Thursday, November 30, 2006

Crazy christmas eating

Let the fun begin! It is fat December a time to eat a lot and not feel guilty b.c. for those of us lucky enough to be in colder climates we can cover up our Christmas bulges with the latest chunky knit sweaters we get for xmas! I find the new low slinging models are great as they focus on the neck line and not the bulging muffin tops coming off the side of your jeans.
So girls eat and be merry!

Tomorrow is December 1st, and Sunday is my first xmas party of the season so should have some holiday food pics to post... Rosi makes an excellent strawberry, raspberry salad so hope she is bringin it again this year! My sister is bringing water -I hope she was joking?! (of course someone will bring some fatty-liscious stuff too!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Irresistible beach berries
Pic from our June trip to Sardinia, I devoured a gross amount of loganberries from a tree in the beach parking lot. I had purple fingers for a few days but they were delicious!!!!

My partner in crime had a laugh at me but also delighted in their sweet taste!
Plant a tree in your garden if you can, these trees are plentiful and provide lots of berries, they do make a red mess but that's the fun of it!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Eggplant Parmigiana
From this...

...To this

In a few simple steps with a Sicilian Eggplant/Aubergine. No frying involved and the only ingredients are: bread crumbs, olive oil, salt, pepper, egg, fresh tomato sauce, cheese -mozzarella/Parmesan and seasoning. Simply divine and it melts in your mouth!!!

It is the best eggplant parmigiana you will ever taste, recipe courtesy of Momma Dolce-drop me a line if you want it.

The aubergine is an important food crop grown for its large, pendulous, purple or white fruit. It has been cultivated in southern and eastern Asian countries since prehistory but appears to have become known to the Western world no earlier than ca. 1500 CE. The numerous Arabic and North African names for it, along with the lack of ancient Greek and Roman names, indicate that it was introduced throughout the Mediterranean area by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages. The scientific name melongena is derived from a 16th-century Arabic term for one kind of aubergine.

There is a lot of Arab influence in Sicily and in Italian eggplant is called melanzana. Read more on the purple plant/fruit's interesting history:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Can Struction 2006

A pic of a lovely whale created by AM and her associates at ARK architecture firm. The title of the sculpture made out of cans (I think they were tuna cans!): Hunger is Huge. Huger is invisible.

ARK Architecture Inc. received an Honourable Mention at this year's Can Struction awards for this creation. Canstruction is a National Charity of the Design and Construction Industry. All cans are then donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank. This year's event collected a record 62,000 pounds of food!

In the past seven years, 232,000 pounds of food have been donated to The Daily Bread Food Bank to help people struggling with hunger. -you can see some of the entries from other cities that have participated -some are truly creative and unique.

Good work AM & Co.!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Cooking with Tempo

More cookbook testing which is turning out to be fun. This recipe is one from Zia Elenora's kitchen. For many years she and her husband ran one of the best Italian bakeries in the city (and my cousins were always there to entertain customers young and old!). Not only could you get a great cappuccino but you could come in for some comfort food, fantastic bread, a warm welcome and an ear to chat to.

Am sure my aunt knew the gossip of the whole Italian population within a 15km radius of the bakery! Uncle Vince and his team of bakers including his entertaining son BP, made the most divine breads and pastries which each week my Dad and I went to buy. We would have to buy double of most things as due to its freshness and warmth, the bread was half eaten by the time we got home. Yum!

So in retirement, the kitchen at home comes alight with a continuation of baked and cooked, salted and preserved delicacies (all documented for the book).
Last week on our testing morning, Zia made this succulent and divine Osso Buco with red wine and a lemon marinade - it is all well documented and digested. Also soo simple and easy to make, even the kids loved it - hands in the air -yay!!!

Thx for having Momma Dolce and I document another few un-documented recipes! And folks the pictures are all from the little Canon camera I have -pls advise if the food styling is getting better.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cookbook testing
For those of you who like Embanata some visuals from some cookbook testing last week. Thx to the chefs for their patience in trying to write it down and measure out a recipe that has never been measured.

Some quick steps: all you need is some Swiss chard-wash it well as we found a large worm in ours!(ick)

A hubby who will chop onions - and he did so without a tear while the rest of us had stinging tears (not sure if he cut onions in a past life?!)

Add all ingredients, roll it tightly and bake

Et voila here is the final product -magnifique - right Miyuki?

If you want the full recipe send me a line...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Now this is fresh

Although there is no regard for 'health and safety' (I love the cigarette) this is truly fresh fish from the sea being cut and sold in a market in Palermo. Am sure these men have been doing this for ages so I would not doubt the freshness. It was a delight walking through this market with J-Lo, the sights and sounds were great -and am sure they were not selling any brown edged salmon!

(from This market called Mercatto Vucceria (from the Norman French "boucherie"), is perhaps the favourite Palermitan market for visitors. It begins at Piazza San Domenico toward Piazza Caracciolo and Corso Vittorio Emanuele, branching off along Via Argenteria. Read more here about Sicilian markets here

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Technorati Profile
On the Road Cooking

Watching a bit of daytime TV lately, I have seen a lot of programs targeted at middle class women who are juggling homes, careers and children all the while trying to watch their weight and feed their families something healthy.

So a lot of these women's programs have a cooking section. The last one I was lucky enough to catch was a woman from Oshawa providing recipes for a host of things that you can cook in a plastic bag -dee-lish! She was a Girl Guide leader (Juicy, Ranoush and I were also GGs in our younger years) and had to create recipes her girls could eat in the forest or wherever they went - the farthest we went was Kortright Conservation Park only 10km away, so no bears or anything wild in our troupe.

Oshawa Guide-lady made a cake in a bag and it looked gross but the crowd ooohed on cue -Mom and I said eeew on cue. And she made other things that she threw in a bag, squished around and then dumped the bag into boiling water to make a tasty meal. To each his own I guess – I prefer my meals not created in a freezer bag but I guess the women of America crave convenience?!

Anyhoo, I know someone who just bought a campervan and is planning to spend summer 07 in it. This is the cooking gear it comes with (see pic). I guess I will have to pass on boil in a bag recipes to her or bring lots of tinned mackerel and hope for fresh bakeries or local eateries nearby –or rely on the bbq for some yummy grilled meat and veg. Am sure the waist will be slimmer after the trip.

If anyone has any camper van recipes please do sure that could be another cook book in itself, should've kept Girl Guide lady's details.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Should smoked salmon ever be brown?

Not sure of the answer but I did once know a Tasmanian salmon trout farmer's son. Not sure if sending a question like this to him out the blue would be appropriate, so am asking you if you know anything about this?

Having lunch with the wonderful and smile inducing Cousin G -she lights up the room with her aura, personality and energy - we order some food from a very welcoming Dean and Deluca style restaurant.

I order the smoked salmon-open faced sandwich and she the tuna delight something or other. When mine arrives all toasty and warm -there are several odd bits of brown around the edges of the salmon. I try to cut them all off but there is too many....

G's sandwich arrived with the waiter's finger stuck in her decorative sauce (maybe it was mayonnaise?) and we sent it back with the draggy-footed waiter.

After I slice and dice to remove all brown bits to no avail we send it back and a few min later the chef -or chief sandwich maker comes out and tries to explain to me that that piece was from the tail -hence why it is brown. I look a little bewildered but if the chef/sandwich man says so I kinda believe him - with doubt.

So he brings me another sandwich and fruit salad and says this one should be better but leaves rather quickly as this one too is brown around the edges. I eat it thinking it still isn't right as it is hard and smells a little fishy and fish should never smell like fish unless it is off. Anyhoo, tried to Google brown edged smoked salmon but the web didn’t give me any info, shocking non? I still think it was wrong but any suggestions from the peanut gallery???? The chef man was nice as, so won't mention the restaurant's name.

Fish fiends pls. reply!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Swiss Chard anyone?

In Sicily it is calleld Imbanata and in the rest of Italy it is called Impanata...anyhow not sure how to translate it in English. But this recipe is divine, it is spinach or Swiss chard stuffed between a pizza like crust -top and bottom and usually has various combinations depending on your likes:

Swiss chard/spinach and onion

Swiss chard/spinach, onion and mozzarella

Swiss chard/spinach, onion and ground beef

Swiss chard/spinach, onion and hot dog slices (odd, I know!? but they did this in Sicily which I thought was gross-see pic)

Or you can make your own is fantastic and you can make a large batch and have it for lunch or snacks for a few days after it is made. I prefer it with artic chard as it gives it a different flavor. Aunt Susie will make this for us to sample! And of course to document for the book.

Read more on about the Swiss chard.
It is one of the healthiest of the super-nutritious "dark, leafy greens".

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fush N Chups

This fish and chip dinner bought in Maida Hill two weeks ago is what some may call dinner. I call it grease/heart attack central. Although it tastes good it is just deep fried and not providing any omega 3 or anything else your health book may recommend.

And not sure if you can see the scale in the picture the fish was enormous!

It was an apres journalism class snack for one kiwi writer....

But the brits do love their fish and chips, especially on Friday. The shop in Strutton Ground market near Victoria usually has a queue out the door....

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sweet times ahead

Am making appts with some very important people to teach me some of their secrets for making Italian sweets / dolci -in Italian. My grandmother never wrote any down and did everything from memory and used this odd, small plastic green cup which must've came from a child's tea set or some other sort of toy set... hopefully the aunties will have proper measurements and standard utensils so I can properly document for the book.

Will also visit Cousin G on her farm and take a peek at her neighbours dairy cows! Hee, haw...

So stay tuned for some cookie making adventures and a farm visit in Nobleton.

And speaking of sweet, my comment for today is that I am not used to it but everyone is soooo nice in Toronto it is shocking! In every part of your day people are kind, polite, considerate and sugary sweet. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice change but when fellow joggers and dog walkers salute you - it is strange!
At Paddy Rec I have never been saluted by anyone -unless it is Bun lapping me on the track and even then it is mocking!

A lot of friendly banter from strangers and store clerks -I they must think I am moody or strange as each time I think I look a little shocked and perplexed. I brace myself when I am in a busy area but instead there is not the usual preparation for a shoulder check instead people move out of your way...I think I like a little edge so may keep up the London attitude (not sure how it will go down though)

My sis is making dinner tonight so may fill up on a bagel beforehand...will take a pic if it is an excellent creation or an odd ball!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Land of the Hot Dog

Back in T.O. which is the land of the hot dog stands or as my nephew calls out each time we pass one...'Haaaamburrrrgers... like papa makes!' in the cutest 2 yr old voice ever. Well these hot dog stands are everywhere and are a part of Toronto culture. I saw several people today at lunch grabbing a dog and then walking around on their lunch hour. We opted for an indoor establishment in Yorkville called Tony Bulonis, which was good but they serve portions that I am not used to -super size!

Coming from the smaller portions in India to the regular European sizes in London, Toronto now is going to be my winter fat accumulation time. This is where shopping for a big bulky sweater comes in then...

Anyhow, I will def have street meat (a veggie dog) soon from the street vendors perhaps even toinight. The pic is of Ernie the hot dog vendor who sold hot dogs for over 30years at Ryerson University in the same spot rain or shine, cold or scorching hot. I think someone from the business school did a business case on him and found out that he made over 100K a year!
Not bad for doing a job you love -they even did a mini musical on his life as he was a fixture at Ryerson for all those years. He was a jolly smiling man each time you saw him. I wonder where he is today -maybe selling hot dogs in Florida...enjoying his retirement.