[VIDEO]: Drunk Cooking with Simon & Ama – Episode 1

Introduction written by Simon Gilbert

“Some of my most liked things on Instagram are just us being stupid,” Ama confided in me one night.
“Well, yeah. We’re kind of hilarious,” I replied, half joking.
“Do you want to film us getting drunk and making food?”
“Um, obviously?”

And that was the inception of Drunk Cooking with Simon and Ama.

If you’ve ever hung out with Ama and me together, you’ll know exactly what to expect from Drunk Cooking with Simon and Ama. If you haven’t, you’re in for a night of bizarre segways, strange noises, and delicious foods.

Basically, on every episode we’re going to be cooking with booze and making some kind of cocktail. We don’t have many kitchen gadgets (we currently don’t know where the corkscrew is), so this is going to be stuff you can make yourself too!

Because this is the kind of stuff we do on a nightly basis, you can expect an episode on the reg. Ama’s day-job is going into crunch time at the moment, so the next episode won’t be until mid-March, but after that you can expect them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Finally, we want you guys to be involved with this. Is there something you want to see us make? Do you want the shopping list before hand so you can cook along with us? Do you want SEXY NAKED COOKING?! Let us know in the comments or on Facebook. It would also help us out if you like/favourite/subscribe, but we don’t want to be those people. So do what feels right!

(For the sake of full disclosure, Sobeys gave us a $25 gift certificate if we talked about their app. That being said, it was pretty easy to use, and that’s where we found the shandy recipe. Give it a shot if you’re a regular Sobeys shopper and don’t like using paper shopping lists. We’ll keep you posted if we get any sponsorships in the future.)

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Learning to Meal Plan with Mealspirations

By Siobhan Ozege

When Mealspirations approached us to write a review of their product, I jumped on the chance. As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I vowed that I wanted to cook more, but I’ve found that lately it seems like I don’t have the time to actually get groceries and prepare meals to the extent that I’d like to.

Enter Mealspirations, a service that is unique from other grocery-delivery type services in that they deliver the ingredients for a meal, and not just groceries. It’s a pretty easy system: they create the recipe, you order how many meals you’d like and for how many people, they deliver it to your door, and you cook it up to (hopefully) many accolades. Before you get the delivery, they tell you what items you’ll need from your pantry. This includes things like vinegars, salt, pepper and oils, for the most part. If you cook at all, you should have most of these things.

Ingredients

love to cook, but I decided that I would write the review exactly how the recipes are spelled out to give the most accurate depiction, since sometimes being kitchen-savvy means doing your own tricks and modifications. When the box arrived, I was excited about the menu: macaroni and cheese with field greens, rainbow trout with panzanella salad, and steak tortillas with pico de gallo, guacamole and cabbage slaw. Yum.

I decided to make the macaroni and cheese first. The recipe included thyme, onions, garlic and panko – delicious items I wouldn’t have expected. Now, mac n’ cheese is one of my favourite foods, so when I looked at the recipe they provided, there were a few red flags that popped up. The recipe suggested that the onions be cooked in the butter, to be used in the base for the roux. This was concerning because additional moisture in a roux can cause it to prevent your sauce from thickening – in a macaroni and cheese; this isn’t what you’re going for. I also noticed that the cheese wasn’t super flavourful when I tested it, but I thought the other ingredients would help boost the flavour.

Sauce

I made the sauce as instructed, and indeed, the roux did not adequately thicken the sauce. I ended up having to add a lot more flour to give it the proper consistency. What I didn’t realize until after, was that the cooking time for the onions was also not long enough, meaning that my macaroni and cheese was essentially full of raw onions when I went to eat it.

Overall, it was not the best – I definitely think that this recipe could use some tweaks. If you’re someone who’s new to cooking, you may not have known to a) cook the onions longer and separately – caramelized onions could have gone a long way in adding flavour, b) to add more flour to thicken your sauce. I would suggest that using either multiple kinds of cheese, or a different cheese altogether would help – the bland flavour and the raw-ish onions made it unpleasant to eat, though it did look delicious at least:

MacNCheese

The next night, we made the rainbow trout. I was feeling a bit nervous after mac n’ cheese night, but I was very optimistic. The fillets were so beautiful and fresh, and I had never tried a panzanella salad before. Traditionally, panzanella has tomatoes and sweet peppers in it, but Mealspirations accommodated my allergy to these very things by substituting it with an avocado. Yum.

Trout

While my partner prepared the fish, I made the salad – cucumbers, basil, bread pan-fried in olive oil, capers and red onions. Finally, I opened the avocado to find it had gone completely bad on the inside. Yuck! They had sent a second avocado to make guacamole for the next meal, so I decided to use that one since the first was unusable. When I cut it open, it was mostly rotten as well – I used as much as I could, and made a note to buy avocado for dinner tomorrow.

Avocado

The meal itself was delicious and very fresh tasting. I will say, that the recipe called for too much oil for cooking the fish for my liking, making it a bit greasy, but the taste was really great and complimented nicely by the salad. I was very unimpressed by the two rotten avocados.

Panzanella

The final meal was what I was most excited for. I rarely buy steak because I don’t really know how to cook it, so I thought this would be a great way to learn. The meal included a lot of peppers and tomatoes, so it was a bit sparse in terms of ingredients, but it was still delicious. I whipped up some guacamole, and let that sit while I shredded the ingredients for the slaw.

Slaw

Again, there were a bit of strange things about the recipe – calling for lime zest but then not having that anywhere in the recipe, very short cooking time for a giant flank steak, and using radicchio and brussel sprouts in a cabbage slaw. Radicchio is bitter. In fact, it’s overwhelmingly bitter, and the dressing for the slaw didn’t quite cover this up, so I ate it with the guacamole in the tortilla to mask the taste, rather than on the side, and I didn’t keep the leftovers.

I ended up having to throw the steak back into the pan due to how undercooked it was – the recipe had said it would cook to medium-rare, but it was rare. However, even without the pico de gallo, these were still very tasty and probably my favourite meal of the three.

Tortillas

Overall, Mealspirations is providing a good service, and it’s reasonably affordable. I think the recipes could use a little work in terms of cooking times, and quantity of ingredients. I would have also liked to see a nutritional breakdown for the recipes – the website says that each serving is about 500-600 calories, but having done some basic calculations, I believe it’s actually more than that.

I’ve decided that I need to make more time in my own life to cook the food I want to eat, but this experience has taught me the importance of meal planning, and how much stress planning in advance can alleviate in a busy week. If you’re interested in learning how to cook and don’t know where to start, I think Mealspirations could be the right fit for you.

Knife Skillz: Busting your Chops

Written by Simon Gilbert

Do you know what’s cooler than having mad skills? Having KNIFE skills. From my time working in a kitchen, cutting upwards of 10lbs of carrots and celery every day for almost 3 years, I figured that I was a Jedi. But self-taught, I was! So when I found out that Alexa Clark was hosting a free knife skills class, sponsored by CUTCO Cutlery, I was there like tupperware.

Bawk Bawk

Chef Neil Commands the Room Using a Chicken

The evening started with hand washing and wine. I didn’t think that giving people sharp objects and alcohol was a great idea, but saying “no” to free booze seemed like a worse idea. So pinot noir it was!

The night was filled with amuse-bouches, helpful information, technique demonstrations, and gettin’ down and dirty with the knives. You’ll be pleased to know that there were only 3 casualties (not serious wounds), and that *I* didn’t get cut… Until I showed Ama the protective edges that weren’t nearly as protective as I originally thought…

"Chicken Lollipops" for the Uncouth

Post Frenching and Jerking Chicken Wings

Below, I’ve summarized things I learned that translate well to text. How to butcher a whole chicken and how to french chicken wings? Difficult to describe without visual aides.

All Hail Kale

Kale was an Important Ingredient

– You can remove kale from its stock by pinching the bottom of the leaves and pushing upwards
– Massaging kale helps to remove the bitterness (And makes it feel appreciated after a long day at work)
– You can twist off the head of a pineapple to limit waste and to be more like the Hulk
– You can supreme an orange AND a chicken (and an Oldsmobile)

But even if you don’t much care to be able to cut perfectly uniform potatoes, or how to butcher a tenderloin, or about kale salad, the biggest take away from a knife skills class is how big a difference a sharp knife makes.

By using a sharp knife, you can cut with less effort, and not have to work about your blade rolling off a bone and cutting your finger. Most of all, however, it can help put the fun back in cooking.

Friday Foodie Five

Every Friday we bring you our favourite foodie sights and sounds. Everything from food packaging and food inspired art, to recipes and reviews. 

1. Breakfast – Homemade Pop Tarts

homemade pop tarts

2. Seafood – Lobster, Sea urchin, Caviar rolls

world-premiere-manons-menu-lobster-roll-uni-and-ca

3. Sauces – Passion Fruit Butter

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4. Kitchen – FINTORP by IKEA

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5. Jams, Jellies, & Preserves – Lemon Jam

citromlekvar

Friday Foodie Five

Every Friday we bring you our favourite foodie sights and sounds. Everything from food packaging and food inspired art, to recipes and reviews. 

1. A Lot – Korean Style Spicy BBQ Wings 

korean-style-spicy-chicken-wings

I think these wings have been our most popular pin on Pinterest to date with 32 repins and 4 likes. Y’all really like your wings.

2. Atmosphere – Cooking Out of Doors

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This is beyond beautiful. You might not have a full kitchen at your disposal but look at the view!

3. Sweet – Cashew Cream Ice Bars

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Imagine how creamy and velvety these must be.

4. Far Away – Bar Lobo,  Barcelona

barcelona

Accept for the Bieber poster this place looks pretty chill.

5. Drink – Limoncello and Prosecco Cooler with Raspberry Ice Cubes

limoncello-and-prosecco-cooler-with-raspberry-ice-cubes

This drink has all my favourite things. Must try.

Friday Foodie Five

Every Friday we bring you our favourite foodie sights and sounds. Everything from food packaging and food inspired art, to recipes and reviews. 

1. Sweet – Japanese Cheese Cake

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2. Food Staging – Coconut, Fig and Pistachio Raw Cheesecake by Kate Bradley of Kenkō Kitchen

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3. A Lot – Grilled Oysters on the Half Shell with Grilled Proscuitto & Mignonette

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4. Kitchen – Black and Rich Wood Accented Dream Space

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5. Know-How – How To De-Seed a Pomegranate In Under 1 Minute 

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