Month: December 2016

Chinese Cold Spiced Beef


Today’s (very simple) post illustrates just one of the many variations on a common theme in Chinese cookery. Cold plates frequently commence a Chinese banquet and combinations may include dressed jelly-fish shreds, cold roast pork with crackling, or marbled tea-eggs (to name just a few). One perennial favorite is thinly sliced braised beef shank, especially where the meat has been prepared as in my ‘Red-Cooked Beef Shank ‘  recipe posted not long ago… Continue reading “Chinese Cold Spiced Beef”

Merry Christmas Everyone!


My Christmas Eve Dinner this year was the humongous affair you see pictured above. Fish, and nowadays shellfish as well, has long been traditional Christmas Eve fare among the Italians but this is the first time I have given it a try. The melange you see above is Lobster, King Crab, Mussels, Shrimp and Scallops all steamed together with a broth made from Wakame Seaweed and White Wine. On the side I had fresh bread and garlic butter with just a dash of lemon. The ingredients were all of the frozen variety, sadly, but I think I may make this a new tradition for the holiday season.

Christmas Dinner is waiting to go into the oven at present. My wife and I are each cooking a leg of lamb at the same time; She on Long Island in Nova Scotia, and me on my my much larger island here in the Arctic. We’ll need to be on the phone from time to time to co-ordinate, but I am expecting the results to be delicious.

Here’s wishing you all equally wonderful holiday noshing….



Shrimp and Vegetable Korma


In Indian cuisine, a Korma (which can be spelled many different ways, including Qorma, Khorma, Kurma, etc.), is a braised dish to which either yoghurt, cream, or coconut milk is added, to yield a smooth and rich finished dish. There are all sorts of variations on the basic theme, and, though the end-result can be quite fiery, in restaurant versions they are typically very mild. Today’s rendition, using shrimp, cauliflower and carrot, falls into that category… Continue reading “Shrimp and Vegetable Korma”

Equipment: The Veggetti


I am not a big collector of kitchen gadgets, especially of the sort usually advertised on late night TV. This little item went on special at my local supermarket, however, and on a whim I grabbed one to what it was like. The selling point for the device seems to be that you  can turn veggies into ‘pasta’, save yourself all sorts of calories, and presumably go on to be super-healthy and live a wonderful life with many lovers etc.  Anyway, I pretty much ignored the general hype and the following post is my report on the tests I did to see if the gadget actually performed as it does in the pictures on the packaging… Continue reading “Equipment: The Veggetti”

Red Cooked Beef Shank


Typically, when I post a recipe, I begin with a picture showing the subject food plated for service. Today, however, I am braising Beef Shank for later use in other preparations, a few of which will be illustrated a little further on.  As I mentioned in my introductory post, this particular cut requires a long slow cooking in moist heat. The specific braising method I am using here is essentially the Chinese method known as ‘Red Cooking’… or braising in a seasoned, soy sauce flavored medium. In this case, however, I have modified the process somewhat to allow for a more versatile use of the finished product … Continue reading “Red Cooked Beef Shank”

Foodstuff: Canary Melon


For as long as I can remember, the type of melons routinely available in my local stores have been Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Watermelon, with other varieties only sporadically appearing (and then only just briefly). Just recently, I saw plastic covered trays of sliced melon at my supermarket and I assumed they were Honeydew until I saw the label, which identified them as ‘Canary Melon’ slices. It was only then that I looked around and saw the fruit you see pictured above.  The sticker on each fruit specified ‘Juan Canary’ and I took this to be a brand name until I learned that it is simply an alternate appellation… I gather you can call them just ‘Canaries’, or else ‘Juan Canaries’, if you want (assuming, I suppose, you have been properly introduced first).

Anyway, the fruits are cultivated in Korea, Japan, Morocco and, Mexico, and I gather that they are related to both the Honeydew and the Winter Melon, which is used extensively in Chinese cookery. The flesh looks superficially like Honeydew but it has a softer texture, a little bit like a pear. The aroma, even before slicing is very sweet and pleasant and it actually made my whole kitchen smell wonderful in the twelve hours or so it was sitting on the counter.

When I finally did cut in to it, there was a considerable amount of juice and the taste was every bit as sweet as the smell. It was, I have to say, most reminiscent of Honeydew, but there was also a very noticeable additional component that is a little hard to describe. It was a finishing note that had a somewhat flowery, aromatic quality to it… something like the acetone-sweetness you get with bananas ripening in a bag. There was also a faint woody highlight in places (again aromatic, like cedar), and the whole effect was very nice indeed. I prefer the texture of cantaloupe and honeydew, to be honest, but this variety makes for a pleasant change.

Broccolini in XO Sauce


When I recently featured Broccolini in a post some weeks back, I mentioned that it is a hybrid of broccoli and Gai Lan. I also mentioned that Gai Lan is one of my best-loved greens and so, today, I am featuring a simple preparation inspired by a perennial dim sum favorite, Gai Lan in Oyster Sauce. Here, though, aside from using Broccolini instead of the Chinese greens, I am replacing the Oyster sauce with the much more decadent XO Sauce and some rice wine as well… Continue reading “Broccolini in XO Sauce”

Foodstuff: Beef Shank


Beef shanks haven’t traditionally been popular cuts in western cookery and one only infrequently sees them in supermarkets. The cut, sometimes called the ‘shin’ when taken from the front leg, is quite sinewy and shot through with tendons so it commonly ends up getting ground up for burger meat. This is a little unfortunate, really, as the meat can be very flavorful. If you get an opportunity to try it in Chinese restaurants, you will see why many Asians prize the meat for its collagen rich texture.

Here you can see some shin meat that I came across at my local marker recently. The display cases were only offering pre-cut ‘Shank-Steaks’ for sale but the butcher was quite happy to prepare me a longer section, which you can see in the above picture. Although foreshortened, the larger piece (which I shall henceforth simply call ‘the shank’), is about 8 inches long and weighs in at just over 3 pounds. I was very happy to be able to buy the two different types of cut as it will allow me to make a few different meals, and show you how this underused cut can be prepared… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Beef Shank”