Tag Archives: from scratch


I was very excited recently to see that my preferred green coffee supplier, Sweet Maria’s, had a supply of coffee from Yemen, specifically named for the Yemeni port city of Mokha. As well, they had a variety of coffees from the Indonesian island of Java. These are two of the oldest sites of coffee cultivation […]

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Black Cod Nabe 1

Nabemono for New Year’s

In keeping with my annual tradition of starting off the year on a Japanese-cuisine kick, I made my first nabe of the year last week – a fitting dinner given how cold and snowy it’s been. I turned to Japanese Hot Pots, which is the indispensable reference on the subject, and used the recipe for […]

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Home coffee roasting: Espresso blend

Most of the coffee I drink, I brew in a French press. But I do also have a relatively low-end espresso machine, which I use several days a week when I need a caffeinated afternoon pick-me-up. Of course, this means I don’t go through espresso as quickly as I do “regular” coffee. In some ways, […]

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Robusta beans

Robusta coffee

My friend Stuart McCook, a historian who studies coffee cultivation and blogs about it at Coffee Cultures, has been called an “apologist for Robusta coffee.” Robusta is a species of coffee plant (Coffea canephora) distinct from the more widely cultivated Arabica species (Coffea arabica). Robusta is estimated to make up anywhere from 20% to 30% […]

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Red wine vinegar

Revisiting vinegar: Curing “nail polish remover” taint

A while back, my homemade vinegar died an ignominious death. I’m not sure why, though I suspect excess free sulphur in one of the wines I used. All I know is that, at a certain point, it stopped growing a cellulose mother, smelled like a mix of vinegar and wine instead of pure vinegar, and […]

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Red curry paste

Mortar-fied: Thai curry paste with a mortar and pestle

When I recently made curry paste for a Thai jungle curry, I did it in a combination of food processor and small mortar and pestle, in batches. Since then, I’ve acquired a new, large mortar and pestle, so I promptly returned to the library to check out Hot Sour Salty Sweet again in order to […]

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Coffee blend no. 2

Mélange à deux: Home-roasted coffee blend no. 2

Since randomly throwing together my first coffee blend, I’ve been reading more about blending, especially on the fantastic Sweet Maria’s site. In particular, I learned that there’s a distinction to be made between blends of coffees from various origins, and blends of coffees roasted to different levels (which may be from one or more origins). […]

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Jungle curry

Welcome to the jungle: Thai jungle curry

Lately, in an attempt to get a better handle on Thai cuisine, I’ve been cooking some of the recipes in Hot Sour Salty Sweet, the latest (and last – the book is due back at the library tomorrow) of which is “jungle curry.” The way I understand it, jungle curry is differentiated from other Thai […]

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Homeground burger


My meat grinder has been getting a real workout lately. In addition to chorizo and the sausages I made for Canada Day, I’ve taken to grinding my own beef for burgers… and once again, I’m reminded why entire industries spring up around certain “junk” foods; if we all had to grind our own meat every […]

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Coffee Blend No. 1

Home coffee roasting: Blend No. 1

Since posting about my third round of home-roasted coffee, I’ve been trying to roast a batch – some smaller, some larger – once a week. I think I’ve gotten pretty good with the process by now: I’m no longer under-roasting, and have learned more or less where to stop it to get the roast I […]

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