Monday, January 16, 2017

Little Sister big Indonesian flavours


Where:  LITTLE SISTER
When:   Sat, Jan. 14, 2017
Address:  2031 Yonge Street, Toronto
Social:    @littlesisterto

Website:  http://www.littlesisterto.com/
I tried Little Sister's food for the first time at the Taste of Toronto Festival and the first year they won a prize for their mind blowing sweet pork belly dish.  I had their fried rice again last year but even though their restaurant was on my TO DO List of places to check out, I never seemed to have the right opportunity to go until this past weekend.  My fellow food blogger Natalie (http://www.cookingquidnunc.com) and I decided to go see a movie and after a long search of places that were near the theatre at Yonge and Eglinton we both thought the best choice would be Little Sister.  We didn't realize it was only a few blocks south of Yonge and Eglinton.  It's got one of those signs that don't pop out when you drive by so you have to pay attention to the address.  We have both been saying for a long time that we should go so early Saturday evening was the perfect time.
We got there around 5pm before the crowd and the reservations started flowing in.  That was the perfect time for us because we sat by the window and actually had some daylight for our first items but as you can see the food looks a bit more yellow as we lost the sun.


I ordered the Chicken Satay.  I love Chicken Satay this one had a great satay sauce.  It's made with chicken thighs, although not my favourite, I prefer the white meat, but it keeps the chicken a lot more moist when it's the chicken thighs.


We both shared the Beef Wontons with Sriracha sauce.  Nice and crispy and a bit of spice kick.

 

I also ordered the Roasted Cauliflower with Puffed Rice.  It was served cold.  I expected it to be a warm dish but I guess it was more of a salad or street food type of dish.  The flavour was really good and it's one of their popular dishes.


The dish that blew our minds was Natalie's Braised pork in Star Anise.  The balance of flavours was perfect.  The star anise wasn't overwhelming.  The pork was perfectly seasoned and all of the flavours were rich and satisfying.  I really want to make this dish in my slow cooker one day and if I go back to Little Sister soon I am having this again for sure.  

Natalie also ordered the fried rice which was good but the photo didn't really make it look great so I didn't include it.

The place is really cozy with rustic wooden tables and a beautiful bar.  It feels like a downtown hipster westend restaurant but it's tucked away Uptown.  It would be insanely packed all the time if it was located on Queen Street but I am really happy that it's Uptown where people really appreciate that there isn't anything else like it in the area.

It's one of those places you don't want to tell anyone about because you want to save it for yourself.

They aren't open for lunch and I would suggest making reservations because it's not a huge space.

Enjoy.

*This is not a sponsored post.  We paid for our own meal and the opinions expressed are my own as well as the images.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New Year, New You... Blah Blah Blah..

Are you tired of hearing NEW YEAR, NEW YOU yet?   


It's only January 8, 2017 and I am already tired of hearing it on every TV channel I turn on the TV and walk by a Newsstand and you will see it on every cover.  I admit that I was guilty of perpetuating this in the past in blog posts and I even wrote said article for B Magazine a free Beauty magazine that was available in TTC stations many years ago.   It's about this time when people are already starting to get tired of going to the gym and they start dropping off.

It's kind of stating the obvious that we all want spectacular lives all the time but is it realistic?


After a couple of months of celebrating with food at Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas dinners or even Hannukah food traditions and then add all those work events and other family and friend get togethers and Potluck's that all revolved around eating massive quantities of mostly high fat, sugar and salty foods.  How many of you are feeling snug in your clothes now?  Yes I bet a whole bunch of you unless you have a crazy workout routine everyday if you had the time.

But as soon as the Calendar turns to January 1st, you are expected to put down that fork and pick up dumbbells instead and hit the gym hard and get in the best shape of your life instantly because last years version of you wasn't good enough.  You have to be a smarter, fitter, younger version of yourself and you also have to have more money to be seen as acceptable in the North American Society.

Would you tell the 2 year old pictured above that her 1st year of life wasn't good enough and now that she is 2 she needs to become a NEW person and be better and look better and do better.   Well of course not, so why are we so hard on each other and ourselves as we become adults?

I don't know about you but I try and be a better person everyday and it's a struggle.  I have my own high expectations of what I thought my life would be like but it turned out to be very different than what I pictured in my head when I was a teenager.  I am hard enough on myself that I didn't achieve my goals and I don't particularly appreciate the constant media messages that I am a failure because I don't have the perfect body, family, friends, home, job.    If everyone had all of those things there wouldn't be any homeless people on the streets.  It's just not real.  Nobody can have it ALL.. something gets sacrificed somewhere.  


Every year I say to myself that I want to be fitter and healthier because every year when I am at TIFF I feel the effect of me being out of shape when I have to run up the stairs at Roy Thompson Hall. But every year I seem to gain more weight and have a bit less energy.  Well I know better but I also have a highly stressful life trying to find work and keeping up with my blog with not a whole lot of help.  Age is creeping up with me and after a couple of falls this past couple of years and not always eating clean while going to all the food events it takes a bit of a toll and I really feel it at the end of the year when I stay home more and hibernate.

My goal this year is to try and up my cleaner, healthier food quotient.  I started my week off at work with Green Tea and a fruit and nut oatmeal and I always have a bottle of water with me to stay hydrated.  The Builder's bar is to carry with me when I am starving at work or out and about so that I have something to grab quickly.

In the winter because there are less festivals and events to go to I go back into my kitchen a lot more.  I go back to what I did way before blogging started and that is making more things like Chili, Sheppards Pie, Stews, and roasted vegetables.

I used to do a thing called veggie Sundays when I was at home with my Mom and brother.  Sundays were always a day when nothing much was happening and I would watch cooking shows on TV or get bored so I would go into the kitchen and start to cook something and then would end up cooking a whole bunch of vegetables because I was trying to use things before they spoiled or I would start to prep a vegetable and then have some left to make something else.  One thing usually turned into 3 or 4 things at least.  Even though yesterday was Saturday I did that again and made Baba Ganoush, Roasted Red Peppers in Garlic Oil, a Vegetable stock and a roasted tomato jam.  Now I have things in the fridge to make or eat quickly.

I need to get back into this habit of doing prep at least 1 morning or day on the weekend to have things ready to eat quickly during the week.   More Batch cooking for less time in the kitchen and also less cleaning up time.    Cook once eat twice or more.

Here is my 1st TIP to start your new Year Batch cooking. Make this recipe if you have these things:

Fridge Clean Stock

1 medium onion cut in quarters
1/2 of a leek, use the green parts that normally get discarded
1 to 2  carrot roughly chopped in a couple of pieces
2 Bay leaves
2 Tbsp of fresh parsley
2 to 3 celery sticks.  Use the interior or ends that you would throw out.
1 tsp peppercorns
1/2 tbsp salt - add more at the end if needed

Optional:  add garlic, parsnips, ginger or other things that will add flavour or you might want to use up.

Fill a stock pot half way with water and add the vegetables.

Bring water to a boil and then turn down to a simmer on medium low heat.  Cook for at least an hour or more or until all the vegetables have lost their color and are falling apart soft.

Pull out the vegetables and you could either blend them into the soup or discard for a clear stock.

Put the stock into plastic or glass containers and let cool and then put into the fridge.  You can freeze the stock in plastic containers or even in ice cube trays for instant stock to add to stir fry's etc.




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