Saturday, December 30, 2017

Roasted Carrot Soup


Did you know Ottawa has been the coldest capital in the world for the past few days? yes that's right, colder than Ulan Bator, Astana, Reykjavik, Nuuk and Moscow. And not just by a little. 

It's the perfect time to put on those roots sweatpants, or better yet, stay in your cozy pjs all day and bust out that puzzle that you've been meaning to do, turn on Netflix or just relax. It's also a great time to whip up this delicious carrot soup.

I got inspired for this recipe by Greta Podleski's recipe in her new book, Yum and Yummer ( great cookbook,  I highly recommend it!). We followed the recipe loosely, but used curry paste instead of powder, and used some different herbs that Stefan crushed in his mortel and pestel and then roasted using a torch ( amazing birthday gift I got from Antonella). That combined with roasting the veggies just made the soup that much more flavourful and delicious. If you don't have fresh herbs or a torch no problemo, just use regular dried herbs and it'll still be good.




Monday, December 04, 2017

Food Bloggers of Canada Conference

Over a month ago now, I attended the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference, which took place in Ottawa this year, at the Delta Hotel. I signed up nearly a year ago when tickets were first released. I had been wanting to go for a few years, but with travel and accommodations, it would have been quite expensive. When I saw it was in Ottawa, I jumped at the chance.

I had been travelling out East to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for work all week. I got home late Friday afternoon, dropped my luggage at home and headed straight to the conference. I got there just in time to admire the view from the penthouse level (Caesar in hand no less!)


What ensued was a fun-filled weekend, with delicious food, great sessions, and inspiring people. It was truly an experience to have so much beautiful, well presented food and be surrounded by like-minded people who are all snapping photos and posting on instagram/snapchat/facebook/twitter..

It took me a few weeks after the conference to go through all the business cards of the people I met and check out everyone's blogs, but I now have so many new blogs to follow. I'll share some of my favourites in a separate post.

Here are a few highlights of the weekend:

1. The swag bag- by far best swag bag, EVER


2. Elizabeth Baird as Keynote Speaker


3. Great Speakers and Sessions

On branding by Sam Turnbull of Fuss Free Vegan

On community building by Deb of Sugared Tea Cup
On Overhead video production 
4. These amazing cakes from Holland Cake and Shake



5. My anniversary surprise.. fine this one wasn't part of the conference, but it was definitely a highlight of my weekend so I couldn't leave it out. Saturday was a year and half anniversary with Stefan (fine I guess that makes it more a month-aversary, but a significant one non-the-less). I had warned Stefan that I would be gone from 8 am till 10pm (sorry babe) but he was so sweet and made me a scavenger hunt with balloons and photos and messages..so sweet and thoughtful!



All in all a great weekend. Many thanks to all the generous sponsors and to Ethan and Mellisa from Food Bloggers of Canada for organizing everything.

I have since made great recipes from the cookbooks I got in the swag bag and will be sharing them soon. Stay tuned as we head into holiday madness.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Lemon Squares





My friend's grandpa died and I decided it would be nice to bake him something. This friend is also a neighbour, and it's always nice to bring food over to neighbours' in times of need. I wanted to make something comforting and practical and was thinking about making muffins. I started sifting through my cookbooks and these lemon bars from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman (the original not the new cookbook) jumped out at me. My friend likes Lemon meringue and lemon cake so i figured he might like these too. I saved a couple for my friend Stu who is recovering from an inner ear infection and Stefan ate as many as he could before I brought these upstairs... fine I may have eaten a few myself. They taste so yummy and fresh. I would definitely recommend these and will be making them again.

It's funny, I have really bad time management when it comes to baking or cooking. I always underestimate the time it will take me. The bars take a bit longer than you'd expect because you first bake the bottom later for 20 minutes, than add the top layer and bake 35-40 minutes more. This time, we had plans to meet friends at the Museum of History's Christmas Market and we wanted to walk over and needed to make a stop on the way. We quickly realized we would never make it on time and pushed back our meeting half an hour. Anyway, the market was really beautiful! I have been going for the past couple of years, and each year i buy less and less. It's still fun to browse and admire the beauty of the Museum.



Note the recipe uses a food processor. I imagine you can also just use by hand, but a food processor makes it quicker and easier.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Spiralized Squash





Usually when I think of using my spiralizer I always think of making zucchini, but a friend of mine  said he was going to make squash noodles and I thought I would try it out. I had a whole bunch of butternut squash from my CSA to eat up. I read a few different recipes and articles. Key takeaway is that you can only use the long skinnier part of the squash (save the rest for a soup). I also found that after peeling the squash, it's good to microwave it for a few minutes to soften it enough so the spikes in the spiralizer can grip on.  If you don't have a spiralizer or it's too much effort, many grocery stores sell pre-made boxes of spiralized squash. Not too overpriced surprisingly and skips a lot of the hassle.

Once your squash is spiralized you can fry it or roast it. I drizzled it with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and roasted at 400 for about 10 minutes. We topped with Stefan's homemade Bolognese meat sauce and it was delicious. I am a pasta lover and even i didn't miss it.


Stay tuned for many more squash recipes and some other ones from new cookbooks I got at the Food Blogger's conference. I've been really busy at work and at night haven't wanted to be on the computer much, but i've been cooking a fair bit and want to share some of the recipes!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Part 2: Chilli Pickling

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Does this tongue twister ring a bell? I couldn't help but think of it, while pickling the peppers..I mean chillis..with Stefan on the weekend. We got everything ready to pickle and then realized we didn't have enough vinegar. So we decided to go play squash.. then buy some more vinegar and then get to work. It was a fun little project for a rainy day.

We borrowed this canning pot from Stefan's parents (on the right in the photo below), although if you don't have one, you can just use a regular pot and sterilized tongues.


The pot has a rack inside so you can take the sterilized jars out without touching them.

We loosely followed this recipe from the Roasted Root. Basically, you cut up the chillis, prep onion and garlic, fry to soften them up a bit. Then you sterilize the jars and make your vinegar mixture. You put the chilis in the jars, fill with the vinegar mixture and let cool. Its important to close the jars most of the way and then let cool so that they seal, and then tighten the jars.




These would make great gifts. I made chalk labels that say "Spice up Your Life". They are really spicy! Too spicy for me right now, but maybe after some time they will be more tolerable ;) Maybe next time we will try roasted red peppers.





Sunday, October 15, 2017

Part 1: Chili Plant

Back in July, I got Stefan two chilli plants for his birthday. Did you know, we have the exact same birthday? Same day and year. We are maybe two hours apart. When we first met and found that out, we calculated the chances and it was something like 1 in 6000. Pretty crazy right? I don't know if I believe much in horoscopes and astrology but we do have similar personality traits and I wonder if it's the birthday.  We have teachers in both our families, family in Austria and Poland (so nearby) and both went to French school. For a couple years after university,  I lived with Keldi in a house diagonally behind Stefan's family home. We had a few friends in common, but never met. I'm surprised our paths hadn't crossed sooner, but glad that they finally did :)

We have both taken an interest in photography in the last few years. Stefan is really talented. We woke up early yesterday and decided to go check out these stromatolite fossils over on the Quebec side of the Island Park bridge. I had been before, but forgotten how beautiful it is there.




Anyway, back to the birthday and the chilis. I had seen a chilli plant in the market and went back early one morning with Daniele to sneakily buy it, but the stand was closed. I could see the plant but it was fenced in..hmm what to do? Well luckily we found another booth that was open and had some other types of chillies and I decided to get a hot chilli plant and a Hungarian chilli plant.

I always call them chilli peppers, but Stefan is advising me that it's wrong..they are not peppers, just chillies. He says it's a taxonomy error.. hmm.  Regardless of the name, Stefan really liked them, and it was a gift that kept on giving. Because we don't get much sun on our balcony and were heading off to Europe, we asked Stefan's parents if we could keep them in their garden. Stefan's mom is a wonderful gardener, and I'm not sure what she did, but the plants flourished and we got so many chillies! It was a lovely surprise to see about 40 of them on the plants.

Back in July 

Beginning of October 



Stay tuned for Part 2 on pickling.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Chocolate Chip Muffins and Juliet in Ottawa

Last week, Juliet was in town for a world-wind trip. My aunt and uncle were here too, meaning that our week was filled with family dinners. Stefan and I haven't done groceries in weeks.. we would just eat at my parents house every night with the family and Juliet would pack up bags of bagels and food for us to eat for breakfast everyday. No shame! But hey, my parents always buy way to much food, so really, it was win-win. It was so nice to have the family together.

We tried to make the most of Juliet's visit. We went running twice on the canal, saw some pretty views, got into The Handmaid's Tale (traumatic no? but I can't stop watching), shopped till we dropped, went to Bridgehead and Scone Witch, celebrated my uncle's birthday, and for some good old Canadian fun- went canoeing on the Canal!










The family also saw Mosaica and had a great time. Unfortunately I was at work..but I saw the photos. It has really grown since I saw it in July!

Juliet also cleaned, sorted and organized our apartment while we were at work. Do I have the best cousin or what? it makes such a big difference! I swear she did that out of her own free will.

For my uncle's birthday, I whipped up this decadent chocolate cake. Everyone liked it, and it made up for our so-so dinner. Finally, a smile on my uncle's face.

I also made some chocolate chip muffins for a charity event at work! I followed this recipe. I will remember the tip to heat at high temperature first and then lower the temperature. Apparently that helps create a fluffy, bakery-style, muffin.




and spotted on Juliet's instagram


I think Juliet really wanted a muffin, she decided to come to work with me for the charity event. She got to visit a few friends and spent the morning studying (sleeping?) at an empty desk. Haha, I won't post the photo evidence. And then, just like that, our week together was up, as Stefan and I were off to Lake Placid for the long weekend. Missing you already Juliet! Time to move to Ottawa!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Stefan's Quiche



Stefan and I said we'd bring a quiche to L&J's dinner for the break fast last week. Because I was fasting, and I tend to get hangry/emotional/grumpy.. Stefan told me to stay OUT of the kitchen and that he would make the quiche. Yahoo!! Well, of course, he went above and beyond and it resulted in these beautiful and delicious quiches. He wanted to show me the veggies at different stages of cooking, but I wasn't interested. I was like get this out of my sight!!  It all smelled so good. Anyway, they were well worth the wait.

Everyone liked them and asked him for the recipe. Usually Stefan just wings it, but he graciously wrote out his recipe so we could all benefit.

Here it is, enjoy!

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