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Chicken Stir Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas




We recently moved and one of my favorite highlights of our new place is that it has a gas range. Nothing beats the responsiveness of gas. Not only is it instant heat, there’s something so right about cooking with fire. The stove is not the only thing giving off heat right now, summer has definitely arrived and when the heat sets in, as it has, I like to turn yo recipes with either blissfully cooling elements or to fiery-hot ones that will get me sweating with chili and other warming ingredients like ginger and garlic.

The marinade for this Chicken Stir Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas is simple and comes together quickly. I know I’ve said up to four hours in the recipe but I’m not convinced that an overnight marinade would be bad here since there isn’t anything too acidic in it to cook the chicken. I quite like the idea of doing this the night before or in the morning and coming home to a ready to go dinner. Likewise, you could prep the chicken in a zip top bag with the marinade before freezing, simply defrost, et voila!

Chicken Stir Fry with Mushrooms and Snap Peas

makes dinner for four (with rice)

2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless – cut into 1 inch/bitesized pieces

1Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp honey

1/2 C ponzu, tamari or light soy sauce

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1 Tbsp grated ginger

1 Tbsp grated garlic

1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Allow to marinate for up to 4 hours but at least 1 hour.

Prepare the vegetables; thinly slice and set aside:

2 portobello mushrooms

1 bunch of scallions (green parts only)

as well as

4 cups sugar snap peas

In a large skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, quickly cook the chicken in 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Add the mushrooms, scallions and peas, tossing to cook until the mushrooms are hot and the peas are cooked but still crunchy.

Serve over brown rice and garnish with pea shoots.

Tropical Green Smoothie

Summer is by far my favorite season to cook in. Everything is fresh and vibrant and in turn it makes us feel fresh and vibrant too. We just moved house to a beautiful riverside condo and it’s making it easy to get up in the morning and hit the day running. Our views are blue and green and there’s lots to explore and discover. In the early mornings I’ve been watching herons cruising above the river and wading at its edges in the reeds. They are magnificently prehistoric and look almost out of place in these northern climes as if they should be living a lush, tropical lifestyle like an ancient pterodactyl. Don’t we all want a lush tropical lifestyle? Well, the sun is shining and this Tropical Green Smoothie will help get your tastebuds a bit closer to the equator. Happy sipping!

Tropical Green Smoothie 

1/4 C frozen pineapple
1/4 C frozen mango
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 banana
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk (I use Silk Coconut)
3 dates

Blend well in blender until smooth. Serves 2

*tip – leftover smoothie freezes well in an ice cube tray for next time. Just add a few cubes to the blender, top with cold liquid of your choosing and blend.


Pork and Potato Hash

It can be hard to find balance, can’t it? Between work and a social life and “me” time and “we” time with the ones we love most, it can be so easy to let things slide, get off track and find yourself blinking into the mirror, over tired, underwhelmed and just plain blah. I know for me, protein is key to success. If my morning is full of protein (and caffeine) I am good to go. This hash is hearty and flavorful and will keep you cruising well into the afternoon. A good dose of greens doesn’t hurt either!


Pork and Potato Hash

serves 4  hungry people

olive oil

1 lb ground pork

2 Tbsp cumin

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 large white onion, halved and sliced thinly

3 cloves of garlic, minced or grated

2 cups potato cut in 1 inch cubes (about 12 baby potatoes, quartered)

1 Tbsp of flour

1/2 Cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or one large tomato, diced)

4 (packed) Cups chopped spinach or kale leaves

green onion for garnish

poached egg(s) – optional


In a heavy bottomed pan, brown the ground pork well  in a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Depending on the width of your pan you may want to brown it in two batches to ensure you do not crowd the pan and steam the meat as it cooks – your aim here is deep, dark browning with lots of crispy bits. Once the pork is browned, add the cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper, onions and garlic and stir frequently until they are fragrant and softened. Sprinkle on flour as you stir. This will make the mixture dry and somewhat sandy, add a 1/2 C of water, add potatoes and cover. Cook, covered, about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover and add the tomatoes and spinach, toss until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes are heated through and oozing their juice. Top with a poached  egg and thinly sliced green onions.

Coffee and Cream Cake

Welcome to 2016 on Feasts for All Seasons! January 25th marks our 6th birthday, so naturally there must be cake. We’re looking forward to lots of delicious posts and useful information this year, so whether you’re a long time reader or it’s your first time stopping by, hello and welcome! Stick around, it’s going to be a crazy-good year!

Around here, the day just hasn’t begun without coffee. The inspiration for this cake was chocolate donuts with coffee, both in terms of aesthetics and flavors. It boasts moist, tender, cake and then the bittersweet tang of coffee with cream. The cake packs a punch with a whopping ¼ cup of ground espresso and ¾ of a cup of rich chocolatey cocoa, topped with a sweet milky glaze that’s beautifully rich and thick thanks to a faithful pantry staple: sweetened condensed milk. Consider yourself warned: it’s every bit as addictive as it’s muses. Want to whip one up? Scroll down for the full recipe.



Coffee and Cream Cake

This cake mixes up quickly and baked in under an hour in a Bundt or other center-tunnel cake pan. If you find yourself with only regular cake pans, two greased and floured 8″ pans will do the trick – just reduce the bake time to 25 minutes. Serves 16. 

3 C flour

2 C light brown sugar

¼ finely ground espresso beans

¾ cocoa

2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

2 cups whole milk

1 C vegetable oil

2 eggs, beaten

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp vanilla

Grease and flour a Bundt pan or two 8″ round pans, Preheat your oven to 350°. Sift all of the dry ingredients, minus the brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar, crushing any serious lumps.

In another larger bowl combine the wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three stages, mixing well before you add the next portion. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan. Bake at  350° for 45 mins or until a tester/tooth pick comes out clean. Allow the cake to sit in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Make sure the cake is completely cool before you top it with the glaze.

Condensed Milk Glaze

1 can (396g/14oz)

2-½ C confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Mix the vanilla with the sweetened condensed milk and sift in the sugar. Mix until it is a smooth, thick but pourable, consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Decorate with sprinkles while the glaze is wet (the surface will dry).


Swiss Tarts

The title “Swiss Tarts” may be a bit of a misnomer. All I know is that years ago when I first tried to make these, I was attempting to re-create a tiny frosted treat I once had. It was a firm little tart filled with soft, fragrant almond paste, topped with a sweet, snow-white glaze and the glowing dome of a perfect, glossy, half maraschino cherry. Some brief research online tells me that these are also known as Bakewell Tarts. Whatever they are, they have become a bit of a Christmas treat tradition in our house and they are only ever made for Christmas. Unfortunate, because they are very delicious. They are a labour of love if you make your own pastry. If you are at all inclined to skip that step (as I almost always do) they will turn out beautifully (and be so much quicker) if you go the route of frozen pastry shells. If you are a lover of almonds or marzipan, these little gems will undoubtedly make an appearance on your holiday dessert table.

For the pastry:

Prepare 1 recipe of pâte sucrée. Once the dough has chilled and rested, roll out  and cut into rounds the appropriate size for the tart or muffin tins you’ll be using. I used a standard mini muffin tin which meant that my rounds of pastry were 2 ½”. Your pans might be different, be sure to do a test.

Line the pan with the dough, pricking the bottom of each tart shell. Blind bake for 8 minutes at 350° or until the dough starts to appear dry and set, but uncoloured.  Remove tart shells from oven and allow to cool as you prepare the filling.

For the almond filling:

2 C blanched almonds

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract (or paste)

In a food processor, pulse together the almonds, sugar and flour until the almonds are ground down to the consistency of cornmeal. Once they are well mixed, stop the machine and add the remaining ingredients. Mix until the paste comes together and is smooth, damp and glossy.

To assemble:

Spoon a small amount of cherry jam (or your favourite jam/preserve) into the bottom of each tart shell. Cover the jam with a mound of the almond filling, filling them about 3/4 full. (how much you use will depend on the size of your tarts.)

Bake at 350° for 22 minutes. The filling should be puffed and golden.  My preference is for nice flat tops, so I usually push them down gently with the back of a teaspoon. Cool completely.

Frosting and finishing:

1 C icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

maraschino or glacé cherries

Mix until smooth and pourable. The frosting should be a thick liquid, but still thin enough to slowly pool when poured. The surface will lightly crust when dried.

Maraschino cherries make a beautiful last minute decoration, but the moisture of the syrup will disrupt the smooth glaze.

Glacé cherries work well if you are decorating the tarts ahead of time.