Chestnut Soup with Crispy Pancetta

Many years ago on a whim I purchased a rather strange cookbook by Lois Anne Rothert dedicated entirely to the various soups of rural France. Normally I don’t pitch in for something so bizarrely specialized but something about this tome’s yeomen charm captured my imagination and it’s survived many cookbook purges over the years when shelf space became scarce.

Now, three months deep into my still-UN-identified illness this book has more than earned it’s keep with such soul-satisfying and sanity-soothing soups as Country Sorrel and Potato, Oyster and Cognac stew, Lentil Potage and this deeply savoury winter soup of pureed chestnuts, aromatics and crispy pancetta. (more…)

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Smoked Trout, Two Ways

Holidays are the balm of body and mind. It’s been a couple days into our long-awaited stay-cation and I’m already starting to feel my soul regenerating and plotting future adventures just like the hedonistic super villain I remember myself to be.

Ironically, one of the first recipes I got to work on between mountain biking trips was a banger I perfected at work. A sublimely simple way to take trout – a tasty and plentiful local river fish – clean up its mealy texture and enhance the profound sweetness buried deep inside. (more…)

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Fennel-Roasted Salmon

Fennel Salmon1Andrew and Nikki, our awesome neighbours across the street were kind enough to slip me a big chunk of sockeye from their last fishing trip with only the promise to “do something good with it” in return.  I love my neighbourhood!

The next day was surprisingly warm and clear so I caught up on the last of the garden maintenance – Pull those last two carrots, rake the lawn, hit the gutters – and started plotting dinner a little early. I’d collected a couple big armfuls of fennel stalks, some fresh and some dried from last year (they make great garden staves!) and I wanted to cook with ‘em. My mind was already set on grilling outdoors; I just needed a plan of attack. (more…)

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Gone To Seed

Gone To Seed1Still alive I am.
At the end of a long dream.
On my journey,
fall of an Autumn day.

          Matsuo Bashō, The records of a weather-exposed skeleton (1684)

I sit in my living room, coffee in hand with the fire from the wood stove sputtering and popping behind me, toasty and content, while outside my austere little zen garden shivers and rots in the autumn frost…  It’s all gone to seed. (more…)

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