Thursday, 4 October 2012

It's been awhile since we have posted anything, Trevor has been out in Alberta and up in the Arctic cooking and I have been plagued with computer problems. But we are both back to normal after a hectic summer and look forward to doing more posts.

Baci Ristorante

Baci Ristorante
1530 Stone Church Rd. E.
Hamilton (905) 381-9811

Tonight Trevor and I had dinner at Baci, which is part of the Best Western on Stone Church Rd, owned by Carmen's.

The decor was very nice and welcoming, the only thing I could say about it that might be negative were there were several tv's. Other than that it is lovely.

The first real impression, that sets the mood for the evening, is the waiter. Our waiter Patrick was very friendly and helpful but not overbearing. We were very pleased with the service and thought he did an outstanding job at looking after our needs and making the evening pleasant for us.

Trevor was delighted to see Carpaccio on the menu that was actually a real carpaccio, thin slices of beef. He said it was excellent. We also ordered the Bruschetta, it was done on thin slices of bread which are made in-house and so unique for this appetizer. There were 6 fair size pieces, two of each kind. One pair was with tomato, the next pair had arugula with caramelized onions and the third pair was goat cheese with roasted peppers. We actually talked to the young man who prepared them and told him how much we enjoyed it.

Our next course was soup. We ordered the Stracciatella and the Pasta e fagioli. I have to say that this was the best Stracciatella soup that I can recall having. The Pasta e fagioli was fairly good but did not hold a candle to the other soup.

We asked the waiter to give us a surprise entree. The chef prepared for us tortellini with an arriabbata sauce and a breaded chicken breast with a cheese sauce on it. The tortellini was just the way I like it, al dente, not at all watery and the sauce for me had just the perfect amount of heat to it without being over powering.  The cheese sauce was very tasty. The only complaint might be the crust on the chicken was a bit overcooked but still delicious.

Unfortunately we did not have room for dessert although the dessert menu looked yummy. I was really hoping I would have room for the zabaglione or the creme brulee.

We were celebrating a special occasion there and Trevor mentioned it to the person he talked to on the phone. The additional nice touch was that as we were leaving the manager came over to us to extend his best wishes on our special occasion.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Split Pea & Bacon Soup

Soup Ingredients

1 cup yellow split peas
8 oz. bacon cut in 2” pieces
1 small onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 Tbsp. Miso
6 cups water
3 oz. Prosciutto chopped
4 oz. cabbage chopped
Salt and pepper

In large stock pot brown bacon and prosciutto, add all vegetables, water and miso. Mix well, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and let simmer about an hour till split peas basically dissolve.  Taste soup and add salt and pepper as desired.

Dough Ingredients

1 cup flour
¾ cup milk
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Mix all dough ingredients together and form into balls. Add balls to soup and simmer 10-15 minutes longer till dough balls are cooked. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Green Beans Salad with Lovage Dressing

This is a super dressing, to find out what lovage is click on special ingredients on the side bar and you will see a picture of it and a description of what it is. Basically it's an herb that tastes great in soups, stews, dressings or salads.


Dressing Ingredients
2 oz. chopped Lovage
2 drops Rosewater
1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Clove Garlic
1 oz. olive oil
2 oz. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ spy apple
Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients in blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Your dressing is ready to serve. In this picture we served it over blanched green beans, orange pepper, sliced apples and walnuts.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fish and Brewis

The easiest way I can explain this recipe is to give you the recipe that is directly from Purity, the makers of the bread. This is a very common dish in Newfoundland

To prepare the Brewis
Split the cakes of the Hard Bread, allowing one cake per person. In a large Saucepan place the Hard Bread, well covered with water. Soak overnight.  The next day using the same water, salt to taste and bring Bread to a near boil. DO NOT BOIL, DRAIN IMMEDIATELY. Keep Hot.

To Prepare Salt Fish
Use Skin dried salt fish. Cut the fish into serving pieces, cover with cold water and soak overnight.  The next day change the water and bring to boil for 20 mins or until the fish flakes with a fork.  To add scrunchions , find  diced salt pork and fry until golden brown. Add the fat from the pork and the bits of cooked pork to the dish.
Combine the cooked fish with the prepared brewis  and pork fat and pork to serving bowl and serve.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Foods From Newfoundland and Labrador

Hard Bread

While Trevor was in Labrador he did a bit of shopping. One of the ingredients he brought home was called Hard Bread Biscuits. They look like small extremely hard dinner rolls. They need to be soaked in water before eating and you will find a recipe using them called Fish and Brewis on our blog. The story of how this bread came into being is quite interesting and here it is.
Hard Bread also known as Hard Tack, has been a dietary staple of Newfoundlanders for many years. Hard Bread was developed from the ancient sea biscuit which formed the basis of meals on fishing vessels and cargo ships prior to the 1840s when baking aboard was impossible.  Due to its long life, hard bread was an ideal substitute for fresh bread. As the tale goes, a cook on a schooner was preparing a meal of hard bread and fish for the crew and was asked to break up the bread or bruise the bread prior to it being soaked. Thus the term “Brewis”.

Salted Fish

The salted fish Trevor purchased was in a bag, prior to use it should be soaked overnight as it is extremely salty. We used this fish in the popular Newfoundland dish called Fish and Brewis but it is also used there for fish balls, salt codfish pie, fish cakes and fat back and molasses.

Salted Beef

Salted beef  is one of the main ingredients in jiggs dinner in Newfoundland. The beef should be soaked overnight before using. Jiggs dinner is almost like a corned beef and cabbage dish. You will find a recipe for this meal in our recipe section.

Salted Pork

Salt pork also known as white bacon .  As a standalone food product, it is typically boiled to remove much of the salt content and partially cook the product, then fried until it starts to develop a crisp exterior. It can be used as a stand alone meat product or in many dishes that call for regular salt pork.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


2 Veal Shanks (Vegans and Vegetarians omit)
1 cup cooked Mung Beans
1 cup cooked Lentils
1 cup cooked Adzuki Beans
2 Celery Stalks chopped
2 Carrots chopped
1 Onion Chopped
1 cup Quinoa, sweated in 1 oz. Coconut Oil
2 Bok Choy chopped
2 Garlic cloves diced
1 Tbsp. Ginger finely diced
1 Red Pepper Chopped
2 Tbsp. Thyme


Brown the shank on both sides in oil in stock pot then add water and bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for about an hour till shank is fully cooked. Reserve stock and add about one oz. coconut oil and add Quinoa add your onion , garlic and ginger, thyme  and sweat. Return stock to the pot and add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil again then turn down and simmer till vegetables are fully cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Imitation Crab Appetizer


1 Red Pepper
1 Stalk Celery
2 Green Onions
4 Tbsp Diced Cilantro
1 Pkg Imitation Crab
Juice of One Lime
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Wonton Wrappers
4 cloves Garlic diced finely
2 tsps.  Salt


Dice all vegetables and add chopped imitation crab, juice of one lime, salt and olive oil, mix well and let sit while you prepare the wontons.
In a saucepan add olive oil, salt and garlic, heat. When oil is nice and hot put wonton wrappers in and fry until golden brown.  Place on a plate with a paper towel to absorb extra oil and let cool. Once cooled top with crab and vegetable mixture and serve immediately. 

1912 - 1915

1912 - Life savers came out
            Morton's introduces table granulated table salt

1913 - Fruit cocktail is created
            Campbell's cans cream of celery soup

1915- Fanny Farmer dies
           Frigidaire develops an electric refrigerator
           A & P has 1,726 grocery stores

Monday, 11 June 2012

Green Bean Salad


½ lb. Green Beans
4 Slices Bacon Chopped
1 Small Tomato Chopped
1 Small Onion Chopped
2 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce
Juice of One Lime
¼ Tsp. Finely Diced Ginger
½ Oz. Avocado Oil
1 Tsp. Sunflower Seeds


Blanch beans and re-fresh in cold water.  Remove stem side only.  Fry bacon till crisp. In the bacon fat fry the onions. In a mixing bowl add green beans, bacon, onions, tomato and sunflower seeds. Add dressing mixture of oyster sauce, lime juice, avocado oil and ginger and mix well. Serve warm or cold. 

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Marinated Vegetables


1 liter water
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil
7 garlic cloves
1 tbsp. ginger
2 tbsp. salt
2 celery stalks rough chopped
½ bunch coriander
4 tbsp. dill
4 tbsp. basil leaves
1 tbsp. peppercorns



In a pot add all marinate ingredients and let boil approx. 20 mins.  Let the stand overnight to develop the flavor and strain. Bring back to the boil and add your choice of vegetables within reason, I would not add tomatoes or other soft vegetables.  Let cool and put in jars and refrigerate. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Three Bean Salad


1 cup cooked Mung Beans
1 cup cooked Lentils
1 cup cooked Adzuki Beans
4 cloves fine diced garlic
1tsp ginger grated
Juice of 2 limes
2 tsp. chopped cilantro
4 oz. olive oil
1 red pepper diced
1 tbsp. honey


To the cooked beans and lentils add while still hot all the above ingredients mix well and let stand overnight in the refrigerator so that flavours can bloom.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Potatoe and Lovage Soup

1 Sweet Potatoe
4 White Potatoes
1 Cup Lovage Chopped
1 Onion chopped
1 Stalk of Celery chopped
4 Cups of Seasoned Chicken Stock
Salt and Pepper

Bring Stock to a boil, all ingredients and cook till tender.
Allow to cool.
Put in blender and blend, and then run through strainer.
Garnish with chopped lovage leaves. 


Lovage is an herbaceous plant. It grows about 2m tall and the leaves are dark green to yellow green.  It is very common in Europe and Southwestern Asia.  In Europe it was once known as a parsley. It can be used in Soups, Salads, Stews or even brewed into a tea. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Meatball & Orzo Soup


1 lb ground pork
3 oz bread crumbs
1 egg
1 cup cooked orzo
2 qts. seasoned chicken stock
1 carrot fine diced
1 onion fine diced
1 celery stock fine diced
salt and pepper


Mix ground pork, bread crumbs, egg and salt and pepper. Roll into small meatballs and fry till fully cooked.
In stock pot make seasoned chicken stock. Bring to boil, add vegetables, cooked orzo and meatballs. Cook till vegetables are fully cooked.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

We garnished ours tonight with Chive flowers.

Saturday, 19 May 2012


In a lot of our recipes you see the term deglazing. What this means is when you are cooking something after it has been removed you add some liquid to the bottom of the pan and it lifts up all the residue from the bottom of the pan. One of the uses of this is when you deglaze a roasting pan and thicken it up you can use this for your gravy.

1910 - 1912

1910 - Kitchen cabinets make an appearance and pantries start to disappear
            Hawaii begins to can pineapple and shipping to the U.S.

1911 - Proctor & Gamble develops hydrogenated veg shortening and calls it Crisco
           Canned Chili goes on sale

1912 - Oreo cookies come out
            Soft hamburger sized buns are manufactured

Friday, 18 May 2012

Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Brown Sauce Ingredients
1 lb. beef shank          1 oz. olive oil
1 small onion             1/2 oz. tomatoe paste
1 carrot                      1 Tbsp. Thyme
2 stalks celery            1 cup red wine
1 bay leaf                   4 cups water
2 cloves garlic            1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions for Sauce
Caramelize the meat until almost black on both sides with the vegetables. Add tomatoe paste, water, wine, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 4 hrs till the meat is tender. Strain and reserve the juices in pan. Discard remains or use them in a soup if so desired. Mix cornstarch with same amount of water and add to juices. Bring to a boil and then simmer till desired consistency is reached, stirring constantly.

Meat and Vegetables

1 chicken cut in pieces          4 cloves garlic
4 oz. mushrooms                   1 tbsp. thyme
1 sm onion                            salt and pepper
4 slices bacon

Cook chicken in oven at 350 degrees till fully cooked.  In a frying pan add sliced bacon, sliced mushrooms and sliced onions. Fry till bacon reached desired consistency.  Deglaze the frying pan with a bit of the brown sauce.

Plate the chicken and top with bacon, mushrooms and onions then dress with wine sauce.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Bacon, Potatoe & Avocado Salad

2 Whole Potatoes
4 Strips Chopped Bacon
1 Onion
2 Tsp. Dill
2 Oz. Apple Cider Vinegar
½ Tsp. Marjoram
2 Tbsp.  Shredded Coconut
1 Avocado cubed
Salt & Pepper

Boil potatoes with the skin on. The reason for leaving the skin on is that they will not absorb the moisture and therefore will be firmer.
Fry the bacon till crisp and remove from pan. In pan add the onions and fry till golden brown, add vinegar to this. The reason for cooking the onions is that it stops the fermentation and the salad will remain fresh longer.
Peel and cube the potatoes, place them in a mixing bowl with the other ingredients including the bacon fat. If you do not wish to use the bacon fat you can substitute oil for it, or if you do not have enough fat from the bacon add a bit of oil. Mix well and serve warm.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Muskoka Chefs Meeting in Mississauga

On Monday night Trevor and I had the pleasure of being invited to The Muskoka Chefs Association meeting as guests. The meeting was held at Maple Leaf's Think Food in Mississauga and hosted by Norm Myshok from Canada Bread.  It was very well attended with approximately 80 people.

The evening started with a seminar from The Ice House, who had come in from Niagara on the Lake to introduce their Ice Wine. I had tasted Ice Wine before and really disliked it and Trevor is not a fan of sweet syrupy drinks either. To our surprise the drink they offered us was not sickeningly sweet or overly syrupy. We both really enjoyed it and began thinking of what foods we could incorporate this wine with. Jamie MacFarlane's Ice Wine has won 3 gold medals and is considered one of the best ice wines in the world.

After the seminar we had a lovely meal and then they had the Members meeting. It was a great evening for Trevor as he met up with some chefs and salesmen that he had not seen in a very long time. We had a wonderful time and are greatful to Norm for inviting us and the Muskoka Chefs Assoc. for welcoming us to their meeting.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Beet & Mango Salad


2 cups sliced beets
2 Green onions diced
1 mango peeled and diced
1 small tomatoe
1 sweet potatoe
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. Coconut vinegar
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
2 oz. Ginger – finely diced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper


Boil sweet potatoe till cooked but still fairly firm and let cool. Do the same with the beets.  Chop potatoe in nice sized cubes and slice beets in ¼ inch slices. 
In a mixing bowl add all your vegetables, mango and cilantro.
Mix ginger, sesame seed oil, vinegar and lime, add to vegetables and mix gently. Salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Stuffed Tomatoe Appetizer

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup dark chicken meat (vegetarians and vegans omit chicken)
1 small onion
1 oz. coconut oil
4 small tomatoes
1 1/2 coconut milk
1 mango diced
1 tbsp. curry powder

Simmer chicken legs in coconut milk till tender. Cool chicken and dice. In another pan sweat diced onion with coconut oil.
Add curry powder, take milk from pan used to cook chicken and add to pan with onions add quinoa and chicken and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut top off tomatoes and core out. Fill the tomatoes with mixture and garnish with mango pieces on top and lid of tomatoe.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Avondale Restaurant Equipment

It is very important as a Chef to have excellent equipment and in Hamilton there are many Restaurant Equipment Stores. The one that I prefer to use and that stands out the most to me is Avondale Restaurant Equipment at 223 Avondale Street in Hamilton, Ontario, Phone 905-544-0577.

Avondale will not only deliver your new equipment but they will also install it for you and service it. They are affiliated with Barbers Restaurant Repair, which have been in the repair business for over 40 years in Hamilton and are well known.

The Director of Marketing, Kristy Barber-Feaver is the person I have dealt with when I go in there and I find the service very good and Kristy is very friendly and helpful. Just last week I was there purchasing small ware items, such as measuring cups, a pan and measuring spoons. Not mentioning the competitors name but I did price these items somewhere else before going there and the price at Avondale's was much better.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chicken Kiwi Salad

1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast cut into 5 pieces
½ Tomato Chopped
1 Kiwi Chopped
1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
1 Cup Cooked Basmati Rice
½ tsp. Lemon Juice
Juice of one Lime
2 Tbsp. Avocado or Olive Oil
1 oz. chopped dill
1 Tsp. Chopped Dill
1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

Marinate the pieces of chicken in dill and the lime juice overnight
Cook the rice and let cool
Brown the chicken in a non-stick pan
To a mixing bowl add all the ingredients but the chicken and mix. You should let this sit for about 20 minutes just to let the flavours absorb.  Plate and top with your chicken pieces. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Kasha and Cremini Mushrooms

Raw Kasha

In the picture above is Kasha in the uncooked state. Kasha is also known as Buckwheat and is commonly used in Europe. It is generally used as a side dish, breakfast or in soups. It is gluten free so is perfect for celiacs. It is also a great source of iron.

The mushrooms we chose to use in this dish are Cremini. These mushrooms are similar to the button mushrooms but have a deeper richer flavour.

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked kasha
1 small onion
4-6 cremini mushrooms sliced (size dependent)
1 tbsp. olive oil
juice of 2 limes

In a saucepan place water and olive oil, bring to a boil.
When water is boiling add kasha, mushrooms and onion and cover.
Turn heat down and simmer about 15 minutes. Take off heat and let rest for about 10 mins.
The water should all be absorbed.
Mix in the lime juice and serve warm.

1906 - 1910

1906 - Frankfurters are nicknamed Hot Dogs
            Kellog's Corn Flakes go on sale

1907 - Hershey's Kisses come out

1908 - The first Dixie Cup

1910 - Gas Ranges start to replace wood burning stoves, coal and petroleum

Monday, 7 May 2012

Imitation Crab Salad

The imitation crab we used here is actually chunked Alaskan Pollock. This is usually what the imitation crab you purchase is. This recipe would be just as nice with real crab.

1 pkg chunk imitation crab
1/2 red pepper
2 green onions
1 oz. fresh dill chopped
juice of one lime
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

In mixing bowl place crab, diced red pepper, diced green onions and dill. Mix in oil, vinegar and the lime juice, salt and pepper if desired.

Let marinate for a couple of hours and serve cold.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

1904 - 1906

1904 - The St. Louis Fair introduces: Puffed Rice, Popcorn, Burgers on a bun, Iced Tea, Ice Cream Cones                              and Peanut Butter
Campbells introduces canned Pork & Beans
The Campbell kids debut in Philadelphia
Jell-O publishes its first recipe booklet, featuring Jell-O Marshmallow Dessert, Minty Velvet, Paradise Pudding and Raspberries Supreme

1905 -  America's first pizzeria opens in New York's Little Italy called "Little Italy"

1906 - The hot fudge sundae is created at C.C. Brown's on Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles
Jell-O's annual sales near the $1,000,000.00 mark
Mama Leone's Restaurant opens behind the Metropolitan Opera House in New York

Friday, 4 May 2012

Sew Hungry on Ottawa St. in Hamilton

Today from 11am-3pm there is a rally of food trucks.Trevor and I decided to take advantage of this outing and have a nice little walk down Ottawa St.  The trucks began pretty much on time and they were spread out far enough apart that it didn't create too much havoc.

Some of the trucks we noticed were off course The Gorilla Cheese Truck, with their fantastic sandwiches, The Toasted Tangerine, Hank Daddy's Barbecue, Cake and Loaf were there, The Blue Donkey, The Portobello Burger for vegetarians or anyone, The Cupcake Diner for that sweet tooth and Shriner's Kettle Creek Popcorn. I would say there had to be at least 15 trucks there.

Judging by the people munching on pizza, sandwiches, ravioli and sweets, the food must have been fantastic. Those pizza slices were tempting. I had to at the very least buy my green onion, cheese and beer bread from Cake and Loaf.

The line ups were not too bad and having had food from a food truck before I know they are able to get the orders out fairly quickly. Some of the local restaurants such as Poco Loco and Limoncello also had food items available. Laidlaw Church also got in on the action with a sit down meat pie dinner in their parking lot.

The one that struck me the most though was Bryce's Fish and Chips. While I did not have an order the ones I seen coming out smelled great and looked tempting. They were giving a perfect lunch size portion for a donation to the Mission Services.

How do we feel about food trucks? We both agree that its a great concept, especially for workers on their lunch hour or maybe on a busy shopping day. We do not think that they will take away from local businesses. Trevor and I both enjoy spending time together enjoying a lovely meal in a restaurant but we certainly would not mind just stopping at a food truck and grabbing a bite for lunch either. Hamilton would do well to relax the laws on these trucks and allow more into the city.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Yorkshire Pudding


2 cups milk
8 eggs
2 cups flour
1/3 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbsp. oil
1/3 tsp. salt


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Put 8 eggs in mixing bowl with milk, salt, nutmeg and oil. Beat gently, do not overwhip.
Add flour and mix (don't worry about the lumps)

Prepare your muffin tray - each spot should be about 1/8th full of oil. Some recipes require you to heat the oil prior to putting in the filling, this one does not require that. Fill each spot 3/4 full of the mixture and place  pan in oven.

Bake for approx 30 mins until it puffs up and the top is hard then turn down to 350 degrees for about another half hour. You will know it is done when you take out the tray and you lift one up and it is very light and airy.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Ranko's Meats and Delicatessen

I put this under Restaurant Reviews and Shopping as you can order take-out prepared meats from this store.

As a Chef, I enjoy trying foods from around the world. In Hamilton one of these gems is Ranko's Meats and Delicatessen at 1111 Cannon St. E. , 905-544-6173 They are a family run business which has been around over 35 years and the owners Roy and Biljana Sobota prepare the meats on the premise.

They have delicious smoked meats. They also do a roast pork and lamb every Friday and Saturday which is sold by weight. They do such a wonderful job with this meat that it sells very quickly so if you want a large amount I would suggest calling in for a special order. You can order a whole lamb or pig in advance and Roy will roast it for you and cut it in serving size pieces. Some of my other favourite products there are Bacon Bits (they call them Cvarke), kranskje sausages and cevapi (which is a skinless mini sausage).

I have become addicted to the bacon bits, they are so good.

They also sell many other European Products, such as pickled vegetables, cookies, jams, phyllo pastry, cheeses and Belgium chocolates.

Worth the special trip out to this store.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Hamilton & District Chefs Assoc Meeting

Tonight we attended the Hamilton & District Chefs Assoc monthly meeting at Avondale Restaurant Equipment.
The guest speaker tonight was Norm Myshok from Canada Bread. It was a very interesting demonstration.

The main focus of tonights meeting was about taste. He had brought little containers of different items for us to stick on our tongue to show us how we re-act to these different items. The first one we dried our tongue and then put some sugar on the dry spot, when your tongue is dry you don't really taste the sweetness but as soon as it becomes moist again you suddenly have this burst of sweetness. We also had little jelly beans, we plugged our noses and chewed on them with no flavour, as soon as we unplugged our noses we had a burst of the flavour of the bean.

He also talked in detail about umami, it is a bit involved to go into here but basically its one of the 5 different flavours. The 5 different flavours are sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. Umami is a Japanese word meaning "pleasant savory taste". For more information about this there is an interesting read on Wikipedia, just type in umami.

Tim put out a nice little snack of cheeses, fresh fruits and crackers. The Chefs Association is a great place to meet people in the field and learn a lot of new things. We look forward to the next meeting, which now due to summer coming will not be until September. The meetings are once a month and there is a page on facebook if you want more information "Hamilton District Society of Chefs & Cooks"

Monday, 30 April 2012

1902, 1903 and 1904

In 1902 Animal Crackers made their debut. Who would have thought they have been around that long?

1902 Chili powder was packaged and sold in Texas

1903 Tuna is sold in cans

1904 Tea merchant Thomas Sullivan invents the tea bag

What is this?

We decided to start this section in our blog to give you interesting little tidbits of information about food. We found these little facts so amusing that we wanted to share them with you. Check back to this section regularly as we will be adding little facts frequently.

Fast Dinner


1 small tomato chopped
4 chopped mushrooms
1 small zucchini chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 small green pepper chopped
1 cup cooked orzo
1 cup chopped black forest ham (omit ham for vegetarian choice)
2 clove diced garlic
1 tsp toasted coconut
½ tsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Add olive oil and garlic to a pan plus half a tsp. of coconut oil, sweat the vegetables, add ham and continue cooking till ham is hot. Fold in orzo and sprinkle with shredded baked coconut. Top with parmesan cheese if desired. 

Friday, 27 April 2012

Roast Lamb Shoulder

This is the how we made our roasted lamb shoulder for dinner this evening. We took the lamb shoulder and gave it a rub with curry powder and drizzled it with the juice of one lemon. We let it sit like this for about two hours at room temperature before cooking.  We pre-heated the oven to 325 degrees and then roasted the shoulder for two hours. I like my meat well done, I know that is not the preferred doneness for lamb. I would suggest you use the following internal temperatures to get your desired degree of cooking.

Rare                        140 degrees        
Medium                   150 degrees
Well Done                160 degrees

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Twisted Lemon

3 Norton St. W.
Cayuga, ON                                        905-772-6636

Trevor was able to make it home from Labrador on time for our anniversary and arranged a lovely evening for us. We had the 5 course date night dinner at the Twisted Lemon.

The restaurant looks like a house from the outside, it seats 56 people, I believe at full capacity so it is a good idea to have a reservation if you are going on the weekend. The décor was very nice and it had a romantic kind of flair to it. They even provide you with a purse stool for your purse and in the bathrooms there are small hand towels to dry your hands which you toss in a bin when you are done using them. All the nice little touches make for a special evening.

The staff were all very pleasant and our server took the time to explain what each dish was in detail. The 5 course date night menu is a surprise menu. You have no idea what each dish will be. There are lots of other items on the menu if you are not interested in surprises; I thought this was a wonderful idea.

As soon as we were seated we were given a small bowl of fried wonton chips with a citrus and pepper flavouring on them made in-house. They were very good. Very soon after came in-house made bread that came with an herb and citrus butter. The butter was very nice although not quite enough of the citrus butter for the amount of bread.

We then received our amuse bouche which was an in-house made cracker topped with a jus and thinly sliced beef tongue topped with smoked provolone cheese. I never had beef tongue before and the thought of it was not too appealing but it was a very pleasant surprise.

Our next course was a lovely salad with fennel, goat cheese, a small lamb chop with a delicious honey glaze which was frenched. The salad was accompanied by an in-house made dressing that had just a hint of wasabi. Very fresh and lovely.

Then came a palate cleanser before the main course.  It was an in-house made raspberry sherbet with a blackberry and blueberry on the side of it. A very light flavour and not overly sweet.

Our main course was a puff pastry with chicken, onions and mushrooms in it over a bed of spinach and wild rice. The pastry was just a tad undercooked inside and perhaps I would not have put the pastry over the rice as it tended to make the bottom a bit soggy. The pastry was filled generously with chicken and was otherwise very appetizing. The wild rice and spinach were very good.

Dessert was a crème brule, it was very refreshing, not overly sweet and the crunchy top was delicious and it was very creamy. A very good job on this.

Since they knew it was an anniversary dinner they gave us a bag of their wonton chips as a little present, what a nice touch. Our bill came to 117.00 and that included a beer for Trevor and two cocktails for me. You must try the purple mo, a super drink.  This was a wonderful little find and we certainly are looking forward to returning there in the near future.                                    

Friday, 20 April 2012

Chef & Wife

Chef & Wife
144 King St W
Dundas, ON

Since Trevor is away I have had to fend for myself in the kitchen. I miss having my own personal chef so tonight I decided to head out to Chef& Wife for some of Ken LeFebour’s take out gourmet cooking. When Trevor and I got married there was no question who would be catering our wedding and Ken did not disappoint us.

But for tonight’s meal I decided on the Chicken with white beans which was done in what seemed like a light tomato sauce with a bit of spicy seasoning and a side of rice which was done with turmeric. Ken uses only the freshest ingredients and local artisan ingredients. The serving size was more than plentiful and I still have quite a bit left for lunch tomorrow. The chicken was a nice plump juicy boneless breast.

I was also tempted by a mango, Sambuca cheese cake. I usually do not like sweets but it sounded so interesting I had to try it. It was just my style not overly sweet at all and very creamy and rich.

If you don’t feel like cooking and want something to take home that you can just heat and serve this is so much better than a fast food place. You can try something different like venison burgers or boar, lamb. There certainly is variety and taste in everything and the menu changes every day.

Price wise for a full meal including dessert, with large servings I would estimate it to be about 15 – 20 dollars a person. Certainly worth every penny.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Alternative to Garlic Bread

This is what we made our dinner guests as an alternative to Garlic Bread


½ French banquette
3 eggs
1 oz. milk
1 tbsp. crushed garlic cloves
¼ tsp. thyme
Salt and pepper


Mix eggs, milk, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cut banquette into 1” thick slices and soak bread pieces in mixture 2 to 3 mins. Fry in oil on till, flipping once till golden on both sides.

Note: You can use herbs of your choice to flavour this bread, instead of thyme such as tarragon, dill weed, marjoram.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Coco Salad


1 Med Sized Coco
Julienne of Carrots and Cucumbers
1 oz. Thai Basil
3 oz. Olive Oil
1 oz. Cider Vinegar
1 oz. ackee


Peel, dice and boil the Coco. You would do this in the same manner you would boil potatoes. Boil about 5 – 10 minutes until the desired consistency is reached, this vegetable is starchy so you do not want to overboil it or it will fall apart.

Put the olive oil, cider vinegar and thai basil in the blender and blend. We found that this recipe does not require any salt as the coco makes it taste salty enough.
Add your dressing to the coco, carrots and cucumber and mix well. Garnish with walnuts.

This salad must be served warm due to the high starch content.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Cranberry Reduction


1 Cup Cranberries
1 Onion diced
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
1 oz. Raisins
1 Tsp. Cinammon
2 oz. Tequila
¼ Tsp. Nutmeg
Zest of Lime
½ Cup Sugar
Juice of one lime
1 Tsp. Ginger
½ Cup Diced Pineapple

Put all ingredients in a pot. Sweat ingredients for a couple of minutes . Bring to the boil and then simmer until the cranberries are soft and the desired consistency is reached. This is lovely over meat. We had it over Italian Sausages and it brought them to life. It would also be nice with pork tenderloin. For vegetarians or vegans it works lovely with a medley of vegetables.

Napa Cabbage
With our meal we fried 1 Cup of Shredded Napa Cabbage with ½ tsp of Caraway seeds in Oilive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Irish Moss Soup

1 Bunch of Coriander leaves
3 Qts. Water
3 oz. Ginger
4 Fingers of Krachai
2 oz. Ginseng root
1 Bunch of Thai Basil
1 oz. Re-hydrated Irish Moss (see directions)
2 Tbsp. Miso
1 Finely diced Carrot
1 Finely diced Onion
½ tsp. Sesame Oil
½ Cup Cooked Rice
1 Lime Leaf
2 oz. Soy Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic
Chiffonade of Napa Cabbage

Preparing Irish Moss

When you buy Irish Moss it comes dehydrated. It must be soaked for at least 24 hours in water which is changed regularly. Once it has finished soaking you will notice it has doubled or almost tripled in size. Put it in the blender with a bit of water and blend. It should have a creamy appearance. You can purchase Irish Moss at Caribbean Food Stores.


Rough Chop your Krachai, Ginger, Ginseng Root, Garlic, Lime Leaf, Coriander leaves and Thai Basil. Put in Sauce Pan and boil in your 3 qts. of water for about 20 minutes to create your stock. Strain your stock so that you are left with the liquid only. To your liquid add the Irish Moss, Cooked Rice, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Miso, Onions and Carrots. Let simmer for about 15 minutes and serve hot with a garnish of Napa Cabbage.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

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Rice Cake


8 oz. grated old cheddar cheese
1 cup uncooked rice
1 oz. finely diced celery
1 oz. finely diced onion
1 oz. finely diced zucchini
3 cups water
Olive oil
Bread crumbs


Sweat the vegetables in oil. Add rice and water, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer for about 3 or 4 minutes then turn off and add cheddar, stir in well and cover. Leave covered till it cools down. In 3 small bowl put egg in one, flour in one and bread crumbs in the other. Form the rice mixture into logs and dip into flour then egg wash and finally bread crumbs. Heat oil in a pan and then fry them till nice and golden on both sides.

We garnished this dish with a tomato sauce and sour cream mixture and a couple of slices of lime. Garnish the dish as you wish, this appetizer is nice with a dip.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Gorilla Cheese Truck and Cake and Loaf

Today for lunch I went to the Gorilla Cheese Truck, which was located on Upper Gage today. You can check out their website or facebook page to see where they will be located daily.

There were quite a few people in line and you give your name with your order and the cashier calls out your name when the order is ready. Considering the amount of people in line it is run very well and the wait is really not that long.

I ordered a sandwich called the Bubba which was $8.50. It really was worth the money, at first I thought that was a bit expensive for a sandwich but this sandwich had a generous supply of pulled pork, great Jensen Cheddar Cheese on it and coleslaw. It sounds like an odd combination but it works.

My favourite part of the sandwich was the bread, it was toasted perfectly and you could tell it was definitely fresh. Unfortunately I have a weakness for carbs. The coleslaw on this sandwich was not overly seasoned so it was a perfect addition.

The only negative thing I could say about this sandwich was that I was not crazy about the sauce on the pork. It was a bit sweet for me, but after a couple of bites it seemed much better. I would have preferred a bit spicier of a sauce rather than the sweet. They had another sandwich that caught my eye and I am anxious to try, if I recall correctly it was called gordorita, something like that anyway. It has feta, mozzarella and a couple of other items. It sounded so good.

They also serve it with an awesome piece of pickle.

Also what a wonderful bonus, Cake and Loaf had a table along side of them where they were selling some of their products, Sweets and Breads. They had my favourite bread available there. You really need to try this bread. It is a beer, green onion and cheddar bread. This bread is addictive. As far as I know Cake and Loaf is the only place you can get this bread. They have a store on Dundurn in Hamilton. I believe a loaf is $5.00 but don’t quote me on that. Well worth the money.

I am not a sweet eater but I know my son and daughter in law rave about the cakes, muffins and cookies they sell there. They also sell sweets for vegans. I had Nikki do my wedding cake though and it was so so delicious. I still have one small piece left in the freezer and can’t wait for my anniversary so I can pull it out.