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It’s back!! Time for the 4th annual Ottawa Foodie Challenge.

There is nothing like this in the city. An urban foodie photo scavenger hunt that raises money for the Ottawa Food Bank. Imagine you a friend and about 49 other teams racing around the city – deciphering clues, taking pictures of you at various locations then being crowned Ottawa’s top foodie if you finish first with the most amount of clues completed. More than that there are awesome prizes to be won! Not only do you get the title, but the winner team will get a matching pair of knife sets from Wusthof Canada and a cooking class by La Bottega Nicastro. There are also prizes for good sportsmanship, best photo and more!


It takes place all over downtown so you can bike, walk or bus to most areas!

The event kicks off Sunday June 1 with breakfast provided by LUNCH at Shopify at 126 York Street. It finishes at 5pm at The Albion Rooms at 33 Nicolas downtown.

For more information on this wicked cool event or to register click here to visit the event web page !

Are you Ottawa’s Top Foodie?? I bet you are!



Last night was the African Harvest event to celebrate 35 years of Farm Radio International. Not able to make the event but still want to try some amazing African flavours and help the cause?? Well – now it’s in two steps but still totally do able!


African Harvest Chefs – Andrée Riffou and Jeff Crump

First – in recognition of 35 years, Farm Radio is hoping to get 35 new monthly donors. You could be one! Click here form more information.

Next the African flavours… this was a soup I made at Cardamom and Cloves last Saturday for my cooking demo – they happen every Saturday at 11am in store (440 Preston Street) and the first 4 to arrive are guaranteed a sample of the dish that is made.

This recipes uses berbere spice – a flavourful African spice mix of 13 ingredients including paprika, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and allspice to name a few.


Carrot and Berbere Spice Soup

2 TBSP Olive oil or butter
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
2 TBSP Berber spice
2 cups veggie stock
1.5 pounds of carrots, peeled
Sea salt
Black pepper
4 dollops of sour cream
Additional Berber spice for garnish

Heat olive oil or butter in a large pot. Gently saute onions until soft – about 4 minutes. Add carrots, garlic, Bay leaf, berbere and stock. There should be enough liquid to just cover the vegetables. If not, add water. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer until carrots are very soft, about 15 minutes.

Cool slightly. Remove bay leaf. Puree with a hand blender or in batches in a regular blender. You can reheat and season to taste now – or season it, cool it and serve cold.

Serve with a spoon full of sour cream and a sprinkle of berbere spice if you like!


Too busy to read?? Here is a clip of me on CTV making the soup!


**Update** To check out just what I’m talking about in this update scroll down!


This on the scene photography brought to you by the super duper amazing Foodie Prints – check out their other amazing foodie pictures on their Instagram account among many other places. Like here.

So of course the second I hit publish on this post I found out that there aren’t enough vendors to do the small bites alley! So while I wont be there (as a vendor) you could be (as an eater! I mean… participant!) I’ve got two tickets to give away to our city’s biggest and best cocktail party. All you need to do to enter is comment on this post about which part of Bon Appetit you would enjoy most!

To get you started here is Katy at Sheltered Girl Meets World with her top 5 reasons she is excited for May 6.

I’ll pick a winner on Thursday morning and you can come pick up your ticket in store at Cardamom and Cloves on 440 Preston Street!



This year’s Bon Appetit Ottawa is going to be bigger and better than ever before. Going into it’s 18th year – this glamorous cocktail party helps over 20 local charities and puts you in a room with over 90 restaurants, caterers, wineries and breweries… and me!! That’s right. In a classic case of me biting off more than I can chew, I have agreed to be part of the new “small bites alley” a spot to showcase smaller restaurants (less than 40 seats) and new food and beverage businesses.


The idea is that producers in the small bites alley have one bite samples and change through the night so you get to see quite a variety of the amazing food Ottawa is producing. This is all on top of the larger plates and samples offered by the larger local businesses! So who is going to be there? For a complete list click here – but here are just a few of the participating vendors:

– Angry Dragonz : love love love this food truck!
– Hooch Bourbon House: after reviews like this one from FoodiePrints, how could I not be excited?!
– Fifthtown Artisan Cheese: there was a bit of a shock when this awesome cheese maker in PEC closed down for a bit, but with new owners they are back! Can’t wait.
– Top Shelf Preserves: Like awesome things? You are going to love this
– MeNa: yes it is just down the street from me, and I could go anytime, but I can’t wait to see what they come up with for this awesome event.

But seriously – so many, many more amazing people going to be there. One of them should be you!

Here’s the nitty gritty:

Place: EY Centre, 4899 Uplands Drive, Ottawa 
Date:  Tuesday May 6, 2014
Time:  5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased by clicking here: $85 ticket comes with a $50 tax receipt.


When is a sample more than a sample?? When it’s a cooking lesson too!

Starting after the Easter weekend – Saturday samples at Cardamom & Cloves will change. Just come on down to the store at 440 Preston, Saturdays at 11 am to see what all the fuss is about. There will be a recipe demonstration and the first 4 people to arrive will be guaranteed a sample of what was made. Depending on the recipe – there might be more to sample – but the first 4 will always get something tasty!


Aren’t you excited to see what recipes I will come up with  fueled by a chocolate mini egg bender?

Each week a new, seasonal, easy to replicate at home recipe. If there is anything you have learned about me from reading this blog, it is the following: I hate dishes and have a hard time following instructions. What does that translate to? Meals and recipe ideas that are no fail (even if you move step 4 to step 8) and are easy to clean up. What more could you ask for?

What about this Saturday?? This Saturday we will be sampling Lavender Lemonade in the warm Spring sunshine*

And Easter weekend?? Cardamom & Cloves will be closed Friday and will not re-open until Tuesday! Who am I to resist chocolate eggs and taking way too many pictures of my dogs and friend’s kids wearing bunny ears?? Watch out Instagram.

Until then – happy chocolate egg hunting!



*As long as mother nature co-operates… I’m only providing the lemonade – the sun thing is all her.


Before I opened up Cardamom and Clove and my days at C’est Bon Cooking, I worked in the non-profit world. United Way Ottawa, The Catholic Center for Immigrants, The Canadian Council of the Blind and a couple others. One of the organizations I had always found interesting was Farm Radio International – an organization that provides resources and training to broadcasters so that radio programs about farming and agriculture that are being produced and broadcast in Africa are at their most effective. It’s an amazingly effective way to get information to those who are living far from urban centers, have limited reading skills and no access to other communication methods like telephone or internet.


May 1st is Farm Radio’s 35th Anniversary and to celebrate they are throwing a wonderful event! Called African Harvest – a night of cooking demonstrations, African inspired food, local beers and wines and a live and silent auction to support Farm Radio.

The Chefs involved are Ottawa’s own Andrèe Riffou from C’est Bon Cooking and Jeff Crump the Executive Chef at the Ancaster Mill and author of Earth to Table cookbook. The dishes they are creating are a surprise – but I do know that they will be using some African spices from Cardamom and Cloves!

If you are looking for a night of international food and fun – click here for more information and tickets. The night gets started at 7pm at St. Bridget’s on St. Patrick in the ByWard Market. If you need some more information contact or 613-761-3678. As a shameless plug, tickets are also available in person at Cardamom and Cloves at 440 Preston Street.


Why do I love Ottawa so much?? Because it is a city with a big heart and an even bigger tummy!!

Case in point this amazing fundraiser called Food for Thought! It pairs real chefs with students from the Grade 10 Culinary Arts program at Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School. Each Chef designs a course for the evening along with a matching non-alcoholic beverage.  The Grade 10 students will be the main cooks for the evening, helping the Chefs in advance preparation of their course and plating the course on the night of the event.  The Grade 11 students will serve the meal to the guests.

This gives the kids a chance to work with real chefs and gain some experience preparing food for paying customers! It’s also a chance to raise funds to support the Parkdale Food Centre and an organization called Mary’s Meals which helps provide school lunches to children in Malawi.

Who are the participating Chefs?? I’m sure you will recognize more than a couple names:

Stev George, Olivea Restaurant, Kingston
Marc Doiron, town Restaurant, Ottawa
Christopher Lord, Union:Local 613, Ottawa
Katie Brown, Beckta Dining and Wine, Ottawa
Jonathan Korecki, Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen, Ottawa

Here are the nitty gritty details:

Location: Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School (149 Berrigan Dr.)
Date:  Thursday January 30, 2014
Time:  6:00pm start
Price:  $55.00 per ticket
Attendance: 120 tickets available

Contact: Jane Lovsin (613-843-7722 ext. 2005)
You will need to provide your credit card number to reserve your ticket.

If you are attending and would like to write a guest post! I’d love to hear from you!! simplyfresh[at]live[dot]ca

Three days left before one of the best foodie events returns to the city! The Red and White is a great night of food and drink for a wonderful cause.

First a little bit about the cause. Harmony House is a second stage women’s shelter here in Ottawa. One of only 2 in the province.

How does a second stage shelter differ from a regular women’s shelter? A second stage shelter is one that you go to for longer term help. The women who are there can stay with their children for up to one year. In that time they have access to a wealth of programs that can help with school, finding a job and overcoming violence in their past. They even have a food bank program that is open to current and past residents for as long as they need.

For a time I volunteered at Harmony House and had the opportunity to meet the women who run and use the shelter services. These are amazing women. All of them. The kindness and dedication that they each have to improving their lives and the lives of their children, or the lives of those at Harmony House is nothing short of inspiring. And the kids… to have gone through the violence, fear and hardships that some of them have, and still be so positive it is heart warming to say the least.


Now on to a little about this fantastic event that is being held as a Harmony House fundraiser.

Wednesday January 16 at Ashbury College – two amazing Ottawa Chefs (Michael Blackie of NEXT and Norm Aitken of Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar will be demoing dishes that you then get to eat! Think of it like a live action Food Network show where you not only get to see amazingly talented chefs cook – but you get to smell and taste the results!

That’s not all for your $65 ticket you also get access to a fantastic array of Eastern Ontario wineries and breweries.

There are less than 30 tickets left for this event so get yours now! As in yesterday… get a move on! Come spend a fun night with fantastic foodies who care about the community. Tickets are available here – hurry and get yours. You do not want to miss out.

santa2013 is coming to a close! I think I’ll hold off on the final culinary words of the year and put them all in a post closer to new years!

In the meantime, here are some great things to check out on the internet and the real world before the holidays hit!

Christmas Trifle from Foodie Prints

Sheltered Girl Meets World is drinking a Christmas Advent Calendar of beer! And sharing the tasty reviews with you.

And if you are looking to get some last minute foodie gifts – check out the Flavours of Ottawa Christmas Stocking Stuffer event in New Edinburgh on Saturday or the Ottawa Farmers’ Market Christmas Market happening all weekend at the E&Y Centre. Click the links for more information!

Two weekends ago Ottawa held it’s first ever Ottawa Underground Food Market thanks to Privé Food Thought. For more info on the group click here.

My awesome friend Sondra was able to attend and here is a guest post from her all about that very awesome night!


It`s All About the Food Baby: A Night at The Ottawa Underground Food Market
Sondra Rogers

The various smells and sounds hit me as my friend and I made our way up the escalator. Trendy looking men and women from their late 20’s and up, were coming and going, excitedly chatting away, sipping on glasses of wine and happily noshing on plates of food. My mouth began to water. I think this is going to be a good thing, I thought to myself.

On Saturday, November 30th, my friend Christina and I decided to check out Ottawa’s first Underground Food Market, which was held at The Ottawa Convention Centre, and organized by Privé Food Thought. Based on the idea of bringing local chefs and street vendors together to share and show off their culinary skills, it offers an affordable and fun way for people to sample combination of foods never tried before and a way to get various, small, local businesses known.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when walking into the main area, but once there, I felt like a kid in a candy store or better yet, an adult at Sugar Mountain. A dj was spinning some electronic beats in one corner, crowds of people were either lined up everywhere, waiting to get a taste of something, sitting down or walking around with plates on hand, looking at other local vendors selling jewellery and art. I was so overwhelmed at first, where do I go? Which food to try? Churros! There are churros here! Oooh look at that? What’s does he have? Let me tell you, my friend and I quickly learned at this event, it’s not rude to stare outright at what people are eating, and there’s a strange sense of being overjoyed when someone asks you what that delicious concoction you have on your plate. No paranoid, self-consciousness here!

Pupusa by Flickr user roboppy

After agonizing for what seemed forever, we decided to plant ourselves in one of the longest lines of the night. Most people had no idea what they were lining up for, just that it was food and it looked good. It was the Pupusa line. Pupusas are a Latin American or more specific food originated in El Salvador, a thick corn tortilla that looks like flatbread, filled with either cheese and refried beans or pork and served with cabbage slaw, kind of like sauerkraut, and salsa. Made by Liyana Hospitality, it was one of the hits of the night. A couple of times they had to stop serving as they sold out of the pork pupusas, and only had one outlet to work with as the demand for it was growing. About 30 minutes in, we finally took our first bite of pupusa de queso (cheese and beans). Pure heaven. Plus we were starving; waiting in line gets you hungry. That was pretty much how we spent the night, moving from vendor to vendor, waiting in line and trying out the yummy samples. We ended up going to about four. Rare beef sandwich, with fried oysters and topped off with sauce bourguignonne, Korean wontons, “fake” jerk chicken sandwich made by Lovefoods (Another hit, I had 5 different people in a row ask me what it was and where I got it) and finally dessert, pure deliciousness of hot mini doughnuts sprinkled with whatever you choose, vanilla ice cream jammed between them, topped off with a cherry on top and appropriately named Hot Cream Holes.

Overall, a great and fairly inexpensive night, most items ranged in price from about $2.00 to $10.00. Aside from the incredibly long lineups and not enough chairs or tables to sit at (there’s only so much time you can spend walking around eating, until your feet start hurting) I would say that The Ottawa Food Market was quite a success. I’m already looking forward to Ottawa Privé’s next event, Sip n’Slurp, Ottawa’s Noodle Fest. Yup, my mouth is watering already, can`t wait! For more info, check out, and

Tonight from 4-7  at Pressed Urban Gourmet Sandwich Bar (750 Gladstone), I’m hosting a meet up / after work drink party to reveal the location for my new store! One problem… I don’t have a location. When I announced the party, all verbal agreements were worked out and I was just waiting on the paperwork to be drawn up.

And I waited.

And I waited.

I ate some cookies… and I waited.

After a couple follow ups, I was told that the owners of the space I had scouted and made verbal arrangements to rent, weren’t sure that they wanted to rent the space out after all. This was Friday that just passed. My contact to the owners said he would try once again to see where they were at in their decision making process, but I’m still waiting on word.


That was disheartening. There is still a chance that this wonderful space may be mine, or I’ll have the chance to find one that is even better. Either way I’m not down and I’m not out!

I still have loads of fabulous gifts for tonight’s party and something special to show everyone. That’s right, I’m turning this location reveal party into a logo reveal party! The art work is done and it’s gorgeous!! Let’s celebrate, get together and talk about spices!

So come on out! Drop into Pressed at 750 Gladstone between 4-7, get your free gift, get in for some door and raffle prizes and see the amazing work of Domino Creative!


In other, happier news – my seedlings have been planted!! In a makeshift green house made out of a clear rubber maid container, I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that these little seeds will be popping up in no time! The plan is to have living plants in the store so that when you purchase your herbs, they are cuttings rather than something that has been pre-cut days ago and already started to dry out.


Among those seeds planted were staples like rosemary, basil and chives. Some flirtier herbs like Korean Mint, Fenugreek and Ancho Poblano Chilies. And some that I have never attempted to grow before like Hyssop, Borage and Lemon Balm. Wish them luck! With me as their caretaker, they may need it. And by may, I mean they will definitely need all the help they can get.

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Past Foodie Adventures…