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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

Posts Tagged ‘Caterer Lakefield’

Gastronomically yours,

July 29th, 2015

Sugar Snap Peas!

The sugar snap pea aka snap peas are a relatively new food and gardening delight as they were developed in 1979 by Dr. Calvin Lamborn and Dr. M.C. Parker who set out to create a bigger sweeter pea that was housed in an edible pod that was tender when eaten whole. They cross bred green peas and Chinese snow peas, giving us the hybrid sugar pea known as “Sugar Snap”. Sugar snap peas were bred in such a manner that saw the fibres of the pod develop in one direction, making their pods easier to chew.

Peas on Earth

Peas on Earth

Once they perfected the “Sugar Snap” they went on to solve another Pea Problem; those oh so annoying strings that have to be removed from them before eating so they went back to the lab and developed the highly praised “Sugar Daddy” a string-less pea to meet consumers’ demand for edible-pod peas that are sweeter and larger than snow peas. Gardeners were also happy to see this development because Sugar Daddy’s only grow up to a meter in height and do not require trellising with their shorter vines.

My wife and daughters have once again created a bountiful garden in our yard which with the abundance of rain this year and fertilizer produced by our chickens is gushing and providing us with many meals. Not every father would be proud to see his girls running into the kitchen with a Sugar Daddy but with this variety I’m happy to see them come with no strings attached!

We enjoy eating Sugar Snap’s and Sugar Daddy’s raw, as we take the time to shell them and eat the peas a few at a time, this process takes longer, allowing us to talk about our days and enjoy sometime together. We still choose not to eat the edible pods but we do set them aside to give to the chickens as a treat.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas

If you insist on playing with your food you may choose to shell the pods and puree the peas with some cream cheese to stuff back inside the pods. Juicing fresh peas makes an intensely flavoured juice or soup or try some Ontario grown Sugar Snaps or Sugar Daddys’s in the following recipe that will keep your kitchen cool and get your barbecue fired up


Grilled Sugar Peas


1-pound Sugar Daddy Peas or sugar snap peas, de-stringed

3 tbsp. cooking oil

Toasted Sesame Oil

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Salt and pepper to taste



Preheat the grill on medium – high setting

Place the sugar snap peas and olive oil into a food storage bag.

Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

Gently massage the sugar snap peas until they evenly coated with the oil.

Lightly oil a vegetable grill basket and place it on the grill. Pour the snap peas from the zipper bag into the basket.

Grill the sugar snap peas for 3-5 minutes, or until they develop a nice brown colour on the grill side.

Turn/stir the vegetables over to grill on the other side. Cooking time varies with the freshness of the peas, so keep an eye on them and remove them from the grill when they are browed slightly but not charred. When the sugar snap peas are finished grilling, place them on a serving platter and lightly drizzle some toasted sesame seed oil over the peas and a sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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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,

July 8th, 2015

Here are the recipes from last weeks Friendly Fires Barbecue Class

One Stinky Onion


One of the top 10 questions I get is, “how do you chop onions without crying?”

The answer is simple. Don’t chop onions.

Slicing or chopping onions can be among the most miserable of kitchen chores.

Our sniffly noses and tears streaming down our cheeks make it easy to understand the purpose of onions¹ sulphurous characteristics: to discourage animals from eating them.

Our bodies react to onions as they do because cutting an onion releases chemicals that combine to create lachrymator, a sulphur-based gas, which is also one of the ingredients in tear gas.

This gas reacts to the water in your eyes and nose, producing sulphuric acid, which causes that familiar burning sensation and produces tears and sneezes.

Minimize the tearful effects of chopping onions by placing them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. This will slow down the movement of the tear-inducing sulphur elements.

Another effective, if somewhat awkward, method is to try cutting the ends off of your onions under cold running water. Then allow them to soak in cold water for half an hour before chopping them.

If you¹re going to be cooking your onions right away, try placing them in the microwave for two to three minutes on high to help release the gases prior to chopping.


Ultimately, though, if you don¹t want to cry over onions, you’ll need to wear a pair of goggles and a nose plug. (Fashion note: Be sure to remove protective devices before dinner guests arrive.)

Onions are most often used as a sub-ingredient to help build foundations for great dishes. On occasion, though, they get top billing as the primary ingredient in recipes such as French onion soup, onion bread or onion rings. In these recipes we get to enjoy the true sweet flavour that onions have to offer.

You can use any variety of onion to make the following recipe for Red Onion Marmalade, but I prefer to use red Italian onions, with their striking colour preserved by the red-wine vinegar.


These onions, as well as many other varieties, are available at any roadside produce stand. I found mine, as well as the apple cider, at the Deer Bay Farm’s stall at the Peterborough Farmer¹s Market.

Serve Red Onion Marmalade as a condiment. It makes for a light alternative to horseradish in beef dishes, and is delicate enough to be served with poached or smoked salmon. I like to pair it with triple creamed Brie, some grapes and a baguette.




Red Onion Marmalade


3 cups of diced red onions

1-cup red wine vinegar

1/2-cup unsweetened apple cider (optional)

1 tsp rubbed sage or a cinnamon stick

4 cups granulated sugar


In a large saucepot, combine diced onions, apple cider, vinegar and sage. Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and return to a boil for two to three minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer for five more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow the onion s to cool. Store the onion marmalade in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

Red Onion Marmalade is great on fish, pork, beef and brie!

Red Onion Marmalade is great on fish, pork, beef and brie!

We be Jamming!

As the many varieties of Ontario berries and stone fruits are coming into season many a cook is preserving the flavours of the summer harvest by making assortments of jams and jellies. This process is often a form of large batch canning which is quite involved with the picking and cutting of fruits, cooking the fruits, testing it to see if the pectin sets, sterilizing the jars, filling the jars and then further processing them in hot water baths I get tired out just writing about it.

There is no doubt in my mind though that if you have ever made jam like this you have done it with a family member or friend and you know that it is a time for sharing much more than the workload. I regularily process foods into jams, jellies and assorted condiments but I usually do it in small batches depending on the individual needs of clients. This quick approach saves me a fair bit of time as I can produce a liter or two in less than hour.  Also this allows me to forgo using a water bath as I just stockpile it in the refrigerator until needed.

I enjoy making a variety of sticky, jammy textured preserves or condiments that include onion marmalades, balsamic jellies, and smoky bacon jams.  Forgoing the use of pectin in these preparations requires using extra sugars to produce the desired consistencies, which can be acquired from a number of sources other than white sugar. Maple syrup, honey and agave nectar are natural alternatives to use as a sweetening ingredient but their viscosity can impact the final results of your preserves consistency.

The following recipe for Smoky Bacon Jam uses a blend of brown sugar and maple syrup to sweeten it up and add depth of flavour to stand up to the bacon and spices used in it. This unique condiment is a must have staple and is perfect for small batch summer canning.


Smokey Bacon Jam


1 ½ pounds bacon, cut into 1 inch squares

2 cups minced sweet onions

1 tbsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. dried chipotle powder

½ tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground mustard

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground clove

¼ cup water

¼ cup maple syrup

½ cup sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

½ cup packed light-brown sugar


In a large size skillet cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towel lined plate to drain. Drain the fat from the skillet leaving all of the browned bits of bacon and cooking debris in the skillet with about a tablespoon of the bacon fat.

Stir the onions and garlic into the pan and cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions become translucent. Turn up the heat to high and stir in the chipotle powder, ginger, mustard, cinnamon and cloves. Let the spices heat up and release their aromatics before adding the water, maple syrup and vinegar.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and scrape all of the browned bits off of the pan while continuing to stir. Add the vanilla and brown sugar and let the recipe return to a boil before adding the bacon. Reduce heat to low and let jam reduce for about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the Smokey Bacon Jam to a suitable storage container and let it cool down before covering and refrigerating. It will store refrigerated up to 3 weeks, if it actually last that long.


Bacon Jam


Smokey Bacon Ketchup


1.5 pounds  Bacon

1.5 cups of Ketchup

1.5 cups of Bulls Eye BBQ Sauce Bold original

1 – 28 oz can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp Chili powder


Cook the bacon and drain off fat. Once cooled chop bacon into small bite size cubes and reserve.  Place all other ingredients into a medium sized non-reactive container and puree until smooth using an immersion blender or in a blender. Stir in the chopped bacon and let it rest, covered, overnight in the refrigerator before using



Smokey Bacon Ketchup

Smokey Bacon Ketchup



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Gastronomically yours,

June 30th, 2015

Dog Days

As the dog days of summer approach I’m looking forward to some drier weather to allow the cos lettuce in the garden to come into maturity.  Cos lettuce more commonly known as romaine lettuce is an edible member of the daisy family. Its long narrow dark green leaves are rather crisp with a distinctive rib that grows almost to the tip of the leaf.

These thick ribs are most prominent on the outer leaves, which are all too often discarded during the preparation of romaine lettuce but those dark green outer leaves contain more nutrients than the paler inner leaves. It should also be noted that cos lettuce leaves are intended to be served whole because etiquette dictates that the leaves are meant to be lifted by the stem and eaten with the fingers.

It’s these larger ribbed leaves that secrete an abundance of milky sap when cut or torn which gives romaine lettuce its delicate bitter herb taste and when blended with Caesar dressing enhance the overall flavour of one’s salad.

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For some reason Caesar Salad recipes are the ones that people want to share with me the most. Maybe it says something about my Caesar dressing recipe but appears that we all make or know someone who makes the best caser salad in the world. The following recipe is a variation on the traditional that I like to use. I know it is not the best but I do enjoy it in a salad, as a dip or even as a sandwich spread. I will sometimes add some chopped hard boil eggs to my salad along with lots of bacon. I personally avoid using croutons because I do not like the noise they make inside my head when eating them.

Freshly harvested Ontario lettuces are widely available in our produce aisles and farmers markets. With so many food items coming into season remember that all types of lettuce should be stored away from ethylene-producing fruits, such as apples, bananas and pears. These naturally occurring gas emissions cause lettuce leaves to brown prematurely.


Caesar Salad Dressing


Two whole raw eggs, shelled

Two tbsp. Of red wine or Balsamic vinegar

One tbsp. Fresh squeezed lemon juice

One to four cloves of garlic depending on your personal preference

One white of a green onion

One tsp capers

One tsp. Worcestershire sauce

One – two cups of canola oil depending on desired consistency

One quarter cup of grated of parmesan

Salt and Pepper

Method: in a food processor combine the eggs, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic. Puree until smooth on a high speed. With the processor still running on high add the green onion, capers and Worcestershire and continue pureeing until smooth. Continue to operate the food processor on high and gradually pour in the oil. Take your time and allow 3- five minutes to complete this process as we do not want the dressing to separate.

If you prefer a lighter dressing add less oil and for thicker dressings add more. Once the oil has been added, finish by adding the parmesan cheese.

Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Let the dressing sit for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Additional ingredients to try in your Caesar salad include pancetta, grilled asparagus, almonds and hard boiled eggs.

Gastronomically yours,

April 14th, 2015

Barbecue Blues

There was a point this past winter when I stopped going outside except for necessities

and more wood for the wood stove and the recent spring weather sees me doing much of the same.

This extended hibernation of self has changed my eating habits as my barbecue has not been used since early January.

If your barbecue has been dormant for a while a spring tune up is in order before you fire it up again.

By simply giving your BBQ a good cleaning and inspecting all of its components you can avoid flare-ups

and any nerve wracking explosive starts

which are usually linked to the gas line being blocked.


BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!

BBQ Cooking Classes offered year round!!


Warning signs of a gas blockage include any of the following; the burner doesn’t light,

the burner flames are yellow or you’ve lost your eyebrows during ignition.

These problems are often caused by insects that have taken up residence in the metal

venturi tubes of the barbecue that carry the gas from the tank to the burners.

Using a venturi brush something akin to a bottle-brush you can easily clean the bugs out

of the venturi tubes along with any other accumulated debris.

Using the venturi brush proceed to clean the tube out an inch at a time using it to pull any cobwebs and

debris out of the gas line, otherwise you will compact any rubbish solidly into the line.

After the tubes are cleaned out you will need to do a soapy water test on the gas line and its connectors to ensure there are no gas leaks.

Repair or replace any defected parts that you may find immediately.

Clean all metal parts within the firebox with a metal brush to ensure that all of the burner ports are also

free of debris and blockages which a heavy duty wet/dry vacuum may assist greatly with.

Do not make any modifications to your system.

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Now you will need to gently fire up your barbecue and preheat it over a low flame as you do not need to re-temper

any of its metal components which may cause it to warp or bend. Use a damp cloth and set of long handled tongs to

wipe the grilling surface clean of any excess dirt and metal brush bristles.

Now is the perfect time to start grilling steaks before the summer rush and their prices start to increase with the demands of summer.

Try brushing your meats with the following recipe for a rich smoky barbecue sauce that is slightly spicy

and sweetened with maple syrup and is a great barbecue sauce to use on whatever foods you choose to grill.


Smokey Maple BBQ Sauce


1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup chilli sauce

¼ cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. butter

½ tsp chipotle powder or 2 chipotle pepper in adobo, seeded



Combine all of the ingredients in a stainless steel saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Let the sauce cool down before using an immersion blender or food processor, to puree the mixture. Store sauce in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Ted Reader, King of the Q originally posted this image

Ted Reader, King of the Q originally posted this image

Gastronomically yours,

March 29th, 2015

How to Ham it up!

A ham is the rear leg of a hog, which is preserved by a variety of combined methods

such as wet or dry salting, smoking and drying, it is one of the oldest cuts of cured meats produced by modern society

with almost every country in the world utilizing regionally inspired preparation methods.

The moveable feast of Easter will see many people consuming ham but there is much to consider when purchasing a ham.

Laterality is the individual orientation of preference to what side of one’s body we show a personal inclination for.

More simply are we left or right handed. Estimates indicate 85% of the animal kingdom

is right side dominant which includes our hands, eyes, ears and feet.

When purchasing a ham it should be acquired from the left hind leg of a pig as they tend to be right side dominant.

It has been observed that because of this lateral trait,

pigs scratch themselves more often with their right hind leg,

causing the muscles to work more resulting in a tougher ham with less fat.

A Picnic Ham is not a true ham as it is cut from the upper part of the foreleg and contains a portion of the shoulder,

but they are cured in the same manner as a proper ham, making it taste just like ham.

Traditionally hams are cured with salt and sugar to remove excess blood and moisture.

They are then rinsed and hung to dry and further age. Some find their way into a smoke house where

they are hung over a variety of smoldering hardwood coals to develop a rich flavour and naturally colour the hams exterior.

This process can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months.

In North America many boneless or shaped hams are simply processed bits of meat

that have been mechanically shaped and held together with processed ingredients that work as adhesives,

their added smoky flavour comes from flavoured liquid that is sprayed on or injected into these hams.

A bone-in ham can be purchased whole or halved from either the shank (foot) end, or from the butt (hip) end.

Whole hams will weigh at an average of 12-14 lbs. To decide on how much ham you need to feed your guests,

I suggest 1/2 pound of bone-in ham per guest which allows everyone to have plenty to eat,

with enough left over for sandwiches and the ham bone will be in the soup pot for a hearty Split Pea Soup.

When it comes to preparing the ham you will need to remove the ham from the refrigerator

and let it come to room temperature for one hour before heating it in the oven.

If and only if you are using a salt cured ham boil it for 15-20 minutes in a pot of water

before heating it in the oven to remove the excess salt. Discard water

Don’t be a cheap bastard and save the water for soup because it will taste like shit!

When heating a fully cooked ham we must keep it moist as you want it heated through but do not want to

dry it out so place the ham on a roasting rack, add half an inch of water to the bottom of the pan and

over the pan tightly with aluminum foil and cook at 350°F for 15 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 165°F.

To glaze your ham, simply raise the temperature of your oven to 400°F for the last 15-20 minutes of

cooking and liberally brush your ham with a glaze of anything sweet a couple of times.

Once the ham is cooked, let it rest for 15 minutes before you carve it to minimize moisture loss.


Chef Brian Henry offers Pig Roasts and other whole animal Roasting

Chef Brian Henry offers Pig Roasts and other whole animal Roasting

Gastronomically yours,

March 24th, 2015

Feeling Hot Hot Hot!


Tomatoes originated in the desert regions along the west coast of South America.

Their appearance was comparable to an over-sized

grape or berry and was known as a tomatl which is Aztec for “plump fruit”.

Tomatoes were later domesticated in Mexico where it was eventually subjugated by early European explorers.

Compared to today’s domesticated varieties the tomato has grown to immense proportions as it is

considered to be the second most consumed vegetable in North America even though it is botanically classified as a fruit.

Hothouse tomatoes grown in Ontario are pesticide ansd GMO free!

Hothouse tomatoes grown in Ontario are pesticide and GMO free!

Tomatoes contain huge amounts of glutamic acid and sulphur compounds.

These properties are more commonly found in meats and give tomatoes their beefy flavour.

This makes pairing tomatoes with meat a natural choice and they are often used to give vegetarian preparations a meaty flavour component without the meat.

There are other factors that affect the flavour of tomatoes. One being the different components found inside the tomato.

A tomato is made up of four separate types of tissue.

The cuticle or skin which is often removed before cooking surrounds the fruit wall which contains the most sugar and amino acids. The fruit wall encapsulates the seed jelly which is high in citric acid.

In the center of the tomato we find the pith.

Remove any one of these four parts of a tomatoes anatomy and you will change the overall flavour of a recipe that calls for tomatoes.  As well tomatoes that are left to ripen on the vine naturally contain more sugars and acid compared to store bought tomatoes that are picked green and forced to ripen during transport by spraying them with ethylene gas.

The month of March is when we can see Ontario hothouse grown tomatoes arrive in the produce aisles. Ontario is home to about 65% of Canada’s hothouse based agriculture. Most of Ontario’s greenhouses or hothouses use beneficial insects to control pests making most hothouse vegetables pesticide-free. Also it is notable that Hot House Producers belong to the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association which assures us that no genetically modified plants grown in Ontario greenhouses and the tomatoes are vine ripened without chemicals..

Ontario hothouse growers produce most of Canada's hothouse foods in a sustainable environment

Ontario hothouse growers produce most of Canada’s hothouse foods in a sustainable environment

Most importantly how a tomato tastes depends on how we store them. Tomatoes should never be refrigerated as their fresh flavour is destroyed by cold temperatures. When a tomato is subjected to temperatures below 13 °c they suffer damage to their internal components. This results in tomatoes that have a mealy texture and loss of flavor due to cold-damaged flavor producing enzymes.

Grab some Ontario grown hothouse tomatoes and try cooking them in the following recipe as their firm constitution makes them great for frying.


Pan Fried Parmesan Tomatoes


1 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

3 – 4 hothouse tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick

¼ cup minced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tbsp. cooking oil



Set up a breading station using three bowls; one with the flour, one with the beaten eggs and in the third one combine together the breadcrumbs and cheese.

Dip the tomato slices one at a time in the flour, dusting off the excess. Then dip it in egg letting excess drip off. And then dip the tomato into the breading mixture. Repeat until all slices are breaded.

Fry the breaded tomato slices in a preheated pan over medium heat in the cooking oil with the onions and garlic for about a minute or two per side, until they are golden brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately.

Gastronomically yours,

March 8th, 2015

Maple Wine at Home
Mead often makes one think of mythical times, strange creatures and folklore.

The term honeymoon and its practice are still common in today’s weddings.

This term comes from the custom of drinking fermented honey based beverages for a moon or month after your wedding.

It was believed that this practice ensured the birth of a son.
Mead is traditionally made from honey and water that has been fermented with yeast.

This alcoholic beverage is considered to be the godfather of fermented beverages.

Its discovery dates back to 7000 BC and are believed to have originated in China.
Mead is sometimes called honey wine as its alcohol content can range from 4-12% by volume.

Melomel is mead made with the addition of fruit or fruit juice and may also contain spices.

A Pyment is mead produced with the addition of grapes or grape juice which can also be spiced up into a Hippocras.

Sack mead is stronger tasting mead which contains much more honey than regular mead.

Williams-Sonoma Homemade Mead Kit is available on-line

Williams-Sonoma Homemade Mead Kit is available on-line

The warmer weather has got me thinking about the upcoming maple syrup season and everything you can make with maple syrup.

Maple sugaring has been an early spring tradition in eastern Canada ever since the native peoples of the Eastern Woodlands discovered that maple sap cooked over an open fire produces a sweet sugar.

Maple syrup

Maple syrup

Maple wine can be made in the same manner as mead.

All that is different is that we use maple syrup instead of honey and it is usually ready to drink in half the time that it takes to make the traditionally honey laced mead.
Maple wine will become crystal clear with a delicate amber color within 60 days. Mead takes about 100 days to clarify.

If you choose to bottle the maple wine before it is clear, it will clarify in the bottles as the sediment settles.
Maple Wine at Home

7 litres maple syrup

5 teaspoons yeast nutrient

15 grams white wine yeast

20 litres of cold water

Dissolve the yeast nutrient in some hot water. Gently hydrate the wine yeast in warm water. Mix the maple syrup with cold water in a large open container. Pour the dissolved yeast and yeast nutrients, into a glass carboy and pour in the watered down syrup. Use a blow off tube for the first four days to allow the rapidly produced gasses to escape. After which you should switch the blow off tube for a water trap. After about 60 days, when the maple wine is crystal clear and you can bottle your maple wine. I tend to use yeast nutrient and plenty of yeast for starter, when making maple wine, mead or ginger beer so that the fermentation happens rapidly. This quickly produces a high alcohol content and kills off any unwanted bacteria.

Maple Icewine available at banffgifts.ca

Maple Icewine available at banffgifts.ca




Looking for a new freezer? We sell upright freezers that are designed and built exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America. For details please conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com

Looking for a new freezer? We sell upright freezers that are designed and built exclusively for the All-Natural Food Council of North America. For details please conact me at thechef@chefbrianhenry.com













Gastronomically yours,

March 7th, 2015

Liquid Gold Rush

When the nights are below freezing and the days are mild you can be sure of some things,

like the coming of spring, the deadline for filing your tax returns and a new season of local harvesting.

This seasonal change in the weather makes the sap flow and represents the region’s premier crop harvest of Maple Syrup.

The sap is starting to flow from a freshly tapped maple tree

The sap is starting to flow from a freshly tapped maple tree

It usually takes about forty years before a Sugar Maple will reach the recommended tappable size of being 10 inches in diameter.

The tap hole is usually placed about waist high on the tree, and 3 to 4” from any previous taps.

It is bored 3″ into the sapwood. Larger trees may take numerous taps.

For every additional 8″ in diameter another tap hole may be added. A tree 26″ in diameter could have up to three taps.

I’ve been told that trees with lots of branches are better producers than those trees with smaller tops.

During the 4-6 week syrup season, a single tap hole can yield up to ten gallons of sap or about one quart of maple syrup.

After tapping the tree a metal spout called a spile is tapped snugly into the hole, and a bucket is hung from a hook on the spout.

A cover is put on the bucket to keep out rain, snow, and debris.

If a plastic tubing system is used to collect the sap, a plastic spout is tapped into the hole and is then connected to a network of tubes that creates a pipeline system.

When all of the trees have been tapped, the syrup producer is ready for the “first run,” this is when the sap first starts to flow. Sap flow requires freezing nights and warm days. These must alternate and be in a long enough series to allow the sap to move through the trees. Prolonged periods of either below freezing temperatures or days without freezing nights will stop the sap flow.

Maple sap comes from the tree as a clear, slightly sweet liquid that is approximately 98% water and 2% sugar. When the syrup is finished these ratios change to 33% water and 67% sugar.

Sap harvested in buckets

Sap harvested in buckets

When the bucket collection method is used, a sap-gathering tank is mounted on a sled or a wagon that is moved through the sugar bush as the sap is gathered.

Tractors are most regularly used, but sometimes teams of horses pull the sleds or wagons. Workers using large gathering pails collect the sap from each tree.

These pails are dumped into the gathering tank, which is then taken to a large sap storage tank at the sugarhouse, where it will be boiled down into maple syrup.

If the tubing system is being used, the sap drips from the tap hole into a section of tubing. This tubing eventually connects into a larger pipeline called a “mainline.”

The mainline carries the sap downhill to a sap storage tank either at the sugarhouse, or at a low spot where it can be collected easily and transported to the sugarhouse.

Maple syrup is traditionally made in a building called a sugarhouse or sugar shack.

This name comes from the time when most sap was actually turned into sugar.

Tapped Sugar Maple producing sap for maple syrup

Tapped Sugar Maple producing sap for maple syrup


It wasn’t until the late 1800’s when the drastic price reduction of cane sugar caused maple sugar sales to drop resulting in the production of the more profitable maple syrup.

Each sugarhouse contains an evaporator that is used to boil down the sap into syrup.

Evaporators are made up of one or more flat pans, which sit on a type of firebox.

Wood or oil, and sometimes gas is burned at the front end, and the flames are drawn along the underside of the pan,

heating and boiling the sap as it travels towards the back of the pan.

It takes about one bush cord of wood or sixty gallons of oil to boil down 800 gallons of sap into syrup.

Sugarhouses have a vent on their roofs, a cupola, which is opened to allow the steam of the boiling syrup to escape the building.

Steam rising from the cupola is a signal that maple syrup season is under way.

An evaporator pan is divided into partitions, so that the sap is continuously flowing through the pan.

Fresh sap enters at the back of the pan, where a float valve keeps the sap about an inch deep. As the sap boils the liquid becomes sweeter, and begins to move towards the front of the pan, traveling through the partitions and more fresh sap is allowed into the rear of the pan.

The syrup maker concentrates their attention to the front of the evaporator where the boiling sap is turning a golden colour as it approaches being maple syrup. The temperature of this boiling liquid must be checked regularly for when it reaches 7.5 °f above the boiling point of water, it has reached the proper density and has become maple syrup.

At this stage a valve on the front of the pan is opened and some of the finished boiling syrup is drawn off the pan and is filtered. After filtering, the syrup is bottled and is ready for a fresh pile of warm pancakes.

Last year I spent $200 on equipment and $60 on propane and was able to produce over 4-gallons of my own maple syrup. Considering that a gallon of syrup costs around $60 this is a very economical approach to enjoying maple syrup. The amount of work involved in making these 4-gallons was rather shocking and makes purchasing locally produced syrup seem like a bargain at $60 a gallon.


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. Available at TSC stores

Large plastic pails for storing freshly gathered sap

Outdoor cooker with pot available at hardware stores

Full propane tank and a back up tank

Candy thermometer.

Clean glass jars that will seal for storing your syrup


How to make your own syrup

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 over do 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 gallons of sap make one gallon 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. I leave the sediment in my syrup, as it is a concentration of calcium and other minerals.

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 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.

Chef Brian for Hire
The Spice Co.