Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Raw, vegan banana chocolate-chip soft serve

This post very well might, definitely, change your life.

I posted a picture of this delicious treat tonight and was asked for the recipe. You’re going to laugh at how insanely easy (and delicious) this is and you can thank me for introducing you to your new favourite “treat” later!


frozen bananas (I take perfectly ripe bananas, peel them and cut them into a few pieces, toss them in a container and then put them into the freezer – just makes it that much easier to make the soft serve! I generally make at least 2 bananas at a time.)

raw chocolate nibs (SUPER high in antioxidants – a true superfood. For Bruce County folks – I buy mine at Fine Fettle in Kincardine.)


Toss the peeled, frozen banana into your food processor (you can use a blender too but the food processor seems to whip the bananas up better and creates the best texture). Hit the on button and whiz the bananas around for 4-5 minutes, stopping every once in awhile to scrap it down, until they become light, smooth and fluffy. Toss in a teaspoon or two of raw chocolate nibs and whiz it all for another 20 seconds or so (just to break up the nibs and incorporate them into the bananas).

As an alternative to adding the nibs, you can make some raw chocolate syrup by combining 2 tablespoons of agave nector with 1 tablespoon of raw cocoa powder and make yourself a little sundae. Or throw some nuts in there. Or you can add some frozen strawberries to get banana-strawberry soft serve (but you still need the bananas for the right texture…). Or do all of the above. Possibilities are really endless.

You’re welcome.

Hand-made ravioli

Yesterday I attempted making hand-made pasta for the first time. I don’t have a pasta machine (or the attachment for my mixer) so I was always hesitant to give it a try but I was feeling inspired yesterday! My conclusion: hand-made pasta is HARD WORK! No wonder all those Italian grandma’s have arms like they do! You have to knead, knead, knead, then knead some more and then rolling it out by hand with a rolling pin takes FOREVER and involves the use of some serious muscle. BUT, it was soooo good!

Note: if you’re going to make the ricotta filling, you should start straining the ricotta cheese the day before to remove the extra moisture from the cheese. To do this, just put it in a strainer with a bowl under it, cover it with cling-wrap and throw it in the fridge over-night.

Home-made pasta:

2 1/2 cups Tipo ’00’ flour (a finer ground flour that is great for pasta and pizza dough. I have read that if you can’t find this flour, all-purpose flour will work just fine.)

6 large eggs


Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little bit of the flour at a time, until it is all mixed in. Knead the pasta, knead, knead, knead some more until the dough changes from rough and floury to smooth and silky. You have to knead to develop the gluten in the dough so the pasta will be springy and al dente (apparently if you under-knead, it will be flabby and soft). This takes some time and work. You have to really mash the dough around for quite a while but you will feel the difference in the dough when it is done.

Wrap the pasta in cling-wrap and throw it in the fridge for at least half an hour before you work with it (make sure it’s completely covered by the cling wrap to prevent the dough from drying out – it dries out VERY quickly so this is important).

Ricotta filling:

While your pasta dough is hanging out in the fridge, you can go ahead and make your filling.

Container of ricotta cheese

1 egg

Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix it all up and throw it back in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Rolling the pasta

If you have a pasta machine, use it to roll your pasta out. Otherwise, throw some flour down on your board, grab your rolling pin, and get ready for a workout! Since I was making ravioli, I divided the pasta into 3 chunks and worked with each separately (I re-wrapped the two I was not working with at the moment in cling-wrap to prevent it from drying out). Start rolling. You really need to put your weight behind it and you’ll notice the pasta retracting on itself so just keep rolling (it took me awhile to get it rolled out – I’m not kidding in the slightest when I say it will be a workout). You want to roll your pasta as thin as possible for ravioli (as close to paper-thin as you can get before your arms give out on you!).

Putting it all together:

Beat 2 eggs in a bowl to be used for your egg wash.

I used a drinking glass to cut out my ravioli (should have taken a picture…), but you can use a cookie cutter or a crimper. I covered my cut pieces of pasta with a damp, clean tea towel (again to prevent it from drying out) until I was ready to use them.

Brush the top surface of each of your ravioli rounds with egg wash, drop 1 Tbsp of chilled filling onto one round and then top it with another round, pressing the edges to seal them (it’s important to make sure they are sealed all around, otherwise the filling will leak out while they are cooking).

Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling, salted water for 10-15 minutes. Use a large pot and lot’s of water to prevent over-crowding the ravioli as it will float to the top when it is ready (mine floated to the top a bit early – after about 5 minutes – and seemed to be trying to trick me into thinking they were done – I tested one and left them in for 5 more minutes and they were perfectly al dente!).

Using a slotted spoon, lift the ravioli from the water, place the pasta on a plate and top with your favourite sauce (I used a vodka sauce – I’ll post that recipe another day) and some fresh grated parmesan.

Enjoy with a glass of wine and salad (and brushetta if you want to completely carb-load!)

B’stilla (Moroccan Chicken Pie with Dates)

I love to cook. I can happily spend hours in the kitchen playing with recipes and random ingredients to create a meal. I experiment and use friends and family as my tasters. Sometimes my experiments don’t work out, but generally (and judging from the feedback of my rather honest and blunt testers), I think I do pretty well and tweak recipes according to taste and comments. Since I spend so much time cooking, I figured I might as well start sharing my creations!

I haven’t made B’stilla in a long time and was craving it today so this is the first recipe I am sharing!

I remember the first time I had this dish. It was at a lovely little Moroccan restaurant in Ottawa and I was having dinner with our Model United Nations (CANIMUM) team, from Laurentian University, after a very successful (and slightly scandalous) conference.

From my very first bite, I fell in love with the delightful and delicious combination of both savoury and sweet flavours.  In addition to the fantastic flavour, this dish looks really beautiful when served. It works great as a dinner combined with sautéed vegetables (beans and carrots) or, alternatively, with mixed greens, pomegranate seeds and orange slices (my personal favourite way to serve and eat it).


2 tsp vegetable oil

3 chicken breasts, bone in

2 ½ cups onions, finely chopped

1 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cloves

1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp chili flakes

½ tsp turmeric

1 cup chicken stock



3 large eggs

1 cup dates, coarsely chopped

¼ cup golden raisins (optional)

½ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

½ cup slivered almonds, toasted

8 sheets phyllo pastry

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

icing sugar and ground cinnamon for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

2. In a Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. Sauté chicken breasts until browned on both sides and then remove from pot. Chicken will not be fully cooked at this point, just browned.

3. In the same pot, add onions and cook until golden (should take about 10 minutes). Add garlic, cumin, ginger, cloves cinnamon, chili flakes and turmeric. Stir.

4. Put chicken back in pot with onions and spices, add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

5. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Shred the meat off the bone into bite-size pieces.

6. Stir chicken together with the contents of the pot, add eggs, dates, raisins, cilantro and almonds. Combined well and season to taste.

7. Place 1 sheet phyllo pastry lengthwise on your work surface, brush lightly with melted butter. It does not have to be completely covered. Place second sheet on top of this, sideways to form a plus sign. Repeat this process until the 8 sheets have been layered; the last sheet does not need to be buttered.

8. Place sheets in a buttered 9-inch cake or springform pan. Fill pastry with chicken mixture and spread out evenly. Enclose by pulling the overhanging pastry up and over chicken mixture. Brush the top with melted butter.

9. Bake pie for 40 minutes or until pastry is golden and chicken mixture is heated through.

10. Serve hot with sifted icing sugar and ground cinnamon overtop.

365 days to 30

Today I turned 29. With 365 days remaining until the big 3-0, I have decided to make some positive, healthy changes in my life in order to ensure I enter my next decade with the energy, confidence and spunk I need to tackle the next challenges in life.

There was a time when I lived incredibly healthy. I ate the right food, I trained for hours each day and I devoted my energy to my sport (biathlon); all of which made me very happy. I entered my 20’s in excellent shape and never gave any thought to my body beyond what I could push it to do. Throughout the past nine years, I have fallen in and out of my (considerable) vices; smoking, drinking, eating garbage food and not dedicating the time I should to exercise and sport. I have allowed myself to think of my body in terms of how it looks rather than in terms of what it can do.

No more.

I will not make a grandiose statement that I am going to completely ditch my vices and eat 100% clean. For me that is simply unrealistic. I enjoy a good party far too much. I also love a cold beer on the beach, a nice glass of wine by the fire and cheese – any kind, anytime- far too much for such declarations. That said, I am going to make a conscientious decision to eat at least 80% clean and consume the sorts of food that make me feel good.I am going to work on putting nutrients into my body that will provide me with the energy I need to accomplish my daily goals.

I am going to continue to slowly work on recovering from my back injury and find new ways to strengthen it to prevent future injuries. I am going to work on creating my own modifications in order to be able to return to all the activities I love as my back strengthens and allows it. I am going to swim, cycle, and eventually, I am going to hit the pavement running again. I am going to do everything I possibly can to put my gloves back on and get back to boxing. I am going to work on improving my flexibility, something I have long neglected, through extensive stretching and yoga. I am going to push myself forward every single day.

365 days from now, as I enter my 3rd decade, I intend to do it with a running leap forward. And I intend to be healthy and feel good.

Let the countdown begin!

Best. Deal. Ever.


The KitchenAid stand mixer is my absolute favourite kitchen gadget of all time. My mother-in-law bought me mine a few years back and I use it almost daily. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

Today, for one day only, The Bay has this magical machine on sale for an absolutely incredible price. ALL of their colour options are available for $239.99. The regular price is $449.99 so you can see why I am raving about this being the best deal ever! If you don’t have one of these, buy it today. Buy it as a Christmas gift for the amateur gourmet in your life, buy it for the busy person who needs time saving measures, heck, buy it for yourself and start using it as you delve into Christmas baking and cooking!

You can find this great deal at–3qwCFU1x5Qodkgggsw

Beef Fest


Well, Beef Fest is done and over for yet another year. As always, it was a fantastic time filled with great people, cold beer and lot’s of beef!


Huge props to the entire organizing committee who work long hours all year to pull this weekend event off! You guys do such a great job and it’s your commitment to the event that gives us all the best weekend of the summer!

For anyone who hasn’t been out to Paisley for the August long weekend, I suggest you get here and check it out next year!

Refreshing summer salsa

I was experimenting in the kitchen and threw together a nice, light tropical salsa and received so many comments about it that I figured I should post it here and share it with you all. This is perfect on a hot day with corn chips or over fish (tilapia, mahi mahi, anything light) or chicken. This makes quite a bit so adjust amounts accordingly or just enjoy eating lot’s!

Added bonus: it looks pretty.

Tropical Watermelon-Mango Salsa

2 mangos, peeled and diced

1 small watermelon, diced

1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped

3 scallions, finely chopped

juice of 4 limes

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and voila!

It’s also delicious if you add pineapple…