Talking coffee on CKNW with Gord MacDonald · 6.08.13 by colin newell
Listen to the Podcast |
We were talking coffee with Gord MacDonald from CKNW – 980 from Vancouver — with some really good questions.
This podcast (interview) is around 11 minutes long – so strap yourself in.
I average around 20 radio, TV or newspaper interviews annually and this was one of the better ones – a lot of these radio hosts are affable, enthusiastic and well read before they undertake an interview – honored to chat on the subject of my passion. Coffee. Love it.
Podcast – If you cannot see the audio player above, click here for the mp3 download.
Pork tenderloin on a spinach salad · 1.08.13 by colin newell
Easy to prepare and low in fat.
1 – 500g pork tenderloin
Preheat oven to 450 (F)
Heated a frying pan with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil.
Rub your tenderloin with some pepper, olive oil and garlic salt.
Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides (2 minutes per side) in the pan.
Place the tenderloin in a ceramic baking pan (pan is coated with left over olive oil.)
Spread honey mustard all over the seared tenderloin with a sprig of oregano.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 (F)
Bake for 30 minutes or until core temperature is 165 (F)
Remove from oven – rest for 10 minutes (tented in tinfoil)
Make the salad of your choosing -
Take the tenderloin and slice into thing medallions – serving over salad.
Updates, this that and those other things... · 29.07.13 by colin newell
Nothing like staying awake several hours in the night worried about the fact that two of your main websites are dysfunctional after a suggested system update.
In this case, a software update was made to my main coffee website and my main telecom/radio website.
The radio website has a huge technical library on board with a modest subscription service…
meaning I get some coins when someone wants to browse the growing library.
And that makes sense – In many years, my tech library gets upwards of 60,000 document downloads.
That is bandwidth that I have to pay for.
Since instituting a fee subscription service (and a request for donations to keep the service running), the response has been very favorable.
Meaning if you need something, all you need do is ask.
Because everyone is generous… for the most part.
And what of the guitar? I am currently testing out an amazing “black box” for a company that I cannot currently name – it is actually a vocal processor that does natural sounding harmonizing, pitch correction, commercial grade effects rack, phantom power for commercial microphones and lots more. At some point, if I get permission I will review it – and you will get to hear me sing… in many different ways.
Yea. Look forward to that!
Party time - Queso Fundido Cheese dip - rated HOT · 21.07.13 by colin newell
Who doesn’t like something hot and spicy to get the party rolling? Andrea’s and my take on a great Mexican snack dish cannot be beat – it has the blazing hot molten appeal of sharp cheeses dangerously tinged with the bite of chipotle peppers (to taste!)…
Not only that, it is served right out of the oven so it has double-trouble heat – but seldom a complaint is heard as it disappears entirely before it cools.
Shred 2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese (older the sharper the better)
Shred 1 cup Monterey cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 4 oz. can chopped green chili peppers (drained)
1 to 2 tablespoons of finely chopped, canned, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
Combine and mix in a large bowl.
Spread into 1 quart baking dish.
Baked in 375 oven for 20 – 25 minutes stirring once.
Remove from oven – stir again.
- garnish with chopped green onions,
tomatoes, and even some sliced black olives or cilantro if you are so inclined.
Serve immediately with Tortilla chips and the frosty Cerveza or two of your choosing
Eating the Island's best - at Deerholme Farm · 14.07.13 by colin newell
In the 30+ years I have been paying attention to the Island food scene, one concept has emerged to a much broader understanding and acceptance: Local and seasonal farm to table cuisine.
Locally sourced fruits, vegetables, meats and local/regional cuisine conceptualization is finally coming into its own.
Photo – L to R – Chef Bill Jones, Patrick Barber and Don Genova coordinating the next plate with impeccable timing.
And it makes sense. When you look at the hard reality of how little of our Vancouver Island food supply is actually produced here – well, it is kind of staggering and it makes any level headed person ask… “Why!?”
Well, the times they are a changing – and leading the charge on experiencing, learning and savoring the fruits of our harvest is none other than Chef Bill Jones of Deerholme Farm
No stranger to global cuisine, Bill Jones has wowed Island residents for 8+ years within the realm of “Farm to table”, seasonal cooking and the ever popular “foraged foods” – utilizing his star power to promote the areas incredible collection of seasonal morels (mushrooms).
Last night (Saturday – July 13) Andrea and I and two dear friends had the distinct pleasure of joining Chef Bill Jones (photo-Left), food journalist Don Genova (photo-Right) (CBC Food Matters and his own well read blog over at Blog.DonGenova.Com ) and avid food enthusiast Patrick Barber (Son of the Urban Peasant James Barber no less…)
Chef Bill Jones dining room holds a couple of dozen folks comfortably – keeping in mind that the farm is not a restaurant in the truest sense of the word – and when you have successfully “applied” to attend one his special events, you are indeed within a learned circle of enthusiastic food folks… in a space that is very open, friendly and conducive to group interaction and learning.
On our particular visit to the Deerholme Farm in the Duncan area, the single challenge was getting there. That said, the 4 of us were kind of reading from several sets of instructions – and for me, it was quite by accident that I ended up at the end of the very short Stelfox Road – not quite in the middle of nowhere but not far from it. Note the map below.
The Deerholme farm is quite unassuming and very farm like – so do not expect an obviously purpose built farm/food showcase. Because it’s not. It is a very active working farm that is also center stage for Bill Jones culinary experience.
Dinner at the farm often runs from 5 PM til 9 PM. We arrived fashionably early and took the opportunity to wander the rustic farms herb garden noting the grandeur of the area.
By 5 PM all the guests were seated and the first plate was in front of us: A savory Thai chicken sate (local organically grown chicken) complimented with freshly grilled Porcini bread and a smoked eggplant puree… a very gentle and easy going introduction to what would be a fascinating evening of brilliantly crafted “small plates” – portion sizes oriented towards enjoyment and learning – each course accompanied by Bill or Don giving us a little lecture on where (and when) the ingredients came from. Photo above – Bill and Don connect the timeline of the ingredients to each plate.
Within a 1/2 hour or so, we settled into a handsome salad of Argentinian inspired grilled flank steak over local farm greens – the steak (amounting to a couple of ounces of meat protein) topped by a Chimichurri dressing (Chimichurri is often made from finely chopped parsley or Cilantro, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar…) – the steak is served medium-rare and you could almost cut it with a fork.
By 7 PM or so and a chance to stretch legs, get to know the folks at the table we were sharing – cleanse our palates with some mineral water, engage in conversation, etc and it was time for the next course:
A BBQ Bean soup – (a mixture of beans, the white beans being from Saltspring Island), ham hock with smoked salmon, sweet pea salsa (hot!) and grilled Pasilla pepper puree. This was a very rustic and flavorful soup that would be perfect any time of the year – but especially enjoyable in mid-summer with all fresh and local ingredients.
Photo above – long smoked beef brisket.
By 8 PM the star of the show was about to roll out: Photo – Slow cooked smoked beef brisket – with grilled red onion-mushroom jam, kale polenta, Providence Farm baby tomatoes, fresh garlic, basil and bread sauce. The brisket was portioned at around 3.5 ounces (perfect for the overall pacing of the meal) – rich with a complex and dark smokiness in the flesh – this brisket being grass fed and free range, is very low in saturated fat – so although the portion is slightly fatty, the fat portion is quite reminiscent of pork belly… melt in your mouth and healthy!
By 9 PM we were all very content and almost right on schedule an incredible dessert was presented: A local fennel and pear tarte tatin with a hazelnut caramel mousse, smoked pecans garnished with a maple-candied dehydrated bacon slice (surprisingly it fit in perfect…)
Any one of these plates would have made a delightful centerpiece on any other meal somewhere else – but taken as a whole, this grouping left a clearly lasting impression that will not be forgotten soon – as a local coffee enthusiast mused, “Of my top 5 meals I have had anywhere, 4 of them were at Deerholme…”
And considering the selection of great food and drink on Vancouver Island,
that says something!
For our group, the Deerholme Farm represents a unique and memorable eating experience – Hey, Andrea and I try (on principle) to eat out once a week (somewhere nice) and Deerholme is not like anything you have ever experienced – If anything, it makes me hopeful about how we see food on Vancouver Island – and the road to (at least a bit more) self sufficiency.
By all means contact Chef Bill Jones over here and consider attending one of his events. They are generally on Saturdays, year around. Deerholme Farm is located near Duncan, British Columbia – click on the small image above for the bigger view of the area.
Talking Thermomix with Don Genova · 4.07.13 by colin newell
Listen to the Podcast |
As most of my readers know, I have been playing with coffee machines for a decade and a half – and in some of my in between times I do take the opportunity of horsing around with related gadgets that are used in the kitchen (that could also have a coffee connection…) and some not so much.
And it was with great delight that Andrea and I managed to arrange a loan of a Thermomix “food appliance” from Island food journalist and author, Don Genova – locally of Cobble Hill, B.C. and a regular on CBC Radio “Food Matters”. We had seen the Thermomix in use at one of Don’s popular cooking classes – on the subject of pasta. And guess what, Don had the Thermomix handy for not only making the pasta but also making the sauce for the pasta! And for this reason and a few others, I do not call the Thermomix a food processor – because (much to my surprise), it is much more than that.
The Thermomix is a powered blender, chopper, stirrer, mixer, digital scale and labor saver – Designed in Germany and manufactured in France, the Thermomix is more industrial grade multi-purpose tool than the kind of single use device that many people would spend almost as much on.
Many folks, in fact, often pick a Vita-Mix over the Thermomix as a cost saving measure – and as awesome as the Vita-Mix is (I have a lighter duty Cuisinart version of it…) – because it does what it is supposed to do really well, it cannot cook anything. And where the Thermomix really, really shines – is that it can prep a dish and then cook it… or steam it. Or do both at the same time for goodness sakes!
In the video below, Don tackles a recipe we tackled a couple of times… with awesome results!
Andrea and I gave the Thermomix a work out with a couple of variations of a popular and relatively challenging recipe: Risotto. For those who have made Risotto, it is labor intensive and requires your attention for the duration of the process.
Apart from getting the ingredients together and getting them into the Thermomix in the right order, the bulk of the work was done by the Thermomix with little interaction from me – the primary thing with Risotto is, of course, the stirring – often 10 to 15 minutes of stirring… which the Thermomix does gently and steadily. We ended up with a restaurant grade Risotto that we would have proudly served any chef in the city… or any of our friends.
We chatted with Don Genova on the subject of the Thermomix this afternoon at Victoria’s Cafe Roaster 2% Jazz at the Hudson – and future home of the Victoria Public Market. When asked, Don pointed out in the audio recording above, that all kinds of people buy the Thermomix and they buy it for a variety of reasons – the main thing for us was labour saving, streamlining processes in the kitchen and making food better – and maybe even saving some money in the journey and eliminating some waste – because the Thermomix measures everything very precisely, the end results are exactly the same every time.
The Thermomix is clearly well made (designed and built in Europe) with heavy duty components for years and years of service. Interestingly, you cannot buy the Thermomix online or in a store – it is sold by a network of dealers in Canada that are particularly hands on when it comes to training and initiation of new users to this very useful tool.
I had the Thermomix for around a week – and I think I may need to borrow one again for another couple of tests (my main loan this month was interrupted by a trip to Hawaii!). In the meantime, if you need any information on where you can find one in B.C. (or anywhere else in Canada…) just drop me a line!
For more information on what Don Genova is up to and where you can see/hear him, pop on over to his Blog
Podcast – If you cannot see the audio player above, click here for the mp3.