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Everything posted by Gul_Dekar

  1. Well just a thought about the 12 hour retard thing at the end of your process in the fridge. Maybe you could just skip that and do a 1 1/2 to 2 hr final proof at room temp instead just to see if it turns out better, since as Jack said it might be overproofed. I mean you already have do a sponge/pre-ferment so flavour-wise it shouldn't be too bad right? And you could always try improving that after you get the texture you want. I do my baking on an inverted sheet pan (preheated in the oven) mostly because my baking stone's kinda small even for 2 loaves & broken into pieces. I also tend to just dump 1/2 to 3/4 cups of hot water from the tap onto the oven floor (electric) or some metal pan with the loaves baking on the middle to lower third rack of the oven to create the steam. Just have to be careful sometimes when I open it again right away (like when I forget to slash the dough right after I put it in the oven) because of the hot steam. Think heating it up when preheating the oven isn't as effective because you get a lot more steam when the water hits a hot surface and evaporates. Sorta like how when you deglaze a pan as opposed to putting liquid in a cold pan and heating it up.
  2. Well I guess I'm one of those people mentioned who only patronize such restaurants during winterlicious/summerlicious and almost never try them any other time. It's mostly because I'm a student, and this is one of the rare opportunities when I can dine at places that are simply out of my reach $$$-wise normally. I do at least order a glass of wine though, especially since I tend to dine alone for these events (most of my friends are students too and tend not to wanna spend too much for eating out). However, I do find the drinking alcoholic beverages with a meal practice is largely a cultural thing because I tend to order the wine more out of courtesy (I mean per glass wines at restaurants aren't usually that great and are probably the biggest rip-offs considering I could get a whole bottle at an LCBO for the price of a glass at a restaurant) than anything. Many cultures don't need to drink wine to enjoy their dining experience, so I think that's something people should consider when labelling those who don't order it with their food as 'cheapskates'. I always find it weird when people bring bottles of red to dim sum places but don't drink the tea. But then again, I realize that's just because I'm not used to it myself so why should I be so quick to judge right?
  3. Unfortunately I don't have an AMEX so just had to wait until today to call. Canoe's already sold out. I never could manage to get Bymark either. Anywhere else worth going to?
  4. Being a student at U of T and practically living next to it (just south of University & College), I'll just put down a few places for decent & relatively inexpensive places that I frequent and can still make it on time for classes with a 1 hour break for lunch. Chinatown/Kensington (5-10 minute walk from campus): Saigon Palace, Pho Hung for Vietnamese; Ka Chi for Korean (it's just outside Kensington Market); Swatow, Gold Stone, King's Noodle House, House of Gourmet, Asian Legend for Chinese. Rol San's dim sum isn't too bad either. Most Chinatown places are open pretty late (some even till 3-4 am). Jules is a bit further down Spadina (past Queen) and is pretty inexpensive for French. Baldwin Village (Baldwin & McCaul, just south of King's College Circle): A lot of restaurants here, although only one I've tried and found better than the rest is Bodegas. I like Fujiyama for Japanese. Yung Sing is a very popular chinese pastry shop during lunch hour. Mata Hari serves decent Malaysian although a tad bit overpriced (for a Malaysian student...8 dollars for char kuey teow, WTF!? In Malaysia it's only a dollar!). There are quite a few bars near campus (for obvious reasons ), with the Duke of York and Gabby's being pretty close to where you're staying (roughly around the area behind Trinity College & the Faculty of Music). Not sure what kind of bar you're looking for though. Most of these places would fit the bill for quick lunches and since are also fairly cheap, would maybe allow you & your co-workers to spend more for dinner at one of the swankier places around town.
  5. Not strictly on topic, but anyone heard of the Leevees? Click on the frying latke on the mainpage and listen to their discussion of applesauce versus sour cream...and join the latke clan!
  6. Since I just finished my finals, I decided to treat myself and went to Pusateri's to buy the different croissants they sell there and have a taste test. Below are the croissants from Patachou, Rahier and Thuet Cuisine: (Webcam pic, colour's not supposed to be so dark) The cresent shaped ones are from Thuet and Patachou, with the Thuet one being the bigger (but also quite a bit pricier) and the other one's from Rahier which was priced in between P & T's. Also got a Pain au Chocolat from Thuet as well which I ate on the way walking back. I didn't get the Clafouti ones because they seemed a bit limp. Maybe would be best to buy them fresh from the store itself? I'll probably go check it out a bit later. Didn't see any from Celestin (at least for the croissants). Anyway, based solely on personal preference, I liked the Rahier croissant best because it was more crispy and the inside was REALLY REALLY soft, light and fluffy. The exterior was more caramelized too, which I enjoyed. The Thuet one was really good as well and flavour-wise I would put it on par with Rahier's. It's just that the inside was a bit chewier, exterior was slightly less flaky. The one from patachou was an outright 3rd because neither texture nor flavour could compare with the previous two. You could clearly taste the margarine. edit to add: oops, this is a pain au chocolat thread...but I guess it's ok to put croissant stuff here too right?
  7. I just happened to pass by a discounted book shop and saw the book there. A lot of the recipes inside are more Western-style dishes but using Chinese/Asian ingredients, in other words - fusion! Some of the recipes aren't Chinese at all, like the Thai curry or Vietnamese pho. I guess the book's not supposed to be a Chinese cookbook then? More like fusion + some Chinese + some Thai...basically an Asian cookbook for people who watch a lot of Rachel Ray.
  8. I think it's all relative. It really depends on what perspective a person's coming from when interpreting what Chinese (or for that matter any other cuisine - Japanese, Thai, French, Italian etc.) food is. Someone who doesn't have a background in Chinese cooking, or has little knowledge of what the techniques should be wouldn't necessarily see it as 'non-chinese'. As long as the ingredients used are those that are commonly associated with Chinese food (oyster sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce), then that person would probably think of it as Chinese food because it sure as heck ain't French or Italian or whatever. It's like how back when I was a kid in Malaysia, Italian, French, American food were all categorized under 'Western'. Steak or pasta is still Western food even if the gravy for the steak is thickened with cornstarch or the pasta is boiled and then stir-fried with oyster sauce & other ingredients. As someone who's eaten traditional home-cooked Chinese meals all my life but only learned to cook using Western techniques & ingredients as a student in a foreign country, I can certainly see how the book's approach can be seen as bastardizing Chinese food. But at the same time, it also makes Chinese food more accessible to people who may not know enough about Chinese food to consider it as the "fastest food in the East" that can be prepared in a "quick wok" manner like the title suggests.
  9. Some of my friends used an electric knife to carve up turkey for thanksgiving this year. It couldn't really cut thin slices and needed quite a bit of effort to 'saw' through the meat. Maybe it was the quality of the knife (It was pretty inexpensive), but I still think a regular carving knife works better.
  10. Aha! Hypocrisy unmasked! Just where did they obtain this digital camera and the webspace to post their site? If you need further proof of their motives, check out their Orwellian approach to inhabiting abandoned housing, known on their site as "Squatting." But lo, when they speak of their anti-capitalist mode of shelter to the public, they call it "Homesteading." Madison Avenue would be proud. ← Well, I think they're mostly against wastage of food and are trying to proove a point that there's food being thrown out that people could eat. Besides, how's it possible to come to a conclusion that they're absolute anticapitalists just because they choose to feed themselves on what people throw out? That's like assuming someone's a vegetarian just because they don't eat beef. I mean, take a look at this, same thing right? Just more organized and less DIY. And for the squatting part, they ARE trying to organize people who are genuinely homeless & living in shelters too. Considering there are more homeless people than shelters, seems like a good idea to me as long as they're law-abiding (bar the act of squatting itself) and try to take all necessary precautions from causing harm to the rest of the community, which they do advocate on the 'handbook'. Besides, there are regions of the world (such as where I come from - Malaysia) where people set up squatter housing (you might have seen them if you watched Entrapment) and form entire communities out of them. A lot even get power supply from the utilities company. Not technically legal, sure, but they pay their bills & taxes. Coining a euphemistic term for squating is just another way to prevent themselves from being ridiculed and discriminated against. What difference does it make to other people anyway?
  11. I've been looking for awhile, haven't seen any either... ← Not sure if it was in Kensington, SLM, or both. Pretty sure the place on the corner of Augusta and Baldwin had them though. ← They had them at the fruit stand next to the bahn mi place on Spadina. ← I picked up a few from the corner store at Kensington Market. Some of them weren't in too good shape though. Thanks guys! ← Sunwah, I think it is, SE corner of Augusta and Baldwin, has quinces at the moment. If I pick a few up, what do I do with them? Cheers, Geoff Ruby ← The place downstairs at SLM has them ( it also has dried morels - which I think were mentioned above, and sorrel, which I would have added to this list if I'd remembered. They also have sunchokes at the moment). I picked up a couple today. So, what can I do with them? Cheers, Geoff Ruby ← The stand that sells apple cider at SLM Farmer's Market is selling locally grown quinces at the moment. Cheaper than the ones I've seen so far in Chinatown & Kensington too. I was thinking of poaching them using a recipe from Chez Panisse fruit and canning some of them for later use.
  12. I've been looking for awhile, haven't seen any either... ← I've seen them recently. Not sure if it was in Kensington, SLM, or both. Pretty sure the place on the corner of Augusta and Baldwin had them though. Would've been within the last week. Might've been the place on the north corner of ST. Andrews and Kensington. Ok, I'm obviously not entirely sure. Might go tomorrow. Will try and remember to look for quinces. Cheers, Geoff Ruby ← They had them at the fruit stand next to the bahn mi place on Spadina. ← I picked up a few from the corner store at Kensington Market. Some of them weren't in too good shape though. Thanks guys!
  13. Just wanted to know where to get quinces here in TO?
  14. Actually lime leaves (and occasionally the kaffir lime itself, which I managed to purchase last week) are always available in the downtown Chinatown stores. I see them everytime I go. The curry leaves used to right next to them, but about 2 years ago the chinatown stores stopped stocking them for some reason. A friend has told me House of Spice occassionally stocks fresh curry leaves, but so far I've never encountered them there. I'm ok with substituting dried lime leaves with fresh actually since I've tried using the dried stuff b4 and the aroma is similar. Dried curry leaves just dont have the same aroma as the fresh ones and just doesn't work with some of the dishes I've tried making.
  15. Does anyone know where one can find fresh curry leaves downtown?
  16. I have a box of them right on top of my computer monitor! My other fav is the Pecan Passion, although it tastes a bit different now that they've changed the packaging. It used to be more buttery & crumbly I remember, which was nice. I also do bread, mini rice crackers (Pin Pin) and coconut crackers/biscuits from Chinatown.
  17. You can get these at Whole Foods. ← How often are meyer lemons stocked at Whole Foods? I don't shop there very often and the times I went I didn't see them around. Have really been wanting to try some! Key limes I've also seen at the Dominions on Bloor & Spadina as well as one of the Mexican grocers in Kensington market.
  18. They sell Bak Kut Teh packets at the Asian supermarkets here (several different brands too), so maybe Chinatown might be a good place to find it. Either that or you can get the list of the Chinese herbs used, get them at the Chinese herbalist and DIY!
  19. OMG, that looks gorgeous! Only thing missing from the picture would be a nice cup of teh tarik. Gonna give your recipe a try Dim Sim, as well as any other recipes that you guys provide me with. Thanks everyone (and I'm speaking on behalf of another 5 or 6 more people)!
  20. Ah, I don't think I've ever encountered any "old-school" roti because I wasn't even born then! The recipe I used was written in the 80s though, so could it be that it was a recipe for this kind of roti? Anyway, haven't given it another try yet since I ran out of ghee (and I'm too lazy to clarify all that butter) so will maybe give it another try after I have time to go get some more of it from the store. Will try the egg, sugar and/or milk thing too. Thanks for all the tips!
  21. I'm trying to make my own roti canai, using the following recipe for the dough: 300g AP flour 1/2 cup ghee 1/2 cup water ~1 tsp salt Knead & leave for 2-3 hours. Roll out as thinly as possible. Add bit more ghee. Fold, roll a bit more. Then fry on hot griddle/pan till brown on both sides. It's not as soft as I like it to be, aslo seems a lot drier than it's supposed to be. Dough itself seems firmer than what I remember at mamak places too. Could I be: 1) using too little ghee or water for the dough, 2) not rolling it thin enough (my dough cant be be stretched out as much as what they do at mamak stalls with the pizza flipping-esque action) or 3) not enough ghee on frying surface? Maybe anyone have a better recipe or tips as to what I could do to get it right? And while I'm at it, what's the difference between roti canai & parathas? Different flours (as in regular AP vs atta)? All help would be appreciated by group of hungry Msian & Singaporean students craving roti canai, planta, bawang, telur etc...
  22. I've been to JK Wine Bar twice now, ironically both times on Sundays, and the food has been great. Have not had any oversalting experiences. Don't mind it if the cooks or waiters drink up either, as long as they remember to pour me a glass too!
  23. I too am a college-aged individual who enjoys cooking and baking. I have never ever had foie gras, never eaten kobe beef or maybe encountered a meyer lemon at the grocery store. I cannot discern the difference between 'good' food and 'great' food. Yet, I think I can safely say I respect what food is, and what its most important purpose in life is - sustenance. If one cannot appreciate this simple fact, and would deliberately reject perfectly good food just because its not 'gourmet' enough, then its just plain hypocrisy to judge others because they choose to eat something you find 'unfit for your palate'. And on a more relevant note, I do believe this whole 'women no longer cooking' thing is only an issue because many of us are still so ingrained with the patriarchal notion that women SHOULD know how to cook (and also vice versa about guys knowning how to cook...which leads us to accept that its ok/natural for a guy to not know how to cook and make a big hoo-hah when guys do). I personally think it's all just gender roles balancing itself out. We might eventually come to accepting it, and this whole issue would be just as irrelevant as people switching from Tide to Cheer.
  24. I made a trip to Koreantown and noticed a lot of pickled/fermented stuff besides kim chi and decided to try some out. The only problem is I didnt manage to finish eating all of it and only noticed recently (a month and half after purchase) that I still had some of it at the back of the fridge (some pollack roe and pickled clam meat). So how long do these things keep? Kinda clueless here...
  25. I'm just curious since I'm trying to make my own sourdough starter, so what's the purpose of discarding part of the starter? I've noticed a lot of books tell you to do so too when refreshing a starter.
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