Saturday, 31 December 2011

Spoils of Christmas

One of the best things about Christmas is the leftover fat. Others may be thrilled with the latest gadget they received, but I happy knowing there is fat in my refrigerator. As delicious as our Christmas goose was, it is already slipping into my memory. However, I have its fat to cook with in the new year - pure white fat tipped off after the initial roasting, and creamy, beige fat poured off before making the gravy, both will be excellent for frying potatoes.

The golden yellow fat in foreground is from my foie gras terrine and it will be part of the bread crumb topping on my New Year's Eve cassoulet. 

Wishing everyone a year full of good tasty animal fat.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Other books

Les Éditions de l'Épure specialize in small format books. They have produced over 250 titles that range from Apricots to Sardines by way of Camembert and Pot-au-feu leftovers. These books are all beautifully crafted, with specially chosen papers, textured covers with French flaps and hand stitched with linen thread. And, in very French style, their pages must be cut before you can read them.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

What have I been doing?

Sorry about the lack of posting for more than a month, but I've been promoting Odd Bits, in Toronto,
Montreal and out west in Victoria, Vancouver and San Francisco.
Now that I'm back in Toronto I am going to add some quick posts with links interviews and reviews of the book. Click here to listen to my interview with the charming Jian Ghomeshi. It is always interesting to discuss my book with people who don't eat meat!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


It's a good idea to have a holiday to remember the dead, although I'm a little surprised that the French don't have a special cake or pastry to celebrate the day.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

A Perfect Dinner

It was a perfect dinner in so many respects. At out local restaurant, so the reception was warm and there was the comfort of being a regular. It was with friends from New York and we all enjoyed one of my husband's and our friends' favourite odd bits --- sweetbreads. 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Smiling in the Supermarket

So I was a little rough on Parisian old ladies in my last post. Perhaps they read my blog because lo, and behold when went in the supermarket it was full of them, all smiles and no shoving.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Joys of Paris

It's fabulous here in Paris, but it can also be very frustrating. Today for example there is a strike, pretty standard practice in this country and we've adjusted to them. However, it is the egocentric nature of many Parisians that really makes us crazy. I recently tweeted that my husband, not a small man, was pushed out of the way when boarding a bus. There is no orderly queuing like London, just a free for all that resembles a rugby scrum when the bus finally arrives. And the victors? Usually the little old ladies.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Beyond Fat-tailed lamb

Writing cookbooks introduces you to lots of people, in person and by email. In Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with RecipesI wrote about my search for fat-tailed lamb. Several people wrote offering the tail, but I couldn't accept as there was no way to bring it legally into Canada. Then Laurie Maus, wrote from a farm halfway between Ottawa and Montréal, telling me that she had fat-tailed sheep and would put some aside for me. Finally I would get to try it, however I haven't been to visit her yet.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Would you eat a pig's foot?

This last month has been very busy. I've been promoting my book Odd Bitsand I am glad to say I've had mostly positive reaction.  There is an interesting review in the Wall Street Journal, although the writer seemed unfamiliar with heart tartare. Let's hope he tries it and discovers just how good heart is as tartare.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Lardo - Beautiful Pork Fat

Just looking at this photo of lardo makes me happy. I was, of course even happier when I was eating it. It was cured by Brian Polcyn of the Forest Grill restaurant, Birmingham, Michigan and author, with Michael Ruhlman, of Charcuterie. Note the thickness of the fat, it is from a heritage breed pig, Mangalista. Brian serves his lardo with a Spanish olive oil, and before you think too much fat, the peppery oil complements the smooth creamy pork fat.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

More behind the Scenes

Life is a little hectic and I've been traveling. So I am just posting another interesting link about the food styling for Odd Bits. Next week I will tell you about the fabulous lardo I ate in Michigan.
Here are the food stylist's comments about working on Odd Bits, read more

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Behind the Scenes with Odd Bits

I've just come back from Traverse City, Michigan so I need to catch my breath. In the meantime check out what photographer Leigh Beisch has to say about photographing Odd Bits at the Recipe Club.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Video Review of Odd Bits

Friday, 26 August 2011

Chosen from the ethernet

A site that recommends blogs selected me for their weekly "Best of the Web". It is good to discover to that it is not only my friends and relatives reading my blog. I don't blog every day, that would be sure to drive you away. I don't always have anything interesting to say and often I just want to be away from computer so I can have a real life, rather than a virtual life.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Dinner for a hot night

This is only my second post for August. I blame the weather. I'm not complaining about it, the heat is better than the cold, even when it's humid. However, by mid-afternoon my brain turns to mush and I find it difficult to focus. I end up dozing, which doesn't improve my mental powers, or playing sudoku which can help but usually just frustrates. So that's my excuse.

Monday, 8 August 2011


I'm obviously going through a green phase. Looking back on recent posts I can see a lot of green. Perhaps it's a reaction to Toronto's stifling heat and humidity? Green is such a cooling colour. This photo of my gooseberry bush is a few weeks old. I have stripped it of all its fruit because I like my gooseberries tart. If you leave the fruit on the bush it will start to turn a maroon colour and loose its acidity. Gooseberries are not a giving fruit; the thorns are large, sharp and numerous and it's not a fruit you eat straight from the bush, their sharp edge needs to be tempered with sugar.

Friday, 22 July 2011


I love the refreshing lemon taste of sorrel. You can buy small bunches in gourmet stores, but anyone who has cooked sorrel knows you need more than a bunch.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Red Currants + Raspberries

This is the time to make summer pudding, as both red currants and raspberries are in the markets or ripening in your backyard, if your lucky. Many people throw any combination of berries into summer pudding, but it is best when made with only raspberries and red currants in a 3 to 1 ratio. It requires little heat, so perfect for a hot summer day. Make it a couple of days before you want to serve it. It keeps for several days in the refrigerator and also freezers well, but remember to line the bowl with plastic wrap first if the pudding is destined for the freezer.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

In my hands

The first copy of Odd Bits is in my hands. It is very exciting to be holding something that you ave only seen on a computer screen or endless black and white printouts. There is still and always will be something special about a physical book. Here is a sneak peek......

Monday, 4 July 2011

Red Currants

Aren't they beautiful? I love the way red currants look, tiny bright jewels framed by green leaves.  I also love the way they taste, tart and crunchy. They are essential in a summer pudding and just a few make an excellent addition to any mixture of berries, their acidity heightening the berries' flavour.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

More green oreilles de cochon

When I posted about green pig's ears I forgot to mention their name in French. You can see this plant is really called oreilles de cochon, I have the receipt to prove it. And now I know the charming venduse, is called Martine. You can see I also bought - tourteaux cuits, - cooked crab

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Green pig's ears

No, it's not something from Dr Seuss, but an edible plant that grows in the salt marshes of Northern France and no doubt on the other side of the channel. The name, in French, oreilles de cochon, refers to the texture of the plant, soft leaves and crunchy stems that mimics the texture of cooked pig's ears. You can eat it it raw or cook it like spinach. As I only bought a small bunch I decided to add it to a salad.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Tasty Odd Bits

You'd think I'd eaten enough odd bits over the last couple of years while working on my book Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal, but when my husband suggested we go to Le Ribouldingue for dinner I said yes straight away. How could I not return to the restaurant that introduced me to cow's udder and testicles?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Jésus from Lyon

When friends come to dinner, they often ask what can they bring. Well, when Fran and Sidney asked what they could bring they happened to be in Lyon, so I said a dry-cured sausage. I was expecting a small sausage that you slice thinly and serve with pre-dinner drinks. Instead I received this magnificent specimen from the specialty charcuterie Bonnard.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Paris à l'indien

Well I'm guessing you weren't expecting a mango photo from Paris. We've been here over a week and haven't stopped running, the joy of being property owners. No matter how tiny the space there is always something to be fixed, repaired or replaced.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Paris Dreaming

Well Odd Bits is off to the printer and I'm now packing and dreaming of Paris. The good news is that the weather there is warm and sunny so I'll be happy to leave cold, wet, windy Toronto.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Hot Cross Buns

Here is what I had for breakfast Easter morning - a toasted  hot cross bun slathered with butter - a perfect breakfast with coffee. They are good fresh baked, but somehow toasting them make everything come together, the dried fruit, candied peel and the spices. Best of all, the butter melts into the bun and drips down your fingers.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Easter Memories

Here is a picture of the cod casserole my mother cooked  this Good Friday in Melbourne, my cousin Robyn took the photo and sent it to me. I wanted to dig right in.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Cheek continued

Finally I made  bucatini all'amatriciana. It was so good we ate it twice in one week. I admit it just looks like some spaghetti with tomato sauce and cheese but it is so much more. And the key ingredient is good fatty cheek - guanciale.

Monday, 21 March 2011

More Cheek

Well as you might have guessed cooking a bunch of collards with a little guanciale didn't make much of dint in that cheek.  A friend in Paris gave me some dried peas a while ago and they've been sitting in my cupboard ever since time. Every time I think about cooking them, there isn't time to soak them, but perhaps I didn't need to bother.  However, as I knew they'd relish that pork fat, I planned ahead.

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Just look at this beauty - what is it? A pork jowl, more than a cheek, skin, meat and best of all fat, from the ear to the snout. Pigs store fat in their cheeks and the former owner of this jowl did that, and very well too. Here it is flipped over  -

Monday, 7 March 2011

Better than Blogging

I managed to chat with the Fergus twice this week. The second encounter was at the cookbook store with Allison, Fergus' business partner Trevor, and Malcolm and Jamie from Good Food Revolution. We chatted about food, cookbooks, chefs, lungs and other offal while enjoying a glass of Fernet Branca. Is there better way to pass the time?

Monday, 28 February 2011


I was in Montréal last weekend, eating and drinking my way around the city. Alas there is only so much you can physically consume in 3 days.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Talking up Fat

Sorry no posting but in the meantime you may want to check this out.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Things to come.....

Well here it is - the cover of my next book. This is the exciting part - after all the hard work I am finally seeing the words and photographs coming together on the page. Odd Bits will be on sale in September (Ten Speed Press in the USA and Harper Collins in Canada). My aim in writing this book is to show people how easy it is to cook odd bits and convince them they are tasty too. Today we are wasting many of the best pieces of the animals we slaughter.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011


Can you help? I bought this pumpkin at the local farmers market. It was a last minute purchase as I was leaving. Its wonderful pale colour attracted my attention. My husband, already weighed down with bags volunteered to carry it and it was very heavy. When I asked what it's name I was told it was a pale green kabocha. But, I'm pretty sure they're wrong.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Tart Tatin part 2

Just a quick post to say that tart tatin doesn't have to be restricted to apples - in the summer I make it with apricots but I make a caramel first, then add the apricots, the heat of the oven is enough to cook them with the pastry. Cooked apricots are slightly sour which balances the caramel brilliantly. Another favourite is quince.

I made this quince tart tatin in Paris last October. with the quinces from Franck and Lise's garden. They took for ever to soften and the smarter method would be to poach them first, then add them to the caramel like the apricots. But this tart had the most fabulous flavour from the long slow cooking and the quinces imbued the caramel with their powerful perfume, plus  the colour was fabulous.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Tarte Tatin

Here is a dessert to chase away the winter blahs - tart tatin.