Monday, November 28, 2011
So to report back - the ketchup and chutney were awesome! I was really quite afraid of the ketchup - the smell of the fish sauce had been so strong, and there were so few seasonings, I expected it to be gross - but the boys requested ketchup for their potatoes, so I gulped, tested the ketchup with a potato, and was pleasantly surprised! The chutney I'd had higher hopes for, and was not disappointed - it was a hit! In the words of my God-son's 8-year-old brother: "What is this brown stuff? It's delicious!"
Both are from Nourishing Traditions - so while I'm at it, I'll add that I've had a substantial amount of ginger ale made from the recipe from the same book today - so overall I am now happy to recommend the book, quirky though it is!
And, okay, the above pictures are not of any of the foods I am describing - but they made up part of the meal on Sunday, and I can't very well post with no pictures, now can I?
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Today we had our house blessed, did the enthronement of the Sacred Heart, and served this lemon cake to celebrate. Sam, who actually took these photos, was present, and requested the recipe. It's a Jamie Oliver, who has it online - check it out! Mine looks nothing like his, for reasons I don't know! Oh well! My only other comment is that I used whole wheat pastry flour and it worked beautifully.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Chutney recipe in Nourishing Traditions (Sally Fallon).
I love all things fermented, basically. It doesn't get more interesting, graceful, and healthy. Or more basic, really. I mean, think about it: bread and wine? Fermented. Kimchi? Cheese? Beer? Yes.
So now that we've established that - I am presently fermenting two new things in the kitchen - ketchup and raisin chutney.
I've made stovetop ketchup before, but never fermented ketchup. It involved first making fermented fish sauce. Which was disgusting, fascinating, and a lot of fun. It is not seasoned with as many spices and so on as other kinds I've made, either - just salt, garlic and cayenne pepper. But it is tomatoey, and it looks like ketchup, so hopefully it'll be awesome.
Fermenting fish; fermenting ketchup.
I am more excited about the chutney. We are having sort of a send-off goodbye lunch for my little God-son's family of 5, who are moving to Argentina for at least two years, if not forever (!), and we wanted to make it really special. I spent an obscene amount getting organic pork roasts, and we're planning roasted brussel sprouts and potatoes and apple galette and chocolate pudding. But the meat itself seemed sort of boring, you know? Daniel, the father, is an amazing cook, and always has so many delightful condiments and side dishes and things (like whole artichokes with lemon sauce, home-marinated eggplant, homemade sausages, etc. etc.) so I thought they deserved something a little zesty, yes indeed. So it's raisins, an onion, crushed chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, salt, cardamom, peppercorns, and cumin, along with the water and whey to ferment it, all blended up in the Magic Bullet. It smells awesome, I'm not going to lie. Can't wait to taste it!!
I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Food Philosophy: COLOURS EVERYWHERE!!!
Top culinary influences: My Egyptian grandmother. My Egyptian Father. Anything South Asian. And ohhh…Asian soups with those wonderfully colourful veggies. And, of course, Coptic seyami (vegan) food. Healthy food.
Favourite cook books: Any cheap cookbook you get from Winners with lots of pictures.
Favourite 5 ingredients:
1) Fresh thyme.
2) Fresh leek.
3) Fresh cilantro.
4) Fresh mint.
5) Freshly ground pepper.
The trend here, if you can tell, is anything fragrant.
Favourite 5 dishes—in no particular order:
1) My grandmother’s pickled eggplant.
2) Tagliatelle rose from Tre Marie, an Italian restaurant in Montreal that I’ve been going to since the womb.
3) Fried liver with caramelized onions (also from Tre Marie)
4) Koshary with crispy onions and tomato sauce (basically, an Egyptian party of carbs.)
5) My grandmother’s whole grilled sea bass with tahini. Om.
My father's creativity: my 25th birthday breakfast!
How did you learn to cook?: My mother hated cooking by herself, (and dislikes cooking in general) and would always have me as her sous-chef, and have me chop onions and several cloves of garlic for her. When I got older, she kind of left the “preparing” part of the meal to me, as she preferred the “eating” part of the meal.
Your week in cooking:
…Working on making the perfect over easy eggs…I will prevail.
…Burning half a batch of almonds (but in all fairness, I really do have an oven from hell)
…Lots of quinoa
Culinary fascination of the moment: Working butter into flour (thank you Amy!)
Culinary ambitions: Achieving culinary time management. Ie, the ability to not burn anything.
Top Serving Tips: Serving food HOT. And of course, as many colours as possible on the plate.
Your dream kitchen: Bright and cozy, with lots of beautiful leafy plants hanging from the ceiling and herbs on windowsills, overlooking a meadow (or just my backyard. not picky.). Lots of room for guests. Maybe one of those gigantic patio swing contraptions that you see in retirement homes. Fully equipped with a wall-unit oven, an indoor stovetop grill, surround-sound speaker system, and, of course, a triple sink (2 for dishes and one for washing/thawing fish or meat) preferably custom-built by an ebeniste whose pastimes include reading Anne of Green Gables and watching Titanic.
AND CERTAINLY….NOT this.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Hi there! I'm Amy.
I often cook with a baby strapped to my body.
Me writing in my new kitchen.
Food philosophy: Whole foods, organic foods, bulk buying, trying to kick it old school and peasant-ly when it suits me but happily using several gadgets to make it happen.
Top culinary influences: Italian, British Isles, and Mexican food.
Favourite cook books: Jamie Oliver's Italy, The Joy of Cooking, Vive Le Vegan.
Favourite 5 ingredients: cheese, tomatoes, garlic, flour, lentils.
Favourite 5 dishes: lasagna, pizza, falafel, stir-fried vegetables with tofu, creamy parmesan chicken.
How did you learn to cook?: Somewhat from my mom, more when I became a vegetarian at 13 and started discovering the world of pulses and spices, more yet when I got into meat again, and then whole foods and seasonal cooking - but generally all from books.
Your week in cooking: I bake bread once or twice a week, make a dessert or sweet snack 1-3 times per week, and use a meal plan for our suppers. We always have soup on Friday and pizza and wine on Saturday. Our produce basket is now every other Wednesday (for the winter season).
Culinary fascination of the moment: cardamom; soaking/fermenting grains.
Culinary ambitions: I would love to get more into pastry, which I mention in part because I've recently decided to take the plunge and get rid of our white flour, switching to whole wheat pastry flour instead. I look forward to figuring out how to work with that. I would also like to get into making beer and wine. Also, there are many herbs and spices I know very little about. For example, I have both tarragon and sumac in my pantry, and have no idea what they smell or taste like! (I don't even remember buying the tarragon!) This needs to be corrected!
Top serving tips: Keep it simple and real. Balance colours. Presentation is 80% of the enjoyment of a meal.
Monday, November 14, 2011
1. Make your pastry - put some butter in a bowl and then rub some flour in until it is like a dry meal, but not too dry. Add just enough water to form a dough. Roll out on a floured surface. Transfer to a buttered cookie sheet (must have a lip for any rogue juices).
2. Put fruit, sugar, and butter together with some cinnamon in a bowl and mix it about.
3. Plop your fruit on the rolled-out pastry.
4. Now fold 'er up in charming little pleats (or rough big pleats - whatever!).
5. Bake and serve with love to your favourite Samantha ♥
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Sam sent me a link to this chai latté syrup, and I'd been meaning to try the recipe from Cynthia Lair's Foods for the Whole Family, so I decided to sorta combine them. It went well! I am thinking this will be one of our mass-production Christmas presents this year, oh joy!
My ultimate quantities were:
4 c water
3 tea bags
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
10 cardamom pods
2 tsp ground ginger (accident - I'd meant to use 1 tsp - but it was fine)
1/2 pod vanilla, sliced open
4-5 tbsp honey (I used a kitchen spoon rather than a measuring spoon - 4 of those)
I then strained the nearly-spent spices into a small pot with about 1 1/2 c water, 1 decaf tea bag, and about 1 tbsp honey and made a weaker baby chai for Mr. Angel, above. He enjoyed it, can you tell?
Tony came home laden with groceries and inspiration - he made us a lovely Italian supper to celebrate. Here he's lighting the candles.
Toasted squash seeds with cayenne and paprika.
Roasted chestnuts - apparently a traditional All Saints treat! (According to The Catholic Cook Book).
Fresh figs for dessert.
White for the purity and blessedness of the saints.
Arabiatta sauce simmering...
...with lots of peppers - some fresh, some frozen.
Last night was collards pan-fried with garlic and ghee, tossed with a bit of tamari and vinegar. This was served alongside enchiladas stuffed with chickpeas and roasted beets, parsnips, and squash (untraditional, I know, but spiced the traditional way, more or less - salt, cumin, coriander, oregano). The sweetness of the vegetables with the spiciness of the salsa was actually very satisfying.