Aloo Tikki Chat at the India Curry and Kebab House in Ottawa

I very much enjoy visiting the India Curry and Kebab House in Ottawa’s Byward Market as I have always been served terrific meals there. I have to say, though, that I was taken a little off-guard by the Aloo Tikki Chat you see pictured above as it was considerably different from my expectations after reading the name and the description in the menu. Happily, it turned out to be truly excellent, and one of the best appetizer dishes I have ever been serve in an Indian restaurant.

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Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

Larb Stuffed Endive Boats

Larb, or ‘Laab’ as it sometimes spelled, is a cold salad of meat, herbs and other seasonings that is not only reckoned to be the national dish of Laos but also quite common in Thailand as well. The meat is often beef or pork, sometimes raw, sometimes cooked, but fish and poultry version exist as well. Often, this is served in a bowl with lettuce or other leaves for wraps, but, here, I have used the basic recipe theme to pre-stuff endive leaves as a simple, but tasty appetizer.

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Minted Tataki Beef with Shrimp

Minted Tataki Beef with Shrimp

Minted Tataki Beef with Shrimp

The inspiration for this dish originally came from a Vietnamese recipe I came across for a salad of Pork and Shrimp. I ended up replacing the Pork with thin slices of Beef prepared using my Basic Beef Tataki Recipe, which, of course, uses a Japanese rather than a Vietnamese technique, and I have changed the dressing constituents considerably. Ultimately, the dish has travelled exceedingly far from its basic roots, but it still makes a great appetizer for two at any Asian or Western table.

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Mint Grilled Lamb Chops

Mint Grilled Lamb Chops

I often buy a Rack of Lamb for roasting, but the individual Rib Chops cut from small rack are wonderful on the grill, especially where the rack has been ‘Frenched’ by having the meat and fat trimmed from the ends of the bone as you see in the picture above. Here, these succulent little chops are given a traditional pairing with Mint, and some other aromatics, both in the marinade, and also while being basted on the grill.

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Octopus Grilled at Brothers Beer Bistro

Octopus Grilled at the Brothers Beer Bistro in Ottawa

Grilled Octopus is one of my favorite dishes and have eaten a lot of it in Greek and Portuguese Restaurants where they tend to treat this as a specialty. I have to say, though, that the lovely version I was served at the Brothers Beer Bistro in Ottawa pretty much outshone all of them. Not only was their Octopus grilled expertly, the dressing they used was both unusual and wonderful.

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Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer
Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer

Grilled Lamb Chop Appetizer

Lamb Chops tend to be the focus of a Main Dish serving in most Western households. Here however, nice plump loin chops are marinated in a tangy Mint Sauce, Grilled with Yoghurt, Garlic, and Rosemary, then served atop a bed of Sweet Bell Peppers sautéed with Sherry. They make a lovely appetizer, and could just as easily be served as one dish in a Tapas style meal.


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Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms
Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms

Minted Zucchini and Mushrooms

Mint always pairs well with Zucchini, and the convenience of canned Button Mushrooms makes this a delicious side dish for lamb-chops, steaks, and virtually any roast, or hearty main dish. In this recipe, the zucchini is first grilled to harness the power of the Maillard reaction, and to add a lovely smokiness to the finished dish.


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