Apple Brined Pork Chops – photo – Karen Anderson
It’s been a busy week.
The pickings in the refrigerator got slimmer as the week progressed. There was a small rib-in pork roast bought at the Calgary Farmers’ Market last Sunday that called attention to the time span that had evaporated between then and now. It needed to be eaten before this little piggy could make another trip to market. There were three very petite potatoes, some old Gala apples and some still good looking broad beans. I’d bought a fresh bunch of “living” thyme and its scent inspired this Friday night supper.
Read on for the recipes for Apple-Brined Pork Chops and Potato, Bacon and Apple Hash
Mr. Abraham’s cheery home – photo – Karen Anderson
Coconut is a great ingredient and though I love coconut, I think spices are perhaps the greatest ingredient ever given to a cook.
This post allows me to share another savoury coconut recipe but it also satisfies my longing to share my journey to a very special place in Kerala, South India.
When I planned my first trip to India, I planned it around two equally passionate quests; I wanted to meet India’s people and I wanted to go to where the spices grow.
Both of these desires were fulfilled when I found myself at Mr. Abraham’s Spice Garden in a quiet, lush corner in the Cardamom Hills near Periyar. I fell in love with the garden and of course with the garden’s caretakers.
Mr. Abraham’s garden was included in a BBC TV show and book by Monty Don called Around the World in 80 Gardens. I think it’s as close to the Garden of Eden as I’ll ever get. Read on, for the recipe and a virtual tour of the garden and you’ll see why I’ve been back and will keep going back as long as I’m able.
fresh local ingredients – including coconuts at Barbecue Restaurant Thekkady – photo – Karen Anderson
I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconut…recipes for you.
From Cochin (Kochi) to Thekkady in Kerala to Mahalamapuram to Chettinad in Tamilnadu I’m going to finish my coconut theme strong. This post will highlight Fish Moilee (Moylee, Molee) – a coconut flavoured fish dish mildly spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric and curry leaves.
Coconut madness – photo – Karen Anderson
favourite coconut products – photo – Karen Anderson
For about two dollars you can buy frozen grated coconut at Asian grocers – photo – Karen Anderson
Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon
I talked about why the world’s gone loco for coconut and some ideas for using coconut in your holiday baking. The recipes can be found here
and the podcast here
. I’m on at the 17:44 mark in the show.
Read on for a little more background on coconut’s popularity around the globe.
She’s so sweet – Calgary Hyatt Regency Executive Pastry Chef Sabine Gradauer – photo – Karen Anderson
chef Sabine Gradauer’s cake pop centrepiece – photo – Karen Anderson
chef Gradauer is getting ready to welcome 800 guests to the Calgary Hyatt Regency’s Christmas Day brunch – photo – Karen Anderson
A little while ago an invitation to meet the executive pastry chef at Calgary’s Hyatt Regency hotel crossed my desk. I had to delay that meeting until after my annual trip to India and since I knew I would be jet-lagged on my return and that I would have a column for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon due shortly after my return, I thought it would be a great idea to have this profession chef help me with a recipe to share with Albertans this Christmas.
I knew that in the two weeks I would spend in South India I would see coconuts everywhere so I asked if chef might be willing to create a great Christmas inspired coconut dessert.
I specifically mentioned that the recipe should be fairly easy.
Here’s something I learned from this experience; what a classically trained executive pastry chef from Austria whose lived and worked all over the world thinks of as easy, might not be as easy for you and me.
Ah well, it was a delight to meet chef Sabine Gradauer and if you read on you’ll see how I fared in translating her professional chef’s notes on this recipe for Coconut Snowball Cake-pops into something you can make at home. Hopefully all was not lost in translation.
luscious coconut vegetation in the Backwaters of Kerala in South India – photo – Karen Anderson
Eighty per cent of travellers to India visit the Northern part of the country. They go to see the monumental monuments of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Old Delhi’s cramped hustle and bustle contrasting with New Delhi’s orderly and broad expanse is amazing. Agra’s Taj Mahal and Red Fort are breathtaking and Jaipur’s Amber Fort, pink palaces, ancient artisanal handicraft traditions and elegant conservatory delight.
So why go beyond? If you’ve seen the Golden Triangle you’ve seen India’s best have you not?
Well, if you are a cook, India’s real hook is less about her monuments and more about the reason that explorers fell at her feet in the first place. India’s spices are what set the world in motion.
When it comes to spices, South India – which is made up of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu – is a dream destination. Pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice thrive here. Cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and saffron are brought in from the North. Garlic, red onions, little shallots and chilies complement add depth and heat when desired. Curry leaves are plucked from bushes that are indigenous to the landscape. I’ll talk more about the spices I’ve found in South India in another post.
South India gave the world spices, Ayurvedic medicine and the star ingredient of this post – lots and lots of coconuts.
Here’s a few coconut basics I’ve found out so far.