Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Lobster Dinner

While in my parents' home city, I want to eat all the seafood I can. One highlight has been indulging in Grammie's seafood chowder. It's a chunky, milky soup filled with haddock, lobster, and scallops with a few potatoes thrown in for good measure. Our main Christmas meal was turkey, obviously, but our small family meal on Christmas Eve was maple-glazed salmon that Ant and I made. But a visit to Nova Scotia is not complete without a lobster dinner.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gingered Sweet Potatoes

Christmas lunch this year was a fifteen person affair, hosted by my Mother. Mum is an excellent cook who regularly caters for big groups (earlier this year she put on a soup and sandwich dinner for seventy carollers at the church). She doesn't really need much help from me, except that the Christmas dinner vegetables are often quite traditional and need a bit of excitement. It's a mixed family group so the aim is to keep the dinner quite palatable for the older folks while not boring the younger generation either.

This gingered sweet potato puree was one of the vegetable dishes I was overseeing this year. I also looked after the Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, green beans, and carrots, all of which were very traditionally prepared. We used two slow cookers for the beans and carrots (cooked side-by-side in one slow cooker) and the sweet potatoes. Mother actually picked the recipe as well and then assigned it to me for cooking, so I can't really take that much credit for the finished dish! Since it's made in the slow cooker it's very easy to do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Black Rice

Healthy carbs = brown. We hear it all the time: eat more brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta. They taste nutty and delicious and they are so much better for us. My pantry now stocks only brown carbs, and when I am out and about I will not let any refined, white items pass my lips. But black??

Friday, December 18, 2009

Edible Gift: Hermit Bars

My colleagues are a hard-working, dedicated bunch. They deserve some treats now and then. They work more than hard enough to deserve their holidays, and it's time for a rest after this busy term. I made these Hermit Bars to celebrate the end of term and upcoming Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Asian Coleslaw

At Food Blogger Connect a couple of weeks ago I learned so much from Meeta about taking better food photos. Well, even though I am still using my point-and-shoot camera, this is by far the best photo I have yet taken. Thanks, Meeta!

I used a stack of thick cookbooks as a tripod, draped a tablecloth over the microwave as a backdrop, and used a desk lamp and a bounce board for lighting. I took heed of the advice to use a smaller portion for photos. I used a (smaller) dessert fork in this picture. My brother helpfully pointed out that even a point-and-shoot camera has a white balance setting. This has made a huge difference to my pictures. I always set it to indoor light now and all the orangey colours are gone! What a relief.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

One-Pot Cooking: Greens with a Poached Egg

We have been moving this past week, hence the dearth of updates. Everything in the kitchen was getting slowly put in boxes, making cooking meals increasingly difficult. When I only had one pot left, I cooked myself this poached egg at the same time as boiling a few greens. Thankfully the toaster was also still out of its box, so a meal was made.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Warm Black Cabbage Salad

Sometimes cooking is an utter joy! I feel rapture when I head into the kitchen to turn fresh, aromatic, gleaming ingredients into a tasty, healthy dinner or snack or treat. I love the creativity of chopping, deeply smelling, mixing, and seasoning. A teaspoon to taste with and a nice napkin to eat with. This is what perfect food evenings are made of.

At other times, cooking can seem so utilitarian. We need to eat, so food must be made so that we can put it into our mouths. We are hungry, tired, and I feel uninspired. But I am learning to enjoy the routine cooking as well as the special. When there is no time for fanciful steps or three course dinners, I am finding pleasure in organising a nice meal with an efficient hand. And in the less time, the better, since there is washing up afterwards.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Food Blogger Connect

I had a brilliant time at Food Blogger Connect on Saturday. It was hosted at the Levant restaurant near Bond Street. The food was delicious! Since then I have been reading and researching Muhammara recipes--a Lebanese red pepper and nut dip that looks simple to make and was really tasty. And I think the aubergine in my pantry will soon become baba ganoush. Alessio (above) and I tried everything on the buffet table, sharing our few critical comments, but primarily exclaiming over each item.


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