birthday girl

ooh check out my birthday cakes!

luscious flourless carrot and almond cake on the left, made in secret by my lover and left to fend for itself in in the treppenhaus all night long in order to maintain the secrecy.

raspberry, pistachio and rosewater semifreddo on the right, sculpted into a three-layer extravaganza in honour of my new freezer. hurrah i have a freezer!

did i mention that 28 is a perfect number?
busy weekend

in terms of eating, that is.


sheila and i went back to musa and ordered a ridiculous amount of food.

the shining star was this cajun-spiced calamari. not rubbery at all, and resting on a bed of roasted vegetables, it went down a bit too easily.


corn season has officially begun here, and the markets are overflowing with beautiful beautiful ears of corn. these babies were four for two dollars. which, in euro speak, is free.

i also discovered a local beer that i like. and seeing as how i hate beer, this is quite something.

this mill st. brewery organic is light and somehow doesn't give me that "oh my god my belly is full of yeasty yeasty beer" feeling.

it also comes in cute little bottles.

and it went lovely with a littlebit of barbecue on


corn, two kinds of potato salad, chorizo sausage.
new local

toronto's little italy, while full of lovely little shops, is not the most affordable place to eat and drink. which is why discovering musa this week has been both a relief and a delight. sheila and i stopped by yesterday on our way home from the pool and treated ourselves to some grape leaves and lovely mussels in a lemongrass, ginger, and white wine sauce. compared to the burgers and fries and grilled cheese sandwiches of my old local, it made me smile and smile and smile. definitely a step in the right direction.

i know what you're thinking, abi. mussels? in toronto? believe it.
allergies schmallergies

one of my favourite things about my new neighbourhood is my ability to walk out the front door and be inspired by food. and after friday night's beef binge, i was looking for a bit lighter fare on saturday. so when i happened upon the most beautiful looking smoked salmon in my local meat market, i couldn't resist. allergies be damned!

i also spied these lovely onion and dill rolls. i toasted them on the grill, and stirred up some REAL cream cheese (god bless this continent!) with fresh dill. to the side we had a salad of nectarines and pears tossed with lemon and the most gorgeous ontario honey. i couldn't eat too much of the salmon, but the little piece that i did was perfect.

it was so tasty, sheila even licked the bowl.
lover of the russian queen

when i was fourteen and wanted desperately to be 'different', i was really into tom robbins. and i remember reading in the beginning of one of his books a comparison of rasputin's power and the beetroot. something about the almost hypnotic power beets 'held' over russians (which, given both their borscht and pickling potential, is fairly easy to understand). rasputin, i remember him proposing, had beet-like eyes.
then again this could all be something that i imagined. sometimes i have trouble discerning the difference.
regardless, whenever i think of beets, i hear the strains of boney m.

this little beauty might look familiar to some of you. but when i went to the farmers market on wednesday and saw the gorgeous beets and radishes and greens, i couldn't resist.

the salad is greens with spicy spicy radishes, julienned beets, and a horseradish-aioli dressing. the main side is this lovely top loin (3/4 of which is still in my freezer) peppered and grilled and served on a garlic potato mash.


ps - can anyone corroborate the tr story?
way down south

ok so y'all know by now how completely smitten i am with the people and colours and coastline and (most importantly) food of portugal. hot-damn they know how to do it in the south. we feasted on new and exciting things each day of our trip and came back with full bellies and wide grins. unfortunately i was too engrossed most of the time to get out the camera, but here is a shortlist of favourites anyways. you'll just have to use your imagination. in temporal order:

1. breakfast of peaches, fresh cheese and pumpkin (yes pumpkin) jam. ooh-wee.
2. snails and cerveja. not exactly my thing, but an experience in itself.

3. pork braised with honey and coriander. actually this was monkey's order but i snuck a few bites and they were heavenly. i was sure i'd had enough of pork already after two years in 'schland.
4. my order was grilled octopus which was similarly awesome. so tender. perfectly charred. i'm going to try my darnedest to reproduce it someday. the restaurant was a doorbell affair, buried in the hills of principe real in lisbon.
5. pasteis de belém (see picture). they are fresh and hot. there is nothing more i can say.

6. a MOUNTAIN! of shellfish (big fat crabs, lobster, prawns and mussels) overlooking lisbon's harbour on the eve of our departure. i know this isn't very exciting for the australians but holy shit do i miss the sea sometimes.
7. frango piri piri. flattened grilled chicken with piri piri chilli sauce. oh yeah. nando is the bastard cousin of this sucker.
8. vinho verde. so cold. so good.
9. queijo de figo, se faz favor. dried figs and cinnamon and star anise pulverised into a yummy ball of happy-abi.

can i go back now?
past the ante

last night we sampled a taste of what my new neighbourhood (little italy) has to offer in terms of fresh antipasti.
prosciutto, artichokes, kalamatas, vine tomatoes, pear, cucumber, fresh pesto, bulgur salad, bread.
and a merlot.

you had to move fast to catch it before it was all g-o-n-e.

ps - new neighbourhood = good on the food vibe
poetry, not poultry

i live in north america
and in the summer.
i eat beef.
on white buns.
and sweet potato fries to the side.
and margaritas.
in my mouth.

ps - this is not a real poem. i am not that pretentious. sorry.