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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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bacon tomato jam 3
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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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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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I’ve spent a lot of time in Edmonton this year – more so than usual – and because of this happy coincidence I’ve had the chance to eat my way around the city, which is a Very Good Thing. For a long time, Edmonton was known as the chain restaurant capital of Canada. This isn’t the case anymore – Edmonton is a city of great restaurants and farmers’ markets and local producers and coffee shops, and an impressive slowfood convivium. Some of my very favourite food people are doing their thing there, and I feel the need to share some of the things they make and do, in case you find yourself in Edmonton. I wish I could just tug on the highway and pull the whole city closer. (Below are chefs Blair Lebsak of Rge Rd, Ryan O’Flynn of the Edmonton Westin, and Brad Haffner of The Local Omnivore, plating dishes for the A Seat at Our Table long table dinner about a monthContinue reading

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There are few kitchen techniques as basic as baking a potato – yet I’ve been asked a handful of times over the past couple of weeks how to do it. What’s the best variety? Does it require a foil jacket? A good baked potato can be a beautiful thing – as basic (yet infinitely more satisfying) as a bowl of popcorn with butter and salt. I dig out the fluffy innards, then butter the crispy skin and eat it like a thin, floppy piece of toast. And sweet potatoes. I roast them when the oven is on, and keep them in the fridge to reheat for lunch. (If you happen to have a jar of bacon jam in the fridge? Ridiculous.) There’s nothing like a good traditional russet – which also happens to be the cheapest of the potatoes. To bake, give it a wash, dry it off and rub it down with whatever cooking oil you generally use in your kitchen (canola, olive, sunflower)Continue reading

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