Pork with Leeks and Mustard Sauce

It's Friday and I have to pack for a weekend out of town.

Only a picture - recipe on Monday (probably)

Pork fillets, cut up, on a bed of leeks and mushrooms, mustard sauce, and the dark drizzle on the far side is some coriander/honey sauce I had left over from the other day (I figured it might be good with the leeks).

This was a good one. In true Cordon Bleu style it had 4 pans going on the stove at the same time. Despite that it was pretty fast and simple to do.

Joey Tomato's, Coquitlam, B.C.

The final restaurant from the vacation. Joey Tomato's Mediterranean Grill in Coquitlam (Burnaby/Vancouver) B.C. It's a small Canadian chain - there are other locations.

Great place. Busy. Not at all inexpensive. Good room. Great presentation. Wonderful food. Nice staff. Worth it. Recommended.

The wine: a good one.

The starter: Grilled Ahi Tuna Tacos (seared rare Ahi tuna, asian shredded salad, ginger dressing, wonton tacos, wasabi-lime aioli). These are great.

Mine: Fresh Bass. (Mediterranean Spiced Basa (fresh water bass) pan seared in Mediterranean spices, cumin scented rice, tzatziki & some veggies)

When I lived in Toronto I used to go bass fishing with a buddy and this tasted just exactly like the bass we caught. Oh my it brought back memories. It's a great restaurant that can do that for a person. Very well executed but lose the sprig of parsley - it's pointless.

There was more: grilled chicken, grilled salmon - done nicely, both of them, but these two dishes shown here were quite outstanding.

The Pointe Restaurant - Ostrich & Halibut

Leftovers from the vacation; a couple of food pics and descriptions I've wanted to post (only one more to go)

In Tofino, B.C. at The Pointe restaurant (Wickaninnish Inn).

Good to great food, decent presentation, nice restaurant with a great view; a 4 star meal (alas, at 5 star prices).

Let's start with Sumac Crusted Ostrich Carpaccio - with a potato and roasted red pepper salad; sprinkled with Maldon salt and topped with a couple of little bread stickys

First off, we'd read this part of the menu glancingly and thought it was going to be an oyster carpaccio - which would have been really really interesting. But, still, a good starter. The sumac was very very subtle (verging on not there at all; supposed to sort of taste lemony). Last, loose the breadsticks - they're pointless.

The restaurant kitchen loves this type of dish, dead easy to make and serve:

  • Get ostrich breasts (in this case local Vancouver Island ones)
  • Place a few on a stretch of plastic film sprinkled with sumac (it's a spice); sprinkle sumac on top too (covering the meat well)
  • Roll up the plastic and twist the ends - like making a sausage
  • Roll in aluminium foil - keeps the plastic from unrolling and is a bit firmer in holding the shape
  • Freeze
To serve, slice very thinly, while still frozen, with a meat slicer; it will thaw almost instantly on the plate.

The next good one: Seaweed Crusted Halibut with Island Mushrooms (and some very nicely turned potatoes; oh, and some peas and some crab on top). Weird earthy flavor because of the mushrooms but it really grows on you.

This dish was worth it. Very correctly done fish (fresh and local) with the seaweed and mushroom flavor making it an adventure. This is what you go to good restaurants for - discovery.
The only thing was that the seaweed was not really encrusting the halibut - rather more like piled on top. But hey, that's the menu-writer's fault not the kitchen's.

I liked it so much I'm going to do picture of the other side too.

I have no how-to on making this dish. Wouldn't know where to start (fresh seaweed's hard to come by around here). I'm not even sure what kind of mushrooms those are. Anybody know?

Another dish we had is shown in an earlier post.

Duck Breasts with Honey Coriander Sauce

This one's good. The honey-coriander sauce can be used on a variety of dishes: pork, chicken, lobster, salmon, lamb, root veggies for example) so it's nice to have in your repertoire.
Simple; make the sauce and fry the breasts - drizzle sauce over meat - done.

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Duck Breasts with Honey Coriander Sauce

Serves: 2 (with one duck breast, cook 2 breasts to serve 4 - leave the sauce the same)
  • 1 duck breast, 300 gr [10 oz]
  • salt
  • pepper, black, freshly ground
  • ¼ C oil, olive
  • 2 T coriander seeds (yes, use seeds)
  • ½ C honey, light
  • ¼ C soy sauce
  • ¾ C chicken stock (duck stock if you've got it - yah, sure)
  1. Trim duck breast, score the fat side in a grid pattern
    • season with salt & pepper, set aside
  2. Heat oil in a tiny frying pan
  3. Toss in the corriander seeds for about 30 seconds
    • Until they're aromatic and have darkened - but not burnt
  4. Strain the seeds and smush up in a mortar
  5. Honey and soy into a little pot
    • Heat to boiling
  6. Add hot stock and crushed coriander
  7. Boil semi vigorously for 10 minutes - reducing by at least a third, maybe by half
  8. Strain this sauce into yet another saucepan, set aside
  9. In an ungreased frying pan fry the duck, fat side down first - low/medium heat
    • for 10 minutes
  10. Drain away the duck fat and turn over the breast
    • fry for another 6 minutes
    • or until done to your liking
  11. Cut the duck breast on the diagonal, thinly and meanwhile
  12. reheat the honey-coriander sauce
  13. fan out the sliced dusk in a couple of plates
  14. and drizzle sauce, through a strainer, around the duck
  1. Trimming a duck breast involves cutting, vertically, the overhanging fat from around the edges
  2. You can render this fat and use it in the oil for frying the coriander
  3. If you don't have a mortar just smash up the coriander any old which way; maybe a rolling pin. The idea is to crack the seeds open so they'll release their flavor
  4. Reduce the sauce really well - until it coats the back of a spoon. More reduction is probably better
  5. You can make the sauce days in advance
  6. If the duck won't stay flat while cooking, and it probably won't, press down on it with a big flat spatula
  7. Duck meat is always pink in the middle - except for those maniacs that insist on having everything well done
  8. Save the duck fat; great for frying veggies in, or an egg - adds loads of flavor
Again, this recipe is from the great cookbook - Le Cordon Bleu: Quick & Light which is one of the most used for my day to day spontaneous what shall we have today cooking.

The pic's from yesterday because it's part 2 of the same dinner. So I'll add a close up.


Spinach with Garlic, Cream and Coriander

Very french; it's got butter and cream in it. Note: cream is good for you. Fats encourages the uptake of calcium (according to a ) - and reduces weight gain. Don't know how the to are related but them's the facts.

pato espinacas 24092007629

The pic includes the duck - tomorrow's recipe. Note the soft green sauce around the spinach - lovely.

Spinach with Garlic, Cream and Coriander

Serves: 2 (or 3 or 4 - depending)


  • 60 gr [2 oz] butter (see notes)
  • 500 gr [1#] fresh spinach (baby leaves if you can get 'em; if you can't, and have to devein the spinach you'll need about 750 grams)
  • 1 t coriander, ground
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ C cream (whipping, whole, full, 30%) (the real stuff)
  • salt
  • pepper, black, fresh ground


  1. Crush garlic, set aside
  2. Butter into a pan, hot
  3. Add spinach & stir
    • 5 minutes. It will wilt and magically release its liquids
  4. Crank heat to high
  5. Add garlic & coriander & cream
    • Reduce until the liquids are gone
  6. salt & pepper it
  7. Serve - now
  1. Work with cumin as well as coriander
  2. Clean the spinach if it's not prewashed. Maybe wash it again anyway
  3. If it's not baby spinach remove the veins
  4. It starts as a huge pile of spinach but reduces quite nicely
  5. Make this mediterranean-style by substituting olive oil for the butter
  6. This takes maybe 12 minutes all told to make if you have everything at hand; make it at the last minute
  7. It's a lot of coriander flavor - if you're timid use a small teaspoon
  8. Use enough salt salt and pepper; it keeps the coriander from overwhelming the dish
Recipe source: Le Cordon Bleu: Quick & Light; with virtually no alteration
Edited 25-09 to tweak the specifics

Garbanzos and Chorizo

Another tapa sort of thing - but I ate it for lunch.

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There's a lot of variations on this dish, many involve onions or tomatoes, but I've stripped this down to the basics. The whole point is to get the flavour of the chorizo into the dish - nothing more.

Garbanzos & Chorizo [Chick Peas and Sausage]

  • 2 C garbanzos (cooked, do them yourself or buy a jar)
  • 10 slices chorizo (halved) (use more if you like)
  • ¼ C white wine
  • ½ C water (approx) (or cooking liquid from the garbanzos)
  1. Dump the garbanzos into a pot
  2. Add the wine
    • and turn up the heat; get it simmering
  3. Add water to just barely cover
  4. Boil merrily (or simmer)
    • Until the liquids are saucy


  1. To cook the garbanzos yourself
    1. soak dry beans in lots and lots of water for 24 hours
    2. toss this water (reportedly this reduces the "gas" effect of the beans)
    3. cover the beans abundantly with water again
    4. add some salt
    5. simmer vigorously for about 2 hours
      • until softened
    6. save the cooking water (draining the beans)
      • your can boil this (reduce it) liquid to thicken it up some if it's really watery
  2. It's Spanish but fails to use any olive oil at all; odd.
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Callos - Tripe

So who doesn't like tripe?   Sounds more appetizing when you call it Callos with Garbanzos


That was dinner last night; served in a little flat earthenware bowl - we still use them more or less daily .  They're used for stovetop cooking as well; bigger ones that is.  Like copper pots they distribute the heat really well (although slowly).

There'll be no recipe for this one since I wasn't the cook but the ingredients include garbanzos [chickpeas], sausage, morcilla {blood sausage}, onions, garlic, tomato, and the three sorts of tripe (stomach lining).  Oh, I know you have your doubts but, really, it does taste pretty good.

Try it next time you're here.

Caramelized Onions - Cebolla Caramelizada

Simple but slow (no, I'm describing today's dish, not me).

Start with a bunch of oil in a pan and a kilo of onions [2#] - julienne

Cook on medium high until there's some sizzle then lower the heat to medium.

Stir / toss occasionally.

These are going to go limp and slowly brown and soft.

Slowly. Mine took an hour. I think the heat was a tad on the low side. Next time I'll crank it some more

Add 3 T of honey and 1 T of red wine vinegar; give it 5 minutes more.

Then take little chunks of cod, skin on, and cook slowly in a little oil (no, not in the pan with the onions).

Place on top of the Honey-Onions and serve.

A winner.

Inspired by the goat's cheese on caramelized onions I had at La Chalota the other day.

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La Chalota

My birthday lunch was a place I had heard about in Las Rozas.  I like modern styled food and this is the closest, nicest, designer food around here so it seemed worth a shot.  It was.  Excellent presentation, decent eats, reasonable price.

info: La Chalota C./ La Fuente, 7. Las Rozas, Madrid 28231 Tel. 91 637 38 98

What we had...

Pastel de Bacalao [cod] & Cream of Potato with pink salt


La Vicalanda, Rioja, Reserva, 2001 (Tempranillo)


Carpaccio de Foie


Chevre [goat's cheese] on honey caramelized onions


Rice Soup with Chiprion [squid] & ink


Beef on turned potatoes


Steak Tartare


Arroz con Leche [rice pudding] with mango



I'll be going again.


This is a test post from the newer version of Live Writer

Pota - Squid

This is a big squid; much reduced in size. Usually they're about half a meter [2 foot].

This is what it looks like cooked (still in the pan). The white cubes are the squid.

Step 1: drop by your local grocery and get a pound of fresh squid (easy to do here in Spain).

Then cook the following dead easy recipe (3 ingredients [plus salt and, as usual, olive oil])

Fried Squid - Pota

  • ¼C olive oil
  • ½ kg squid (long, square, strips {as purchased})
  • 1 onion, brunoise
  • 2 red peppers, roasted
  • salt (to taste)
  1. Cut squid strips into 2,5cm [1"] cubes
  2. Oil into the pan, fry squid, medium high heat
    • Until it picks up a little color; this may take a while
    • Set aside
  3. Fry the onions until soft and going golden (in the pic mine a slightly burnt - we chefs prefer to avoid this but if it happens we call it "caramelized" - sounds better than "burnt")
  4. Return squid (and any liquids) to pan - stir around
  5. Add the roasted red peppers - stir around
  6. A ¼ tsp salt might go good right here
You're done
  1. Squid shrinks when you cook it
  2. When frying nothing happens until the squid starts releasing its fluids, then these fluids reduce and the squid starts cooking in its own juices - - sort of a self-made sauce develops and the squid starts to brown, in spots, a little
  3. The oil and the squid juices and the red pepper juices make the sauce delicious

Himwitsa Lodge - Tofino B.C.

A room with a view (and a hot-tub on the balcony[see lower left of pic]).

During the vacation we went to Tofino for a few days. I wanted to enjoy Long Beach at the Pacific Rim National Park.
Tofino is on the west side of Vancouver Island. If you head west from there (out over the Pacific Ocean) the next piece of land that you hit is Japan (or Russia [the Chisima/Kuril Islands {it's disputed territory}]).

This pic is the view is from the room at Himwitsa Lodge. 4 units or thereabouts, at least 3 have a view, two of which are really excellent corner rooms/suites (kitchens, fireplace [electric]). Great location overlooking the harbour; easy walk to anywhere in town. Sunsets.

Well worth staying there if you're in Tofino.

Phone: (250) 725-2017; Canada\US: 1 (800) 899-1947
email: tofino a t himwitsa.com

Chicken in Salsa [Sauce]

Finally got back to actual cooking after the vacation. Typical of the region of Rioja. Simple, but with a couple of touches that make it special.

Pollo en Salsa [Chicken in Sauce]

Serves: 3
  • 3 chicken thighs (or 4 even; or 6, no big deal)
  • ½ C olive oil (virgin) (maybe more)
  • 1 onion, fine brunoise [dice]
  • 1 leek, fine brunoise
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 T parsley, fresh
  • 2 T bread crumbs (or 1 slice stale bread, without crust)
  • 2 C dry white wine (a box is fine)
  • Bouquet garnis (spice bundle)
    • Thyme (dried, from my thyme bush)
    • Laurel (dried, my laurel tree)
    • Parsley (fresh, the pot on the back porch)
  • ½ C water (more or less)
  1. Oil into a pan & brown the chicken very well (it won't get any browner later so this is your only chance to get the color right)
  2. Take out the chicken
  3. Put in the onions and leeks (in the am oil), brown these - probably on lower heat than the chicken though (10 minutes or so)
  4. Remove onions & leeks (I sieve them - save oil for the garlic)
    • Put into a large mortar (or use a stick mixer)
    • Smash it up
  5. Fry the garlic, brown
    • Add to mortar
  6. Add parsley, saffron and bread crumbs to mortar
    • Smoosh it up
  7. Chicken goes back in the pan (skin side down)
    • When you hear it frying again...
  8. Sprinkle with one cup of white wine
  9. Add in the mess from the mortar & stir around
  10. Add the spice bundle
  11. Bring to a boil
  12. Sprinkle another cup of wine
  13. Add water to half way up the chicken pieces
  14. Cook for 25 minutes, simmering vigorously, unncovered
    • Turn over half way along
  15. Remove chicken to a (hot) serving plate; toss the bouquet garnis out
  16. Reduce the sauce, if you have to, if it's watery
  17. Sieve the sauce over the chicken; pushing it through the sieve with the back of a spoon
  18. Keep the veggies remaining in the sieve and serve as a sort of (very tasty) garnish next to the chicken
  19. Dash some parsley leaves over the whole thing
  1. Olive oil is good for you; don't be afraid to use it as a food (avoid butter, and really realy avoid margarine - - and let's not talk about vegetable oil)
  2. Using a mortar crushes the onions and leeks better and probably releases more flavour than zipping them with a stick mixer (which chops/cuts them)
  3. You can make a spice bundle or use a spice bag for the bouquet
  4. The chicken is done when the juices don't run pink when you poke the meat with a skewer
  5. If doing more than 3 pieces use some more oil
  6. Bread crumbs are the thickener for the sauce, don't skimp
  7. Special touches included
    1. The saffron
    2. Using the residual muck, left after sieving the sauce, as a garnish

Lac La Jeune

6:00 AM one day on vacation.

This is a good life.

Got up rather early that day. Don't know why. It was quiet, calm, peaceful. It's Canada - 4 C out (39 F) that morning - in August ! Although it's summer, 25 C, during the day - at night it gets cold.

We were at a lovely place, a bed and breakfast, near Kamloops; called Lac Le Jeune B&B. Log house, hot tub, the whole top floor to ourselves, a quiet lake, and a great soaker-depth bathtub. Loverly.

email: info@laclejeunebb.com phone: +1 250-374-8028

Joan made wonderful pancakes for breakfast.

I recommend it heartily.

White Spot

Another place I never fail to visit (at least once) when in B.C. is the White Spot. Best (commercial) burger going. Just a delicious as I remember from my youth. Ask for a side of triple-o sauce to dip your chips into.

White Spot Burger, uploaded by jhmostyn.

I didn't t take this pic - because I dug in too excitedly to remember to do so. I filched it from flickr.

The Keg

A place I always go to when visiting Canada is "The Keg". A steakhouse chain that originated in Vancouver back in '71. Still a great meat market.

I like my prime rib beef rare. They do it rare; no problem.

It's worth going there once every trip. Twice might be too much.

They also popularized the Caesar [Clamdigger] which is more or less a Bloody Mary with clam juice. The Canadian national drink I believe.

Sushi, Sashimi

Recommended: Hukuya Japanese Restaurant, 9626 Cameron St, Burnaby, BC, Canada; Phone

First, the sashimi was wonderful

Then, the sushi was delicious too

Clean, professional, well priced, nice people running the place.

We went there on the tail end of the vacation and after way too many hamburgers and fish & chips or pizzas along the way it was wonderful to sit down to simple food, well prepared, at a wonderful, non-chain, restaurant.

We sat down, ordered a couple of cold ones (Kirin beer &/or sake), each cracked open our book (reading during dinner is usually bad form but we just wanted to relax and after 2½ weeks of vacation we had certainly had had enough time to chat about stuff).

After we finished they brought a little sweet, spicy treat sort of sushi thing - - I guess because we didn't order any dessert; no charge. I neglected to ask exactly what it was. No picture either.

I'll go back.

Adirondack Chairs

On vacation in Canada we picked up a couple (or 4!) classic comfy chairs for the garden. And carted them back home as baggage (55 kgs worth [121 pounds]). Not to mention the side-table.

The trick was to turn this kit

and these parts too

into these!

Which is why I spent a large part of the last week of vacation in the garage.

Two of the chairs (in the picture above) were given as a wedding present to some friends and are looking
great on their deck. I still have to make to two I've got for at home.

Chair kits supplied by the nice folks at Clayoquot Crafts in Tofino on Vancouver Island.

Chocolate (Colored) Moose

A baby moose. No, not in the wild but at the Calgary Zoo. During the trip we did see one standing in a little lake along some back road but it was twilight and not a good picture taking moment.

Let us not forget the Swedish Chef

That's It. Vacation's Over

I'm baaack. Presumably rested and ready to go.
'Twas a great vacation in Canada (left side) and Spain (upper-left). Saw pretty much the whole clan and went to some new and beautiful places. I will no doubt be posting it over the next few days/weeks.

I figure I might get back to making some actual food again sometime soon so there may be some food-related posts soon too.