food with benefits

truffle oil fettucini

I’m currently going through (or perhaps I always am in) an obsessed-with-Nigella-Lawson phase. I’ve watched literally every single youtube clip about her - even the non-cooking related ones - and I’m craving more. What I love most about her is how sensual, indulgent, and unapologetic she is about her food. She also has a pretty sexy english accent and a hilariously fabulous vocab. As she would say, this dish would definitely give you some “inner thigh wobble”… everything in moderation, right?

I adapted this recipe from one of her episodes - you can find the clip here. It’s incredibly easy to make, and a real crowd pleaser as well!

ingredients needed (serves 2 Nigella-sized portions)

-300 g fettucini (I used fresh, but obviously not necessary)

-2 tbsp reserved cooking water for pasta

-4 large cremini mushrooms, sliced

-1/2 lb asparagus, roughly sliced

-1 glove garlic, minced

-2 eggs

-1/3 cup single cream

-1/2 cup grated parmesan

-large drizzle of truffle oil, to your taste (I used a good 2 tsp)

-salt and pepper, to taste

-minced chives, for garnish (optional)

how to

-cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package instructions 

-meanwhile, saute asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic in a large saucepan until soft, about 4-5 minutes

-whisk together cream, eggs, parmesan, truffle oil, salt & pepper

-when pasta is al dente, drain and place in saucepan with vegetables, and add reserved cooking water (helps the sauce stick together)

-pour truffle oil mixture over top, mix, garnish, and enjoy!

stay ravenous, my friends!

tomato, basil & bocconcini salad

imageQuite possibly my favourite salad ever- it’s so simple and so tasty, it’s hard not to love it. I bought some wonderful heirloom tomatoes from the market just the other day, and threw this salad together in less than 2 minutes.

ingredients needed:

-~2 heirloom tomatoes (depending on size)

-couple of basil leaves, cut chiffonade style

-2 medium sized bocconcini balls

-balsamic vinegar, drizzled

-olive oil, drizzled

-freshly cracked pepper

how to:

-slice the tomatoes and the bocconcini

-put the salad together

stay ravenous, my friends! 

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seared scallops with potato, leek and lentil soup

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I absolutely love Jean Talon market, although every time I go I spend too much money and time there, so I’ve started to limit how much cash I bring with me. Last time I went, I was looking for some inspiration, came across these beautiful scallops and came home to make a lovely pot of soup to serve with the buttery scallops.

The scallops are hinted with the salt from the ocean, and since they’re already so smooth and delicate I wanted a soup that was a bit more boring (albeit delicious) so the scallops could truly shine. Serves 8.

ingredients needed

  • -3 whole leeks, washed, cut length-wise and sliced thinly
  • -3 tbsp butter
  • -2 large russet potatoes, peeled, washed and diced
  • -4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • -1.5 L chicken stock (roughly)
  • -1 1/2 cups lentils, rinsed
  • -salt and pepper, to taste
  • -sour cream, to garnish
  • -chives, to garnish
  • -8 fresh scallops
  • -1 tbsp canola oil
  • -1 tbsp butter 

how to:

  • -in a large sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter and add leeks, stirring until translucent (~10 minutes)
  • -add potatoes, and stir for another ~5 minutes
  • -add garlic, chicken stock, and bring to a boil
  • -add lentils, stir, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 mins, or until the lentils are tender  
  • -season with salt and pepper (careful if you used salty butter or chicken stock!)
  • -when soup is 5 minutes from being finished, wash and dry scallops thoroughly
  • -melt butter and heat oil in sauce pan over high heat, and sear scallops for about 60-90 seconds per side 
  • -put it all together and enjoy! 

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stay ravenous, my friends!

chinese tomato noodle soup

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Growing up, my mom would make this dish a lot. Believe it or not, I used to hate it because I had this strange aversion for tomatoes. The dish slowly it grew on me, and now it’s a wholesome and nostalgic dish that I’ve grown to looove. It’s perfect on a cold rainy day or when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, and best of all it’s all made in one big pot! Hope you enjoy :)

ingredients needed:

-4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
-1/2 onion, diced
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
-2 tbsp sriracha (optional)
-~2L water
-maggi bouillon cube (shrimp flavoured)- optional
-3 tbsp soya sauce
-2 tbsp chinese vinegar
-2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
-1 package fried tofu puffs, halved
-2 handfuls baby bok choy
-1 package enoki mushrooms
-4 eggs
-~500 g fresh rice noodles
-1 cup frozen peas
-4 green onions

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how to:

-in a large cooking pot, heat vegetable oil and sesame oil. Add tomatoes and onions and stir/crush for 5 minutes, add sriracha

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-add water, bouillon cube, soy, vinegar and wine and let simmer for ~15 mins
-add mushrooms, bok choy and tofu puffs and let simmer for 5 mins

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-crack eggs into pot to let poach, or break them up in the broth (or both!)
-cook noodles in separate pot according to instructions, then add to broth, along with frozen peas and let simmer for 1 minute
-garnish with green onions and enjoy!
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stay ravenous, my friends!

sesame-sriracha crusted tuna

I was at the grocery store the other day and came across the most beautiful piece of tuna. Of course, I had to buy it, and on my way walking home, I decided that I was going to do something asian-inspired, and thus this recipe came to life. Not only is this dish incredibly tasty, it’s super simple and quick to make.

The nuttiness of the sesame tones down the spicy sriracha flavour for an overall well-balanced dish. I served my tuna over an asian-dressed quinoa salad, but your options aren’t limited- feel free to have it over any type of salad, vegetables or even rice.

ingredients needed (serves 2)

  • -2 X ~200g sushi grade tunas steaks
  • -1 cup sesame seeds, toasted lightly
  • -1/3 cup sriracha
  • -1/4 cup sesame oil
  • -few cracks of black pepper 
  • -1 tbsp vegetable oil

how to

  • -in a medium sized bowl, mix together the sriracha, sesame oil and black pepper
  • -coat your tuna steaks in the liquid mixture and then place on toasted sesame seeds. sprinkle remaining seeds on top, and press gently to ensure even coating, but not hard enough to damage your steak
  • -in a medium high frying pan with hot oil, sear tuna for ~30 seconds on all sides
  • -place seared tuna in aluminum foil for 5 mins before slicing

 

stay ravenous, my friends!

sunday morning breakfast hash

I love those lazy sundays when you can sleep in, have no responsibilities and just spend all day in bed catching up on reality tv.. for me, these days usually come after a night of dancing, drinking and late night poutine, and they almost always start with this dish.

I love hash because it’s pretty much a mixture of anything you have in your fridge: veggies, meats, spices and herbs, carbs, anything really! It’s super easy to make, clean up is non-existent since everything goes in one pan, and on top of it all it’s super tasty and loaded with yummy nutrients to get your day going (or not..) Feel free to make any adjustments to the recipe; it’s more of a guideline if anything.

ingredients needed:

  • 1 chicken sausage
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 potato, washed and diced (skin on is the way to go)
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 2 leaves kale*, ripped into bite sized pieces
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 5 mini portobello mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp basil pesto
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 fried eggs
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

*don’t have kale? substitute with any other leafy green.



how to:

  • -in a large sauce pan over medium high heat, sear the sausage (or other meat) until brown (about 5 mins), remove, rest & slice
  • -in the same pan, add oil and potatoes and let brown
  • -add 1/2 cup water to aid with cooking through, and when the water evaporates add the onion & pepper and cook for ~3 mins
  • -meanwhile, fry two eggs to your liking (mine were over-easy)
  • -add kale, tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic and reserved sausage to pan and let cook for ~2 mins
  • -to finish, season with s&p, add pesto (or any other herbs available) and balsamic vinegar
  • place the eggs over your hash, garnish with green onion and avocado and enjoy!

stay ravenous, my friends!

hand-picked & home-made blueberry jam

Last month I went to an organic blueberry farm in Richmond with my friend Mira. We picked away for an hour for 8 different types and ended up paying ~$25 for 10 lbs of fresh berries. It was a blast; after filling my basket I ran around the farm stuffing my face with berries haha. Oh and of course it totally worth it for the quality and quantity we walked away with!

Anyways, with so many blueberries one’s only option is to make jam. Really. So, here’s a recipe I found off of Canadian Living that I modified slightly by reducing the sugar, adding lemon and some blackberries. I found these changes rounded out the jam well and added some acidity to an otherwise sugar-loaded spread. My favourite ways to enjoy it are stirred into yogourt, in a smoothie, on toast with butter or just plainly by the spoonful. Enjoy!

ingredients needed (recipe makes ~6x250ml portions)

  • -2 L blueberries
  • -handful of unripe blackberries (optional)
  • -2 cups granulated sugar
  • -1 package fruit pectin crystals (~50 g), I used Certo
  • -juice and zest of 2 lemons

how to:

  • -wash blueberries & blackberries and remove any unwanted leaves, twigs, etc
  • -mash berries (should make about 5 cups) in a dutch oven, then add lemon juice plus water (to make 1 cup liquid) and lemon zest

  • -mix pectin with 50ml sugar and add to berries, bring to a rolling boil over high heat and then add remaining sugar
  • -return to a full rolling boil for 1 minute
  • -remove from heat, skim off foam 
  • -using a funnel (or cut coffee filter), fill pre-sterilized canning jars (find out more about canning here) to leave about 1/4 inch headspace
  • -cover with prepared lids, screw on bands and boil for 10 mins.

  • -remove from water, let rest and leave in a cool, dry space for at least 24
  • -no need to refrigerate these babies until they’ve been opened!

stay ravenous, my friends!

fresh fig fruit salad

My dad recently moved to White Rock, and by doing so inherited a fig tree from the previous owners of his beautiful beach house. My dad is a garden fanatic; he spends hours a day gardening and maintaining all his fresh fruits and veggies. To be honest, his garden is quite fabulous and gives him lots to brag about. He grows tomatoes, green onions, green beans, strawberries & cucumbers just to name a few.

So during my last visit the figs at the top of the tree were perfectly ripe and he climbed up to snag me a few, so I thought I’d repay him by making a delicious fruit salad! I also used blackberries from the bush in the backyard and some juicy plums the neighbours gave us. The balsamic reduction really threw this dish over the top- the full bodied flavour of the vinegar contrasted the sweet figs and thick yogurt perfectly!

 

ingredients needed:

  • -2 fresh figs, quartered
  • -handful of blackberries, washed
  • -2 small plums, cut into 1/6ths
  • -2 dollops non-fat greek yogurt
  • -handful of mint leaves
  • -1/2 lemon rind
  • -1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced
  • -1 teaspoon agave nectar (or other sweetener), drizzled

how to:

  • -for the balsamic reduction: simply pour in pan, heat to high, and let reduce to 1/2 in a soft boil. Should be syrupy.
  • -start by placing the yogurt in the middle of your serving dish. I used the quenelle technique (a fancy way of saying, three-sided oval)… but, you could just dollop it and it wouldn’t really make a difference.
  • -place the fruit around the yogurt any way you wish
  • -sprinkle lemon zest over top
  • -cut, tear or even leave the mint leaves whole (I made ribbons- called mint chiffonade) and sprinkle over top

  • -drizzle the agave nectar over top for a hit of extra sweetness. Agave nectar is a low glycemic sugar that won’t give you a crash later on. It’s mild and neutral (honey I thought was too overpowering for this dish) and is also vegan and gluten free!
  • -drizzle balsamic vinegar over top and enjoy!

stay ravenous, my friends!

blueberry & peach shortcake

As a kid, my mom used to always make strawberry shortcake for me. The other night, she and I were home alone so I decided to give it a go as she cooked dinner for us. Usually we crack open the freshly baked shortcakes and stuff them with slightly sugared strawberries and vanilla whipped cream, but I thought I’d use the blueberries and peaches we had as they were super ripe and delish. Oh, and no whipped cream either because I was too lazy to get my butt to the grocery store haha, so I just used vanilla ice cream instead! Even so, still just as tasty.

I left the peaches raw and made a blueberry compote to top the ice cream, and don’t tell anyone, but I cheated and used bisquick to make the shortcakes.. They turned out just like I remember them tasting as a kid, and to top it all off it was easy as cake (haha) and required very little effort and time.

ingredients needed:

shortcake (recipe off the bisquick box) 

-2 1/3 cup mix

-1/2 cup milk

-3 tbsp sugar

-3 tbsp butter, melted 

compote

-2 cups fresh blueberries

-1/4 cup water 

-1/4 cup sugar

-zest of 1 lemon 

garnish:

-2 fresh peaches, sliced

-vanilla ice cream

how to:

shortcake

-pretty much just combine all the ingredients together to form a soft dough. Separate into 6 cakes, slightly flatten and bake at 425 C for 10-12 minutes, until golden. 

compote

-throw everything into a saucepan, and let simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the berries burst. Pop a few fresh blueberries in the pan in the last minute to add some texture!

stay ravenous, my friends! 

ginger poached shrimp & mango noodle salad

This post is in memory of the late food network chef, Anthony Sedlak. He was one of my absolute favourites growing up, and I wanted to make an entry dedicated to his enthusiasm, spirit, and (of course) his beautiful smile. One of the best things about him was the way he talked with his hands and his endless zest for food and cuisine truly was inspiring.

I took the recipe of the food network- you can find it here. I made a few changes to the original & decided not to make the spring rolls.

Shrimp- the shrimp were absolutely fantastic! Will definitely be reusing this recipe because it turned out way better than I could have imagined!

Salad-I unfortunately couldn’t get my hands on cellophane noodles (I’m thinking any asian supermarket would have them) so I used rice noodles instead, still worked alright but I think the cellophane would have been miles better.. Oh well.

Instead of the chayote I used watermelon rind- you know, the white stuff that tastes like nothing and no one ever eats? It’s loaded with vitamin C, citrulline, beta carotene and a whole list of other nutrients. I thought it was a great replacement and it also added tons of texture.

I also added a handful of quartered roma tomatoes- just for some colour and acid

Sauce-the only change I made here was to use honey instead of sugar- it helped with the consistency and I think gave a more rounded out flavour

stay ravenous, my friends!

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