Browsing: Food & Travel

Stella’s Bannock Burgers

March29

I met Stella while I was teaching up in Thompson, Manitoba.  As is often the case, my students teach me as much I teach them.  I learned a great many things about living in the “north” and about perseverance when times are less than opportune. 

Stella has a catering business called Laurayne’s Catering Services and she was willing to share this prized recipe with me.  I have not had a chance to make it since I arrived home this past weekend but wanted to post it here, in case it turns to summer again soon.


Stella's Bannock Burgers
Recipe type: Entree
 
Ingredients
  • Stuffing:
  • 4-6 Italian sausages, casings removed, choose spiciness as desired
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • cajun seasoning as desired, if sausages not as hot as you'd like
  • 4-5 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed
  • 1 T butter to add to mashed potatoes
  • Bannock:
  • 4-6 c all-purpose flour (can use whole wheat flour)
  • 3 T baking powder
  • 3 c lukewarm milk
  • melted lard for frying
Instructions
  1. Stuffing:
  2. Saute the sausage and meat together until cooked through.
  3. Drain and cool.
  4. Mix together the meat and potatoes with your hands.
  5. Add s & p to taste.
  6. Bannock:
  7. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl starting with 4 c flour.
  8. Make a well in middle and add milk.
  9. Mix until moist.
  10. Turn dough out onto a floured surface.
  11. Knead dough and continue to add the 2 c of flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
  12. Roll dough out with a rolling pin roll to approx. pie crust thickness.
  13. Cut dough into large triangles.
  14. Stuff the filling into the dough triangle and then wrap the edges around the filling, sealing the edges.
  15. Gently press flat.
  16. Fry in melted lard, turning once.

I understand that the bannock can also be grilled on the barbecue or it can be skewered and cooked camp fire style.  We often have late night snacks around the campfire at the lake and I am going to for sure make these for the May Long weekend.

Kath’s quote: “A Hamburger is warm and fragrant and juicy. A hamburger is soft and nonthreatening. It personifies the Great Mother herself who has nourished us from the beginning. A hamburger is an icon of layered circles, the circle being at once the most spiritual and the most sensual of shapes. A hamburger is companionable and faintly erotic. The nipple of the Goddess, the bountiful belly-ball of Eve.” –Tom Robbins

Too Much Tuscan Sun

March15

I have just completed reading another piece of non-fiction entitled Too Much Tuscan Sun-Confessions of a Chianti Tour Guide by Dario Castagno with Robert Rodi.

Dario is a native Tuscan and in this recounting he recalls some of his more remarkable clients.  This chapter in entitled Intervello-the Dutch.  Here is an excerpt.  I don’t know what I was more enthralled with-the detailed accounting of the dishes and wines or the Dutch’s capacity to consume them with relish.

For lunch we stopped at Foscos place.  He sat us under the shade of a large oak and served us a sumptuous meal composed of Tuscan appetizers, tagliatelle in wild boar sauce, ribolitta, an abundant tray of mixed, grilled meats, gigantic forentina steaks, and stewed rabbit with olives-all of which the group washed down with the most expensive vintage Brunellos.  Afterward, when they complained of needing sugar, Fosco brought out a tasting of his best sweets (cooked cream, tiramisu, homemade jam tarts) and some different types of vin santo and sweet sparkling wine.

We had no sooner got on the road than we found ourselves stopping at the bar in Viagliagli where, for digestive purposes, we had a tasting of various grappas and amari.

By the time we finished, it was almost time for dinner, so we moved from the bar to the adjacent restaurant and started again from the beginning-porcini mushroom appetizers, polenta served in hare sauce, and crepes stuffed with white truffles, followed by casseroled guinea fowl, wild boar, and still more desserts-everything accompanied by bottles of Chianti Classico, Nobile de Montepulciano, and fortified wines for dessert.  Toward midnight, unsteady on my feet, I accompanied the happy group back to their hotel, where Han proposed some grappa nightcaps.  I fled in terror….

The next day.  Mario came to greet us himself, holding a wicker basket filled with porcini and ovolo mushrooms, and with a wink told us that in just a few moments a friend of his would arrive with some truffles hed just unearthed.  No sooner had he said this than the friend entered the garden with his truffle-sniffing dog close behind.  Under our very noses he unrolled a white paper wrapping to reveal a bounty of the precious tubers.  As soon as they were freed from their confinement, they released their uncanny aroma, making our mouths water.

Mario put them to good use for us, whipping up a series of black and white truffle sauces on homemade sliced bread, followed by a raw mushroom salad, taglierini with truffles, tagliatelle with porcini, steak fiorentina for Han, gigantic grilled pecorino cheeses and homemade honey ice cream.  At close to five in the afternoon, when with tremendous difficulty we managed to stand, I counted twelve empty bottles of Brunello, two of Moscadello, and one of grappa.

Kaths quote: “Presently, we were aware of an odour gradually coming towards us, something musky, fiery, savoury, mysterious, — a hot drowsy smell, that lulls the senses, and yet enflames them, — the truffles were coming.”-William Makepeace Thackeray

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On Rue Tatin

March13

I just recently finished a wonderful non-fiction book entitled On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis about a young family who takes on the dream of renovating a historic home on an ancient little street in Louviers, France.

I loved her writing style and her honest recounting of their wonderful and sometimes trying adventure.  Most of all, I appreciated her relationship with food.  This is an excerpt from earlier in her journey:

That year and all through college I cooked whenever I had free time.  When I wasn’t cooking I was reading about it, planning my next meal, designing my next dinner party.  After earning a degree in communications and working at newspapers and in public relations, it dawned on me I could incorporate food into my professional life, which is what lead me to La Varenne.  I wanted to be a food writer, but first I had to learn how to cook.

So here I was in 1980 in a two-hundred-year-old building in Paris, near the Place de Invalides, basking in the world`s best butter; the fattest, most pungent pink garlic; spinach whose leaves were so firm and meaty that they stood up on the table instead of lying flat; brown eggs whose yellow yolks tasted as rich as they looked.

I thought that I knew good apples, fragrant strawberries, juicy pears.  But never had I tasted the likes of the fraises des bois I had on a tart at la Varenne, and the pears I sniffed made me want to fold them into cakes, slather them with chocolate, poach them in fragrant herbs and spices.

The food was so whole.  Chickens came with the head, feet and pinfeather, and so did the pigeons and quail; the fish looked at me with big, dreamy eyes as I took them from the cooler; the lettuce still had soil clinging to it.

Once my onerous receptionist stint was finished I moved to washing dishes at food demonstrations, a job I much preferred.  At least I was in contact with food.  I lived in a blessed cloud of ecstasy about food, the flavours, the techniques I was learning.  I jumped at the chance to run errands at the market, the cheese shop, the bakery.  When I wasn’t at La Varenne I took jobs cooking for embassy families, catering bar mitzvahs, making canapes for special occasions.  Anything to be with food.  Whenever I could I went to spend the day at a bakery or patisserie, often getting up at 1 am and arriving when the baker did, so I missed nothing and could still get to work on time.

Kath’s quote: “France has found a unique way of controlling its unwanted critter population. They have done this by giving unwanted animals like snails, pigeons, and frogs fancy names, thus transforming common backyard pests into expensive delicacies. These are then served to gullible tourists, who will eat anything they can’t pronounce.”-Chris Harris

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Anticipating Ireland

February24

Our destination: Hag’s Head, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

We grieve in different ways.  I have always known this.  When I lost my brother quite unexpectedly this summer, I was comforted by the knowledge that he was in a place free of worry and pain where he could breathe easily and that the leg that he had lost had been restored.  I also focused on all that he had been in his life and all that he had given and taught us.  Well, here it is months later and I am overwhelmed with the sadness that he is no longer with us.

Why today?  I know very well why.  The brother that died was my second oldest brother.  He was one year and a day younger than the eldest of our clan.  The two boys and then men, were as close as bothers and friends could be.  Tonight Brother #1 is coming over for dinner with his wife for us to start to anticipate and plan a trip to Ireland that we are taking together and is quickly coming upon us.

We said yes to this trip because we knew that we should celebrate our good health that we cannot take for granted.  The sights yet to be seen and the experiences yet to be lived, will not wait for some day.  D and I are doing our best to live our “golden” years right now and every day. Brother #2 would have loved to have traveled to this and many places if ill health had not struck him at the exact time of his retirement.

We will be staying in Adare in the vicinity of many of the most beautiful golf courses in the world and Brother #2 was a golfer.  He also loved his beer and food and ancient traditions.  I understand that Ireland is particularly rich in all these things.

So for tonight, here is my menu (from Irish Pub Cooking-loaned to me by the Frenchman, let me know if you would like any of these recipes posted):

Mussel and Beer Soup served with potato buns and Irish soda bread

Salad of Greens and Fresh Herbs

Beef in Stout with Suet Dumplings

Calcannon (potatoes with cabbage and scallions)

Honeyed Parsnips

Apple Cake with fresh cream

The menu is full of carbs and cream to warm us up on this snowy winter day, as I dream of an Irish spring.

Kath’s quote: “The ambition of every good cook must be to make something very good with the fewest possible ingredients.”-Urbain Dubois (1818-1901)

 

Mardi Gras in Winnipeg

February16

On many calendars Wednesday, February 22, 2012 is the beginning of the time before Easter known as Lent.  “Mardi Gras” when literally translated means Fat Tuesday or a time to indulge in sugars and fats before the Lenten fasts begin.  

I am often in Mexico for this day, when Carnivale is celebrated with the same intention.  The time is spirited and festive with colourful costumes, all night dances, parades and other such merry-making.

We love  New Orleans.  The city, especially the French Quarter is a fascinating place to stay and the eating adventures are unequalled.  So any time an opportunity arises to dine Louisiana style, we grab it.

Now if you can’t get away to celebrate Carnivale or Mardi Gras, fear not, for Mardi Gras is once again coming to Winnipeg!  We plan to attend and have an authentic Louisiana dinner at the Food, Oyster & Wine Bar that will seat 200 and be set up at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.

Chicken Creole

We will have the opportunity to choose between Chicken Creole or Gumbo, Crab Cakes or even alligator Fritters.  We’ve gotten a preview look at the menu and all features are very affordably priced from $5-$15. 

Chicken Gumbo

There is a nightly Parade and over 30 entertainers including many directly from New Orleans.  I have a collection of Mardi Gras beads from our time in New Orleans.  How I earned them is a story in itself and a secret that I am not quite ready to tell.

Crab Cakes

Warm up winter in Winnipeg!  See winnipegmardigras.com for more details.

Kath’s quote:  “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”-Mark Twain

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