Avocado toasts really are the best!

I know, I know, I have yet again caught the bandwagon late. However, now that I’m on it, let me just tell you that it is amazing!  Avocado toast is so easy, tasty and filling! Plus you can pretty much make it your own with whatever ingredient you have or according to your liking.

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Here are a few of my favourite combinations:

  • Himalayan salt and cracked pepper
  • Capers, shredded carrots and cilantro
  • Cherry tomatoes, hot pepper flakes
  • Cucumber slices and fennel seeds
  • Walnuts, sea salt and honey/maple syrup

I often mix and match a few of these ingredients depending on what’s available, but really any of these combinations make my stomach happy. There is something so satisfying about avocado toasts.

Let me know what your favourite combination or topping is!

 

Fancy (but easy) Mushroom Nest

This week-end I went to Blanc de Gris which is an urban farm specialized in oyster mushrooms. How fun! I was so excited I actually did a cooking test before cooking the whole batch to make sure I would do it right… Well, I’m glad I did because this looked really nice, and it was delicious!

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Look at all these colors! This dish was fresh, savoury, filling and really let the mushrooms be the stars of the show. The grapefruit and clementine salad was so flavourful and brings a really nice texture to the entire plate. It could really make a meal of its own. As for the purple potato mash, well, I’m completely biased about purple sweet potatoes, so let’s just say it was amazing.

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But really, the mushrooms were incredible! So firm, tender and so not mushy. Unlike any mushrooms I have bought before these have a flavour of their own and are not watery at all.

Here is what you need for the strawberry-grapefruit dressing:

  • 1/2 cup grapefruit flesh
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sriracha (adjust to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the dressing:

  1. Just put everything in your blender and blend until the strawberries are completely pureed.
  2. Keep this is an air-tight container in the fridge. This will stay fresh for about a week.

Here is what I put in the salad:

  • romaine and butter lettuce
  • grapefruit flesh
  • clementine chunks
  • capers
  • avocado
  • shredded carrots

Here is what you need for the purple mash:

  • 2 normal white potatoes (I really need to pay more attention to varieties of potatoes…), about 4 cups once diced
  • 2-3 purple sweet potatoes, about 4 cups once diced
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 laurel leaf
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Here is what you do for the mash:

  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them in small chunks.
  2. Boil in water with the laurel leaf until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  3. Strain and transfer to a big bowl. With a potato masher or a fork, mash the potatoes. Add the milk a little at a time until you get the consistency you like.
  4. Add the dried herbs, give a good mix and season to your own taste.

Here is what you need for the mushrooms:

  • 350g fresh oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Crush and mince the garlic and set aside. Separate and cut the mushrooms if they are not bite-sized.
  2. In a large pan, heat the oil on medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and sauté until they have a nice golden color.
  3. Add the garlic and salt and stir well until cooked through.

To assemble the plate, add lettuce first then all the other salad ingredients around the plate. Add a few spoonfuls of mash in the center and flatten it with the back of a spoon. Arrange the mushrooms in the center and add some dressing on the salad before serving.

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Be ready to impress anyone you are serving this too, including yourself! This is such a fancy-looking plate, so why not try it out?

Let me know what you think and if you try it out!

Homemade Granola: Why didn’t I make some of this sooner?

IMG_0750Since I discovered that Bob’s Red Mill was making gluten-free oats, I have been enjoying my overnight oats every morning. But then, I went to Aux Vivres for brunch with a friend and tried out their granola bowl.

This was so good! It really made me craving granola and its delicious crispiness. I was very happy to see that I could find some gluten-free rolled oats. Add a little bit of maple syrup, some coconut chips, sultana grapes and bam! Cripy awesomeness!

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Here is what you need:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups almonds
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs melted coconut oil or oil of your choice (this really makes it crispy! Feel free to skip this however.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup coconut chips (they look like large coconut flakes. I used unsweetened.)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup sultana raisins

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. In your food processor (or with a rolling pin and a Ziploc bag), pulse the almonds until they are crushed. I like to keep some bigger pieces for crunch, but adjust the size of the almonds to your own taste.
  3. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, but keep the raisins out for now.
  4. Add the liquid ingredients and give a good stir.
  5. Spread your granola on a cookie sheet, and put in the middle of the oven. After 20 minutes, take the pan out and stir the granola before putting it back in the oven for another 20 minutes or until the granola is golden to your liking.
  6. Take it out f the oven, add the raisins, and give a good stir. Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

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This is really good! It is also so easy to prepare and personalize! It goes really well with some milk and fresh fruits, or just as a snack on its own. I have to say that my granola has nothing to fear from Aux Vivres’. I actually think its crunchier and more toasted. I also really like how the sesame seeds add a great flavour, while the maple syrup makes it sweet but not overwhelming so.

Let me know what your favourite granola ingredients out; and if you try this out, tell me what you think!

 

Fruit Salad for Lazy Suppers

When I am home alone in the evening my first instinct is just to lounge around with my computer, let myself die of hunger until it is unbearable, and then just grab whatever is available.

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Tonight, I had a lot of fruit on hand, so I made myself a lazy fruit salad with bananas, strawberries and grapes. Very simple. So I decided to add a little bit of peanut butter, and my secret ingredient: Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste.

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Oh my. This is incredible! It made my fruit salad taste like shortcake and rainbows and everything in between. Seriously, it adds so much flavour! This is what I have been using in my overnight oats as well. It adds a little bit of sweetness and a very intense vanilla flavour which is quite incredible. I really like how you can see the vanilla bits in the paste: this makes me feel very fancy and chef like! It is such a beautiful product for the same price as pure vanilla extract. Why not give it a try?

Corn Chowder, the ultimate comfort soup?

The weather over here has been a little bit moody: rain, snow and fog. Spring is clearly waiting to make a grand entrance. Any day now! (I really hope!) So, with this going on outside, I really felt like some comfort food. And what is more comforting than some chowder?

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This soup does the trick! It is thick, spicy, creamy and simply amazing! It is also extra easy to make and is fairly quick to prepare. I really like that with the corral lentils, this soup makes for a complete meal. How easy!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 cans of corn niblets, drained ( I use 341mL/ 12 oz cans, about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups of red corral lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tbsp dark miso paste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp of red chili pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sesame seeds to garnish

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic with 1/3 cup water.
  2. Add the potato chunks and mix well. Let cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the corn and mix well. Pour some water so that the vegetables are just covered. Bring to a boil.
  4. Add the lentils and the hot pepper flakes. Give a quick stir. Add 4 cups of water. Let boil on medium heat until the lentils are completely cooked. Remove from the heat. Mix in the miso paste, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. With a wand mixer, pulse until most of the potato chunks are creamed. I like to leave some corn and potato chunks whole, but you could of course grind everything up.
  6. Serve hot with some sesame seeds.

You really have to try it out! It is so simple and incredibly delicious! This will definitively be a staple in our house from now on. I made enough so that we could bring some for lunch this week: yum!

Let me know if you try this out and what’s your favourite soup!

Easy Jicama Pasta

I really like jicama! It is great raw in salads: crunchy and fresh, it really adds a lot of texture to any salad. Guess what? It’s also great cooked!

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Paired up with asparagus and pasta, it creates a very easy and fresh recipe for spring, while still being filling and deliciously flavourful! Cooked jicama has a really nice peppery taste that greatly complements pastas.

Here is what you need:

  • 1/2 jicama, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 asparagus bunch, sliced bite size
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • Cooked pasta to serve

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large sauce pan, sauté the tomato until some juice comes out. Add the onion and garlic. Stir until fragrant.
  2. Add the asparagus and stir around until tender. Add the jicama and mix well.
  3. Add the spices and season to your taste. Add the pasta and give it a quick stir.

This is very simple, but so flavourful!

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The asparagus adds a lot of flavour, but the jicama really brings it to another level and is perfect with the herbs.

Let me know if you try this out!

Spicy Bean Purée, a nice sub for hummus!

I love hummus! It goes great with everything:  bread, veggie sticks, salads, soups, by the spoonful… I really like adding hummus everywhere as it adds great flavour to any dish: it makes a nice substitution to salad dressing, adds protein to vegetable soups and is (of course) great in sandwiches. However, sometimes it gets old, despite all the different things you can add and all the flavours that are popping up in stores.

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Here is what you need:

  • 2 cups of mixed cooked  legumes (I used a mix of green lentils, black beans, and red kidney beans)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs turmeric
  • 1 tbs ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tbs ground curry powder
  • hot pepper flakes to taste
  • salt to  taste

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Add all of the ingredients in your food process and process until smooth.

I love this! The Indian spices are a nice addition to any dish for us, so this really hits a sweet spot. It brings out any dish and makes it more special. It goes great in salads and can be used everywhere hummus can. I usually make a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge. Like this I can add it everywhere for a week or so.

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Here we ate this with lettuce, shredded carrots, preserved beet roots, sweet fried tofu and a little bit of pistachio oil for a delicious salad! Seriously, try it out!

Vietnamese recipe:Che Chuoi, Banana pudding

Another dessert! Again with bananas! This is a little bit different, but definitely in the same flavour combinations. I really enjoy this because, again, it is so easy to make and so delicious too! It is also very comforting as you can eat this warm. Perfect dessert for a cold day!

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As a kid, I would take only one banana piece and fill my dessert bowl with the coconut tapioca and add a few spoonfuls of sesame seeds: this was my favourite way of eating this dessert (and sometimes, it still is).

Here is what you need:

  • 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
  • 3 cups of water
  • 500 mL coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 just-ripe bananas (we don’t want any spots)
  • dash of salt

Sesame Garnish:

  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds

Here is what you do:

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Pour the small tapioca pearls and give a quick stir. Let the beads expand and cook until there is only a little white dot in the middle of each pearl. Set on medium heat. Use a non-stick sauce pan because this is sticky!
  3. In a different sauce pan, pour the coconut milk and bring to a boil.
  4. Pour the tapioca pearls and their remaining cooking water into the coconut milk. Mix well and add some water until you reach the desired consistency (we added 2 cups).
  5. Taste and add the sugar accordingly (you might add less if your bananas are really sweet).
  6. Peel the bananas and cut in 3 parts diagonally. In a large bowl, add water and the pinch of salt. Dip the banana pieces in this salty water to avoid browning. Add them to the coconut milk. IMG_2426
  7. Bring back to a boil and remove from heat. IMG_2427
  8. For the sesame garnish: Rinse the sesame seeds and put them in a metal sauce pan set on medium heat. Shake the pan often to avoid burning. You want the seeds to be golden, so keep an eye on them.IMG_2436
  9. Serve hot.IMG_2439

This is so good! The sesame seeds bring out the sweetness of the bananas and add a great flavour to the perfect banana-coconut combo. Let me know if you try this out!

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Organization tip: Bullet Journal!

A few weeks ago, I came across a video on bullet journals. I was instantly hooked and wanted to start one right away. I still did a little bit of research, mainly here and here, before heading to my go-to paper store. There, I found a on-sale notebook and some ink for my fountain pens.

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Then I took some time to think about the different categories that I needed, and the ones that were suggested that I didn’t really need. I also wanted to know how I would organize each section so that it made sense, was accessible and, most of all, EASY! This was really important because I wanted this to work out since I like the idea of journaling every day and keeping a trace of my life as it passes.

Now that I have started on this, I love it! I really like how flexible it is to add rubrics, keep track of things to do as well as fun things. I realized that I didn’t need to follow all of the things that ‘true’ bullet journals use, but that’s the fun of it too: you can easily make this system your own!

Let me know what you think of this, and how you keep track of things.

Vietnamese Recipe: Banh Chuoi, Banana Cake

I think it is about time we talk about desserts! This one is one of my mom’s favourite, and I remember her making huge batches of this. I would then bring slices of it as a snack for school: yum! It is very simple, but the lime flavour is super refreshing and light, which goes great with the slightly wet texture of this (almost) flour-free cake.

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Here is what you need:

  • Zest of one lime
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil

To serve:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1tbsp corn starch

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and place a 9″ square pan in it.
  2. Zest one lime and press out the juice.
  3. Mash the bananas one by one and add a little bit of lime juice to each. Place in a large mixing bowl. The lime juice will prevent the browning of the bananas.IMG_2545.JPG
  4. Add the lime peel, the sugar and salt and mix well.
  5. Combine the water and flour until smooth. Add to the banana mix. IMG_2552.JPG
  6. Remove the pan from the oven (careful, this is hot!), and oil it with a little bit of coconut oil. Pour the dough in and cook for 30 minutes or until the top of the cake is golden. IMG_2561.JPG
  7. For the coconut sauce: In a small sauce pan, pour half the can of coconut milk and put on medium heat. Mix the corn starch to the other half and add to the pan once well combined. Heat up and mix until it is thick to your taste.
  8. Serve hot with a generous dribble of coconut sauce. We cut the cake in half and superposed the two halves to make the cake thicker.

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I really love how the crust of this cake has a slight crunch while the center stays moist and chewy. The coconut sauce balances out the sweetness of the bananas and rounds off the flavours delicately.

Give this a try! It is so easy and simple, yet so flavourful: the lime juice and zest really send you to a tropical island of your choice, or maybe a Vietnamese beach. Let me know if you cook this and devour it!