Category Archives: Ruminations on the Edible

Food inspired writing

Red Rocket Coffee Danforth: Only a few more sleepy days to wait

Watch out Tim Horton's. You've just been a feeble fallback.

 Red Rocket Coffee is opening SOON minutes from my house, just a quick walk to the Danforth.  Red Rocket, whose original location was at Greenwood and Queen (across from the TTC yard, hence the name) had to close its Leslieville location due to a major rent increase.  I am probably one of many who live in the Danforth that want to offer heartfelt condolences to Red Rocket’s Queen East regulars but instead are clicking our heels together with glee.

The new location at 1364 Danforth is still sealed up with Kraft Paper, a present we all want to open.

Not open yet. No matter how many times I walked by in one day.

Red Rocket will be taking over the Three’s Company Too location on the Danforth.  The original Three’s Company is now at Danforth and Pape (the loss of their weekend brunch still saddens me when I pass what is now a French Toast-less  Naturopathic Clinic at the corner of Lamb/Greenwood)   If you’re from the west end I’ll stick with locating the new Red Rocket “between Greenwood and Coxwell” but if you’re from the hood you’ll want to know that it’s just west of Linnsmore Cres. (minutes from the Greenwood Subway exit) and across the Danforth from Lamb and Gillard St.   Conveniently close to Jerry’s Supermarket (grocer/butcher) and the new fitness place  BOMB Wellness.

The Future:

Coffee- workout-coffee.

Coffee-pork chops-coffee.

Coffee-forgot the bacon-PU coffee for spouse at home.

If the damn place would just open I could live out all the above fair trade and organic fantasies.  Well, maybe only the first and last part of the first one.

Word on the Red Rocket Blog as posted Saturday is that they’ll be opening in a few days.  Word on the street (as I lingered outside today and peeked through the window at a space full of boxes and “stuff”) is that there will be a soft open (coffee only–Red Rocket also makes their own food and pastries) mid-January.

I will keep lingering even if the Red Rocket people start to fear that what they appreciated as loyalty in their Queen St E clientele could potentially turn to stalking on the Danforth.   Just enthusiasm, I swear.

(There is also a Wellesley location)

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Chantecler: Kitchen Party coming to Brock and Queen

Chantecler partners Jonathan Poon and Jacob Wharton-Shukster outside the new digs

Happy 2012!  Time to discover a new place to get fed in Toronto.  Racing to open in February, Chantecler can only be called a labour of love (with emphasis on the labour part).  Chef Jonathan Poon and partner Jacob Wharton-Shukster (who will run front of house) spend every moment –between full-time jobs– doing renos on their new place. When Jonathan  brings me by for a sneak peek Jacob is slightly sawdusty and torn between a dozen stain options for the long bar which will run down one side of the room.

Chantecler in the works

Chantecler in the works (Dec 2011)

This 26 seat modern bistro will have small tables opposite the bar seating and tables in the front window that can accomodate a larger group (up to 8).  Cozy with high ceilings, the 450 ft dining room is attached to a dream 250 ft prep kitchen in the back.

Moffat Stoves: A nod to the classics at Chantecler

Your first nod of appreciation will come when seeing the stove tops.  Poon and crew will be cooking not on gas burners but on electric.  Vintage electric.  Jonathan shows me where the two stoves will go.  A 1952 cream-coloured Moffat stove will be in the back kitchen and the other, a butter-yellow 1935 model will be used during service in the restaurant. When I say “in the restaurant” yes,  I mean the concept is open kitchen but even more kitchen party.  The prep area in the back will be visible but if you’re sitting at the bar you might be beside the pass, privvy to dishes being plated or sipping wine while the cook at garde manger is dressing a salad inches from your elbow.  Similar experiences can be found in the city but in this intimate space the idea is that the chef can step into the role of attentive host, even saucing your plate tableside.

Chantecler: A French Canadian Heritage Chicken

The name Chantecler comes from a heritage chicken breed from Quebec.   Most obvious is the tie in to Canada and local ingredients.  But the two partners also wanted a name that had a classic feel and longevity.  A restaurant whose cooking would be creative and dynamic enough to impress the critics and foodies while also implying a warmth of service, good food and a sense of comraderie.

As for the menu– Jacob and JP have termed their food Progressive Canadian Cuisine.   “Inspired by global influence, using modern techniques and  local ingredients,” says Jonathan– following with, “so pretty much whatever I want.”  As for the booze?  “We’re focusing on natural wines and sourcing from small scale producers local and abroad. We’ll also be doing some good old fashion cocktails.”

I met Jonathan while working in the kitchen at Colborne Lane.  It was the first place I worked in Toronto after returning from cooking school in London.  In my first week JP simply asked if I could prepare a large bowl of tomato concassé to help with his prep.  I was so paranoid of the perfection of every small cube I culled any rejects enthusiastically with the resulting concassé  having to be redone as there was barely enough flesh left to rebuild one full tomato.  Often we would ride the subway home together after service and he would tell me about his early love of cooking and baking (he’s equally talented at both).  At 16 he was preparing bread and baked goods out of his home (in the wee hours) and selling it fresh-baked to local bakeries- 170 pieces a day . (Meanwhile  I once spent a satisfying evening as a teenager putting chocolate icing on my face. I later learned to make cake.)

Jonathan Poon in the kitchen on Boxing Day at the Monday Night Dinner Series. (Courtesy of photographer: Nick Merzetti)

JP has gone on to cook in many kitchens in the city such as C5, Delux and is currently at Woodlot.  In between 15 hour shifts he and  Jacob (who currently works as a server at Origin) started organizing The Monday Night Dinner series, a bi-weekly event which gives upcoming new chefs a chance to get creative and serve their own menu.  Organizing the Monday Night Dinners is no easy task–Poon’s  found himself skinning rabbits at 2 am after a regular shift at Woodlot or riding down the street on a bike with 17 ducks on his back. (Take that Cirque de Soleil craft service).

1320 Queen Street West (at Brock)

Currently you’ll only be able to recognize Chantecler by the distinctive artwork covering the front window.  It’s courtesy of Jonathan and Jacob’s friend Allister Lee who’ll also be doing the sign design (in between helping with the reno.)  When Chantecler opens reservations will be taken for about half the space, but for myself, I’m going to offer to sand some drywall and see if it gets me onto the VIP list.

You can follow Chantecler’s progress on twitter @chanteclerto

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Happy New Year and well, thanks

OLD YEAR, NEW YEAR.

HAPPY NEW YEAR and a giant THANK YOU to all you people who visit my blog.   Because I can only click “LIKE” once on anything I write.

Cheese and Toast needs you and I’m grateful for your eyeballs (and mouse hand).   So eat some good stuff Saturday night.

Before I go, an end of year Haiku (reversed, 7-5-7).  I’m going rogue.

Food Metaphor

Empty hole in cookie dough

Can mean everything

Or nothing. Damn food blogger.

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Toast Post: Cheese Wedges to Fill Your Stocking Toe


There’s always too much good cheese and not enough space in my Globe column to include it all so I’ve listed a few other cheesy ideas below (with advice from our local cheese mongers in Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver).

SOBEYS (Ontario)

Fiscalini Ageing Rooms (photo from Fiscalinicheese.com)

Fiscalini, Clothbound Cheddar:

Andy Shay, the cheese buyer at Sobeys has just brought this California cheese into stores within the last week.  Made in traditional English style, this cheddar is a world-class award winner (including “outstanding Cheese of the Year”).  I’ve been looking forward to this one like, well, like a kid at Christmas.  (Also ask for it at Les Amis du Fromage in Vancouver)

Juliet Harbutt’s Line of British Cheese:

(For a detailed list of the whole line see my post on British Cheese)

Specially picked for best quality (and also keeping in mind being stored at a larger retailer) all these cheeses are fairly hardy and can be left out for an afternoon of nibbling.  The Stilton is made by Cropwell Bishop who make some of the most outstanding examples of this product.

A TASTE OF QUEBEC (Toronto)

Pied De Vent (photo from fromagesduquebec.qc.ca)

Located in the beautiful Distillery District the store carries only Quebec products.  Aside from amazing cheese you can get Quebec honey, charcuterie, preserves and lots of other easy to prepare nibbles.  Suzanne at the store recommended the following:

Pied de Vent

The name of this cheese refers to the sun’s rays peeking through the clouds. It has a copper-coloured rind and buttercup yellow paste. Until recently, Pied de Vent was only available in Quebec. This luscious cheese has a supple paste with a full, meaty aroma. The flavours are buttery, robust and nutty. A great after-dinner cheese all by itself.  (Also at Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, and Les Amis de Fromage, Vancouver)

La Tomme des Demoiselles

A hard pressed  cheese aged more than 6 months with salty and fruity flavours.  Made by the producers of Pied-de-Vent and also raw milk.

EVERYTHING CHEESE (Edmonton)

Chaource (photo from aritisinalcheese.com)

The scoop from Tania and Lydia at this great new (just over a year old) cheese shop in Edmonton is the following:

Chaource

This decadent double-creme is made in France’s Champagne region and is the perfect pairing for your bubbly.

Gingha Fruit Cheese

This  “Scottish Pear” is made with a mix of Scottish cheddar, cream cheese and pear Schnapps. It is formed in the shape of a pear and covered in wax.  (See how easy it is to eat more fruit?)

They also carry Shropshire Blue and classics like Epoisses, Valencay (so gorgeous on a cheese board), and Robiola (Heaven is a gooey Robiola).

LES AMIS DU FROMAGE (Vancouver)

Cropwell-Bishop Stilton

Allison at Les Amis was kind enough to stop and email me some ideas in between the holiday rush.  I’m putting my money on the Ported Stilton– apparently it’s going very fast!

Ported Stilton

The right way to marry your port and Stilton–have a professional do it.  “We pierce the outside of the Stilton and pour Port into the wheel, we start at the beginning of November and give it at least 6 weeks,” says Allison.

Goat Cheeses

They have lots of fabulous little goat cheese with fresh ash, Espelette peppers, aged pyramids, logs buttons, leaf-wrapped and soaked in Marc.

(these types of goat cheese are so lovely they must be seen to be appreciated, go immediately)

Mountain Cheeses

My favourite  cheese category–they’ve got lots reports Allison,  including Abondance from Savoie and Le Marechal from Switzerland.

BLUE CHEESE

Blue Juliette (photo from Provincial Fine Foods)

Today’s column, The Spread was based around Stilton and Roquefort and blues in general.  It was quite a struggle to whittle down, and here are a few other blues that you might consider (amongst dozens!  I know!)

Blue Juliette, pasteurized goat, BC

This soft, creamy, shadow of a blue is made from goat milk and hails from Salt Spring Island, BC.  There ‘s no oxygen allowed into the interior of this soft-ripened cheese so the mold only develops in a lace-like blue/green pattern on the rind.  Beautiful on a cheese board and only mildly feisty.

Montbriac (also known as Roche Baron), pasteurized cow, France

If Cambozola’s been your blue cheese compromise, ditch it for a sexy French ally.  A brie-like bloomy rind cheese that gets silky and runny when ripe, its exterior is a striking charcoal colour due to the ash covered rind.  Blue mold is minimal but creates a rich, tangy flavour with a hint of spice.

Erborinato al Cacao e Rum, raw cow, Italy

Tis the season of pampering, and if you’re hoping to indulge your guests look no further than this Erborinato from Italy’s Piedmonte region.  This blue is Infused with 8-yr old rum and coated in cocoa powder.  A hard-to-get cheese with an appropriate price tag, it’s currently available at Toronto’s Cheese Boutique. 

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Thumbprint Cookie Throwdown: Bacon Jam vs Bacon Marmalade

PC Bacon Marmalade in the left corner and Skillet Bacon Jam in the right.

I’ve been meaning to do a tête-à-tête with my two bacon spreads for a while so why not kill two birds with one stone?

I was making thumbprint cookies for the holidays and they have convenient little holes for filling.   I hoped bacon might infuse some sweet/savoury magic into my cookie tins.  Plus bacon in dessert is so overdone already, what better time than Christmas to overdo it?

The President’s Choice Bacon Marmalade, though a knock-off of the Skillet Bacon Jam, is actually quite different.  It’s made with caramelized onion and balsamic vinegar and is much sweeter than the Skillet Spread.  Great with an aged cheddar on a cracker or in grilled cheese, it has a more typical marmalade consistency with spice and orange peel.  The bacon element adds savour but as an afterthought.

Skillet Bacon Jam and PC Bacon Marmalade

As you can see there is a clear winner in the looks department.  The bacon jam is a BEFORE picture and the marmalade is the AFTER (once the jam has shaved, flossed and waxed).

Skillet bacon jam is meaty, smoky, pulled pork like in consistency.  It has bacon flavour full force.  It’s “smack me so I stop eating this” kind of good. Smoked bacon is the first ingredient in the Skillet product and sugar is the first ingredient in the PC marmalade.  Depends how much jam you want in your bacon jam.

Back to the cookies.  I am happy to report that all cookies turned out pretty tasty.  The sweet/sour character of the Bacon Marmalade’s balsamic vinegar and caramelized onion base was very complimentary to the buttery cookie.

Quite lovely, no?

But it was the Bacon Jam thumbprints that surprised me.  Because to be perfectly honest, I had a hard time taking a bite.  It’s the image problem again.  You’d rather get a piece of coal in your stocking than have this show up at your door.  It’s like The Cat Came Back in a cookie.

Now I'm thinking hide the bacon jam INSIDE the cookie.

They look furry, to put it kindly.  But they tasted fantastic.  The sweet, the salty–it was a darn good combo.  But you’d have to serve it to people at night, with no lights on.  No candles.  Not even Scentsy.  But, on the bright side you could all be comfortably naked.  And blissed out on bacon.

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Cheese Whiz: British Cheese Tasting with Juliet Harbutt

That’s a half-wheel of Stilton (producer is Cropwell-Bishop)  staring you straight in the face.  And holding it is Juliet Harbutt, British cheese guru and knower of all things cheese-related. (There, I think I’ve deftly summed up Juliet’s dense full page resume of achievements).  Juliet, among many other things, started the British Cheese Awards in 1994 to help recognise excellence in British cheese.  She was in town last week (at The Cookbook Store) promoting a selection of British cheeses in Canada.

The entire selection consists of sixteen traditional cheese that have been consistent medal award winners at the British Cheese Awards. Only about 30% of 900 entries each year garner a medal and 22 “rise to the top” says Juliet.   Sobey’s is carrying six of her sixteen choices exclusively at their stores. (There is a bonus 7th cheese on the plate below)

So shall we get on with our tasting?

Starting at NOON (with the vibrant orange Red Leicester and moving clockwise)

1. Red Leicester

This was interesting for me.  I love Red Leicester and usually only buy the farmhouse clothbound version.  Tasting it next to the larger scale industrial version, there is no comparison.  But Juliet introduced us to this younger non-clothbound version which is made at a big creamery, but using artisinal methods.  It is made by The Pembrokeshire Cheese Company, a farmer’s cooperative in West Wales.

This wedge was younger than what I was used to but still had the savory-sweetness that intensifies as it ages.  Beautiful on a cheeseboard and easier to slice for a snack (or sandwich) when it is softer and younger.

2. Creamy Lancashire

Have you ever had a cheese and thought it was so-so and thus never tried it again?  (bad–don’t ever do that. Give Cheese a Chance)  I did that with Lancashire.  I had a crumbly, drier wedge one time and gave up.  This has me converted.  It’s buttery, tangy and richly mouth-coating.  Made with a loose curd, you can see the delineations where they been pressed together to form the cheese.  I mention Lancashire in my Globeholiday cheese column ….(PLUG!)  Juliet described the Lancashire as having a “raw onion tang”

3. Double Gloucester

Hailing from Lancashire England, the producer of this Double Gloucester is Butler’s Farmhouse Cheese.  It is made using traditional methods in open vats, cloth bound and matured for up to 8 months.  There is a slight hint of orange-pink to the paste as it is coloured with annato (a natural colouring from a South American seed also used in orange cheddar and the Red Leiscester).  Dense, nutty and firm textured.

Pale Orange Double Gloucester

4. Oak Smoked Lyburn Farms

Loved this one.  The smoke is subtle and delicate.  It’s naturally flavoured over oak chips and the milk comes from the cheesemaker’s own farm.  The cheeses has a caramel coloured rind and will win you over if you’ve been turned off by over-smoked fellows that leave a campfire in your mouth.

5. Wyfe of Bath

This was the “bonus” cheese and is not available at Sobey’s.  Wyfe of Bath is a creamy, buttery cheese made from organic milk and molded in cloth-lined baskets..   Juliet’s  identified a “rubber boot aroma” (that sharp, pleasant new-ness).

6. Special Reserve Shropshire Blue

The bright orange blue cheese on the upper left of the plate is the Shropshire Blue.  Made at Cropwell Bishop (as is the Stilton) it’s based on the Stilton recipe but was actually created in Inverness, Scotland in 1970.  Annato gives it its colour.  Peaks  at 3 months.  Not as strong as Stilton you still get buttery, cocoa notes and a real punch of colour on the cheese board.

Half-Stilton

7. Special Reserve Stilton

Only five producers make Stilton. Cropwell Bishop is one of them and the family has been making Stilton for over three generations.  Milk suppliers are hand-picked to ensure the quality of this famous cheese.  Also peaking at 3 months, this 13 week old piece was buttery, spicy with a dark cocoa flavour on the finish. You can see the beautiful, and typical “shattered porcelain” veining in the piece Julia is holding at the top.  Stilton is a dense cheese so the blue veining spreads in a finer, spidery pattern than seen in a looser blue like Roquefort.

Finally, if you’re looking for a great reference book of the cheese sort, The World Cheese Book edited by Juliet is great.  You can just have it sit by the bedside and nightly flip through pictures and well-written, succinct information about the world’s major cheeses.

Then you will hop out of bed for a midnight snack.

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Skip the carton, Make a Pitcher of Homemade Nog

One serving appears more ladylike when divided into three small glasses.

Today is the day we decorate our tree.  The Christmas Tree is my favourite part of the holidays.  As unexcited as I am to dig through the pile of boxes in the basement on the annual ornament hunt (why do I have two bins of Easter decorations?  Really?) I am pretty psyched to get the tree going.

Thinking that many of us might be putting up lights, Christmas shopping or lamenting the start of carols on the radio, I figured egg nog and alcohol could settle us right down.  Cursing also helps immensely.

If you’re going out for the weekend grocery shop, you only need  few ingredients to make your own egg nog: eggs, milk, cream, sugar. (I know! Why have you not done this before?)

My friend swears by the Mac’s Milk version (and I too admit to glugging the store-bought) but this is lighter, frothier and fresher and really a cinch to make.

HERE IS THE LINK TO MY CHEF BASICS  EGG NOG MAKING VIDEO.

Once this becomes your signature holiday drink–you can move onto your own egg nog serving set.

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EGG NOG RECIPE

Make sure you use the freshest eggs possible and have an alternate beverage available for guests like pregnant woman, children or the elderly who shouldn’t consume raw eggs.

Servings: 6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ready In: 45 minutes (includes 30 minutes cooling)

Ingredients

4 eggs, separated

1/3 cup sugar (reserve 1 tablespoon)

2 cups whole milk

1 cup whipping cream

fresh grated nutmeg

pinch salt

Method

With an electric beater whisk together egg yolks and sugar until sugar dissolves and yolks are pale and fluffy. Add milk, cream and nutmeg and whisk until well combined. Refrigerate until cold.

Just before serving whisk egg whites (at room temperature) and a pinch of salt to soft peaks. Add teaspoon of sugar and whisk until firm peaks.

Fold into eggnog to make it extra light and fluffy.

If you want to add alcohol you can whisk in 2 to 3 ounces of bourbon or rum before adding the egg whites.

Another opportunity to use my beloved nutmeg grater. (purse size convenience!)

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Centre Ice is now the Tuna Aisle (but the cheese wall makes you forgot your woes)

The line-ups were back outside Maple Leaf Gardens yesterday.  I arrived at 7:15am for the Loblaws grand opening, shocked to be greeted by a cue of people winding from Church Street back towards Yonge.  Loblaws employees were handing out muffins and tea and media were huddled outside the entrance waiting to witness the reveal of what one photographer referred to as an “airport-size” grocery store.

For nostalgia’s sake, here is centre ice (check out the funky orange grocery carts, might help the sadness melt away).  At least canned tuna is puck sized.

I don’t know if it’s cool or uncool to like this store.  But, I liked it.  I would like shopping here–it’s a grocery store, has all the same products you expect (from detergent to Cambpell’s soup) but caters to foodies without the price tag of Whole Foods.  So, certain products are more luxurious…..look at the dried mushrooms on offer (the fresh mushrooms were also amazing).

Realistically many of the shoppers here will be Ryerson students who can still find KD, diet coke and Mr. Noodle.  And maybe pick up a caramel cupcake at the cupcake wall (they’re big on the food walls here).  I should mention they make their own donuts in the bakery.  Apparently the recipe began at Zehrs and word is they are pretty good for dunkin’.

Loblaws is also trying to cater to ethnic tastes and have incorporated T&T to set up a sushi bar and have some of its products for sale.  Plus, there is a section just for asian greens. I love that this could be part of my everyday shopping.  (cuz I need more variety of vegetables going bad in my crisper–how I hate myself sometimes…)

Another nice touch is the ability to pay for items in each section of the store.  You can buy a juice at the juice bar, pay for your cheese at the cheese counter.  Makes shopping more efficient and if you forget an item (and I always forget an item) you don’t have to go back through checkout at the front of the store.

The aisles are wide–here’s a shot of the produce department from the upstairs kitchen (where all the “to go” food is prepared daily.  The chef told us that their goal -though they do work with Second Harvest–is to only make as much food as they will sell in a day.)  There is a butcher and fishmonger off to the left.

In a first impression I tweeted that the space was like a loft– it’s open, industrial, when you walk in they’ve kept part of the original wall from the Gardens.  There’s a sculpture made from the chairs in the original stadium in the shape of a Maple Leaf.   But— let’s get to that cheese wall.

Pretty impressive, right?  I kind of imagined it more open–like maybe I could actually climb it, finding toeholds amongst wedges of Gruyere and Comte.  But, this will do.

What is actually most impressive (and I hope this is kept up) is the quality of the cheese.  In the display case across from “the wall” were many soft and semi-soft cheese, all looking very ripe but the rinds still intact and in great shape. This is tricky at a large retailer when often you have to prepackage this type of cheese in unbreathable saran wrap.

Voila–they have introduced–breathable cheese paper for your fresh cut product. (Sobeys is hoping following suit–retail revolution people!!)

The cheese department here  will cut cheese on demand.  You can still reach into the fridges (those are sliding doors in the picture) and quickly grab a pre-cut piece of Mimolette (yes, they have Mimolette.  SCORE!) or cheddar.  But you can also turn around and have wedges cut smaller or request a taste.

On opening day Gurth Purdy (the cheese buyer and passionate supporter of artisinal cheese) and his team were cracking full parmesan wheels in the traditional way.  Check out this short demo from Whole Foods.  Quite an art.

They also are the exclusive Ontario carrier of a soft washed-rind, raw milk, Quebec cheese called Pied-de-Vent.  it used to be snuck into the province years ago but was not federally licensed.  It looked droolingly delicious.

Living in the east end, I’ll probably be sticking to my hood for the groceries but with a large parking lot beneath the store I might just head over from time to time to stroll the aisles. There’s a Joe Fresh and LCBO upstairs too. Eat, dress, drink.

No word yet if you can bring in a hockey stick for a quick face-off with some canned salmon.

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Caramels: The Cure for What Ails Ya

Some might recommend antibiotics for pneumonia (those would be the doctors) but us food bloggers like something that is more indulgent.  Like caramels.  If you’re craving caramels, no matter how sick, you know you’re generally OK.  And is it not a bucolic  ideal to be eating bons bons while lounging in bed?  Realistically, no one has time for that –except when taken ill with only enough strength to strip the crinkly, bright wrappers off the naked chocolates .

The caramels look much less 1970s than in this photo.

I recently had the opportunity to curl up with a box of the above. Fortune smiled upon me and said, “hey, get yourself some pneumonia and some bons bons”. The pneumonia arrived courtesy of the devil (I can’t be sure of that,  just a guess) and the chocolates came courtesy of President’s Choice.

It’s actually a chocolate and toffee “collection” (I’m giving up stamps immediatly -what was I thinking?) and the first thing I noticed is that all the 11  flavours on the chocolate map (see below for some blurry details) were tempting.  Not a chocolate brandy cherry in site.  I think I would eat the orange fondant last but my dad would head straight for it.

The chocolates are imported from England and you do feel like you just nipped into Marks and Spencers for a fix.

You can go ahead and buy them for as a hostess gift, but they’ll never make it, particularly if you’re too weak to get out of bed.

See, there’s an upside to congested lungs.  No, actually there’s not.  But eating these caramels will make you forget your woes for a bit.  (Take note Daytime TV).

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Tis the Season for Pomegranate Ice Cream

Pomegranates are here.  And so is my reluctance to buy them and take the time to extract the delicious seeds (arils).  Lazy, yes.

But then I was inspired to take the healthy pomegranate and fatten it up into a simple and delicious, no-churn ice cream.  (Using a recipe from Nigella Lawson‘s cookbook Nigella Express.)  Who other than Nigella could completely kill the heart-healthy attributes of a pomegranate with 2 cups of whole cream?   Screw sprinkling the arils on a salad, I latched onto her bandwagon fast.

And really, de-seeding the pomegranate is not that tough.  Lots of people/websites suggest cutting the fruit in half and then simply tapping it until the arils easily plop out into the awaiting bowl.  I have tapped pomegranates, I have spanked them with a wooden spoon and for me, about maybe 1/4 of the arils ever fall out, no matter how ripe.  So I prefer the underwater method (not you, just the pom.)

I demonstrate this in a Chef Basics Video-so just click on the link for a demo.  Basically, it’s like this:

Take the pomegranate and halve, then quarter. (cut off the crown and score the outer skin with your knife and pull apart).

Now take the pieces and in a bowl of cold water, submerge one at a time and gently pop out the seeds with your hands.  No squirting juice to deal with and the heavier seeds will sink to the bottom while the pith floats on top.

(Bit of a blood bath, isn’t it.)  Now you can scoop of the pith and drain the seeds. Next, to juice, into the food processor they go.

For the recipe, you need to de-seed 2 pomegranates and just buzz them for a few seconds –then drain through a fine sieve. You need 3/4 cups juice for the ice cream but I got about 1 cup. (You will never buy a POM drink again after you taste this).

Next,  juice a lime.  (or have your kid do it)

Total unneccessary picture but how cute are Felix’s little hands!  Add the lime juice to the pom juice and put it into a medium size bowl.  Add 1 1/2 cups icing sugar.  (I was a little leery of the amount of sugar but the balance of flavour was good in the end.) Then add in the 2 cups whipping cream.  And well, whip it, whip it good!  It will be light and fluffy and a very very pretty.

Beware of how much you “taste” at this point. It’s crazy delicious. Sweet, rich and yet a little tart from the fruit.  Spread it into a Tupperware and put on lid, then straight into the freezer.

Ultimately, I left it overnight before serving, Nigella says four hours in minimum.  Was still a bit soft at four hours in my freezer.

Really depends on your freezer and where you put it in the freezer I imagine.  (While making room in my freezer I discovered I had a whole duck in there that I completely forgot about. Plus some half-used puff pastry and a frozen wedge of birthday cake.)

The results:

So good I ate it for breakfast. (Never skip breakfast, bad for your health) .

This whipped ice cream softens fairly quickly so does not have the denser texture of a typical custard based, churned ice cream, but I think it would make a gorgeous finish to a meal if you were entertaining.  It’s really light and creamy, and so easy to do in advance.  For myself, I know how I’ll be getting my daily servings of dairy this week.

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Filed under All Recipes, Cookbooks, Magazines (+recipes from), Ruminations on the Edible