Pretty Pleated Shumai



(recipe mashup between The Dumpling Sisters and Effortless Bento)


100 grams scallops

400 grams ground pork

1 inch nub of ginger

1 small or 1/2 large leek (white part only)

1 tsp cooking oil

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp potato flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp baking soda (optional)

dumpling wrappers (the thin kind)



  • D’huk the scallops. (What a fun word! Watch the video for pronunciation, it wasn’t what I thought it would be from how it was spelled. The Dumpling Sisters explain that to d’huk is to run your knife through, or hack into smaller pieces.)
  • Mince or grate the ginger.
  • Finely chop up the leek. Fry the leek in a small pan over medium heat until it softens.


  • In a mixing bowl, combine the pork, ginger, fried leek, soy sauce, sesame oil, potato flour, salt, and baking soda. Stir vigorously until the filling starts to bind. Then add in the scallops, gently mixing so that everything combines.


  • Scoop the filling onto your dumpling wrappers by the spoonful.
  • Create a circle with your thumb and pointer finger, using this to cradle the soon to be dumpling so that it will start to take shape.
  • To create the pleats around the top of the dumpling, use the back of a spoon, or a chopstick, to pull the dumpling wrapper toward the middle in increments.
  • Adjust your grip, so that you’re not so much cradling the dumpling anymore as you are holding it around the top. Flatten out the filling (use the back of your spoon, or the palm of your opposite hand) and give the dumpling a little squeeze around the collar, so that the pleats in the wrapper stick.



  • Repeat until you run out of filling.
  • To cook the dumplings, steam them over boiling water for seven minutes.
  • Shumai are delicious on their own, but if you simply need a dipping sauce, mix together equal parts of soy sauce and rice vinegar!

These came out so tasty! I’m really interested to try out the version that Amy and Julie make using prawns instead of the scallops. For me, making dumplings is as fun as eating dumplings. It’s a win-win situation. :)

The lovely ladies at The Dumpling Sisters make a good point: one need not have a steamer in order to steam dumplings. They give some good ideas as different apparati to use for steaming if you are not the owner of a steamer. (I’m not going to link it again, but if you haven’t yet, check out their video!) I used a space ship shaped vegetable steamer in a pot with a tight fitting lid, lined with some perforated parchment paper so that the dumplings wouldn’t stick. It worked like a charm.

Changes I would make for the next time I make shumai:

  • I would probably skip on the baking soda. It seems as though the baking soda is added in to tenderize the pork (one doesn’t add the scallops until later because they aren’t in need of tenderizing). While tenderness is an esteemed quality in foods with animal protein, I found this addition gave the filling a little bit of a weird mushy texture.
  • I would use thinner dumpling wrappers. The wrappers I brought home from the store were thicker than I normally use, and I just found it was a lot to bite through. So, my suggestion to you is to get or make thin dumpling wrappers.
  • Mr. made the suggestion that diced up water chestnuts would be a good thing to include, as they are in the potsticker recipe. It would add some contrasting texture, to be sure. I think I would like to try making shumai again without the baking soda tenderizer and see what the texture is like before going so far from the original recipes as to add the water chestnuts in. We’ll just have to see what makes us happy!


Also, shumai make a super cute addition to a bento lunch! Yay!

On the lunch menu that day was shumai with dipping sauce, snow peas, crab and radish salad, red bell pepper, smiley Babybel cheese, and cherries macerated in balsamic vinegar.

Bento pro-tip: if you want to keep your cheese from getting water logged by nearby items, leave the wax on as a barrier to keep the wet from touching your cheese!

This time last year: Huevos Falsos

2 years ago: Particularly Delicious Chili

3 years ago: Thai Peanut Sauce

4 years ago: Stacked Summery Salad

5 years ago: Pomegranate Lemonade Slush



Hello Ocean

Mr. and I went on an anniversary adventure a couple of weeks ago.


We went to Prince Edward Island for a few days before hopping on a ferry over to Nova Scotia to finish the trip.

It was magical.

I spent a good portion of my childhood dreaming of the ocean: of living on a rocky shore, or being a pirate, or, because of the movie Pete’s Dragon, being a lighthouse keeper. I’m not sure if this is a pattern, children growing up on the prairies dreaming of the ocean, but it’s what I did. Where do children from the coast dream about living? I don’t know if it would be the prairies.


On the way there, amidst all of my excitement, I was a little bit worried. (But then, when am I not at least a little worried? Ha ha ha). A person spends all of this time fantasizing, mythologising about a place, putting it up on a pedastal, what if it doesn’t live up to how you imagined it?

But I was worrying for nothing. It was amazing. It was as amazing as I imagined it could be. I would go back in a second.


Many lighthouses were hugged. There was much excitement.


Mr., who didn’t grow up dreaming of lighthouses or the ocean, hugged some lighthouses too. He was happy we were having such a fun time.

If you find yourself in Charlottetown and need a bite to eat, here are our suggested stops: the Water Prince Corner Shop (chowder so good we came back the next day to have it again!), and Dave’s Lobster (for lobster rolls that were Mr.’s favourite meal the whole trip. The ‘Some Fancy’ is so good it’ll give you goosebumps.).



In Halifax we got to spend some time with our friend Dave, who we don’t get to see often enough at all. We went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, walked the boardwalk, and took a tour of his ship. We got treated to oysters at the Waterfront Warehouse, a first for both Mr. and myself!

For our anniversary, Mr. and I decided to continue the tradition of having a picnic. We went to Point Prim lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on Prince Edward Island, with our treats and our picnic blanket and had a marvellous time.


I can’t wait to go back. And I’m sure that we will!

To go along with today’s picnic theme I have a recipe for a crunchy, bright slaw that would be perfect to pack in a picnic basket.

Granny Smith and Celery Slaw


1 Granny Smith apple

5 stalks of celery

2 Tbsp mayonnaise

1 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard


  • Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core before slicing thinly.
  • Slice the celery into crescents of similar thickness to the apple.


  • In a medium to small mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard to make the dressing.
  • Add the sliced apple and celery to the bowl, tossing to coat.
  • Serve!


I think it might be fun next time to cut everything into juliennes, to have it look more traditionally slaw-like. I know some people would rather go to the dentist than cut into juliennes, but I’ve always kind of had fun with it.



Lunch and Dynamics

It’s the wee hours of the morning, and already I’m sitting here thinking about eating lunch.

I packed a pretty awesome lunch today. Want to see?


What have we got? A mini bagel and lox, broccoli and grape tomatoes, tiny potato salad, pistachios, muscat grapes (Superstore has them right now and they are positively addictive!), raspberries, and some chocolate chips. It’s a pretty darn cute lunch to boot!

I’ve been having a lot of fun packing bento lunches lately. For the most part, there won’t really be recipes to include, but I thought it might be fun to share. It’s too easy to fall into a rut and eat the same thing for lunch at work every day. You may not become a full out bento geek, but maybe you’ll see a fun idea or two you may want to include in your lunch repertoire. At the same time, I feel like maybe those of you who are out there in the binary ether of the internet are here for recipes, not pictures of how cute my lunch is. (Even though it is really cute.) Any thoughts?

And now, on to a recipe!

Raspberry Buttermilk Muffins

(recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine)


1 Cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 Cup of softened butter

2/3 Cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

2/3 Cup fresh raspberries


  • Preheat oven to 350º F.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.


  • Beat the butter and 2/3 Cup sugar together until fluffy.


  • Blend in the vanilla and then the egg, mixing until uniform after each addition.



  • Mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, adding them in batches alternately until everything is just combined.



  • Butter your muffin tray so that the muffins won’t stick!
  • Tear the raspberries in halves (the trick to a good muffin is to not over stir, so we don’t want to break up the berries by adding them to the batter and then stirring) and then fold into the muffin batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin moulds. Then sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar over top of the muffins.


  • Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean (∼18-20 minutes).
  • Enjoy!


These muffins are tasty little buggers. The sprinkling of sugar over the top just before baking gives the muffin top the sweet crunchy crust that one often finds in muffins bought at the coffee shop, yum! I’m definitely going to have to remember this for other recipes.

As you may have noticed in the pictures I had reserved a few of the raspberries to top the muffins with, thinking that they might look pretty nice, perched atop my muffins. It didn’t quite work out, it seems as though the batter doesn’t case harden particularly quickly, alas the raspberries sank into the batter instead.

That small disappointment aside, the best thing here is that the muffins were restrained but not bland. Not every item we eat needs to be intense or attention grabbing flavour, it can be very welcoming and comforting to sink your teeth into something comforting and undemanding to eat. This is not to say it shouldn’t taste good, just that in terms of dynamics these muffins are at more of a piano than a fortissimo.  With buttermilk and raspberries (and a delicious crunchy sugar crust atop) these little beauties hit all the right notes.