The Elwins are a fun and punchy pop band from Keswick, Ontario who are just about to release their second album, Play for Keeps, which is out on February 24. You can catch the band on the road beginning this week (they play our hometown of Calgary on Valentine’s Day if you’re looking for a date night!).
To celebrate all of this Elwins activity, we caught up with the band’s Feurd (a.k.a. “the one with the mustache”) about eating and cooking, plus his parents’ killer spiced nuts recipe:
When it comes to food, are you more of a cook or an eater? If you do cook, what are your specialties?
I enjoy both! In certain situations I like to be an eater and sometimes I really love to cook. I like making quesadillas and fajitas. My specialty is probably chicken salad with roasted vegetables. I try to do some more challenging stuff sometimes but those are definitely staples.
Which member of the Elwins is the best cook?
Hands down it’s Travis. He’s an amazing cook. He finished his drum parts of our first album really fast and made us delicious food the rest of the time. It was fantastic. He makes especially delicious pasta.
Your music seems like it would be fun to put on at a party. If you’re attending a party and the host asks you to bring food, what do you usually bring?
I love bringing chips and dip. It’s a fun and easy snack and a lot of people dig it. Making guacamole is fun so that’s something I would bring for sure.
Looks like you have a big tour of Canada ahead of you. Are there any cities that you’re most looking forward to from an eating perspective?
Definitely. We always stay with my Aunt Christie and Uncle Brian in Edmonton. The first time we stayed there it was summer and my Uncle loves to barbecue. He’s got all the gear. He made this homemade spicy relish for the sausages we had that totally blew us away. We always want it when we go back. Also our first show is at Amigos in Saskatoon and we always get delicious Tex-Mex there.
What kind of snacks do you guys usually eat in the van?
We have some cool food stuff going on in the van. We installed a power converter in our van so we could use normal appliances in it. We’ve used a rice cooker to make quinoa in the van before. Mostly we use it to make smoothies in a magic bullet which is a favourite. We use protein power, ice (usually acquired from a Tim Hortons), bananas, and some sort of nut butter (usually almond or sunflower seed).
What is the restaurant scene like in Keswick? Are there any hidden gems?
There are some great restaurants in Keswick actually. There’s an Italian place that recently opened up called Alfredo’s that’s quite nice. Travis’ favourite is a Mexican restaurant called Casa Autentica.
As an up-and-coming musician, have you ever worked in a restaurant as a day job?
A few of us have! I worked in the kitchen of a restaurant in Toronto called Julie’s Snack Bar that’s a Cuban place. Travis worked at the Canaan buffet and Matthew worked at Harvey’s for a while!
What is your favourite kind of pie?
Feurd: Strawberry Rhubarb
Frankie: Lemon Mereingue
Matthew: Pumpkin Pie
Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us?
For sure! Here’s a recipe for Spicy Asian Almonds that my parents make that’s amazing. I learned everything I know about cooking from them!
Spicy Asian Almonds
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup corn syrup
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp chili flakes
4 cups whole almonds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a double boiler (or in the microwave, as per the original recipe) melt the butter. Add the corn syrup, soy sauce and seasonings and heat until thickened (or microwave for 90 seconds). Add to almonds and mix until all the almonds are coated.
Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the almonds over it in a single layer. Bake of an hour, stirring every 15 minutes so they don’t stick together. Sprinkle a little sea salt over top halfway through. Remove from the oven and take off of the foil immediately.
Now, these nuts are plenty spicy — if you’re not a fan of heat, tone down the cayenne. Make a batch to serve at your next party, then put this song on: