Friday, October 17, 2008

Dim Sum, Breast Cancer, Finances

Once upon a time, many years ago, Matt and I found ourselves in the Chinese section of Toronto. Being lunchtime, we thought we would try some dim sum and as the restaurant was full of Chinese we figured this was a good place. However, the waiter didn't know much English and couldn't tell us what we were eating. We ended up with duck feet which is a great delicacy to Chinese people and we didn't know how to eat them, I'm not sure I really want to try. Nor did we realise we were paying so much a dim sum and ended up with a bill for things we didn't know we'd had and hadn't been sure we enjoyed. However, it turns out that the young lady who is my supervisor at Canadian Diabetes has a Chinese father, so, she knows all about dim sum. I have always wanted to go for dim sum with someone who knows all about it, I asked one Chinese guy but he avoided actually taking us. Sunday lunch, we are going to a restaurant which I am told is a hole in the wall but has great food. I will trust my supervisor. I will tell you all about it on Monday. This morning on Good Morning America, described three new procedures which are being developed to help in the early detection of breast cancer. Being an American programme they emphasised the cost as being around the same as a mammography, but it seems to me that all three of these new procedures are much more comfortable than having one's boob compressed in a cold machine. Unfortunately, I cannot find anything on their website about these three new tests which will, sadly, not be available to the general public for several years. Each one of these three tests can detect smaller tumors than any current test, particularly in those with dense breast tissue. Checking the internet it appears Britain is also doing a lot of work on this. Obviously the earlier the malignancy is discovered, the more likelihood of recovery. Of course, there are old jokes about mammography - you can practice for it by slamming your breast with the fridge door, or lying on the garage floor and letting someone run over it. The financial crisis is something we all realise is bad, but when it starts affecting people you know, even if not very well, it begins to hit home. One of the editors of an ezine I take has been let go and says he cannot pay his mortgage. His wife had breast cancer a year or so ago and they are already in financial difficulties (I'm not sure if the two are connected, but, being in the States, they could be) so I am very sympathetic. One tends to think its OK because we are retired and getting pensions, but if the worst came to the worst, those too could dry up I suppose. Talk about gloom and doom. Glenda Larke (see Tropic Temper) is quick to point out the differences between the possible recession and the depression of the '30s. She is so right, as yet, depression it ain't. Last night I watched The Scarlet Pimpernel with Trevor Howard. It was pretty pathetic by modern standards. Then I followed it with Life on Mars which is about a cop who has gone back in time. Not bad, although Matt wouldn't watch it. I have just discovered it is an American remake of a BBC programme. Here's a recipe from Living Cookbook which is very similar to one a friend of mine makes all the time because it is so easy to take to a party. This details how to make the pastry but you can use frozen pastry from the store if you wish. I would, but then I am no pastry cook. Salmon and Watercress tart 8 oz flour 1/2 level tsp. each salt and sugar 4 oz unsalted butter chilled 2 level tbsp chopped fresh parsley or chives 2 level tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese 3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks 8 oz salmon fillet 4 fl oz oz white wine black pepper 4 oz smoked salmon (u can use bits) 1 oz watercress sprigs 5 fl oz oz double (heavy cream) 1 level tsp. Dijon mustard 1 / Sieve the flour salt and sugar into a food processor bowl. Add diced butter and process for a few seconds till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add parsley or chives and grated Parmesan. 2 / Add 1 beaten egg. Process in short bursts until well combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead together gently. Wrap in cling film and chill for 2 hours. 3 / Place fresh salmon in a frying pan add wine and a sprinkling of black pepper. Bring to the boil; remove from the heat, cover and leave to cool. (The fish will cook in the cooling liquid). 4 / mix the watercress with remaining 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, cream, mustard and black pepper. 5 / Roll out the pastry onto a floured board into a large rectangle about 6" x 14" (15cm x 36cm) Use to line a 41/2 x 131/2 tranche* tin (11.5cm x34cm). Chill for 20 minutes in the freezer. 6 / Bake the pastry case blind at 190deg C (375deg F) for 15-20 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further 10 minutes till golden. 7 / Brush warm pastry with a little beaten egg yolk. Place the salmon and smoked salmon on the base of the pastry case. Spoon the watercress mixture over. 8 / Return to the oven on a baking sheet for 25-30 minutes or until the egg mixture is just set. Cover with foil after 10 minutes. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before cutting. 9 Tips 10 *If you don't have a tranche tin use a 9 1/2 inch round fluted flan tin. Cook at 180 deg C (375deg F) for 40 minutes or until custard is set. Cover with foil after 10 minutes. 11 Open freeze the double wrap. Thaw for 3 hrs at room temperature. Cover with foil and reheat at 190c ( 375f ) for 10 - 15 mins 12 Serve with finely sliced smoked salmon in a light dressing of dill, finely diced red pepper, lemon juice, olive oil and cracked black peppercorns. or your favourite salad. Servings: 8 Have a great day.


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  2. I love dim sum! I've been lucky enough to have them quite a few times in Malaysia and Singapore, with Chinese Malaysian friends who know what they're asking for. :) Tried some once here on the rock ... nothing like, alas. :(

    For my generation, being slightly younger than you, we realise that by the time we get to pensionable age the state pension won't amount to more than a bean. That would have happened without the current recession though (which may or may not scupper any private pension schemes). I'm pretty much resigned to the likelihood of having to work until the day I drop. :\

    (sorry, deleted my previous comment because I can't spell!)

  3. Lucky you to be so au fait with dim sum. You can get frozen dim sum at our local supermarket, but don't know how it compares. I do enjoy it though.

    Well, I do hope for your sake that your prediction is not forthcoming Ru. At the moment the British pensions are still OK as are the Canadian so all we can do is keep our fingers crossed.

  4. Jo --

    Ducks' feet. This is a new one! I've eaten ducks' tongues, yes, and they are delicious, but I don't know if I will be able to get past the idea of eating a duck's feet!


  5. The young lady who is taking us tomorrow loves chicken feet, probably very similar I imagine. They are considered a great delicacy and I believe they just crunch them between their teeth. Never tried duck's tongues where did you have those, I mean what kind of restaurant?

  6. Dear Jo, |
    Marilyn directed me to your blog. I am an LA based chef. Your blog looks great! My friend in Toronto who lived in Hong Kong tells me that the best Chinese food in TO is at the big, fancy hotel in Chinatown. The best and most elegant dim sum I think in the US is at YANK SING in San Francisco...a not-to-be-missed destination if in that city!

    Allt he best!

    Lisa Rome
    Pacific Palisades, California

  7. Thank you for commenting Lisa, so nice to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I don't set myself up as a chef but merely a person who likes to eat well and generally has to cook it to get it. I was in SF in '88 but not likely to get there again. We never go to TO either, not really into big cities although I did enjoy SF when I was there. I ended up with lots of Gaelic Coffees there too I remember.

    My friend who was introducing us to the local dim sum restaurant is half Chinese so I figure she knows good dim sum. I hope so at least. When we finally get to this place, I will find out.