Cooking is one of my passions. Well, it started out with baking. Ever since the first time I baked a cake five years ago, I’ve been addicted to the art of baking and subsequently, cooking. Yes, I consider it an art. It is also a science, as it is the exact same thing as doing experiments in a lab. You mix things together, whisper a spell, and wait for something to happen. You usually follow a recipe or a protocol, but when those don’t exist, you just throw in whatever you have available and hope for the best. Isn’t that how it works for both cooking and lab work?
As I only developed this passion late into university, I started to expand my kitchenware collection in fourth year, a bit too late as I only had one year left to take advantage of my relatively well-equipped kitchens in Waterloo and in Toronto. By the end of the school year I had accumulated a set of baking utensils that would in no way be able to accompany me to France. Oh boo.
After coming to France, I didn’t bake as much, mainly due to the lack of a large oven, but instead I picked up cooking. As long as I had a wok (which was thankfully given to me by a friend), a pot, some basic Chinese sauces, and rice, I was ready to experiment, even with a small kitchen. (Of course, that is not to say that’s all I have, but that’s the bare minimum, anywhere.) Unlike baking, I rarely follow a recipe when I cook; instead of precise measurements and proportions, I go with past experiences – sometimes I rely on instinct – and whatever inspires me at the moment, which makes things a lot more interesting…and fun!
Many friends ask me, “Annie, what do you eat in France?” I think some people expect me to say things like cheese and baguette and things with fancy French names, like foie gras and escargots, but sorry to disappoint you. Although I do occasionally eat out and enjoy authentic French cuisine, my daily life revolves mostly around Chinese cooking. I’ve lived all my life with the Chinese way of dining and although I would probably survive without it, it wouldn’t make me very happy 😦
In this post I share with you some of the culinary experiments undertaken within the past year and a half. Unless otherwise stated, I made the dish myself. Of course, not everything is cooked the Chinese way, but most are. There will be a second entry after this one with more goodies. I don’t want you to get TOO hungry… 😉
Let’s start off with some good ol’ pancakes served with butter and the Canadian favourite, maple syrup! Yes they are typically eaten at breakfast, but who says you can’t eat breakfast food at any other time of the day? 😉 Pancakes are so simple to make as well, just mix the seven magical ingredients at the right proportions – flour, egg, milk, butter, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Then pour some batter on a frying pan, flip until both sides are golden brown, and tada! Fast, easy, and delicious. I actually had some last week but without the maple syrup, and while plain pancakes already taste pretty awesome with butter alone, I just felt that there was something missing without my sweet Canadian goodness. Time to restock.