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Right. Like I said, every time I bow out and plea too busy to post, I wind up posting more. Go figure. This bacon jam. I did it for Swerve last week, and then served it to Jim this morning on a grilled burger. (I made the burgers out of half ground sirloin, half Spolumbo’s chorizo sausage, squeezed out of its casing. Shaped the pattie around a thick square slice of old cheddar. Then melted another square of Gouda on top on the barbecue for good measure. To make the bacon jam, you chop and cook bacon, onions and garlic down with brown sugar and coffee and maple syrup until it turns into jam. Really. You should make this.

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Just when I think I’ve tried everything (not really, but some days are more uninspiring than others) something comes along that is so much better than the sum of its familiar parts. Had I flipped past a recipe for bacon and tomato jam I would have certainly done a double take, but I’m not sure this would have jumped off the page and grabbed me – but when Shauna came to visit in Tofino and brought a copy of their latest book, she looked me straight in the eye as she handed it to me and said, “try the bacon and tomato jam.” It seemed at first as if she was speaking in code, like I was meant to read more into her message. I wasn’t. She just meant to make it clear that I should make the damn jam. And so I did. This is not jam in the typical sense of the word – it’s sweet on account of the roasted tomatoes andContinue reading

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Having acquired a stunning loaf of bread that had toast written all over it, I simmered up a small pot of jam using the handfuls of berries I foraged from my sisters’ back yards (strawberries in Anne’s, raspberries in Ali’s) and the Nanking cherries I shook into my empty coffee cup between the car and our house, and a few Juliette cherries plucked at my parents’ house. I want everyone to know that making jam is not scary, and does not have to be an all day, dozens of jars process. Small Nanking cherries and even bigger but softer, juicier sour cherries can be tricky to handle, not quite firm enough to be pitted for pie. Typically impatient with random cherries, I usually cover them with water, bring them to a simmer and press them through a colander back into the pot to get rid of any pits. As easy as draining spaghetti, really. From here you can make syrup for waffles or cocktails, orContinue reading

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There are wild blueberries here in Muskoka, but they’re tiny and tedious to pick, and I miss the round, sweet highbush blueberries that had just come into season in BC before we left. We snuck away for brunch the weekend before this past one, which seems like forever ago, before heading out of town. It was early afternoon and we were hungry, and jumped straight to the fried chicken on biscuits, but they recognized we had missed an integral course and brought a tray of breakfast pastries anyway – croissants and other fancy breads, along with a pot of blueberry gin jam to spread all over everything.

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As per my previous post, I’m currently enamoured with all things curried – and with using my masala dabba, which when I hold in my hand and dip into by the stove makes me feel like part cook, part abstract painter, and which turns out curries I didn’t realize I was capable of. Also? I must have curry on the mind because this very weekend I’m flying to London to go to lunch at Fifteen and MEET JAMIE OLIVER. My apologies if I drive everyone crazy with my Jamiepalooza this coming Monday. (Also? I have a 5-10 minute Q&A with him – what do you want to know??) All of which is to say I couldn’t resist another curry – I’m not even going to apologize for it, because this particular one is made with Brussels sprouts, bacon and paneer. If you’re a frequenter of Indian restaurants you may recognize peas and paneer, or spinach and paneer, but this. It’s dense and chewy and crunchyContinue reading

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It’s Canada Day Eve! Which means, traditionally, I’m baking butter tarts. This year I decided to make bacon butter tarts. Maple bacon butter tarts, even. I know, it’s been said that bacon has jumped the shark. But this makes sense – salty bacon with sweet maple syrup and brown sugar – this is a perfect fit, and oh so Canadian. I’ll be bringing a large batch to our friend’s annual Canada Day party tomorrow. If the reaction at the CBC studio this morning was any indication, they’ll go fast. A few ways to up the bacon ante: replace some of the fat in the pastry with chilled bacon drippings, or drizzle some into the filling in place of some of the melted butter. Although I usually default to my grandma’s butter tart recipe, I decided to use the one from the Five Roses Cookbook, which I recently learned was on the shelf in 650,000 Canadian households back in 1915. Of course, this tart is asContinue reading

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I may have to start a Mac & Cheese of the Month club, considering how many formulas I have lined up on my must-make list. We can call this the official Mac & Cheese of March. March to it. For the past few weeks, Alice has filled any spare time I might otherwise have had – the manuscript was due at the end of February, and I’m now plodding through approximately half a bajillion photos to edit by mid-March. Since meals around here are often whatever I happen to be working on at the time, there have been plenty of tea party leftovers for dinner. Yesterday the boys I live with requested something other than a jam tart – specifically mac & cheese, from a box. I almost relented, but then decided to give this recipe a try – I made the whole thing in a skillet, which allows you to cook up any number of ingredients, from bacon, ham or sausage to veggies (thinkContinue reading

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