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Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

Brian’s cooking is seasonal, inventive and smart, but in no way unapproachable or fussy. When he is coaxed out of the kitchen and starts talking about food, his passion and knowledge are instantly recognizable.

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Archive for the ‘Cooking Classes’ Category

Gastronomically yours,

May 26th, 2014


Smithworks Brewing Company

Over the past decade our palates and the beer we drink have developed into a league all of their own. Beer is no longer just a beverage of the working class but a culinary element that not only may be used as an ingredient but something more akin to wine as you may now attend multi-course meals that sees each course being paired with a multitude of brews.

Ontario’s sixty-some microbreweries or craft breweries account for more than 30 per cent of Ontario’s brewery industry and you can expect that amount to rise greatly in the coming weeks as Peterborough is now home to the new Smithworks Brewing Company. This recently opened, family operated brewery features an elegantly rustic tasting room with full view of the brewing floor giving you a true taste of the craft brewing experience as you watch the beer making process roll ousmithworks logot from start to finish.


International award winning Brewmaster Graham Smith produces an exceptionally high quality beer made using premium malts, hops and yeast, in small batches to ensure maximum freshness and taste. I had the fortunate opportunity of discussing the Smithworks Brewing process with their brewmaster and I learned that Graham is overtly passionate about the beer he chooses to brew and the process by which he executes its production.

Smithworks Brewing Company has released their inaugural beer “Hefeweizen”.

This German style white beer is named Hefeweizen as it translates as “Hefe” meaning yeast and “Weizen” wheat. Hefeweizen is a top fermented, unfiltered, bottle conditioned wheat beer with a visible yeast sediment and a cloudy appearance.

Smithworks Brewing Company’s Hefeweizen is an exceptionally easy drinking beer. Personally I know that a non-beer drinker may change over after having a nip of Hefeweizen. I found it to be a fresh tasting, effervescent beer that is easily quaffed as the bready, spicy and somewhat fruity aromas fill your head.

The spicy notes are naturally produced by the phenols and esters engendered by the living yeast that Graham uses in his beer making process which produces flavours of vanilla, coriander and banana.  Smithworks Hefeweizen is lightly hopped which eliminates the bitterness and harshness exhibited in other beers. It pairs well with barbecued foods, mild and spicy curries, nachos, grilled chicken and seafood.

Additionally to brewing great beer, which is available for purchase from their retail store located on Rye Street in Peterborough, Smithworks Brewing Company accommodates individual clients, or groups interested in educational tours and tastings as well as being able to organize group events.

Whether you are heading to the cottage or just taking it easy this weekend there is a good chance you’ll be reaching for a cold one so why not make it a Hefeweizen from Smithworks Brewing Company and maybe try using it in the following beer batter recipe. Smithworks Brewery is located at 687 Rye St Peterborough. Drive down to the end of the building on the right. They are located in the last unit #6


Hefeweizen Batter


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

½ tsp minced garlic

¼ tsp. ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups Hefeweizen


The food truck was on hand for the Opening Night of Smithworks Brewing Company

The food truck was on hand for the Opening Night of Smithworks Brewing Company

In a small mixing bowl add flour, egg, garlic p, and black pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the beer and use the remaining ½ cup beer to adjust the batter to obtain your desired texture.  Lightly flour your foods to be battered before dipping them in the batter. Fry your battered foods between 350 ° f-365 °f. Yields 2 cups of batter.

Gastronomically yours,

May 10th, 2014

In the Patch –Rhubarb Patch

My first encounter with fresh rhubarb was a frightening experience for me. I was about six years old and my aunt had baked a strawberry rhubarb pie. It was a slice of heaven, lightly heated with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The next day one of my older cousins pointed out the rhubarb plant to me in the garden and suggested that I try it fresh seeing as I had enjoyed the pie so much. I eagerly broke off a stalk and started munching away. I quickly fled to the safety of my aunt’s kitchen with tears in my eyes making gagging accusations that my cousin was trying to poison me. It took about ten years for me to get over that experience before I started to eat and cook rhubarb again.

Rhubarb starting to sprout

Rhubarb starting to sprout

There is often discussion surrounding rhubarb that the leaves contain poisonous compounds. The most dangerous substance found in the leaves is oxalic acid. The median lethal dose for pure oxalic acid is about one ounce for a 150 lb person. The oxalic acid content found in rhubarb leaves vary but it would require that same 150 lb person to consume around 12 pounds of the extremely sour leaves in one sitting to cause death.

Rhubarb is indigenous to the Gobi region of eastern Asia and it is believed that the Hun’s and Mongol’s brought the plant westward with them. Rhubarb has been used throughout history as a medicinal plant in traditional Chinese medicine for its strong laxative properties and for its astringent effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth and the nasal cavity.

The consumption of rhubarb as a food became commonplace when the price of sugar fell in the late 1700’s and became available to the common people of England. Rhubarb eventually found its way to North America in the early 1800’s.

Although we cook rhubarb like a fruit it is an herbaceous perennial that is classified as a vegetable. In Iran and Afghanistan it is commonly cooked with spinach in a preparation known as khorest which is similar to stew. Polish peoples boil rhubarb with potatoes and aromatics while Italians use rhubarb to make a mildly alcoholic beverage called rabarbaro touted as a health tonic.

I enjoy rhubarb in a number of ways and prefer to incorporate it with citrus fruits and ginger. Try this traditional British recipe for Rhubarb and Ginger Jam. I recommend serving it with fresh warm scones at breakfast or serve it at dinner paired with roasted pork loin.


Rhubarb and Ginger Jam


Two lb rhubarb
Two lb sugar
two cups of water
Four oz crystallized (candied) Ginger

One oz fresh ginger root

Zest of one lemon
Juice of two fresh Lemons

One Jalapeno or Habanero pepper seeded and finely chopped- optional for those who like it hot!

Method: Wash and trim the rhubarb and cut it into one inch lengths. Squeeze the ginger in a garlic press to extract its juice and reserve. Chop the candied ginger into small pieces.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine the rhubarb, sugar, water, lemon zest and juice.
Over medium high heat bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 15-20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add the candied ginger and reduce heat to medium. Allow the mixture to simmer for a further 15-20 minutes. Skim the surface with a sieve to remove any bubbles and scum. Pour the jam into sterilized jars to be sealed and cooled.


The Ancient Greeks referred to rhubarb as “the vegetable of barbarians” and understandably so with its blood red, celery like stalks and its strong astringent flavour peppered with the toxic oxalic acid which can make you feel like your mouth has been pulled inside out when eaten raw.

The name rhubarb is Greek in origin and combined two words; rha and barbarum. Rha refers to the plant and to the Volga River where along its banks rhubarb has grown wild for centuries. It also symbolized the laxative effects of rhubarb and how it could medicinally be used to make your bowels evacuate themselves and flow like the Volga River.

too much rhubarb may have this laxative effect

too much rhubarb may have this laxative effect

Originally cultivated in China for its medicinal qualities; rhubarb became so valued that the Qing Dynasty on a number of occasions decreed that no tea or rhubarb was to be exported as foreign barbarians would surely die without these necessary staples.

It wasn’t until the 1700’s when sugar prices fell that we saw rhubarb being consumed as a food and cultivated in most people’s gardens. Since its arrival in North America rhubarb has found its home and is used in a variety of preparations that includes breads, cakes, pies, tarts and jams.

Whether you get your rhubarb from your back yard, a neighbor or the grocery store you need to know about the two basic types of rhubarb available and their differences. The traditional variety displays thick green stalks that possess a balanced mellow flavor while the modern hothouse variety has slender stalks with a deep red color which lends itself to striking presentation it is also far bitterer.

After you have selected your rhubarb you will need to rinse the stalks of any dirt and trim away the leaves as the leaves contain poisonous compounds. The most potent of which is oxalic acid. The median lethal dose for pure oxalic acid is about one ounce for a 150 lb. person. The oxalic acid content found in rhubarb leaves vary but it would require that same 150 lb. person to consume around 12 pounds of the awfully sour leaves in one sitting to cause death. Although tempting, do not peel the fibrous skin from the stalks as it holds most of the color and flavor.

If you do not plan on immediately using your rhubarb it can be stored safely for up to a week sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Alternately you may choose to freeze or can your rhubarb for longer storage. When rhubarb is cooked its juices will naturally thicken and the fibers will fray making it perfect to use for jams and chutneys.

The following recipe for rhubarb yogurt is delicious on its own but versatile as it can be served as a dessert topping, a salad dressing or frozen into an ice cream. Regardless I recommend getting your hands on some rhubarb and making some desserts this holiday weekend.


Rhubarb Yogurt


2 cups stewed rhubarb

1/2 cup plain yogurt

3 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. concentrated orange juice not diluted

Pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg


Using a food processor, puree all of the ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until needed.


Gastronomically yours,

April 23rd, 2014

When spring is in the air

I love the aromas produced by foods being prepared in a kitchen. One of these favorite culinary induced aromas I can only smell in the bathroom. It is the smell of metabolized compounds found in asparagus. These sulphur based compounds give our urine a distinct perfume within 20 minutes of ingesting this member of the daffodil family.



The effect of eating asparagus on our urine has been of curiosity and study since the 1700’s. Most recently a study published in 2010 found that while almost everyone who eats asparagus produces the aromatic asparagus-urine only 40% of the population has the autosomal genes required to smell them. This trait is unique to asparagus as these compounds originate in asparagusic. The aromatic producing elements of asparagus are more concentrated in young asparagus are more present in young asparagus, with the observation that the smell is more pronounced after eating young asparagus.

Another food study in the 1700’s saw the cross breeding of Fragaria virginiana and Fragaria chiloensis which lead to the creation of the cultivar more commonly known as the common garden strawberry.

These naturally sweet aromatic orbs are related to the rose family and have been used for centuries in the kitchen but also in cosmetic applications and of course the perfume industry. The strawberry is the first fruit to ripen and be harvested in the Kawartha’s. Their flavor can be influenced by weather and this year’s hot dry spring should produce exceptionally sweeter fruits than usual.

Asparagus and strawberries have a number of similar traits. They are both related to flowers; make great companion plants, they require human hands to harvest them, and are only available locally in season for a short period of time. Pick up both of these ingredients at farmers markets and grocery stores throughout our region while still in season and try them together in this week’s recipe that will welcome the delicious aromas of summer into our homes. The many textures and flavors of this salad are best served with barbecued chicken to making it a satisfying meal.

Asparagus and Strawberry Salad


2 cups asparagus, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 tbsp. lemon juice

4 cups arugula

1 tbsp.  Honey

3 tbsp.  Balsamic vinegar



In a medium sized bowl combine the asparagus and half of the olive oil together and toss it until the asparagus is evenly coated with the oil. Cook the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in either a preheated oven or barbeque at around 400 °f. Once cooked remove asparagus from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Make the vinaigrette by whisking together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl.

Place about a cup of arugula onto four dinner plates. Top the arugula with the strawberries and asparagus.  Lightly drizzle each salad with the vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.




April showers bring May flowers including tasty edible ones; my favourite being Asparagus. The Ontario asparagus harvest has begun, with the first crops appearing in Niagara and Prince Edward Counties.

This member of the lily family is a perennial that grows from its rhizomes hidden within the soil.  When Ontario asparagus arrives in the marketplace one can see it as the materialization of spring and that our local fields are warming up.

The natural artistic beauty of freshly harvested asparagus with its purplish blue tips contrasted by the rich green stems is a portrait of still life in itself and in need of a suitable canvas of fine bone china. You may sense some rapture and delight in these words but nothing compares to fresh asparagus which has an ephemeral existence with a shortened growing season here.

asp tip

First it must be harvested by hand, travel to market and be consumed within 24 hours. After that asparagus with up to 4% sugar content like other vegetables will begin to consume this sugar for its continued growth and survival. If stored for too long or exposed to light and warm temperatures the asparagus will start to loose its moisture and sweetness. Prolonged storage will see the entire stem grow more fibrous as the plant consume more of it’s self for survival. Some of the effects of storing asparagus can be minimized by simply treating the asparagus like fresh cut flowers. By simply cutting an inch off of  the bottom of  your asparagus and standing them in sugar water your asparagus will hold well in the refrigerator for a few days if need be.

The formation of lignin or the woody fibrous texture found in the lower portion of the stalk asparagus has been dealt with in the same manner for centuries by cooks who simply bend the asparagus stalk end to end. This stress causes the asparagus to snap on the border between the tough and tender parts of the stalk.

Asparagus contains asparagusic acid which is a substance high in sulphur and is classified as a relative of methanethiol; an active ingredient in skunk spray. Within half an hour of eating asparagus our digestive system turns the sulphur into methanethiol. This derivative of asparagusic acid ends up in our urine releasing an aromatic odor. Almost all individuals produce this odorous compound after eating asparagus, but oddly enough only about 40% of us have the autosomal genes required to smell it.

Asparagus is delicious eaten raw but its flavours can be accented by preparing it in a number of ways. A personal favourite is to wrap small bundles of asparagus with bacon and bake it in the oven. Other alternatives include pickling asparagus, brushed with olive oil and cooked on the bbq or blanching them and quickly cooling them under running water for a salad served with toasted almonds.




Sautéed Asparagus 

1 pound of asparagus cleaned

One quarter pound shiitake mushrooms (optional)

2-3 tbsp. butter at room temperature

Juice of one lemon or one-eighth cup white wine

Salt and pepper

Over medium-high heat, pre-heat a sauté pan. Add the butter and swirl it around the pan. Add the asparagus and shiitakes. Please keep your sauté pans moving constantly as sauté means to jump. After two to three minutes has passed remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice and let it simmer for about a minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 2-4 people.

Personally I prefer to serve my asparagus raw or chilled as this helps to avoid cooking it into a soggy camouflage coloured mass.

To serve asparagus as a hearty yet refreshing salad I like to use the following recipe.

]The combination of astringent and sour flavours of the asparagus and Goats cheese is balanced out by the natural sweetness of berries.

Raspberries or strawberries work best.


Chilled Asparagus Salad


1 bunch of asparagus cleaned

3 strawberries

½ cup Goats cheese

¼ cup toasted Pine Nuts

1 tbsp. lemon or orange zest

Kosher salt and cracked pepper


Blanch the asparagus in salted boiling water. Quickly cool it under cold water or in an ice bath. On salad plates arrange asparagus into equal sized log piles. Place sliced strawberries on the asparagus, top this with crumbled goats cheese, pine nuts and lemon zest. Sprinkle salad with Kosher salt and pepper. Serves 4

Gastronomically yours,

April 11th, 2014

A drop in the bucket

The maple sugaring season starts by breaking trails through a winters worth of snow. You haul buckets, tubing and the tools needed to mount them to maple trees. Once installed you listen for the sound of the maple sap harvest to begin as it unfolds one drop at a time, and you busy yourself with cutting wood and early forest management practices.


As the day’s progress and the weather warms, the sap’s dripping becomes almost a trickle and you begin to focus your attention on the collecting and the rendering stage of maple syrup production.

The boiling stage of making syrup requires a watchful eye. You need to keep your fires burning and take the temperature frequently in the final moments to make sure you syrup finishes at the correct temperature. I have lost a few good pans and gallons of syrup to neglect in the past.


As the maple sugaring season draws to a close you can find yourself in a tsunami of sap and it can be a challenge keeping up to with all those drops in the bucket. Sometimes you go without sleep in these last days of syrup making which can influence your thoughts at times.

It’s in these moments that I find myself surrounded with so much sap, partially boiled syrup and finished syrup that I begin experimenting with different recipes. Using the syrup when it’s about half way to being syrup I like to use it for making sorbet, poaching eggs or salmon and running through the coffee maker instead of water.


This year I’ve taken to drinking my sap and syrup more so than cooking with it. As a result I’ve been able to create some of my own original cocktail recipes which I’m going to share here with you first.

The recipes are easy to prepare and can be enjoyed either with or without the alcohol listed in the recipes. If you do not have access to partially boiled sap you can substitute water downed maple syrup just make sure you are using Pure Maple Syrup and not table syrup.


Kawartha Steamer


3oz half boiled syrup

4oz whole fat milk

1½ oz. Canadian Vodka



Heat the syrup and the milk up to 90 °c and pour them into a coffee mug. Pour in the vodka and sip away. If you have a method for steaming and frothing your milk combine the ingredients and froth it up.


North Kawarthan

This is the same as the Kawartha Steamer with the variation being that it is served chilled over ice in a rocks glass.


Kawartha Kicker

This is the same as the Kawartha Steamer with the variation of using Canadian Whiskey in place of vodka.

maple cap

Kawartha Colada


3oz half boiled syrup

1½ oz. spiced rum

4oz whole fat milk

3 oz. pineapple juice

1 cup crushed ice



Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend the ingredients together on medium speed until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated. A Kawartha Colada should be smooth, sweet, and creamy. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail glass and enjoy.


Kawartha Coffee


3oz half boiled syrup

1oz whole fat milk

1 ½ oz Canadian Whiskey

4oz fresh brewed coffee



Heat the syrup and the milk up to 90 °c and pour them into a coffee mug. Pour in the whiskey and top it up with coffee.


Kawartha Cappuccino


2oz half boiled syrup

2oz whole fat milk

1½ oz. spiced rum

3 oz. fresh brewed coffee

Ground cinnamon

Whipped cream (optional)


Heat the syrup and the milk up to 90 °c and pour them into a coffee mug. Pour in the spiced rum and top up with coffee. If you have a method for steaming and frothing your milk combine the ingredients and froth it up. Top with ground cinnamon and or whipped cream.





Gastronomically yours,

March 8th, 2014

Let’s get Tapping

The great thing about this year’s winter is that it has lasted longer than in previous years allowing us additional time to prepare for our first plant based agricultural harvest; maple syrup. This year’s harvest of maple syrup is delayed by about a month and it is expected to be a great one due to the harshness and length of the winter.

For a one time investment of $200.00 you can purchase enough maple sugaring gear to tap 12-14 trees for years to come. Additionally you will need to purchase propane to fire the sap into syrup. I purchased $60 of propane from which I produce over 16 liters of my own maple syrup. Considering that a liter of syrup costs around $20 this is a very economical approach to enjoying maple syrup. The amount of work involved in making these 16-liters of syrup was rather shocking and makes purchasing locally produced syrup seem like a bargain at $20 a liter.

New and used maple sugaring supplies can be purchased locally at the Peterborough Co-Op located just outside of Peterborough on highway 7. This farmer owned farm Co-operative has been serving Peterborough County for over 70 years and can assist you in starting up your own urban maple syrup farm.


Homemade Maple Syrup

If you have a few sugar maple trees, you can make your own maple syrup. I strongly recommend not boiling sap inside your house.

You will need the following

Cordless drill with a 7/16” bit

Spigots and metal or plastic pails with lids.

Felt syrup filter. (optional)

Large plastic pails for storing freshly gathered sap

Outdoor cooker with pot available at hardware stores

Full propane tank and a backup tank

Candy thermometer.

Clean glass jars that will seal for storing your syrup


How to make your own syrup:

First be sure your trees are sugar maples. Drill a 7/16″ hole 3″ deep at waist height into unblemished bark. Drive the spigot in so that it is tight and cannot be pulled out by hand, but don’t overdo it and split the tree. Hang your bucket on the hook of the spout. Be sure to cover the bucket with a lid.

Once the sap has started to run and you have enough in your buckets to fill your boiling pot two-thirds full, you are ready to fire up the burner. Do not overfill your pot, as it will boil over. As the water evaporates, add more sap to the pot. Do not have less than an inch of liquid in the pot as it may burn. You can add cold sap right into the boiling sap. It will take a lot of boiling to get it to become syrup. Remember that 40 liters of sap make one liter of maple syrup.

Do not leave an accumulation of sap in the collecting buckets especially in warm weather, as the sap will sour. Keep the sap as cold as possible and boil it as soon as you can. Finished maple syrup will be 7.5 °f. above the temperature of boiling water at your elevation, check this with your candy thermometer. I like to use a hydrometer to tell me when my syrup is done. Proper syrup will weigh at least 11 pounds per gallon. Do not go beyond 11 1/4 pounds per gallon or it may form crystals in the bottom of the storage container.

Pour finished hot syrup through a felt syrup filter or strainer. Sediment will settle to the bottom of the jars and clearer syrup may be carefully poured off the top. Personally I prefer to leave the sediment in my syrup, as it is a concentration of calcium and other minerals and is quite healthy to consume.


Pour the hot syrup into the clean, sterile canning jars and seal. Fill them full so that very little air will be in the jar. If laid on their side while cooling a better seal will result. Store your finished syrup in a cool place. The freezer is ideal and properly prepared syrup will not freeze and a poor seal will not be as important when stored in a freezer.

If proper taping procedures are followed, tapping will not endanger the health and vitality of your trees as a healthy sugar maple can provide sap every year for a hundred years or more.


Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

Maple Wine

As the season has just begun our first 3 liters of syrup would be classified as Canada No. 1 Light which is a pale, honey like delicate syrup produced only at the beginning of the season.  Maple syrup is divided into five grades, based largely on color. Canada No. 3 Dark lies at the other end of the spectrum, as a richly colored full-flavored syrup which is harvested towards the end of the season. Canada No. 1 Medium is the most popular grade; it’s produced midseason.

Most people will take maple syrup and drizzle it over food just like ketchup. My point being that neither is considered to be an act culinary genius. We simply use it as a condiment and pour it over anything from baked goods and pancakes to salmon and pork dishes.

one should try any of the following ideas If you are harvesting your own sap or have access to fresh sap I recommend any of the following ideas and concepts to appreciate maple sap and syrup to the fullest..

Farmers Rock!

Farmers Rock!

Anywhere that you use water in your kitchen you can replace it with maple sap so try making your coffee and tea with sap instead of water.  I will freeze a few liters of sap to make iced teas with in the summer. A maple-mint julep can take the edge off of any lazy summer day.

Some of my favorite ways of cooking with sap is to reduce by half it until it just starts to thicken and turn a slight amber color. At this point the sap will have a slightly pronounced maple flavor, now you can get adventurous, try cooking your oatmeal or other hot cereal grains in this reduced sap. It is perfect for cooking wild rice and quinoa as well.

I recently cooked baked beans with sap in a crock pot for several hours. I only added some salt, chopped onion and bacon. I didn’t have to add any brown sugar or molasses to the recipe as I found them to be delicious with just the maple sweetness.

Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

 This sap reduction can be used as a poaching medium as well. Try poaching salmon or chicken in it.  For a taste of a true Canadian breakfast poach your eggs in the reduced sap and serve it up with smoked bacon.

Enjoy the first harvest of the Kawarthas’ and support our local maple syrup producers. For the more adventurous ones out there I recommend trying this week’s recipe for wine.



Tired of mixed messages

Tired of mixed messages

Maple Sap Wine

Four liters maple sap

Up to 1kg granulated sugar

Two lemons

Ten cloves

One eighth tsp tannin

One tsp yeast nutrient

One package of Riesling wine yeast

First measure the specific gravity of the sap with a hydrometer to determine how much sugar to add to achieve a starting specific gravity of 1.085-1.090. Different saps will contain different amounts of natural sugar, and even the sap from the same tree will differ from year to year. In a stainless steel pot stir the required amount of sugar into the maple sap and bring to a low boil for 15 minutes, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. In a separate pan, combine a cup of the sap with the cloves and zest of the lemons and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the clove mixture back into the sap and sugar pot and add the juice from the lemons and the yeast nutrient. When cooled to 22° c., add the activated wine yeast. Cover the pot and store it at room temperature. Be sure to stir the mixture daily for 8-10 days. Transfer to a secondary carboy fitted with an airlock. Ferment for 6-8 weeks. Rack into a sanitized secondary, refit the airlock and bulk age for 12 months.


Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

Gastronomically yours,

January 23rd, 2014

Pickled Eggs

Preserving foods using the pickling process has been around for a few thousand years. Pickling is a technique used to preserve food and prevent food spoilage for extended periods of time. This is can be accomplished by either producing pickles preserved in vinegar, a strong acid in which few bacteria can survive like most of the bottled kosher cucumber pickles available in the supermarket or one can produce pickles that are soaked in a salt brine which encourages fermentation. Common examples of fermented pickles include kimchi or sauerkraut.

Pickling is a technique used around the world; as it can also change the flavours and textures of foods. The flavours of India are preserved in chutneys, kimchi is Korea, Japanese Miso pickles, salted duck eggs of China, pickled herring is found in Scandinavia, the Irish have corned beef, the salsas of Mexico, and pickled pigs feet in the southern United States.

I love pickles with their strong sour, salty, sweet and acidic flavours. I’ve never met a pickle that I haven’t liked. My all time favourite is pickled eggs; they are the perfect pub food and pair perfectly with beer, any beer. One does not need much of a gastronomic education to pair these two foodstuffs together.

There are many recipes for pickled eggs, which means that you can choose one that will suit your taste in food. Some recipes may be very hot and spicy and will contain ingredients such as chilli peppers, for those who prefer a sweeter flavours you should try recipes that contain brown sugar, beetroot, onions and cinnamon.
The best vinegar to use for pickling is good quality malt vinegars, which may be either brown or white in colour. Cider vinegar may also be used, which some may prefer, as its flavour is milder in comparison to the malt vinegars.

The eggs that you use for pickling should be as fresh as possible, especially as they may be stored for a long period of time. Grocery store eggs may be well over a month or two old when purchased. For farm fresh eggs I like to use eggs raised by Pixie Hollow Farms north of Lakefield which are available at the farm gate or by delivery.

egg carton photograph


Pub-style pickled eggs

12 hard-boiled eggs

4 cups of malt vinegar

1 finely chopped chilli pepper

10 black peppercorns

10 whole cloves

3 cinnamon sticks

2 tsp of allspice


Peel the hard-boiled eggs and rinse them off to remove any pieces of shell. Allow the eggs to cool and then place them in a large clean jar.

Heat the vinegar and the spices in a saucepan until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the vinegar mixture from the heat and allow it to cool to about room temperature. Strain the liquid and pour over the eggs covering them completely.

Seal the jar tightly with the lid and store in a cool and dark place for a minimum of two weeks before consuming. Although it is not necessary I choose to refrigerate my pickled eggs.

The final taste of the eggs is largely determined by the pickling solution. The eggs can be left in the solution from one day to several months. Prolonged exposure to the pickling solution may result in the eggs developing a rubbery texture.

Other ways of serving pickled eggs are in egg salad sandwiches, potato salad or with fish and chips, as the British do.

Pickled eggs are a great source of protein; they are low in fat and contain very little carbohydrates, making them a healthy whatever your diet.Eat real food

Gastronomically yours,

January 21st, 2014

Duby logo




Wild Sweets®

By Dominique & Cindy Duby

Launches New Cocoa Bean-To-Bar

Chocolate Hearts Collection

January 20, 2014 (Metro Vancouver, BC). We are pleased to announce that 

Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby

 Cocoa Bean-To-Bar Online Boutique, an haute chocolate couture concept, is launching Hearts, a new cocoArt chocolate collection.

We have posted a short video on YouTube that shows the 12 steps involved in making this beautiful chocolate collection.

The exquisite hand-painted Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby cocoArt Hearts collection

features our exclusive Limited Release Vintage Single Origin Dominican Republic cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate.

This chocolate is made with cocoa beans from La Red, a cooperative of small-scale cacao producers in the north of the Dominican Republic.

We use the cocoa bean varietal Hispaniola for this collection.

This varietal has a distinct chocolate flavor with tamarind and citrus notes as well as roasted tones of caramel and toffee. The Hearts collection includes:

  • Individual hearts flavored with raspberry ganache, almond nougatine and raspberry jelly.
  • Hand-painted cocoArt heart filled with a creamy organic coconut & peanut butter praliné, passion fruit & raspberry pâte de fruit, organic roasted peanuts and organic dark chocolate crispy puffed rice.
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Such exquisite edible jewels deserve especially luxurious packaging.

 For this new collection, we worked with our graphic artist partner, Linda Mitsui,

to design a new and distinct packaging scheme based on the heart shape with repeating lines and two leading colors:

kraft to represent nature and red for love. The packaging is produced in microprint runs

and hand-finished, a process that requires patience and precision and illustrates the art of true craftsmanship.

This approach allows us to showcase the symbiosis between our chocolate-making process and our packaging —

 exclusive, meticulously crafted, single origin/limited edition and small-batch production —

resulting in one-of-kind high-quality exclusive chocolate products, which could not be achieved from a high-volume production process.

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Although the Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby Organic & Gourmet Chocolates

division sells its award-winning products to many retail partner stores across Canada, the cocoArt Heart,

 collection as well as all other products from our Cocoa Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Boutique, are only available for purchase online and are shipped throughout Canada and the United States. Free shipping options are available.

 The Hearts collection has a net weight of 220 g (7.8 oz) and a shelf life of four weeks from the date of shipping. It retails for C$29.99 per collection 

Click on this link to view or purchase the Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby cocoArt Hearts collection.

The Hearts collection is also available as part of a luxurious Gift Sleeve that includes an exclusive assortment of our

Vintage Single Origin cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate products. Click on this link to view or purchase the Hearts Gift Sleeve.

The Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby cocoArt Hearts Collection or Gift Sleeve are sure to meet the needs of those who seek high-quality, exclusive chocolate gifts! 

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About Us

Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby is Canada’s only science-based artisan cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate-maker. It evolved from a three-year research and development project in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, which resulted in the opening of a brand new virtual chocolate boutique in November 2013. Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby Cocoa Bean-To-Bar Chocolate Online Boutique is an haute couture concept of chocolate that is part of an exclusive group of only a few premium sweet boutiques in the world that are combined “Chocolatier | Cacaotier | Pâtissier.” The online boutique focuses exclusively on chocolate, and all the chocolate products are made from our own cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate. The boutique promises consumers a luxurious range of chocolate products that are unique in the chocolate world, thanks to the nature of and our total control over the entire chocolate-making process! To purchase our exclusive Vintage Limited Release cocoa bean-to-bar chocolate products, please visit our online chocolate boutique at www.boutique.dcduby.com For more information on the cocoa bean-to-bar process at Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby, please visit The Process page on our website [www.dcduby.com].


Dominique & Cindy Duby are the chefs and owners of Wild Sweets® By Dominique & Cindy Duby (www.dcduby.com), a critically acclaimed Designer Chocolatier Atelier, Vintage Chocolate-Maker Laboratory and Virtual Boutique, which has emerged as one of North America’s finest artisan chocolatiers. The Dubys also own DC DUBY Hospitality Services Inc., an international firm offering culinary training and consulting services to hotels and catering companies worldwide, as well as product development, food styling and photography. In addition to these full-time business endeavors, Dominique and Cindy are also award-winning authors. Their first book, Wild Sweets: Exotic Dessert and Wine Pairings, won gold for the Best Book for Food and Wine Matching (2003) at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Spain. Their second book, Wild Sweets Chocolate, won the silver award for Best Chocolate Book (2007) at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Britain. In 2008, they launched a new series of books titled Definitive Kitchen Classics. To date, three books in the series have been released: Crème Brûlée,Chocolate and Panini. The Dubys are currently working on more titles.


Gastronomically yours,

December 27th, 2013

Going Cold Turkey


Boxing Day, traditionally the day when the working class are to receive gifts from their employers which explains how contemporary thinking has seen the day after Christmas evolve into a public holiday which has from marketing perspective been propelled into a way to extend our excessive behaviors in over-consumption with Boxing Day Sale Week madness.

Looking in your refrigerator the days after Christmas may be akin to an archaeological dig as you unearth all of the remnants of the previous day’s or week’s meals. It’s like an adult version of waking up after a college party and trying to chronologically piece together the recent events of your life. We tend to go a bit overboard with holidays and Christmas rules with sovereignty like no other.


The TDZ must be respected!

Coming down from those visions of dancing sugar plums can be a crash for some and to finish the Holiday Seasonal binge a la cold turkey can be a rough ride. Trying to make sense out of the leftovers piled precariously in your fridge, garage or out of desperation for food salvation on the back deck can be a daunting task. Keep in mind that we are only half way through the peak time of this annual celebration as we must be mentally and physically prepared to hang in there for one more week as New Year’s Day is the finish line.killerCelebration

Presence of mind and the simple understanding that eating is a bodily function, not an Olympic event may assist us in transitioning ourselves and warding off symptoms of withdrawal. Cold turkey is archetypical as a Christmas leftover, which ends up being reincarnated in sandwiches, soups, stews and the ever foreboding casserole for a few days after its sole intended feast. These culinary creations often become littered with bits of ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or cranberry sauce found sitting in the refrigerator, next to the turkey covered with torn bits of foil and plastic wrap.

The fate of your leftovers depends on when the food was prepared, how it was served, how long it sat out on the kitchen counter without being refrigerated and how you reheat them. Ultimately it is best not to produce so much food that you have leftovers. If your left-overs were left out on the counter for more than 4 hours, they are no longer leftovers, they are garbage. If your leftovers were properly stored in the refrigerator and cooled down to an internal temperature of 4°C or colder within 4 hours then you can reheat and serve them but only once. So do not pull out all of the food for leftovers and reheat them, just use what you need. When reheating your leftovers make sure that they reach an internal temperature of 74°C and discard the food if it does not reach that temperature within 2 hours and most importantly never add reheated food to fresh food.


When you get back in from shopping you can easily turn some of your leftover foods into the following recipes that can be created using fresh or leftover ingredients.


Roasted Stuffed Squash



1 butternut squash

Cooking oil


Salt and pepper to taste




Cut the butternut squash in half, and scoop out the seeds and discard. Brush the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper then roast it on a parchment lined baking sheet at 350°f for 20 minutes or until the squash becomes soft. Scoop out most of the cooked squash flesh, leaving a shell around the edge. Mash the cooked squash with the leftover stuffing until evenly incorporated and then spoon the mixture back into the squash shells. Sprinkle with some grated cheese and bake the squash for another 20-25 minutes and it reaches an internal temperature of 74°C. Yields will vary depending on amount of people vs leftovers.




Turkey Pot Pie



1/2 pkg frozen rolled butter puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp. butter

1 onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

2 cups acorn squash, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups chicken stock or white wine

3 cups shredded cooked turkey, white and dark meat

1 tsp. dried sage

1 pinch nutmeg

2 cups fresh baby spinach coarsely chopped

1/2 cup 10% cream or milk

Salt and pepper to taste



On a parchment line baking sheet, unroll the pastry and cut it into 4 equally sized pieces. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and then bake them at 400°F until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the onion, celery, and squash. Cook the vegetables until the squash is tender. Next stir in the flour and let it cook while continuously stirring for  a minute or so. Gradually stir in the stock and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce heat let the sauce simmer until it has thickened. Stir in all remaining ingredients and serve once all ingredients are heated through. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls; top with the cooked puff pastry. Feeds 4Stuffed



Here is a link to the published article… note there are quite a few changes from what is posted here as it is in it’s original form



Gastronomically yours,

November 16th, 2013

Potatoes; SWEET!

The sweet potato is a distant relative of the potato; so distant that technically they aren’t even in the same family that being the Nightshade. Chronologically, these earth bound, tuberous vegetables appear to have originated around the same time. Evidence indicates that humans started cultivating them some 5000 to 8000 years ago. Give or take of course.  Geographically, the potato originated in South America alternately the sweet potato’s origins lay somewhere in Central America. So they’re kind of like kissing-cousins who only come together at family gatherings around the dinner table.

There are many varieties of sweet potatoes whose smooth skin or starchy interior can be any hue of yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, or beige. For the most part we only see two types of sweet potatoes in supermarkets; the more common copper skinned variety with its Halloween orange flesh and the other almost looks like a gold skinned potato with a creamy white flesh. To keep these two varieties of sweet potato distinct The United States Department of Agriculture made it mandatory that the orange flesh variety be labelled as yams, which has also has seen them labelled as sweet yams.

This labeling practice has caused consumer confusion for almost two centuries as the yams are native to Africa, are starchy tubers that have an almost black bark-like skin with a white or purplish blue flesh and have higher sugar content than sweet potatoes. Oh and what really sets yams and sweet potatoes apart is that a yam can grow to between 5 and six feet in length. Yams are prized as a pantry staple in many parts of the world. They can be stored for up to six months without refrigeration and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

child sprouting seed


If this discussion has left you confused about sweet potatoes I recommend you pick some up and add this versatile vegetable into your diet by simply adding them into your soup or stew recipes. They also can be cut and fried like chips or fries as an alternative to regular potatoes.  However you choose to call them, Ontario grown sweet potatoes are abundantly available year round at Farmer’s Markets or at our local grocers and can be spiced up in the following recipe for simply roasted sweet potatoes or the second recipe for Sweet Potato Skins


Spicy Herb Roasted Sweet Potatoes


4 medium sized sweet potatoes

4 tbsp. cooking oil

2 tbsp. fresh garlic, minced

2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

1/2 tsp. crushed chillies or red pepper flakes

½ lemon cut into wedges


Rinse any excess soil off of the sweet potatoes. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into one-inch-thick coins. In large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potatoes with all of the ingredients except the lemon and toss them together until they are evenly incorporated. Lay the sweet potato slices out in single layer on a parchment lined baking pan. Roast the sweet potatoes for about 40 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 450°F or until they have softened and started to turn brown. Season with salt and pepper, then serve them immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.  Yields 6-8 portions


Sweet Potato Skins


2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and dried

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon bourbon

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoons pecans, chopped

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork, bake in a preheated 400F oven until tender, about 45-60 minutes and let cool.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh leaving 1.4 inch on the skin.

Mix the sweet potatoes with the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, bourbon and cinnamon and spoon it back into the kins.

Mix the brown sugar, flour, butter, pecans and cinnamon until it starts to form crumbs and sprinkle it onto the stuffed potatoes.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the topping is a light golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Gastronomically yours,

November 3rd, 2013

Halloween Leftovers!

The scariest harvest of the year happened earlier  this week as some 4 million Canadian kids take to the streets and rake in their loot from more than 13 million homes that will participate in shelling out candy. These costume clad kids will return home and almost immediately pour out their pillow cases onto the floor to reveal their share of almost $360 million worth of candy that was purchased across Canada in the month of October.

As parents assist in checking through their kids candy for any detrimental items that may have made it into their stash, the kids in a sugar and caffeine induced state immediately are taking inventory and begin organizing their haul into rows and piles. If watched closely your children will go through an eerie transformation from goblin or ghoul to instant entrepreneur as they quickly will wade into the role of a business person as they will realize that they have a share of precious commodity in a market of excess supply.Halloween11

To watch children with their faces still smeared with makeup and half disrobed from their costumes enter into the frenzied barter and trading sessions with siblings or other kids from the hood would give any math teacher pause as they explore early lessons in economics.

It will quickly become evident that all candy was not created equally and the first things to get traded off will be the hard to move less-desirable candies which include Candy Corn, Tootsie Rolls, fruits or vegetables and non-edibles like pencils and toothbrushes. Halloween-Candy-Pie-Chart

This makes way for the serious trades to happen and is a quick follow based upon industry sales which see M&M’s, Snickers, and Kit Kat taking secondary positions to the highly prized Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup which has an unprecedented high trading value and is often smuggled as dangerous cargo or contraband as our schools have become peanut free zones.

 Within a few days all of these child markets and kid-cartels will crash much like our children as their confectionary novelty and sugar buzz wears off. The market induced glut becomes stagnant and for some it can cause boredom, but with a few Halloween tricks up your sleeves you can still have plenty of fun by bringing the kids and the left-over candy into the kitchen to create meals that can be served right into December’s holiday festivities.halloween-candy1

 The easiest ways to cook with leftover candy is by chopping the candies and adding them into brownie and milkshake recipes. For more of a challenge you may want to try making ice cream and cheesecake recipes. For some real twists on food maybe even try the following recipe whose core ingredients can be purchased locally and as frightful as it may sound the combined flavours will leave you bewitched!


Beet Salad with Chocolate Goat Cheese and Black Licorice Vinaigrette


Black Licorice Vinaigrette


2 tbsp. chopped black licorice

¾ cup water

1/4 cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 green onion, minced

¾ cup salad oil


Combine the licorice and water in a small sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat until the licorice is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the cider vinegar, green onion and Dijon mustard. Finally whisk in the oil by slowly pouring it into the licorice mixture. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until needed.


Snickers Goat Cheese


2-4 oz. of chopped Snickers bar

4 oz. goat cheese, room temperature

1 chive, finely minced

Red pepper flakes or Cayenne to taste (optional)


Place all of the ingredients in a glass bowl and microwave it until it becomes soft. Stir the warmed ingredients together and set aside.


Roasted Beets


8 beets, medium sized, cut in half

1 tbsp. cooking oil

Your choice of salad greens

Salt and pepper


Toss the beets in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper. Turn the beets out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 °f for about an hour or until fork tender. Remove the beets from the oven and let them rest for 30 minutes. Peel or pull the skins off of the beets. Slice the beets into bite size pieces. Lightly coat the beets with some of the vinaigrette and set them in the refrigerator to marinate for one hour.

To serve assemble the greens onto a plate and top them with the beets. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the salad and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.