Meet the Cast of SugarStars

One sweet show we’re definitely looking forward to this fall is SugarStars.

This real-life sitcom series follows four wacky friends-turned-business partners as they design and create over-the-top customized sweet tables for some of the swankiest events and celebrities —  Jordan Knight (!) of New Kids on the Block for one. (Er maybe we’re dating ourselves. Nevermind.)

As you’ll soon see for yourself, whipping up delectable desserts and producing mind-blowing extravaganzas is all in a day’s work for this foursome.

Above from left: Yolanda (Cake Decorator), Caspar (Event and Table Stylist), Antonella (Shop Assistant) and  Elle (Creative Director)


We recently visited the set of the show and got a firsthand glimpse at the cast in action. Elle, Caspar, Yolanda and Antonella were just as hilarious and zany off camera as they are on.

Check out the video below to find out more about the show, their dream celebrity clients, must-have items for the perfect sweet table and more.

SugarStars premieres with two back-to-back episodes on August 27, starting at 10pm ET/PT.


Complete Your Picnic with Canadian Cheese

Summer and picnic go hand in hand. Add your favourite Canadian cheese to make your picnic epic!


When the weather is warm, I love dining in the great outdoors with family and friends. There’s no better way to celebrate a warm summer day or night than with a feast of home-cooked food served under a big sky. Moreover, swapping reservations for a picnic basket is an affordable and delicious way to eat out without worrying about your budget or choosing a restaurant.  These easy picnic dishes will make great additions to your next outdoor feast.


Vegetarian Couscous with Feta


Couscous is one of my favourite ingredients to use when throwing together a big summer salad.  It’s affordable, cooks quickly, and makes a satisfying dish that keeps well in the fridge. For this recipe, sautéed vegetables, chickpeas, fresh tomatoes and herbs are tossed with Canadian Feta to create a delicious Mediterranean-inspired dish with sweet and spicy notes.  It can be served hot but is just as good cold, making it an ideal dish to prepare in advance for a picnic.


Cold Vegetable Pizza with Hummus and Havarti


Pita and hummus are my trusted standbys. Served alongside vegetables and Canadian Havarti, you’ve got a quick appetizer or an easy picnic meal, especially if children are included. Not only is it nutritious and hearty, kids can assemble their own pizza by choosing their favourite ingredients. Top whole wheat pita bread with sweet red pepper hummus and layer with Canadian Havarti, grated carrots, cucumber and sweet red pepper. Each pizza round can be eaten whole or cut into triangles and served to adults.


Thai-Style Shrimp and Cheddar Spring Rolls


When the sun is sweltering, there’s nothing more refreshing than a fresh Thai spring roll.  Unlike the deep-fried variety, fresh spring rolls are big on flavour but light to the palate.  Marinate shrimp in a honey garlic sauce with crushed chilies and a peanut sauce, and allow to cool.  When chilled, roll in rice paper with shredded lettuce, fresh cilantro, and Canadian Cheddar cheese for a new twist on Thai.


Grilled Steak and Monterey Jack Roll-Ups


On hot summer days, I crave everything with salads.  This dish is like a handheld salad and a cheese and steak sandwich combined, minus the bread. Large lettuce leaves are topped with grilled steak,  a medley of vegetables like bell peppers and corn kernels, and a spicy Canadian Monterey Jack.  A squeeze of lime will brighten the flavours.  Simply roll like a wrap and enjoy.


Okanagan Valley Fruit Salad


With the bounty of fresh fruit available in the summer, fruit salad is the obvious and perfect dessert.  For an elegant twist, this Okanagan Valley fruit salad calls for a touch of honey, apple juice, fresh tarragon and Canadian Bocconcini.


Caribbean Inspired Menu

Celebrate the Caribbean Carnival with colourful dishes that capture the flavours of the islands.













Related Articles



Avocado 5 Ways

Avocados are having a moment in the spotlight lately, appearing in salads and sandwiches everywhere, but did you know that there are so many other ways to enjoy the delicious fruit? (Yup, avocado is a fruit, not a vegetable!)
With so many great options to choose from, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be including avocados into your diet on a regular basis. They’re full of healthy fats and can be eaten hot or cold, as a spread, appetizer, dessert, or dip. What’s not to love? Check out our recipe ideas below for some creative ways to incorporate avocado into your meals.


Avocado Pudding


Avocado Mousse with Melon Soup


Tomato and Avocado Popsicles


Avocado Bowl


Crab-Stuffed Avocados



Roast Lamb Chops with Carrot Tomato Puree from Dan’s Good Side

Did you ever watch Lamb Chop’s Play-Along as a kid, listen to that song that “never ends” and then wish you could roast Lamb Chop to make that terrible, terrible music stop? No? Well, maybe that was just me then. Jokes aside, I love a good lamb chop. Since I live in the belt line, the Calgary Co-op downtown marketplace is my go-to grocery store and they’ve got a wicked meat counter there. So, if I’m not at the farmers’ market, this is typically where I’ll grab my cuts of meat for dinner. Anyway, that’s my tip of the day… onto the food!


Serves 4

Total cook time: 40 min


What you’ll need:



1 green apple (cored, 1/4? diced)

1/2 red onion (diced)

1/4 mint leaves (loosely chopped)

2 TSP lemon juice

1 TSP white sugar

1 TSP lemon zest

1/2 TSP chili powder

salt and pepper


Carrot Tomato Puree:

1 yellow onion (diced)

2 cloves garlic (minced)

3 carrots (peeled, 1? chopped)

1 red potato (peeled, 1? cubed)

2 TBSP butter

2 cups chicken stock

1 TBSP tomato paste

2 TSP lemon zest

salt and pepper

olive oil


Lamp Chops:

4 lamb chops

salt and pepper

olive oil


For the salsa, place the first seven ingredients in a small mixing bowl and toss with a spoon until sugar has dissolved and everything is well combined. Season liberally with salt and pepper, toss again, and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.


Moving onto the puree, put the onion and garlic into a medium-sized pot, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and let cook on medium-high heat until the onions begin to caramelize, about 10-12 minutes. Next, add the carrots, potato, and butter to the pot and let cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, stir in the stock (should be just enough to cover the chopped vegetables, add more if needed), tomato paste, and lemon zest. Let the mixture simmer for 10 more minutes or until the potato is soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. Pour the contents of the pot into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return to pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm on the stove until ready to serve.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rub the lamb chops on all sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place a pan on the stove and turn to high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, sear the chops on the top and bottom, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. Finish in the pre-heated oven for about 8 more minutes for a nice medium-rare piece of meat. Let the lamb rest for a few minutes before serving.


Plate it all up by putting a generous spoonful of the carrot tomato puree on the plate first, top with a lamb chop, finishing with a couple spoonfuls of the apple mint salsa. Done and done!


 Dan ClapsonDan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Gluten-Free Marble Pound Cake from The Hot Plate

Pound cake is a delicious treat any time of year. The trick was enjoying a gluten-free variety during July’s gluten-free month. Surprisingly, gluten-free pound cake was not difficult to make. By using half gluten-free all-purpose flour and half coconut flour we were able to add a level and depth of flavour uncommon in tea cakes. The subtle sweetness from the coconut flour meant we used less sugar and relied more on our seasonally plump blackberries that were bursting with fresh flavour. This recipe is a must make whether or not you eat gluten, it’s that good!


Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Serves: 10-12



1 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 cup gluten-free coconut flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch coarse sea salt

2/3 cup milk

1 cup sugar plus 3 teaspoons

1 1/3 cup blackberries

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

3/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice



1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Begin by combining blackberries with 3 teaspoons of sugar in a small bowl. Coarsely mash with the back of a fork. Set aside.

3. Arrange a fine mesh sieve over a mixing bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, coconut flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and sea salt. Gently tap the side of the sieve until all of the dry ingredients have passed through into the mixing bowl.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients including the canola oil, granulated sugar, vanilla and orange juice. Crack in one egg at a time making sure to beat in between each addition. Drizzle the milk into the wet ingredients while whisking until completely incorporated.

5. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined, do not overmix.

6. Line a loaf tin with tin foil or parchment paper. Spray or grease the the inside to avoid sticking.

7. Add half the batter in the loaf tin. Top with blackberry mixture and top with remaining batter.

8. Using a knife, insert it into the batter and carefully draw “S” shapes down the length of the pound cake.

9. Bake for 30-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake is golden brown.

10. Let the cake cool in the loaf tin for 15 minutes and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.


Amanda_GarbuttAmanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.

London Games Menu by British Food Network Hosts

Cheer on the athletes of the London Olympics with these celebratory dinner menus from our favourite British Food Network hosts.


Three Menus from Jamie Oliver

  • Menu 1:
    Super-Fast Beef Hash
    Jacket Potatoes
    Goddess Salad
    Lovely Butter Beans & Bacon
  • Menu 2:
    Roast Beef
    Baby Yorkies with Super-Quick Gravy
    Little Carrots and Crispy Potatoes
  • Menu 3:
    Grilled Sardines
    Crispy Halloumi
    Watercress Salad & Figs
    Thick Chocolate Mousse

Sophie Dahl’s Brunch Menu:

Sophie Dahl’s Dinner Menu:

Nigella Lawson’s Dinner Menu:


BBQ Pork Chops from Derek’s Kitchen

This dish is the culmination of my last couple of posts. The spicy whiskey and chipotle BBQ sauce is perfect for grilled pork chops. The sweet and tangy grilled corn salsa goes great with the spicy BBQ pork chop. To round things out, I serve the chops on a bed of sauteed collard greens. The bitterness of the greens cuts right through the sweetness and heat of the chops and salsa. If you can’t find collard greens, any bitter green will do the trick, such as kale or rapini.


When it comes to buying the pork chops, make sure they are really thick, at least 3/4″. If you can’t find thick-cut pork chops at your local grocery store, it’s worth the trip to a butcher shop to get some serious chops. Wimpy, thin-cut pork chops will be woefully overcooked by the time you put any sort of grill marks on them. Most people mistakenly believe that you have to cook pork thoroughly, until it is essentially well done, but this is a misconception. If you don’t want to take my word for it, even the FDA says that it’s okay to serve pork at 63C, which is a perfect medium with a nice, rosy pink center. A pork chop cooked to 63C will be nice and tender and plenty juicy. An instant-read digital thermometer will tell you exactly when it’s time to take your chops off the grill.


Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves 4



4 thick-cut pork chops

200ml whiskey and chipotle BBQ sauce

2 bunches collard greens (about 6 cups chopped)

60g (1/4 cup) butter

2 cups grilled corn salsa

salt & fresh ground black pepper


Preheat the grill to high.


1. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Use a brush to apply a generous amount of BBQ sauce to each side of all the pork chops. Place the pork chops on the grill and cook on one side until nicely charred, about 5-6 minutes. Turn the pork chops and grill the other side. Use the brush to apply another layer of BBQ sauce to each chop. Lower the heat of the grill or if using charcoal, move the chops to a cooler side of the grill. Close the lid and continue cooking the chops until they reach an internal temperature of 63 degrees Celsius, about 8-10 minutes.


2. While the chops are cooking, combine the chopped collard greens and butter in a large frying pan or pot. Add 1/4 cup water and season with salt and pepper. Saute the greens until soft, about 6 minutes. When cooked, place the greens in a strainer to allow excess moisture to drip off.


To serve: Place a pile of sauteed collard greens in the center of each plate. Top with grilled pork chop and then garnish each chop with 1/2 cup grilled corn salsa.


DerekBockingDerek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years culinary experience. On his blog, Derek’s Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.


Family Fun: Tuna Salad for the Young and Old(er)

Often when I’m making lunch for Felix I set him up at the table with plate, cutlery, napkin and cup while I eat whatever scraps happen to be left over from the prep-usually while rinsing dishes.  Which makes no sense for two reasons—one: I could be sitting with him and enjoying time together and two: sitting down to eat lunch is a neccessary breather in a busy day. I deserve cutlery too.

I decided to take my tuna salad recipe  (a staple quickie lunch for most parents) and adapt it “grown-up” style.   Elegant enough to serve with a glass of wine-imagine!

Yes, I promise you, we can start here and end up in easy-gourmet land.  Squeeze the water out of the tuna and pop it into a medium bowl.

This is my “key ingredient.” I like to use a crisp, sweet apple, peel then chop about half into a small, rough dice.  It gives the tuna salad a great crunch and I love the slight acidity with the mayonnaise.

Now that the hardest part is over (apple dicing) I add fresh basil (love its mellow sweetness), 1/2 teaspoon lemon, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and then season with salt and pepper.  I like to use real lemon, but when you have none around the plastic lemon will do fine.

Add everything to your bowl of tuna and combine with a fork.  Then taste the mixture and see if you need more seasoning or lemon juice.

For the kids, add the tuna salad into some bread and done!  For yourself, quickly slice up a tomato and lay it on a plate.  Drizzle with olive oil and a few drops vinegar.  Add some chopped basil and a sprinkle salt and pepper.  (Seriously, this takes about 1 minute.)

And voila!  A healthy and great tasting lunch.   Sometimes I just serve the tomato salad on the side and Felix will have at least one slice.   But the rest is mine.  All mine.


Tuna Salad Recipe

1 can tuna (packed in water)
½ of a small apple, peeled
3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tbsp of mayonnaise
½ teaspoon lemon
salt and pepper

1. Drain the tuna and put into a small bowl.
2. Roughly dice thapple and add to the bowl.
3. Now add the basil leaves , mayonnaise and lemon.
4. Mix well and taste.  Season with salt and pepper.
Sue_RiedlSue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 3-year-old.

Related articles


How to Make Homemade Condiments and Marinades

Condiments and marinades are a must-have in my pantry. I admit, my fridge is about seventy percent full of different types of relishes, chutneys, mayos and mustards. Making your own condiments and marinades is quite simple and you can produce large batches that will store for years. So, with summer already in full swing and produce at its prime, head down to your local farmers market and pick up your favorite fruits or veggies and start bottling!

Keeping It Natural

Chemical additives and preservatives are found in most store-bought condiments and marinades; try to avoid these chemicals because they significantly affect flavour and are unhealthy. There are natural food preservatives (also called traditional preservatives) that are commonly found in a pantry; they are salt, sugar and vinegar.

Salt has been used as a natural food preservative since ancient times. Adding salt as a preservative works to dehydrate microbes through the process of osmosis and it inhibits the growth of bacteria that causes food to spoil. It also protects food from yeasts and molds.

Sugar sweetens the condiment and works as a preservative by drawing out water from bacteria and other microorganisms; which either kills the bacteria or inhibits their growth. By using sugar, your food can be stored either in sugar syrup or in a crystallized form.

Vinegar is the most commonly used preservative and the acetic acid found in vinegar kills microbes and prevents food spoilage. There are many different types of vinegar, so use the flavour you prefer best or suits the recipe.

The Balance

The most successful condiments and marinades are those that are well-balanced. A balanced recipe should be equally sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. If you feel you have gone too far in one flavour profile, just add opposing flavours to bring the balance back.

If your condiment or marinade:

  • is too bland, add salt or some heat
  • is too salty, add sour
  • is too spicy, add some sweetness
  • is too sweet, add some sour or heat
  • is too sour, add sweetness
  • is too strong, try just a touch of sweetness or water
  • needs a kick, add acid or fresh herbs (lemon usually does the trick)

Here is my favourite marinade that works well with fish, meat and vegetables:

Sweet, Salty, Sour Marinade
Yield: 1 cup

6 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup fish sauce
3 tbsp low sodium natural soy sauce
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 red Thai bird chili chopped

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in cilantro, garlic, ginger and chilies. Add meat, fish or vegetables. Toss, cover and chill for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight).
AndreaNicholsonChef Andrea Nicholson is the owner of Killer Condiments and was a contestant on season one of Top Chef Canada. Supporting sustainability purveyors, Canadian farmers, and Ocean Wise is the central tenet behind her cuisine. 

Top 5 Caeser Salad Recipes

When the weather is hot, the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven. The mere thought of preheating my oven to 350 degrees makes me run for an ice cold bath. That means I turn to hearty salads for my go-to meals. This week I looked up one of my faves– the mighty Caesar, and it seems I’m not alone.
Here are’s five most viewed Caesar salad recipes (according to our stats) in the past year. Starting with the most popular:


1. Skinny Chicken Caesar Salad from Cook Yourself Thin tops our might Caesar list. I don’t blame you. All that great taste with half the calories? Yes, please!

2. In the second spot is Hail Caesar Salad from the Podleski sisters. I guess a healthier Ceasar is a priority for all of us in the summer. It IS bathing suit season after all.


3. The third most searched salad is Michael Smith’s Chicken Caesar Salad. You can always count on Michael for solid, reliable recipes and his Caesar is no different.

4. Leave it to resident hunky chef, Chuck Hughes to put his unique twist on the classic salad. His Killer Caesar Salad with Oyster Croutons nabs the fourth spot with our audience. So sophisticated!

5. Last but not least is Trish Magwood’s Caesar Salad Dressing. Hers is a classic Caesar salad that’s big on taste but lower in fat so don’t put away that bikini.

Did you know Bob Blumer loves Caesar salad so much he had a dedicated bowl for it? I kid you not. In fact I think he told me he has even travelled with it. That is some serious Caesar love. I’m a big fan of his Caesar salad recipe, it’s a good one if you haven’t tried it.

Have you made any of these salads? I’m going to try the Skinny Chicken Caesar Salad this week!



Grilling Alternatives to Traditional BBQ Dishes

During the summer months I try to cook outdoors as much as possible and my grill definitely gets a workout. It’s not just for burgers and steaks anymore, I cook almost anything and everything on it. If you are the adventurous type then start thinking and cooking outside of the box and use your grill to create some really delicious and unique dishes. Here are a few of my favourite items to cook on the grill that will truly impress your dinner guests:

There are many types of greens that hold up to grilling, the heartier types are the best and will allow you to get a nice char on them without becoming wilted or soggy. Romaine, radicchio, endive, bok choy and cabbage are ideal on the barbecue. Brush them lightly with oil and grill them over medium heat just until charred. Then toss with your favourite dressing and you have given your regular salad a new level of complexity.


Cooking pizza on the grill infuses a really fantastic crispy, smokey, charred flavour; unlike when its cooked in an oven. Brush the grill with oil, stretch out the dough, brush the top with oil and grill over medium-low heat. Flip the dough, add your toppings and continue to grill until the crust is fully cooked. If you don’t want to make a pizza use the flattened grilled dough as a great sandwich wrap or served as a naan alongside a hearty curry.


One of my favorite ingredients in the world is cheese. I especially enjoy salty, dense cheeses like halloumi from Greece or provolone from Italy. These cheeses can withstand high temperatures without melting and they benefit from the heat of a grill. The flame from the barbecue adds a smokey flavour and reduces the cheese to a creamy texture. The process is very easy, just brush the cheese with oil and grill over medium high heat until golden, then flip and grill the other side.


I love caramelized fruit and cooking fruit on the grill does just that. Use fruit that is in season and ripe. Marinating the fruit beforehand will add some great flavour. Try soaking some peaches in mint, rum, and honey and then grill them on the barbecue. They are so versatile, serve them on their own as a side for meats, in a salad or for dessert. It’s important to get a nice char on the fruit so the sugars get a chance to caramelize and the flavours intensify.


AndreaNicholsonChef Andrea Nicholson is the owner of Killer Condiments and was a contestant on season one of Top Chef Canada. Supporting sustainability purveyors, Canadian farmers and Ocean Wise is the central tenet behind her cuisine. 

Cooking with Grilled Fruit

I love the summer season in Canada because local fruit is at its prime and available everywhere, from supermarkets to local farmers markets and roadside stalls. Buying a basket of peaches and a pint of freshly picked raspberries from a small stand off the busy freeway reminds me of fond memories spending the summer weekends at my family’s boat. The taste of that fruit to me as a kid was better than candy and, to this day, a fruit stand off the road is a necessary pit stop on any trip.

The fruit we produce in Canada is exceptional due to our fruit-friendly climate. The peaches that are grown in the Niagara region are sweet and bursting with juices; apricots and cherries from the Okanagan are tangy little wonders of nature; and pears and apples from across the country are consistently flavourful too. The great thing about fruit is its versatility; you can eat it as is, but often it’s even better cooked or grilled.


Fruit is one of my favourite ingredients to cook with because it adds natural sweetness and texture to any dish, and it makes quick and easy side dishes, sauces, or desserts. There are many ways to cook fruit, but grilling fruit is especially easy and my favourite way to prepare it.


Fruit is made up of water and sugar and when it’s grilled, the flavours are concentrated by caramelizing the natural sugars. Hard fruits like apples, pears and pineapples are the easiest to grill since they hold their shape and texture while cooking. Softer fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums take less time to cook and are personally my favourites on the grill because their sweet flesh flavor becomes magnified.

Here are some of my favourite ways to incorporate grilled fruit into a light summer meal:


Fruit and salad greens (especially greens that are bitter and peppery) pair perfectly together. Baby arugula is my favourite salad green due to its complexity and versatility. Simple grilled peaches perfectly balance arugula’s spicy notes. Treviso, radicchio and endive also work great with grilled fruit. For a simple, yet satisfying salad, grill some peaches and add them to a salad of arugula, goat cheese, nuts and balsamic dressing. Or, grill some cantaloupe and serve it with prosciutto and Parmigiano. These dishes make great starters on any summer evening:


Main Course

Adding grilled fruit to a main course is simple because fruit works well with many different proteins. Some of the best combinations are pork and grilled apricots, salmon and a grilled pineapple salsa, or a nice grilled rib-eye steak with charred tomato — remember tomato is a fruit too! You can even use the fruit as a beautiful side dish like grilled peppers and nectarines with feta cheese and mint.


Using a grill to make a dessert is quick, easy and sometimes a healthier option. Pineapple is a great dessert choice and it’s one of the best fruits to grill because of its sugar content. When it caramelizes it becomes exceptionally sweet and delicious. Before grilling pineapple, mix some rum, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together and marinate the pineapple pieces in the mixture for about an hour. Then simply grill and serve. Try topping it off with some vanilla ice cream and local berries for a simple yet satisfying dessert.

Grilled Fruit

AndreaNicholsonChef Andrea Nicholson is the owner of Killer Condiments and was a contestant on season one of Top Chef Canada. Supporting sustainability purveyors, Canadian farmers and Ocean Wise is the central tenet behind her cuisine. 

Spicy Summer Apple Bisque from Dan’s Good Side

The first time I put an apple in a soup, I was like, “This is awesome!” Ever since that day, I’ve been throwing fruit into everything. Well, not everything, but it’s always interesting to find the balance between sweet and savoury using some of your favourite fruit. Since we’re still, thankfully, a few months away from hearty soup weather, this bisque is light, spicy, and smooth. Perfect for a summer night that’s a bit overcast. Who says soup can’t be fruity?


Total cook time: 35 min

Serves 4

What you’ll need…

1 yellow onion (chopped)

1 garlic clove

1 gala apple (peeled, 1” cubed)

1 red potato (peeled, 1” cubed)

2/3 cup cherries (pitted, halved)

3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock to stay vegan)

1 TBSP freshly grated ginger

1 TBSP lime juice

1 TBSP sriracha

2 TSP chili powder

salt and pepper

olive oil

radish and cucumber (thinly sliced, for garnish, optional)


1. Start off by cooking the onion and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil in a medium-sized pot until softened, about 5 minutes. Next, add the chopped apple, potato, and cherries to the pot and let cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Pour the stock into the pot and stir in the ginger, lime juice, sriracha, and chili powder. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce to low heat and let simmer on stove for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper

3. Remove pot from heat to let cool slightly. Next, puree soup until smooth using a food processor or blender. Return to pot and keep warm until ready to serve.

4. Top with some thinly sliced radish and cucumber to chill out the spicy soup!

Dan Clapson Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Nérac Market (Lot-et-Garonne, France) from Eat Live Travel Write

Normally when I go to visit a market, I am snapping away at every little thing. Because, you know, especially in France, everything is so beautiful at the markets. On my recent trip to The Kitchen at Camont for the Natural Light Natural Food Photography workshop, I was encouraged to slow down. Think about a story. Think about the story I wanted my pictures to tell. I almost never take photos of people either and was encouraged to think about how they can add to a story.


I nervously set out to the market at Nérac with Kate, Tim, and Monica, hoping I could take some halfway decent pictures that might convey the feeling that morning in the market. I mean, yeah, everything was gorgeous but, honestly, how many beautiful pictures do I (or you, dear reader) need to see of local market produce? So here’s my “story”. Fuelled by a lil’ bit too much fun the evening before at the fête du village in Vianne, my head was muddled. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to catch the imperfect amongst the perfect…


Mélange déclassé: standing proud amongst the perfect peaches all around


Not perfect but so much more beautiful


… or just, you know, seek the beauty and focus on that…



And then, you know there was the whole thing about trying to get some “people shots”. I nervously looked on from afar…


And ran away to focus instead on the gorgeous bread…


But soon, I went back in for a closer look….


And retreated again shyly. After all, there were artichokes to look at…


After an hour or so, I got into the swing of the market. Less shyly approached the people who make the market come alive…


And I stood for ages. Watching as market-goers waited patiently for their turn. Watching as old ladies took over 30 minutes to choose 6 tomatoes…


And I learned the power of patience. And restraint. Normally in a market like Nérac, I would shoot something like 300 pictures. This time, less than half that. And 20 something I was thrilled with. Pictures that tell a story about the market that morning. My story. Learning that less is more. That living in the moment is of the utmost importance. And that those who are patient will be rewarded. With perfect produce. Or with that one shot that says it all. For me, it’s the lady choosing the tomatoes. I am sure her patience was rewarded with six perfect tomatoes. Next time I am tempted to just shoot any old picture, I’ll remember tomato lady. Because her approach to picking produce is definitely something that can help my photography. Slow down. Stop. Think.  Words of wisdom for everyday life too, non?


Disclosure: I was a guest of Kate Hill and Tim Clinch at Camont for their Natural Light Natural Food Photography workshop. I was not required to post about this workshop and am not being compensated for doing so. All opinions (and photos, believe it or not!!!) are 100% my own.


Follow my French travels on Flickr this summer with my Summer 2012 set of photos.


Mardi_Michels Mardi Michels is a full-time French teacher and part-time food blogger based in Toronto. Her blog,, focuses on culinary adventures both near and far because she travels as often as she can!



Top 5 Salmon Recipes

If you’re like me, you’re always trying to get your family to eat more fish. Salmon is a hearty fish that can withstand a lot of bold flavours. So this week I looked up some of our most viewed salmon recipes from the past year. Here they are starting with the most popular:



1. Mango-Glazed Salmon & Spinach Salad from Cook Yourself Thin tops the list. Low-fat recipes are on everyone’s mind. (Cook Yourself Thin’s Caesar Salad topped the list last week). Mango is a great compliment to salmon and this recipe packs a lot of flavour punch. (Too bad I’m allergic to mango! Sad but true *sigh*).




2. Potato Salmon Cakes by Michael Smith is in the second spot. Don’t these look great? I’m sure even the most anti-fish among us will devour these babies and I’m pretty sure you could use canned salmon in a pinch. Has anyone tried?
3. This Ricardo’s Salmon Teriyaki  recipe is the third most searched recipe on our list. In my home, my three and one-year-old both LOVE the flavours of Teriyaki in our salmon and it looks like you do too.



4. I was pleasantly surprised to see Laura Calder’s Salmon En Croute make it to your top 5 most viewed recipes list. This recipe is not the easiest of recipes, but I’m so impressed that many of you have looked it up. And look how pretty it is.


5. It’s not surprising that Michael Smith has two spots in our 5 most popular salmon recipes list.  His Caribbean Coconut Crusted Salmon looks amazing and so simple! I’m bookmarking this one, I’m sure my kids will love it.

Have you made any of these recipes? What other salmon recipes do you enjoy on our site?



London Olympics: Brit-Inspired Recipes

Are you excited about the Summer Olympics? We are too, and what better way to celebrate the London Games than to create a menu of our favourite British-inspired foods. Let the celebratory eating begin!


Appetizers and sides:







Power Foods Menu

Soups & Salads

Vegetable Power Protein Soup

Brown Butter Green Beans with Pine Nuts

Tuna Avocado Salad

Carrot Ginger Vegetarian Protein Soup

Grilled Salmon Grilled Salad

Warm Spinach Salad with Quinoa

Tuna, Tomato & Avocado Salad

Split Pea Soup with Marinated Red Onions

Roger Mooking’s Quinoa Salad


Slow-Cooker Baked Beans with Multi-Grain Bread and Mixed Green Salad

Healthy Mixed Fried Rice

Skinny Chicken Parmesan

Olive Oil Poached Tuna

Mango-Glazed Salmon & Spinach Salad

Pasta with Spinach, Walnut and Sage Pesto

Almond Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

Spinach and Lemon Risotto

Quinoa Puttanesca

Pepper Crusted Tuna Steak with Teriyaki Sauce and Wasabi Smashed Potatoes

Rice, Quinoa & Currant Pilaf

Snacks & Desserts

Fruit & Nut Muesli

Healthy Parfait and Raspberry Sauce

Power Squares

Granola Bars

Protein Bars

Fieldberry Granola Parfait


Silk Strawberry Energy Drink

Peach and Strawberry Smoothie

Raspberry Jubilee Smoothie

Related Articles:

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough from The Hot Plate

Eating gluten-free at home can be a breeze when you have total control over your cooking environment and ingredients. The problems start when you research ingredients and each recipe contains a lengthy list of expensive gluten-free substitutions far beyond the means of most. Another is the fear that some dishes they once loved will no longer be available to them. Pizza seemed like a natural choice. Many of my friends with gluten allergies are still fearful of ordering the “gluten-free” option from pizza joints. Since they cannot be certain that there is no cross contamination on the prep stations or in the ovens, they usually resign to a no-pizza diet. For others, they roam the frozen aisle at the grocery store hoping to find a new bake-and-eat brand with more flavour and less rock-hard crust.


This week I wanted to tackle creating a recipe that is easy for home cooks. My goal was to develope a dough with an ingredient list not so different from regular pizza and one that comes together in under an hour. After reviewing several recipes this seemed like no small feat. My two key ingredients are pre-blended, all-purpose, gluten-free flour and xanthan gum. Xanthan gum is a common ingredient in gluten-free recipes because it acts as a modifier and thickening agent. In short, xanthan gum helps thicken flours that do not contain gluten, which is a protein that thickens the consistency of recipes. With these two ingredients we are able to create a delicious pizza that is more cost effective and stress-free than most.


Seeing as I’ve made it more than six times in the past month for friends, I’d say it is a hit! Whether you eat gluten or not, this pizza dough is a great recipe for everyone!


Looking for more from your pizza dough? Try stirring in some ground flaxseed for healthy omega-3 fats and protein.


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves: 2-3



2 cups Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon liquid honey or agave

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1/8 cup medium ground cornmeal



1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup sliced zucchini

1/4 cup sliced eggplant

2 crimini mushroom caps, sliced

1 teaspoon oregano



1. In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, honey, water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir and set aside.

2. Combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt in another medium bowl.

3. Add 1/3 cup of the dry ingredients to the yeast mixture and stir once. Set the yeast mixture aside and let it expand for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500F with a baking sheet inside.

5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixer for 3 minutes until very thick and sticky. Arrange a piece of tin foil or parchment paper the size of the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal to prevent sticking.

6. Scoop the dough out on to the tin foil or parchment paper and using a wet spatula smooth out into your desired shape. For best results, spread the dough until it is 1/4-inch thick. Continue wetting the spatula for easy spreading.

7. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and slide the pizza dough with paper onto it. Return to the oven for 10 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and top with tomato sauce, cheese, vegetables and oregano; bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

9. Slide the pizza off the paper or foil onto a cutting board. Slice and serve immediately.


Amanda_GarbuttAmanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.

Family Fun: Mash it Up with Guacamole

Let’s mash some stuff! Guacamole is a bit of a lifesaver when dinner is not quite done and the family is drooling. It’s also task-adaptable for younger and older kids. The younger ones can unleash their “mushing” power, and the older ones can do everything else (if you cut the avocado for them).


I don’t use exact measurements because this is a “taste as you go, make it in a heartbeat” snack, for when you’re pressed for time. It becomes second nature.

You can also serve guacamole as a quick lunch by spreading it on toasted rye and topping it with fresh tomatoes. I spread it on whole grain bread for Felix to take to camp or school.

RECIPE: Guacamole
Serves 4-6

2 ripe avocados
½ fresh lime
1 large clove garlic, minced


If there are more than two people, one avocado won’t be enough. Halve two avocados and remove the pit.


The fastest way to remove an avocado pit is to lightly whack the pit with your chef knife, until the knife is jammed inside…


…and pull out the pit.


Scoop out the avocado flesh with a large spoon, and dump it into a medium bowl. Mash with a fork or a potato masher. Leave the avocado flesh as smooth or chunky as your family likes.


When I’m being fast, I don’t like to use a lot of ingredients — and guacamole doesn’t need it. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime (lemons are also great; just hold back on the juice, as they’re larger).


Add one large garlic clove, crushed (essential!).


To bring out the lemon and garlic in the creamy avocado base, add a pinch more salt than you think you’ll need. I’m not saying go crazy; just add gradually, and taste. You’ll know you’ve hit the sweet spot when you stop to say, Mmmmmmm. (You can add a few drops hot sauce or fresh chopped cilantro if you have it on hand, but that would be a bonus.)


Serve, and let the masses devour a filling, healthy snack!

Sue_RiedlSue Riedl is a Toronto-based food writer with a passion for cheese who writes a column called The Spread for The Globe and Mail. She loves to push stinky cheese on her 3-year-old.

Related articles