International Cuisine Weekend: Chile

I made this yesterday, but ran out of time to post it. Cazuela is a famous Chilean soup that I ate almost every day while living in Patagonia in 2011. It is flexible and warming when it starts to get chilly (nudge nudge).

This one was adapted a little bit and I didn’t have any corn, so I left that part out.


I made the veggie stock with scraps from the Italia day. It’s a favourite thing of mine to do, and it makes me feel like I’ve used all parts of the animal/vegetable to make food. I often have a sealed box filled with scraps and bones in my freezer, ready to go. Bone broth is a big deal these days, but I’ve been making it for years!

Yesterday was Chile, and today will be China!

First, to the mountains.

International Cuisine Weekend: Italia

I’m going to be cooking all the cuisines that I learned living abroad over the years this week. It’s a delicious way to spend the night!

Today is: Italia.

In Italy, I first learned to cook. The focus is on great ingredients and long preparation times, resulting in hours-long food fests that are a regular staple of Italian life. I long to be in Italy again and to eat like they do. Here’s my five-course dinner, based on the Italian tradition.

Aperitivo: Fate Suicide Cheddar and Robiola

Drink Pairing: Spritz with Loki Snapps from Iceland and Acidulous Flanders Red Ale


Primo Piatto: Handmade Pumpkin Agnolotti

Drink Pairing: Colorado Native India Pale Lager


They don’t look amazing here, but the agnoletti were awesome!

I had to use an Italian tradition on the sauce and ‘fare la scarpetta!’


Secondo Piatto: Pan-Seared Steak with Zucchini and Balsamic Reduction, with Aleppo Peppers from the garden

Oh my god, those peppers are spicy! I had to lay down for  while to let it subside.

Drink Pairing: Finkle & Garf Oatmeal Stout


Dolce: Autumnal Cake with Szechuan Pepper (“Numbing Spice”)

Cranberry, pumpkin, apple, brandy, and a little bit of China!


Drink Pairing: Single Brandy (digestivo, duh)


Frutta: Pesche al Forno (Baked Colorado Peaches)

Drink Pairing: Herbal Tea Blend from Rebecca’s Apothecary and the premier of the 20th season of Southpark

Oh hell yes.


By the way, when I ate like this every day in 2009 while I studied abroad, I lost about 40 pounds in four months. Good food served right, the way it’s supposed to be. I feel light and energised already. Italia day is wonderful!

Shots Around Shanghai: The Ninth

Busy week!

DIY Bar: Chinese Bitters

I’m experimenting with homemade bar ingredients. It’s partially due to the stresses of teaching (no, alcohol is not a coping mechanism. No, no, it’s not….) and partially due to my itchy bartender’s fingers with no outlet.

Pre-packaged tea

Pre-packaged tea

First up, Chinese bitters. I made these on the fly, with some leftover gin and some random herbs I bought at Carrefour near our apartment. Digestive bitters were once used much more frequently than today.

After their arrival on the scene in the Medieval period, bitters were made all over the European continent and consumed as tonics, digestives, and occasionally sea sickness remedies.

In London, I took Angostura bitters every morning in hot water. I found that it helped me to wake up and shake off the long nights on the bus after bar shifts.

The tea, unpackaged.

The tea, unpackaged.

A note: bitters are alcoholic, but one never should consume more than a few drops at a time. The sheer taste would be enough to put you off that particularly stupid idea!

Here’s the recipe for homemade bitters.


Chinese herbal tea (specifically the mixed herb variety)

75ml gin

Small jar (glass only!)


  1. Open the tea and put it into the jar. Pour 75ml gin over the tea, ensuring that it is fully covered by the liquid.
  2. Shake the jar and then set it in a cool, dark place to mature.
  3. Check the bitters each day and agitate the jar.
  4. After 1-2 weeks, strain out the tea and put the bitters into a dropper or small bottle for use.

Finished product!

Finished product!

Fantastically easy, healthy, and delicious!