French onion soup can’t come from a packet, it cannot be had by a chemical laden powder. It’s essence is steeped with time and a wack load of onions which all melt down to practically nothing. There’s a reason why it’s french, the slow caramelization process is one which only the french could invent. Tried and true this recipe is one that my Grandmother taught me when I was about 10. It’s more of a technique than it is a recipe really. You can’t just fry up some onions and add stock, the depth of flavour comes from a long and slow all day melt down of the onions, perfect for a sunday afternoon or a start in the morning while the grass still clings to its frosty sleeve. Feel like you need a good cry but you just can’t let it out? French onion soup to the rescue, drown your sorrows while twelve onions force the raw emotion out of you, and then just let it melt away, allow the release just like the onions. You’ll see the volume of your onions wilt to 1/4 of their original fullness, what a great example they set.
Tomorrow morning we embark on a journey of epic proportions. A visit to the frozen wasteland of soviet like architecture, dear old Edmonton. While I’m happy to no longer live there, I adore my family and cannot wait to spend time with them. This year we’re having a solstice celebration before my brother and his fiancee depart for her families place. It’s baby Mavs first road trip so my fingers are crossed that he doesn’t learn how to unbuckle himself, as he has adeptly shown in the past. My outstanding procrastination skills have brought me here to this moment where its more important to write about classic french onion soup than it is to pack and get ready. I don’t care, I work best under pressure anyway.
1 baguette sliced and toasted (I used spelt sourdough) (optional)
½ C grated gruyere cheese
½ C grated parmesan cheese
In a large, heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter or ghee and add the onions,thyme and bay leaf. Stir and allow them to cook down for at least 3 hours, stirring every so often. Near the end give them a colour boost by amping up the heat for a few minutes and stirring continually.
With the heat on high, add the red wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate, cooking on high for about 2 minutes.
Add the beef stock, salt and pepper to taste and let it all come to a simmer.
Ladle to hot soup into 4 oven proof bowls, set oven to broil.
Top each bowl with a few pieces of toasted baguette and a generous amout of cheese. Place bowls on a baking tray in case of spillage and bake under the broiler until golden brown.
Athena, Eirene, Gaia, the list of greek goddesses and their stories goes on and on. I’ve been thinking about Greece recently because some beautiful friends of ours are moving there. Often I day dream about living in foreign places, what it would be like, how the cultural mindset would be compared to Canada. My life goal remains to see the world, I want to show my son the diversity inherent in our humanness. Our buddy describes the Greek as being very warm and generous, they have stories from so long ago, a history rich and deep in mythology. There are no comparable characteristics in our culture, if we have ancient stories it is because we came from elsewhere. Both a curse and a blessing, since stories are interwoven in our bones, we seek them out. Why else would people read a newspaper everyday, or talk to the shop owner on the corner about the latest gossip. Stories are a deep craving. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could speak every language, travel to every place, and hear every story? If only a magic genie would appear, that would be my wish.
The story behind this salad dressing is that it’s amazing. My dear friend stopped for a visit before returning back to Greece and he came bearing the best olive oil and wild mountain oregano. This dressing is an ode to these fundamental, pure Grecian ingredients, simple, delicious, simple. Perfect for adorning salads, dipping crispy potatoes, dousing gyros, or swirling in a roasted soup.
A few years back I stopped watching television, it’s a time suck and I hate all the ads. But I still can’t help myself from watching cooking shows on you tube, and as you may be able to tell from the name of my website Naked Cuisine, Jamie Oliver, the original naked chef, is my all time super fave 10 year ongoing crush and inspiration. I’ve though about doing a Julie and Julia, momofukufor2-esque blog with only Jamies recipes, you never know, maybe someday. The other day I caught up on Jamie’s Ministry of Food show, where he highlights super simple recipes for people who may not think they are very good cooks. I never fail to learn a thing or two, really who needs cooking school when you’ve got the food network, especially with Heston’s new show, all the best shows seem to come out of Britain for some reason.
I wish all my favourite food bloggers had cooking shows, it would be so cool to see people in their home kitchens working their magic. I love the little videos that Green Kitchen Stories puts out and Perennial Plate travelling the world. What are some of your favourite cooking shows? Do you prefer reading food blogs and looking at photos over food video? Someone contacted me recently about a new iPhone app they wanted me to try where you make little cooking videos and post them a food gawker for video type website. I had to decline since I’m likely one of the last people on the planet without a cell phone. We actually just moved from an area where there wasn’t even service. They were going to put a cell tower on our friends land but there was massive revolt and hardcore hippies uttering death threats so I think they put a pause on the project.
This chicken is absolutely simple, perfectly cooked every time, and pretty classy too. It’s really easy to whip up the whole lot in under 20 minutes with a nice fresh salad. If you want to watch Jamie cook up prosciutto parmesan chicken check it out here. The method for perfectly cooked chicken is to make the chicken breast or thigh equally thick by bashing it under plastic with a rolling pin or other heavy object. It cooks a lot faster that way and comes out perfectly juicy every time.
I almost called this recipe Pate Chinois, which is the Quebecois equivalent to Shepherd’s Pie that I grew up eating at least once a week. Of course a rare few would know what I’m talking about, and really this comforting casserole is more than Pate Chinois, and more than Shepherd’s Pie too. It’s loaded with fresh shucked sweet corn, delicata squash,fresh tomatoes, purple potatoes, sage, aged cheddar cheese and tender lamb, all locally procured and stunningly seasonal. Oh I’m in love with purple potatoes, they taste just a little more purple, if that makes any sense! Delicata squash is true to its name, delicate and buttery.
A tale of manifestation…Last night J was talking about how he really wanted a thermos. This morning we awoke to the neighbours clearing out their garage for a yard sale, they were bringing out a BBQ to sell which we jumped on. Totally excited to start making all things grilled! We checked it out and realized it’s a thermos brand BBQ. Moral of the story, be specific with your wishes, however, awesome things happen with non-specificity as well. It’s like asking for a trip to London and suddenly winning a trip to London,Ontario…ha.
We delighted in the wholesome and wholly nourishing Shepherd’s Harvest Pie amongst the giant Maple trees, slowly shedding their leaves. Baby Mav adores leaves, they are his favourite thing in the whole world, no toy could compare. Except maybe the books he is presently pulling off the shelves to chew on. A lot can happen in one year, we’ve moved 5 times, had a baby, started this website and learned a million things in the process. A quote that I love about Autumn;
The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.
Embracing change and growth has never felt so good. How grateful I am to share all of this wonderment with you, life is just filled with magic in the simplest of things. Like a piece of pie, with many hidden treasures.
3 small purple potatoes (or regular), very finely sliced
2 Tbs butter or ghee
⅓ C cream or coconut milk
splash of preferred oil (for frying onions and garlic)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot or white onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground lamb (you could substitute ground beef)
8 sage leaves, finely chopped
2 corn cobs, use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels
½ delicata squash, seeds removed and cubed
4 small tomatoes, sliced
⅓ C finely shredded aged cheddar
1 tsp sea salt
generous amounts of fresh cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 350F
Boil water and cook the red potatoes until they are really nice and soft.
Heat a skillet and add your oil, onions and garlic, cook until translucent, add ground lamb and sage, cover until lamb is fully cooked.
Drain water from the cooked potatoes, saving a few tablespoons worth. Add butter and cream with a generous amount of sea salt and cracked pepper, stir until smooth.
In a deep casserole dish (I used 8x12) add an even layer of cooked lamb, next add the corn, squash and tomatoes. Cover with mashed potatoes, pressing evenly into all the spaces. Top with a layer of sliced purple potatoes.
Bake at 350 for half an hour.
Add the cheese and broil for a few minutes until nice and golden.
Smoothies make me happy, and this one is specifically designed to ward off depression and anxiety, nourish you with mood lifting minerals and make your spirit soar with ethereal delights. To really boost your mood, try this, positive affirmations can have a huge impact on how we feel, this is one of Louise Hays suggestions for depression, I am enough just as I am. It may seem silly but say it with meaning a few times a day and you may be surprised at the peaceful feeling that grows within.
Fall has arrived, I don’t know about you guys but shorter days for me, bring on a bit of the blues. There are so many foods that can help fight depression, an illness that ails more than 121 million people worldwide. I’ve noticed huge differences in my mood when I make sure I’m taking good care of myself. Adequate omega-3, magnesium,vitamin D and probiotics are among the most important tools in your armament for fighting off the blues. Self-love and equipping ourselves with the knowledge of how to feel better on a holistic scale can drastically improve depression and anxiety (and a lot of other diseases). Smoothies are a really enjoyable way of getting those nutrients into your life and feeling happier every day.
2 handfuls of raw cashews are the therapeutic equivalent to a dose of prozac.
Coconut helps fight off candida and parasites which can inhibit good bacteria and cause brain fog.
Organic plain yogurt is packed with probiotics for healthy gut flora which is necessary for serotonin (the happy hormone which is formed in the gut) to pass the blood brain barrier and work its magic upstairs.
Berries are filled with antioxidants and help reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
Bananas are high in the amino acid tryptophan which coverts into serotonin.
Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a factor commonly overlooked when treating depression.
Bee pollen contains key neuro-nutrients such as GABA, tryptophan and norepinephrine which help to correct brain chemistry.
Elderflowers magical essence adds sweetness and imbibes powerful renewal of energy.
Honestly, it’s like nothing I’ve done lately works, and it was really bumming me out all weekend. I tried to make 3 different things for the blog and nothing was good enough (I only want to give you the best of the very best!) Frustrated and anxious to DO more and BE better I had to really step aside and pop my own bubble. Hello, this isn’t about perfection, it’s about sharing and growing and learning. I’m not perfect, I burn the roast chicken, I make butt ugly but darn delicious beetroot tarts with cauliflower crust, I dust coconut flour all over the camera and piss off J but whatever. Everybody is going through it, every person is looking at the state of the planet and looking at their children and thinking- wow, how can we change this for their sake? Well I guess my answer to that,from my humble perspective, is we need to love ourselves more, with all our hearts wide open the world can change. Every day is a new day and a chance to improve, whether it be physically, spiritually or mentally, all those realms play a huge part in our happiness. I am enough just as I am.
2 handfuls raw cashews- soaked for 6-8 hours and drained
¾ C fresh or frozen mixed berries
½ C plain organic yogurt
3 tsp coconut oil
¼ C coconut flakes
2 Tbs elderflower syrup or honey
1 C water
1 tsp bee pollen, for sprinkling on top
1 tsp chia seeds, for sprinkling on top
In a blender add cashews, berries,banana,yogurt,coconut oil, coconut flakes and elderflower syrup or honey. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, you can adjust the consistency by adding more or less water, start with ½ cup and work your way up from there.
Sprinkle chia seeds and bee pollen on top with a drizzle of honey or elderflower syrup
I would love to hear your ways of fighting off the blues, drop me a line in the comments, by e-mail or on any of my social networks.
Want more awesome recipes, be sure to sign up in the sidebar for my weekly newsletter!
I have a hard time eating during these hot summer days. It’s all smoothies, kombuchas and coconut water most of the time, until the cool air shows itself after dusk and a feast forms to fill the whole days necessities. Not exactly the healthiest regimen, I know if anything we require extra fuel when the sweat is flowing most of the day. Luckily sugar snap peas are in season, along with broccoli, cucumbers, radish (yes, still rocking the radishes), zucchini, and baby beets! Veggies and dip at the beach, yes please MMM. So any Aussies who can tell me the ingredients in that uber popular forget the name super yummy beet dip? Seriously, I wish x2 that we could get that shiz, but I know I can make it to, if only I remembered the name. This dip creation is equally delicious and full of beautiful bloody red beets, roasted italian ribbed zucchini and salty fresh goat feta. Fresh dill, of course, a beets best friend. This Roasted Beet, Zuchinni and Feta Dip is a gorgeous addition to any spread, happy potluck food, and super easy to eat in the hot sun. Picnic anyone? (more…)
Hey I'm Chantelle, my alter ego would be a mermaid if I wasn't such a terrible swimmer. I love writing authentically and cooking in my pyjamas. My favourite pastimes include eating avocados, travelling the world and hanging out with a toddler.