Fennel & leek soup

This wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was still good; earthier than I thought it would be. In my experience though, pretty much anything that starts with “In a Dutch oven, melt butter…” tends to turn out well.

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 fennel bulb, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried savory
900 ml chicken stock
3 leeks, chopped
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup heavy cream

In a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Cook onion, celery and fennel for 3 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and savory; cook until softened, about 5-10 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Add leeks and beans, then simmer until everything is tender, about 10 minutes. Purée the soup and add the cream.

Chai concentrate

So easy. So good. I love having things like this on hand at home. Don’t get me wrong: Starbucks is awesome, but sometimes it just feels good to avoid that $4.50 latté and make something to your own taste for far less money.

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 cups water
8 tsp black tea leaves, or 6 bags
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
6 whole cardamom pods

Boil together in a pot until the sugar and honey have dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Let simmer for about 8-10 minutes, then strain. This will keep in your fridge on its own and can be diluted with water, more tea or milk and made into a delicious hot drink. You can also add a little vanilla extract to your mug before you drink it.

Travel food: 100% rug!

So this is where I gush about how much I love foreign grocery stores.  On my latest trip to Europe, the type of shop I spent the most time in by far was grocery stores.  In Norway it was out of necessity; $8 for some flatbrød was the best deal we found, and when we got to the camping village where the only restaurant’s cheapest item was $20 soup, it was the flatbrød and cream cheese that we feasted on.

In Britain it was a slightly different story.  I love their shops because there are a few areas in which they are light years ahead of North Americans: chocolate bars, chips (crisps), and above all else, dairy.  They have the best cream there.  The really heavy “pouring” cream that just makes everything spectacular.  And better yoghurt too.  Ah, how I miss it.


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Speaking of stuff you shouldn’t eat…

Along with my husband and another couple, we performed a highly scientific taste-test of 3 varieties of Kraft Dinner a couple of weeks ago.  This sprang up from said husband and I coming upon the new cauliflower KD in the grocery store and wanting to find out if there was any difference between that and the regular stuff.  Like most things, we just had to take it that little bit further and involve other fun people who lack sanity in equal amounts.

The method: We cooked all of the macaroni at the same time so that everything would be at a similar temperature when served.  We used butter in all three batches (this was no time for calorie-counting).  We did not salt the water, nor add any external foodstuffs to the cooked pasta.  This was KD in its purest form.  Varieties used were Original, Spirals and KD Smart (with cauliflower: “A ½ serving of vegetables!”)

The madness: The three kinds we tried all tasted surprisingly different!  I’ll admit that going into this, I was convinced that they would all taste extremely similar, if not identical.

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On eating stuff that may not count as “food”

I like to eat.  I think this much is obvious.  I suppose I would label myself as a foodie, but not necessarily as a food snob.  Is McDonald’s awful in mind, body and soul?  Yes.  Is it sometimes pleasant to eat a burger that is completely homogenous in texture, from bun to burger and then back to bun?  Also yes…once a year or so.  This lends credence to my overall life philosophy of “If you admit that it’s crap, then it’s ok to consume.”  It works particularly well with music that I am too ashamed to admit that I listen to, even under the cover of anonymous internet darkness. Continue reading

Alliterative pizza

So I’m back from my overseas trip.  In a word, it was awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that the only thing stopping me from just defecting to Great Britain was the fact that my husband was still in Canada.  Other than that, I was ready to abandon Edmonton and just stay where I was.

At any rate, food of course was one of the highlights of my trip.  Not least of all was a new pizza topping combination I tried in Norway (which by the way is expensive beyond all reason but also beautiful and so worth a visit).  A random pizza place was the only thing my cousin and I could find open on the first night of our trip.  We were in Bergen and very hungry after our climb straight up Ulriken, which I was woefully unprepared for, in terms of both physical fitness and attire.  He chose the “Solemio,” a mix of pepperoni and pineapple.  It was unexpected and strange, but delicious.