veggie pakora

April 17, 2015

veggie pakora

My eldest, Joshua, is in the middle of his final exams. Like the best of us, he’s looking for a few procrastination strategies which, fortunately for our household, took the form of making veggie pakoras today. Spicy. Deep-fried. Oniony. Crunchy. What student could ask for anything more? What mom could be happier to smell the sweet smell of home-cooked goodness in the house? What food blogger could be more pleased to swoop in and post the results?

1 cup chickpea flour, sieved

1 medium onion

3 medium potatoes

1 tsp of salt

2 tsps of garam masala

1 tsp of turmeric

2 chillies, finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger, grated (optional)

Handful of coriander, chopped

2 tsp of dried fenugreek leaves

1 tsp of cumin seeds

½ tsp of red chilli powder


Oil for deep frying

Heat up the oil in a karahi or wok over medium heat.

Slice the onion lengthways very thinly and place in a bowl. Peel and grate (or very finely chop) the potatoes into the same bowl. You can also use aubergines and cauliflower – chop into very small pieces.

Sprinkle all the dry spices and freshly chopped coriander, chillies and ginger into the bowl and then sieve in the chickpea flour – mix together using your hands. Add a small amount of water a little at a time to create a thick batter that coats all the vegetables. Squeeze the mixture through your fingers to ensure all the spices mix through. (Do not leave the batter and vegetable mixture for too long before cooking.)

Test your oil is hot enough by dropping a little batter into the oil. If it browns and rises immediately then it is ready. Very carefully drop in spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil and fry until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon move the pakora around, be careful not to overcrowd them.

Once golden brown and crisp remove from the oil and set on some paper towel. Serve with a yummy raita or a vegan-version tahini dip.

Thanks to Hari Ghotra for Joshua’s inspiration.

snacking granola clusters

February 21, 2015

snacking granola

Unbridled credit for this recipe (and photo) goes to my daughter, Rebekah (and of course the original blog, The Gouda Life, from whence the recipe came). Bekah is home for reading week and craving all things healthy and non-residence. This snacking granola is perfect because it’s, of course, healthy – full of dates, chia seeds, nuts, and oats – but it’s also both crunchy and chewy, sweet and salty, nutty and fruity, a breakfast and a snack – all in one.

6-8 Mejool dates, pitted and chopped (and/or dried figs)

1 cup maple syrup

1/2 stick cinnamon

1/2 cup cranberries

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil / virgin coconut oil

2 tbsps chia seeds

2 tbsps amaranth

1 tbsp flax seeds

1/2 cup raw pepitas

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup mixed nuts (pecans, almonds, cashews)

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the chopped dates, cranberries, cinnamon stick and syrup in a small pot over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Turn the heat down to a simmer and let the mixture bubble away for 8-10 minutes. By then, you should be able to use the back of a fork or spoon to mush it all together. It should be similar in texture to applesauce with some extra liquid from the syrup seeping out. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix together all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the slightly cooled syrup mixture over the dry ingredients and stir everything together with a spatula until all the oats/seeds/nuts are covered in the syrup. Turn 1/2 the into a large, high-sided cake pan (I used a 15” x 10” x 2” rectangular baking dish) and pack the mixture down as hard and evenly as you can. Add the rest of the oat mixture and press into the pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove and cool for 20 minutes.

Break up the mixture into large clusters and place back in the pan. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes for crispy-edged clusters.

seedy crackers

November 29, 2014


There is a beef in my house which is flying things unnecessarily from around the planet that we could easily get and/or make here. Fizzy water is one. Mustard is another. Crackers are high on the list as a third. So when Rebekah found this recipe for seedy crackers on My New Roots blog, which she loves, I thought I’d give them a try. They are kind of a cross between a cracker and a granola bar – full of oats and seeds and seasoning. The rosemary, garlic and smoked sea salt could be left out or replaced with any other seasoning that tickles your fancy. And with a little veggie pâté, hummus, or sun-dried tomato pesto, they eat like a feast.

seedy crackers

1 cup sunflower seeds

½ cup flax seeds

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup sesame seeds

1 ½ cups rolled oats

2 tbsps chia seeds

4 tbsps psyllium seed husks (3 tbsps if using psyllium husk powder)

1 ½ tsps fine grain sea salt

2 tbsps chopped fresh rosemary

¼ – ½ tsp garlic powder

1 tbsps maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)

3 tbsps melted coconut oil

1 ½ cups water

smoked sea salt, to taste

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable).

Divide the dough roughly in half. Gather half the dough into a ball and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, firmly roll out into a thin sheet. Remove top layer of baking paper and using the tip of a knife, score the dough into shapes you like (I chose large rectangles but it’s up to you). Repeat with remaining half of dough. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Using the baking paper, slide the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven, flip the whole cracker over (if it breaks a bit, don’t worry!) and peel the baking paper off of the back. Return to oven to bake for another 10 minutes, until fully dry, crisp, and golden around the edges.

Let cool completely, then break crackers along their scored lines and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

bean hummus


I just watched this fabulous video of Michael Pollan on How Cooking Can Change Your Life. A must-see in my books as he argues so eloquently and passionately about the role of cooking, not just in our lives, our families, our health, our enjoyment, and so on, but in our whole food system as well. I’m sold. I have been for awhile, but now I’m really sold. I know for many cooking regularly and systematically seems daunting but with a few acquired habits and simple changes, it’s easier than one might think. Take my lunch the other day as an example. I could have gone out to a restaurant, or ordered a pizza, or picked up a quick sandwich to go but I had stale baguette, I whipped up this hummus in about 10 minutes and, presto, lunch is served. And it was delicious. And healthy. And simple. And everything that Michael Pollan was talking about. Of course it’s not always this easy but start small, think big. Baby steps towards letting cooking change your life, and our planet.

6 tbsps olive oil

4 shallots, finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

zest and juice 1/2 lemon

26 oz can white beans (cannellini, lima, navy), cooked

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the shallots, garlic, chopped rosemary, and lemon zest and cook over low, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Transfer the shallot  mixture to a food processor, add all the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Serve on toasted baguette, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with a few rosemary sprigs.


February 9, 2014


Many of us have grown up with butter-drenched popcorn, so what to do when you don’t eat butter? I’ve tried just plain old popcorn, or adding a topping or two, but it wasn’t until Rebekah came home with a recipe from a recent trip to visit her friend Emma in Massachusetts that I was totally satisfied in a butter-drenched kind way. It’s not tricky or complicated, just good. Wholesome goodness with coconut oil, simple olive oil, sea salt, and natural seasoning. This recipe features smoked paprika but there are innumerable ways to approach it from curry powder to fancy sea salt to cumin and coriander.  But be warned, it’s highly addictive.

2 tbsps coconut oil

2/3 cup organic popcorn kernels

a few pinches smoked paprika (optional)

sea salt to taste

Heat coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven until melted and it forms a thin layer on the bottom of the pot. Turn heat down to medium or medium-low and add popcorn kernels. Put the lid on the pot and leave to pop without stirring or fussing. Once all the kernels have popped, add sea salt to taste, paprika if using, and toss well. Serve.



kale chips

September 1, 2013

kale chips

As you may have read in the recipe for wabun point potage we’ve been blessed with renting a place on Lake Temagami for the last 10 days. Dick and Marg Lewis, who rented us the cottage, invited us over for a glass of wine and some scrumptious treats, one of which was kale chips which Dick made himself. Tasty. Fabulous. Healthy. Colourful. I had to try it myself. In fact, I’m surprised I had never made them before but everything has a season and things happen when they happen. We ate them on the dock with crackers, roasted garlic bulbs, and a side of burgundy red. Conjure up the sound of the waves, the cool north breeze, the slap of a beaver’s tail, and a distant osprey call, and you pretty much have paradise on earth.

1 head of kale, ripped into pieces

olive oil

sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rip kale into bite size pieces, removing the stems. Wash clean and spin dry. Toss with enough olive oil just to lightly coat the kale. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste. Spread out on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes depending on how crispy you like them.

sushi balls

June 10, 2012

These little morsels of heavenly, healthy finger food are fabulous for party appetizers, for a light dinner with steamed kale and smoked tofu on the side, or as a snack mid-afternoon when the munchies hit. I’m also thinking that they’d be awesome for a road trip. We have a few ahead of us this summer and I already can’t wait to pull over beside a little northern stream and eat these for lunch instead of being forced to pull over at a roadside diner or the standard highway mega-chains. Balls to that! I’m having modern-day traveling sushi packed full of carrots, green onion, and seaweed to go.

2 cups sushi-style rice

1/3 cup rice vinegar

2 tbsps sugar

1 1/2 tsps sea salt

1/4 cup seaweed, dulse, hijiki or seaweed of choice, chopped finely

2 carrots, grated finely

5 green onions, chopped finely

1/4 cup black and/or white sesame seeds

1/4 cup tamari

sesame oil

Rinse the sushi rice and and then cook according to directions.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together rice vinegar, sugar and salt. Add carrots, green onions, and seaweed. Mix and set aside.

Toast the sesame seeds in a skillet over medium-high heat until they are golden brown and their nutty flavour starts to come out. Stir constantly to make sure you don’t burn them. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool when done.

When rice is done, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool. After 10 minutes or so, place rice in the bowl with the vinegar, carrots, seaweed etc. Stir gently but consistently for about 3 – 5 minutes to let the steam escape. At this point you can leave the rice to cool for 1 – 2 hours or you can start to form the balls immediately.

To form the balls, take a spoonful of rice and roll it out between your hands. It helps if your hands are damp (it is sticky rice after all!) so keep a bowl of water nearby to occasionally wet your hands so the rice doesn’t stick to you. Form all the balls and then roll the balls in the sesame seeds to lightly coat them. Refrigerate the balls until you are ready to serve. Let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Set them out beside a small bowl of tamari and a few drops of sesame oil for dipping.

tomato onion herb bread

March 11, 2012

vegan bread, onion bread, savoury bread, vgourmet, ruth richardson

Tomatoes, onions, and herbs have always come together in a happy marriage. In this recipe they provide the building-blocks for a savory, versatile loaf topped with some smoked sea salt to provide additional depth of flavour. Any breadbasket would welcome a few pieces of this bread for the dinner table. It’s also great as a mid-afternoon snack, in the kids’ lunch bag, or some have even been known to eat it for breakfast.

1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

1 cup hot water

4 tbsps olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

thyme and basil, chopped finely

2 tsps sea salt

1 lb fresh tomatoes, approx 5, chopped

1 cup whole wheat flour

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 1/2 tsps active dry yeast

2 tbsps sugar

course smoked sea salt

Pour hot water over the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Set aside and let soak for 1/2 hour or so.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsps of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Add chopped onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook the onions until they are soft and golden brown. Add the chopped herbs and sauté for another 1 – 2 minutes stirring often until the herbs are mixed in and you can smell the amazing aroma. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Put the skillet back on the burner on medium heat, add the chopped tomatoes with their juices. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes until they are tender and the liquids have boiled down. It should be slightly thickened and resemble a chunky sauce. Add the soaked sun-dried tomatoes with their water, 2 tbsps olive oil, and 1 tsp salt. Set aside and let mixture cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl combine the whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups white flour with the yeast and sugar. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and liquid and mix well with a wooden spoon. Continue to add the rest of the white flour bit by bit until the batter is thick and elastic. Add the cooked onions and herbs. Combine well but don’t over work the batter. NB: You should have a sticky soft batter. This is not a dough that you knead but more like a stiff cake batter.

Oil a 9 x 12 rectangular baking pan with some olive oil. Spread the batter into the pan making sure to get it in the corners. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt. Cover, set aside, and let it rest until the batter rises to double its size, about 45 minutes.

Bake the bread in a pre-heated oven at 375F for 35 – 40 minutes until lightly browned and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Let the bread cool on a rack and then serve.


pico de gallo

March 4, 2012

I think we ate our weight in pico de gallo when in Mexico. This ever present condiment, also called salsa fresca, is a must on a hot summer afternoon with corn chips, alongside a bean and rice burrito or open face guac sandwich for lunch, or at dinner as a side to blackened rice and black bean stew. It adds texture, flavour, and the freshness tomatoes, cilantro, and lime juice afford so elegantly. It only takes a second to make and is second to none when the kids have the munchies and need a healthy snack.

3 or 4 heirloom tomatoes, various colours, chopped

1 red onion, chopped finely

1 small jalapeño pepper, chopped finely

juice from 1 lime

3 tbsps olive oil

1 bunch cilantro, chopped finely

sea salt and pepper

Put everything in a mixing bowl and mix well. While this is a pretty traditional version, you can add cucumbers, radishes or firm fruit, such as mango as well.

sun-dried tomato pesto

January 16, 2012

Everyone should have a few pestos and sauces loitering around in their fridge. They are so versatile and adaptable. We try to keep romesco, tapenade, and hummus on hand to spread on sandwiches, to snack on with a cracker when we’ve got the afternoon munchies, or to dollop on soup and stews like the fabulous Tuscan ribollita. This sun-dried pesto version is another option with either basil (on the right) or straight-up (on the left). With all the health benefits of basil – it being antioxidant, antiviral, antimicrobial, and “king of the herbs” as some like to call it – why wouldn’t you throw in a handful? But, the minimalist version is beautiful as well.

2 cups sun-dried tomatoes, plain or smoked

1 cup pecans

1 cup basil (optional)

4 cloves garlic, peeled

3/4 cup olive oil

sea salt to taste

Throw all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until the pesto reaches your preferred consistency. Adjust salt and serve.