chicken stock

Homemade bouillon cubes

This is one of those cooking tricks that I’ve always done without thinking much about it, but it’s probably time to share. They say the secret is in the sauce, but these little gelatinous lumps are the secret to the sauce!

I had quite a bit of leftover pork stock from my head cheese project, and after freezing several jars, I decided to reduce the rest down further for a soup enhancer known as bouillon.

I tossed store-bought liquid and cube bouillon from my pantry a very long time ago. The amount of  salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and hydrogenated oil (trans fat) that they contain just isn’t something I want to feed my family. Why make a soup from scratch only to then add a highly processed ingredient? (Remember Shaina’s story?)

Instead, in addition to homemade stock, I flavour soup and sauces with natural aromatics – fresh herbs, Parmesan cheese, dried mushrooms, chilies, garlic, spices, vinegars – and homemade bouillon like this.

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How to make head cheese | Simple Bites #charcuterie #diy

Homemade Head Cheese

Well, after four and a half years of blogging in this space, here we are with a title that may or may not get me into trouble.

It was a short interview with Dan Barber that gave me the gumption to share this charcuterie tutorial of sorts. He was talking about his theory of The Third Plate and the need to support the whole farm with our eating choices. While he is slightly elitist in his approach, I have to agree with his thoughts on food sustainability.

The way I see it is, if you’re eating bacon, why not be open to trying delicious charcuterie made from other parts of the body? In the end, it’s all pork.

How to make head cheese | Simple Bites #charcuterie #diy

We attended a family pig roast a few weekends back and I was offered the head to bring home. Of course I said yes, and also took with me a literal bag of bones for stock, split pea soup and Mexican ranch-syle beans. Then the real fun began.

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family dinner tablescape

Weekend Links and Photos

In this week’s web reading I learned that our (almost) daily breakfast choice is making us happier. Fantastic!

We do love our morning oats, whether they are instant or simmered in the slow cooker overnight. Baked with apple and cinnamon is a favourite, too.

Also, in the Serious Eats article below, I remembered how great it is to welcome people around the table on a regular basis. We’re getting ready to get back in our Sunday dinner groove after a busy summer.

Happy reading!

I’m also pretty excited for this upcoming book. And this one, too!  It’s going to be a fantastic fall for cookbooks. Now, hit the jump for a few photos from our late-September.

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A Garden Tour | Simple Bites

Tour our urban homestead

One of my promises last June was to share more of my experiences as an urban homesteader and today I’d like to extend an invitation to take a virtual walk around our city lot.

Yes, we are indeed urban; we don’t own a ranch or sprawling acreage. We have neighbours on two sides, and a street in front of the house. We happen to border on a small maple forest that in itself, borders wetlands that will never be developed. We’re fortunate that it is so private, given that downtown Montreal is only 20 minutes away. It suits us just fine.

I was raised a country girl and Danny was a city boy. When we started a family it was important for us to blend our two backgrounds in a way that made sense for our family. In my upcoming book, I give the full story of how we began our homestead – it was an emotional journey right from the start and worth every grey hair.

You’ve already toured the kitchen, so let’s head outdoors today and meet the cats and hens. (Pst: For privacy reasons, I haven’t posted photos of the house facade from the street.)

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Extra-Crisp Pear Lavender Crisp | Simple Bites #dessert #pears #recipe

Extra-Crispy Pear-Lavender Crisp

This post is sponsored by KitchenAid Canada.

Local apples are not quite sweet enough for my liking yet, but fortunately we have pears from neighbouring province Ontario to tide us over.

Bartlett pears have replaced peaches on my kitchen counter and the first basket I bought fulfilled their destiny in this dessert. I’m a big fan of the super simple slow cooker apple crisp (it’s a great kitchen job for kids), but lately I’ve been craving a really crumbly topping. An extra-crisp fruit crisp.

Fortunately, one of my favourite Canadian bloggers, Charmian, recently released a cookbook titled The Messy Baker and I found just what I was looking for between its beautiful covers.

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