Monday, January 31, 2011

Prime Rib Roast

I bought one today at the Gordon Head Fairway, it was a very good deal.   I thought this would be a great dinner, but things have gotten in the way.

First off, two people will not be here for dinner
Second, I made a huge error on the cooking time and it is not done yet and I have to leave for a meeting in 15 minutes.

I will add a pic of the roast to this posting later tonight - which is what I am now doing

The roast was really rare when I pulled it out.   It was a screaming deal for a 7 pound standing rib roast, $40

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Maple Syrup Festival February 5th in Duncan

The BC Forestry Discovery Centre is hosting the Bigleaf Maple Syrup Festival on February 5th.   I am planning on checking it out and see what we can do in this region from our own trees.   Maples are not the only trees you can tap, in family background has a history of birch being used the same way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A few random things

I was looking a cooking blog from Catherine von Schulmann in Moscow, she is married to my 8th cousin Michael, we Schulmanns connect over the centuries.  She had a post about the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker.   I am dubious.  I have never seen anything like it and wonder how well it works, but Catherine seems to think it works well

Похож на большую полупрозрачную матрешку, красненький такой. Несмотря на игрушечную наружность, таки работает - пока опробовала на изготовлении смеси корицы-гвоздики-бадьяна для ароматизации сладкого кускуса с изюмом.

Quick translation, looks like a toy but it works, she has used in on cinnamon, clove and anise.   

It works by putting your stuff inside the shaker, putting in a ceramic ball, screwing on the second half and then shaking.   I assume the ceramic ball grinds and crushes whatever is in the shaker.


Sheila had lunch with his sister at Devour today, I still have not managed to get there.   I did get pointed in the direction of a blog dedicated to Devour called I Heart Devour Food.   The pictures makes my mouth water.  I have really got to get there.

Devour on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Foodie Events in 2011

We are getting more and more foodie events in this city and they sell out much too fast!

The sixth annual Victoria Whisky Festival is coming in just over a week but it is sold out.   I honestly had not been paying attention to the dates and missed buying a ticket.

The fifth annual Victoria Tea Festival is coming February 12th and 13th - February is a busy month for me and tea does not jump out at me as something exciting, I really only like to drink Earl Grey and not much else.

Up island there is the third annual Parksville Uncorked Food and Wine Festival on Feb 24th-27th.   I know nothing about this event but it could be good excuse to go north of the Malahat.

Cullaniare is happening on March 10th.   We need to go out and buy some tickets, the price is cheap to get a chance to taste food from such a variety or restuarants in town.   This year they are having two seatings as it sold out quickly last year.  I will post about it afterwards.

The fourth annual Island Chef's Food Festival is June 12th at Fort Rodd Hill again.  Tickets are $40 before May 1st and $50 afterwards.   Go early and bring a designated driver.

Taste returns for a third year on July 21 to 24th.  The Main Event cost $79 +GST last year, I am assuming the price will he similar this year.  There should be over 100 BC wines available again this year.  We volunteered for the event last year, this year I would like to go to the event.


We went to Ulla for a second time on Friday and we remain impressed with the food.  The plates are so beautifully created that it is almost a shame to start eating the food.

Here are a series of pictures of the meal.   

beef tenderloin, pomme puree,
king oyster mushrooms, red wine sauce

pork loin, savoy cabbage, celery root, bacon,
 apple, cheddar, pork crackling

crispy mushroom and pecorino arancini,
frisee salad, white truffle mayo

giant pacific octopus, new potato, celery,
herbs, watercress, smoked paprika

albacore tuna tataki, preserved lemon,
 chili oil, celery, ginger ponzu

semolina polenta, winter squash, sage,
crispy bread crumbs, parmesan

Ulla Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mediterranean Snapper Casserole

Last night Bernard made baked red snapper fillets - lots of them. For once we had lots of leftovers. What to do....Bernard suggested that I make a fish-macaroni casserole for dinner the next night (my night to cook in our new schedule). With some concern I took on the challenge. I am not a great fish cook and fish casseroles are even more foreign territory. Not to mention that generally when I use macaroni I am putting a cheesy sauce on it - not something I am doing to fish and not something in line with my attempts to reduce my calories.

After some thinking I remembered a fish and tomato stew I had and liked. This got me looking at Mediterranean flavours. But white pasta didn't sit well with my diet plan, but barley did and I was wanting to use it more. There is the evolution of tonight's dinner, which I was especially pleased with and have decided to share the recipe in case you want to try something new.

2.5 fillets of red snapper
1 large onion
1 red pepper
1/4 cup chopped Moroccan olives
1/2 cup chopped flat leafed parsley
2 tbsp capers
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp each oregano, basil, salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups tomato sauce
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tbsp butter

chop onion and put in a frying pan with salt, chili pepper flakes, basil, and oregano on medium-high heat
put barley in a large skillet or heavy pot, on medium-high heat
chop pepper, parsley, olives and garlic and add to onions once they are soft
once barley is slightly toasted add 1 cup of stock and reduce to a simmer
melt butter and mix with panko is a separate bowl
once veggies are softened add to barley and mix in the tomato sauce
put half of the tomato sauce in a casserole and lay the snapper on top of sauce
cover with rest of sauce
sprinkle with panko crumbs
bake at 350 for about 30 minutes - until fish and barley are cooked

A late posting about a dinner

Years ago when I lived in the UK I was introduced to the wonders of Beaujolais Noveau through my uncle Nils von Taube.   There were a number of weekends Catherine and I spent at the my uncle's country house the Old Rectory in Great Wigborough drinking the stuff as if it was juice.  Weekends at my uncle's place was like something out of PG Wodehouse.

Since then I have tried to get some Beaujolais Noveau each year, when I lived in Lillooet I had ordered in for enough years running that the Lillooet liquor store started to automatically get each year.

It is amazing how few varieties were on offer this year, the BC Liquor stores only had two varieties, the same ones that Liquor Plus had as well.   We got a number of bottles of the Mommessin.  The cost is steeper than what I think it really reasonable, about $15 a bottle, in the UK 20 years ago (wow, that is getting to be a long time ago) I was paying about $5-$6 a bottle.

As a wine it was what I expected, very young and fruity, I do not buy it because it is an amazing a wine.  It is a celebration of the harvest and fall.   It is a wine for a party.

Sheila and I like to cook and cook well.   It is something that is hard to do on a daily basis so we have dinner parties from time to time.  "Beaujolais Noveau est arrive" is a good reason for a feast of some sort.

Our dinner was a series of tasting plates.   Beef carpaccio,
beet carpaccio, speck kuchen, curry tarts, deviled eggs,
two types of puff pastry pinwheels
and some other stuff
We invited six friends to join us this year and decided to do a tasting dinner.  We made some puff pastry pinwheels filled with pesto and ham and the other with a tomato sauce.  Sheila often makes these as an appetizer or hors d'oeuvre.

I made a beef carpaccio, it is the first time a tried it and it was impressed with what came of it.   I tried to slice the pieces too thin at first but realized that the pounding worked just as well with slightly thicker pieces.   For the vegetarians we had a beet carpaccio

We had two different tarts, a caramelized onion puff pastry tart and a sweet potato curry tart.   Speckkuchen were there as well, this is a yeast dough filled perogy sort of thing.  It is filled with bacon, onions and craisins - the last bit is my own adaptation.

We also had deviled eggs, they sound simple, but good ones require the right mixture for the filling and caviar on top.

All in all the people at the dinner we impressed and happy with what we served.   As I am writing this Sheila is asking me when we should have our next dinner party.   We are looking at January 29th.