This recipe is for one of my all-time favourite comfort foods – piping hot creamy chicken stew topped with golden, buttery biscuits. Homey and satisfying.
The beauty of it is that you can add whatever vegetables you have on hand – I used cabbage and potatoes, but you could substitute or add carrots, parsnips, peas, green beans, etc.
My biscuit topping is a really easy one – no kneading, rolling and cutting circles. Just mix the dry ingredients, cut in the butter, add buttermilk, and spoon on top of the stew. The result is a bit more rustic-looking than perfectly executed concentric biscuit circles, but much less agonizing and just as scrumptious. Continue Reading »
Since last week, with the appearance of this year’s assortment of violently orange Halloween decorations, I’ve had a massive hankering for those old-school tootsie roll apple caramel pops. Remember those? They were my favourite trick-or-treating score, however few and far between. I haven’t seen them in stores for years, and Amazon has them but sadly won’t ship to Canada. I mean, c’mon Amazon! I’m between Washington and Alaska, it’s really not out of your way…
Anyway, I’ve succumbed to the disappointment and I found a better way to scratch that caramel-apple itch. In COOKIES! Continue Reading »
Succulent ribs smothered in some kind of messy sauce are probably up in my top 3 favourite foods. These ones are less sauce-y than many of my go-to recipes, but they’re still among best-loved. You start by slowly simmering them in an onion broth stove-top, then when they’re meltingly tender, you transfer them to a baking sheet and bake, basting with a sweet garlic-soy sauce until caramelized. Still satisfyingly sticky, but more guest-friendly than the sauce-swimming varieties – you don’t need to go completely caveman to eat them.
The simmering method renders a lot of the fat and leaves it behind in the pot, so the ribs aren’t as greasy as they often can be. Still falling off the bone, still full of rich, meaty flavour, but Continue Reading »
Again with the apples! This time in soup. But not just any soup – quite possibly my favourite soup in the world. In this heartwarming potage, earthy butternut squash plays beautifully off of sweet-tart apples and warm spices.
Five spice powder is a wonderfully aromatic blend of spices used in Chinese cuisine – cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds and star anise. It hints at pumpkin pie, but is a touch more exotic. It’s worth looking for (and makes this soup really special!) but if you can’t find it, allspice can be used in a pinch. Continue Reading »
More than January, I consider September the time for fresh starts. I’m sure my brain is wired to the school calendar, as I was indeed a student for a long, long, long time. I took the scenic route through university, stopping for picnics in English and French literature, and indulging a two year digression in “Global Resource Systems” (what does that even mean?) before eventually finishing my education in Food, Nutrition & Health.
So when the mornings are cool the afternoons crisp and bright; when the trees are brushed with copper and the sunlight appears to be filtered through gold; when the first plump, cheery pumpkins appear at the market – this is when it feels like the rightful beginning of a new year. Time for new projects and exciting adventures, of which I’ll tell you more later…
Do you get a flutter of excitement on a brisk early autumn day? Continue Reading »
Where I come from, scones aren’t really a thing. We covet the scone’s cousin – the biscuit – which everyone’s grandmother makes the best, and which we prefer smothered with butter and molasses. In fact, I never met a scone at all until I moved to the West coast, and while immediately smitten with the flaky pastries, I have always snickered at the funny way some people around here pronounce them – “scawns”. Is that a quirky canuck thing, or do Americans/Australians/Brits ignore the long “o”, too?
While biscuits have a delicious place in my heart as a means of transport for stew, when it comes to breakfast and tea, I favour sweet scones in all their golden, pillowy glory; preferably studded with nuts and fruit, and topped with whipped cream and jam. Continue Reading »
I’m back! You know how in that Oeufs en Cocotte post I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t post for a couple of weeks? That was a month ago. Vacation laziness just kept gaining momentum and eventually got out of control.
I basked poolside/surf-side/barbeque-side in post-wedding bliss for the first couple of weeks, then spent a week in jammies, cuddling under blankets watching Jurassic Park and the likes. No laptops, no cell phones, no communication with the outside world. Just friends, family, food, comfy clothes, sunshine and patios.
Inevitably upon my return to Vancouver I was greeted by the consequence of not checking my email for 21 days and have been in a catch-up frenzy since.
And that, folks, is how 2 blog-free weeks turns into 4!
Continue Reading »
Wedding Brain, final chapter.
I made a grilled cheese for lunch a couple of days ago. I carefully rewrapped the cheddar and put it away. Hours later, I opened the microwave to reheat my tepid tea. “Hello cheese. That is not where you live.”
My sea salt went missing around the same time. Days passed before I eventually found it in the freezer. “How’d you get in there?”
I think I have naughty house elves playing tricks on me.
No, that sounds unlikely.
Maybe I need to start saying out loud what I am doing, as I do it, to see if something sounds awry, like: “I am putting the milk in the dishwasher” -
Nope, something is not right.
The good news is, I am capable of detecting when something is amiss so long as I hear it said back to me.
I guess so long as I’m already acting crazypants, there’s no further harm in self-narrating day-to-day activities… Continue Reading »
Wedding brain, part III.
I made an appointment to have my wedding dress altered. The tailor told me to bring the undergarments and shoes I’ll be wearing to the big day. I responsibly took note in my calendar to make sure I wouldn’t forget. The day I went for the alterations, I packed my new shoes, I packed my new undergarments, and I headed out the door, rather self-satisfied for having remembered these items.
Just one problem. A critical component was conspicuously absent. A strong niggling feeling indicated that I was forgetting something important… Continue Reading »
I bloody hate gardening.
What would the opposite of a green thumb be? A red toe? If so, I think that’s what I have.
My zucchini, having recovered from the roly-poly infestation (which contrary to their innocuous name, are NOT adorable), succumbed to a lethal cocktail of aphids and powdery mildew. My 9 pea plants produced but ONE pod of pea (yes “pea”, there was a singular pea in said pod) before turning yellow and crispy; a tug on the stem revealed they were being eaten from the roots by horrible little tiny silver worms. My beautiful blackcurrant bush got heartily shoved in the garbage compactor weeks ago when the wasp larvae chewed faster than I could pluck and pickle. Kale? Munched by a mystery pest in the night. Baby greens? Turned ashen and wilted.
If you click on that link you will see how fickle was my love affair with urban agriculture. I believe I was free and loose with the words “pride and joy”. Gag me.
My strawberry plants produced a few delicious, if practically microscopic berries. And that, folks, was the full and pathetic extent of my garden success. Continue Reading »