Archive Page 2

07
Jul
08

Sunfest 2008

I spent Saturday with the family at Sunfest 2008.

Sunfest is Canada’s Largest World Music Festival and it takes place in London, Ontario. 

I love world music, and any festival that has world music is a great spot for sampling “world food.”

I had a Columbian areppa (I hope I’m spelling it right), a gyro, and a Mexican churro. I was awefully tempted by the jerk chicken and pad thai, but I was too full and too hot to eat any more. My wife stuck to mainly Vietnamese food, but had an elephant ear for dessert.

We got to do a lot of walking. There are more than 225 vendors and more than 35 professional musicians from all over the world. 

My daughter surprised us by dancing up a storm (she’s 3 months old). She Loves Reggae. I liked the Japanese Taiko Drumming. You could hear it clear across the park.

http://www.sunfest.on.ca/

07
Jun
08

Waitress loses job after shaving head for cancer charity

A recent incident has got me fired up about poor restaurant management practices.

A 36-year-old waitress at an Owen Sound, Ont., restaurant lost her job this week after she shaved her head to raise money for a cancer charity.

The head Chef/owner’s rather weak excuse for this action is that he has a standard of dress that he expects from his employees. The problem I have with this is that she claims she had told him what she was planning to do well before hand, and nothing was said.

Nathaniels owner and chef Dan Hilliard issued a statement late Thursday saying Fearnall did not advise him that she was planning to shave her head.

 

“Mr. Hilliard had indicated that this is an employer-employee matter and such matters are not to be dealt with in the public,” the statement said.

Frankly, the waitress was still very presentable with the shaved head. I probably wouldn’t bat an eye if she waited on me in a restaurant.

Also, she did it for a good cause. It’s not as if she went out and did it to spite her boss.

I fully agree with kitchens with a no piercing policy, etc, where health code issues are cited as the reason. However, I’ve worked in the food and hospitality industry for years with a shaved head, and never had a problem. How about some equality?

This story honestly sounds like something I’ve come across many times in different kitchens. An owner who has poor management skills and may be a little mentally unstable begins to treat employees like he owns them. It’s crap and I don’t like it.

Why should an employee be punished for doing a good deed?

http://www.cbcf.org/ – Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

http://www.bcsc.ca/ – Breast Cancer Society of Canada

http://www.cancer.ca – Canadian Cancer society

http://www.cancer.org – American Cancer Society

01
Jun
08

hot buttered rum

So I had a root canal about a week ago, which has slowed down my blogging considerably. The pain in my jaw, however, has sparked a new hobby…

http://www.appletonrum.ca/DrinkGenerator/

I’ve also been reading a lot about Victorian era street food. It’s not all as ghastly as what I related in the previous post. Many of the baked goods of that era were taking advantage of, and experimenting with, the new flavours being introduced to Britain from the far corners of the Empire.

So, to blend these two seemingly unrelated topics, I present a recipe for hot buttered rum:

 6  cloves  (whole)
• 1 1/2 oz.  dark rum 
• 1 generous tbsp.  brown sugar 
• 1  Cinnamon stick 
 Boiling water 
 butter 
 Grated nutmeg 
 Lemon peel 

Mixing instructions:
Rinse a large mug with boiling water and add brown sugar, cinnamon stick, and a lemon peel studded with cloves. Pour in a little boiling water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add rum and fill with boiling water. Stir, then place pat of butter on top of drink, and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

 

Cheers!

31
May
08

The Pieman

Simple Simon met a pieman

Going to the fair;

Says Simple Simon to the pieman,

“Let me taste your ware.”

Says the pieman to Simple Simon,

“Show me first your penny.”

Says Simple Simon to the pieman,

“Indeed I have not any.”

I recently came across a write up in a publication from the mid-1800’s about the sellers of street foods in Victorian London, England.

Apparently the street pie trade had been one of the oldest of the street callings in London. By the mid-nineteenth century the trade had been almost destroyed by “pie shops.” Summer fairs and other large outdoor gatherings seem to have been one of the few places a pie-man could make a go of it.

The piemen would wander the streets with a portable tin oven getting business wherever they could. This often meant stopping in at the local public houses. Apparently business was pretty poor, and street piemen didn’t have the best reputation for quality goods. According to one meat pieman:

“People, when I go into houses…often begin crying ‘mee-yow’, or ‘bow-wow-wow!’ at me, but there’s nothing of that kind, now.”

Piemen bought their meat from the same places as sausage makers. They wouldn’t care about the flavour because they would use pepper to mask the taste of the meat. You could tell the quality of the meat by how little or how much pepper was in the pies.

Often a pieman would drum up business by calling out “Toss or buy! Up and win ’em.” Which basically turned the sale of the pies into a coin toss. You win the toss, you get a free pie. Loose a toss, and you’d better be able to pay for one.

That certainly sheds a new light on the old nursery rhyme.

And this…

 

21
May
08

Chai Crème Brulée

 creme brulee

During the recent move, I uncovered a ridiculous amount of tea scattered throughout my kitchen cupboards. There is everything from orange pekoe to pumpkin spice, in a wide variety of colours, from black to green to white.

This got me thinking, “What’s the deal with all this tea?” I barely even drink tea. Most of it I recieved as a gift.

Then I recalled the specialty tea store that had recently opened in a local mall.

Actually, in the past few years, at least three stores devoted exclusively to tea have opened up in this area. Has the world gone tea crazy?

I’ll assume the baby boomers are partially responsible. The search for eternal youth, or at least a tonic for creaky joints, makes them an obvious demographic.

Then again, Tim Hortons has been running those “steeped” ads a lot lately (at least here in Canada). I know a lot of media susceptible people who just have to have whatever the newest trend is.

Then there’s the first time away from home crowd. You know who I mean. Their the “I’m deep because I study at starbucks and drink tea just like my cool Asian roomate” group of “unique” individuals.

Wow, I just realized how mean spirited my posts sound when I haven’t had my coffee.

Don’t get me wrong. In the right context I love tea. I just have my doubts as to how much of my new found wealth I’ll be able to drink in this lifetime. I guess that means I’ll have to get creative…

Chai Crème Brulée

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp loose chai tea, good quality (10 ml)
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping (35%) cream (375 ml)
  • 1/2 cup homogenized whole milk (125 ml)
  • 1/4-cup sugar (60 ml)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • Sugar, for brulée toppingPreheat oven to 325 degrees F.1) Put the whipping cream, milk, sugar, vanilla bean and the chai tea in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to just to a boil. Remove from heat and cover. Let mixture steep for 15 minutes to develop flavor
    2) In a stainless steel bowl whisk the egg yolks. To make the custard, continue to stir egg yolks as you slowly pour the hot cream mixture over the yolks. Strain custard. Pour or ladle evenly into four 6-ounce ramekins or gratin pans.
    3) Bake in a water bath by placing ramekins into a shallow baking pan. Carefully pour enough boiling water into the baking pan so the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
    4) Bake just until custard centers jiggle slightly when pan is moved, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from water bath. Cool custard to room temperature. Refrigerate and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
    5) Sprinkle 2 tsp. of sugar on top of the custards. Caramelize the sugar with a crème brulée torch or directly under the broiler. Decorate as desired.
20
May
08

Honey, Straight from the Farm

Having been a farm kid, I like to check in on  http://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com every now and then to remind me of my roots. Today I was pleasantly surprised by this article, and just had to share.

http://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/bee-keeping-intro/#comment-2455

Growing up on the farm, we had bees, and I had my own suit and hive tool.  I loved the smell of the honey extracting in the garage.

We only ever had a few hives, so when my high school guidance counsellor told me I should become an Apiary, I laughed at him and said I couldn’t make a living at that. Maybe I was wrong, or maybe sweet just runs in my blood and that’s why I became a Pastry Chef. C’est la vie.

20
May
08

Vegetable Orchestra

Ok, so I came across this oddity a while back and have been debating about posting it for a while now. I’ve finally caved in because I have to give it credit for containing food, music, and creativity. As to whether any of it is any good, I’ll leave up to you to decide.

May I present the Vegetable Orchestra: