SCOTCH EGGS

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Whenever I go home to England I make sure to ask my Dad to get 3 things before I get there: Pork Pies, Walker’s Crisps and Scotch Eggs.

British food emporium Fortnum and Mason claims to have invented the Scotch Egg (they are not actually Scottish, kinda like French Toast isn’t French) and there are a million ethnic recipes from India to Mexico that are similar to this. At the risk of sounding like a snotty English bastard I think that Scotch Eggs are superior to all other forms of boiled egg wrapped in ground meat.

I had never had a warm Scotch Egg until I came to Canada. I always ate them straight out of the fridge either plain or with a smear of “Brown Sauce” as they call it where I’m from. In fact they are sometimes called Picnic Eggs because they are are a great portable snack when eaten cold.

I had never thought of making them before because I don’t deep fry very often (compared to some people), but when my friend Natalia lent me her deep fryer I thought this would be a great opportunity to redeem myself after posting about Kale and Quinoa. In fact to counteract the Kale and Quinoa I ate a Twinkie wrapped in a crepe and deep fried; take that Kale.
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As I bit into it I felt like all those filthy people that go to state fairs and eat shit like this.

Anyway, when you serve Scotch Eggs right from the fryer with a fresh salad they make a great fancy looking lunch. Really all you’re serving is a boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat and deep fried, pretty ghetto to be honest.

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COD WITH KALE AND QUINOA (It’s actually tasty!)

Pan-Seared Cod with Quinoa and Kale PilafI’ve been told by several people to start my blog again.  It’s been so long since I blogged that WordPress has changed a bunch and I have no F-ing idea how to make anything work.  At least I can still cook.

There are two foods that until recently I made fun of for being rabbity granola vegan garbage but I have slowly come around.  First one, Kale.  I never hated Kale but I was so sick of hearing people saying shit like “Oh my God Kale is AMAZING and it’s so good for you!”  I mean to start with, it’s a vegetable.  It has never and will never be in the same category as something actually amazing such as Pork Belly or Fried Chicken, just don’t try.

I don’t necessarily think that for a food to be amazing it has to be worthy of bringing on Gout, but you never hear people say “That Kale Salad has put me in a food coma, I’d better hit the gym hard tomorrow, I feel so guilty…” And even if they did have the balls to say that out loud what they’d really mean is “I fucking wish that Kale Salad was a Poutine so I could actually be full for once and have a reason to do a proper workout instead of just wearing Yoga clothes to the Farmers’ Market.”  Just saying.

My breakthrough with Kale was when I planted some last year.  I was experimenting to see what would grow at our new place and after many dead and withered Broccoli, Cauliflower, tasteless Carrots and misshapen Beets, the Kale came out on top.  I literally couldn’t eat it as fast as it grew so I started a) giving it away and b) getting creative.   I stewed it like Collard Greens with Ham Hocks.  I stir fried the new tender leaves Asian style and it was delicious.  I made the constantly talked about Kale Chips, they were good but I still have a hard time calling them chips.  Even my dogs eat the stalks when I’ve taken the leaves off them, they can’t get enough!image-2

Quinoa was more of an easy sell.  It’s still a carb after all.  I had heard you could use it in baking, and blah blah a million other uses. Still I thought it seemed a bit stupid to make a perfectly good muffin out of something other than fat, sugar and flour (breakfast cake).  After I made Quinoa myself for the first time, I realized that I actually did like it, I quickly figured out that I had only ever had badly made, soggy, under-seasoned Quinoa.  This was a food epiphany of sorts.  Not like “WOW!” for Oysters or Olives or Anchovies but a smaller sort of “hmm it’s not so bad” kind of way.

To summarize, I’m kind of into Kale and Quinoa now.  Not like $6 a bunch at the market or daily muffins into them, but when I read that Kale apparently blocks the absorption of dietary fat and Quinoa contains a powerful antioxidant I thought “Yes! I want to be young and thin!” so I made this recipe. Continue reading

TARTE TATIN (FANCY UPSIDE-DOWN APPLE PIE)

I just looked at my last post and it’s now official; I suck at being a regular blogger. A few things have changed in the last year. It looks like my singing career has stalled for now so Plan B is currently in effect (not the morning after pill kind of Plan B). I’m now working Monday to Friday as an in house chef for a tech company here in Toronto. Working with food is less fun than singing because I don’t get to wear costumes and have people clap at me. Maybe I’ll implement a round of applause rule when I make a good lunch.

Side note, I’m listening to the Broadway channel on Songza and Bette Midler just finished “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”. All I can think of is drag queens.

Anyway, tonight we’re going over to Natalia and Arun’s place for casual/semi-formal dinner (her words). This morning I had a Sausage McMuffin and 2 Hashbrowns kind of hangover and can’t imagine drinking again tonight. I’m sure I’ll manage to force a bottle of wine down somehow. Anyway I’m making dessert, not something I generally do because I’d rather eat seconds instead. When I make dessert it’s usually something simple and this is no exception. It only has 4 ingredients, two of which are butter and sugar, my favourites. It’s so impressive when you unleash your inner stage creature to invert the tart at the table, definitely applause worthy if you execute it right. I will try not to leave it so long until my next post although I’m sure you can cope with the void that my lack of online presence leaves.

“Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. More drag queens. Changing the channel.

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PING GAI (GRILLED CHICKEN)

First of all sorry for not posting since October!  It’s been a hectic few months with travel, Xmas, work, selling and buying houses and renovating.  This is no excuse really because I have eaten SO MUCH (and stopped exercising) since October and could have easily taken pictures and written something.  Oh well, maybe it can be my resolution that I will post AT LEAST once a week but don’t hold me to it because I don’t like feeling obligated.  I can only try :o)

I first had this dish at The Queen Mother Cafe on Queen St about 6 years ago.  It reminded me so much of my Chinese grandpa’s broiled chicken that I have it every time I go to the Queen Mum.  There are a few more ingredients than my Grandpa’s holy trinity of garlic, soy and ginger but it’s totally delicious.  Inspired by the success of Banh Mi Boys also on Queen St, I recently threw a piece on a Vietnamese baguette and ate it with Sriracha Mayo (recipe is 1. Sriracha, 2. Mayo, the end) and it was definitely NOT terrible.  The secret to tastiness is in the length of time you marinate the chicken.  I often make a double batch and freeze half of it in the marinade for those times I feel totally uninspired to cook anything from scratch.

INGREDIENTS

10-12 Chicken thighs, boneless, skin on
1 Bunch Cilantro
1 Tbsp Black pepper, ground
2 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
4 Cloves Garlic
¼ Cup Water

METHOD

Place all ingredients except chicken in  a blender and pulse until very smooth.  Add more water or a splash of veg oil if things need lubing up a little.  Place chicken in a large Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken.  Give it a good smoosh to get everything coated.  Leave this in the fridge for at least an hour or up to 48 hours.  This is best on a BBQ but I’ve had great success broiling it too.  For both methods start skin side down.  Cook about 4-5 mins a side or until it looks like tasty cooked chicken.  Serve with rice and Vietnamese dipping sauce or on a crusty roll with Sriracha Mayo.

SHRIMP CEVICHE TACOS

I’ve loved ceviche ever since the first time I tried it at La Bodega in Vancouver over 10 years ago.  I’ve made so many different types for parties because it’s easy, tasty and healthy.  Not that healthy food is my thing but I have moments when I think I should eat something other than pork and pork products.  There was a great recipe for shrimp ceviche in the Food and Drink magazine from the liquor store a few months ago.  My friend Kate first made it for me and has since made it for me 3 times  because I loved it so much.  The only thing is, although it’s amazingly good it’s not proper ceviche.  The Food and Drink recipe uses cooked shrimp that is tossed in lime juice.  A true ceviche requires no cooking, only acid.  The acid from lime juice causes the shrimp to ‘cook’ when they are marinated.  I like to marinade the shrimp over night for a firmer texture.  If you’re doing this for a party appetizer, those Tostito Scoops are great so that shrimp juice doesn’t run down your neck while you’re making small talk. Continue reading

NON-KOSHER PORK SANDWICHES

I came across a Challah recipe in Saveur Magazine the other day and realized I’d never made it before.  Since I was having people over for brunch, I thought why not.  Long story short I made the Challah according to the recipe and although it looked pretty, the texture was not great (I think due to only egg yolks and not whole eggs).  If you are going to make this I would trust the recipe on Smitten Kitchen, as I’m sure she would never serve less than perfect Challah to her brunch guests like I did.  Anyway, like I said they were pretty but not Challah.  There is now a big red question mark next to my Saveur subscription for screwing me over on this crap recipe. Continue reading

TURDUCKENHEN: A BIRD IN A BIRD IN A BIRD IN A BIRD!

Like a lot of people, I don’t particularly like turkey.  I like the smell while it’s cooking, it makes me feel somewhat festive but that’s where it ends.  There’s been a lot of talk of deep fried turkey these days, and I’m sure I’ll do one eventually but then if I’m only cooking turkey to make my house smell good then deep frying is a bit redundant.

OK so this long weekend we were at the cottage for Thanksgiving.  It was so hot that I actually got to tan.  I know, tanning in October in Ontario!  I don’t know if it’s global warming or Jesus answering my prayers for year round tanning, but I like it. Continue reading

WE BE JAMMIN’

Around this time of year, the old woman in me comes out and I make some kind of jam or chutney.  Last year I made I Can’t Believe It’s Not Branston, Strawberry Jalapeno Jam and this one; Habanero and Peach Jam.  This year the Habs have been replaced by Scotch Bonnet peppers and it has been renamed “Toddybear’s Peachy Heat” by Kate and Jordie (aka Judy).  Toddybear is a name that only Kate and Judy call me so don’t even think about it.  Anyway, this year Kate and Jude grew some Scotch Bonnets in their back yard and wanted me to show them how to make this jam.  It’s great with cheese, especially in a grilled cheese sandwich.  It makes a wicked glaze for meats and it can also be mixed with a little vinegar and soy and used as a dipping sauce for dumplings or spring rolls.  Some recipes call for ripe peaches but I prefer them on the harder side.  The cooking time is a little longer but it makes a slightly tangier jam in the end.  I have done this with no specialty canning equipment because I’m too cheap to buy a bunch of stuff I only use once a year (Turkey Lifter anyone?). Continue reading

TOFFEE AND SALTED ALMOND BLONDIES

I know it’s been a while since I last posted.  I was in cottage country for a month singing with Highlands Opera Studio and only had a 3G stick which was marginally faster than dial-up at the best of times.  Then I had some serious parent time during the last month: Mum, then Dad and Wicked Stepmother, then NYC with Brian’s parents (PS did I mention that Gramercy Tavern was delicious?  Thanks for the suggestion Irene).  Anyway Lisa inspired me to post something as she took a hiatus from blogging but she’s finally back with a great end of summer Jerk Chicken recipe.  Since I have something in the oven I figured  I could take a picture of it and throw a post up.

So I’m not a chocolate person and I don’t really get the whole Brownie thing, unless they’re “special” Brownies, in which case yum.  I am a butter and sugar person however and LOVE the albino cousin of the Brownie; the Blondie.  I had a ton of mini packages of salted almonds in my bag, left over from raiding the Porter Airlines lounge recently on our trip to New York.  I came across an open bag of Skor bits in the cupboard and a plan fell in to place.  Continue reading

CAULIFLOWER STUFFED ROTI

There’s nothing like home cooked food, an in particular home cooked Indian food made by a real Indian person.  Unfortunately I’m not an Indian person, but the way my tan is going this summer I could be made an honorary brown person by August.  My friend Tara is a real Indian person and while she doesn’t cook much Indian food, her mother does.  While I was at her parents’ house her Mum asked me if I was hungry, “Of course”,  I said and in about 2 minutes one of these was sitting on a plate in front of me.  She makes them in batches and keeps them in the freezer ready to warm up.  Kinda like an Indian Pizza Pop.  I made a batch but ended up eating them all before they got to the freezer.  If you don’t use butter these are Vegan but who cares because I don’t think any Vegans read my post anyway.  Enjoy! Continue reading