Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Barbecued chicken thighs.

I felt like some barbecued chicken on Saturday night so I made a quick marinade for some chicken thighs.  I used what I had on hand and I was pleased with the results. There were only going to be 4 of us, but at the last minute it morphed into 6, so we had to stretch the meat a little.

Feeds 4 comfortably, 6 in a pinch

8 chicken thighs
1 hot pepper
handful of cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of honey
6 cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon of chipotle chilli powder
salt and pepper

Add all the ingredients to a food processor, a mini one is best, and wizz until it has created a marinade.  I did everything except the tomatoes first and then added them.

Pour over the chicken.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Port Moody turns 100 and Vera's hamburgers

Saturday dawned cloudy but quite warm, a perfect day for a parade.  Port Moody turns 100 years old this year not a spectacularly long time, but a significant one. The City decided to celebrate by having an old fashioned down home parade, so we walked over to watch.

There were several marching bands, including one very enthusiastic Chinese drumming band, which was accompanied by their leader holding up a small red boom box playing rather tinny  Chinese music.

There were some nods to the past such as people riding penny farthing bikes, which when asked, told us that they used a ladder to mount, and really dismounting was the problem.

There was a fairly large contingent of first nations which seemed appropriate, because they had been here far longer than 100 years.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Meyer lemon custard

Over 20 years ago I went to Greens restaurant in San Francisco for the first time and we ordered the meyer lemon custard.  I had never had meyer lemon and you could not possible get them up here in Canada.  But that custard sticks in my mind as being one of the best desserts I can remember having.  Meyer lemons are rounder than regular lemons and though they have a lemon flavour they are not nearly as sour. Any way when I found 3 meyer lemons in the fridge at Pender Harbour I had to try and recreate that memorable custard. If you are not lucky enough to stumble upon meyer lemons in your fridge or the store, then you could use oranges or regular lemons just up the amount of sugar.

2 of the 4 of us are lactose intolerant and so I used lactaid milk and it was fine, I am sure I could not tell the difference. You could make these richer (and higher in calories) by using coffee cream.

 4 eggs
1/2 cup of sugar
3 cups milk
3 meyer lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl until lightly beaten.

Add milk, the zest of one lemon and the juice of all three then beat until incorporated. Pour mixture into six  ramekins or 4 ramekins and one larger dish if that is all you have . Arrange  in a roasting tin and pour enough water into the roasting tin to cover ramekins halfway up the sides.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Butterflied roast chicken over sausage stuffing

Looking for inspiration for dinner at Pender Harbour, Connie and I went to The Oak Tree Market our go to place for meat when we at Maderia Park.  They usually have a good choice of very good quality meats and home made sausage. This day it was a free range chicken that called out along with some Tuscany turkey sausage.

Roast chicken is one of the ulitmate comfort foods for me with crisp slightly salty skin and a flavourful stuffing.  I have taken to butterflying chicken to roast a fair bit recently. It makes it cook quicker and by opening it out and placing on top of a stuffing of some kind it means that all the cooking juices soak in to whatever it is topping.

4 slices of bread cubed
1/2 red onion chopped
sprig of fresh sage 
3 sticks of celery chopped 
1lb of good sausage meat.

Combine all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl.

Mix thoroughly, the hands are really best for this and place in to a roasting tin, piling it up so that it is about the same size as the chicken that is to be placed on top.

Open up the chicken and place on top.  smear with a little olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt.  Then tuck some fresh rosemary in and around the chicken.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Roast belly pork

I picked up a beautiful slab of meaty belly pork at The Ginger pig at Greensmiths, belly pork is one my favourite cuts of meat.  There is a fair amount of fat and would probably not be a wise choice on regular basis, but I was on holiday after all.

I made a rub with malden salt and fresh time, by mixing together in a pestle and mortar.

I rubbed that in to the skin, which the butcher had scored for me.

Greensmiths, Lower Marsh, Waterloo London

Lower Marsh is a road around the back of Waterloo Station in London.  My friend lives a few blocks from here and so this is where we come on a regular basis to pick up a few groceries have our nails done, or pick up lunch.

One side of the road is lined with the London version of food carts, serving food from around the world.

Which smelled and looked delicous.  Also there was a woman selling wonderful looking baked goods.

We were going to a small upscale supermarket called Greensmiths.

It is actually a type of co-operative of different companies, with the butchers being The Ginger Pig, which has an outlet at Borough market.  Its animals are reared using sustainable methods on a free range farm in North Yorkshire. The most interesting thing I found on their web site was pork pie wedding cakes! Now that is my kind of wedding cake.

I was very tempted by this prime rib which looked amazing, but I hate to think how much it would have cost.  Instead I bought shin of beef to make my Grandmothers meat and potato pie

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Veal picante/piccata

I am lucky enough to be London visiting old friends and attending an old school friends, daughters wedding.  The first few days I am staying in central London with the woman who used to baby sit me when I was little, so really we are more like family.  When I come to stay with her it is a pleasure to gather local food and cook dinners for the family.

I love veal and this is something that is hard to get in Vancouver, so when I saw some lovely looking veal at the local butchers I had to get some. At home I often use chicken breast or pork to replace the veal, but what a treat to find the real thing. I cooked it the way I like it best which is somewhere in between Veal Picante and Veal Piccata.

To feed 4
4 veal escalopes (or 2 large cut in half which is what we did)
2 tablespoons of flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 green onions
1/3 cup of white wine
juice of one lemon
2 heaped tablespoons of capers
hand full of chopped parsley.

Beat out the escalopes until they are nice and thin and season well with salt and pepper.

Dredge in the flour so that they have a light dusting all over.

Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a frying pan and when it is hot add the veal.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Moroccan Preserved lemons

Moroccan preserved lemons are pickled in brine and have a salty taste and texture which is difficult to describe.  The peel loses its bitterness and adds a very distinctive flavour to many dishes like chicken and lemon tagine

Preserved lemons are widely used in Moroccan cooking, and essential if your dishes are to taste authentic.  You can buy them, but they are hard to find in Canada and rather expensive.

Preserving your own lemons is not difficult, though you have to think about doing it 3 weeks before you need them.  But having a jar of home preserved lemons in your fridge to use any time is a good thng.  The recipe below comes from Robert Carrier's A Taste Of Morocco, unfortunately now out of print.

Enough for one jar

4 small ripe lemons, thin skinned if possible
Coarse salt
Lemon juice

Scrub lemons with a stiff brush, then place in a large glass container.  Cover with cold water and allow the lemons to soak for 3-5 days, changing the water daily.

Drain lemons.  Then using the point of a sharp knife, insert knife 1/4 inch from the bud end of each lemon and make four incisions length ways to within 1/4 inch of the other end.  Then cut through incisions in each lemon so that the lemons are cut completely through both sides, but still held together at both ends. Insert 1/4 tsp coarse salt into centre of each lemon, squeezing them open.

Kale and potatoes

One dish that appeared to be on every menu in Croatia was kale and potatoes.  This along with grilled vegetables seemed to be one of the only vegetable dish that was served.  I was OK with this, as actually I really liked it. So on my return I had to have a go at cooking it.

  • Enough good chicken stock, preferably home made to just cover the potatoes
  • 2 small yellow potatoes for each person cut into chunks
  • 1 bunch of kale for each 4 people.

Place the chicken stock and the potatoes in a large pot, cook until the potatoes are almost cooked through.  Cook with the top off, so that the chicken stock cooks down, making sure it does not dry out.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pickled radishes

The past couple of years I have attempted to grow vegetables in my garden, the results were disappointing at best. The problem was we were trying to grow them at the back of our house which faces due North, so this year my husband dug up some of the front grass and we have created a victory garden at the front of our house.

And it has been far more successful, the above picture shows one of the beds in mid May with an abundance of radishes and a variety of lettuce that can already be harvested. I pulled a whole load of radishes that were getting quite large and decided that I would have to pickle them as I could not eat them all in a salad by myself.

I looked at several recipes on the Internet and combined a few to come up with something that would work for me.

1 cup white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
8 medium radishes thinly sliced
½ small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
Sprig of basil sliced

Under the Bell style lamb

While we were in Croatia one of the most spectacular dishes we had was Lamb under the bell which we had had on the Island of Hvar. This is traditionally cooked in a wood burning oven with a specialised metal pot with a dome top. Unfortunately I had neither of these, but I figured a hot oven and a cast iron pot would do the job.

This was really easy to do, in fact I have cooked it twice since returning from my holidays, one reason being that Hopcott has been carrying local lamb.  The racks of lamb are very expensive, but the shoulder chops are very reasonable and work wonderfully in this dish.

To feed 4

4 medium yellow potatoes quartered
1 onion chopped
2 red or yellow bell peppers quartered
2 zucchini sliced in thick slices
2 large or 4 small tomatoes chopped roughly
1 bayleaf
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 stalks of mint
4 large lamb shoulder chops.