Cookbook Review: Small Victories

Becoming a confident cook means mastering one delicious thing at a time, taking pleasure in each small victory. That’s the gift Julia Thurman shares here, and it’s one she has learned from her rich life in food. After preparing thousands of meals for bestselling cookbooks and as a private chef all over the world, she knows that celebrating the small achievements is the sure way to become a comfortable, intuitive, and inventive cook. Small Victories puts all of those years of learning into your hands, no matter how new to cooking or how practiced you are.

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CookBook Review: The Pie Project

I love this book! Two women, one mission: to share their ultimate collection of decadent sweet pies in all their bubbling, fruity, caramelized, and buttery glory.

The Pie Project is a collection of 60 delicious sweet pie recipes. Pies are very forgiving desserts for bakers: spillages are, really just an opportunity for more caramelisation and a mis-shapen pie just adds to the rustic feel! Readers are encouraged to use imperfect fruit, play around with lattice, design their own pastry top and bake the pies in whatever they have handy (some are cooked in skillets, or even enamel bowls). (more…)

Cookbook review: Alimentari: Salads + Other Classics from a Little Deli that Grew

‘Alimentari’ literally means ‘good food and camaraderie’ – and that is just what this celebrated Melbourne-based café/deli stands by. They present delicious, attainable Italian, modern European, and Middle Eastern food (with some cheffy touches) alongside a compelling story of success of the little deli that became a beloved cornerstone of the thriving and unparalleled cafe culture that Melbourne fosters.

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Cookbook Review: Basque: Spanish recipes from San Sebastian & Beyond

Cover art by Jenny Bowers

Spanish natives are fiercely proud of their heritage, language, and their food and drink. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Basque country, an area in the north of Spain, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and France.

A major city within the region is San Sebastián, known for its rich mix of traditions which are deep-rooted in food and cooking. From its obsession with the perfect ‘pintxos’ (small tapas snacks), to holding the most Michelin stars per head than anywhere else in the world, there’s plenty here for food-lovers. (more…)

Family Recipes: Dairy-free Corn Chowder

corn chowder

I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by Patricia Maloney. Enjoy!

This week we had a feed of corn on Tuesday night. Maude was home and I wanted her to have some corn before she went back to school to attend her fourth year at Queen’s. She bought a dozen ears for me, and unfortunately it wasn’t as good as the two feeds Fred and I already had this summer. They were very tender and sweet.

When we were growing up, my mother made the funniest noises when she ate corn. We used to laugh at her. Now that I’ve turned into my mother, I make funny sounds when I eat corn. (more…)

Family Recipe: Grandma’s Rhubarb Cake

rhubarb cake

I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by my buddy Truds. Enjoy!

I remember as kids raiding the garden for stalks of rhubarb. For this cake, I cut the rhubarb up really small so you get a sour taste in each bite.  A lot of people don’t like the sourness of rhubarb—but I really do.  The cake has just the right amount of sugar to make it completely perfect (although, I do admit that in some instances, I will reduce the amount of sugar in both the cake and in the topping.) I think the next time I get my hands on someone’s rhubarb stash, I’ll try making this recipe as a rhubarb/strawberry cake.  A divine combination! Hope you enjoy!

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Book Review: Southern Appetizers

Southerners adore their appetizers, and this collection of 60 recipes—served up with a healthy dose of Southern hospitality—shows why. Smoked pecans on the sideboard, cheese straws on the coffee table, an array of hot dips on the dining table, and pickled shrimp on the porch are just some of the myriad of dishes found in this volume that prove food is the life of the party. Tips on creating the ideal party flow, being a gracious host, arranging flowers, sending out invitations, and planning the perfect menu ensure any event will go off without a hitch. Both a lovely hostess gift and a party-planning idea book, Southern Appetizers is all anyone needs for a successful gathering with Southern style. (more…)

Interview with a Chef: Ottawa Ribfest’s Matt Smith of Gator BBQ

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Nick Smith, left, and his father Matt, of Gator BBQ.
Photo credit: MORGAN MODJESKI / THE STARPHOENIX

 

For over 30 years, Gator BBQ has been delivering mouth-watering chicken, pulled pork and ribs to the hungry crowds of Rib Fests all across North America. Touring Canada and the Northern United States, the Smith family of Port Dover continue to win countless awards and events with their signature southern BBQ cuisine. On the eve of Ottawa Ribfest, I caught up with Matt Smith to discuss his humble BBQ beginnings, his secret for achieving great tasting barbecue and if he ever gets tired of being around so much BBQ!

How did you get involved in the BBQ business?
By accident mostly. I used to be part of the carnival circuit for Conklin Shows and eventually crossed paths with a fella who ran these Ribfests. I started my own team and its grown from there—must be 20 years at least. We were there at the very start!

Tell me about the BBQ process. Boil or bake? Smoker? Hardwood or gas?
Always smoked. Ribs, pork and chicken are done in our smoker (Southern Pride) for various times depending on the meat. Although the fuel is propane, there’s a wood oven that heats the smoker and pumps the heated smoke throughout. (more…)

Toronto: Baseball, Beyoncé and Baby Pandas

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My recent jaunt to the 6 (Toronto, for the uninitiated) included wondrous and diverse activities.

My Chipotle obsession continued. Three visits during my five-day stay. Unsurprisingly, my beloved first-place (at the time) Red Sox lost in spectacular fashion. Always great to be kitted out in full Sox regalia while being chirped by 50,000 petulant bandwagon-jumping Jays fans. (more…)

Interview with a Chef: Sheila Lynch of Three Tarts Bakery

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Toasted Pistachio Tart

I discovered Three Tarts Bakery a few years back. It started with one tart: White Chocolate, Cranberry and Toasted Pistachio. You would think that the sweetness of the chocolate would overpower the other flavours. Wrong! The tangy cranberries make themselves heard and the pistachios lend a nice crunch allowing an insinuation of nuttiness.

I then began my exploration of the cookies. While chocolate chip, oatmeal and shortbreads cookies generally get all the glory, I prefer the less vaunted “decorated cookies.” Three Tarts is a temple to the art of decorated cookies. Miniature edible masterpieces done in artful symmetry. There’s something about biting off a bunny’s ear or chomping on the tail of a whale that just fills me with joy. (more…)