My friend Priscilla and I have one of those bonds where we can tell one joke and retell and laugh about it for 4 hours. She's pregnant, and told me that there was nothing she wanted so much as roast beef and yorkshire pudding, so I obliged.

There is nothing I like so much as cooking all day, so this was an exciting event. It was made doubly exciting/stressful because I have never made a roast before. It's surprisingly easy, if you get the timing right. I will share with you what to put in when to make the timing (and all the dishes) perfect:

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

1 2-3lb roast, tied.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/ 1/4 cups milk
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
3 large eggs
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock

Start the night before you are making the roast. Season beef with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic. Rub beef with the herb mixture. Place beef in a small roasting pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

Remove beef from the refrigerator 2 hours before you are ready to roast, allowing it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, make the yorkshire pudding batter: Whisk together milk, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp salt, and eggs in a bowl. Cover, let batter sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 500. Remove plastic wrap and roast beef until browned, 18-20 mins. Reduce temperature to 250. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the center of beef reads 120, about 25 mins per pound is the standard measurement.

At this point, I made these:

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

5-6 (or more, depending on how many you are feeding) large white or red potatoes
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
4-5 cloves garlic, peeled
6-7 pearl onions, peeled
2 tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary leaves

Cut the potatoes in small chunks and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onions and rosemary, toss until the potatoes are well coated. Dump the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Place in the oven that's been reduced to 250. Roast for about 1 hour or until browned and crisp.

Remove the roast from oven transfer to a cutting board, and let rest, tented with foil. Increase temperature of oven to 350 to finish roasting the potatoes. Remove potatoes after about 20 minutes.

Raise the temperature to 450. Take a non-stick muffin pan and place 1/2 tsp drippings from the roast pan into each cup. Place in the oven until hot. Pour batter evenly between cups, bake until risen and brown, about 10 mins, reduce heat to 350 to set puddings and bake for 10 mins more.

Make the gravy. Heat reserved roasting pan over medium heat. Add 1 large finely chopped shallot, cook until soft, about 5 mins. Whisk in 2 tbsp flour and 1 cup beef stock. Cook, whisking until thick. Remove from heat and transfer to a gravy boat.

At this point I fried up a little asparagus in a few tbsps of water and butter and lemon juice in a pan on the stove, then turned everything off, placed it on the table, and carved her up. Yes ma'am.

And that, my friends, is how the timing is done on a roast beef dinner. You're welcome.

P and I had a blast making this, although I did overcook the yorkshire, but I can tell you why: Lately I've really been struggling with allergies, and so before P came over I popped a couple Benadryl I'd just picked up at the store. I'd never taken them before so I didn't know that they make you drop dead exhausted/stoned. P brought me red wine so I had some and didn't realize you were not supposed to mix the two. By the time I carved the roast I didn't even know my own name. So, naturally, while the text in my recipe book was swimming around the page, I forgot/didn't see/I-was-way-too-stoned-to-know-what-the-fuck-was-happening that I was supposed to add milk to the yorkshires, so they were a little, well, hard. But they still had great flavour and everything gets soft when you drown it in gravy, which I emphatically did.

Stella even had a little too (if by having, you count climbing on the table and straight-up stealing because my mind had no concept of shapes or depth perception so I couldn't grab her elusive little body. BUT WHATEVER). And although it was pretty garlicky, she made that smacking noise with the side of her mouth while chewing, you know the one cats do, hhhyawing hhhyawing hhhyawing, which means she really enjoyed it. 

It's a lot of work but so worth it. Maybe try it for Christmas? Skip the Benadryl, though.




A couple years ago, Brett Martin wrote "The FedEx Meal Plan" for GQ, wherein - to make a short story even shorter - Martin couriered in famous dishes from around the globe: strömming from Stockholm, prawn mee from Kuala Lumpur, muffuletta sandwiches from New Orleans.

Many of the items were sandwiches of some sort, particularly those from North America (well, the US). When you think of regional specialties on both sides of the 49th, meat and bread features prominently. In fact, when I thought of a quintessential Canadian dish I'd fly in, the Montreal smoked meat sandwich was the first that came to mind.

Dunn's Famous Deli

Now that a Dunn's Famous Deli franchise has opened up shop in Vancouver, I'm saving on shipping costs. Though Schwartz's is undoubtedly the more famous of the various Montreal delis, Dunn's has kept going in some shape or form since 1927, and this newest location is a welcome addition to an otherwise barren playing field in our town.

Ask for at least a medium fat when you order your sandwich ($7.99 for a 6oz and pickle): anything leaner just doesn't seem proper. It's piled high and served fast, though still not quite quick enough to stop the bottom slice of bread from getting soggy. Things are minimal, with a scant bit of Heinz mustard, and perhaps not as much pepper as one might be used to. These are hardly complaints.

That said, it's been a long time since I've been to Montreal, and a long time since I've had a smoked meat sandwich. Just to compare, I popped over to Frenchie's the day after, where the dollar doesn't get you as far (add at least a dollar or two for a meal of the same size), nor does it get you something as good. While one slice of my Dunn's sandwich bread might have been soggy, the entirety of the smoked meat in my Frenchie's sandwich seemed much the same: bland and mushy. My memory might be shoddy, but surely Frenchie's can't be it.

The American Cheesesteak Co.

If it's been a long time since I've been to Montreal for a smoked meat sandwich, it's been even longer (read: never) since I've been to the Illadelph for a cheesesteak. My childhood experience with the classic was solely through a Calgarian food court, where an enterprising Japanese teppanyaki manager needed a twist to get his business into a mall that had already committed to an Edo franchise: add bread, provolone and you've got a new business.

I imagine the Main's Anthony Sedlak must've had the same entrepreneurial spirit: there might not have been many delis for Dunn's to compete with in Vancouver, but there's absolutely no competition for American Cheesesteak Co.  (For a comparison, I also tried a cheesesteak from the only other cheesesteak place downtown that I could think of: the Bada Bing food truck, where $6.99 will buy you a graying meat that should never be called steak, a sad affair that one should feel ashamed to order and even worse after having digested it.)

Regardless, the sandwich has a reputation that precedes it, and one can't help but visit with some preconceived ideas.  One assumption, for instance, is that the cheesesteak should be lethal for those with arterial blockage. While American Cheesesteak Co. doesn't necessarily skimp on the cheese, neither our "Classic" ($9 for the 6") nor our "Philly" ($8 for the 6") was loaded with it. We opted for provolone for the former (which comes with mushrooms) and American processed for the latter: this is one of those rare occasions where the sickly orange seems more appropriate. Both were good, but those expecting some Epic Meal Time grandeur should probably seek their decadence somewhere else.

Of course, that's based on another assumption: that one would usually pick up a Philly cheesesteak in a greasy neighbourhood joint, preferably eaten on the Rocky Steps while banging out some Gamble & Huff tunes on the headphones. It's the same sort of loose memory or assumption that I've got about Montreal smoked meat sandwiches: that it tastes just that much better after a night gone wrong with Labatt Cinquantes. Is that the sort of experience I can Fed Ex in? Probably not (even if they were real), and that - along with the sandwiches at Dunn's and American Cheesesteak Co. - is just fine with me.


Dunn's Famous Deli
827 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC
Dunn's Famous on Urbanspoon

American Cheesesteak Co.
781 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC
The American CheeseSteak Co. on Urbanspoon


There is reason why The Simpsons is the longest running TV show in history.  It has never ceased to provide pure hilarity for me.   There was even an episode where Homer referenced Carbamate Pesticides which blew my mind away.  I was working on the farms then so this was an insane reference for me to hear about from a cartoon.  

I'll admit that I have stopped watching since the movie has come out but  The Simpsons family has managed to re capture my interest.   Thanks to my friend Val for sending me this link.   

In this episode, Marge, Bart and Lisa start a Food Blog called The "Three Mouthketeers" and start trying out new restaurants and get some love from the local community.  

For those good with torrents or internet searching you can find the whole version.


Look at that bitchy face:

If you haven't figured it out by now, I really love my cat. Coming home after a long day at work and having her curl up in my lap makes me feel like all is right with the world. Some people get this from children, I have chosen to get this from a cat. No harm, no foul, right?

I get teased all the time for my kitty love, and I think it's funny and I welcome it, because I believe you should always be at least half laughing at yourself. And if you choose to love another kind of creature, human or otherwise, I applaud you. But there are always going to be people who don't think it's a meaningful relationship. "Its just a cat" is something I have heard many times. And every time I say: To you. It's just a cat TO YOU. Not to me. To me she is never a 'just'. To me she's a huge part of the joy I get from the world. To me she's family.

So in celebration of yet another approaching Christmas I have been lucky enough to spend with Stella Lucy Princess Orangetoes McCat, I decided to spend one recent rainy Sunday making lamb curry and snuggling with my tender beast:

(Holy eff I should just warn you now that this takes absolutely forever. So pick a rainy day and do laundry in between, and by the end you'll feel like you've really accomplished something)

Gosht Dopiaza (Lamb and Onion Curry)

1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garam masala
4 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp dried mint
2 tsp ground sea salt
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 4" piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 lb lamb, cut into cubes
1/4 Greek yoghurt
12 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
6 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 stick cinnamon
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 can whole peeled tomatoes with juice, crushed
12-24 pearl onions, depending on size, peeled

Make the spice paste by combining paprika, garam masala, 2 tsp tumeric, mint, salt, garlic, ginger, jalapeno and 1/4 cup water in a small food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer half the spice paste to a bowl and add lamb and yoghurt, toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours.

Heat 8 tbsp butt in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom and cinnamon; cook, stirring, until cinnamon stick unfurls and spices are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add yellow onions, and cook, stirring often until deeply caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add remaining spice paste, and continue cooking until no longer raw, about 2 minutes. Add lamb along with any marinade, and cook until that marinade is no longer raw. Add tomatoes and 3 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until lamb is tender, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add pearl onions and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Heat remaining turmeric and butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and cook until caramelized all over, about 10 minutes.

Remove curry from heat and stir in the pearl onions. Serve over rice.

Although I offered to share with her, Stellie didn't want any curry. However, the next day, in a possible act of gratitude for the offer, I came home to a turmeric-coloured cat. She had gotten into the spices and of course chose the absolute messiest one to get into. Because her fur is black, the yellow of the turmeric made her look vaguely swampish. Mmmmm. Brackish cat.

I know, it's a bummer I didn't take any photos. But I was too busy having a blast with my beast.




UPDATE: Contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Lookit: we all know it's getting close to that time of the year. We don't want to get your anxieties flowing more than they should be, but it's time to get pens out and start making those gift lists, 'cause no one wants to fight over what dregs remain on Christmas Eve.

Out of the generosity of our hearts (well, and KitchenAid's), we'd like to help you out. Everyone that enjoys cooking - no matter how skilled - needs a kitchen processor, and we've got ONE TO GIVE AWAY



Louis Gervais

We blogged about this spot years ago when they were serving meals out of their kitchen.  It was pretty hype experience to see the chef prepare your meal and then pretty much eat off that same stainless steel prep tables.  Now, Louis Gervais (ex-executive chef of the Sutton Place) has a new spot (just down the street from Thomas Haas) with a bistro inside for those who want that soup and sandwich and not eat on the prep counter.

The new space has their commercial kitchen which provides them the space and equipment for them to do  their catering work, but it also doubles as a place for them to hold their culinary classes.  85 bucks for a class seems reasonable but I do not know what it entails or how hands on the experience it is.

I sat down in the bistro to have a soup and sandwich for 11 bucks.  The chicken sandwich was tasty and with a nice soft bun with a crisp exterior.  The cream of broccoli soup was tasty with a perfect level of richness.

Louis Gervais Bistro
107-850 Harbourside
North Vancouver, 


I'm not a food snob in the least. I love mass-produced, salty, fatty foods. Most people scoff at the $1.99 Swedish meatballs at Ikea, but I find them glorious. Salty and creamy and delicious, especially after spending hours on your feet arguing with your spouse about plywood furniture and wishing you weren't too big for the ball room.

But I'm pretty sure, in order to turn a profit on a $1.99 meal, we're eating lips and arseholes. I thought there must be a healthier alternative, so I found one and made it and it's not too shabby and much better for you:

Swedish Meatballs

2 slices sourdough bread
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
1/2 finely chopped onion
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2-1lb ground beef
1/2 - 1lb ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 200. Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside. In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of sea salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the bread and milk mixture, beef, pork, egg yolks, 1 tsp sea salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg and onions. Mix thoroughly. Form meatballs into approximately 1 oz balls (he he, balls) and place on a cookie sheet.

Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat and add the meatballs 4 at a time. Saute until golden brown on all sides. When done, remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish and place in the preheated oven.

Once all the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat on the element to low and add the flour to the pan. Whisk until lightly browned. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Continue to cook until gravy reaches desired thickness. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover in gravy, and serve.

Oh fuck yeah:

This is the perfect thing to cook when it's cold out, and it keeps really well too, so you can have it multiple times. Kittehs love it too. Just sayin'.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown with my slight variations