Tag Archives: food


Weekend Lunch: Laab gai gnueng or Larb Salad

labgai1It’s the summer and I’ve been a bit busy with family, but today I felt the need for a light asian flavoured salad. I saw a version of this delicious salad on one of the many cooking shows I watch. When I did a bit of research I found several versions. Some called is lab gai, some laab, some larb. Some said it was a Thai recipe & some said it was from Laos. Traditionally is is made with ground pork and a lot more chili. Mine is a combination of them all.

labgai2My version is made with ground turkey, sautéed with ginger and garlic. While that was cooking, I made a dressing with 1 T fish sauce, 1 T sweet chili sauce, and 1/4 c lime juice. After tasting I added 1 T brown sugar and a splash of soy sauce and more lime juice. When the turkey was nearly done I added the dressing to finish it all up. The salad is a combination of grated carrot, red cabbage and some bagged broccoli slaw I needed to use up. I also added red onion, I soaked in lime juice to mellow them a bit (a trick I learned from Nigella Lawson). Garnishes included cilantro, mint, chopped peanuts, and scallion. We used iceberg lettuce for wraps, but you could also chop up some lettuce for a tossed salad. One recipe I found suggested pouring the turkey mix over steamed jasmine rice. I imagine you could do a sort of stir fry with the vegetables and meat. We really enjoyed the salad. I decided not to write a more formal style recipe as I feel this salad is really open to your own favorite combinations. I hope you enjoy trying lab gai.

labgai3What are your favorite salads for a hot summer day?

PS: My cousin informs me it’s technically laab gai gnueng. Thanks Glenn!



cheese-pleaseI love cheese. I can find a way to add it to almost any meal. Recently though, I’ve been having troubles with cow’s milk, and after cutting it out of my diet (along with gluten) I’ve felt much better. I’ve still been able to eat goat and sheep milk products and that, thankfully, has included cheese. I’ve found a sheep’s milk regiano for my pasta and several versions of cheddar for my sandwiches, but am always on the lookout for more. Returning from my Spring Break trip we stopped at Whole Foods in Bellevue, WA, I was so pleased to find some more options to try. The creamy cheese on the bottom left is Cypress Grove Chèvre Midnight Moon, it’s so good with a rich nutty flavour. Cypress Grove Chèvre recommends serving it with a fig jam and I can’t wait to try that. In the bottom middle picture is a cheese with a golden rind, from Tumalo Farms of Oregon. Tumalo has created Pondhopper, “a semi-hard cheese delicately spiced with an echo of Cascade hops from a local microbrew.” I also added two Spanish cheeses to my selection from Whole Foods, a 6 month old Manchego and Drunken Goat, bottom right. These are both new to me, but not totally unique. Drunken Goat’s a delicious, mild Spanish cheese soaked in red wine for a few days. Manchego is another creamy, nutty selection. These are all similar and were great choices to try. I can’t wait to sample them with some homemade jams, olives, roasted peppers and maybe some salami as well.

cheese-allWhat amazing goat & sheep’s milk cheeses do you love?


Weekend Lunch: Roasted Parsnip and Apple Soup

Perfect for the weekend, this soup is so easy and delicious. Lately I’ve been going gluten and dairy free and the changes have sure helped me to feel better. I recently purchased an amazing cookbook by a talented author, photographer & blogger (Cannelle et Vanille) Aran Goyoaga, Small Plates and Sweet Treats. It’s so good! I can’t wait to try more this weekend.

I ate this soup all week and it was perfect for a cold, rainy, miserable, stressful one. Thanks Aran!

Happy Friday!


Weekend Fun! 5th Annual Chef Survival Challenge

At the end of September I attended the 5th annual Chef Survival Challenge and Feast. It took place at the beautiful Madrona Farm on Vancouver Island. Tickets were a great price and included lots of fun and amazing food. The Big Dream Farm Fund, dedicated to farmland conservation,was the recipient of 100% of the proceeds. This year top chefs from around Victoria were matched with Olympic atheletes.

Fresh produce was everywhere and boats (of varying degrees of sea-worthiness) were used to get to condiment island. The introductions were made and then the obstacle course was attacked.

Chefs finished by flying down a zip line and searching for more supplies in a squash patch.

The 2012 participants were Chris Hammer (Royal Colwood Golf Course), Jamie Cummins (Relish), Robin Jackson (Sooke Harbour House, pictured above), Amanda Lee-Chesley (Stages), Geoff Pinch/Cory Pelan (The Whole Beast), Kerry Park (Tre Fantastico), Mike Dunlop (Vista 18), Stephan Drolet (Camilles), Dan Hayes (The London Chef), Mike Williams (Country Grocer), Ken Harper (Vancouver Island University), Cosmo Meens (The Hot and Cold Cafe), and Shawn Morrison (Hotel Grand Pacific)

Thanks also goes to the catering team who made an amazing buffet meal and appetizers for us. Feys and Hobbs, Colin Mann, John Brooks, Chris Hammer, Mike Dunlop, Shawn Morrison, AJ’s Organic Cafe, and Reynolds Leadership Program put on a wonderful feast of chicken, sausage, whole roast pig as well as delicious vegetables and two of the best salads ever!


Weekend Lunch: Rice and Peas with eggs on top

I have a good friend Carol, who makes the most delicious Jamaican Rice and Peas. I found a similar recipe online and made them last week. Last weekend I pan fried a bit of left over rice and peas, then added two soft poached eggs. Finally, I added a little salsa to dress it up. It was really good and something I’ll have to make again.