Category for Food

Masterchef Australia Season 7 Finale Feast

After 3 months, 61 episodes, 22 eliminations, (+ 2 days of complete social media ban) it was time for us to watch the Masterchef Australia Season 7 finale. We had Rosemarie and Lauren over for a 4 course team challenge finale watching dinner where we all made fancy things from the show.

Lauren made salad rolls with shrimp and a dipping sauce.

Rosemarie made sesame beef tataki with gochujang aioli, pickled vegetables and puffed rice. Plated up in modern, negative space style.

Scott made meat pie with homemade crust, and homemade tomato relish (ketchup, hehe).

And I made lemon & thyme ice cream sandwiches with a lemon thyme syrup. Let’s not talk about the TWO glass bowls I shattered while double boiling, or the ummm… XTREME DARK CARAMEL syrup that fused itself to the pot…

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Seven Stones Winemakers Dinner

Teri organized for Scott and I to go to a fancy winemakers dinner with her and Lindsay at Seven Stones winery in the Similkameen Valley. Teri works with Seven Stones, so she knew George, the winemaker already. The dinner took place in the “caves” underneath the winery, where it was MUCH cooler than outside (thank goodness).

First course: Local Organic Peach Salad (grilled peach, arugula, bocconcini, white balsamic reduction), with 2012 Chardonnay

Light and tasty. I came to the dinner armed with antihistamines because I figured they would be using lots of fresh Okanagan produce, and unfortunately I am allergic to a lot of it. But it’s so good it’s worth it. The peaches were sweet and juicy and the balsamic reduction was amazing.

Second course: Smoked Duck (Fraser Valley smoked duck breast, dried berry, du puy lentil stew, cherries, red wine glaze), with 2010 Pinot Noir

Tender duck over tender lentils with pops of sweetness from the cherries. The only thing was that it was kind of hard to cut the duck in such a deep bowl.

Third course: Espresso Marinated Tenderloin (beef tenderloin, mushroom risotto, tiger blue crumble, roasted summer vegetables, plum and olive jus), with 2009 Meritage

Perfectly rare beef over creamy cheesy risotto, om nom nom. It was a huge chunk of meat but we all finished it all because it was so delicious. I loved the little baby zucchini pieces as well. Oh and the Meritage wine was really good, it’s sooo smooth. I don’t even usually like red wine that much! Too bad it’s $35 a bottle, ha.

Fourth course: Coffee and Dark Chocolate Mousse (chocolate mousse, espresso shortbread, berry compote, smoked vanilla whip, chocolate mint), with 2012 Cabernet Franc

OMG and then the dessert. The chocolate mousse was ultra smooth and not too sweet, with a perfect melt-in-your-mouth buttery cookie, and little bits of slightly sour berries to balance it out. Amazing.

George took everyone on a quick tour of the barrel rooms, pointing out the water feature (to keep the humidity levels just right) and the speakers from which they are going to start playing classical Baroque music (the particular vibrations are supposed to cause the yeast particles to eat more sugar and produce lower sugar, tastier wine quicker). Kinda neat. I suppose we will have to wait and see if that actually works…

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Penticton 2015

Starting the trip off with a beergarita with Teri and Lindsay while we waited for Braz and Lisanne. I feel like we need a flowchart to explain the group:

Scott –> friends with Braz (aka Marcus) (from Melbourne) –> girlfriend is Lisanne (from Edmonton but lives in Melbourne too) –> friends are Teri and Lindsay (live in Alberta).

The first day we went to a whole bunch of wineries close to Penticton and a tiny distillery that makes gin. There was one chardonnay that tasted like BBQ corn…. ew. We went to Bad Tattoo Brewery for dinner and drinks. The six of us each got a pizza each and then shared so we got to try 6 types (YUM).

The next day we bought a party island (and extra boat to float our cooler) and did the channel. That’s Lindsay and Lisanne in the front, and me, Teri and Braz in the back. Our drinks were perfectly cold (unlike last year camel pack atrocity) and umm… we drank a whole lot of them. It was funnnnnnn.

Waiting for a taxi back to the motel.

In the taxi. Hahaha.

The next day Lisanne and Braz continued on to Edmonton, and the rest of us moved on to separate hotels (although we would meet back up with Teri and Lindsay for our fancy dinner later).

Scott and I went out for breakfast ice cream at Tickleberry’s (nutritious!), where at least this time we knew to get child size. Seriously what kind of child size comes with two flavours??! (I had salted pretzel, and salted caramel). I couldn’t even finish mine, I wish they had infant size.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing in different locations. We went to the beach on South part of Okanagan Lake but it was way too windy so then moved to the North part of Skaha Lake. We ate a fancy-schmancy charcuterie board at a fancy-schmancy winery (Painted Rock) on their patio with great panorama views of the lake. Then went back to the hotel pool bar (!!), and then went back to Bad Tattoo for more delicious pizza.

Carolina BBQ – slow roasted brisket, mushrooms, shallots, spicy BBQ sauce

Black & Blue – roasted apple, blackberry compote, blue cheese, toasted malt

Their pizzas are awesome. Super thin crust, tasty toppings. We loved all of them. The only thing was that the Black & Blue pizza was totally different the second time compared to the first. They put waaaay more compote on the second time and it was a bit too much. But mmm that sweet-salty combination.

Avoid peak dinner time if you don’t want to wait in line, as it seems to be very busy in the summer.

Click to add a blog post for Bad Tattoo Brewing on Zomato


Saturday Scott and I went down the channel again, just the two of us on the giant party island. It was a very relaxed float, we just drank water, haha. We got quite sunburnt, oops.

Then we drove to pick up Teri and Lindsay and had a fabulous dinner at Seven Stones winery, which I am saving for another blog entry.

The last day Scott and I took the long way back to Vancouver, via Osoyoos because I really really wanted to go back to Platinum Bench for some ~~artisan~~ bread. We also stopped at a few more wineries too including Church and State which had some hilarious labels and Jackson Triggs to see if they had my favourite $9 chardonnay (they did not, haha).

We slow roasted ourselves the whole way back in the car at 38 ºC with no air conditioning. It was…. uncomfortable. And we drove past this amazing looking swimming hole, just before Princeton I think, but by the time I saw it it was too hard to turn back and I still feel regret even now a month later that we didn’t go back. It was like a mirage. I mean… WE MUST GO BACK.

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How It’s Made: Yogurt

I looooove How It’s Made and Making Stuff (♫ makin’ stuff makin’ stuff MAKIN’ STUFF♫) so when I was invited on a media trip to see how yogurt is made I accepted pretty much immediately.

We went to Brandsema organic dairy farm in Abbotsford first. We got a tour of the farm to look at the cows, feed baby cows, watch the cows being milked, and see the milk being loaded on to the truck. Then we went to the Olympic Dairy factory in Delta, saw the milk coming into the factory, being pasteurized, poured into tubs, packaged, incubated, refrigerated and then loaded up onto trucks. It was pretty cool to see the whole process from cow to supermarket. And then we got to do a tasting session and try like 20 different types of yogurt. NOM.

The cows get to spend a lot of time in the fields, eating grass. They do get feed as well though (mostly corn and flax, plus soy, barley, peas) because apparently 100% grass-fed cows do not produce very much milk. They do not use hormones, and when antibiotics must be used the milk from those cows is dumped for a month.

Milking machines! They get milked twice a day and produce about 34 litres of milk per day per cow. It takes about 10 minutes to milk a cow.

1 day old newborn cow in the maternity ward.

We got to feed the baby cows. These ones were only a couple days old. D’awwwww. They were very thirsty. My cow yanked the bottle right out of my hands, haha.

All suited up for our tour of the yogurt factory.

Every truck of milk is tested for hormones and contamination before being accepted into the factory. Once approved, the milk comes into the factory into this room and these pasteurizing machines and mixing tanks.

The milk powder and cultures are added and then the mixture is poured into the yogurt tubs. Because they (mostly) make Balkan style yogurt the yogurt sets directly in the tubs.

Plastic seals and lids.

This room was 110°F. The tubs sit in here for 5 hours while the milk turns into yogurt.

And then it’s moved to refrigerated rooms for storage until the orders are picked and loaded onto trucks for the supermarkets! That’s a lot of yogurt!!

All together it takes about 12 hours to make a tub of yogurt (3 hours for pasteurizing, then packaged, 5 hours for ripening, then several hours for cooling). A sealed tub of Olympic yogurt lasts for 49 days, so if you look at the dates on the tubs at the store you should be able to tell how fresh it is. Once opened they can only guarantee the quality for a few days, since they only use natural ingredients. I can tell you that a tub of Krema is not going to last me for more than a few days anyway because it is ULTRA DELICIOUS. Seriously you could put Honeylicious Krema yogurt in a cone and eat it like soft serve ice cream.

We got to try a whole bunch of their line, the fruit yogurt, Krema (10% MF deliciousness omg), chia yogurt (tasty and very convenient!), kefir, and more. At the very end of the session we got to try a new flavour that hasn’t even come out yet… pumpkin spice. A lot of the bloggers lost their minds about this, haha. It will come out in time for back to school.

Anyway, a very informative and interesting day. And now I’m going to go make myself a bowl of Krema with raspberries…

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Soft Peaks Ice Cream

Ever since the first time I tried honeycomb (on a cracker, with cheese) I’ve been a big fan. So when I heard that there was a new ice cream place serving it on soft serve I had to try it. Soft Peaks is in Gastown, Vancouver.

We ordered the Honeycomb Peak, and a Salty Himalayan with chocolate syrup.

The Honeycomb Peak came with a chunk of honeycomb on top, and super duper crunchy cereal at the bottom. The honeycomb was ultra sweet, and slightly waxy, as you would expect. The cereal provided a great textural crunch to contrast the soft serve ice cream. Very delicious to get a little bit of both elements on each spoonful.

The Salty Himalayan was nice too. It has fancy pink salt swirled through it along with the chocolate sauce. Can’t beat that salty-sweet combination.

The ice cream itself is plain, not too sweet, definitely milk flavoured.

All in all, we enjoyed it, but it’s very expensive so I won’t be going there very often. Worth a try if you haven’t tried honeycomb yet.

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