Monthly Archives: February 2018

I’ll Eat That!

Keeping in the trend of one-handed contained English food (can I really call it a trend? So far this makes two) we made Eccles cakes. This was my first foray back into solid food post-surgery so I was a bit weary. I was also kind of indifferent on this dessert: currants and raisins? Come on! Where’s the chocolate?

Being at-home in the kitchen meant I was not going to settle for store-bought candied orange peel. Oh no, I was hellbent on making it myself. I even determined that at a later date I will be making marmalade (stay tuned!). After reading over an Alton Brown recipe and deeming it too complicated I found a much simpler one. I did not believe what anyone said about candied orange peel being a delightful treat to eat. I stared blankly at my screen wanting to shout: you’re eating orange peels! Point one in their favour: my house smelled delicious. Point two: the sugar water after the peels were done boiling makes for a nice simple syrup. It pairs well with a tea addiction. Point three: they actually do taste good. They are not hard or gross, and it might be the fact that they are coated in sugar but it’s actually not that bad. I was expecting those gross little bits I always picked out of my mom’s poppyseed cake.

The recipe called for just over half the package of puff pastry. Rather than eyeball I thought I would use my kitchen scale. What I did not account for was that the first one I did not roll out thin enough. It barely sealed and the filling kept falling out. I ended up using some extra dough and making a fifth one. There was no way I would make all that filling fit into just four doughs. The Eccles cakes were surprisingly delicious and really hit the spot. They were soft enough for me to eat but still met the criteria for non-mushy food to appease my dwindling psyche. I still would not see this as a regular dish I would make time and again. Bangers and mash is still holding strong in the lead.

From now on we have updated our system and will instead pull up a random number and go to that page number and cook that. Stayed tuned for a German cross between pancakes and french toast!

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in 1001 Foods


Maybe It Tastes Better Down in A Mineshaft?

Up next was Cornish pasties. Yet another iteration of protein and potatoes. A pattern was starting to emerge. This time it was my turn to screw up. In my head, słonina and pork lard were one and the same. It was only when I brought it home (much to my father’s delight, he was just thrilled at my request) and tried to scoop it with a spoon that I realized I was way off. Cured pork fat was not the same as lard. It was the curing step that screwed it up. My bad.

Don’t worry I redeemed myself. I found duck fat (which the internet said was basically interchangeable with other animal lards). I stood there in the meat section of the grocery store, desperately googling. I cannot imagine what it must’ve looked like.

The recipe for the dough called for just a few tablespoons of lard. I looked at the container after we measured it out. Great, I thought, what the hell am I going to do with the rest of this? It went to live with the other miscellaneous-never-used-items in the freezer. As I’ve said about a million times, I love to bake. I’ve made many a dough, but none has ever been as greasy as this one. It was slick with grease and I was certain the smell of duck fat would never ever come out of my poor rolling pin. Thankfully I thought ahead and rolled the dough between two sheets of parchment paper.

I don’t know if the measurements were off, or maybe I did not roll the dough thin enough but there was so much filling (steak, potatoes, turnip) that it would barely seal shut. Picture an enormous perogie. It was way too big to (conveniently, hah!) eat with one hand. I took to it like a civilized person and hacked at it with a fork and knife.

The Cornish pastie also failed to impress. I’m not sure if it is my prejudice against English (I keep wanting to say British) food or the fact that it was so similar to the other two dishes but I was not impressed. Since the bangers and mash, nothing seemed as amazing. The only other thing I can think of is a lack of gravy.

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in 1001 Foods


They Can’t All Be Knock-Outs

We were going through the book in order. Up next was codfish cakes. Seemed simple enough, like a poorman’s crabcake. Right?

Brent had been at No Frills and whaddya know?– they had cod for sale in the frozen section. Forget going to a fancy fishmarket, this was far more convenient. It looked like I would need a new excuse to head down to St. Lawrence Market. Or so I thought. Turns out Brent had bought salted cod. The key indicator that something was amiss (I refuse to say fishy) was the fact that the fish contained a whopping 400% of your daily sodium. Nevertheless we soldiered on, convinced we could simply rinse the salt off.

The recipe was weird from the get-go. We had to boil the fish for 5 minutes in milk until it was soft. Except after 5 minutes it did not “flake,” it was not soft. I let it keep cooking. Around the 15 minute mark I determined it would not cook any more. I broke off a piece. It tasted cooked… and still very salty. That’s ok, we would omit the salt from the rest of the recipe. Right down to boiling the potatoes in unsalted water.

Even after the cod had been combined with the turnip, the mashed potatoes and all the other fixin’s… it was not good. I would try a bite and at first it would be ok, but as soon as I hit upon the cod my face would twist. It was still so salty! Even after adding lemon juice (which helped a bit) it was still too salty. They were beyond rescue and we had to bail midway through the recipe.

The next week we attempted it again. This time with fresh cod. Things went a lot more smoothly. After 5 minutes the fish was flaky. I did not have to dump out a pan of curdled, yellowed/browned milk from the frying pan at the end (that may have been the grossest part of our first attempt, the pan had burnt milk making a horrible pattern in the bottom, setting off my mild tryptophobia*).

Tasting verdict? Mediocre. Like I said: a poorman’s crabcake. Cheap, mild tasting fish, and the cake was filled out with potatoes. Meh. But what do you expect from British cuisine?


*The lengths that I went to in order to find out the correct name of it, instead of just referring to it as fear of holes. I always get it mixed up with trichotillomania. The Google results for “fear of holes” were beyond unpleasant for someone who has trypophobia. Why would you do that to me Google??

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in 1001 Foods


Propeller Coffee: Take Two

What better outing for fooding a week after dental surgery than going out for coffee. This time around before heading to Propeller Coffee, best coffee, we grabbed cash first, just in case. I was nowhere near 100% great so we transited out there this time.

I decided to go with a fancy pour-over coffee because Brent ordered a latte. That way we had two different drinks.  While we waited we chowed down on a brownie topped with coffee-flavoured soft stuff (cream cheese possibly? I forget) and chocolate chips. I had to take tiny little pieces of it, hacking with my fork, and picking out the chocolate chips. It took me forever and I soon gave up. It felt so futile. It was delicious just too hard for me to eat.

When I ordered a pour-over coffee I had assumed they would do the pouring. Instead I was handed a carafe of brewed coffee and a mug. So this is how it was going to be, eh? I felt a little ridiculous as no one else around me had their own personal carafe of coffee. I looked like a severe caffeine addict. All in all, both drinks were delicious.




For Christmas I got Brent a list-book of must-try foods. It only made sense as it combined our two loves: food and travel. Plus living in Toronto it would be more than easy to knock off items from the list. It’s the book I had been sneaking peeks of before we flew down to Austin, Texas. The last thing I wanted was for him to open the present a few weeks later only for us to realize we had just been there, we just missed (insert food). It would be too painful.

I’ve always loved being in the kitchen. Ok, lie. I’ve loved being in the kitchen since moving out. So when Brent gingerly suggested we cook/bake whatever items from the book were doable, my eyes lit up. And then I looked at him. Like really looked at him: you, want to cook??? Challenge accepted.

And so we found ourselves one Saturday evening, bumping elbows in our tiny kitchen while saying to each other- in terrible British accents- bangers and mash. Yup, item one in the book, which is divided by country, was bangers and mash. Something I had not eaten since we visited England in 2016.

We splurged and went to a fancy butcher. The plan had been to go to Cumbrae’s but oohh-noo they just had to go and close the Church St. location. Off to the place by Summerhill LCBO- which I later found out is called Oliffe’s. The only directions I gave to Brent was that it was near Nadege on the way to the LCBO.

Everything went off without a hitch. We had a delicious (romantic? nah, almost, but not quite) dinner. It was a lot of fun to cook together. So much so that neither of us noticed how smoky the house had gotten from all the frying. Hey, in our defense, neither did the smoke detector.

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Posted by on February 23, 2018 in 1001 Foods, Uncategorized



I had been starting to go stir-crazy, it had been a week and a half of eating nothing but soup and I had only recently graduated to eating KD*, I was desperate for solid food when one day it hit me: French toast! I could make French toast for breakfast on the weekend!! I immediately sent off an excited (read: typo-filled) text about my (epic!) plans to my fiance. I started salivating at just the sheer thought of solid(ish) food. The response I got back was: why don’t we go out for brunch.

I spent the next fifteen minutes browsing the menu of The Green Wood when my eyes landed on the mother of all sentences: “cinnamon swirled brioche soaked in vanilla custard.” Needless to say, that is all I thought about for the rest of the day.

I was so psyched about our fooding outing to best new brunch of 2017. We were worried about it being busy, even though Google said max. 15 minutes wait, we still went for soon after open. We were worried for nothing, it was not busy. I was hungry for solid food, so it only made sense to order a side of Mennonite sausage. I don’t remember the last time a strawberry tasted that good. It was delicious French toast, alas I was not 100% and I had to forfeit the second half. It was a giant portion to boot. The (ever-so-slight) downside to no wait is that we were out of there way before 11am, meaning nomosas instead of mimosas.


*We’ll leave it here at the bottom as a footnote and not a part of the main post. Soft food because I had gum graft surgery.


Pinky’s Sounds Like Pinka’s

Pinky’s Ca Phe was voted best new restaurant 2017, and what do you know, they happen to be around the corner from Birreria Volo. We got there soon after open and were seated in the front room. I should mention that it is really easy to walk right by this place as it is a house. It was cold in the front room and not much room to sit. The food and drinks more than made up for that though. The restaurant did not have an online menu so I had to make do with what I read in reviews. And that pretty much swayed all of my choices. Even my drink choice. I had to go with the well-reviewed signature cocktail: the Pink Lady. Was it as delicious as I had anticipated? Yup. That goes for all of the dishes we ordered and then some. The ceviche was other-worldly. Even if it proved hard to eat. It was hard to scoop up enough ceviche with the taro root chips and towards the end we were scooping massive amounts onto small pieces of chips. It was only around the third course that we noticed the nearby chopsticks. Oops. This was a tapas restaurant so of course we ordered a few dishes. The second dish was the beef marrow, which was beef with cilantro and red onions with a beef marrow sauce. It was served in a hollowed out half bone. It was incredible, beating out the first dish by barely a smidge. Alas, they can’t all be greats. The third dish, their take on the roast beef sandwich with dip paled in comparison to the other two. It was tasty yes, but only if you really dipped the sandwich in the sauce. Otherwise the beef lacked seasoning (which makes sense, the sauce gives the seasoning). It was a good sandwich, don’t get me wrong but compared to the other two dishes it just did not stack up.


And what better way to cap off the night than at Birreria Volo, which just so happened to be right around the corner. Turns out Tuesday nights are the best day to go as they have a deal on Canadian beers. I was not having it, as soon as I saw they had Cantillon rose on tap my choice was set. We ended up splitting a second glass of it, its so damn good. It was worth every penny. I ordered a cider after that, the Cantillon after all was just 3oz and Brent had tried a bit of it. Luckily the cider was available as 5oz, I was dreading 10oz a bit as I was not anticipating drinking a lot that night. Especially given I had that cocktail earlier with dinner as well.


Worth The Short Walk

Nothing helps after a night of drinking more than a  brisk walk in the biting cold to get a cup of coffee. It helps that best new cafe of 2017, Strange Love, is a few blocks away from our house. While I waited for the barista to make my cappuccino I noticed a few handy things on the wall. The first one made me mad. Why had I not noticed the sign with seasonal drinks?! Augh! Then I noticed the accolades the barista had won at barista-ing competitions. And finally I noticed a sign about some fancy-shmancy fandangled way of processing the water used for the coffee. Whatever they did to that water, sweetmotherofgod everyone has to adopt it.  Brent had just ordered a drip coffee and there was no milk left at the condiments bar so he had it black. I looked at him skeptically- he is not a coffee drinker. I surmised this could only end badly, I had a sip to at least ascertain how badly. Turns out not badly at all. It was damn delicious. Which is more than I can say for the mediocre croissant. I had one bite and gave up on it, so not good. I could see myself going here regularly for a cup of coffee. Maybe next time I will pay more attention and note the seasonal offerings.


New Year, New Best Of’s

A new year means new best of’s, replenshing our stock of closer-by places and saving us from trudging afar. Best new bakery of 2017 was Butter Baker, and oh how convenient, it was at Bay and Dundas. Did it live up to the crowning title? Yup. It was damn delicious. We covered the gamut and got a pork bun, lemon meringue croissant, a slice of smores cake and a matcha and strawberry danish. While they were known for their cake, I found it lackluster and a paltry last place. Nowhere near as good as the danish or the pork bun. The lemon meringue was delicious (it was marshmallowy!), but I’ve had better croissants.

We devoured the croissant and bun in the bakery, standing at a small table by the door, crumbs just flying everywhere as we people watched the street. I imagine people walking by saw us and were like damn that must be a good bakery.

Having refuelled, we continued on our way back to our old neighbourhood. Best new bar, Mahjong, was a stones throw from Trinity Bellwoods park. I was not quite sure how to feel about a “secret” bar given how awkward it was trying to find the one in Kensington market. Brent ended up walking right past the place. I seriously thought he was joking. Once inside we grabbed a table and settled in. The place was not that busy (yet- by the end of the night it was crammed). We ordered a drink each, deciding to wait until the next round, by which time hopefully our friend would have arrived, before ordering food.

The first drink I had consisted of salted watermelon and soju. Oddly it was too heavy on the watermelon flavour. Our friend still had not arrived so we put off ordering food, instead going for round two. This time I had a cocktail with mezcal, tequila and ginger. It was way better than the first one, by far. We took a break from drinking, we hadn’t really had a proper meal yet. The braised beef and noodles absolutely hit the spot, even if it was hard to eat with chopsticks, especially towards the end. Having eaten, we were safe to return to drinking. Cocktail #3 had sake, soju, rosemary, lime and peychaud. It was now in second place, losing only to the ginger cocktail. Our friend had arrived at some point during round #3 and it would have been round to only stay for one round and so round four commenced soon enough. Besides there was really only one other cocktail on the fine menu that had caught my eye, the salty bar. It was the third best, losing only to the terrible watermelon one. It was a nice bar, good cocktails, but it’s too far to be a regular haunt.

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