Oh Canada

The date is April 10, 1917. Canada, still considered a British colony at the time; was in the middle of a fight many had lost before. The German forces had control of some high ground in France known as Vimy Ridge. Helping France regain control of it meant that the British Third Army would be able to easily move south bound, it would also lower the amount of German attacks on France. For Canadians, there was more on the line, whether the soldiers knew it or not this would be Canada’s chance to prove they were a nation on their own. This event was the first battle where all four divisions of Canada’s Corp’s attacked as one formation, and ultimately succeeded where other countries couldn’t. Canada received its status as a nation because of the unparalleled unity, and tactical superiority it had demonstrated… so why do I bring this up on a culinary blog, well shortly after Vimy Ridge, there was another battle forming at home for Canada. They were fighting on a global level, and with a population of only 8 million there was a need for soldiers and the food to feed them. Until now Canada’s military was based mostly on conscription, that farmers were excluded from. The problem was there just wasn’t enough people to provide them the manpower they needed, if they lifted the exceptions for farmers, they wouldn’t be able to provide the needed rations. Not to mention, Canada’s independence was on the line. This is where the Soldiers Of the Soil initiative came into play. The government started calling upon the women and youth of Canada to start helping out local farms. Urban students where given room bored, and $15-$30 per month, as well as exceptions from their final exams, and if they worked for three months or more, they were given an ‘honourable discharge’, that guaranteed they would move on to the next grade.

This greatly helped the war effort, which greatly helped Canada receive our Independence. So while I don’t consistently buy local, I do always keep in mind that when you support our local farmers, you’re supporting our ability to be indepent and strong.

Have a great Canada Day!


  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Vimy_Ridge
  • http://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/life-at-home-during-the-war/the-war-economy/farming-and-food/
  • http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/canada/canada19
  • http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/overseas/first-world-war/france/vimy/battle
  • https://www.manitobacooperator.ca/2012/11/15/soldiers-of-the-soil-%E2%80%A8helped-feed-the-front/
  • https://www.loc.gov/item/2005696906/
  • http://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/life-at-home-during-the-war/the-war-economy/farming-and-food/

What I Think of When I Hear Oil & Water

So let’s be real: there are over 500 different pastas, and probably hundreds of different sauces. Take any pasta dish and simply switch one of those two things, and you have an entirely new dish. It’s probably the most modular cuisine on the face of the planet. Hell, pasta is basically the food equivalent of IKEA!

That is why pasta is one of my favourite foods. Italian food is so honest in a lot of ways. It is one of the few cuisines that aren’t drastically different between classes. This is contrary to a lot of other western foods, like British food. For example, a swanky restaurant in England, you would be hard pressed to find fish and chips, even though it’s a staple in most restaurants. Meanwhile, If you order spaghetti from a high end Italian restaurant, or a casual family diner the recipe is going to be very similar. Obviously, if the respective restaurants are true to their price points, one will use higher quality ingredients, fresher non-prefab products, and put more time and love into the product but the dishes are similar in concept.

That being said, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is something I love to make. Fresh made pasta tastes like nothing else, and is simple to do. You can use store bought dried pasta, but I really recommend trying it fresh. The less ingredients a recipe has, the more important the quality of the ingredients are. What amazes me is watching the starch from the noodles bind with the oil and the water to make a mind-blowing, amazing sauce!

So before I get into the recipe, here are some facts you should know about pasta dough.

There are very few problems you can have with pasta dough that ‘resting’ the dough won’t fix. To do that, cover with plastic wrap, or a moist tea towel, and let sit for 10 mins. If the problem persists, wait an hour. More than likely, it will be fine.

Pasta dough is very much like a muscle. If you’re rough with it, the dough will become stiff and hard to work with.  if you’re too gentle nothing will happen at all. You want to be firm, but not aggressive so it will stay nice and soft. If you find that after rolling it, it quickly recoils back to the original shape, it means the dough is too ‘tense’, and need a ten minute rest.

Kneading the dough is the exception to the above. You want to be aggressive when kneading.

The dough becoming too dry is one of the few things that is very difficult to fix, and it’s easier to start over. A sign of this is crumbles apart.
This recipe is for one portion. So multiply it by the number of people you want to serve!

Pasta Dough Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Semolina Flour
  • 1/4 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 T of olive Oil
  • 1 pinch of salt

‘Sauce’ ingredients

  • 3-5 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of reserved pasta water
  • 1.5 t red chilli flakes

First let’s make the Noodles:

  1. Mix both flours together, then pour into a mound on a baking sheet. Push the centre of the mound down, so it resembles a volcano.
  2. Pour the egg(s), oil and salt into the centre of the mound of flour.
  3. Using a fork, beat the liquid together, as you do it, you should see the flour become incorporated into the egg mixture. If the flour ‘springs a leak’, just block it with some of the flour from around the mound.
  4. Once the mixture has become solid ball of dough, start kneading it. The best way to do this, is to fold be dough in half, sticky side on the inside of the fold.  Then put both palms on top of the dough, and push down and forward on it. Repeat the motion again until you notice that the dough has become elastic, and tense. A good sign it’s done is when it ‘recoils’ after you knead it. You can’t ‘over knead’ pasta dough, so if your not sure, do it a few more times. I should also note, that when I am pushing down on the dough, I lift my body up so I’m on my tip toes, this uses my body weight to my advantage. If it’s too sticky, lightly and evenly sprinkle the excess flour on the dough. If there is none left, you can take some fresh flour, but do so sparingly.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap tightly. I find the best way to do this is to wrap the wrap around the dough and twisting the ends of the plastic wrap. It should look like a giant wrapped candy.
  6. Let rest for twenty minutes. If you’re making this in advance, you can leave it in the fridge for a week.
  7.  If you don’t have a pasta machine, I strongly suggest you get one. They run about $40 CAD. They tend to be one trick ponies, but what they do, they do very well. If you don’t have one, then you can use a rolling pin, or a cylindrical wine bottle; whichever is closer. You want to create gluten (a protein that holds the noodles together) and so it is the correct size. to do this:
    • If you’re using a Pasta Machine:
      1. Remove your Dough from the plastic and set your Pasta machine to the widest setting where the rollers are farthest apart
      2. Fold the dough to go through the machine perpendicular to the rollers, or so the fold goes through the rollers first. This will allow any trapped air
        to escape. Run the Dough through the machine 4 to 5 times until the dough feels elastic. Every time you run it though the machine, you’re creating more gluten. You’ll notice the outside of the dough starts to feel more ‘dry’ after a couple of runs though the machine.
      3. If the dough is 1/8″ thick, move on to the next step, or else lower the setting on the machine by one, and repeat the above step
    • If you’re using a rolling pin:
      1. Remove the dough from the plastic and roll it up into a log. Cut the log into 1.5-2″ rounds.
      2. Roll each round out one at a time, keep the unrolled dough on a plate under a damp tea towel, and the rolled dough lightly dusted in flour stacked gently on top of each other.
      3. To roll out each round, place it on a lightly floured surface. you want to be very gentle with your dough, at least at first. Start at the centre of the disk, roll outwards, then repeat in the opposite direction turn the dough 90 degrees.
      4. If the dough is 1/8″, flour the dough, place under tea-towel, and move on to the next step, or repeat processes with the next round.
  8. Once your dough is rolled out, let it sit out for about ten minutes, then put it either In a zip lock, or cover with plastic wrap.
    • If you’re using a Pasta Machine:
      1. simply cut the pasta dough to the length you want the noodles
      2. Run the pasta through the spaghetti cutter attachment
    • If you’re not using a Pasta Machine:
      1. Gently roll the floured dough into a log
      2. cut the log width wise, each cut should be the same width you want the noodles. Unroll each cut piece of dough into your noodles.
  9. Portion your noodles in servings.
  10. Then wrap each portion into a circle and leave out for 20 minutes.
  11. Place each portion in a plastic bag to store until you’re ready to cook. It will keep in the freezer for a year, the fridge for a month, or on the shelf for a week.

Let’s make the final dish:

  1. Fill a pot on high heat with salted water. How much salt you need depends on how much water there is. The rule of thumb is the water should ‘taste of the sea’. Personally, if I’m using fresh pasta dough, I use less water; about an inch higher then the noodles should be fine. I say this because fresh noodles cook so fast that ultimately less starch is released into the water. In this recipe, you want the pasta water to be as starchy as possible, so by using less water, you get a higher concentration of starch.
  2. While the water is boiling, bias cut your garlic into rounds.
  3. Once the water has boiled, put the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and add the garlic right away. If you’re using store bought dried pasta, place it into the boiling water now, if you’re going fresh, wait for the garlic to get soft and slightly turn brown, This is the perfect time to throw in your fresh noodles.
  4. Once your garlic is golden brown and delicious, add an the now starchy water from used to cook the noodles. The amount should be equal to the amount of olive oil you used. Pour it in carefully, because you don’t want the oil to splash you.
  5. Mix in your crushed chilli and cooked noodles, no need to dry them, and especially don’t rinse them.
  6. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth


Some things in life are amazing because they are so easy; like a simple meal and good weather. Since Spring is two thirds over, and summer is almost here, I wanted to cook something that represented those two things well. As much as I love spring, I like to think of it this way: going from winter to spring is like moving out of a rundown apartment. Spring to Summer is like finally unpacking all your stuff!

The first thing that gets unpacked is Broccoli! Its season starts in June and runs though to October. So while it may not be summer yet,  broccoli is a great way to not only celebrate it being a little closer, but in a few months it’s also a great way to grieve it being over. So in the spirit of keeping good weather and a good easy meal, I would share this recipe.

I originally saw this recipe sarcastically mentioned by Chef Gordon Ramsey. He was making a point about how good ingredients stand on their own. He used this as an example of how broccoli, water and salt could make a fantastic soup when done properly. His recipe involved boiling the broccoli then pureeing it. It looked and sounded delicious, however; it got me wondering… a lot of flavour and colour is leached out of vegetables when you boil them. While Chef Ramsey incorporated the leftover boiling water to regain what was lost, he didn’t use all of it. He also isn’t one for giving measurements. So I thought I would try my own method, but steam the broccoli. This not only leaches less flavour from the broccoli, but also enhances the colour.

So for my take on this you will need:


  • 1.14kg Broccoli
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 4 cups Water
  1. Wash and dry your broccoli throughly. Broccoli grows in dirt, and who wants to eat dirt?
  2. Cut the broccoli in to florets, and discard the stems*
  3. Place 4 cups of water and a steamer basket into a pot. The water level should not be higher than the basket. My pot came with a basket that sits on top of the pot.
  4. Put the pot on high heat, and wait for a good head of steam to form. Put your broccoli in the basket, and place the lid on.
  5. Wait 3 minutes, and check to see if your broccoli has turned bright green, and is fork tender. Reserve steaming water for later
  6. Place the cooked broccoli into a food processor, and pulse until the broccoli pieces are the size of small bread crumbs. I didn’t have a big enough food processor, so I did mine in batches. Put the broccoli in a pitcher, and switch to a immersion blender for the rest of the recipe.
  7. Measure how much of the reserved water you have leftover, and add fresh water until the two combined are approximately 3 cups. In my case I had 2 1/4 cups after steaming, so I added another cup. Add this to your broccoli and blend until smooth.
  8. As the mixture gets thicker add another cup of fresh water. This will take a while. In my case it took somewhere between 5-10 minutes. You’ll know it’s smooth enough when you taste it and it has no ‘grainy’ taste.
  9. Put puree back into a pot on low to medium heat
  10. Once The soup has throughly heated, place in a bowls and serve
  11. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
*In hindsight I realized I could have added the stocks to the water I used to steam the broccoli. Since I was adding it to the soup in the end, this would have added more flavour to the end product.

Rain or swine

What is it about the rain that makes us put things off? I mean, people change around their whole day just to avoid a 5 minute walk to the car because they might get a little wet. Even the very expression we use to cancel plans is called a ‘rain cheque’, it’s kind of ridiculous when you think about it.

I bring this up because the other day I decided I wasn’t going to let the weather get in the way of my plans. This started when my roommate and I were shopping. I saw baby back ribs where on sale, and since the few days prior to that were beautiful, I thought I would pick them up and possibly smoke them. It had been a while since I made ribs and my mouth was watering just thinking about it. I popped them into my cart, and got on with my life. Then the rain came, and when it rains, it pours for 3 days! The swine gods had sought to cancel my plans to enjoys sweet fall off the baby back ribs… and I was having none of it. Ribs were only good for a few days in the fridge, and I wasn’t about to freeze them indefinitely until the clouds parted.

The way I saw it, I had 3 options:

  1. BBQ in the rain
  2. Use liquid smoke and other methods to simulate the flavour of BBQ in an oven.
  3. Change my plans to best fit the situation, and braise my ribs.

Since my smoker is homemade and electric, I didn’t feel using it in the rain was a good idea. I also am not a fan of liquid smoke, since it feels like aiming for second place. Oven roasted ribs bring so much possibilities, and once I’ve got the oven ready, why use it in a way where it less than shines? So braising it is!

My roommate is not a fan of cooked tomatoes, and a big fan of Asian food. So I decided instead of cooking like down south, I’d aim for the Far East, and use things like ginger, soy sauce and oranges to braise the baby back ribs.

The end product wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a good start to a recipe I think will one day shine.

If I had let the rain entice me into making something else, I would have missed out on exploring this. Down below is the recipe I used. Next time I try this, I’m going to use more orange juice, and reduce it more. I’m also going to cut the amount of spices in the braising liquid by up to half while increasing the honey. I am probably going to replace the Apple Cider Vinegar with regular rice vinegar. I feel the orange flavour is what best compliments the ribs. The last change I would make is how I coated the ribs with the reduced braising liquid. I coated the ribs and broiled it three times until the liquid was dry. In hindsight, I should have only done that once, and one more time taken it out sooner. That way their would have been more of a ‘sauce’ on the ribs.

The Ribs:

  • 2 Full rack of Baby back Ribs

The Rub:

  • 2 Tablespoons Chili pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Salt
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Whole Peppercorn
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Onion Powder

The Braising Liquid:

  • 300ml (approx 1 1/3 cup) freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • 50 ml (approx 1/4 cup) Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon  Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/2 Ginger
  1. Blend whole peppercorn in a spice grinder, or small blender, place in bowl with the other spices then set aside
  2. Place your orange juice in a pot and simmer on low until it has reduced to about 250ml (1cup), turn off heat and whisk all the other Braising Liquid ingredients together in the pot, let cool and set aside covered in the fridge.
  3. Let your ribs sit out for about 30 mins, it’s easier to work with at room temperature.
  4. Trim your ribs of any extra “flabs” of meat. these will cook too fast, and generally be unappealing, also you want to remove the pulmonary pleura (Aka the thick membrane on the concave side of the ribs). There are some myths that this prevents flavour from penetrating into the meat, but that isn’t true. It does however create a chewy texture. You can remove it by using a knife to poke a hole in the membrane in the corner, and using your finger to pull it off. It should come off as one piece.
  5. Cover both of your ribs in the Rub mixture. Don’t be shy here, this is what will form your “bark”. You want to cover the top, sides and bottom of the ribs.
  6. Place your ribs on top of wide heavy duty aluminum foil so the concave side is down. You want to wrap them so you have a tight seam on top of the ribs. Then tightly roll up one side of the foil, and loosely roll up the other.
  7. Place your wrapped ribs in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  8. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Take the ribs out of the fridge and unroll the loosely rolled side of the foil, pour half the braising liquid into each foiled ribs. Tightly re-roll the aluminum foil.
  10. Place the foiled ribs on a baking sheet, and place the baking sheet into the oven for minimum 2 hours. Unfortunately this recipe doesn’t have a set cooking time, after the two hours you’re going to have to use best judgement to tell if these are cooked or not. My method (amongst other people) is to unwrap the corner of the ribs, and look for 3 major signs. pull, crack and twist. That means You want: the ribs to have significant amount of the bones showing, also called “pull back”, you want to see cracking on the top when you bend the ribs, and you can twist the bones fairly well in the ribs. If the ribs don’t pass this test, roll the foil back up, and put in the oven. Generally speaking, if I don’t see the Pull Back, I don’t bother doing the other two test, and put it back in the oven for 30-45mins. If it only passed the first test, I do 15-30 mins of cooking time. By doing this, you have ensured the connective tissue of the ribs of dissolved. This will give you more tender ribs.
  11. Once your ribs passed the three tests, pour your braising liquid into a pot and simmer to thicken, also place your ribs directly on the baking sheet, and place it on the side for now.
  12. Set your oven to broil, and move the rack to the highest position in the oven.
  13. You want your braising liquid to thicken. My general test is I can run a spatula though the liquid and see the bottom of the pan for about 2-3 seconds. This will form your rib sauce.
  14. Once you have your rib sauce made, use a pastry brush to lightly coat your ribs with it and place it in​ your oven (set to broil) until the sauce is bubbling and forms a nice thick coating on the rub. Don’t walk away from this, it takes about 20-45 seconds for this to happen. Repeat the coating and broiling 2 more time.
  15. Cover the ribs one more time with the sauce, plate and serve.
  16. Take a fancy photo, and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #foryourfoulmouth
Amazing Ribs I got the information about the
Good Eats SEASON 2 EPISODE 13 TITLED Pork Fiction. My Recipe is nothing like Alton Browns, however the techices where inspired buy this episode.