Madrasi Grilled Beef

Madrasi Grilled Beef 01

A while ago, I posted a recipe for my homemade Madras Curry Paste and I wanted to try using it in something other than a ‘curry’ style dish. I came up with the idea of doing something along the lines of a Satay, but with the flavors of India and made the dish you see pictured abve. I made it is an appetizer but you could make larger (and more) skewers and serve them over rice for a more substantial course. Here, I served mine on a bed of finely shredded cabbage and Jalapeno peppers that were macerated in a little garlic salt before being tossed with some oil and lemon juice… Continue reading “Madrasi Grilled Beef”

Salted Char

Salted Char 1

The picture above shows my first attempt at salting fish for preservation. To date, my only experience with salted, dried fish is salt-cod, which I have purchased and used but never prepared for myself. In these of almost universal freezer-ownership, salting and drying fish in order to keep it is not really necessary but the process changes the texture in pleasing ways and intensifies the flavor. I didn’t have cod, which is a bit rare these days, but I had just purchased two large Arctic Char from a guy selling them door to door and I kept back a couple of fillets for this experiment… Continue reading “Salted Char”

Guilty Men (Merlot Blend) 2015

Guilty Men 2015

I was rather intrigued by the name of this wine but, after having a look on-line for an explanation, I am still in the dark as to the inspiration. The bottle simply declares it to be a blend without specifying any varietals, but the vintners website lists the composition as being Merlot 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon 41%, Pinot Noir 2%, Cabernet Franc 1%. The sugar content is quite high but, ultimately, the actual effect is not that sweet…

  • Winery: The Malivoire Wine Company
  • Price: $15.95 at LCBO
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Sugar: 13 g/L

The color is a fairly dark cherry red with a faint purple tint. An aromatic nose is dominated by red fruit and ripe dark berries and there is a pleasant sawdust quality with light floral notes and just an ephemeral hint of vanilla. It is medium bodied with a fairly smooth texture and the moderate sweetness is nicely offset by a medium acidity that rises just after the beginning before the nicely smooth and moderate tannins develop. The fruitiness is more sour than is suggested on the nose, having an almost citrusy character, but there is a nice blackcurrant note right at the start. There is a bit of oakiness, and just a hint of spice coming through near the end, but the finish a little short. Still, it is not a bad sipping wine and should appeal to a broad range of tastes and do well as an aperitif.

Split-Pea Soup

Split-Pea Soup 01

When I was a kid, my mother would often make split-pea soup using the bones and scraps leftover from a ham roast. It was a dish I could take or leave back then but I grew to like it more and more and have made it many times as an adult. A few days before writing this post, I came across some smoke-pork shoulders going at half-price and, though they were larger than I would usually buy, the price was too good to pass up and I bought one with a view to making split pea soup for the first time in eons… Continue reading “Split-Pea Soup”

Spice Blend: Lemon-Cardamom Masala

Lemon-Cardamom Masala 1

A few years back, I posted a recipe for Cardamom-Lemon Chicken that I very much liked and I have long wanted to put together a ‘wet’ Masala, or spice paste, based on the central flavors that could be made ahead and used for several dishes. As I mentioned in the original post, the recipe there, as with this current blend, is not a traditional Indian recipe but both, at the very least, are very Indian in spirit.

It has taken me a while to actually get down to creating this paste and, after testing it, I found I was a bit disappointed in one regard… In the original recipe, I noted that the flavor of the cardamom did not come through very noticeably and I said that I would increase the amount of this spice component in future attempts. As it is, I put a pretty hefty amount of ground cardamom into the current mix, but, to my surprise, it, again, didn’t exactly dominate. That being said, though … the end result was really terrific and so I will be adding this particular spice blend recipe to my repertoire… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Lemon-Cardamom Masala”

Domaine Claudie Jobard Rully La Chaume 2015

Domaine Claudie Jobard Rully La Chaume 2015

The Rully AOC appellation of Burgundy includes both red and whites from the Chalonnaise subregion, with Pinot Nor and Chardonnay being the main varietals. Today’s selection is a Pinot Noir, and a very nice one indeed….

  • Producer:  Domaine Claudie Jobard
  • Price: $29.95 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: 1.8 g/L

The color is a very dark cherry red. It has an exceptionally aromatic nose with cherry, raspberry and dark fruit dominating above some highlights that are faintly floral and grassy. The texture is fairly smooth and medium bodied and the effect is quite dry. The acidity and tannins are both moderately light and well balanced, with the tannins lasting fairly long into a decent finish. Blackcurrant and sweet cherry dominate the fruits and the floral quality of the nose is far more pronounced on the palate. There is also a spicy, peppery quality, along with a definite woodiness and leather, that all develop well together at first, with wood and pepper finishing. The floral quality is a bit strong, but, overall, this is a lovely sipping wine.

Bagoong Ribs

Bagoong Ribs 1

Some time ago, I did a post featuring a particular brand of  Filipino Bagoong (a fermented shrimp based paste). I still have quite a bit of it left (it keeps almost indefinitely), and I decided to use some in a little appetizer dish using pork ribs. Now, for some, the idea of pairing a very strong ferment shrimp paste with pork might sound a little odd, but the combination is not uncommon in China and south-east Asia, and actually works very nicely. If the product I used is not available to you, almost any sort of shrimp paste will work just as well… Continue reading “Bagoong Ribs”

Foodstuff: Miso

Miso 1.jpg

Many westerners have, at the very least, encountered miso, in the ubiquitous Miso Soup offered in almost every Japanese Restaurant. It doesn’t however, appear all that frequently in the cupboards or fridges of many western homes, and this is a pity, as the umami rich product is extremely versatile, being useful for flavoring soups, stews, and sauces, and also as a marinating ingredient and a pickling agent, to boot. Being rich in flavorful glutamates, it is, one might say, a ‘natural’ MSG … [ Continue reading “Foodstuff: Miso”

Domaine Chevalier Petit Chablis 2015

Domaine Chevallier Petit Chablis 2015

Chablis, is well a well known name and refers to Chardonnays from Burgundy, but, while there is a specific Chablis AOC, there is also a lesser known ‘Petit Chabis’ AOC  as well. The wines belonging to this AOC are sometimes regarded as the ‘jewels’ of Chablis, but I was not overly impressed with today’s representative selection …

  • Winery: Domaine Chevalier
  • Price: $23.55 at SAQ
  • Alcohol: 12%
  • Sugar: 3.4 g/L

This Chardonnay is a medium straw color with a slight reddish tint. The nose is muted with very little in the way of fruitiness. It is very strong on straw and dried grass and also has a sulfur component. It is off dry and moderately acidic with muted sour apple flavors coupled with hay,  and there is a strong vegetal and mineral presence as well. I thought the balance was ragged and the overall effect not especially pleasing.

Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

The rather cutesy name of this particular selection made me suspicious that it might be an over-sweet wine with little in the way of complexity but, to my pleasure, it turned out to be very nice. I ended up giving it a five star rating because the general quality is deserving given the decently low price. Even those who prefer whites to reds may find this pleasing…

  • Winery: Cupcake Vineyards
  • Price: $14.65 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Sugar:  3.7 g/L

This Californian table wine is actually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (84%) and Merlot (16%).  It is a very dark ruby in color and medium-full bodied with a smooth texture. The nose is quite aromatic with red fruit and blackberry along with some jam-like notes and just a hint of vanilla. It is off-dry with mild acidity and smooth tannins that balance very well. The taste is boldly fruity, with plum, ripe raspberry and elderberry in the mix,  and there is a floral component along with a pleasing spiciness. The acidity picks up into a decently long finish and , right near the end there is a faint woody, even slightly earthy, quality. This is a very nice wine that should have a broad appeal.