vancouver (haha). We had the Monty Mushroom Bigger Burger each and shared the salad and sweet potato fries which came as side dishes with the burgers. I was quite impressed with Spot’s salad (fresh arugula with honey sherry dressing, cranberries, toasted almonds and sunflower seeds) that came on the side. I thought it was just going to be a regular salad! Although we both enjoyed our meals, we couldn’t finish all of it even if we were starving. It was a heavy meal 😛

10364231_10203897665983699_495238615_o
collageIMG_4037Miku Restaurant
#70 – 200 Granville St, Vancouver, BC
http://www.mikurestaurant.com/

Our photos just don’t give justice to how good our dinner at Miku was! Matchachoco and I were struggling to take photos of the food as it was quite dark in the restaurant. Regardless, the view of the Waterfront from Miku was spectacular at night. Matchachoco and I love this place and of course the food! My favourite dishes were the Nutrigreens Farm Tofu Salad, Soba Pepperoncino, and the Salmon Oshi Sushi. The Nutrigreen Farms Tofu Salad definitely goes on my list of favourite salads ever 😛 The texture of the scrambled tofu and the crispy tempeh just goes well with the tangy salad with Japanese flavours. We also loved the freshness of the seafood in the Soba Pepperoncino and the Salmon Oshi Sushi. The sauce they used for the Salmon Oshi Sushi as well as the jalapeno topping really compliment the sushi combination.

imageimageNew Town Bakery
6360 No 3 Rd, Richmond, BC V6Y 2B3
http://www.newtownbakery.ca/

We were recommended to try the Chicken Deluxe (Bola Bola) steamed buns at New Town Bakery. The bun was pretty huge, so Matchachoco and I shared the bun for brunch as we were travelling (there was just not enough time to go to all the amazing places in Vancouver lol). The bun had a juicy meat filling, but it wasn’t very rich, which I really liked.

IMG_5595IMG_5593La Patisserie
6360 Number 3 Rd, Richmond, BC V6Y 2B3
http://www.yelp.ca/biz/la-patisserie-richmond

I got pretty excited when we went to La Patisserie. I noticed that they had a variety of cake flavours which I don’t usually find in Chinese Bakeries in Toronto (e.g. blueberry, lychee, and something that had wasabi in it). While I didn’t get to try their breads and other pastries, Matchachoco and I got to try a variety of their cake flavours. Pictured here are: blueberry, green tea, mango, chocolate, taro, strawberry, and black sesame. The cakes were very light and not too sweet, which is typical in Chinese bakery cakes. Although we were impressed with the flavour choices they had, we weren’t as impressed with how the flavours were incorporated into most of the cakes that we got. For example, the strawberry one tastes a bit ‘artificial’. However, we really enjoyed the taro and fresh mango cakes (which everyone raves about). The taro cake tastes similar to an ube cake with cream, while mango cake reminded me of one of my favourite mango cakes when I was a kid.

imageTasty Kitchen
8300 Capstan Way, Suite 1226, RichmondBC V6X 4B5
http://www.yelp.ca/biz/tasty-kitchen-richmond

This is a relatively new restaurant that I learned about from Matchachoco’s dad. Since we already tried other different cuisines on this trip, we decided to go to this traditional Cantonese restaurant. We had Pepper Beef which was served with some vegetables. I thought it was one of the best dishes of the night.  The beef chunks were so tender and the onions and mushrooms accompanied the earthy flavours of the eggplant very well. We also tried the lobster which is a must-try in Vancouver. It was cooked Asian-style with soya sauce and thin egg noodles. I also enjoyed the steamed Cantonese White Cut Chicken with green onion & garlic dipping sauce. Hopefully this restaurant is still around when I visit Vancouver again since I heard this location has changed restaurants many times!

-Ricelessasian

Giant Birthday Cupcake!

This month has been an incredibly busy time for us! After final exams in April, we headed to Vancouver for a very special celebration and our first cupcake order. The birthday girl, Samantha, was turning 1 and her mother requested a gigantic ‘smash’ cupcake to celebrate the occasion.

IMG_4474

A few weeks prior, Ricelessasian and I made a prototype of the giant cupcake for practice. I’ve made many regular-sized cupcakes before, but I was really excited to finally make such a massive cupcake! Luckily, Ricelessasian has had experience making one before so, we weren’t so ‘lost’ in the whole baking and molding process of the cupcake.

IMG_4450
IMG_4444

Aren’t these funky and vintage-y cake stands so cute? For the party decor, our client also requested that we integrate the new OhJoy! decor line from Target. We happily obliged because all the pieces are incredibly adorable!!

IMG_4421

We decided to use this recipe , one – because of the enticing title and two – because vegan ingredients were requested for the giant cupcake (with the exception of the sprinkles). Personally, I think I will definitely use this recipe again one day. The title of the recipe did not lie! The texture of the cupcake was moist and chewy – which was very different from the cupcakes we have made in the past, in a positive sense. I must admit – we had a good chuckle during the baking process because of the unique baking method 😉 (refer to Step 1). For the frosting, we made vegan buttercream using this guide.

IMG_4469

The other regular-sized cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with matcha frosting) were for the guests of the birthday party. We used our go-to chocolate cake recipe with a matcha cooked frosting.  I think they were a bit hit, as some of the friends took a few cupcakes to-go!

IMG_4415

The birthday girl, Samantha, didn’t end up smashing the giant cake, after all. She may have been too lady-like to ruin it or perhaps she thought it was too pretty to eat like I did. Haha!

IMG_4433

H-o-o-r-a-y!! These were the perfect decorations for the simple yet sophisticated matcha cupcakes.

IMG_4393

We made certain improvements to the giant cupcake we served after making the prototype one. For instance, we made the frosting colour more vibrant (more green and pink), created more defined ruffles at the bottom of the cupcake and added flowers made from vegan frosting to the top of the cupcake. Organizing all the little details that were involved with putting the cupcake together were well worth it 😀 Needless to say, we were happy about how the end product turned out. We hope all the guests and the birthday girl enjoyed it as well!

IMG_4412

Thanks for reading and hope you had a wonderful Victoria Day long weekend,

-Matchachoco