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How to Make Honey Lemon Green Tea

How to Make Honey Lemon Green Tea

My friend introduced me to this Honey Lemon Green Tea and I simply love it.  It is very simple to make. 1.  Add boiling water and green teabag to a pot. 2. Add lemon slices to the pot. 3. Add honey (1 tablespoon per cup)…

5 Exciting Beef Stew Recipes

5 Exciting Beef Stew Recipes

Diversity in Canada means that we have many more exciting ways to cook our beef stew.   Immigrants from different countries have different ways of tackling the beef simply by varying the ingredients and spices.  Here are 5 beef stew recipes from different countries. 1.  Kenyan Matoke…

8 Tips for the perfect Beef Stew

8 Tips for the perfect Beef Stew

Here are 8 tips for the perfect beef stew that is tender, rich, and flavourful.  Beef stew in all its different variations is a favorite Canadian dish.   It is particularly popular for potluck dinners or family gatherings.  Canada is a multicultural country, so Canadians enjoy different types of beef stew from different cultures.   I have tried Hungarian Beef Goulash,  Russian Beef Stroganoff,  Filipino Beef Caldereta, French Beef Bourguignon, Filipino Beef Kare Kare in peanut sauce, Vietnamese Bo Kho, and the great Canadian Beef Stew.  The variations simply depend on the availability of local ingredients.   There are many reasons why everybody loves a good beef stew.   

  1.  It is a hearty meal.  A good stew is comfort food especially during cold winter nights.   Beef stew cooked in a slow cooker or simmered for hours in the oven tenderize the beef, so that the juicy meat pieces simply melt in your mouth. 
  2. Beef stew  can be prepared ahead and left to simmer for hours.  This allow the cook time to socialize with guests at dinner time, instead of slaving in the kitchen.
  3. Beef stew is a flexible dish. It is never boring.  As long as you follow the basic rules, you can experiment with different ingredients, and spices.
  4.  You can cook a big batch, and freeze the leftovers for future meals.
  5. You can use inexpensive cuts of meats and tenderize them using the slow cook method.  Sirloin, tenderloin cuts are the most expensive cuts of beef.  You can use round, chuck, flank, brisket which are typically tough meat and tenderize them with a good stew recipe.

No matter which variation you use, there are still some basic tips and tricks towards making that perfect beef stew.

beef stew uses the inexpensive beef cuts

1.  Cut the beef to equal size.  This allows the meat to cook using the same amount of time.

tips for the perfect beef stew
brown the beef in batches for a nice brown color

2.  Brown the meat first before simmering or slow-cooking.  The browning process gives the beef its nice brown color.  It also results in a richer flavor for the meat. Browning is a chemical process that combines the sugar and amino acids in the meat giving it a strong aroma,

3.  Brown in batches.  Make sure there is room in the frying pan for all the meat chunks, Do not overcrowd.

4.  Pre-heat the pan before searing. While browning or searing, allow the process to complete before stirring the meat.

5.  Slow cook and simmer for at least two hours to give the meat that “melt in the mouth”  tender texture.

6.  Use a good base, such a beef broth, or canned tomatoes, tomato paste, or a curry sauce.  Red wine is also a good addition. The Hungarian beef goulash, Filipino Beef Caldereta and the French Beef Bourguignon all use tomato sauce. The Filipino Beef Kare Kare uses peanut sauce.

beef stew in tomato sauce
Hungarian beef stew cooked in tomato sauce

7.  Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips and turnips give body to the stew. Also add other vegetables such as celery, mushroom, potatoes, sweet peppers, onions and garlic for flavours. Don’t forget herbs and spices, such as bay leaves, or rosemary which goes well with beef.

root vegetables for beef stew
root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, turnips gives body to the beef stew

8.  Use flour or cornstarch to thicken the sauce at the last minute and give it that nice glaze.

Serve with Yorkshire pudding.  (See our foolproof Yorkshire pudding recipe that has been handed down for several generations)

8 tips for the perfect beef stew
Island Getaways in BC – Bowen Island

Island Getaways in BC – Bowen Island

Island Getaway in BC – Bowen Island lies only 20 minutes away by ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver.  It has a population of only a little over 3,500 people.  This little island is within easy reach of most Vancouverites.  There are no…

Parks Canada Equipped Campsite Program Provides Tents for Campers

Parks Canada Equipped Campsite Program Provides Tents for Campers

Want to do camping this summer but do not have the equipment?  Parks Canada has just launched an “equipped campsite” program at 9 national parks, using equipment donated by Mountain Equipment Co-op. Basic camping equipment such as tent, sleeping pad, kitchen shelter, lantern and cookset…

Year of the Horse

Year of the Horse

Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac comes every 12 years. 2014 was the year of the horse, and the next turn will be in the year 2026.

You will see symbols of the horse everywhere including IKEA the Swedish furniture store.  Chinatowns around the world will be having big celebrations – dragon dance or a lion dance, and firecrackers.

2014-year-of-the-horse-zodiac-chart

To find out what celebrities were born in the year of the Horse, here they are.

Famous Horse people include:
Historical figures: Nelson Mandela, Genghis Khan
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Actors James Dean, Clint Eastwood, and Harrison Ford
Singers Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney and Janet Jackson

and more…..
Rowan Atkinson, Ingmar Bergman, Halle Berry, Jackie Chan, Sean Connery, Kevin Costner, Cindy Crawford, James Dean, Clint Eastwood, Britt Ekland, Linda Evans,  Bob Geldof, Gene Hackman, Rita Hayworth, Katherine Heigl, Jimmy Hendrix, Barbara Streisand, Keifer Sutherland, Raquel Welch, John Travolta, Michael York.

p1020390

Here is a row of horse statues in front of a Shanghai department store.

Asian Ginger Sesame Roasted Quail

Asian Ginger Sesame Roasted Quail

Asian Ginger Sesame Roasted Quail recipe is very popular among Chinese-Canadians.  In act, humans have been eating roast quails for over 10,000 years.  Quails are one of the top 10 ancient food for Egyptian Pharoahs.  It is believed that quails are already popular food around…

Gluten Free Sri Lankan Hopper

Gluten Free Sri Lankan Hopper

Canada is a country of immigrants, and thus enjoy the food diversity of its immigrant population.  One such country is  Sri Lanka, which has long been renowned for its spices. Since ancient times, traders from all over the world who came to Sri Lanka brought…

Barefoot Princess Wears Head Scarf Entering Mosque

Barefoot Princess Wears Head Scarf Entering Mosque


At the Royal Jubilee Tour to Malaysia, Princess Kate Middleton had the opportunity to visit the Assyakirin Mosque which is the biggest mosque in Malaysia.

Respect for local tradition
In accordance with Muslim religious protocol, women must wear a veil or head scarf and be barefoot when entering a place of worship. Indeed, you can see Princess Kate removing her shoes and donning a conservative loose white dress and white head scarf. Royally poised and confident, Princess Kate seemed at ease even while topless photos of her French vacation is circulating in European magazines and online websites.

The Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur is the biggest mosque in the nation. Situated near the Suria KLCC the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, it had just went through a major renovation in 2009 to increase the capacity from 6000 people to 12,000 people.

barefoot-princess-kate-middleton

See how Duchess Kate Middleton dressed in Maria Clara inspired gown while visiting Southeast Asia.