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I love avocado. Like… want to marry it and live forever in a beautiful house by the lake with it. That said, we all know avocados tend to live like this:

avocadoSo when they are ready for that 2.3 seconds – you have to use them! Right that second. Yes. Do it. How do you tell if it is ripe? Check out this little tip:


But what to do with them? Why not wedge that deliciousness coat it with spices and panko bread crumbs and bake (or BBQ on a cookie sheet) until crispy? They are amazing. You wont get the crunch of a chip or a toasted piece of bread, but the texture of the breadcrumbs is amazing. Use them to top salads or as a wicked tasty side dish.

Breaded Avocado Wedges

1 Avocado
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (go vegan if you like and replace the cheese with double the amount of bread crumbs)
1 TBSP Italian Herb Blend
Fleur de sel and freshly ground Tellicherry peppercorns to taste

Cut the avocado in half. Remove the pit. Cut into wedges. Remove skin.


Combine all other ingredients in a shallow dish. Press avocado wedges in mixture, making sure to get a single layer of coating over as much of the wedge as possible.

Lay breaded avocado wedges on a baking sheet and cook at 350 until bread becomes slightly golden brown – about 10 minutes.

Happy Cooking!







Know how I know it’s spring?? Asparagus is here, plentiful and beautiful! But it’s also one of the few fresh local veggies you can get right now. To keep from getting bored (if that’s even possible) with this amazing veg – here’s a quick and simply way to spice it up.


Herbes de Provence Roasted Asparagus

1 bunch of fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 TBSP canola oil
1 TBSP herbes de provence
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat a BBQ or oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Toss asparagus together with all other ingredients. Spread on foil in a single layer.

Roast until tender and slightly brown – about 10-12 minutes.



Last Saturday’s Demo at the store was so fantastic. Seriously. You should have been there. But no worries – they are just as easy to make at home. I ended up using some that I made for myself as a topping on an egg-avocado-bacon-fest breakfast. But they would make an excellent appetizer, especially with a little fresh bread to dip into the spicy oil.

Don’t forget you can check out this week’s live cooking demo at Cardamom and Cloves (440 Preston Street) at 11am! Samples guaranteed for the first 4 to arrive.


Cajun Shrimp

1/2 cup olive oil
2 TBSP Cajun spice mix
2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 TBSP granulated honey (the regular kind will work too but use 1 TBSP)
1 TBSP soy Sauce
1 big pinch of chilli flakes
1 lb deveined shrimp

Mix all ingredients except the parsley together, pour over shrimp and allow to marinate for 1 hour.


Spread the shrimp and oil on a baking sheet and cook for 5-7 minutes at 450 degrees. Serve warm or cold!


I don’t know where I learned to do this. I swear it was something I watched Jamie Oliver do, but upon searching my books and the net for some kind of proof – none was to be found. So now I will take full credit for this stunningly simple but amazing side dish. If you don’t have a microwave, bake them in the oven like normal. Still simple, just takes longer.

This was a part of my Saturday cooking demos at Cardamom and Cloves. So if you’d ever like to try a bit of what I’m making, or just want to watch what boils down to live Food Network, minus celebrity chefs plus me – come down to 440 Preston Street in Ottawa at 11 am any Saturday and enjoy!

Sweet potato

Smoked Spicy Sweet Potato Mash

Serves 2-4 as a side dish, or just me as a main because making other food seemed like too much work.

One lemon cut in half
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in half
2 TBSP olive oil or butter
1.5 TBSP smoked Spanish paprika
Fleur de Hell salt
Smoky Don Smoked pepper


In a microwave safe bowl, arrange sweet potatoes and lemon halves. Sprinkle with a good pinch smoked pepper and wrap in two layers of plastic wrap. Cook in your microwave on high for 10 minutes.

When you remove the bowl from the microwave, poke with a knife or fork to allow steam to escape. Be careful, it’s hot! Remove plastic wrap and lemons and toss. Add olive oil or butter, and paprika and mash. This will probably be super easy at this point. If it’s not, re-wrap and microwave another 3-4 minutes.

Once mashed and mixed with spice – top with a nice pinch of spicy Fleur de Hell sea salt. Serve right away!

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!



This past Saturday at Cardamom and Cloves, I made a quick fig and star anise jam for the Saturday sample. Start to finish it took about 30 minutes, and for much of that time I was watching TV waiting for the mixture to cook down. So easy and so yummy. A great way to spice up brunch, or top ice cream – I’ve been guilty of eating this stuff by the spoonful.


Fig and Star Anise Quick Jam

15 figs roughly chopped
2/3 cup granulated sugar
pinch of sea salt
6 star anise pods
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Add sugar, star anise and pinch of salt together in a thick bottomed pan.


I don’t normally remember to take pictures as I’m making something – but this was so easy and pretty I had to share! I used a smoked salt just so you could see it against the sugar. With just a pinch it doesn’t make much difference to the final product.

Next step – heat over medium heat until the sugar melts and begins to caramelize.


Then add the figs and vinegar and allow to cook down over medium heat until jam is the consistency you are looking for. Let cool, remove the star anise pods and enjoy!




The name of this recipe is a mouthful – and so is the cake. Mouthful of ninja level awesome that is. Try making just the crumble as an awesome topping for yogurt, ice cream or hot cereal. I can even imagine how good it would be mixed into some carrot muffins.

Cardamom crumble cake

Cardamom Olive Oil Crumble Cake


1 cup oats
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp salt


1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup olive oil

Combing the crumble ingredients in a bowl. Set aside

In a large bowl mix together the dry cake ingredients. Make a well – add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine. Mix well.

Pour cake batter into a 9 inch, greased cake pan. Top with crumble and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until a fork inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.


This Monday I was on Rogers Daytime – it was a lot of fun! I made this flavourful Island Marinade. I used it on chicken but I can imagine it would be fantastic on pork or cauliflower as well.

It’s the allspice that make this dish ‘island’. It’s a staple of Jamaican cuisine and is found in all the best jerk recipes. This one is mild, but if you wanted to punch it up, just increase the amount of Cayenne power or think about adding a few dashes of your favourite hot sauce. Every bite will remind you of beaches, warm sun and sweet drinks with little umbrellas.

All Spice


Island Chicken

2 TBSP Garlic powder
1 TBSP Onion flakes
3/4 tsp Thyme, dry
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp Allspice, ground
3/4 tsp Black pepper
1/3 cup Brown sugar, packed
1 Pinch Cayenne
1/2 tsp Ceylon Cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp Cloves, ground
3 TBSP Canola oil
1/2 cup Red-wine vinegar
4 Chicken breasts

Grind all spices together – add to other ingredients and pour over chicken breasts and marinade for 2-24 hours.

Grill, bake or BBQ Chicken as you normally would until cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.


One day it will be warm again… it’s just gotta.


This is a ridiculously simple recipe that makes me so happy. Not only does it taste amazing – but it makes your house smell fantastic while they are baking. I had them available as a sample at the store last Saturday – this Saturday will be a cardamom spiced cake – come out and try some!

Sweet Cinnamon Pretzle

Sweet Cinnamon Pretzel

1 large bag of pretzels
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 tsp freshly ground true cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Pour pretzels into a casserole dish big enough so that they can spread out in a single layer.

Mix the oil, sugar and cinnamon. Pour over pretzels and toss to coat evenly. Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice through the cook time.

Serve warm to room temperature.


With the store now open at Cardamom and Cloves on 440 Preston Street… it’s safe to assume I have the best spice cupboard in the city. So what is a girl to do?? Add spices to everything! The first thing I made was in an attempt to satisfy my sweet tooth when the snack selection in my kitchen was dangerously low. Luckily this, almost caramel like popcorn does the trick. Sweet, salty and yummy – everything a snack craving tummy needs.


Cinnamon Brown Sugar Popcorn

1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
2 TBSP butter
1 TBSP packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground Vietnamese cinnamon (or any kind you have – I like the Vietnamese because it is a touch spicier than true cinnamon)

Pop your popcorn how ever you like – in an air popper is great, or you can put it in a paper bag and microwave it. I put mine in a pot on the stove.

Melt butter – add all other ingredients and pour over popcorn. Mix together with large spoons and allow to cool for a minute before eating – the hot sugar will cool on each kernel like caramel popcorn. Enjoy!



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