Tag Archives: starter

This and That: Aubergine with Lemon and Raw Garlic, Smokey Bacon Jam on Rye with Cream Cheese, Poached Eggs

29 Apr

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This past weekend my mum came to stay with me. I had to work the whole weekend, but she didn’t seem to mind. While I was gone she filled the fridge, scrubbed the stubborn old bathtub and cooked cool things, like bacon jam. She also kept us well stocked with wine and gin.

It’s the little things.

Although she’s back home, her recipes are now immortalized with these photos of the plate of leftovers I had today for lunch, which included that smokey bacon jam. She also made this awesome roasted eggplant pickled in lemon juice, raw garlic and plenty of parsley that is a must-share. In addition: rye toast, tangy cream cheese, poached eggs, avocado slices and salad.

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Sweet and Smokey Bacon Jam
Recipe from food.com. Yield 1.75 cups

You’ll need:
– 1 lb bacon, sliced into small peices
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 medium brown onion, sliced
– 3 tablespoons brown sugar
– 1 tsp Sriracha
– 1 cup brewed coffee
– 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– black pepper
– liquid smoke
– extra water

1) Fry bacon in batches until browned and slightly crispy
2) Fry onion and garlic in rendered bacon fat on medium until translucent
3) Transfer onions, garlic and bacon into heavy cast iron pot and add rest of the ingredients except water
4) Simmer for two hours adding 1/4 cup water every 30 minutes or so and stir frequently.
5) Cool about 15-20 minutes and place in food processor. Pulse 2-3 seconds, as to leave some texture for the jam.

6) Enjoy the endless possibilities- on a burger, on toast, on a sandwich, with cheese and crackers, by the spoonful….

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Roasted Eggplant with Raw Garlic , Parsley and Lemon
Also from food.com

You’ll need:
– 1 large eggplant
– 1 tablespoon good quality olive oil, more as needed
– 4 cloves garlic
– 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley

1) Wash eggplant, cut off stem, leave peel on
2) Slice into quarter inch slices and brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle of salt
3) Bake at 375 for 35 – 40 minutes
4) In a bowl, combine garlic, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and drizzle over plated and cooked eggplant. Cover with parsley and serve.

Keeps well in fridge served cold!

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My day off never tasted so good.

Thanks Mum!

M

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An Unexpected Savoury Treat: Caramelized Onion and Cheddar Tart

26 Nov

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I’m not a good baker. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. Baking is too precise, with the measurements and temperatures and ingredients. My foolish experimentation has resulted in failure about half the time. I much prefer to cook and create my own recipes with various substitutions and additions. I find it super fun!

I also don’t have a huge sweet tooth. A piece of dark chocolate satisfies me rather than an extravagant cupcake. Not to say I haven’t had some successes , and even a few great ones. As they say, sometimes with great risk comes great reward. However, behind those baking triumphs lingers stressful memories, of wayward flecks of sugar-butter spinning uncontrollably about the kitchen, and nervous peeks into the oven every 5 minutes to check if the bread has risen, heart in mouth.

The beauty of this tart is that it was a result of another baking failure. Even though I made a successful batch of lemon curd just last week, this time I couldn’t get it to thicken (sadly a huge casualty of lemons and eggs). I was planning on bringing some cute lemon tart-lettes to a friend’s clothing swap, but this was just not meant to be!

Instead I saved the dough and the next day used it to make this cheese and onion tart.

It was a lovely plan B.

Crust

  • 1.5 cups all purpose or pastry flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1 egg

1) mix flour and salt
2) in separate bowl, cream butter and sugar and slowly add egg
3) add flour to butter mixture and mix until ball is formed
4) on a floured surface, roll evenly and fit into a pie mould
5) chill

Meanwhile, do this:

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Over high heat, caramelize about 5 to 6 thinly sliced onions in oil or butter. Mix so the onions don’t burn, but not too frequently otherwise they won’t brown! Add pinch of salt and one teaspoon of sugar. Once browned, add drizzle of balsamic to cut the sweetness and mix. This should take approximately 20 minutes. Meanwhile, pre heat oven to 325.

Add grated cheddar evenly over cooled tart crust and then top with onions and fresh thyme. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until crust is browned at the edges and top with more fresh thyme and a sprinkle of salt.

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Note: this crust has a sweet, shortbread like consistency. If you’d prefer to use a different pastry recipe, please do!

The cheddar and thyme were a great combination with the onions, but Gorgonzola or chèvre would also be lovely. Maybe even some pear or sautéed mushrooms. The options are endless really.

Serve in small slices. Great for a holiday party!

Tell me: are you a cooker or a baker, or a candlestick maker both?

Carrot Soup with Black Garlic and Feta

9 Nov

I have a million photos of food from Italy. It was such an amazing, inspiring trip. If you are at all interested in food and wine, head to the Terra Madre conference in 2014. Book it now. Just go.

Carpaccio, pizza, fried artichokes, fresh green olive oil, gnocchi, spicy  goat stew and cheese cheese cheese!

I will tide you over with an appetizer, I mean a  primi, until I get these essays done am able to try out and share some true Italian  recipes.

Until then, why not start off with a delicious soup?

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This soup was easy to make, and perfect for a cold fall day. I finally tested out that black garlic I picked up on Granville Island in Vancouver, which was exciting indeed!

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Black Garlic is essentially fermented, caramelized garlic. It looks just like regular garlic, but the cloves are jet black, sweet and sticky. The flavour is phenomenal.

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I topped the soup with a drizzle of black truffle oil, a generous amount of feta cheese and arugula.

Perfetto!

Carrot Soup with Black Garlic and Feta

  • 10 fresh carrots (approx)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 5 cloves black garlic (or half a head)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • truffle oil (to taste. Go slow. It is strong)
  • salt and fresh black pepper
  1. Wash and chop carrots ( I didn’t bother peeling them…nutrients are in the skin, non?) and boil them in salted water until soft
  2. Meanwhile, fry onion in butter and white wine until brown. Add the wine over time, in quarters, so that the onions brown well. Reduce heat, add turmeric an mix well with the onions.
  3. Drain the carrots, and return to large pot. Add the onions, garlic and stock. Blend well with hand blender until smooth.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 30 minutes (or more)
  5. Once served, add 1/2 cup of feta cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil.

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If you don’t have black garlic, not to worry. The regular stuff will work just as well, but maybe use only three cloves instead of five, unless you find vampires absolutely terrifying.

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