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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.

"Chef Brian Henry cooked a series of delicious appetizers for us as we sat around a table in the kitchen". Thanks

Tony Aspler, Wine writer

“Chef Brian Henry puts one hundred percent of his energy into going all the way.”

Birgit Moenke, Editor Stir Media Read More Reviews

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Gastronomically yours,

June 6th, 2016
One Roof Community Diner is worthy of your support!

One Roof Community Diner is worthy of your support!

 I choose support local efforts and initiatives that I believe in.

One Roof Community Diner is just such a cause.

They were very gracious for our support

and gave us more than our share of attention

via social media and their website

for which we are truly grateful.


it’s those individuals who volunteer and have dedicated themselves to the One Roof Community Diner and its daily operation who deserve the praise and attention so please check them out and step up to give them a hand at





Thank You, Chef Brian Henry


Dear Diners,

The piece below was posted on Facebook on June 3, 2016.  We think it is important that it reach our website as well, so you are going to see it twice.  Here it is from Casey:

Chef Brian Henry popped by One Roof today. You may recall we asked for a couple whiteboards. Today, Brian dropped off a 20′ roll of whiteboard material for us. And six bags of spice and herb combinations for our meals! Lucas and Casey couldn’t resist opening them up and smelling and tasting them.

It was fun imagining the pastas, curries, rubs, sauces and other dishes we could make with these flavours. They are amazing and we’re excited to play with them and share them with our guests. It was great to see you today, Brian. We appreciate all your support. Hope to see you again!

Brian is a private chef who does a lot of private lessons, cooking and catering. He also produces thousands of meals through Emergency Preparedness Management and Mobile Emergency Food Services to those evacuated and effected by emergency and disasters. And has a line of spices and rubs. Check outhttp://www.chefbrianhenry.com. — Casey Watson, Facebook, June 3, 2016

Thank you again, Chef Brian Henry, for your generosity and encouragement!

Gastronomically yours,

July 14th, 2015

The FunDeLentil Tour announces Canada’s favourite signature lentil dishes
24 restaurants across Canada served mouth-watering signature lentil dishes as part of a cross-Canada competition in June



Saskatoon, SK, July 10, 2015—The votes are in! Canadians have voted online at fundelentil.ca and chosen the Chorizo & Lentil Ragout, by Fable in Vancouver as their favourite signature lentil dish from The FunDeLentil Tour.

Top three dishes as voted by Canadians:

1st Place Winner in The FunDeLentil Tour

1st Place Winner in The FunDeLentil Tour

1st place: Chorizo & Lentil Ragout, by Fable in Vancouver (Chef/Owner Trevor Bird)

2nd place! FunDeLentil

2nd place! FunDeLentil

2nd place: Sustainable Blue Rainbow Trout with Beluga Lentil-stuffed Summer Squash, Smoked Trout Rillette, Fromagerie Au Fond des Bois, Beluga Lentil Puree, Crispy Pancetta and Camelina Powder, by Brooklyn Warehouse in Halifax (Chef Mark Gray)

3rd Place! FunDeLentil

3rd Place! FunDeLentil

3rd place: Lentil Hodgepodge with Spring Vegetables, by Boralia in Toronto (Chef/Co-owner Wayne Morris)

The FunDeLentil Tour– a cross-Canada restaurant competition held throughout the month of June featured 24 restaurants from seven Canadian cities serving signature dishes using Canadian grown lentils. Canadians dined on the creative dishes and voted online at fundelentil.ca for their favourite lentil dish for a chance to win a trip to one of seven Canadian cities. The winner of the trip is online-voter, Brian Bitz from Saskatoon.

Well-known Canadian food advocate, Food Day Canada founder, and Canadian Lentils campaign ambassador, Anita Stewart, was instrumental in bringing on board the 24 restaurants, which are also Food Day Canada participants committed to using Canadian ingredients.

“I travelled across Canada as part of The FunDeLentil Tour to cheer on the restaurants serving signature lentil dishes prepared by some of Canada’s best chefs,” said Stewart. “From the familiar and comforting Lentil Beer Battered Fish and Lentil Chips at Prairie Harvest in Saskatoon created by Chef/Owner Michael McKeown, to the modernist Red Lentil Fritter with Duck, Carrots, and Beluga Lentils created by Marc Lepine at Atelier in Ottawa, these chefs outdid themselves, showing incredible passion and creativity for the versatile Canadian lentil.  It was an incredible experience to see Canadians trying lentils, many for the first time, and to see lentils being prepared in new and exciting ways.”

Canada is one of the world’s largest producers of lentils, planting 3.1 million acres of lentils last year. Types of lentils produced in Canada include commonly known green lentils and split red lentils, and lesser known black or beluga lentils and French Green lentils. The chefs involved at each participating restaurant were invited to use one or any combination of lentils grown in Canada to create their signature dish.

About Canadian Lentils
Canadian Lentils is an Official Mark of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, a farmer funded organization that works to advance the pulse industry in Saskatchewan, the heart of the lentil-growing region in Canada. For more information about Canadian Lentils and to see more great ways to cook with lentils, visit www.lentils.ca.





Contact us for all of your Culinary needs: 705.875.0428

Contact us for all of your Culinary needs:

COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

COMING SOON! Check out our line of products! The Spice Co. for all your cooking needs!

Gastronomically yours,

July 9th, 2015

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

announces the 2015 shortlisted authors and bloggers

Awards celebrate 18 years of honouring outstanding culinary writing in Canada

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

After reviewing 96 submitted books and blog entries (69 book entries and 27 blog entries), Taste Canada—The Food Writing Awards has unveiled the shortlists. The submissions celebrate Canadian cuisine from coast-to-coast and cover a variety of culinary styles. The winners will be announced at the Gala Fundraiser and Reception on September 21st, 2015 at Oliver & Bonacini’s Arcadian Court in Toronto. In addition, Taste Canada will name this year’s Hall of Fame Award recipients, sponsored by The Culinary Historians of Canada.

“This year’s submissions are a wonderful reflection of the varied landscape in Canadian food,” said Donna Dooher, National Chair. “They speak to our culture, our history, our locally-grown ingredients, and our Canadian identity.”

Taste Canada-The Food Writing Awards, a not-for-profit organization, is the highest honour for culinary writing in the country. This year, Taste Canada is celebrating 18 years as the only award in Canada that recognizes this nation’s abundance of outstanding culinary writers, both English and French.

Drawn from Canadian academic, publishing, creative and institutional fields, this year’s judges reviewed submissions across five categories, both English and French, and have narrowed the field to three shortlisted titles in each category. This year, Taste Canada introduced a new award, 2015 Food Blog Category: Best Post.

The Taste Canada Gala Fundraiser and Reception, a unique cultural, social and gastronomic experience, will be hosted by celebrity chefs Ricardo and Vikram Vij, both of whom are previous Taste Canada winners.

Our Canadian story, as told through the art of culinary writing

More than just the ingredients we consume, food is a symbol of our shared culture, varied traditions, unique history and heritage. Food is at the heart of the Canadian identity. It is ingrained in our culture, from coast to coast. Taste Canada nurtures an industry inspired by our vibrant culture, celebrates our stories, embraces our collective history and explores our family legacies through food.

Taste Canada recognizes the writers who are inspired by Canada’s multicultural landscape, the kitchens of their ancestors and the bountiful foods we produce. Our talented authors fuse old traditions and know-how with new ingredients, ideas and techniques. They search through old family recipes and travel the world collecting mouth-watering memories and flavours for Canadians to savour.

These experiences and impressions are then artfully and painstakingly written into stories that will also be passed on from generation to generation. The medium may change: recipes may be compiled together and bound into lovely keepsake books. Or they may be posted online; with a few clicks, treasured recipes, narratives and photos are shared with the world. Meaningful storytelling, accompanied by beautiful photography, creates an exciting and memorable experience for readers, many of whom collect cookbooks like treasured family photo books.
Taste Canada: Award Categories

  • General Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Générale
  • Single-Subject Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Sujet Unique
  • Regional/Cultural Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Régionale et Culturelle
  • Culinary Narratives / Narrations Culinaires
  • Blog / Blogue

The Taste Canada Gala Fundraiser and Reception

The Gala Fundraiser and Reception will be held at Oliver & Bonacini’s Arcadian Court, on September 21st. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, please visit www.TasteCanada.org.

Taste Canada Cooks the Books

Taste Canada Cooks the Books is a cooking competition that invites Canadian culinary students from across the nation to compete for the title of Canada’s Best New Student Chefs.

Presented by Taste Canada—The Food Writing Awards and by the Alberta Canola Producers, sponsored by The Egg Farmers of Canada and Ricardo Cuisine, Cooks the Books showcases the talent of Canada’s next generation of chefs, honours the authors and brings some of this year’s outstanding submitted cookbooks to life.

The teams are paired with a Taste Canada culinary author and given the challenge to recreate a recipe from the author’s cookbook, along with their own signature garnish.

This year, the students will compete in front of food lovers, industry professionals and peers at the new Toronto Food & Wine Festival at Evergreen Brick Works on September 19 and 20. They are joined on the stage by their mentoring author who will offer guidance and motivation. A panel of notable culinary experts will judge the competition.

The winners will be announced at the Taste Canada Gala Fundraiser and Reception on September 21st at the Arcadian Court, where they will be presented with prizes, a letter of recommendation and a trophy to display at their school.

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

Taste Canada shortlists in all award categories:


Culinary Narratives / Narrations Culinaires

Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer  . . . Even More. Mirella Amato. Appetite by Random House, Vancouver

Getting to YUM: The 7 Secrets of Raising Eager Eaters. Karen Le Billon. HarperCollins, Toronto

Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen: Unveiling the Rituals, Traditions, and Food of the Hutterite Culture. Mary-Ann Kirkby. Penguin Canada Books, Toronto


General Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Générale

Family Meals. Michael Smith. Penguin Canada Books, Toronto

Gatherings: Bringing People Together With Food. Jan Scott and Julie Van Rosendaal. Whitecap Books, Vancouver

J.K.: The Jamie Kennedy Cookbook. Jamie Kennedy and Ivy Knight. HarperCollins, Toronto


Regional/Cultural Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Régionale et Culturelle

Made in Quebec: A Culinary Journey. Julian Armstrong. HarperCollins, Toronto

Paris Express: Simple Food from the City of Style. Laura Calder. HarperCollins, Toronto

The SoBo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road. Lisa Ahier and Andrew Morrison. Appetite by Random House, Vancouver


Single-Subject Cookbooks / Livres de Cuisine Sujet Unique

Bitter: A Taste of the World’s Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes. Jennifer McLagan. HarperCollins, Toronto

Duchess Bake Shop. Giselle Courteau. Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton

The Everyday Squash Cook: The Most Versatile & Affordable Superfood. Rob Firing and Ivy and Kerry Knight. HarperCollins, Toronto

Blog / Blogue

“Chicken Tikka Wings with Mango-Chilli Chutney Glaze and Yogurt Raita.” Michelle Peters-Jones. the tiffin box

“Christmas Cake.” Christina Austin. Strawberries for Supper

“Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnut, Orange, and Saffron.” Allison Day. Yummy Beet

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards


Narrations Culinaires / Culinary Narratives

Ainsi cuisinaient les belles-sœurs dans l’œuvre de Michel Tremblay : Une traversée de notre patrimoine culinaire 1913 – 1963. Anne Fortin. Flammarion Québec, Montréal

Récits de table : d’ici et d’ailleurs. Lysiane Gagnon. Les Éditions La Presse, Montréal


Livres de Cuisine Générale / General Cookbooks

Ensemble : Cuisine gourmande et colorée. Christelle Tanielian. Les Éditions La Presse, Montréal

Le garde-manger d’Andrea : 45 ingrédients et leurs secrets, 135 recettes faciles et délicieuses! Andrea Jourdan. Les Éditions Goélette, Saint-Bruno-de Montarville

Trois fois par jour, premier tome. Marilou et Alexandre Champagne. Les Éditions Cardinal, Montréal


Livres de Cuisine régionale et culturelle / Regional/Cultural Cookbooks

La récolte. Bernard Dubé. Bernard Dubé, New Richmond

Livres de Cuisine Sujet Unique / Single-Subject Cookbooks

Boulange et boustifaille : 75 recettes pour faire la fête autour du pain. Albert Elbilia, Stelio Perombelon et Éric Dupuis. Les Éditions de l’Homme, Montréal

Soupes-repas gourmandes. Anne-Louise Desjardins. Guy Saint-Jean, Éditeur, Laval

Tarte : plus de 100 recettes salées et sucrées. Isabelle Lambert. Modus Vivendi, Montréal

Blogue / Blog

« Adresses chouchou : Cabane Pied de cochon » Lynne Faubert. FrancoFoodies

« Pizza 3 minutes : saucisses italiennes, épinards, tomates cerises, cœurs d’artichauts et mozzarella » Christelle Tanielian. Christelle Is Flabbergasting

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

Taste Canada―The Food Writing Awards

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 16th, 2014
Melissa Evans, Samantha Katharine Hudon-Sue, Michelle McAllen, Janine Sumner Traverse, and Joel Carta

Melissa Evans, Samantha Katharine Hudon-Sue, Michelle McAllen, Janine Sumner Traverse, and Joel Carta



Pear Bureau Northwest is pleased to announce the

National Grand Prize Winner in the 2014 USA Pears Pear Excellence Canadian Culinary Student Recipe Competition

 recently held at

 The Dirty Apron Cooking School in Vancouver.


Grand Prize Winner
Michelle McAllen

Michelle McAllen, a 18-year-old student from New Brunswick Community College – St. Andrews,

representing the Maritimes Region, won top honors from the judges with her dish,

 Fresh and Cured with Compliments of Pear.

The judges noted that the recipe looked amazing, had great flavor, and showcased the versatile pear in a variety of excellent uses.


Michelle’s worthy competitors were:

Melissa EvansVancouver Island University, representing the British Columbia/Northwest Territories region

Janine Sumner TraversePaterson GlobalFoods Institute, Red River College  representing the Prairies region

Samantha Katharine Hudon-Sue from LaSalle College, representing the Québec region

Joel Carta from  Centennial College – Progress Campus, representing the Ontario region

Click here to view all the winning recipes!

The members of the final judging event’s prestigious judging panel were

 Anya Levykh (Food Columnist, CBC On The Coast), 

David Robertson (Chef and Owner, The Dirty Apron Cooking School),

Trevor Bird (Chef and Owner, Fable Kitchen),

and Joe Chow (Sales Manager, The Produce Terminal).

The student competitors won an all-expenses-paid trip to Vancouver to compete in the national competition.

First prize earned $2,500, and the remaining students each took home a $1,000 cash award to recognize their earning regional titles.

In addition, food writers and bloggers were there to capture the action behind-the-scenes and before the judges, so the students earned media exposure as well.

Twitter was used to dispatch play-by-play updates from @USApears live during the finals with the tag #PearExcellence.




Gastronomically yours,

March 16th, 2014

Feast of St. Patrick

The Feast of St. Patrick is an Irish holiday which sees culture and religion pooled into an annual celebration more commonly known as St. Patrick’s Day.  This holiday is often associated with consuming vast quantities of Guinness and whiskey as it is an acceptable justification to set aside one’s Lenten penance in the name of celebrating the death of an Irish Patron Saint.

If asked what one might eat on this official Christian Feast Day an outsider of Ireland may wrongly quip that the Irish eat nothing but potatoes and mutton. Ireland’s cuisine is soaked in history and tradition using ingredients harvested from the sea, the moors and pastureland. The kitchen is the heart of the home and is host to all sorts of celebrations.

Gotta love the Irish!

Gotta love the Irish!

The Irish are known for their love of gathering and celebrating which can leave to having various bits of leftover food in the refrigerator. Using up leftovers from an Irish fridge has led to the creation of what many recognize as Ireland’s official national recipe being coddle.  Coddle or Dublin Coddle as some call it is a simply prepared meal made of leftover bacon, sausages potatoes, onions with a bit of barley that is that is braised  for a few hours.  Recipes made from leftovers are common in many homes but finding them in written recipe format using ingredients prepared for the dish instead of using the ingredients that have had a few days to age and develop flavours in the fridge can alter the flavour and results of such preparations.

As Coddle is cooked using the braising method it is important that it be cooked in a pot with a well-fitting lid. This allows the ingredients that aren’t completely submerged in stock to cook in the trapped steam which makes this recipe ideal to prepare in a slow cooker or crock pot.

irish hand cuffs

This Irish comfort food is commonly served in the winter months and eaten for dinner on Thursday as it uses up all the meat found in the home setting the stage for the meatless diets followed by the Irish Catholic. Its name comes from the verb coddle, meaning to cook food in water below boiling produces the derivative caudle, a warm drink given to the sick which would be prepared in a cauldron.

Cook extra of all of the ingredients you need to make coddle over the weekend and throw this recipe together Monday morning before heading out to get your Irish Pride on, whether your Irish or not.



5 lbs potatoes peeled and sliced

3 medium cooking onions, peeled and sliced thickly

1 lbs pork sausage cooked and cut into bite size pieces

1 lbs thick sliced bacon cooked and cut into bite size pieces

¼ cup barley

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper


In a heavy roasting pot layer the ingredients: onions, bacon, sausages and potatoes. Lightly season each layer with a bit of salt and pepper and repeat until all the ingredients are used up.

Pour the stock into the pot, cover with the pot lid or foil and place the pot into a300°F preheated oven and cook for two hours. Check the pot and add more water if necessary as you want about an inch of liquid at the bottom of the pot at all times. Return the pot of coddle to the oven and let cook for 1-2 more hours.

Serve immediately from the oven with a loaf of fresh soda bread and a pint of Guinness.


Gastronomically yours,

March 12th, 2014

March a reason to celebrate…

March is no doubt a great month for celebrating. This March we will see March Break, St. Patrick’s Day, Day Light Saving time begins, the First Day of Spring, and Maple Syrup harvesting! All of these events are worthy of a feast and recipe to share but I can’t help myself when it comes to this time of year because I get a little giddy about maple syrup.

Maple Syrup can be enjoyed in many forms like candy, taffy, sugar and jelly. Maple Jelly is an easy to make spread using maple syrup, water and a thickening agent. The thickening agent used is either Gelatin based made from animal bone marrow or it can be can vegetable based from carrageenan which is harvested from Irish moss or seaweed. Genugel is a commercial brand of carrageenan that is easy to use and is available to purchase on-line or at Maple syrup supply stores. It should be noted that fruit produced Pectin does not work as a coagulant in Maple syrup.

Maple Jelly is an easy to use condiment that can be used on toast, vegetables, roast pork loin, beef and salmon dishes alike.
It is time to get your Maple on and get and celebrate spring with many area Maple Syrup producers hosting tours and festivals in the coming weeks creating educational experiences for all to enjoy as well as giving us a taste of the first harvest. Pick up some extra syrup this year and try making your own Maple Jelly using the following recipe.

This basic recipe can easily be flavoured with clove, currant, cinnamon, bourbon, all spice, apple, or cranberries. It will lose its amber translucency which is prized among Maple Jelly producers but it will bring a whole other dimension of taste to your jelly and accompanied foods.


Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

Tapped Sugar Maple producing sap for maple syrup

Tapped Sugar Maple producing sap for maple syrup


Maple Jelly

1 liter Grade A Medium Amber pure maple syrup
1.5 cups cold water
1 tsp. Genugel

Prepare 3-5 Mason jars in a hot water bath so that they are ready to use. In a medium sized bowl whisk the Genugel into the cold water. Combine the Genugel water mixture with the maple syrup in a large, heavy bottomed stainless steel pot. The pot will need to be at least large enough to accommodate 4 liters or a gallon of liquid as the Jelly mixture will foam up and expand during the cooking process thus avoiding the pot boiling over.

Over medium low heat bring the soon to be jelly to a boil and allow it to continue to boil until it reaches a temperature of 103 °C / 217 °F. To ensure a nice clean jelly it is important to skim off all of the foam that appears on the surface while it is boiling.

Immediately reduce the heat to as low as possible and begin to fill your preserving jars. It is important that you use a portioning tool like a ladle or measuring cup that can fill your jars in one smooth motion as this jelly will set very quickly. If you have to fill your jars in 2 or 3 steps you will find that air bubbles will get trapped in your jelly and they will look quite visibly layered which in the jelly making world is undesirable. If this happens don’t worry as it will still taste delicious the jelly will simply appear rather cloudy. Place the lids onto the jars and process them in hot water bath at a temperature of 82°C /180 °F for 10 minutes. Cool and store in the refrigerator after opening.

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014

Proud Winner of the Top Chef Readers Select Award 2014


Looking for hard to find ingredients and gourmet foodstuffs?

Check out http://cookculture.poolpatioandbbq.com

Gastronomically yours,

February 12th, 2014

So here is what one chef had to say about the eggs that my 4 and 1 year old daughters are harvesting from the chickens they are raising in an exceptionally sustainable way…

How to explain to someone who has never had farm fresh eggs over store bought??? It is hard!

I had my first Pixie Hollow farm eggs today and i must say I was delighted!!!
I like mine sunny side up or in egg in hole, of course both fried in bacon fat. I decided to compare the sunny side up with store bought, and what a difference.

Pixie eggs have nice deep rich orange yolk colour, store bought…plain yellow.

Pixie Hollow”s egg kept its shape and didn’t spread all over the pan when i cracked it, store bought well went running all over the pan.

Pixie Hollows eggs stood tall and proud in the pan, store bought just sort of slouched down and got flat.

The other amazing thing I noticed is i cracked the Pixie Hollow’s egg in pan first, then the store bought, and i had to take the store bought out first or it would of been over cooked and that crusty bottom. The Pixie eggs took a full minute longer to reach the way i like it.

Grocery store egg on the left, Pixie Hollow Farm Egg on the right.

Grocery store egg on the left, Pixie Hollow Farm Egg on the right.

But the flavour and mouth feel was amazing, both the white and yolk had a velvety feel on the tongue. The white actually had flavour, not just bland like store bought. The yolk well what can i say, when i cut into it is slowly ran out, and it was a deep velvety yoke flavour..
Can’t wait to use them in baking.

Moose Neilsen

Gastronomically yours,

February 8th, 2014

My Bloody Valentine

February has long been celebrated as the month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, or  Feast of Saint Valentine as we know it today, contains leftovers of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition infused with modern day spending habits.

The history of St. Valentine’s Day and its patron saint are shrouded in mystery. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different patron saints named Valentine or Valentinus. From these three we have adopted the story of Father Valentine who was martyred on February 14, 269 who in his final hours started the tradition of exchanging Valentine messages with our loved ones.

For a few years before St. Valentines death the Roman Emperor Claudius was recruiting soldiers for his armies. Enlistment was down, and Claudius; a warring ruler blamed the declining recruitment on the men wanting to stay at home with their wives and families instead of going to war. Claudius’s solution to his dilemma was to ban weddings, hoping that this would cause boredom within in the male population and inspire men to want to go to war thus causing enlistment to go up.fruit rose

Father Valentine may have almost neurotically enjoyed performing marriage ceremonies. When Claudius banned marriages Father Valentine continued to conduct them in secrecy, which instigated Claudius to classify weddings as “pagan rituals” and when he heard that Father Valentine was illegally performing wedding ceremonies Claudius imprisoned Father Valentine until he denounce his Catholic faith, which would leave him defrocked and without his churchly powers.

While imprisoned Father Valentine befriended Claudius’s daughter and would spend long hours talking to her from his cell. Roman Emperor Claudius also known as Claudius the Cruel had had enough and ordered Father Valentine to be beaten and beheaded. One of Valentine’s final actions was to write a note to his jailer’s daughter. The note was signed “from your Valentine”. Shortly thereafter on February 14, 269 AD Father Valentine was executed. It wasn’t until 496 AD that Pope Gelasius marked February 14 the day to remember St. Valentine the patron saint of lovers and over time the day was marked with sending simple gifts, poems or messages.

During the height of prohibition, it is believed that on February 14, 1929 Chicago gangster Al Capone chose to send a Valentine’s message to George “Bugs” Moran. Capone had given orders for his men to take down the rival gangster by starting at the bottom and working their way up through the ranks until they got to Bugs himself. It is believed that these orders from Capone led to the “Valentine’s Day Massacre”.

After the Valentine’s Day Massacre, Capone went into hiding for a while but when he returned home to Chicago; Capone was welcomed by his family and friends with a celebratory feast. One of the dishes served at this feast was Chilled Pasta in Walnut Sauce, Capone’s favorite dish, as revenge is a dish best served cold.

The following Scarface Capone Pasta recipe is easy to make and can be enjoyed any day of the year, served hot or cold and made with locally sourced ingredients.


Scarface Capone Pasta


½ lb. walnut pieces, toasted

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tbsp. butter, softened

¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

2/3 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

2/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 lb. pappardelle or fettuccini pasta



In a food processor place the walnuts garlic, butter, parmesan and 1/3 cup of the parsley. Process the ingredients until they form a coarse paste. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the paste and continue to process until relatively smooth. Transfer the paste into a bowl and stir in the cream, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let the sauce rest for a couple of hours in the refrigerator.

Cook your pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water. Drain the noodles and decide whether you want to serve your Scarface Capone Pasta served cold or hot. If cold simply toss the noodles in the sauce, let it stand for 30-45 minutes tossing it regularly and then refrigerate covered for 2 hours. To enjoy it hot simply return the drained pasta to the pot which it was cooked in and add the walnut sauce. Toss noodles over low heat until well combined. Top with remaining parsley and serve with extra grated parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6 depending on sides served with.Zombie-Donuts

Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.