Although Canadian Thanksgiving has passed, with Halloween around the corner, I thought this pumpkin cheesecake might still be relevant to some of you looking for a pumpkin related dessert.  This recipe was taken from Nigella Lawson's "Feast" and it was very simple to follow and turned out great.  I didn't bother to dress it up or worry too much about the crack down the centre after it baked- sometimes all that matters is how it tastes!  This version, Nigella claims to be "fluffier and subtler" than a regular cheesecake and I would have to agree.  Nice one, Nigella!

Overall - 9/10
Food - 9.5
Service - 9/10
Ambiance - 9/10

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Never have to choose between apple pie and apple crumble ever again. This recipe combines the flakey crust of pie with the crispy topping of a crumble.

Last week we went to Vancouver for a short trip and as usual, we made a point to schedule our days around which restaurants we wanted to try.  We heard that Kirin Restaurant (which has multiple locations) gets quite busy and when we tried to get a table for dim sum last February we were turned away.  So this time we reserved a table weeks in advance for dim sum and were comfortably seated at a table next to the window.

At Kirin the server takes down your order and brings you the baskets of food, so those who want the experience of ordering from the roving carts may feel slightly disappointed.  However, the food more than makes up for it.  All the dim sum we had ranged from good to amazing; our favourites out of the savoury dishes were the shrimp dumplings (har gow), sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf (nor mai tai), and BBQ pork puffs (char siu soh). 
Shrimp dumplings (har gow)

Sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf
BBQ pork puffs
We found the pork and chive fried rolls to be unique, but I'm not keen on deep fried dim sum so it wasn't my favourite.  The pork dumplings (siu mai) was good but not overly special in comparison to what we have in Calgary.
Pork and chive fried rolls
Pork dumplings (siu mai)
The noodle wrapped donut roll was a little disappointing, in that the texture was chewier and harder than what you would expect a fresh Chinese donut to taste.
Chinese donut wrapped with noodle served with peanut and hoisin sauce
Our little S loves any dish with noodles so we ordered a scallop e-fu noodle stir fry.  The dish was surprisingly free of the gratuitous oil that usually accompanies a stir fry noodle dish which was perfect for our toddler.  The adults enjoyed the tender scallops, bean sprouts and the flavour of the chives.
A dim sum classic are the egg tarts which were very good here at Kirin.
Egg tarts
We had done some research ahead of time and knew we would be getting two things for sure; the durian mochi and the thousand layer cake.  Both lived up to our expectations.  The durian mochi was pillowy soft with a cold, sweet durian center that was not overly powerful.  Most people dislike the scent but I found it to be subtle and not at all offensive.  

The thousand layer cake, as the name suggests layers a sponge with a sweet egg yolk custard and coconut mixture.  It comes nice and hot and the portion is large enough to share.
Overall a great experience and we would recommend Kirin to anyone looking to try dim sum in Vancouver or Richmond.
Kirin Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we've already started thinking about what to cook for the holiday season.  If you're looking for an alternative to turkey or a side dish to complement your bird, here are five tried and true recipes from our blog: 

This recipe elevates the Thanksgiving ham with a delicious apple bacon chutney.  Both sweet and savoury, the chutney both compliments and adds another dimension to each bite of ham.  Recipe here.
This Italian 'strata' is essentially a savoury bread pudding flavoured with cheese, bacon, mushrooms and caramelized onions. Although not a traditional stuffing, this side more than makes up for it with the perfect blend of earthiness from the mushrooms, caramelized onions and richness of the cream and smoky bacon. Recipe here.
This recipe uses cornbread which gives the stuffing a wonderful texture and sweetness to balance the savouriness of the bacon and sausage.  The cornbread is also amazing for soaking up that puddle of gravy on your plate so you're guaranteed every bit of gravy goodness gets in your belly.  Recipe here.
If you're sick of the traditional turkey, here's a beef alternative.  This recipe is equally as satisfying as a turkey with the caramelized onion gravy and makes for fantastic left overs.
Recipe here.
If you're not a huge pumpkin fan, here's a different dessert to try.  I discovered a fantastic recipe for sticky toffee pudding last year and made it for Thanksgiving.  The cake is moist from the dates and the toffee sauce rich and decadent; needless to say, it was a hit.  Also, I feel like baking anything in a bundt pan makes your creation ten times more impressive.  Recipe here.
We hope these recipes were useful and at the very least gave you some inspiration for Thanksgiving this year!