You look good enough to eat

25 11 2012

So I will!

Today was the day. After weeks of patiently watching fungus grow in my garage… I ate it. It tasted wonderful. I have never eaten oyster mushrooms before, so wanted to eat them tout seul to savour the taste. Having said that, I ended up frying them in a little bacon fat, but when all is said and done – I’m a bloke! The alternative would have involved an extra 5 minutes and some washing up liquid. Unconscionable! I went all out and put a sprig of fresh basil as garnish from my kitchen windowsill stash.

Feast your eyes…

Well THAT was a funny old day…

29 07 2012

As I get older I realise that there’s no such thing as “normal” – just varying degrees of “weird”.

Things got off to a bad start due to the normal miscommunication anyone with children will be very familiar with. It doesn’t get any better… get used to it. I’m 48 now, and my parents understand me no better today than when I was a teenager bristling with attitude and bad skin. I’d spoken briefly with my father over in Blighty on Friday and he’d said my mum was very keen to chat via Skype, as we hadn’t spoken for several weeks. (Now well into retirement, they make good use of their abundant free time and travel extensively around the UK and Europe.) This was also father-speak for “I’m uncomfortable speaking to you, male offspring, so I’ll leave that to your mother – and she’s not here right now.”

So anyway, I’d reminded him that BC is -8hrs from Yorkshire (well, 8 hours behind, and a few centuries ahead, all at the same time), and that if she really wanted to call me on Sunday, please make it after 4pm their time, which is 8am in BC. So anyway, at 8:15am the phone rang, and with bleary eyes I answered. My mum said she was surprised I’d wanted her to call so early, and wouldn’t it have been better to call a bit later?

“After 8am” had become “at 8am” somewhere along the way. No matter. I made arrangements to reconvene on Skype – keeping emigrant offspring connected to long-distance parents, the world over – and blundered my way downstairs to be regaled with tales of my sister’s exploits in Spain, and her concern at my nephew travelling to Italy with his girlfriend. (He’s almost 21 now, and she seemed to think he was in imminent danger of getting engaged.)Que Du Vent

Mrs E rescued me from falling asleep by delivering me my morning tea at the PC. Morning tea – a ritual that, should it be missed, can result in near-fatal consequences for those around me. It’s not so much a mug of tea, as a small bucket. Anyway, once my mum had run out of things to tell me, and failed to ask me anything at all about events in BC, we hung up and my day began in earnest. Well, not really. I had some thick sliced toast and marmalade, got washed, shaved, and tried to look human, then watched a film (something I’ve not done in too long).

I had a tasty, but lingering Mexican bean salad for lunch (it’s the raw onion… overdone a little), and generally wasted my limited time on this spinning globe. After lunch, we offloaded half a garage worth of empty bottles and cans at the recycling, and went “barbecue shopping” on the proceeds.

This became quite stressful as Mrs E forgot the first cardinal rule, and considered it the same as normal shopping. Barbecue shopping is the sacred domain of the male of the species. It is when he pretends that he knows all about home economics, and good choices in nutrition. Or not. A wise woman will find her “happy place” and just let the moment pass. Mrs E, on the other hand questioned why I was looking at peppered goat’s cheese. I was merely interested in it as a product, with no particular interest in actually purchasing it, I might add. And then the blue touch-paper was lit: “It’s a bit expensive, isn’t it?” Despite the fact that I had no real interest in purchasing the goat’s cheese in the first place, this was breaking the second cardinal rule “barbecues are not a particularly cost-effective way of feeding a family of four (or five with an absentee student), so ignore all the price tags”.

Knowing that calm is often restored to my fetid mind by taking photos, I took my trusty Canon for a walk. Together we perused the neighbourhood. Its gardens, its shopping centre… and its cricket match. Yup… there was a full on Sunday league match in full swing. Oh – and a beach volley ball game.

Finally it was time to start the barbie, and the womenfolk had figured it was best just to keep out of the way, since sharp objects and flames were involved. Not a bad little spread really. Grilled veggies (red peppers, sliced portabello mushrooms [OK, not technically a vegetable], courgettes, red onion), steamed sweetcorn, burgers, bangers, Maui marinaded steak and chicken. Garlic bread of course, and ciabatta for stopping the meat burning your fingers.

The dog surprised me by asking most politely for a sweetcorn of her own, and I resisted alcohol preferring instead fizzy water with a few squirts of angostura bitters.

So I sit here now drinking “False Creek Raspberry Ale” from Granville Island Brewing Co., (having sworn that beer and fruit should never mix – don’t tell anyone I know… it’s actually quite passable at 4.5%), and listening to “Que de Vent” by “Les Cowboys Fringants” from Quebec.

Now tell me that’s not odd…

… And by golly, it does you good!

24 03 2012

Now I’m more your bacon butty kind of person normally. Especially on a Sunday morning in a tent somewhere with a pretty view close by.

But I am reasonably adventurous food-wise, and have recently taken to eating roasted seaweed, which comes pre-packaged from the local Asian supermarket.

This though, is a more earthy Western alternative, tastes as good, and apparently is good for you. Well – you can’t have EVERYTHING!

Crunchy kale chips recipe (i.e. how to eat a bucket of kale per day)


Hungry in Vancouver?

26 01 2012

Vancouver is not short of places to eat. Especially at lunchtime. Evenings are slightly tougher, with many of the downtown places making so much money from we office drones at lunchtime that they can scoff at the locals and send their staff off home to watch TV in the evenings, instead of making their offerings available. There is even a café by Coal Harbour that closes totally in Winter because they milk the Summer tourists for so much during the season that they can afford to!

Anyway, the other day I found myself in a new-to-me eatery going by the name of Nubile. Well, not really, it was actually Nuba, but I just have that kind of mind. Lebanese food. Bizarrely, the only other time I’d eaten Lebanese food was in Dubai. Also not in Lebanon. Lebanon itself remains on the “to do” list for now. Along with Haida Gwaii. Eclectic is my middle name. Live with it, I have to!

So anyway, I mention all this just to say that if you find yourself in Vancouver and stuck for inspiration of what to eat, you could do a lot worse. AND they open in the evenings. Bonus! The food was excellent. Tasty, promptly delivered by attractive, if “particular” staff, and well priced too. I had the Mjadra Pita bread thingy, which was very scrummy indeed. They let me in obviously, but the other clientèle were most interesting and fun to gaze upon while they munched their way through food and conversation in equal measure. Even the drinks were interesting, with cucumber flavoured water instead of the usual bog-standard fare, and some delicious ginger/apple or carrot/rabbit-dropping (not really, but I forget the actual ingredients) offerings.



Even the location is interesting, being below street level, and having all the pipes and ducting exposed for that “retro” feel. You’ll enjoy it.

I did.


And no – I don’t have shares…

Tim Tam Slams

20 12 2011

A few years ago I was introduced to Tim Tams on a business trip to Australia. Of more interest is why I was NOT introduced to them on the previous trips, but maybe that’s just something I’ll never know. So anyway, I was struck by how similar (like 99%) they were to a favourite biscuit from my days in the UK – The Penguin by Mcvitie’s. Christmas is now upon us and one of my friends was kind enough to give me some Tim Tams as a gift. He also described in detail how to perform the “Tim Tam Slam”, unaware that this too was part of my introduction a few years back.

I have yet to test whether it also works with Penguins, and would welcome anyone’s experience in that regard. Basically, you nibble off two opposite corners of the biscuit. this leaves most of the biscuit sealed airtight in its chocolate cover. You then dunk one nibbled corner in a hot beverage – say tea or coffee, and suck hard on the other opposite corner. The hot liquid moves through the biscuit like a straw and melts the chocolate centre. But this is no trivial undertaking. The two biscuit layers obviously soak up the drink and quickly become soft. If you don’t time it right, the whole thing dissolves into a mushy puddle and can splash hot drink into your lap.

I don’t recommend you try it in front of your elderly aunt. unless she’s Australian.

In researching all this, I discovered that Mr Arnott basically stole the idea from McVitie’s when he made a visit to the UK in 1958. Also that Tim Tam was the name of the winning horse in that year’s Kentucky Derby. Shameless… good biscuits though!

Wikipedia: Tim Tams

Wikipedia: Tim Tams

McVitie's Penguins

McVitie's Penguins


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