Tag Archives: food

Toby’s Birthday Dinner

I had the honor of hosting my dear friend Toby’s birthday dinner party and I asked him what he would like me to cook, as it was his birthday. French cuisine perhaps? some crème brûlée for desert? Maybe some classic Canadian cuisine? or even some authentic Chinese food? Well, no, no to all of that instead to put it in Toby’s words: “Burgers and fries, dude”

Well I couldn’t really complain, me cooking everyone dinner counted as my gift to him which was a relief. Toby is the easiest yet hardest person to buy a gift for. The only thing he likes, loves, cares about, is music. He collects vinyl so you’d think buying him a gift would be easy, nope, because not only is he a massive music snob but he also seems to own every record known to man.

Last year I got him an original pressing of a Neil Young record, to which he replied “Thanks, Sean, I already have three of these but four can’t hurt” so I was happy to cook a few burgers if it made him happy.

Whenever I make burgers I always make them from scratch. I hand mold grounded beef into patties with tiny slices of jalapeno peppers, and onions mixed into the meat to give them that extra kick and flavor. Another tip is seasoning the fries so they are not boring and using real mature cheese and melting it on the beef while its frying on the pan.

It was a fun night filled with great food and even better friends and I’m glad to say I can’t remember much of. I do remember that Toby received a signed Beatles record which he greeted with apathy, we have decided that he has no heart.

 

The Hot Wings That Were Too Hot

OK, so this was totally my fault. My buddies, Sam, Jack and Tim wanted to watch the game. It was my brilliant idea to have a dinner-hockey watching-party. I thought id just cook my (self-proclaimed) world famous hot wings some fries, have a ton of beer and a ton of fun it would be great!

When I look back it was technically my fault but it was mostly Sam’s fault too. I was on the phone with him while I was  making my (self-proclaimed) world famous marinade. I can’t tell you exactly what I put in it, because you may sell it to a food corporation and become a billionaire, which wouldn’t be fair. What I will tell you is they pack a punch.

I love spicy food so I have quite a high tolerance to spicy dishes. I tend to use Scotch Bonnet peppers and I am always very vigilant when putting them into my food because it’s a spicy pepper. However on this occasion Sam was telling me about his latest date, and to put it lightly he went into various details that have the power to distract a man.

Basically I forgot how many peppers I put in the marinade and added another one just to be sure and in my confusion I forgot to give it a taste and put it in the fridge without a second thought. Funnily enough the night of our dinner party/hockey fest I noticed that the wings were had a lot more color than usual, specifically red.

Just so you know that the best method of treating a spicy tongue is milk. Milk stops the spice in it’s tracks and instantly soothes you. People tend to go with water which actually makes spicy dishes more spicy. You should also know at this point I did not have a drop of milk in my house.

To cut a long story short, myself and the guys tucked into my wings and then proceeded to use every curse word we knew existed, along with some I’m sure we made up in our state of pain.
Some might see this as a disaster but I’ve got to say the fries and Hot Pockets I made were unquestionably awesome, so I’m calling it a win.

The Night Of The Lazy Takeaway

I love my job, I really do. Working for an online casino website really keeps you on your toes. Working at SlotPrince.com you can guarantee there will never be a dull day. The online casino world is so competitive that no one can be sure that they are secure, I’ve seen business fall, and fall fast. It sounds scary but it truly fuels the creative juices, keeping one step ahead of the competition brings out great things in all of the staff.

While it’s often inspiring, it can also wear you out both mentally and physically, so when (again) I completely forgot that I had planned a dinner party, and instead passed out on my  couch half-way through a thrilling episode of Grey’s Anatomy, waking up to my hungry friends knocking on my door was a little embarrassing.

Mr David Gent was nice enough to suggest a takeaway dinner party. That was the greatest idea I had heard all day! The only problem was that whenever a group of people decide to order take out they can never decide on exactly what to order. On this occasion Angela wanted Chinese but Toby had Chinese for lunch, David wanted sushi and Angela would be up for that but Toby felt more like burgers and this went on for a while.

I literally fell asleep again waiting for them to decide what to eat. I was just glad I didn’t have to cook anything. Finally I woke up to Toby holding a large slice of pepperoni pizza below my nose. It was one of those great moments you have in life when you realize exactly why you love all of your friends.

Fish & Chips

Canadians have a lot of connections to the British, we share a lot of history and with that, a lot of food. That is why growing up, not only did my family visit London, Liverpool and Brighton regularly, but we also brought back some of their edible delights.
One of my favorites is the traditional fish and chips. To translate that into Canadian it’s fish (deep fried) and fries, and it’s amazing.

It’s simple, easy to cook, and tastes great which is all you want when arranging a dinner party, that way you have more time to hang out with your friends and drink copious amounts of beer while listening to great music, and that’s exactly what happened last night.

I can literally cook this dish in my sleep, so I had a lot of time to hang out with my gang of friends. As always Toby picked apart my record collection with vicious slander, questioning my gender.  Personally I think Alanis Morissette  is both a talented genius and a national treasure, but we can’t all have my great taste in music.

Eric and Angela reaction to the news of getting served a traditional English dish, was to spend most of the night talking in British accents. Sounds hilarious? Well it wasn’t, but hats off to them for being so dedicated to the bit. It was like Downton Abbey if it was worse than it already is.

Luckily the tasty food seemed to deter them from continuing the whole night. While fish and chips is quite an easy dish to cook, you have to be careful to make sure the skin stays crispy but not burnt, and the flesh is tender but not under-cooked. Other than that I recommend, peas and some British ale to accompany it. It’s a great dish.

Ginger Beef, Canadian Style

Last night I made some Ginger Beef stir fry (Canadian Style) with some noodles for my friends David, Angela and Toby. While I tend to prefer authentic Chinese versions of Chinese dishes, this westernized style of Ginger Beef is quite delicious.  Also an added extra is it’s pretty easy to cook, and to cook well. It’s basically just deep fried strips of beef drenched in a sweet sauce that consists mainly of vinegar and sugar.

It also contains flavors of ginger (hence the name), garlic and hot peppers, and the vegetables you serve with it is up to you but I favor the traditional carrots (cut into thin matchstick strips) and onions. Like most great Chinese dishes, it goes well with both rice and noodles but on this occasion I chose noodles.

For this dinner party I had the luck of having a guest chief, Angela. We both had a rare day off so she kindly offered to help me with the cooking, and then proceeded to drink all my wine, cut just one onion and tell me ALL of the gossip in the world!
While I could of used the help it was still great to catch up on the office politics, but I won’t bore you with the details. Basically if she is to be believed everyone is sleeping with everyone.

It was a great meal, there is something about Chinese food that seems quite social and unifying. You set a pot of beef and a bot of noodles and everyone helps themselves to the delights of the food. It tends to connect people which is why it’s one of my favorite cuisines to both cook and eat with dear friends .

The Beauty Of Jerk Chicken

Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities around, and with that we are fortunate enough to taste and experience food we never would, from Cinatown to Koreatown, from The Danforth to Little Italy, we are lucky enough to have wall to wall pristine cuisine. One of the many great cuisines I have come across is the Caribbean cuisine. It’s filled with flavor and life, and  nothing beats jerk chicken served with rice, plantains and beans.

I remember the first time I had some authentic jerk chicken and it blew my head off. Not just from the spicy jerk sauce but the also the joy of discovering something truly beautiful.
So when Toby rang me about my next dinner party and wondered if I could serve something new, it was the a no-brainer.

I told Toby to hang on to his shoes because I was ready to blow his socks off, which is as corny as it sounds and Toby greeted my said corny-ness by laughing in my face, but jokes aside I could also tell he was just as excited as I was whenever I try some new food .

For the best jerk chicken you have got to get the seasoning right. Make sure you have your Scotch bonnet peppers and your allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg are also good ways to give it an extra kick. I prefer to dry-rub the chicken as opposed to the wet marinade, but both work well. The plantains are easy to cook and be sure to add the beans to the rice, not on the side and, cook the jerk chicken well but don’t over do it. If you do all that you will definitely have a fun and spicy time.

Everyone watched with excitement as Toby took his first forkful of the tender and juicy jerk chicken. His eyes immediately lit up with a joyous glare and his eyebrows were raised higher than their usual position , as if he had just had a grand epiphany. Which he did; Caribbean food is awesome! Either that or it was too spicy.

Shish Kebab & Rare Weather

Like most Canadians know, when we are blessed with good weather, we’ll be damned if we don’t use it and milk every ounce of sun we get! For some people that means a beer in the park, a game of soccer in a field, or that very elusive tan. For me and my dinner party guests, it meant only one thing; BBQ time!

One of the most important ingredients for a BBQ is not the meat like most people think, it’s actually the beer. OK, maybe that’s just my rule, but it’s a rule that works. David managed to get a hold of a Moosehead keg and a few fancy imports from England, like Red Stripe and Carling, and with that the feast began.

I had every kind of meat you could want, I had goat, beef, chicken, lamb, fish and pork. The secret to a great Kebab skewer, is plenty of heat, both flames and spices and plenty of flavor. Also having the right vegetables to accompany the meat helps, I went with the Turkish style of mushrooms, bell peppers, red onions, tomatoes and a squeeze of lemon to give it that popping zest.

It was good to see Eric Andersson again, he’d been kept busy with his work at BrowsingAnonymousOnline.com so it was good to catch up and talk a bit of shop on our similar business ideas, but that was all the business talk we could handle. The beers were flowing, the sun was smiling and the kebabs were truly irresistible, if I don’t say so myself.

Toby DJ’d with his Ipod, Eric and Angela danced all night, and David helped me with the grilling of what seemed to be an endless supply of meat. Not only did I learn that none of my closest friends have any natural rhythm and should never ever dance in public, I also learnt that nothing beats good weather, buddies, beers and BBQ.

The Elvis Sandwich’s

My dad was always a massive fan of Elvis and that had a big impact on my childhood. If we were not watching one of the 1000 films he did, or listening to one of his songs, we would be staring at one of the 10 framed pictures my dad had of him, around the house.

I was never a massive fan of Elvis, which my dad never forgave me for, but there was one crazy Elvis fan ritual I was always on board with; the Elvis sandwich! If you didn’t know already the Elvis sandwich consists of peanut butter, banana and bacon, that’s right I said it’s a sandwich that is peanut butter, banana and bacon. This genius sandwich was severed to us at least once a month by our dad, and it’s a ritual I still do today.

Last night, my good friends David, Angela and Toby, came round for a pot roast dinner party with a special surprise; Elvis sandwiches for desert! To be honest the pot roast was so-so and I think my over excitement for desert overshadows my memory of the dinner party. All I remember clearly is the delicious glory of the first bite, the rest is haze of bacon and joy.

Toby and Angela had never tried an Elvis before but I had made David a few and he was as excited as I was. Toby and Angela were not so sure but I managed to convince them with my “nothing that has bacon in it is bad” argument.

Watching someone eat an Elvis sandwich for the first time is great. First off is a slight look of confusion as various textures clash, then there is the “what is this?” face immediately followed by a “Why don’t I do this everyday” face.
I recommend the Elvis sandwich to anybody that wants to have a fun and unique desert.

Source: Imgur
Source: Imgur

T-Bone Steaks

I had been wanting to do a steak night for a while, I’m lucky as a cook because all my friends like their steaks the same way, medium-rare. So when David suggested I cook up some T-bone steaks for the next dinner party I jumped at the chance.

The secret to a good T-bone is to marinate it the night before to get that flavor locked in.  I went with herbs, spices, cooking wine and a table spoon of Texan BBQ sauce. Using a dry heat grill is the fastest and most effective way to get a tender and succulent T-bone steak.

My dear friend David arrived with a case of beer, which is the quickest way to get the biggest steak when coming to one of my dinner parties! and he was giddy with excitement. We talked about work and the stresses and joys that come with working with competitive internet based company’s then I remembered that David sorted the content on a popular porn website and I told him to never complain to me again!

Angela, her friend Jess Matthews, and Toby all arrived together, Toby was in charge of the music and played some classic Prince while I grilled the T-bones. I passed around some beers and we shared some dating horror stories.

I told everyone about the time I was in college and a girl I was seeing brought her mom to chaperon us. I was so nervous and I drank too much and the night ended with me being sick all over my dates mom, suffice to say there was no second date!
“That explains so much about you” joked Angela.

I served up the steaks with some sweet mash potatoes, asparagus and steamed carrots. The steak was a tender delight and the flavor was so delicious it made you want to lick the plate. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, which is the best parts of cooking a meal for friends.

“A toast to Sean’s amazing steaks and his hilarious dating history” said David, raising his glass.

The Night We Had Breakfast For Dinner

It was a funny night, I had invited a few friends over for another one of my dinner parties but I had to work late, so I didn’t have time to buy the ingredients for the dinner I had planned. My fridge was empty apart from breakfast stuff and a few beers, and my guests would be over within the hour.

I came close to canceling when I had one of those epiphany moments. Why don’t we just have breakfast? I had all I needed to make pancakes, plus I had maple syrup, sausages, Canadian bacon and eggs. It was morning somewhere so we might as well let out hair down, relax and have what I like to call “Dinfast”

I was flipping some pancakes when Toby walked in “I had a nap before I came, I think I must of overslept?” he said with a smile. He asked me what was going on and I told him I was a genius that had invented a new craze to which he replied “You forgot to go to the shops didn’t you”

Source: Imgur
Source: Imgur

 

Angela and Dean were equally confused but excited all the same. “It’s gonna be weird eating pancakes and drinking beer, my brain will be all confused” joked Angela.
I made a couple of ham and cheese omelettes, some hash browns and served up the “Dinfast” with a healthy sized jug of Canadian ale.

“All the kids in Brooklyn and Portland will doing this before you know it” I said. “And having roast lamb and pot roasts for breakfast?” asked Dean, “Exactly” I replied “I’ve just started a new craze.

I’ll be the first to admit that it felt a little strange eating breakfast at night, but that didn’t stop it from being fun. There is something about cutting though a syrupy stack of pancakes and then taking a long sip of a pale ale that makes you feel truly free. I highly recommend “Dinfast” to all!