Why I Hate Eating Out!

Hey everyone!

So its time for the post about why I hate eating out so much! This dislike for eating out at restaurants first started in my first year of college in 2009. When I was younger I really enjoyed going out for dinner, but as I got older and learned how to cook for myself, I really started to appreciate food. Once I started to appreciate food I realized how many restaurants make and serve bad food. Some restaurants are just mediocre, others are just downright gross, but very few do the food justice.

When I get a bad meal, it ruins my day, but so many times I go out to a restaurant expecting to get a good meal, something that I can’t make at home. But when the meal comes and the food is slimy, or too spicy, not cooked or just plain ugly, it just enforces why I don’t really like going out to restaurants! For some reason, I still go out for dinner, I think I do this because I really want to find another great place to eat, but it has yet to happen, and at least in Victoria, I don’t think it ever will.

Now after reading this you may think that I’m some kind of restaurant hater! But im not! I am just very picky when it comes to me paying somebody else to make my food. If they can’t make food taste better than I can, they shouldn’t be serving food to people! But after many years of trying different restaurants, I have found 4 or 5 that I return too regularly. Now I won’t tell you what restaurants these are, and I will never review them, they are too special to try to critique the food, or the service. To me they should just be enjoyed, not judged.

Go out and find your favorite place to eat, It may take some time, and a bunch of bad meals in between, but you will always enjoy going back to them with your friends and family! Don’t share them with to many people, keep it to your self! This is the one thing you should be selfish about!

Thanks for reading everybody! I hope you enjoyed this, and I really want to hear about your worst food experience, and your best! Oh and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!

Preview: Why I hate eating out!

Hey everyone!

So im giving you a little sneak peek as to what I’m gonna post tomorrow!

It’s all about what I hate about going to restaurants! It may sound weird for someone who loves food, but you’ll have to check back tomorrow to find out what it’s all about!

Thanks for checking out my blog!

Recipe: The dish with no name

Hey everybody!

So here is one of the 2 recipes that I promised you yesterday!
I created this recipe a few years ago after seeing a tv show. It was a recipe that was originally brought over from the Ukraine, but since they never released the recipe I had to make it up from memory!
It is a mix between a pizza and a calzone, but has a ground meat filling with lots of onions, paprika, and garlic!

The dish with no name recipe

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough (check out this link for the recipe)
  • 1 pound ground beef or sausage
  • 2 large yellow onions, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to: 375 degrees F
  2. In a medium sauce pan, lightly brown the yellow onions and garlic, this should take from 5-7 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked onions and garlic with the meat, paprika, chili powder, oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Roll out 2, 12″ pizza crusts. On a large baking tray, place a piece of parchment paper a little larger than the pizza crust. Place one of the pizza crusts on the parchment paper.
  5. Spread the meat mixture on the pizza crust so it forms a layer around 1/2″ thick, make sure you leave a 1″ gap of dough with no meat around the outside.
  6. Place the second crust on top of the meat mixture. Pinch the top crust together with the bottom crust.
  7. Lightly oil the top, and sprinkle some coarse salt on as well.
  8. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes. Check that the meat is cooked through with a thermometer, and remove from the oven.
  9. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, cut into 8 pieces and serve!

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Thanks for checking out my latest recipe! Please try out the recipe and let me know how it works out!

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Jake’s thin crust pizza with Prosciutto and Cremini mushrooms

Hey everyone!

Here is my absolute favourite thin crust pizza recipe! It is not like any of the pizza that you get from your local pizza place, it is super thin, crispy, and has very little toppings!

I have been making pizza this way for the past 4 years and I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t love this pizza! Make sure you use a pizza stone, this is not optional! It is a requirement!

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Pizza dough recipe

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Coarse corn meal

Topping Ingredients:

  • 150 grams thin slice Prosciutto
  • 5 Cremini mushrooms, slice thinly
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • Unripened goats cheese
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Small handful fresh basil
  • Olive oil

Preparations/cooking:

  1. Place pizza stone on the lowest rack, preheat the oven to 550 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and the salt; add the warm water to the flour mixture. Mix with an electric mixer on low for 30 seconds. Once all the ingredients are mixed, turn on high and mix for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Stir as much of the remaining flour in with a wooden spoon.
  3. Lightly flour a clean surface and knead dough until moderately stiff dough, (around 4-5 minutes). Let it sit for 5 minutes before rolling out.
  4. Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out as thin as possible, this should make at least a 12″ circle.
  5. Turn a baking sheet upside down and spread 1 tbsp course corn meal on it (this helps the dough slide off the baking pan). Place the dough gently on the baking sheet.
  6. Lightly oil the dough and the spread a thin layer of tomato sauce on top. Top with prosciutto, mushrooms, basil, desired amount of goats cheese, and parmesan. Drizzle on a generous amount of balsamic.
  7. Slide off the pan onto the pizza stone with a spatula.
  8. Cook until the top starts to brown and the crust is crisp (approx. 5-7 minutes).
  9. Remove from the oven and cut, serve immediately!

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Thanks for checking out my blog! I hope you enjoyed this recipe. Let me know what you think and how it turns out for you! Don’t forget to like us and share us with all your friends!

Sicilian street salad

Hey everyone!

Hope you have enjoyed all the recipes that I have posted over the last few days! I’ve got lots more to come, and I’ve even got a restaurant review that I will be posting next week! But let’s get to the reason I’m posting today! I was feeling like a break from the heavy dinners I usually cook at this time of year and decided to go with something nice and light! So I thought, why not make a salad? Usually I don’t think like this, my brain instantly blocks salad from my conscious thoughts, but today I broke through that barrier! This recipe was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe from many years ago on his trip to Italy. He called it a Street salad (Insalata di strada), with the inspiration from a street market in Sicily.

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Sicilian street salad

Salad ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound new potatoes
  • 1/2 pound purple new potatoes
  • 4 handfuls mixed salad leaves (green lettuce, arugula, romaine)
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced paper-thin with mandoline, reserve tops for garnish
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, slice thin but not paper-thin, reserve for cooking
  • 1/4 Meyer lemon, sliced paper-thin on the mandoline
  • Salt and pepper

Tangerine dressing ingredients:

Preparations/cooking:

  1. Wash the potatoes and add to a lightly salted pot of boiling water, boil until they are soft but still hold their shape. While the potatoes are boiling, heat a small pan on medium with a splash of olive oil, add the reserved half of the sliced fennel and fry until slightly golden.
  2. While the potatoes and fennel are cooking, wash the greens and fennel, toss in a large bowl.
  3. For the dressing, Mix the tangerine juice, wine and balsamic vinegar, and about twice as much oil (equal parts olive and grapeseed oil). Add the mustard, capers, and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix everything together.
  4. When the fennel is browned, remove from heat and set aside. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and let them steam in the colander for a few minutes. Slice them in half and throw them into the salad along with the grilled fennel. Dress and serve immediately.

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Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did, it was a nice change from the regular green salad with bottled dressing!

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Roast mushrooms with Goats cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Hey everybody! I would first like to thank everybody who is reading this blog! I’m really happy to share that every day my page views are doubling, and it makes me want to post tons of new and even more exciting recipes and photos!

So today I didn’t really want to cook a complicated lunch, so I didn’t! I took a few simple ingredients and turned it into a mouth-watering lunch or appetizer!

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Roast mushrooms with Goats cheese and Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1 Portobello mushroom, sliced thinly
  • 8 Cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goats cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp balsamic glaze (refer to previous blog post for recipe)
  • good quality olive oil to drizzle on top
  • salt
  • pepper

Preparations:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F, and line a 12″ by 18″ baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Spread the mushrooms across baking sheet evenly so that they are not overlapping. Sprinkle goats cheese and parmesan cheese on top of the mushrooms evenly so that each slice gets a little bit of cheese. Add a pinch of salt and pepper on the mushrooms and drizzle generously with good quality olive oil.

Cooking:

  1. Place pan in oven and allow to cook for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is melted but not browned. Turn the broiler on and cook mushrooms until cheese starts to brown and become crisp. Be careful, this only takes a minute or two, so I recommend watching to make sure they don’t burn!
  2. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a serving dish. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and serve immediately!

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Sneak peak: Quick and easy lunch

So today I didn’t really want to cook a complicated lunch, so I didn’t! I took a few simple ingredients and turned it into a mouth-watering lunch or appetizer! All I’m going to tell you is that you’ll need to make that balsamic glaze that I posted yesterday!

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Check back later today for the complete details and recipe!

Bacon is a veg

 

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Quick tip: Balsamic glaze

So I was recently in the grocery store and I saw a bottle of balsamic glaze. When I looked at the price, I was astonished that they could charge so much for a tiny bottle of balsamic that wasn’t even made in Italy! So I thought, why not make it myself! So here it is!

Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. In a small pot, add the balsamic vinegar, turn onto medium high heat. Allow the vinegar to come up to a full boil, and then turn down to medium low heat. Reduce the vinegar to a point where it has the consistency of thin syrup. this should take between 4-10 minutes depending on the balsamic you’re using.
  2. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a jar. Let the balsamic cool and it will make a thick syrup like balsamic glaze that goes perfect with fruit, ice cream, risotto, or just about anything you can think of!

 

Thanks for checking this post out everyone! I will be posting another recipe later today, so come and check that out to! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on WordPress!

 

 

Restaurant Review: The Spice Jammers

Hey everyone!

So its time for that restaurant review that I have been promising! The Spice Jammers, is a small east indian restaurant only minutes from downtown victoria BC. They serve up all sorts of east Indian and east African dishes in a small but cozy establishment. If you want to find out more about The Spice Jammers keep reading!

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The Review:

So, The Spice Jammers is a small east Indian/east African restaurant right by downtown Victoria, BC. I had never heard of this restaurant before, but it has been around for quite a few years. In 1996 they gained some great reviews from the Times Colonist, but they have been very quite ever since. I would love to give more history about the restaurant, but there is very little info about them, not even a website! But let’s get past all the jibber jabber and get to the review!

Ambience:

When you first walk through the door, you are greeted by a lounge of sorts, it’s actually very nice, makes you feel like you should be drinking a martini. Seeing as I don’t drink, I didn’t pay too much attention to this part of the restaurant, but it was a nice way to enter the building. As you walk further into the restaurant, I was a little bit confused, I wasn’t sure if the lounge was were I should be waited to be seated or not. There wasn’t anybody there so I kept walking into the back of the restaurant where I was helped by one of their very friendly staff.

I was brought to my table where the atmosphere was quite cozy, a little outdated with all the plants, but it was still very nice. Now the only complaint I had about the area we were in was how dark it was! The lighting seemed to be quite uneven, some areas bright, and as my luck had it, I got the dark area, making it very hard to get a great shot of the food!

The staff member introduced herself very quickly and took our drink orders, I was very happy at how quickly they came and took our drink orders, I really don’t like it when I go to a restaurant and I have to track someone down just to order my drinks! So this was a big plus in my books!

When it came to ordering, the staff were very helpful! About half of the dishes I recognized, but there were quite a number that I didn’t! Our server answered all of our questions about what the different dishes were, I got the impression that she had tasted each and every one of them!

The Food:

With the help of our server we decided on 2 curries, rice, Naan and an appetizer:

Appetizer:

  • Fried Mogo paired with tamarind chutney $4.75

The appetizer was a dish that I had never heard of. Mogo is a cross between a potato and a sweet potato, and originates from east Africa. It was lightly fried until it was nice and crisp, and it was served with a tamarind chutney. The dish was tasty, I quite enjoyed it. The mogo itself was kinda plain, but they put a spicy salt mixture on top of it which added a kick to it, and punched up the flavour. The tamarin chutney was a good pairing with it as well because it helped cool down the hot Mogo. Overall it was a very successful appetizer, and I would order it again!

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The Mains:

  • Naan $4.25
  • Basmati rice $3.25
  • Kuku Paka $16.95
  • Creamy masala prawns $18.95

The mains were 2 very different dishes, both were served family style so everybody can get a taste, and you can choose how spicy you want the dish! We decided to go for a mild spice since I can’t handle much heat, but you can always get a side of homemade hot sauce to help spice things up! The first, Kuku Paka was a traditional east African curry that has a coconut based sauce with chicken and potatoes. If you like coconut, this is the dish for you! Now I’m not a huge fan of coconut, but this dish was pretty tasty! It had a coconut aroma, but the flavour wasn’t overpowering. I found that the chicken was cooked very well, but the potatoes were slightly overcooked, kinda mushy, but still quite tasty. When you serve this over the aromatic basmati rice it is a great combo of flavours.

The second dish was the creamy Masala prawns. This dish was something that I had made myself before, and I quite liked, but I probably butchered the dish in the eyes of anyone who knows indian food! So I figured that I might as well give it a try and see if I liked it. It was very different from the way that I prepared it, more creamy and spicy with less emphasis on the prawns, and vegetables, and more emphasis on the sauce. I really did enjoy this dish! With less emphasis on the prawns, you got all sorts of flavours that are missing from north american versions of the dish. This dish is something I will go back for again!

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I am going to go off on a little tangent here about the Naan and the basmati rice! I was really confused when they didn’t serve the curries with rice and naan included. I asked myself, who would eat curry without rice and naan? Its kinda like having a burger without the bun, it just doesn’t work. Now I didn’t mind paying extra for the Naan because it was pretty tasty! But I didn’t really like paying for the rice, especially since it was kinda dry! I found this whole thing a little strange, but it’s really a minor flaw in a great meal.

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Conclusion:

The Spice Jammers really impressed me. The flavours were great, the service was excellent, and the price was not to bad, it would be a great place for a date night, or to go out with some friends and share a few great plates of food! Aside from the few minor flaws which is the only reason I didn’t give them 4 out of 4, it was a near perfect meal. This restaurant actually managed to get me to tip 20% which I have never done before!

I will be visiting The Spice Jammers again in the near future and I hope you will go and give them a try as well!

3.5 out of 4 stars

Please let me know what you think about my review, and tell me your experiences as well!

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Thanks for reading

Bacon is a Veg

Mini sliders with caramelized balsamic onions and bacon

Hey everyone!

So tonight I have some ground beef in my fridge and I decided I wanted burgers! But I only had dinner rolls, so I decided I should make some sliders! These little burgers are great for parties, or if you just want a quick and easy dinner that everybody will enjoy.

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Caramelized balsamic onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp good balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Place a medium pan on burner and turn onto medium heat. Add olive oil and allow to heat until oil moves freely about pan. 
  2. Add the onions to the pan and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until soft and browned, reduce heat to low.
  3. Add balsamic to the onions and stir, cook mixture for an additional 10 minutes on low, stirring often so they do not burn.
  4. Remove mixture from pan and place in a bowl until ready to serve

Crunchy bacon bits

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices thick cut bacon, sliced crosswise
  • 1 tbsp grape seed oil

Instructions:

  1. Place a medium pan on burner and turn onto medium heat. Add oil and allow to heat until oil moves freely about pan.
  2. Add the bacon, render all the fat from the bacon until it becomes crisp.
  3. Drain fat from pan and place bacon bits on a piece of paper towel to absorb the remaining fat

Mini sliders

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp good olive oil
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • white cheddar cheese sliced (enough to top 4-5 burgers)
  • unripened goats cheese (enough to top 4-5 burgers)
  • 3 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 8-10 small dinner rolls

Instructions:

  1. Mix the beef, garlic, onion, olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper together until thoroughly combined. add the panko breadcrumbs to the mixture, mix until the beef comes together and is not to wet.
  2. Form beef mixture into 2″ patties (approximately 10). I use a cookie cutter to get a consistent shape and height. Place the finished patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so they do not stick.

Cooking:

  1. Place a large pan on medium high heat, add 2 tbsp grape seed oil to the pan and allow to heat. Add in 4-5 patties to the pan at a time. Cook 4 minutes and then flip.
  2. Add the cheddar cheese to the top of the patties and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until patties reach 160 degrees F. Remove from pan and place on a plate.
  3. Drain off any excess fat from the pan and add 1 tbsp grape seed oil. Allow for the oil to heat and then add the remaining 4-5 patties. Cook 4 minutes and then flip.
  4. Add the goats cheese to the top of the patties and cook for an additional 4 minutes or until patties reach 160 degrees F. Remove from pan and place on a plate.

Plating:

  1. Cut buns in half and spread a bit of ketchup on the bottom of the bun. Place the patties on the buns and top with balsamic onions and bacon.
  2. Serve as soon as ready

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Hope everyone enjoys this recipe! Let me know what you think, and leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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