If you don’t believe real friendships can be made through blogging, BELIEVE because here’s proof. My family and I had the pleasure of having the oh so inspiring Valerie from A Canadian Foodie and her very charming husband Vanja, over for dinner at my parent’s house. After Valerie invited hubby and I to her taste tripping party and my two holy terrors over again to her house for some cookie making fun, I knew I had to do something in return to thank her. So dinner and a lesson in making XO sauce it was (so I thought) . I’ll explain “so I thought” later.
If you haven’t met Valerie yet, you sure are missing out! Not only does this woman make amazing dishes from her own family recipes, but her enthusiasm and eagerness to learn makes her a human walking cookbook expanding with recipes by the day. She is one of the warmest, most sincere, generous and inspirational people you’ll ever meet. She sees no colour, difference in age or difference in sex when she welcomes you into her heart (and home). A true Canadian indeed.
This was the first time I really got to talk to Vanja and get to know him better. He’s quite the gentleman and very charming, might I add; even offered to wash dishes after dinner. Valerie, you’ve got a keeper there . You two make the perfect couple. I usually have to give my dishwasher a few boots before
he it starts working properly…teehee.
I wanted to invite Valerie over to my house, but since my Mom was going to demonstrate her XO sauce, I thought it’d be better to have the dinner and lesson at my parents’ house. Turned out, Mom misunderstood me. She thought I wanted her to show us just the ingredients and explain her method. There was no demonstration. I was so embarrassed and disappointed, but I had to keep my cool as I didn’t want to ruin the rest of the evening. My apologies again, Valerie.
So out came the wok and on came my invisible apron. I don’t like wearing an apron when I cook. The OCD in me doesn’t think I need one, but boy is she wrong. I won’t show you the mess I made on Mom’s stove. Valerie…shhhh
I made three dishes and Mom made two dishes plus a soup. I’ll have to say, being brought up in a Chinese home, we don’t care so much for the table setting, but the food must be good.
Mom’s Freshwater Prawns in Tomalley and Shrimp Paste.
My steamed Tilapia with ginger, garlic and green onions, finished with soy sauce drizzled in at the very end on top of everything.
Another plate of steamed Tilapia finished with soy sauce drizzled into the pan while sauteeing the ginger, garlic, and green onions because I prefer it this way while hubby prefers it the first way. Two slightly different dishes for two totally different eaters. Also allowed Valerie and Vanja to try both dishes.
I also made stir fried clams with black bean sauce.
The last dish I made was a stir-fried water spinach with fermented tofu (AKA fu yu ong choy in Chinese).
Mom’s super easy sesame chicken. (Recipe to come soon.)
My Mom also made a winter melon soup but I forgot to take a picture of it. I was probably too excited that the food was finally being served. I don’t function properly when I’m hungry.
There’s Valerie hard at work with her other camera. Oh come on food bloggers, you all know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “other camera(s)”.
Now I think I got her attention. Always a gorgeous smile for the camera from this gem. Yes Valerie, I remember “the rule”.
Getting to know the youngest in our family, my niece. If you’re a new reader and wondering why there’s so much hair product in the background, it’s because my parents own a salon and they live there too.
Finally the star of the night, Valerie’s kick butt Pavlova. I kid you not when I say this is THE BEST dessert I have ever eaten! Look how beautiful. It’s every bit as delicious as it looks!
Valerie and Vanja were so kind not only to bring a beautiful, delicious dessert, but they also brought gifts for my holy terrors and my parents (no, my parents were not the holy terrors I was referring to earlier…harhar). Thank you so much Valerie and Vanja, K and L really enjoyed their flashing glasses (L was so excited, he wouldn’t stand still for his picture)!
“Whose big piece of cake is this? “
“Hands off Dad, that’s MINE! Go get your own.”
Valerie and Vanja, I hope you both enjoyed the food and company as much as we enjoyed yours. Gotta love how food can bring together such cultural differences and create wonderful friendships such as these.
Kiddies getting ready for bed as Gary and I were about to head out to a Christmas party.
Happy Holidays from the luvtoeat family! I may be taking a blogging break for the holidays, but I’ll be by to visit your blogs as much as I can. This is a crazy time for us as K’s birthday is Christmas eve, and Gary’s is right after new years. Party hardy everyone, but always remember to party responsibly. Continue creating those wonderful bloggie friendships. Until next time, friends and family