9 culinary lessons learned in London (for the home cook)

One cannot expect to immerse oneself in a foreign food culture for five days straight and not have an epiphany or two afterward.

Not surprisingly, our trip to London in May was almost exclusively about the food. I observed and absorbed everything from their café culture to street market and restaurant trends. I ate and walked and ate again. I stocked up on UK food magazines for the plane ride home to continue my education.

Why? Well, while research and culinary inspiration were strong motivations for my exploration, I was also genuinely curious about what the Brits were still into (scones and clotted cream, Sunday roast), obsessing over (toast, cider), trend watching (whole bowls, ferments) and doing really well (sausage rolls, cake).

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How to use preserved lemons in cooking and baking (recipe round-up)

I get asked so often how to use preserved lemons in cooking and baking, that I decided to expand my usual response into a post.

From what I have noticed, home cooks tend to purchase a jar of preserved lemons for a specific recipe – and then stuff the remainder in the back of the fridge for a year or two. Others get fired up over a DIY recipe, like my Spiced Preserved Lemons, but then don’t know what on earth to do with them afterward.

I use preserved lemons in practically everything. I should state from the beginning that I am a longtime devotee to preserved lemons and always have a jar or two in my refrigerator. Hopefully by the end of this post you are both inspired to stock your pantry permanently with preserved lemons and feel confident adding them to your cooking and baking.

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All About Avocados

Happy first day of May! My favourite picnic weather is finally here; no bugs, a cool breeze and an abundance of spring wildflowers.

I ‘m planning a picnic for Mother’s Day, but every spare minute before then will be spent in the garden. The children and I have been planting the very first crops – lettuce, peas, carrots, and beets – and the seedlings have to move into their permanent home soon.

All About Avocodos

Thanks to sunshine and warm weather, I’m outside most days, but I had to pop in here and tell you about my latest post for Jamie Oliver.

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An introduction to grinding grain for flour

Baking bread when I was growing up meant first slipping down to the basement larder and grinding the grain. The machine was absolutely deafening, but I loved the smell of freshly milled flour and the way it floated down to form miniature snowy mountains in my bucket.

My mother still grinds her own grains and regales me with tales of her kamut lasagna noodles and soft wheat pizza dough; as always, she’s years ahead of the current whole foods movement. I had quite a few tools and appliances that I needed to invest in when I set up my own kitchen and a grain mill was low in the list. It was there, though, for my ‘someday’.

Naturally I was very excited last fall when KitchenAid Canada provided me with a grain mill attachment to go with my beloved 7-quart stand mixer. It’s funny, I feel as though I have both traveled back in time to to that flour dusted larder floor and taken a step ahead into another level of baking with whole, unprocessed ingredients in my kitchen.

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Snow Day Hacks – Emergency Substitutions for Pantry Ingredients

The following is a guest post from Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity. Welcome, Cheri!

This winter has been a harsh one for so many people. We’re being bitten by the baking bug on a regular basis, almost out of necessity – our homes need warmth, our bodies need nourishment and our souls need comforting.

The problem with being snowed in, is that when the desire for baking strikes you can’t get to the store to pick up all the items you need, and that always seems to be the time that, that basic ingredient, that you always have on hand just happens to run out.

I present to you your snow day saving grace – kitchen hacks for pantry staples. These are not meant to be used on a regular basis but are great in a pinch. You can substitute the basics and still get delicious results without having to run to the grocery store in a blizzard. [Read more…]