Hor d’oeurves

My plating partner and I put together this huge buffet of hors d’oeuvres along with the rest of our class, who created the same dishes but with their own style of plating.

This is us with our final product!

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My plating partner and I standing with our final product!
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All six of our dishes in a row
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Quail cromesquis over a fine parsnip mousseline with parsnip chips and chive garnishes
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Grilled black tiger prawn skewers with sweet chili sauce

 

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Smoked salmon roses over thin blinis with horseradish mascarpone, caper and dill garnishing
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Foie gras sliders with homestyle burger buns, wine wine jelly and red pepper relish
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Smoked chicken wing ‘lollipops’
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Deep-fried blue cheese gougères
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My intermediate class photo! Group C, Spring 2017

Needless to say, my intermediate semester of learning cuisine ended strong. I went on a lovely 10-day trip home to Vancouver immediately after taking my exam, and came back to Ottawa just two weeks ago for my first day of the superior level semester.

April 19th, 2017

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Gnocchi, three ways

The first type of gnocchi is how gnocchi is enjoyed in Paris.

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Gnocchi à la Parisienne

Yep, it’s pretty obvious that this one collapsed in the centre once the steam escaped before I took the photo.

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Gnocchis made with choux paste

I was actually supposed to fill the bottom of the ramekin with bechamel sauce so that it wouldn’t be, you know, hollow on the inside. My bad.

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Gnocchi à la Romaine

My classmate who lived in Rome and attained a master’s degree in Italian cuisine claimed that this is not actually what gnocchi is like in Rome.

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Polenta gnocchi

Needless to say, there was some argument as to whether or not this is gnocchi or just oven-baked polenta.

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Fried polenta gnocchi, with a smoked cayenne aioli
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Pan-fried polenta gnocchi with a parmesan tuille and twig of roasted thyme
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Gnocchi à la Piémontaise ou à l’Alsacienne

This last one is the gnocchi I am familiar with. Potato gnocchi with fresh sage, capers, parmesan and butter is hands-down undeniably delicious in my humble opinion.

March 5th, 2017

Autumn in Ottawa

Ottawa is easily one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. On a sunny day in autumn, the parks here are naturally saturated by the blue sky and the rainbow of trees.

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My walk home from school through Strathcona Park

Even the cloudy days here are beautiful. The leaves are crunchy and the air is dry – it is very unlike Vancouver.

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Overcast fall morning after a sunny day

It can get sort of lonely moving to a brand new city on your own, knowing no one. I’ve made it my goal to take advantage of free admission Thursdays at various Ottawa museums, but it’s not always so easy to find someone to go with. The first week I went to the Canadian War Museum with housemates who I met that day; the week after I visited the Canadian Museum of Agriculture and Food with this goat who tried to eat my phone.

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Selfie with a goat

However, I’m very thankful to have met so many wonderful people across Canada through the French immersion program Explore. Not only has it helped me immensely with understanding the French taught at LCB, but it’s also helped me adapt to Ottawa. I even have a few Explore friends who are students here in Ottawa too, who visited the Canadian Museum of Nature with me last week. (Nuts to you, stupid goat.)

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The bird exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature was so cool!

I particularly liked the dinosaur exhibit.

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Me and an amazing dinosaur fossil-replica at the Canadian Museum of Nature

Anyway, today’s my 20th birthday and though can be tough to really celebrate given the circumstances, I had a great day regardless. In fact, my talented housemate in Superior Pastry even brought home some especially special treats to share with me and my other housemate whose birthday happened to be yesterday!

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Raspberry caramel macarons, dark chocolate choux pastry balls, milk chocolate tarts

I’m also going to celebrate a little extra by treating myself to a fresh haircut tomorrow and brand new winter boots. Going to enjoy the hell out of this gorgeous weather while it lasts!

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Thanks for all the lovely birthday wishes!

 

October 25th, 2016

C’est Bon tasting tour

Yesterday morning I took the day off work to attend the C’est Bon gourmet food tour with my classmates. We took the scenic route the Byward Market, along the Rideau Canal.

We visited 11 unique specialty shops – none of which I have been to, with the exception of the first stop: La Bottega Nicastro. I learned a lot more about this Italian market-cafe-coffeeshop-deli on this visit. Their cheese selection is superb.

I would say it’s where I intend to buy all of my cheese, but I had a negative experience with the block of mozzarella I bought on my last visit. It molded in 4 days after opening. However, we had a tasting of their espresso-rind cheddar, and it was so good that it’s redeemed the mozzarella incident.

On my way out, I bought a Sicilian cannoli from the coffeeshop inside the market. They’re only $2.50 but they’re difficult to get. Apparently they’re only sold when someone orders them to be catered, but for whatever reason they are not picked up. I was very lucky try one of these on the way out because it’s one hell of a dessert.

The second stop was Stubbe Chocolates Ottawa. We had a lovely mini workshop on cocoa bean harvesting, fermentation and production by the owner Heinrich Stubbe. He happens to be one of the chefs who judges the final exams at Le Cordon Bleu from time to time.

Also, he gave us each a cocoa bean and a sample of his chocolate on the way out!

The third stop was this souvenir shop called Canada in a Basket. This wasn’t a photo-worthy place, but the concept is cute. Each shelf has products from a designated province, and the idea is that if you get one item from each shelf, you’d have Canada in your shopping basket.

The fourth stop was Maple Country Sugarbush, Byward Market’s sole provider of maple syrup. We had tiny shots of medium-bodied maple syrup.

The House of Cheese Ltd was our fifth stop in the tour. It is a tough contender to La Bottega in the cheese department.

Stop number six was the Byward Fruit Market, a cozy little produce shop inside the market hub. We had a sample of salicorn, or “sea asparagus”. It was weird.

Our seventh stop was the Tea Store, a spacious tea and pastry cafe that has fairly-priced tea lattes and tea-infused scones.

Next we visited The Cupcake Lounge, a favourite of many of my classmates. We tasted pineapple upside-down, chocolate chocolate, red velvet and lemon-coconut. The store is absolutely adorable, but in my extremely unpopular opinion, they tasted like ordinary cupcakes. Tasty, pretty, but ordinary.

Mantovani 1946, our ninth stop in the tour, was by far my favourite. It is an extremely glamorous Italian gelateria.

We were offered baci (chocolate) and jasmine-flavoured gelato tasters. It was easily some of the most delicious gelato I’ve ever had.

Our second-to-last stop was The French Baker, a classy and traditional French bakery. The smell of butter fills the room.

We ended the tour at Market Organics. Interesting, hipster, organic specialty foods. I’ll be sure to come back here if I’m ever challenged to make something with dietary restrictions.

And that’s the end of the tour! To know that this is only a fraction of what Ottawa has to offer makes me really excited to get out and explore as much as I can.

Sunday, October 16th, 2016