Kimchi Jjigae –


So my hubby is super picky with his Korean food and he is always endlessly searching for a good Kimchi or Kimchi recipe.  We were at Hmart the other day and he noticed they had a “Premium Kimchi”.  Neither of us knew what the premium part was comprised of and what the difference really was.  With that being said, we bought it to try.  Now if any of you have been to the Korean supermarkets, you know that a lot of times the Kimchi is sold in a plastic jar(about 3 lbs), so there’s quite a bit. 20150203_190328

When we got home, we were eager to try this Kimchi out.  It’s the type that had the whole cabbages.  The tasted was quite nice, not too salty or sour.  Full flavour development.  Unfortunately, it’s still not the perfect kimchi my hubby was looking for, and therefore we had a lot left over when we were coming close to the expiration date.  I asked my hubby what we should do with that much kimchi and he suggested that with the cold weather we can make kimchi jjigae.

If you can’t figure out from the picture above, Kimchi Jjigae is a stew made of kimchi.  I believe traditionally, it’s made with kimchi, water, pork (neck, jowl, belly?), salt, green onion, kimchi juice, and gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes).  Since I’ve never made this before, I decided to scour the internet that had a recipe and instructions that seemed to make sense.  I came across this site:  I do appreciate Chef Marc’s take on his site regarding cooking.  Sometimes it’s not about the actual recipes and it’s more so the methods of how to develop flavours, lock in juices, proper steps.  Well I decided to give this recipe a try, sort of.



Things that I did different:

Pork Jowl instead of Belly

– no Soju, gochujang (Korean chili paste), gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)

– regular Chinese soy sauce instead of gukganjang (Korean soy sauce)

– Red Miso paste instead of doengjang (Korean bean paste) – simply because I had it on hand

– Sesame oil instead of butter

As  you can see, I did a lot of substitutions.  It’s the techniques and fresh ingredients that matter in the end right?

Step 1:

Marinate the meat

Step 2:

Saute the pork jowl. Add oil and kimchi once meat has slightly browned.

Step 3:

Add water and kimchi juice

Step 4:


After bringing to a boil, add tofu

Step 5:

Add sesame oil, sprinkle sesame seeds and green oil. Serve and enjoy!

Easy to make?

Very!  Soups and stews generally don’t require too much effort.  It’s just the order of putting the items in to ensure the flavour development process.  I noticed that there were comments about the pork not being soft.  I’ve made this 3 times now and each time the pork has been pillowy soft, so it’s just stewing it with time.

How’d they turn out?

I loved it.  Made some plain jasmine rice to eat it with.  It was hearty, comforting, and hot on a cold winter night.  I didn’t add a lot of the chili paste/powders as I can’t take that much heat, but the kimchi we had did have a bit of heat already.


The 30 mins cook time noted on the site was pretty spot on.  It was enough for the pork and onions to be browned and all the ingredients to mingle and stew.


Well as I mentioned above, I made this 2 more times afterwards, so it was wonderful.  I found this recipe super easy and although I made many changes to the ingredients, with the proper steps and techniques that Chef Marc provided, I was able to make it a pretty good kimchi jjigae.  I made it for my mother in law and she said it was “Fancy”, but she did enjoy it.  I would definitely make this again on a cold winter day and I would love to try the other recipes on!

NO Recipe’s Kimchi Jjigae, you’re YOL Approved!


Apple Walnut Tart with Maple Custard

During the holidays, we were invited to a new friend’s house.  I know she used to bake a lot until she had her little bundle of joy, so I wanted to bring something that was extra special.  It then struck me that I came across a beautiful apple tart a month or so back.  The pictures were stunning.  It definitely was a show stopper centre piece of a dessert.


This beautiful tart recipe is from the Hip Foodie Mom (the recipe belong to Hip Foodie Mom’s blog.  The opinions and review are solely my own)

Apple Walnut Tart with Maple Custard


Your Guests will be Wowed by this Gorgeous Apple Tart of Roses, with a Toasty Walnut Crust and a Silky Sweet Maple Custard Filling. And it’s Gluten Free!

Author: Allie, Baking A Moment

Recipe type: Dessert

Serves: 10


For the Walnut Crust:

  • 2½ cups walnut pieces (don’t waste your money on halves)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Custard:

  • 1½ cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 2 apples (Macoun – I used different ones), quartered, cored, and thinly sliced – keep in lemon water until ready to use)
  • juice of a lemon
  • ¼ cup apricot jam, warmed (optional)


For the Crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor or chopper, pulse the walnuts until the are finely chopped, and the pieces are about the size of breadcrumbs.
  3. Place the chopped nuts in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients, tossing together with a fork.
  4. Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes.

For the Custard:

  1. Pour the milk into a small pot and place over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the maple syrup, cornstarch, and salt.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture, while whisking, to warm the eggs.
  4. Place the mixture back into the pot and place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a bubble and becomes very thick.
  5. Stir in the vanilla and transfer to a heat safe container. Lay plastic wrap over the surface. Chill for 2 hours.

Assemble the Tart:

  1. Spread the maple custard in the walnut tart shell.
  2. Warm the apple slices in the microwave until pliable.
  3. Roll a slice of apple into a tight spiral and stand it up vertically in the custard. Continue to arrange apple slices in a concentric pattern, around the first one, building a rose pattern.
  4. Warm the apricot jam, and thin it with lemon juice. Brush this glaze over the apples, for shine and to prevent browning (optional).


With regards to this recipe, I have tweaked it a little here and there.  I made the crust and the custard the day before; chilled in the fridge separately and not assembled.   When I tried to spread the custard onto the tart, it felt a bit thick to assemble the slices of apples and also, I didn’t quite like the flavour.  What I ended up doing was putting the custard into the mixer, threw in a teaspoon of cinnamon, and gave it a quick whip.  Apart from the custard, hand slicing all my apples (apparently I left my mandolin at mom’s), using red Macintosh Apples, and Hickory Farm’s Cinnamon Apple Jam, I followed to the T.  

2 1/2 cups of walnut pieces in the Vitamix dry container:

After the walnut pieces have been chopped:

After mixing in the butter,sugar, egg white, and salt into the grounded walnut pieces:

Pressed crust mixture before baking:

Crust after baking:

Starting the custard (egg yokes, maple syrup, corn startch, and salt):

After mixing the ingredients together (I got a thick layer of bubbles on top):

Putting the custard on the stoe (as it slowly heated I added the cinnamon for extra flavour – second time I made it):

This is what it looked like thicked:

Adding in vanilla:

(I did have to cream the custard the next day adding a bit of milk as it was too thick, but I didn’t take a picture of that, sorry)

And after everything was assembled:

2015-01-28 13.10.23

Variation of assembly:

Easy to make?

Yes.  The shell was very simple.  I bought chopped walnuts and threw them into my Vita Mix and gave them a few twirls and they were done.  For the custard, it’s a pretty standard custard mixture, with a few small tweaks afterwards.  For the assembly, I know it looks like a lot of work, but it actually wasn’t.  I think the one thing I spent the most time on was slicing the apples, but it could’ve been avoided with a mandolin. Check out Hip Foodie Mom’s blog (link above) to see the professional pictures:)

How’d they turn out?
As you can see in my picture, it turned out around 95% of what Allie (guest blogger for Hip Foodie Mom) looks like.  In terms of taste and texture, my friends had no complaints.  Actually it was gobbled up pretty quickly and everyone was very impressed.  I liked the hint of maple syrup mixed with cinnamon in the custard a lot better than the recipe originally.  It gave the custard a needed kick so it wasn’t just sweet and creamy.

Let’s see.  The crust from start to finish, not including chilling time was about 25 mins.  The custard took about 15-20 mins.  Slicing apples, I lost track of time, lol.  I think if you had the items made the night before and then sliced and assembled the day of, it really wouldn’t take that much time.  The prep of slicing (with a mandolin), microwaving, assembling, and glazing would probably be about 1/2 hr.

I like it!  It is a beautiful tart and it would be the center of attention.  The looks was as good as the taste.  I mean, sometimes we eat with our eyes too right?  I loved how creamy and smooth the custard was and with the added cinnamon, it really brought out the maple syrup flavour to not just be sweet.  I received lots of compliments and it really wasn’t as hard as it looks. Would I do it again? Yes!

Hip Foodie Mom’s Apple Walnut Tart  with Maple Custard, you’re YOL Approved!

Red Velvet Crinkles

I decided to give these crinkles a try because of a work pot luck.  Most of my colleagues were Red Velvet crazy, so I wanted to introduce something new to them.

Now, what is a Crinkle cookie?  Simply put, it’s a cookie with small wrinkles and creases on the surface.


So unfortunately this was also a recipe tested during the holidays, so I didn’t get a chance to take pictures.  I would say that my crinkles turned out 80-90% like the pictures on the site.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes

Yield: About 30 cookies


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp milk or buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 tsp red food coloring
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  • In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs 1 at a time, blending until combined after each addition. Mix in milk, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice and red food coloring. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in white chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or until firm enough to shape into balls.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour powdered sugar into a bowl. Remove dough from refrigerator, scoop dough out and with buttered hands, shape into medium balls (about 2 1/2 Tbsp each). Roll cookie dough balls into powdered sugar and evenly coat. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and flatten slightly, then bake in preheated oven 13 – 14 minutes. Allow to rest on cookie sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
  • *If you want them a little more chocolatey you can replace 2 – 3 Tbsp of the flour with 2 – 3 additional Tbsp of cocoa powder.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


In terms of the recipe, there’s a lot of substitutions allowed.  Here is a list of what I ended up using:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (sifted and minus 3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (plus 3 tablespoons)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp  Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (fresh lemon)
  • 2 Tbsp red food coloring 
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

In terms of the directions, it is very detailed.  I only did 1 thing different =>made the dough ahead.  After I chilled the dough for about 1/2 hour in the fridge, I formed them into balls (didn’t need to butter my hands as I used a cookie scoop to scoop out the batter).  I put the balls in plastic wrap, inside an air tight box, then into the freezer.  I made this 3 days ahead so that I can do fresh baked cookies the morning I needed them.

Easy to make?
Yes, it was very easy to make these cookies.  I didn’t find any of the directions unclear.  The only thing I would note for the direction is, when rolling the dough balls in the powdered sugar, make sure that it’s coated white and not a thin layer.  I made several batches of these, seeing how easy and pretty they are, but the first batch, I was worried about rolling too much sugar, but when I rolled and dusted off the excess, they did not turn out pretty.

How’d they turn out?
Overall, I’d say the recipe turned out as it should.  I got a thin crispy layer outside, soft, cake like inside.  The white chocolate chips went well with the cookie, but I wonder what would happen if there were cream cheese chips?

In terms of time, it wasn’t time consuming at all.  I guess I did do make mine ahead of time.  The dough freezes well and makes it’s very easy.  Take them out of the freezer, roll in powdered sugar, and bake.  If you choose to use this method, just remember to take the frozen dough out of the freezer and let it rest for about 1/2hr in room temperature before rolling them.

If you were to follow the recipe, you would have that 2 hr gap of waiting for the dough to harden as it chills in the fridge, but if you’re making dinner in between, it would be perfect as well.

These pretty cookies were super popular over the holidays.  I guess with the red and white colour, it added to the festive feeling.  My hubby, who generally doesn’t like sweets too much, had a few of these cookies.   Everyone else really liked how they were almost like little cakes  and with Red Velvet being a huge trend still, it increased the popularity of these crinkles.  I ended up making 4 batches of these over the month and they were always gobbled up.

Cooking Classy’s (on Yummly) Red Velvet Crinkles, you’re YOL Approved!

Alton Brown’s Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I do apologize, but due to the holiday frenzy, I didn’t get a chance to take pictures.  This recipe was actually performed by my hubby.  He wanted to bring something to one of the holiday dinners and I suggested him to give this recipe a try:

Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 30 min

3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ounces grated Parmesan

Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.

Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.  Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2004


When my hubby when to get the ingredients, he claims that T&T Supermarket didn’t have the Russet Potatoes, so we just used the regular large brown potatoes that you can find at any grocery stores.  We also omitted the Parmesan as he doesn’t like cheese.

Easy to make?
If my hubby can make this and not find it hard, this is definitely an easy to make recipe.  Even though he didn’t follow the recipe to the ‘T’, everything still turned out creamy and delicious!  After he combined the garlic mixture to the mashed potatoes, his words were “that’s where the creamy comes from”.  When he was a bachelor, his idea of mashed potatoes was, potatoes mashed with some butter.

How’d they turn out?
They were super yummy.  Creamy, but not super mushy like boxed mash potatoes.  We love garlic, so for us this was heavenly and perfect.  Although we omitted the parmesan, the texture was still right.

The prep and cook times are pretty accurate, I believe it only took us about 45 mins total.

This recipe was super easy to make, great flavours if you like garlic, creamy as the name says, and if my hubby can make it right, I’d say it’s fool proof.

Alton Brown’s Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, you’re YOL Approved!