Tag Archives: featured

Tomato Ketchup with Roasted Red Pepper and Sundried Tomatoes

Homemade ketchup - easy to make and uses the scraps from tomato canning and sauce making.
Homemade ketchup – easy to make and uses the scraps from tomato canning and sauce making.

I’ve been making variations on this recipe for nearly 20 years now.  This is the best version of this sauce to date .

It’s especially timely now while tomatoes are at their most plentiful, and an ideal way to use up all the skins and cores generated in canning.

If you are canning/skinning a full bushel of tomatoes, using these trimmings would make several jars of ketchup even without using any whole tomatoes, which of course you may also do.

It’s also very nice with green tomatoes, green apples, and cider vinegar, with a larger percentage of cloves to peppercorns, and intended to be used with pork.

 

Nocino

Nocino in Brandy
Nocino in Brandy

Recipe and photos by Gayle Hurmuses

Nocino is a fabulous digestif, a traditional Italian bitter made from unripe walnuts (any type) that can be made into a lovely liqueur given the right treatment.

The articles I read before making last year’s batch suggested that it would be gone before the year of proper aging was complete and the authors were right. The first few tastes were much like Fernet Branca, but over time it mellowed nicely into something much more subtle and compelling.

Traditionally, the latest date to make Nocino is June 24. Thanks to a late winter in BC, we’re weeks behind, and in late June, the walnuts were still barely marble-sized. They’re nice and plump today however, and the shells have not yet begun to form, so it’s a perfect time to begin. From the look of the fruits there are still a few more days to go before it’s no longer possible.

This recipe will give wonderful results. You may not want to share. I didn’t. O:-)

Walnuts for Nocino

Centennial Park Cob Oven in Duncan, BC

One of the great assets of the Cowichan Valley is the Centennial Park Cob KitchenIt’s a beautiful Cob pizza oven and cooktop available to the community.
The Cob Kitchen can be used by individuals for family use, community organizations who wish to host an event or program, or by local businesses.  One local baker uses this kitchen to bake products to be delivered to her customers. 
Requirements are: Completion of a 1 hour hands-on training, a registration form, a small insurance fee, and a donation.
As the time of this post, there are two Cob Kitchen trainings coming up!
  • Monday June 19, 2017, from 10 – 11 am: 3 spots open
  • Monday June 26, 2017 from 1 – 2 pm: 3 spots open
Bookings may be made through their website at this page.
More than merely a kitchen, the Cob Oven is also a community art project, featuring work by: Maynard JohnnyNan GoodshipPat Amos, and Sarah Way.
Cowichan Community Kitchen in Use
Cowichan Community Kitchen in Use

The Cob Kitchen is sponsored by  the BC Arts Council, Peninsula Co-op, City of Duncan, and Matrix Marble and Stone. It is a project of Cowichan Community Kitchen, a local agency that helps families learn to plan, budget and cook at their partner facilities, and bring meals home for the family.

Operated at five locations throughout the valley (including the Cob Kitchen), the Cowichan Community Kitchens provides valuable services to the community in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. 

Cowichan Community Kitchens is sponsored by:St. John’s Anglican Church, Duncan, St. John’s Anglican Church, Cobble Hill, Lake Cowichan Community Hall, Warmland House, True Grain Bakery – Cowichan Bay, Valley Floors, Webtec, North Cowichan, Rotary. CVRD Area C, Cobble Hill, CVRD Area D, Cowichan Bay, CVRD Area F, Honeymoon Bay, City of Duncan, Jackson on the Moon, and an anonymous donor.

Duck Confit

Duck confit in jar
Duck confit in jar

Duck confit may seem decadent, but the process doesn’t leave the meat fattier than it began.  You’re  going to have mere slivers of the meat, and you’re not going to drink the fat.

I won’t be serving an entire duck leg or wing for each person. The pieces will be deboned, and the meat will be used as an accent…almost as a seasoning to the dishes it’s used in. I truly do get 10 or more dishes from the two legs and wings of an 11lb duck.

Mind you, it was a very happy, exceptionally lean, free-range duck, from neighbours at Legacy Farm. There was little waste on this bird .

Because the duck used was truly free range, it was almost entirely without fat. Even after rendering the skin from the breasts, which was used for another purpose, there was only a small amount of fat, and there was none at all clinging to the bird.

With no duck fat for sale locally, butter was the only solution. It proved to be a delicious problem.

Marilyn Venturi – Venturi-Schulze Wines & Balsamico di Cowichan Valley


Marilyn Venturi, of Venturi Schulze Vineyards in The Wine Islands, relating the story of the development of the vineyard, and their line of “Balsamico di Cowichan Valley” which they produce in both open and closed cask versions.

Both their exceptional wines and their balsamic vinegars are the very definition of organic, and “artisanally produced”.

The very precious open cask version of their balsamic produces only 12 litres per year, the closed cask version, which is also quite spectacular, is produced in somewhat larger numbers and sold in hand-painted bottles.

Tilman Hainle on the future of BC wine, and its still untapped potential

Interview with winery consultant Tilman Hainle on Working Horse Winery, organic dry farming, and the many exciting frontiers still to be explored in BC vineyards.

This is the second of a two-part interview. Click here to listen to part one; Tilman Hainle on the 1970’s renaissance in BC wines.

Tilman can be contacted at: 250-888-3869

Tilman Hainle on the 1970’s renaissance in BC wines

Interview with winery consultant Tilman Hainle on the 1970’s renaissance in BC wines, the establishment of Hainle Estate Winery, being Canada’s first vintner of ice wines and organic wines, first winery lounge operator, and on becoming a consultant to wineries around the world.

This is the first of a two-part interview. Click here for Part Two: Tilman Hainle on consulting, the future of BC wine, and its still untapped potential  

Tilman can be contacted at: 250-888-3869

The House of Sotol

Enrique Elias of Vinomex, speaking of Sotol, their innovative distilled spirit.

Made from the Daisyliron Wheeleri, an Agave relative, Sotol is a traditional spirit in the Chihuaha region of Mexico. The Vinomex version is the first of it’s kind, a premium quality spirit based on the old recipes and brought to life by a master oenologist who was previously with Moet & Chandon and Remy Martin.

Urban gardening

Just three weeks ago, my rooftop garden on narrow boat Miracle was starting to look like a winner. The garden I’d planned and planted was just beginning to show its potential and I was pleased.  In a proud moment on that sunny Saturday I snapped a photo and shared it with the world via my Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Nearly immediately after sending my “Boast Post” I saw a competition was happening on line by Saltyard Books asking people to post photos of their kitchen garden. The competition was in celebration of a new book by Mark Diacono of Otter Farm, about gardening and getting the most out of your urban kitchen garden.  I’ve never entered any competition before but, it seemed nearly serendipitous, so off went my tweet with their hashtag into the competition.

I’m exceedingly pleased to say, I won the competition and early this week my copy of The New Kitchen Garden arrived. I got to unwrap it just as a very rare UK thunderstorm began.  At just under 400 pages, I can’t pretend that I’ve read it all as yet, but so far, it’s impressive, encouraging and informative. It’s a book that I suspect, I’ll be keeping and referring to quite often. Thank you Mark for writing this!

A little video about the book and what inspired it.

 

More about the book here.

Seasonal eating & anticipation

Nothing is as exciting as the first tomato of the season
Nothing is as exciting as the first tomato of the season

There is nothing quite as exciting as the anticipation of your first tomato of the season.

I was away this weekend and came back to find the first tomato tucked in behind the protective leafy growth of my bush tomato.  I’m always excited when my garden begins to produce. Perhaps more than any other vegetables or fruit, when the weather begins to warm I begin to crave tomatoes. The first tomato of the season, always makes me smile.

Some people may look at the endless availability of produce on the supermarket shelf as a blessing,  a step forward in the evolution of our abilities to feed our ever growing population. Personally, I do not find comfort in being able to eat “fresh” tomatoes all year. I worry about food miles, both for their affect on our air quality but even  more about what it means to local small enterprising growers. The more aware of local small farms I have become, the more important I feel they are and the stronger my ambition is to support them.

I can not stand on a soap box and claim that my concern for the environment was the first reason I began to eat seasonally. I am first and foremost governed by taste. I like my food to taste good.

A tomato, grown in unnatural conditions, shipped from a grow house thousands of miles from my home to my local shop simply doesn’t taste of much. I remember first noticing this as a child, and in the decades since, not much has changed. Sometime in my early twenties I made a conscience decision not to buy tomatoes out of season to avoid the sheer disappointment. I’ve not regretted it.

I confess, I am also “tight” with my hard earned cash. My account balance has also played a major role in my choice to eat seasonally. I don’t eat many processed foods and I choose my vegetables based on what is available as locally as possible. It’s inevitably cheaper.

Seasonal eating has it’s drawbacks of course, I’m well and truly bored of root veg by the time the first greens are ready locally. Equally I will, by late August be bored of tomatoes, but August seems a long way off and my mouth is watering in anticipation.