29 September 2010

salty cat bones

oh, on the marmite note again, they're so nuts in the uk about marmite, they dip cat bones in it, bag them, and sell them to un-witting consumers under the cutesy name of twiglets.

not sure salty cat bones would fly well here, judging by little jb's reaction.

23 September 2010

mid-autumn yum yum: mooncakes

yesterday marked the day of mid-autumn festival, or jung chau-jit (中秋節) in cantonese.

this festival used to be akin to a teenage after-prom party for farmers — they would party like it's 1999 after working their buttocks off during the growing season and harvesting the last of your wares on the harvest moon.

now, it's about getting time off work and getting fat by eating mooncakes and pomelos.

pomelos don't have a particularly interesting flavour (read: borderline gross), but one should not pass up mooncake when they are in season. (tip: after the festival, they are discounted!)

so after my indian lunch, i went out bought a big one and a little one. then ate the little one like a chihuahua with a severe napoleon complex pounces on a ladybug. note that there's a huge difference between prepackaged ones (in the fancy tins and boxes) and ones made fresh at the bakery: price and flavour. forego the prepackaged ones when you can.

stuffed to the brim with lotus seed paste and often baked with whole salted duck egg yolks in the middle, mooncakes do not make good snacks:
  • they are dense. 
  • they are sweet. 
  • they are meant for sharing and giving away.

(you have been warned).

[my lunch: top notch palak paneer, lamb curry, bhindi, and chicken mughlai from beau village]

p.s. if you haven't already, check out a food lover's journey instructions on making as many mooncakes as your gluttonous heart desires!

20 September 2010

greeks do it fest

every year, smack dab in the middle of august, the greeks in the greek-centric neighbourhood of montreal put on a grand little street festival, complete with rides, dancing, hellenic music, and (most importantly) greek food.

there's no shortage of souvlaki, spit-roasted pork, and other dead meats, grilled octopus, greek salad with fantastic feta, and these: loukoumades (greek honey balls).

[i ate 6 of these loukoumades in one sitting. that's $3 worth of deep fried delectableness. i also now have recurring dreams about riding loukoumades balls down a waterfall made of honey and sandbanks made of cinnamon dust, except i can't swim so it's kind of scary.]

[everyone's favourite yiayia making those delectable loukoumades and fighting off the hornets!]

you know this is a culture where people eat not just for the sake of eating and merry-making, but to make sure everyone else around you gets fatter than you do.

[spit-roasted pork for sale. note the wild-looking butcher in the background. he's famous!]

don't miss next year's festivities so you can hasaposerviko* with the gang!

* i don't think that's a verb but whatever.

15 September 2010

arugula and you!

gardeners know that if there ever was an annual garden green that was as prolific as the quiverfull, it would be arugula (also called rocket though i don't know why).

despite its evil superpowers to procreate like rabbits, arugula is deliciously bitter, flavourful and earthy. it's great in mixed green salads to give some bite and palatial, er, titillation. your gluttony is only bound by your imagination!

[gluttony as defined by fresh homemade pasta with arugula pesto and some sort of stunted cherry tomato]

when the arugula overruns my garden as it does every year*, i let my appetite for weeding run rampant and then make this arugula pesto with the reapings (more out of necessity than want). i mean, there's only so much arugla one can eat in a week before one's skin turns a tint of green.

[ready to rumble!]

arugula pesto
2 cups (500ml) arugula leaves
1 cup (250ml) coriander**
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) capers
1 Tbsp ground nuts (pecans, pine nuts, almonds... if you toast them it brings out the nutty flavour)
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) salt
ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
  1. pulverize: stick everything but oil in a food processor or hand blend it with an immersion blender.
  2. finish: blend in olive oil.
  3. store: store in an airtight container, such as a mason jar, and top it with a bit more olive oil. should last for a month or so (maybe longer).

* if you walk around chinatown here, you'll notice arugula growing everywhere where there's greenery. great for foragers and freegans.

** crazy it up! add a bit of tarragon, mint, basil or other herbage to make up 1 cup (250 ml) avoid using grass (though if you have fond memories of eating grass after getting tripped by soccer bullies into the sidelines, that's your prerogative).

08 September 2010

hot naan from the bbq

the nearby grocery chain sells chewy, frozen naan bread for the rip off price of $1.99 for two little breads, each the size of a pancake. double-you-tee-eff is all i have to say.

in the spirit of diy and corporate defiance, i made my own fresh and hot naan on the bbq (that's indian bread and not anything else, pervs).

i followed this overly-joyous chef's norecipe guidelines:

[the colourful chef sanjay from!]

unlike my east indian neighours, i don't own a tandoor and would probably burn my place down if used one, but the bbq generates enough heat to imitate one. paired with a pizza stone and you've got finger-lickin' naan at your fingertips (as long as you don't put your hands in the bbq while they're cooking)!

tips: make sure the bbq is hot -- at least 500F (~260C). pop them in on a baking sheet or on the hot pizza stone and keep the bbq closed until you're ready to flip it, which should be about after 2 minutes. (oryou can also follow in chef sanjay's advice and use a piping-hot oven).

[more on indian bread coming soon... with special indian friend, rishi-rish!]