Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Changes in diet

Given that Sheila is expecting, there have been some changes to the diet around here. First and foremost this means no alcohol and very little caffeine.

The dropping of alcohol has been easy, I was drinking very little lately. I will miss doing anything with the Beaujolais Nouveau this year.

Dropping caffeine is a bigger issue. I have become addicted again. Sunday and Monday had problems due to my lack of caffeine. I get headaches. I hope that I am beyond this now, but I am not certain. I will be even more sensitive to the effects of caffeine on my body now.

Sheila now needs to eat numerous small meals during the day and is not happy with meals where there are too many flavours and smells. I made a very good goulash on Sunday but Sheila really could not eat it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Squash Season

Sheila reminded me that it will be squash season shortly and that we should be getting some. My problem is that I am reasonably indifferent to the squash as something to eat.

Soups are one thing I do like to make with squash and I was thinking of trying to recreate my bacon squash soup. I made it about five years ago in Lillooet.

  1. Bake any winter squash - I prefer the flavour of baked because of the caramelizing of the sugars.
  2. Fry up bacon - a fair amount, for a large squash I used about a pound of bacon
  3. Take out the fried bacon
  4. Fry some onion and garlic in the bacon fat.
  5. Put everything into a food processor with some stock and puree
  6. Add salt and pepper as needed.

It is a great simple but hearty soup.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


I am wondering what to do about coffee? I am finding that the typical price for a good coffee is about $15 to $17 per pound. Meanwhile the lower end arabica coffee can be bought for about $5 per pound.

I bought some Melita coffee this week for a much lower price than the beans we have been getting at Starbucks. But the coffee has a bitter aftertaste. It really is not a workable option.

I have trouble spending so much for coffee. I can not understand why the price difference is so high. I can understand the difference between arabica and robusta beans, but within the world of the arabicas I can not see the reason for the huge difference.

I would be willing to pay a premium for good coffee, but a 200% premium seems out of line.

What are the good coffees out there that do not cost a fortune?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Restaurant Reviews

I looked at a copy of Eat for the first time in awhile and I was once again bored. The reviews were typically badly written and all of them looked for ways to boost the restaurant they were at. I would like to read reviews that tell me the honest truth about a restaurant. If the food was not great and the service was bad, tell me about it. If it was not clean - TELL ME!

I think it is time for someone to do real reviews of restaurants in the Victoria area. I would love to do it, but I get so few chances to eat out at the moment. I am going to try and review each and every place I eat at in the future, but it will not be very regular.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oven Roasted Chicken

I got the inspiration for this from watching Gordon Ramsay's program the F Word.

I liked how the chicken was first browned in the pan and then baked in the oven.

We had to go out to Costco and do some shopping, I thought this was would only be 45 minutes, but it was closer to a hour and half. The chicken was very well done, but still good. Actually falling off of the bone done and wonderfully crisp. It was not too dry.

The rice was mixed with some leftovers from the day before and this worked out well.

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Sheila made them. They had a potato and pea filling. The dough was not as soft as I would have liked. We need a better flour and we need to either get a rolling pin or a pasta roller attachment for the Kitchenaid.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Sheila is a huge fan of Eugene's and lately I have been buying their homous regularly, but it can get a bit pricey. I bought four cans of Unico chick peas and will try to make some of my own.


I am going to try this Ravioli later today. I am going to use ground bison meat, it has been on sale this week at Fairway Market. I will also make a few filled with shrimp, for myself as Sheila is not a fan of seafood.

In a skillet over medium heat, put: 1/2 lb. ground beef 1/3 c. minced onion 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

Cook until meat is browned. Remove from heat; stir in 2 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup minced parsley, and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Drain to fill pasta.

To cook ravioli, prepare pasta dough and fill with meat filling. In a large saucepot, boil 6 quarts water with 1 tablespoon oil. Gently add pasta with slotted spoon, stir gently so they don't stick. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender but firm. Remove with slotted spoon to heated platter. Serve with heated sauce either homemade or canned. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 main dish servings.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Post wedding - making fresh pasta

The wedding was two weeks ago and we are beginning to settle into the new house. Problem is that we still have a lot to do with the house and are very tired with all the work we need to do. Trying to cook interesting food is not that easy in this environment.

We got some interesting kitchen items as wedding gifts. One the best was a Kitchenaid stand mixer. I used it for the first time last night and made some fresh pasta with it. The only sort of pasta I have made in the past is spaetzle and gnochi.

I tried making a more traditional pasta last night. It went quite well. We rolled out a large sheet and I cut it into fettuccine. Problem was that I laid them all out together and left them for an hour. When I came back to it, it was all one mass of dough. We quickly cut it into small pieces and made it into little thumb pressed pastas. They tasted good, but were too thick and a bit tough because of that.

I made a sauce that had a fresh taste . First I made lardons out Tiroler bacon and once that this produced fat I put in onions and shallots.

Towards the end I added red pepper, lemon zest, leomon juice and cherry tomatoes. I then took it off of the heat and added green onions, balasamic and basil. The pasta was put into the sauce at the end. Tasted good we finished it all.

I am going to try pasta again tonight, I will let the dough sit for an hour and then roll it out shortly before putting it into the water. I will be trying for a linguine. Sauce??? Not sure.

Time to try the kitchen torch. Sheila has used it for melting cheese on crackers.........

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Meatloaf disaster

I made a meatloaf for dinner last night. The last time I made one it was sublime in flavour and texture, but last night is was a horror. Not tough and dry, but fatty and loose.

I believe that my mistake is that I did not use regular ground beef, but lean ground beef. I also did not have the egg as a binder.

It is amazing how much of a difference this made.

The kids ate it, but the leftovers went to the dog.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Milestone's in Victoria

Yes they are a chain, but it is the last place I ate. The Milestone's in Victoria seems be successful, so their marketing manager Chris Coleman told me, and seeing the crowds it is clear that they are.

We had lunch on their new patio on top. The food was good for an outside casual burger joint. Though it was chips and not fries as they have no deep fryer up there, not that I minded as I prefer chips to fries in any case.

The setting seems to be created as a quasi outside bar to enjoy over looking the inner habour. The setting in the right place, but the set up is not correct to accomplish this - the layout means there are a few good tables and the rest just do not have the view.

The location also opens rather late, I was expecting it to be open earlier than noon - say 11:30 or 11:00, but it was not.

Milestone's may be a chain, but their Victoria location continues to impress me with the above average food quality and service.

Milestone's Inner Harbour on Urbanspoon

Why this blog?

I was watching Iron Chef America last night and it was the Bacon Battle - Flay v Lee. I realised that I have a rather a big interest in good cooking and devote a lot of time and effort to it. So I thought I would start to put my thoughts down about food.

I live in Victoria and the city is blessed with a nice set of mid range restaurants, but nothing upscale. We have no star chefs in this town making food one would envy anywhere on earth - this is a problem.