I’ve had this blog 6 years. Starting out as a web journal I kept to myself playing with from time to time, it became my favourite hobby for a while, then it became part of the reason I decided to open my business. I’ve met so many generous, gorgeous souls thanks to this platform and had so many opportunities presented to me thanks to it. I’ll always look back at Simply Fresh Ottawa as a life changing venture.

However all good things come to an end and it’s time to say goodbye. It’s best not to drag out an ending – I’m afraid I’m already in danger of venturing into the fate of The Drew Carrey show (that went on for soooo many seasons after it should have stopped) when I want to go out like Breaking Bad.

If you miss me, don’t worry, I still plan on blogging – but it will be for Cardamom & Cloves! And you can always pop into the shop on 440 Preston and talk spices and food with me!

Thank you so much for reading and for making the last 6 years amazing! Love you Ottawa.

 

If you are feeling a little down – this is for you.

090478efa81250273274cbcd874379f6

Better? Thought so.

 

 

It’s finally time. This Tuesday, yes, less than a week, Holland’s Cake and Shake will open its doors to the world and waiting Ottawa tummies at 8 am. 228 Armstrong Street (Hintonburg right by the Parkdale Market). How do I know it’s going to be so awesome? Well, I’ve tasted and raved about Pastry Chef Michael Holland’s creations before.

 

10485144_10152513190577996_5603880002238134520_n

The most recent incident? I was lurking Facebook, as I often am, and came across a friend’s shot of all these amazing looking mini cakes that his wife was bringing to her class for an end of school celebration.** I then immediately started begging for one of the tasty creations. The begging was amplified when I found out the gorgeous vanilla cakes were topped with Fruit loop streusel.
The begging led to pouting and a teeny bit of foot stomping. Somehow, being a brat paid off and Chef Holland performed a random act of kindness with a drive by caking – delivering two of these babies.
10304343_10152513190372996_558083586950076230_n
I swear the only reason there is a picture is because I was devouring the other one while taking this
When I first opened the box and saw that there were two – my first reaction was “Who will I share this with?”. Then I took a bite.
Suddenly I was Smeagol and there was no way I was parting with my precious. I stopped short of shoving the whole thing in my mouth at once – but I did polish them off shamefully fast.
I know where I’ll be on Tuesday – see you at the Cake and Shake?
** What kind of friend get’s their class goodies from the hippest bake shop in town BEFORE it opens? The ever awesome Jenn of FoodiePrints! Thanks for letting me Facebook stalk your food guys!

recipes

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:

how-to-tell-if-an-avocado-is-ripe-002-500x279

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

Ingredients
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.

anatomy-of-avocado1

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!

 

 

 

 

recipes

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.

wpid-20140606_150025.jpg

Herbes de Provence Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients
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.

 

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!

IMG_0648

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!

 

recipes

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.

10370997_594345100663372_4402433052804724990_n

Cajun Shrimp

Ingredients
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.

10296917_594335017331047_1360178243697080314_n

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

 

Happy Food Revolution Day! If that sounds familiar you probably are a fan of Jamie Oliver, or like the people in my life you know someone who wont shut up about him and the awesome work he does. The basic idea is to celebrate cooking and food. Good food. Cooked from scratch food and to learn how to prepare it and how it impacts your health and life. For some more information check out their website here.

jamie-oliver

It’s hard to tell in this picture, but they have the same eyes.

How am I embracing Food Revolution Day?? Through spices of course – and by spreading the word about this really great documentary I watched last night called A Place At The Table. It’s about the massive amounts of children and families who go hungry every day in the United States. True – it doesn’t show any information on similar problems in Canada, but it is not a problem that many Canadians face every day. Just take a look at the good folks at the Parkdale Food Centre, Ottawa Food Bank, Hijinx and School Breakfast Program.

But don’t take my word that this is a compelling and tragic problem – ask Jeff Bridges!

 

 

For more information on the doc – here is their website.

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.

Ingredients
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

BmuEWpVCcAAbR-t

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!

wpid-20140501_194013.jpg

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.

farm

Carrot and Berbere Spice Soup

Ingredients
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!

http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=353660&binId=1.1487308&playlistPageNum=1

 

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

1377096_10200910383361705_7917691652222847098_n

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.

home_col4_row1

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.

 

I Say Random Things On Twitter…

Instagram Photo Oddness...

Mmmmm... bee pollen powder Making labels for the new and awesome! #spicestoresecrets this is what is under the pepper

Past Foodie Adventures…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 83 other followers