Sunday, 29 December 2013

Biscuits - the final frontier

Biscuits are my nemesis.

They've eluded me for more years than I dare to count, they've taunted me with their doughy softness and flaunted their delicious smell in bakeries for what feels like eons.

Biscuits of Glory
Today was my day of reckoning.
Today I make a decent biscuit.

This recipe is solely for my own personal reference it worked for me and I will never, ever deviate. Well, thats wholly untrue, but for the time being I'll stick to it religiously until I feel brave.


1 c all purpose flour
1 c bread flour (makes a crispy top and bottom)
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
4 TBSP butter
1 c buttermilk + a little more if the dough needs it
1/3 c shredded cheese
  • Pre heat oven to 450 degrees, lay a sheet of baking paper on a baking sheet
  • Measure flours, salt, BP, BS & sugar into a bowl & whisk throughly 
  • add shredded cheese and stir to coat with flour
  • mash that butter in well - get your hands right in there and make a mess 
  • Fold in the buttermilk, the dough may be a little dry, dribble in a little extra buttermilk to make a ball of all the dry ingredients. 
  • on a floured surface kneed the dough only briefly enough to make it a dough mass 
  • flatten into a disk, thickness depends on how large you want your biscuits - i went with a solid inch of dough
  • cut out rounds of biscuit with a cup or cookie cutter, no twisting allowed - just press down firmly. OR cut the whole mess into squares, this ensures you don't need to handle the dough too much.
  • place the doughy disks on the baking 
  • bake for between 10 - 13 mins - watch carefully as they bake very quickly. 
  • when them come out of the oven, do a dance of thanks and joy to the doughy god of biscuits for granting you a delicious bready treat.
  • hi-5 ever person within shouting distance of your kitchen - as they'll automatically become your new BFF's when the see the inherent deliciousness. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Chick Pea Salad

The Fondue Voodoo household are big fans or the brown bagged lunch, or dinner for the matter. Making a lunch for work is part of the routine and gives me the satisfaction of feeling like a smug S.O.B when I show off...I mean pull out lunch in the staff kitchen. Who in the world would like competitive lunching?...well me of course. While I won't give away my competitive edge entirely, I'll to share this simple chick pea salad that operates as a side dish, topping for a green salad, or layer for a burritos or sandwiches.

chick pea salad needs to start with a kitchen chick

Chick Pea Salad
1 cup frozen chick peas
1 diced tomato or cucumber
1 green onion sliced
Herbs - handful of chopped cilantro, parsley or both
juice of one lime
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp hot chili flakes - or more
Salt as necessary

add all the ingredients together and toss about.
mash & smash a 1/4 of the chick peas in order to create a paste that will bind the remaining chick peas together & absorb any left over dressing.
show off your mad skills to friends and coworkers and use on salads, sandwiches in burritos or on top of nachos.

Home made Horseradish - only 365 days to make

365 days to delicious - some things are
worth waiting for.
Guest Posting by Jar Head

Homemade horseradish is extremely easy to put together and once you've tried it you'll never go back to store bought.

I grew a plant this past year I purchased at the end of last season. It was planted and promptly forgot about until this October. I dug the gnarly root out and left a small chunk behind to hopefully propagate for next year.

If you don't grow your own horseradish root, then store bought roots will do just fine, check for it at farmers markets and finer grocery stores locally.

Peel the outside hard skin off and grate the horseradish - I found a microplane works best. Be careful, it can be more potent than onions on the eyes.

Once grated, heat up a mixture of vinegar (apple cider is best, but white will work just fine), salt and sugar. Use about 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt and sugar for 1/4 cup of vinegar or to taste.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the horseradish and mix. This will keep 3-4 weeks in your fridge, if it lasts that long, as it tastes great on everything.

eat and be merry

Brassneck Brewery & Yolks Food Truck - The Reclaimed Wood of Heaven

Fill and Enjoy at home (picture courtesy of Brassneck)

It's not often that Fondue Voodoo hands up the kitchen utensils and let someone else do the cooking. Primarily because 1. I'm cheap  2. I'm picky  3. Bentley the not-so-wonder-dog controls my every move.

That said, in an unusual turn of events I scurried away with a good friend for tasty Chicken and Waffles and a few tiny sips of Brassneck beer flight. We knew we were in the right place when out front of the brewery was "Yolks" the cutest tiny baby blue food truck and the intoxication waft of fried chicken & waffles floated like holy incense in the East Van air. With those glorious scents surrounding us, we knew exactly what to range and organic chicken and waffles & a stick of truffled hash browns. As soon as the doors opened to Brassneck we were distracted by the unexpected beauty inside. The reclaimed wood, warm brass accents, apothecary like display of beautiful boston rounds and unbleached cotton totes for your brew. From the smallest attention to the details to the partnership of great food trucks like Yolks this pared down version of simply good offerings makes for a comfortable, community minded approach to a gathering place...with good food and beer and good company.

Heavenly Combo (picture courtesy of Yolks)
Yolks: Firstly, I had the good pleasure of having a chance to chat with the Dad of the Yolk's chief. Clearly he held a tremendous amount of pride for his son's accomplishments. Yeah dad! We talked about the food of course and he offered some insight in the use of a sous vide to cook the chicken prior to frying and the home made ketchups and mustards Yolks specializes in. Personally, I thought the truffled hash brows on a stick, just lightly salted, were like an adult savoury lollipop. The complimentary flavours and textures of the crunchy & savoury chicken and the sweet and tender (but not chewy) waffles were a match made for drinking with beer. Food was stellar!

Brassneck Flight: We tried a flight and as I'm not currently a drinker, I only sipped and sniffed my way through a flight of Passive Aggressive ale, Joe's Barn Sasion, Prohibition style corn ale and the Imperial Stout. The brews were bold and assertive for a brewery so new, they offered well developed flavours and an impressive amount of body. My friend is a big fan of the passive aggressive, with notes of grapefruit & pine and a smooth malt base, while the Imperial Stouts malty coffee notes and warm dark chocolate flavours impressed me the most.

Looks like my Bentley! (picture courtesy of Brassneck)
What we liked best: the opportunity to gather with family, even kids & a real live dog to share in 2 terrific ventures that genuinely support the local community. This atmosphere opened up the way for conversation among the "diners" which is how I had the good luck to learn more about how terrific Yolks truck people are.

We loved the interior and how the smallest detail speaks to simplicity and the honestly of Brassneck's product. We loved the "choose- your-own-adventure-beer-flights and the beautiful interior that embraces simplicity and natural beauty. I hope we can go back soon, even thought that means one less home cooked meal, and have a chance to learn more about the brewing process. And of course, more truffled taters on a stick.

Get out there and enjoy!
Go here for Brassneck
Go here for Yolks

yours in wintery glow - Fondue Voodoo

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Mushroom and Rice Soup - the Wild Edition

Lobster Mushrooms ready for cleaning
The double edged sword of living in the temperate rain forrest that you have to live with Mother Natures bipolar side. It's her way of reminding the mortals that her treasures come with strings attached. So it's gonna pour buckets of rain at times, but when it doesn't, the forrest is a gracious provider. Surviving the wind and rain pays off, today it paid off in the form of 5 lbs of wild lobster mushrooms.
Glory be to her flip floppy ways! Tonight we give thanks to Mother Nature and dine on mushrooms in honour of our great mothers bounty.

ingredients ready
to roll 
You'll need the following
butter and oil for frying
2 lbs lobster mushrooms, wild harvested, cleaned well and diced small
1/2 lb small criminis, washed, trimmed and diced
divide all the mushroom in 3 equal piles

3 small leeks
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup brandy

1.5 liter stock - pre heated
1 - 1.5 cup of pre cooked wild rice blend (wild and brown rice)
2 tsp thyme & savory
2 tsp porcini powder

125 ml half & half cream
salt to taste
butter and oil for frying
1 TBSP beurre manie

Wash and trim your mushrooms - lobsters can be dirty & wormy so this is a labour of love and a commitment of your time. Be sure to cut the mushrooms up to check that no worm(s) have burrowed in an unchecked location.

Fry a third of the mushrooms in a little butter and oil. Plenty of liquid will be released by the mushrooms, this is fine, just allow the liquid to pool. Once cooked, remove the 1st third of mushrooms and continue to cook the 2nd and the 3rd batch of the remaining mushrooms with fresh butter and oil.

Something to be thankful for, tasty beer &
wild lobster mushroom & wild rice soup
In butter and oil cook the leeks and garlic, deglaze with the brandy a couple of splashes at a time.

Add the stock - Heat the stock prior to adding in order to continue the cooking process. Add a small amount of the stock first to deglaze the pan, add the remaining stock and bring up to simmer.

Add the cooked mushrooms back to the pot

Season the soup with the herbs and porcini powder

Once hot, remove a cup of stock and incorporate the beurre manie and mix until thick.

Return the butter, flour, stock mix back to the hot soup and stir immediately to thicken the soup.

Add the cream to the soup, stir and heat until it's ready for serving.

Top with thin sliced green onions, chopped parsley and pepper.
Serve with plenty of fresh bread.

And importantly drink with wonderfully tasty drink of your choice, see our review of the delicious Pliny the Elder, discoverer of the wondrous hop. Would go equally well with a simple cocktail of sparkling water and lime for those of us off the booze.

Banana Bread - the Double Down Version

It's a well established fact that Fondue Voodoo is a neglectful and abusive mistress of all produce. A bunch of browning bananas stranded on the kitchen counter, forgotten and overlooked is kinda status quo. Which just means that becoming an expert at making banana bread is basically a necessity. The Double down banana bread is a chocolate bread topped with a blonde bread, as such it requires that you make at least 2 loaves of the good stuff.

So tie your apron strings tight, turn up the tunes and get your ingredients lined up, you're in for a terrific ride. Thanks to Kitchen Scraps foodie guru Pierre A Lamielle, who's terrific muffin recipe is top notch and my go to for all muffins and loaves.

Get yourself ready:
You'll need 4 mixing bowls - medium size
2 loaf pans, lined with parchment paper or oiled and floured
heat the oven to 375
 I forgot to take a pic of the mixing process
so heres a cute pic of Bentley Beans

Bottom layer - Double Chocolate Banana Bread
1.5 c Flour
.5 c coco powder
2 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix all the drys and set aside 

Wet ingredients
1 c yogurt
1/4 c melted butter or vegetable oil
3/4 c white sugar
1 egg beaten
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla 
1& 1/2 c extra ripe mashed bananas 
Mix all the wet ingredients and set aside

Top layer - Blonde Banana Bread with Strudle topping
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chopped dates (could opt for nuts or raisins)
Mix all the ingredients and set aside
Banana Bread Super Star - get out there and
impress your friends

Wet Ingredients
1 c yogurt
1/4 c melted butter or vegetable oil
3/4 cup white sugar 
1 egg beaten 
1 pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 and 1/2 c mashed extra ripe bananas. 
Mix all the wet ingredients and set aside 

1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c rolled oats
1/4 c vegetable oil
mix well and set aside

how to: 
1. have your loaf pans prepped with either parchment paper (my preference) or oil and flour the insides
2. heat oven to 375 degrees
3. mix the wet and dry ingredients for the bottom double chocolate banana bread layer 
4. give the pans a little giggle to settle the batter evenly
5. quickly mix the wet and dry ingredients for the top blond banana bread layer
6. smooth the batter out with a couple of good giggles
7. sprinkle the studle topping over the loaves evenly and using 2 fingers poke the strudle down into the batter a little, this helps it adhere to the finished loaf. 
8. bake your loaves at 375 until they pass the toothpick test, approximately 50 mins. 
9. marvel at the wonders you've just created - cause baby your a banana bread superstar. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Potato, Green Bean & Anchovy Salad

I don't know what it is about those tiny little salty fishes - but anchovies are so packed full of salty fishy goodness it practically oozes out. Once I became a convert to anchovies, I can't figure how I made anything tasty before. Mixed with a pile of new potatoes and fresh beans from a friend's garden (thanks nitaj), spiked with herbs, garlic & made delicious with anchovies, you'll become a convert too.

Go get yourself:

Potatoes, beans & anchovy salad, it's what's for dinner.  
1.5 lbs of new potatoes - steamed or boiled
.5 lb of string beans
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
2 green onions- chopped
3 TBSP of Olive Oil *
1-2 TBSP dill vinegar
handful of cilantro - chopped
smallish handfull of chopped dill
5-6 anchovy fillets chopped 

* for creamy version cool the 'taters & beans and make a mix of mayo (2 TBSP) & grainy mustard (1 tsp), anchovies lemon juice and lemon rind and herbs and dress the potatoes cold.

The how to:

Cook your potatoes to a soft tender stage, add the beans to the boiling water for a coupe of minutes until tender. 

Drain all the water off and set the beans and taters aside. Add the cool oil to a cold pan along with the garlic & anchovies. Set to medium low and slowly warm the mix to release the flavours. *Do not brown.*

Toss the potatoes back into the pot and smash a couple of potatoes to gather all the lose oil. Tumble the potatoes into a bowl and stir in the herbs, vinegar and cracked pepper.

Taste and salt only if necessary. 

Beer pairing: This salad is hearty and would pair excellently with a saison like Logsdon Oaked Bretta, or Weizen Bam Bière.