I’ve been flipping through pictures recently and came across a delightful set of pictures from a family gathering trip last winter in Maldives. It was such a magical place, it really is hard to not love your life when you are there.   It was my first time to get on a water plane! It is the only transportation that gets you to the hotels on different islands in Maldives (well, for the closer islands boats are also possible to get to). I was so excited to get on the little plane and what made me even more excited was that the pilots were bare feet!! True island style, and I loved it!

From Above looking down, the islands look like fragile thin sheets, peacefully floating above water. ( These aren’t the best photo because they were taken with my iPhone)

I proudly introduce you my lovely family!

I miss times on the island.

By the way, I have officially started my wedding planning. Did I ever mentioned that I am getting married this July? We are having a small DIY wedding at home. Just like another family gathering. But I want to used as much recycled items as possible and eco friend is the key! If any of you have great blog, websites or ideas to share please do – as a little wedding favor for me! I am also doing lots of crafts myself for decorations. Throw me fun and rustic wedding ideas please!!

I just looked at the calendar and counted the date, it has only been 4 days since I came back to Vancouver?? It feels like Paris has been away from me for months!! There aren’t much super worth blogging events going on for the past couple of days in my hood, until today! We’ve got live sea urchins in the house!!

I suppose most people might know what a sea urchin is and how it looks like, but you might not be familiar on how to actually prepare that dangerous looking alien, and even how it taste like. I personally know a lot of people who don’t eat or don’t even ever plan to try sea urchins because their scary look and mostly its texture or the smell, but I also know a lot of other people, like myself, would die for a bed of freshly out of the shell sea urchins, a japanese delicacy.

 

You should probably know by now that preparing this creature is probably not the easiest thing to do. This is not my first time opening and cleaning a sea urchin, but I hasn’t master the skill of it. But it can be adventurous and if the quality of the urchins are good, it ALWAYS worth the labour.

 

Some people might be frighten of the spikes of the urchins and it looks like an impossible mission, but  cracking open the spiky ball really isn’t the hardest part. It could be quite simple (comparatively) if you have the right tools and determination. All you need to do is a pair of tongs and scissors. Hold down the urchins with your tongs and firstly cut out the beak (center round thing) from the shell.

 

After taken the beak off, use scissors to cut from center until it splits into two halves. All the gross water will ooz out from the shell. Try to pour out as much liquid as possible before you go on further to handle the rest.

 

I can promise you that this is not the most handsome thing to look at. The guts are literally disgusting. All those red/green/purple/orange/black/brown parts have to be removed. And those bright yellow lumps are – THE delicacy.

 

After removing from all the gross contacted parts, rinse under cold water, then put on top of 2 layers of paper towels to soak the excessive liquid of the urchin roes, ready to serve.

 

All you need is a light touch of japanese soy sauce and wasabi. There is no need to do any cooking or prepping asides from cleaning the urchin roes very throughly.  It is a good little monster, ugly but tasteful.

 

 

It almost seems unreal to me, that now I am lying on my bed at home all the way in Vancouver, Canada, trying everything to fight my jet lag, while just what feels like minutes ago, I was holding my lover’s hand, strolling down those charming little streets in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, settling down in the Jardin luxembourg for a picnic, some reading, and cuddling…

  Let’s see…  It has only been 5 or 6 hours since I’ve arrived vancouver. I was exciting to see my family and eat amazing sushi again, but after all that is over and which took 2,3 hours, I am back on the Paris mode. I feel like my heart is still at Paris… That’s probably why I forgot my phone in the apt. in Paris, where I stay for the past 3 months. I subconsciously wanted Paris to keep a part of me… ??

Jardin Luxembourg – where we made our last memory in Paris… before we return again.

At Jardin Luxembourg, a public concert on the sunday afternoon. Free entrance! How lovable!

Paris Paris… Thank you for everything. It had been beautiful. We will be back.

It is our last two days in Paris. I am already tearing in my heart. These three months in Paris has to be one of the most precious period in my life. This city has taught me so much… even changed my life value.

The weather in Paris for the past few days has been especially strange and moody, as if it is also sad that we are leaving it behind. But we still feel the obligation to explore, to explore the very last bit of Paris, and the very best.

With the up and down gloomy weather, we found ourselves lining up in front of the Sainte Chapelle. This humble little church, located within le Palais de Justice, erected by Louis XI, king of France.  Though little, Sainte Chapelle is the most outstanding example of the Rayonnant Style of Gothic architecture. The masonry structure of the church is reduced to the bare minimum, leaving the seemingly fragile skeleton to support 6,456 Sq ft of delicate traceried glass imbedded in all facades of the church.

Lower Chambre of Sainte Chapelle

Upper Chambre of Sainte Chapelle

We did not visit the church at the best time because they were doing renovation on the glass work on the some of the window facades. At least a quarter of the traceried worked were covered up with a gigantic ugly white box. Hence a less majestic view of the church interior. But it was still an absolutely gorgeous space – light, intricate and colorful.

Architects:  Viollet-le-Duc, Peter of Montereau

Address:  Palais de la Cité, 4 boulevard du palais

Getting There: Metro:  Cité, St-Michel, or Chatelet-Les Halles / RER: St-Michel

Ingredients going in to the pot: pork (with fat), eggplant, red bell pepper, garlic, green onions, and ginger.

Star anise and fennel seeds are the secret ingredients that makes it gourmet!

Marinade pork with a little bit of salt, corn oil (or any kind), soy sauce, a little bit of black pepper, and rice wine, or white wine if you don’t have rice wine.  I have mixed in pieces of beef because i just have to eat the left over meat. So you don’t have to worry about it if you don’t have left over beef bits in your fridge!

While meat is marinading, start chopping up your green onions, ginger, and garlic. Heat up pan with a little bit of corn oil and sauté them all together. We call this 起鍋 (hey wok) – meaning starting up the wok!

When the ingredients in the pans starting to change color (transparent) or soften, stir in star anise and fennel seeds. season with salt, and If you like spicy and have spicy oil, you could stir in some spicy oil in. I love spicy but I don’t have spicy oil, so I mixed some sriracha with oil and added into the stir fried.

When the smell of the aromatics oozing out all over your kitchens, add meat to the pan. Cooked for awhile until the meat starting to change color. If you are also cleaning up your beef bits, make sure to take the beef out and set them aside when they are about cooked because you don’t want them to be too over cooked and chewy.

Add red bell pepper.

Then finally eggplants. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, at little bit more salt, and spicy oil, or sriracha. Usually I would prefer chopped up fresh hop peppers, but I didn’t have any stock ups so hot sauce it is…

Add water or stock when it turns dry. Simmer slowly.

Cook until everything melts in the pot!  Add your beef bits ( if you started with them ) back in the pot and cook slowly till the sauce ticken.

Add green onions to top before serve.

Serve HOT, with rice!

It is my favorite meal of the day, especially on weekend! Hence an entire posts for a breakfast feast!

Soft boil runny eggs in glass with honey smoke sausages, top with mayonnaise, chopped dill, celery leaves.

Spinach, tomatos, and red potatoes cheesy frittata.

Stuffed banana french toasts with fresh homemade strawberry jam.

Chorizo, spinach, tomato, potato, avocado, and comte cheese extravagance with simmering eggs.

Poached eggs with spicy sausage, onions, avocado and garden tomatoes.

Breakfast reality time…