Sunday, 13 December 2015

Go Spicy!

Turns out that spicy doesn't just make for good tasting foods, it could also be helping you stay alive. It appears that the active compound in hot peppers, capsaicin, may have positive effects in fighting certain forms of cancer and helping you live longer.

So, this is clearly a case of no pain, no gain... That's coming and going.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A Stir-fry is in the Sauce

A good stir-fry can be made or broken by the sauce you choose for it. While different kinds, depending on your protein choices, can be enhanced by certain flavours in specialized sauces, it's good to have a "go-to" sauce for general use.

I put this one together because I found many were just a little too sweet and I was looking for something a bit more savoury. So, here it is:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water or stock
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes or 1/2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • Fresh ground pepper (be generous)
  • 1/4 tsp ground sumac (optional, if you have it, I do...)
That should do a good 2-4 person stir-fry. Works really well with beef, especially since beef is well suited to savoury flavours.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

There I sit, broken-hearted; Thanksgiving is over and I just got started...

What to do with the delicious left-overs that haven't been consumed in sandwich form yet? How about soup! More specifically, Turkey and Wild Rice soup, a delicious finish to the Thanksgiving meal.

To make this, we have a couple of stages to consider. First, we want to make a stock from the turkey carcass. You did save it didn't you? Much goodness flows from that... Once the stock is made, then we make the soup itself.

Making the Stock

First thing you want to do is strip the remaining meat from the carcass, this will be the turkey you use in the soup. Then take the remains and place it into a large stockpot with some roughly chopped onions, garlic, carrots, and celery. Leave the skins/paper on these, they have flavour and will add some colour to the stock.

Then add water, in this case I used 32 cups to cover the carcass, but add what you think is appropriate. Bear in mind that you will have some evaporation as you make the stock and you're aiming to get about 5 cups of it, but left over stock can be used for other things and it freezes well.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to simmer. Allow it to simmer for a couple hours then taste. You want to get a nice, strong, stock, so if it's weak then you want to continue simmering. Check every half-hour or so after that until you're satisfied.

Once to taste, strain the stock to gather the liquid and discard the solids.

Making the Soup

For the soup, you can go the slow cooker route or the stove top. 

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 5 cups of the turkey stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp  thyme
  • 1/4 tsp summer savoury
  • Shredded turkey (about 2 lbs is ideal)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Reserve the turkey, it's already cooked, but place all other ingredients in your soup pot or crockpot and give it a good stir. 

If cooking on the stove, cook on medium high heat until the rice expands and then add the turkey. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the turkey is heated through.

If cooking in crockpot, cook on low for about 3 hours, then add the turkey. Cook for another couple of hours. On high, cook for about 1.5 hours, add turkey, then cook for another hour.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries - by Cjboffoli (CC by 3.0)
Canadian Thanksgiving falls around the time of the year that you can get fresh cranberries in the store. Not all that surprising, it's a feast to celebrate harvests after all, but it does mean that you have a real opportunity to do it yourself rather than buy it canned.

Believe me, fresh is best!

So, to get started, here's what you need:

1 bag of fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
1 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of water
Citrus zest of your choice (I used lemon, but orange or lime would also be good)

Rinse the berries and have look for berries that are too soft and discard those. Add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan and place on low heat.

Stir everything from time to time, monitoring until all of the sugar has melted. This will take about 10 minutes or so, be patient.

Once everything has melted, increase the heat to medium and stir more frequently, but constantly, until the berries burst. You should have lots of bright red liquid in the pan, this will gel from the pectin in the berries.

Allow it to cool to room temperature, put into a container, and refrigerate until ready to use.