RECIPE: Steamed Vegetables with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Ever run into a cooking “snag” ?  I just did the other day and my sister was my life-saver.

We always have a variety of vegetables in our every day meals, usually sautéed, blanched or roasted.

We seldom make any sauce for our vegetables, usually lightly seasoned with sea salt and olive oil. Perhaps in a huge part this is related to the types of cuisine we usually have at home, and also due to our continued efforts to restrict having “processed” foods (including prepared sauces) in our household.

The other day when we were trying to decide what to make for dinner; my sis started to tell me about this delicious Vietnamese dipping sauce which she had with steamed vegetables in Vietnam, she sent me a recipe by Ms. Vicky Phan as reference.

I was thinking dipping sauce for vegetables? Ah I get it, something similar to Bagna Cauda which I made a few months ago for our epic Italian dinner, except there’s no butter and anchovies, replaced with shallots and fish sauce.    

It is very easy to make, takes less than 20 minutes including prep time.  My recipe is a modified version of Ms. Vicky Phan’s Savory Vietnamese Vegetable Dipping sauce, check out her website for delightful Vietnamese recipes.

For my recipe I use more shallots than garlic, less fish sauce and substitute with hot water to make it slightly less salty, I have also added a little twist: grated lime zest, squeeze of lime juice plus a drizzle of the King Sauce (just the chili oil) from Betty King Sauce (Available online or through Instagram – check out this awesome King sauce)


Ingredients: 3 Tablespoons Fish Sauce (I used “Red Boat”,  3 Tablespoons raw cane sugar, 1 Tablespoon olive oil,  1 large shallot (minced), 2 small cloves of garlic (minced), 2 Tablespoons of dried shrimp (rehydrated in warm water, pat dry and minced),  grated zest of lime and squeeze of lime juice, hot water (a few Tablespoons).  ***Vegetarians – Omit the dried shrimp and use more shallots/garlic, or add chopped lemongrass to create a fragrant sauce. For some heat, add chili (or chili oil).

  • In small bowl mix fish sauce, a Tablespoon of hot water and raw cane sugar well.  Set aside
  • Using medium high heat, in a sauce pan,  add olive oil (or vegetable oil of your choice).
  • Add garlic and shallot, lightly stir fried until fragrant.  Be careful they burn very easily.
  • Turn heat to medium low, add dried shrimp, mix well with garlic and shallot, stir until fragrant.
  • Add fish sauce sugar mixture into the pot, stir gently and cook until sauce thickens.  You can add hot water (by Tablespoons – optional) to adjust thickness and taste according to your liking.
  •  Add chili oil (optional), lime zest and squeeze of lime juice
  • Keep watch closely and dont let the sauce burn – patience!
  • When sauce is cooking, steam the vegetables which should be ready in a few minutes.  Serve hot.

For our meal we served the sauce with steamed Brussel sprouts, zucchini, carrots, purple kale and brocolini.  I lined the steamer with “cooking steam cloth” (available at Chinese cookery stores).

I used a really great steamer which I first saw on Youtube used by home cooks/bloggers;  I searched for a long time and one fine day in December when I walked by Orling and Wu …..there it was…and I bought it home..



July 2017 : Home Cooking SnapShots: Okra, Fish, Miso, Tomatoes and Udon

Oven Roasted Okra: sliced each okra lengthwise into halves and toss in sea salt and extra virgin olive oil, preheat oven to 400 degrees and roast for 15 minutes – Thanks Jo!

Here’s a snapshot of what I have been cooking the past two months..For updates follow me on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) and you will know first hand what I have been cooking and where I have been dining!

Roasting OKRA: I never thought of roasting okra until my dear sweet friend Jo showed me, sometimes we are just caught in our usual habits and don’t think about the most obvious options!  Since then I have been adding okras to our salads or enjoyed with our cooked fish, like the kasu-shio marinated halibut in shiitake, edamame, daikon and mustard leaves dashi broth… As for garnish, I have prepared some roasted kale (in place of seaweed) and pancetta bits.

Experiment at home: Shio Kasu Halibut, shiitake dashi with edamame, mustard green leaves, roasted okra and green onion, finished with roasted kale and pancetta bits

Remember sake kasu?   It’s the remaining lees from sake making and they have been available for sale at Japanese grocery stores (Fujiya in Vancouver) or Artisan Sake (at Granville Island, this is the one I use all the time).  For this dish, I added some salt and a little water to approximately 2 Tablespoons of kasu (water for slight thinning of mixture),  pat dry (really dry) the halibut filets and submerge them in the marinade for at least a day.  Before cooking, wipe the fish clean with paper towel to ensure there’s no kasu left (otherwise it will burn).  I baked my fish at 400F and finished with broiling the final two minutes (the cooking time varies pending on thickness of fish fillet).

Dashi broth: prepared with bonito flakes and kelp as base (search my archives for recipe), I added the shiitake mushroom stems, a couple of celery leaves (I kept them frozen and add to broth/stock making), a spoonful of sake kasu and a small chunk of daikon and let it cook for half an hour.  I strain the broth then add shiitake mushrooms, mustard green leaves, edamame beans (parboiled already) and season with sodium reduced soy, mirin and a little maple syrup (sugar for most of you), adjust accordingly to your taste and dietary needs always!  I prepared the pancetta and kale bits while broth is cooking, okra also roasted before and add-on together with green onion as garnish.   The cooked fish is lightly finished with fleur de sel.

The broth can be prepared ahead of time, when fish is about ready, reheat the broth and to serve, plate vegetables and fish in a regular or soup bowl, pour the broth, add the okra and green onions, kale and pancetta garnish last.  Enjoy!

Sakuraya: Last month I mentioned there is a Japanese grocery located on East Broadway (close to Fraser), they carry the organic dried mustard leaves and daikon leaves from a small village in Japan.  I re-hydrated the leaves and add to my dashi broth and they added so much flavor!  It has some glucose so remember to adjust your seasoning.

Soy Dijon Mustard glaze chinook salmon with potato salad, green bean snow peas micro greens sea asparagus in ponzu vinaigrette:

Prepare glaze : sodium reduced soy sauce (2 Tablespoons), Dijon mustard (1 Tablespoon), olive oil (1-2 Tablespoons) and a little maple syrup.  Clean and pat dry the salmon filet and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.  Remove the fish from marinade, scrape lightly so not much marinade will cling to the fillets (unless you like real browning action), and bake salmon in oven preheated in 350 F until desired doneness.  When you see any white spot appearing on the seams of the salmon filet, that means it should be done and well on its way to being very cooked.  While salmon is cooking, use a sauce pan and sautéed chopped shallots, add the marinade and cook until sauce boils and slightly thicken.

I used a store-bought ponzu and add good quality extra virgin olive oil, a little rice vinegar and ground pepper for the vinaigrette (2:1 ratio oil/soy, most vinaigrettes 3:1 ratio oil/acid, I prefer less oily).

As for the salad, basically anything goes!  I added the most delicious microgreens (West End Blend from Grown here farms purchased at August Market on Main Street in Vancouver), sea asparagus (In season for a short time in Vancouver, soaked overnight to get rid of the salt then blanched and shocked in ice, green beans and snow peas (also blanched and shocked in ice) .  I choose to use mostly organic products, use your imagination and add your favourite in season salad greens and vegetables to load more nutritious greens into your dish.

My potato salad is made of red potatoes, green onions, homemade relish mixed with half mayo (Lemon Ojai mayonnaise) and half greek yogurt, if you want to make it very Japanese, add kewpie mayonnaise.

Tomato and Egg Udon: simple eats and tomatoes are in season!

One of my favourite all time Chinese family dish is converted into a soup base for udon; apparently tomato and egg noodle soup is a very popular dish in parts of China.  Taiwanese Chef James, well-known for his interpretation of Japanese cuisine, is now featured in cooking show filmed in China, I found on YouTube accidentally.  I modified his recipe and method by changing a couple of ingredients: The ingredient are simple : heirloom tomatoes, shallots, grated ginger (lots), green onion, filtered water, white pepper and a little maple syrup (you can use sugar) I used Japanese udon, omit cornstarch and tomato paste (it was used for thickening, instead I let the soup cook down to thicken).  The beaten egg is added in the end; if you have time, follow Chef James and make the eggs two ways.   Usually the noodles are eaten as “late night snack”, I had it for dinner and I find it perfect as a summer light supper.


Tomato Miso Nduja Bolognese with Udon

Remember a few months ago I talked about Nduja, the Italian spreadable spicy sausage? I changed things up a little – I mixed a little nduja and red miso into my own pork/turkey Bolognese sauce and had it with udon, garnish with roasted kale (salted and crushed to mimic seaweed) and it was a winner at my recent dinner gathering with my cooking buddies Jo, Phung and Rita.   The dish is a perfect marriage of Japanese and Italian ingredients; remember nduja and miso are both a little salty, you do not need to use much for seasoning.  The miso makes the sauce very hearty and meaty; if you have a good tomato sauce base, you can add the miso and serve it as a vegetarian dish with grilled eggplant. The nduja sausage spread adds a little spiciness, it is completely optional.  Experiment with your favourite meat sauce recipe and add these flavor profiles to your repertoire.

For both tomato udon dishes, the really thin udon noodles will not work as well.  I found this perfectly wonderful hand-cut dry udon at our local Fujiya Japanese food store.

Love the texture and thickness is perfect! It has a very good “bite”





Hello…Every day is a Good Journey

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Hello and how are you doing?  After a two month hiatus,  back to my regular schedule!!

Want to know what have I been up to the past two months?  On Wednesday June 22nd, 2016  I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order)!

If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you!  Drop me a line anytime at (OO)


Father’s Day menu: Oven roasted sablefish with mushroom “jus”, sea asparagus, nori and green onion, steamed broccoli and roasted brussel sprouts, sister in law’s potato salad, deep fried pork cutlet “cubes” with spicy sweet and sour tomato sauce (think outside of the box), Fresh shrimp and garlic stem ‘scramble”, and a side of healthy wild rice blend.

Happy Father’s Day!

Recipe: Sake Kasu and Miso  Sablefish (black cod):  (See other posting for recipe)

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Homemade: Oven roasted Sable fish with shiitake/shimeji “jus” , bok choy, sea asparagus, nori and green onion

My sources: Seafood City (Granville Island), Fujiya (Clark Drive, Vancouver), Vancouver Island Salt Company…

Check out Betty King Sauce ( if you want a spicy kick for any dishes!

The return of sushi bars to Vancouver: Sushi Maumi (1226 Bute Street (and Davie)

For nigiri sushi lovers only; a small 10-seat restaurant, reservations required (three sittings 6 , 730 and 9), fresh fish from Japan and I love their anago tempura!



Rustic Italian Fare: Osteria Salvio Volpe  (Fraser and Kingsway)

Rustic Italian food focus on family style dining, fresh pasta and meats cooked in wood fire grill, love their roast chicken! Simple rustic tasty foods, friendly service and great atmosphere. Reservations recommended. 

Morel mushroom Linguine – Mangia!



Bingsoo time! We love desserts in Vancouver: Snowy Village (two locations; Robson Street in Vancouver and Alexandra Road in Richmond)

My hubby loves their bingsoos and we have been back four times already…




RECIPE: Vegetarian Soba Salad with Lemon Miso Vinaigrette



I have been following Ms. Sonoko Sakai the last while on Instagram since I came across photos of her soba making workshops; it is on my “bucket list” to make it to LA one day to attend her classes and learn how to make soba  You can imagine how ecstatic I was when I read Francis Lam’s article “Sonoko Dreams of Soba” in March edition of Saveur; there is was..a beautiful photo of her soba salad with lemon-miso vinaigrette, and it has all the flavors which we love: lemon, miso and ginger! Since I don’t know how to make the noodles, I used packaged organic soba;  it is still a little chilly here in Vancouver, at this time I prefer to have a warm salad so I lightly sautéed some of the vegetables, and added different ingredients to our liking and dietary needs. Ms. Sakai, thank you very much for the inspiration; I just have to fly to LA to take your soba workshop sometime soon.

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the salad: Small Radicchio leaves (about 6 to 8 pieces), 3 to 4 stalks of kale rabe*, 16 small variety of cherry tomatoes (roasted)*, 2 small carrot (peeled), 1 medium English cucumber (thinly sliced crosswise), 50 g (about 1/4 package) of sugar snap peas, green onion (1 stalk, finely chopped), a package of organic buckwheat noodle (200g, you can use less noodle), drizzle of olive oil

For the dressing: 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 1/2 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon white miso paste, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil*, 1-2 teaspoon maple syrup*, juice of one inch piece ginger (peeled), kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

*these are my substitutions and additions: kale raab is actually very delicious and sweet

Here’s the link for the original recipe:


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Wash the vegetables, strain and dry thoroughly
  • Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves, toss lightly in drizzle of olive oil on shallow baking dish.  Spread them out into one layer and season lightly with kosher salt. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes are soft.  Set aside.
  • Tear the radicchio leaves and chop the kale rabe into medium bite size pieces; set aside
  • Using a simple vegetable peeler and cut the carrot into ribbons (they will be curly); slice the cucumber thinly; set aside
  • In a large bowl, prepare an ice bath. Remove and discard the stem end and string from each sugar snap pea pod.  Place them in boiling water for approximately 2 minutes,  transfer them into the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Drain the peas thoroughly, toss together with cucumber and carrot ribbons. 
  • Using a microplane set over a fine sieve (or tea leaf strainer) set in a bowl, grate the ginger into the sieve, then using a small spoon, press on the ginger solids to drain as much as juice as possible.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso paste, sesame oil and maple syrup.  Pour 1 teaspoon of ginger juice (I used more actually) and mix well with the dressing.  Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, whisk until emulsified.
  • In large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles according to package instructions; treat it like pasta and cook until they are al dente.  This step requires your full attention as soba noodles can be overcooked easily.  When they are done, rinse under cold water (until water is no longer murky), toss and drain the noodles thoroughly, set aside.
  • In large saute pan, heat a teaspoon of the dressing over medium high heat; add the kale raab, cook for 2 to 3 minutes (until it is wilted), add radicchio and cook for another minute; use a pair of tongs to toss the vegetables together.  Keep in mind you would like to keep the vegetables “cooked” yet crunchy.
  • Using a large bowl, mix the vegetables and soba noodle; assemble the salad onto a large platter or divide into 4 serving plates with dressing on the side.  Garnish with chopped green onions and roasted cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
I made the dish and served family style at my father-in-law’s birthday party.

Note: If you like soba noodle salad, go to my blog archives and check out my Mushroom Soba Salad with Yuzu Ponzu dressing, published in February 2014. Store leftover dressing in a mason jar (I just love them!), should be good for 1 to 2 days.  I used it the next day with sauteed kale rabe and granny smith apple bits, it was absolutely delicious.

Raincouver, Love you to the Moon and Back

Gastown in the Rain; beautiful as ever

“Raindrops keep falling on my head…I ain’t gonna stop the rain by complaining.

I’m dancing and singing in the rain…why am I smiling?

Because I am living a life full of you.” – I love Vancouver.

Brunching in “Raincouver”….walking in the rain in Gastown and brunching at L’abattoir…it’s always great to revisit old favourites.

Enjoyed the wild mushroom Quiche!!

Attended our friend’s wedding (congratulations Bryan and Adelphie) on Halloween (that’s a first!!)


Spent time cooking and experimenting at home….

My take on “Fish without Chips”: Baked lemon pepper panko crusted cod : Last month I adapted Just One Cooking’s baked croquettes method and made some fabulous kabocha edamame croquettes at home; using the same stove-top browning method to prepare the panko (a little olive oil and medium low heat on a frying pan), I encrusted the beautiful cod I got from Seafood City (Granville Island Public Market) with lemon rind browned panko mix (flour/egg/panko), baked the fish in 350 degree F oven for approximately 10 minutes..served piping hot on a homemade relish mayo sauce (OJAI lemonaise + greek yogurt + homemade relish)…now I just have to get those “yam fries” in next time (OO)


It has been a while since I made Saba (mackerel) Soboro (Flaked Mackerel with carrots, onions and scrambled egg, check my recipe posting in the archives February 2014)…This one is for you: Shin, Teru and Rinka, we miss you!


Life is always full of wonderful little surprises and always give us something to think about: GROW – COOK – SHARE – ADVOCATE

Two months ago I entered and won the Gastropost Vancouver “Good Food Changes Lives” contest via Instagram with my savoy cabbage salad photo.


Warm Savoy Cabbage and Radicchio Salad with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, pancetta bits, parmesan Reggiano and a drizzle of homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette (1 Tablespoon manuka honey, 2 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper season to taste)

The most meaningful prize gift basket came in early November; thank you thank you thank you Gastropost Vancouver and Community Food Centres Canada for your truly inspirational handwritten message and thoughtful gifts; I’m inspired to share my table and make a difference.


We are always learning something new: 

My friend PPQ and I attended a Nutrition Education Seminar hosted by the BC Cancer Agency two weeks ago at their Vancouver Research facility. The presentation by key speaker Ms. Desiree Nielsen RD is  informative and delightful (she’s a lovely speaker); Ms. Nielsen provided 10 simple steps to “unjunk our diets”, her insights and guidelines are geared towards preventing inflammation and general overall health improvement for everyone. I’m planning to read her book “Unjunk your diet” and research further..

And when the “dining” stars were alignedPosh Noshing at Torafuku, the #CoolestCatOnTheBlock (958 Main Street, Vancouver tel 778-903-2006)

Finally we made it to Torafuku, “brick and mortar” location by the creators of Le Tigre food truck 

2 cocktails for him + 1 mocktail for me + 4 great dishes + 1 scrumptious dessert + great service +  friendly conversation with the bartenders = We will be back


Gone Fishing – My favourite dish
YUM! Vegetarians only – crispy mochi, seasonal veggies, mozza, torched mayo

Back to Ramen Butcher in Chinatown..this time for tsukemen (Check out their campaign specials on instagram)

Tsukemen with Japanese char siu

Although my heart goes out to Paris...


There’s always lots happening in my city:

Can you decipher the message? It echoes my sentiments towards “Raincouver”…

(Maggie, thank you for being the coolest teacher)





Fallin’ hard for “Lang Lang” Langley in the Fall

Beautiful Barn at Vista D'oro, Langley, BC
Beautiful Barn at Vista D’oro, Langley, BC

I have a feeling and I’m not concealing..Fall is the time for it..I open my eyes to see and let my heart discover…I have fallen…fallen hard for “lang lang” Langley in the Fall..

What is “Lang Lang”?  You’ll find out when you read to the end…

A beautiful Fall Day in Langley..self drive to a couple of locations recommended by Circle Farm Tour

Visited Vista O’Doro Farms and Winery (thanks to an earlier visit to Cafe Orso in Deep Cove I discover their fruit preserves)




Enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Bacchus Bistro at Domaine de Chaberton (our second visit to the winery and restaurant)…wonderful time with dear friends…


a non-drinker visiting a winery…
I had a spinach salad..and shared a pork rillette with brioche (picture not shown)…
Visited the shop, walked the grounds for photos and enjoyed the fine weather..

Afterwards we went back to Fort Langley…(we were there back in May!)

The Old and the New – Vintage Cars out and about
Second visit to Cranberries Naturally this year! This time I picked up a bag of cranberry powder for smoothies 🙂
Crossed the Jacob Haldi Bridge between Fort Langley and McMillan Island, home of Kwantlen First Nation
Venturing out..we went into the Brae Island Regional Park…Along the Fraser River’s Bedford Channel

While back to our city life in Vancouver…

I went on a photo walk in downtown and gastown…enjoyed a virgin berry mojito at Mosaic Grill (Hyatt Regency) on the way…


A storefront in gastown: It’s all about Love…


Do you like Ramen? There’s another ramen ya in Vancouver: Tried Danbo Ramen (on West 4th Avenue in Kitslano); someone had extra noodles; we like the flavors.

Fukuoka style Ramen with Chashu; I added seaweed.

I just love walking to Granville Island…to shop and prepare for cooking and fun gatherings with family and friends on weekend..


A quick stop to my favourite seafood place…picked up a snapper (and great cooking tips)…

Of course I have to take one home…

Had the day off on Thanksgiving (Thanks to my brother and sister-in-law’s invite!)…

Then I cooked up a storm for my friends..Broiled Snapper for my friend’s birthday dinner! Cover the snapper in coarse sea salt for 2 to 3 hours; wipe clean afterwards (do not rinse!). I lightly stuffed the fish with lemon slices, green onion and some ginger…Broil the fish in the oven for approximately 6 minutes on one side (it’s a 1.5 pounder), and 5 minutes on the other (thanks William for your great cooking tip)…Serve hot with oroshi (grated daikon) with yuzu ponzu and chopped onion.



For another gathering with three lovely visitors, I made kabocha and edamame croquettes, I tried to replicate the dish I had at Kinome Japanese Kitchen (2511 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC) last month; ideas are everywhere and creative juices are flowing…

Kabocha and Edamame croquettes, cooking method adapted from Just One Cookbook..They are baked, not fried!
Beautiful purple tulips..I love all things purple bright and beautiful..

Thank you Seafood City : Not only did I get great fish and cooking tips always..

I am happy and thankful I have made new friends, met a chef (star struck and pretended to be cool)… and received an unexpected gift (Thanks Brian!)..King Sauce…found Betty King Sauce on Instagram and we had a few exchanges!


Made myself a tomato-dashi broth udon noodle and had it with King’s wicked good!  Going to try it with hotpot very soon!


Because of “Chef”, I found out there’s a new Japanese restaurant on Fraser…Masayoshi Sushi (4376 Fraser Street (at E. 28th), Vancouver, BC)..Remember a few months ago I talked about Fraser Street, this sushi bar is right in my favourite area (around E. King Edward).

We had their nigiri sushi (shima aji, scallop, hamachi, tai (snapper)), loved their kimpira gobo (burdock root, it’s a stroke of genius by adding almonds, hazelnuts), enjoyed their smoked salmon salad (see picture below)…Excellent service by Tomo-san, he was very attentive and informative. Reservations highly recommended (omakase must be booked 3 days in advance as they include seasonal ingredients for their cooked food).

Smoked Salmon Salad with papaya, apple, a hint of shiso, egg yolk kimizu (egg yolk and vinegar)…

Good Reads: heated debates?

WHO Reports on “Meat is linked to higher cancer risk”

I have yet to see Lang Lang (ha!) in concert, I saw Chris Botti instead 

To End in a “high note” (pun intended)…

I know one is a world-renowned pianist and the other a pop/jazz trumpeter…thanks Mavis for your invitation to the Richmond General Hospital Benefit and Gala…it was definitely an eye opening experience.

IMG_9092 In life all things and encounters happen for a reason….Grateful and Thankful always…Whatever will be will be.

So What is “Lang Lang”? It’s “Bright/Happy” in Mandarin; “Pretty Pretty” in Cantonese (OO)

July 22nd, 2015 Radio Show


I just cannot believe it’s July already!  My web page redesign is still in the works, it is taking much longer than expected, meanwhile you can find my updates on Instagram (@mygoldenapron) and Twitter (@GoldenApron).

I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM1470 this morning 10:30am sharp!  Really look forward to chat with her about food and anything else! Content is subject to change, depends on the flow of the program.  Thank you very much for tuning in!

 Vegetarian “Bolognese”: idea based on Ochikeron’s recipe (my posting coming soon)

Besides “Cooking with Dog“, I’ve been following Ochikeron on Youtube for a while, remember the whole tomato rice? She’s the one who started the craze !  Check my old posting:

Three kinds of mushrooms (shiitake, shimeji, enoki), tomatoes, onion, carrot, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, olive oil and Miso! I had the bolognese with my favourite GOGO quinoa and rice spaghetti (gluten free/vegetarian/organic), served on my dinner plate created in pottery class!


Serendipity: Nicli’s Next Door 

When is a mistake not a mistake? When you are blessed by serendipity. We were going to try Nicli’s pizzeria, and we went in the “wrong” was the best thing ever happened…sei bellisima. (Great tasting food and service: Actual blog post coming soon) #niclisnextdoor

Crostino, mushroom ragu, house-made ricotta, aged balsamic..we had two orders..
Zeppole donuts, local rhubarb glaze, shaved white chocolate, ridiculously delicious

It’s not always about the newest thing in town: I really believe #Hachibei on West 16th serves the best “Gindara Teishoku” in Vancouver! Great flavor, generous portion of black cod, the best taste and value in town. It’s a small home style restaurant, you must get there early as this set is limited in quantity, open Monday to Saturday dinner only.  


Deep Cove: Cafe Orso, you never know what you will find on Instagram.

Picture: avocado toast (Nelson the Seagull Bread and curried coconut apple preserve),

European Inspired, Locally sourced Cafe Orso


Childhood Hobby a major comeback: Colouring books for Adults

Besides cooking, what else do I like to do at home to relax? Colouring brings back wonderful childhood memories. This maybe the latest trend, I’m colouring because I love it, I’m sure glad an old school hobby is making a comeback.


Pasta Class with Peter Ciuffa, Pasta Famiglia : Gnocchi Another fun-filled evening with Peter Ciuffa (Thank you!), learning how to prepare gnocchi at a photo studio in East Vancouver; check his website for class updates or follow him on Instagram!


What’s Happening around town?

April 22nd, 2015 Radio Show


Hi everyone!

Enjoying the spring weather?  I’ve been busy attending classes and redesigning my blog!  For the time being, you can find my updates only on Twitter (@GoldenApron) or Instagram (Mygoldenapron).   Stay tuned for changes coming soon!

I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio on April 22nd, 2015 at 10:30am sharp!

Below is the outline and the content is subject to change according to Ms. Moore and flow of program; I look forward to chatting with her about food and everything else (OO)

Fun on Fraser:

Between East 23rd Avenue and East King Edward Avenue:  Vancouver’s beloved Earnest Ice cream is already on this block; check out the Chinese vegetarian restaurant and french bakery!

Bodhi Choi Heung Vegetarian Restaurant: 3932 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC (Closed on Tuesdays).

We don’t eat Chinese vegetarian food very often; certainly enjoyed their crispy fried taro roll, spring rolls and milk custard (picture not shown; nice hint of coconut); their sautéed pea sprouts were simple yet cooked to perfection; the magic lies within the vegetarian broth which they prepared, the dishes we’ve tried are flavourful and not overly seasoned.  Friendly atmosphere and great price range.

Delicious Deep fried Yuba wrapped Taro rolls and Spring Rolls - Chinese Vegetarian
Delicious Deep fried tofuwrapped Taro rolls and Spring Rolls – Chinese Vegetarian
Batard Boulangerie Cafe Moderne: 3958 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC 

French country-style bakery which has a little of everything: fabulous seasonal baked goods (their Raisin Walnut bread was to die for),  you can stop by to have a light lunch or coffee and dessert: we thoroughly enjoyed their black forest cake in a jar with a nice cup of tea!  They also sell their baked goods at the Vancouver Farmers Market, check out their website for menu and information:

Black Forest Cake in Mason Jar at Batard
Black Forest Cake in Mason Jar at Batard
Thai on Commercial Drive: 

Kin Kao – 903 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC (closed on Mondays), Eat in and Take out Available

I discovered this fine little gem on Instagram and went for a light brunch; we enjoyed the vegetarian congee (authentic Thai/Chinese flavour) and Pad Thai (remember to ask for spicy).  No reservations so get there early; and we will try their dinner menu next time!

I Love Congee!
Tofu and Vegetable Congee at Kin Kao’s Sunday brunch
Back to the West side: Au Comptoir,  2278 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

They have been following me on Twitter and I finally made it to the restaurant; an almost-perfect dinner from start to finish; check out their new spring menu, and remember no reservations (this seems to be the norm here in Vancouver for many small establishments).

New in social media application: Zomato, recently launched in North America (bought out Urbanspoon): 

Now testing their new app!  It’s a restaurant app with instagram capabilities. My handle and profile from Urbanspoon has been transferred over, so follow me!


Upcoming events:

I’ve already purchased tickets to two special events; can’t wait to update everyone next month!

TKC Japanese Gourmet kitchen by Guu: April 26th Dashi broth making class taught in English, you can find them on Facebook.

RECIPE: Triple C Chowder: Cauliflower, Chicken and Corn Chowder

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Late in October I was really thrilled when JJ and TT (many thanks again!) brought me some Hungarian paprika as souvenir from their European trip; I admit this is not the spice I use very often in my cooking, I had to give it some serious thought…

Rewind back to early October when I went for my haircut at Fab’s; my hair colouring session is the time when I catch up on my magazine reading; we are mostly digitized (twitter, Facebook, instagram) these days, so I rarely buy hard copies of any magazines unless it’s some special edition which I would like to keep. I was flipping through the October issue of Canadian Living magazine and came across their wonderful cauliflower corn chowder recipe; I love the idea of using cauliflower or potato in soups to add the texture without the need for whipping cream.  As usual, I took a snapshot and “tuck” it away in my cookery files…

So here you go; here’s my own version – the end result? It’s a lighter and healthier chowder, and certainly makes a hearty weeknight meal.  Please feel free to change things up anyway you like to suit your own taste and dietary needs.

There’s still paprika left in the pantry, so what’s next? Perhaps a Hungarian goulash for my dear friends? (OO)

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6, parts of the recipe adapted from Canadian Living’s Cauliflower Corn Chowder)

2 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 large yellow onion (diced), 4 cloves of garlic finely minced, 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 1/2 Tablespoon smoked sweet paprika, 4 corn cobs (husked, kernels removed, save the cobs), 1 small head cauliflower (cut into bite size), 2 boneless chicken breast (skinned and cut into bite size), 3 cups low sodium chicken broth*, 1 to 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk*, 1 large sweet pepper (seeded and cut to bite size), 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, sea salt for seasoning to taste and sliced green scallions (or chives) for garnish (optional).

*almond milk and using mostly organic produce is my own preference; I’ve used homemade chicken stock as the soup base.  To add some heat – add 1 chili pepper to soup mixture or just use hot sauce in the end when ready to serve.


– In small bowl, prepare marinade for chicken; whisk together 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 Tablespoon paprika and pinch of sea salt.  Add chicken breast cubes to mixture and marinate for at least 20 minutes.


 In a small pot using medium low heat, add the cobs to the chicken stock, let mixture simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and set aside.

– In Dutch oven or large heavy pot, using medium high heat, saute the chicken breast until the meat is slightly browned and half-cooked, about 2 to 3  minutes.  Remove chicken meat from pot.

– Using the same pot, heat remaining olive oil, add onion, garlic, chopped fresh thyme and remaining paprika; saute until onion is softened, this takes approximately 3 minutes.  Stir in 1/2 the corn kernels, cauliflower, pre-heated chicken stock, sea salt and 1/2 cup water, bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, approximately 10 minutes.

– Using an upright blender, working in small batches, process and puree the soup until smooth (be mindful to fill blender jar less than half way). To prevent the hot liquid from splattering: remember to allow heat to escape by removing the blender’s lid centre insert (cap), hold a kitchen towel over the top when blending.

– Return puree soup to pot, add remaining corn kernels, red pepper and half-cooked chicken breast cubes, bring soup to boil.  Reduce to low heat, stir in almond milk, let it simmer and stir occasionally until red pepper is tender and chicken cubes are cooked through.  Season with sea salt to taste. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice.

– When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls, add hot sauce (optional) and garnish with chopped green scallions or chives (optional).