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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Pomodorini e Formaggio di Capra di Pasta

I am very proud of this meal I created. I even gave it a name (see article title). I am sharing the recipe at no charge.

I started with three vegetables: small summer squash, broccolini and yellow beans.

I sauteed the squash and beans in olive oil and butter, added the broccolini. Meanwhile, in another pot, I cooked the spaghetti.

I drained the spaghetti, returned it hot to its pot, added a third cup of goat cheese. I mixed the pasta and cheese well then mixed in the cooked vegetables.

The special touch was adding, at this point, a bunch of whole pomodorini (tiny tomatoes). I sprinkled all with freshly ground pepper, covered the pot for 3 minutes to let the tomatoes steam a bit then served. Excellent if I may say so.


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The Story of A Grape Vine - Part B

Yesterday you read about the story of the grape vine leaves.

But there remains the dilemma of what to do with the grapes.

You leave them on the vine to rip and the racoons will get them before me no matter what I do.

I remembered what a wise Iranian man once told me - pickle them young and sour like you pickle anything else.

And the experiment begun.

All the grapes from the grape vine chop chop, still not riped, were ready for pickling.

I followed mom's recipe for pickling cucumbers. 

I filled up the jars with sour grapes, covered them with salted water.

Three days later, I took out a third of the water and replaced with white vinegar.


How do they taste?

I don't know yet, I have not tried them, but I promise you readers two things:

1. I will let you know how they turn out once I try them.

2. I have many of those small jars of pickled sour grape to barter - just ask.

Monday, 29 July 2013

The Story of A Grape Vine - Part A

The jardin grape vine is loving our summer weather this year and taking over the jardin.

It was time for some chop chop.

But nothing goes to waste at somerville kitchen.

At the same time, rolling all those leaves to make Mehshi Warak will take all week and not enough neighbours to feed.

Well, mother's advice came in handy - freeze them.

And the production begun. All the leaves were separated from the vines, washed and were ready for storage.

Last year I experimented with freezing grape vine leaves. I froze a batch fresh and another one blanched.

Kitchen Tip 1: Never freeze grape vine leaves fresh.

Kitchen Tip 2: How to blanch grape vine leaves. 

Easy. Boil water in a pot.

Add a batch of leaves. Let them blanch for 30 seconds, flip over and blanch for another 30 seconds. Take out and let dry.

Amazing how quickly the colour turns (and then turns dark green again once you cook them).

Pack in freezer bags and I am now fully stocked up with frozen fresh grape vine leaves. Anyone wants to join for Mehshi Warak soon?

Sunday, 28 July 2013

somerville kitchen Cookbook Club Going Strong

somerville kitchen cookbook club first summer meeting was hosted by my dear lovely neighbour.

In the spirit of summer, a savoury freshly made lassi was waiting for us as our lovely hostess featured a series of cookbooks put out by Gulf News few decades ago as a promotional material to engage the multinational expats community in Dubai.

The dish featured from the books was an amazing spinach and crushed peanuts pakoras.

Those were exceptionally tasty, freshly fried and dangerously addictive.

somerville kitchen featured a fun summer book called A Feast of Weeds by Luici Ballerini with recipes made out of all sorts of weeds including daisies and sow thistle (which was conveniently available for real life demonstration in my dear lovely neighbour's jardin).

Other books featured were books on canning and on Asian foods.

A spreadsheet with all the cookbooks discussed in our club is available for those who nicely ask.


Saturday, 27 July 2013

It's All About The Catses

What did catses do on Saturday?

They lounged outside enjoying the nice weather.

What did I do on Saturday?

I tried to compete with my vet by training to be one.

It was the vet's idea after all as part of the fun open house day event at Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital.

There were scavenger hunt, BBQs, shows by suppliers, face decorations, hospital tours and lots of fun.

Right, this is a food blog (but it is all about the catses...).

Well Vancouver Animal Wellness Hospital has a great variety of foods, including those natural dehydrated foods from The Honest Kitchen.

But instead, I was eying those banana looking catnip toys (well, they are almost food given the shape).

Catses love those and I probably need to bring a new one home every month.

I ended up buying a bottle of vitamin pills, talked to the three amazing vets and enjoyed this staff designed fun event.

Thank you VAWH for all you do for catses.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Eating at a Shady Island

A short drive from the city of Vancouver one finds Steveston where one can forget where one is and enjoy a seaside stroll.

There you find a brick and mortar man made Island called Shady Island.

Their fish and chips is alright.

Fresh haddock was my choice. One piece to keep weight down.  somerville kitchen makes better fries.

Shady Island, your claim to fame should be your chowder.

Don't let that Yaletown looking presentation fool you - Mama's seafood chowder is authentic, tasty, filling and hearty.

Tomato based with cream drizzled mixing with all the seafood goodies. 

Don't miss out on it on your trip to Shady Island.

Shady Island Seafood Bar & Grill
#112- 3800 Bayview Street
Steveston, BC

 Shady Island Seafood Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wacky Sweet Week

somerville kitchen had a busy month of July reporting birthday celebrations (fans' birthdays are July 13, 14, 15 (3), 16, 18, 21).

As a result, a lot of sweets were presented, played with and ... eaten.

sweet e's was the main provider of birthday celebration sweets this year.

When John asked for a 'very chocolaty chocolate cake' it was a no brainer that their Flourless Chocolate Cake be ordered.

Yes, flourless does not mean boring (nor light). The creative brains at sweet e's use cocoa, butter and eggs to make a moist cake that is heaven for any chocolate lover.

But, as a white and creamy fan, I simply had to find an occasion for sweet e's summer special coconut cream pie.

My love affair with white and creamy probably developed at the age of five when I used to eat coconut cream pie sourced from some American entity by a relative working there.

I have not had luck replicating that taste until decades later with this one.

Another provider was The Sweet Spot Bakery.

The white and creamy was amplified with a vanilla cheese cake with summer fruit. 

And the fruit got more exotic with fresh lychee and blueberries.

Trafiq is also on the list of favourite birthday cake providers.

And I am so glad I managed to get one of Trafiq's delicious and moist carrot cakes to be added to the series of birthday cakes.

Talking about carrots, cherries added to the healthy eating, but one cannot  buy fruit from River District Farmer's Market without a lovely bakeress'  delicious goodies.

At the end of the day, there are way too many sweets around to continue this reporting, but hopefully this gives you a flavour of what happens in July.

(mom, if you are reading this, rest assured I am on a no dessert diet till my birthday).

Wait a minute, I cannot forget about this delicious Japanese fruit jelly gift that managed to squeeze in between all the cakes.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

What a Sofra

If you are looking for a good authentic Lebanese food, go no further.

Sofra in Lebanese means a food table, a food spread or simply dining. Visually, this is a Sofra.

Our Sofra today, in a typical Lebanese fashion, included a spread of food.

The vegetarian platter is excellent (except for the out of a can stuffed vine leaves).

The kebabs are exceptional and their humus is the most authentic I had in any restaurant in Vancouver.

After we ordered, I noticed they have fresh fries - that would have been much better side than rice.

Besides Lebanese, there is also some Turkish specialties (I think the owners are a group of a Lebanese, a Syrian and a Turk).

This Turkish style meat pie was good and tasted freshly made.

The 'Pide' tasted as fancy as it looked. Freshly baked in their stone oven on site, our choice today was the feta, olives and parsley.

Keep it up Sofra, you impressed three connaisseurs of the cuisine.

Sofra Mediterranean Kitchen
 2277 West 41st Avenue
Vancouver (Kerrisdale), BC

Sofra Mediterranean Kitchen on Urbanspoon