Cooking Classes


Food Photography Motivates Me

Every now and again procrastination creeps in. I have an article due but just can't begin. This time my excuse was somewhat legit. I was waiting on my foraged food box from northern Saskatchewan. Then life gets in the way and it was down to the wire. I had one day to phtograph four or five recipes. Only daylight will suffice.
Cooking is the first step. Then comes plating and shot after shot until I am happy with an image.
Extra plates and bowls are helpful in carefully plating for the photo. A few extra slices of bread, just to be sure. Lots of dishes to do.

Playing with the right plate, the right background, the right light, the right props. All these dishes for a simple picture of bacon morel crostini.
All this just to get the right photo.


Lake Diefenbaker Steelhead Trout baked on a Plank

Last week I prepared a meal for 35 people. To say I was feeling a bit of pressure is to state the obvious. Guest of honour was dee Hobsbawn-Smith. I have followed dee since we both lived in Calgary. I clipped her columns from the Calgary Herald. And I enjoyed food at her restaurant Foodsmith back in the early 1990's.

Today she lives west of Saskatoon on the family farm and I live in Swift Current, SK. Pure coincidence that we both moved back around the same time. The only difference is that dee didn't know me from a hole in the ground. Meanwhile, I am stalking her and knowing she moved to the province I didn't exactly know where.

She is an artist, an artist with words and food, and it fitted that she may have chosen Eastend. I also checked out that ranching area.

Fast forward and serendipity has brought us together. Dee is the Saskatoon convivium leader for Slow Food. After inviting her to speak in my town about Slow Food I drove to Saskatoon and volunteered at their annual Slow Food fundraiser dining experience.

I would have thought I might have been nervous and shy but dee has a gentle and kind manner about her. She makes one feel comfortable and is genuinely interested in you.

So back to the dinner for 35. On the Wednesday before her Sunday reading here in town we had only four people signed up. I considered cancelling or at least moving it to my dining room table. Within two days 35 people signed up for a locavore Slow Food style meal.

This steelhead is one of the dishes I made for that dinner. Lucky me, my Community Supported Foraging box had just arrived from northern Saskatchewan and I had some splendid wild foraged ingredients.

Planked Steelhead Trout

spruce tips
camelina oil
baby rhubarb
sea salt
spruce tip syrup
cedar or alder plank
side of steelhead trout, skin on

Make a simple syrup by boiling one cup of water with one cup of sugar. Add 1/4 cup of spruce tips and continue to simmer until the syrup thickens. Cool and strain.

Finely chop a tablespoon of young spruce tips. Finely chop red baby rhubarb. Add both to the syrup.

Preheat plank in a 475 F oven until you can smell the wood. Rub with oil. Lay a side of trout on the hot board, skin side down. Rub the fish with oil and the syrup mixture. Place in the hot oven and bake for about ten minutes, or done.


A Drive in the Country - Grasslands National Park

On top of 70 Mile Butte. This is more than an historical landmark to anyone who makes the journey.

The evening primrose has a heavenly scent.

This is an authentic dinosaur bone that lays exposed and untouched. Why? That's what I love about Canada. Respect.


Quicksand is just as we have learned. No way I would step beyond that sign. No way.

The East Block is so very different from the West Block. No buffalo. No prairie dogs.