Category Archives: 1001 Foods

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



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

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