Tuesday 25 December 2012

Beer making beginnings


So, my wonderful fiance know me just so well. I have been considering brewing my own beer, and I have been overwhelmed with everything I have to purchase to begin to learn the process. So today for Christmas I received this AWESOME gift. A beginners "All grain" brewing kit, with everything I need to get started with a small batch of "Everyday IPA". Check it out!! This kit is from Brooklyn Brew Shop . It seems like a very good beginner kit to get into the world of home brewing. I will post my experience with this in the new year!! Wish me luck!! Merry Christmas everyone! 

Friday 23 November 2012

Spicy coffee rubbed ribs

Meat. Coffee. Two of my favorite things, I decided to do an experiment. I Made an awesome spicy dry rub, rubbed it all over some pork ribs, slow roasted them and smothered them with my improvised Mother-In Laws home made BBQ sauce. 

The result? Best ribs I have ever had. You MUST TRY!!

Here is what you need :

Spicy coffee rub:

2 Tbs finely ground coffee
2 Tbs cayenne pepper 
2 tsp cumin
1 Tbs garlic powder 
1/2 cup brown sugar
Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste 

Best BBQ Sauce ever :(my mother-in-law's recipe)

1 Tbsp butter 
2 Tbsp finely minced onions 
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup ketchup 
1/3 cup honey garlic BBQ sauce 
2 Tbsp lemon juice 
2 Tbsp molasses 
1 1/4 tsp chilli powder 
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp paprika 
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp pepper

SPECIAL SAUCE.... Jumpin' Jackass grilling sauce. This is from a local company in the Okanagan, it has the most unreal flavour and is super spicy. Add any kind of hot sauce as you probably wont be able to find this. :( 

- melt butter and add onions and garlic
- cook and stir until onions have softened, about a min
- add all remaining ingredients and mix well
- simmer uncovered over low heat about 5 mins

Here is what to do with the pork :

Mix all of the ingredients for the rub together in a small bowl. Rub rub rub all over your succulent pork ribs, both sides. Now let it sit covered in the fridge like this for a few hours to a day. I left it over night. 

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Place the ribs meat side up in one layer on several sheet pans and bake, turning from time to time, until very tender, 3½ to 4 hours. About 30 minutes before the ribs are done, remove them from the oven and brush liberally on all sides with the barbecue sauce. Bake until very tender. 

When the ribs are done cooking, cut them up into individual pieces and place them all in a big tupperware with a lid. Load in the hot BBQ sauce and give it a nice shake, not too hard, the meet could fall off!! 

ENJOY with a nice cold beer! (GIB winter ale was my choice) I am obsessed with these ribs, let me know how yours turn out!! 


Monday 12 November 2012

Andrew Judah

 I have a brother… he is a musician. He is an awesome musician. I would like to take this opportunity to share his talent and awesomeness. Meet Andrew Judah. 
From the freezing cold snow covered tundras of a land called Canada, Andrew Judah is a self taught multi-instrumentalist with a knack for doing things the hard way. As a songwriter and composer he is both playful and confessional, melding 60s baroque pop with modern experimentalism. "

Andrew has also been involved in a remix album for Son Lux. Maybe Im a little biased because he is my brother, but I absolutely love his remix of this song, I listen to it way too much.

Anyway, Andrew is playing a live show in Kelowna on November 17th at the Streaming Cafe, so you can watch him live or streaming online! Streamingcafe 

I hope you enjoy his music as much as I do! 


Thursday 8 November 2012

Espresso "Knock Box" Pallet style

I recently started making a lot of espresso at home.  If you do the same Im sure you know how much of a mess it can make. So, in order to please my fiancĂ©e and stop making a mess of our kitchen, I decided to make myself a home made knock box to discard of my used espresso "pucks" in a clean and efficient way like at work! I had some left over wood from some pallet projects I had been doing, so this project was absolutely free!!  

It was super easy to make.  Decide the size you want, it should be big enough to be able to slam your portafilter on the bar without hitting the back side. Measure, cut, glue/nail together. I decided to make the back piece a little taller for aesthetics, it also provides a some splash protection. I wanted it to look distressed, so I hit it with a chain and hammer before putting it together, along with sanding the edges of the wood to rough it up a bit. Put your own personal touch into it. For the bar, I wrapped it with a decent amount of duct tape, then some black electrical tape to make it look good.  Make sure you use a really solid piece of wood for this part, as you will be hitting it pretty hard. Stain it to your liking and you are ready to go!! 

Enjoy your clean countertop! 

Cheers!! :)

Tuesday 6 November 2012

New Job

Just in case the name of this blog doesn't make it obvious, I have a huge passion for coffee. Coffee to me is so much more than just a drink, it's a very large part in my life. Until recently, I have been working as a "Barista" at Starbucks Coffee. Starbucks to me was the absolute best there was, living in Kelowna BC, there was not much else and I was under the impression Starbucks was the top of the line. A few months ago, we moved to the wonderful city of Vancouver BC, and my view of the coffee world changed dramatically. The coffee culture in this city is huge, Vancouver has tons of small local roasters, amazing local cafes and endless amounts of coffee obsessed hipsters.  One company the stuck out to me in particular, was East Vancouver's very own, JJBean Coffee Roasters. Their coffee has a taste of quality and freshness like no other I have ever experienced. I was opened up to the world of fresh SUPER flavourful coffee. Cream has become a thing of the past for me, their Single Origin coffees that they brew with a french press, have the most unique qualities to them that really let the region in which the coffee is grown shine through with every sip. 

Now, with my new discovery of this amazing new world, how could I work at Starbucks anymore? With coffee that has a " 1 year " expiry date as aposed to the 10 to 14 days that coffee actually starts going stale and looses its unique flavours. I had to get out! Just in time, JJBeans very first location branching out of the Vancouver area opened in my little town, Port Moody, and just 5 mins walk from my home! 

I now work for this amazing company and I am learning so much about coffee every day. I am so excited for the journey in front of me, hopefully helping me towards my dream of opening my own coffee shop one day. 

I strongly urge anyone that goes to Starbucks everyday, to step outside of your comfort zone, and try out some coffee from a local roaster, try drinking straight espresso, try a medium roast without cream and sugar and notice the brilliant flavour notes.  Plus the benefit of supporting local small businesses is always a great feeling. Check out JJBeans Website to check out what they are all about! They also do some pretty neat stuff for the communities they buy coffee from. http://www.jjbeancoffee.com

Check out this cool video produced by JJBean instructing how to brew a perfect French Press Coffee.


Thats my coffee rant for today. Here are some pictures I have taken from my new job, the "Cupping" table, the espresso machine, and some latte art I have learned to make. :) 


Monday 5 November 2012

Almost free coffee table

Along with my obsession with Coffee, Beer and Food, I sometimes enjoy making random stuff. My most recent projects have all included pallets. Pallets can be found almost anywhere for FREE...which is awesome, free wood. With a little hard work and some creative thinking, you can make some pretty awesome stuff from pallets. 

My Fiance and I recently moved to Vancouver and into a new apartment, so we needed a coffee table, so for a summer project I decided to make my own coffee table and save myself a few hunded $$$ !!  I found some really cool small pallets at a security place, they say "property of royal canadian mint" on them, in French and English. I thought this was pretty cool and adds a lot to the look of the table.

Unfortunately I made this table before I started this blog, so I have no pictures of the process. However its pretty simple to do. All you need is 2 pallets, some tools, some cool hinges, sandpaper and your choice of stain. 

To make the table I first took apart the first pallet, carefully. Then I put all the slats close together to create the tabletop. Now flip the second pallet upside down and place them on top of each other. screw on the hinges..SAND FOR A LONG TIME till nice and smooth...stain, clear coat, wheels, COMPLETE.  SIMPLE.

 Have a look at my finished product, turned out pretty good.

I decided to put hinges on one side to allow me to use the inside of the table as storage. It worked out really well. All my lame board games fit perfectly inside. As well as my cat. 
The imperfections in the wood give it a ton of character. It looks like it would splinter, but I loaded TONS of clear coat on and it sealed it right up. Im super happy with the way it turned out. 
Now I can enjoy my amazing Vancouver beer with my feet up on my almost free coffee table, cheers!! 


Sunday 23 September 2012

Cedar Plank Salmon

A few months back I was on the far coast of BC doing some surfing and fishing. Though we were fishing for halibut, we ended up catching some beautiful spring salmon instead.  So I thought I would share my favorite way of preparing salmon… the manliest way I could think of…on wood.  Cooking the salmon on a cedar plank infuses the fish with the most glorious, earthy taste.  Add to that the fresh and tangy herb topping, and a drizzle of creamy cucumber dill sauce and you’ve got yourself a crowd-pleaser.

Here is my recipe for Cedar Plank Salmon... Do try. It’s awesome.

First step… go fishing. ;)... thats me holding the tiny pathetic ones. 

The Recipe    (printable version here) 


1 untreated Cedar plank
2 Shallots, diced
10 Cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp (45 ml) snipped fresh dill
3 Tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro (or more if you like it)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) lemon zest
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) Olive Oil
3-4 lb. Salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste

Cucumber Dill Sauce:

¼ English cucumber
¼ tsp (1 ml) Salt
1 cup (250 ml) plain yogurt
½ cup (125 ml) sour cream
1 tsp. (5 ml) lemon juice
Pepper to taste
3 green onions finely chopped, white part only
2 tsp (10 ml) chopped fresh dill

Preparation Instructions

Soak cedar plank in water for several hours. The longer the better.

In a small bowl, combine shallots, garlic, dill, thyme, cilantro, lemon zest and juice, green onions and olive oil.  Cover and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to do their thing and get super tasty. ;)

Place your beautiful salmon on a cedar plank and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the salmon with the herb mixture. 

Set the plank on the preheated BBQ and close the lid. Cook for 30 mins on medium to high heat, until the fish flakes easily with a fork… depending on how well-done you like your salmon. (I like mine a little more rare).

To prepare Cucumber Dill Sauce, finely chop cucumber, toss with salt and let stand for 15 mins.


Combine yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, pepper, onion and dill.


Drain water from cucumber and add to yogurt mixture.

Serves 8 

I served mine with a bed of spiced quinoa and oven roasted asparagus sprinkled with feta and balsamic reduction. Enjoy! 

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Epic Aeropress Coffee

This is my first post ever!! So I thought I would start with something I do every morning. My epic Aeropress Coffee!

I recently came into the possession of the most amazing little coffee maker. It's called an Aeropress.. This little plunger thing makes an absolutely mean cup of coffee. Since I started using it, my espresso machine sits there unused, as this thing is super quick and makes super tasty coffee.

There are many different methods to make good coffee when using the aeropress... everyone has their own personal preference.... Here is my method. It's not exact, but its awesome and easy to replicate. 

First, you will need an Aeropress. Get one here >> http://www.aeropress.ca/

Make sure you get the optional reusable metal filter. The paper filters it comes with work great, but the metal filter makes it so you can use a finer grind. Finer grind = better tasting coffee. It's worth the extra $20. 
What you need:

Just below boiling water 
2 Aeropress scoops of fresh coffee beans
Awesome small coffee mug 
Less than a min of your time.

Now my method is pretty simple, I pretty much do exactly what the instructions tell you to do, with just one little difference, "the pull back". So I will go through the steps starting from the beginning. 

-  Boil water and let water sit for 1 min
-  While the water is boiling, grind your beans about halfway in-between a paper filter and espresso
-  Fill aeropress with coffee 
-  Add water to the #4 line (with aeropress on your mug)
-  VIGOROUSLY stir for 10 sec
-  Plunge halfway down, ***then pull almost all the way back up**** 
-  continue plunging till you cant plunge anymore

Your coffee should have some lovely "crema" on the top, the pull back up after the half plunge makes this coffee just that much better. If its too strong you can always add water like you would to an americano. I like it as is ;) 

Enjoy your Epic Aeropress Coffee! And be sure to experiment with it for yourself, everyone has their own taste! 

Just a note, the mug used in this post was made by my girl Jen, check out her DIY here! :)