Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Taste Canada -The Pre-quel

Right around the corner, here comes the first Taste Canada started about a month ago by Lyn and Jennifer who thought that there was high time to have a Canadian Food Blogging event.

The idea caught the imagination of the rest of us Canadian bloggers. We wrote to other Canadian bloggers we knew, thought of ways of promoting this event and Tara created the beautiful "Canadian Food Blogger" logo you see on the right.

Jennifer graciously asked me to do a pre-quel on the participants by writing a mini-bio or just a description of their blogs and where in Canada they are from. As it is we got some participantes from the US too. Some were easy to do. I'd known the participants and knew their blogs. For others, it was the first time. I have enjoyed doing this as it gave me the opportunity to read blogs I did not know and to get to know the others even better. I hope I did everybody justice.

À la cuisine!
A media designer, entrepreneur, and cooking afficionado from Toronto, both Clement's recipes and photos are of superb quality. I consider Clement's desserts his signature productions. This site is worth a good perusal.

A Day in the Life of a Canadian Girl
From London, Ontario, Jennifer writes about her life, her city, her cooking, and things that make her pay attention.

Always in the Kitchen
Dawna, from Vancouver B.C., says that even when at work, asleep, or stuck in traffic food is always on her mind, and it’s a passion that she loves to share. In 2003 Dawna started a web page, also called Always in the Kitchen. Her blog, started last February, allows her to share her passion for food and recipes on a more frequent basis.élices
What can I say about Martine Gingras that people do not know yet? Martine started her blog in 2001. In it she talks about food, health, gardening and leisure (where you can find everything from interior decoration to carpentry). Her blog is mostly in French, but Martine also communicates with the wider English-speaking blogland via Suburblicious. Take a look. You will enjoy it.

Only recently in the blogscene, Vegcat is a university student in Southern Ontario and is an ethical vegan who, according to her own self description, has the bad habit of killing house plants. In her blog, Vegcat shares her views on life, the treatment of animals, and a recipe or two.

Blog from Our Kitchen
Elizabeth is also an old-hand at blogging, having started her blog in 2003, which is also part of her other website. You have tons of wonderful recipes, sewing and crafts articles, gardening and even a discussion forum. Definitely worth a visit.

Blork Blog
Ed, a.k.a. Blork is in Montreal and like to write about food, Montreal and himself (in his own words). Perusing his blog, I found that Ed was tagged by the 5 book meme, the non-cookbook version. Now, I'm trying without much sucess I might say, to find out the originator of this meme which entered the cooking blogosphere in late May. Hopefully, a new lead!

Edible Tulip
Food writer, food columnist and part-time chef Daphne is also one of the participants in Digital Dish, an anthology of some of the best food blog writing from around the world.

experiment in writing...
Welcome to Lady X a brand-new Canadian food blogger who started with a contribution to Paper Chef. How about that for gutsy? I love her photos too.

Food Ninja
Templar hails us from Winnipeg, Canada. He posts with humour about food and whatever else is on his mind, but mostly about food.

I Like to Cook
Hailing from Calgary, Sara has been blogging about food for quite some time. She writes about life in Calgary, eating out, some know...regular foodie posts. And she is the only other person in blogland, besides me, who did a post on turkey legs...obviously, a woman of good taste.

I like to do stuff....
Christine is in London, Ontario and she likes to cook and bake stuff. Perusing her blog, I found out that she has the ultimate recipe of caramel corn, so if you like caramel corn and do not have a good recipe, take a look at Christine's.

Linda, an aspiring chef, attends Dubrulle Culinary School in Vancouver. In her blog she tells about has days at school and also has some nice pictures about dishes she prepares there.

Kitchen Savvy
Kitchen Savvy is the blog of Dave Katz who enjoys answering questions about the “how” and “why” of cooking. In his blog you will also find a list of recommended cookbooks, articles, and some recipes. A good resource site.

Knife Skills, a chef-in-training
Christine says that her blog documents her career change: from the office to the kitchen. A journalist, she enrolled in the Professional Culinary Diploma Program at Dubrulle Culinary School in Vancouver. I enjoy reading about what she learns, food safety considerations and seeing the pictures of the prepared dishes.

Lex Culinaria
What can I add about Lyn, the other co-creator of this event? A beautifully designed blog, excellent writing, wonderful pictures and the other blogger I know who makes cheese at home. A kindred spirit!

M's Cooking Diary
A resident of Montreal, Mirko works in software sales and so he travels a great deal. In his blog he talks about the foods he cooks at home and the foods he tastes abroad. I enjoyed reading about the "cassava latte" and the Brazilian "farofa".

Mrs. Pink's Blurty Entries
In this beautiful manga-inspired blog Mrs. Pink shares recipes, concerns, and day-to-day thoughts.
Although Toronto freelance writer's site Nancy Fielding is not about food, she graciously decided to participate.

Once Upon a Feast
Ruth, a cooking teacher in Toronto, started her blog just last month and I'm glad she did. She has this recipe for "Bife à Portuguesa" (Steak Portuguese Way) so she has my vote. Go take a look. Now!

Oswego Tea
Michele is the person behind this very beautiful blog. In it she writes about her recipes, food places in Heidelberg, Germany where she lives, and European culinary discoveries. Her photos are beautiful to look at.

Roast Chicken Reasoning
Jennifer Rudder's is a graduate of the Stratford Chefs School in Stratford, Ontario. Although she has chosen a different career path, her love of good food has remained. I like to read the hows and whys of food preparation. In this her professional training shows through.

Pizza Ottawa
Jim and Mike, just around the corner here in my hometown have this blog dedicated to pizza. If we had any doubts that Canadians love pizza, just look at their blog. Also, if you ever come to our neck of the woods, you have this fantastic reference about our best pizza places. Enjoy!

Seven Spoons
Tara, in the Niagara region, left university behind and is now starting to establish the way she cooks, the flavours and the recipes that are becoming her repertoire. In her blog, she shares her recipes and beautiful photos with the rest of us.

Stella Bites
An American that loves Canada, Stella comes up our way fairly often and writes about it in her blog. I specially like her "Potato and green Bean Flip-Flops" recipe and the "healthy snack" post.

Taste Everything Once
Spokane resident Jennifer Olsen is also participating in our Taste Canada event. In her newly redesigned blog she shares her recipes and fabulous pictures that make me crave the foods.
I "met" Tarzile at the Blog Appétit #3, a blog event in France that has a huge following in the francophone blogworld. Her recipes are beautifully illustrated with professional quality photos that leave me hungry all the time. Take a look and you will see what I mean.

The Domestic Goddess
I actually wondered if I should leave Jennifer's blog out, since she is probably the best known of the Canadian bloggers and the organizer of this event to boot. What else could I say that everybody did not already know? Well, Jennifer's blog has a new design and it is gorgeous.

The Kitchen Geek Jim Cowling is a writer, a systems specialist, but mostly a guy who enjoys cooking and, if his recipes are any proof, does it well. Take a look.

Truffle Mutt
Liz, from Calgary, loves the challenge of trying something new and is always on the lookout for new ingredients and intriguing recipes while still loving the old stand-bys.

18THC Cuisine
I am a big fan of Carolyn Smith-Kizer's blog. Always in character, her foods are the foods on Nouvelle France and her cooking methods are pure 18th century. Definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Taste Canada - Barbecued Ribs

To honour Canada Day and this great country of ours I am a proud participant of Taste Canada, the brainchild of Canadian Food Bloggers Jennifer The Domestic Goddess and Lynnette of Lex Culinaria.

For me Canada represents barbecues, fast food and getting your meal ready-made from the supermarket, all concepts that were utterly foreign to me when I arrived some 20 years ago.

I came from a culture and a time that still had maids, where food was prepared daily, where shops and businesses closed at noon and re-opened at 3:00 pm so that everybody could go home have a leisurely meal and rest a little before going back to work.

Canada was very different: it was fast-paced, you had half-an-hour for lunch and you ate supper at 6:00 p.m. And then on Thursday and Friday shops stayed open until 9:00 p.m. so that you could shop some more...on the other hand, on the other days of the week, you could not find a café open past 6:00 p.m., if your life depended on it. It was so different from what I was used to...

The rushed life that greeted me in Canada was a little daunting at first, but I immediately discovered that Canadians had ways to cope that I was eager to try, for instance...Minute Rice. I had never seen Minute Rice before and could not believe that you could add broth to rice and have it come out flavourful and fluffy 5 or 10 minutes later. In those first years in Canada I used Minute Rice with the abandon of the newly converted. Other staples like mashed potato flakes and frozen food for a while dominated my culinary horizon.

One day, in those early times, a friend invited us for supper. It was summer and we were to dine in her backyard. The menu featured barbecued pork ribs, Ziggy's potato salad and Ziggy's coleslaw, beer and fresh strawberries and vanilla ice-cream. I never forgot that supper. The newness of it all, the wonderful new flavours, the contentment of slowly fitting in and starting to feel at home.

So this Sunday past I recreated that supper even to the detail of the Ziggy's potato salad and coleslaw. And the beer was my very favourite Sleeman's Cream Ale.

For the "barbecued" ribs I loosely followed a recipe in my brand new "The Pressure Cooker Cookbook - 100 Contemporary Recipes for the Time-Pressured Cook", by Gina Steer. I know it sounds like cheating, but with a temperature of 32ºC (89.6F) I was not able to stand in front of my barbecue in the full sun. So I made my ribs in the pressure cooker and then finished them off under the broiler. I have to admit that, tender and moist, they tasted like the real McCoy (sorry but I had to use another expression I learned in Canada!). And for dessert, some strawberries bought at the farmer's market Saturday morning, fresh from the fridge, with just some sugar.

Barbecued Pork Ribs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 pounds pork ribs
1 large onion
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Watkins Mesquite Barbecue Sauce Concentrate
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup vegetable broth
2 medium vine tomatoes

Put half of the oil in the pressure cooker and brown the ribs on all sides. Remove the ribs and set aside. Add the remaining oil and the add the celery, onion, and garlic to the cooker. Sauté for about 5 minutes and them return the ribs to the cooker.

Mix well the tomato paste, mustard, barbecue sauce, sugar and broth and pour over the ribs. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to the cooker. Close the lid.

Bring the cooker to full pressure, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes. Depressurize under cold running water and open the cooker. Take out the ribs put then in a foil-lined broiler pan and keep them warm.

Strain the contents left in the cooker to remove the solids and return the liquid to high heat and reduce for about 5 minutes. Put the ribs under the broiler basting with the reduced sauce and broil on each side until the ribs are crisp.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Cook Next Door Meme

Thanks to Nupur and Kelli for tagging me for this meme. I would also like to thank Nicki and Oliver for coming up with the idea. I just love this meme. I have been reading the entries as they are published and it is fun to learn a little bit more about the people behind the recipes.

What's your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
I must have been about 10 years old and I was spending some time with my maternal grandparents at their farm. I used to love spending time there. I always felt free as a bird and my grandparents, let's face it, spoiled me rotten. For them I could do no wrong. Grandma loved to cook and bake. As a diabetic she could eat none of the fantastic cakes and cookies she baked, but her house was always full of people who had no trouble polishing off whatever she made. One day I said I wanted to bake a cake. She gave me an egg and said to use sugar, butter, and flour as I needed. So I started beating some butter and sugar, added the egg, added flour until I got the consistency that I remember her cakes had, put the cake in a greased pan and into the oven. To everybody's astonishment, most of all my own, the cake came out pretty good. Nice and moist. Grandma coudn't stop singing my praises and I walked around more inflated than a baloon. In my second attempt, full of self-confidence, I did not pay as much attention to the consistency of the batter and my cake came out dry and hard as a rock. I was crushed. But the memory of that first success in the kitchen has never left me.

Who had the most influence on your cooking?
I would have to say the cookbooks and also my grandmother and my mother. They were both very good cooks and I saw my grandmother cook when I spent time at the farm, but in my parents house, in Africa, we always had a cook so mom and I mostly baked or made dessert. When I got married it downed on me that I was sadly unprepared to feed my husband, unless he would go for a strict diet of cakes and puddings.

Do you have an old photo as "evidence" of an early exposure to the culinary world?
This picture was taken when I was about 16 years old, again at my grandmother's farm. I'm showing off the first "Southern Belle" cake I made.

Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
Flaky pastry. I made it once and wasn't pleased with the results. As a result, I have't worked with flaky pastry that much. I don't necessarily like to use store-bought and I have't come up with the guts to try again.

What are your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
For most used I would have to say my hand blender. I use it all the time to pure soups, beat sauces, even make mayonnaise. My best friend in the kitchen. The biggest letdown was the mandoline. I used to have a cheap one which I discarded because it was cumbersome to use. I recently bought a better quality one but still find it cumbersome to use. I am affraid to purchase the top-of-the-line just in case I end up not able to work comfortably with it.

Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else does.
Condensed milk, which I eat by the teasponnful straight from the can. This is a long-standing love affair. In Africa, specially in the middle of the jungle, there was no fresh milk available so families relied on both powdered milk (Klim) and condensed milk (several brands). When I was a kid I used to eat toast with condensed milk and my very favourite cooked "cereal" was a thick paste of cornstartch cooked with water to which I would add about half-a-can on condensed milk.

What are the three edibles or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
Milk, bread, and cheese.

Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!
Three quickies:

Your favorite ice-cream

You will definitely never eat...
Can't think of anything I will not try at least once.

Your own signature dish...
Sopa de grão com espinafres (chickpea and spinach soup) and Favas Guisadas com Chouriço (Braised Fava Beans with Chorizo).

So now I would like to tag fellow Canadian Food Bloggers Elizabeth, from Blog from our Kitchen, Sara, at I Like to Cook, and Templar, from Food Ninja. Hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did.

Friday, June 24, 2005

IMBB # 16 - Pudim de Claras (Egg White Pudding)

Once more I searched my mother's recipes for my entry into this IMBB # 16, kindly hosted by none other than Viv at Seattle Bon Vivant, and the theme is eggs . Using eggs as the main ingredient, Pudim de Claras, which translates literally as Eggwhite Pudding, is an ubiquitous pudding in Portugal. It is right up there with the flan (caramel pudding) and the world famous custard tartlets. You will find that just about every restaurant and "tasca" (tavern) has its own version of the pudding which of course, they claim to be the best you've ever tasted.

This is a very light pudding and the texture almost feels like you are eating clouds. The 1-hour cooking time effectively cooks the egg whites but does not make the pudding dry. This is a perfect dessert to end a heavy meal.

Sometimes the pudding is cooked in a pan covered with caramel, but I prefer to grease the pan with butter and dust with sugar. Another variation of this pudding is the "Molotof" in which hot caramel is added to the egg whites while being whisked. I'll post about it sometime.

Pudim de Claras / Egg White Pudding

4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup 5% cream
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the pan by greasing it well and dusting with sugar all around. Discard any sugar that is not stuck to the greased surface of the pan. Make sure that you choose a pan that is about 3 or 4 times higher than the final pudding will be, as it will triple its size inside the oven, and then will shrinks back to its initial size. Set the pan aside.

Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a bowl and the yolks into the top of a double boiler pan. Add the half-cup of sugar to the whites and beat until you have the consistency of a firm meringue. Add the lemon juice and beat to mix well. Drop the meringue into the pan by tablespoonfuls, making sure that there are no gaps. Cover the pan with a greased lid (any lid larger than the pan will do) and put it on a pan of hot water in a 300ºF (150ºC) oven for about 1 hour to let the pudding cook well inside. Once one hour is passed, the pudding should have raised to about triple its size. Switch off the oven and open the door a little to cool down. Wait for about 10 minutes and then you can remove the pudding from the oven. As soon as you open the oven door, you will see the pudding starting to slowly deflate.

While the pudding cooks, prepare a custard by mixing well the egg yolks, cream, milk and cornstarch. Add sugar to taste (3 tablespoons). Cook in a double boiler until the custard thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla extract and cover the surface of the custard with clinging film to avoid drying the surface. Set aside to cool. Sieve the cooled custard into a sauce boat.

Unmold the pudding into the serving plate and cover with the custard. Chill before serving.

Friday, June 17, 2005

SHF # 9 - Cherry and Walnut Tart

It’s Sugar High Friday again and this month’s edition is hosted by Jarrett of "Life in Flow/Food Porn Watch" and the theme is “Tantalizing Titillating Tempting Tarts”.

This time I decided not to use one of my mother's recipes and chose instead a tart from one of the Tele-Culinária books in my collection: Tarte de Cerejas com Nozes (Cherry and Walnut Tart).

The recipe called for a pastry dough that used an egg yolk as the binding liquid, instead of cold water. The resulting dough can and should be kneaded and let rest for 30 minutes. The pastry turned out well and was easy to handle although the amount was a bit too small for the amount filling the recipe called for. I had to roll the pastry quite thin, between two sheets of wax paper, to be able to cover the required 9-inch tart pan.

For the filling, 1 pound of cherries were pitted, mixed with a tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 cup of Port wine and let macerate for a couple of hours in the fridge. I prepared them this morning and left them in the fridge the whole day. Once the tart pan was prepared, the cherries were well drained and spread over the pastry. A mixture of sugar, butter, eggs and ground walnuts was then poured over and the tart put in the oven.

Although the tart cooked the prescribed 40 minutes, I think it might need a little longer in the oven not to finish cooking the dessert but to help evaporate the Port wine. There should be a subtle perfume of Port wine lingering in the cherries and not the raw flavour that greeted my tastebuds. Also, the tart would have improved with a thicker crust. It would have been better to use an 8-inch tart pan and about half of the filling.

It is a flavourful dessert, although I wasn't particularly taken with the marriage of walnuts and cherries.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

5 Favourite Books Meme

I've been tagged by legal cook Lyn of Lex Culinaria, who also posted an explanation of what a meme (this link does not work anymore) is. Thanks Lyn and I hope you don't mind that I piggyback on your explanation.

1. Total number of (cook/food) books I’ve owned:
Probably around 70. I left several cookbooks in Portugal and some others in Angola that are now out of print. I miss them.

2. Last (cook/food) book(s) I bought:
"Manual de Cozinha" (Kitchen Manual) by Carlos Bento da Maia (in Portuguese). This is an actualized 4th edition, the first having been printed in 1903. It even teaches how to slaughter your poultry the right way and what needs to be done before you cook it.

3. Last (cook/food) book I read:
I'm perusing the one above.

4. Five (cook) books that mean a lot to me:
Classic Cooking Step by Step, by Moyra Frazer: This is one of the first cookbooks I bought when I arrived in Canada. I wanted to learn to cook "Canadian". Trully a learn through pictures book. You cannot go wrong with it and everything I tried from here has come out right.

Five Roses Guide to Good Cooking: I just bought the 21st edition of this book. I had one before, don't know which edition. I was 16 years old and, at the time, staying with my grandparents at the ranch, in Mozambique. Although Mozambique was a Portuguese colony, somehow my grandparents had a bag of 5 Roses Flour. In the back there was a cupon offering to send a recipe book if you filled in your name and address and mailed it to the manufacturer. Well, to me the idea of having an "American" recipe book sounded exotic. So I mailed the cupon not really believing the 5 Roses Company would pay any attention to me. Lo and behold, about 2 or 3 months later I got the cookbook. Made many cake recipes from it and carried that book with me for years. Unfurtunately it stayed behind in Angola when I left.

The How-To Book of Healthy Cooking: This is a Reader's Digest book with excellent recipes. My younger kid learned how to cook with this book.

Tele-Culinaria: This was a thin magazine that was published every week by a Portuguese Chef that also had a television program, hence the name. At the end of the year you could order the hardcover, index, etc., and had the magazines professionaly bound. This book has been a life-saver in Canada because it has many recipes of foods that are so widely available in Portugal that nobody thinks of making them at home. Something like Beaver Tails in Canada. Usually you can purchase them everywhere so you never think of making them. Since I've been here, this book has helped me maintain the Portuguese cooking traditions that I remember from my youth and wanted to give my sons.

The Fannie Farmer Cookbook: My favourite cooking reference book.

5. Which 5 people would you most like to see fill this out in their blog?
Provided they've not been already tapped:

Dreska: Little Fancies,
Daphne: Edible Tulip,
Jennifer: Roast Chicken Reasoning, (blog has moved or been deleted)
Liz: Truffle Mutt,

Monday, June 13, 2005

The front garden is done...I can have my life back

First thing I did Sunday morning was to take these pictures of the new "front" garden. It actually comprises the north side of the house, the south side and the front view.

It was a difficult job due to the extreme temperature and humidity, but it is done. You noticed that I did not lay sod in the culverts. Well, grass does not do well in culverts because of the salt the city puts in the roads during the winter. So I'm going to seed it with white clover. It is better for the environment, I do not have to mow it, and it is a resilient plant. Hopefully it will do well with a steady diet of salt.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The front garden

I have been working hard preparing my front garden for the sod that will arrive hopefully early Saturday morning.

June has been a very difficult month to work in the garden. The temperatures are unseasonally high and the level of humidity makes it unbearable. What you see in this picture has been the painstaking work of about 3 weeks. I have progressed this far because my neighbour, gentle soul that he is, has been helping me a very great deal. Otherwise I would not be this far ahead.

I have not been sleeping well because of the extreme heat and humidity. I tried to switch on the central air conditioned, only to have it piff out on me.

I left a message with the air conditioned repairman but I am not too hopeful of having him come any time soon. With the heat wave going on, I'm sure that anyone working in temperature control systems has the telephone ringing off the hook.

I have not been cooking either. Fortunately I still have some homemade TV dinners in the fridge and, when I cannot even think about heating anything up, I go back to the old standbys of Portuguese bread and cheese, Portuguese bread and canned sardines, ice-cream and cereal. Not healthy, I know, but I'm too uncomfortable to care.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

White Chocolate Cranberry and Pistacchio Tart

Last week I had a friend come over for tea. I have been so very busy with my garden, which unfortunately is not progressing as fast as I have predicted. That tells you how much of a gardening rookie I am.

Anyway, not to default on my social life on account of garden woes, I decided to try "3 Tarts - Fine baking for all occasions" a small shop on an area that has become quite trendy in the last 5 years. Unfortunately they do not have a website.

The shop specializes in fine baking and chocolate is proeminent in their list of ingredients. They have plenty of cookies, chocolate sauces, cakes and tarts. All the cakes are baked in 8-inch diameter pans and the prices are between $20.00 to $23.00. I thought of going back and take some pictures of the pastry shop's interior but unfortunately I did not have time this week. I am taking a course downtown and, as per "Environment Challenge" proposed by the Ottawa City Hall for this week, I am taking the bus.

The tart was delicious. Contrary to what I expected, the center was not soft and goey. There was no cream here, just a vanilla-flavoured paté brisée, cranberries, pistacchio and white chocolate over the fruit-nut mixture. I would have preferred the tart to be a little softer, but still it was one of the most delicious tarts I have ever tasted.

I certainly plan to go back and try their other flavours of tarts, cakes, and cookies.

3 Tarts
1320 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1Y 3B7

telephone: (613) 729-9832

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Confiture de congélateur de rhubard avec gâteau à la vanille et des fraises

This recipe is my entry for the 3rd edition of Blog Appétit and it is therefore written in French. For the English version, please see below.

J'ai trouvé la recette originale pour cette confiture dans une des éditions de mercredi de notre quotidien "The Ottawa Citizen", il y a une quinzaine d'années. La recette originale demandait 6 tasses de sucre et le produit final était une confiture qui n'avait pas besoin d'être gardé au congélateur. La confiture était trop sucrée et, entant doné que j'essayais de réduire, j'ai décidé d'en utilizer la moitié du sucre et de faire une confiture de congélateur.

Dans la confiture résultante on pouvait goûter légèrement l'acidité de la rhubarbe et la saveur du légume était bien présent avec un soupson de fraise fourni par la poudre pour gelée. Je fais cette confiture touts les ans, avec des tiges de rhubarbe de mon jardin.

Je voulais que la confiture soit vraiment la "star" de cette entrée dans Blog Appétit 3, et pourtant c'est la seule recette que j'envois. Pour ce dessert, j'ai mis un peu de confiture entre deux tranches de gâteau blanc à la vanille, un peu de crème fraiche, et une fraise au dessus. La sauce n'est que la confiture sans le fruit, ramollie au feu avec un peu de kirsch.

Confiture de congélateur à la rhubarbe

6 tasses de rhubarb coupé en tranches d'environ 2.5 cm
3 tasses de sucre cristalisée
1 paquet de 85 gr. de poudre pour gelée, saveur fraise

Mettre la rhubarb dans un pot d'acier inox et y ajoutez le sucre. Laissez macérer au réfrigerateur pendant 24 heures. Apportez le mélange à ébullition et laissez mijoter pendant 15 minutes.

Enlevez de la chaleur et remuez la poudre pour gelée. Remuez bien jusqu'à ce que toute la poudre soit dissoute et à l'aide d'une cuillère déposer le mélange dans des pots stérilisés. Laissez refroidir.

Les ports de confiture qui sont pas ouverts devraient être gardes au congélateur. Gardez le pot ouverts au réfrigérateur.

Bon appétit!

Freezer Jam with pound cake and strawberries

I found the original recipe for the jam in the Wednesday edition our newspaper "The Ottawa Citizen", some 15 years ago. The original recipe called for 6 cups of sugar and the final product was a regular jam, one that did not need to be kept in the freezer. I found the jam too sweet and, since I was trying to cut down on sugar, I thought of halving the quantity and try a freezer jam instead. The resulting jam let the slight acidic taste of the rhubarb come through, and you could really taste the vegetable, with just a passing hint of strawberry provided by the gelatine powder. I make this jam every year, with rhubarb stalks from my garden.

The jam is really the star of this entry into Blog Appétit 3, but since it needed the strawberry, I put some jam in between two slices of pound cake, a little crème fraiche and a strawberry on top. The sauce is just some strained jam mixed with a little kirsch.

Rhubarb Freezer Jam

6 cups sliced rhubarb
3 cups sugar
1 package (3 oz) strawberry gelatin

Cut rhubarb in 1-inch pieces and put in a stainless-steel pan. Pour sugar over rhubarb and put the pan in the fridge for 24 hours. At the end of this time the rhubarb should be almost covered in liquid.

Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the gelatin. Stir well until all gelatine is dissolved and laddle into sterilized jars. Let cool. Keep unopened jards in the freezer and opened jars in the fridge.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Roupa Velha (Old Rags)

The name Roupa Velha (Old Rags) dutifully belongs to the dish that is made for lunch on December 25. Usually, on Christmas Eve (now isn't it crazy of me to talk about Christmas in June??? But I love "roupa velha", so there...).

As I was saying, on Christmas Eve traditionalists eat a boiled dinner of codfish, potatos, eggs and kale, the whole thing well seasoned with olive oil. Usually, there are friends and family coming over and the host always makes a good quantity so that everyone can feast to their hearts content. The day after, the leftovers are usually cut up and heated with a good portion of olive oil with enough onions and garlic, and named Old Rags, a nice moniker for leftovers. Today, it is the cooking method rather than the ingredients that names the dish, although I still think that it has to involve fish, potatoes, and greens.

To make this dish I really went for old stuff I had around...some frozen fish I had lingering in the freezer for a while, some potatoes that were already trying to become plants, frozen spinach, eggs, lots of onion and garlic and, of course, olive oil.

There are really no set portions for this recipe. You can increase or decrease the portions of any ingredient to your heart's content. Do not try to save on olive oil though or the dish will be dry.

Old Rags

1 lb package of frozen fish filets
4 or 5 potatoes
1 10oz package frozen spinach
3 medium onions, sliced
4 large cloves garlic (more or less to taste)
4 eggs
olive oil (about 1/2 to 3/4 cup)
black olives

Boil the fish until cooked, drain and flake. Peel and cut the potatoes in cubes of about 1-inch in size and steam until cooked. Boil the eggs to the hard stage. Let spinach thaw and squeeze a little if it is too soggy. Peel and slice the onions and garlic.

In a large enough pot heat the olive oil and fry the onions and garlic in a low heat for about 12 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

Add the fish, potatoes, and spinach and mix the whole lot with a wooden spoon to mix well with the olive oil. Cook over low heat until all the ingredients are hot. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Divide into four plates. To each plate add a quartered hard-boiled egg and black olives to taste.