Cooking Classes


Flavour 101

 I am often asked how to use spice and herbs. How can I make my meat and potatoes dinner more flavourful. What is umami?

Five years ago I arrived in Swift Current already a full fledged foodie. But little did I realize that my journey had only just begun. In the ensuing years I have done nothing but make good food. And I am still learning so much every day.

This cooking class is all about adding flavour to food. Spices and herbs are only one ingredient. The fat you choose, the stock you select, the vegetables and perhaps meats all work together to create a party in your mouth.

Link to all my cooking classes - click on this line.

Join me for an evening of exploring all these components to a wonderful dish. It is a lecture style class with food tasting.

Only $25 per person. March 8.  6:30pm.  Location to be announced.
All classes to be booked at least 9 days in advance and paid in full. I reserve the right to cancel if enrollment does not cover the cost to present the class.


Simple Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine

I mistakenly purchased boneless, skinless chicken thighs yesterday. I planned a sheet pan dinner but these would dry out in the oven. Rather than pop them in the freezer I prepared a slow cooker tagine. (A tagine is a Moroccan or Tunisian style stew. The spices are its signature.)

I prepped all of it last evening, added the chicken this morning, turned the slow cooker on for an eight hour braise and walked out the door.

It is a treat for me to come home to the aroma of supper on the table. After a busy day of substitute teaching at a Hutterite Colony 30 minutes out of town and then a quick stop to pick up a shipment of foraged foods at the bus depot I opened my front door. A smile broke out on my face as I inhaled the aroma of mellowed spices and remembered the meal waiting for me.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas

Feel free to adjust the amount of spices. There are so many variables, for example the freshness of your spices will dictate how much to use. My spices are relatively fresh and strong. If you don't like cayenne, leave it out. But don't be too cautious. These spices really make the meal.

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 medium sized yellow onion. coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp. flour
drizzle of olive oil
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1 c. chicken stock
2 c. cooked or canned chickpeas
3 medium carrots, cut into larger chunks
1 c. canned tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 c. dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 preserved lemon, rinsed and coarsely chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add spices and heat until aromatic. Add flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in chicken stock. Cook for a couple of minutes until slightly thickened.

Add tomatoes, chickpeas, apricots, carrots and lemon.

Transfer to slow cooker. Cover until ready to cook. Add chicken thighs, cut in larger pieces, and stir to coat with the sauce. Turn on to an 8 hour slow cook. Serve with steamed couscous.

You can find my recipe for preserved lemons here.


Simple Parmesan Rind Stock

For the past couple of days I have been cleaning my kitchen. Emptying all shelves and drawers, washing them and replacing all my dishes, cooking pots, spices and flavourings. Today I finished. Cleaning my refrigerator was the finale.

For months I have been collecting cheese rinds. I sometimes add one to a chicken stock that I am making. Today I tossed about a dozen of them into a stock pot with frozen bits of fennel, carrots, onion and vegetables I have also been setting aside for a stock making session. I added about a gallon of cold water, bay leaves and turned on the high heat to bring all to a boil. When it was merrily bubbling away I reduced the heat to maintain a light boil. I left that on the stove top for about 45 minutes.

After cooling for awhile and straining in my colander this is the rich stock I collected. Now packaged and labelled and returned to the freezer I have the beginnings of some wonderful soups, stews and sauces. Easy as that.

Then I immediately concocted this version of avgolemono Greek soup. But without the lemons. I had none. Thanks, Ren, for the comment. You are absolutely right. This is more like an Italian straciatella than avglolemono.

Quick and Easy Egg Drop Soup with Spinach and Orzo

2 c. parmesan rind stock
1/4 c. orzo pasta
1/4 c. finely chopped spinach
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp. camelina oil
sea salt and piment d'esplet to taste

Boil the stock with the orzo until it is tender. Add spinach to wilt. Lightly beat the egg with the oil in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle into the simmering soup and stir until cooked, about one minute. Serve immediately. Garnish with piment d'esplet.