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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Back to the Kitchen

After all the simple meals I have been making, I started missing getting my hands dirty with complex cooking.

The cookbook I chose is The World of Street Food. The recipe I chose is a Malaysian Nasi Lemak.

It was perfect since it gave me an opportunity to use my gift of Tamarind paste from My Dear Lovely Neighbour.

First, a simple rice made with coconut milk.

It felt too simple. Inspired by the rice making skills of My Dear Lovely Neighbour, I threw some curry leaves and mustard seeds in the rice.

Then I made this extremely spicy marinade of oils and chilli peppers.

I then fried the shrimps in this sauce, added the Tamarind paste and served over the rice.


Monday, 29 June 2015


As all the city's sushi restaurants are going into extreme creativity with their offering, I stumbled across one of the more basic sushi restaurants with above average quality - Shiro!

Friendly sweet service, quality food and really good prices. The salmon taste screamed quality.

The special of the day just looked beautiful with fresh avocados and quality tuna.

Even the miso looked like an Atlas map of the world - couldn't resist filming it.

3096 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC

Click to add a blog post for Shiro on Zomato 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Wrap Up To The First Week of Food Simplification

A simple meal of Moujadarah (lentils and rice cooked and mashed) with a tomato olives oregano salad

And emptying all the vegetables in the fridge for a 2 to 1 ratio of vegetables to noodles simple stir fry


Saturday, 27 June 2015

Shoes & Food

All you readers know I love food.

But even I did not know I also love shoes, until Shoes2go showed up in our city.

Shoes2go is an online shoe retailer with a showroom in Vancouver. The shoes are all imported from countries that make quality shoes with the latest European designs.

Most importantly, I can buy 2.5 of these shoes for the price of one somewhat similar shoe at the fancy shoe retailers we have in this city (which I am sure you know who I mean).

Shoes2go also knows that the way to a man's feet is through his stomach.

So a shoes, booze and food event introducing the new men's collection prior to hitting the online store made the shoe shopping experience delicious.

So delicious, in fact, that I am now instantly the proud owner of five Shoes2go shoes. To put it in perspective, my whole shoe closet for the past decade had five shoes in it.

This cutest pair of shoes, sold exclusively at Shoes2go, is becoming the go-to-shoes for the who's who of the shoes connoisseur guys in the city.

So comfortable that one night I went to bed in it, thinking I had no shoes on (seriously - ask Catsess).

I'm also enjoying my Jesus slippers (below far left) that made it to a Home Depot and Ikea trip in the heat of the day.

Quality, design, price, and fun shopping experience are only part of Shoes2go.

The business owners' personality, knowledge and love of shoes, along with state of art customer database simply makes this the only shoe shopping experience I have ever enjoyed.

I will be back.

And yes, they carry women's shoes. In fact, their women's shoes collection is almost twice as vast as the men's collection.

Check it out at If you want a personal introduction to the business owners, happy to oblige (and you may get a personal invite to a somerville kitchen dinner along the way) - contact me at


Friday, 26 June 2015

The Story of Fatoush

With Ramadan month going on and Fatoush a regular dish for breaking Ramadan fast in Lebanon, I am sharing the story of the origin of Fatoush.

In the mid-1800s, and as typical of interference of big powers in small countries, European countries convinced the Ottomans occupying Mount Lebanon to split the region into a Christian and Druze regions. This started a severe civil war in 1862 killing tens of thousands of Christians in the area.

During that war, a group of Christians fled Mount Lebanon on foot to Zahleh, in the Beqaa Valley. A rich resident in Zahleh from the Fatoush family opened his doors to these refugees with a table spread of all sorts of meat dishes to give them strength after their long trek. But it was lent and these refugees has vowed that if they make it out safely, they will not eat any meat all lent.

So they went for all the vegetables on the table, mixed them together and started eating it with Pita bread. One of the invitees told the host: “Fatoush, look a new dish is created, a salad with pita bread”. The Catholic Patriarch of the Greek Catholics, who was attending the meal, immediately claimed: “Perfect, we will call this dish Fatoush and we will eat it throughout lent”. 

Coincidentally that year, Ramadan was going on at the same time as Easter Lent. Muslims in Zahleh and surrounding area picked up the dish and started having it when breaking their fast at the end of the Ramadan day.

And this is how the dish was created and became associated with both Easter Lent and Ramadan Fasting showing how peaceful we Muslims and Christian lived together without interference from external big powers and arm manufacturing countries.


The original story, in Arabic, is found at

Fatoush Recipe Can be Found HERE

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Wacky Simplification

I wanted to push the simplification you have been reading about all week on Wacky Thursdays

On Easter this year, I received the sweetest simple gift: a beautiful sardine platter with a sardine tin. This took simplification to an ultimate level - open the can and pour in the plate. Sprinkle with lemon juice and shredded ginger.

A two-minutes meal that looked elegant and tasted rich.

Thank you for an amazing gift.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Simplification or Laziness

My dear readers, you have now followed two days of how somerville kitchen's summer simplification life is going. The outcome is low stress, lots of naps and yet-to-be unpacked luggage from the trip to Lebanon.

On the other hand, the freezer is being seriously unpacked. Look what I found: A small container of pre-made humus, three frozen potato patties and few frozen chicken nuggets.

While the above was direct freezer to table meal, the following one required a bit of movement. Frozen grilled beef kabobs mixed with boiled potatoes, jardin oregano and a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic for an exceptional simple summer meal.


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Simple Meal Ideas

Continuing from yesterday's article on simplifying life at somerville kitchen, here are three more examples of how this is going

Example 1: Open the freezer and see what pre-made food is there - potato skins and frozen pizza. Bake and serve with a simple green salad.

Example 2:  Dig out that container of left-overs cooked freekeh. Heat up in a pan and cook eggs over it. A high energy simple meal enjoyed with my favourite redhead.

Example 3: Accept the offer of pasta and salad drop-off. Make an edamame humus and toasted pita to go with it and enjoy a picnic-style easy meal.

Catsess may turn her back on such meals, but at least now I have ample time to take my own cat naps.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Simplifying Life

The summer theme at somerville kitchen is simple. 

Simple meals, simple life, simple grocery shopping and lots of rest and naps.

The first step of this simplification is to go through all pantries, freezers, fridge and cupboards and use what I have on hand. Recipes may not work well in this case, so I have to rely on creativity.

A bag of frozen peas emptied in a pan, cooked with a touch of butter, jardin thyme, pepper and juice of half a lemon. This became the spaghetti sauce.

Exceptionally sophisticated flavours for such a simple meal. Tune back for more simplification meal ideas over the days to come.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Welcome Back My Dear Lovely Neighbour

With the cross oceans adventures of myself and that of My Dear Lovely Neighbour, it has been over four months since my last My Dear Lovely Neighbour meal.

So tonight made up for it with a spicy, varied delicious meal.

Along with the cutest dinner guest.

On the menu tonight: The fresh shrimp

The favourite potatoes

 The cabbage rice

 And the almost white and creamy dessert

Thank you my dear lovely neighbour