Monday, 27 June 2011

Food Truck Eats Festival Pt. One @ Distillery District - Canada Day Weekend!

Oh boy this IS going to be GOOD EATS!
For more information please check out twitter #FOODTRUCKEATS or

Credit for poster design is my friend catherine mangosing follow her on twitter@myturtleneckart

Planning my latest foodie adventure - Malaysia Here I Come!

Well, I am off again! This time to South East Asia, Malaysia to be precise! I am getting quite excited as this will be my first experience in this part of the World. Thanks to the internet and supplied pamphlets and books from all over, I am learning as much as I can about this new destination. I expect it to be very hot! I also expect Malaysia to be very exotic to what I am accustomed to.  I am especially excited because, I have heard that the food is incredible! So keeping my fingers crossed! I hope that I can find the best that Malaysia has to offer in terms of food, people and culture.  To get myself in the right frame of mind and to share a bit of where I am heading I present to you Gordon's Great Escape - Malaysia.  Thanks to Optomen International and Youtube for the video feeds.  Have a great day!

Gordon's Great Escape - Malaysia - Part 1/3

Gordon's Great Escape - Malaysia - Part 2/3

Gordon's Great Escape - Malaysia - Part 3/3

In the TV series, Gordon’s Great Escape we see Gordon Ramsay leave his hectic professional life behind him as he embarks on a pilgrimage for fresh flavours and new inspiration. Gordon goes back on the road doing what he loves most: searching out the best food in the world and testing himself in extreme and demanding situations. This time he’s not just taking on one country, his appetite for adventure will take him through four of South East Asia’s most exciting culinary destinations: Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam. South East Asia is a region obsessed with food and its people are almost always found eating, cooking or discussing fresh food. Gordon loves Thai and Vietnamese food and he’s heard great things about Cambodian and Malaysian cooking so he’s eager to immerse himself in local culinary traditions. As he explores the different regions, Gordon will be inspired to cook and eat things he’s never come across before. And there's plenty to be inspired by: no other corner of the world boasts such an enormous diversity of cuisine and culture.
We’ll see Gordon speeding through breath-taking gorges on wooden fishing boats, sleeping on the floor in Buddhist monasteries, struggling through the throng of the world’s busiest markets and waterways, and revitalizing his passion for simple, honest cookery and unforgettable flavours.
These are adventures that will change the way Gordon, and viewers, think about Indian and South East Asian food forever. courtesy of Optomen Internation website

Available for order through your favourite online bookstores. The book is meant to be an accompaniment to the brilliant new television series from Gordon Ramsay. You will find photos of his journeys, the people and food that he experienced, and of course the recipes when available from the television series. Simply a beautiful book and an enjoyable read! Just like all his other publications. Note: Gordon's Great Escape can be bought as a signed copy from his website.

Friday, 24 June 2011

'Hot Balls' from Table 17 with Executive Chef John Sinopoli

Table 17 is located in the heart of Leslieville - Riverside.
This wonderful wine bar & bistro exudes a fun casual atmosphere in an ever increasingly trendy neighborhood.

With an ever-changing seasonal menu, inspired by local ingredients and European preparation techniques, Table 17 is a great option for those that live in the neighborhood or for those who just enjoy great food and wine! Open for dinner service all week and for brunch on the weekend! Contact them directly or visit their website for reservations!

Table 17
782 Queen St. East
Toronto, Ontario
M4M 1H4
416 519 1851

Thursday, 23 June 2011

The Pork Belly Experiment - Confit of Pork Belly

Beautiful pork belly from our local butcher, note that the top skin is still on but it has been de-boned.

I carefully remove the top-skin and set it aside, do not discard.

All the ingredients prepared to cure the pork belly. Star Anise, Juniper berry, Bay leaf, Kosher salt, Brown sugar & wine.

Lovely cinnamon sticks.

Detail shot of the curing mixture on the pork belly in preparation to store in the fridge for two days.

Another shot of the mixture on top of the pork belly in preparation to store in the fridge.

I love pork belly!

Place in the deepest, coldest part of your fridge. Use the top-skin as a blanket to prevent from drying out too soon.

Note how compact the pork belly has become, the colour has also intensified. The pork has become more dense.

Pork belly in the pot covered in olive oil in preparation to be poached for 5 hours.

Detail shot of the pork belly cut into pieces to fit the pot. Note that the top-skin is lining the bottom of the pot.

Make sure that you use enough olive oil to cover the pork.

Once ready bring the pork belly up to a simmer. Do not cook covered, do not rush this process.

Just a shot of the pork belly on my range.

Just a detail shot of the pork as it cooks. Once the colour changes and deepens you are getting close to being done.

Beautifully cooked and cooled pork belly. Store in air tight container. 

When you are ready to serve. Cut into portions. Sear in a pan and serve with a celery root, yukon potato mash.


Pork Belly – boned and top skin removed
Cinnamon Sticks
Star Anise
Juniper berries
Dark brown sugar
Kosher salt
Bay leaf
Olive oil
White wine


Day One

To prepare the pork belly make sure that it has the rib bones removed. If you have a good butcher ask them to remove for you. The top skin should be removed as close to the time that you are going to prepare the dish.
Remove the top skin. Do not discard the skin.
Prepare the ingredients and combine:  star anise, cinnamon, juniper berries, peppercorns, dark brown sugar, bay leaf and kosher salt
Dry the pork belly and place in a shallow tray.
Pour the mixed ingredients all over the pork belly and rub the mixture into the meat.
Pour the wine over the pork belly.
Blanket the top skin over the whole pork belly and place in the coolest part of your fridge. Store over night.

Day Two

Check the progress of the pork belly – you will notice that there is a significant amount of liquid. Drain it.
Flip the pork belly and re-position the top skin on the top to blanket the curing pork belly.
Place the pork belly back into the fridge.

Day Three

Remove the pork belly from the fridge.
Place in a large pot that allows for the pork belly to fit without too much spare room as you will be using olive oil as the poaching liquid. You do not want to waste too much unnecessarily.
If you need to cut as I have with this one please try to maximize the size of the pork – keeping in mind what is the planned portion size.
Pour enough olive oil to cover the whole pork belly completely.
Bring up to a simmer and leave it at a good low simmer. Step away – keeping temperature at about 120 – 130F.
The planned poaching time is a bit hard to judge – it is a matter of colouring and tenderness.
I anticipate that the required time is a minimum of 4 -5 hours.  Please see the colour in the final photos to compare with your end results.
Remove from the olive oil poaching liquid. Do not discard. You can reuse after you strain the sediment.
Cool and then store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
I would suggest that you cool and store over night before you serve.

How to Serve

Once you have decided to indulge and serve this confit of pork belly to yourself or your guests.  I would suggest that you have some mash prepared, a reduction of basalmic or a gastric to glaze.
Cut the pork belly into the desired portion size and heat a pan and then sear on all sides and serve immediately.


In The Weeds - trailer by Francis Mitchell

Following the trails and tribulations of chef Craig Harding as he commits all he has to the opening of his restaurant on Dundas Street West in Toronto.
good honest home cooked food
832 Dundas Street West,
Toronto, ON,
M6J 1V3
(416) 364-4785

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Toronto Taste 2011 - Toronto's Premiere Charity Event Supporting 2nd Harvest Toronto!

Photo story....
Toronto comes out in support of Second Harvest!
Martin Kouprie Chef, Restauranteur, Perfectionist, Culinary Master
Rodney's Oyster House

 So much to do so little time!

L'Unita's cannoli filled with white chocolate mascarpone and candied orange

Victor Barry Chef, Restaurateur Splendito Restaurant

Nota Bene's Mini sliders with home-made Kim Chi

Mark Thuet Chef, Restaurateur, Culinary Rock Star, Mad Genius, Lover of all things Pork

I'll just put this slicer in my bag...would look so nice next to my red Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Beaver salami???? Ummm tasted good!

Hollowed egg shells with foie gras custard that was topped with a quinoa salad, crème fraiche and chervil
Let them eat cake...or as Dufflet's would say EAT MORE CAKE!

Michael Smith Chef, Food Network TV host of Chef at Home, Guest Judge Top Chef Canada

The man himself, Head judge Top Chef Canada, Restaurateur, Culinary legend Mark McEwan

So light and so delicious fried smelt with a fennel salad

Roger Mooking Chef, Musician,  Food Network TV host of Everyday Exotic

Busy at work - FRANK Restaurant - Art.Food.Talk.
Just a few of the shots that I took during one of the best foodie events that I have ever experienced. The charity event was a sellout and raised funds in support for Second Harvest Toronto which feeds the needy in Toronto.  It is truly amazing that Second Harvest delivered 6.4 million pounds of food to those in need in our city of Toronto. Almost 40 percent of those affected are children. As a Chef myself, this is truly a cause that I can fully support and urge those who have time, resources and ideas on how to support the charity to contact them directly.  This annual event is one of the hottest tickets in Toronto and draws foodies from all over! If given the opportunity to attend again I would in a heartbeat. 

Take a moment to visit 2nd Harvest at their site linked below.