Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Braised lamb pasta

serves 2

Using the left overs of our lamb shoulder we made a delicious quick dinner.


  • 3/4 box whole wheat penne
  • 2 cups shredded, cooked lamb shoulder
  • 3 cups lamb stock (from braise)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • fresh parsley
- Cook pasta according to time on box in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Strain

- Meanwhile in large sautée pan on medium heat sweat onions in 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once translucent, add garlic and cherry tomatoes. Cook down tomatoes, then add mushrooms. Continue cooking until mushrooms become golden and cooked down.

- Add lamb stock and lamb pieces.
-Add drained pasta and some pasta water if necessary to help coat pasta better. Toss to coat pasta.

-Add parsley and drizzle of olive oil, season well with salt and pepper.
-Enjoy topped with your favorite hard cheese. Try with parmesan or romano!!

Braised Lamb shoulder with root vegetables

serves 4


  • Olive oil and canola oil for searing
  • 1 whole, bone in lamb shoulder (try to buy local)
  • 6 whole, peeled shallots, root end trimmed, but intact
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 bottle of red wine
  • 5 tbspn chopped fresh thyme
  • 3-4 bay leaves
  • 4-5 dry mushrooms, such as porcini,shitake.(optional;these are a great thing to have around. They last in storage and add tons of flavor to soups, stocks and braises.)
  • 4 baby carrots, cut in half diagonally
  • 2-3 parsnips cut into similar size as your carrots
  • 4-6 grelot potatoes cut in half
  • 6 button or cremini mushrooms
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh herbs
Preheat oven to 325

-Unpack shoulder onto a large cutting board and remove bone, clean and cut into portions. (You can also ask your butcher to do this for you just remember to ask him to keep the bone it will give lots of flavor to the braise)

- Once lamb is cleaned rub chopped thyme, and a generous amount of salt and pepper all over lamb, drizzling with a little olive oil to keep the seasoning on the lamb. The lamb can marinate this way for up to 12 hours, but the 15-20 minutes it will take you to prep your veggies and get ready to start your braise should be sufficient time for the lamb to temper and absorb the seasoning (meat doesn't like to go straight from the fridge to the heat source, always give it some time to warm up a little)

-Heat your creuset over high heat and sear all meat , including bone until well browned. See technique video for clear instructions ( watch video)

-Once all browned, add in whole shallots and cook over medium heat until well browned. Add garlic into the pan and pour in wine running your wooden spoon along the bottom of the pan to loosen browned bits.

- Add meat back into the pan and reduce wine by 1/2. Add just enough water to come to the level of the meat but not totally cover it. Bring to a boil, cover and place in oven for 1hr. 45min.

- Once time has elapsed, remove from oven and add seasoned vegetables, pressing down to submerge slightly in cooking liquid. Put back in oven for 30 mins. longer.

- When done remove all veg/meat from cocotte and reduce broth over med-high heat by 1/2.

Add fresh herbs,serve portions with sauce poured on top.

About the recipe:

For this recipe we chose to use a piece of beautiful Quebec lamb shoulder, to show you to not be intimidated buy buying larger pieces of meat. Buying in this way is not only more economical, but also assures quality because you get to see your meat whole and judge the quality your self.
That being said this recipe could be done with different meats as it is a basic one pot braise. Try it with osso-bucco, or veal shoulder, Lamb shanks or pre cubed lamb shoulder pieces would be a simple, delicious choice. Nice pieces of braising beef would be another great option and so would bone-in chicken tights. Any root vegetables can be used here also. We chose to use potatoes,carrots and parsnips but celery root, turnip or even beets could be delicious. As for the cooking method, if you do not have an oven proof caserole or creuset you could achieve the same results stovetop in a thick bottom pot over low heat, or started in pans stove top and finished in a crock pot on med-low.

Keep any left over meat for a delicious pasta!!!! (see recipe)

Friday, November 20, 2009

*The Best of the Best: October 2009

  • Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia)
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Pacific Sardines (wild-caught)
  • Pink Shrimp (wild-caught, from Oregon)
  • Rainbow Trout (farmed)
  • Salmon (wild-caught, from Alaska)
  • Spot Prawns (wild-caught, from British Columbia)

**Other Healthy "Best Choices"
  • Arctic Char (farmed)
  • Bay Scallops (farmed)
  • Crayfish (farmed, from the U.S.)
  • Dungeness Crab (wild-caught, from California, Oregon or Washington)
  • Longfin Squid (wild-caught, from the U.S. Atlantic)
  • Pacific Cod (longline-caught, from Alaska)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Disease by Industrialization

The increased globalization and industrialization of the food industry is contributing to the spread of disease from humans to animals and threatening food security, according to a recent study. Scientists at Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute have discovered a bacteria in chickens originally coming from humans. It is is thought to have made the jump to chickens around 40 years ago with the introduction of intensive poultry farming in which a limited number of chicken gene pools are controlled by a small number of multinational companies.

"Half a century ago chickens were mostly reared for their eggs, with meat regarded as a by-product,” said Dr. Ross Fitzgerald from The Roslin Institute. “Now the demand for meat has led to a poultry industry dominated by a few multinational companies which supply a limited number of breeding lines to a global market - thereby promoting the spread of the bacteria around the world.”

The bacteria leads to bone and joint infections in chickens, making them lame and requiring them to be culled. Dr. Fitzgerald warned that any further spread of disease from humans to livestock could have a serious impact on food security. The study suggests that what happened to chickens is an inversion of the current emergence of the swine flu virus, H1N1, which jumped from a pig to a human in Mexico and then quickly spread around the world.

The scientists now intend to widen the scope of research and analyze other breeds of livestock to see if they have contracted any human bugs. If bacteria were also shown to be crossing from humans to other livestock, such as dairy cattle, this would have alarming implications for global agriculture and food security. “We do need to start investigating to see if this is happening on a wider scale,” Fitzgerald said, “It’s almost a cautionary tale that we need to be a bit more aware of the impact that the industrialization of agriculture and globalization in general could have on the emergence of new pathogens, whether effecting humans or animals.”

Slow food

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mexican hot chocolate


  • 3 ounces (tablet or cone) Mexican chocolate or bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or pilonsillo
  • Pinch salt
  • 1cups of heavy cream for serving
  • cardamon
  • 6 cinnamon sticks (preferably Mexican canela), for serving

(Pilonsillo also found in latin markets)

(you can find this in latin markets, makes the best hot chocolate)


Using a sharp knife, break up the chocolate into smaller pieces. In a saucepan, combine the chopped chocolate, milk, sugar, and salt over medium-low flame. Heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and milk is very hot, but not boiling, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and froth the chocolate milk with a mini whisk or molinillo. Divide the hot chocolate among big mugs, top each with a Foam, and serve with the cinnamon sticks as stirrers.

For foam just add 1 cups of cream to a small sauce pot and infuse with cardamon , bring it to boil and move from fire, then foam with hand blender .

Fun food facts

In Tibet, a common drink is butter tea – it is made from yak butter, salt, and tea.

The average Tibetan can drink 50 – 60 cups of this tea in any one day! It is made by drying Chinese tea in the road for several days (to let it acquire a strong flavor). The tea is then boiled for up to half a day and churned in bamboo churns to which salt, a pinch of soda, and rancid butter have been added. When drinking thetea, you can blow the scum (from the butter) away from the edge of the cup and sip. Some Tibetans add “tsu” and flour to their tea (in much the same way as we add milk and sugar). Tsu is a mixture of hardened cheese, butter, and sugar. When you sip the tea, your host will refill your cup as it should always remain full. We now move on from one drink to another:

The ancient Mayans made truly hot chocolate – they added chilies and corn to it!

The first records of chocolate being used for drinking come from residue found in ancient Mayan pots – it dates back to the 5th century AD. The drink was made by pounding chocolate beans in to a paste which was then mixed with water, chili peppers, cornmeal, and assorted spices. The drink was then poured back and forth between a cup and a pot, which gave it a foamy head. This was drunk cold, and people of all classes drank it regularly. The drink tasted spicy and bitter, unlike today’shot chocolate. When Chocolate finally reached the west, it was very expensive, costing between $50 – $70 per pound in equivalent modern US dollars.

No one really knows when donuts were invented or who invented them.

Donuts (doughnuts in UK English), were originally made as a long twist of dough – not in the ring form that is most common these days. It was also common in England for donuts to be made in a ball shape and injected with Jam after they were cooked – this is still very common. Both methods of cooking involve no human intervention as the ball and twist will turn itself over when the underside is cooked. The ring donut common to America just seemed to appear – but one Hansen Gregory, an American, claimed to have invented it in 1847 when he was traveling on a steam boat; he was not satisfied with the texture of the center of the donut so he pressed a hole in the center with the ship’s pepper box.

When an egg floats in water, it is “off” and should not be eaten.

As eggs age, gases build up inside the shell making it more buoyant. This is the best way to test whether an egg has gone rotten without having to break open the shell, risking the foul odor escaping. When an egg is extremely fresh it will lie on its side at the bottom of a glass of water. As it ages, the egg will begin to point upwards, and will finally float completely when it has gone bad. Fresh eggs have a very firm white, whilst old eggs have a very watery white. This is why it is best to use the freshest eggs possible for poaching and frying. Older eggs are perfectly good for omelets or scrambling.

The consumption of natural vanilla causes the body to release catecholamines (including adrenalin) – for this reason it is considered to be mildly addictive.

When vanilla plants were first exported from Mexico to other tropical climes, they flowered but wouldn’t produce vanilla pods. It was discovered that a bee native to Mexico was the only creature that could pollinate vanilla flowers (vanilla comes from a special species of orchid). Attempts to move the bee to other countries failed and it was not until a slave boy discovered a method of artificial pollination that Mexico lost its monopoly on vanilla. As well as being mildly addictive, vanilla has also been found to block bacterial infections.

Banana trees are not actually trees – they are giant herbs.

The large stem that is mistaken for a trunk on a banana tree is actually a “pseudostem” meaning “fake stem”. Each pseudostem provides a single bunch of yellow, green, or red bananas. This then dies and is replaced by another pseudostem. Smaller bunches of bananas (such as the ones we buy in shops) are actually called “hands” – not “bunches” which can weigh up to 50 kilograms. The bananas that we eat are specially cultivated to exclude seeds – therefore you can’t planta banana tree from a commercially grown banana. Wild bananas have many large hard seeds (pictured above).

The term “brain freeze” was invented by 7-11 to explain the pain one feels when drinking a slurpee too fast.

Believe it or not, there is a real scientific name for “brain freeze” – it is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia (try saying that 5 times fast!) When something very cold (usually ice cream) touches the top palate of the mouth, it causes the blood vessels to constrict. This makes the nerves send a signal to the brain to re-open them. The rapid re-opening of the vessels causes a build up of fluid in the tissues causing a slight swelling in the forehead and, therefore, causing pain. It normally takes 30 – 60 seconds for the fluid to drain, relieving the pain.

Ketchup was originally a fish sauce originating in the orient.

Two words from the Fujian region of China were used to describe a fish brine / sauce and a tomato sauce – both words bear a striking resemblance in sound to the word “ketchup”; the words are: ke-tsap and kio-chiap. Early western ketchups were made with fish and spices, or mushrooms. In fact, mushroom ketchup is still available in the United Kingdom and it is prized by some modern chefs for its natural inclusion of monosodium glutamate – the only substance known to stimulate the 5th human taste sense umami (savoury).

7-Up – invented in 1920 contained Lithium – the drug commonly prescribed now to sufferers of bi-polar disorder.

The drink was originally marketed as a hangover cure – due to the inclusion of lithium citrate. It was released just a few years before the Wall Street crash of the 1920s and it was marketed under the name “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda” – quite a mouthful! The name was changed to 7-Up shortly after its release but lithium remained one of the ingredients until 1950. Some popular myths surround the name of the drink – but the name is most likely due to the original recipe containing 7 ingredients (with the “up” portion relating to the lithium) or the fact that lithium has an atomic mass of 7.

Contact us

To contact us for any suggestion, doubt or for info about our products send an email to either of us and we will be more than happy to help you.

514 2931414

Spiced Pumpkin cake


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large pumpkin or 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup walnuts

For squash puree

Preheat oven at 350 f
Cut pumpkin in half and take out seeds with a spoon, place pumpkins on a tray or any deep pot add a table spoon of butter inside of each and cook till soft about 25 min. , when ready puree in blender. Let cool before using for cake.


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; dust pans with flour. Sift 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until combined (mixture will look grainy). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat just until incorporated. Stir in raisins and nuts . Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over, rounded side up. Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops of cakes to level.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Health Benefits of Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs and Spices

You may have heard about "Cancer-curing" foods and thought to yourself that it sounds a little outrageous that a simple food can cure a disease that we have been researching for decades. This may not be totally true but certain foods do contain plant chemicals that can have many beneficial effects on your body including the ability to slow the growth of cancer.

Certain plant chemicals prevent oxidative damage to important molecules in the body. Eating the following antioxidant rich foods daily will help keep you healthy and energized. Remember to buy local, try your community's farmer's market, and organic, to get the freshest, pesticide-free produce you can find.

Kale, and dark green vegetables such as swiss chard, spinach, dandelion greens, and beet greens, contain carotenoids and lutein which can slow cataracts and macular degeneration.

Tea, grapes and berries, including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberriescontain phenolics and anthocyanidins that slow the development if heart disease.

Carrots, squash, such as acorn and butternut, as well as pumpkins are high in carotenoids which reduce DNA damage and slow the development of cancer. So do the phenolics in tea, thechlorophyll in green vegetables, and the glucosinolates and thiocyanates found in broccoli,daikon, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choi and other members of the cabbage family.

The salicylates found in raisins, dates, chillies and tomatoes moderate the body's inflammatory response and slow the development of heart disease and cancer.

The phenolics and flavonoids found in many fruits and vegetables can inhibit the growth of cancer cells and tumors well as reduce the body's own production of DNA-damaging chemicals. The cabbage family especially red cabbage and red beets are extremely high in flavenoids, the purple color of both being the result of such a high content. Soybeans, grapes, berries, flax, andrye, are high in phenolics. The carbohydrates in mushrooms and the terpenes in citrus fruitscan have the same effect against cancer cells and tumors.

Onions and parsley have been shown to slow the body's removal of calcium from it's bones. Theinulin found in the onion family and in sunchokes encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.

Cranberries and grapes contain phenolics and proanthocyanidins that prevent the adhesion of infectious bacteria to the walls of the urinary tract.

The sulfur compounds found in garlic have been found to neutralize carcinogens.
Beans such as lentils, chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, fava beans and white beans containprotease inhibitors, compounds which make it difficult for cancer cells to invade adjacent tissue.

Consumers of whole grain products such as breads, cereals and pasta have been shown to have a 33% lower rate of cancer.

To help you to eat these healthful fruits and vegetables here are a couple of simple seasonal recipes containing ingredients high in beneficial plant chemicals.

Squash Soup with Kale and White Beans

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
I white onion, diced finely
3 celery ribs, diced finely
1 large carrot, diced finely
3 cups diced butternut squash (from 1 medium 2-3 lb. squash)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red finger chili, sliced finely (for less heat, remove seeds)
1 cup dry white beans soaked overnight (or preboiled for 15 minutes), drained
1 14 oz. can organic diced tomatoes
4 cups kale (about 1 bunch) ribs removed and finely chopped
7 cups water or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, basil or oregano (why not all 3)
Fresh Parmesan shaves for garnish (optional)

Bring olive oil to almost smoking point in a large pot, add in onion, carrot and celery and saute over medium heat until lightly browned. Add squash and turn up heat slightly to brown well.

Add garlic and fresh chili and continue to cook for 1 minute. Add beans, then tomatoes and cook until most of the moisture from the tomatoes has cooked off. Add water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Skim off any impurities that may rise to the surface of the soup and turn down to a low simmer. Add bay leaf.

Simmer soup for around 35-45 minutes until beans are tender. Add kale and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Taste and season well with salt and pepper. Add fresh herbs just before serving.

To serve top each bowl with Parmesan shavings and a drizzle of your favorite extra virgin olive oil with a slice of rustic whole wheat bread you will have a lovely fall meal!
serves 6

Healthy Apple Cinnamon Raisin Muffins

1.5 cups pastry flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bran
1/4 cup flax seeds
3 tbsp baking powder
1tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt
2.5 cups organic unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup natural, unpasteurised honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
2 cups diced fresh apples ( about 3 large apples)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In medium sized bowl whisk together flours, bran, flax seeds, baking powder spices and salt. Whisk until well combined, set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together apple sauce, buttermilk, eggs, honey and vanilla until well blended.
Add dry ingredients to we and fold together gently until almost all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients, add the apples and raisins. Stir once or twice more to incorporate fruit.

Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin tins. Fill each cup to the top. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Enjoy these healthy muffins as a quick breakfast or a wholesome snack.
makes 12 muffins.