Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hail to the Picnic!

This spread (and subsequent post) isn't so much about cooking as it is about food in general, but I think you'll appreciate it all the same.

Craving all things summer after a bout with the flu, I was anxious to prepare a lunch that captured the awesomeness of our soon-to-be climate. No doubt most of those still living in winter feel the need for a break from it. Instead of planning a break in the tropics, I've opted yet again to live through it, by doing what I always do: exercising, socializing and eating well. Eating well is about keeping it simple and nothing is simpler than a picnic. 

What do you need? Well, whatever you'd like! We picked up some cheddar and gruyere at a local market, along with an array of vegetables, pickles, deli meats and breads. The beer and chips aren't in the photo, but they were definitely present. You don't want to appear too sophisticated.  

What a perfect way to combine socializing and eating well than a picnic menu for a lunch with friends. I've included a couple of sandwich filling recipes below. 

Serves 4-6 (for both salad/fillinf recipes)

Egg Salad 

  • 8 eggs, hard boiled (there is a method to hard boiling eggs, in order to avoid dry, grey yolks):
  • 2 green onions, green part only
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T sour cream
  • 1 t pickle juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Tuna Salad

  • 2 tins of tuna packed in water
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 stick of celery
  • 2 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T sour cream
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Palak Paneer & Aloo Gobi

If you've visited Remedy Cafe in Edmonton and haven't tried the Palak Paneer, come over here so I can smack you across the head. It is the reason why I have no idea what anything else at Remedy tastes like (except the chai...ooohweee, yummy!). When a friend of mine offered to take me to a local Indian supermarket called Fruiticana, I figured this was an opportunity to attempt my own rendition of Palak Paneer and Aloo Gobi, another recipe I'd been pondering. Fruiticana is on 34th Avenue and 93rd Street and is one of a few markets in the city that offer a great selection of Indian treats.  

Make sure that you include tamarind sauce and roti or naan bread with your purchase. The palak paneer needs that sweet compliment to balance the salty one. Oh and of course, don't forget the beer!

Aloo Gobi

Serves 4

Adapted from:


  • 2 large russet potatoes, diced, but not peeled
  • 4 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces and parboiled
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • 2 T oil
  • 2 t mustard seeds
  • 1 t cumin seeds
  • 2 T garlic chutney plus 2 t
  • 2 t garlic paste
  • 2 t turmeric
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 2 t coriander powder
  • 1 t garam masala
  • 1 pinch of kasuri (kasoori) methi
  • salt to taste
  • water as required


Wash and dice the potatoes and set aside. Boil the chopped cauliflower for two minutes and remove from heat. Drain and rinse the cauliflower with cold water set it aside until required.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds before adding the cumin seeds. Add the 2 tablespoons of garlic chutney, 1 teaspoon of the garlic paste and the potatoes, mixing well.  Season with salt and add about two tablespoons of water to the pan. Cover and let cook for about 5-8 minutes. Check after 5 minutes and if the potatoes, once poked feel like they're about 50% cooked, add the cauliflower. If not, let them cook another 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower, another 2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook for another 5-8 minutes. If you're using fresh peas, add them with the cauliflower. The resulting curry will be dry. 

If cooking with frozen peas, add them after the cauliflower has cooked. Once the cauliflower and potatoes are tender when poked, but still hold their shape, add the coriander turmeric and chili, mixing well. Add the second teaspoon of garlic paste and the remaining 2 teaspoons of chutney at this point. Cook for another 2 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and add the garam masala and kasuri methi. Season with more salt if required. 

Serve with warm roti and a cold lager.

Palak Paneer

Serves 4

From: The back of a box of National Palak Paneer Spice Mix (50g)


  • Paneer 200g (I used a 340g brick of it), cut into cubes
  • 1/2 kg spinach
  • 1/2 cup oil/ghee
  • 1 T ginger paste
  • 1 T garlic paste
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1 T soy leaves (didn't have these and did not substitute with anything)
  • National Palak Paneer Spice Mix (50g)


Boil spinach and grind in a food processor.

In a sauce pan, fry the ginger and garlic paste in the oil/ghee for 2-3 minutes or until light brown. Add the spinach, chillies and spice mix and fry for about 5 minutes. Add the milk and cook for 2-3 minutes. Finally, add the soy leaves and cream and cook for another 5-10 minutes.

In a separate fry pan, heat a tablespoon of oil and brown the paneer. Remove from pan and soak in ice water for 10 seconds, then remove.  

Add paneer to the spinach mix and cook for 2 minutes. 

Serve with roti or naan and tamarind sauce.