Category Archives: Great Canadian Cookbook

A Chocoholic’s Dream: Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

By Mardi Michels

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Nutella. I was 11 years old when I discovered it for the first time at our local Italian deli. The chocolate spread, with a hint of toasted hazelnuts, tasted quite sophisticated to my young palate.

While I still have that sweet tooth, these days I’m more interested in satisfying my cravings with something like flourless chocolate cake. This cake has long been one of my favourite desserts and I have wonderful memories of my mum’s version. Over the past few years, I’ve made a number of flourless cakes and this one – combining my favourite childhood flavours of chocolate and hazelnuts – is one of the most popular. It’s light, not overly dense and fudgy, and sophisticated in its simplicity. Enjoy it plain or dress it up with a little fruit coulis, whipped cream or ice cream.

This cake is a crowd-pleaser that’s also perfect for a romantic dîner à deux. In fact, a colleague asked me to bake one for Valentine’s Day dessert for his sweetheart. It’s that good.

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Courtesy of Mardi Michels,, Toronto

Rich, moist and incredibly delicious, it’s hard to believe this heavenly dessert is made without a hint of flour.

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Serves: 8-10

6 oz (170 g) dark chocolate (64 or 70%), roughly chopped
4 oz (115 g) butter, chopped
6 eggs, separated
3 oz (75 g) granulated sugar
4.5 oz (130 g) hazelnut meal (ground hazelnuts)
whipped cream, to serve

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). Grease 8-inch (2 L) springform pan.
2. Combine chocolate and butter on top of double-boiler over barely simmering water. Stir until melted and combined. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
3. In medium bowl, use electric mixer to beat egg whites until glossy and soft peaks form. Set aside.
4. In separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar until thick, creamy and light in colour.
5. Using rubber spatula, stir chocolate mixture into egg yolk mixture.
6. Add hazelnut meal to chocolate mixture, gently folding until the hazelnut meal is completely combined.
7. Stir egg whites into chocolate mixture one-third at a time, gently folding until no more streaks of white show.
8. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted into middle of cake comes out mostly clean with some crumbs clinging.
9. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove side from pan and cool cake completely on cake rack. Serve with whipped cream.

Tip: This cake keeps well overnight, at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap or foil.

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Mardi Michels teaches French and cooking to elementary school boys. She writes eat. live. travel. write, a blog about culinary adventures near and far. She was a founding member of Food Bloggers of Canada, is a Food Revolution Day Ambassador for Toronto, contributes to and hosts adult cooking and baking classes in Toronto.

A Colourful and Crispy Tofu Dish

By Suganya Hariharan

When I was young, I spent most of my time with my family in the kitchen, and I don’t regret it. I used to sit on the kitchen counter and taste my parents’ cooking. I had no idea what tofu was until I was in tenth grade, when my dad bought it from the market in Singapore. At first, I was a little hesitant to have it for dinner. I stood near the kitchen with my mom as she cooked the scrambled tofu with chopped onions and chilies. We had it with some hot rotis (Indian bread) and it tasted scrumptious! My dad started buying tofu regularly after that, making me different kinds of dishes with tofu – this recipe is one version of that dish. Using garlic with the skin on gives this dish a different flavour.

Serve this recipe as an appetizer with toothpicks, or alongside rice noodles or plain sticky rice. You can also use it as a sandwich filling for a quick, healthy breakfast.

Spicy Garlic Soy Tofu, Courtesy of Suganya Hariharan,, Montreal

This vegan dish doubles as a crowd-pleasing weeknight dinner or a quick and easy appetizer when unexpected guests arrive.

Prep time: 4 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Yield: 2 cups (500 mL)

8-10 dry red chilies
1 2-inch (5 cm) piece ginger
1 tbsp (15 mL) white sesame seeds
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
7-8 cloves garlic, skin on
2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil
2 tsp (10 mL) soy sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) pepper powder
1 lb (450 g) extra-firm tofu, in bite-sized cubes
green onions, chopped

1. Place the chilies, ginger, sesame seeds, salt and garlic in blender and pulse 3 or 4 times, or until coarse paste forms.
2. Heat oil in frying pan over medium-low heat; add spice paste. Fry for 30 seconds. Add soy sauce, pepper powder and tofu cubes.
3. Toss well to coat, cooking for about 2 minutes or until tofu turns slightly golden and crispy.
4. Garnish with chopped green onions.

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My name is Suganya Hariharan, author of RelishTheBite. My “factual job” is writing SQL queries for my quality control analyst position. In the cooking department: I do the cooking, writing and photography for the blog. I believe in the taste of happiness and my blog is a place to find the recipe for your favourite food. Never be afraid to try new flavours in your cooking!

How to Use Leftover Pumpkin Purée for Cookies

By Kacey Joanette

Pumpkins always remind people of autumn and Halloween, but if you grew up in a household like mine, there was never any inkling of pumpkin recipes. Over the years I have seen just how popular pumpkin recipes are and have delved into them head on, trying to win myself over with the whole love affair. At first, I assumed pumpkin recipes could be made using ordinary carving pumpkins, but that isn’t the case! Pumpkin pie or cooking pumpkins are picked specifically for cooking.

I finally experimented with homemade pumpkin purée when my daughter was old enough to pick her own pumpkins and would always pick the small cooking pumpkins to work with. We used them to make homemade pumpkin purée. To cope with the abundance of pumpkin purée, we decided chocolate chip pumpkin cookies were in order.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, Courtesy of Kacey Joanette,, Bowmanville, Ont.

After an afternoon of pumpkin picking, forget the traditional pumpkin pie and bake these chunky, bite-sized cookies instead.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 30 cookies

1/2 cup (125 mL) salted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) whole-wheat flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground cloves
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground allspice
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground ginger
1/2 – 3/4 cup (125 – 175 mL) chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, mixing well. Add pumpkin purée, mixing until just combined.
3. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Scoop 1 tbsp (15 mL) of batter per cookie onto baking sheet and roll into balls.
5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before moving to wire rack.

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The Cookie Writer is all about sharing recipes that can easily be adapted to suit dietary and lifestyle restrictions without anyone feeling left out.

Kid-Approved Breakfast Squares

Back-to-school season always leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. Sure, it’s nice to get back to a regular routine, but it also means summer is officially over. It’s time to replace the flip-flops and sunscreen for backpacks and lunchboxes, and there’s no more relaxing with leisurely sleep-ins and endless amounts of time to enjoy your morning meal.

With school starting comes the mad morning rush, and it takes a few weeks to get into the groove again. It’s helpful to prepare breakfast the night before to alleviate stress on busy mornings. These healthy breakfast squares really come in handy for those times when it’s just, “Grab your backpack and we’ll eat in the car!” They’re low in sugar, peanut-free and pack well for breakfast on the go.

Oatmeal Breakfast Squares
Recipe courtesy of Angie Wright of Friday is Cake Night.


Prep time: 10 mins
Bake time: 20 mins
Yield: 9 squares

1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 large overripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup (50 ml) packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp (45 ml) unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/2 tsp (2 ml) vanilla
11/2 cups (375 ml) old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup (125 ml) oat flour
1/2 tsp (2 ml) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square cake pan with non-stick spray.
2. In large bowl, mix together milk, banana, brown sugar, applesauce, egg and vanilla.
3. Add rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt to banana mixture. Stir to combine. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into squares.

Written by Angie Wright

Friday is Cake NightI live in Northern B.C. with three taste-testers: my husband and two kids. We love to travel and try out new recipes. I have always loved to bake – and I have the extra 10 pounds to prove it!

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Weeknight Dinner Hero: Pizza with Broccoli Sauce

By Kacey Joanette

When it comes to dinner, pizza is usually a family favourite because it can easily be customized to suit anyone’s likes and dietary concerns. Homemade pizza is a favourite here and weekly pizza night is not something new. But eating a lot of the same meal can sometimes become repetitive, and my family finds coming up with unique pizza toppings is fun and exciting. This broccoli sauce was definitely created by the need for change. Not only is it different, but it’s also a great way to get nutritious veggies into your child’s diet. Hiding broccoli in this pizza sauce is a great way to introduce it to your child.

Growing up we had the same sides: steamed or boiled veggies with butter. They were nothing special, and definitely not memorable (sorry, Mom and Dad!) Creating recipes on my own time and experimenting a lot with different cooking methods, I have come to appreciate the finer qualities of simple ingredients. My daughter is a good eater and requests broccoli often, but I want to steer clear of plain and simple sometimes, especially if she is having friends over who may not be as fond of certain veggies. Being able to hide broccoli in this pizza sauce is fantastic for the child in your life who does not get enough greens or the child who loves them but wants a change. Top the sauce with cheese and their favourite toppings and they’ll never notice the broccoli!

Homemade Pizza with Yummy Broccoli Sauce
This sauce is so delicious, your child won’t ever suspect it’s chock-full of broccoli.


 Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: Sauce for one large pizza

1/2 lb (225 g) broccoli
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter
1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (250 mL) heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable broth (approx)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) red chili flakes
salt and pepper
pizza dough for 1 pizza
mozzarella cheese
asparagus (optional)
red pepper (optional)
artichoke hearts (optional)
olive oil (optional)
balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 475ºF (240ºC).
2. In food processor, blend broccoli until puréed (about 2 cups/500 mL).
3. In large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until evenly combined and roux is deep brown (the longer you cook it, the deeper the flavour and the less likely it is to taste like flour.)
4. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in cream. Stir in broccoli, broth, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until sauce is thick and creamy.
5. If necessary, stir in additional vegetable broth to thin sauce until spreadable.
6. Roll out pizza dough and spread with sauce. Top with your favourite pizza ingredients, such as mozzarella cheese, asparagus, red pepper and artichoke hearts. (I marinated the asparagus and red pepper with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, then added to pizza along with artichokes.)
7. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until crust golden and cheese is melted and bubbling.

The Cookie Writer is all about recipes that can be easily adapted to suit dietary and lifestyle choices.


A Velvety Vegetable Soup Perfect for Winter

By Marie Asselin

My mom is an excellent cook. When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to enjoy homemade lunches and dinners every single day. She was a clever planner, and she usually bought everything she needed for a whole week of meals in just one grocery trip.

Because she didn’t like to waste anything, come the end of the week, she would blitz withered vegetables in the blender to make a delicious, creamy soup for lunch. No two soup batches ever tasted or looked exactly the same, but I loved them all. They were a dose of vegetables I didn’t balk at, especially after walking home from school on a cold January day.

When I moved out of my parents’ house, her humble vegetable soups were the ones I had the most trouble reproducing on my own. Every time I’d make one, I would find it bland and boring. It’s only when I stopped trying to exactly reproduce them that I began enjoying my own creations. This flavourful soup combines more “exotic” ingredients than my mother used to cook with, but eating it makes me feel just as warm inside.

Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup, Courtesy of Marie Asselin,, Quebec City

This soup is a wonderful way to use up leftover vegetables at the end of the week.


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 tbsp (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, diced
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp (5 ml) Madras curry powder
½ head cauliflower, in florets
1 lb (454 g) carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato (about 12 oz/340 g), peeled and chopped
4 cups (1 L) vegetable or chicken broth
½ tsp (2 ml) sea salt or kosher salt
plain Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onions; sauté until softened and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more. Add grated ginger and curry powder and cook 1 minute more, until fragrant.
3. Add cauliflower florets, carrots and sweet potato to pot, stirring to coat vegetables with spice mixture.
4. Stir in broth and salt. Partially cover pot, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
5. Purée the soup in batches in a blender, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. If desired, serve topped with Greek yogurt and cilantro.

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Food Nouveau
Marie Asselin is a French-Canadian food/travel translator and writer, blogger and passionate cook with a weakness for sweets. She is the author of the food and travel blog Food Nouveau, the artistic director of Quebec City’s online food magazine, Fou des foodies, and Travel+Leisure’s Quebec City expert.

Vegan Roasted Cauliflower and Caper Salad

By Janet Malowany

Paradoxically, when I began to eat a vegan diet, restricted to non-animal food products, I found myself with more food options. I wanted to try so many new foods. Instead of recreating meat-centric dishes, I explored naturally vegetarian ones from around the globe. Living in Canada, with its multicultural population, meant I had easy access to international ingredients and that is how this salad was born.

If you think you don’t like cauliflower, I urge you to try it simply roasted with salt and pepper. I could easily eat a whole head of cauliflower this way. Fried capers were revolutionary in my kitchen. Perhaps most reminiscent of crusty bacon bits, brined capers explode into crusty flowers at the touch of hot oil. They contrast nicely with pickled currants. Together, they round out this autumn salad of roasted cauliflower, creamy avocado and your favourite leafy greens.

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Fried Capers and Pickled Currants, Courtesy of Janet Malowany,, Toronto 
An unusual ingredient, fried capers will bring an explosion of flavour to your mouth!

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil (or other cooking oil)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/3 cup (75 mL) sliced almonds, toasted
1 tbsp (15 mL) white wine vinegar
3 tbsp (45 mL) dried currants
2 tbsp (30 mL) capers, soaked in water for 10 minutes, rinsed and drained
Coconut oil
8 cups (2 L) mixed greens
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC).
2. In large bowl, toss cauliflower florets with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on 2 parchment paper–lined baking sheets and roast for 40 minutes, stirring half-way through, until tender.
3. Meanwhile, in small skillet over medium heat, toast almonds, being careful not to burn. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. In small bowl, pour white wine vinegar over currants. Set aside.
5. Using paper towel, dry capers thoroughly.
6. In small skillet over high heat, melt enough coconut oil to coat bottom of pan. Carefully add capers to skillet, taking care not to be spattered with hot oil. Fry capers, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove capers to paper towel–lined plate.
7. To serve, top mixed greens with roasted cauliflower, toasted almonds, currants, capers and sliced avocados.

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My name is Janet Malowany; I’m a doctor by day and amateur chef by night. I love creating healthy, delicious foods. In March 2011, I adopted a whole-food vegan diet without refined sugars or flours, and I haven’t looked back. The Taste Space is where I share my favourite recipes.

Not Your Average Cornbread

By Regina Braun

Marrying my husband introduced me to a range of South American food traditions. One of the dishes my mother-in-law prepares is Sopa Paraguaya, and it quickly became my favourite.

Despite the name—sopa—there’s no soup at all! The best way to describe it is deluxe cornbread filled with salty cheese and flavourful sautéed onions. The first time I had it was as a side dish with dinner and I absolutely loved it. I enjoy leftover Sopa Paraguaya as a snack pretty much any time of day.

It wasn’t until after my first visit to Paraguay that I set out to make Sopa Paraguaya myself. During the time my husband and I spent in his birth country, we bought Sopa Paraguaya at the bus depot to tide us over through long trips across the country. Alongside empanadas, Sopa Paraguaya was the snack of choice for us and locals alike.

Paraguayans use a salted farmer’s cheese to make this cornbread. With guidance from my mother-in-law, I created my version, which uses a combination of grated mild cheese and cottage cheese as a substitute.

Sopa Paraguaya: Cheese and Onion Cornbread, Courtesy of Regina Braun,, Calgary, AB

This zesty and satisfying bread from Paraguay makes a great side dish, snack or on-the-go breakfast.


Prep time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Yield: one 8-inch (2 L) square pan, or 16 servings

¼ cup (50 mL) butter
1 large onion, sliced
3½ oz (100 g) mild cheese, shredded
1 cup (250 mL) cottage cheese
1 cup (250 mL) milk
5 eggs, beaten
2 cups (500 mL) cornmeal
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). Line 8-inch (2 L) square baking dish with parchment paper.
2. In large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheese (it will melt), cottage cheese, milk and eggs.
4. Sprinkle cornmeal, salt and baking powder over cheese mixture; stir to combine.
5. Scrape batter into baking dish. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

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I am a busy mom of one little girl who is already a great eater and future kitchen helper. On my blog, Leelalicious, I like to share nutritious and delicious recipes for the entire family!

Crunchy Nut and Quinoa Snack Bars

By Trina Gallop Bank

I admit it. I’m a snack-a-holic.

I cannot make it to dinner without an afternoon snack, and these bars were developed to steer those snack-attacks in a healthier direction. I had just started seeing a nutritionist who advised me to not only pre-plan my main meals but also snacks. Great idea!

I love these bars because they include some of my favourite things – healthy nuts and a good dose of protein from the quinoa – and they’re crunchy! They make a perfect travel snack, and they’re filling, too.

You can also tailor this recipe quite easily. Depending on what you have in your pantry (such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, dark chocolate chunks or dried fruit, such as apricots or blueberries) you can alter it to address any craving and snack-attack.

Quinoa Oatmeal Bars, Courtesy of Trina Gallop Bank,, Winnipeg

These nutty and seedy squares make terrific after-school snacks.


Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 9 generous squares

1 cup (250 mL) quinoa (uncooked)
1 cup (250 mL) old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup (175 mL) almonds (chopped or slivered)
1/2 cup (125 mL) natural peanut butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) honey
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup (125 mL) hemp hearts

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line 12×8 pan with parchment paper.
2. Add quinoa, oatmeal and almonds to baking dish; stir to combine. Toast in oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is just starting to turn brown, being careful not to overcook. Let cool.
3. In large bowl, briefly microwave peanut butter and honey, until liquid enough to combine easily. Stir in canola oil and cinnamon. Add quinoa mixture and hemp hearts to peanut butter mixture; stir until combined.
4. Scrape batter into parchment paper–lined baking pan, spreading evenly. It won’t be very thick but that’s OK.
5. Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool; cut into squares.

If you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, make sure you use rolled oats that are certified gluten free.

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Will Cook for Shoes
I am a shoe lover, cake baker, sewing enthusiast, knitting wannabe, pet photographer, basset hound wrangler, half-marathon runner…and yes, I will cook for shoes!

Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie Sweetened with Dates

By Megan Band

Every summer we would spend a week or two with my grandparents in Ottawa. My grandma introduced me to banana milkshakes, and turned me into a massive milkshake lover. Back then I really didn’t care what type of ingredients went into the milkshakes, they were just “Nan’s Banana Milkshakes” – made with bananas, vanilla ice cream and milk. Simple, yet so delicious.

Today, I’m more mindful of what ingredients go into my milkshakes – now considered smoothies. My Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal Smoothie is the perfect on-the-go breakfast for kids and adults alike: it’s free from refined sugars (it’s sweetened with dates) and it’s filled with whole grains, healthy fats and of course bananas, in honour of my Nan. It has the texture of a delicious milkshake – your kids won’t suspect it’s healthy one bit!

Peanut Butter and Banana Oatmeal Smoothie, Courtesy of Megan Band,, Val Caron, Ont.

All the flavour and texture of a traditional milkshake, made with healthy ingredients you can enjoy at breakfast.


Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Yield: 2 servings

3 pitted dates
1½ cups (375 mL) unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup (250 mL) ice cubes
¼ cup (50 mL) rolled oats
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp (15 mL) peanut butter
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon

1. In small bowl, cover dates with warm water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain.
2. In blender jug, combine dates, almond milk, ice, rolled oats, banana, peanut butter and cinnamon. Blend until smooth.
3. If desired, garnish with additional peanut butter and cinnamon before serving.

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Straight From The Jar
Hi there! My name is Megan and I am the healthy food blogger behind Straight From The Jar. I started SFTJ to document and share my love for healthy, whole foods and eating them from Mason jars!

Slow Cooker Recipe: Soft and Sweet Squash Cornbread

By Kelly Kwok

When I was growing up, there were regular family gatherings at our house. We had a large extended family that lived close by, so they would come over every other weekend for dinner.

On one particular occasion, my new aunt brought over a tray of the most delicious cornbread I had ever tasted. She said it was her mom’s famous family recipe. It received rave reviews from all of us and from then on, she always brought extra servings of this cornbread to every gathering.

When I was old enough to learn how to bake on my own, I immediately asked my aunt for the recipe. She happily wrote it down for me and explained that the buttermilk was what gave the cornbread its soft and tender crumb. Now that I make cornbread for my own family, I always like to sneak in a little bit of puréed vegetables. It adds a healthy dose of sweetness along with moisture.

Making it in the slow cooker frees up the oven so that you can bake a pie or roast some vegetables at the same time. This cornbread goes well with a bowl of chili or a roasted chicken dinner.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Cornbread, Courtesy of Kelly Kwok,, Niagara Falls, Ont.

Slow cookers are wonderful for multi-course meals because you can prep one dish, like this cornbread recipe, and move on to making more complex dishes while it’s cooking.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) cornmeal
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt
1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp (45 mL) of honey (or 3/4 cup/175 mL granulated sugar, for an even sweeter cornbread)
1 large egg
2/3 cup (150 mL) cooked butternut squash purée
3/4 cup buttermilk

1. Line slow cooker with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In large bowl, whisk melted butter with honey. Whisk in egg. Whisk in butternut squash, then milk.
4. Slowly add flour mixture to squash mixture and stir until just combined, being careful not to overmix – it is okay to see a small amount of flour.
5. Pour batter into foil-lined slow cooker and spreading evenly with offset spatula. Cover with lid.
6. Cook on low for 2½ to 3½ hours or on high for 1 to 1½ hours, or until edges are golden brown and toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. (Cooking time may vary.)
7. Using foil as handles, lift cornbread from slow cooker and let cool for 15 minutes. Serve with chili, honey or your favourite buttery spread.

Tip: If you want your bread sweeter, feel free to add more honey, or an additional 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Alternatively, if you like a less sweet cornbread, reduce or omit the honey.

Tip: Cornbread is best enjoyed the same day, but it will remain soft for two days. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container overnight.

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A food blog sharing family favourite recipes with a creative twist, along with a mix of healthy and sweet treats in between.

Fast Family Dinner: Fried Rice With Bacon

By Katherine Chong

Fried rice is one of those super versatile dishes you can whip up on any weeknight and it works especially well with leftover rice. Sometimes my much younger cousins, ages 8 and 11, come over for dinner. This is my go-to recipe for them—they can be picky eaters and getting them to eat what’s good for them can be difficult. However, I’ve found that mixing bacon with kimchi in fried rice appeals to both kids and adults.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is packed with kid-approved flavour, it’s flexible and it’s super quick to prepare. Both the rice and the bacon can be prepared ahead of time, to make the actual dinner itself super quick. After you’ve left work and picked up the kids, just 10 minutes in the wok or pan gets dinner on the table.

Bacon-Kimchi Fried Rice, Courtesy of Katherine Chong,, Toronto

Kid-approved and made in minutes, this satisfying fried rice recipe is perfect for weeknights.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6-8 Servings

8 pieces low-sodium bacon (or turkey bacon)
4 cups (1 L) leftover cooked rice
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups (500 mL) frozen vegetables (of your choice)
1 cup (250 mL) kimchi, chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) soy sauce
1 tbsp + 1½ tsp (22 mL) kimchi juice
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped green onion, divided

1. Chop bacon into 1-inch pieces. Fry in wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked but not crispy. Remove bacon from pan and drain off half the bacon fat.
2. Add leftover rice to skillet and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat.
3. Once rice is reheated, about 5 minutes, pour eggs into skillet and cook, tossing, until mixture begins to set.
4. Stir in frozen vegetables, kimchi, soy sauce, reserved kimchi juice, 2 tbsp (30 mL) green onions and reserved bacon. Cook, tossing, until heated through.
5. Top with remaining green onion just before serving.

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The Piquey Eater
As a fourth-generation Chinese-Canadian, marrying the two cultures in the kitchen is a very important part of my life and something I write about on my blog. I’m also an adventurer, exploring other cuisines and cultures in the mosaic city of Toronto.


A Savoury Apple Cheesecake to Finish Any Meal

By Shayna Murray

We grow a lot of really great things here in the prairies. We have fields full of lentils, oats and wheat and the most amazing Saskatoon berries. But we aren’t known for our apple orchards. Right on the top of my culinary bucket list is to head either east or west and pick myself baskets and baskets of fresh apples, right off the tree. In the meantime, we are fortunate enough here to have an ample supply of delicious apples from across the country.

Apples are amazing to cook with, and easy to incorporate into sweet or savoury dishes. Nothing (except maybe pumpkins) says fall quite like apples. Sweet or tart, juicy and crisp – I think every cook loves working with apples.

Spiced Apple Cheesecake, Courtesy of Shayna Murray,, Regina

While any kind of apple will do, opt for Novaspy apples if you’d like your cheesecake to have a good balance of sweetness and acidity.


Prep time: 35 min
Cook time: 2 hours
Yields: 1 pie

½ cup (125 mL) graham cracker crumbs
½ cup (125 mL) gingersnap crumbs
½ cup (125 mL) packed brown sugar
¼ cup (50 mL) butter or margarine, melted

3 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese
½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (125 mL) apple juice
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
3 eggs

Apple Topping
3 apples, sliced 1/4 (5 mm) thick
¼ cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) apple juice
2 Tbsp (15 mL) butter
¼ tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
Brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Spray a 9-inch (2.5 L) springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, gingersnap crumbs and brown sugar. Stir in melted butter and mix well.
3. Scrape crumb mixture into pan, pressing firmly against bottom of pan. Bake for 10 minutes; set aside to cool.

1. In large bowl with electric beaters, or using stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth.
2. Beat in sugar. Add apple juice, salt and vanilla and beat until combined.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
4. Scrape cream cheese mixture over crust. Wrap bottom of pan tightly in tin foil and set in a larger pan or roaster. Add hot tap water to larger pan until it reaches about halfway up side of springform pan.
5. Bake for 40 minutes.

Apple Topping
1. Meanwhile, toss apple slices with granulated sugar.
2. In medium saucepan, bring apple juice to boil over medium-high heat. Add apples; simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off and apples are just tender.
3. Add butter and cinnamon to apple mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, until caramelized and no liquid remains. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4. After 40 minutes, check cheesecake for doneness. It should be mostly set and able to support apple topping. (If not set, bake another 10 minutes and check again.)
5. Carefully scoop apple topping onto cheesecake. Sprinkle with brown sugar and return to oven to bake for an additional 15 minutes.
6. Turn off the oven and prop door open. Leave the cheesecake to sit in hot water bath for 1 hour. before removing from oven.
7. Gently run knife or metal spatula around edge of cheesecake to loosen it from side of pan. Do not remove side from pan.
8. Allow cheesecake to cool at least 2 hours before removing from pan.
9. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before cutting and serving.

Shayna Murray is married and mother to an exhausting but adorable five-year-old girl. She works outside the home, blogs, and is always cooking and doing her best to balance it all.

Sophisticated Cabbage From a Country Kitchen

By Rosemary Martin, as told to Jasmine Mangalaseril

As the eldest of eight children to a Mennonite family in Waterloo County, Ont., Rosemary Martin helped her mother prepare “company meals” for up to 30 people every other Sunday for most of her life. Today, Rosemary’s Company Cabbage is a favourite that appears at family suppers and special meals with friends.


When I was growing up, we attended our home church every other Sunday; in between, we would visit another church in the area. For those weeks when we were at our home church, we would invite visitors for lunch, which was the main meal of the day. As our family alone was 10 people, plus two more similar-sized families or three smaller families were in attendance, there would easily be up to 30 for “company meals.” A casserole or stew, bread (always bread!) or rolls and butter were served, and we usually had green salads and jellied salads, too. I abhorred jellied salads, and my dad didn’t like them, either, but a lot of people did (it was a big thing back then). Desserts tended to be 13- by 9-inch pans of refrigerator or freezer desserts, and Mom loved to make chiffon cakes, so we would often have three. We wouldn’t mind if there were leftovers!

When it was just our family, we tended to eat fairly basic meals, partially because of our culture and partially because there were 10 of us. But they consisted of fresh or frozen homegrown vegetables and locally sourced meats—either smoked ham or summer sausage, and every now and then, a roast chicken or a roast beef.

I’m not a traditional Mennonite cook. As long as I can remember, I have liked a variety of foods and experimenting. I would beg Mom to vary from her routines because I quickly tired of eating the same foods three Sundays in a row. I learned more about food when I started eating out at higher-end restaurants with friends and by reading recipe books like they were novels with pictures. But I do credit my father for my plating skills. He always said, “Food first has to pass by my eyes before it reaches my stomach,” so I learned to serve food attractively from him.

I love cabbage in almost every form. I love cabbage soup and sauerkraut, of course. Growing up, cabbage was typically used in coleslaw or as wedges, cooked with roast beef or roast chicken. My grandma would pickle whole wedges with whole cloves or a pickling spice, vinegar, sugar and water. She cooked it until tender, marinated it in brine for several days, then kept it chilled. It was really good.

My Company Cabbage recipe is not a typical Mennonite recipe. I found it in a magazine and tweaked it over the years. You can do all the shredding and chopping the night before, then cook it in about five minutes just before serving. People are usually surprised they like it because it’s cabbage, but it has a delicious unique flavour because of the nuts, the mustard and the dill. Savoy cabbage gives you that nice curly edge. That and the green onions combine so you have light springy-summery colours.

Company Cabbage, courtesy of Rosemary Martin


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

2 tsp (10 mL) chicken bouillon
4 cups (1 L) coarsely shredded green or Savoy cabbage
½ cup (125 mL) shredded carrots
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped celery root or celery
¼ cup (60 mL) sliced green onions or chopped shallots
½ tsp (2 mL) dried dillweed (or 1½ tsp/7 mL fresh)
3 tbsp (45 mL) chopped pecans
1 tbsp (15 mL) melted butter
½ tsp (2 mL) prepared mustard
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) pepper

1. In large saucepan, heat 1/3 cup/75 mL water over medium-high; add chicken bouillon, stirring until dissolved. Add cabbage, carrots, celery root, green onions and dillweed, stirring to combine. Cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, stirring slightly, until tender.

2. Stir together pecans, butter, mustard and pepper. Pour over cabbage mixture; tossing to combine.

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The Vegan Doughnut Named After Tofino’s Mayor

By Duane Bell, as told to Alex Mlynek

When Duane Bell opened Tofino, B.C.’s Rhino Coffee House in December 2013, he decided to honour community members with a doughnut-of-the-month and a contribution of $100 to a cause in the person’s name. The first recipient was Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, who was celebrated with the vegan Josie Jelly Donut. The mayor, herself a vegan, chose the local SPCA as her charity. Thanks to its immense popularity, Bell made this strawberry jelly–filled doughnut a permanent fixture on Rhino’s menu, further immortalizing Mayor Osborne in the form of a delicious treat.

Duane Bell

Duane Bell

When I started Rhino, I really wanted it to be a community coffeehouse. I’ve been a part of a lot of different communities and have seen so many hardworking people who put extra effort into making things happen. The doughnut-of-the-month was my way of giving thanks to this community. We now have a voting system in the coffeehouse, where people decide on an outstanding volunteer, but for the first one, we didn’t have that option, so I did a small survey with the locals. Everybody loves our mayor, Josie Osborne—she’s a really outstanding person—so we decided to name our first doughnut after her.

One late night, Rhino’s chef, Ron Weeks, and I were working on different recipes and I brought up the fact that I’d like to give Josie the compliment of being our first doughnut-of-the-month. So Ron and I collaborated: He came up with the recipe, and I came up with the name. And because I had been a chef and fooled around with vegan recipes a bit more than Ron had, I suggested he try to substitute the eggs with flaxseeds soaked in water.

Josie was definitely very happy and honoured. Before we opened, we got some photos with her and the doughnut. The first people she sent them to were her folks.

When I first tried a Josie Jelly, I grabbed one, bit into it and thought, “Wow, it’s delicious!” You’ve got this nice crispy outer crust covered in cinnamon sugar, then you get doughnut fluffiness and the homemade jelly: strawberry coulis with a hint of lime that we thicken a bit more so it doesn’t spill out everywhere. I had no idea that the recipe would develop that nice crunchiness on the outside. It’s quite a pleasant surprise because none of the other yeast-rising or cake doughnuts we make have that texture.

I’m from Southampton, Ont., near Owen Sound. I was born in Scarborough in Toronto’s east end, but my dad’s an engineer with Ontario Hydro, and he was at Bruce Power, a nuclear generator site out there, so I grew up in small-town Ontario, then moved to Toronto when I was 18. I learned a lot about food from my dad, who enjoys cooking at home. Our family is a very male cooking–dominated kind of family: It’s the men in the kitchen at Christmastime in charge of preparing the big feast.

My dad cooked in the navy. He was in the U.S. navy and cooked a lot of southern food, so I grew up with jambalayas and similar dishes. He’s very, very proud of his corn bread. And my mom’s German, so we also ate a lot of sauerkraut, very stinky cheeses and different pork dishes. My dad’s side is British, so it was definitely roast beef and Yorkshire pudding at Grandma’s house.

There’s a large hippie background to Tofino. It started with the draft dodgers, and the culture grew from there. People—even tourists—are more aware of nature here, with the whale-watching and beauty of nature. This leads to a lifestyle that includes a greater consciousness of consumption in respect to the environment, sustainability, whether food is organic or local, and so on. The food awareness in this community is beyond anywhere I’ve ever seen.

Josie Jelly Donuts, courtesy of Duane Bell


Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 ¾ hours
Yield: 12 to 15 doughnuts

6 cups (1.5 L) fresh or frozen strawberries
2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) cornstarch
zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
½ tsp (2 mL) salt

3 tbsp (45 mL) vegan margarine
3 tbsp (45 mL) vegetable shortening
½ cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1 tsp (5 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
2 tbsp (30 mL) ground flax seeds, soaked in ½ cup (125 mL) hot water
2 cups (500 mL) almond milk
4 cups (1 L) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh yeast
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
12 cups (3 L) canola oil

1. In heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat, cook strawberries and sugar until 220°F (105°C).
2. Make a slurry by whisking together cornstarch, lime zest, lime juice and ½ cup (125 mL) water.
3. Add slurry to berry mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and is boiling for at least 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and salt. Scrape into blender; pulse until smooth. Spread on sheet pan to cool.

1. In bowl, cream together margarine, shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and salt. Stir in flaxseeds. Pour in almond milk.
2. In separate bowl, crumble yeast into flour. Stir in baking powder.
3. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.
4. On floured surface, roll out dough to ½-inch (1 cm) thickness; using 4-inch (10 cm) round cutter, cut out rounds, re-rolling scraps, if necessary.
5. In heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil to 375°F (190°C). Drop in rounds and fry, in batches, for 90 seconds. Flip with chopsticks; fry for another 90 seconds.
6. Remove to rack to cool. Once cool, cut small hole in side of each; pipe jelly into middle.

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A West Coast Bannock Story

GccGy Marnie Helliwell, as told to Nancy Fornasiero

Bannock is a staple enjoyed across the country by native Canadians, and each tribe—even each family—has their own favourite version. It’s also known as frybread, bannaq, galett and sapli’l. This particular recipe was passed on to Tofino, B.C.’s Marnie Helliwell in the traditional First Nations way: via word of mouth. It came from her friend, Grace George, who received the recipe from her own mother, Helen.

Marnie Helliwell

Marnie Helliwell

Ever since my seven-year-old son, Colby, first tasted bannock at Wickaninnish Community School back in kindergarten, he can’t stop talking about it. He learned about it thanks to Grace, a local First Nations woman and elder who works at our elementary school as a First Nations education assistant. She teaches the kids about the culture and history of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations. Whether she’s sharing food, teaching about traditional dances and songs or telling a folktale, we parents (native or not) appreciate the fact that she shares her rich heritage with our kids. But nothing gets Colby more excited than when Grace makes a visit to make bannock. “Mom,” he comes home gushing, “Grace makes the bestest bannock!”

So, when my friend Lisa Ahier, the chef at Tofino’s popular SoBo restaurant, organized a potluck dinner and told us each to bring a Canadian dish that meant something special to us, I knew right away what I was bringing: bannock. Nothing says Canada to me more than this dish; and besides, my kids love to eat it probably more than anything else.

Full disclosure: I’m not much of a cook. In the past, when we’ve enjoyed bannock as a family, it was usually because Grace made it or because we ate it during our travels around the province. Bannock is often served at local festivals, sold at farmers markets and dished up at celebrations hosted by the First Nations families in our tight-knit community. My kids and I make a point of sampling it any time we can—and the consensus is that Grace’s Nuu-chah-nulth recipe is the ultimate version. I decided it was time to fully embrace this dish and learn to make it myself!

Grace has become a good friend of mine, so I was pretty sure I could get my hands on the recipe. All the same, I followed the proper First Nations etiquette of formally requesting the family recipe from an elder. (Luckily Grace is an elder!) I couldn’t believe how simple the recipe was: only four ingredients.

The really funny part was when I popped over to the Tofino Co-op to buy the ingredients and caused a bit of a ruckus. I bumped into another Nuu-chah-nulth lady I know and innocently asked what sort of oil I should buy. “Oil?!” she shouted. “Why are you using oil? Biscuits have fat in them, bannock doesn’t!” Other Nuu-chah-nulth shoppers heard the fuss, then they gathered around, adding their two cents’ worth:

“Yes, you can use oil, just don’t overmix!”

“My grandmother always said to use high heat if you want a good crust.”

“Water’s fine; no need to use milk.”

“Mother always fried it at our house.”

Clearly, there are a lot of bannock recipes out there, but I knew if I wanted to keep Colby happy, I’d better stick to Grace’s instructions. While the bannock baked, Colby and my daughter, Mackenzie, impatiently inhaled the delicious aroma, and when we dove into it, still warm from the oven, they said it was as good as Grace’s. Phew.

The next time I made it, it was for the whole gang at Lisa’s paddleboarding potluck dinner. It was a huge hit with my girlfriends, too, especially when served with jam made from local berries. Not bad, for a non-baker like me!

I love this dish even though I don’t have a drop of aboriginal blood. The culture of our native peoples really means a lot to me—their traditions, their respect for nature. Their sense of spirituality especially lands with me: When my son Braeden passed away a few years ago, we had a beautiful service based on the Nuu-chah-nulth culture that brought me a lot of comfort.

First Nations culture is so interwoven into our lives here that I feel a part of it. It’s hard for people outside Tofino to understand that. It’s really something special.

Read more: See three simple ways to cook bannock here.

Traditional Bannock, courtesy of Marnie Helliwell


Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 to 12 servings

6 cups (1.5 L) flour
6 tbsp (90 mL) baking powder
3½ cups (875 mL) milk, warmed
¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil

1. In large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, milk and oil. Stir until dough comes together in a ball; do not overmix. Shape into rough oval; place on baking sheet or oven-safe casserole dish.
2. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven “until a beautiful golden brown,” about 30 minutes.
3. Serve warm or cooled. Excellent with B.C. blackberry jam.

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The Berry Crumble Recipe That Makes Her Think of Mom

By April Robson, as told to Kate Paddison

April Robson is a Tofino, B.C.-based yoga instructor, mom to daughter Waverly and self-proclaimed “jammer,” teaching how to preserve local fruits and vegetables and how to make yogurt at local reskilling festivals. Her recipe for berry crumble with homemade yogurt is very dear to her heart: Robson’s mother died when she was 11 years old, but fond memories of her mom’s berry crumble help Robson feel close to her again.


My mom used this recipe for berry crumble and homemade yogurt quite often in her kitchen. It’s a recipe so familiar to me I don’t really even think about it when I’m making it myself; it kind of comes through naturally. I love this recipe because it can be made in all seasons, all across the country. There is no special berry; you can use the wild berries from your yard or you can use frozen berries. You can make this for everyday or a special occasion, plus it travels well for a potluck. It’s an easy go-to recipe—warm and homey.

My mom was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 42 years old. It came on very suddenly, and within a year of her being diagnosed, she passed.

I can remember her essence. I remember her in the kitchen, teaching me to cook, preparing certain dishes, such as this one. And now, I feel really attached to the things I had in my childhood, specifically cooking, because it’s a way for me to connect with her.

I grew up not far from Tofino on a float house, which is a home on a dock. We were right on the ocean and my parents owned an oyster farm. We ate a lot of seafood—clams, fish, crab—and a lot of fresh greens because my mom had a garden on the dock. We were essentially a mini floating homestead that relied on solar power and lived completely off the grid.

We did a lot of our own things, such as harvesting wild food, plus what my mother had grown on the dock. We also had chickens. There was no running water, so we had to haul up our own or use rainwater. My family’s favourite restaurant in my town at the time was one we went to only a couple of times a year because we had so much already available to us.

As a kid, I fought to get out of that life. I wanted to get away and have a normal yard and running water and a bathtub. Now, I’ve spent my whole adult life trying to get back to those roots, which is why I really enjoy baking and foraging. In the summer, we have four kinds of berries in the front yard, and it’s extremely easy to go around and pick them.

My mom and dad taught me how to provide for my family, how to make healthy homemade meals from the earth. The way our planet is going, it’s really important for our children to be connected to our food, the land and the environment. It’s all supported by each other, and if we don’t take care of our food system now, we won’t have it for very long. It’s important to me that my kids have the same feeling about a healthy relationship with their food and their environment.

See more: Watch Lynn, April and baby Waverly make this berry crumble at home.

Wild Berry Crumble with Homemade Yogurt, courtesy of April Robson


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yields: about 6 servings

Wild Berry Crumble
1 cup (250 mL) flour
1 cup (250 mL) packed dark brown or Demerara sugar
½ cup (125 mL) salted butter (if you prefer unsalted butter, add 1 tsp/5 mL salt to flour mixture), cubed
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon or other desired spices (optional)
4 cups (1 L) berries and/or sliced fruit (any assortment of berries or seasonal fruit, such as apples, pears or stone fruits, will work great)
juice of ? lemon

Homemade Greek-Style Yogurt
4 cups (1 L) 10% or 18% cream or table cream
1 pkg yogurt culture or 3 oz (85 g) plain Greek yogurt (if using store-bought yogurt as a starter, scrape off surface layer and use yogurt underneath; it will likely have a higher concentration of healthy bacteria)

Wild Berry Crumble
1. In bowl, mix together flour and brown sugar. Stir in cinnamon, if using.
2. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, roughly cut in butter into flour mixture. Using hands, further incorporate butter until mixture is well moistened.
3. Add lemon juice to berry mixture, tossing to coat. (If using especially juicy or frozen fruit, toss with 1 tbsp/15 mL flour to prevent runniness.)
4. Add berry mixture to baking dish; spread flour mixture evenly over top. Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until topping is evenly browned and filling is bubbling up around sides.

Homemade Greek-Style Yogurt
1. Boil water in large nonreactive pot for 10 minutes to sterilize; discard water. Set pot aside to cool for 5 minutes.
2. Pour cream into pot over medium-low heat; cook until just before boiling point. (Heat should be low enough that cream doesn’t scald while being hot enough to raise temperature.) Do not stir cream. Remove from heat.
3. Allow cream to cool until you can comfortably hold pot without burning hands, when temperature reaches about 110°F to 115°F (43°C to 46°C). (This can take a few hours, but if you add yogurt culture to cream while it’s still too hot, it will curdle and yogurt won’t set.)
4. Using ladle, scoop a bit of cream into small bowl; add yogurt culture and mix until well combined. If skin has formed on top of cream, remove with fork and discard. (Remember to sterilize all utensils in boiling water before using.)
5. Add yogurt culture mixture to pan; stir well but gently as to not create foam.
6. Pour inoculated cream into 2 sterilized 2-cup (500 mL) canning jars; place in warm environment, such as yogurt maker or bread proofer for 8 for 10 hours or until yogurt is firm. Keep at about 110°F (43°C)—or as close to it as possible—the entire time.
7. Set on counter until room temperature.
8. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with Wild Berry Crumble.

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The Seared Tuna Worth Walking 316 Kilometres For

By Quoashinis “Cosy” Lawson, as told to Crys Stewart

Cosy Lawson is proud of balancing her job in speech and language development for preschool-aged children with raising her family. She teaches her kids what she was taught growing up, from catching and preparing fish to protecting the ocean’s bounty. So when she and her young daughter made headlines in 2010 by walking to Vancouver Island’s capital to raise awareness for declining salmon numbers, she took it all in stride.

I was born on a beach on Wickaninnish Island, just off of Tofino, B.C. My mom just couldn’t bring herself to go to the hospital, and besides, our neighbours were doctors and nurses. I think she had more doctors there than she would’ve had in a regular hospital room. So I was born, literally, on the beach under the sun. My name comes from a gentleman named Joe David from the Clayoquot band; he gave me that name when I was born. It means “raven” in the Nuu-chah-nulth language.

Growing up, the only form of transportation off the island was either a rowboat or you borrowed my dad’s boat and learned how to drive it. From a very early age, we were given all the tools and the encouragement to perform everything we could alongside our parents. My job in the family was to provide the fish. My dad taught us all how to fish, but I was the one who absolutely enjoyed it. Every waking hour, I was out there bringing home the fish.

I’ve witnessed the fish numbers decline over the years. Back in 2010, we’d heard about this group of people who were going to walk from Port Hardy to Victoria to raise awareness about declining fish stocks. Over dinner, I said that would be a huge cause near and dear to my heart and that I’d really like to walk part of it. My daughter said, “Well, I think we should walk it all.” Of course, I went into “I’ve got work! I’ve got kids! I’ve got responsibilities!” mode, but when I woke up the next morning and realized this was a very important matter to her as well, I decided we should walk the entire 316-kilometre route together.

From Tofino, it’s a winding road with not much of a shoulder, but my parents, husband and son were in our support vehicle. It took about two weeks to complete the journey. By the time we got down to the island highway, communities were welcoming us, and we marched into Victoria along with 7,000 or 8,000 people. My daughter turned 12 on the steps of the parliament buildings the day we arrived. Afterward, I heard all the walkers among us ended up shutting down the main part of Victoria for many, many hours.

I want to teach my kids the things that were instilled in us growing up: respect for our environment, our resources, never taking more than you can eat. We go out once a year for the tuna and get enough for my whole family. I was taught to make sure I thanked anything that gave its life for my food and make sure nothing goes to waste. I don’t think we’d be the same people without making sure those things are passed on.

I have a big family—my two sisters and their families, my two brothers and my parents—and, often, good friends who are like family join us as well. We get together quite often, and 99 per cent of the time, it’s spur of the moment. Seared tuna is a really easy go-to! Once it’s seared, I slice it very thin and cover it in garlic-ginger ponzu sauce. It’s really simple and amazingly delicious.

For dinner on the beach on Wickaninnish, we all show up in our boats. My sister will have a dish. I’ll have tuna. My mom will dig up potatoes from the garden, which we’ll wash and put them in a pot over the fire. We’ll have a huge salad out of the garden that’s right beside the campfire. We’ll pick blackberries and have them with whipping cream. We’ve never been rich, but we live in an incredibly rich manner as far as love and food and friends and family go.

Seared Albacore Tuna Loin, courtesy of Quoashinis “Cosy” Lawson


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1/3 cup (75 mL) ponzu sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) finely chopped garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) grated ginger

1 tuna loin
1/4 cup (60 mL) sesame oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
Freshly cracked pepper to taste

1. In small bowl, mix together ponzu sauce, garlic and ginger. Set aside.

1. Dry loin with paper towel. Drizzle with 2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil and rub in. Add pepper all over. (I use about 2 tsp/10 mL, but I like a lot of pepper.)
2. Add vegetable oil to hot pan over medium-high heat; sear loin evenly on all sides, about 2 minutes per side for medium-size loin. Remove to cutting board.
3. Slice loin crosswise into ¼- to ½-inch (5 mm to 1 cm) thick pieces. Remove to dish or plate; drizzle with sauce. Drizzle with remaining sesame oil.

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Okanagan Green Beans: A One-Skillet Recipe You’ll Love

By Sarah Huggins

My childhood summers were spent in the Okanagan region of B.C., where the hot, dry sun produced the most impressive green beans—long, sweet, crisp and juicy. I vividly remember my grandmother sitting on her lakeside patio each evening with a big colander of local green beans on her lap, and a glass of white wine next to her, halving the beans while she regaled us with stories and grandma jokes.

Years later, the taste of green beans is among the most nostalgic flavours for me. One bite transports me right back to my grandma’s patio, to backseat trips to the farmers’ market, and long lazy days spent with my cousins exploring the shores of Okanagan Lake.

I now halve green beans for my own family, and this One Skillet Trout with Green Beans and Almonds is one of our favourite ways to enjoy them. Reminiscent of the infamous “Trout Amandine,” but simpler, it requires only one pan, a handful of basic ingredients and about 30 minutes.

I’ve yet to make this dish for my grandmother, but I’m sure she would love it. With a glass of white wine, of course.

One Skillet Trout with Green Beans and Almonds, Courtesy of Sarah Huggins,, Toronto

A simple rainbow trout supper made easy in the skillet.


Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 lb (450 g) rainbow trout fillets
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter, divided
¾ lb (340 g) green beans, ends trimmed
½ cup (125 mL) sliced almonds (or whole almonds, roughly chopped)
Juice of half a lemon
½ cup (125 mL) chicken broth or white wine

1. Sprinkle trout generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. When butter is hot, but before it begins to brown, add trout, skin side down, to skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until skin starts to crisp; flip trout and continue cooking a few minutes more, or until the trout is almost cooked through. Transfer to large plate or platter and keep warm.
3. Add green beans to hot skillet and cook, tossing, until tender-crisp. Top trout with beans; keep warm.
4. Add almonds to skillet and cook for 1 minute, or until they start to brown. Scatter almonds over beans and trout.
5. Add the lemon juice, broth (or wine) and remaining butter to the skillet, stirring until butter is melted and sauce begins to boil and starts to thicken. Pour sauce over top of trout and beans. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper before serving.

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(Cooking For) Kiwi and Bean
(Cooking for) Kiwi & Bean is all about simple, wholesome family recipes: dinners you can create with pantry staples when you walk in the door at the end of the day, breakfasts you can whip up the night before, and snacks and treats that you can make with your kids.

Mac and Cheese: A Canadian Twist on the Classic

By Shep Ysselstein, as told to Michele Sponagle

Shep Ysselstein, owner of Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese, near Woodstock, Ont., is one of Canada’s brightest young cheese makers. By the time he reached 30, he’d already snagged the top honour at the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix for his Five Brothers in the firm-cheese category. (And in April 2015, his Handeck won for best farmhouse cheese at the same competition.) A dairy-inspired life was mapped out for him as a child: His parents still own Friesvale Farms (right next door to Gunn’s Hill), which supplies the milk for Ysselstein’s Swiss-style cheeses. It’s all in the family there.


Alpler macaroni is an old Swiss recipe. “Alpler” is the name for the people who work up in the mountains, milking cows and making cheese. Traditionally, this dish is what they would have eaten. For a summer, when I learned cheese making in the Berner Oberland area of Switzerland, I would have been considered an alpler.

While I was there, the head cheese maker had a friend who was a chef make us the macaroni dish with the cheeses we made. We ate it in a very traditional cheese-making hut: several hundred years old with thick stone walls built into the side of the mountain. It was very rustic and primitive with low ceilings that were black from all the smoke generated by the fire used to produce the cheese. In that space, we cooked and ate our own meals—we even slept upstairs.

When I ate alpler macaroni for the first time, I thought, Wow! I need to know how to make this! Obviously, I’m a big fan of dairy products, and this recipe has a lot of them, drawing flavour from the types of cheese you use.

The chef taught me how to make alpler macaroni, but he didn’t give me a written recipe. So I learned the steps but not specific volumes. He just told me, “If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. Too thin? Add more cheese.”

This dish is a meal—a heavy one. Historically, alplers would not have had access to a lot of foodstuffs since everything would have had to be trekked up the mountain. So they used what they had available, primarily dairy products: milk, butter, cream and cheese. For this dish, they would have just needed to bring dry pasta up the mountain.

When I came back home to Canada, I made it for my family: Mom, Dad and whomever of my four brothers was around. I’ve made it more than once for them, and I make it for different groups of friends, too. I also made it for my wife, Colleen Bator, when we were first dating. It worked out pretty good—she married me eventually.


Alpler Macaroni is my go-to recipe for many occasions. It incorporates the things that are important in my life: my cheese factory in Oxford County; and my summer in Switzerland that helped me become a cheese maker. Plus, our cows make the milk, so it’s special in that way, too. This dish is handcrafted from the very beginning, starting with a cow. The only thing I need to do now is make my own pasta…

Alpler Macaroni and Cheese, courtesy of Shep Ysselstein

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 cup (250 mL) macaroni
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp (15 mL) flour
1 cup (250 mL) (approx) milk
1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream
1 cup (250 mL) (approx) Handeck cheese (18-month cow’s milk Swiss alpine-style cheese)
2 cups (500 mL) (approx) Five Brothers cow’s milk cheese or Appenzeller cheese
pepper and nutmeg to taste

1. In pot of boiling water, cook macaroni; drain.
2. Add butter to large pan; fry onion and garlic until soft. Add flour (to thicken and bind mixture). Add milk and cream. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is warmed throughout and just beginning to bubble.
3. Add Handeck and half of the Five Brothers cheese, 1 small handful at a time, stirring constantly, until cheese is completely melted. Do not boil. Allow to slightly simmer; add pepper and nutmeg. If mixture is too thick, add more milk; if too thin, add more cheese. (You can never have too much cheese!)
4. In buttered baking dish, add half of the macaroni. Pour in half of the cheese mixture; sprinkle on remaining Five Brothers cheese. Add remaining half of macaroni; pour in remaining half of cheese mixture.
5. Bake, uncovered, in 400°F (200°C) oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.

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