Miner’s Lettuce Au Lardon

Miner's Lettuce Au Lardon 1Frisee au lardon is a very French salad of curly endive poached eggs and chunks of bacon. Due to the brunch-esque combination of soft, unctuous egg yolk and crispy/greasy bacon ends it is without a doubt the very best sort of salad to nom after a long weekend’s debauchery. The bitter endive gives it just the right herbal kick to wake up the taste buds (jeezus, it’s already noon!) while croutons give it crunch. Pairs damn well with mimosas too! (more…)

Cumberland Brewing Co. (Cumberland, BC)

Cumberland BreweryCumberland is my favourite place in the world right now. It’s chock full of great people, great cafes and nerdy 2nd hand stores, great mountain biking culture and repair shops, great location – right between the Comox Valley and CR. It’s got a vibe that’s just so… Great!

And after spending a blindingly-sunny afternoon thrashing up, down and all over Cumberland’s legendary MTB trails with my wife and our friend Jen, I found one more reason why that town is so damn great: They have a brewery! (more…)

Bannock – First Nations Style

FN Bannock 1Long before Europeans brought wheat and barley to the New World, the First Nations people harvested, processed and milled flour from indigenous plant life. Stuff you’d never think could turn into flour like Cattails, acorns, mosses, lichens and ferns. These became the base for a myriad of bread and bread-like recipes that kept the natives fed even during tough seasons and droughts.

One particularly badass recipe from the Neskonlith people (one that pre-dates European contact) calls for boiling black tree lichen until it coagulates enough to form sticky, licorice-flavoured hand cakes which were seared on rocks laid in charcoal-filled pits… Yurm.

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Bannock – European Style

Euro Bannock 1My whole culinary career (such as it is) I’ve been under the mistaken impression that bannock was exclusively a First Nations thing.

It must have been all the outdoor cooking demonstrations on Canada Day; bannock broiling up on cast iron beside staves of smoked salmon, always supervised by the local band elders. Every native cook I knew fried a mean skillet full ‘o bannock and on the occasions that Crystal and I went to Uke to see the extended family you could bet there’d be a lot of fry bread involved.

It turns out that although First Nations people may have been grinding nut and berry flour to make something bannock-like, the bannock recipes we recognize today originate in the Middle East. Most historians agree that the recipe came from ancient Egypt and the modern name came from Celtic England. (more…)

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads 1This year’s non-winter has accelerated the growth of not only my herb garden, but all the greenery on the island. The footpaths and bike trails are ablaze with tiny neon-green shoots a month or so earlier than expected and font yards are dotted with confused-looking crocuses and daffodils.

It’s time to get foraging! The local bogs are full of various strange and wonderful plant life that can only be harvested for food during this early stage of growth. The vanguard of these spring edibles are fiddleheads: Immature ferns that spend only a couple ‘o weeks each year as tightly-curled delicacies resembling the head of a violin before opening up and becoming just another leaf adrift in the great ocean of green.

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