This month’s interview brings us an in-depth talk with Lin, a.k.a. @BoozyChef. A lover of wine and a dyed-in-the-wool proponent of adding it to recipes whenever possible, Linda is a creative cook and pairer of meals and vino, as well as an all-around fascinating conversationalist on things edible and potable. She answered some questions this month on topics ranging from the birth of her love for cooking with wine to Fall foods she loves working with.
Flavorful World: What would you say is the most significant source of inspiration that drives you to create and explore food and wine?
Lin: Chef Keith Floyd said: “Cooking is an art and patience a virtue. Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist.”
There are two people who inspire & drive me with regards to food:
My mother is my inspiration. You could give my mother any kind of ingredient and she would be able to make something out of it. A time before the internet existed. She never disliked or citied against any food or something someone gave her no matter how good or bad the food was.
My daughter is my biggest drive. I often feel like she is a bigger food lover than myself. The other reason she inspire & pushes my food creativity back to basics is she does not do too well with processed food. This makes my life very busy but it also has reintroduced me to traditional meals that I grew up with, and to the world of canning foods, fermented foods and a whole list of new foodie friends :). In a way, we create food art. Some of these wonderful people include @ZeroWasteChef, @SashaEats, @Jay_Eatz, @StreetFoodUK, and #FoodieChats.
Wine is self-driven. I am still feeling my way around in the wine world. But wine is not just what you drink; it is the history of the country, province where the vineyard is, the soil, the family history, traditions, the climate, the geography that goes with it, the hands that worked on the vineyard, the corks we collect for our Pinterest projects & all the hard work that goes into making our delicious wine. I have also been inspired by some of my friends at #WiningHourChat (Li, Cara, Magee, Doug, Chris & many more), @RealWineGuru, @TheWineStalker, @CatalunyaWine, @SingularAromaCo, and #SonomaChat. All very amazing folks that have helped me thru my journey.
I do drink beer too, just as an FYI 🙂
FW: You’re planning a meal comprised of any three courses you see fit to choose. What is your ideal food and wine pairing for each course, and why?
L: Starter: Cheese (Brie, goat cheese, cheddar, salami, nuts, fruits & Christmas Chutney). Wine pairing for this would be a Riesling with Beaujolais.
I would use Riesling as there are variations on the sweetness and medium to high acidity you can get. but mainly you have a lot of summer fruits in this one drink. It’s hard to go wrong with a Riesling. plus it pairs beautifully with the Brie and the Christmas Chutney
Beaujolais is a beautiful light red wine it contains all berries made from Gamay grapes, low tannins, isn’t overly expensive added plus from France . it has the right acidity for the cheese & the Salami. Plus we get to go on a tour over Europe with these two choices.
Main Course: Fish curry and roasted veggies. Wine Pairing: Gewürztraminer
Pairing fish curry with roasted veggies might be an odd combo, but you get your 5 a day (veggies and fruit). Gewürztraminer is a very simple yet beautiful drink containing citrus, fruit & low acidity. Citrus pairing well with the fish and the curry flavor.
Dessert: Marsala wine-poached pears with cinnamon. Wine pairing: Canadian Icewine
Both the Marsala and icewine are dessert wines. The Marsala has some strong red characteristics, tamarind being one of them, with a hint of cinnamon. The icewine is a tribute from me to Canada. The art of icewine-making cannot be overlooked, the patience & skill of waiting for frozen grapes on the vine for a late harvest, with their concentrated sugars retained. This is a winemaking art.
If all else fails, Beer shall help 🙂
FW: Your social media pages describe you as loving to cook and adding a ‘splash’ of wine to everything you make. Where was this love of cooking born? Tell us about the most recent dish you incorporated wine into, and why you chose that wine.
L: As a kid I always watched my mother cook many meals and could remember what she put into her dishes. As an adult, I just wing it. I didn’t learn to cook until the age of 21. I came to Alberta, Canada as an international student. I didn’t know how to cook anything (well, anything but rice and chicken tikka). The first book I ever owned was an Asian cook book from Costco’s, “The essential Asian cook book”. This recipe book taught me how to make dhal, one of the essentials of my life back then. I often made food that didn’t end up looking like the picture, many tears were shed over this. Eventually I stopped looking at the pictures and just worked on the flavor and worried less about look. I have to thank my husband for letting me test all my cooking on him. Many say people eat thru their eyes…some days our eyes deceive us. Cooking, like everything else, requires practice. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.
My Shepherd’s pie always has wine in it. that way it brings in nice, rich color and flavor to it. It also is a mix of lamb mince and beef mince. I believe in what Chef Keith Floyd said: ‘If you won’t drink the wine, why would you put it in your food?’ I also believe in 1/2 a glass for the pot, 1 glass for me, as far as the wine is concerned :). Wine is a friend and besides, white wine is excellent for deglazìng your pans. But beer makes the best battered fish and chips 😉
FW: You do quite a bit of canning and preserving at home. What tips can you offer to beginners looking to get started with this practice, and what led you to become interested in it?
L: When I moved out here I was on a Twitter chat and people started talking about canning. I was making Christmas Chutney and knew nothing about the jars sealing, and went to visit my neighbor, who told me the technique of canning, and I was hooked. I had to borrow my neighbor’s canner and made Christmas Chutney, then peaches, and then tomatoes. I had enough tomatoes to feed the entire street 🙂
For first-time doers:
- Like me, borrow someone’s canner to make sure you want to get into this exotic life style 😉
- Learning about acidity (lemon is your friend so buy shares with your farmer ;)).
- Know your farmer and buy food that is organic & pesticide free.
- Don’t be like me and buy 10 lbs of peaches as one of your second experiments. or 30 lbs of tomatoes for your 3rd experiment.
- Sterilization is very important!
- Make sure it is a group activity if you decide to be crazy like me ;)—make sure you get someone to clean up after lol. That’s when the group help is the best 🙂
FW: You recently (and to resounding success) tried your hand at making apple pie. What is a dessert that you enjoy making more frequently, and what makes it a favorite recipe?
L: Apple pie is absolutely a lovely recipe, an artistic recipe, but it’s not something I made or ate while growing up. My all time favorite dessert is gulab jamun. It takes me back to my childhood eating it at the restaurant with my parents. The sweetness brings back many a happy memories. I have made it a few times and it is delicious. That satisfies the Eastern side of me, but Tiramisu satisfies the western side of me. Here is a lovely recipe by David Rocco: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/tiramisu0.html. It is absolutely delicious, if you don’t mind the raw eggs. Plus you get to work out your biceps.
FW: What food and/or wine festival(s) held outside your country of residence have you never attended, but would be most excited to go to? What aspect of that festival makes it the most attractive?
- Taste of London – London has so many great restaurants, it would be great to try them in one sitting :). That would be so much fun.
- I also would like to go to Oktoberfest for the beer and the great German food, plus that way I get to go to the farmers market and buy numerous things to test.
- La Tomatina, Spain: I have read so much about this while growing up, it would be unfair to not be hit by a tomato at least once in your life. Hopefully it won’t be too, too rotten. Plus, who doesn’t want to act like a 4-year-old? 😀
- Galaway Oyster Festival, Ireland: Largest Oyster festival. Who doesn’t want to watch oysters being shucked?
- RAW Wine Fair, London, Berlin (or the new RAW Wine Fair NYC this autumn): I do like natural and biodynamic wines so this would be very exciting for me to say the least.
FW: What seasonal Fall fruits and vegetables are you most looking forward to working with this year? In what dishes are you most likely to use them?
- Beets – roasted , salads & pickled (Indian version). Beetroot yoghurt is part of a meal I used to eat at a festival called Onam (Kerala, India). It compliments the array of vegetarian dishes that you get served on a banana leaf.
- Carrots – roasted or canned with garlic or dill, or even as a sweet dish. But not looking forward to grating them.
- Pumpkin – to puree, which will make great pumpkin cheese cake or Mexican pumpkin drink.
- Apples – stewed apples, apple sauce, and apple butter—great for a snack & tummy aches.
- Parsnips – roasted for fries, or added with potatoes when making Shepherd’s pie.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits?
LL: “The Family Cookaholic” 😛 😀
FW: When you aren’t cooking and eating delicious things, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
L: I love doing LAUNDRY (just kidding!!!) I have two little people aged 4, a.k.a my mini-bosses. I like to run around with them at home and tickle them and act like a 4-year-old. Some days we do crafts and the glitter fairy comes by. They don’t judge my immaturity. Instead, they love it :). Gardening is also something I enjoy a lot. As weird as it sounds I love to take care of the plants and spend time with Pete, our 15-year-old dog 🙂 If time permits, we squeeze a book in.
*Note to readers: Follow Linda (that’s “Lin” to her friends) on Instagram and Twitter if enjoying a good dose of humor, some stunning photos, and a more than occasional sip of wine knowledge with your meals sounds like a good way to go through life. (It certainly does to me).