Oven-baked root vegetable crisps (chips)

Oven-baked root vegetable crispsSince I came to the UK, I have all too often indulged in Tyrell’s veg crisps, made with beetroot, parsnips, and carrot. They are delicious – but they’re also very greasy, salty, and made with sunflower oil, which isn’t a very healthy oil. After some trial and error, I have come up with an alternative that’s even more delicious. My oven-baked root vegetable crisps are crunchy, satisfying, and because they’re a lot less greasy and salty, the real taste of the root vegetable shines through. And lest you think this means they’re yucky, let me tell you: my junk food-loving small children adore these. Continue reading

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Citrus dill gravlax (plus three more flavours and bonus sushi rice recipe)

Gravlax ingredientsI’ve been wanting to make gravlax (AKA gravad lax) for some time now. Salmon is one of my favourite foods, especially when raw or semi-raw, and the idea that I might be able to cure my own salmon without buying a smoker or paying extortionate prices for sashimi-grade salmon strongly attracted me. However, for a long time I was nervous because the recipes I’ve seen vary dramatically. Some call for as much as a full cup of salt while others call for as little as a couple of teaspoons. Some call for much more salt than sugar; others call for much more sugar than salt. Some recipes I’ve seen also make the process seem incredibly complex, involving weights, precisely timed curing, even the use of thin slices of lime that can’t actually touch the fish.

After consulting a ton of recipes, I became convinced that a fairly minimalist approach would work, but although I wanted to simplify the process (and avoid ending up with a fish-flavoured lollipop or salt lick), I also wanted to experiment with a variety of flavours. So I ended up making four different kinds. Continue reading

Korean tacos with quick cucumber pickle

Korean tacosInspiration for this nominally Korean dish comes not from Seoul but from the streets of Los Angeles, where apparently the popular Kogi BBQ truck has spawned a number of imitators around the U.S.

I’ve never been to Los Angeles and have never had Korean tacos made by anyone other than myself but I liked the sound of the idea and wanted to create my own version, gluten-free and low-FODMAP, of course. They came out delicious, a fusion of different flavours into a perfect marriage. (I don’t think the fact I’m in a mixed marriage myself is influencing me.) Continue reading

Indian tacos

Indian taco

Indian taco flat on a plate – to eat, bend in half and eat like a Mexican taco.

I always feel weird saying “Indian tacos” since they’re not at all Indian in the subcontinental sense and not really tacos in the Mexican sense. Also, I feel uncomfortable using “Indian” to refer to the First Nations of North America. But nobody says “First Nations tacos.” The Aboriginal friends I had growing up on the prairies in Canada would have laughed at me if I’d tried. Indian tacos are Indian tacos and they’re as authentically First Nations as Irish stew is Irish (despite the fact potatoes are native to South America) and as vindaloo is Indian (even though chilies too are from the New World).

What makes an Indian taco “Indian” is that, instead of a corn tortilla, it uses fried bannock, AKA fry bread. As to the rest, it usually contains meat, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Sour cream is optional. Salsa is optional. If you want to make it even more North American Aboriginal, you can use ground bison. I, however, didn’t have any, so I used ground beef, which is, I would guess, the most common filling in Indian tacos anyway.

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Maple teriyaki salmon with cranberry wild rice

Maple teriyaki salmon with rice and saladTo me, nothing tastes of Western Canada (home!) like salmon does. Back home, I was super picky about which salmon I bought – I would only spend money on wild Pacific salmon, preferably sockeye or chinook; never pink, never farmed. That would still be my preference but here in the UK, it’s harder to get non-canned salmon that meets that description. (Not impossible, just harder and more expensive.) So when I saw a side of Scottish farmed Atlantic salmon on sale half price, I bought it.

You see, I’ve developed a recipe that makes any salmon taste divine. I used to think of it as semi-Canadian, semi-Japanese, but I’ve since realized it’s actually totally Canadian, since Canadian cuisine draws on all other cuisines. I like to serve it with a simple brown rice-wild rice mix with dried cranberries and fresh herbs, which is also very Canadian. So in honour of my Canada week, here’s a quick and simple midweek recipe.

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Boxty dumplings with tomato sauce

Boxty dumplings with tomato sauceHaving made boxty crepes and boxty blinis during my Irish week, I wanted to turn the basic mixture of grated potato, mashed potato and flour to a different use. I therefore decided to make boxty dumplings, AKA boiled boxty.

The recipes I saw made me think of gnocci, but sounded a little… well… boring. I gather the traditional way, as detailed by Radio Ulster, involves simply frying the dumplings in butter. Another recipe I saw on CatholicCulture.org calls for a “sweet sauce,” which to me sounds unpleasant. So I decided to do an Irish-Italian fusion dish and serve my boiled boxty with tomato sauce. It turned out to be a good decision. My dumplings turned out chewy and indeed gnocci-like, and my kids loved them with the tomato sauce. Continue reading