All posts tagged: seasonaandserveblog

Chai-Poached Quince

If we want to talk about seasonal fruit, then the quince reigns supreme in the autumn months. At first glance, the quince may look like little, mis-grown pear, however, it is so much more than that and it has tons of amazing uses in the kitchen. One of this fruits great uses in the autumn is this recipe for Chai-Poached Quince. Before I give you a run-down on my recipe, let me tell you a bit more about the quince fruit. For the most part, this is an unknown fruit to most Canadians as it is difficult to find and is highly seasonal. I actually hadn’t tried quince ever (other than quince jam) until earlier this autumn…and boy, have I been missing out! Quince can actually be grown in B.C. and are in season from September to early November. Quince are a soft yellow in colour and are covered in a hefty layer of greyish-yellow fuzz when they grow. It’s similar to the idea of peach fuzz, but you can rub off the quince fuzz …

Maltese Stuffed Artichokes

Of all the delicious spring vegetables that are in season right now, the gorgeous globe artichoke is one of my favourites. Not only do they taste amazing when cooked, I love the springy, flower-like look of them in general. When uncooked, the tightly packed, overlapping leaves on the artichoke looks like a budding flower, and then when it’s all cooked, the leaves open up and it looks like it has magically bloomed. So cute! If you have ever heard the saying “With every rose comes its thorns”, this definitely applies to the artichoke…almost literally. The most prized part of the artichoke is the heart. When cooked, it is soft, creamy and meaty and is definitely the reward of the vegetable. But in order to get to the heart, you have to get passed the prickly leaves and spiny thistle inside of it. At the center of the artichoke, there is a thistle called the “choke”. My grandma (who is Maltese) always used to say that if you ate the “choke” you would choke. I was …

What’s In Season: Spring

The start to the spring season has officially begun today and I couldn’t be happier! Pink, purple and yellow flowers have begun popping up all over the city and little lime green buds have been emerging from the trees- it’s a start of a fresh new season! Besides these tell-tale signs of spring, what I mostly look forward to this season is the wonderful new produce that is hitting the market shelves. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter veggies, but there is only so much cabbage, kale and potatoes you can eat. Spring brings fresh salad greens, tender asparagus spears, crunchy radish and rhubarb, colourful chard, artichokes and refreshing herbs- all of which can brighten up any spring dish. What’s more is that these spring foods are delicate and tasty on their own , so you don’t have to do too much to them to make them taste good. Just keep it simple by tossing them into a salad, or steaming them quickly to enjoy as a side. Check out the fresh produce that …

Savoury Cheese and Spinach Pastries

Peanut butter and jelly. Salmon and dill. Peas and mint. These are all ingredients that go perfectly together. Adding to this list of perfect food pairing is of course, spinach and cheese. Used in a variety of dishes, spinach and cheese compliment each other perfectly no matter what dish they are in together. I combine these two ingredients (with a few extra complementary ones) in this recipe for Savoury Cheese and Spinach Pastries. I am not just using any old cheese for this recipe. No, sir! This recipe makes use of a special, artisinal ingredient: quark cheese. Haven’t heard of quark cheese before? I don’t blame you. It is definitely not an everyday ingredient in North America. But in Germany, Austria and other parts of eastern Europe, they use this almost as much as North Americans use cream cheese. Once you taste it you will know why. This soft, smooth, unripened cheese tastes like a cross between Greek yogurt and cream cheese. It does not have a strong pronounced flavour, rather it has a light …

Grilled Vegetables

You may think of firing up the grill for grilling up some ribs, hamburgers, or chicken this summer, but while you’re at it, why not make a side of these healthy Grilled Vegetables?! These RAINBOW grilled veggies are just perfect for Pride weekend here in Vancouver! I love the flavour that the grill gives to the vegetables- that smoky, charred taste is irresistible. And the way the veggies get all soft and juicy…ugh don’t get me started! In order to get perfectly grilled vegetables, there are a few tips that you should know when handling the grill. Tip 1 is to cook the vegetables on high heat. This sears the outside of the vegetables and gives an nice char. Tip 2 goes hand-in-hand with the former, do not move the vegetables around too much when you are grilling them. Once you place the vegetable on the grill, don’t touch it. Let it sit, sear and char up- that’s also how you get those prominent char marks! Vegetables such as bell peppers and mushrooms take 2-3 …

Blueberry-Almond Tart

Summertime and blueberries go hand-in-hand. These tender, juicy blue jewels are in season right now and I just cannot get enough of them- especially the locally-grown BC blueberries. Lucky for me, BC produces some of the best blueberries in the world, and what a way to celebrate them with none other than my Blueberry-Almond Tart. It is just perfect for summer! As you can see from my previous blog and Instagram posts, I recently took a trip across Europe for the entire month of July. While Europe was nice and all, I am so happy to be home. Not so much for going to work and doing all my adult things…but just to be home in my apartment and cooking my own food with local ingredients. I mean….the food in Europe was good and all, but it’s nothing like homemade. I knew that upon coming home there was two things that I wanted: 1) Pork and chive dumplings (Love my Asian food), and 2) blueberries. During my trip, I saw so many Instagram posts featuring …

Frosé All Day

There has been a very strong obsession with rosé wine lately. The phrase “Rosé All Day” has become a mantra of many millenials who enjoy sipping on this tasty pink beverage. This phrase has been emblazoned across shirts, phone cases, and even swimsuits (lol) and everyone is just drinking it up! While it’s a little obnoxious, and basic AF, there truly is a lot to celebrate with this delicious type of wine. Rosé is produced in three ways. The first and most common way to make rosé is through maceration. In this process, red grapes are placed into the white wine and are left so sit and macerate for a period of time. The red colour from the grapes bleed out into the wine, producing a pink colour. It’s basically like letting a teabag steep in a cup of water. The longer the red grapes sit in the wine, the darker the colour gets. The second way to make rosé is to blend the wine. In this process, red wine is simply added to a …

Herb-Stuffed Pork Loin (almost Porchetta)

You guys, I’m literally crying. I just created this recipe for Herb-Stuffed Pork Loin and I am just over the moon. This salty, porky, herby roast is heaven and you definitely have to try this this spring! We picked up a large pork loin at Costco a few weeks ago for a really good price (I know, I know….Costco isn’t always local…but for this price, we couldn’t pass it up). We sliced the loin up into various pieces, making sure to save 2 large portions for roasts. Typically, I make pork loin in the fall with stewed apples and onions and various fall spices such as cinnamon and cloves, but I was just inkling to make a tasty summer pork loin roast for us. When I think of spring, one of the first things that comes to mind is herbs. Parsley definitely comes first, followed by oregano and basil (more of summer herbs). But then out of the blue came sage (a fall/winter herb) and I knew I was on to something. Herbs + pork…maybe …

Rhubarb Collins

Patio season has finally arrived in Vancouver! After the long and rainy spring that we had this year, I think that everyone is the city is happy that the sun and warm weather is back. I know I sure am! To celebrate the start of Patio Season (and to start pre-gaming for summer!), I have come up with a special “Patio Series” theme for my blog this June! Every Friday, I will be posting a special cocktail that you can make to kick off the weekend. These recipes feature local and seasonal ingredients- right down to the alcohol. Yes, you read that right! Vancouver has a wonderful distillery and craft beer scene which I am going to take full advantage of 🙂 As a bonus, I will be posting a few extra cocktail recipes in throughout the month of June (i.e. not just on Friday’s) so keep your eyes open for them! To kick off the start of the series, I present my Rhubarb Collins, a spring-like play on a Tom Collins. A regular Tom Collins …

Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

Lots of people wonder where I learned to cook so well. Here’s the truth: I got it from my mama!… and my grandma too! My mom and my grandma are two of the best cooks that I know. They have always cooked the most amazing, and most flavourful food. One of their secrets is to buy the best ingredients available. So even if this means spending a bit more money, they will do it because they know the food will be that much better and they know people will remember them for it. Another one of their secrets (and one that works so well that it is the main focus of this blog) is to buy local food wherever available. I remember going to pick strawberries as a kid just outside of Mississauga, Ontario to make jam, or driving through Niagara to get fresh peaches and plums in the summer to make a fruit pie, and going to Hazel Ontario to get smoked pork chops, corn, and lots of cheese for a hearty fall meal. …