Lilikoi (Passionfruit) Coconut Cheesecake

>> Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Valentine’s day is just around the corner and typically people start thinking flowers and chocolate. Especially when it comes to baked goods, their minds immediately shift to red velvet and other chocolate inspired treats, but what about something exotic and refreshing. Something that conjures up vacations and tropical destinations. Since some of us won’t have the luxury of traveling for valentine’s day why not bring the vacation to us in the form of a creamy tropical dessert?

I’m talking about a sweet Lilikoi Coconut Cheesecake inspired by my recent travels to Hawaii. Lilikoi aka passionfruit is used in many different dishes and products on the islands. It’s packed full of wonderful vitamin C and other amazing antioxidants. Couple that with a crunchy coconut crust, it screams the ultimate tropical dessert. What’s more romantic then the tropics.

Using coconut as the crust is also great for people who have allergies to gluten in a traditional graham cracker crust. I find that it made the cheesecake lighter and more exotic. I’ve partnered with Bulk Barn to bring you this amazing recipe. Be sure to check out all their amazing Valentine’s Day specials. A great place to pick up the ingredients for all your V-day baking needs.

Coconut Crust


Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
6 tbsp butter, melted

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix together the coconut flakes and the melted butter.


Butter a springform pan.

Press evenly on to the bottom of a springform pan.


Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until edges of the crust is golden. Set aside to cool.

Lilikoi (Passionfruit) Filling

Ingredients:

2 (8oz) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup of passionfruit pulp

Preparation:

Set the oven to 325°F.

Wrap a springform pan in foil on the outside. This is required because the cheesecake will be baked in a water bath in the oven and it prevents the water from leaking in and ruining the crust and the cheesecake. Set aside.


In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth.

Add in the sugar and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Approximately 5 minutes.

Add the vanilla and beat until it is combined with the cream cheese mixture.

Do the same with the eggs, adding them in one at a time followed by the sour cream.

Pour in the whipping cream and beat.

Finally add in the passionfruit pulp and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the springform pan. Then place the springform pan in a larger pan that can hold approximately 1 inch to an 1 1/2 of water. The water is used to avoid the cheesecake from cracking when baked in dry heat.


Put the entire arrangement in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven but allow to sit in the bath to slowly cool. Once cool, remove from the water bath and place a piece of foil over the cheesecake and put it in the fridge overnight or for at least 4-5 hours to allow it to completely set.


If you’d like the cheesecake to have more passionfruit flavour you can make a passionfruit compote to serve with the cheesecake.

In a small sauce pan mix together 1/2 cup of passionfruit pulp including seeds, 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar over medium heat.

Keep stirring until it begins to thicken and condense. Remove from heat, let cool.

When ready to serve, gently run a knife around the edge of the springform pan before unlatching the pan. Top with the passionfruit compote if using. Enjoy!

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Restaurant Review: Flower & Wolf

>> Wednesday, February 6, 2019


One of the best things about eating in general whether it be at home or going out is sharing it with loved ones. It’s something me and my husband love to do. It’s time for us to wind down and reconnect. So even after having 2 kids we still try to go out and enjoy a nice meal with the kids in tow. It is definitely a lot harder now since we need to navigate feeding them and trying to keep them entertained but we enjoy our time with them and want them to be part of the evening. Don’t get me wrong of course there are times we just need to be by ourselves and that’s ok too. Luckily for us we have the grandparents to take them for the evening.


On the flip side we often also enjoy bringing out the whole family for a huge get together over food. I think being Asian, it’s just a part of family and how we’ve always done it growing up. Spending time together over great food. So, I was interested to find out that the meaning behind the restaurant name Flower & Wolf meant a gathering place for family and friends (the flower is family and wolf is for friends). What a great name and I was super excited when I was invited down to check them out.

Atmosphere: A large dining and lounge area with retro inspired themes and a laid back vibe. A great space for events, a drink or dining with friends and family.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+


Food & Wine: The menu was speaking my language and had so many items on there that I wanted to try. It was truly difficult narrowing it down to just a couple dishes. One dish I knew I had to order was the Foie Gras and Waffle. An amazing play on chicken and waffles except with a delicious lobe of foie! It was served with maple syrup, blueberries, truffle and crème fraiche. Everything went together so well and none of the elements overpowered one another. The creaminess, the sweetness, the crunch, it was perfection on a plate.


We also had the Beef Tartare to start with an oyster aioli, dill, capers and accompanied by some fennel crackers. I liked the added touch of the fennel in the crackers and it brought out the flavour of the beef tartare. If you’re a bit thrown off by the color, don’t be. It’s due to the oyster aioli that’s used to add a bit of brininess to the dish along with the tartness of the capers. I thought both of our appetizers went very well with my glass of Mionetto Prosecco which helped to cleanse the palette after every bite.

The hubby paired our dishes with an Orange Spiced Old Fashioned, what set this old fashioned apart was the orange spiced simple syrup which made it a bit sweeter. I preferred this over the typical old fashioned since I’m not a huge bourbon fan but there was something with this one that I really enjoyed. A nice twist on a classic.


For mains I decided on the 12oz Ribeye which I had rare and it was cooked to perfection. It was tender and remained both juicy and succulent. The steak was served with choices of sauce and side, I decided to go with the salsa verde which provided a nice kick in flavour. For the side I went with the roasted root vegetables with toasted pumpkin seeds, maple gastrique and arugula, recently added to their menu. I thought the ribeye played quite nicely with the fruity notes of the Powers Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, which they serve by the glass.


The hubby ordered the Fogo Island Cod, a new addition to their menu. It was accompanied by celeriac puree, salsa verde and topped with an herb salad. Its perfect for those that are looking for something a bit lighter, but the dish itself doesn’t leave you feeling like you need more. The flavours are substantial and go nicely together with the cod being the star. It also comes with a choice of side and we got to try the Charred Broccoli with lemon yogurt, cumin vinaigrette and caramelized onions. The tartness of the yogurt and the vinaigrette helps cuts through other heavier dishes. It’s a great side and a nice spin on broccoli.


We had to order the dessert since they all sounded amazing. The hardest part was again picking which one to order (if I could I would have had them all!). However, I was told that the Banoffee Pie is a crowd favorite so I decided to try it. Made with layers dulche de leche, caramelized bananas and whipped cream, I couldn’t go wrong and was so glad I ordered it. I basically inhaled the pie because it was creamy and decadent without being over the top. I could probably have eaten another slice or two! We also ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake because one dessert is never enough. The cake itself was fluffy and drizzled with chocolate sauce with a side of espresso ice cream. The ice cream was packed full of flavour and it nicely complimented the cake. I would even order the ice cream by itself. Both desserts were a great way to finish off our amazing meal that evening.


My Pick(s): Foie Gras & Waffle, Banoffee Pie

Overall: I’m not lying when I said I read the menu and truly wanted to try everything because it all sounded amazing. Tartares, calamari, foie, it’s like they were reading my mind. The flavours were on point and the presentation was spot on. There is something for everyone so bring down your loved ones and spend some quality time with them over food and drink!

Flower & Wolf
255 Barclay Parade SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 517-6666
Website: flowerandwolfcalgary.com

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Healthy Hawaiian Poke

>> Thursday, January 31, 2019


As the first blog for the new year I really wanted to a recipe that focuses on how good healthy food can taste. Especially with our recent trip to Hawaii it really brought me back to all the delicious flavors that are simple yet complex. Hawaiians love their fish and we definitely ate our share because its tasty and fresh. One of the dishes that I craved every day was Poke. So I wanted to make my version of poke and share it with everybody here.

In Hawaii, they use a lot of ahi tuna for their poke which unfortunately is quite high in mercury. Since it is a larger fish, we shouldn’t be eating it more than once a week. I wanted to use salmon* in my poke recipe so you can get all the benefits of eating fish without the worries of the mercury. Plus, salmon is a great source of omega 3s which we can all use a bit more of. Now if only I can recreate the Hawaiian scenery plus weather and I’m all set!


*One thing to note, since poke is a raw fish preparation be sure to buy fish that has been classified as sashimi or sushi grade to avoid eating anything that could cause you to become ill.

Hawaiian Salmon Poke



Ingredients:

1/2 lb Salmon
1 Avocado
3 tbsp Soy sauce
2 tbsp Sesame oil
1 tbsp Ginger root, diced
1 stalk Green onions, diced
1 tsp Hot pepper flakes
2 tsp Rice wine vinegar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Dried seaweed
1 tsp Sesame seeds

Preparation:

Cut salmon in to 1/2 inch cubes and set aside in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Open up avocados and also cut it in to small cubes and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, green onions, hot pepper flakes, rice wine vinegar and salt.

Pour the marinade to the salmon and mix to ensure all the pieces are covered. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the salmon to pick up the flavours of the marinade.

When ready to serve add the avocados, dried seaweed and sesame seeds to the mixture and combine. This way it avoids the avocados from turning brown.

If needed add a bit more salt to taste and eat on its own or serve over a bed of rice and veggies.

Enjoy!

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Berlingo - The Spot for Soft Serve Ice Cream in Calgary

>> Tuesday, December 11, 2018


My cousin recently came back for a visit from Europe where she’s been living for the last couple of years. We got to chatting about all things Europe and all the things I’ve missed so much about it. It’s been a while since we were last there and there are some things that I crave from time to time. For one the confectioneries in Europe are amazing and I love the sweets from France such as the croissants, kouign amans and madelines. Luckily for me there are some great local confectioners that can help me satisfy those cravings and one has recently expanded to something even more delicious!


If you haven’t been to Yann Haute Patisserie in the bright yellow house in Mission then you should stop reading now and head over. But before you run off you need to hear of the wonderful purple house right next door that now houses the brand new Berlingo, opened by Yann earlier this year focusing on soft serve ice cream! True to the art of pastry in France everything at Berlingo is made in house including the ice cream, toppings and chocolate.

The meaning of the name is an homage to the berlingot candies which are pyramidal in shape like Berlingo’s emblem and signifies an art in candy making. In France, confectioner’s make all the items that they sell in store, including ice cream and Yann really wanted to bring the essence of that to life here in our city. The idea of soft serve over frozen ice cream is so that the cream itself is not too frozen to the point that you can’t taste the sweetness in the flavours. Therefore they don’t need to overladen the ice cream itself with sugars but rely on just the quality of the ingredients to provide the perfect punch.


Each ice cream flavour can be served on their own or you can go with the swirl option where two matching flavours are often set to swirl together creating a different flavour combination. Some of the flavours they’ve set in the past include vanilla raspberry, licorice mandarin and chocolate hazelnut. There are also dairy free options as well if you’re interested, all their sorbets are vegan!

You can build various combinations of sundaes by using the different ice cream flavours and house made toppings including cookie cones! And if you’re not sure what you want, there are some preassembled options you can order right from the menu. It’s all super easy, the only hard part is not wanting to order them all!


Now as I wait to plan our next trip to Europe I can stop in to Berlingo to get my European confectionary fix. And if I’m really up for it I can hop over to Yann Patisserie to pick up some pastries and macarons and be on cloud 9. I’m so excited to have these great establishments in town, so now you can stop reading and go try it out for yourself too!

Berlingo
237 23 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 764-1866
Website: berlingocalgary.com

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Restaurant Review: Elbow Room

>> Monday, November 19, 2018



The boroughs in Calgary have started to gain traction and it’s great to see. It really elevates the various areas throughout the city and the different vibes around town. This past year Calgarians have witnessed a huge growth in the Britannia area, with new stores such as Village Ice Cream, Monogram and of course Elbow Room opening up. I enjoy stopping by and picking up different goodies on my way to and from Chinook Mall or just whenever I’m in the area. I had the opportunity to stop in to Elbow Room again recently for their amazing media dinner tasting which really showcased what their food is all about – flavoursome and approachable in a relaxing space.

Atmosphere: Chic eatery with two great dining areas which are perfect for different sized groups and a wonderful patio overlooking Briannia.

Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+

Food & Wine: We were presented with an amazing selection of their fall menu dishes including specially picked wine pairings that all sounded amazing. To start we were provided a refreshing glass of Lambrusco. If you haven’t had it before, it’s a bit sweeter than a rose with a bit of a bubbly twist. Definitely a great way to get the palette ready for dinner.


Our first course continued down that line with Chef Blackwell’s unique take on tacos with Butter Chicken and Achiote Beef Tacos! The zingy flavours of both worked very well in a taco form and I particularly liked the combination of sweet and savory in the beef taco with the cabbage and corn slaw. We were also served some Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts as a side, drizzled with a serrano pepper cream that made it so rich and flavoursome. The spiciness of the dishes paired nicely with the Verdita Rita margarita cocktail (think spicy and herbaceous) that was served with the course.

Next up was a nice play on a seafood course, with Lobster Rolls, Scallop Rolls and a Tika Masala Salmon. The contrast in texture from the crunchy bread to the creamy seafood were great bites that segues to the expertly cooked salmon. I enjoyed the spices used on the tender salmon and through its pairing with the cooling raita and the pickled veggies. We were treated to a light Pierre Sparr Riesling for this course where the slight grapefruit and peach aromas brought out the tanginess in the dishes.


Our third course made quite the impression when it arrived at the table with all the various items on the platter ranging from pasta to lamb and burrata to arancini. All the amazing courses were beginning to settle but I had to try everything that was presented starting with the prosciutto and burrata on toast, perfect for sharing or if you’re looking for something to go with wine. Next, I tried the Pesto Crusted Ling Cod, which again was cooked perfected, especially since overcooked cod can be quite dry but that was not the case here. What I was really looking forward to was the Lamb T-Bone since you don’t see it that often at restaurants where the lamb rack is often the favored cut. I think the lamb t-bone is a great choice due to the tender meat and its often better priced as well. Served with a red wine jus, it was cooked to a nice medium.


There was also the crispy Aracini balls, gooey and cheesy on the inside while remaining crispy and crunch outside a nice intro to the creamy Tagliatelle Carbonara with sweet peas and a green olive tapenade. Needless to say it was quite a bit of food but everything was extremely flavourful and it was hard not to want to try everything presented to us. We had the Cristom Pinot Noir as a wine pairing for this course and I can see why since we had quite the array of items on the platter it would have been tough to introduce a bold wine. The pinot was perfect, light enough to pair with the fish but substantial enough to stand up to the lamb.

Finally we arrived at dessert and I couldn’t pass up on this! The Bananas Foster made with Liege waffle (my favorite!!), banana rum cream, candied cashews, and swiss meringue tasted amazing! It was not the prettiest dish but definitely one of the tastiest. I could probably eat the whole thing. Liege waffles are hard to find and I’m so glad that the Elbow Room serves them and I really hope they keep it on the menu forever! We were also provided two flavours of Cheesecake Lollipops to try. The Peanut butter cheesecake with dark chocolate coating and crushed sponge toffee, perfect for the peanut butter lover among us and the Raspberry cheesecake with white chocolate coating and pop rocks. I am one of the few people who love white chocolate so this was right up my ally and the pop rocks only added to the fun of the dessert. To pair with this course we were served the Massolino Moscato which wasn’t overly sweet and a nice way to end the evening.


My Pick(s): Achiote Beef Tacos, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, Tika Masala Salmon, Bananas Foster Waffle

Overall: Just writing this has made me realized that I need to stop by Britannia more often, especially to check out the Elbow Room’s brunch offerings! I am already craving those liege waffles, plus with so many great shops nearby we can head down and really spend a day there!

Elbow Room
802 49 Ave SW
Calgary, AB
(403) 460-8128
Website: elbowroombritannia.ca

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