losing your mind is underrated AND so is really good soda bread

 

I saw this quote on the website True Activist  – and I’ve been thinking about it – trying to work out if it’s really true or not…. Continue reading “losing your mind is underrated AND so is really good soda bread”

fast, simple, tasty – garlic scape pesto

Garlic is one of those rare crops that gives you two harvests. First the scapes, which at least in Ontario, are usually ready to harvest around the summer solstice. Then the actual garlic bulbs which are harvested a bit later, typically on the first weekend in August. The bulbs can then be left to dry in the sun for a few days before storing for the winter.

Garlic scapes are lovely grilled or made into pesto which can be used on pizza, pasta, or bruschetta. This version is dairy-free and freezes well.

016

Garlic Scape Pesto

(this version is an adaptation of the recipe in A Taste of Wintergreen)

16-20 garlic scapes
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ cup walnut pieces
¼ tsp salt
Parmesan cheese as desired. I make mine without the cheese because I think it freezes better and that way it’s also vegan and dairy-free.

Wash the scapes and chop into approximately 1-inch pieces. Process all the ingredients together in the food processor until desired consistency is reached. Bottle and use within a week or freeze.

 

M.F.K. Fisher’s Tomato Soup Cake Revisited

 

“People ask me: Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, about love, the way others do?. . . The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it. . . “

~M.K.F. Fisher

  Continue reading “M.F.K. Fisher’s Tomato Soup Cake Revisited”

favourite. biscuits. ever.

Lately I’ve been travelling down memory lane. In a recent post, I was remembering my father and my Irish Uncle George.  This time around it’s my mother-in-law. She was a saint. A beautiful, intelligent, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, red-headed, spirited farm wife who raised a large family with very little money but a surprising amount of love and kindness and patience.

She was also one of the very best cooks I’ve ever known (except for her soup – which we called dish-water soup behind her back).   Continue reading “favourite. biscuits. ever.”

a little guilt and a lot of cranberry almond & rosemary crisps

Lately I’ve been making these wonderful cranberry, almond, and rosemary crisps.

I feel guilty because they are a clone of Lesley Stowe’s fabulous Raincoast Crisps. So it really is with the gravest of apologies to Lesley Stowe that I’m posting this recipe for a dairy-free (vegan) version of her famous crisps.

I happened across a recipe online ages ago at the bountyhunter.ca and saved it. Subsequently, the website seems to be down. I took the original recipe from this site and adjusted it to make it dairy-free.

The crisps are perfect served with Citrus, Fig and Olive Tapenade. If you’re not dairy-free – you could also try them with a soft cheese such as chèvre or melted brie or a herbed cream cheese like Boursin. Really any good cheese will work and perhaps add some red pepper jelly. They pair well with savoury and make a great appetizer – perfect with cocktails before dinner. You can make them in advance and store them in a tin – where they will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.

Cranberry Almond and Rosemary Crisps

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice plus almond milk to make 2 cups in total
1/4 cup turbinado (or brown) sugar
1/4 cup liquid honey
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup natural, sliced almonds
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F

Mix together the flours, baking soda and salt. Add the lemon juice & almond milk mixture (if you’re not dairy-free go ahead and use regular milk in place of almond), turbinado sugar and honey. Stir gently. Add dried cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, flax and rosemary – and stir again, gently – you don’t need to over mix.

Lightly grease 4 mini loaf pans (or two large pans if you don’t have the mini ones). Divide the batter between the pans evenly. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until just browning and springy to touch. Remove from oven and let cool thoroughly, preferably overnight.

When the bread is completely cooled, slice as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. Lay the slices on parchment on baking sheets. Bake at 300°F for about 15 minutes, before flipping the slices over and returning to the oven for another 10 minutes. They should be golden brown and crispy.

When cool – store in an airtight tin. Make approx 6-7 dozen.

raincoast crisps (2)

Thai Red Lentil Soup

thai red lentil soup

When I stepped out into the dark night to walk my dog on the first evening of this New Year – there was a magnificent Barred owl sitting in the linden tree in my front yard. I stood on the front steps, stock-still, watching. My daughter, several paces ahead of me, turned to see why I wasn’t coming. I motioned silently towards the tree. She froze too. So there we stood – the three of us including the dog – transfixed by an owl.

A moment later, the owl took flight. It swooped down towards the road beyond us – coming surprisingly close to the pavement before it lifted back up and flew off with just the faintest whoosh of its almost silent wing beat, into the inky black sky. If my daughter hadn’t been with me, I might have thought I’d dreamt the whole thing. If I’d stepped out the door one minute later, I might have missed it. Owl spotting is a lucky kind of business.

It seemed like an omen – an auspicious start to the New Year. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

An owl has appeared at every critical juncture in my life. When I moved to Melbourne, Australia – a tiny Southern Boobook owl came and sat on the overhead wires along the abandoned railway-line-turned-recreation-path, directly across from my home. It stayed for weeks, softly hooting well into the night. When I moved to Brisbane, a family of Tawny Frogmouth owls inhabited a tree along my walking route. They were there for months. Not long after they flew away one-by-one, I flew away too. When I moved to my neighbourhood in Kingston, I wasn’t surprised when Barred owls started making regular appearances. And this past autumn, when I visited Killarney Provincial Park after a 34 year absence – an owl came and serenaded me all night long – hooting until the dawn chorus started up and the day began.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that I am completely smitten with owls and a night owl myself. This year I’ve been watching the dark, winter night skies, thinking about how I’ve finally learned to love winter. Perhaps it’s the incurable romantic in me, but I love to see snow falling and waking up to a fresh, clean, white world. And I like the long evenings by the fire, snugged up reading, or catching up on all the films I’ve missed.

I like the seasonal change in cooking too. This year I’ve been making lots of hearty soups. This Thai Red Lentil Soup is one of my new favourites. It’s thick and hearty, easy to make, inexpensive, vegan, and extremely tasty. Make sure you use red lentils – I’ve tried it with other kinds and it doesn’t work as well. Red lentils cook down to a much softer consistency because they have the husk removed.

From a nutritional point of view – lentils are high in protein, fibre, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals. Health magazine named lentils as one of the five healthiest foods on the planet. Combined with a grain – lentils form a complete protein – so serve your soup with a good multigrain bread.

One last remarkable lentil fact – Canada is one of the largest primary producers of lentils and the largest export producer of lentils in the world. Buying Canadian lentils helps Canadian farmers!

Thai Red Lentil Soup
1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1- 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
5 cups vegetarian stock
2 1/4 cups red lentils, well rinsed
1 400 ml can coconut milk
Thai sweet chilli sauce for garnish
One bunch of fresh cilantro for garnish, washed, stems removed and chopped (optional)

In a saucepan, sauté the onion in olive oil until the onion is soft. Add curry paste and stir well. Add the lentils and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir in the coconut milk. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a swirl of Thai sweet chilli sauce (don’t skip this step – it enhances the taste so much) and chopped cilantro if desired.

 

duck commander – meet vegan kale with pan-fried veggies

A very good friend of mine sent me an email the other day with a link to a hilarious blog called Duck Commander. My friend suggested it was time to “stop posting sissy recipes,” and start posting something a bit more macho.

Macho really isn’t my scene. But I will admit to posting a few sissy recipes lately. So I went on over to Duck Commander and had a good goosey-gander around. There’s something about the Duck Commander – I have to admit. He currently has a recipe up for stewed garlic frog legs. Continue reading “duck commander – meet vegan kale with pan-fried veggies”