I Made Noszki! A Polish Delicacy 

Besides climbing, one of the main reasons why I love to travel, is so that I can experience the world through my palate. This is also why I take pride in being able to recreate a lot of dishes by taste alone. Play by Ear? I Cook By Palate

One of the things I fell in love with, when I was visiting Adams birthplace, Warsaw, Poland, I was introduced by Ciocia (Auntie) to noszki. 

Noszki is a savory seasoned jelly filled with tender pork and typically peas and carrots. Like most cultural dishes there’s many variations including, using shredded turkey, boiled egg, and grzyby (mushrooms).

When I am creating traditional dishes I try to emulate the origianl recipe as much as I can. For those that know me, when I travel you’ll often find me asking about the local staple dish and then tirelessly ordering and eating the same thing in various places. 

I do this because it gives me a better idea what the staple dish tastes like. From this form of surveying I dedeuce the ingredients that are common in these dishes and try my best to make my own version applying the secret methods of preparation that I have learned over the years. 

The first time I had noszki it was in a prepackaged process form, and I didn’t really care for the flavor or texture. However I knew that this was a widely eaten dish and I endeavored to try it again… and again and again. 

The second time I tasted this dish was at a 50’s style milk bar diner  where you were able to experience the whole Milk Bar charm. Piece of bread roughly cut and carelessly buttered the. slapped onto a plate and place in front of you. A misshapen overturned bowl of noszki offset on a plate garnished by a smirk from your server. 

This was the most amazing noszki ever. A squirt of fresh lemon and a dash of Maggie sauce and my taste buds were exploding. The gelatin was delicate and melted in your mouth and the meat was perfectly spiced with bay leaves and peppercorn with a hint of nutmeg. 

From that point on every noszki I tried was delicious. Though not comparable to the milk bar I suddenly understood what it could and should be like. 

I find that in most cases. Until I try a very delicious version of a dish, I can’t quite grasp what it should be like. Perhaps it’s the contrast from a terrible rendition to a exquisite one, that allows me to finally crate a palatal spectrum. That’s definitely it, because from here I can imagine all the things in between! 

To those that love to eat and those willing to try things, here’s my recipe for noszki. 

(And to new readers, when I give recipes I typically only provide the method and the ingredients. This is because I practice cooking to taste so I find giving exact measurements makes it difficult to create the best outcome. )

“Cooking is an experience of the senses, one must learn to listen, taste, and feel in order to understand what the outcome should be.” – M.S


– Pork Hock / Feet 

– Gelatin 

– Fresh Parsley

– Carrots

– Celery

– Onion

– peppercorn 

– salt

– garlic

– marjarom /savoury/ thyme/ oregano (I didn’t have marjoram so I substituted with the other three, using very little oregano) 

– bay leaves 

– nutmeg


1. Place pork in a pot with just enough water to cover. Add fresh carrots, parsley, celery, onions and garlic. (Leave the whole) Add bay leaves, salt, peppercorn, nutmeg, and marjoram.  Boil on medium, until meat falls off the bone. (The longer the better, I boiled mine for about 4hrs) *Add water as needed. 

2. Strain the broth through cheese cloth/ fine strainer and return broth to pot.

3. Let meat and vegetables cool enough to dice. Return to pot.

4. Add more water if needed just enough to cover the ingredients. Add more fresh chopped garlic and extra spices to desired flavour. Should taste like a nice stew. 

5. Add roughly 1/2tbsp of gelatin per 1c of liquid. Bring to a boil. 

5. Remove from heat and pour into moulds! 

6. Chill overnight and serve with fresh lemon juice and Maggie sauce on toasted Ozery Morning Rounds

Please let me know how it goes and feel free to share your photos on Facebook or Instagram with #MelbasKitchen 

Teach Your Cat To Like Water.

Dragon is my 16 week old Russian Blue kitty and my goal is to train him to be able to face adversity and love the outdoors as much as I do.
 In these past few weeks Dragon has inspired people from all over to do things that we all once wrote off as impossible or too difficult.  If Dragon can do it so can you. 

Since I spend most of my time climbing and paddling I want Dragon to be able to join me in those activities safely and with pleasure.  I’ve been doing a number of things to try overcome his natural dislike for water. 

If you’re reading this for the first time it’s essential that you learn the Pet & Praise method and check out the first phase of water training described in the post Lesson 3: Water Exposure

Ideally by now you’ve been Petting & Praising the crap out of your cat for the past few weeks. I did this constantly for Dragon, pretty much for anything he did that wasn’t bad, I would tell him he was a “good boy”and rub all of his scent gland areas or whatever his favourite areas are. 
This method also really helps for when you are unhappy with his behavior because then he feels really, really, really, bad. From what I’ve researched and based on Dragons behavior, cats respond really well to positive feedback and attention and when they see you are upset with them, they don’t like disappointing you. 

He’s Outgrown the Sink Trick. 

Okay so now I have a happy kitty that wants to love me all the time and thinks he’s just the bees knees. Dragon is confident and ready to please. 

He loves his wet food and in the previous water training post I explained how I was using the sink to introduce him to associating happy feelings with water. Now he’s grown past that. He’s discovered that he can access his food dish without touching the water moat.

I came up with the next level of water training. 

The BathTub. 

Whenever it was wet food time I would fill the bathtub with a little bit of water and put his food dish in the middle. (Just enough to get his paws wet.) 

Sometime I keep the faucet trickling to simulate moving water, like that of creeks and streams. 

The first week he would walk circles on the bathroom floor “meow,” and look up at me. He would not enter the tub on his own. I would have to place him in the tub and his back would be arched as he tried to wolf his food down as fast as he could. 
The second week he would jump into the back end of the tub and try to drink the water. I think he was hoping he would be able to drain all the water and access his food dish. I still had to place him into the water by his food dish. 

By the third week whenever he heard the bathtub faucet turn on he would race to the bathtub jump in and already be waiting for his food. 

Now he’s ready for the ultimate test. A couple days ago I went to the Canmore Nordic Centre to play some disc golf and my disc flew into the stream. Dragon was on his leash clipped to my waist and he followed me through the creek like it was nothing. 

I mean I only have one test subject to validate my training technique, but I can tell you for certain. My cat doesn’t mind water. 

Good luck! Let me know how it goes for you cat and check out regular updates on Dragon’s training on instagram @HowToTrainMyDragon or for videos follow us on Facebook @MelbasToast.com 

The Road to 12a – Part 1.


Villia Maria, Colombia

The last couple years I’ve been saying “This is it. This is the year I start climbing 12a.”

Yet one thing after another kept getting in the way of my climbing goals. Work, time, travel, excuses and excuses. It really mainly came down to not being able to balance work, life and finances to allow for enough climbing time.

2015 was a completed write off due to the Woods Canada Dream Job gig. Which was amazing of course, but I spent maybe 15 days total, climbing that year.

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Sweater Vest for Cats: The Dragon Vest Tutorial

Every since I was a kid I loved working with my hands. At age 6 I taught myself how to knit looking at diagrams from a knitting book my aunt gave me. At the time I didn’t understand all the terminology and shorthand but pictures were easily understood.  Continue reading

Toilet Training My Kitten: Week 4

Training Dragon to be an adventure cat has been super rewarding so far. A lot of it is due to his breed of Russian Blues and the being loved and cared for by his breeder.

Now it’s up to me to continue his training and teach him to be the ultimate adventure cat.
Since Adam and I lead active lives climbing, paddling, skiing, snowboarding and all other random things, we require our cat to be held up to the same standard.  Continue reading

My Cat Learns to Play Fetch at 6am. 

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks obviously never heard of the adage “if at first you don’t succeed try and try again.”

Well Dragon has taught me that success reveals itself at odd hours of the day.  Continue reading

Stettler to Drumheller: Paddling the Red Deer River.

It feels as though it’s been ages since our last canoe trip. Since we’ve met, Adam and I have made it a tradition to do at least one paddling trip a year. Last year with over 30 days paddling, during the Woods Canada Cross Canada Journey, I feel as though I’ve short changed myself this year.  Continue reading

Homemade Cat Toys: Nip Fish & Mice

Dragon is not just any kitten. He’s on a training program to be the most epic adventure cat ever.

His other purpose is to inspire all of us “indoor cat” types to get outside and try something new.

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Discover Your Inner Dragon.

A couple weeks ago my little Russian Blue arrived and entered my life. His name is Dragon.

I feel like his journey to embracing the outdoors can be empathized by nearly everyone. It’s about challenging yourself to brave new things and discover the Dragon within you.

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