June 10, 2011

I don’t drink a lot of coffee but occasionally nothing else hits the spot quite like it. And I love coffee culture – hanging out in cafes with a friend or my hubby, or disappearing into obscurity with my laptop and getting stuff done amidst the buzz of kids and lovers and grandparents. After I gave up milk it was a bit difficult to ask for a soy milk latte – mostly because I was scarred from the Starbucks culture of grande-skinny-no-fat-mocha-chino-extra-hot-blah-de-blah – but I got over it and now I ask for one with pride. The trick is to stick to groovy little indie cafes like the Rooster on Broadview (my favourite!) where they use really good coffee and make your brew with love.

Photo credit: Cameron Johnson

Artist latte design credit: The adorable Michie

winter elixirs

January 16, 2011

I’m a big fan of tea and my enthusiasm extends to most hot drinks that nourish the body, heart, and soul. Here are two that I just found in a new cookbook I bought a couple of weeks ago, Leon. Make a batch or two of these concentrated “coldbusters”, and keep them in a jar by the stove so you can top them up with hot water when the need strikes.


1 vanilla pod

2 litres apple juice

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 cinnamon stick

6 cloves

3 star anise

grated nutmeg

Split the vanilla pod in half and scrap out the seeds. Pour the apple juice into a saucepan and add the maple syrup and all the spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 – 40 minutes until it has reduced by just over half. Pour into a sterilized bottle and leave for the flavours to meld. Fill your cup with about 1/4 hot apple mull, top up with boiling water, and bottoms up. This would also be great with some brandy – the only alcohol my teatotalling grandmother would keep in the house in the name of medicine.


400 ml lemon juice

four “fat thumbs” worth of ginger root, grated

2 big bunches of rosemary

10 tbsps honey

Heat the lemon juice with the ginger and rosemary. Once warm, stir in the honey until dissolved. Turn off the heat. Cool, then pour into a sterilized bottle, including the rosemary. To make a coldbuster, pour 4 tbsps of “lemony love” into a mug and top up with boiling water. You can stir in a little extra honey or maple syrup if you prefer sweet to sour.

hydration drink

January 1, 2011

This sounds a little crazy but it is good, and it definitely works. If you’re ever feeling totally dehydrated – you know when your eyeballs feel dry, and your throat is parched, and your body feels a bit like the Sahara – this is the drink for you. I’m not sure about absolute measurements. I usually just toss things in a big cup and add water but I’ve tried to make reasonable estimates. Whatever the case, you can’t go wrong.

1 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp organic cane sugar

Juice from 1/2 lemon

2 Tsps grated ginger

A couple of pinches of sea salt

2 Tbsps 100% cranberry juice

Hot water

Simply mix it up and drink. You’ll feel immediate hydration!

garlic ginger tea

August 18, 2010

vgourmet, Ruth Richardson, garlic ginger tea

Sounds weird right? It’s a bit kooky but it’s good and it works. Andrew woke up with a sore throat and feeling totally under the weather. I had a hunch I would find the right drink in my new Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook and I did! It’s Shelley’s Garlic Ginger Tea and “Shelley swears by this tea whenever she catches a cold or cough that she can’t seem to shake.” Try it. It works because food is healing. Eat and drink the right stuff and you’re on the road to recovery!

4 cloves garlic

pinch of cayenne

4 tsps fresh ginger, chopped

4 cups water

maple syrup to taste

squeeze of lemon to taste

In a large pot on high heat, combine garlic, cayenne, ginger, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, serve with maple syrup and a squeeze of lemon. Drink throughout the day.

I went to Tofino, B.C. a couple of weeks ago for the IFIP conference. Check out my blog if you want to know what that is, otherwise, let’s carry on. I was on the ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo and decided to browse through their on-board bookstore which is actually quite good. Instead of buying really interesting books on west coast art etc., I bought The Modern Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amrita Sondhi. Equally interesting but not terribly relevant to my whereabouts.

I’ve been working my way through it and have other recipes to share, but the first one, is the “how to start your day lemon drink.” It’s very simple but surprisingly refreshing and energizing. As Amrita says it’s a “fat-breaking and cleansing lemon tea” that she drinks first thing every morning.

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup boiling water

pinch of cayenne pepper

maple syrup to taste

In a mug, combine all ingredients and stir.

nourishing teas

March 13, 2010

Teas have become an absolutely critical staple in my life as they are so nourishing and yummy. I gave up coffee a couple of years ago. Not entirely because I do love a “vegan-ized” latte once in awhile, but mostly. I think I would have probably gravitated back to coffee had it not been for the unbelievable teas Jeanette introduced me to (in fact, some say they go to Jeanette just for the tea!). Rishi Teas are definitely the best I’ve found. They are super-high quality and very good blends.

Here are my three all-time favourites:

Rishi Masala Chai (blend of black tea and aromatic spices) with some organic ginger powder, organic cane sugar, hot water, and vanilla soy milk. Nice and spicy. Very warming.

Rishi Earl Grey (blend of black tea and natural essential bergamot oil) with some organic cinnamon powder, organic cane sugar, hot water, and vanilla soy milk. Really comforting. Very warming. One of our favourites at breakfast.

Rishi Green Tea Mint (blend of roasted green tea and pleasing, comforting peppermint) with organic cane sugar, hot water, and vanilla soy milk. You can also add some cocoa powder to make it more like a minty hot chocolate almost. This is one of our newly discovered favourites. Bekah loves it and drinks it almost daily now. It really is strangely good.