Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Samosas

September28

My children are very innovative gift givers and they know that I treasure experiences more than things.  This year for Mother’s Day, my youngest gave me a Mother/Daughter Cooking class.  I eagerly anticipated our samosa making adventure which she booked through the City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide.

Unfortunately, I did not know in advance that I would require special permission to take photos during the class and so all I have are the end results.  The photos would have been fun because all 11 of us took turns rolling out, shaping, filling and browning 2 varieties of samosas along with the preparation of Tamarind Chutney.  Some of us were more proficient at this process than others-but they all turned out delicious in the end.

I can’t wait to make these for a special event.  Like perogies or Chinese dumplings there are many steps and a considerable time commitment, not something you would just whip up for a snack. 

Here are the recipes that we used:

Potato with Pea filling

4-5 large potatoes

4 T oil

1 t cumin seeds

2 t salt

1 t red chili powder

1 t roasted cumin powder

1 T fresh ginger (grated) or powder

2 handfuls of frozen green peas

1/2 c lukewarm water

Half boil potatoes, strain & let cool.  When cooled, dice into small pieces.  Heat the 4 T of oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds & fry until they are lightly browned.  Remove from heat; add ginger to fried cumin , mixing well.  Place the pan back on medium heat, add potatoes & other ingredients, mix well, then add water, cover & let cook for approximately 20 minutes,  When vegetables are soft add the roasted cumin powder, mix well, remove from heat & let cool (make sure all the water is evaporated). 

Meat with Mixed Vegetable filling

400 grams ground meat, we used chicken

2 c mixed vegetables

1/2 thinly sliced onion

1 small thinly sliced tomato

2 T cooking oil

1 T grated ginger

1/2 t garlic powder

1 1/2 t chili powder

1 1/2 t salt

1 t cumin powder

1/2 c water

1 t roasted cumin

oil

Heat oil in frying pan on high heat.  Add onion and chili powder,  Reduce to medium heat when onions are limp, add tomato and stir fry.  Add ground meat; mix very well with onion and tomato.  When water has evaporated, let cool on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Make sure all water has evaporated sand meat is fully cooked.  Add roasted cumin powder and mix well.  Set aside mixture to cool.

The Dough

3 c flour

1/2 c cooking oil

1 t salt

1 cup warm water (added 1 T at a time if mixture is too dry)

Mix oil & salt in flour.  Slowly add water to the flour, knead well to make dough.  When this is ready, form into 12 balls.  Using a little flour on a cutting board or clean level counter top, roll it out to thin round circles.  Cut circles in half.  Take one half in your hand, close the edges together of the cut side with a little water.  You should now have a cone in your hand.  Put 1 T of the filling inside the cone.  Using a little water close the open edges tightly.  Continue the same process with the rest.  Heat the oil in a deep fryer on high heat.  Once the oil is heated reduce to medium heat and place 4-5 samosas in the oil.  Fry on medium heat until golden brown.  Drain oil.  Makes 24 pieces.

 

Tamarind Chutney

1/2 c tamarind concentrate

1 c sugar

1 t salt

1/4 c cooking oil

1 t chili powder

1 c water

1 t roasted cumin powder

Mix all the ingredients (except for the cumin powder) together in a saucepan on medium heat.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Once a thick consistency has been reached the sauce is finished.  Remove from the heat & add 1 t roasted cumin powder.  Let cook & serve with samosas.  You can store the sauce in a jar in your fridge for a few months. 

Kath’s quote: “Playwrights are like men who have been dining for a month in an Indian restaurant. After eating curry night after night, they deny the existence of asparagus.“-Peter Ustinov

 Thank you Boo-love you forever.

 

 

 

posted under Appetizers | 2 Comments »

Pete’s Place

September23

Sometime you just get a craving for good, made from scratch cooking.  D and I are often drawn to the North End of Winnipeg to shop at Tenderloin Meats on Main St. for kubasa and perogies.  A stop at Pete’s Place is often on the itinerary.  Pete’s is nothing to look at from the outside-in fact, you might even drive right by it.  But inside, the place has been recently spruced up and the servers are sweet as pie.

D started with a bowl of borsht that he declared was the best borsht, he had ever tasted.  Now, that is high praise as we have a number of expert borscht makers in our family.  He offered me a  taste but I didn’t want to deprive him of even a spoonful as he was obviously enjoying it, that much. 

Next up was Pete’s sandwich which was a cross between a Clubhouse and a loaded bacon and egg sandwich.  Once again, I declined a taste because D dug in with such relish.

I chose a three cheese omelet with cheddar, mozarella and feta.  It was served alongside home fried potatoes & onions and rye toast.  I was glad that I had not filled up on other tastes, as it was wonderful.  All tolled, I think that our bill was $20.

Food so good-we should just head there for no other reason.

Pete's Place on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “It is odd how all men develop the notion, as they grow older, that their mothers were wonderful cooks. I have yet to meet a man who will admit that his mother was a kitchen assassin and nearly poisoned him.”-Robertson Davies

Dinner Rush-Movie Find

September22

The winters can be long in Winnipeg and so we hearty souls have become experts in finding projects and entertainment to while away the long nights.  D and I often pick a TV series, or in this case, a movie theme for the “non-cottage weekend” months.  This winter our theme is food movies and we kicked things off with 2 choices.

 The first was a Penelope Cruz movie and although we have seen her in some wonferful roles, the film “Woman on Top” is not her finest work.  But the second one was a really intriguing find.

Dinner Rush stars Danny Aiello and John Corbett.  And here is a tease about the plot: “Is it just another evening at the hugely popular Italian restaurant of proprietor and bookmaker Louis Cropa in New York?

Anything but -as tonight’s guests include; a local police detective and his wife specially invited by the owner;  rival bookmaker gangsters from Queens who want to become partners in the restaurant; renowned food critic ‘the food nymph’ is her usual demanding self; and at the bar, seemingly unnoticed, is Ken. As the evening continues enter Duncan, inveterate gambler and sous-chef on-the-line in the frenetic kitchen downstairs” and Louis’ son the head chef who is torn between making the Italian classics or to follow his dream of being one of NYC’s Top Noveau Chefs.

Almost the entire movie is situated in a three level restaurant and you can feel the stress and heat of the kitchen and the achy calves from the servers running up and down the stairs.  I can speak for its authenticity as we dined at an old Italian eatery last summer in NYC where candles were lit the day that prohibition ended and are relit every day since.

 

Kath’s quote:  “I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur.”-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Deseo Bistro on Osborne

September20

I was recently at an event, where Scott Bagshaw was a prized member of the chef team.  I also read the “review” of the event days later in the WFP where a certain “reporter” singled Scott out for his unorthodox personal style.  Now I can’t imagine that her reflections were based on the evening itself but on urban gossip about a past circumstance surrounding this talented chef.  I ask this question-where would any of us be without a chance to redeem ourselves?

I was duly impressed by Scott and Alejandro’s first Deseo on Albert St.  The location had some issues but the food was impeccable.  Their new Deseo Bistro location on south Osborne is just my style-the second floor where we had lunch was light filled with an open window to bring in the sounds of the street and the fall breeze.  There is a little grove of birch trees on one wall and gorgeous Argentinian drift wood in the front windows.  Leather toss cushions create an inviting look and for me the feel is very cottagey (a place many know-is my favourite place to be).  I’m guessing that this beautiful room is the bar in the evening.  The main floor dining room is just as cozy with the discovery of a real tin celing during renovations.

Our helpful server suggested the squid.  My lunch date added figs and chorizo sausage and I topped the requests off with Potatas Bravas-potatoes cooked in duck fat! 

The squid was so succulent and tender, that next time I might be tempted to order it on a bed of pasta to soak up every delicious dollop.  There was a green sauce that we were mystified by, because we thought that it might be a pesto.  But no, it was arugula gazpacho which added a peppery finish to the sparkling tastes.

The figs and chorizo were sublime.  The fusion of flavours were (almost) indescribable-the sweet and silky juice, the explosion of texture from the fruit itself and the hearty and spicy but perfectly tender sausage.  Lucky for me, my lunch date is not a bread eater and so I got more than my share of the grilled toast to dip into the broth.

My little indulgence of the potatoes were tasty but in all honesty, I was hoping for a repeat of the amazing side dish that was served at the original Deseo’s.  I am guessing that Scott’s repertoire is so huge that he was excited to start fresh at this new location.  And why not?  The courage to make a fresh start is truly admirable.  Where would I be without my own?

Deseo Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:   “Oh, better no doubt is a dinner of herbs,
When season’d with love, which no rancour disturbs
And sweeten’d by all that is sweetest in life
Than turbot, bisque, ortolans, eaten in strife!
But if, out of humour, and hungry, alone
A man should sit down to dinner, each one
Of the dishes which the cook chooses to spoil
With a horrible mixture of garlic and oil,
The chances are ten against one, I must own,
He gets up as ill-tempered as when he sat down.”-Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Winnipeg Free Press Cafe-Special Event

September19

In my profession as a Media Planner, I often get invited out to special events that are being put on by the media suppliers that I do business with on a regular basis.  We were invited to one such event recently at The Winnipeg Free Press Cafe.  There had a been an enter to win opportunity in the paper and at Manitoba Liquor Marts and the evening was a pairing of BC wines and complimenting tastes.  Now I am no wine connoisseur and leave those observations to ones more educated than I for example,  Ben McPhee Sigurdson  who is the wine guru for The Winnipeg Free Press and presided as one of the hosts that evening.

 

The food offerings started with a BC Salmon Riette.  Riette being a coarser style of pate-think “country” style. 

Next came my second favourite offering of the evening-Latkas topped with smoked goldeye.  Potatoes-that is what I am afficiando of and these lacy latkes were fried to a perfect crispness and were a crunchy contrast to the smoky fish that I absolutely love. 

When we vacationed in Sicily at exactly this time of year, D picked fresh figs for our breakfast.  Ironically, I only rarely get to enjoy figs and had lapped them at a lunch earlier that day when they were stewed with a chirizo sausage.   These figs were classically wrapped in prosciutto and totally satisfied my sweet and salty taste buds.

Speaking of Chorizo, the peppery sausage was balanced with carmelized sweet onions on baguette.  In my mind, chorizo was native to Mexico or even Italy but no-it originates from the Iberian peninsula which includes the country of Portugal and Spain.    

Next up was the highlight of the evening (from a culinary persepctive at least).  The most enormous sea scallops were wrapped in bacon and baked.  Perhaps they had been seared first because the face of the scallop was slightly crusted but the meat was plump and firm and sparkled on the tongue.  Now we grill scallops in bacon quite often at home and it sounds simple enough, but there is a real knack in cooking the bacon so that the fat has rendered away while not overcooking the scallop-these were perfection.

 

Carpaccio with parmesan shards and a empanada made with ground beef and ancho chili were served to contrast some of the more robust wines.  Ancho chili spice is made when both the seeds and pods of the plant are ground together, producing the brick-red powder that is most commonly associated with Mexican cooking.

I have been crazy for Portobello mushrooms this season and these meaty ones were coupled with Gorgonzola  cheese in a balsamic reduction.

BC peaches tartlets in phyllo pastry were the sweet crown of the evening.

I do know that the Cafe is available for special evening events such as this one.  The room is cozy even with its glass walls that make you feel right in the heart of the life in the Exchange.  Domenic Amatuzio is the skilled chef of the Cafe and put on a brilliant display of his talents.

News Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”-Ernest Hemingway

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