Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Local Restaurants and Melk Terts

If you ever read the comments, yesterday, Marilyn of French Marilyn's Blog (see link this page) mentioned rabbit and I replied describing rabbit Matt once had in a local restaurant. This restaurant is 'just down the road' from us, literally. It is a converted New Apostolic Church so they called it Verses which is very appropriate. We ate there once (our pockets are not deep enough to eat there regularly) and had a delightful meal with me having the duck and Matt the rabbit which as I said, he thought the best he had ever eaten, my duck was certainly excellent too. They had wines made specially for them, not sure by whom. The conversion has retained a lot of the original features of the church including (when we went anyway) bare wooden floors which I thought were a tad noisy for a restaurant and I would have partially carpeted, at least where the waiters walked. This was a few years ago when the restaurant first opened and they may have changed things. In Waterloo which is kind of joined on to Kitchener and apart from signs, you can't really tell where one begins and t'other ends there is a restaurant called Rushes and is at the Waterloo Motor Inn. We have eaten there several times over the years and the food is excellent. One year we went for their Christmas Buffet and were extremely impressed with everything they put on that day, seemed like never ending turkeys, hams and beef roasts not to mention all the hors d'oeuvres and puds of all kinds. We were most impressed. However, it would have been much more fun had we had someone with us. As it was, we kind of stuffed ourselves and went home. We went to a similar function in the UK and they had a party afterwards which was great. Again, not far up the road from us is the Troika Equestrian Country Club which also has an excellent restaurant. You can watch horses being trained in the indoor riding arena through a large plate glass window or you can walk round the stables before or after your meal. If you want to look at their menu click here to see what they offer. That's just three of the great restaurants we have round here and there are many more of differing standards many offering ethnic foods. We abound with Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai restaurants too, especially in Waterloo which is a University town and has students from all over, including lots of Asians. The Blackberry hails from Waterloo and a lot of top dot com companies come to Waterloo to recruit new people. Oh to be younger, I would love to have worked in the computer industry. Anyway, despite all these restaurants, we mostly eat in, partly because we are able to cook good meals anyway and partly because we do enjoy wine with dinner which brings up the problem of driving, not to mention the exhorbitant corkage prices. Marilyn, again, emailed me this morning about Melk Tert which I posted a recipe for in December here at which time she told me that the recipe most often used in South Africa was adapted from a French recipe for flan and taken to South Africa by the Hugenots. A South African friend of mine disagreed with this and figured the recipe originated with the Dutch. Either way, the one I made was delicious. This is the one Marilyn bought to serve for dinner. Shame on you Marilyn, they are easy enough to cook *g*. We had Tourtière for supper last night. Originally this recipe came from the LCBO's Food and Drink magazine. However, I changed a couple of things and used bought frozen pastry instead of making my own. I have never been much of a pastry cook unfortunately although my ex husband's second wife taught me to have a lighter hand. In the recipe it calls for adding stock until the meat is just covered. Don't be fooled into adding more than the measurement below, you won't need it and will probably end with a lot of liquid left. I am going to turn what I have remaining into soup. Tourtière As a change, you can use frozen puff pastry for your pies. Filling 2 Tbs olive oil 1 lb ground pork 1 lb ground beef 1 lb ground veal 2 cup finely chopped onion ¾ cup finely chopped carrot 1¼ cup chopped fennel 1 bay leaf 1 tsp dried thyme 1½ tsp dry mustard 1½ tsp allspice 1 tsp cinnamon 3 Tbs rolled oats Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 1/4 cup beef stock 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley per pie 1 Tbs dried breadcrumbs or ½ Tbs semolina per pie Egg wash 1 egg beaten 1 Tbs whipping cream 4 boxes of frozen pastry - defrosted (2 shells in each) I used deep shell pie crusts for the bottoms and regular crusts for the top. 1 Heat oil in a heavy pot over high heat. Add ground meat and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the pinkness disappears. Drain off fat. 2 Stir in the onion, carrots, fennel, bay leaf, dried thyme, dry mustard, all-spice, cinnamon, rolled oats and salt and pepper. Add enough stock to just cover the top of the meat. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook slowly for about 45 minutes, or until the onions disappear. Check and stir after 30 minutes. Re-season if needed. Cool, remove and discard bay leaf and stir in parsley. 3 Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C. 4 Take out four pastry shells to use as bottoms and sprinkle with breadcrumbs or semolina to absorb any fat. Pile meat mixture onto each pastry crust, leaving a 1 inch border. Brush edge of pastry with water. Top with remaining crusts and press edges together to seal, crimping decoratively if desired. 5 Combine beaten egg with cream and brush over pastry. Cut steam vents into the top crusts. 6 Bake for 15 minutes in lower half of the oven. Reduce heat to 400°F/200°C and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crusts are golden. Cooking four pies it is necessary to rotate their positions in the oven. (Actually I didn't this time and they came out fine, but watch they don't burn). Servings: 6 Have a great day.


  1. Jo -- I like the church having been turned into a restaurant. I know that in the UK (seen it on BBC tv) they are now converting chapels into homes. I was wondering whether I would be able to live in one. Thought that I couldn't somehow; you know waking up in the middle of the night and the Virgin Mary staring down at me from the window. Or looking into a crucifix encrusted in the facing wall.

    Milk tart's difficult to bake, Jo. And they are not expensive, so it's all round easier just to get one from the bakers'.

    Should your SAfrican friend ever come to Paris then she must look me up so that I can give her 'boer' milk tart to eat. I really do not think it originated in Holland. At least I've not yet seen them there.


  2. Well my friend travels to the UK to work sometimes in the summer so next time I know she is going to be over I will tell her to visit you in Paris.

    I seem to remember knowing someone who lived in a converted church, but don't recall who. I certainly knew people who lived in a converted pub.