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Encore Catering - Not Your Standard Roast Beef Wedding Plate

Amuse Bouche - Lobster BELT on a buttery brioche bun

Encore Catering has invited me to a host of blogger tasting events and for one reason or another, I am never able to go. In the spirit of full disclosure I am going to tell you that the fact that they are located at Dufferin and Steeles is usually a contributing factor and to get myself out there for an early evening tasting makes it impossible to manage if I am working in the city since I need to bring my passport and an overnight bag with me once I am going north of Lawrence and Yonge. Now, add the westerly climbs of Dufferin into the mix and you might as well invite me to come to Woodstock Ontario at that point.

Because I have been following the social media of all of the other bloggers and food writers who HAVE attended, I vowed to attend this latest tasting evening. From the Beaches, it's about an hour on TTC, which isn't all that bad but I will forewarn you:

If you are going to go and visit them in their catering facility, their address says Dufferin but the entrance is behind that building on Magnetic, something I did not know until after I had been wandering the parking lot, on foot, for a good 20 minutes which resulted in a very flustered and grumpy Carole. If you looked up the definition of HANGRY at that very moment, you would have seen a photo of me, stomping around in the industrial wilderness in cute shoes.

So, all that honesty about my reservations about the location aside, the only thing that was going to turn my evening around was a nice glass of wine and some amazing food. Thankfully, that is exactly what I got so that within minutes of arriving in the huge, 10,000 square foot catering kitchen, I was starting to warm up to the good people of Encore. The Silber family has operated Encore since 1979 and now, all the kids work there as well, making it a true family business and that family warmth certainly extends to the way they treat their guests.

Executive Chef, Roasham Wanasingha, formerly of Hockley Valley Resort, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai and the Colombo Hilton in his native Sri Lanka, runs a tight ship. He and his kitchen staff worked tirelessly to churn out dish after dish to a group of bloggers who were constantly in their way, snapping pictures, chucking and jiving in order to get the perfect shot of the miracle of beautifully plating a chunk of pork belly and just generally annoying behaviour.

Plating was gorgeous, which is always impressive in a catering capacity due to the huge scale of work that needs to be done so that all dishes are done simultaneously. Often when catered food looks amazing, the taste can suffer but in this case, the food was delicious. From the Lobster BELT amuse bouche to the sexy Vanilla Semi Freddo with Strawberry Rose Consomme, the food was fresh and modern and felt more akin to fine dining restaurant fare than classic catering dishes.

It was a really interesting experience to be able to watch a catering team in action since we don't often get to see how much work goes into the beautiful food that we order when we eat out. I would not hesitate to hire these guys to cater an event as long as they promised to make me my own, giant serving of the Vanilla Semi Freddo with Strawberry Rose Consomme.

Obviously, my meal was free and opinions are very much my own.

So, without further ado, behold:

Mango Chipotle Seared Ahi Tun, Shrimp and Jumbo Scallop

Smoking Beet Tian with Asparagus Boat

From top: Eurasion Inspired Pork Belly with Serrano, Fennel and Quail Egg Bruschetta, Chateaubriand Taco and a Duck Confit Beignet

Vanilla Demi Freddo with Strawberry Rose Consomme

Gorgonzoloa and Pear Pana Cotta

Encore Catering
5000 Dufferin Street, Unit P
Toronto, ON M3H 5T5

Smoky Eggplant Dippy Spread

There are a million recipes out there for babaganoush, a popular, Middle Eastern, smoky eggplant dip so why am I sharing one more? To me, the actual dip is just a blueprint that you can use to then dress it up as you wish. I like mine kind of thick, so it's also a spread and have found that it's as great smeared on crostini or in a wrap as it is eaten as a dip with a piece of pita bread so I replace the lemon juice with the rind of a pickled lemon. I also love the addition of pickled turnip as much for their sour crunch as for their beautiful pop of colour in what, otherwise, is a sea of grey and grey food is never appealing on it's own. The toasted walnuts might not be authentic but that's how I like it so that's how I make it.

Smoky Eggplant Spread

1 large eggplant
1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp or fine grater OR chopped very finely
1 tsp kosher salt
*1 preserved or pickled lemon
3 tbls tahini
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
about 3 tbls chopped parsley
a small handful walnuts

to finish: Extra virgin olive oil, parsley, mint, pickled turnips, *za'atar, toasted walnuts

 *za'atar and pickled lemon can be found at any Middle Eastern grocery store

Preheat the oven to 400F

Because I don't have a gas stove and didn't want to start the bbq, I used a kitchen torch to char the skin of the eggplant. You can also put the eggplant under the broiler and broil, turning often, until the entire outside is totally charred. You can do this on a hot grill or by setting it over the element of a gas stove top.

Put the eggplant on a foil lined cookie sheet and put it in the 400F oven for at least 30 minutes. Check after that time and if it isn't actually collapsing in on itself, it isn't done. It needs to be so soft that it deflates when you take it out and the top will come off by pulling it gently.

While the eggplant is roasting, take a preserved lemon and quarter it. Scrape out the pulp and discard and then finely chop the skins.

Toast your walnuts on a hot, dry pan, cool and then chop finely.

Let it cool until you can easily handle it then scrape all of the flesh out on to a cutting board, trying to not get any skin in there. Pick through it to make sure you remove all the dark skin and then put it in the food processor with the garlic, kosher salt, lemon rind, tahini, parsely, paprika and cumin and give it a few pulses until it's just mixed together (you can also mix it by hand for a rougher mix) DON"T PUREE IT OR YOU WILL BE LEFT WITH BABY FOOD.

Put the spread in a shallow bowl and if you are not serving right away, cover it and keep it in the fridge but make sure to remove it at least 30 minutes before serving so it's not ice cold.

To serve, drizzle the olive oil around the perimeter of the spread, sprinkle chopped parsley and mint over the top, mound up the pickled turnips in the centre and then sprinkle the toasted walnuts over the whole thing and finish with a pinch of za'atar. Serve with pita bread.

The Week In Yum August 14 - August 27 Two Weeks of Eating, Teaching and Cooking

Shack and his dapper hat twin at Calabria Bakery on Midland for Pizza Friday
First of all, let's get this out of the way. SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT:

I am one of the featured chefs on the long weekend at Harbourfront's Hot and Spicy Food Festival so if you are in Toronto, come down and throw peanuts at me! On Saturday, Aug 6, I will be making and serving my Blend and Extend Mini Kofta with Spicy Beet Puree and Zhug and talking about mushrooms, blend and extend and how you can make that work in your own kitchen.
Hot and Spicy Yum at Harbourfront!

It's summer so sometimes the Week in Yum turns into the WeekS in Yum. It's been a busy summer with lots of travelling about and dealing with life so I am just going to share my last two weeks in photos, if that is okay. If that is not okay, keep it to yourself and pour yourself a nice cup of strong coffee and look at the delicious food pictures and you will feel better about life by the end of the page.

We have been eating at our local pub, The Grover, far too often lately but with a kid working full time and a husband who has been out of town most of the summer working, this is just how it goes. It's a two minute walk away, the pour a generous glass of wine and the food is solid pub fare. That, up there, is the Southwood burger but The Kid refers to it as a "Sanguicho" and it's all he orders lately. You can't try to make sense of these things.

My garden bounty on an empty fridge day hash with a fried egg turned out to be something I will make again and again
My garden has been pretty successful after a bout of blossom rot on my San Marzano tomatoes. I have cured that problem with lots of eggshells in the soil and thankfully, the yellow tomatoes did not suffer so that means I now have a daily supply of tomatoes, kale, sweet and hot peppers and a mountain of fresh herbs.

This has resulted in lots of meals like that pasta up there. This week I whipped up that hash from two leftover potatoes, two sous vide italian sausages and vegetables from my garden. An empty pantry can't stop me now.

I did a dinner party/cooking lesson early in the month and one of the dishes I made was a crostini topped with cannellini beans, cured olives and lots of bomba. I also made this at my last What's For Dinner Cooking Class at Loblaws to applause and accolade.  At home I have been making a big bowl of this topping and using it for all kinds of quick, no cooking required meals. One night I added feta, tomato and cucumber, another time I threw in some cold, cooked rotini and bocconcini.  For that dinner you see up there, I added tomato, fresh mint and topped it with my last can of Portuguese octopus. Throw in a couple chunks of crusty bread and everyone is happy. There will be a recipe coming this week.

We managed to leave the neighbourhood at least once and joined friends at Local 1794 on The Danforth for a great dinner over the weekend. I hadn't eaten all day and was stuck with an intense desire for a steak, which almost never happens, so I had the striploin and Shack ordered the special, a ribeye with mashed potatoes and other good stuff. Everyone was happy with their food and that gin, muddled pink grapefruit and mint cocktail made my night.

After an appointment downtown, I dragged a reluctant Shack to the Creton Centre for a taco from the cute bus at Richtree in the food court. He was glad I did.

Mid week, I attended a really fun media event celebrating South St. Burger's tenth anniversary. I will be writing about that in detail in the coming days, so keep an eye out for that.

The week ended on a high note with a blogger tasting event at Encore Catering, way up in the wastelands of Dufferin and Steeles. Beautiful presentation, delicious food and great hospitality was the order of the day - more to come about my night with Encore.

Facebook share of the week: 

Come check me and these other great people out!
Posted by The Yum Yum Factor on Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Week in Yum Aug 8-14 Concession Road , Skwish and Back To Ottawa I Go

Concession Road

God, I love a good media dinner. My friend and fellow blogger, Vicki of Mom Who Runs, knows how to put on a good dinner. She makes sure that the kitchen plates up the food and places it up front, right by the windows (she also makes sure to hold these things nice and early so we have good light) and we all crowd around like a pack of wild animals, photographing all of the delicacies that we will soon be tasting. This way, once we sit down to eat, we can concentrate on the food instead of fiddling with smart phones and cameras, trying not to put anyone's eye out with an arrant elbow as we contort our bodies in order to get a decent shot of each dish.

This week, we hit up Concession Road, the newest restaurant from Harsh Chawla and Derek Valleau, the people who brought us Pukka which happens to be one of my favourite restaurants in the city. This strip of St Clair, just west of Bathurst, is increasingly becoming home to tons of new restaurants, many of them good enough to get me to make the trek cross town from my home in The Beach.

Instead of Indian,  they have hired Chef Masayuki Tamaru to turn out French food with a Asian sensibility - just don't tell him it's fusion if you know what's good for you. I kept getting the feeling that I had been there before and finally it dawned on me - Concession Road took over the vacancy left by the closure of Bywoods. I much prefer the way the space looks now, it's brighter and airier and it just feels lighter, in general, although the separate dining room is still a bit awkward.

Food wise, a standout, for me , was the beef tartare with asian pear and a raw quail's egg. It was served ice cold and the meat was silky and fresh tasting, served with pickled vegetables and toasts. I also really loved the Steamed Portuguese Rock Fish on beluga lentils with a velvety tomato beurre blanc and from watching the rest of the table, I wasn't alone. Less popular, over all, was the calve's liver but that is because you either love liver or you don't. That said, if any liver dish is going to win over an ambivalent eater, this is the one. Sliced very thin, coated with chickpea flour and sautéed with a Korean BBQ sauce, the meat was unbelievably tender but the liver taste does creep up on you after you swallow that first mouthful so, take heed if you sit on the liver fence.

Chard stuffed with a mix of vegetables on top of a beautiful, bright vegetable sauce with chive oil was also a big hit with just about everyone and even the big meat eaters were oohing and ahhing. For those of you who want to play it a bit safer there is Japanese Fried Chicken served on a buttermilk mashed potato that was not something that I would order at a place like this but it was certainly well done and tasty.

plating is lovely with lots of attention to detail and colour

We tried a tiny sliver of Callebaut Chocolate Terrine and a little piece of Chilled Souffle Cheesecake with boozey cherries and hazelnut bark that was out of this world. Everyone remarked that it tasted like Uncle Tetsu cheesecake but without having to line up for an hour. Well, that and it's served in a lovely restaurant where you can sit down and enjoy it with a nice glass of wine which is exactly what I would like to be doing at this very moment, frankly.

shrimp bonbons, calve's liver and stuffed chard

They would like to make this a hot cocktail spot (hence the trendy absinthe "program") but I only tried a couple of the cocktails and nothing wowed me. Peter Boyd's wine list, like at Pukka, is great so I suggest you stick to wine and until it gets cold out, they also have a patio out front where you can eat your cheesecake, sip some rose and watch the world go by.

this was a media event so my meal and drinks were free but my opinion is very much my own.

Click to add a blog post for Concession Road on Zomato


Daniel Racine ( formerly Lolita's Lust, Kultura) is the chef at a new restaurant deep in the Beach on Queen Street East. Owner, Brad Taylor has chosen the barren restaurant wasteland of my very own
'hood to open his fourth establishment and I couldn't be happier. I have been wanting to eat there but have barely been home long enough to blow my nose but this week, I grabbed The Kid and made my way down. I missed the "hoppy" hour where they serve the house wines for $1/oz and craft beer for $5 by ten minutes but it's probably for the best. Instead I had a glass of Hardy's Bankside Shiraz ( served in 6 or 9 oz pours or by the bottle) and ordered the Mediterranean grilled calamari with oven roasted tomatoes, olives, pesto and balsamic finish - unfortunately brown in colour but very tasty ($12) to share. I had the Korean shortribs for dinner, served with kimchee and Jamaican style rice and peas ($15) and The Kid had pulled pork poutine ($11)

My Korean ribs were tasty enough but I didn't see any of the promised bok choy. Instead there was a heap of slightly oily vegetables and kimchee. The kid's pulled pork was a bit overpowered by what tasted like five spice powder for my tastes but he didn't seem to mind and ate it all up.

It is certainly a breath of fresh air for this restaurant starved street (there are lots of blah restaurants, wings coming out the hoohaw and mediocre pub grub rules the day) and I plan to return soon to try some more things as well. I will be sure to make it between 5and 7pm for hoppy hour too.

2252 Queen Street East
Sun-Thurs open 11:30am to 12am
Fri and Sat open 11:30 to 1am

As far as the rest of my week went, another week, another trip to Ottawa. This time, I took the train one way so that I could drive home with my guy later in the week and so I took the opportunity to check out the food vendors who have been stationed outside Union Station all summer. This experiment has been so intensely popular that they have extended the run beyond it's original August closing and now the vendors will be there until Sept 27
To find out more and see who is there check out Front Street Foods

In Ottawa, I tried two more places, Town and The Scone Witch and both places made me very happy. I only got to try one dish at Town, since I went on my own for lunch, but that one dish might have been the most delicious thing I ate all month in Ottawa so I feel pretty good about giving it a rousing thumbs up. The Scone Witch was IMPOSSIBLE to find, which is why I didn't go sooner, despite my friend bullying me into checking it out, but once I got inside, it was packed to the rafters with locals in the know so, clearly, they don't need to make it any easier for tourists to locate.
Full thoughts will be coming soon in a complete Ottawa restaurant roundup in the coming weeks, so for now, some pictures:

Lightly seared tuna with white beans, a crouton and a crispy 6 minute egg (topped with a mound of addictive, pickled mustard seeds) was as delicious as it was stunning to look at. Town will be the first place I eat at the next time I visit Ottawa

I had a BLT with pesto on a feta scone and a bowl of thick, homemade chickpea/rosemary soup for $8.99 and could not finish it - great deal. My lunch date introduced me to the wonder of a currant scone (look at the height on that baby) with rhubarb jam and whipped cream. My life will never be the same.

Pin of the week: Suddenly, I am filled with the urge to visit Milwaukee

Instagram of the week: A new discovery with a stunning feed

Facebook share of the week:

Vote for my recipe and you'll be entered too
Posted by The Yum Yum Factor on Sunday, August 16, 2015

Minty Portuguese Style Octopus Salad

When we were in Portugal, we ate some version of octopus salad everywhere we went. Some had tomato and onion, some were just bowls of chopped octopus, doused with copious amounts of olive oil, vinegar and herbs and others were brightened with lots of cilantro and lemon juice. I don't think I could even pick a favourite if I tried, but, if you put a gun to my head, I might say that it was the octopus salad we ate at Ponto Finale (check that meal out here ).

When I don't have the time or inclination to cook and prepare my own octopus, I buy a few chunks of cooked octopus in olive oil from my favourite little Italian grocery store and use that. This is a typical dinner for The Kid and I when we are on our own - just add some crusty bread and a green salad (and a frosty glass of rose for me) and you have got yourself the perfect summer meal and you never had to turn on a stove or do anything more strenuous than chop a tomato.

Although I do love it with cilantro, for a change I thought I would use some basil and mint from my garden, remembering how much I loved an tuna conserve dish I ate at Bar Raval .The biggest surprise was the unexpected hit of mint hiding there in my first forkful. If it works with tuna in oil, I figured it would also be beautiful with octopus marinated in oil and I was right.

 Minty Portuguese Style Octopus Salad

if you are not lucky enough to live near an Italian or Portuguese grocery store that sells cooked octopus in oil at their deli counter, find some good quality canned octopus and use that.

serves 2 or 3 as an appetizer


approx 75 g cooked octopus marinated in oil, sliced into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup finey diced tomato
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, grated on a rasp
about 1 scant tbls of chopped, fresh basil
1 heaping tbls chopped, fresh mint
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil (use the best quality oil you have)
1 tbls white balsamic vinegar or other mild white vinegar like rice wine or champagne
pinch kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper


Mix everything together in a bowl, cover and let sit at least 15 or 20 minutes at room temperature. If you are not going to eat it right away, store it in the fridge and let it sit out for 15 minutes before you serve it.

Win Tickets To The First Canadian Food & Wine Show

I am ridiculously excited about the impending, inaugural Food and Wine show right here at Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto this fall. For years, I have been reading about this travelling food show in Food and Wine magazine, fantasizing about flying to one of the host cities to attend. This fall, I will no longer have to fly to Chicago, NYC, Austin or LA because the circus is coming to town!

Formerly known as The Delicious Food Show, the new partnership with Food and Wine magazine will now mean Toronto is added to the roster of Food and Wine festival participants and the show will be bigger and better than ever. Packed with amazing Canadian talent, there will also be international food stars like Alton Brown, Tyler Florence and Curtis Stone on hand. It will be three days of non stop food nirvana with demos, tastings, lectures and more; a foodapalooza, if you will and I will be there the whole weekend.

5 Reasons You Need to Visit Toronto FOOD & WINE Festival 2015

1. Curtis Stone, Tyler Florence, Gail Simmons, Chuck Hughes, Roger Mooking, Mark McEwan, Antonio Park and many more will be taking to the stages for demos, talks and workshops throughout the three-day event.

2. You’ll be able to sample, sip and savour all the flavours from 130 purveyors of premium products, fine foods and beverages from Ontario, Canada and around the world in the Grand Tasting Pavilion – presented by PC Black Label.

3. For the first time ever, Cochon 555 is bringing its flavour-packed marquee events series to Canada allowing guests to sink their teeth into over 1400 pounds of expertly prepared pork dishes by the hottest chefs including Chuck Hughes, Matty Matheson and more. 

4. Expert-level educational workshops welcome legendary masters like Kevin Kent (Knifewear), Tetsuya "Ted" Iizuka (Soba Canada), and Antonio Park (Park Restaurant) to share their knowledge regarding time-held traditions like knife skills and soba noodle making.

5. Canada’s Best New Student Chef will be crowned after an exciting and unique cooking competition called Taste Canada Cooks the Books. Some of the brightest up-and-coming culinary talents from schools across Canada will gather in front of a live audience in the Miele Kitchen to make a dish from a well-known Canadian cookbook, with the author on stage!

So, how would you like to win two passes to this shindig?

$28 online until 11:59 PM E.S.T on August 21, 2015
$32 online as of August 22, 2015
$36 at the onsite box office

Follow The Food&Wine Show on Twitter and Facebook to get all the latest updates

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Week in Yum -Aug1-7 Another Weekend in Ottawa and Playing With My Actifry

The Kid and I accompanied Shack to Ottawa for the long weekend since it was a holiday and we have been leaving The Kid at home up until this point. Every kid, even a full time working man with facial hair, has to spend at least one long weekend suffering through his dorky parents.

We didn't do anything touristy, just walked around, ate some good food and showed the manchild the city before hopping on the train with him to come home Monday night, leaving his papa there to work nights for the next few weeks out in the woods. Oh, we did go see Ant Man on Sunday night and IT WAS FUNNY. Who knew?? A movie about a superhero who fights with an army of ants didn't suck?

We made return visits to Ace Mercado, Ola Cocina and Lowertown Brewery (more about those places in last week's roundup, here) so that I could write actual reviews, which will be coming soon. We also fit in a visit to Oz Kafe , one of Shack's favourite places to get late night snacks - okay, it is also one of the few places to get decent food after 10 pm but it helps that it's good enough to go earlier too. It's situated in this weird little courtyard on Elgin, below street level and sandwiched between a Mexican restaurant, a pub and a Japanese/Korean place with a quasi communal courtyard. Far too many people came to sit down at one of Oz's tables only to pick up and move to the upper level because they wanted to eat at the mediocre Mexican place. I wanted to yell at all of them to sit the hell down and enjoy much better food from Oz but I am a bit afraid of Ottawa residents now that I know that they have the highest concentration of Ashley Madison members in the world. Still waters run deep, right?

I spent the rest of the week playing with my new Actifry Express XL, courtesy of T-fal Canada. I have been dying to get my hands on one of these things and I have to tell you, I am having a lot of fun with it. The maiden voyage was a batch of potato/sweet potato fries that I turned into poutine since french fries are the main reason most people buy one. I wasn't surprised when the fries turned out to be quite good and although not really comparable to actual deep fried fries, they are certainly on par with oven roasted except that I only used about 1/2 tbls of olive oil and they were perfect for poutine.

I also had good success with chicken wings, pretty good success with cauliflower but a batch of sweet potato fries came out soggy. I did not rinse and dry them first because I just cut the sweet potato up an hour or so before cooking and they were dry. The instructions always say to rinse and dry the potatoes thoroughly and I guess they aren't kidding around. This weekend I am trying some of my vietnamese chicken meatballs in there without the paddle.

Pin of the week:

Instagram of the week: I love this feed from a photographer from Oaxaca

Facebook share of the week: Shameless shilling for your votes for my Blue Seoul Nuggets lol

Tweet of the week: Food is all fine but the Republican Debate was golden:

Taking an Actifry For a Spin with Sausage Poutine

Okay, this is not a review of my newest kitchen toy, the Actifry Express XL by T-Fal because I just got it and have only used it once to make french fries. This particular Actifry is brand new in Canada and it cooks food up to 30% faster than the previous machines. It is also HUGE. It looks like a big, black spaceship, which I like but, honestly, it's huge and you need to have a lot of space to store this baby. This one makes enough food to feed six though, so if you have a whack of kids, this one would be your best bet.  It's got a nice, big digital screen so it's really easy to set the time and comes totally assembled so you can basically pop it out of the box, take out the bowl and the blade, give them a quick wash, pop them back in and go.

 I will say that the french fries that came out of it were crispy and tasty and that I used less than a tbls of olive oil to make 750 grams of potato/sweet potato fries, so that is a good thing.

Are they as crispy and delicious as deep fried?
No, of course not.
Are they better than my oven fried french fries?
Not really, but they are just as good in a different way AND I use much more than 1 tbls of olive oil when I make oven fries.

I turned them into poutine and, for that, they were perfect. They were certainly crisp enough to stand up to the sauce and I could eat it without all the extra fat calories from deep fried fries so that I could concentrate all of my fat love on extra cheese curds and sauce instead. They also took on a nice shade of brown, which another thing I was worried about because nobody likes pales fries - we eat with our eyes, people.

I will try some more things in there and share updates via social media so, if you are not following me on Twitter or Instagram you are missing the real time updates on all of my kitchen and travel shenanigans, so do something about that.

Actifry Sausage Poutine

You can use leftover sausage or cook one anyway you like - grill it, fry it, roast it then slice it up and fry it until the edges get crispy. Hot Italian, Chorizo - whatever sausage you prefer. The amount of cheese curds you use per serving is totally up to you - use as little or as much as you like.

You Need:

french fries (if you don't have an Actifry, use fries made however you make them)
1 or 2  cooked sausage, sliced and fried until browned around the edges (I sous vide mine at 141F for 2 hrs)
cheese curds
Poutine Sauce

French Fries:

750g of a mix of sweet potato and russet potato
about 1/2 of the green spoon included with the Actifry of olive oil
maldon salt

Cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into french fry wedges (I cut them on the thinner side as I had read that when the wedges are too thick, they don't work as well). Wash in cold water, rinse and then dry them thoroughly using a clean tea towel or paper towel.
Pile the fries into the bowl of the actifry, put about 23 minutes on the timer and start the machine. When it stops, open the top and sprinkle in a  big pinch of maldon (or other coarse salt), shut the lid and cook for five more minutes.

It makes a noise but it's not that loud and I could totally ignore it as the fries were cooking. It sounds louder in the video than it did when I was working in the kitchen - less like sitting in the economy cabin of Air Transat than you would think.


1 tbls butter
1 tbls flour
2 cups chicken stock
approx 1 tsp champagne or white balsamic vinegar
dash soy sauce (approx 1/2 tsp)
4 or 5 sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and after you add the flour, cook it, stirring the roux constantly, for a couple of minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and the vinegar, whisk well to make sure there are no lumps and simmer until the volume reduces by half. When it has reduced and is thick enough to lightly coat a spoon, add the splash of soy sauce, stir, cover the pot and keep warm on low heat.

To Assemble:

Put a handful of hot fries in the bottom on a shallow bowl and scatter a small handful of cheese curds over top and ladle a bit of sauce over the whole thing. Repeat for another layer and add sausage slices on the very top. Serve.

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