Month: July 2017

Review: Allegro – Ottawa

422 Preston Street, Ottawa – Website

Allegro 1

Date of Visit – July, 2017

Allegro caught my eye because it has a very nice menu… Quite a few classic paste dishes, a good selection of veal preparations and, more importantly from my perspective, a nice range of appetizers. The place turned out to be quite pleasant, and the service decent, but I was less impressed with the actual food… Continue reading “Review: Allegro – Ottawa”

Sambuca Flambéed Shrimp

Sambuca Flambeed Shrimp 1

Today’s dish is my own take on an appetizer I was served a while ago in Yellowknife called ‘Flambé Sambuca Shrimp’. Now, I rather ‘panned’ that dish for what I felt was a rather poor execution but, after giving the basic idea a try, I rather owe the cook in question a (partial) apology. One of my criticisms was that the typical anise flavour of Sambuca was entirely absent, leading me to think that they had unfairly skimped on this part of the production. However, in my own attempt, I used quite a bit of the liqueur myself and experienced the very same result. Possibly, it is the flaming of the liquid that causes this? In any event, despite that particular ‘flaw’, I think my effort was the better of the two… Continue reading “Sambuca Flambéed Shrimp”

Pork with Salted Radish and Black Bean

Pork Belly with Salted Radish and Black Bean 1

This dish is named for the flavoring additions, which are Preserved (Salted) Radish and Chinese Salted Black Bean, both of which add a rich umami depth to the pork belly and the secondary ‘bulk’ ingredients of Zucchini and Button Mushrooms. I rather threw this together as a means to use up the last of my current batch of salted radish and I didn’t really plan on doing a blog post (hence no ‘prep’ photographs), but it turned out pretty nicely and I thought I’d share.

Basically, I used pork belly rashers that were first oven cooked to render out some of the fat and brown until not quite crispy, then sliced into sections. I browned the mushrooms in some of the rendered pork fat and added a little lemon juice as they were the canned variety and the lemon juice improves the flavour. Then I added in the pork, zucchini, and about 3 tablespoons of chopped salted radish. I created a glazing sauce with a little vinegar and chilli paste, then finally added chopped salted black beans. I meant to start with some minced fresh ginger but I forgot about it… it didn’t matter though as the overall result was really tasty.

Review: NWT Brewing Company

3905 Franklin Avenue, Yellowknife, Website

NW Brewing 1

Date of Visit – April, 2017

The NWT Brewing Company has the distinction of the being Canada’s most northern brewery. I found it on-line just before a recent visit to Yellowknife and made it a point to visit so that I could sample their various brews. Their web-site only listed four varieties but it turns out they make quite a few more. As they also have a pub that serves food, I decided to make an afternoon of it… Continue reading “Review: NWT Brewing Company”

Braised Beef Shank

Braised Beef Shank 1

A while ago, my Irish blogger friend, Conor Boffin, did a very nice post featuring Braised Beef Shanks he called Daub of Beef. I remembered that I still had some beef shank in my freezer and I decided to use his dish as an inspiration for something along the same lines. I have chosen a very nice Merlot for my wine addition, and I am also using a little Madeira as well. Unlike Conor, I am not using fresh mushrooms, but I do add some chopped, reconstituted Shiitake early on and I also add some diced carrot towards the end. This dish turned out as nicely as I am sure was Conor’s… [ Continue reading “Braised Beef Shank”

Review: Zehabesha

 5030 50th Street, Yellowknife, NWT

Zehabesha 1

Date of Visit – April, 2017

I have never eaten any Ethiopian food before but when I told my wife I might have an opportunity to try out an Ethiopian restaurant while passing through Yellowknife recently, she insisted that I give it a try. Moreover, a friend of mine actually had a chance to visit Zehabesha a few weeks before me and gave the place such a great review I knew I couldn’t pass on the opportunity… Continue reading “Review: Zehabesha”

Parsley-Jalapeno Jelly

Parsley-Jalapeno Jelly 1

Before leaving home on travels recently, I had a large bunch of parsley and some Jalapeno peppers that wouldn’t have survived my absence and so I decided to make a ‘herbed’ jelly with them to use as a condiment and cooking ingredient. Unfortunately, though I preserved the pictures I took of the process until my return, I couldn’t locate my notes and so the ‘recipe’ I provide is a bit general. Still, I think you will have no trouble in following the basic idea and adapting it to suit your own taste… [ Continue reading “Parsley-Jalapeno Jelly”

Notable Nosh: Flambé Sambuca Shrimp

Flambe Sambuca Shrimp

I had this little appetizer at Diamante during a layover in Yellowknife not long ago. It was described on the menu as ‘Tiger shrimp flambéed in Sambuca and finished with honey lemon cream sauce’ and I wasn’t really sure if the that I would like the strong anise flavour of Sambuca with delicate seafood. As it happened, though, I needn’t have worried as, for the life of me, I couldn’t detect even a hint of the liqueur anywhere in the dish.

Sadly, the above deficiency wasn’t compensated for in the rest of the execution. First, the 8 or 9 Tiger shrimp I was promised turned out to be the very small (and generally tasteless) variety one usually finds in supermarket ‘Shrimp Rings’ destined to be consumed with horseradish based cocktail sauces. The butter based sauce in this particular offering was creamy in texture but it did not seem as though any actual cream was used. It had honey, though, to the point of being almost cloyingly sweet, and while this may have been balanced by the advertised lemon, this also did not seem to be included save for a small section of whole lemon sitting in the sauce.

Anyway, overall, this appetizer was pretty much a disappointment. That being said, though, I am glad I tried it as it inspired me to give the basic idea a try myself. I even brought a little bottle of Sambuca back from Yellowknife to this end and I will post my results in due course.

Vancouver Bound

Vancouver Bound 1

By the time you read this, I should be one day into my yearly conference trip. I have a few days to spend in Ottawa, which I always enjoy, and then it will be off to Vancouver. It has been over ten years since I last visited that city and I am really excited for the culinary adventures I have planned. Indeed, when I booked my trip, I eschewed the accommodations available in the conference center and chose a place just about a block away from Vancouver’s excellent Chinatown. I foresee many dim sum excursions in my future, as well as other culinary pleasures, and I will be recording and publishing my experiences in due course.

In the meantime, I have been doing a fair bit of travelling recently , all work related, unfortunately, but I have made a few passes through Yellowknife of late and had a few interesting meals along the way. In the next few days, interspersed with my usual posts, I will be featuring a couple of reviews I did. As for my Vancouver trip… look for the first of my posts beginning next month…

Foodstuff: Enokitake

Enoki Mushrooms 1

Enokitake, or Enoki Mushrooms, are commonly used in Japanese cookery, as much (and indeed probably more) for their pretty appearance as for flavour. In the wild, they are most commonly found growing on the stumps of various trees and, in that case, are often a fairly dark brown in color. In consequence, are known in Mandarin as jīnzhēngū 金針菇 (or “gold needle mushroom”). When cultivated, however, they exhibit the stark, ivory white you see pictured above… [READ MORE] Continue reading “Foodstuff: Enokitake”