Author Archives: Mr Duess

Fruit, fat and sugar

Here’s a recipe just smelling of long, hot summer days, ideally eaten by a cabin on a lake. And the best thing: you don’t even need an oven for this, making it ideal for cottage cooking. You’ll need 1 pint of fresh berries, your choice. This being Canada, blueberries rock, but fresh Ontario strawberries (chopped)Continue Reading

Home made ginger ale

Ginger Ale, like many sodas, started life in the drugstores of early 20th century America. And unlike the artificially flavoured concoctions often sold as ginger ale today the original didn’t just pack a flavour punch, it also contained all the medicinal properties that ginger is justly famous for. Thankfully, making your own ginger ale isContinue Reading

Charcoal tempura

We love tempura, but the smell of deep frying in the house is always a serious disincentive to making it. We don’t believe in single use appliances, and also don’t eat fried food all that often, so we don’t own a dedicated deep fryer. Enter the little Chinese charcoal brazier I picked up at TapContinue Reading

A really good curry, cooked on an open fire

We have an abiding interest in simplicity, especially simplicity when it comes to cooking. Sure, it’s nice to own a proper range, but what is cooking if not the application of heat to food? And surely our ancestors didn’t own 24,000 BTU stoves with electronic ignition. They cooked stuff in a pot, over a fire. So whenContinue Reading

Keeping clean by making your own laundry detergent

This post is a bit of a departure from our usual subject matter, but I believe that it still fits the spirit of this site. Mr. Stephenson and Mr. Duess don’t think of themselves as hippies. Still, they both share a desire to go back to basics and to understand the origin of the things that surroundContinue Reading

The great bacon making of 2009

Today I picked up 10 pork bellies at the Springfield Farm Store. The pork is from local, naturally raised pigs, no hormones, no antibiotics. Tomorrow we’ll be starting the cure. Our butcher, shown in the picture above, has agreed to let us use her cold room, so we don’t run out of fridge space atContinue Reading

The bacon fry

Last night, after a delicious mushroom risotto, Mr. Stephenson and myself decided that it was time for some bacon. Our wives chose ice cream for desert instead, but we fired up a small cast iron pan and started frying. The bacon was from the first trial run of the cold smoker, and whilst slightly over-smokedContinue Reading

Cold smoked bacon

The cold smoked bacon is ready for consumption. This is what it looks like: It turned out absolutely delicious. The 36 hour cold smoke, and the subsequent hanging in the basement, means that the flavour is highly concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Here’s how to do it Wait for fall. You’ll needContinue Reading

Pickle update

I tried the wild fermented cucumbers today. There’s been minimal residue on top of the water, nothing that could not be removed with a quick wipe with a paper towel. What this means is that the lacto bacterial flora I am after is healthy and thriving, with the nasties beaten into submission. The pickles willContinue Reading

Wild fermented pickles

I loves me a good dill pickle, canned with vinegar. But my inner Moishe gets all excited when I come across the original Yiddishe pickle, out of a barrel and with nary an added souring agent in sight, the way my grandmother used to make it. And there’s of course the additional benefit that mentioningContinue Reading

Peter Reinhart talks on bread

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The magic 500

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with this very simple formula: 500 g flour 12 g salt 300 ml water 200 g starter (or thereabouts, it’s hard to measure starter to the nearest gram) When I first started exploring this formula, I started out with a mixture of 300 g bread flour,Continue Reading

Ham heaven

Both Mr. Stephenson and myself live on the outer edges of the old Portuguese neighbourhoods here in Toronto. I am a firm believer in the theory that the Portuguese are indeed the Fins of Southern Europe. I am certain that anybody who has ever listened to the melancholic tones of a Portuguese fado will agreeContinue Reading

Cock and balls

This, ad I hope you’re reading this Mr. Stephenson, is what happens when you rush things: I started out well. Got up this morning, fed the starter and mixed 100 g wholewheat bread flour with 100 ml of water for a soaker. The idea was to tease extra flavour and structure out of the wholewheatContinue Reading

Caramalized onion tart with diced bacon and fennel

Could it be true? Dropping temperatures in late August, reminding us that summer won’t last forever. The perfect day for a caramelized onion tart for a late breakfast. This is sweet and savory all at once, the bacon and fennel coming together perfectly on the bed of caramelized onions. You’ll need About a cup ofContinue Reading

Wax on, wax off, or the importance of repetition

I baked another rye sourdough bread today. 300 g bread flour to 200 g rye, 12 g of salt and 200 g of active starter. It came out great, apart from the slashing I tried, which caused the crust to break in unexpected places. Still, the flavour is there and I am finally beginning toContinue Reading

Bread. The road so far.

I had been baking bread for years, on and off,  with somewhat limited success. For a while I owned a bread maker and tried to convince myself that the resulting loaves where both tasty and healthy when they were really just crumbly and horrible. At other times the bread I made was flat and flaccidContinue Reading

Fife Flour Sourdough

Mr. Stephenson is a huge fan of Red Fife, an old Canadian wheat that has recently been experiencing a bit of a renaissance, and rightly so. As I was out of rye flour, I decided to try and adjust my standard rye sourdough to Red Fife – Mr. Stephenson made a light but intensely flavouredContinue Reading

Dismembered chicken and the fat of the duck

Tonight a friend dropped by, with a cooler bag full of frozen organic chicken carcasses, duck fat and two pots of what he believes to be demi-glacé. He fell in love with woman from Istanbul and is following his heart to Turkey, where he will teach English for a year. That meant, amongst other things,Continue Reading

Midweek baking

When Mr. Duess and Mr. Stephenson talk to friends, and frequently strangers, about their adventures in the kitchen where they bake bread, cure meats and lure unsuspecting lacto-acidic bacteria into carefully prepared habitats there’s one all to frequent question: “Where do you find the time?” Now, both Mr. Duess and Mr. Stephenson are far fromContinue Reading