Monday 25 October 2010

Radish Sprouts

These edible pieces of botanic beauty can provide a spicy hit to many different dishes.

Sprinkled on top of a salad sat next to a baked portobello mushroom stuffed with ricotta, basil, bacon, gruyère and walnuts...

Or liven up a warm soup on a cold day... (I always add some extras such as gorgonzola, spinach, walnuts and sweetcorn for a bit of variety and a bit of bite!)

Sometimes I just crave that short burst of spiciness so munch on them as they are!

Monday 11 October 2010

Bacon + Chocolate

Bacon chocolate?! It sounded almost as strange as the Chocolate Curry. I am in love with bacon and maple syrup, as well as salted chocolate. I also really enjoyed the bacon and egg ice cream at The Fat Duck. I simply had to try this.

I found the exotic candy bar in the Co-op in downtown Davis, California. It comes with a rather hefty price tag of $6.75 for 85g, but it is in the name of research!

The smokey applewood aroma is revealed as the chocolate is unwrapped. Once a chunk melts on the tongue, crunchy pieces of bacon are unclothed from the decadent dark chocolate that surrounds them. This works, but I wanted more. So I had a little experiment myself.

I decided to create some chocolate bacon, instead of bacon chocolate...

I cooked some Applewood smoked bacon (to imitate the aromas from Mo's Dark Bacon Bar, and also because it was one of the cheapest packs in the supermarket!) and drizzled over some Green and Blacks dark chocolate followed by a sprinkle of finger-crushed walnuts.

Tasty? Tremendously! Fat free? Of course! ;-)

P.S. Did I mention the bacon was microwaved? Yes, it actually does work and produce normal bacon that browns and goes crispy, rather surprising! It's a very convenient and healthy way of cooking bacon - I cook it on kitchen towel to absorb the excess fat!

Wednesday 6 October 2010

Pink Pearl Apple Salad

Don't be deceived by the Pink Pearl's ordinary-looking skin... slice one open and you will unveil its flirtatious and aromatic pink flesh. Me-aow!

Not only are these apples highly attractive but the exotic pink flesh has a delicious sweet-tart taste and a delectable crunch. They originate from northern California where they were cultivated by the famous plant breeder Albert Etter in 1944. These apples are only around for a short time at the very end of summer and beginning of Fall, so I was lucky to catch one on October 1st at the San Francisco Ferry Market!

I teamed slices of my Pink Pearl with salad leaves, celery, crumbled gorgonzola, walnut pieces and a little drizzle of balsamic.

I could actually eat this all day long. Walnuts + gorgonzola = my current obsession. Yuh-hum!

Sunday 3 October 2010

San Francisco Ferry Market

Davis is quite a tiny place, so we couldn't help but feel a little claustrophobic after 3 weeks without leaving. It was definitely time to venture out. After much deliberation, we decided to pay the extortionate $50 return train fare to San Francisco and get a taste of the land of the hippies. We probably covered about 1% of San Francisco as all 3 of us were new to the city and we didn't have a very detailed plan... but we still had a great day!

The first place we went to was the San Francisco Ferry Market. The food ranged from multi-tonal tomatoes to smoked salmon sticks, lavender salt to pink pomegranate... goats cheese and molasses dip to watermelon radishes... oh the list goes on! It was the perfect place to play with my new toy (my brand new Canon, my baby!) and here is a preview of what we experienced...

Fresh dates - the first time I have ever seen them!

The sheer volume and variety of the fresh produce available was overwhelming. There were so many wonderful bright colours shouting out with freshness and deliciousness. We ate so many samples that we managed to keep our palates and appetite happy for the rest of the day (well, until we reached The Cheesecake Factory at 4pm...)!

The Peruvian guy selling the goats cheese dips

Goats cheese, molasses and brown sugar dip

After the market we strolled around Haight Street for a while then shopped 'til we dropped.

We were warned about the service at The Cheesecake Factory but decided that we had to check it out for ourselves. I went for the Carlton Salad - romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, feta cheese, avocado, dried cranberries, pears, fresh orange and pecans tossed with vinaigrette. It was good, but not amazing and the service was pretty horrific! We had a cheesecake too, of course. Again, it was average. But hey, we've tried it now!

Carlton Salad at The Cheesecake Factory