Our big trip to Korea (and China)

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All excited and ready to go!

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Along the Bund in Shanghai with cousins.

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Namdaemun, the south gate, in Seoul

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Hanging out with Halmoni, the reason for the trip!

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A pagoda up the hill from Halmoni’s house

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The Korean war memorial museum

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The spot we got engaged (13.5 years later)!

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Family, friends and food!

A food post to come next :)


Bacon

Bacon comic

I had to explain to Taron that this is not how we get bacon from pigs.  He couldn’t believe that farmers killed their pigs to get the bacon.  “Then how will they get more bacon?” he asked.

He still doesn’t totally get it.  The other day he was explaining to a friend that “pigs lay bacon two times then the farmer has to kill them.” :)

Sweet stuffed pancakes – Hoddeok

Hoddeok - stuffed pancakes

These are a pancake lovers dream come true – pancakes stuffed with brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts.  Hot, gooey and so so yummy!

I have been craving these for a while.  Ever since I had them in the summer time, I have been dreaming about making them.  I know, I know, some people dream of climbing Mt. Everest.  Not me, I dream of pancakes!   They are little more time consuming than normal pancakes, so once the fall-back-to-school-thanksgiving-christmas-new-years dust had settled,  I finally tackled them!

I must confess that I devoured more than my fair share of these.  And the next night, I made them again!  I think they would also be delicious for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee. But that would mean waking up early… mehh!

The time you need: 1.5 hours       Yield: 8 pancakes

The things you need:

  • 1 cup lukewarm water (I usually do it on the warmer side)
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cups flour (I used whole wheat flour… I felt less guilty eating so many! :) )
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts (I used almonds)

The how to:

  • In a bowl, put 1 cup of warm water, white sugar, yeast, salt and oil
  • Mix the ingredients well
  • Add the flour and mix it all together

hoddeok

  • Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise (I heat my oven for a few minutes and then turn the light on… and turn the oven off, and let it rise in there)
  • While to dough is rising, make the filling: mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts together in a small bowl
  • After about an hour it should have doubled in size.
  • Knead the dough a little to release the bubbles
  • Cover again and let it continue to rise 10-20 minutes
  • Flour a clean surface (important step!) and knead the dough.

hoddeok

  • Divide into 8 balls

hoddeok

  • Flatten the ball in your hand, fill the center as full as you can, and close it up.

hoddeok

  • Lightly oil a pan on medium heat and place a ball on the pan
  • Let it fry for 30 seconds or so and flip it over and flatten it out… like a pancake

hoddeok

  • Flip it over again and fry until golden brown
  • Eat hot and enjoy! :)

k and n

“Oh so good!” – the troops approve!

Recipe from Maangchi.com

Korean cooking class

cooking class

I am a teacher so I know how to teach.  And I like to cook, but can I teach how to cook?

Well, that is what I did this weekend.  I was invited to teach a fabulous group of ladies some Korean recipes.  The host had a gorgeous kitchen for cooking and teaching and graciously worked as my assistant fetching all sorts of ingredients and utensils.  The ladies were excellent students, trying, learning and asking lots of questions.  Good food and good times were enjoyed by all!

What was on the lesson plan? First up, kimbap, rice rolls. I demonstrated the simple art of rolling them so they each look like a little masterpiece! :)

kimbap rolls

Secondly, we made our own pork mushroom mandu, dumplings, folding up little pockets of goodness!

Pork mushroom mandu

And finally, we enjoyed some Korean bbq’ed beef, bulgogi in lettuce wraps.

lettuce wrap

Sorry, no glamour shots of these. This was the last piece of meat that was about to be devoured when we snatched it from a hungry mouth in order to snap a picture. Even though bulgogi is probably the most well know Korean dish, I have yet to post a recipe for the marinade.  Soon… I promise! :)

cooking class 2

Tuna kimbap

tuna kimbap

A wonderful combination of veggies and protein wrapped up in sesame flavoured rice and roasted seaweed.  A well balanced bite with all the food groups represented! Think of it as a mini little food pyramid …. in a circle! :)

My yobo was really wanting kimbap and has been asking me to make it for weeks now (read: begging!)  So one Sunday night he decides to make rice (waaaay) to much of it and I have to figure out what to make with all this rice.  Kimbap, he suggests.  He even produces all the necessary ingredients. Not so subtle! So kimbap it was!

This rendition has a yummy flavoured tuna in it. When a lady was offering samples of it at the grocery store, my yobo and all the kids went back twice.  I had no choice but to buy it, more because I felt bad for the sample lady than the fact they all enjoyed it! It also has spinach, a favourite of my yobos; “just like my mom makes it!”

The things you need:

  • A package of roasted seaweed 10 pieces
  • 8 cups cooked white sticky rice (don’t know how? here!)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • A package of spinach
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cans tuna (sun-dried tomato flavoured)
  • Korean pickled radish

sundried tomato tunaradish

The prep:

  • Add sesame oil and salt to slightly cooled cooked rice.
  • Beat the egg and fry like a crepe. Cut into 10 long pieces.
  • Slice the Korean pickled radish into 10 long pieces.
  • Slice the carrot into 10 long pieces.  Lightly fry.
  • Slice the cucumber into 10 long pieces using the outside of the cucumber and discarding the column of seeds in the middle.
  • Blanche the spinach in boiling water for 1 min.  Drain and squeeze. Lightly season with salt or soy sauce.

Assembly

  • Lay the seaweed on a bamboo roller
  • Place 3/4c + a little bit of rice on the seaweed
  • Spread the rice out evenly over 2/3 of the seaweed
  • Place the ingredients at the bottom end of the rice
  • Carefully roll the seaweed over the ingredients and pinch it tightly
  • Roll the rest of seaweed up nice and tight
  • Glue the end to the roll with a few pieces of rice
  • Cut with a sharp knife
  • Enjoy!

For a step-by-step picture tutorial on how to roll kimbap, see here! :)

 

 

 

Breakfast ‘sushi’

breakfast sushi

Hot crepes rolled up with cream cheese, banana and caramel, sliced up like sushi and eaten with chopsticks!

There is nothing like a snowy winter day to make some Asian inspired pancakes… minus the seaweed!  I love pancakes and thought this would be a fun way to eat them. We also tried them with raspberry jam, cream cheese and banana. Deeeelicious!

breakfast sushi

Today was suppose to be the last day of school before the holidays but a big dump of snow means we are home.  Though we have mixed feelings about missing the last day of school, we got to indulge in a weekend breakfast before heading out to build snowmen and snow forts.

Breakfast sushi

Ingredients

  • Crepes
  • Banana
  • Cream cheese
  • Caramel sauce
  • Raspberry jam
  • Icing sugar to garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the crepes according to your favourite recipe.
  2. Slice banana length wise into 4 pieces
  3. Slice cream cheese into long thin pieces
  4. Assemble ingredients
  5. Roll
  6. Slice
  7. Arrange on the plate
  8. Sprinkle with icing sugar
  9. Enjoy!
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breakfast sushibreakfast sushibreakfast sushi

Fun in the snow

snow fortin the snow

Earrings for a plane ticket

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$3 a pair – Flowers limited quantities available – Googly eyes in white, pink, green, blue, yellow, orange and purple

Almost a year ago the kids asked if we could go to Korea as a family to see their Halmoni (grandmother).  We explained that international tickets cost a lot of money and they brainstormed ways the kids could help pay for the tickets.  Since then they have been very busy raising funds so they can make this trip. You can read about our lemon aid stands, garage sale and bottle collecting here.

Recently we did a concession stand at a local craft fair selling coffee, cookies and other treats; the girls were also responsible for handing our seeds for the organizer.

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We are almost at our goal of two tickets raised.  Kyah has been busy making earrings to sell.  So if you are needing a cute stocking stuffer for a little girl in your life, consider purchasing a pair.  It would make her day!

Paypal payment and shipping available :)

Rice fritters

rice fritters

A perfect use for leftover rice – rice fritters.  A yummy combination of rice, vegetables and cheese, fried up hot and crispy.  You might find yourself making extra rice, just to make these the next day!

I am sure it comes as no surprise that we eat a lot of rice in our house.  As a result we also tend to have left over rice in the fridge.  The amount of leftover rice, however, depends on who makes the rice. I like to aim to have the perfect amount for dinner. Kyah makes the same amount every time regardless of what is on the menu.  My yobo, on the other hand, makes as much as our rice cooker can handle. Go big or go home! So after my yobo has lovingly made rice for the family, we have copious amounts of leftover rice!

Rice fritters

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked rice (short grain)
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • paprika

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together
  2. Fry up in some oil
  3. Makes 12-14 fritters
  4. Enjoy!
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 kids

Our giggly gang!

Asian?!

Asian

Taron sits right behind my yobo and I in the van and is forever adding his two bits to our conversation.

This is my first attempt at drawing a comic on a tablet.  It is trickier than your think!  I had a harder time with the writing than the drawing actually… so I apologize for the chicken scratch!