30 July 2006

Guacamole Muffins

I promised Paz this recipe about a month or two ago. I am so sorry it took me this long to get it up.

About a year ago I sent out a SOS for savoury muffin recipes. My company was involved in a Habitat for Humanity build and I opted to be part of the cooking crew...for some reason people get really nervous when they think of me around power tools and sledge hammers...I don't know why...

I knew others would bring in squares and cookies and cupcakes and all sorts of sweets. You know me. I have NO problems with sweets, but when you have a crew who's been toiling under the hot sun, an all-sweet snack table isn't necessarily the best thing.

I've made these muffins several times and modified the original recipe here and there. Avocado, bacon, cheddar, onions, a bit of spice...I really like these for breakfast, but they also pair well with soups, stews and chili. The avocado makes the muffins incredibly moist.

Guacamole Muffins

yield: 12 muffins

100g whole wheat flour
150g all purpose flour
2 dsp* baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
0.5tsp paprika (or black pepper)
1 egg, beaten
250ml milk
1 avocado

1tsp lime juice (optional)
60ml vegetable oil
1Tbsp chopped jalepeno peppers (optional)
100g grated cheddar
75g whole spring onions (about 4), finely sliced
75g cooked bacon, (back bacon, streaky bacon or just cooked ham) chopped finley

  • Preheat oven to 375F (190C/Gas Mark5). Line a 12-bowl muffin pan.
  • Sift together flours, baking powder, salt, sugar and paprika. Set aside.
  • Stir together the egg and milk. Mash in the avocado flesh--don't make it too smooth as a few lumps will give the muffins a bit of extra avocado flavour. Mix in the lime juice, oil and jalepenos.
  • Remove about half of the flour mixture and dust the cheese, onions and bacon--this will help stop these ingredients from clumping in the batter. Tip the rest of the flour back into the dry bowl.
  • With a wooden spoon combine the dry and wet ingredients until they are just mixed. stir in the dusted cheese, onions and bacon.
  • Divide the batter into the muffin bowls and bake for 20-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean-ish.

  • * I do mean dsp (dessertspoon): 1 dessertspoon = 2 teaspoons
  • This recipe works really nicely with Monterey Jack cheese (with or without peppers).
  • If you are using pickled jalepenos, you can substitute a teaspoon of the pickling brine for the lime juice
  • If you're frying bacon especially for this, reserve the fat and use that instead of veg oil--if it measures less than 60ml, then top it up with veg oil.


28 July 2006

Eat this event: Canada on our plates

I've always wanted to be a spy. I'm sure this comes from far too many James Bond movies in my childhood and a more than healthy "curiosity" in the world around me. At one point I seriously thought of applying to CSIS...the way I figure it is: for some unknown reason, people tend to underestimate me and are therefore unguarded when they say things around me.


I could make some huge coin just to keep the secrets I've stumbled onto.

So imagine my little ears perking up when I received an email from Canada Eats with subheads that include "Why are we writing to you?" and "Your mission?" A mission? Theme music plays in my head:

Dum dum da dum dum dum da dum
Doodle-ooo doodle-ooo do-do

Okay, it's not a spying thing...but it is a mission....

"Tell us what's Canadian food to you—is it a regional specialty? A recipe your grandmother brought over from the Old Country and adapted to the harsh prairie winters? Something you concocted on the fly for friends and family? (...)"

Growing up, Canadian food was the food I didn't eat. Being the daughter of immigrants, I was very familiar with foods people are now just discovering while the stuff eaten by others was a mystery to me.

Yes, I was fed in nursery school--I have distinct memories of insipid peas and horrid mash--and a rotten, bullying, naughty little boy who dumped my glass of milk in my plate of veg and my teacher forcing me to eat cold, milky sludge that made me nauseous.

Surprisingly enough, that didn't put me off this mystery called "Canadian food."

I wanted what I saw other children on TV eat. You know, the stuff the Bradys, the Cunninghams, and the Kings (of Kensington) ate. I was too young to really know that America was really a different country...the fact is, all these people ate things that were different than what we ate.

Mummy has stories of me coming home from nursery and primary schools at Christmas and Thanksgiving asking about turkey, because we were taught that you ate turkey at Christmas and Thanksgiving. I think that's how she really started trying other foods. She read in the newspaper how to cook turkey and she cooked it...well...overcooked it...and continued to overcook it for years. She heard about stuffing and bought boxes of Paxo until she learned how to make it herself. The moisture-sucking quality of her turkey has diminished and is now, I think, the best roast turkey served from any professional or amateur kitchen. Don't ask me what she does, those secrets are more precious than the locations of Atlantis, the Holy Grail or Jimmy Hoffa.

From colleagues and the newspaper she learned about cakes and breads, soups, different salads, pork chops and other Canadian foods--always fixing the recipes to her tastes.

But for every success there were "interesting" outcomes.

Take spaghetti and meatballs. Now, you're probably thinking "What's so mysterious about that?" Just noodles, tomato sauce and meatballs, right? Well...The noodles were okay--overdone by my current standards, but still good enough. The tomato sauce was courtesy of Heinz ketchup (it's red, it's a sauce and it's made from tomatoes)...not great. Okay, it was terrible. The meatballs...umm...

My mother hates the taste of red meat. I understand totally...there are times when I've had beef that I can only describe as "cowy." There's no other word for it. It tastes like a cow...it doesn't taste like beef. Anyway, to make it palatable to her, Mummy uses spices...copious amounts of them: lots of clove, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, onions, garlic, black pepper. I've never been a big fan of any meat that's been doctored to the point of being unrecognizable. So I, not knowing any better, didn't like spaghetti...or meatloaf (she added green bell pepper to the mix)...or any non-curry beef dish.

My dislike of ham started early because the Easter hams my mother prepared were far too salty. And no wonder...she just put the salted ham in the oven and didn't try and remove the excess, processing plant salinity...nobody told her. She basically gave up on hams after a few years, I think because of our complaints.

That said, the only Canadian food that she didn't make (often) was fried chicken. My dad developed a taste for Mary Brown's Fried chicken and then Kentucky Fried Chicken, so once every few weeks we'd get some fried chicken. It was greasy and salty and ...I'd end up with a tummy ache from all that skin...To this day, Kentucky Fried Chicken (never called KFC) is a treat, reserved for when they return from India or their birthdays or if they've spent the day wandering and she refuses to step foot in the kitchen.

But here's the thing I couldn't figure out. If Canadian food was so terrible, so horrid, so nauseating...why did Marsha Brady love it so much? I think I dismissed her as deranged from being hit by that football.

My neighbours, also immigrants, also didn't eat what I saw on TV. They were Portuguese so they had really, really great food that didn't use ketchup (afaik). So it wasn't as if I could ask them.

As I got older and started making "Canadian friends" -- those of you whose parents weren't born in Canada know what I mean -- I started figuring things out. Meatloaf was just like a plain bit of ground beef with just some salt and black pepper. Lasagna had some of that meat and a tomato sauce that wasn't ketchup with flat, non-mushy noodles and lots of cheese...Okay....it was more than a bit boring...but it tasted a lot better than what my mum's versions were.

I told her of this stuff I ate at their houses and, looking back, I could tell that she knew that she was beginning to lose me. I found someone else's cooking better than hers.

Not better...just a nice break.

It was only a matter of time when my friends and I got our driving licenses and started working, dispensing our minimum-wage paycheques at takeaways and road houses. I soon started trying things my mum would never eat: crab, lobster, sushi, escargot. She never understood why I wanted to eat those things...and still doesn't. So as I discovered Italian, French, Creole, Japanese, Thai, Ethiopian and Korean foods, she just clucked away while mincing ginger or stirring sambhar.

Okay...she and my dad do like Korean food--kimchi and bulgogee especially, and they love the pickled ginger that comes with sushi, but they won't admit to that.

Mummy, in her own way, has adapted Canadian foods to her tastes--roasted meats, stirfries and pastas are served as often as rice, curries and pickles.

So, in hindsight, I suppose Canadian food represents many things to me: it was one of the things that kept me different from others, but it was also the thing that helped me become my own person, with my own tastes and opinions.

That said, I still think Marsha Brady would have benefitted from some of my mum's cooking.


PS -- It's not too late to join in this blogging event and you don't have to be Canadian to join in. All you have to do is write a post about what Canadian food means to you. Send a link to your post to canadaeats {at} gmail {dot} com by Midnight 11:59 pm (EST) 30 July. The very good people at Canada Eats will do the rest.


26 July 2006

Canada Eats: Sugar...dadadada da da...

Oh honey, honey....

A bit of happy news! I'm absolutely thrilled to have a cookbook review column for
Canada Eats, a new, Canadian-focused online culinary magazine. Every month I'll record my adventures and misadventures as I review and test recipes from a different title.

Since July's theme was (what else) Canada, I chose a tome from my groaning shelves, Anna Olson's Sugar.
Here's the review.



22 July 2006

Vanilla ice cream

Even though I am partial to a hot cup of tea or some extra-spicy food when temperatures soar, one of my favourite ways to handle the heat (or cold or rain or fog or meteorites or ...) is to reach for a scoop or two of ice cream.

I knew I'd be making vanilla ice cream as part of the vanilla series, but with so many variants out there, which one to pick was the bigger question.

I narrowed it down slightly to a custard-based dessert. To me, vanilla ice cream brine made without a few cooked egg yolks always seems lacking.

Unfortunately, this didn't help me narrow things down enough. A quick search for a French vanilla ice cream recipe rewarded me with 27,500 hits. If I made one batch a day (as much as I'd love to) it would take more than 76 years to try them all...I'm a bit too impatient to do that.

Reviewing Kitchen Sense a few weeks ago reminded me that I don't necessarily have to turn to a specialized tome to create great food. So I did what came naturally and reached for my favourite general-purpose cookery book, Nigella Lawson's How To Eat. As always, Nigella didn't disappoint, placing her vanilla ice cream recipe right after a couple of custard recipes...this woman understands ice cream.

This is a great and simple recipe that doesn't take forever to make. I did tamper with the recipe very slightly by not using as much sugar as she recommends. I chose to use a Tahitian vanilla bean for the custard--its floral perfume really came out during the heating and stayed through the freezing. The end result is a perfect dessert that doesn't need gussying up with sauces or fruit or whateve. It also works realy nicely with pies and cakes.

Nigella Lawson's Vanilla Ice Cream


500 ml single cream (light or table cream)
1 vanilla pod
5 egg yolks
200 g granulated sugar
300 ml double cream (heavy or whipping cream)
  • Create a cold water bath by filling a very large bowl or sink basin half-way with very cold or ice water.
  • Pour the single cream into a pan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out all the seeds; add the seeds and the pod to the pan. Heat until simmering. Take the pan off the hob and let stand for 20-30 minutes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar until thick and pale.
  • Using a wooden spoon, temper the cream into the egg mixture, stirring in small amounts of the cooled cream to the yolk mixture until roughly 1/3 of the cream is incorporated. If you just pour in the warm cream, you might end up with scrambled eggs. Then tip the rest of the cream (vanilla pod and all) into the eggy mixture and give it a good stir.
  • Pour the sweet eggy cream back into the pan and return to the hob. Turn the flame to medium-low and stir (constantly) for about 10 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  • Move the pan off the heat to the cold water bath and beat well with a wooden spoon. Let cool (if you want, you can put it in the fridge). Add in the double cream and stir well. Give it a taste. If you want it sweeter, add some icing sugar. Remove the pod--at this point, you can rinse it out, let it dry and add it to some granulated or castor sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  • Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.

Makes about 1L



19 July 2006

Testing my personality...again

You Are a Powdered Devil's Food Donut

A total sweetheart on the outside, you love to fool people with your innocent image.
On the inside you're a little darker, richer, and more complex.
You're a hedonist who demands more than one pleasure at a time.
Decadent and daring, you test the limits of human indulgence.

Was there any doubt? Really?

Thanks to the very lovely Nerissa (and fellow Powdered Devil's Food Doughnut) for this.

So...tell me...what kind of donut/doughnut are you?


18 July 2006

Feast: Fame Becomes Me

Last month Jen and I had tickets to Martin Short's show, Fame Becomes Me. Those of us who've been watching him since his SCTV days had an...odd...trip down memory lane. The biographic show was fun and he had a great supporting cast.

Anyway, to keep with the slightly schlocky, slightly tacky showbiz theme of the show, Jen and I decided to lunch at, where else, The Hard Rock Cafe. It had been years since Jen ate there and I don't think I ever ate at the Toronto one.

We ate lots...not all of it virutous, but the chocolate cake made up for it in the end...because, well, chocolate cures all evils, right? Anway, here are the piccies--chicken-filled spring rolls, a burger with sweet potato fries, and (of course) the chocolate cake...oh, that last picture? Depeche Mode's keyboard :)


16 July 2006

Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense - Round-Up

Hello all

All the posts are up, so if you are interested in reading whom else was involved in this very fun event, here are the two round-up posts. Enjoy!

Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense Round-Up Part One

Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense Round-Up Part Two


13 July 2006

Eating reports

Found a few articles today about Britain's Economic and Social Research Council's recent report about stress-induced eating habits.

University of Leeds researchers looked at the relationship between snacking and stress. "Stress" isn't defined as really big things such as losing your job or a death or an accident. What they were looking at can be classified as life's minor annoyances--misplacing your keys, a line-up at the ATM, the loud mobile phone talker on the train...That sort of thing.

In sum,

  • Subjects who reported at least one minor hassle per day ate less at their main meals, but ate "significantly" more between-meal snacks;
  • In an annoying day (one where subjects had several hassles), female reached for fatty and/or sugary snacks; on such days, both sexes ate fewer vegetable portions;
  • As the week went on (and hassles mounted), subjects (especially men) ate more fibre and fat;
  • "Ego-threatening, interpersonal and work-related" stressors triggered more snacking, but subjects ate less when faced with "physical" stressors;
  • Dieters, emotional eaters, those who eat because of external factors (because they smell or see something), overeaters, along with obese people and women are more likely to snack when stressed;
  • Subjects in a demanding job where they have little control snack more;
  • Women who work longer hours (undefined afaik), eat more sugar and fat, exercise less, and (those who smoke) smoke more, and
  • Men and women who work longer hours drink less alcohol.


I'm reading the articles and the report brief and a couple of things pop to mind...

I'm not surprised--when people are stressed, they look for comfort food. For many, this means foods that are high in fats and carbs. Let's face it, a broccoli floret really doesn't make me feel better when I'm stressed.

I've read somewhere that it's programming from long back that corresponds to the fight-or-flight response. Scientifically, carbs increase tryptophan that releases serotonin into our brains. In other words, carb-rich foods make us happy.

The other thing that came to mind was last week's StatsCan article on the Canadian diet, and in particular, cbc.ca's headline "Most Canadians aren't eating a balanced diet - too much fat, too few veg."

On the positive side, our diet is improving, but it's still not a great way to eat...especially when you realize that 25 per cent of those polled ate fast food take-away within the previous 24 hours. Snacking accounts for more of our caloric intake than breakfast (the most important meal of the day, or so I was told)--18 per cent of our daily consumed calories came from breakfast compared to 23 per cent from snacks. 41 per cent of our snacking calories come from the "other food category" (not milk, meat, grains, fruits & veg).

As for me, I'd say...yeah, when I'm stressed chocolate and caffeine keeps me going throughout the day. I'm actually quite conscious about eating more veg (and starches) when I'm stressed--I feel better balanced when I avoid meat. That said, sometimes, on a particularly bad day, week or month, a beautifully grilled, thick and juicy steak appeals to my carnivorous nature and soothes the beast within...

Mind you, you will soon see how I've been dealing with my recent stresses...



11 July 2006

Rose essence vs. rosewater

A few people, after reading my cardamom-rose ice cream post, wrote me asking about the difference between “rose essence” and "rosewater.”

They are different, but related flavourings. Rose essence is a much more concentrated form of rose water. A rough conversion is 5ml rose essence = 15ml rose water.

Here’s a brief summary from
Alan Davidson’s Penguin Guide to Food:

The ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans extracted rose fragrance by steeping flower petals in alcohol, oil or water. In some areas rosewater is known as "Avicenna," named after a 10th century Persian physician usually credited with its discovery. It spread to England and the rest of Europe via mediaeval Crusaders.

Water distillation is the oldest known way to extract the flower’s fragrance, but now the steam distillation is preferred as it produces a more delicate and fragrant oil.

Rose water is used throughout India and the Middle East for sweets (for example baklava, firni, halva and shola) and such drinks as lassi and sherbet.

You should be able to find rose essence and rosewater at Indian or Middle Eastern grocers or at an online retailer.



09 July 2006

Ooey-gooey goodness

Back in May, our dear Sam of sweet pleasure: plaisir sucre hosted the first Canadian Blogging By Post event. And as luck would have it, my care package was whisked off to his address.

Well, little did I know that some of the goodness he created from my parcel would find its way back to me! A couple of weeks later, I opened a container filled with cardamom marshmallows.

"Marshmallow" is one of my most favourite words in the English language. I think it's onomatopoeia incarnate.

Sam's treats were wonderful: Sweet without being cloying, cushiony-soft--I wanted a pillow of the stuff, light-as-air and the spice's astringency lent an exotic-ness to something that's very popular. I adored them.

If you've only had store-bought marshmallows, I urge you to try making some. I made them once (by accident)--it's easy and so rewarding, and I don't think you'll go back to those little bits of extruded foam any time soon.

Here's the link to
Sam's post, along with the link to the basic recipe he springboarded from


05 July 2006

Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense

Every once in a while I get a lovely surprise in my inbox buried amongst gambling adverts, offers "to make her go wild," and heartfelt requests from a distant bank manager wanting assistance to unlock a highly suspicious treasure trove. Sara of i like to cook asked me to participate in "Cookbook Spotlight," a new event recording cooking adventures of 25 food-loving bloggers who peruse a particular title. The inaugural event, co-hosted by Sara and Cath of A Blithe Palate, spotlights Mitchell Davis' newest cookbook, Kitchen Sense. Quite honestly, it was like being invited by the cool kids to sit at their lunch table--but unlike the cool kids at my alma mater, Cath and Sara are super nice :)

Kitchen Sense: More Than 600 Recipes to Make You a Great Home Cook
By Mitchell Davis
Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York City
Hardcover; 516 pages; C$50/US$35
ISBN-10: 1-4000-4906-7

One thing that struck me when I collected Kitchen Sense was one line from the marketing team:

"…Kitchen Sense is like cooking alongside the Italian-Midwestern-Thai-Hungarian-Mexican-Southern-French-Israeli-Yankee-Indian grandmother you never had."
Them's tough words to live up to.

Mitchell Davis isn't a culinary lightweight. He's the vice president and director of communications for
The James Beard Foundation, an adjunct professor and PhD candidate at NYU's food studies program. He’s penned two other cookbooks (The Mensch Chef, Cook Something and co-wrote Fois Gras: A Passion) and wrote for GQ Magazine and Food & Wine. Did I mention he grew up in Toronto, trained as a chef in France and Italy and now lives in NYC? Yup...if someone should guide a novice cook by the hand, he is a very good candidate.

I don't think I'm that atypical in how I approach a cookbook. I read it as a novel, starting at page one carrying through to the index. It should lead me through a path that's either familiar, unfamiliar or a little of both, depending upon what I want it to do. I need to feel the author's personality and presence--as if they were sitting in my kitchen chair, glass of pinot noir in hand, imparting advice and opinion based on experience or some esoteric-to-me knowledge. I dread cookbooks that are devoid of the author's humanity or worse yet, are merely a gaggle of vaguely themed recipes, all bunged together under a cover.

Davis delivers a readable book. His introduction lets you glimpse whom and why he is. He and I are cut from similar cloth and believe food isn’t to be feared, but embraced, lived with, learnt about and enjoyed. As he says

"…the most effective way to accomplish all of that is to cook."

The book is generalist cookery, attempting to capture little bits of everything for everyone. It houses the basics of North American cooking (meatloaf, tomato sauce, mac’n’cheese) but also reflects what American tastes are evolving into—a sampler dish, if you will, of international cuisines such as Indian, Mexican and Thai.

Meandering through its leaves, I feel as if I’m partaking in a hearty and elaborate feast that begins at midnight and lasts a full 24 hours or longer. Beginning with a chapter on starters (Hors d'Oeuvres, Spreads, Dips and Other Finger Foods), Kitchen Sense outlines soups, salads, sandwiches, brekkie, veggies, grains & pastas, fish & shellfish, poultry, meats, sauces & condiments, and ends with desserts. I think of each section’s introduction as pouring the next glass: that little break between conversations, where one gathers his or her thoughts for the next discourse.

I particularly like how Davis sets his recipe pages. Introductions are part opinion, part anecdote and part advice. Within his ingredient list, he references other recipes or methods for the uninitiated (how to toast cumin seeds, poach eggs or make a red sauce). He studs the technique with suggestions and ends with notes on cooking and prep times, along with hints and tips regarding variations, advance prep and leftovers. Many pages feature a few paragraphs about quandaries such as undercooked eggs, grilling pizza and turkey de-mystification.

But the feast itself doesn't end there.

After all those recipes and sidebars, he gives us three important but often forgotten sections: Understanding the recipes in this book; Kitchen words, and Further reading. These sections are written for normal people-not those with home economics degrees, nor enrolled at culinary school.

There are a few quirks to this book which I simply can't overlook. I had issues with preparation times, usually needing to add an extra 25-50 per cent to whatever was published (see my recipe notes below). Also, being written for Americans, its measurements are embedded with sticks of butter and cups of rice. Without any sort of conversion table, this book may not translate well to an international audience accustomed to measuring in grams and litres, weighing flour for cakes, or using pints for milk (or better yet beer).

What many will immediately notice is the book, all 500+ pages of it, is picture-less. Some may see this as a detriment (especially if you want a beautifully glossy cookbook, filled with supermodels from the gastroporn world) but I see this as a plus. By avoiding illustrations, I think Davis focuses on what cooking should be: the food's flavour and cooking technique.

To be honest, I know this book wasn't written for me (which is good because any publisher venturing to do that would go bankrupt in a week). It was written for the novice American cook--"the lost generation" whose mums and grandmas didn’t explain the ins and outs of simmering or pie making, and may never have taken a real home-ec class. Kitchen Sense is handy for someone taking their first few precarious steps into the kitchen or a new part of the grocery store- a uni student/recent grad fending for themselves or someone who wants to try a style of cooking different to the same-old, same-old.

Sara asked that we each prepare one dish.

Sara and Cath, please forgive me. I couldn't stop at just one. I tried four.

There's a method to my madness (believe it or not)-I wanted to try something I do often, something I do every once in a while, something I haven't done in years, and a soup. For me, this was the best way to get a feel for the book. In general, everything was easy to prepare and tasted great.

Banana Cake (p444)
I make between 10 and 20 banana breads annually and always want to try a new recipe. Mine needed longer in the oven as I use glass bakeware and I think Davis uses metal. This one produces an amazingly moist crumb that's not too sweet. Some who tried it wanted to know what the magic ingredient was. The answer: buttermilk.

Porcini Risotto (p224)
I usually make this a couple of times a year. It was creamy and had a lovely woodsy taste from the rehabilitated fungi. Davis’ instructions were well-written and easy to follow.

Roast Pork, Tuscan-Style (p372)
I must admit that I rarely eat or roast pork. If you try this dish, get your meat from a butcher that sells unadulterated pork or cut down on the salt if you buy pre-brined (or “seasoned”) meat otherwise this dish will give the Dead Sea a run for its money in saltiness. Davis' instruction to "turn the heat down as low as it will go" was problematic as it seems my hob sets to a lower flame than his. I recommend turning the flame to a good simmer (say a 3.5 on a scale of 10 with 10 being full blast). With these minor adjustments, this is a lovely, flavourful way to roast meat in summer’s heat.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Chickpeas, Spinach and Cumin (p36)
My dear friend told me that the way to judge a cook is by his soup. There are many good recipes to choose from, but this one spoke to me. The roasted tomatoes lend a bright, smoky sweetness that’s counterbalanced by the tart lemon juice, and sparked by cumin. Add to this the contrast of the pureed tomatoes against the chunky, chickpeas and wilted spinach and this is a wonderful soup, summer or winter, hot or cold. I found the lemon juice a bit heavy, so next time I’ll reduce the juice by half.


Related Posts:
Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense Round-Up Part One
Cookbook Spotlight: Kitchen Sense Round-Up Part Two


03 July 2006


Look at them--all juicy sweet and mottled in colour.

We're never certain that we'll get any cherries from the tree. Between the neighbours (aka Trailer Park Boys and their street urchin offspring) and the mutant squirrels, we may not see any lovely fruit in any given year.

This year we plucked enough fruit to fill one of those 750ml Ziplock tubs, but don't count on any cherry recipes made with these.

They're all gone :)


01 July 2006

Happy Canada Day!

My beloved country is 139 years old today :)

And what a day we have in my part of the world -- beautiful sunshiney skies, warm and a little breezy. Tonight we're heading out to a fireworks display--lots of fun.

According to
The 2006 Priceless Index conducted by MasterCard Canada,

  • Our "most priceless Canadian drinks" were beer (56 per cent) surveyed and rye whiskey (eight per cent);
  • Our "most priceless Canadian foods" were maple syrup (19 per cent); beef/steak (11 per cent) and poutine (10 per cent). Regional favourite food breakdowns reflected foods that were "close to home": Quebec- maple syrup (35 per cent); Alberta - beef (24 per cent); B.C. - salmon (17 per cent) and Atlantic Canada - lobster (18 per cent).
In StatsCan's 2004 Food Consumption survey, Canadians, on average, annually ate:

  • 74.8 kg of fresh veggies
  • 66.8 kg of cereal
  • 51.7 kg of wheat flour
  • 37.6 kg of fresh fruits
  • 27.1 kg of red meat (all types)
  • 15.1 kg of canned or frozen veggies
  • 13.6 kg of beef
  • 13.5 kg of chicken
  • 11.6 kg of pork
  • 8.8 kg of cheese (I'm happy to say that most of it is real cheese and not those plastic-wrapped tranches of edible oil product)
  • 7.8 kg of rice
  • 156 eggs
  • 97.6 l of pop
  • 93.7 l of coffee
  • 79.9 l of tippley goodness (all types)
  • 66.4 l of tea
  • 63.2 l of milk
  • 24.9 l of fruit juice
  • 23.6 l of oils and fats
  • 13.3 l of wine
  • 6.2 l of ice cream
  • 7.4 l of spirits
  • 4.6 l of yoghurt
  • 1.9 l of table cream

Pictured above is a plate of maple syrupy goodness from the 2006 Elmira Maple Syrup Festival: maple sugar, maple candy and a butter tart...

Oh, and before I forget, The Old Foodie wrote Canada Day celebratory post about the wonders of all things mapley :)