braised lamb shoulder

Quick Braised Lamb Shoulder with Tzatziki

When your anniversary follows a mere week after your birthday, sometimes it’s good to take the hit and make one of those celebratory dinners at home.

Don’t get me wrong — I love eating out — having someone else cook dinner is one of the best gifts a chef could ask for.

But restaurant dining comes with a big bill these days, and there are times when I have a hard time justifying the cost.  We both thoroughly enjoyed my birthday dinner last week in Victoria at Ulla on Fisgard (I took advantage and toured their wine-by-the-glass list extensively), but no matter how good the food & libations, two $200 meals in one week is hard for most peoples’ savings accounts to swallow.

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Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Carnitas came up the other day in my little corner of the social media world, when a friend asked for a good, well-vetted, recipe.

I’d never made these little crunchy bites of crisp-fried pork at that point, so I was of no help.  Thankfully, however, another friend, Lori from Little White Apron, came through with a link.  She pointed us to Mark Bittman’s recipe in the NY Times for Carnitas Braised in Witbier. Continue reading

nettlekopita-3

Nettlekopitas

The stinging nettles are out on Pender! Delayed by a couple of weeks by that brief cold snap and dump of snow in February, I’m happy to report, after 3 days of picking, that while most of Pender is under at least three inches of water from recent torrential downpours, that has not prevented the velvety green tips of my favourite edible weed from emerging out of the puddles.

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bagels-

Bagels

One of the worst culinary crimes of the last century is what industrialized bakeries have done to the bagel.

What was once fresh-baked, chewy, soft and dense (in a good way) has mutated into a moist, doughy mass shoved into plastic and left to languish on a super-store shelf for days, if not weeks.

No wonder people are going carb-free… Continue reading

walnuts-chips

Potato Chips & Candied Walnuts from The Lion and the Rose by Kate Quinn

“Pass me the pepper,” said Bartolomeo,  releasing my wrist. “If you please, signorina. And a block of the good Parmesan, and a grater.”

“Yes, maestro,” I said with just a bit of a sniff, so he’d see the concession I was making, and I fetched both. Bartolomeo tossed the crisp golden discs with pepper and just a little fine-grated cheese, and popped one into his mouth. He chewed. I waited. “Well?”

“Needs more salt,” he decided. Another sprinkle, another taste, as I shifted from foot to foot. My mouth was watering again, and Bartolomeo’s cheeks creased in a smile as he proffered a fried golden coin of tuber. “Here.”

Taste exploded in my mouth — the crunch of salt flakes and faint burn of fresh pepper, the crisp fried skin on the outside giving way to something mealy, mild…and quite wonderful.

Kate Quinn, The Lion and the Rose (Chapter 4)

It’s time again for more Food from Fiction! I pleased to introduce you to Kate Quinn’s newest novel, The Lion and the Rose, sequel to The Serpent and the Pearl.  Here’s the Fresh Cheese and Onion Tourte I featured from the first book a few months back.

I’ve selected a couple of snacks from the second story. Quick and easy to prepare, these Fried Tubers (Potato Chips) and Candied Walnuts will keep you happy on the couch, whether you’re curled up with a good book, or a vegging out in front of the tube.

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