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.




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…

I don’t make fish very often, not that I don’t like them, it’s because I don’t think I am skillful enough to make them. They always seem so fragile to me, and I hate overcooked fish.  So I don’t make very much fish in order to avoid disastrous dinners.  But I did today, simply because I didn’t want meat. And I realized that we haven’t made fish once since we are in Paris. So here we go for a simple fish dish. I pick up a good size fillet Fletan Noir from the market, and decided to make a tomato caper sauce to go with it.

Chop onions, saute with olive oil and a little bit of butter.

Until onion turn transparent, add chopped garlic, then add chopped celery.

Cook until celery turn soft, add diced tomato. Season with salt and pepper for taste. Add caper at last. Add a little bit of wine or water and simmer slowly until sauce thicken.  Spoon sauce on top of seared fish.

I was not convinced that it would be a pain in the arse to prepare artichokes myself at home, until I was actually drilling them in my tiny little kitchen. The first one was a disaster, my entire counter top and floor and sink were covered with artichoke leaves and those annoying “needles” from the heart of the chokes. However, I managed to peeled the other ones a little more efficiently after my first experiment. But it still wasn’t fun.  After peeling and cleaning the chokes, toss with salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Roast in oven under 160 F for about 20 – 30 min till soften and light browned.

Squeeze lemon juice to top before serve. All the work was worth it after my first bite of the chokes.

Feels like a pleasant spring/summer combo to me.  Cheers!

My stupid alarm clock made me missed school today. I know it’s not the best excuse and I am extremely guilty about it. It is so gloomy and rainy outside so I cannot use my fake day off to do something exciting outside of the house. So I decided to move on and think about food.

Breakfast in glass – soft boil egg with sauté chorizo and caramelized onion.

I had some left over raw chorizo sausages, so I popped the ground meat out of the sausage skin and sauté them. Use the chorizo fat to sauté chopped onions, until caramelized. While cooking the toppings, make your soft boiled eggs. Don’t over boil and make sure the yolk is still super runny. Peel shell after run thru boil eggs under cold water, top with chorizo and caramelized onions. Sprinkle parsley or herbs of your choice.

Long time. We were in London last weekend for apartment hunting. It didn’t go so well after being stood up by some irresponsible agents. We arranged for 10 properties to view and eventually only viewed 3. So apparently we didn’t find the home we were hoping for. Interestingly, after being extremely discouraged for finding a suitable home, we found an apt. just came to the market today (actually it was only on the market for 4 hours until I spot it on the web), and we made an offer without viewing the apt. in person! Yes, we loved it that much and it is THE dream home! It literally is VERY close to the home that appeared in my dream when I was stressing out by all these property hunts. So now, finally, I can relax some and celebrate for our home sweet home to be.

Super easy rosemary butter roast d’agneau

Rinse lamb, pat dry, season with salt and pepper. Cut up rosemary butter, place on top of each piece of lamb. Sprinkle onions and whole cloves garlic with skin in the pan. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top. Place in oven 160 F for approx. 17-20 min.

Meat should be still tender. If your pieces are smaller, put in the oven for less time to avoid over cooking.

White Asparagus, peell skin. Saute asparagus in medium heat pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Till part skin turn light gold, chop in herbs if you like, squeeze half lemon juice to asparagus, quick toss then take away from heat.

SERVE! Using every single inch of our tiny paris kitchen.

Voila!  It was one satisfying meal.

Cheers and good luck to all who are hunt for apartments.

It seems like people choose to blindly believe that the Dutchers are crazy party animals, only because their grass are legal and they have naked babes standing in those transparent boxes in the red light district, but to me, seeing amsterdam finally in person, don’t think that they are as wild as what they were described.

Unlike Rotterdam, with all the skyscrapers and all, Amsterdam is almost like a big peaceful happy town.  We were really fortunate to get some sun the day we visited Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam under the sunlight of a saturday morning seem festive. Public markets are set up in the open squares, orange flags are hung everywhere for the coming European Football Championship, bikes are flooded in the parkings and on the street. To me, Amsterdam was not really about the the giant or the little wooden shoes, the weed, the naked babes, or the live porn show, probably not even about Rambranhdt, Van Gogh or Anne Frank; It was about the canals, the bikes, the wild mills, the oranges, the stroop waffles, the dutch gummies, the nine little street, and of course the stunning old and new dutch architecture that could be witness every where in the city.

If you don’t know already that Amsterdam is made up of beautiful canals, you will be reminded for sure when you are in town. The water, the houses along the river, the boats, the triangular roof facade… It is everything you would expect to see from the town of Amsterdam. Exactly the same from the postcard pictures.

And their love of flowers of course!

One of the big plus of Amsterdam is even though it’s an obviously top tourist city, it doesn’t feel touristy at all. Unlike Prague, which we had a minor disappointment with, the design of the city of amsterdam is not oriented only toward the tourists. Anywhere you go, you feel and see the vibes of the locals, biking to the markets, chilling along the canals, reading newspaper in their house boat, its the best part of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam wasn’t a very big city since we’ve walked all day and pretty much walked through most of the neighborhoods. As you can see already it wasn’t hard to witness spectacular buildings everywhere just walking around town.

Het Scheepvaart Museum

ARCAM Architectuurcentrum Amsterdam

I guess we wandered in China Town…

And of course the wild side of Amsterdam…

One interesting observation of mine about Holland is that the people there are SO BIG but everything else is so small. The restaurants, cafes, houses, apartments, shops, and CARS. There are so many cool little cars parked around the city. How do they even fit in there?! One thing though, the toilets in holland are generally taller. In a few places we went, like the museums and restaurants, I could sit on the toilet and my legs with be hanging in the air, and I could kick them back and forth while I whistle on the toilet seat, not bad ey?

FOOD! Food in holland, well, at least the ones we went were generally pretty good. Except their olives… it seemed like you can’t get good olives anywhere even you go to really good restaurants. There is  one outstanding restaurant though that I would like to share. It was in the awesome neighborhood of Jordaan. This little restaurant, called Balthazars Keuken, like I mentioned before, was so little, but the food is amazing! They serve weekly 3 course menus for 30 euro per person. Appetizer and desert are set but a choice of main course from 2 options. The appetizer is the beast! You get five little dishes, all taste interesting and absolutely delicious. And their open kitchen is the coolest part of the restaurant (besides the food of course)!

Address: Elandsgracht 108-BG  1016 VA Amsterdam, Netherlands
Number: 020 420 2114

Last but not least, for Alex good ole friend, and now my dear friend too, who was not only so kind to let us stay in her adorable stylish dutch apartment!, but also brought us to the unique beautiful part of Rotterdam the last day of our visit. There, we could finally see a dutch wind mill right under neath it!! What’s more?? I got 3 stacks of stroop waffles wrapped in gift paper and tie with ribbons to take home as a present ( and I’ve already finished half of them in 3 days. haha) !! It was so nice to see all the beautiful people in Alex’s life and that I am so lucky to be able to know and grow close with them.


Good bye Holland, for now. Cheers.