Thursday, 31 January 2013

Carrot Ginger Soup...One of My All-Time Favourite Soups

This is most definitely my go-to soup in the winter.  It has tonnes of flavour, is quick and easy to make and most definitely warms you from the inside out.  The recipe stems from The Earthbound Farm Organic Food to Live By Cookbook, but here's my version of it:
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 big piece of ginger (about three inches long and twice the width of your thumb), peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Juice of two oranges
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I use one tetrapak of Kitchen Basics, no salt added, vegetable stock)
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 10 grinds of pepper
  • 3 dashes of nutmeg
Heat the olive oil in a large pot.  Add the onion and ginger and cook until the onions are soft.  Add the carrots and stir.  Add the juice of two oranges and stir.  Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer until the carrots are tender (about 30-45 minutes).  Blend the soup with a hand immersion blender (or a regular blender).  Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir.  Makes 4-5 servings and freezes well.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Feed Life Starve Cancer

A couple months ago I bought a Groupon for a 3 hour food seminar at Feed Life Starve Cancer.  The thing that caught my eye about this seminar (besides the fact that it was regularly $125 and was on sale for $35) was that the emphasis of the class was on what to eat in order to prevent cancer.  As you all know, I love food, so I figured if I could learn how to help protect my body while enjoying food, it would be an added bonus!
The seminar itself was very informative and the food they served was delicious.  The emphasis was on a plant-based diet but the two presenters, Eden (a Nutritionist) and Colin (a Health Coach), were 100% understanding of the fact that there were people in the room would still want to incorporate dairy and/or meat in their diet.  I'm not going to lie, I'm never going to give up meat or dairy because I like them just too darn much, but I most definitely plan on incorporating a good chunk of the recipes that they made into my repertoire.  So, stay tuned for future yummy details!
The Dozen Foods to Help Starve Cancer
  1. Chia
  2. Hemp
  3. Broccoli sprouts
  4. Goji berries
  5. Garlic
  6. Ginger
  7. Fresh herbs
  8. Mushrooms
  9. Berries
  10. Cacao
  11. Leafy and seaweed greens
  12. Turmeric 
Kreamy Komfort Kale served over zucchini pasta.  Unreal!!! 
Kale Waldorf Salad...out of this world!
Nice Cream
Anti-Inflammatory Chai Tea

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Swimmingly Delicious Fish Tacos and the Original Naked Chef

One of my favourite meals to make is my fish tacos.  However, in all honesty, when I say my fish tacos I use the word "my" loosely.  So loose, in fact that, that it's actually my friend's recipe that I stole and made my own ever since he made this yummy goodness for me.  My sincerest thanks, friend!
Step 1 - Make the fresh salsa
Chop 1 tomato, 1/4 of a pineapple, 1/2 of a mango, 2 thin slices of red onion and 1 tbsp of parsley. Mix.  Add 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 drizzle of olive oil, the juice of 1/2 of a lime and 5 solid dashes of Frank's Red Hot sauce. Mix.
Step 2 - Make the fresh guacamole
Slice up 1.5 avocadoes and smoosh.  Add the juice of 1/2 lime, 1 tbsp of cilantro chopped up, 1 crushed clove of garlic, a dash of salt and a couple grinds of pepper.  Mix and place the pit in it to help stop the avocado from turning brown.
Step 3 - Enlist the original Naked Chef to oversee your cooking

Step 4 - Pan cook the Sole
About 1 pound for three people.
Step 5 - Layer on a whole wheat tortilla and enjoy!

Step 6 - Work dinner off during play time!


Monday, 28 January 2013

Medina Café

I hadn't planned on going for brunch this past weekend, but when I got a call from a very dear friend to say she was in town and wondering if I could join her for brunch on Sunday I was super excited!  Not only did I get to have lunch with a bunch of lovely ladies, but I finally got to try Café Medina.  It was just as fabulous as I had heard.  The food was unreal, we actually ate in the back of Chambar because they were so busy, and the whole meal was a treat.  Further details on the food have been included below for your mouth watering pleasure.

Things to note: (1)  I don't think this place ever doesn't have a line-up.  However, it is a true testament to how delicious it is and the line is well organized and there are awnings to keep you out of the rain's reach.  I would definitely recommend planning on a minimum 30 minute wait, though.  (2) Your whole party has to be there in order to be seated.  (3) The food is delicious, but it's definitely not an inexpensive brunch.  (4) The service is relaxed and enjoyable, which was fabulous for us because we wanted to sit and chat.  However, if you're hoping to be in and out quickly, this may not be the place for you.  From the time we put our name down until the time we paid our bill was about 2.5 hours. 
My matcha latté.  Oh so pretty and very good.  It took me a couple of sips to get used to the fact that it was unsweetened but once I did, it was very nice.  ($4.30)
Paella with egg sunny side up: 1 baked egg, curried orzo, Hungarian chorizo, zucchini, red pepper, roasted corn, grano padano, watercress, tomatoes, avocado.  ($13)
Paella with egg over easy: 1 baked egg, curried orzo, Hungarian chorizo, zucchini, red pepper, roasted corn, grano padano, watercress, tomatoes, avocado. ($13)
Cassoulet: 2 fried eggs on baked beans, saussison de Paris, double smoked bacon, and andouille. Grilled foccacia.  ($15)

Les Boulettes: 2 poached eggs, spicy Moroccan lamb and beef meatballs, cilantro, houmus, raita. Grilled foccacia.  ($15) 
La Santé: Soft boiled egg, prosciutto, ripe tomato, olive tapenade, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, grilled ciabatta.  ($12)

My Tagine: 2 poached eggs, spicy tomato stew, merguez sausage, sundried black olives, and cilantro. Grilled foccaccia with hummus and raita.  This was out of control delicious!  The flavours were amazing, the sausage unreal, the spicy tomato stew was full of chick peas and delicious with the poached eggs, and the foccaccia with hummus and raita was such a treat.  I just wish there were a few more can never have too many olives!  ($14)
Waffle with berry compote.  I almost didn't get the waffle because I was on the verge of being full and really, how good could this waffle be?  However, since they were known for their waffles, and since everyone else at the table got one, I succumbed to peer pressure and ordered one.  It was the best waffle I have ever tasted.  And the berry compote was divine!  ($4.15)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Dusty's and Captain Morgan

I had an awesome day of snowboarding up at Whistler yesterday.  I love getting out into the snow and playing but, I'm not going to lie, I love snowboarding as much for the excuse to spend time with friends and the aprés ski as I do snowboarding. My fabulous snow exploring companion and I spent the day on Whistler so we went to Dusty's at the end of the day for some scrumptious nachos and a delicious hot apple cider.  Definitely a great choice.  Especially since you might even get to meet Captain Morgan!

Our nachos.  Oh so yummy!  Not many olives but a plethora of jalapenos and banana peppers. 

Our view.  Such great people watching!

And you thought I was joking...

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bob Likes Thai Food...the Best Thai I've Ever Had!

So, I'd been hearing good things about Bob Likes Thai Food.  How it was authentic home-style Thai food.  I was having a hard time believing it with a name like Bob Likes Thai Food, but it tickled my curiosity so I decided to go give it a shot the other day.  It was amazing!!  And when I say amazing, think of the best Thai food you've ever had, then imagine that the Thai food you're going to have is so good that you can't even compare your old favourite Thai food to it.  I also loved the restaurant itself.  It had a lot of pizazz, was bright and fun, but so comfy cozy at the same time.  And the service was spectacular.

Now...on to the food!

Fish Cakes with Cucumber Relish: Basa fish with red curry paste, green beans and lime leaf.  I wasn't sure what to expect from the cucumber relish but it rocked.  Really made the fish cakes pop.  ($11)

Pad Thai: a Thai classic of fried rice noodles with prawns, smoked tofu, peanuts, egg, bean sprouts and chives.  Hands down the best pad thai I've ever had.  I could have eaten the whole dish myself.  Okay, I'll be honest, I almost did! ($13)

Eggplant Pad Ka Pow: eggplant sauteed with basil, bell pepper, garlic and chili.  This eggplant was cooked brilliantly and had the most amazing flavours.  I would order this dish again in a heartbeat.  ($12)

My Hibiscus Juice.  The person I went for dinner with had grown up drinking Hibiscus juice and was very excited to see it on the menu, so I figured I had to give it a try.  It was amazing!  Imagine a cran-soda, but now cross the cranberry juice with blackberry and raspberry juice.  Such a powerful, fruity, but refreshing drink.  This is a must-try if you ask me.  ($3) 

The view from our table towards the front of the restaurant at the Broadway location.

The view from our table towards the back of the restaurant and the kitchen.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Morning Smoothie

This is another smoothie I like to make every once in a while.  It's great after a long run, but I'll sometimes make it for breakfast.  It's very refreshing and packs a good chunk of protein.
Raspberry Smoothie
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries (I like raspberries the best)
Blend and drink!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Mangez Mangez

There are so many soup and sandwich places in and around where I work that I often forget about Mangez Mangez.  However, every time I re-visit it, I thoroughly enjoy it.  The food is good, you get to sit at a table rather than in a cafeteria, you get to see sunshine rather than the darkness of a basement, and it's reasonably priced.  Definitely a good one to keep in mind if you're looking to spice up your regular lunch spots.

Turkey sandiwch on multigrain bread with lettuce and cranberry sauce, along with a small bowl of curry-flavoured chicken and quinoa soup.  ($8.95, tax included)

My dining partner's turkey chili, veggies and chocolate brownie for dessert.

The X that marks the spot.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Hungarian Mushroom Barley Soup

With the cool and foggy weather we've been having, I was craving some soup for lunches this week, so I decided to try the Hungarian Mushroom Barley Soup from the Whitewater Cooks cookbooks.  It's a great, hearty soup that warms you from the inside out.  I halved the recipe because I didn't need more than 5-6 servings and find that chunky soups don't always freeze that well.  I've included my version of the recipe below. 

  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup barley
  • 1/4 cup sherry cooking wine
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 7 cups of sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock (1 tetra pak of Kitchen Basics vegetable stock)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot until butter is melted.  Add the onions and sauté until translucent.  Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 10 minutes.  Add the barley and spices and continue to sauté for 10 more minutes.  Add the stock and let cook over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes.  Add the soy sauce, sherry, cream and parsley.  Stir, remove the bay leaves and enjoy!  Note: for you glutein-free folk, I think the soup would be just as delicious without the barley.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Twisted Fork

I had been dying to try Twisted Fork Bistro for brunch for quite some time now, so I was thrilled that it worked out this past weekend.  The restaurant definitely didn't disappoint.  The food was delicious, everything was home-made at the restaurant, the portions were big, and the atmosphere funky and cozy all at once.  Definitely a good place to check out if you're in the market for a new brunch locale.
Things to note: (1) It's busy and they don't take reservations.  They open at 10, so I recommend going at 10 or 11:30.  We went at 11 and had a 30-40 minute wait.  (2) Seeing as though they're so busy, the food comes fast and your cheque not too far behind that.  They don't rush you out, but if you're looking for a place to eat and then stay and chat a while longer, this probably isn't the place for you.  (3) They have an entire wall of their house-made jams and pickled items at the back near the washrooms.  All of the items are for sale and they look amazing!  So, whether you're in the market, or just feel like checking it out, I'd highly recommend a casual stroll past the washrooms.  (4) It's not the cheapest brunch in the world, but the tax is included in the prices which is nice for a change.
I just love the name!

I can't even explain how excited I was when the menu came with a twisted fork on the top.

Bottomless, french press coffee ($4/person, tax included).

The magical wall of preserves and pickling!

Banana bread with home-made jam and a shot of whipped butter.  Quote of the day, "It's okay to have an appy with dinner, so why can't we have an appy with brunch?"  ($4, tax included)

Lovely companion number 1's Eggs Benny with toasted brioche, poached eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, hollandaise and served with sauteed spinach, rosti and baked beans.  This picture most definitely doesn't do the size of the eggs benny was massive!!  ($13.50, tax included)

Lovely companion number 2's Eggs Benny with toasted brioche, poached eggs, ham, hollandaise and served with sauteed spinach, rosti and baked beans.  ($13.50, tax included)

My Eggs Benny with toasted brioche, poached eggs, bacon, roasted wild mixed mushrooms, hollandaise and served with sauteed spinach, rosti and baked beans.  The eggs benny were yummy in my yummy, but I have to admit my favourite item on the dish was the rosti.  It was out of control!! ($13.50, tax included)

Monday, 21 January 2013

The Hot Chocolate Festival, Beaucoup Bakery and a Side of Scrabble

I went for a lovely walk in Kits and South Granville last weekend and a cute little bakery caught my eye at 6th and Fir.  So, needless to say, I was ecstatic when I found out they were participating in the Hot Chocolate Festival.  Yes, I said Hot Chocolate Festival!  From January 19th until February 14th, a bundle of coffee shops, bakeries and chocolate shops are making up the most delicious hot chocolate concoctions you could dream of for your tastebuds' pleasure.  I've included the link below, so you can take a look at the different stores participating, and the different types of hot chocolate they're offering to tantalize your taste buds.

Now back to Beaucoup Bakery.  I fell in love the moment I walked in.  You feel like you're in a little bakery in France.  Everything is so simple, but elegant and warm and inviting at the same time.  I was initially just going to go for the hot chocolate, but when I saw the wall (yes I said wall) of baked goods that welcome me, how could I say no?  Luckily I had a partner in crime, so we were able to try two different pastries and both were out of this world.  I've included photos below for your viewing pleasure...but the long and the short of it is, you'd be missing out if you didn't meander into this little piece of France sometime soon.

Things to note: (1) It is extremely busy, so be prepared to fight for a table during peak times.  However, you'll never feel like you're being rushed out.  We even enjoyed a lovely game of Scrabble.  (2) They have a loyalty rewards program like many other shops, but they give you three ways to utilize your points: (i) you can be kind to yourself and use your points to treat yourself to something special, (ii) pass it on and treat a friend or a random person in line to a treat, or (iii) pay it forward and your points can be used towards helping feed a Liberian girl for 2 weeks of school lunches in partnership with  I thought this was such a neat rewards program.

The Passionfruit Drinking Chocolate that Beaucoup Bakery was featuring for the Hot Chocolate Festival.  I had never heard of drinking chocolate, but it is literally chocolate that is a drinking consistency...and it is heaven in a cup!  Not to mention the passionfruit added the perfect fruity flavour to the chocolate.  I thoroughly enjoyed the touch of the heart-shaped sugar cookie.  ($4)

Chausson aux Pommes.  Pastry filled with a cinnamony, apple filling.  Unbelievable!  I'm an apple turnover fan and this blew any apple turnover I've ever eaten right out of the water.  ($3.50)

Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl with Hazelnuts.  Think a crunchy cinnamon bun, with chocolate in amongst the swirls.  Out of this world! ($3.50)

The view from our table.  I was able to catch this photo in the only 15 seconds that no one was lined up during the 2.5 hours we were there.

I love their logo and the old school filament lightbulbs they have throughout the bakery.

Another succeful scrabble game!  I can't wait until it's summer and we can play at Beacoup on one of the tables outside in the sun.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Ladies and Gentlemen...Start Your Engines...

...because it's officially Dine-Out season!  For those of you who aren't familiar with Dine-Out, it started on January 18th and goes until February 3rd.  The bundle of restaurants throughout the lower mainland participating put together a set menu for a set price which normally consists of an appy, main and dessert for either $18, $28 or $38.  I thoroughly enjoy it because it provides a good opportunity to try some new restaurants for generally a bit of a discount.  I've included the link where you can search the restaurants involved and check out the menus to see what they're offering.

My first Dine-Out experience this year was at The Establishment.  I'd heard good things about this restaurant and their $28 Dine-Out menu looked yummy, so I headed their with two of my favourite ladies to share a meal and glass of wine with.  The meal was yummy and the company fabulous!  I've included pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Orange Infused Beet & Goat Cheese Salad with a roasted shallot lemon vinaigrette and pomegranate reduction.  I had this and enjoyed it.  I was expecting it to be a bit more beety, but it was still very good.

 Chef Bongo's Famous African Peanut Soup.  One of the lovely ladies I was with had this soup and thoroughly enjoyed it.  She said it was similar in flavours to the spicy peanut sauce served with satay but with vegetables and a soup consistency.

Moroccan Spiced Ahi Tuna with pickled papaya puree and drizzled with a honey-wasbi vinaigrette.  This disappeared from lovely lady #2's plate in about 2.4, I assumed it was pretty tasty.

White Miso Black Cod in a sake, coconut, and kaffir lime broth, served with baby steamed potatoes, edamame beans, cherry tomatoes, and butternut squash.  Lovely lady #2 thoroughly enjoyed this dinner.

Bison Striploin, marinated with juniper berry and fresh herbs, finished with a blueberry port-wine demi sauce and accompanied with celeriac puree and fresh seasonal vegetables.  Very yummy in my tummy!  As was the $32 bottle of Circus Malbec.  I couldn't believe that we could get a bottle of wine for under $40.  Score!  And just to clarify, that was yummy in all of our tummies. 

New York Cheesecake, with a fresh mango coulee.  You can never go wrong with cheesecake.