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Beefballs a l’Orange

Beefballs a l'Orange1

Whenever I use oranges in a savory dish (either flesh, juice or peel), it is almost always in a recipe that is Asian in origin or character. Indeed, the only western dish of this type that I can remember cooking is the well-known French specialty, Duck a l’Orange. Today’s feature is pretty much western in flavor but it is considerably less ‘upscale’ than the traditional duck dish. In fact, it might very well be thought of as a ‘Cheapo’ or ‘Poor-man’s a l’Orange’ as it is made with ground beef and uses Marmalade in the sauce.

I had actually been thinking for some time about trying marmalade in a Chinese-style dry-fried beef dish (and I will get around to it sometime) but I wanted to use up the sauce I had left over from my Baffin-Island Beef recipe from the previous week. Using it as a base for an ‘a l’Orange’ type sauce seemed like an interesting idea, hence the inspiration for the present experiment. You will note that, in the Ingredients list, I call for a pint of ‘Brown Sauce’… While I am using the ‘gravy’ from my ‘Baffin Island’ pot roast recipe, any sort of thickened beef or chicken stock sort of sauce will do nicely in its stead… Read more

Chow Hoy Shin

Chow Hoy Shin 1

Today’s post represents an attempt to reproduce a particular ‘Canadian-Chinese’ dish… Half a lifetime ago, I used to eat at a Chinese restaurant in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and I often enjoyed a selection they called ‘Chow Hoy Shin’. I once asked a Cantonese friend of mine what the name meant (assuming it to be something exotic and poetic) but she just shrugged and said ‘stir-fried seafood’. Well, the beauty of that name, from the cook’s perspective, is that you can add pretty much anything you like in there and cook it almost any style as long as stir-frying is involved at some point…

Today, I had scallops and shrimp on hand that were in danger of getting a bit past it in my freezer. The restaurant in Fredericton used to add chunks of lobster claw in their version, I seem to recall, but I have none to use at present. Like the restaurant, though, I am adding a fair amount of vegetable for bulk and lots of sauce. I doubt I’ll reproduce the original exactly but it is still a tribute of sorts… Read more

Home-made Branston Pickle

Branston Pickle 1

Anyone who grew up in Britain will know Branston Pickle very well. We always had a jar in the cupboard at our house when I was a kid and I remember that the condiment was a must have accompaniment to the famous Melton Mowbray style Pork Pie. In Canada, alas, the pickle is not so well known and is less readily available so, for the uninitiated, I will describe it, courtesy of Wikipedia, as ‘a variety of diced vegetables, including swede, carrots, onions, cauliflower and gherkins pickled in a sauce made from vinegar, tomato, apple and dates with spices such as mustard, coriander, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, nutmeg and cayenne pepper with sugar’…. The aforementioned ‘swede’, by the way, is better known in Canada and the US as, ‘Rutabaga’…

Many years ago, I noticed that the pickling sauce in Branston Pickle was quite similar in composition and taste to the, also popular, and better known, HP Sauce. I tried to reproduce a Branston Pickle using the sauce (along with extra vinegar and sugar), and, to my surprise, I produced a passably good imitation on the very first try. Successive attempts were less good (chiefly because I tried to ‘improve’ the basic taste), but the general idea was pretty successful, in my opinion.

My earliest attempts used the standard Swede/Rutabaga, along with onion and, occasionally carrot. I never tried gherkins (although I did once use plain cucumber), and I don’t recall ever seeing anything resembling cauliflower in the commercial product; It may be there in very small amounts, but I can’t imagine it making much of a difference and haven’t tried it either. For my most recent batches, I have replaced the Rutabaga with Daikon, which makes a great substitute, and a little onion as well. Carrot could also be added, I suppose, but I don’t think the end result suffers by their omission… Read more

Baffin Island Beef

Baffiin Island Beef 1

Today’s recipe has no particular association with Baffin Island in terms of ingredients but I have given it the name ‘Baffin Island Beef’ because I created it here on Baffin Island and I couldn’t think of anything else to call it. My whole aim here was to make a beef dish in which the meat is first marinated and braised and then served with a sauce made from the same liquid in the marinade and braising medium.

I have used Sauerbraten as my starting point but I am not trying to duplicate that dish, rather, I have departed from the basic idea in several particulars. First, I am using blade steak rather than a large pot-roast sized cut as this rather defeats the point of even a lengthy marinade (sauerbraten is usually left for 3 days) as a marinade can only penetrate so far in to meat. Secondly, in Sauerbraten, vegetables braised with the meat are strained from the cooking medium towards the end and the remaining liquid is thickened to a rich gravy with gingersnap cookies (and sometimes a little flour). Here, I plan to achieve a result that is not quite as sour and sweet as Sauerbraten (I use wine, not vinegar, no cookies and only a little sugar) and I am using a lot of vegetable in order to puree them down for the finished sauce… Read more

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