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I was in cooking mode since my first cup of coffee last Friday; it was grand. In fact, I went to bed the night before with purple hands. Beets!

The beauty of Montreal was having semi-regular dinner parties. Pretty much two of my favourite things in the world combined: good company and good food. In any case, between the boy’s multiple church gigs and us being stuck on duty [i.e., functionally handcuffed to our apartment], I figured the best way to enjoy the long weekend was snag friends who did not have family turkey/chocolate egg hunt/etc obligations elsewhere. I was unreasonably gleeful at the number of friends who were also in town and wanting to partake in yummy eats. All of the food that was brought and shared was wonderful: cheese & crackers! pierogis! homemade oreo cookies! a salad of greens! zucchini bread! banana muffins! We even had a traditional Polish Easter cake (I believe it’s called “mazurek”) all the way from Milton.

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pie! first ever lattice top was a success

Holiday huzzah! The boy and I had planned on hosting a dinner party last Sunday before the mass exodus from London (ours included). With our love of wining and dining guests/friends, we naturally started the cooking craze mid afternoon and guestimated (teehee) for 5. Honey-wasabi roast chicken! Roasted potatoes with onions and green peppers! Green salad! Apple pie!

Sadly, our friends failed to show (they had valid explainations, and we’re no longer too upset at them). Pick-me-ups that evening included homebrewed porter and wheat beers, a few episodes of House and Family Guy, and a bath.

Not all was lost – leftovers made fantastic lunches.
And I managed a mostly decent looking pie for my first ever lattice top.

pasta puttanescaWatching Iron Chef has become more than just an after dinner sport – in fact, it’s been an inspiration for dinner. Take the episode featuring sturgeon: the boy has a “oh-I’m-so-going-to-make-that” moment as Iron Chef Symon whips out a sturgeon puttanesca (check out wikipedia for its etymology: a quick dish to be made between turning tricks). The lovely photo is from the boy’s version 2 rendition, served when his mum was up visiting. Relatives with a cars mean having a chance to explore places that we would’ve unfortunately missed otherwise (not exactly bike-able or bus-able to beyond the corners of London) : one stop at the Arva flour mill in Arva, and one to White’s Cider Mill in Lambeth. Too bad we didn’t have a chance to meet Mike at the flour mill – the owner is a friend of the chefs at The Only. Oh well, perhaps we’ll meet him at one of his frequent trips to the restaurant and chat bread. Purchases his store included a 10kg bag of flour, some semolina, local eggs and the most wonderful caramels. At the apple cider mill: pressed apples for drinking and cider making, cherry juice, and goodies to ferment cider.

With a lack of capers in our kitchen (something I’ve yet to learn to appreciate), the puttanesca tomato sauce featured olives, anchovies and chilli flakes, with catfish (yum!) thrown in at the end. The semolina was smooth and elastic, much easier to work with than all purpose flour and resulting in thinner hand-rolled sheets (our next kitchen purchase, after a sharpening stone, may be a hand operated pasta machine). Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious.