figgy toffee pudding

December 24th, 2011 § 8

It has been a busy and eventful year full of discoveries, adventures, lessons learned, time spent waiting and time spent catching up. It was also a year where we took a break from the blog, and late in the year, returned to it with fresh eyes and a slightly different approach.

figgy toffee pudding

We are now approaching this blog as a place to explore and discover new foods, ingredients, and ways of cooking and enjoying what we eat. Rather than the eternal search for the prefect plated shot of chocolate cake, we’re taking a more elemental approach to food and finding the various secrets new ingredients can yield. Or finding new ways of using ingredients we have already come to know. » Read the rest of this entry «

roasted figs

December 18th, 2011 § 7

Here is an ace up your sleeve for the holidays. This uber-simple Martha Stewart recipe is more of a technique or treatment: you take dried figs, toss them in honey and olive oil, and roast them with a little salt. Sound interesting? Wait until you see what happens to them in the oven.

figs

Dried black Mission figs. Spooky, and reminiscent of black pearls.

The heat of roasting brings the dried figs back to life. Some of them will puff up to form almost perfect globes. The honey and oil mixture gives them a thick, shiny gloss that hardens slightly as the figs cool. They come out of the oven looking like something you want to put on a Christmas tree. » Read the rest of this entry «

quince – essential eating

December 6th, 2011 § 8

“It’s like a pear that has spent the night making love to a rose,” is how Rob described the enigmatic aroma of quince. We brought six quinces home from the market two weeks ago. Like some magic fruit of legend, as they lay ripening on the counter, they slowly started to drive us quince crazy.

quince

Quince and vanilla with five spice: fennel, cloves, Szechuan pepper, star anise, cinnamon as well as licorice root.

They are a mysterious, ambiguous yellow-green. The fragrance is sweet and floral, but with a hint of animal musk. And their shape is suggestive, evoking the voluptuousness of Rubens, or the bordello paintings of Degas. Luxuriant. Tempting. Forbidden. » Read the rest of this entry «

preserved lemons and limes

November 27th, 2011 § 6

We’ve been bitten by the preserving bug. Nearly every available surface in the kitchen is occupied by a growing collection of carefully stacked jars. It’s starting to look like a laboratory. Mason jars of every shape and size, and now Weck jars, too. We got our first cases of Weck jars in the mail last week and have been reeling with the beautiful possibilities they propose.

preserved lemons and limes

Preserved lemons seemed like a simple and useful thing to fill them with, and since we’re out of lime pickle, we started some limes as well. If you’ve never tasted a preserved lemon, think of the smell of lemon wood soap, and then imagine that fragrant golden aroma as a flavour. It’s the essence of lemon, stripped of all sourness. It is used in classical Indian and Moroccan cuisines, but adds radiant flavour in almost any circumstance where a savoury lemon flavour is appropriate: with fish, stuffed into a roasting chicken, in risottos and pastas, vinaigrettes and mayonnaises… It’s in the same category as a good artisanal salt: versatile, inspiring, and vaguely magical. » Read the rest of this entry «

a little relish

November 20th, 2011 § 2

Anyone who is interested in or curious about the food culture of Montreal will be thrilled to lay eyes on Chantelle Grady’s latest edition of A Little Relish.

tomato_trickChantelle is a stylist, photographer, designer and author who has been involved in a number of wedding and lifestyle publications in Australia and Canada over the years. She’s also the creator of both Little Things, her blog, and A Little Relish, a gorgeous new digital publication that focuses real insight and talent on the true flavour of a city. » Read the rest of this entry «

home-made ricotta

November 6th, 2011 § 11

Here’s a post for those curious readers who have asked – where are the recipes that didn’t work out? We’ve been curious about home-made Ricotta since tasting some a year ago at a Sunday Suppers event, and being told how simple and quick it is to make. After looking at a few recipes, we tried one from a brand-new, red-hot cookbook whose title and author shall remain nameless. The recipe as written did not work.

butternut_squash_tart

Ricotta on toast with olive oil, dried thyme and Maldon salt.

» Read the rest of this entry «

butternut squash tart with chorizo and caramelized onion

November 1st, 2011 § 3

Somehow, this year is flying by, and many things have been put on the back burner while the full-on craziness of life has taken centre stage. Now with summer having taken its final curtain call, a more predictable pace of life is returning, and we’re starting to catch up on the lists of things that have been neglected over the past several months.

butternut_squash_tart

Case in point: David has had the Smitten Kitchen’s butternut squash and caramelized onion galette recipe bookmarked for quite some time. Also, a while back, we picked up a copy of William Sonoma’s “Cooking From the Farmer’s Market”, which contained a similar recipe. Since squash season is now upon us, and the farmer’s market is overflowing with squash of all kinds, we decided to cross this one off the to-do list, and make a hybrid creation of squash, caramelized onion, and chorizo in a simple pastry crust. » Read the rest of this entry «

herbes de provence

October 22nd, 2011 § 13

Over the past two months, we’ve gone through a major kitchen edit. It started off as an inventory of Mason jars to prepare for canning, and ended in a thrilling purge. We threw out bags of ancient herbs, and consolidated Rob’s gazillion salts on a single, organized shelf. Two of the things we discovered in the process were A: we’re out of Dean and Deluca’s Herbes de Provence, and B: our oven has a drying function. So we decided to make our own.

HERBES_DE_PROVENCE_1 » Read the rest of this entry «

chile vodka

October 16th, 2011 § 6

We are always looking for new ways to use chiles. A few years ago, we were both the kind of person who says – I like the flavour of spicy food, but not the heat. (Pff.) This view was somewhat reinforced by a vacation in Thailand, where we had green curries and green papaya salads whose spiciness seemed beyond human comprehension.

chili_vodka_1

I think it was a Bobby Flay cookbook that got us started using chiles, and understanding how heat and flavour are really just different aspects of one and the same thing. Our tolerance for heat now is quite high, without being in the daredevil range. We’ve taken hour-long detours on road trips to visit specialty chile stores, and the pantry is stocked with a dozen or so different kinds. » Read the rest of this entry «

candemonium

September 26th, 2011 § 5

The end of summer arrived in our house like a dinner guest who shows up 20 minutes early, just as you’re getting dressed. Hi! Come on in! We had vague plans to do tomatoes, since we’ve spent the past two winters enjoying a home-canned supply, but were starting to doubt we’d have the time.

tomatoes

Then a couple of weeks ago, a friend of a friend called to say she had a surplus of crabapples, and would we like any? We were expecting a little basket of them, and got a 5-gallon pail. » Read the rest of this entry «

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