A lot has happened since my last post.Sadly my lovely mummy died unexpectadly in May leaving Grandad cooking for one.Even as a passionate and experimental cook I know cooking for one can be a dreary chore,especially when it also means shopping and eating and washing up by yourself as well.It would be easy to get into a habbit of eating standing up by the cooker or fridge, or spending a lot of time with what Grandad calls " Lonely Guy Meals. "I have been thinking a lot about food recently. I have spent so much time in the last few years in a basement kitchen in Cafe Boscanova cooking for customers who are mainly strangers. I have had to ask myself other than quickly throwing food together for husband and daughter when was the last time I prepared a meal and sat down with good freinds and loved ones?When did I last have people over for dinner?I have spent lots of time looking at funky interesting food to woo our customers but not so much time working on a salad that my almost 13 year old daughter will eat happily and willingly. I make sure that the breakfast veggie sausage patties that we make at the cafe contain all kinds of of pulses, seeds, and grains but i am not always sure what my own girl eats for breakfast.The next few blogs are going to be about sharing knowledge of food that makesthe necessasity of eating and cookinga little easier and its going to be about food for freinds and family.I am starting with Grandad's breakfast.I am going to keep in mind mind he is on a budget,he doesnt like to use loads of dishes, and often wants little and light.Cold PorridgeYes i am serious ! The best thing about is it tastes a bit like cold rice pudding, but it is better for you. It is made ahead so you can just grab it from the fridge in the morning. You need glass measuring jug or bowl100 gr of porrige200 gr of milk3-4 tablespoons of fresh fruit compote100 grams of greek yougurt.agave or maple syrup to taste glass or bowl.(In grandads case the glass with the lid that mother's diabetic chocolate spread came in.) Cooking porridge in the microwave is so much easier than on top of the stove.just keep an eye on it so it doesnt overflowPut 100 gr of porrige in a measuring jugFill with milk until it reaches 300 gramsCover and cook until done stirring a couple of timesLeave to cool in fridge for several hours.Put cold porridge in a bowl add the yougurt and fruit compote and mix with a fork until smooth. I love to add a drop of rose water at this point to give it a lovely tukish delight flavour, you can add a little cinnamon, or vanilla or just leave it plain. Pour into glass or bowls. To serve garnish with some more fresh fruit and add a little agave syrup or maple syrup if you like it sweeter.
No blogs for a while I am writing the new summer menu for Cafe Boscanova- I i am cooking loads. Just not cooking a lot at home.did recipe for magazine last week.Cafe Boscanova broke a record on Saturday 211 meal served beween 8.30am and 3.45pm. Hundreds and hundreds of pancakes. The grill was stacked full. Every table was full by 9.am. People were queing for brunch it reminded me of queing for brunch at milestones in Vancouver. At the moment I am messing with chillies. I Want to make ancho chilli jam. Ordering Chillies to make casabel and coffee barbeque sauce.
The first weekend of the half term and I had the weekend off. Sometimes my family misses out because I cook at work and then at home I am too tired to be creative. Not this half term I was up at 5.30 in the morning and while still in pjs with one hand on my cup of tea and one on the remote for catch up tv I started baking. Around 10.A.M I left the house and the baking for a stroll to lower Parkestone with my husband Bruce. Had lovely Saturday morning coffee (double shot flat whites at the amazing Dancing Goat.)Then back home to watch the Opening of the Vancouver Olympics. While i was out Raven took some pictures of the friands and made this cheery collage.Look at the lovely colours. Rosewater and blueberry baby friands,my version of Turkish Delight and Pistachio and lemon baby Frainds all in a picture with my baby girl.
Tofu Scramble Tofu marinating for a sandwich Mmm Tofu Sometimes just the mention of tofu in a dish on a menu can stop it from selling. It seems in the U.K people have not had many great adventures with Tofu. Tofu is often seen as some kind of a penance for wanting to be a vegetarian. But it doesnt have to be.Tofu is amazing.You can make tofu cream if you whip tofu in a food processor with cashew nuts and vanilla. You can make a Tofu chick pea scramble. A lovely alternative to scrambled eggs. Silken tofu can be used to make dairy free sauces for pasta, or creamy salad dressings. One of my favourite ways to serve tofu is in a sandwich It made me so happy a few weeks ago when i made one for my twelve year old daughter, Raven. She loved it! It's a special kind of joy watching your kid eat complete protein and enjoy it. It's like the feeling i used to get when she would say "Mom can i have another apple. "I like to serve tofu sandwiches on a Portugese Roll mainly because the Portuges rolls will stay nice and crusty not go all soggy like those burger buns that fall apart in your hand the minute you place any food on them. If you can't find Portuges rolls any crusty roll will do. The tofu sandwich i make at home and the one that we serve at Cafe Boscanova looks surprisingly like a fillet of fish on a bun. I use clearspot organic tofu it comes in 250 gr packs i get mine from http://ecovenient.wordpress.com/Here is How.Cut the tofu into sandwich size squares Marinate the tofu in a quater of a cup of shoya or tamari soya sauce a quater cup of water of water and a couple of tbs of cider vinigar a clove of crushed garlic and a tsp of grated ginger leave for a couple of hours or overnight or even twoor three days. When you are ready to serve Mix together half a cup of Golden corn flour (that is the Polenta corn flour)not corn starch. a quater cup of bran flakes- they should be really thin almsot like fish food. and 4 tbs of Engevita nutritional yeast flakes- (delicous but you can manage withouth them if you cant find them.)Coat the tofu in the mix turning constantly until it is nicely covered then shallow fry. When the outside is golden serve on a portugese roll with a little salad. I had an Asian Slaw with mine. Kids might prefer it plain with a little ketchup.
Every two months i get an emailed request for a recipe from the cafe for a small local magazine. The recipe is a hard thing to write because normally i only have space for 300 words. Anyway this months breif was "It's Valentines do something with chocolate."Here is my something with chocolate, the recipie is not mine, it is taken from a Canadian book called ExtraVeganZa by Laura Matthias. I love this book but i am really struggling with some of the recipes and need to make them more England freindly. Maple syrup is used lots in healthy Canadian bakeing but it is so expensive in England. I replaced some of the maple syrup with agave syrup. I will soon be experimenting with brown rice syrup or date syrup in some of my baking. I have to credit Joe lovettt my boss at Cafe Boscanova for the beautiful picturethough he origally bought a great camera to take pictures of his new little boysome of his food pictures are amazing. Chocolate- Espresso Cookie Sandwich At Café Boscanova we often get requests for vegan and wheat free baked goods. This year we have resolved to do some experimenting. Home baked cakes with real eggs, butter and sugar are always preferable to shop bought cakes. With home baked goods you don’t get the synthetic flavourings, colourings and stabilizers. But with changes in trends and more people wanting lighter options, some improvements can be made to the food we bake at home. The chocolate almond cookies in this vegan ice cream sandwich are made with spelt flour, which is gluten- friendly; they are sweetened with maple syrup and agave syrup rather than white sugar. Layered with vegan ice cream, this is a delicious and indulgent desert.For the cookies Ingredients. 375ml whole spelt flour ¾ cup white spelt flour 1tsp baking powder 1tsp baking soda ½ teaspoon of salt ¼ teaspoon of cream of tartar ¼ cup of cocoa powder ½ cup canola oil ½ cup maple syrup ¼ cup of agave syrup 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1tsp vanilla extract 1tsp of almond extract2tsp espresso powder 1cup of vegan dark chocolate chips of chunks ½ cup almonds coarsely chopped.In a mixing bowl combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar cocoa and espresso powder. In a separate bowl mix the oil, syrup, vinigar and almond extract, whisk until combined. Mix into the dry ingredients and stir them together.Add the almonds and chocolate chips. Drop small spoonfuls onto a lined baking sheet. Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for 12 minutes.
Hooray, Hooray we have had snow,this is the weather of my youth. It is such long time since I have felt that familiar crunch under foot.The other day in Alexander Park I felt like I was walking into a Christmas painting. There was a man with a light meter and a pinhole camera trying to take pictures of the snow and kids of all ages laughing and sliding down the path on boards and boxes. I know its not fun for everyone. The news is full of weather related disaster stories. England is just not prepared for snow. Unlike Ontario we don't have a fleet of snow ploughs to come out over night and clear the roads. Nobody has snow tires. When it comes to cooking,cold weather is inspirational.I love to bake on a snowy day. It's an excuse to make the kitchen even cozier by turning on the oven, a pot of soup bubbling away on the back of the stove completes the picture. At work this week we have sold more soup than any other week.I am not surprised, who would want a baguette in this kind of weather and it's not as if you can eat your baguette while walking to the shops on a lunch break. You need all your senses to walk on the ice.Thai Carrot and and Red Curry Soup1tbs of sunflower oil1000 grams of carrots- chopped 1/4 litres of water 3tbs of marigold vegan stock powder2tbs of ginger grated2tbs of chopped lemongrass1/2 block of coconut a large handful of corriander.1-2 tbs of thai red curry paste Put the oil into a large pan add the carrots, the finely choped lemongrass and the ginger. Cook together for a few minutes stirring constantly add the water and the stock powder. Bring to the boil and then simmer the mix until the carrots are soft this should take 20-30 minutesAdd the half bar of coconut red curry paste to tasteand another half litre of water. Allow the flavours to cook together and the coconut to disolve.Blend the soup until smooth. Throw in a handful of corriander. adjust the thickness by adding a little more water or the heat by adding more or less curry paste. Serve topped with green chillies. I served mine with cranberry and ginger chutney This soup makes a lovely main course meal if you want to add chicken or tofu and lots of bean sprouts.
Apparantly this New Years Eve three quaters of the population stayed home. It certainly looked like that when i wandered up to Waitrose on New Years Eve. I was amazed,I had never seen so many people walking around with shopping lists. Trolleys were rammed full of champagne, and all kinds of snack foods. The Mascapone cheese had completely run out. It Seemed like everybody was in a cooking frenzy. I don't know what i was doing in Waitrose but just being there with all those people preparing to cook made me feel more like cooking. I had been soaking salt fish for a day and i knew i was going to make Salt fish and Akee. It is strange cooking something you have never seen and never tried. I had seen salt fish plenty years ago when i lived in Toronto, but i had never cooked it. I had a tin of Akees in my cupboard for a month but i had never opened them and I had no idea what any of it was supposed to taste like. That is kind of working backwards for me normally I taste something and then try and re-create it. Since i had no idea whether I would love or hate Akees and salt fish I also cooked a goat curry,jerk chicken,fried plaintains and coconut coleslaw.Wow the akee looked so weird. They have a light creamy flavour - vaguely like scrambled eggs and they taste fabulous when mixed with the salt fish and what reminded me of a very cajun sauce.Food was delicous. It is so exciting to try new things. The Recipe I used was from my current favourite cookbook "Spoonin with Rosie" by Rosie Lovell. I have had it since September and i still have so many things i want to try. Next blog will have a recipe I promise. Thai Carrot and Red Curry soup sold like mad at Boscanova during the holidays. I will be posting the recipe on Wendnesday.
Pho, seems to be appearing in places other than the Vietnamese cafes in London.Pho is my husband Bruce's ultimate comfort food,his best hangover food. in his twenty plus years of being a bar musician in Toronto it always bought him satisfaction and salvation when nothing else could. I took the picture of the packaged Pho in Brighton This soup is made by Eat.I Wish i could have bought it and tried it. I am curious,wouldnt the the noodles be soggy.What about the fresh squeeze of lime juice and fresh herbs added just before eating. How could it keep that fresh Asian flavour? Unfortantely Raven and i were staying in a Travelodge so we couldnt take it home and try it. And I certainly didnt want to be carrying a pot of noodles home with me on the coach the next day. The other pictures, the actual steaming bowl of Pho was taken in my kitchen. Sorry i did not clean the kitchen and organize a proper food photo shoot thingie. Soup got made and eaten too quickly. Bruce was coming down with a cold so i made him his favourite. Pho is traditionally a clear delicate beef broth usualy containing thinly sliced beef and rice noodle. It can be served with with fresh wedges of lime, hoisin sauce, hot sauce, Cilantro, Asian basil, bean sprouts. It can come with all of these or just a few of them. Kensington Market in Toronto where Bruce and lived when we got married had some amazing Pho restaurants. Now we live in Parkestone Poole and there is not a Pho restaurant to be seen. I try and try to recreate this dish for him but so far i am only almost there.
I like my kitchen to be created from all kinds of recycled treasures. Look at my lovely tool trug. It's made of beautiful aged wood. It cost me pennies in a charity shop. Turned on to its side it makes a lovely home for Moroccan glasses and magical spices.