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I just got back from a quick (36 hour) jaunt to Vancouver that included the opening of Whitecap‘s hip new office in Gastown (around the corner from Meat & Bread! And Revolver!), breakfast with one of my favourite people at the new Forage in the Listel, lunch on the steps of the VAG with one of my favourite food bloggers, and dinner at YEW in the Four Seasons (it was also Dine Out Vancouver) with Ned (whom some of you may know I did a few seasons of a not-on-Food-Network cooking show years ago). Which all sounds very glamorous now that I type it out here, and I suppose it kind of was, except that I’m really not all that glamorous, even when thrust into a swanky hotel. (I hope that didn’t come across as a humblebrag, but people have been asking what I was up to in Vancouver, and that was what I was up to… that and buying far too much coffee andContinue reading

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Fish and chips, from scratch! Easier than it sounds, and so satisfying – there really is nothing like it, fresh and crunchy from the hot oil. A great thing to make when it’s warm enough outside to open the windows! If you can get your hands on a bag of Billingsgate fish & chip batter mix, buy it and use it in place of the flour – if not, no worries. It will still be delicious. I made chips the easy way – using that new method I learned from Cooks Illustrated. I put them on, sliced the fish, dredged and fried it, and the whole lot took under 30 minutes and made a great many people very happy. I made a wobbly mayo to go with, using a generous spoonful of grainy dill Brassica mustard. And the mushy peas – boil peas, then mush them with a dab of butter, splash of cream, and salt and pepper. Yes, I realize it’s not authentic, butContinue reading

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I defy anyone out there to come up with faster food than this. (Cereal doesn’t count.) OK, I got a head start on the sweet potato, so that can be an exception if it evens things out a little. W and I make banana bread a lot – a recipe that allows W to mash the banana, sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl with a potato masher, then add the dry ingredients, stir them in, scrape it into a pan and bake. The other day it seemed like a waste to have the oven on with only a loaf pan inside, so I threw a sweet potato and head of garlic, wrapped in foil, in for the hour it took to bake the banana bread. (Both will keep just fine in the fridge for up to a week.) Roasted sweet potatoes are best for mashing – they have more flavour and retain all their nutrients (none lost to the cooking water), and they practicallyContinue reading

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Something that can’t be categorized as dessert! Huzzah! (Is it just me who feels as if everything she has eaten in the recent past started out as batter?) But wait, it is technically cake again. I taught a class in Red Deer last night, so the boys came up with dinner on their own. (I didn’t ask.) Tonight, fish cakes. My Mom had a chunk of leftover sea bass (yes I know, but it was already cooked, so it would have been worse not to eat it) from a dinner party, and my favourite use of scraps of leftover fish is fish cakes. (Canned salmon works very well too. I haven’t tried sardines yet, but if you’re a fan – why not?) Really all you do is mix the flaked fish with about an equal amount of mashed potatoes (yes you have to mash the potatoes, but come on, it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about getting them all smooth, because you’re stirring fishContinue reading

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Packing the house my parents have lived in for 20 years has unearthed some interesting things. Among them two enormous cans of tuna, purchased in preparation for the then-impending SARS pandemic three years ago. We have come to refer to them as the SARS Tuna in the Basement. I’m talking about those cans so big you could use one as a stool or a bass drum or something. We opened one up about a year ago and it fed all of our respective families for about a week. So a few days ago when we were all there packing, we opened another up and made sandwiches. The plan was to turn the rest into antipasto, but it was like a bunch of clowns in a Volkswagen – it kept coming out, more and more, and I ended up with a 1L yogurt container of it too.  So I went ahead and made a real-life tuna noodle casserole. I was going to do the tinned mushroom soup thing, but ended up morphing recipesContinue reading

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I did the food styling for a summer food photo shoot for FFWD today, which meant props like summer salads and sangria. One of the most photo-friendly salads I know is the brown & wild rice salad with dried fruit, parsley and chopped pecans, of which there was plenty left over for dinner. I picked up a filet of salmon this morning, so when the photographer left after 6, all I needed to do was slap it on a cookie sheet and spread a bit of hoisin sauce, straight from the jar, on top, then bake it at 425F for 10 minutes, and dinner was done before the news headlines were over. (W didn’t like the hoisin salmon as much as the pesto salmon.) I emailed my friend Robyn for her sangria recipe – the one she’d mix up and we’d drink on the stoop of our apartment on Cambie Street in Vancouver. Trashy but yummy. (The sangria, not Robyn. Then again… She makes cheater sangria at restaurants byContinue reading

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I have decided to clean out my freezer. First to go was a filet of salmon, which I pulled out this morning to thaw. Then when a CTV news reporter and camera came to talk to me about the CBE’s Nutrition Policy, they wanted some quick footage of me in the kitchen preparing something healthy. So there I was, looking all angelic with my slab of salmon, bowl of greens, grape tomatoes, barley and zucchini. Good thing they didn’t show up on rib night. Which explains why my filet was cut into three pieces – that was a little action for the camera. Normally I would have just cooked it in one piece. Either way. Now, pesto is something that I wouldn’t have normally had a bottle of in the fridge even a year ago. But since discovering the Pesto, White Bean & Chicken Stew, and that Willem loves it, I now have a jar in the fridge most of the time. It’s easy to find,Continue reading

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I’ll never understand why battered frozen fish pieces are considered a convenience food. How convenient are they, when they take 25 minutes in the oven vs. 10 for a fresh fillet of salmon? This is real fast food. I adore asparagus, and my favorite way to cook it is to roast it until the tips turn dark and crunchy. It occurred to me that both could be done at once; the asparagus started (on a rimmed cookie sheet, drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper) and then pushed aside to make room for the salmon during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. But we had lots of both, so after 20 minutes in the oven, we slid the salmon on its own sheet onto the rack above. Easy peasy. I threw some brown and wild rice in a pot to boil for 45 minutes (I always cook both together since they have the same cooking time, and in lots of water, like pasta,Continue reading

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