I was beginning to think that I would never find a suitable Canadian chef that was bursting with personality and original ideas, whose cookery book I could purchase, pour over and trial one of their recipes for my blog. I had asked a number of Vancoverites (is that what they are known as?) who their version of ‘Jamie Oliver’ was and I was always given the same blank response, often followed by the murmurings that they really don’t cook that much.
My luck changed when I was browsing through the cookery section of ’Chapters’, Canada’s version of ‘Waterstones’. I asked a fellow browser what Canadian chefs they rated and as chance would have it, this fellow browser happened to also be a food blogger who was a big Jamie Oliver fan, to the extent that her blog -myyearwithjamieoliver.com is focused solely on his cooking. Lorina, the fellow blogger, came up with Michael Smith and Bob Blumer, both of which are Canadian TV chefs. Whilst both books looked appealing, Bob Blumer’s really stood out for me. It was refreshingly original with bold, bright and slightly quirky photos of his food creations, some of which are definitely surreal; he clearly has a great sense of humour. His cook book is unique and whilst I have never seen him on the screen or let alone heard of him, you can tell that he is a kindred spirit, does not take himself too seriously and is passionate about cooking, but not in a meticulously fussy and pedantic way like some chefs. I was also sold on buying the book from a comment on the back which read: “If Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson and Salvador Dali had a menage a trois, this would be their love child.” It made me laugh and intrigued enough to find out more about Canada’s culinary guru.
His recipes are definitely different. Anyone for chocolate wontons, meatloaf surprise – which is a meatloaf disguised as a birthday cake, maple bacon-crunch ice cream, beer can chicken, licorice shrimp? Most of his recipes are perhaps not for those who like to count their calories, but hats off to the guy for his originality.
Seeing that I am in Canada I thought that ‘Maple-icious Salmon’ was the perfect recipe to share with you all as maple syrup is seriously big over here. I also found some fabulous red and yellow corn on the cob at Granville Market to add a vibrant splash of colour to the dish.
I decided to pair up the salmon and corn with Bob’s ‘Pomegranate, Orange and Lettuce Salad’, which I felt created the perfect balance.
Having cooked both dishes I can honestly say that the maple-icious salmon is ABSOLUTELY DIVINE. I marinated the salmon for a whole day but as long as you can marinate it in the fridge for 4 hours or more you’ll be fine. Its an absolute winner and Big A (my eldest daughter who is 5 yrs old) and my sister and her beau all gave it a definite thumbs up. The red corn went a rather pale hue after cooking and tasted pretty much the same as yellow. It did not look so good on the plate so I omitted it from the photos, although enjoyed eating it all the same.
The salad was fresh and exciting and the dressing really gave it its edge. Bob uses mache (also called lamb’s lettuce) or Boston Lettuce. I used the latter which was fine, but I think when I prepare it again I will use fresh spinach leaves.
All in all a really fun and exciting meal with ingredients I don’t usually pair together. I can’t wait to try out more of Bob’s recipes. Let me know how you get on!
185ml/ 3/4 cup of maple syrup
60ml/ 1/4 cup soy sauce
175g/7oz salmon filets, skin removed (I cooked slightly more per person but I guess I am a little piggy!)
60ml/ 1/4 cup of coarsely ground black pepper
1. In a bowl mix the maple syrup and soy sauce. Add the salmon fillets, so that the marinade completely covers the fish. Place in the fridge for as long as possible, ideally for 24 hours, but not less than 4 hours. Turn the salmon every few hours.
2. Preheat the grill to 180 degrees centigrade. I put the salmon directly on the metal grate so as to give the grill mark effect.
3. Place pepper on a plate and place the marinated salmon onto the pepper, on only one side. Once you have done this to all the pieces place on to the metal grate and grill for 10-15 minutes or until the flesh is firm. I did this in a grill oven, but it would work just as well, if not better, on a gas grill or charcoal grill.
4. Serve with corn on the cob and pomegranate, orange and lettuce salad. If you are requiring carbs then rice would work really well.
A really charming aspect of Bob’s book is that he pairs his recipes with ‘music to cook by’. For this recipe he suggests ‘The Cocteau Twins, Heaven or Las Vegas. Ethereal music to marinate your mind’, according to Bob!
Pomegranate, Orange and Lettuce Salad
1 litre/4 cups of mache (lambs lettuce), boston lettuce or spinach
1/2 a pomegranate or 1 decent handful
1 to 2 oranges, removed the skin and pith and cut into segments
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp of olive oil
1. Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking continuously until it has emulsified.
2. Just before serving, combine the lettuce, pomegranate seeds and orange slices in a salad bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss gently but thoroughly. Put the remainder into a small jug so that you can add more dressing as required. Be careful not to overdress the salad. Season with salt and pepper.