Cinnamon, cardamom, clove, pepper and anise, all spices that embrace you like a blanket. They whisper comfort and warmth while still being tantalizing and sexy. Maybe it’s because they feel exotic. When the weather turns grey and the air starts to nip, I turn to chai tea inspired spices. Whether it’s in a cup of tea, a bowl of quinoa porridge or a comforting bowl meaty of stew, a combination of a few of these spices are sure to make an appearance on my table. It’s no surprise that I heart Chinese 5 spice, and this braised chicken dish so darn much. I’ve since used that recipe, substituting lamb and beef. Both versions were fab! Continue Reading →
There are lazy mornings. Sleepy mornings. Mornings that beg for runny yolks and starchy taters (or Rutabaga in this case) fried up with onions. This is most true on cold and grey mornings.
This is especially true in the late fall as temperatures drop. The dulled colors of dying grass covered in a light film of frost. The light is muted and grey. The air even smells different brought on by the decaying leaves on the ground. Even the crispness of the air is dulled by the fact that the atmosphere hovers just above and below freezing varying by any given hour. The trees are stark, managing a majestic presence and vulnerability at the same time.
These are the mornings that cause you to put on extra cozy socks and a sweater before wrapping your hands around that perfect cup of coffee while the smell of onions and root veggies waft through the house. These are the mornings that command a hot breakfast that won’t leave you craving anything for many hours to come. Continue Reading →
For better or worse, having a dog forces me to get out into weather I may not otherwise go out in. Today I’m grateful for that.
Did you know that Vancouver has a magic hour on rainy days? It does.
The catch is you gotta be willing to venture out in it.
It happens about an hour after sunset. It’s still light enough to make out the outline of the Downtown skyline and the neighborhoods’ West Vancouver. Yet, it’s dark enough that heavy sheets of rain blur out the lights. Each little light, a TV screen of thousands of private stories, all muted like lighted candles in a smoky bar. Then there’s the layers of sound-the lapping of the waves, car tires speeding through wet pavement and the staccato of each drop smacking the hood of my raincoat. The darkness provides privacy and the orchestra a soundtrack. It feels comforting and peaceful. I love the rain.
There’s the smell of salt, sea, and the vestige of hot oil coming from the local pub. And of course, there’s the added bonus of the smell of wet dog. I’m not in a rush to get home even though I’m wet to my toes. I just want to take it all in. After all, I’m just a visitor here.
Strangely, this darkness, the smell of rain and ocean and the feel of wet sand under my boots make me crave soup; a thick and hardy soup made of tomatoes, garlic and chickpeas.
Some of you might be wondering where the heck I went for the last 10 months…or maybe you didn’t notice. But it’s been quite the adventure. This adventure is what led me to give Beyond The Peel a makeover and a fresh new start! Allow me to explain.
The Year 2014….
Over the course of the last 4 years I had been battling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Something I have kept from all of you up until a year ago in my farewell email. Of course it took 3 years of seeking advice from doctors, practitioners, naturopaths, testing, specialized diets and specialists before I received any real diagnosis. In all honesty a diagnosis is essentially useless, because it’s one of the blanket statements that doctors use to say ‘all tests are negative…it’s not that we don’t believe you… but to make you go away will call it CFS. Oh and there’s nothing we can do to help you’. I’m not the type of person to roll over and just say ‘this is my fate’ and life as I know it will never be the same.
Isn’t one of the best things about traveling exploring the food that is so uniquely of that culture?
The different flavors, vegetables used in different ways, spices I’ve never heard of, food I’ve never seen. What can I say but amazing.
Well it is for me, but I’ve always been a little bit of a gourmand, aka piggy.
What can I say. I love food. LOVE it.
It seems a little strange to be thinking about Vietnamese dishes as I sit and look out the window. It’s currently snowing and -12 degrees C (Joshua is American, so that’s 11 F for all of you South of the border). And even though it is cold, it is stunningly beautiful. The tiniest snowflakes are falling with almost no wind by the thousands every millisecond. In Vietnam, the high today is 31 C/89 F. In a country that rarely experiences cold except in the far reaches of the north western parts of the country, the majority of vietnamese food is a little spicy and almost always hot, braised, in soup form or stewed. I don’t know about you, but if I lived in a country that rarely saw temperatures under 22 C/71 F, I think I’d choose to live off salads, not eating Beef Pho (beef and noodle soup) for breakfast. But that’s just me.