Sunday, 3 April 2016

Yellow Split Pea Soup with Ham

Easter leftovers are always a great excuse to throw everything into a pot and make delicious lunches for the rest of the week to let your taste buds reminisce about the big feast.  This soup is hearty, nutritious and the perfect way to extract all that smokey flavour from that leftover ham bone.

8 cups of water
1 ham bone
2 cups of dried yellow split peas, rinsed and drained
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs chopped
2 onions chopped
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 chicken bouillon cubes
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Place water, rinsed split peas, ham bone, carrots, onion, celery, thyme, bay leaf, bullion cubes, salt and pepper into a large pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam with a spoon. Reduce heat, place a lid on the pot slightly ajar to allow for some evaporation. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas are tender and soup is thick, about 2 hours.

2. Remove bay leaf and ham bone and strip the remaining meat from the bone. Using an immersion blender, ( or you could add the soup to a regular blender ) and puree until smooth. Add ham to your smooth mixture and enjoy. I also added a few pieces of leftover ham that I diced up to make it extra hammy.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Almond-Apple Crumble

There's nothing wrong with craving a warm bowl of something comforting and familiar to satisfy that after dinner sweet tooth. This crumble is the perfect antidote for that, but something you can also feel good about eating with its simple, nourishing ingredients.

  • 4 apples, chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp almond meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (in liquid form, warm up for 45 seconds in the microwave or on the stove top to liquefy)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1¼ cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a square baking dish with coconut oil. Toss the apples with almond meal, lemon juice and cinnamon and spread in a single layer in the baking dish.

2. Whisk coconut oil and honey together in a small bowl. Mix the topping ingredients together in a separate large bowl (oats, almond meal, cinnamon, and salt). Add the coconut oil and honey mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

3. Pour the oat mixture over the apples to cover them evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the topping has browned and the apple mixture is bubbly. Serve on its own or with a dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt and enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Homemade Enchilada Sauce

I've always felt the true success to a great enchilada dish is the sauce.  You can absolutely go out and buy the jarred or canned versions of these and they will do just fine, but there's something comforting about making your own perfect version.  The beauty to this recipe is that you can adjust the seasoning amounts to your liking, don't like cumin, don't use it, love garlic, load it on!  

4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp all purpose or gluten free flour
8 tbsp Mexican chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (I like using this brand)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1. Heat your oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute to cook out the flour taste. 

2. Stir in the chili powder, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt and oregano and cook for 2 minutes to wake up your dried seasonings. Gradually add in the stock whisking constantly to get rid of any lumps. 

3. Add one chipotle pepper (more if you like it really spicy) as well as some of the adobo sauce (about 1 tbsp) the peppers are marinating in. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens up. Use an immersion blender to incorporate the pepper into the sauce.  If you don't have an immersion blender, you can transfer the sauce to a regular blender and blitz for a few seconds to break up the pepper.

4. Use immediately on your enchiladas or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to two weeks. This recipe should make enough for a medium sized casserole dish worth of enchiladas as well as 2 cups to store in your fridge or freezer for another time!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Massaged Kale Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts

Kale can be a tricky green to digest for some with it's tough green leaves and even tougher stems.  Massaging is a great technique to not only make this nutrient dense vegetable easier to digest, but it also allows it to soak up all the flavours and become a truly delicious meal.

1 bunch of green kale ( I've also used black kale for this recipe and it turned out great! )
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
pepper to taste

1. Wash and dry your kale then chop into bite sized pieces leaving out the bottom tough stems.

2. Toast your pine nuts lightly in a dry pan by tossing over medium heat, watching so they don't burn.  They should turn a golden brown colour when perfect.

3. Combine lemon juice, vinegar, honey and olive oil in a bowl and whisk until emulsified.

4. Pour dressing over kale in a large bowl and gently massage it into the leaves until they begin to soften and absorb the flavours, around 2 minutes.

5. Toss in parmesan, pine nuts and fresh ground black pepper to serve!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Hot Pot at Home

The correlation between cooking your own food at the table and how good it tastes, amazes me. In this case I think the work you put into this dish is well worth the outcome.  As we sat down for our version of Thanksgiving dinner, for the better part of the evening we cooked, ate and talked about the wonderful experience that is hot pot. The list below is just a guide for hot pot at home. That's the charm of this dish, it's completely customizable. You like it? Throw it in! Happy hot potting.


Equipment needed for hot pot:
hot plate/single burner
pot with a separator to accommodate 2 broths
individual slotted spoons or wire baskets
bowls for serving

For the broths:
Szechuan Spicy
1 package of spicy hot pot soup base
6 cups of water
3 green onions chopped into 2 inch pieces
6 whole cloves of garlic

Ginger Goji 
1 package of plain hot pot soup base
6 cups of water
3 green onions chopped into 2 inch pieces
6 whole cloves of garlic
5 slices of ginger
3 tsps goji berries
6-8 dried red dates

For cooking, dipping and eating (you can buy everything below at any Asian grocery store):
thinly shaved beef or pork
assorted meat balls (I used fish and beef)
slices of firm tofu
fried tofu puffs
enoki mushrooms
white mushrooms
soba noodles
udon noodles
rice cakes
frozen dumplings or wontons
daikon radish
lotus root
choy sum or bok choy
napa cabbage

Dipping Sauce
2 tsps sacha sauce (chinese bbq sauce)
2 tsps sesame paste or tahini
1 tsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp chili oil
1 tsp chopped green onion
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp chopped garlic

1. To assemble the broths, bring all ingredients for each broth to a boil on the stove then transfer to your hot plate. Keep on low until you're ready to begin adding your cooking ingredients, then raise to a simmer. The broth will reduce as you cook on a steady simmer, add boiling water to keep it topped up. Don't worry about losing any flavour by adding water, as it reduces and you add the ingredients, the broth evolves into something amazing.

2. Chop all your vegetables as you like, I left my greens in 3"x 3" pieces since they wilt as they cook. Lay out the rest of your cooking ingredients so they are easy to grab and add to your broths.

3. Construct your dipping sauce by adding all ingredients together, the amounts given are just a gauge, adjust as you see fit.

4. Cook, dip and get ready for some serious flavour.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


I had two beautiful eggplants staring at me in my fridge over the last weekend and I wanted to pay them the respect they deserved.  My version of this Sicilian dish omitted the olives since I thought the capers added enough salt. It is a sweet, rich and tangy vegetable spread that is a great starter to any fish dish or a lighter pasta like aglio e olio.

olive oil for frying
2 medium eggplants cut into small cubes
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
1 cup crushed canned tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely ground
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 handful of basil leaves, thinly chopped
salt & pepper to taste

1. In a large frying pan heat oil over medium-high heat and add eggplant in small batches.  Fry until golden brown then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and salt each batch. Repeat with remaining eggplant then transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. Use the leftover oil in the pan and add onions and celery with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until onions become translucent and brown.

3. Reduce heat to medium and add tomato paste and water.  Cook until water is evaporated then add crushed tomatoes and cook for another 7-10 minutes stirring every so often.

4. Stir in vinegar, capers and honey until everything comes together and thickens up.  Set aside and let cool for about 30 minutes.

5. Combine cooled pan mixture into the bowl with the eggplant and add basil, almonds and salt and pepper to taste.  I put the almonds in a small blender and blended until they were in pieces the size of flax seeds, this gave a great bit of texture to each bite. Mix everything until basil and almonds are integrated.

6. Serve with a fresh baguette and enjoy!

Friday, 11 September 2015

Sushi Salad Bowl and Cold Pepper Tofu

Sometimes you just want something that screams AYCE but isn't quite sushi. These dishes hit the spot especially on a hot, humid day where the last thing you want to do is stand over the stove. No heat required.

iceburg lettuce
dried wakame ( seaweed )
nori ( dried seaweed ) 
green onion for garnish
togarashi ( japanese chili pepper spice ) for garnish
wasabi for garnish
pickled ginger for garnish

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
tsp finely grated ginger
2 medium carrots peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion roughly chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. To make the dressing add all ingredients in a food processor except the salt and pepper and pulse until everything is combined and carrots are completely broken down.  Add salt and pepper to taste. This will keep in your fridge for up to 2 weeks.

2. Rehydrate your dried wakame by soaking in water and draining 2-3 times.  Chop all vegetables as you like, I peeled the carrots into ribbons to add a bit of a different texture.

3. Combine all salad bowl ingredients in a bowl as you desire and serve dressing on the side. Garnish with a nori sheet, wasabi, pickled ginger, togarashi and green onions.

1 package of soft or medium tofu, whichever texture you prefer
2 tbsp Gochujang ( Korean red pepper paste )
2 tbsp light soy sauce 
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sugar
black and white sesame seeds for garnish
chopped green onions for garnish

1. When using tofu I normally wrap it in paper towel as soon as I take it out of the package so the extra moisture can be absorbed and not dilute the dish.  Then cut into half inch strips and lay onto a serving plate.

2. To prepare the sauces take the Gochujang and thin it out with a bit of the light soy sauce and set aside ( it's quite thick to begin with ), then combine in a separate bowl the sesame oil, sugar and light soy until sugar is dissolved.

3. Pour both sauces over the tofu and garnish with sesame seeds and green onion.