The Kitchen

January 17, 2023

I am in love with homegrown Hua Jaio (Sechuan pepper). I sprinkle the ground spices on eggs, vegetables, meats – everything! Adds a subtle, delicious flavour.

Here’s the recipe (I double it):

1 tsp whole Sechuan pepper husks
1/2 star anise (remove the seeds)
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
4 teaspoons salt (I used Himalayan sea salt)
Put the Sechuan pepper, star anise, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and salt into a frying pan. Toast over low heat while stirring from time to time. Once the salt darkens slightly, and the spices become fragrant, remove from heat, then grind in a mortar or a spice grinder. Set aside.

December 15, 2021
Blackberry-Elderberry Port Update

Bottled the Blackberry-Elderberry Port yesterday. The sample, though young, was tasty. A nice blackberry port with elderberry undertones.

November 28, 2021
Canning chickpeas and black beans

I don’t know about you, but I find it a lot easier to grab a jar of canned chickpeas or beans to add them to a meal than soaking and boiling them first.

I’ve been busy. 32 jars of chickpeas and a total of 10 pounds of black beans. Neatly tucked away in the pantry. Nice!

September 3, 2021
Huajiao. Flower pepper. (Sichuan pepper)

Not quite ready to pick.

“Huajiao”, Flower pepper, also known as Sichuan pepper, is used in stir fry, tea, and foot baths.

The pepper (shell is used) can be left as is or ground into a powder. It can also be added to hot oil then removed for a milder flavour.

Huajiao has a spicy, tingly numbness! As a foot bath, the pepper and leaves can be used to “dehumidify and expel cold”.


March, 2019
Rosemary salt. Yum!

February 24, 2019
Nothing tastes better than home-made ghee. Yum!

February 17, 2019

I was amused to see the spaghetti squash seeds sprouting inside the squash! Still tastes great. I have ten spaghetti and four butternut squash left from last year’s harvest. They are keeping well.
I have a standby one-skillet dinner recipe I make every couple of weeks: Shepherd’s Pie.

Shepherd’s Pie Recipe:

2 lbs potatoes, 1 egg, 1/2 c. milk, 2 tbsp. butter, salt, pepper
4 tbsp. butter, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped carrots, 1 to 1-1/2 lbs ground beef, 2 tbsp. tomato paste, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/2 tsp. thyme, 2 tbsp. flour, 1-1/2 c. chicken broth, 2 tsp. Worcestshire sauce, 1 c. frozen peas, salt, pepper.
Peel and cook potatoes in water, drain. Mash with egg, milk, two tbsp. butter, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
Heat pan. Add butter and heat until melted. Add onion and carrots and cook until slightly soft. Add meat and cook until browned. Add tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and stir. Add flour and stir. Add broth and Worcestshire sauce. Simmer until thickened. Turn off heat and add peas, salt and pepper. Spread your prepared mashed potatoes over the top, smooth with spatula. Move whole dish to broiler and broil for 5 minutes or until top is golden.
* Thanks to Esther Emery. She gives this recipe in one of her You Tube videos – Fouch Family Off Grid.

February 10, 2019

Ooh, aah! Myer lemon and ginger marmalade. Believe me, it’s delicious!