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First, We Brunch – Cookbook Review

First, We Brunch – Cookbook Review

Beyond the Books

I have the pleasure today of introducing you to a new cookbook from Outlander Kitchen Cookbook photographer, Rebecca Wellman. First, We Brunch is a collection of recipes and stories from Victoria, BC, famed as the brunch capital of Canada.
Each one of Rebecca’s gorgeous photographs draw you further into the book, and brunch in Victoria. The recipes are sourced from some of Victoria’s best chefs and most popular restaurants. If you’re in Victoria, you’ll also love the shopping/ingredient section, as well as the chapter on where to get the best breakfasts to go!

In addition to brunch favourites like Eggs Benny and Scrambles, here’s a short list of the many recipes that caught my eye:

  • Selection of Eggs Benny and Hollandaise recipes
  • Prosciutto and Asparagus Brunch Sala
  • Chicken Waffles (topped with Eggs Benny)
  • Mussels with Homemade Sausage
  • Pulled Pork Pancakes
  • Brioche Cinnamon Buns

And there’s cocktails too! I’m intrigued by the Carried Away, with akavit and sherry, as well as a Corpse Reviver #2 (just because it sounds like a hangover elixir of the highest repute).

First, We Brunch (paperback) is available tomorrow, October 24, on both Amazon Canada and Amazon US, as well as the restaurants featured, and brick-and-mortar bookstores.

Rebecca and her publisher, have generously allowed me to share a recipe from the cookbook; Agrius’s recipe for their Smoked Ham Hock Terrine Tartine is below. I used a jar of homemade sauerkraut instead of making my own, and the results were delicious. The terrine keeps for up to two weeks, and gets more delicious with age. Any leftovers after that can be stirred into a pot of split pea soup for an extra boost of body and flavour.
First, We Brunch - TerrineRecipe and photo courtesy TouchWood Editions. Recipe by Agrius; excerpted by First, We Brunch by Rebecca Wellman © 2017

Smoked Ham Hock Terrine Tartine
Serves 4

Not everyone is motivated to make their own terrine, but if you are, here is a delicious one. And if you aren’t, the good news is that you can buy the rye, the terrine and the sauerkraut at Agrius, take it home and add a fried egg on top. Voilà.

Smoked Ham Hock Terrine

  • 3–4 smoked ham hocks
  • 5 carrots peeled, left whole
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 ribs of celery, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb of garlic, peeled and trimmed
  • 5 sheets gelatin, or enough to make 2 cups of liquid (see directions on package)
  • 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, washed and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, trimmed and chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3 Tbsp grainy Dijon


  • 5 lb green cabbage, cored and sliced into quarters
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

To assemble

  • 4 slices rye bread
  • Grainy mustard 4 eggs, cooked sunny-side up
    6 oz fresh greens of your choice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
    Salt and ground black pepper
    4 small dill pickles
To make the smoked ham hock terrine:

Preheat the oven to 300°F if you’re planning to use the oven rather than a slow cooker. Line a terrine mould or small loaf pan (about 3 1/2 inches × 3 1/2 inches × 12 inches) with plastic wrap.

Place the ham hocks, carrots, onion, celery and garlic in a large braising pot or a slow cooker. Just barely cover the vegetables with water and place a tight-fitting lid on top (or cover the pot tightly with aluminum foil).

Place the pot in the oven and cook for 4 hours if using a convection oven; cook for 6–8 hours if using a regular oven (at 300°F) or a slow cooker (on the low setting). The ham hocks are ready when tender and easy to pull away from the bone with a fork or pair of tongs. When cooked, remove 2 cups of the cooking liquid, then set the meat and vegetables aside to cool.

Using two forks, shred the meat, discarding the garlic, pork skin and bones. Place the meat in a large bowl. Dice the cooked carrots, onion and celery and add them to the bowl.

Dissolve the gelatin in the reserved cooking liquid, according to package directions.

Add the parsley, green onions, Dijon and dissolved gelatin to the meat and vegetables.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared terrine mould or loaf pan. Press it firmly into the mould and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic is pressed tightly against the surface of the meat mixture. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Remove the mould from the refrigerator and slice the terrine to your desired thickness with a sharp knife.

This will keep nicely in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1–2 weeks.

To make the sauerkraut:

Using a knife or a mandoline, cut the cabbage quarters into thin strips. Place the cabbage in a very large bowl.

Add the salt to the cabbage, and massage with your hands for 5–10 minutes, or until the cabbage has released a fair amount of liquid. (The amount of liquid released will depend on the cabbage. For example, a fresh cabbage could release enough liquid to allow the shredded cabbage to be completely submerged. If the cabbage is not quite fresh, you will still get an impressive amount of liquid from it, but you may have to supplement with salt water in order for the shredded cabbage to be completely covered. Dissolve 1 Tbsp salt in 1 cup of hot water. Allow this salt water to cool then add it to the cabbage.)

Stuff the cabbage and its liquid into a fermentation crock or container. Several sterilized 4-cup canning jars can be used if you don’t have a crock.
Weigh down the cabbage to submerge the solids in the liquid. Use a plate with a jar of stones on top, or the weight that will often accompany a fermentation vessel. If you are using canning jars, small resealable plastic bags filled with salt water can be placed on top of the cabbage before the lids are put on.

Seal the container with a lid with an airlock (if you don’t have one, open the lid every few days to release the carbon dioxide buildup and check for mould).

Store at room temperature (60°F–68°F) for 4–6 weeks. Check every week or so, tasting each time. When ready, the sauerkraut should taste sour and tangy. When the taste is to your satisfaction, transfer to a sterilized jar and top with a non-metallic lid. It will keep nicely in the refrigerator for about 3 months.

To assemble:

Remove the ham hock terrine and sauerkraut from the refrigerator and allow to warm up to room temperature (if terrine gets too warm it will start to melt).

Lightly toast the rye bread and spread a layer of mustard over each slice. Place one slice on each of four plates. Place a generous pile of sauerkraut and a slice of ham hock terrine on each piece of toast. Carefully place a fried egg on top of each terrine.

Dress the greens with the olive oil and lemon juice (or red wine vinegar), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place some greens and a dill pickle next to the toast on each plate and serve.