Rijstafel in Toronto

I fell in love with Rijstafel in Amsterdam. It is just so exciting to be seated at a table, surrounded by numerous bowls of food and have no idea what you are about to eat! There were so many varied flavours in one meal: aromatic lemongrass, hot chilli peppers, pungent galangal, nutty coconut and peanuts – they all had me captivated. It was a journey of discovery that I wished would never end hong kong weather.

Upon returning to Toronto, one of the first things I did was to look for similar Rijstafel restaurants here. I chanced upon Quince Bistro (2110 Yonge Street), which does one every few months. You have to be on their mailing list to find out about it and when you get the notification, drop everything and book a table right away. The experience was as good, if not better than our Amsterdam one because the food was not as hot and spicy and this time we could actually eat the Beef Rendang! There were about 20 dishes Hong Kong Cultural Activities, ranging from Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Rempeh (coconutty meatballs in a coconut curry sauce), Sate Ajam (chicken satay skewers) to several sambals, chutneys and other condiments.

The swordfish satay with sweet, spicy peanut sauce was amongst our favourites. I couldn’t wait to try making it in my own kitchen! Here is my version of that delicious dish:

Swordfish Satay Skewers

For the fish marinade:

♥2 tsp curry powder

♥½ inch piece ginger, minced

♥2 cloves garlic, minced

♥3 tbsp fresh lime juice

♥4 tbsp coconut cream (skim from top of premium coconut milk can)

Salt to taste

♥500 gm thick skinless, boneless piece of Swordfish loin or fillet

♥2 tbsp oil

In large mixing bowl, combine all marinade ingredients together except the fish and oil. Mix well. Cut fish into 1 inch pieces. Add to marinade in bowl, mix gently to coat, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or longer. Soak bamboo skewers.

Thread meat onto skewers and grill briefly on a medium hot barbecue grill, until just cooked through, about 4-5 min per side. Brush with oil just before taking them off the grill Skin Central. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

Serves four

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce

♥2 tbsp vegetable oil

♥1 garlic clove, finely chopped

♥1 small shallot, finely chopped

♥1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

♥1/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk

♥1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Salt to taste

♥½ cup tamarind sauce or tamarind chutney

♥1/2 tsp curry powder

♥1/2 tsp red chili sambal

Warm oil in non-stick skillet set over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots. Sauté for 2 minutes until slightly softened. Add remaining ingredients, cook 1 minute. If mixture is too thick, add some more coconut milk to thin it out to the desired consistency. Serve warm.

Rose Levy Beranbaum's 7 Tips to Make Any Baker Better


If baking intimidates you, it is likely that you have not yet encountered one of Rose Levy Beranbaum's cookbooks. The baking maven has penned ten books that are prized for their meticulously tested recipes, and exacting, step-by-step methods that read as if Beranbaum herself was standing there with you at your kitchen counter, whisk in hand.

Her newest work, The Baking Bible, is a 500-page magnum opus that includes updated interpretations of some of her most classic recipes (like her orange glow chiffon cake) as well as entirely new pastries, cookies, breads, and pies. "I am always developing and tweaking recipes so things just naturally continue to evolve," she said.

Beranbaum did not grow up baking--her grandmother stored pots and pans in the oven--and did not begin baking until she left for college at the University of Vermont. But over the years, Beranbaum has become a bonafide expert of all things pastry. Lucky for us, she was willing to share some of her hard-earned trade secrets. Here are Beranbaum's 7 foolproof tips to make every baker--or aspiring baker--better.

Weigh dry ingredients. "So many people ask me why they should bother weighing flour and other dry ingredients when using measuring cups is 'good enough.' Well, my new mantra is 'measuring is fine for people who are content with half measure.' Weighing on a scale is not just more accurate, which yields more consistent results, it is more fun and there is less cleanup after."

Pay attention to the flour you are using. "This is something even professional bakers don't do, but is so important. Flour is the sole ingredient of baking, so you want to make sure you have the appropriate type for your recipe. For example, there are important differences between bleached and unbleached flour. People tend to assume that unbleached is always better, but some of the protein gets destroyed in the bleaching process, which makes it more tender - that is terrible for bread, but very good for some pastries."

Calibrate your oven. "If your oven temperature is way off from what the dials say, it makes following a baking recipe very difficult. Invest in an oven thermometer that you can read without opening up your oven door, which immediately decreases the inside temperature by at least 25 degrees. If it is significantly off, you can have someone come and calibrate it for you."

Use the correct pan. "It is important to use whatever size pan the recipe indicates. Using a cake pan or pie plate that is too small or too big will impact the texture and appearance of the final dessert."

Don't over-bake cookies. "People tend to over-bake cookies, not realizing that they continue baking upon removal from the oven. It is best to take them out while still a little soft and let them sit on the cookie sheet for a few minutes until they firm up enough to transfer to racks to cool. If you want them to be crisper, simply return them to the cookie sheet and bake them a little longer--no harm done!"

Unmold with ease. "Bakers often have trouble removing cakes baked in fluted tube pans, especially the ones that have lots of little convolutions. I like to use Baker's Joy cooking spray, which contains oil and flour but no residual odor. After spraying it evenly into the pan, use a small pastry brush to ensure that it is evenly coated and there aren't any large blobs that could create bubbles in the top of the cake. When adding batter, start with 1 or 2 cups and use the back of a spatula to press it down and fill all the crevices - then add the rest of the batter."

Experiment, but wisely. "People think that baking is not as creative as cooking, but there is plenty of room for experimentation. With baking, however, it is important to change only one ingredient or technique at a time. That way, you know exactly what kind of difference it makes to a recipe."


The wonderful things of the past, she has been in a river of time always flash scenery.



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