Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Roastin' Fire Men!

How much fun can you have at 6pm on a Saturday evening? Well it was just like we were 5 years old again. Mish and I went to visit the Claremont Fire Station last night. It was such a treat; we had a tour of the fire hall, put on the gear and hung out with the fire men.

Before all the fun we got a tour of the kitchen where the fire men were making dinner. Here I saw the biggest piece of roast beef I have ever seen in my life! It had been cooking all day and was ready for dinner time - the smell when you entered was so welcoming. With a large kitchen and several mouths to feed there was a massive pot of peas boiling, another with gravy, another with enough mash potato to feed an African village and the oven was baking - Yorkshire puddings!

After a little more fire station fun, I won 45 cents (20p) after a dare that I would not go down the fire pole - it was not Bridget Jones like or Samantha sexy like SITC but it was fun. So with 45 cents in pocket and smiles on our faces like silly kids, we left the fire station, laughed all the way home and flipped through the pics over dinner.

Thx to the Claremont FM and to Brian our wonderful host!

Monday, January 29, 2007

The title of the blog is All Things Dolce but when it is your birthday we all know that sometimes you don't always get the sweetest deal. If you are lactose intolerant you can't really have a creamy, rich and richly delicious cake as most likely there will be a lot of milk and milk products in it.

Lactose intolerance happens when the digestive system is unable to break down the sugar called lactose found in milk.
It is estimated that around one in ten people in the UK suffers from lactose intolerance to some degree, but it often goes undiagnosed. Symptoms include vomiting, wind, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.

So what you must do is settle for an alternative; in the case of T.Lio's b-day it was this lactose free loaf from Hermes bakery (2885 Bathurst Street). It didn't look too hot but it was actually delicious in a coffee cake sort of way.

I guess when you reach her age two candles suffice? Awwh you look fab for 25!

Wikipedia has more info for those who want to delve into the topic more.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Oyster Baby

With Momma Power in tow, who is now able to have oysters we went to Rodney's Oyster House for dinner for Princess Diab's 30th Birthday Party, she even had a crown.
At Rodney's we ordered six-dozen oysters and slurped the Ostrea Edulis' within seconds, there were six of us swallowing the deliciously salty and fresh creatures. Rodney's has an array of condiments for your oysters, pickled vinagerette, tabasco sauce, lemon, hot sauces and more which were all tasty to try. I think a little tabasco and a squirt of lemon is the best way to enjoy them. The place is great for service, food and atmosphere - I think Rodney even came to our table and said a few words to us before going into the kitchen, we all thought he was some homeless man who walked in with his fishing gear on!

A few oyster facts:

-A female Oyster can produce 100 million eggs per breeding season.

-Young Oysters float freely through the ocean until they attach themselves to a suitable hard surface to grow up. Once attached they never move again.

-During its lifetime an Oyster will change its sex from male to female to male and so on many times.

-If an irritating grit enters the Oyster's shell it is "smoothed" with a gooey substance which over time produces a pearl. Most North American Oysters are not pearl bearing, especially those leading a cultured life in the farming environment.

-Oysters are rich in vitamin B12, iron, zinc and copper.

-Oysters are reported to have aphrodisiac effects

...what are you having for dinner?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

OMG - for those who are wondering about the freshness of fish, you can't get any fresher than this!

My friend Ben was in Korea recently and tried some fresh squid in the Seoul Fish Market, and as for freshness, the fish - well they were still alive. There are two videos which show them squirming around on the plate and still using their suctions to move around. Not sure why Ben tried this delicacy but he did and you can see him eating it with his molars...he looks like he has dentures the way he is chewing - luv ya Ben!

He says, 'It suctioned and wriggled all down my throat! It was was a weird feeling.'

I have to send you to his friend Karl's blog as I am still not adept at putting videos on the blog yet, Annu and Alex have to give me a tutorial still ;)

So check out Karl's blog to see Ben eat live squid.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Potato Pizza
A delicious twist on regular pizza. Use thinly sliced potatoes, a large helping of olive oil to cover the pizza dough, lay the potatoes on top, season with salt, pepper and oregano and bake in the oven as normal pizza. This version also has sliced black olives.

It is a quick and easy way to make a meal for a large number of people with a short timeline. Buy ready made pizza dough, let it rise for a few hours in a warm place and then stretch it, dress it and bake it for 20+ min / until crust is golden brown.

Voila, tasty pizza - quick!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cold Remedy
What is your cold remedy?
Do you feed your cold, starve it, give it a shot of vodka, or do you just eat comfort foods?

While in India we met some girls from the Czech Republic who had this moonshine concoction made from plums grown in their gardens which was a cure all. It tasted like absinthe and was super strong. They used it for travellers diarrhea, when they felt tired, when they felt good and whenever they were sick with colds and flu. Basically they swore by it for everything.

A lot of people are getting sick and am wondering what works, people swear by o.j. but the acid makes me sick thinking about drinking more than a glass. Send me your oddities of cold remedies. My grandmother would boil water and add bay leaves or some kind of funny smelling leaf -I think she called it 'dragomilla' it sounded scary like a dragon and didn't taste nice either.

Thought you would like the pic - when you pay for entry at various monuments in India they will keep your camera for 7 years in case you forget it there -so nice! My Czech friends and I enjoyed many of the entertaining signs in India - maybe we laughed too hard after our shot of this drink in the morning - it's supposed to be good for digestion too!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When serving 3,000 guests over two seatings in 4.5hrs you have to
a) make everything ready at the same time and
b) make sure there is enough for everyone.
The ship did both of these things exceptionally well as you could order anything and not wait longer than a few minutes for it and you could also have as many of whatever you wanted. So you could order 5 steaks or 3 appetizers or whatever -am sure they would perhaps look at you oddly or the maitre d' would ask if you were consuming so much for a particular reason but you could do it.

For point b) the way that there was an abundance was the fillers they used.
The deserts seemed to have cream in everything so a gelato which has no cream in it had cream to make it bigger and fatter. Little cakes that were supposed to be filled with cheese had cream in them too so they were fluffier, the list went on with substitutions of real ingredients with fillers. So if you were keen on something like a apple rhubarb crumble, the filling was not apple and rhubarb there was a filler of some sugary concoction and and a little bit of apple and rhubarb.

The buffet was also filler-fied. It was filled with a huge section dedicated to salad - so a mound of salad greens, sliced carrots, olives and 4 large containers of salad dressing - fillers. No other condiments for your salad - tuna, corn, tomatoes, beans or the like.

As I mentioned I do not do well with buffets as you pick and pick and somehow don't seem to eat a proper meal. But hey, when can you get a very full Elvis dancing around your dinner table and getting the dining hall up and dancing between courses?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Groundhog day

With all the choice in the world some people like to stick to the tried and tested, old reliable, familiar comfort foods. The Graci's seem to have this trait. Like grandfather and granddaughter they have spaghetti every day! It is tough to beat as they enjoy it while the rest of us pick and push at the exotic item that has landed on our plates. I once got a quarter of a pineapple with pink colored coconut sprinklings over top of a banana as an appetizer?! Maybe this is the Caribbean way? Mind you it was good - it just felt wrong to have at the start of my meal.

At least the waiter knew her order each night! The maitre d' loved her so much he always came around to give her a kiss, ask about her meal and make the rest of us gag at the love-bond. After a few nights of constant 'bella, bella' comments we plotted to throw her overboard so that we would perhaps receive some compliments the next evening. The plan failed so we listened to more sickly sweet comments about our braided little friend....admittedly, she is cute.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back from the Love Boat
The boat docked and after going through serious security checks with Homeland Security - it is finally back to shore. Many thx to my guest bloggers Annu and Clara!! I enjoyed reading your posts and other readers have said so too.

I brought you a souvenir - tacky as can be am sure you will love it! Cruise ship ports are famous for their tacky souvenir stalls...

The rum was cheap, the sun was fabulous and the cruise was full of the most active, fab dancing and singing and high energy retirees I have ever met in my life. I hope that I can rock the dance floor like that when I am that age! More posts to come on cruising food - which, when you are cooking for 3,000+ people is a bit of a task.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Arepa Arepa!

Guest post by Annu:
While traveling in Latin America, I wanted to sample as much of the local authentic food as I could and one of my favourites turned out to be the arepa. This delicious little thing was everywhere in various forms. Essentially, you start with a corn-based meal cake, split it in half and fill it with cheese, meat, or nothing! It can be eaten at breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a snack after a late night out on the town.

An interesting side note about the arepa is its history- Columbians claim they created the arepa while Venezuelans say they created it! I tried both and I must admit, the Venezuelan arepa was much better than the Columbian version (no disrespect intended!)... so if taste is any indication of who created the arepa I will have to side with Team Venezuela!

If you want to read more, check out the Wikipedia entry for Arepa.

Adiós amigos!

Monday, January 08, 2007

What NOT to Eat

Guest poster: Clara (no I did not have a son since you last saw me -although he is a doll!)
No medium rare During pregnancy the list of what you should not eat is endless. Not only is your body out of control for 10 months but you are also deprived of all of your favourite foods during the process. No refined hot cold tap unpasteurized cheeses (gouda, feta, goat, brie, blue) must only be consumed once a week and watch your intake of Vitamin A as that causes issues as
well. Like most women I was under the misconception that during pregnancy this is the one time that you can throw away your diet manual and start eating for two. But in reality you are only "supposed" to eat an additional 500 calories. This equates to about 2 glasses of milk which you should be drinking anyway because your want your baby to have strong bones. So after 42 weeks (I was over due by 2 weeks) of deprivation, 19 hours of labour, stitches in my abdomen, and excessive hair loss, I am now a proud mother of a beautiful baby boy Andrew Vincent Power. So now that pregnancy is all over, bring on the coffee...sushi...medium rare steak.....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Be my guest
There will be some mystery guest-posters this week so look out for their pieces...
Thx to the volunteers.

I will be probably eating from a buffet as shown in the pic. Am a little scared as I do not usually fare well with buffets, but am also interested to see what it will be like. Until next week!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


I was just chatting at the pub with two enlightened, beautiful and talented friends of mine and we were discussing feedback. Everyone wants feedback in their lives whether it is from a new love interest, co-workers, friends, family, acquaintances and more. What we need more of is feedback! Mish is someone who is very good at this and she tells people the truth and what she likes, dislikes and more - all done in a very simple and sensitive way. After she writes her book 'Leakage from my brain' she should bottle her open and honest ways into a seminar.

So what I want from you is feedback. It is very simple feedback. I am sure all of you have bought a cookbook for a friend, Nonna/Nonno (grandparents), Mom, Dad or food fanatic in your lifetime and I want some of your feedback from that experience. Or if you have never done this then...if you were to receive a cookbook as gift what would you like it to contain?

• lots of pictures or no pics?
• pics of just food or pics of other things with food (people, landscape etc.)?
• lots of stories and small tidbits or just recipes?
• hardcover or softcover?

-one you can lay on the table while cooking/baking or one you can slide into those fancy plastic things (and do you have one of those?)

-lots of extra pages on utensils, food history and other pieces related to the recipes or none of that extra stuff?

-how much would you spend on a cookbook? for a gift, for yourself etc. $CAD & £GBP

-the name of the last cookbook you bought or want to buy?

-names of some of the cookbooks you have (Jamie Oliver collection etc.)

And anything else that you may feel relevant to someone who is looking at all of these aspects for a cookbook. Your help would be greatly appreciated!!!! You can drop this in an email to me
or post it on the blog in a short simple manner.

I will be away for a week for a floating food adventure and will post when I am back, in the meantime you can send me some feed-back.

(the pic is of the feeback equation for engineering and applied science)

Ciao, ciao

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year detox
It is the New Year and time to clean out and detox, you could shed a few pounds, old food, clothing, friends, family members or anything that is in the way of having a fab new year.

People have been asking, 'Have you recovered from all the food that you ate over the holidays?' I have said, 'Of course,' - because I enjoyed every last bit of it!

There are still lots of boxes of chocolates to be consumed but all in due course.
Perhaps when you go to people's homes they will have run out of the goodies and may serve you a cup of tea and some fruit to get you ready for a great new year. A favourite Sicilian detox tea is camomile, in Italian, Camomilla which as children was rare to find in many places but now is very popular at cafes and restaurants.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Soft serve gelato?! = Jolatti
This new website and concept 'Jolatti' was sent to me from lovely Nat in London who studied with the Damaso son. The Damaso's are the ones who started this soft serve gelato concept and are in Phoenix, Arizona. Check out their website
Latte. Zucchero. Uova.
Milk. Sugar. Eggs.
Three simple ingredients produce the rich, creamy texture of the world’s most savored dessert: gelato -yum!

I want one of these machines (maybe for my b-day?) and am curious to know how they make gelato 'soft' hmmm...may ask Nat to find out the secret.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Year MMVII (2007) is year of the pig in the Chinese calendar.

In China, the Pig ( 亥 ) (a more correct form would be the Boar) is associated with fertility and virility. To bear children in the year of the pig is considered very fortunate, for they will be happy and honest. I actually had a dream 2 nights ago that I had a pet pig and that my sister and I couldn't get enough of hugging and squeezing it. I did not know it was year of the pig until today so that is v. odd, non?!

Well Happy New Year - get out and get some exercise as am sure you all ate more than usual!