Monday, April 14, 2014

Lavender and Honey Panna Cotta

Hubby and I were exhausted this weekend after conducting due diligence on a small property we are interested in. By late Sunday afternoon, I was ready to put my feet up and just enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea. I took some lavender flowers from my stash {I harvested these flowers last fall from the garden and dried them in a dark room}, crushed it a bit to release the soothing scent , placed it on a tea cup and poured hot water for an instant lavender herbal tea. Ahhh, pure bliss!

Then I remembered I have a jar of delicious wildflower honey I bought from Jon, a local bee farmer here in our neighborhood. So, instead of just having lavender tea, why not a panna cotta with wildflower honey and lavender flowers.

The cooking only took 10 minutes but I have to wait for the panna cotta to set for a least 2-4 hours in the fridge before I can truly enjoy the fruit of my labour. While waiting, we attended the  Palm Sunday service at church and as soon as we get home .... voila! Honey and lavender at its best!

Honey and Lavender Panna Cotta
 Adapted from The Kitchn

1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (I used Knox}
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup cream (or half and half)
1/4 cup wildflower honey
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 cup milk

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of water and let soften for at least 5 minutes. Lightly oil 4 5-ounce ramekins with baking spray or flavorless oil. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan heat the cream, honey, and dried lavender to a light simmer then turn off the heat. Whisk to incorporate all the honey evenly, then strain into a mixing bowl. Whisk in the gelatin. Whisk for at least a minute to make sure it is very evenly distributed and that no lumps remain. Whisk in the milk.
Pour into the ramekins, and put in the fridge to set. The panna cotta will need at least 2 hours to set; we prefer to wait at least 4, especially if the puddings will be unmolded.
To unmold lightly run a knife around the edge of the chilled pudding and invert onto a chilled plate.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bites and Nibbles @ Owl of Minerva

A lot of things have been said about this hole in wall Korean restaurant. My favorite list of affordable but delicious food will not be complete without a blog post dedicated to owl of Minerva. My fingers and toes are not enough to count the number of times we've been here and every time feels like the first!

No matter what the season is, you will be served with a steaming Korean rice tea that goes well with any meal. More often than not, you will see KamJa Tang (pork bone soup) in every table (including ours, since this is the reason why my hubby loves this place). Big bones are boiled for several hours in a special hearty soup with potatoes, cabbage,onions, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, red chilli pepper and soy bean paste until the meat is falling from the bones.  KamJa Tang comes with boiled white rice and a variety of kimchi.

Their Bibimbap is served in hot dolsot (stone pot) is also a favorite - you have a choice of just plain veggies or with ground meat. Service is always fast and friendly!

Come hungry as the food truly satisfies. However, prepare to wait specially in the winter - the place is always busy with KamJa Tang seekers!

Owl of Minerva on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Chasing Sunset in Port Perry

No words can match the beauty of sunset. A gift freely given to those who open their hearts to God's great creations!

Shared with Rurality Blog Hop

Project Life | Weeks Eight to Ten

Here are the pages of my Project Life weeks 8 to 10!

Week 8 : Left Side

Week 8 : Right Side

Some tips for page inserts and journals:

1. Cut print ads  of special events to embellish your page
2. Write messages even on the most usual "canvass" {like what I did on the flour when I was making pancakes} 
3. Keep those gift cards .... a lot of them have great designs and messages you can use as inserts.

Week 9

Week 9 : Left Side

Week 9 : Right Side

Week 10

Week 10 : Left Side

Week 10 : Right Side

To embellish some inserts, I used washi tape as banners and also kept this square coaster from a recent visit at Kelseys Bar and Grill. There's a lot of free things you can get in so many places that can be used to enhance this project. I am loving this!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Bites and Nibbles @ El Catrin Destileria

I had an assignment in downtown Toronto a couple Saturdays ago. Since we live in the suburb {bordering some farm lands, we always take advantage of the trip downtown by mixing work with pleasure. Hubby picked me up after work and had a late lunch date in El Catrin at the Distillery District.

The design of this Mexican restaurant is awesome - from the murals on the wall {created by Mexican artists} to the design of the bar! 

For late lunch, we sampled the Ensalada Destileria (papaya, mango, cilantro, pecans and grilled shrimps with tajin sour vinaigrette} Torta el Santo {braised beef short rib with queso and guacamole on Mexican bun}and Tacos el Pastor {shaved pork with pineapple and cilantro}. The papaya salad was delicious and refreshing. The rest was just OK.

For the price of the food, I expected a complimentary serving of fresh tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole like other authentic Mexican restaurants we have been. But there was none. For another 10 dollars you can have the Guacamole En La Mesa {they will make it on your table!} with chips.

By and large, it was a nice dinning experience. And oh, the drinks were great. Cheers!

El Catrin Destileria
Distillery District
18 Tank House Lane
Toronto, ON

El Catrin Destileria on Urbanspoon 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

@ Home, Lately {Budget-Friendly Spring Decorations}

It really felt like spring yesterday! With the sunlight peeping through the glass door at the breakfast nook, I was inspired  to embellish our little breakfast buffet table.  Nothing fancy, just the little things that make me happy ... a little reminder ... that no matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.

It didn't cost me much to put these things together. Look around your house and take advantage of what you already have. For more tips on how to put up a spring decorations without breaking your piggy bank, scroll down ....

  •  Make your own bird's nest from twigs from your backyard, that is if you can't find a real bird's nest. Mine was courtesy of the sparrows that made our backyard their home last spring. As soon as Mr. and Mrs. sparrows and their 3 little chicklets left, I took care of the nest. I have collected 3 nest in the last 2 years - they are free {I guess its the birds' way of thanking me for the nice stay :-)} and add a nice touch to any spring or Easter decorations.  
  • Use colored glass serving plates you already have in your kitchen. I love using cake stand because they add height to something you want to be highlighted on the display.
  • Garage sales are excellent source of cute decorations for any season and you pay almost nothing. The glass lamp and the metal bike plant holder were already somebody's "trash" but now treasures in our home.
  • Always add plants in your spring decorations. Spring is not complete without them. Again, they need not to be expensive plants (unless you already have them). I got my Hyacith and Kalanchoe from Wall-mart for 2 bucks. The key for them to last is to re-plant them using better soil {thanks to my hubby for re-planting all my 'spring' babies}.
  • Last but definitely not the least, add fun or little surprises to your  decorations. Mine are the little chocolate eggs on the nest. I know how my husband loves these little goodies so it was the fist thing he noticed. Sure I have to replenish the eggs regularly because they will 'hatch' every time my husband is near. Who cares? that's part of the plan!

Spring to life! It is a new beginning! Thank God for spring!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Mussing

Bites and Nibbles @ {the newly renovated} Kelsey's

Three Fridays ago, my colleagues in the marketing department threw a "thank-you-and-don't-think-you-can-get-away-from-us" lunch for me before I move on to my new role in sales.  For this impromptu festivity, we went to the newly renovated Kelsey's along Queensway. I passed by this restaurant several times already but I never thought the place was Kelsy's because of the artsy design of the building. Inside was even more different from the "regular"  neighborhood bar and grill Kelsey's that I know. The vibe was more upbeat, hip and modern catering to young adults and working class looking for a place to unwind after work.

By and large, the food was OK - I enjoyed the crispy wanton nachos and the Asian inspired lettuce-chicken wrap. The guys gave thumbs up to the Holy Blank 7-layer-burger {what is it with guys and burgers?}.

If you are looking for the "old" Kelsey's atmosphere for a weekend family lunch or dinner, mom and dad may have some adjusting to do. I wouldn't mind going back though.

Kelsey's Queensway
1011 The Queensway

Kelsey's on Urbanspoon

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