Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My First Attempt at Cashew Chicken

Well, I had a craving for cashew chicken this afternoon and decided I'd try my hand at making it. I found this recipe at and figured I'd give it a shot. From the reviews, I'd read that it wasn't an authentic recipe but it seemed easy enough to make so I went at it. It took me about 1/2 an hour to prepare the veggies, chicken, and prep the sauce (which I tripled). Cooking time was about 15 minutes and was pretty easy.

I made a batch of Jasmin rice to go along with cashew chicken. I think next time I will use chicken stock with the rice as I found it to be a little bland.

As it turns out, I felt it to be lacking a little something. I was worried it would be too salty but in the end I think the blandness of the rice took away from the seasoning of the sauce. I used a low sodium soy sauce as well, maybe regular soy sauce might have given it an extra kick. Next time I think I might try and use a touch of sesame oil instead of vegetable oil when frying the chicken and onions. Maybe a touch more garlic might help as well.

For a first effort it wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Red House Thai

Well, I have to admit, this was not my first time visiting Red House Thai and Malaysian Cuisine (705 Kingston Road) in Pickering. I have been here quite a few times in the past and I am consistently impressed with each dish I try. It's a small place that doesn't seat more than twenty people at any time. Usually there is a wait but it's worth it.

Today I started with the Golden Squid $4.95. The batter was light and crispy and was seasoned with a nice dash of salt. In the past the dipping sauce has been a sweet and sour soy type sauce, but the last couple of times it has come with the peanut sauce pictured. I can't get enough of it, and it's become a must try whenever I go.

My main course was one of the lunch specials Red House offers. With each lunch special you receive a can of pop, two shrimp chips, and two spring rolls. The specials range from $7.25 to $7.55.

I had the Spicy Beef in a Sambal sauce $7.55. It's served with a side of steamed rice. This is again one of my personal favourites. The beef is tender and the vegetables arrive perfectly cooked. I enjoy spicy food and this doesn't disappoint. The heat builds gradually but never becomes overly hot, that said, it does usually get my nose running. I'd really suggest this if you enjoy some spice in your life.

Other dishes to look out for when you visit are their Cashew Chicken and Pad Thai. I am torn as to which of these to order whenever I go. I love the Spicy Beef but the Cashew Chicken is very good as well.

The pics were taken with my camera phone so once again, please excuse the quality. Hey, at least you get to see what I'm talking about! ;)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Royal Ashburn Golf Club - Wedding Menu Tasting

Tonight I had the pleasure of being invited to a wedding menu tasting by my sister who is getting married later this summer. The tasting was held at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club.

On the menu was:

Broccoli cheese soup
Tomato basil soup
Stracciatella soup

Caesar salad
Spinach salad with a raspberry vinaigrette
Tossed salad with a balsamic vinaigrette

Prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes, grilled veggies and Yorkshire pudding
Chicken breast with cranberry stuffing, steamed veggies, and rosemary new potatoes
Chicken breast with wild rice stuffing,
steamed veggies, and rosemary new potatoes
Combo plate with grilled sirloin and breaded chicken breast, grilled veggies and rosemary new potatoes

Lemon tart
Chocolate mousse cake
Apple pie a la mode

Blueberry cheesecake
Strawberry cheesecake

Most of the food was very good, I wouldn't have been disappointed with any of the meals that were served. The
Stracciatella was very salty, the caesar salad mix was a prepared box variety, and the new potatoes were rather waxy and tasteless. Other than that, the Royal Ashburn prepared some great meals. I missed getting pictures of the soups and the cheesecakes because we were a bit eager to get to tasting, I didn't want to take pictures of half eaten food. :)

I would love to show pictures of each plate,
but I'm sure the bandwidth hit would be huge. So for the sake of brevity, I will only post pictures of the consensus winners. The picture quality isn't that great, I will have to work on that from now on.

The Wedding Menu (as of May 10, 2007)

Broccoli Cheddar soup- Was the consensus winner, solid soup, not overly salty and very tasty.

Spinach Salad- the vinaigrette was light and refreshing, although the raspberries were pre-frozen and the croutons were a little large. Sis is going to ask for goat cheese to be added. Strangely there were some bacon bits thrown in which seemed odd. Those are going to be omitted for the actual event.

Prime rib- was the runaway winner of the night. The beef was tender (although fatty, but hey! It's prime rib!) The Yorkshire pudding looked and tasted home made, wonderful! The garlic mashed potatoes were excellent, nice and creamy with the perfect amount of garlic. The grilled veggies were great, not too limp or overly charred. The gravy was very good as well, an excellent consistency, not too thick or runny.

Strawberry Cheesecake- For a cheesecake it was very light, almost moussey in consistency. I am used to my family's dense baked cheesecakes, this was a refreshing alternative. The blueberry cheesecake seemed to have blueberry pie filling poured over it, so we decided to try and press for fresh strawberries for the actual event.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Great Fish & Chip Hunt

Today I sampled a couple of local joints. I have a personal favourite location, but I chose these as I hadn't had them before. Today's contenders: Tugseys Fish & Grille (277 Port Union Road) and Malt & Salt Fish & Chips (285 Lawson Road).

Tugseys: Medium Halibut & Chips: $8.50

When I originally opened the box I was sort of shocked to see the size of the fish. Fairly small, limp looking pieces of fish. The batter was a bit soggy but not too bad taste wise, I prefer a crisp batter. Here's the kicker: you know how they say good fish shouldn't smell like fish? Umm, well this bad boy smelled like fish and tasted like fish. Not so hot.... The chips weren't so bad, they had a nice colour but weren't really crisp. For me there was too much skin left on the potatoes, it was kind of a turn off.

Next up:

Malt & Salt Fish & Chips: Mon-Wed Special, Cod & Chips: $6.00

You can see from this picture, the portion was very large. The fillet itself was a bit thin but the batter was super crisp and not overly oily. The fish tasted fresh and wasn't overpowering. The fries were crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, exactly what I look for in a chip. They have another Mon-Wed special, haddock and chips for $5. I'd probably check that out next time.

The owners of both shops are super friendly people. From the clippings on his wall, I think Tugseys owner was renowned for a previous hamburger restaurant. I did notice that he has a large number of hamburgers with creative names listed to order on his blackboard. If I was to go back, I'd try a burger but I can't recommend the fish.

Anyone up for half a kilo of cold leftover chips?

My First post

I often wonder to myself "What do I want to do for lunch/dinner?" I love to try new cuisines and vary where I eat in order to try new places, but I hate to spend good money on crappy food.

I consider myself a decent cook so I'm often disappointed when I pay for a meal I know I could have prepared much better myself. I've set up this eStomach blog to inform you about what my taste buds witness during my travels, both good and bad. I consider myself a 'road foodie' and tend to frequent mom and pop type places, pubs, and holes-in-the-wall. I rarely do any fine dining as I don't believe in spending hundreds of dollars for dinner. In this blog you'll find that most of the places I'll be reporting on serve food with no fills and will more than likely have napkin dispensers on the tables. Some may not even have tables, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I will try and post whenever I can in order to let you know what's what locally and abroad. I'll even post my own successes and failures as I toil away in the kitchen. I believe we're our own toughest critic, so I'll be just as hard on my food as the food I order away from home.