Friday, 29 March 2013

Sweet and salty...

A little while ago, an utterly fabulous lady surprised me with a lovely treat: Himalayan Pink Salt Caramels!  They were scrumptious and so much fun to eat because when else do you get to eat pink salt?  So, if you're craving a little sweet and salty in the near future, don't be afraid to swing by Purdy's.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

My very own creation...

So, I am 100% a meal planner for the week.  Mainly because I have an out of control appetite and making sure I always have food on hand helps keep it in check, but I also find it just makes making meals easier.  However, this week I got mixed up at the grocery store and I didn't buy enough veggies for dinners...gasp!!!  I started scrounging through the fridge and discovered I had about 3/4 of a bunch of parsley left.  At first I thought, "Well that won't be of any help."  Then I remembered my favourite part about shawarma...okay, I won't lie, I love absolutely everything about shawarma...but I do get a little bit extra excited about the parsley salad that often comes with it!

I got out my handy dandy computer and googled "parsley salad" and got the response of Tabbouleh.  I then did some crazy detective work, also known as going to , and looked up some Tabbouleh recipes.  Most of the recipes I found included some sort of grain (bulgar, quinoa, etc.) and the recipe I wanted to try and recreate didn't have any grains in it, so I decided to wing it.  Good news is that it turned out pretty darn good and I think I'll incorporate it pretty regularly into my meal making this summer.  If you're interested in giving it a try yourself, here goes:

  • About 1 tsp of olive oil
  • Juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • Dash of salt
  • Couple grinds of pepper
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped fine
  • 1/2 roma tomato, chopped fine
  • 1 very thin slice of yellow onion, chopped fine
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until it's a dressing consistency and you like the taste.  Add the remaining ingredients, combine and eat!  Makes approximately 1 side serving for  1 person.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Hot Buns Bakery

If you're anything like me, you were probably expecting to see some photos of the hot buns of the individuals working at the bakery.  Alas, they were behind a counter and I couldn`t get the right angle!  If it's any consolation, the baked goodies at this bakery were very yummy, so it's worth the stop if you're looking for a treat pre-snowboarding/skiing up at Whistler.

My fabulous hitting-the-slopes partner in crime's banana nutella crêpe. (Approximately $9).  This looked absolutely delicious and she definitely didn't seem to be complaining.

A pre-heli skiing (yes, I said heli-skiing...lucky devil!) pain au chocolat.  You should have seen the chocolate in this puppy!  (Approximately $3)

My strawberry chocolate crêpe with whipped cream.  Amazing!  The biggest surprise was that it was real chocolate, not nutella.  Such a treat.  (approximately $9)

The X that marks the spot!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tilapia with Fresh Salsa and Tomato Spinach Orzo

If you're racking your brain trying to figure out what to make for dinner this week, I highly recommend this recipe.  I tried it over the weekend and loved it!  The orzo was out of control...jam-packed full of flavour and freshness, and the salsa gave the tilapia that extra something which was really nice.

Things to note: (1) I find tilapia lacks a bit of flavour on its own, so I like to have a bit of salsa with every bite.  If you're in the same boat, you'll want to double the portions for the salsa.  (2) I used olive oil to cook the tilapia instead of butter.  This allowed me to use the same pan as I used to wilt the spinach.  Same yummy taste + less dishes = a much happier cook.  (3) I think the orzo recipe would taste really nice cold as well.  I'm planning on adding some cooked tofu to the leftovers and taking it for lunch this week.  (4) I got so excited about the new recipes that I forgot to plan a veggie, so I just had some raw red pepper, but I think some kale slightly wilted in lemon juice and garlic would go very nicely with the tilapia and orzo.  (5) The recipe calls for 2 tilapia fillets, halved.  However, my fillets were quite small and I ended up making one per person (approximately 110g each).  So, I'd recommend getting them weighed to double check proportions.


Dinner!  Tilapa with fresh tomato and olive salsa, tomato spinach orzo, and raw red peppers. 

Dessert: fresh strawberries with 2% milk.  My favourite summer dessert!

Monday, 25 March 2013


How I'd never been to this absolutely fantabulous restaurant is beyond me and I am most definitely indebted to one of my favourite cycling friends for introducing me to it.  I live for garlic, lemon juice and any sort of middle eastern or mediterranean inspired food, so Nuba was right up my alley!  The food was so flavourful but healthy, the atmosphere funky yet homey, the service friendly and easy going, and there was a fair chunk of natural light.  I was literally in food heaven and, I'm no psychic, but I have a feeling that there's going to be a lot more of Nuba in my future.

Things to note: (1) The service is nice and relaxed.  So, if you're planning on going for a work lunch, work a longer lunch into your schedule.  (2) The water they serve you is flavoured with cucumbers.  Awesome!  (3) You can get a side order of Najib's (the yummy goodness pictured below) for only $1!  I highly recommend this option. 

My Lamb Kibbeh: grilled grain-fed halal lamb patty, vegetables, pinenuts, burghul and aromatic spices served with hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, olives, pita, roasted potatoes, tzatziki and home-made hot sauce.  ($12.50)  Supercalafragelisticexpialidocious!

Our side order of Najib's: crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt, served with tahini.  ($1)  Delicious!  

Sunday, 24 March 2013

The Coal Harbour Cactus Club is Open!!!

It's of Wednesday night, Cactus Club's flagship location is officially open!  With amazing views of the Olympic cauldron on one side of the restaurant, stunning views of Stanley park on the other, the classic Cactus Club menu, great service and a patio that seats 200, this place is sure to be hopping all summer long!  I was very impressed with the restaurant itself and would definitely say it's the nicest Cactus Club I've ever been in.  I have no doubt it's going to quickly become one of the top patios in Vancouver. 
Things to note: (1) If you're going for a work lunch it gets crazy busy right around 11:45, so make sure you get there early.  (2) The patio tables look like they have gas heaters in them, so you should be able to keep toasty warm at all times of the year.  (3) If you're driving down in the evening, valet parking is offered for $7.  (4) They take reservations for parties of 8 or more.
To the lovely ladies I was lucky enough to lunch with on Friday...thanks for the laughs and good company over lunch.  And to the lady who made sure to get their early enough to get us a table, I owe you one!

Now that's what I call a location!

Raincoast Greens: grilled chicken, avocado, tomatoes, feta, egg, spicy pecans, berries, lemon-thyme vinaigrette. ($16.50)

Quinoa Salad: quinoa, arugula, feta, snap peas, grape tomato, red peppers, spicy pecans, sherry vinaigrette with salmon added.  ($17.25)

 Butternut Squash Ravioli with Prawns: butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli, truffle butter, jumbo prawns and pine nuts.  ($24.75)

My Szechuan Salmon Rice Bowl: Ocean-wise steelhead, miso mustard, broccoli, edamame, red peppers, snap peas, daikon and pea shoot salad.  Delicious!  ($16.50)

Our view.  It's not very often that you get to eat lunch looking at the Olympic cauldron! 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Scrumptious chocolate tasting at Xoxolat!

So, last night was one of the greatest nights ever!  Imagine an hour being surrounded by some of the most amazing chocolates you've ever seen, learning the ins and outs of chocolate, and then tasting chocolate for an hour straight.  I was pretty excited when I saw the groupon for Xoxolat's Chocolate 101 tasting, but the actual class was better than I had expected.  Our presenters were very knowledgeable, personable, fun and true and through chocolate lovers...and we got to taste way more samples than I had expected.  I was in heaven! 

If you're looking for a fun evening out, this class is definitely a great option...all for the same price as a movie and popcorn!  ($18/person, regular price)  They also have an amazing selection of chocolate, so if you're looking for something yummy for that special chocolate lover in your life, definitely a fabulous place to peruse.  Although, I don't promise that you won't end up leaving with more than you came in for!

Interesting Facts Learned During the Class (from presenters and fellow classmates)
  1. Cocoa beans are only grown within 20 degrees North and South of the equator.
  2. Cocoa beans are grown in pods that grow around the bark of the tree.
  3. If you were to try to grind a cocoa bean like a coffee bean, you would get mush.
  4. Single-origin chocolates are made from beans from one location in the world (e.g. Madagascar)
  5. Cocoa beans from different parts of the world have significantly different flavours.
  6. There are up to 400 notes (i.e. flavours) in chocolate.
  7. There are no chocolate makers in Vancouver.  The closest chocolate maker is in Seattle.
  8. You can take a chocolate making and tasting class at Theo chocolates in Seattle for approximately $10. (
  9. Hawkins cheezies taste amazing dipped in chocolate (duly noted for my next chocolate fondue).
  10. A delicious chocolate treat can be made by taking parmesan cheese and grating it all over a pan.  Pop the pan in the oven and and bake it until it melts, then let it cool so it turns into a crisp.  Drizzle with dark and milk chocolate and serve.
  11. To make drinking chocolate, melt equal parts chocolate with water and warm in a pot on the stove.
  12. To make milk chocolate add 2 parts dark chocolate to 1 part white chocolate, melt and combine together.
  13. Chocolate never goes bad.
  14. White chocolate is made largely of cocoa butter which has the majority of the natural oils and nutrients of cocoa.
  15. Legally the cocoa content must be 35% or higher in order to be labelled as dark chocolate.
  16. Xoxolat is the largest importer of foreign chocolate in Canada.
  17. All of Xoxolat's chocolate is junk free and fair trade.
  18. Xoxolat's own line of chocolate is wrapped, labelled and sold at the store.
  19. All products purchased the night of the tasting are 10% off.
I'm not going to lie.  I take no responsibility for the above being partially incorrect, or the fact that there were many more important facts which I missed.  I did listen the entire class, however, my thoughts were often overtaken by the "aaahhhh" in my head as I tasted the chocolate.  

The tasting tray!!!  We started by tasting nibs which is pure chocolate with no sugar added.  These just had a hint of what you'd traditionally think of as chocolate, but I still enjoyed them and my chocolate-eating partner in crime had a great idea of putting them in home-made granola bars or trail mix.  Next we tried a 90% chocolate which tasted like a very crumbly dark chocolate.  Up next were the 80%, 70% and two 75% chocolates.  I thoroughly enjoyed all of them but my favourite was the 75% chocolate from Venezuela....I picture a bar of it and glass of scrumptious red wine in my near future. 
Next we moved on to Xoxolat's flavoured chocolates.  We tried lavendar and nib...very interesting.  My chocolate tasting partner in crime (Fitness Junkie - nailed this flavour, but my tastebuds were obviously out to lunch because I thought it was ginger.  Next up was a dark cherry and chili.  Amazing!  Then there was Tortilla Chips and Lime...interesting but not my favourite...would be great with a Corona.  One of the crowd favourites was the Westcoast Breakfast (maple carmelized bacon with a touch of espresso).  I was blown away by how powerful the smoky bacon taste was.  Delicious!  Next were the classic coffee followed by sea salt. And, last but not least, was one of my favourites...coconut curry.  Imagine a dark chocolate with coconut flavours in it, then, just as you think every last flavour from the chocolate has left your mouth, a fiery curry flavour explodes in it.  Amazing!
The evening ended with two drinking chocolate tastings: milk chocolate orange, and dark with three chilis.  My favourite was the dark, hands down.

 View of part of Xoxolat's single-origin section of the store, with their trade mark high-heeled shoes displayed on top.

View of Xoxolat's flavoured chocolate selections.
My take-home treat!  Who can resist dark chocolate, apricots and chili?  My favourite are the quotes on the wrapper: "Chocolate is the answer...whatever the question" and "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty and well preserved, but rather to slide in sideways, totally worn out, champagne in one hand and chocolate in the other, cheering "Woohoo!  What a ride!""  I also thoroughly enjoyed the fact that Love is included as ingredient.  Surprisingly reasonable at $4. 

My favourite chocolate shoe...Dorothy's slipper!  Unbelievable that it's fully edible.  ($30-$50, depending on the artwork on the shoe)

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Red Wagon

I am almost embarrassed to say that I had never heard of The Red Wagon before last Sunday.  It had been on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives for crying out loud!  After having eaten there, I am very grateful to my snowshoeing partner in crime for introducing me to this fabulous little hole in the wall post-snowshoe.

The Red Wagon is a classic diner if I've ever seen one.  You're nice and cozy with your neighbours, you literally walk through the kitchen to get to the bathroom (I highly recommend making this walk just to experience it), there are kids' drawings posted on the windows and walls, the service is super friendly and fast, and the food is great!  Needless to say, I would recommend adding this gem to your brunch repertoire.

Things to note: (1) This place is busy!  So, be prepared to wait in line at least 10-15 minutes.  (2) Their counter area looks so cool.  I'm tempted to go back solo, just so I can sit at it!  (3) There is an awning around the edge of the restaurant, so if it's raining, don't let that deter you from making your way to The Red Wagon.

The X that marks the spot.

My FREE fresh, home-made doughnut hole.  Do they know how to keep customers waiting in line happy or what?!

My snowshoeing partner in crime's Trucker Breakfast with 2 over-medium eggs, 2 buttermilk pancakes, homefries, bacon and multigrain toast.  ($11.75)

My Trucker Breakfast: 2 over-easy eggs, 2 buttermilk pancakes, homefries, sausage and sourdough toast.  Now, normally I think it's a crime for two people to order the same meal at a restaurant.  As a result, I was fully prepared to order the scrumptious looking St. Patty's day special, and had even put my order in...when I heard the sourdough toast game changer!
In retrospect, I am 100% thoroughly happy with my change of mind.  This meal was delicious and the pancakes are like no other pancake I've ever had.  The picture doesn't do them justice, but they were unbelievably thick.  It was like you got four pancakes instead of two.  I loved it!

2 cream-soda candies with the end to a meal ever!  I may have even gasped out loud in excitement when the bill arrived, much to our server's happiness.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Snow + live music + rolly floors + vegetarian chili = ....

One heck of a fun night!  This year I made a goal to get out into the snow once a week.  Not only did it help the winter fly by, but it also encouraged me to finally get into cross-country skiing and take those skate ski lessons that I'd been wanting to take for years.  The best part about the lessons?  Finding out Cypress' little known secret about Hollyburn lodge.

Hollyburn lodge was built in 1926 and was originally a part of Hollyburn ski camp.  The lodge was later transported by horse up to its current location where it sits as a part of Cypress Mountain's nordic ski area (full history here:  This lodge is a blast from the past and I loved it!  The floor literally has speed bumps in it, anytime someone steps on a plank your seat moves, it's heated by an old wood stove with grates on it to dry out kids takes you back to a time when going up to the hill was about getting back to basics.

I haven't even got to the best part, though.  One, it has the best vegetarian chili I think I have ever had....amazing!  Two, prices are very reasonable for a ski hill ($5 for a burger, $7 for a large vegetarian chili, $0.95 for a homemade slice of bread, $5 for a grilled cheese sandwich, $5-6 for a beer).  And, three, enter drum roll here please, they have live music on Saturday nights!!!

This past weekend myself and my skate ski lesson buddies headed up to the hill for an early evening skate ski, then popped into Hollyburn lodge for some chili and stayed for the live band.  It was such a fun night!  I definitely plan on making this a regular occurrence next year.

Things to note: (1) Hollyburn lodge is open all day long.  So, even if you're up during the day, I'd highly recommend popping your head in to check out this classic lodge.  (2) The live music goes from 7-9pm on Saturday nights.  However, if you want a seat, I'd recommend being at the lodge no later than 6:30.  It gets pretty darn busy...especially once the dancing starts! (3) There are fully functioning toilets!  I was pretty happy to discover this.

My view of the lodge, pre-live music.

Dinner of champions!  3 large vegetarian chilis, 3 slices of homemade bread, 1 poutine and 2 Guiness.

Snow Report at their first gig ever.  Thoroughly enjoyable!  I especially liked the Shoelaces song.

The infamous Hollyburn Lodge.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Have you ever seen a Beaver Fly?

If you haven't, get your butt down to the Flying Beaver Bar and Grill in Richmond!  Hands down one of my favourite patios, and pubs for that matter, in the Lower Mainland.  The pub is warm and inviting, the food is delicious, the prices are reasonable, there is natural light everywhere you look, the service is always great, you are literally on the water with a fabulous view AND you get to watch beavers fly as you eat your meal!

What is a Flying Beaver you ask?  It is actually a type of float plane.  The Flying Beaver Bar and Grill is in the same building as Harbour Air's Richmond terminal...hence, the view of flying beavers.  It never fails to entertain me!

As you might have guessed, this pub is tucked away in a hidden location that you would never find if you didn't know about it, but it's worth finding.  It's also a great place to go for a quick bite to eat before dropping someone off at the airport.  Hence, the reason my Dad and I made our way this past weekend.  The perfect end to a great visit!

Before I get to the food, here are a few things to note: (1) If you make your way to the South Terminal of YVR, you won't be able to miss the Flying Beaver.  (2) Brunch is only served on Saturdays and Sundays.  (3) They're open from 11am - midnight during week days and from 9am til midnight on weekends.  (4) There is a complimentary shuttle bus for those of you in Richmond who enjoy four or more drinks, and (5) They have a Flying Beaver rewards card!  One purchased meal = 1 pelt.  10 pelts = a free meal.  Talk about a great deal.

My Westcoast Salmon Salad: grilled wild BC salmon fillet, with fresh arugula, goat cheese, edamame beans, roasted pears, cherry tomatoes and pine nuts with a honey-dijon vinaigrette.  I was very impressed with the large quantity of salmon and goat cheese.  Definitely yummy in my tummy!  ($13) 
My Dad's house special 1 piece halibut fish and chips made with the Beaver's micro-brewed beer batter.  This looked delicious!  And if the fish tasted half as good as the fries did, you definitely can't go wrong.  ($14.50)

A flying beaver!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Pasta and a long lost friend, all in one Nook...

When I was growing up, I went to kindergarten and grade one in the lower mainland and then my family moved away.  Being a typical seven year old, and having to leave all of my nearest and dearest friends behind, I was heartbroken!  Looking back on it, I realize how silly it was, but I never did forget those friends.  Fast forward fifteen years, and I ended up moving back to the lower mainland.  As I was moving into a new apartment, my friends who were helping me move bumped into their cousin and his girlfriend, who happened to have the parking spot next to me.  Over the next year I became good acquaintances with these neighbours of mine, only to get a facebook message one day from the cousin's girlfriend.  As she was looking through her boyfriend's cousin's friends on Facebook (come on, you've all done it!), she noticed my full name....we'd been best friends in Kindergarten and grade one!!!!  What are the odds of that?  Needless to say, we felt that it was a friendship sign that was not to be ignored.

Fast forward to this past weekend when we headed to Nook for a great visit, a fabulous meal of homemade scrumptious pasta, equally delicious non-homemade wine (thank goodness!), and heavenly desserts.  I had heard nothing but amazing things about Nook and I agree with each one whole-heartedly.  If you're in the mood for some true Italian and a fun comfy-cozy atmosphere, you definitely have to make your way to Nook.

Things to note: this restaurant is truly a Nook.  It completely made the atmosphere, but it is jam-packed all night long.  We got there around 5:45 and got the last table.  From that point on, there was a line of about ten people for the rest of the night.  So, moral of the story is, go early or be ready to have a glass or two of wine in line! 

My Casarecce: italian sausage, roast fennel, olives, tomatoes and chilies.  Yummy!  You can't beat fresh pasta.  My favourite part?  The large mountain of parmesan cheese that the dish came with.  You didn't even have to sit there and feel like a glutton as they looked at you with their "you don't want me to stop yet?" look.  Fabulous!  ($16) 

My long-lost friend's Gnocchi with baby meatballs.  This dish was, without a doubt, out of control!  I highly recommend trying this yummy goodness.  ($17)

My view of Nook.  I loved the way that the one wall was covered with mirrors.  Even though I was facing the wall, I still could still see and feel the atmosphere of the restaurant.  It was great!
My long lost friend's Panna Cotta, which she thoroughly enjoyed. 
If you're anything like me, you'll also noticed the very cool ring she is wearing.  I loved it!  When I asked her about it, I discovered that it is made out of a fork.  It was one of the neatest rings I'd seen in a long time.  If it intrigues you as well, you can find more of this talented lady's creations by searching Yubiwa on facebook.  They're beyond neat.
My Tiramisu.  This Tiramisu was unbelievable!  I can't even describe it with any justice, so you're just going to have to try it.  Unreal.

The X that marks the spot!


Friday, 15 March 2013

Butcher and Bullock

I met up with some long-lost friends to catch up over the Canucks game last week and The Butcher and Bullock was a great call for our gathering.  Fun pub atmosphere, good pub food, TV's all over the place so everyone could keep up on the game without having to strain their neck, quiet enough that we could still chat easily...very enjoyable. 

Things to note: curiosity killed the cat while we were at the pub and we ended up googling what a Bullock is.  For those of you who are equally as curious, it is a young, uncastrated bull.  Who knew?

The Buttermilk Chicken and Waffle Sandwich: buttermilk marinated maple hill farms chicken, butter lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo, on a crispy waffle with the soup of the day.  ($14)  This was almost demolished quicker than I could get a picture!  So, I'm guessing it was pretty darn good.

The Blackened Chicken Sandwich: maple hill farms chicken, butter lettuce, tomato, BC farmstead cheddar, arugula pinenut pesto on ciabatta with the organic house salad.  ($15)
In the background, the Wild BC Salmon and Organic Artisan Greens: 6 oz filet, green beans, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, fennel capers, red onion, goat cheese, lemon dill vinaigrette.  ($15).
Both delicious according to their consumers!

 My New York Style Reuben Sandwich: pastrami, swiss, hot mustard, sauerkraut, on Point Grey rye bread with the organic house salad.  ($14)  The reuben sandwich was good but not spectacular.  However, the house salad was out of control!  Organic greens, cubed cheese, thin slices of pear, dried cranberries, gooseberries (I think), quinoa and roasted hazelnuts with a light vinaigrette dressing.  Unreal!

Thursday, 14 March 2013


The definition of "enigma" is "a person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand."  However, there is nothing mysterious or puzzling to understand about the restaurant Enigma on 10th Ave.  It is plain old delicious and a great place to enjoy a meal.  As for my golf that definitely falls into the definition of an enigma!
I had heard fabulous things about Enigma for quite some time, so I was quite excited when I got to enjoy their brunch first hand this past weekend.  I was impressed not only with the food, but the South African lady who owns the restaurant.  She was there the entire time and went to each and every table to ask how people enjoyed their meals.  Plus, she even helped clean and set up tables when things got busy.  It was refreshing to see. 

Now...on to the food!
You're not going to believe this, but every table gets a complimentary plate of home-made absolutely scrumptious banana bread when you first sit down.  It definitely made my day!

My friend's Sautéed South African Sausage Breakfast: SA sausage (Boerewors) served on toasted multigrain, topped with sautéed onions, tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms and chutney.  Served with 2 eggs, any style, and hash browns.  ($12.50)  My friend's official conclusion?  Delicious!

My Boerewors Omelette: boerewors with sautéed mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and mozzarella.  Served with toasted multigrain, fruit and a choice of hashbrowns, greens or grilled tomatoes.  ($11)  There wasn't as much boerewors in the omelette as I had hoped for, but the omelette was still delicious, the multigrain bread was great and the tomatoes grilled to perfection!

The best way ever to work off brunch!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Emmy's Marrakesh Bowl - Whitewater Cooks

A little while ago, when the weather was still cold and wintery, I was craving a warm and hearty stew to warm me from the inside out.  I felt like trying a new recipe, so I perused my cookbooks and ended up trying Emmy's Marrakesh Bowl from the Whitewater Cooks cookbooks.  It's essentially a Moroccan stew, so imagine a traditional stew but with a flavour twist.  It was yummy, hearty and definitely warmed me from the inside out!  There's no doubt in my mind that I will be making this stew for many winters to come.

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 750g beef, cubed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (398 mL) of diced tomatoes (low or no sodium)
  • 1/2 cup sherry cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp hot chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp coriander, ground
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
Heat the oil in a large pot.  Place the flour in a bowl and then lightly coat all sides of the beef cubes in flour.  Add the floured meat cubes to the large pot and cook until all sides are browned.  Remove the meat from the pot and add the onions and garlic.  Cook until the onions are translucent.  Return the meat to the pot and add the tomatoes, sherry cooking wine, raisins and all of the spices.  Cover and let simmer for 35 minutes to an hour, stirring every once in a while.  Add the diced carrots and cook for 10 more minutes.  Add the red peppers and fresh tomatoes and cook 10 more minutes or until the carrots are tender.  Serve over quinoa.  Serves 4-6.



Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Last week I went for a long-awaited lunch with a friend who I met through our love of cycling.  We figured that we spend enough time working out together and it was about time that we started eating together!  At her recommendation, we went to Sakana in Yaletown for sushi.  Great atmosphere, fabulous service and very yummy food.  I've officially added it as one of my sushi favourites!

Things to note: It gets extremely busy at lunch time, so I would recommend arriving at 11:45 to ensure you get a seat.

My friend's Healthy Lunch: soba salad (buckwheat noodles & organic spring greens), brown rice avocado cucumber roll, agédashi tofu, miso soup and brown rice.  ($9.50)  We were both blown away with the amount of food that came with this meal.  It was unreal!  I'll definitely order this in the future.

My Lunch Box A: assorted sashimi, assorted tempura, chicken breast teriyaki, california roll, miso soup, rice and fresh fruit.  ($14)  Absolutely delicious and just the right amount of food.  Truly a treat.

Monday, 11 March 2013

The best dinner I've had in months...

As you all know, I love going out, trying new foods and enjoying the atmospheres of different restaurants.  However, this past weekend I feel very lucky to have been invited over to a friend's for dinner.  It re-reminded me just how gourmet and relaxing a meal at home can be.  It was a real treat and I definitely plan on re-creating all of the recipes again myself.  Thanks a bundle for the scrumptious meal!

When I arrived I was asked if I wanted a drink.  I thought the offer was for a beer or glass of wine...not a homemade margarita!!!  And let me tell you, these margaritas were dangerously good.  You couldn't even taste the alcohol...just yummy frozen lime juice.  I can picture many of these in my future this summer.  For those of you who would like to try and create this at home: 1.5 oz tequila, 1.5 oz lime juice, 1/4 oz cointreau, 1 cup ice, 1-1.5 oz simple syrup.  Blend and enjoy!

As we were enjoying our margaritas, we started making our starters: Amalfi Baked Lemons from Jamie Oliver's Italy cookbook.  They were absolutely delightful!  Every flavour that I love, all in one dish.  To replicate these, go to page 20 of Jamie's Italy if you have it, otherwise, you'll need 2 large lemons, buffalo mozzarella, 2 cherry tomatoes (halved), 4 basil leaves, freshly ground salt and pepper, 1/2 dried chili and 2 sardines.  Cut the ends off of the lemons and then cut them in half and scoop out all of the lemon pulp to create bowls.  Put a layer of buffalo mozzarella at the bottom of the lemon bowl, then place one half of a cherry tomato, one half of a sardine, a sprinkle of freshly ground salt and pepper, a few flakes of dried chili pepper and a basil leaf on top.  Cover with another layer of buffalo mozzarella and bake in the oven at 400F until golden (about 10 minutes).  Serve on toasted bread which has been rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil (subsequent to toasting).  Heaven on earth!  Supposed to serve 4, unless you have an appetite like mine.

Our main consisted of David Lee's Baked Halibut with Tomato Salsa and Jamie Oliver's Risotto Bianco.  This was nothing short of mind-blowingly spectacular.  The halibut was perfectly cooked, the homemade tomato salsa was bursting with flavour and the risotto was divine.  As you can tell, I was a little excited to eat it and almost forgot to take a picture!  The true sign of a delicious meal.
The recipe for David Lee's baked halibut can be found at the link below...I highly recommend trying this recipe...and by highly, I mean you're crazy if you don't!

The Risotto Bianco recipe can be found on page 130 of Jamie's Italy, or a very similar recipe can be found at the link below.

As for dessert, The Udder Guy's Vanilla ice cream and raspberries.  The perfect end to a delicious meal!  Apologies for the lack of a photo.  By that time, I was too engulfed in food heaven to remember to take out my camera.