Category Archives: Lessons From Cooking School


Chestnut Linzer Cookies w/ Spiced Rum Pastry Cream & The Winner!

Where did the time go?  Only 3 sleeps to go!  Every year, December seems to melt away, even as the thermometer outside my kitchen window drops to near zero.

I made these little cookies a couple of weeks ago, and I’m sorry that it took me so long to get this post up, because they’re simply delicious.  Danish klejner are my lifelong Christmas favourites, but these shortbread cookies are so buttery and deliciously nutty that they’re making a run for first place in my heart AND stomach.

Chestnut flour is worth the effort to make it yourself, or the expense if you buy it online.  And if you don’t have chestnuts, then try hazelnuts instead.

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Odd Bits Class with Jennifer McLagan at The London Chef

I took the ferry into Victoria this past dreary Saturday to take the “Odd Bits” class at The London Chef with Jennifer McLagan, chef and and award-winning author from Toronto whose past books include Bones and Fat, winner of the 2009 James Beard Cookbook of the Year.

After you’ve covered fat and bones, what’s left?  The offal, of course.  But as Chef McLagan explained at the beginning of our class, The Offal Cookbook is bound to become victim to an almost endless number of awful puns (sorry), so instead, we have Odd Bits.

For a rainy day spent inside talking about how to cook and eat the feet, blood, organs and glands of various animals, it was enjoyable indeed.  Chef McLagan is an engaging, passionate speaker and The London Chef’s bright, well-appointed demonstration kitchen is as welcoming as any I’ve been in.  The glass of red to loosen us all up at the start didn’t hurt either.

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Glazed (Candied) Lemon Peel

I know I’m taking a chance with an organic bag of lemons on sale for $2.99 — at anytime of year.  It would be different if I lived further south, amongst citrus trees of plenty, but I don’t.  I live on a 13 sq. mile island floating in the northern Pacific.

That’s a bit dramatic.  Actually, Pender is located in the Strait of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and Vancouver, on the mainland.  So we’ve got a little more shelter than, say, Samoa.  Some even boast of our Mediterranean climate — a claim put to the test in the last couple of years — but I’m unaware of any local lemon trees, unless someone has one hidden in a warm and glowing greenhouse.  (Although I was impressed to hear that a friend and her family successfully grew and harvested a Calamondin Orange tree here on Pender).  Shelley, do you still have any of that chutney left?

My sketchy bag of lemons came from a grocery store in Victoria, and, like I said, I knew the odds of getting juicy fruit were against me.  But I had just seen a new recipe for Glazed Citron from David Lebowitz, and I was actually on the lookout for some gnarly looking specimens.


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Moussaka Pizza for Sunday Lunch

Yesterday, I ended up pretty deep in the back of the fridge while on reconnaissance for dinner.  And somewhere between clearing out the meat drawer and finding the lost mayonnaise in the crisper, I had a mathematical epiphany.  OK, it was actually more related to food than numbers, but still, it showed up in my head as this unalterable, absolute equation:

Ground Lamb + Eggplant + Bechamel Sauce + Mozzarella = Moussaka

There’s only 1 problem.  No one around here likes Moussaka.  But we do love pizza —  I found 2 pre-made balls of dough when I took my search to the freezer — and when you start saying Moooooooooossaka Pizza over to yourself over and over (while rocking out to Synchronicity I on internet radio) caution gets thrown to the wind and you realize that somethings are just meant to be.

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Vegetable Stock – Take Two

It seems I`m not feeling too wordsy right now…I just spilled all the words I have about how to make the richest, tastiest vegetable stock over on my newest posting at Eat Magazine.

Never fear, I`m sure the words will come back shortly.  They always do.  Until then, here`s the Vegetable Stock recipe to go along with the article.  (Smooth, eh?)

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