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Everything posted by cherrypi

  1. Ahhh, that brings back memories... I spent two years in Japanese elementary school in the 1970s before our family immigrated to Canada. What I remember most about Japanese school lunches is that I was always forced to finish everything on my tray. As a six-year-old who hated bread and butter, it was extremely difficult for me to swallow four slices of white bread; eventually I started stuffing them in my pockets. But I was always amazed that there was so much food for me every day even without the bread. There were some odd lunches (e.g., chewy whale meat), and some delightful ones (udon with curry sauce). From what I remember, Japanese school lunches were much more wholesome than the crap they serve in North American schools. It's nice to know that that's still the case!
  2. The first cookbook I ever bought was The New Basics. I didn't know a thing about cooking at the time, and I was intimidated into believing that a long list of often-expensive ingredients meant more sophisticated results. In those days, I also used to listen to big, Germanic symphonic works and and dress in complicated, affected styles (post-punk boho, or whatever). Now, I like to cook simply for the most part, not because I've gotten lazier as I get older but because I know what's essential and what's superfluous in a dish. I prefer austere chamber music to full symphonies. I don't own heaps of trendoid clothing anymore. I think the fun experimentation gradually gave way to clarity. I just hope that this contentment doesn't eventually turn me into a conservative curmudgeon.
  3. Have you tried the Ratna Mango Puree? If you can find it, give it a try, it is the puree of Alfonso Mangoes. The most revered mango from India. Let me know what you think. What cocktails have you made thus far? What desserts have you tried from the Pierre Herme book? I have never baked anything from it. Thanks for the tip about the Ratna mango puree! Will definitely check it out soon. I've been concocting mango drinks for the past week because I have a large amount of Kesar mango puree left over after making a mango mousse. So far I've made several mango martini-type drinks (the one with lychee liqueur was pretty good), as well as some unfortunate combinations (there was one involving Sanpellegrino Limonata soda and Grand Marnier - yuck). So far I've had success with the simpler Pierre Herme recipes such as the lemon tart (which has a beautiful and tasty transparent glaze) and lemon loaf cake. I've yet to tackle the more poncey creations such as the Tarte Tropezienne or the Carioca - I'd have to take a day off work for that!
  4. cherrypi

    Your spice cabinet

    I agree! I enjoy having lots of spices & herbs in my kitchen - you never know when a recipe might require amchoor - but of course half of them are for show. I can't remember the last time I actually reached for the barberries, angelica seeds, nigella, ajwain, or lime powder. It's just that it's so comforting to see dozens of spices lined up in alphabetical order; I like to imagine I can cook anything in the world. I buy my spices in bulk from several reputable spice stores in Kensington Market (Toronto). Anything I can't find there, I go to Nasr's (a Middle Eastern mega-supermarket in the 'burbs). If I don't use the ground spices within a year, hell, they're cheap enough to replace.
  5. On a cold, miserable winter afternoon, I would crank up some campy music, fix myself a fortifying drink (I've been experimenting with cocktails using Kesar mango puree), and attempt to bake something out of the Desserts by Pierre Herme book.
  6. I've had Japanese curry in many homes and restaurants, but they all seem to taste exactly the same - a package of curry block (S & B, Glico, etc.), onions, meat and potatoes (and sometimes garlic, ginger, carrots etc.) Of course, the version I make tastes like everyone else's. I love the standard Japanese curry, but is there any way to make it more interesting without turning it into something completely different? Has anyone ever tasted a Japanese curry that was different, but not weird?
  7. Try this excellent recipe for muhammara (hot & sweet red pepper dip with walnuts and pomegranates), from Paula Wolfert's Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean : http://www.paula-wolfert.com/recipes/mouhamara.html (It's spelled muhammara in the book, but mouhamara on Wolfert's website...) Wolfert recommends serving this dish with meat or fish kebobs, crisp pita triangles, or lavash.
  8. Or, do I expect coffee to be litigation-worthy scalding?
  9. hmmm, mine definitely does not have that problem. the coffee is very hot when first brewed, in fact it is too hot to drink. I wonder if your heating element may be defective? Also, I turn mine to the "on" position for a few minutes before I add the water so that the element is at peak temp when the water is added. Just checked out the consumer reviews of the coffeemaker I purchased (Krups 229-45 10-Cup Aroma Control Coffeemaker with Thermal Stainless Steel Carafe and Programmable Timer) on amazon.com. There were 72 reviews, with an average rating of 2 1/2 out of 5. There seemed to be quite a debate on the coffee temperature, with just over half the people complaining that the coffee was too cold and the rest saying it was just fine. Do personal preferences regarding coffee temperatures vary that widely, does each unit of this model have its own personality, or are some of us just inept at making coffee???
  10. Ron, just last week I bought the Krups with the thermal carafe. Yes, it makes decent coffee and it keeps the coffee at a consistent temperature, but have you found that the coffee is rather lukewarm to start with compared to coffees made by the "burner" models? The lady at the store had warned me about this, but I guess I was lured by the attractive brushed stainless steel carafe...
  11. cherrypi


    Sen5es has closed its Yonge-Bloor location as of January 1, 2003. Apparently they'll be re-opening in April at the corner of Wellington and Blue Jay Way, in the new Metropolitan Hotel/condo complex.
  12. Just received a jar of homemade xo sauce from a friend's father who's a fabulous Cantonese cook. I've never cooked with this precious sauce before, and I'm scared of wasting it. Any cooking suggestions? Thank you!
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