Category Archives: Recipes

Lime Cordial

In a previous post on the great Gin Challenge of 2019 I promised the recipe for home-made lime cordial. So here it is!

Lime Cordial Recipe

  • Get some limes. Five is a good number to start. Let them get to room temperature
  • Wash the limes, scrubbing them with a dishcloth or a soft vegetable brush
  • Peel the limes using a vegetable peeler, trying to get only the green skin (minimize the amount of white pith). Don’t worry if the resulting peel is in small pieces – it will be used for flavour and then discarded.
I find that y-shaped peelers like this one work well.
  • Juice the limes and measure the amount of juice
  • Measure some table sugar. I find for cocktails the best ratio is 1:1 sugar to lime juice, but adjust as you see fit
  • Mix the juice and sugar in a non-reactive container. The sugar will eventually dissolve but if you want to speed up the process you can heat it up while stirring. If you do this try not to let the mixture come to the boil
  • Remove from heat, and add the lime peels to the juice, crushing them with your hands as you do
  • Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 24 hours, then strain out the lime peels
  • Store in the refrigerator. It will keep for a long time, as the acids and high sugar content make for a hostile atmosphere for pesky microorganisms
  • If you must have the unnatural neon-green hue of Rose’s Lime Cordial, I suppose you could add food colouring. But you’re on your own – this is one avenue that I don’t intend to explore.
And it looks like this.


Frankly, this stuff is so delicious that I have been known to just eat a spoonful straight out of the jar. But the traditional use is to thin lime cordial with soda water to make a nice summer drink.

However the key point of lime cordial, at least in my establishment, is that it allows you to mix up a batch of gimlets.

Gimlet Recipe

  • Start with a mixing glass or a the large half of a Boston cocktail shaker.
  • Pour in 1 1/2 ounces of gin (Plymouth Gin would be a good choice) and 3/4 ounce of lime cordial per serving.
  • Add a good number of ice cubes: Four will work, but six is better
  • Stir with a cocktail spoon until the mixture is ice-cold. Thirty seconds is probably enough. You should see a strong layer of condensation on the outside of the mixing tin/glass.
  • Strain into stemmed cocktail glasses
  • Enjoy!
  • Hint: if you have leftover mixture in the mixing glass, strain it out into a clean glass and put it into the fridge. If you leave it in the mixing glass it will become diluted. No one wants a weak and watery cocktail.
home-made lime cordial

BTW the cocktail glass shown on the left is a classic design called a Nick and Nora glass. I prefer it over the martini style as it is less prone to tipping over and takes up less real estate in the cabinet. I bought mine at The Crafty Bartender.

Burnt Orange – A new cocktail

“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”

— Dorothy Parker

So one night recently I was watching Springwatch on the Beeb and sipping a wee dram of Scotland’s finest. After the show I went to waste some time on the machine – Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition being my latest addiction. At some point I thought a bit of Cointreau would finish off the evening, so I poured a small slug. It was late and the room is not well lit – at least that’s my excuse for not noticing that a small amount of single malt still remained in the glass.

On the surface this looks like a recipe for disaster, but the result was intriguing. The main impression was the dry intense orange flavour of Cointreau, but somehow the smoky, peaty malt added a very pleasing edge to the concoction.

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For a long time I failed to see the point of guacamole. It was a tasteless green paste that occasionally showed up on your plate at natural foods restaurants, the proprietors apparently believing that its sickly chartreuse hue contrasted pleasingly with the dish you had ordered.

Then in 2002 I had a religious experience. At the end of a fine week at a cycling camp run by Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo (see link to PAC Tours), we now-hardened roadies decided on a night out in Tucson. Imagine if you will a mile long strip of Mexican restaurants, only very few of them were mere generic Mexican – instead they featured cooking from the Yucatan, or Oaxaca, or Veracruz or Chiapas, and so on. A veritable cornucopia and only one meal to eat. Happy sigh.

Once we chose a place and ordered drinks, the waiter asked us if we wanted guacamole. The consensus was yes, so I went along with the crowd. Shortly thereafter the guacamole lady showed up with her cart, and after asking how we wanted it, proceeded to mash up the avocados and our chosen condiments in a large bowl. The result was a revelation – fresh, flavourable and very satisfying. I kept a close watch on how she made the stuff and have developed this recipe based on her technique plus a bit of experimentation. It’s dead easy to make and extremely delicious.

Guacamole Recipe


Guacamole is a rustic peasant food. It should be fairly rough in appearance: basically a well blended mass but with lots of chunks of avocado of various sizes. Looking a lot like this:


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In praise of chili garlic sauce

Chili garlic sauce


Seriously. One of mankind’s greatest inventions. Make a basic stir fry, then just before you thicken it, mix in two or three heaping teaspoons of the magic elixir. Result – nirvana. Or to be more correct, ambrosia (food of the gods).

This is a good brand, but they’re all pretty much the same. Chili, garlic and salt. Normally I would tend to shy away from products from the People’s Republic – their problems with food producers using dodgy ingredients are well documented – but I have to admit that the Lee Kum Kee sauce has a nice fresh taste. Speaking of fresh, remember that this ingredient is very inexpensive. It will last forever in the fridge but if it’s been open for six months or so why not splurge on a new jar?

OK, I hear you thinking, what’s a basic stir fry?

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Rôti de porc poêlé

Rôti de porc poêlé

(Adapted from Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol 1)

This has become one of our all-time favourite recipes and a great option for small dinner parties, but we came across it in an odd way. We were planning a big dinner because my sister Marianne was coming to visit us in Edmonton. I had come across a recipe for pork roast that sounded great – the sauce included madeira and three kinds of mushrooms. We were in Safeway picking out some chanterelles when Lynn said “does Marianne eat mushrooms?” Zut! She hates them and has been known to pick them off of pizza before eating it. So what to do with the large pork roast we had already acquired? A quick scan through the cooking “bibles” led us to this recipe. It is easy to make, delicious and not at all fiddly. With the exception of a bit of mashing at the end, the work is done and cleaned up long before the guests arrive.

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Swiss Steak – Eleanor Kerr’s Recipe

Simple and delicious! This recipe comes from my late and dearly missed mother-in-law, Eleanor Kerr. Unlike most Swiss Steak recipes there is no tomato included – just pure beef for beef lovers. It must be served with mashed potatoes so you can mop up the gravy.

This could be made with the finest artisanal heritage locally sourced Wagyu beef, but actually it works really well with whatever you have.


  •  1 lb round steak
  • 1 good-sized onion
  • Beef stock or red wine
  • Flour to coat
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fat. The best thing is to get a piece of beef fat from the butcher. Otherwise render the fat from your beef and add oil to make up the required amount.

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The best chocolate brownies ever (Recipe)

Chocolate Brownies (Jane Kaduck) These are the Best Brownies Ever, but don’t skimp on the ingredients! Use butter (not margarine or any other substitute) and good chocolate. Baker’s is the standard but you could push the boat out a bit more and go for Valrhona.

1.  Melt: 4 sq unsweetened chocolate with 1 cup butter

2. Sift together: 1 ½ cup white flour, ½  tsp baking powder, ½  tsp salt

3.  In a large bowl: Cream together: 4 eggs and 2 cups white sugar Beat in: 2 tsp vanilla, 1 Tbsp corn syrup Then beat in melted chocolate/butter, followed by the flour mixture.

4.  Bake in a greased 9×13 pan at 350F for 20 – 25 minutes. Brownies are done when they test done (with a toothpick) about 2 inches from the edge of the pan (not the centre).   (They continue to cook in their own heat after removing from oven).   In British ovens you may need to cook an extra 5 minutes or so with a piece of aluminium foil draped loosely over the top to prevent over-browning on top.

Top Tip: Don’t overcook these brownies. They should be very moist, Cool.  Frost with chocolate icing if desired.

Chocolate Frosting Melt: 3 heaping tbsp cocoa powder, 2 tbsp butter, 1 ½ to 2 cups icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 tbsp (approx) milk. Beat together.  Add more icing sugar/milk to achieve desired consistency.