Allergic to… Spices?!

Super short post today because I need to work on something for work. Recently…

  • infographic created by the University of Queensland, about a med student’s typical schedule
  • forms of self-care
  • North Rustico things to do
  • extracurriculars that I will and might get involved with during Fall 2018
  • list of places that I loved in Montreal – recommendations for my coworker, who will be in Montreal for Osheaga, a music festival
  • Mom is selling a bunch of things

A Bitmoji that Seline made… of me! Wearing my usual white t-shirt, black shorts, and thinking about cake and tea.

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The other day, I made the tastiest snack – a thick slice of toast topped with peanut butter, caramelized nut chocolate bark, and blackberries. This was such a great snack.

Breakfast from the farmer’s market: focaccia topped with pecans and maple syrup. It’s the best yeast bread I’ve ever eaten.

More of the same stuff – toast, PB, banana, and a side of yogurt with blackberries and chocolate caramelized nut bark. Really delicious.

Dinner from Merchantman Restaurant – Seline and I enjoyed a great meal with steak and Caesar salad, with seafood linguine and sticky date pudding. I ate the entire sticky date pudding with vanilla ice cream, all by myself. It was so memorable and tasty.

I think Seline is allergic to spices?! We ate at Himalayan Cuisine, where she had the butter chicken and I ate spinach palak paneer. We shared rice and naan. Interestingly, her throat felt itchy, swollen, and there were likely no NUTS or KIWI (her normal allergens) in the food.

For dessert, I had a mug of chai and some gulab jamun. Gulab jamun, according to Wikipedia, is a “milk-solid-based South Asian sweet, originating in the Indian subcontinent, notably popular in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, as well as Myanmar.”

Another day, we played board games at Small Print Board Game Cafe (we like HIVE and WORD ON THE STREET), and had dinner at Water and Prince lobster pound. I ate a lobster roll with potato salad, and Seline had a bowl of clam chowder. I also had a cup of clam chowder, and I ate both of our biscuits. For dessert, chocolate torte cheesecake. ❤

On Saturday, we watched the Young Company dance show and ate at La Sazon de Mexico. I had the green enchiladas with vegetables, rice, and refried beans. Seline ate the cheesy chicken quesadilla.

After lunch, we had Chatime bubble tea and walked around the park. We saw Victoria Park and walked into Dead Man’s Pond, a small pond rumored to be bottomless, with spooky legends surrounding its name & spotted salamanders. Interesting tale:

Apparently, Dead Man’s Pond is the gate way to the residing place of a great, but vengeful, Indian Spirit. Sometimes, the spirit would take offense at those who invaded the solitude of his pond. Rising from the deep, he would grasp all who swam in the water or even wondered close to the shore. Pulling them down to where the denizen so the deep lurked in waiting, he would steal their very souls, before spewing the body back up to act as a warning to others to stay far from the shores of the pond.

A second version deals with treasure. Seekers had determined that pirates put into shore just at the point of land that is Victoria Park, and buried their riches in the woods. Years later the site was founded, and treasure hunters began to dig a huge hole in hopes of finding the chest of gold. When they got down so deep the sky was just a pinprick above them, the side of their hole suddenly burst and water poured in the Gulf. Storytellers state that this was the curse of the pirates working to protect the treasure.

There is another version which may be a little more believable. In the early days of settlement on the Island, the Governor threw a gala New Year’s Eve ball. A woodcutter, a poor, but honest and trustworthy man, loaded his sleigh with the best burning wood and drove it to the Governor’s house to ensure the warmth for the revelers. The Governor, grateful for the thoughtfulness of the woodcutter, gave him an extra stipend of gold as an award. Unfortunately, he was murdered and robbed for this gold and his body was thrown in Dead Man’s Pond.

Dinnertime! Seline and I ate at the Lucy Maud Culinary Institute of Holland College, where we had an amuse-bouche to start. There was a sliver of scallop, cilantro, and proscuitto.

Then, we nibbled on plenty of fresh focaccia with cultured butter. For our entrees, Seline had the chicken stuffed with spinach, and potato gratin. I ate the brown butter hollandaise arctic char with crushed hazelnuts. Both entrees were superb.

For dessert, we shared the glazed chocolate cake with ice cream, coffee soil, meringue, and toffee, and a fresh strawberry shortcake.

The next day, we went up north to Rustico. For lunch, we ate at a beachside eatery called Blue Mussel Cafe, where Seline had a haddock “burger” (really, a sandwich), with roasted potatoes on the side.

I ate the creamy bubbly seafood bake – a delightful bowl of seafood tossed in a decadent butter sauce and smothered in cheese. A fresh farmer’s salad on the side, with candied pecans and beets.

For dessert, I kind of wanted the peanut butter ice cream cake, but I’m so glad I ended up choosing the chocolate potato cake. It was served warm with ice cream and whipped cream – this was so delicious.

Few more things…

And other lunches that I’ve eaten at work. Toast with PB and banana, along with yogurt, fruit, and trail mix, are my go-to’s. Another day, I ate a lobster quiche with microwaved sautéed veggies.

And that’s it for today!

Have a beautiful rest of the day. 🙂

Giant Chai Bowls, Deconstructed Desserts, and PB Hot Chocolate!

Hello! I was really tempted to start this post with ‘Chai there’, but… I resisted. Well, without further ado (this is such a weird word), I visited Three Monkeys Cafe yesterday. It’s described as the most atmospheric cafe in the city, and boasts the biggest mug bowl of chai.

According to The Urban List: “Where else can you get a tureen of chai at 9.30pm on a Wednesday night? When it comes to serving sizes, Three Monkeys knows what’s up. Their yawning bowls of chai have garnered such a rep that a recent stigma has developed towards anyone hoping to ‘nip in for a small one’. To be fair, Three Monkeys’ largest vessel is probably more than most people can handle, but chai addiction is as real as it is harmless and I’ve never known a fiend to hold back when that flagrant spice display hits the table.”

It was delicious, and a perfect serving size for me because I can never get enough chai. It came with a single packet of honey, which was perfect, but I think two packets would’ve made my sweet tooth even happier. Next time, I’ll come back for some of the cakes – I was bewildered by the number of cheesecakes, tiramisus (is this how you pluralize it?), mud cakes, and more. It was amazing. I’m actually very tempted to stand up, get dressed, and leave my house right now to go back to Three Monkeys.

After I spiced up my life with the chai (pun stolen from the Urban List), I went to Botanica! I talked about this place in my last blog post, so you all know already how much I love this place. Gluten-free treats, a massive variety of vegan salads, incredible quiche – everything made with fresh ingredients. If this place was any closer to my home, I’d be bankrupt.

I went for a walk yesterday to Brisbane’s awesome West End! When I leave Australia, I will really miss the beautiful river walks and early sunsets.

The river walk and the Go Between Bridge took me to the Boundary Street Markets! The markets run every Friday and Saturday evening, from 4:00 to 10:00 pm. There were about eight to ten stalls, all selling unique ethnic eats. Ones that stood out to me include a Malaysian satay vendor, an Italian waffle ice cream vendor, Dutch miniature pancakes, Korean barbecue, and Nepalese momos (steamed dumplings). I had dinner plans, so unfortunately I didn’t get to grab any of the treats.

Some funny things – a tweet I saw and a street sign that someone improved. 😉

On Monday morning, I felt like going for a nice walk. Since it’s getting cooler in Brisbane, to a much more comfortable weather, I love going for refreshing, sunny morning walks. One morning, I headed straight ti John Mills Himself, a trip I’d been looking forward to for so long. Finally, finally, I got my hot chocolate! They offered hot chocolate in every flavour imaginable, and you can choose between two levels of chocolatey-ness: milk chocolate or dark chocolate (70%). The lady behind the counter informed me that while the milk chocolate is sweeter, the dark chocolate is richer. Then, you add a shot of flavour! These are some of the flavours I remember:

  • lemongrass
  • bergamot (the citrus from earl grey tea)
  • chai
  • peanut butter
  • peppermint
  • lavender
  • rose petals
  • and about four or five more… that I can’t remember! But don’t worry, I’ll be back to double check 😉

I originally came for the lavender, but was so tempted by the peppermint – and ended up choosing peanut butter. If I see peanut butter, anywhere on a menu, I need it! Next time, I want to try the peppermint or the lavender, though I’m sure the chai would taste wonderful with hot chocolate as well. In the end, my 70% chocolate peanut butter hot chocolate was topped with a heap of chocolate shavings, freshly-cracked sea salt, and… it was divine. Honestly. From heaven.

Also, love the double-walled (is that what you call it?) cup.

Today, I felt… celebratory? For no reason. Why not? I celebrated my Tuesday morning by visiting the Gunshop Cafe, where I had a spectacular and memorable brunch. I’ve always loved the West End, an area of Brisbane which is known for hundreds of trendy and hip cafes and restaurants, but I hardly ever go there. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know why.

Well, I went! I finally went!

Thanks to this incredible picture on Instagram posted by the Gunshop Cafe, showing their famous gnocchi with blue cheese sauce and mushrooms. Doesn’t that look amazing?

I went for brunch, so the gnocchi wasn’t an option, but I was exhilarated to order the raisin and walnut toast, which was topped with – get this! – grilled camembert cheese, sautéed mushrooms, crispy sage, and red onion jam. Is this real life?

For dessert, the deconstructed carrot cake was calling my name. This came with a parsnip puree and a scoop of nutmeg gelato, garnished with carrot-coconut chips and walnut crumble. Even better, the carrot cake itself was warm! One of the dreamiest desserts I’ve enjoyed in a long time. It was also such a photogenic dish that I took a million photographs, and had a hard time narrowing it down to three images.

Some other little bits and pieces:

  • I had a chai latte from Merlo’s Coffee (on campus) this morning. Merlo’s, to me, is the Aussie version of Starbucks – they sell breakfast goods, plenty of drinks, and have snacks to-go. Their chai latte was mediocre: not hot enough, overly sweet, overpoweringly milky. I’m 99% sure that it was made with chai syrup rather than real spices (in other words, the chai latte didn’t even have tea in it). Thankfully, I got it for free because everyone who signs up for a Merlo’s card gets two free drinks!
  • I have the most serious internal debates when I’m trying to figure out which restaurant or cafe I want to go to!
  • In the suburb that I live, it’s so easy to go to the “busy part” of Brisbane, or the “downtown” area, by walking! It’s not a long walk, and there are plenty of water fountains, benches, flowers, and areas to rest along the way.

On Saturday evening, I had tickets to see a spectacular one-woman show called Invisible Things. Before the show, I chatted with some friends from aerials, and they recommended a different show to me. Kelsey and I share a lot of mutual friends, though I haven’t met her in person before, and I’ll probably pick up tickets for her one-woman show as well.

Invisible Things was created by Alex, who coached my old aerial straps instructor, Ben, and his partner, Maddy. Alex’s show was described by reviewers as an “emotionally-charged performance [that] journeys to an intimate inner world. In the show, Alex fuses dance, theatre, and circus arts.

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According to the site, Alex designed the show to reflect on nearly two decades of her personal journals, where she battles with her identity, and the dark voices in her head. I’ve never met Alex personally, but I have heard incredible things about her athleticism and creativity. All my friends who saw the show before me told me about how the powerful storytelling and gorgeous hand balancing made up an amazing show. They were right! This was super cool. I was amazed by how one woman, without even using words, could captivate an audience for 45 minutes.

That’s all! I’m not sure if I have anything else to share with you guys today, so I suppose I will leave it at that. Wishing you all a wonderful last week of May!

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Seline’s first ice cream of 2018!

This Post Has Been HIDDEN for 3 Years

This post has been hiding.

Bloggers – you know what I mean… it’s that post that you’ve buried deep in the Drafts folder, where you promise yourself that you’ll come back to it.

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I didn’t come back to this until now. But whoa. Three years.

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In three years time, however, omelettes haven’t gotten out of style. I still love them 🙂

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Here, I used two eggs, zucchini, roasted red pepper, sharp white cheddar cheese, and kale (fresh from our garden – yay!). Separate the egg yolks from the whites. We’ll be coming back to this later!

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Heat some oil over medium heat, and cook the kale until slightly wilted. It won’t wilt nearly as much as spinach, but you just want to tenderize it. Remove to a plate when the kale looks cooked 🙂

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Zucchini is up next! In the same skillet, cook it just until it obtains a nice, slightly brown colour.

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Chop up the kale and the pepper. These can be whisked right into the egg white.

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Awesome! Pour the egg yolks (or just one, if you’d like) back into the egg whites and give it another good beating. 😉

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Spread the zucchini out and carefully pour the egg-vegetable mixture into the zucchini. Spread it out with a rubber spatula and let it cook for a bit less than a minute.

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Looks good! Sprinkle the cheese on top and cook until the eggs have mostly set.

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Use your rubber spatula to give the eggs a big flip!

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Misfolded ones are equally tasty. At least this one didn’t turn into a scramble!

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I miss Mom’s pretty flowers on the kitchen table. Those were the days!

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The combination of fresh veggies, rich egg, and creamy cheese is so divine.

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Have a wonderful Friday!

Summer Things (Quinoa Overload)

Good Saturday morning, everyone! This semester is a challenging one. It’s called my “2B” semester, and it’s known by all as the semester “2B or not 2B” because it’s kind of that make-it-or-break-it time.

A delicious creamy pumpkin quinoa casserole was made, topped with loads of fontina (new favourite cheese!) and broiled. I loved every bite of this 8×8 pan that I made!

Long lab reports were written… (this isn’t even all of it!). Glad it’s done.

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Memes were made for my sister, Seline 🙂

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I had plenty of great toast. This was a multigrain thick-sliced loaf baked in-store at Vincenzo’s, and it had great crunch and wonderful flavour from all the seeds. I topped half with smashed avocado, and the other half with almond butter and chopped prunes.

I’m really excited for next week, because I made a full food schedule. I’m looking forward to trying a dark chocolate breakfast quinoa recipe, and revisit some old favourites like broccoli casserole and sweet potato spinach stew. A shopping list was also made!

These peanut butter chocolate banana snacking squares are some of my favourite desserts of all time. All-time, I tell you!

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These chocolate muffins were chock-full of ricotta and surprisingly egg-free! The ricotta lent a great, springy texture.

Mom eats so much fruit back home in BC. I miss having fruit bowls all the time, because it’s pretty unfeasible for a university student to eat say, 1/4 an apple with 1/2 a kiwi, 1/2 a banana, and 1/2 a pear. 😦

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Canada Day happened! No, I didn’t go to see the fireworks… but I stayed at home and listened to got annoyed by them all night. Is that close enough?

Another serving of that amazing pumpkin quinoa casserole, with some brownie! I made a massive pan of spectacular brownies, using pureed prunes (soaked in boiling water). They turned out very rich and decadent… and I have two squares left before I’ve eaten an entire 8×8 pan. By myself.

Oats – I mean quinoa! – in a jar with banana slices.

As you can see, I have a lot of quinoa to use up before I move out in mid-August. This was  another quinoa dish, this time mixed with sautéed mushrooms and yellow squash, mixed with a ricotta-plum tomato sauce, and topped with fontina. It tasted great! On the side, some garlicky green beans sautéed with tons of butter. Butter makes everything better 😉

Another day, I whipped up these glorious pancakes! Two eggs and half a sweet potato were whisked with a bit of flour, some baking powder, vanilla, and cinnamon. They always turn out super tender, and a perfect base for nut butter, yogurt, and granola. This was my favourite breakfast of the week.

Here is that quinoa-ricotta-plum tomato casserole again! I have one serving left, which I’ll be having for dinner tonight. The fontina is my favourite part 🙂

Some other things: I have to sell everything on my desk (actually, everything in my room for that matter). Also, my favourite calculator broke, and it was the saddest moment of my life. Friends and I are loving the summer semester, and we live in the same direction so we often walk home from classes together. Also, FaceTime-ing with Seline! She is the best.

Baked oatmeal (my favourite recipe) was made and enjoyed with blueberries, granola, and coconut chips. Almond butter on top of the baked oats. I have another serving of baked oats that I’ll be savouring tomorrow morning with some peanut butter!

Mom and Dad look so cute.

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Another afternoon, I walked to Sobeys to grocery-shop and saw the nicest sunset over Columbia Lake.

Revisiting old photographs – I took this when I visited the Ripley’s Aquarium last year with my dad. It’s o-fish-ially the best non-food photo I’ve ever taken. <– I’m also good at stealing puns and reusing them multiple times.

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One more thing that I found on the internet and completely agree with:

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Hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful rest of the weekend!

2B or not 2B

My phone lock screen was my school schedule, but it’s been ten weeks so I don’t think I should be using the schedule anymore. My memory isn’t that bad… I hope. This semester, my 2B semester, is pretty insane.

New wallpaper = Mom’s buttered toast.

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A new ice cream truck opened in Uptown Waterloo (ice cream in uptown FINALLY!), so I had to stop by to try some! I had a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard (vanilla with cookie dough, peanut butter cups, and brownie chunks – OMFG I know), and one scoop of chocolate caramel swirl with cashews. This tasted amazing, was a bit on the sweeter side, but I don’t think I would buy it again, considering the 2 half-scoops (= 1 full) was $5.00.

 

Here’s what it looks like! The person who served me was very gracious and kind.

 

Before the hearty ice cream, I had a glorious meal at Princess Cafe. The sandwich was my all-time favourite: grilled cheese with harvarti, goat cheese, walnuts, rosemary butter, and honey. The soup of the day was vegan tomato ale, which I was extremely skeptical about, but it tasted incredible. I am officially a fan of tomato soup! I enjoyed every drop of the soup and savoured every bite of the rich, crispy, cheesy, crusty sandwich.

 

For breakfast (don’t ask me why I am moving in reverse chronological order) – I enjoyed a bowl of plain oatmeal topped with a banana and tons of peanut butter. Yes, there is more underneath the massive scoop. Hemp hearts and cinnamon also made an appearance.

 

Then, the oats became granola, the bowl became a jar, and my nice messy desk at home became the bus stop bench on a sunny day. That sounded kind of poetic… or maybe I just have very low standards for poetry. This was so yummy – PB on anything!

 

Jars, because they save my lazy butt from washing dishes 😉

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So colourful! The natural lighting at the window makes for some lovely photos of my lunch and snacks. I wish I could say that I made those falafel, but I didn’t – everything else is homemade!

 

This frittata was also homemade, and I can’t wait to make another one. Eggs, spinach, roasted red peppers, mushrooms, and garlic goat cheese came together to make a tasty breakfast that I enjoyed with a nectarine and some yogurt with granola.

 

I’m cleaning out my room and found these pictures that I drew two years ago! Drawing is so much fun. I used to love drawing so much, but now have no time to draw waste all my time doing other things.

 

Have an incredible week, friends!