Mintata-Frittata August 20, 2008

Filed under: Starters & Sides,Veggie Mains — s mcdowall @ 4:21 pm
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The frittata offers a quick and savory solution for those times when you are in a crunch and need a boost of protein (or those times when you only have cheese and eggs in the fridge – which seems to happen to me a bunch).  Combined with arefreshing hint of mint, this frittata provides a nice dose of omega-3s, vitamins A and D, and calcium.  You can swap the peas for asparagus tips, and can use fresh or frozen (cook the fresh first).  For a sweeter take use the peas – for something a little more savory use the asparagus.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek stalk (light part only), sliced thin
1/2 cup frozen peas (OR frozen asparagus tips if they’re handier)
6 large organic eggs
1 small bunch fresh mint (stems removed, torn or cut into small pieces)
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces ricotta OR goat cheese OR feta, crumbled


1) Preheat oven to 425°F and heat oil in large ovenproof pan on medium heat – sauté leek until soft, then add peas and cook for 2 to 3 min more.

2) In a medium bowl, beat eggs with 1 tbsp water, then add eggs along with half the mint to the pan.

3) Season with salt and pepper, and cook, lifting edges with spatula to allow uncooked eggs to flow to bottom.

4) When the frittata is partly cooked (7 to 10 minutes), sprinkle on cheese and transfer pan to the oven – bake until puffed and golden (about 8 to 10 minutes).

5) Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, then garnish with remaining mint and serve.


You can experiment till the cows come home with frittatas!  Nice additions are caramelized onions or shallots, chives, sharp cheddar cheese or any veggie mix.


Effortless Roast Garlic and Potato Soup

Filed under: Soup's on,Starters & Sides — s mcdowall @ 3:41 pm
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If you’ve never roasted garlic before, you will become an addict after your very first try. It’s not a bad addiction, so embrace it. It’s so easy and the result is unreal. You can spread the roasted garlic like butter, and adding it to any recipe will enhance the flavour like you won’t believe. This recipe will surprise you at how simple and delicious it is … and ridiculously cheap to make. Stores brilliantly in the freezer for weeks.


2 full heads of garlic

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 onions, diced

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced

6 cups strong vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

chopped fresh chives, for garnish


1) Wash and dry garlic heads (do not peel), place in tinfoil and drizzle with olive oil. Close tinfoil tightly over heads, and bake in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes.

2) Heat remaining oil in a large pot and cook onions until soft, about 5-7 minutes.

3) Once garlic is cooled, squeeze roasted garlic cloves from their skins into pot and mash heads with back of a spoon.

4) Add potatoes and stir until coated with the oil, add broth and bring to a boil, and reduce heat and simmer (about 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft).

5) Puree soup with a hand blender, or in batches in a regular blender if need be, and add the chives as garnish and serve.


Aaloo Baingan August 14, 2008

Filed under: Indian,Veggie Mains — s mcdowall @ 8:38 pm
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My take on an Punjabi classic. Don’t be scared my pets, as all the ingredients are readily available at most regular run-of-the-mill grocery stores, plus if you’re not a fan of curries, this is a good place to start. Lesson the chilies if you’re not into anything too spicy. This is the right heat amount for me, but I have a HIGH tolerance for spice. You can also used canned ginger for this, and your best bet for cooking oil is either vegetable or canola.

1 tbsp cooking oil
½ tsp cumin Seeds
3 cloves of garlic (peeled & chopped)
1, 1-inch piece of ginger root (peeled and chopped)
1 green chili
1 medium onion (finely chopped)
1 medium tomato (finely chopped)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 large potato (peeled and cut into small pieces)
3 Eggplants (cut into medium pieces)
2 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste

1) In a large pot heat oil, add cumin seeds. and once they’re lightly browned add the chopped garlic, ginger root and whole green chili and stir for one minute.

2) Add in the chopped onions and fry until golden brown (at this point remove green chili and set aside).

3) Add chopped tomatoes and fry until the oil starts to separate and the tomatoes are soft.

4) Add in turmeric powder – fry for a minute – then add in red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and mix for another minute.

5) Add in the potato pieces, fry for 5 minutes, then add the eggplant pieces and fry for another 5 minutes.

6) Add in 2 cups of water – when water comes to a boil, stir, lower heat to low, cover and let cook for about 20-30 min.

7) When eggplant and potatoes are well done, garnish with coriander leaves, mix and serve HOT!


Blueberry Buckle August 13, 2008

An old-fashioned dessert with a modern VEGAN twist. This goes amazingly with ice-cream or a dollup of home-made whip cream (obviously not vegan at that point then). Use spelt or rice flower to make nice with your gluten free friends.



3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour or spelt flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

5-6 tbsp canola oil


1 cup whole wheat pastry or spelt flour

1 cup regular flour

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and dried

1) Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9-inch spring-form pan ( you can also wrap bottom with foil for easier removal).

2) Topping: Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in bowl and stir in oil 1 tbsp at a time until mixture looks crumbly (you may not need all the oil).

3) Cake: Sift flours and baking powder into bowl, and in a separate bowl whisk together syrup, oil, vanilla and salt.

4) Stir syrup mixture into flour mixture, then gently fold in berries.

5) Pour cake batter in prepared pan, then sprinkle topping over top.

6) Bake for 70 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

7) Cool for at least 30 minutes on wire rack, then unmold, and serve.

– dash a few blueberries around the ‘buckle’ when plating
– drizzle a few drops of maple syrup or honey over top for that really sweet tooth of yours
– can be re-heated slightly in the micorwave
– freezes well ONLY if cooled completely, then securely wrapped in plastic (but only for a few weeks tops)



Some of my all-time favourite dishes are Indian or Pakistani. So many veggie options and so rich and creamy. I would eat naan all day every day if I could! It outranks chocolate for me – now that’s quite a statement! Many of these dishes are easy to make, once you get the spices and technique down. Dhal is usually made with lentils, and can be served alone, over rice or in a naan or pita. It’s super healthy too, and can be full of heat or not … that’s up to you.


1 tbsp coconut oil (you can substitute canola here, but it will detract a bit from the overall flavour)

1 med brown onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tsp ginger, finely chopped

1 red chili, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 tsp Garam Masala

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes (plain is best)

2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste


1) Heat coconut oil in a heavy pan, add onion, garlic, ginger and chili and sauté until the onion is golden

2) Add Garam Masala, turmeric and lentils and sauté for another minute.

3) Add tomatoes and water and bring to boil – then simmer, cover and cook for 15 min.

4) Salt and pepper to taste, and continue to cook until dhal has a thick consistency.

5) Serve hot! Garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley.


– keeps well in fridge for a few days

– serve over hot naan bread or over basmati rice

– for a spicier version, keep a few of the chili pepper seeds and add while simmering


Minty Summery Fruits

Filed under: Salad queen — s mcdowall @ 5:02 pm
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Farmers markets, sunny weather and an abundance of fresh, delicious, sweet fruits! This quick dessert or snack is insanely easy to prepare and is so mouthwatering, I have to put a limit on how much I make. I grow so much fresh mint in my yard, that I always have more than enough to make fruit or veggie salads … a perfect pairing for mohitos!


1 pint fresh strawberries
1 peach (white or regular)
1 lime
6 lychees (fresh or canned)
1-2 tbsp fresh mint, minced (plus a few sprigs for decoration)
honey or agave nectar


1) Chill the fruit before using, and slice strawberries, peach and lychees.
2) In a mixing bowl, juice the lime, then add the mint and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar to taste, mix well.
3) Add the fruit to the liquid and make sure everything is well coated.
4) To plate the salad, fan out peaches, pile strawberries on one side, top with lychees, and garnish with additional sprigs of mint.


QA-Sala (Quinoa Apple Salad) August 12, 2008

I’ve used quinoa in many recipes, and am always looking for new ways to serve this tasty tongue twister (it’s keen-wa). Here’s a nice fresh salad that will serve about 6 as a main-course salad, and keeps really well in the fridge for a few days. Apples are always easy to find and usually pretty tasty even when not in season. If you buy quinoa in bulk, this whole dish will generally cost you under $1 per person. Not too shabby!

juice from 1 lemon
1⁄3 cup apple cider
1⁄2 cup orange juice
1⁄3 cup canola or sunflower oil (olive oil is a bit too full bodied for this)
1⁄3 cup honey
5 cups cooked quinoa
2 apples, cored and chopped
1 red pepper, diced small
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or canned will do)
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup currants (or raisins if you don’t have any currants handy)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 cup toasted, chopped pecans
1 cup each, fresh parsley and mint, chopped
sea salt/freshly ground pepper to taste

1) Place lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, oil and honey in a small bowl and stir to combine.
2) In a large bowl, combine quinoa and all remaining ingredients well, then stir in dressing. Adjust seasonings and refrigerate until ready to serve!

To cook quinoa, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil in a pot with a lid. Stir in 2 cups quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until water is fully absorbed, about 25 min. You can cook any amount of quinoa you like as long as you keep the 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain. It is also worth your while to test out other liquids such as your fav stock or even 1/2 coconut milk, 1/2 water.