• Location: Canada
  • Last bite on earth: Cadbury's Creme Egg.

Latest Comments

So You Wanna Be a Private Chef?

@ chefmikebenninger - great suggestions! I took a look at your (excellent) website; too bad you're not up near Ottawa.

My sister and I were variously personal and private chefs, eons ago. She did mostly business lunches for upmarket urban businesses, and made a lot of money: the clients got quality meals served in total privacy and didn't pay restaurant prices for booze (a BIG saving), and she earned every penny. This was Glasgow, late 80s, and clients were investment bankers, distilleries (yum). She didn't have any business training, but she's a smart girl, and learned as she went. She was cordon-bleu trained. I took a different route, dinner parties, etc, and I loved it. You certainly learn everything you need to know about human nature! I'd do it again in a heartbeat if there was a demand in a small farming community.

One thing you do have to consider is that most clients want to do their entertaining during the weekend, so consider your social life on Fridays, Saturdays and even Sundays pretty much shot.

Traditional Provençal Tapenade With Capers, Anchovies, and Tuna about roughly chopping everything but the oil in the food processor, and then smooshing it to finish with a pestle and mortar? Off to try that right now, come to think of it!

Pack All Your Summer Tomatoes Into This Tomato and Smoked Feta Tart

One of my favourite food writers, who's rather fallen out of fashion these days, sadly, Josceline Dimbleby, makes her tomato tart with an olive oil crust, wee bit of garlic in it, and iirc mint on top of the tomatoes. Perfection.

In Praise of Cheap Knives

Agree with bdcbbq - love the cheap knives listed.

Had Henckels for years, and hated them - balance was all wrong for me, and they couldn't keep an edge.

Bought a couple of packs of those cheap n cheerful multi-coloured knives from Costco 18 months ago as a temporary fix, and they're still going strong - blades are only just beginning to blunt now! Not bad for $12 for 8 of them. I don't treat them well - they live in their colour-matched sleeves in an old pitcher on the counter. Sort of like these, only cheaper:

I'll try Max's non-cleaving cleaver, though, as I've always liked the look of them.

Staff Picks: Our Go-To Airplane Foods

There's not enough competition any more for airlines to compete with edible, never mind palatable, in-flight meals, sadly.

Back in the day, on the 1hr flight from Edinburgh or Glasgow to London (Gatwick or Heathrow) one would be served a HOT and DELICIOUS 3-course meal, with cocktails beforehand and aperitifs afterwards. I can't remember how many airlines were competing for one's business, but it was enough, obviously! Breakfastses were even better. Them were the days....

Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Great minds think alike! I'd love to see more food lab stuff on lamb, too.

Life at Sea: The Pleasures and Perils of Nautical Cooking

Well, with a nom dp like Ocean.....

Loved this story, Lauren! BTDT, but on Scottish seas (no peppers, no refrigeration worries, plenty of good coastal pubs, nothing is ever completely dry, including the crew), and my ds was a cordon bleu cook back in the day on a mega yacht, so your experiences brought back many memories, one way and another.

I hope your boys stay safe - the comment in Jon Krakaur's article about Chris McCandless is sobering. The tales you will all tell to your grandchildren some day!

5 Ice Cream Myths That Need to Disappear

KT-S - I'm Scottish, hence the porage suggestion, lol. Next, I'm going to try and make a version of cranachan ice-cream, using red currant jelly, red currant liqueur and golden syrup vs honey. Wish me luck!

5 Ice Cream Myths That Need to Disappear

KT-S I think Max is the expert, but I can tell you what I did, if that's any help.

I warmed a cup of half-and half, and a cup of whipping cream (both organic, so no thickeners etc) so they were warm but not hot, and poured them into the blender. I added approx 1/3 cup of shop-bought lemon curd, and I'd already warmed the golden syrup, and added approx 1/3 cup of that. Whizzed it until there were no lumps of lemon curd left that I could see, then drizzled in 3 tbsp ginger wine. Then chilled it, and once it was cold I churned it in the ice cream machine. Churned for 20 minutes, and froze for a few hours.

I warmed the cream and the syrup because I feared the syrup would stay in a clump. I have an old Aga, so I just put them in the warming oven for an hour.

My thinking was that the ginger wine is super sweet, and the golden syrup is pure sweet, so I didn't add any more sugar. No eggs, either, or vanilla. There wasn't any real egg in the lemon curd.

There was enough for maybe 10 oxo good grips ice cream scoops at a stretch. It's quite a small scoop, but the ice cream is pretty rich! It was perfect last night (made it yesterday) so it'll be interesting to see if it's changed by tonight.

I'd maybe add a bit more ginger wine, or some ginger syrup, next time.

Enjoy your golden syrup. It is the best thing ever to have on porage, or ice cream, or a spoon. :)

5 Ice Cream Myths That Need to Disappear

Max - a heartfelt thanks for all your informative ice-cream articles over the last year or two. I wanted to make a different ice cream for a dinner party, and I combined your various suggestions about booze, cream, sweeteners, and so on, and made a simple ice-cream from lemon curd, cream, Lyle's golden syrup and Stone's Ginger Wine. It turned out extraordinarily perfect - tasty, with just the right consistency: creamy, lemony and gingery, funnily enough!

Grilled Scallion Pancakes

Used this recipe the other evening, but baked them on the floor of the Aga hottest oven, and they were brilliant! Definitely a keeper, fun to make, and the yummy simple dipping sauce was magic.

More Than Just Peat and Smoke: The Best Islay Single Malts

Hm. And to think we can't buy any booze at all at Costco here in Ontario-the-good. yes, that would be Ontario, Canada: the province that has wet dreams about the good old days of prohibition.

More Than Just Peat and Smoke: The Best Islay Single Malts

Wait: what??? WHERE is there a Costco that sells Laphroig???

The Food Lab's Complete Guide to Sous-Vide Steak

Thoroughly fascinating, as always, Kenji: thanks for such a detailed study!

More Than Just Peat and Smoke: The Best Islay Single Malts

I'll step foolishly into the pedantry fray. Whisky is only made in Scotland. Anything made anywhere else is called whiskEy. Same pronunciation, different spelling.

And for the record, it's pronounced gal-ick (rhymes with phal-lick) in Scotland, gaylick in Ireland, etc.

The Real Rules of Making Boozy Ice Cream

Drambuie added to pretty much any ice cream recipe turns it into something really special.

I made your pear and Riesling sorbet the other day, Max, and it was delicious - thanks!

Cooking With Olive Oil: Should You Fry and Sear in it or Not?

I love Greek olive oil, but it's not always as easy to find. Certainly the shelves at the local grocery stores aren't lined with Greek olive oils the way they are with italian and new world bottles.
Which reminds me - must visit the Greek restaurant deli in Kingston, ON, to buy a can of Greek olive oil next time I'm there!

The Food Lab: How to Make The Ultimate Creamy Spinach Lasagna

Made a double batch of this today, and it turned out well. Used half ricotta and half cottage cheese (we're in Canada where real ricotta is the norm), and it was delicious.

The other shortcuts I took were to whizz the fresh spinach in the food processor briefly before cooking, and then I spread the crumbled spinach loosely in roasting pans and "baked" it, then mixed it into everything else with an electric whisk, which worked out well and was less messy using the doubled amounts. Plus I didn't have to strain the spinach after cooking, as the moisture evaporated while baking.

I do have one HUGE request - we non-Americans would be thrilled if all Serious Eats recipes listed ingredients in grams and millilitres, as well as in lbs, ounces, cups, quarts and pints. American pounds, ounces, and pints are different from British ones, cups don't exist as a measurement in the UK (nor do sticks), and I did find I was constantly googling conversion tables. First world wine, I know...:)

Pork Chops With White Wine and Leek Pan Sauce

I thought it might have been the fact that I didn't give the salted/sugared chops any time to do their thing before I started cooking them. No matter, they were good, the sauce was excellent, and I'll definitely make them this way again.

now thinking of using the same method for a little rack of lamb!

Pork Chops With White Wine and Leek Pan Sauce

Very nice! Although we did find the sauce was pretty salty (and I did use home-made stock, so no extra sodium hidden there).

The Food Lab: Why Chicken With Pan Sauce Is Always Better at Restaurants (and How to Make Yours Just as Good at Home)

Now I knowcwhy I mysteriously bought 1/2 lb loose gelatin at Bulk Barn the other day!

I made this sauce a la Kenji the other day, and it was just as you described - looks and tastes perfect.

I use my own home-made stock or Campbells no-sodium chicken broth. For those in the Ottawa area, you can buy very good frozen stock (chicken, beef, veal and iirc lamb) from the lovely guys at The Butchery in Bells Corners.

April Bloomfield on the 3 Cookbooks Everyone Should Own

Another fan of Delia here....she's one of the TV cooks whose recipes are well thought out and do actually work, always, and taste fantastic, unlike today's current batch of smash n grab types, whose recipes are as dire as their personas.

Love Michael Ruhlman, too.

Freeze Fresh Herbs for Long-Term Storage

We used to be able to buy fresh-chopped frozen herbs in teeny weeny mini ice-cube trays with a red lid, and iirc they were also in oil, not water. So handy, and so missed from our groceries! Anyone see them any more?

Equipment: Why it's Worth Buying an Olive Oil Pourer

Yes, fruit flies LOVE squirming into my bottles of olive oil, blech.

My oils sit on the window sill these days (tsk, tsk!) but the bottles generally fit into those swanky tube tins that our favourite Scotch whiskiesctend to be packaged in: problem solved.

A lot of the olive oils I buy already have ther own wee dripless pourers....but maybe that's a canadian thing? Costco, PC, etc.