MTL a Table: Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

On to the final MTL a Table! Our last location was in Downtown Montreal at Taboo Cuisine Rebelle.

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle is a lounge style restaurant with a rather relaxing generally bite-size food offerings and intricate drinks. With that said, the service was slow. It felt like there wasn’t enough servers to occupy the tables especially in high traffic periods like the time we had dinner at around 6pm. At the same time, they also overbooked as it was mentioned when we arrived that we had another table reserved 2.5 hours after and we only ended up leaving very close to that time with the next party already waiting around the bar. However, a redeeming point between all the stress of leaving and the slow service and the rather lacking service as well as the fact that in the lounge setting the music was rather contained but was a comfortable background addition and the ambiance and lighting was rather decent.

Now to move on and look at the food…

Aeroplan Privilege Drink: Lacroix Cider

Lacroix Cider

The Aeroplan privilege drink that was offered here was the Lacroix cider. We’ve never had this one before and it actually is on point with most of the Quebec ciders that we’ve had. Its not particularly overly sweet but it still is fairly good.

First service: Starters

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Sweet potato and pear soup, blue cheese on a crouton from Boulangerie L’Epicurien, walnuts


Salmon gravlax marinated in lemongrass and ginger oil, Asian sauce, wasabi, pomegrenate, fried capers, shoots

There was a choice of two appetizers. The husband had the soup where he found it good except that its for blue cheese lovers. For him, the blue cheese was a hurdle to appreciate the dish more than he would have wanted. As for the salmon gravlax which was my choice, it was very delicious. For someone not too huge on raw fish, this one packed a lot of flavors and depth in general from the crunch pomegranate to the delicious sauce, there was a lovely balance to it all.

Second service: Main course

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

3 mini burgers: Antipasto (salmon, mango, bruschetta, arugula, garlic); Ying Yang (shrimp, bruschetta, arugula, crispy noodles, citrus mayo); Benji (crispy chicken, goat cheese, bell pepper, arugula, garlic)

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Bison Tartare panache, Taboo Mix, olive oil, dijon, apples, hazelnuts, lime juice, croutons, house salad

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

4 oz. filet mignon, crispy onion, demi-glace with maple syrup and foie gras, portobellos, grilled pistachios

For the main course, the husband go the 3 mini burgers. The three burgers were each about 2 or 3 bites. His favorite was the Ying Yang which was a surprise as shrimp usually isn’t his favorite type of seafood. The next one is Antipasto which was pretty good as well however, he did not enjoy Benji because of the goat cheese which is a rather acquired taste ingredient.

As for myself, I chose the filet mignon was a decent choice and one that usually isn’t on the menu as the filet mignon is usually 2 oz and in other mini burger varieties. The only issue here is that the filet mignon is so small compared to the three crispy onions that took up 80% of the plate itself. The sauce was pretty good as well.

Third Service: Desserts

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Fried crepe stuffed with cheesecake and chocolate marbled with fondant caramel, whipped cream, caramel served with apple chutney

Taboo Cuisine Rebelle

Vegan Brownie

Finally, for the desserts, the husband had the very unique fried crepe with cheesecake which was the best part of the entire meal for him. As for myself, I had the incredibly moist and decadent vegan brownie which was heavenly and rich in chocolate goodness. It was also a big highlight for my meal here.

Overall, Taboo is a restaurant with a decent ambiance and a nice selection of finger food/bite-size mini burgers and such. Its normal prices are overpriced for sure for what it offers (ex. there is a $16 mini burger, which is unfathomable for myself). While the service left a lot to desire whether it was in its efficiency for its urgency to have us out before the next party arrived and the server’s unattentiveness and rather leaning on rude service, the food here was pretty delicious. Its not someplace that I’d go back to per se as the overall experience wasn’t quite on par to some of the other restaurants we’ve discovered through MTL a Table this year and in previous years.

Battle of Ingredients: Fall: Winter Melon & Pumpkin

Welcome to the next Battle of Ingredients!

This time, we are actually taking a focus on a Chinese vegetable, Winter Melon which our guests had as harvest and Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road, my partner in crime in this project took the helm on our featured vegetable. As for myself, I took the back seat on this one and chose pumpkin as my fall harvest highlight, however, mine wasn’t our own harvest but just a recipe with the ingredient. I don’t have the land to grow pumpkin. (However, I did get two little ones that I haven’t made yet so I’ll be making a dessert out of that one soon.) We’re back indoors for the next few months until summer arrives.



Dr. Loosen Riesling 2017

We started our main meal with the Riesling. The primary reason is that the second sparkling wine needed some more chilling time. This one is pretty good. It starts off slightly dry however the finish is very smooth. Its categorized as fruity and sweet which it delivers for sure.

Domaine de Lavoie Poiré Mousseaux 2014

We’re personally at our house at least, not much into pear flavored drinks. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I bought one however, this one was surprisingly good. It had a very subtle pear flavor and was a nice change. We cracked this one open with our dessert which was very fitting, I’d say.


Winter Melon

winter melon soup

Winter Melon Soup
Recipe by Phoebe

Winter Melon
Dried Chinese mushrooms
Chicken Breasts (x2)
Jinhua Ham
Dried scallop (optional)

Cutting Board
Thermal Cooker
(using the Japanese Import Thermos Thermal Cooker)

*Our friend who gave the massive winter melon already removed the little fur on the melon with newspaper so it is easier to handle)*

  1. Soak dried Chinese mushrooms in bowl of water
  2. Cut the winter melon. Remove both the skin and seeds.
  3. Cut winter melon chunks to desired size (bigger pieces is normally better as the melon will disintegrate if too small)
  4. Put melon in stainless steel inner pot.
  5. Put in chicken breasts and shrimps.
  6. After a little while, pour the water of the Chinese mushrooms and toss mushrooms with other ingredients.
  7. Cut a small piece of Jinhua ham (do not put too much or it will be salty).
  8. Add water to the inner stainless steel pot and simmer to a boil (big bubbles).
  9. Put into the insulated outer container to cook for a few hours.

The soup turned out so good. Winter melon was cooked perfectly. The chicken, shrimps and mushrooms enhanced the flavor of the winter melon and soup in a whole. This is a fairly time consuming process to make any kind of Chinese soup so kudos to Phoebe for taking on this challenge.

Main Meal

Dim Sum

My contribution is the much more easy and simple meal here. The pasta is a mix of gluten-free spaghetti and Catelli Protein spaghettini. The vegetables are cooked in the pan and has carrots, brussel sprouts and portobello mushrooms. The chicken here is the highlight as I used chicken thighs and a local spice that I bought from Rustique Pies called Dim Sum which is a fun take with five spices. This dry rub was the highlight of my dish and I have to say that it turned out pretty good. It was slightly spicy though but worked so well.

The original concept was to have it all cooked together as one big pasta dish however, my pan just wasn’t big enough so I ended up doing it like this. The idea is that the seasoning from the chicken and vegetables will give the pasta taste so depending on how it was mixed, the pasta could have felt bland as I only put a little oil and salt in there. Most of the flavors was the in the chicken and vegetables.

winter nelon

Winter Melon and Jinhua Ham
Recipe by Phoebe

Winter Melon
Jinhua Ham
Honey (maple syrup taste better if I recall)

Cutting board
Deep flat pan with lid
Steaming Dish
Steaming Rack

  1. Cut winter melon to bigger pieces, remove seeds and skin.
  2. Prepare pot with water to steam.
  3. Gently slice in the middle of the big chunks and put in steaming dish.
  4. Cut the Jinhua ham in slices and place a slice into the middle of the melon chunks.
  5. Drizzle the melon and ham with a spoonful of honey
  6. Steam until melon and ham are cooked. Winter melon will become transparent when cooked.

This winter melon and Jinhua ham dish was done really well. For one, the winter melon was cooked perfectly. The balance here is mostly however between the honey’s sweetness and the Jinhua ham’s saltiness. Phoebe made a point above about how maple syrup was the original ingredient which we didn’t happen to have a small portion to use so she went with honey. In my opinion, this did turn out that honey didn’t quite overcome the powerful saltiness of Jinhua ham. However, that’s my opinion. I know that for someone who likes saltier foods (and not bland like myself), this worked pretty well.


Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe found via Pinterest:

I was actually able to use this recipe exactly as it was. The only ingredient that I didn’t use was the nutmeg. Also, I ended up cutting the recipe in half because I didn’t want to 3 dozen. However, seeing as everyone loved it and pretty much ate it all in the evening. Probably 3 dozen would have been good. This one was really good. For one, it was fluffy and soft. Phoebe had a comment about how it wasn’t heavy on cinnamon as she doesn’t like cinnamon as much but it worked with this recipe as it was fairly subtle and balanced between the ingredients.

 This wraps up this month’s Battle of Ingredients!
Next month, we head out like past years to MTL a Table in November before we head back to the kitchen and homecooking.

Sherbrooke Met La Table: Restaurant Persepolis

Another Sherbrooke Met La Table is upon us. As I’m writing this up, it is in the last few days of this restaurant week set in the Eastern Townships in Sherbrooke. This year’s menus were quite cool and we had a few choices that we had to decide upon, but we’re in an experimental mode and we always like to be adventurous when we head to this restaurant festival. Our final choice ended up being dinner at Restaurant Persepolis, which is Iranian cuisine. We’ve never had Iranian cuisine but only have heard about it here and there when watching food shows and such.

Restaurant Persepolis

Persepolis is a beautiful restaurant. It keeps its decoration on theme with what its serving to give you something of a feeling of where you are as you dine. The decoration is lovely, the ambiance is fantastic. Its a comfortable feeling to sit in there and eat.

Iranian Tea

For the menu, there were two options. A $25 and $35 options which changes in the main menu choices. The menu here has a lot of choices in general which is nice. The appetizers had 4 choices, the main menu had multiple choices, not only for the two different valued options but also in the fact that their menu changed from week 1 and 2. Something to note is that this is a bring your own wine restaurant. We didn’t know about that plus it is an almost 2 hour drive home so we decided to have some tea. Its a Persian tea which is perfumed and spiced with cardamom. I’ve never had this before but it is really good. I would gather that its a black tea variety which I don’t drink often as it keeps me super alive and a little too caffeinated. However, this one had this floral taste and it just tasted fantastic. I’m going to be looking for some of this somewhere.


Reshteh Soup Persepolis

Between a choice of the Ash Reshteh soup, Reshteh soup, broccoli salad and Shirazi Salad, we both vouched for the Reshteh soup. Its a chicken noodle soup with carrots, potatoes, onions, chopped parsley and green peas. It tasted a lot like minestrone soup but with some different spices in Iranian cuisine (I would assume). The pita bread that was served with the dish was delicious also.

Main Course


Baghali Polo with Lamb ($35 menu)

I had the lamb mostly because I don’t get to eat lamb much. I don’t remember where I watched it on which show but I had read about Iran and lamb in their food. Maybe I’m confused. Either way, I ended up choosing this dish and it was so good. The spices in particular and mixing the sauce and lamb with the rice tasted so delicious.


Chicken Barg ($25 menu)

My husband took the chicken kebabs. I had a taste of it and it also was very good. He liked it a lot as well. It was flavorful and very tender.



For dessert, we got Baghlava. The other was an Iranian vanilla ice cream, which being both lactose intolerant was out of the question. This one was an Iranian honey baklava with rose water garnished with pistachios. I’ve only had baklava once before and this one actually tastes a lot better. I think its the portion and also the fact that it had this smooth honey taste. The rose water was enough and didn’t feel like it was overpowering which is usually an issue with anything infused with rose water. I like this one a lot. Actually thinking about it now, I want to eat another one.

persepolis restaurant

Before we leave, lets take a look at this lovely dessert display case. I almost brought home more dessert. Starting to have regrets to not have done that. It looks so beautiful and delicious.

Overall, I’d have to say that our first experience with Iranian cuisine is a success. I’d totally be glad to go for another round of this. Maybe I’ll see if Montreal has any and check it out.

If you want to check out Sherbrooke Met La Table and the last few days, you can check it out HERE. It runs until October 25th.
And for this restaurant in particular, check out the site HERE.

Unboxing & Recap: Miss Fresh #5

*Technically, it should be #4 but I did get a box in October but was so busy that I didn’t end up putting up a post or taking pictures of any of the meals.*

 Its been a while since I’ve posted a Miss Fresh recap. I usually do about one of these per month. Mostly when it has a meal that appeals to us. The experience so far is pretty good. I’ve had a few little things but then I’m adjusting myself to the experience and making better choices. Box #5 (aka this one) has to be one of my favorites. One of the best parts about Miss Fresh is learning all the different recipes and a lot of them are pretty multicultural. This box in particular has that perk and its probably why I loved it so much. Meals are shown in the order that I prepared them.

Miss Fresh
(Week of November 14)

Miss Fresh


Miss Fresh

poached in a spicy coconut sauce with orzo salad

Miss Fresh

Run Down Codfish, Spicy Cocnonut Sauce, Orzo Salad

Run Down Codfish is a Jamaican dish. I’ve never made any Jamaican and I’ve only ever eaten Jamaican food once before. I have no idea what this is supposed to taste like but this meal was so good. I personally can’t spicy food but that time that they gave was so good for the codfish that it was perfectly cooked and the spicy coconut sauce had just the right amount of heat and delicious blend with tomatoes and jalapenos and coconut milk that I just loved it. It was burning my  mouth but I just kept eating. I try to avoid gluten and raw foods but I did eat a bit of the orzo salad which they have the recipe to make the dressing as well. The coolness of the salad contrasts well with the heat from the codfish. I liked this one a lot.

with Basmati Rice

Miss Fresh

Chicken Korma Curry, Basmati Rice, Green Beans

Indian food! Personally, I don’t go to eat indian food for the sheer fact that curry usually is made with yogourt and being lactose-intolerant that kind of makes it hard to enjoy an actual meal at an Indian restaurant. With that said, my husband had this entire meal to himself. He isn’t a fan of tomatos but he liked it alright. The curry definitely has a good kick and was a tiny bit spicy. I didn’t eat it but my kitchen was smelling like curry for at least twelve hours later.

with Broccolinis

Miss Fresh

Mama Yu’s Wonton Noodle Soup

Possibly the quickest Miss Fresh meal I’ve put together. Generally, the meals take about an hour to put together but I guess seeing as this is a Chinese dish, I was already a tad more familiar with it and had a lot more confidence with it so it took less than an hour. I love wonton noodles. Sadly, I never have time to make it anymore and I don’t eat at Montreal restaurants that serve this in fear of MSG since I’m a tad sensitive to it. This one gives you the broth and the veggies and the egg noodles and the recipe for making the wonton from scratch. They give you the wrappers. It makes 12 wontons so six per portion. Yet again, I liked it a lot. Its easy to make something like this more on the salty side but this one worked really well. It gave us the liberty of seasoning the shrimp and minced pork mixture for the wontons with pepper and I might have put just a dash too much, but it tasted really good. On top of that, the portions are really generous. One portion wontons and with the egg noodles and the broccolini was a filling meal.

with lime crema

Miss Fresh

Cauliflower Tacos

The last recipe was put together by my husband. He left me the pieces to compile to show. He did add in some tuna to have some protein in his version and had the lima crema. Unfortunately, no photo of that. This is the version with the lima crema but generally the same. The bottom portion is something of a makeshift coleslaw which was pretty good. The cauliflower uses indian spices which I think is what made me not like it so much. It had a weird flavor that I’m not accustomed to and didn’t quite acquire the taste of. However, it does seem to be a relatively quick recipe to put together.

Overall…one of my favorite ones to put together. The meals here are delicious, especially the first three caught our attention. What is really nice is that in the last month, it feels like they have changed the food packing style and I like it better especially placing the ice pack and cardboard at the bottom to separate the meat ingredients to the fresh ingredients. The recipe sheets always were improved and I like the design of it more. Its been rather multicultural which also is something I enjoy to try new flavors and also experiment with new spices and new ingredients that I personally wouldn’t use in my cooking. A great experience!

November is a pretty busy month so we’ll be having another box coming in soon to ease on the dinner cooking duties, plus, it looked like a nice meals for the next one as well. Probably will be up in two weeks or so!

MTL a Table: Café Griffintown (Montreal, Canada)

November is finally here and with that comes one of our favorite events in Montreal called MTL a Table. I’ve gone the last two years. If you don’t know what it is, MTL a Table is a gourmet event where selected restaurants offer a fixed menu for $21, $31 or $41 for dinner and some even offer brunch. It is the perfect opportunity to try out some new restaurants and not exactly destroy your wallet over it. This year, our group increased and we are doing a triple date. We have three scheduled over the next two weekends.

The first one this year is Griffintown Café. They had a $21 three course menu.

Griffontown Café


Griffintown Cafe

Russian in July & Long Island Iced Tea

Griffintown Cafe

Ginger Beer Bourbon and Bourbon Sour

1st Service: Appetizers

Griffintown Cafe

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup (lactose-free modification)

Griffintown Cafe

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup

Griffintown Cafe

So Simple Salad with Mixed Greens and Roasted Vegetables

Appetizers was good. A lot of love to Griffintown Cafe for being able to modify the soup without the lactose. The roasted winter vegetable soup is very good. Only one person took the salad and I think it was pretty good. Everyone else had the normal unmodified version of the soup. Not sure how they felt. My husband enjoyed it and he isn’t exactly a soup person (or a vegetable person at that). The only difference we talked about was that it was heavily spiced with pepper and I mean like actual full pieces of peppercorn. That added a lot of kick to the soup. For the most part, it was delicious until I went screaming for water when I bit into a peppercorn. It was a funny experience and refreshing to say the least. However, the roasted winter vegetable soup is still a winner especially on a chilly day like when we went this weekend, some heat in the foods adds a little extra warmth and coziness to the meal.

2nd Service: Main Course

Griffintown Cafe

So British Fish ‘n Chips (Haddock filet, IPA Beer batter) served with fries and house tartare sauce

Griffintown Cafe

Espresso Burger (espresso and dark chocolate glazed Griffintown Burger, blue cheese dressing, tomato and maple braised bacon)

The menu has three choices. The third being a mushroom risotto which no one ended up taking. We were half and half with three taking the Fish n Chips and three with the Espresso Burger. I took the Fish ‘N Chips. The meal was a little salty to my taste however, the IPA beer batter was done really well because the crush kind of melted in my mouth as I ate it. Also, haddock is something I usually eat with fish ‘n chips but really would like to have more because I like the texture of the fish. The home fries are cooked pretty well. Yet again, a little too salty for my taste but I eat pretty bland food compared to most people that I know so perhaps its just my individual issue. I should start mentioning in my order to be a little lighter on salt as a personal preference.

As for the burger, the first hesitation most people had was how they’d make the taste of it all work out. It seems like there is a lot going on there. The burger was huge in height. However, the espresso and chocolate was not overpowering, nor was the cheese supposedly from what I gathered as my friends discussed it.

3rd service: Dessert

Griffintown Cafe

Oreo Tiramisu

Griffintown Cafe

Carrot Cake

The last course was one I was totally exempted from but I ordered the carrot cake for everyone to share and have a taste. The dessert was probably the underwhelming part of the meal according to my husband. He enjoyed the Oreo Tiramisu more than the carrot cake however, it wasn’t anything special.

Overall, Griffintown Cafe is pretty  nice. The restaurant itself is a little cozier in size. We also went on a night where they hosted the Paint Nite event and that minimized the amount of guests at the restaurant itself not a part of it. The service probably also was slower because of it. However, our waitress was very nice. She was a little short with the details but very accommodating in helping me with my allergy issues. It was a really nice place to hang out with friends. The food was pretty good. There are some small personal preference criticisms but its more a matter of individual tastes and habits than the shortcoming of how the food was cooked because it was done well.

If you are around town, perhaps it is a spot you’d like to check out! They even have brunch normally and that is something that has peaked my interest.

Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar (Kelowna, Canada)

After four hours of driving with a few stops and admiring some spectacular scenery along the way, we checked into the Airbnb place. I didn’t post any pictures for privacy purposes. I’m not sure how much people want to share. However, hit me up about the place I stayed at for Airbnb if you ever want because it was a lovely little place that fit all five of us perfectly despite it just being a basement. Regardless, we got in and my cousin searched up what restaurants looked appealing and found this one: Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar. I believe she said one of the reviews said that it is a “hidden gem”. And you know, its all about hidden gems, right?

Off we went to Basil & Mint which was a mere 5 minutes drive out! Funnily, in complete coincidence, we also met other family members visiting that were going to the same restaurant. We sat separately but close enough to mingle. Now for the food!!

Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar
3799 Lakeshore Rd
Kelowna, British Columbia
V1W 3G9

I can’t find the Table d’Hote menus on the website to review but I took a look at the main menu to get the actual names. The Table d’Hote is actually a pretty good deal at $35 which includes appetizer, main course and dessert. We all took it.


Basil & Mint

Beet Salad

Basil & Mint

Asparagus Soup

Basil & Mint

Caesar Salad

I ordered the Caesar Salad or the soup and gave it to my mom because I can’t have it. My aunt ordered the beet salad and I believe that she enjoyed it. However, a point to the restaurant if they do read this, if you have something like the soup above, your waiters should know to tell the customer that the dash of cream can be not added and they can have it. If you have no other alternatives, that is a fair one to have. Its just to respect the person like myself who has a very widely known lactose intolerance and doesn’t quite enjoy eating salad either. I’m used to it and doesn’t bother me much but its nice to feel respected by the restaurant that is serving you when they actually care about this. Especially when I made the point to ask them about the potatoes and told them about the food allergy.

Main Courses

Basil & Mint

Braised Beef (I think)

Basil & Mint

Roasted Chicken

Basil & Mint


Basil & Mint

Seasonal Vegetables

Its funny how the vegetables are the most clear. A huge thanks to my cousin who turned on the light on her camera to create the light we needed to take a good picture. The vegetables are delicious. I’m personally a fan of these organic carrots. I buy them quite a bit actually and they are great even without a ton of fancy spices or whatnot. I took the beef dish and struggle to remember whether it was the boneless beef ribs or the braised beef. The meals are a decent portion. All the food tasted good.


Basil & Mint

Spiced Apple Cider Sorbet

Basil & Mint

Creme Brulee

A compliment to the restaurant for having that lactose free choice of a rather unique flavor of sorbet. The best way to describe the spiced apple cider sorbet is frozen apple pie. Its a little too sweet but I’m a fan of apple pie so I liked it. My husband took the Creme Brulee and I remember him liking it too.

Although, at that point, he was about to pass out on the dinner table since we had a long day and with the time zone differences, our day was extended three hours more.

Enough of this sidetracking all the time, Basil & Mint is pretty good. It has pretty good food and a nice decor although for say families, maybe a little dim. I don’t see them targeting the family business more like a hang out with friends for a few drinks type of place. With that said, they have an outside terrace which we didn’t sit in but that is a plus. There are some cool stuff like they have a wooden stove, so the pizza must taste pretty good. However, none of us took it because not enough mouths to finish it. The service is a little underwhelming. They weren’t quite there all the time and I believe the service where they didn’t tend to my food allergies didn’t give such a better impression. They weren’t rude by any lengths and that is good. Just little things, like my other family’s table didn’t have the Table d’Hote menu for some reason and they only knew about it because we told them that we were having it. Organization and communication things going on there.

Regardless, it was a decent experience. The point of a restaurant is a whole experience but a huge portion is having good food and Basil & Mint might not be a hidden gem, although I didn’t eat at enough Kelown restaurants to offer an opinion on that, but it does have some good food.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup!

I’m definitely slowly getting back in the groove of things! On Saturday, as you know, I wasn’t tip top and I figured that on Sunday, I’d go get some chicken and make some nice warm and comforting chicken soup.  Plus, its the best to eat soup in cold freezing temperatures and its been like that for the most part this winter…

I don’t make soups often so excuse the not so awesome appearances.  I’m working on it…

Chicken and Vegatable Soup

This was inspired by a recipe in the Looneyspoons Collection called The Chicken Soup that Flu the Coop 🙂 They always these cute names…


Makes 6 servings

2 tsp olive oil
1 cup each chopped onions, chopped celery and chopped carrots
1 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

1) Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic.  Cook and stir until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Stir in thyme and marjoram and cook 30 more seconds.  Add broth, tomatoes, celery leaves, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Bring soup to a boil.  Add whole chicken thighs.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

2) Carefully remove chicken thighs from pot.  When cool enough to handle, cut meat from bone and chop into bite-sized pieces.  Discard bones and return meat to pot.  Remove bay leaves. Serve hot!

Chicken Vegetable Soup

As always, I made some changes to this. Instead of onions, I used shallots.  I had no celery so I used snow peas.  I don’t own any dried thyme or marjoram so after research online, it said that basil leaves and oregano leaves is a good substitute so I used that. Also, if you do use plum tomatoes, your soup will look different from mine.  I ended up using crushed tomatoes.  It was my first time with it and apparently, that looks like pure tomato sauce so I scooped 2 scoops in. I took out celery leaves and bay leaves. Also, I did not use bone in chicken thighs so I didn’t take out the chicken.  Thats why my pieces look gigantic…haha! Silly on my part but it still cooked through and tasted great 🙂

After all the modifications, aside from it looking somewhat like a mess it did taste quite good.  I’m sure if I had celery and the actual spices and tomatoes, it would taste even better.  This one is a keeper for sure.  Loved it a lot and my boyfriend approves as well.

Making this makes me miss the minestrone soup that I haven’t made in ages.  Maybe I’ll do that soon, right after I stock up on some veggies at the grocery store!

What soup do you like to make in the winter? 

Springtime Minestrone!

Between me and my boyfriend, we have different levels of interest in soup.  But when it comes to minestrone soup, we’re pretty similar.  We’ve only ever made one type before and its usually for wintertime.  If you haven’t seen that recipe, you can find it HERE!  However, when a fellow blog FRUGAL FEEDING posted up his switch up on the normal minestrone and turned it into a seasonal thing with his Springtime Minestrone, I knew I had to try it out eventually! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and seeing as there’s a wedding tomorrow to attend, I decided to try this out since it looked light and delicious 🙂

Springtime Minestrone (by Frugal Feeding)

Springtime Minestrone 

Doesn’t that look quite good? I didn’t put any spring onions on the top to mark it look even more awesome.  Forgot about it *blush*

To find that recipe, please head over to Frugal Feeding’s Springtime Minestrone HERE!

This soup is really delicious and it turned out really great! If you’re into soups, its really one to go to.  I actually probably like it a lot more than the traditional minestrone.  The spaghetti bits gives it some substance and its like vegetable explosion.  I have never eaten fennel before and it was really awesome! I’ll try and find some more ways to incorporate it into my meals 🙂 The little bit of bacon in there gives it a nice tasty meat base.

I always seem to be modifying recipes but for this one, everything stayed the same except that I replaced fresh thyme with dried.  Instead of bay leaves, I used dried basil leaves.  Still was tasty to me.  If you do have the actual ingredients available, you should definitely follow the recipe all the way through!

Wonderful recipe and if you are interested in some more awesome recipes, Frugal Feeding really has a lot to offer.  I will be trying out some more of the recipes soon!

Food Review: Skyview Fusion Cuisine (previously called Cafe Cogo)

As I’m away from home this weekend, I still feel a bit bad that I don’t have any recipes prepared for everyone.  So I’m going to do some food reviews from Toronto restaurants that I visit.  Coming to Toronto for me is opening my horizons to the awesomeness of Chinese cuisine that doesn’t exist in Montreal. I’ve mentioned before that for health reasons, my body doesn’t digest the Chinese food at restaurants in Montreal, which is why when I get to anywhere else like Toronto or Hong Kong, I go crazy eating.  This time, we’re with a bigger group than my usual company of 2 and with someone else who can give us suggestions, we arrived in a restaurant that originally we thought was called Cafe Cogo.  Upon arrival, we learned that the restaurant had recently changed their name and its now called Skyview Fusion Cuisine.

The whole group didn’t eat together but we did have a decent group of 7 people (including me) dining together which gave us more choices to order.  We ended up have 5 dishes plus an appetizer soup to start off and ended with a sweet soup.

Chinese Soup

Soup contents

Our soup appetizer was a Chinese soup with some lean meat with apples and white fungus.  What made them different from other restaurants is the fact that they separated the contents of the soup onto a plate as a side dish.  Not everyone likes the soup contents because all the flavor is already in the soup, but some people do like to munch on it and this fulfills everyone’s needs.

Stir Fried Eggplants and Green Beans with Minced Meat

First up is the Stir Fried Eggplants and Green beans with Minced meat.  The seasoning on this was really delicious.  I usually eat this with just green beans and I’m not really a big eggplant fan but this one was good because the eggplant was cooked not too soggy.  It had a stiffer texture. However, someone had mentioned that was also something that was preferred for others.  So this is definitely a personal preference.

Stir Fried Beef with Chinese Broccoli

Second dish that came was stir fried beef with chinese broccoli and it also had a bit of chopped up vegetables on the side.  I love Chinese broccoli to death.  Its probably my favorite vegetable and they made this pretty decently.  Its a rather common Chinese dish and the addition of the side extra vegetables added a different touch.


Fried Chicken with Walnut and Taro Crisps

We chose the option of half a chicken as to not have any leftovers. I didn’t get a chance to try the Taro Crisps but this is super original and everyone who did try it said that it was really good.  On the right side you can see walnuts enrobed in sesame.  This was a huge hit and I’d assume that its something signature here because it was also offered on the complimentary dishes when we sat down.  However, Chicken is the star here.  I love eating chicken.  Its my favorite meat.  A lot of times when they make fried chicken in chinese restaurants, it becomes too dry but this one, they captured the moist texture of the chicken and captured the taste in the meat itself.  It was so scrumptious!

Homemade Fried RiceI’m sure you all know what fried rice is.  This one here seems so different.  Next up is the fried rice above.  It had eggs and some crispy fish, pieces of big shitake mushrooms and the extra special was the little bits of caviar.  It added this nice little extra taste to it.  This meal is starting to look like its all with food I love.  I actually really like fried rice and I tend to eat it whenever I travel and see how other restaurants make it different.  It was a huge hit with our whole crowd.

Chinese ham, mushrooms and tofu

Chinese ham, mushrooms and tofu

Last plate to come is the one including the Chinese ham which is a delicacy of Chinese cuisine.  When eating this, it should be as a whole with all three ingredients together of as shown here, mushroom, ham and tofu. I’m not a big fan of tofu.  The best part of this was the sauce.  It was very special.  It was pretty good.

Red Bean Sweet Soup

Red Bean Sweet Soup

Last up is the complimentary dessert, Red Bean Sweet Soup. Chinese desserts usually come in sweet soups a lot.  I’m not a big fan of red bean sweet soup.  This one tried to be different by adding little bits of coconut shreds.  Even with that, the aroma was very delicious, however, the dessert wasn’t too good. It was missing something that made me feel that it was complete.

This restaurant is definitely a place that I’d go back to. I feel like there is so much more fusion dishes that could be tried and tasted here.  If you are in the area, you should try it out.  Fusion cuisine is definitely the new concept which Montreal is trying to get into.  Skyview definitely has a lot that other restaurants could learn from.

Sunday Cooking Part 1: Minestrone Soup

Sunday is my day to cook dinner.  Most other days, my boyfriend does the honors because of work schedule of course.  With dragonboat season being on break right now and work calming down a bit, I’ve had time to research and make a decent meal from scratch.  After talking about it for a while, I finally cracked down and made Minestrone Soup.

I’ve never made soup before.  The closest thing to soup I’ve ever made was simmering chinese vegetables and then it would turn into a nice little soup once you put in ginger.  So this was fun but had so much preparation.  I think I spent 30 minutes just chopping all the ingredients and vegetables, etc.  Other than that, it was pretty easy to do.

I found this recipe in a newsletter from my gym (that I used to go to).  I don’t understand why they still have me on the list, but at least its healthy.  It was originally a Turkey Minestrone Soup but my boyfriend and I both prefer Vegetable Minestrone Soup. So as usual, I’ll post the actual recipe and then show the modifications I had done.  I have to translate from a French recipe so if you see any measurement errors, please inform me.

Turkey Minestrone Soup

Makes 8 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 big onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

8 branches of celery, cut in pieces

8 cups (2L) of no-fat chicken broth

3 1/2 cups (871 mL) canned conserved tomatoes, diced

2 cups (500mL) cooked turkey, in cubes

2 2/1 cups (500mL) canned white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked macaroni (preferably whole wheat)

1 teaspoon dried basil



2 cups spinach, chopped coarsely


1) In a big pan, fry garlic and onions in oil for 3 minutes on high heat.  Add the vegetables (carrots and celery), broth, tomatoes, and basil and bring it to a boil.

2) Reduce the temperature and let simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3) Add in the turkey, the beans, macaroni and the spinach and let it cook for around 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Here’s what I did: I made Vegetable Minestrone.  I didn’t use turkey instead I made another dish which I will post up tomorrow.  I didn’t add macaroni, spinach or basil.  No macaroni because my boyfriend didn’t want it and well, I just forgot to buy spinach altogether (and the basil too).  Also, I replaced the white beans with green ones and I bought them fresh instead of canned.  That didn’t affect the taste in the end.  Believe me on that.  It had plenty of taste as is.  Also, in my terms, I always believed that beans are considered vegetables so I just added it along with the carrots and celery.  I don’t think it made too much difference.

In the end, it turned out really good.  The taste was perfect, there was lots of veggies, everything was balanced, not too sour either.  I think we’ll be exploring more soups.  Meanwhile, Part 2 is coming up tomorrow!