Monday, April 15, 2013

Where is Spring 2013?

How would I know? Everyone seems to be asking this question but no matter how hard we look, spring is always hiding. It's almost like he's still in vacation mode or maybe theres just a flight delay. No one knows exactly but since spring is still missing. I decided to make good use of this time to spend it in the kitchen and also because I'm on a "broke diet."

Recently, some friends of mine asked me to bake some macarons for a special occasion and ordered a mountain of them. I was very excited and wanted to get right into it. The only thing holding me back is the fact that we still did not %100 figured out the sizing of the treats just yet.

It was still very good practice and if you want to learn how to get "feet" everytime you bake macarons, simply refer to my "Macarons Journey" post.

Something a little different this time. I want to post about the books I have read so far and introduce to you my top 5 bucket list so far. Looking at the picture below, you will notice that they are mostly self help books. I don't know why but I have been obsessed with them ever since my first one.

Lets get started:

7 habits of highly effective - Stephen R. Covey
  • I don't have it in my library at the moment but it was the first book that I have ever read in the self help section. My cousin lent it to me during a period of time where I was a bit confused on what I wanted to be. The book touches base on how to be the best you can be and introduces the idea of paradigm shifts and prepares you as the reader for a change in mindset.
The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
  • This book was mind blowing. I know that is not the most helpful and convincing way of reviewing a book but Tolle's ideas about human transformation of human consciousness is very unique and engaging. I have never been so challenged by a book. Every chapter was refreshing in its own way and lifted me spiritually. 
The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin
  • When I first picked up this book, I was quite skeptical. I had the impression that it was written by someone who was battling depression and has found a way out. To my surprise, it was the opposite. It's about a married woman who has two kids and almost everything she ever dreamed of but something was missing in her life. This book was very inspirational and has made me a happier person. For example, one of the very things in the book teaches you to take things lightly so that you could be happier and it has worked wonders. 
How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie
  • Definitely a weird book to be holding during your subway rides but this book has it's own richness to it. The teaches of influencing people to "like" you is as easy as pie. I can't say that I reached it's full potential yet but it has improved my social skills greatly. 
Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me - Ben Karlin
  • Honestly, I have been dumped by women and I bet we all have. I thought it was a book that would give you the solution of how not to get dumped next time. When I first saw this cover and the title of the book, I had to buy it. It was one of those "I got to have this because it's so beautiful" kind of things. This book is filled with hilarious short stories about men who have been dumped by women. Some of them were kind of sad but others were very humorous. 

There you have it, my so called bucket list so far. I am still reading and hunting for new reads. If you have some in mind, please do share with me in the comment section. 

See ya! =D 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Hello hello!

Finally, a chance to share some news about food and my Saturday. It feels so good to just unwind on a Sunday afternoon and blog about the amazing time I had with my friends. This Saturday I had some friends over for dinner. I call it The Daniel Oliver Experience, I even hashtag it on Instagram and Twitter. Feel free to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates on my journey in life.

I always love company and especially having friends over for dinner. I tried to spice things up with fancy table decor and simple center pieces. I will be on the hunt this summer for awesome table ware for sure. I think what I look forward to the most is their reaction. I guess I don't really come off as a guy who knows how to cook and bake but it is what it is.

Here we go, three course meal.

This was the Apple and Swiss Cheese Salad and was inspired by a book that I have called Everyday Kitchen. Definitely one of my favourites, I can never get enough of Arugula lettuce. I always tell people that it's an acquired taste but to my surprise, the first timers always get hooked on it.

Heres what you need:
2 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 pink lady apples
2 endive leaves
1 small bunch arugula with stalks removed
85 g cheese of your choice

Combine the honey, mustard and olive oil in a bowl (this is going to be your dressing).

Slice the apple in thin slices and drench them in lemon juice so that they won't brown. Pour the remaining juices in the dressing. Place the endive leaves on the plate, stack it up with apple slices and garnish with the arugula leaves. Drizzle some dressing on top, add a splash of olive oil and garnish with lemon zest  (optional).

This was a very nice spring salad, filled with colours and flavour. The all natural dressing is one of my favourites out of all the dressings I have made.

This was the Pan Roasted Salmon with Rosemary Anchovy Sauce Paired with Asparagus. I blogged about this before during the initial stages of this blog. Search it up in the search bar above for full details!

Dessert, my must looked forward to part of the meal. This was the Black Berry Yogurt Cheesecake. Honestly, it was one of the creamiest I have ever baked. I was a little taken back on how creamy it was. Instead of using sour cream, I substituted it with strawberry yogurt. It was one of the most impulsive but rewarding things I have ever done. It was bang on. A post was dedicated to this before, please do a search.

Last but not least, Settlers of Catan. A game that involves trading, yelling, laughing and begging. Not so the begging part but it does involve a lot of convincing.

So there we have it, my Saturday night in a post. I hope you all enjoyed it and stay tuned for further baking and cooking.