Tuesday, 25 April 2017

North African Merguez

In this modern world where people can work remotely from anywhere on the globe and therefore move to a place of their choice, there are major pluses as well as minuses. When moving from one area to another, the experience is fascinating but there are frustrations that come along with it. Yes it is always fun to discover new places, meet other people, learn another culture, add an additional language to your repertoire and discover new dishes. This is the thrill of moving away and you don’t have to move far away to experience changes.

Just moving out of Québec to Ontario was a big adaptation on many levels… well back there it was. Clubs in the 80s’ were closing at 1am instead of 3am in Québec. Drinking age was 19 versus 18 (I moved when I was 23 so I was okay). Everything was mostly closed on Sunday in downtown Toronto whereas in Montréal it was another crazy day to go out. People were dressing very conservatively in comparison to the ones from Montréal which back then the city held the reputation of being North America’s Fashion Destination next to New York City. With only 5 hours of driving between Toronto and Montréal, I couldn’t understand why there were so many food items from Québec we couldn’t find in Ontario.

Nine years ago, I fell in love and moved with David here in British Columbia. I didn’t move from Canada to Asia although sometimes it feels like this here in Vancouver… lol! Almost the same thing happened then when I moved in Ontario back in the late 80s’. I won’t pinpoint all the differences except food again – of course, this is a cooking website… lol! When I just moved in Ontario when visiting family and friends in Québec, I always had a cooler in the car so I bought food items, filled the cooler and brought them back home to Toronto. Now it is quite difficult to do that considering that I would have to drive 4 days non-stop going through the Rockies (this is if the weather is nice) just to have my fav food items. So the solution was to make my own!

There’s one food item that is incredibly delicious and till this day, I still don’t understand why butchers don’t carry it. It is Merguez sausage! I used to buy it often when living in Montréal. This sausage has so many earthy flavors and the spiciness in it is perfect! After inquiring at over a dozen butcher shops around and getting that puzzled look on their faces when asking for it, I’ve decided it was time for me to try making merguez sausage. This North African sausage is not for the faint of heart… it is spicy! If you like spice in your food and are not afraid to try something new then you definitely need to add this to your “must try” list.
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit
 
 


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I always like going out to restaurants and I love the whole experience of it. From dressing up to sitting down at the restaurant table, ordering, relaxing and enjoying flavorful meals cooked by amazing chefs plus sharing a nice bottle of wine along with great company and conversation, to me this is a lovely way to spend an evening! I’m very social and this is something I really enjoy in my life.

Back in the 80s’, on average I would say that I was going out for dinner 4 nights a week. I was definitely a “Restaurantaholic”! – if this word doesn’t exist, I just created one… lol! I always love trying new dishes from the menu, new wines while wearing a new outfit – did I ever mention that I love shopping? The same scenario in the 90s’ with me and restaurants but much lesser since the turn of the century and definitely less since I’m on the West Coast unless we’re travelling.

One dish that appeared in a lot of restaurants was Chicken Cordon Bleu. For some strange reason, restauranteurs removed it from their menus and I don’t remember seeing it since the late 90s’. A few years ago I got a flashback from that dish and decided to replicate it at home. My first attempt was pretty good but I wanted more flavor so I thought outside the box by adding a few new ingredients and with humbleness (… lol!), I have to admit, this is the best Chicken Cordon Bleu I ever had!

If you like classic dishes and want to impress your guests with a flavorful and well-presented dish, this one is absolutely perfect! I like to serve this recipe along with my Moroccan Couscous – click here for the link: Moroccan Couscous Salad– and some veggies. You can prep your roulades ahead of time (1-2 hours), tightly wrap them and when you’re ready to cook, bread them, sear them and transfer them to the oven… voilà! If you’ve never tried this dish, I highly suggest you do… you’ll be amazed how incredibly tasty it is!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit
 
 

Monday, 17 April 2017

Tiramisu

I can proudly say that I’m a person who likes almost everything. I don’t have a narrow mind and I’m willing to try food, ingredients, etc. that I’ve never had before. Some people without trying it, will lift their nose and refuse to taste it – can’t understand them… sorry! At least try it and if you don’t like it THEN you can make a legitimate comment about it.

Although as mentioned I like pretty much everything, there are certain dishes, food that I’m not crazy about. That doesn’t’ stop me from giving them another try until perhaps I might eventually like it. Well here’s a perfect example… Between David and I, I am the most adventurous one although he came a long way since we’ve met and now, we both try “new stuff” together. Though there is one dish that I never really enjoyed and it is David’s fav! It’s Tiramisu! WHAT? Yes… I’ve never been a big fan of that classic Italian dessert even though I like all the ingredients in the recipe. It reminds me of “baby food”. You know that big round cookie that moms pour hot milk over to make it soft for babies without teeth (or barely any). This is what the texture reminds me of and for some reason, it was not enjoyable in my mouth.

One of the rules of thumb for a healthy relationship is to not be too self-centered, selfish and compromise once in a while. So having said that, one day I decided to make David’s favorite dessert – I’ve been procrastinating to make it for years but it was the decent thing to do… I have to say, the guy is patient… lol! Each time David ordered it, he always wanted me to have a taste and as a good sport, that’s exactly what I was doing “A” taste, not more just one taste! I knew which ingredients I would need to make it so opening up my memory box located somewhere in my brain, I put ingredients together and adding my favorite liqueurs in it which were Tia Maria and Marsala Wine. A little confession to make – I was drinking Tia Maria in my coffee while making it and truly hoping this dessert will turn out okay. It is hard to have confidence about something you’re making when you don’t like it…

Well, well, well what a surprise this Tiramisu was! Not only was it amazingly delicious BUT I LIKE IT! Okay, I like it more – I’m still working on the “baby-cookie-mushy-texture” issue, it’s a work in progress! Is it because I used Tia Maria or because I made it and somehow the “ego” department of my person decides it was more acceptable? Who knows! The important thing was that David really loved it and since then, I’ve been making it more often.

The moral of this recipe is don’t lift your nose to something you never had before until you try it and if after that, you still don’t really like it, keep trying, your taste buds might surprise you!
Bon Appétit!

 

For ingredient amounts and much more, visit http://clubfoody.com/recipe/tiramisu/