Love it // Loison Panettone


Loison PanettoneEvery winter, I indulge in several billion calories worth of Loison panettone. I call it, “putting on my winter coat.” There is panettone, and then there is Loison. The crumb, the texture, the flavour… it’s all so good. There are so many to choose from, and I have probably tried them all. (Yeah, I have no self-control, clearly.)

The lovely folks at the Italian deli down the street from me brings them in at Christmas and Easter, and I get so excited to see the pretty boxes lining the shelves. Beautifully wrapped in pretty paper, ribbon, and a wax seal, the packaging is a treat in itself!

Panettone is a Christmas morning necessity at our house. Mmmm… I can taste it now. Panettone and hot coffee, made with a bit of cinnamon. A morning nibble while we share gifts and wait for brunch!

What are your holiday food must-haves?


Sunday Morning


Burdock & Co.It’s officially fall. The weather is blustery and wet. The leaves are turning, and cluttering the sidewalks and gutters. This is my favourite time of year. It’s time to start foraging for mushrooms, stocking up on summer preserves, and filling the freezer up with food for the winter. It’s not like we can’t go to the store, of course, but it is nice to save all the wonderful foods that have grown up around us. So this morning/afternoon, I’m hunting around for inspiring ideas, recipes and new ways to make the most of this season, in the kitchen.

Last night, I had a lovely dinner with some dear friends at Vancouver eatery, Burdock & Co. Seasonal, fresh, locally sourced foods. Outstanding flavours and gorgeous plating. We had some beautiful pickled vegetables, Farmhouse cheese and honey, seared halibut, and a grilled beef brisket ramen, served with seasonal vegetables. I felt really inspired afterwards, and spent the morning clearing out the fridge to make way for all the fresh vegetables that I’m going to pickup later today. If you’re in town, I’d highly recommend Burdock & Co.

FävikenI’ve never been to Fäviken, but I devour the book like it’s a sacred tome. It is one of my greatest passions to go out into the woods and forage for foods. The earthy smell of the wet forest, the all-consuming quiet… it’s an intoxicating and exhausting quest. Reading of Fäviken Head Chef Magnus Nilsson’s hunting and foraging, and how he prepares the meals for the restaurant, is tremendously awe-inspiring. He creates dishes using ingredients that only one who is so connected to his environment would dream of using. One day, I will make the journey. Until then, I can live vicariously through the written word, and the stunning photographs in the Fäviken book, and online.

Northern BushcraftThis coming week marks the first Chanterelle hunt of the year. My intrepid explorer friends and I will pack up our Laguiole knives, cameras and field guides, and head out into the wild woods to find our beloved Chanterelle mushrooms. I’ve been snooting around the internet to look for more resources on foraging in the Pacific Northwest. This ain’t our first time to the rodeo, but it never hurts to learn as much as you can about what’s out there. Northern Bushcraft has some great tips, and notes on preparation, on everything from blackberries to snails. Mmmmm, snails.

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Jalapeño, Lime + Cilantro Hummus


Jalapeno Lime Cilantro Hummus Many moons ago, I spent my days toiling in the kitchen of the renowned Bottletree Cafe, in Birmingham, Alabama. The hipster hotspot is home to one of the coolest venues in the country. The staff are like family, the food is great, and the vibe is indescribable. Ask any band touring the Southeastern US where they want to play most, and you will hear resounding cries of: The Bottletree!

Part of the vision when they first opened, was to introduce vegan and vegetarian cuisine to the barbecue crowd. After all, in the South, even the vegetables have meat in them. The original menu featured scrumptious, don’t-miss-the-meat meals, including BBQ Tempeh sandwiches, with an unbelievable sauce made by my kitchen boss, the BBQ wizard, Tom Bagby. (Incidentally, while working here, I started to develop a ravenous desire to eat thinly sliced cured meats. I think it started when I was on pastrami slicing duty. What sweet irony, that cooking in Birmingham’s most veg-friendly restaurant would be the unraveling of nearly two decades of vegetarianism. I blame/thank you, Bagby!)

Jalapeno CilantroWe did lots of dips and spreads. Nibbles to nosh on while soaking up all that good beer at the bar. I got so sick of making plain old hummus that I decided to make it a little more interesting, and came up with this recipe for Jalapeño, Lime and Cilantro hummus. It’s a really tasty spread, capturing some of the best flavors of summer. Tangy lime, fresh cilantro and a little bit of heat from the pepper.

hummus2Jalapeño, Lime + Cilantro Hummus

  • 398ml (14oz) can of chickpeas – drained
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) tahini
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) loosely packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeño – seeded
  • 1 clove of garlic – roughly chopped
  • 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) sea salt

Okay. Are you ready? Deep breath, and…

Put it all in the blender. Blend for 30 seconds to a minute, until you have a nice smooth consistency and an even green color. Turn off the blender before you stick your finger or spoon into it, and have a taste. Add more salt if you think it needs it.

It’s ready! Fast, easy, and so so good. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days, but it won’t last that long. The flavors really come alive after a few hours, so try to let the ingredients get to know each other for awhile before you serve it.

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Roasted Beet + Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese



Summer is the perfect time to try a new salad. Everything is so fresh and delicious! A couple of summers ago, I whipped this salad up on a whim when I remembered at the last hour that we were supposed to bring a dish to a birthday party. The tender, earthy beets are fantastic with the crunchy fennel and soft cheese. Originally, I used sambuca in the dressing, but opted for aquavit this time. It might seem a little bitter, but in the salad, it’s quite something else. If you prefer more of an anise flavor, feel free to swap the aquavit for ouzo, pastis, sambuca, whatever you have in the house. The recipe here will make a nice sized salad for 4 people, and is easily doubled or tripled for parties, potlucks and so on.


Roasted Beet + Fennel Salad with Goat Cheese


  • 2 large beets or 3-4 small ones
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) sliced fennel stalks
  • juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 60g (2oz) goat cheese
  • 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) fennel seeds


  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) aquavit or anise liqueur
  • 5ml (1 tsp) dijon mustard
  • 5ml (1 tsp) honey
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) olive or grapeseed oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 220 C/425 F.

Peel the beets. If they are quite large, cut them in half. Roast them in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn them over and let them cook for another 20 minutes. They should be easily poked with a fork, but still nice and firm. If they need a few more minutes, stick ’em back in.

Let the beets cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Lightly toast the fennel seeds in a hot pan over medium heat. Set them aside to cool.

Remove the fronds from the fennel stalks, and slice. The stalks from one fennel bulb should give you the right amount. Toss the sliced fennel in the juice of the lemon quarter and set aside.

A quick note about the dressing: you will probably end up with more than you need. I always like to make a little more than I think I might need, just in case. The leftover is easily added to a green salad, and will keep for some time.

To make the dressing, whisk the aquavit (or other booze of choice), lemon juice, mustard, honey, olive (or grapeseed) oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. If you are using aquavit, the honey should be just right. If you choose a sweet liqueur, you might want to pass on the honey, or at least go easy on it. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper, if needed. Set the dressing aside.

If your beets haven’t cooled enough to slice, pour yourself an aperitif and put your feet up for a few minutes. You’ve earned a rest! *you should have a quarter of a lemon left, that should go nicely in something!


Now that you’re slightly tipsy, it’s time to get out the knives. Slice the now-cooled beets into nice slices, not too thick… not too thin.

With everything ready to go, get your goat cheese out, and assemble the salad. I like to layer beets, crumbled cheese, fennel, a drizzle of dressing, repeat. Sprinkle the top with the toasted fennel seeds. You can make individual stacked salads, or layer it all in a nice big dish.



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