Monday, 17 December 2012

Tripe Truck

I was excited when I learnt that the Tripe Truck would be in my Paris neighbourhood in November. It was scheduled to be at Montparnasse twice in the same week: Monday and Wednesday. Monday arrived and I jumped on the 58 bus and headed to the station. I walked around and around the square in front of the station - no tripe truck.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Odd Bits Sizzler

Here is a sizzler reel introducing the Odd Bits pilot that was filmed in Toronto this summer.
 Please take a look and let me know what you think either here or, even better add your comment to Youtube and perhaps we might get the chance to make more episodes. And if you have 20 minutes free  you might want to watch the entire pilot here.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


I love being in Paris for lots of reasons, one of them being the ready availability of offal. In my local market we spied sweetbreads, ris de veau in French. I would like to bust several myths concerning sweetbreads -

 #1 sweetbreads are testicles - they are not. Testicles are testicles. I just read on a blog this week that sweetbreads is another term in English for testicles, it is not! Sweetbread is an old term from the sixteenth century, "sweet" refers to the this odd bits's prized status and bread comes from the Old English word broed meaning flesh. 
#2 sweetbreads include the pancreas - they do not. Unfortunately, in North America the pancreas is often sold as a sweetbread, even by butchers who should know better.

Sweetbreads are the thymus gland which consists of two parts, the throat sweetbread and the heart sweetbread. They are only found in young animals as the animal ages the thymus gland atrophies, which explains why sweetbreads are in short supply and expensive.

The sweetbreads in my market were the desirable veal heart sweetbreads, bigger and more compact. 

The first step is to soak the sweetbread in cold salted water. Then poach it in a court bouillon, a fancy name for a liquid flavoured with vegetables, herbs and spices, see Odd Bits. This takes about 5 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the sweetbread. Test by pressing with your finger tip, they should be firm but still springy. You can see that the sweetbread becomes more compact. Slide the sweetbread into ice water to stop the cooking. When it is just cool enough to handle, remove any fat, gristle and as much of the membrane as you can.

Place the sweetbread in a pie dish lined with a clean towel, fold the cloth over the sweetbread and place another pie plate on top. Add a weight to lightly press the sweetbread and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours to firm up. Normally my sweetbread would fall into small pieces as I usually only find the throat ones in Toronto. The heart sweetbread stays intact so I decided to sauté it whole. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, browned it gently in butter turning and basting until it had a good colour, but was still springy, about 12 minutes.

You could add a sauce, but when the sweetbread is this good it needs nothing else at all.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fat is now Fett

I was very excited to learn some time ago that Fat would be published in German and now it's finally a reality. To celebrate the Swiss publisher is holding a Fat dinner on Friday November 9, in Zurich.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Eating pork in New York and Calgary

I've been traveling, New York, Calgary and on the road pork is my meat of choice. My first stop in NYC, straight from the plane was Ippudo. We started with the hirata buns, a steamed bun with a choice of chicken or pork, we chose pork. Everything is right about these buns, from the fatty pork and sauce, to the crisp iceberg and the ratio of bun to filling. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Harald's Cold Summer Soup

With the thermometer in my kitchen never dipping below 35C this week, turning on my oven was not an option. My commercial Garland range is already putting out enough heat, it runs with pilot lights so it helps maintain the warmth in my kitchen. With the heat and the humidity I don't really want to eat, preferring to take my calories in liquid form, let alone cook. My husband came to the rescue and made his version of gazpacho.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Gin & Gooseberries

It's an exceptional summer in Toronto. The heat began early and by the time I returned mid-June it was very hot and humid. I love the heat, but the humidity can drain all your energy, so that by the afternoon all you want to do is snooze in a chair. The upside of all this heat is that it's perfect weather for gin and tonic, my preference is Hendricks gin with sliced cucumber.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Odd Bits in Toronto

As you know I'm passionate about odd bits like this beautiful piece of caul fat and convincing people to try them, every chance I get. My excuse for not blogging recently is that I have been working on a TV pilot. 

Friday, 22 June 2012


Perhaps, like me, you've never given the vegetable kohlrabi a second thought, or even a first thought.  I bought it several years ago when I was food styling. It looked cool, so I tucked it into a display of artful vegetables in a photo. Did I eat it? Probably, because I hate to throw food away, but it left no memorable impression. As Grigson says inn her book Jane Grigsons Vegetable Book
"There are better vegetables than kohlrabi. And worse".

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Paris in the spring

The spring has started wet and cool here. Although the weather isn't spring-like, the produce in the markets screams spring. The main reason we come to Paris at this time of the year is to eat white asparagus. These beauties were displayed with a bulb of new garlic.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Vinegar - so much more than sour wine

I've always been a bit ambivalent about vinegar. I usually have red and white wine vinegar, and balsamic and sherry vinegar on hand, but I'm never convinced about the difference between vinegars, chardonnay and champagne for example. Vinegar is vinegar right? No wrong, there is a world of difference between vinegars and between good and ordinary vinegar.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Savoury macarons

I have blogged about macarons before and my love of the salted caramel ones at Ladurée.  Macarons are everywhere these days, so much so they are almost passé.

A few days ago, a friend sent me this photograph and I was passionate about macarons again. I hadn't heard of Meresse before, but now I have to go to Aix en Provence. I want to try the foie gras and onion confit macaroon, quickly followed by the foie gras, fig and speck one. Maybe they'll ship to Paris?

Friday, 13 April 2012

Aussie Olive oil

Sometimes I receive packages in the mail and I should have posted much earlier about the wonderful Cobram Estate olive oil that arrived before Christmas. However, mid December in Canada is all lard and duck fat in my kitchen, I rarely reach for the olive oil before the spring.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Mr Nicolas Hoare talks Odd Bits

Friday, 23 March 2012

Sauerkraut Tart

My husband made his annual sauerkraut, the recipe for the cabbage and the sauerkraut are in Odd Bits.  Of course we had leftovers, which we enjoyed during the week. We devoured the sausages and pork hocks first and then were left with just tasty cabbage. What to do with it other than Reuben sandwiches?

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Cookbook Awards 2

The Beard nominees were announced yesterday and I am very pleased to be included. My thoughts are the same as when the IACP nominees were announced in February. Also the same are the two other nominees for Single Subject cookbook. I always keep good company.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Chicago - my kind of town

Here I am in the Butcher and Larder with owner Rob Levitt. We had a great demo, Rob braised lamb neck with olives, lemon and mint from Odd Bitsand I made blood pancakes, which surprised and fascinated the group. There was a complaint - they didn't taste weird enough! They just tasted delicious. With such a keen and educated group I'm expecting blood waffles, blood bread and pancakes will be common fare in Chicago soon.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Fat-tailed lamb follow up

Well I finally tasted my version of qawarma. No favas, no yoghurt, no mint I just warmed it up in a pan and spread it on bread and it was fabulous. Well spiced, lamby and delicious. There were only three of us and it was a snack with drinks before dinner. However, we polished off two-thirds of it and would have eaten it all if I'd warmed up the remaining third, but I'm keeping for my friend Naomi to taste this evening.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Fat tailed Lamb

I was very excited when Laurie from Hawk Hill Farm contacted me. She raises heritage breeds, which include Tunis sheep. They put fat on their tails and she had read of my search in Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes for fat-tailed lamb. Generously she sent me tails from lambs that were pastured and slaughtered at 6 months.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Souper aux Abats

The Montréal association of food journalists held a Souper aux abats last Monday and I was the guest of honour. This is the best way to attend a dinner as you get credit for the food, but it's the chef who does all the work, a big thank you to Patrick. The menu was loosely based on recipes in my book Odd Bitsafter a discussion with Chef Patrick Plouffe of Chez Bouffe, Gildas Meneu,  Mario Hinse from L'Epicerie. The matching wines were chosen by Guénaël Revel, don't ask, all I remember is a zinfandel that I liked because I usually don't.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Cookbook Awards

I'm not sure how I feel about awards, but I know I love to be nominated and love it even more when I win. Single subject is always a tough category and this year I am shortlisted with my friend Molly Stevens and Yotam Ottolenghi who I don't know personally, but I do like his recipes. This is an interesting mix of cookbooksw All About Roasting: New Approach to a Classic ArtOdd Bits and Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes From London's Ottolenghi. Whoever wins, I think we are all winners if we have encouraged our readers to cook.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Saint Valentine

In honour of Saint Valentine's day I'm posting a chocolate bar. Of course I know you'll all be eating heart either as tartare or Peruvian heart kebab, what better way to declare true love? However, as I've already posted heart it's chocolate for today, but not just any chocolate. 
This is blood chocolate, that's right chocolate with blood in it, a health bar. So you can see I'm not the only one who combines chocolate and blood in a pudding or ice cream, they do it in the Baltic countries and Russia.

Alas this chocolate bar is not made with the highest quality chocolate. So I am challenging all chocolate makers, how about a high quality blood chocolate bar or a truffle for next Valentines?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Beef and Kidney Pie

I've eaten some very interesting kidneys in the last month. Mild, almost sweet lamb kidneys, veal kidneys and much stronger beef kidneys that Laurie from Hawk Hill Farm sent me. Now, I must state upfront that the real kidney lover in this family is my husband. I eat kidney, but I don't love them like he does. It's been quite some time since we've cooked beef kidneys.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Group of 7 Odd Bits Dinner

I've been looking forward to this night, since Scott from Beast and Matty from Parts and Labour first suggested it. As members of the Group of 7 Chefs they thought an Odd Bits dinner would be fun and a way to help them raise money for their trip to New York to cook at the James Beard House later this year. Importantly it would be a way for offal lovers and neophytes to try a range of dishes not often found on restaurant menus. All seven chefs picked an odd bit and created a dish. The list was bone and tendon, lamb kidneys, lamb tripe, tongue and testicles, pork heart, veal brain and pork blood.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Odd Bits Dinner in Waterloo

Last night I was at Nick and Nat's Uptown 21 in Waterloo. I met Nick last year at Savour Stratford, when we were both judging the Best Chef competition. Nick asked if I would participate in a cookbook dinner at his restaurant sponsored by the local bookstore Wordsworth Books. I said yes,  Nick had told me he loved my Fat book, authors always fall for flattery. Also I love this type of event, the chef does all the work and I have time to meet people who like my books and I can continue my mission of convincing people to try odd bits. Nick made my food shine and alas my photography doesn't do it justice - I had a camera incident - my flash had a mind of its own deciding when it would and wouldn't work, but I've posted the snaps anyway.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Something to watch

I'm off to Kitchener/Waterloo for an interview with Daiene Vernile at CTV Provincewide and then on to the Odd Bits dinner at Nick & Nat's Uptown 21, tonight. The menu includes testicles and chocolate blood ice cream, a full report soon.

In the meantime you can watch my conversation with Alison Fryer at the Cookbook Store in Toronto.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Versatile Heart

My resolution this year is to convince everyone to try odd bits. One of the most approachable and easiest to begin with is heart. This is a beef heart. Now if you are adventurous, you can buy a whole heart and prepare it yourself. It's not hard, all you need is time and a sharp knife.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Epiphany - Galette part 2

Well I hope you have leapt out of bed and gave your puff pastry two more rolls this morning. Now you will have this -

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The day before Epiphany-Galette part 1

If you follow this blog you will know that I have written about galette des rois before. So instead of recounting the history of this cake, this post is a practical how to make one, no need to buy the book Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with RecipesIf you have the book the recipe is p 64.