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Review: Genji, Ottawa

175 Lisgar St., Ottawa – Website

Genji 1
Date of Visit: January, 2016

Genji is a very small place on Lisgar street, just off Elgin, and it is not a place I would have walked past or otherwise noticed had I not come across it while searching the Internet for places to eat near the hotel where I was staying. I tried it out for supper one evening and, though my meal wasn’t great, it was interesting enough to make me glad I went… Read more

Review: Woody’s Urban Pub, Ottawa

330 Elgin St, Ottawa – Website

Woody's 1

Date of Visit: January, 2016

I ventured into Woody’s just before noon on a Sunday and discovered that they do a brunch each week-end. I wasn’t really interested in what they had to offer brunch-wise, but I did stay for a few beers and ended up having a fairly decent lunch off their regular menu … Read more

Review: Johnny Farina, Ottawa

216 Elgin Street, Ottawa – Website

Johhny Farina 1
Visit- January, 2016

Johnny Farina is really two restaurants in one in that there is a Deli section on one side and a moderately more formal bistro style eatery on the other. I arrived for lunch one afternoon during the normal lunch hour and I chose the ‘non-deli’ side for what turned out to be a very pleasant meal… Read more

Madras Beef Curry

Madras Beef Curry 01

This post is a follow-up to the recipe for Homemade Madras Curry Powder I published not long ago. In fact, followers may recognize the above picture from that post as I included it to show how I had tested my powder blend in the first place. The dish you see pictured is about as simple a rendition of a Madras curry as you can find anywhere. You can try it with my spice blend, or your own variation on the same… Read more

Review: So Good Restaurant – Ottawa

717 Somerset St West, Ottawa – Website

So Good 1

Date of Visit: January, 2016

So Good Restaurant lies just at the point where Somerset Street West begins to slope down towards Preston. I have passed by it many times and thought I should try it sometime but a friend recently recommended it to me and, as it turned out, her praise was well-founded…

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No-Name Spaghetti

No-Name Spaghetti 1

This rather simple spaghetti dish draws on three fairly well known Italian pasta specialties: Puttanesca, Carbonara, and Amatriciana, using black olives, eggs, bacon and tomato. I have tried it a few times, making a few minor adjustments here and there, and this latest production was really nice. I haven’t thought of a name for it yet, though … perhaps some of my readers might make some suggestions… (Stefan?) Read more

Keema Pie

Keema Pie 1

This dish I have been working on is something of an east-west fusion in that it incorporates a traditional Indian dish known as ‘Keema Saag’ in the basic form of the more well-known Shepherd’s Pie. Basically, ‘Keema’ is minced (ground) meat, while ‘Saag’ refers to a whole range of greens, with spinach often being used in many western renditions of Indian dishes. Here I have used both Kale and Swiss Chard with the result that you get a Shepherd’s Pie with the added spiciness of a curry, combined with a good way of getting some greens into your diet… Read more

Foodstuff: Ocean Brand™ Puttanesca Sauce

Ocean Brand Puttanesca 01

A few weeks ago, a colleague of mine dropped by for a beer and brought me the jar of Puttanesca Pasta Sauce you see pictured above. The timing was rather coincidental as I had been planning to do a blog post about Puttanesca Sauce for some time now as it is a favorite of mine and the origin of the name, which essentially means ‘Prostitute’s Sauce’, is a bit of a mystery. On reading the label, I was informed that Pasta Puttanesca was ‘first served in a popular night spot on the island of Ischia in the 1950’s’. This is the first time I have heard that tidbit of information and it is something I want to research a little further. I still plan to do a more detailed post on the Puttanesca Sauce, along with my own recipe, so for today I’ll save any further discussion of the origins and restrict myself to a taste test of the instant product… Read more

Pork Binagoongan

Pork Binagoongan 1

Given my occasional penchant for making up odd names for dishes I create, you may be excused for thinking that ‘Binagoongan’ falls into that category. Actually, the word ‘Binagoongan’ , in Filipino cuisine, means that a given dish is made using a ‘Bagoong ‘, and the pairing of fermented shrimp paste with Pork is a firm favorite in the Philippines.

Naturally, as with all classics, there are countless variations on the basic theme… Some renditions are basically sautés with very little sauce, whilst other are more like braises or stews. Generally, the ingredient list, beyond the pork and shrimp paste, tends toward the simple, with onions garlic, and a little chili being the most common additions. Some, but not all recipes, use tomatoes, whilst sugar and vinegar are almost invariably added in order to offset the saltiness of the Bagoong. Here, I use quite a bit of tomato, and the end result is heavy on the sweet and sour… Read more

Spice: Homemade Madras Curry Powder

Madras Curry Powder 1

At one time, a ‘Madras Curry’ was a standard on Indian restaurant menus in the west, and was also a fairly common recipe entry in Indian cookery books. It seems, however, to be a little less frequently encountered these days and this is perhaps because the Indian City of Madras (whence the name) is now known as Chennai, and the eponymous curry was probably more of an Anglo-Indian, rather than a purely Indian creation. Whatever the case, the Madras Curry is still something of a classic and well worth adding to one’s culinary repertoire.

In my research of a wide variety of spice blends, I have found that the Madras Curry blend is the closest to what most westerners would call the ‘curry flavor’ and the typical ingredients are much the same as found in the generic ‘Curry Powder’ you can find in almost any supermarket. The one major difference between the two, as far as I have seen, is that the generic type tends to be high in Turmeric and low in Chili, while, in a Madras blend, the reverse is usually true. In this post, we will have a quick look at the general composition and then I’ll provide a fairly straightforward version that you can use as a starting point for your own culinary creations… Read more

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