Chinese steamed egg custard


I’ve been trying to get my little man to eat his eggs, but regardless of the style – scrambled, boiled, puréed, fried, steamed – he spits them right back out. Recently, I found that making a sugar-free version of crême brulée got him to eat them, which is all well and good when I have time to nurture the eggs from pot to oven. And then, my momma came to visit and showed me the REAL way of making Chinese steamed egg custard. The eggs come out silky smooth like soft tofu and for our guy, he seems to prefer things with a smoother texture.

The greatest part is that this custard takes all of 10 minutes to make with most of it in the steamer with a timer on. In other words, it requires little to no supervision… unlike the crême brulée.

I like using whole cow’s milk or goat’s milk for my custard, as it’s for my baby, but the recipe typically uses water. If you’re making this for yourself, you can flavour the custard with a splash of sesame oil, soy sauce, and sprinkling of chopped scallions or chives.

Ingredients (for a single serving):

  • 1 egg (duck or chicken)
  • water or milk
  • sesame oil for seasoning
  • Optional: soy sauce and chopped scallions or chives

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Homemade yoghurt


It’s been awhile since my last post. I’m sorry about that. It’s been a wild year – between a lengthy healing time for a concussion that forced me off all my devices, a busy pregnancy, and now new babe, poor Foodiologie has been long neglected.

Since my last set of posts, I’ve been experimenting with a lot of DIY and making my own cleaners, baby gear, and household items. I’m still undecided on whether I’ll post about those somewhere for those interested – case in point, look how badly I’m keeping up with just my food blog – but if I do, I’ll let you know here.

All that said, at my mother’s suggestion and armed with her great recipe, I did try my hand at making our own yoghurt. It came out splendidly and I’m loving how simple it is – no yoghurt kit, expensive equipment, or laborious process needed. And it tastes great.

What you’ll need:

  • 2L of 2% or Homogenized milk. The higher the fat content, the creamier your yoghurt. I don’t suggest using less than 2% as it will be quite runny – but if you like your yoghurt runny, by all means, try it! As a note, avoid lactose-free milk products as you’ll need the lactose in the milk for the bacteria to feed on to make the yoghurt.
  • 250mL of existing organic, probiotic, plain yoghurt. Nothing with added flavours as that will interfere with the process
  • A large pan with a lid – something like a Dutch oven is best

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Rust Rescue 101: Saving your cast iron or wok

The blight happened.

My beautiful cast iron griddle and grill, along with my new-ish Chinese wok both got rust. It certainly makes a case for remembering to heat up your cast irons and woks after washing to make sure ALL the water is evaporated off.

Luckily, it’s not too difficult to get rid of rust from your cookware. The bad news is that once you do, you will have to go through the lengthy process of reconditioning your pan, grill, or wok all over again.

Below is my 3-step process of how to get rid of the rust. The fourth step is thrown in for good measure.

  1. Put about a tablespoon of sea salt and oil onto your cast iron cookware or in your wok.
  2. With a piece of steelwool, work the salt and oil around the rusty areas of your cookware and scrub it off
  3. Rinse off the salt and oil. Don’t use soap. Just rinse it off so all the salt is gone.
  4. Follow the instructions for reconditioning your cookware.

Happy cast iron or wok cleaning!

Ratatouille: a simple classic


With holiday entertaining just around the corner, I love this ratatouille for its simplicity, presentation and better yet, low maintenance. All you need to do is slice, stack, and bake. The majority of the time spent for this dish is in the baking, which frees you up to do other things – like preparing other parts of your feast or getting ready to look your best! Either way, it’s a win win.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 Japanese eggplant (you can use regular eggplant too, I like the Japanese eggplants as they’re bigger in girth, which works better for stacking)
  • 4 medium tomatos
  • 1 large zucchini or 2-3 small ones
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, or fresh if you have it
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

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Pot au feu: A winter retreat


For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, winter is definitely here. With the shorter days, blustering winds, occasional snow, and sub-zero temperatures, this kind of climate calls for food of a heartier kind that warms both body and soul. So earlier this week, with that in mind, I made pot au feu, a traditional French beef stew and also the origin and inspiration behind the much loved Vietnamese phở noodle soups (also pronounced the same way). Not only is pot au feu hearty, but it lends itself well to communal eating as well… if you wish.

At its heart, pot au feu is made from stewing a combination of different cuts of meats and bone. It’s up to you what you use, there really isn’t a wrong way. Select both fatty and leaner cuts of meat, along with cartilaginous bone and you’ll have a great pot au feu on your hands. You’ll also be using seasonal root vegetables to round out your stew. Again, it’s up to you what you put in. I like the combination of carrots, turnip, and onions – potatoes and celery are also popular additions.

Ingredients: (serves 4-5)

  • 1 lbs. of beef shoulder roast (preferably with the bone), leave whole
  • 1 lbs. of beef round roast, leave whole
  • 1 oxtail and or 3-5 pieces of bone marrow
  • 0.75 lbs. of beef sirloin or other lean meat, leave whole
  • 7 small to medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and coarsely chopped
  • 2 large turnips or 4 to 5 small turnips, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium spanish onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 leek (the white part only), coarsely chopped
  • 1 bouquet garni made with thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves (Go easy on the rosemary as a little goes a long way. You should have a loose bundle of mainly thyme with about 8 to 10 small to medium stems, 1 to 2 stems of rosemary, and about 2 to 3 bay leaves, depending on the size of your leaves.)
  • 4 cloves or 1/2 a teaspoon of ground cloves if you don’t have the full ones
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • coarsely ground pepper, to taste

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Bouquet garni

IMG_9318A bouquet garni is a bundle or sachet of herbs that you assemble and add to something you’re boiling or stewing for a prolonged period of time like a soup, stock, or stew. The bundling or sachet allows you to remove the herbs quickly and easily once what you’re making has enough flavour – not unlike a tea bag. French stocks in particular strive to be crystal clear, and so the bouquet garni is key in helping to achieve this.


What you include in a bouquet garni will depend on what you’re making, but generally, thyme and bay leaves are used as a base. Other herbs that can be added or asked for in a recipe include:

  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Tarrgon

Some recipes also ask for certain vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions to also be included in the bouquet garni. For those recipes, it’s better to use a sachet method as the vegetables can break down over the course of cooking. Some also wrap everything up inside a few layers of leeks that have been halved lengthwise and tie it together.


Assembling a bouquet is very easy. There are two main methods:

1) Stack and bundle your herbs together and tie it tightly together with a string

2) Place them into a tea bag or cheese cloth and tie that tight with a string

Voilà, You’re ready to go!

Ryoji Ramen and Izakaya revisited

signrevisitedBack in March of this year, I posted my review of Toronto’s Ryoji Ramen and Izakaya.

It has been around five months since I was last at Ryoji and this past Thursday night, two friends and I decided it was time to pay them another visit. I’m afraid we were disappointed. In general, an experience at a restaurant gets broken down into three areas for me: service, food quality, and price. Unfortunately, Ryoji has deteriorated significantly in all three areas and this is how.

I knew in advance of going to Ryoji this last time that our beloved Ai was no longer at Ryoji. However, previously, even though Ai was our favourite, there were many other good people who worked at Ryoji. The staff were friendly, helpful, and upbeat – and therefore, so was the vibe of the restaurant. Now, the crew that remains is noticeably different from the charm, energy, enthusiasm, and care that the people like Ai represented from before. As an izakaya, enthusiasm is king. Customers are traditionally greeted upon their arrival with a united chorus of irashaimase that ripples throughout the restaurant – it is no longer like this at Ryoji. Instead, there was silence after our server meekly called out the greeting. (Cue sliding trombone.) The service thereafter was similarly lack lustre and at times, even off-putting.

Food quality
A far cry from the quality of food Ryoji served before. We ordered the gyoza, takoyaki, and tondo tonkotsu special ramen. The gyoza were thick, deep fried, and bubbly – more similar to a crispy wonton than the traditional pan fried dumplings we were expecting. That said, they tasted fine. (But then, so do my frozen $3 bags of dumplings from my local Chinese grocer.) Our staple takoyaki order was nearly exclusively flour and potato and contained almost no octopus. They tasted okay, but the quality was noticeably different than the last time we were in. And finally, the most disappointing of all was the ramen. How to I say this? It was not good. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad either. It’s just that it was no longer good. The pork was dry, the broth over-salted, the egg was missing (although when we asked, we were able to get the eggs back) and the noodles did not taste like ramen noodles. Instead, they tasted a lot like wonton noodles. Again with the wonton theme! Of course, there is nothing wrong with wonton noodles – we love wonton noodles – but wonton noodles are not the same as ramen noodles. And when you are out for ramen paying for ramen, you expect ramen – especially not the kind that leaves a funny aftertaste in your mouth. Not good.

The prices are more or less the same as before – around $10-12 for a bowl of ramen. There are also options now for mini bowls for around $6-9. That said, price is heavily swayed by value. And value is dependent on the quality of an experience as a whole. So now, in light of how far the service has deteriorated along with the food quality and considering all the other fantastic options for ramen in the city for around the same price (or less), I cannot recommend Ryoji Ramen and Izakaya anymore.

I’m sorry Toronto ramen friends. We’ll have to go elsewhere… and it seems many others feel the same way as the restaurant sat nearly empty on a Thursday night, compared to the packed tables it enjoyed regularly earlier this year any day of the week. I sincerely hope they improve again – I guess only more time will tell.