Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Has sprung and we have the flowers to prove it!

Tis also the season for treats. Ruedi made a trip to Queen of Tarts to celebrate the end school for awhile.

A chocolate hazelnut and a lemon tart were on the menu. That's really all I have to share: warmed up leftovers and some tarts for dinner. Not bad Liv, not bad.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lentil, eggplant & feta salad with a balsamic vinaigrette

Yummity, yum, yummers. This salad just rocked my world! The combination of fresh basil, cilantro and feta from a local Greek market makes for a fresh and tangy bite. I have to add that if you have access to the variety of niche markets that cover this great city, take advantage of them. The kalamatas and feta I get at Hella's food market off 124th Street, taste quite different from the ones I pick up at the local grocery store. It's worth making the extra trip if you've got the time.

Adapted from http://www.gourmantineblog.com

Serves 6

  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes here, but any other type will do just fine)
  • 1 eggplant
  • feta cheese (according to taste)

  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of dried chili 
  • 4 T good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • Handful of basil
  • Handful of cilantro
  • salt and freshly grounded pepper
Bring the stock to boil, add the crushed garlic, lentils and cook for 15-20 minutes. When ready, remove the garlic and drain.
Slice the eggplant lengthways and chargrill for a few minutes on each side. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then cut in equal size pieces. Toss together with lentils, halved tomatoes and feta cheese.
For the vinaigrette, in a pestle mortar grind together garlic, dried chili and half of basil leaves until you have a paste, then add the balsamic vinegar and continue to stir around till well combined, then stir in the olive oil to have a homogenous vinaigrette. Finish by adding finely chopped cilantro and the rest of basil.
Serve the salad either warm or cold with some vinaigrette on top.

Spring Onion & Pea Soup

I bought a Bamix-brand hand mixer the other week, after hearing great reviews from family. It's Swiss-made which you'll notice is an ongoing theme in this household. The other half, known as Ruedi, is of Swiss origin. He's a big believer that anything made in Switzerland is made to last. He just might be right. Anyways, I've been looking for things to blend so that I can test out this bad boy and found this soup recipe in a recent edition of Canadian House & Home magazine. It's a mild soup that can be served hot or cold. A dollop of sour cream adds some punch to it, so don't skimp on that. 

Adapted from: May 2011 edition of Canadian House & Home

Serves 6

  • 1 T butter
  • 2 bunches of green onions chopped, with the white roots and dark green ends removed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3 1/2 cups of young sweet peas (frozen or fresh)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (I had leftover wine and opted to use this instead)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Sour cream to garnish
In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onions. Saute for a few minutes until soft. Add the stock, bring to a boil and then add the peas. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add the lemon zest and vinegar and using a blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth. Serve hot or cold, with a little sour cream to garnish the soup.

Pasta with Prawns & Capers & Fattoush

Meals are like outfits: coordinating courses so that they compliment one another makes for a fabulous ensemble. Tonight was a combination based on what I found on the web that I liked: a fattoush-type salad and some pasta with prawns in it. The result was good, but a great meal would have been better paired. Anywho, the meal's biggest advantage was that it took all of 20 minutes to make. 


  • 4 servings of dried spaghetti or other type of pasta
  • Shelled prawns approximately 300grams
  • Handful of capers in brine
  • 2 cups mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 chili, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Grated parmesan to taste
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 Cook the pasta as per package instructions and drain. Heat oil in a frying pan and saute the prawns until the flesh is white, remove from the pan. Return pan to the heat and add the mushrooms, garlic and chili and brown. Pour in the white wine and let it boil to evaporate the alcohol. Add the pasta, prawns and capers to the pan and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and some freshly grated parmesan.


Inspired by a fattoush had in town at a Lebanese restaurant with an ambiguous name I can't remember.  Way to inform the reader!

  • 1 English cucumber cut into large chunks
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups of dried pita chips (I get these at a Greek specialty store, but you can find them boxed as crackers at your local grocer)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley 
  • 1/2 cup of kalamata olives
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl and toss. Mix the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl and add to the salad. Toss and serve immediately.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Pork

Yum. This tastes just as you think it would: creamy, tangy and full of lovely flavours. I served this with basmati rice, roasted peanuts and cilantro as the recipes mentions, but there are so many options for altering this recipe, you could make it a million times over in a slightly different way. 

Adapted from http://letsdishrecipes.blogspot.com

Serves 6

  • 1 (2 pound) pork loin
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 2 cups snow peas
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup chopped green onions or cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 2-3 limes, cut into wedges
  • Cooked rice or rice noodles

Lightly grease a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.  Place pork loin in slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, stir together the teriyaki sauce, rice vinegar, chili sauce, ginger and garlic. Pour the teriyaki mixture over the pork loin.  Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Whisk the peanut butter into the juices in the slow cooker. Return the pork to the slow cooker, along with the sliced peppers and snow peas and cook for 30-60 minutes more, until vegetables are tender but still crisp. Serve over rice or noodles with green onions, peanuts and lime wedges to garnish. 

Chickpea & Pumpkin Patties

I made potato and chick pea patties a few years ago as part of the Wild Rose cleanse and got a kick out of the idea of a veggie patty. This isn't a new innovation, but it seemed new to me. My first patty experience was not be my last. Something about the veggie patty with a dip attracts me, so when I saw this recipe I had to give it a shot. I have tried using canned pumpkin for this recipe. Although it works, it's a bit wet compared to the real thing.

Adapted from http://aficionado-x.blogspot.com
Serves 6

  • 500 g cooked chickpeas, drained well
  • 5 T parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups pumpkin, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t sweet paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup greek yoghurt
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plain flour for dusting
Bring pumpkin and garlic to the boil in a pan with water.
Simmer until cooked through.
Strain and cool.
Heat olive oil in a pan.
Add diced onion and a pinch of salt.
Sweat over medium heat (the onion, not you) until cooked through.
Add paprika and cumin.
Toast spices for a minute until fragrant.
Remove from heat and cool.
Throw the chickpeas, parsley, breadcrumbs, egg and garlic into a food processor and pulse until it binds together (a few whole chickpeas here and there doesn't matter).
Gently stir through pumpkin and onion.
Form into as many patties as you like, keeping them about 2.5 cm thick. (The thinner you make your patties, the more you increase the likelihood of them falling to bits before they reach the pan. You could even shape them into balls and then flatten them in the pan afterwards, although the sides won't be nearly as neat.)
Dredge both sides in flour.
Pan fry over medium heat (give them a gentle press with a spatula to maximise surface contact) with a little oil for 3 mins each side.

Stir together the yoghurt and lemon juice.
Season and serve.