The Pearl of India is a jewel in Orleans

Ottawa's East End offers a taste of the Orient!

Okay, so the sign IS a little gaudy, but the food is GREAT!

I am happy to report that the Supper Seven had little difficulty deciding where to eat this Friday. The vote was almost unanimous! Perhaps it was the miserable weather that gave us a hankering for some hearty Indian food. We have yet to find a better example in Ottawa’s east end than Pearl of India. It’s tucked away ignominiously in a body shop’s parking lot on St. Joseph in Orleans and if you are not paying attention, you will drive right by and that would be a shame.

It is a testament to the quality of the food that the young girls, especially Amber specifically request that we go here. And it’s an easy choice because it’s exceptionally easy on the wallet. Our bill for seven including a couple of drinks and desserts was under $120! For under $20 a head we ended up taking some food home (it was definitely too good to waste)!

During our early visits here, a few years ago now, we used to allow the staff to guide us in our selections and they always helped us select a good mix of dishes. Now, we are so familiar with the menu that we no longer need such assistance. This is one of those restaurants where we just order a bunch of dishes and then share them.

A REAL Pearl – Not too Spicy or Pricey!

When it comes to The Pearl of India

The service just couldn’t be friendlier

The food’s tasty and hot

but won’t cost you a lot

So, can we go there again someday soon, dear?

What we ordered: For starters, there are  two soups on the menu, Daal (yellow lentil) and mulligatawny! Daal is mild, the mulligatawny a little spicier. Both are favoured by different members of our little group. The samosas are probably the best I have ever found in Ottawa/Gloucester, chock full of peas and potato and are served with a delicious sweet yogourt sauce.

For the main course, butter chicken is an absolute must and liked by everyone. We normally order two dishes, but today we switched it up and picked a chicken tikki masala to replace one of them. It looks a bit like chinese sweet and sour dishes and was quite spicy (medium hot), but delicious nonetheless.  Shrimp Bhoona with delicious sauce and lots of onion is another favourite. We typically order a lamb dish and this evening chose one that I probably cannot spell correctly because I think of it as Josh Groban (Rogan Josh). Another fairly spicy choice but Amber declared it the ‘best lamb we have had here’. Our server recommended the vegetable biryani and we acquiesced and were happy that we did. With all those other dishes having copious amounts of sauce and a paucity of vegetables other than onions and peppers, it was chock full of vegetables and a perfect addition. Finally, we ordered our favourite naan bread, which is one of the main reasons that we look forward to coming back here. Pearl of India knows how to make it just right! All we had left over to take home today was some naan bread (our eyes were bigger than our bellies!).

I have taken a lliking to the  ‘Indian’  Cheetah beer, but read the label today to discover that it was ‘Hand-crafted’ in Toronto. Now, I am not sure how one ‘hand-crafts’ a beer, but am pretty sure that Toronto is not Mumbai! Greg had his regular Gulab Jamun for dessert, though it is too sweet for most of our group but is often the only one available. Amber ordered ‘normal’ tea (2 others had Chai) and was disappointed that they had seen fit to add what appeared to be cardamom seeds, giving it an unwanted flavour and aroma!

As usual, our affable host, obviously the owner, greeted us like long-lot friends and checked in with us several times to ensure that we were happy. Altogether, another very pleasant dining experience.



  • Positives: Best naan bread in town. VERY easy on the pocketbook. Food is well-prepared, service is friendly and efficient
  • Negatives: Poor dessert selection, no childrens’ menu.
  • Summary: Of course, you have to like Indian food, because there is no North American food on the menu. Otherwise, we can find few flaws in this tiny gem of a restaurant. We’ll be back here soon!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Very Good
Price $$ Inexpensive
Decor *** Acceptable
Service **** Good 
Overall Rating **** Recommended


Pearl of India on Urbanspoon

Pearl Of India on Restaurantica

The Salad Days of Summer

Although we do regularly eat salad during the winter, it is at this time of year when we Canadians start to think warmer thoughts, that it really comes into its own! When I was a kid, salad was synonymous with lettuce. The big, green, leafy kind that we used to think was great for rabbits, but not really fit for human consumption. Our parents used to put it on the plate just to derive enjoyment from our displeasure, or so we believed. Well, I’m happy to report that things have drastically changed and salad in all its many glorious forms is today, a staple of our diet.

To tell the truth, we do not often buy simple head lettuce. As a base for our many and varied salad plates we normally start with one of the mixed green varieties that are popping up in almost every grocery store. The one pictured on the left is typical of its ilk. Don’t be fooled by the ‘organic’ label. We are not avid followers of the trend, it merely happened to be on special and was therefore the cheapest. What I really look for the most is a long best-before date, since leafy salad mixes tend to spoil relatively quickly.

I realize that many of my readers are probably already zoning out because salad is just not your thing. However, don’t turn off completely just yet because I am going to give you a couple of add-ins that might just have you changing your mind:

Un-Chef Bean SaladUn-Chef Bean Salad: Don’t buy this  ready-made. This couldn’t be easier to prepare and you can go from zero to hero in five minutes. Next time you visit the grocery store, pick up a variety of beans that catch your fancy. There are many to choose from: garbanzo beans (chick peas), black-eyed beans, wax, yellow or green beans, kidney beans and pre-mixed (but not pre-seasoned) varieties our our personal choices. Take about 3 different cans and drain off the excess liquid. Chop up some onion very finely (red onion works well here). Now make a dressing using balsamic vinegar, olive oil, green seasoning and a touch of molasses according to taste. You can check our Top Ten Ingredients if any of these is unknown to you.

Perfect Potato SaladPerfect Potato Salad: Until I started making potato salad this particular way, Dorothy would not usually eat it. Now, I can put it on her plate knowing that I am no longer torturing her! I generally start with new red potatoes or the variety pack of baby potatoes for colour. These I pre-cook, drain and cool. Then I add finely chopped onion and celery. The dressing is made with mayonnaise or salad dressing, grainy French mustard, relish and green seasoning. You will have to play with these ingredients to get the perfect blend for your personal taste. As I have mentioned before, I rarely measure things so I can’t give you exact amounts anyway!

Now, you can keep both these salads in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks and they are always ready for you to whip up a quick but interesting and filling meal when you don’t feel like putting in too much effort!

Quick and Easy Salad Plate

Putting it all together!

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And why can’t Easter be about coffee too?

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Un-Chef Tiramisu

Un-Chef Tiramisu


If you have been following us for any length of time at all, you will already know that the Un-Chef doesn’t often follow recipes! Even when I come across one that I like, I usually read it, inwardly digest the basics and then make my own concoction. Generally, this will only work once you grasp the fundamental proportions and physics of the ingredients. In other words, you have to understand what makes a recipe hang together before you dare pick it apart, at least if you expect to have credible and edible results.

While browsing through a recipe book recently, I came across a recipe for Tiramisu that caught my eye, largely because of the ladyfingers standing to attention like tin soldiers around its circumference. Since I had made quite a few different variations of this famous Italian dessert in the past, I thought that this might make a nice change and, as it happened, we needed a slightly upscale dessert for Easter Sunday. Since I had never attempted anything like this construction before, I decided to follow the recipe the first time out. Of course, I had to make some modifications (Clicking the recipe link below will make it appear in a new browser window):

  1. The 9″ chocolate sponge cake was a problem right off the bat. I didn’t feel like having to bake a cake just to supply the base for this dessert. However, as far as I knew, you can’t just buy a basic cake without icings or fillings. It always pays to ask! On visiting the bakery dept. at our local Loblaws Superstore, I managed to cajole the manager into parting with one of his frozen bases, which would normally be used to make their own specialities.
  2. Strong brewed espresso coffee is a very rare commodity in our house. We do have an espresso maker in mothballs in the basement, but I had no intention of  going rooting about for it. Instant coffee dissolved in hot water was our substitute.
  3. Marsala Wine was on hand, surprisingly enough, courtesy of our son Ian, but it was dry not sweet. In it went regardless. A little less sweet won’t harm anyone!
  4. Mascarpone cheese, even for 8oz was over $6. On the other hand, 1lb of lite cream cheese was $1.79. Although more like the consistency of Mascarpone than regular cream cheese, I still needed to blend it together with some sour cream to get even closer to the real thing.

The real challenge came when I started assembling the ingredients. First, the ladyfingers were too tall and I had to cut each one to about 2/3 length. It looked like the tips would be wasted. Next, I found that there was not enough filling to reach even close to the top of the springform pan (or the ladyfingers).  So, I arranged the remaining ladyfinger tips around the top of the cake and put it to set in the refridgerator. The next day, I whipped up additional whipping cream flavoured with Amaretto, glazed some fresh strawberries with melted fruit jelly (preserve not jello, I happened to have quince on hand), unmoulded and assembled it as pictured above.

the proof of the pudding was indeed in the eating. By all accounts, my modifications had not detracted too much because comments were universally positive, especially from my wife Dorothy who is a critic I can always rely on to tell me the truth as well as being a true lover  – of desserts.

Click Here to Download Tiramisu recipe in pdf format.

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Sing for your supper on Fridays at Broadway

Broadway Bar & Grill Innes/Cyrville

This Friday evening began like so many others with no clear idea of where the Supper Seven would go to eat. We actually ended up taking a vote. Two had voted for Wild Wing on Donald at St. Laurent in Ottawa’s East End. Two more decided to abstain, saying that they had no clear preference. That left three voting for Broadway Bar & Grill on Innes near Cyrville in Gloucester.

Broadway is often an easy choice for us for several reasons:

  1. We have never yet had to wait to be seated on a Friday evening.
  2. They have kids meals that the girls actually enjoy and usually eat well.
  3. The menu is varied and everyone can easily find something they like.
  4. It is relatively close for all three families that make up our group.

This evening was no exception. Although the restaurant was quite busy, there was still a free table large enough to accomodate our group. Service was prompt, courteous and efficient. Amber was particularly excited to discover that tonight was karaoke night. It was due to start at 9PM. It was now 7:30, so we felt it unlikely that would still be there at that time.

Special Recommendation: One of our favourites at Broadway is the Chicken & Shrimp Jumbalaya. It is nicely spiced but not overly so. Expect to need a doggie bag though, since it is a large portion.

What we ordered:  One of our group, Norma,  really wanted chicken wings and they agreed to prepare even a small order in two separate flavours, honey-garlic and barbecue.  Greg ordered the grilled salmon filet. Although nicely cooked it was crusted with a little to much herb mixture. Dorothy ordered her usual grilled chicken breast with Greek salad and found it as good as usual. She also needed a doggie bag, it was good enough to take home! Amber, 11, has already graduated to the adult menu, but I don’t recall what she ordered.

The two younger girls ordered the mini pogos and fries. Although personally find them not to my taste, the girls seem to like them and they are served with copious amounts of fries. Greg, Norma and I all ordered a Keith’s Red Draught which is almost as good as Rickard’s, our usual forst choice.

Although this is a restaurant is one where we often would order dessert, this particular evening none of us appeared to be in the mood, though we did help the two younger girls eat the delicious cookies that came with their ice cream.

As it turned out, we were still sitting at the table as the karaoke started. Amber approached the young lady running the karaoke and asked if the girls could be the opening act. You can see the result below.



  • Positives: Food was fresh, hot and served promptly once ordered. Prices are not too hard on the pocket
  • Negatives: None really, this is a family restaurant, so don’t expect haute cuisine
  • Summary: Reasonably good food at a good price. This is basically a sports bar at that level it excels!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Above Average
Price $$$ Reasonable
Decor *** Acceptable
Service *** Average
Overall Rating *** Worth a Try


Broadway Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Broadway Bar & Grill on Restaurantica

One man’s meat is another man’s poison….

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Would YOU eat this?

Do you say yes to animal rights – or wonder who really cares? From horses to dolphins, frog hearts, dogs, monkey brains and more – find out why these foods are highly controversial

via Ten controversial foods from around the world – Yahoo! Canada Travel.

It seems to me that this article really brings home the old adage ‘one man’s meat is another mans poison’. Personally, I am not going to judge another person’s eating habits and preferences although I do question how so many people happily gobble up one dead creature and consider it normal and then get up on their high horse to condemn another for doing the same thing to a different animal.

 The problem is really that whether we like it or not, we humans were designed by Mother Nature to be omnivores. Of course, we can all make the choice to be otherwise but should be careful not to judge others for doing what comes naturally!

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Not Turkish, Nor a Village but worth a visit!

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Little Turkish Village

This past Thursday evening was GNO (Girls Night Out). Ever since our Tupperware days, I have been considered one of the girls so I get to tag along;-) A group of us, anchored by Maureen, have been getting together about once a month for a few years now. We typically meet at an East End Ottawa (formerly Gloucester) restaurant and this time, the chosen location was the Little Turkish Village on St. Joseph Blvd. in Orleans.

As we pulled into the parking lot in the pouring rain, it became apparent that hard economic times were not in evidence here. Parking spots were rarer than stripes on a leopard. It was a good thing that one of us had been smart enough to make a reservation.

Like so many of the better dining establishments in our neck of the woods, the exterior does not necessarily make a great first impression! However, we, like so many others, have been enjoying the food and hospitality here so long that it just doesn’t matter. Willy, the owner for as long as we have been frequenting the place (13+ years), and his wife are the owner-operators and manage the whole establishment with just a couple of extra staff. The good news is that you get personal service from the owners who are both personable (though neither is Turkish). The bad news is that on very busy nights like tonight, wait times and individual attention suffers.

Special Tip: There are two dishes here that I would heartily recommend on your first visit:
1) Dinner for 2 (or more) Special. It is a sampler plate of skewered meats, served on a platter of the most delicious Turkish salad that we have ever encountered.
2) If available, the lamb shank is tender, moist and melts in your mouth.

What we ordered: 2 of our party ordered the Chicken Shish Kebab, 1 the Lamb in Yoghurt sauce and I opted for the combination platter – skewered lamb, chicken and sausage. I ordered a glass of the house red wine and neglected to ask what it was, since I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As I mentioned earlier, it was busy and a little slow but there were sufficient topics of conversation that we barely noticed. The biggest distraction was a shutterbug with a powerful flashgun who didn’t realize how annoying it was to have him competing with Mother Nature outside to see who could make the biggest flash (Mother Nature won, of course). When our food came it was hot and attractively arranged with a small lettuce and tomato garnish.

There are two small complaints that I would make about the majority of meals served here:
–> They are served with both rice AND potato. This seems to be a Greek/Lebanese common occurence. I can really speak for Turkish since this is the only one I have frequented. For me, this represents too much starch!
–> There are typically no vegetables or salad served as a side. A salad ordered separately represents too much food in total and I still have a hard time not finishing whatever I order even if doggie bags are du jour.

Apart from the two reservations above, each of us enjoyed our meals. Even though Willy offers a wider selection of desserts than others that we have reviewed recently, none of us partook, so I shall have to leave that for a future review. I am happy to report that the decaf coffee often cool and stale in many establishments, was better than average.



  • Positives: Food was fresh, hot and served promptly once ordered. Owners are always present and pleasant!
  • Negatives: Too much starch (rice & potato) and no veggies.
  • Summary: Not a Top Notch locale for a posh evening out but a nice venue for a mid-week relaxed supper!
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality *** Above Average
Price $$$ Reasonable
Decor *** Acceptable
Service *** Average 
Overall Rating *** Worth a Try


Little Turkish Village Dining Lounge on Urbanspoon

Little Turkish Village Dining Lounge on Restaurantica

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The Un-Chef’s Top Ten sauce and marinade ingredients

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sauces and marinades in spadesOkay, I will confess that I am a sauce and marinade junkie! While others get their jollies perusing the cookie or candy aisle in the supermarket, I have trouble pulling myself away from all those exotic and enticing glass bottles full of liquid promise. To me, there are certain small additions that can turn an OK meal into a memorable one. Although I like to buy and try new ready-made concoctions, with the right basic ingredients you can make your own creation for any recipe.

You will often see me refer to myself as the Lazy Chef. This is largely because a) I don’t like to re-invent the wheel, and b) I prefer to take the shortest distance between any two given points. I realize that the French are revered the world over for their culinary prowess where the British are not. However, I don’t pretend to be a Cordon Bleu afficionado. I like to prepare quick, easy and relatively nutritious meals without too much fuss and muss.

Usually, when I visit our daughter Christa in France, I prepare at least one complete meal for the family. This normally involves a trip to the local supermarket to pick up what I might need. Checking out the store shelves, I am constantly amazed how many of the products that I take for granted and use on a regular basis at home in Canada, are simply not available. When I have enquired as to why this might be, I have been told that it is because the French like to do everything from scratch rather than use prepared products, especially when it comes to sauces, condiments, dressings and marinades. 
Well, that is all and good for them, but I will continue to save myself time and effort by using the ten staple products listed below as the basis for much of my own culinary efforts. I should mention that I always manage to still pull a rabbit out of the hat in France by substituting and mixing what I am able to find for what I would normally use back here in Canada. This adapting and substitution is at the heart of the recipe book: The Un-Cookbook, which I hope to have completed (2nd Edition) shortly. Watch this space for more news as it becomes available!

Since I consider all of these ingredients essential in their own way, I will not number or rank them.

bouillon concentrate

Bovril: Concentrated Bouillon (Beef & Chicken): I grew up with Bovril in the UK, and it was considered good for you. Yes, I know they contain MSG but it is really hard to find a reasonably priced bouillon concentrate that does not. Besides, although I use them in my cooking constantly, I do so sparingly and one bottle will usually last us 12 months or more. When a recipe calls for any type of stock, we will often simply add the requisite amount of liquid to this base.

Good old garlic

Minced Garlic: There really are not too many vampires here in Ottawa, so this much vaunted property of garlic is not the major reason that we add it to many of our dishes. We simply love the taste. In my early years of cooking, I principally used powdered. I suppose it would be best of all to crush fresh cloves as needed, but remember that I am still the Lazy Chef and minced garlic from the jar suits me just fine!

Sweet Chili SauceSweet chili sauce: This ingredient has only been added to our cooking arsenal in relatively recent times. This is not to be confused with regular chili sauce which will appear below. This chili sauce is really based on chilies unlike its aforementioned namesake which contains no actual chili peppers at all. As a result, this one lends a  considerably more piquant aspect to a dish into which it is added. Since sugar is the first ingredient and chili the second (other than water), you can imagine that sweet and hot is the resulting quality this sauce imparts. Used sparingly in the right places (stir-fries for example) it is a boon!

Balsamic VinegarBalsamic Vinegar: In my early years, I knew vinegar only as a condiment for fish and chips. I also only knew of two varieties: white and malt. Now I know better. If I could only have one vinegar in my cupboard, it would definitely be balsamic. Both the color and the slight sweetness make it an ideal addition to salads, sauces and marinades. Yes, it costs a little more, but it is easily worth the extra.

Green Seasoning: Trinidad Style Green seasoningI was introduced to the concept of green seasoning about twenty years ago by our good Barbadian friend Norma who used it in almost everything she made and gave it a very distinctive flavour. She used to make it herself and it was only a few years ago that she gave us the recipe. Then just as she stopped producing it herself, we discovered some commercial variants of it at our local Caribbean store: Kool Runnings, (see link in left column). We have come to favour the Trinidad style pictured here. If I could only have a single seasoning, this would likely be the one I would choose. A word of warning though, the Scotch Bonnet peppers give it a bit of a hidden kick!

chili sauceChili Sauce: This is the one that most of us will recognise as the REAL deal, even though the ingredients reveal that there is not a speck of chili inside. In reality, it is more than ninety percent ketchup and therefore mostly tomatoes. However, I find that it gives a much more interesting flavour than plain ketchup. When added to sauces or marinades in moderation it adds a touch of spicy sweetness. One of my favourite uses is to mix it with mango chutney beside a hot Jamaican goat patty (also available at Kool Runnings)!

Pure virgin olive oilOlive Oil: Even though my childhood was filled with all kinds of fried food, it has fallen completely out of favour in our green, calorie-conscious society. Most of today’s children will not get to sample the delights of fried bread fried to a crispy golden brown in lashings of beef drippings. Recently, we tossed our own deep-fryer to the curb due to total lack of use. Rather than frying food, I tend to use a non-stick griddle lightly brushed with either butter or olive oil. However, bread, salads, dressings and marinades do call for some type of oil and pure virgin olive oil is always our number one choice.

Minced GingerMinced Ginger:Just as minced garlic  has recently replaced its powdered counterpart in our cooking, so ground ginger has largely given way to the minced variety pictured here. In my childhood, ginger was pretty much restricted to cakes and cookies in English cuisine. Nowadays, ginger is a staple in many different types of cooking but more especially in oriental and Asian dishes. If you are not a fan of the many types of pepper, you might consider adding ginger to spice up your cooking.

Soy SauceSoy Sauce:For most of us, talk of soy sauce  brings to mind those ubiquitous, environmentally- unfriendly sachets that accompany Chinese take-out. We use this ingredient in many more places: soups, gravies, sauces and marinades etc. We would caution, however, that soy sauce contains significant amounts of salt, a quality that it shares with Bovril above. So, use it sparingly and don’t add extra salt, especially if you use it along with Bovril. It often pays to be aware of the nutritional information labels on the products you use in your food preparation.

 Honey & MolassesA Touch of Sweetness: As a child, raw granulated sugar was a large part of our diet. We would put it on cereal, eat on bread thickly slathered with butter and much, much more. Today, it is a definite no-no! So what are we supposed to do when the recipe and the palette calls for a touch of sweetness. Here are our personal preferred candidates. Both molasses and honey offer benefits not available from sugar alone, not least of which are flavour and colour. Although molasses is our personal favourite, there are times when both its colour and strong flavour make it unsuitable for certain recipes. That is why we added honey here as well.


So, there you have it: our personal Top Ten list of indispensable flavour enhancers!

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Eggseptionally easy three cheese asparagus and mushroom omelette

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Three Cheese Asparagus and Mushroom Omelette

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like cooking up a storm, but are not quite ready to break down and throw a frozen pizza in the oven or call the nearest Chinese take-out. Omelettes are designed for just such a situation. Last week, having pulled nothing from the freezer and having nothing in the way of leftovers in the fridge, I decided that omelette was eggsactly what was called for. Eggs represent one of those foods that go in and out of favour but that we love. Sometimes, you just have to ignore all the so-called experts and go with what your grandmother taught you.

What follows here is a typical Un-Chef Un-recipe! Rather than give detailed ingredients and instructions, it is all about giving you the outline and leaving you free to use your imagination and things at hand to come up with your own variation on a theme.

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like cooking up a storm, but are not quite ready to break down and throw a frozen pizza in the oven or call the nearest chinese take-out. Omelettes are designed for just such a situation. Last week, having pulled nothing from the freezer and having nothing in the way of leftovers in the fridge, I decided that omelette was eggsactly what was called for. Eggs represent one of those foods that go in and out of favour but that we love. Sometimes, you just have to ignore all the so-called experts and go with what your grandmother taught you.
What follows here is a typical Un-Chef Un-recipe! Rather than give detailed ingredients and instructions, it is all about giving you the outline and leaving you free to use your imagination and things at hand to come up with your own variation on a theme.
Looking in the fridge, I found that we had some asparagus and mushrooms that needed finishing up. We usually have a selection of cheeses on hand. Today, I found Comté, Cheddar and smoked Edam. I sliced a little of each very thinly, enough to completely cover one half of the omelette(s) To start with, take two or three large eggs per person and beat them together after adding about an additional 10% of water, milk, cream (sour or fresh) or plain yoghurt according to your likes or whim. I usually add a couple of dollops of Trinidad style green seasoning. You could use hot sauce, Mrs. Dash or just salt and pepper as you wish to add a little spice to your life. I first blanched the asparagus in the microwave and briefly sauteed the mushrooms in a dab (1/2oz) of butter.

Un-Chef Hints:There are two secrets to a first-class omelette:

  1. The pan must be sufficiently hot that a pat of butter dropped onto it will sizzle and brown almost instantly but not smoke and turn black. And yes, I use butter. The one half ounce used to lightly cover the surface of the pan is not enough to do anyone any damage and really imparts a nicer flavour and brown colour to the final result.
  2. The omelette should be folded over on itself just at the point where the top is just about cooked through but not yet dry. Once it has reached this stage, quickly add the asparagus and mushrooms and place the cheese on top before folding the omelette over on itself.

Provided that your pan was correctly pre-heated, the omelette will be a beautiful golden brown like ours in the photo.
Serve with a side salad like the one pictured here and you have a filling, delicious and nutritious meal.

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Spice it up a little at Chahaya Malaysia

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Malaysian, Indonesian & Vegetarian CuisineSince this friday was Good Friday, Dorothy and I decided that rather than completely foregoing our weekly dining out treat, we would simply change the date to thursday. This meant that instead of our normal seven, it was just the two of us and our options were much broader than is usually the case. Without our three young ladies in tow, we could be a little more adventurous. Today, we felt like Asian food!

Tucked away in Ottawa’s East End on Montreal Road near Blair is a hidden gem: Chahaya Malaysia. This small family owned and run restaurant has been a local feature for a good number of years.  A husdband and wife team own and run this restaurant and their children also serve tables. Although it does not look like much on the outside, this is one book that you should not judge by its cover. We eat here two or three times a year and have never yet had a disappointing meal.

The sign outside (pictured at left) announces Malaysian, Indonesian and Vegetarian cooking. One of the very few drawbacks for some, (not for ourselves) is that there is almost no Canadian or standard North American food on the menu. Although many of the dishes are quite spicy, they will tone down most of the dishes according to your taste.

What we ordered: We often forego an appetizer, but this evening we were in the mood for spring rolls and they came home made and piping hot. Then we chose homecooked lamb which we ordered medium hot. Our server (hostess) warned us that this would be as spicy as the hot pepper sauce and recommended that we try the sauce on our spring rolls first. This we did and assured her that we would be fine. In addition we ordered Singapore Chicken which was lightly breaded and served with a sweet and sour sauce. Rounding out our selection was a platter of ‘traditional’ rice. It costs a little more than regular rice but is well worth the extra.

The prawn crackers that we were served while waiting for our food to arrive were a little greasy but addictive nevertheless. Our food came promptly and was very much to our liking. So much so, that we had no leftovers for the dog (next day’s lunch in reality). Oftentimes, Dorothy and I will share a dessert to finish off our meal but nothing on offer really tempted us.  I do, however recommend trying the Malaysian sweet tea (sweetened with condensed milk) and poured with panache at your table.


  • Positives: Food was well above average, service was outstanding, with special care taken to ensure we were not ordering food too spicy for our palettes.
  • Negatives: Small dessert selection. Not much ‘regular’ food on the menu.
  • Summary: Chahaya Malaysia nevers disappoints.  If you are a fan of Asian cuisine you should definately give them a try
Category Rating Explanation
Food Quality **** Good
Price $$$ Moderate
Decor *** Acceptable
Service ***** First Class 
Overall Rating **** Above Average

Chahaya Malaysia on Urbanspoon

Chahaya Malaysia on Restaurantica

Study: A small dose of chocolate could cut heart attack or stroke risk by almost 40 per cent – Yahoo! Canada News

Previous studies have suggested dark chocolate in small amounts could be good for you, but this is the first study to track its effects over such a long period of time. Experts think the flavonols contained in chocolate are responsible. Flavonols, also found in vegetables and red wine, help the muscles in blood vessels widen, which leads to a drop in blood pressure.”

via Study: A small dose of chocolate could cut heart attack or stroke risk by almost 40 per cent – Yahoo! Canada News.

My private medicine chest

My private medicine chest of healthy remedies!

Our previous post gave you some tips on how to make your sweet cravings a little healthier. And the good news just keeps on coming. So maybe you don’t have to banish the Easter Bunny this weekend 😉 The not so good news is that you have to consume all of these things in moderation, which is where many, if not most of us, go wrong. I suppose, if eating chocolate makes you guilty, you could try vegetables and/or red wine to get the same benefits. The wine maybe, vegetables not so much….

If you are one of the many who gave up chocolate for lent and you already feel your blood pressure rising, never fear, the end is near! (Of your fasting, that is!) I should confess that as I sat at my keyboard typing this post, I indulged in a couple of chocolates. I can feel the benefits already….

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