• Digging into Seven Spoons

    Everyday yellow dal recipe in Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day, by Tara O'Brady.

    As Tara O’Brady handed me a copy of her cookbook to borrow for work a few weeks ago, she slid me a silver tin with it.

    Inside was a good one-third of a pie: a walnut oat cherry butter tart pie, the recipe for which can be found in her book, Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day. And with it came an apology. It was Thursday. She made the pie on Tuesday and was sorry the crust might not be as flaky as it was a couple of days ago.

    I waved off her caveat, and looked forward to a quiet moment that evening to tuck into it and the pages of her absolutely stunning debut as an author. Continue reading

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    Category Food Finds, Reviews


  • Peach Tree
  • Bombs away: It’s seed bomb season

    seed bombs

    It’s around this time of year that I start to miss being a downtown daytime dweller.

    When the snow gave way to grass and those perpetual grey clouds parted to reveal that the sun did indeed still exist, it was a sure sign that I’d soon be able to forgo lunch al desko for noshing al fresco on the library steps.

    When I worked downtown, the library courtyard was my favourite spot to take a break from the demands of the office and revel in the sounds of my city: the chatter of the other average bureaucrats enjoying their midday break, the cacophony of traffic, the harmony of singing birds.

    And then there were the sights, most notably the yellow flowers — lillies, I think, but I’m bad with blooms — that emerged from the bed at the base of the library’s water fountain. I often daydreamed of sneaking some rainbow chard into their midst to break up their golden monochrome. I gave thought to planting a tomato or two that would creep up the sides of the dreary grey edifice of the police headquarters across the square from my spot on the steps. Lavender, chives, which are such beauties when they flower, oregano, and basil would add something to those plain municipal gardens, too, I figured. Continue reading

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    Category In the Garden


  • Peach Tree
  • Of green cookies and blue moods: A recipe for ginger molasses kale cookies

    Ginger molasses kale cookies.

    If I was to eat something indicative of my mood these days, it would be the colour blue.

    But I learned in university, living one block from a Mac’s Milk with its tireless slurpee machine, infinitely spinning flavours in electric shades like a sugar-infused kaleidoscope, that blue foods do crazy things to a person. Scary things. Things that demand writing yourself reminders of “I ate beets last night” proportions to avoid eye-popping, heart-racing worry 12 to 24 hours later.

    So why so blah that blue foods would be like some sort of comestible pathetic fallacy? I returned to work two weeks ago; my maternity leave officially over. It was painful for so many reasons, not the least of which was going from spending most of my waking hours with my daughter to only seeing her for a couple each day.  Continue reading

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    Category Recipes


  • Peach Tree
  • Jawohl! Sauerkraut steps up its game in New German Cooking

    Creamy Sauerkraut and Wheat Beer Soup

    They are some of the most hurtful words you can say to a German, or someone of such stock.

    And while they weren’t said directly to me, the hushed tones in which a fellow guest at a dinner party whispered to her date “I don’t like German food,” revealed that she knew their impact and she was trying to shield me from their harm.

    I stared in disbelief that someone could actually feel that way about the food I grew up with; the food that brings me such joy, even if now I eschew much of it as a vegetarian. Whenever I travel to Germany, I boast with pride when I’m with my husband at a restaurant and read him the menu, suggesting the best morsels to get a taste for my ancestral land.

    The dinner guest justified her decision about an entire nation’s cuisine by recalling a meal she had during a business trip to Frankfurt. It was a pork knuckle the size of her head on a plate garnished with a few pan-fried potatoes. To her, that heavy, fatty beast of a dinner was German food. To many, that is German food — the stereotypical sustenance of a country known for its other sweeping generalizations of being populated by an efficient, punctual, beer and Riesling-loving people with a knack for building great cars.

    How could she not see that German cuisine was more nuanced and diverse than that? That yes, they can do pork and potatoes like it’s nobody’s business and give you enough to last a week, but they can also do morels and white asparagus in delicate cream sauce to make a person swoon? Or do up a salad plate that puts to shame our simple Caesars or iceberg wedges, even those gussied up with cheese and bacon. And don’t get between a German and his trout — oh the magic they work with their beloved Forelle. Continue reading

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    Category Recipes, Reviews