Squid in the Summer

  • Recipe(s): Super squid linguine (page 71)
  • Prep: Moderate
  • Taste: Very Good

The intro to this recipe in the books says that it is a perfect recipe to have in the summer with a large glass of Spanish wine. Well, on July 12, 2014 (in the middle of summer) we made this dish for a group of friends. I can’t necessarily say that we were drinking Spanish wine but wherever it was from it was very well paired with this dish!

My partner prepped most of the recipe, which is something she’s really quite a pro at – earlier in the day she chopped the parsley and chili, zested the lemon, and got the garlic ready to go into the press etc., after which she placed everything into their own airtight containers and put them in the fridge to be used later. Organization is her thing, if you can’t tell. Anyway, I had picked up the squid and pasta the day before, from Granville Island of course, and prepped it in the afternoon, after coming home from completing the Triple Crown. Why did we do everything ahead of time? Because we would rather have a drink with friends outside in the hot sunshine than be stuck in the kitchen prepping dinner! Anyway, prepping everything ahead of time makes the prep seem light but it is still moderate as there is quite a bit to do ahead of time.

Everyone that was at dinner rated this dish very good and I concurred. It was a very, very tasty dish, which was really made by the fresh pasta. I picked up the pasta from Dusa, at the Granville Island Market. It makes a meal sooooooo much better when fresh pasta is used. It is just that much lighter and not as stodgy as a store bought pasta. To me it actually allows the other ingredients to stand out more because you are not tasting that starchy taste you get from the packaged variety. The chili added with the garlic and lemon zest added a nice zing to the dish and the glass of white wine (the one added to the dish and not the one in my hand) added a nice perfume. There was just the right amount of squid included in the dish, which was cooked to perfection. It was nice and tender, which I was happy about. I was afraid of over-cooking it, which would have made it quite rubbery.

The sign that everyone else liked it was the fact that there was nothing left in the end. It was devoured!

We would definitely make this dish again, perhaps next summer, with another glass (or 5) of wine.

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Deep Fried Fun

  • Recipe(s): My favourite crunchy squid with lime and chilli mayonnaise (page 288) & Doughnuts with Old English spiced sugar (page 419)
  • Prep: Easy & Moderate
  • Taste: Good & Very Good

Two days, two recipes, lots of deep fried fun…..

Tonight, December 4, 2014, we made calamari and way back on September 28, 2014 we made delicious mini doughnuts. This was only my second foray into the world of deep frying and I can say at this point, I will definitely be doing more of it in the future.

Crunchy squid
I’m a huge fan of calamari. It’s one of my go to dishes when out for a few pints, so when I saw this in the book I was stoked to get a chance to make my own at home. After a quick run down to Granville Island to pick up some fresh squid I was back at home prepping away. Surprisingly the prep is easy for this recipe. If you make homemade mayonnaise the prep would definitely be more involved, however I used store bought mayonnaise so all I had to do was chop up some chilli, zest some citrus, and slice up the squid.

While the finished product wasn’t quite a good as calamari I have had at restaurants it was still pretty tasty. I made the entire recipe over two batches. The first was in the oil for 2 minutes and it was not quite crispy enough. I left the second batch in for about 4-5 minutes and it was much better. It had a very nice crunch with a perfectly cooked inside. The star of the dish, for me, was the dipping sauce. It was nice and tangy with a delightful creaminess and a bit of heat from the chilli pepper. While the calamari was pretty good on its own, it was taken to a whole new level when dipped in the sauce.

Knowing, now, how easy it is to make fresh calamari at home, I would consider making this again. The only reason I may not is the smell that is left in the apartment. When you walk back in from the outside all you can smell is the cooked oil. It smells kind of like a cheap restaurant.

Mini Doughnuts
This recipe was considerably more involved than the crunchy squid but definitely worth the effort. Not only are the doughnuts very good, you can say that you made homemade doughnuts! You will be the envy of your friends.

Speaking of friends, we actually made this recipe for some friends who were over for brunch. As they were to be served as dessert, we were up bright and early to prep the dough, which is quite the process. The other part of the prep that took some time was shaping the doughnuts, popping a hole in the middle and putting together your sugar mixture. The book says to use a chopstick to make the hole, which we did, but in the future we would probably use a tool that was a bit larger.

Once you have all your doughnuts shaped and ready to go all you need to do is deep fry them for a few minutes each, let them dry on some napkins, sprinkle them with your flavoured sugar, serve them to your friends and enjoy.

Everyone very much enjoyed the doughnuts. They were nice and airy with just the right amount of crisp on the outside. Aside from texture they also tasted very good. The addition of the lemon and orange zest was not something I had ever had in a doughnut before. It added a really nice savouriness to the finished product. The sugar mixture was very old school and reminded me of the sugar that Tim Hortons uses on their doughnuts. As with the dough, I thought the addition of the orange and lemon zest really kicked the flavour up a notch.

I would recommend being very liberal with the sugar and make sure you apply it while the doughnut is hot so it sticks better. I would also recommend making different size doughnuts. The beauty part of the recipe is that once you have your dough completed you can make whatever shape you would like. I made some larger doughnuts, some smaller ones and some that were just right. No matter the size they were all very good and I would definitely make this recipe again in the future. It is worth the deep fry smell in the apartment!