Grilled spicy Lamb burgers on the old Weber · 1 July 2015 by colin newell
Andrea and I made these from fresh ground Island lamb and fresh herbs from the garden – much like regular beef burgers but with a kick – and they are lamb.
They are around 3/4” thick – I grilled them at around 375 to 425 for 5 minutes on the first side
and 2 minutes on the second side.
1½ pounds ground lamb
2 tablespoons tightly packed finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon moroccan spice mix
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
4 kaiser rolls, split
Thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons mayonaise
2 heaping teaspoons fresh mint sauce
Served with lettuce and red onion – and any salad on the side you might desire.
Grill with crumbled feta on top.
Pairs well with a robust Red wine.
Dinner hour - Bucatini All'Amatriciana · 31 May 2015 by colin newell
This is one of my wife’s favourite meals at a local restaurant named Zambri’s – using our own tomatoes from the garden as well as many other fresh ingredients, we created the Marinara (which is basically Tomatoes, onions, finely diced celery, carrots, 1/2 cup of red wine, garlic etc – full recipe to follow). The Marinara is the foundation for many classic Italian recipes and we will give it its own blog entry shortly!
1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 oz. thinly sliced pancetta (or bacon)
1/2 red onion – cut lengthwise in half – and 1/4” half moons
2 teaspoons mince garlic
1 heaping teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups home made marinara sauce
freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
2 servings Bucatini pasta
Put water on to boil with salt
Meanwhile in a saute pan combine olive oil, pancetta, onion, garlic and red pepper flakes.
Cook over medium low until the onion is softened and the pancetta has rendered much of its fat – about 12 to 15 minutes.
Drain away all but 1/4 cup of the fat from the pan.
Add the marinara sauce.
Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for 6 – 7 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the Bucatini in boiling water for about 12 minutes or as directed by pasta cooking instructions – looking for “very firm” – drain.
Add the pasta to the simmering sauce and toss for about 1 minute to coat.
Divide the pasta among the plates (two servings) dress with grated cheese.
House Guest - A left coast road trip. · 13 April 2015 by colin newell
Celebrated Tofino Chef Lisa Ahier brings her SoBo Cookbook to Spinnakers to launch new Victoria dinner series; Houseguest.
OnTheLeftCoast.com and EAT Magazine present a three part dinner series and industry outreach program featuring edible highlights from Tofino, Portland and Vancouver at a rotating host of local venues in an exciting pop-up format on the third Sunday of each month.
It started with a road trip down the coast. Then a scenic drive through the Pacific Northwest to enjoy the culinary highlights of a nearby city. Inspired by a warm welcome and a unique local connection with our new friends. We decided to invite them to visit us back home.
The idea was simple. Our group of industry professionals will curate a guest list of exciting talent from the west coast with presenting partner, EAT Magazine. A pop-up style program, serving as a catalyst for edible journeys to the coastal communities within reach of a road trip along the Left Coast.
Houseguest is a new series that will challenge diners to discover the hidden treasures close to home, build new creative culinary partnerships in nearby markets and showcase the quality of the burgeoning Vancouver Island culinary scene.
Read the entire media release below!
All you need is now - Living in Victoria - Beer Coffee Battle Royal · 11 April 2015 by colin newell
Andrea and I spoke with Veronica, creative and business partner at the new Second Crack Coffee on Bridge Street. Between sips of excellent single origin Ethiopian coffee freshly roasted on their Deidrich Roaster and nibbles on a delicious Empire Doughnut, we talked about how Veronica, Aaron and their young one made their way to Victoria. They came via Sweden and via Thailand.
Which begs the question. Why Victoria? Why here? Why now?
Well, guess what? Victoria B.C. Canada is currently ground zero for some of the best coffee in North America, a beer culture that is burning hotter than the engines on an Atlas rocket, a level of culinary competency never seen in our city before and an environment that is 2 and 1/2 seasons long: No snow. No ice. Continuous good times. It would be inaccurate to say that Victoria never sleeps and that the fun runs 24 hours a day… because it doesn’t. It sleeps alright. Upwards of 8 – 10 hours every day… So it can give you another 14 hours of awesome.
Coffee: If you have ever read my reasonably comprehensive list on what the city has to offer in the coffee department, you will know this: We cater to all tastes. We have an inexhaustible supply of freshly roasted single origin coffees and enough espresso coffee to keep and entire city on edge. We’ve got World class baristas on top of their game. We have more cafes per capita than most North American city – slightly behind (but not far) Portland and Seattle Washington. If there is a hip method of brewing coffee in Victoria, it’s here and it’s done really, really well.
Beer: In Victoria’s burgeoning community of brew lovers, our bearded and plaid clad dudes and stylish hipster damsels are a fashion show all to themselves. And the beer itself, well it flows into this city like an effervescent torrent that quenches an ever increasing thirst for unique and classic flavours. And we love it. I have been drinking beer since 1980 and I have never seen anything like this before. It’s amazing.
Food: There is nothing you can tune in on the Food Channel or experience in any four star restaurant in New York or Paris that you cannot get on some level here. Sure, Victoria food culture is something of an amalgam of styles – and there is nothing that is definitively “here” – But… we do a lot of styles really well. With the rise of awareness of sustainability and the 100 mile menu, we are seeing more fresh food, more authentic slow food being done really, really, really well. It’s exciting. It’s engaging and there is enough World quality food to keep you busy for months on end.
So. If you ever wonder why anyone would make their way from the four corners of the globe to come here, it is because it is great. So, if you live here, take a look around in the here and the now. Find your moment. This place is glorious and is totally “now”. Get into it. Check it out. It’s red hot and getting hotter.
All you need is now.
Colin is a Victoria resident and coffee culture writer. Always looking for the best cups and the best plates, Colin checks out them all – so you won’t be disappointed.
Are you ready? Chapter One · 9 April 2015 by colin newell
It is 2:22 AM on the dot when the ground starts to move in Victoria. You are sleeping soundly in your bed and, initially, the noise and vibration doesn’t fully awaken you. Like emerging from an under water dive, you gasp at first as you reorient yourself to the full reality of being awake. By now 10 seconds has passed by and the side to side movement appears to be intensifying. You are now fully aware as the thunderous grinding noises of earth and rock pitched against each other unfold. Everything moves helplessly atop this geologic canvas in a way that is at once fully terrifying and at the same time cartoonish.
Everything that is not tied down is being thrown around as if in a childhood toy box. And now, you are just one of the toys at the mercy of forces both devastating and unseen.
You roll out of bed trying to stand up and as you reach for some clothing in the darkness, you realize that you control nothing – you are entirely at the mercy of this event. It starts and ends when it is good and ready. Through the window and in the street power poles pendulum back and forth, whipping power lines taut. They fracture, power transformers hum, flash and explode in a shower of sparks.
Before you know it you are pushing your way to the front door of your home, oddly still standing, its corridors littered with a lifetime of personal possessions. Common sense mixed with a supreme quantity of fear and dread set in. You remember some of the things you have heard about earthquakes, how most of the injuries occur while fumbling around in the minutes following the shaking. Much to your astonishment, you discover that you have pulled on a pair of shoes because it is a good thing: the floor of your home and the outdoors are layered with broken glass. It’s everywhere.
The suburb where you live has just been hit with an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.2 – the shaking lasted 27 seconds which seemed like much more. As you look around you are struck by the normality of everything on first glance. Nothing fell over, you think. As your hearing starts to kick in amidst the darkness and chatter of neighbors emerging from their homes, you take stock of your immediate surroundings. In the distance you can hear the hiss of broken gas lines, the report of people calling to each other, and even the sound of terror – those alone, staggering into the street wondering what is next.
Your earthquake check list is well established in your head. You instinctively reach for your tool kit that you keep in your car (and an extra set in the garage) and shut off the gas main to the house. Thankfully, there is no water rushing into the street as evidenced by a ruptured water main. Even though you are almost frozen with fear, you keep moving and pushing yourself through the experience.
Your check list scrolls in your head:
a.) Water… got at least a weeks worth in bottles (and lots of beer!)
b.) Candles… check c.) dried food… (enough for a dozen or so neighbors for a week!)
d.) first aid kit… check e.) shelter… house is still standing. It’s summer and I have a 4 person tent. Excellent.
f.) Radio. You grab it on the way out of the house. It’s tuned to a local AM station and has fresh batteries.
The local radio station is running on emergency power. This is your first and primary way of assessing what has happened on a broader scale. Your cell phone is currently a paper weight overloaded by panicked 911 calls and toppled towers. As you divide your attention between the crackling radio and the downtown horizon in the distance, you are overwhelmed by the site of a rising orange glow over the city.
To be continued
Colin Newell is a writer, technician and advocate for emergency preparedness – who is, more or less, prepared for anything nature can throw at him.
20 years in coffee - part 1 · 8 April 2015 by colin newell
It is easy enough to get lost in the 140 character World of twitter where the quest is to be as funny or as informative as you can within some very strict guidelines. Problem is, one can spend way too much time just thinking about shrinking yourself down into this very small world.
Facebook is the same. One starts to think very small. It is like the social media universe is built to cater to the short attention span.
In the real world around us and above us there is no limit. There is no limit to what you can hear, see, small and taste. In the 20 years or so that I have been writing about coffee culture in Canada, I’ve seen it all, sipped it all and met every kind of coffee drinker. And yet I feel like I have just started to scratch the surface.
The exploration of the World around you (and in my case, the coffee World) is all about the people: Meeting them, talking to them, getting their unique perspective – taking it all in and taking away something new… adding to our own collective of knowledge.
In this my first chapter of a coffee journey lasting 20 years I start with today – about how random chance contacts with the people within and without the coffee world shape my perception of the world around me.
Today my coffee break routine was altered by the fact that I had forgotten to bring in a bag of coffee beans to prep in my lab for my fellow techs at 10 AM. I actually had to buy some brewed coffee. So I went to one of the most reliable joints on campus, the Finnerty Express. The Finnerty has been open for more than 20 years. It has been my go to place, either to hang out with friends and colleagues or to take a break from the fast paced World of IT. I celebrate that thing we call Coffee Break!
The Finnerty Express, over the years, has always featured the most passionate and cheerful of coffee people you could meet. After all these years, I think of the staff and crew at the Finnerty as my family.
I have always been a skeptic about changing the formula of a good thing – that is brewing coffee without hot water… I mean, how does that work. Anyway, SS Coffee has perfected the cold brew process by using quality coffee with the 15 hour steeping that cold brew requires and then bottling the “brew” when it is at its peak flavor. Now here is an additional kicker: Cold brew coffee has around 15% (or more) caffeine by volume and when you factor in the reality that the human body absorbs caffeine significantly faster when ingested from a cold beverage, you have the recipe for a stimulating and refreshing beverage.
Deb Franz brings to the coffee World an enthusiasm and passion for the bean and a desire to join the rest of us coffee lovers on this journey. A lifelong journey of exploration of the caffeinated beverage. Thank you for taking the time to chat Deb!
So: Cold brew coffee… a big thumbs up. Cold and refreshing right out of the bottle. And very peppy! I shared a bottle with 3 or 4 of my colleagues… even a non coffee drinker! Would I buy it again? Definitely.
In upcoming chapters I will reflect on two decades of discovery and adventure – and how the journey continues.
Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and coffee expert who has traveled to many corners of coffee World looking for the ultimate cup of coffee… and finding it.