Posted in Ingredients

Foodstuff: Physalis (Cape Gooseberry)

When I first saw these in our local grocery store I thought I was looking at Tomatillos because of the unusual paper skin. It wasn’t until I got closer and saw that they were smaller and of different shape that I realized I was looking at something I had never seen before. These intriguing little objects were packaged in little baskets of a dozen or so and there was no identifying label on the shelf. The baskets, however, were sitting in a larger cardboard container that had the word ‘Physalis’ written on the side. This meant absolutely nothing to me and it wasn’t until I got home and did an Internet search that I discovered that this is, in fact, the proper name for what turns out to be a fruit of South American origin. Naturally, I picked up a basket to see what they might be like… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Physalis (Cape Gooseberry)”

Posted in Recipes

Experiment: Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)

Chicken Cacciatore is one of those classics of cuisine that almost everyone has heard of or tasted at one time or another. It used to be quite a popular dish at dinner parties, enjoying the same sort of brief vogue as did Moussaka for a time, and it is perhaps for this reason that it seems to be regarded as somewhat passé and doesn’t appear nearly so often as it once did on Italian restaurant menus.

As one might expect with a dish that is included in the repertoires of many home cooks, there are many variations. These can range from the simple, sometimes consisting of little more than chicken pieces braised in tomato sauce, to much more complex versions with all sorts of interesting additions. I have been making the dish for many years and, although I never make it exactly the same way, I do have a basic underlying theme that I will share with you here…  Continue reading “Experiment: Chicken Cacciatore (Pollo alla Cacciatora)”

Posted in Ingredients

Foodstuff: Fenugreek Leaf (Methi)

When I saw this product in our local store, Arctic Ventures, I was very excited… I have been using dried Fenugreek leaf for years in all sorts of Indian dishes and I almost despaired of ever being able to use it in its fresh state. I have looked for it in vain on trips down south and you could have almost knocked me down with a feather when it appeared up here in Iqaluit just the other day…  Continue reading “Foodstuff: Fenugreek Leaf (Methi)”

Posted in General

Experiment: Shrimp Soup with Lime Pickle

When I featured Patak’s Lime Pickle in a ‘Foodstuffs’ post recently, I began considering various uses for the condiment and I remember thinking that the taste of it rather put me in my mind of the ‘Tom Yum Soup’ that is so popular in Thai restaurants. It struck me that this product might be useful as more than an accompaniment and might make a nice base for a similar sort of simple shrimp soup…  Continue reading “Experiment: Shrimp Soup with Lime Pickle”

Posted in General

Experiment: Steamed Chicken Wings with Chili Black Bean Sauce

I recently had some great Chicken feet as part of a Dim Sum lunch at the Hung Sum Restaurant in Ottawa recently. I have always wanted to try cooking these myself but chicken feet are not something we are likely to see in the stores here in Iqaluit so I decided to try improvising using chicken wings. Chicken feet have very little meat on them but they are especially prized by the Chinese for a gelatinous texture created by all the connective tissue when they are steamed. This can’t be duplicated exactly using the wings (except at the very tips) but steaming rather than frying or baking will give the skin a nice slippery, softness that can substitute fairly nicely.

Normally, I find the sauce in which Chicken feet are steamed at Dim Sum restaurants is somewhat bland and uninteresting but the version I had at the Hung Sum Restaurant was quite piquant and very tasty. I decided that I would use a little Lee Kum Kee Chili Black Bean sauce in order to come close to what I tasted on that occasion…  Continue reading “Experiment: Steamed Chicken Wings with Chili Black Bean Sauce”

Posted in Ingredients

Foodstuff: Thousand-Year-Old Eggs

Call them what you will … Century Eggs, Thousand year-old eggs, or just Preserved Eggs … for most westerners these are an Asian specialty that go beyond exotic. The appearance, for the uninitiated, can be a little scary – even a little off-putting, maybe – but if you can get beyond the unusual color the experience is well worthwhile and the taste, not at all as strange as you might think… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Thousand-Year-Old Eggs”

Posted in Restaurant Adventures

Review: Lone Star Texas Grill – Ottawa

126 George ST, Ottawa, 613-562-9865 – Website

Date of visit: March 24, 2012

The Lone Star Grill is part of a chain but the only one I have ever visited (twice so far) is the one in Ottawa’s Byward Market On my first visit, I tried some of their ribs, which were not that bad, but, this time, I decided to extend to them a chance to be a competitor in my ongoing Rib Steak challenge…  Continue reading “Review: Lone Star Texas Grill – Ottawa”

Posted in Product Reviews

Foodstuff: Heinz Salad Cream

Salad Cream, particularly the Heinz brand, was a fairly common condiment in England when I was growing up but it seems to be far less popular in Canada, In our house, both in England, and later when my family moved to Canada, we used salad cream the same way that most people use commercial mayonnaise, or ‘Miracle Whip’ and, indeed, whenever we said ‘mayonnaise’ we actually meant the Heinz, or else the Cross & Blackwell brand of salad cream. Today, although I frequently use other mayonnaise products, using anything else other than Heinz Salad Cream on a sandwich of leftover Christmas Turkey just doesn’t seem right… Continue reading “Foodstuff: Heinz Salad Cream”