31 July 2008

Say Cheese: Stilton


If you are a regular reader, you've picked up that I, in fact, am part mouse...which is probably a good explanation for my (ahem) towering stature. It's definitely in the running for my obsessive cheese cravings...well, that and My Dear Little Cardamummy adores cheesey goodness...come to think about it, so does My Equally Dear Not Little Carda..daddy (goodness, that makes him sound like some sort of mutant winged insect, doesn't it?...must come up with a different name at some point).

Alas their cheesey love doesn't seem to be as broad as mine. Cheddar and mozzerella, Swiss, cream cheese and cottage cheese are also good and satsify them quite nicely. Me, I gobble them all down, but also feta, halumi, brie, marscapone, anything studded (peppercorn, fruit, juniper, truffles), anything soused (whiskey, port, stout)...but I think above all, everything bleu.

So when our wonderful
Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything At Least Once announced Say Cheese, I knew I'd be participating. Not only does it celebrate her 700th post, it also celebrates cheese. To participate, all we were asked to do was photograph and post about our favourite cheese. A non-cooking food event (Yay as I'm not in much of a cooking mood right now).

Hmm...easier said than done, I think. Asking me to narrow down my favourite cheese down to one is like asking me to weed my cookery library to 100 titles or select my most favourite pair of vampily-heeled shoes, or narrow down my list of foods to eat before you die to just 10. Yeah I can't just choose one.

So I chose a family of cheeses: Stilton.

Mmm...that blue-veined English dairy marvel. It's not for the feint of heart, but it's also not to be feared. I love its creaminess--both in colour and texture--and how the sharp blue veining is such a flavour contrast. It's a little salty and I suppose very hearty. One of my favourite uses is to mix it with butter and let it melt over a thick, juicy steak: sheer delirium.

Oh nummy nummy nummy.

But I recently found out there's more than blue out there. My preferred local swankyfooderie has one of the best (if not the best) cheese case in town...and there I found some of what I think of as the traditional Stilton's siblings.

There's White Stilton which is the cheese without the blue veining and fruit Stiltons which have puréed fruit injected into the plain cheese. I picked up some Apricot Stilton, but they also had a few wedges of cherry in the case. All are good--I'd say if I couldn't have blue, I'd go for the salty-sweetness of apricot. But by my palate, they are all good.

Haalo will be posting her round up in a few days, please check back to her site to see what other cheesey wonders people have posted about.

cheese! OOPS. I mean cheers!

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28 July 2008

Milk Calendar Mondays: Sensational Smoothies

For those of you who've followed my little Milk Calendar experiment, you know that I don't think very highly of many of the recipes I've tried thus far. What started off as a bit of curiosity, a bit of fun and a bit of a yen for easy and tasty recipes more often than not ends up a bit of disappointment, a bit of frustration and a yen for the fast food mall up the street.

Last month's recipe was bad..badbadbadbadbad. The one before set off my snark-o-meter. The one before that was good-okay. To save pixel space, let's just agree to say that that's a good summation of all the recipes thus far.

So I hope you understand when I admit to being a bit...ummm...trepidacious when I try the next calendar recipe. And you won't be overly surprised when that trepidation turns to paranoia when the recipe works, is somewhat tasty and makes me almost happy that I tried it.

July's sensational smoothies were already in my bad books for using "sensational" in the title. Basically, I thought the milk people were trying too hard to sell me on the concept--shades of the travesty that was "Faster-than-take-out chicken and veggie chow mein." Maybe it was a self-preservation thing, but I decided to try two of the three offered recipes--blueberry-banana-orange and pomegranate sunrise I opted out of the raspberry lemon. But allow me to put on record here that I think "pomegranate sunrise" is a nauseating title, reminiscent of some 1970s disco-crazed lippy colour.

Okay...they weren't "sensational" by my rather middling standards, but they were sensational by the calendar's.

The blueberry smoothie was quite pretty with its bubbly mauve top, and while the pomegranate one was not as pristinely delineated as in the calendar's picture, was still quite attractive.

Both smoothies were very quick, tasty and surprisingly hunger-ending. Who'd have thunk recipes when in their original and untampered states would hold their own?

So here's where my innate paraonoia kicks in...

Is this the token "hey, it works and I might want to have it again" recipe? Or is this just the beginning of a better half of the calendar to lull you into looking forward to the next calendar? You know...enough good recipes at the end to make you forget about the bad stuff that happened in the first half, so by the time the next calendar comes tucked between sales flyers for all those things the shops over-ordered and are trying to convince you that your Great Auntie Ermintrude would love for Christmas, forget how...unappetising the recipes were in the first half of the year.

I don't know but we've got the balance of 2008 to find out.


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25 July 2008

One year

One year ago, on 26 July, I lost My Darling One. He was sweet and kind, thoughtful and giving. He was a good man.

If it were up to me and his friends, he would be here today...spoonfuls would mysteriously disappear from the pot, debates would happen about the edibility of certain foods (lamb, duck, berries, most things that were green, red...some orange and some yellow) and there would be gentle prods for me to make another batch of ribs. The latest Hollywood plots would be discussed as would his latest purchases: another DVD, Wii game, book or board game--all of which would be happily and unquestioningly lent to friends and friends of friends. He would offer a hand, convince us we are smarter and/or more talented than we think and explain that we should all be a little more silly a little more often. He'd be telling me to slow down, do what makes me happy because he'll support me no matter what, ironing is optional and that it's okay to let someone else do the work every once in a while.

But it isn't up to us...and we don't control such things. We know this.

For those of us who were priviledged enough to know him...to really know him...for those of us he chose to spend his time with because he liked us and loved us, we can honour him. Remember his lessons; put them into practise and freely and unconditionally pass them on: he believed that we should be kind to one another and help each other when we can. By doing so, we are all stronger...

I'm trying.

It was your time, and I don't know if I'll ever understand why. This has been the hardest year of my life...and I miss you terribly.


Thanks to everyone who sent me a note or called me over the past couple of weeks. I'm touched and overwhelmed by your kindness...I am very lucky to have your thoughts and wishes.

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22 July 2008

Red, White or Swiss: Rösti and veal and mushrooms in white wine

or Rœstis et emincé de veau, sauce au vin blanc et champignons...

or Kartoffelrösti und Zürcher Geschnetzeltes

About a week and a half ago, the lovely
Zorra of Kochtopf sent out a note saying she was homesick for her beloved Swiss homeland. Swiss National Day is on 1 August and she'd appreciate if we'd help her celebrate by blogging about dishes that were red, white or Swiss by 29 July.

I must admit that my knowledge of Switzerland and Swiss things is rather spotty:
- Its provinces are called cantons
- It's a landlocked nation with a good defensive army who supply mercenaries to the Pope
- The first Swiss-related food I had was Nestlé's chocolate something or other, the next was Swiss cheese, and the next was rösti--grated potato cakes.
- There are four official languages (German, French, Italian and Romansh)
-The Von Trapps fled the Austrian Nazis for Switzerland
-I've flown over parts of it, so I can tell you the Alps are pointy (which means the mountains are relatively young).
- The
Swiss Rocket Man is pretty cool
-The once-popular
Helvetica font is named after the rootword that forms Helvetii, a tribal group found in that area
- Their humanitarian tradition includes The Red Cross
- The Geneva Convention
- The League of Nations was based in Geneva
- Napoleon conquered the Swiss army in the late 1700s, imposed a new and unpopular national constitution, but within a quarter century Swiss independence was regained and the other European powers recognized the nation's neutrality through the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna
- Sir Roger Moore lives there

When it came to cooking for this event, I decided to make some Swiss foods. Unfortunately, the only thing that came to mind was rösti--absolutely delicious, but a bit predictable. Sigh...what to do, what to do...

As luck would have it, I was invited to friends' for supper last week...and one of them is Swiss.

After a delicious meal that included gazpacho and barbecued venison, I told them of the event and asked for some suggestions--but not rösti...I'm sure there will be several versions of it for the event. I left with a borrowed copy of
Schweizer Küche/Cuisine Suisse/Swiss Cooking by Michael Klein and Yvonne Tempelmann, a trilingual (German, French and English) book featuring traditional home cooking from the mountainous country.

After flipping through the pages, and pausing over all the cheese-ladened goodies (Appenzeller fried cheese fritters, spinach gnocchi with Schabziger cheese, potato-tomato bake), I decided on a mushroom and veal dish, swathed in a white wine sauce...which is recommended to be served over...umm...rösti.

Really, was there a doubt that the fried potato cakes would be absent? If there was, take a look at this post's title...it kindasorta gives it away.

Both dishes were very easy and quick to make. The rösti is a very quick and simple way of doing away with a few extra boiled potatoes from last night's supper. And I'm seriously thinking of encasing the veal dish in a puff pastry or a shortcrust pie the next time I make it...

Veal Strips from Zürich
adapted from Swiss Cooking by Michael Klein and Yvonne Tempelmann

Olive oil
500g thinly pounded veal, cut into strips
a spoonful of flour
1 minced onion
200g finely sliced mushrooms
1 tsp white wine vinegar
100ml white wine
100ml beef stock
200ml heavy cream
1 Tbsp cornstarch
finely chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

Fry the veal, remove to a bowl; sprinkle with salt, pepper and flour.

In the same pan, sauté the onions and mushrooms, adding extra oil if necessary. Add the vinegar and wine; reduce the liquid to half. In a measuring jug mix together the stock, cream and cornstarch; add to the pan a stir well. Bring it to a simmer. Tip in the meat and juices, stir well and let the sauce thicken a bit. Season to taste. Garnish with parsley if desired.

adapted from Swiss Cooking by Michael Klein and Yvonne Tempelmann

600g day-old boiled potatoes, grated
1 minced onion

Season the potatoes and set aside.

Sauté onions in butter. Tip in the potatoes and stir--you want to heat through the potatoes, so this will take a few minutes.

At this point you could either
  • Pat all the potatoes into a cake and fry over a medium flame until the potatoes become a crisp brown.


  • Remove the potatoes to a bowl. Take out one quarter, shape into a cake and fry as above, frying as many cakes at once as will fit in your pan.


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18 July 2008

The last of my summer strawberries

Not that strawberry season is over but the ginormous-to-me basket of berries I bought at the market last week is no more. It will be a few weeks until I get out there again, so I'm afraid the berries will be gone by my next visit. Yes, I suppose I could get some at the bigscarymegamart, but they only seem to have imported berries...

I wasn't terribly inventive with my prized July possessions--you saw the
cake and the sauce. Mostly they were eaten fresh, plain or dipped in yoghurt. or mixed with yoghurt and granola.

But the last few hundred grams are a different story.

One of my favourite flavour combinations has always been strawberry-banana. Love it in ice cream and frozen yoghurt; when teamed up with orange, it's a preferred juice blend.

Well, apart from not having any oranges, I wasn't in the mood to make my own juice and my freezer still doesn't have enough room for my ice cream maker's freezer insert, so those concoctions were well out of the question.

So, what's a girl to do with a few hundred grams of hastenlingly overripe strawberries and a banana that needs to go to a better place?

Let's just say it was time to hope, pray, light a candle, spread a little incense and hop on one foot for luck. Yup...Beelzebub would be called into service: I decided to bake muffins...and I didn't feel like making them in my parents' unairconditioned kitchen.

Well...something must have worked because Beelzebub behaved himself. You read correctly. He didn't ruin my muffins.

None of his usual games. No "No, I don't feel like turning on" nor any hint of "I'm teasing you, making you believe that I'm actually 350F when in fact I'll start at 200F and end at 450F." He didn't even try the old "Oh, you are sooooooo fetching in that apron, I'd love to get together with you and give the central air a reason to turn on" as a ruse to turn my offerings to charcoal.

Did I tame the beast? Have I won him over with my womanly wiles? Did I beat Lucifer at his own game? Have I been lulled into a false sense of security believing I actually have a stove that I can trust? Will Charlie Daniels immortalise my feat in a fiddle-sawin', fruit-chawin', baked-goods jawin' tune?

All I know is that I didn't have to toss any of them out. They all had a muffinny texture and a crunchy-sweet-sticky top. I'm not questionning it.

Strawberry Banana Muffins
Yield 18

For the muffins
110g butter, melted
150g brown sugar
2 beaten eggs
mashed bananas with enough vanilla yoghurt to fill a 250ml measure
250g chopped strawberries
300g plain flour
25g whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla salt

For the streuselly topping
10g butter, melted
75g brown sugar
40g roalled oats
15g pinhead oats
nine large strawberries, hulled and halved (optional)

Preheat oven to a moderate heat (180C/350F) and line 18 buns of two 12-bun muffin tins with papers.

Sift together the flours, baking powder, bicarb and salt; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together the streuselly topping and set that aside as well.

Mix together the egg, melted butter and vanilla and banana-yoghurt mixture. Stir into the flour mixture. Do not overmix: what you want is the batter to barely hang together (lumpy is good). Lightly fold in the chopped berries.

Portion into the muffin papers and spoon about a teaspoon's worth of the topping over the wet batter. Top with the half-berry.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes away cleanish.


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16 July 2008

Cook's treat

I don't really remember when I first heard the term "cook's treat" but I remember the dish. It was a roast chicken...or duck...maybe turkey--it was a bird, I know that much. The TV cook took it out of the oven, placed it on the counter, smiled and surrepticiously cut off a piece and ate it.

"Cook's treat," he said unapologetically.

In my juvenile brain, it translated to "if you cook it, you can take what you want before you actually serve it to your family or guests."

I liked that idea...and greedily put it to regular practise...until My Dear Little Cardamummy caught me. Yeah...she put an end to that. Well, sort of. I still snuck little bits, but made sure they were little and no one would actually notice they were gone.

Now when I have my cook's treat it can be anything from hiding some of the crackling from a roast ham to using up the leftover bits of pastry to make a special little pie.

After assembling the
strawberry cream cake I had bits left over: a few spoons of strawberry sauce, a whackload of strawberry cream, a few leftover sliced berries, and of course the sawed off cake tops.

So I did what any self-respecting cook would do.

I made my own single-serving kindasorta trifle-like pudding...I say kindasorta simply because my home is devoid of sherry...(must remember to pick some up from the LCBO)....trifle isn't really trifle if it doesn't have that teeny little buzz. What a simple and delicious little treat: cake, strawberry cream, a touch of heavy cream, berries and of course that sweet, fruity sauce.

The strawberry sauce is easy enough to put together and really doesn't follow a strict recipe because it's dependent upon the sweetness of the berries, how smooth you want the sauce and how thick you want it. It's loosely based on the strawberry jam I made last summer.

Strawberry Sauce
(yields about one cup)

900g strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped (or mashed, if you want)
3 Tbsp runny honey (or more or less, depending upon their sweetness)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Over medium heat, bring the berries and one tablespoon of honey to a boil, while stirring constantly. Skim off the foam. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if you wish. Stir in the vinegar. Reduce until you have the desired thickness. Store unused sauce in the fridge.


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13 July 2008

Savour the Season: Strawberries

Somehow, even though we're in the midst of smog alert season complete with the type of humidity that lets every ion of petrol-emitted pong hang in the air like undershirts on the neighbour's washline, everything seems to smell a little better this time of year.

No wait, it's the two kilos of local strawberries I picked up at the farmers' market.

It's amazing how these sweet and juicy little berries can fragrance a space, transforming it from soulless, bean-counter approved and cinder block-reinforced to something that seems a bit more human and a lot more comfortable.

June and July are when the local strawberries ripen, giving all of us a quick boot to the backside as a reminder of what strawberries should taste like. All year long we get imports that don't quite cut the mustard in several respects (flavour, texture, price) so when the local producers and farmers appear with punnets, baskets and flats of fresh and tasty berries, more than a few of us tend to go a little berry happy.

My mindset is such that fresh, ripe fruit generaly doesn't need to be fussed with. Just wash and eat. Maybe with sweetened whipped cream or with some ice cream. I really don't want to cook the fruit. Apart from the temperature,
Beelzebub has a nefarious history and present with any food that I really, really, really want to turn out well.

All that said, a good quantity of summer fruits will end up bottled and dosed out by the spoonful. Yes, I'm slowly taking over my parent's freezer with fruits I want to turn into jams and jellies. But that's a few weeks out.

So when faced with a dinner invitation and the realisation I offered to make dessert, I gazed into my basket of berries. It became very obvious: a strawberry sandwich cake. My version is two layers of Victoria Sponge, sandwiching a layer of strawberry sauce and strawberry cream, topped with more strawberry cream and halved, hulled berries. Very simple and very pretty.

Most strawberry cream cakes I've seen use either a whipped cream or a pastry cream filling--the snow white contrasts beautifully against the red of the berry. The strawberry cream I use is based on a cream cheese icing, but made pink by using strawberry sauce. Apart from being a bit girly, the cake's berry quotient is boosted slightly. The cream is looser than a standard frosting, so it's better for a filling or to just ice the top of a cake.

Strawberry Cream
240g cream cheese
60g softened butter
60ml strawberry sauce
50-100g granulated sugar (to taste)

Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Mix in the strawberry sauce. Add as much sugar as you think it needs. Let it sit in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to stiffen a bit before you use it.


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10 July 2008

I'll never be a professional deep fat fry gal

...well, not a this rate.

At issue was a recipe for the next cookery book review. When I saw the recipe for (bloobybloobybloo) I thought--hey, I like the name and it could be tasty because it uses (falalalala) and (bingobongobing). The technique was easy enough: deep fat fry a dumpling.

I'm not afraid of much, culinarily: fugu's the only thing that readily comes to mind. If it's prepared by someone who knows what they're doing, I'll probably be fine...I just don't want to be the one scalpelling away the tetrodotoxin-laden liver and skin and other bits, and then spend the next how many hours worried if I'll ever hear from my friends again.

There are those amongst us who are afraid of one thing or another in the kitchen: yeast, whizzy whirry bladed machines, recipes that require cooking (as opposed to dumping and nuking), spices you can't find at the bigscarymegamart, spices you can find at the bigscarymegamart, using a mandolin without the hand guard, butter...

I know from trawling blogs that deep fat frying isn't necessarily everyone's favourite activity. I'm not sure what it is that bothers some people. Is it the searing hot oil, reminiscent of Mediaeval torture? It is a worry that the inside will be a playground for salmonella while the outside is a beautifully and crisp golden brown? Maybe it's because it uses f-words...two of them...preceded by a d-word.

By no means am I a well-practiced hand at deep fat frying. About once every few months I decide that something needs to be dffed--doughnuts, cutlets, whatevers--and I just do it. Most of the time things are fine, but sometimes my issue is that the end result is a little overdone. Instead of a lovely golden hue reminiscent of a setting sun, it's a burnished honey-cum-blowtorch kissed charcoal briquette. It's usually one or three of a recipe load of goodies, so it's no big deal.

My problem with the (bloobybloobybloo) was that I didn't seal the wrapper edges well enough. A couple of minutes after lowering them into the bubbling fat the spluttering started an all of a sudden my dumplings weren't alone in the pot. They were surrounded by lace-like confetti that emanated from my improperly-sealed dumplings. When all was said and done, I must have lost a good 20 per cent of my fillings from my dumplings. Not enough to render the dumplings hollow shells, but enough to make me sigh.

Then again, dffed (falalalala) is pretty good in its own right.

Still, I don't think I'm quite ready to be a professional deep fat fry gal...yet.


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07 July 2008

On my rickety shelves: The Fruit Hunters

Thanks to the good people at Doubleday Canada I found myself on a juicy and luscious, sweet and addictive, and disturbing and thought-provoking adventure.

The Fruit Hunters: A story of nature, adventure, commerce and obsession
by Adam Leith Gollner
Doubleday Canada
280 pages

Adam Leith Gollner is a fruit hunter, travelling the hemispheres in search of the sweet, the sour, the juicy and the sublime. His collection of adventures, people and revelations are bound in his first book The Fruit Hunters: A story of nature, adventure, commerce and obsession.

A “fruit hunter” you ask?

Yes. This is a man fascinated by fruit...a foodie with a fruit fixation.

Gollner is the Canadian correspondent for Gourmet Magazine, and has written for The New York Times, Bon Appetit, and Good Magazine. It’s through his work where he met some (if not many) of characters and delicacies he commits to page.

The book’s Brazilian prologue marks a low point in Gollner’s life: a grandfather’s death, divorcing parents, friends with mental illnesses and a long-term girlfriend who has run off to Europe to spend New Year’s with her lover. Then he spies it: a tree that seems to grow petrified bran muffins that are packed with orange segment-like seeds (the paradise nut). He searches for some in a local shop and leaves with a sac filled with native fruits—sweet, Styrofoam-textured jambos, wine gummy-cum-crème caramel abius, and the lavender-fruit-punch-flavoured maracuja.

The flavour revelations mark the start of an adventure that will take him to jungles and orchards, to marketing offices and plantations—all the while tasting delicacies that some of us have never heard of, meeting some decidedly scary people and discovering far more about geopolitical realities intertwined with pods, bushes and trees.

The Fruit Hunters is about sex, drugs and rock and roll: coco-de-mers, which look like a woman’s midriff, hips, reproductive area and thighs, African cherries for prostate illness, and the yohimbe tree for its…ummmm…invigorating…effects.

In many other hands, fruit could be treated with a blinkered botanical eye. Not Gollner. His fruit finding tales comes to life through of the people he meets along the way—a nonagenarian fruit hunter, fruitarians (people whose diets are totally fruit-based), botanists, smugglers, cross breeders and marketers.

This book is also about what’s happening to the fruit trade. There’s the obvious: mass production’s impact on what’s in my bigscarymegamart’s produce section—January’s sour, crunchy Californian strawberries, apple-hard, sometimes mealy and utterly flavourless peaches. Then there’s the unsettling: the untested effects of colorants on humans. And of course, there’s what sounds scarily unappetising: coating apples in what is a human-safe solution (but still technically a pesticide) to morph the flavour of an apple to be more grapelike.

Gollner is a strong writer whose vivid and entertaining prose made me feel as if I was his travelling companion, sometimes tasting his finds. It's an adventure story, a mystery, a thriller and comedy in the guise of a food/food history book. For me, one of the biggest compliments I can give a writer is reading passages aloud to the poor soul who just happens to be within earshot…thank goodness my friends know I do this as some of them heard a lot from this book.

I’ve been food shopping a few times since I got the book and have perused the fruit aisle “hunting” for my latest find. I’m more enthralled with our local in-season offerings. But truth be told, I haven’t picked any of the exotics—the dragonfruit, the passionfruit, the things without signage but look hairy, gnarled, spiky or just plain cool—because I know from prior attempts, they weren’t picked for their flavour, just their transportability.

Will the sour or flavourless and unripened exotics offerings top me from trying these fruits? Nope. It just means that I’ll have to stalk my prey a little longer or go slightly farther afield to bag my game...that should keep me going until Gollner writes his next book.


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04 July 2008


Oh my...if I'd realised the pluots I'd used in the latest Daring Bakers challenge would have garnered this much attention, I would have included a few words about them in that post.

Pluots are a new stone fruit , developed sometime in the latter part of the last century by Floyd Zaiger, a fruit geneticist. He is known for developing two types of fruit, the pluot and the aprium. From their names, you can tell they are plum-apricot crosses.

Broken, down, pluots are about 75 per cent plum and 25 per cent apricot. Because of their size, shape and fuzzless skin, they look a lot like plums.

Their flesh is juicy (look at the top photo and you'll see driblets on the plate) and (when ripe) is almost honey-sweet.

They are grown in California and Washington State--I don't know of any Canadian producers, but I suspect there should be some.

There are more than 20 pluot varieties, but neither my bigscarymegamart, nor my mediumscarymegamart bother to identify which types they sell. For ages I thought we only got one type (the top two pictures): a midnight purple skin with soft reddish-pink flesh.

Today when I went to pick up some, they had different type (bottom two pictures). Its reddish with with orangy yellow skin can look a little like a nectarine. Its flesh is orangey-red, but I don't think the ones I bought are as ripe as they should be (moments of sweetness, but also was a bit sour and not as soft).

Like most stone fruit (and berries) the way I tell if they are ripe is by their aroma and texture...they smell floral and sweet and they are slightly yielding witha firm grasp. Then again, I like my fruit well ripened ("rotten" according to My Dear Little Cardamummy, who prefers things a bit more astringent).


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01 July 2008

Mmm...Canada: The Savoury Edition Round-Up

The state of nations depends upon how they eat.
- Jean Anthèlme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste (1825)

The call was made and was answered. Between Jennifer’s event and mine, I think we’ve somewhere in the region of 60 or 70 participants (wee hee!).

The savoury side of the table has foods representing foods from east to west, dishes that brought back memories, treats that are steeped in our nation’s history, along with new takes on familiar ideas, fusion cuisine and one or two brand new dishes. We also have essays from Canadian writers who share their bits of culinary Canadiana which are a pleasure to read. Meandering through our round-up, you’ll find submissions by people who live here, people who used to live here and people who’ve visited our warm, sunny, rainy and snowy shores.

Thanks so much to everyone who cooked, photographed or wrote for this event—you’ve done us proud.

So…we’ve quite the feast here. Come on over—leave your coats on the bed. Pop, juice and milk are in the fridge and the beer’s on ice in the bath. Dessert can be found
here. Help yourself and if Hagia leads you to the bookcase in the dining room, she wants her kitty crunchie treat...

British Columbia
Deb of anm8rchick: the miss underpants project
Salmon Cakes

Deb's been in BC for about a dozen years and has fallen in love with salmon. Her entry adapts a Kitchen Nightmares recipe...and she pairs it with a cutely labelled wine.

Hélène of La Cuisine d'Hélène
Memories of a Québec home

For Hélène, Canadian food is the food of family. Her post takes us through the Québécois foods of her childhood such as ragoût, tourtière and pea soup.

Linda of Kayak Soup
Sablefish on Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Fiddleheads and Arugula

Linda took advantage of fish caught off the British Columbia coast and prepared it simply and deliciously, with what I think of as a rite of spring: Fiddleheads. Her food is always so lovely, as are her posts.

Liz of Bits'n'Bites
Home cooking from Québec

I think for many Canadians, Canadian cooking is the foods prepared for them while they were young. Liz is no different. She gives us a peek at the great Québécois dishes her mum prepared.

Sarah of i like to cook

Our lovely Sarah had a good think about what she should make and then seized upon bannock, a type of bread which was adapted by our First Nations people. She gives us savoury and sweet versions.

TS and JS of [eatingclub] vancouver
Pan-roasted Halibut with Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes and Bagoong Butter Sauce

TS and JS’s eclectic food tastes let them try some of the many cuisines that contribute to Canada’s national cuisine. They share a Filipino-inspired dish that uses some of British Columbia's wonderful bounty.

Val of More Than Burnt Toast
Maple Glazed Salmon Skewers

In one post Val takes us on a coast-to-coast culinary journey. Her sumptuous sojourn ends at home, enjoying one of British Columbia's famed fishies...salmon.

Gayleen of GayleenFroese.com
Pizza, Feta and the Original Kraft Dinner

My friend Gayleen is a talented author who's working on the follow up to her novel
Touch. She shares memories of Pierre Berton's quest for a national food and how it (pizza) is translated in Saskatoon by Greek restaurateurs, along with words about school potlucks and good ol' KD.

Brilynn of Jumbo Empanadas
Wild Canada

Brilynn truly went wild with this one. Wild turkey roam freely in her backyard, and after a truly thrilling licensing process, her dad went out and brought home dinner…several times over. Paired with wild rice, Brilynn adapts Hunter’s Chicken for her dish.

Candice of Mmm! Tasty
Garlic fingers with donair sauce

Candice made a dish that reminds her of her Maritime home, but is hard to find here in Ontario--the garlic finger. At first glance it looks like something many of us are familiar with, but upon closer inspection it has a wonderful regional twist.

Christine of Occasionally Christine
Toasted tomato sandwiches

Christine’s back and I know I’m a happier person for it. Her return to foodblogging is marked with a childhood favourite, with memories of real tomatoes.

Elizabeth of Blog From OUR Kitchen
Pasta with Nettles and Cream Sauce

The food of Elizabeth’s youth (including Miracle Whip) has left an indelible mark on her psyche, which helps her to appreciate the more exotic cuisines available here. Her entry takes advantage of the offerings at a new local farmers’ market.

Giz of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
Beet Leaf Holopchi

Our event took Giz back to her youth in the Prairies, where Ukrainian culture is kept and cherished. Her dish is a bit of a tribute to her neighbour--who sounds like an amazing woman.

Jasmine (Me!)
Bacon, ramp and mushroom swirls

My entry is pretty simple and combines indigenous and introduced ingredients in a simple and homey way. It's a pretty forgiving concept and you can swank it up as much (or as little) as you want.

Jeff "Wing King" of Lord of the Wings
In search of the Canadian Wing

Jeff is a man obsessed with chicken wings (if you haven't guessed). In his journey to find "the" Canadian wing, he's realised that it's about your dining companions along with what's on the plate.

Jenny of All Things Edible
Maple Orange Cranberry Porkchops

Jenny decided to not go the way of tourtière nor poutine. For our little event she created a brand new dish featuing Canadian and imported flavours that’s sure to be a favourite.

Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen
Almost old-fashioned baked beans

Lisa and her site can inspire anyone interested in cooking delicious veggie dishes. For our event, she offers a veg-friendly rendition of a traditional comfort dish.

Marika of Madcap Cupcake
Montréal Bagels

Mmm....I’m happy someone tackled Montréal bagels. No offense to our friends from NYC, but there's just something so delicious about these delights from La Belle Province.

Michèle of Oswego Tea

After several years abroad, Michèle’s spending her first Canada Day here at home. To celebrate, she went to her farmers’ market and purchased some pattypan squash and yellow courgettes to be paired with goat cheese for a simple and delicious salad.

Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Grilled Canadian Bacon Sandwiches with Maple Onions and a Maple Mustard Sauce

Natshya (with puppies, in tow, I'm sure) decided on a Canadian classic: back bacon, grilled on the barbecue. She made a delicious meal of it and including a slew of delicious sides.

Peter of Kalofagas
Happy Birthday Canada

As you can see from a few posts of our participants, poutine is a favoured Canadian food. Peter is no different and he gives good advice about its three essential ingredients.

Ruth Stuart Wood Dragon’s Nest
Tasting Canada

My friend Ruth is a sweet soul and
a talented SF writer. I sent her a note asking if she’d consider a post for us and she provided memories of waiting for rising bullfrogs in her grandma’s kitchen.

Tracy of Vanilla Bean Café
PEI Mussels & Wheat Beer

Tracy grew up in eastern Ontario and has fond memories of French-Canadian food, but instead of delving into that rich culinary menu, she decided to adapt a recipe using ingredients from the Maritimes and Ontario.

Aimée of Under the High Chair
Fois gras sushi

We’ve seen a bit of traditional Québécois cooking in this event, but Aimée (clever girl that she is) shows us what new Québécois cooking can be, using some amazing local ingredients.

Nova Scotia
Ruth of Once Upon a Feast
Seared Scallops & Shrimps on Blueberry & Mixed Greens

Our Ruth uprooted herself and her dear husband from Ontario to Nova Scotia to be close to their grandson. She deftly summarises some of the Maritime province's culinary delights.

Jessica of UR: RD-2B
Originally from Québec, now in England

In honour of
La Fête National du Québec Jessica made a dish that makes her feel a bit closer to home. It’s amazing how poutine can bridge a distance (must be all the melty cheese strings ;) )

Joanne of Frutto della Passione
Maple glazed chicken and potatoes
Originally from Ontario, now in Italy

Joanne takes sweet childhood memories with an agreeable definition of Canadian food to give us this simple and tasty dinner.

Reenie of Scribbles and Bites
Hamburger Helper
Originally from Ontario, now in Mexico

What would we do without mums? Reenie’s mum told her about the event and their thoughts started flying and eventually landed on what she has to have when visiting Canada.

Sands of All Things Dolce
Strawberry Sandwiches
Originally from Ontario, now in England

Sands' mind wanders to "pick your own" farms and swimming in the lake on family outings. This sandwich is a product of one of those trips.

Honorary Canucks
Alanna of Kitchen Parade
Grilled vegetables in foil

It was such a pleasure meeting Alanna last year at BlogHer--she's warm and wonderful. I knew she wouldn't disappoint--her dish is simply prepared and features a wonderful vinaigrette.

Becke of Columbus Foodie

Becke decided to make what she thought of as “quintessentially Canadian” that happens to double as a comfort food. A gravy-like sauce, cheese curds and fries—it could only be poutine.

Mary of The Sour Dough
Beer, brats and a bit of pork pie

Our darling Mary truly is an honorary Canadian—growing up in “the lost province” (aka Michigan’s Upper Peninsula)—in fact I think we should officially adopt her. She and her friends combine beer, pork, bread for a Canadian-inspired meal.

Shaun of Winter Skies, Kitchen Aglow
New Zealand

Our Dear Shawn has travelled to Canada twice in his life...and one of those trips included some reputedly amazing Voguing (are we dating ourselves? Perhaps). He shares his memories of both trips along with a recipe for some traditional Québécois fare.

Ulrike of Küchenlatein
Smoked Coho Salmon with Strawberry Salsa
Northern Germany

One of our favourites, Ulrike, was lucky enough to be on the west coast and picked up a lovely Coho salmon. She had it smoked in Hamburg and paired it with a divine fruit salsa.

If you are still hungry—or curious about what Canadians eat--take a meander through my list of
Canadian food blogs--it’s a pet project of mine and updated whenever I find a new-to-me site.

Happy Canada Day!


PS--every good celebration has a straggler or two...