November 29, 2012

Gluten-free apple spice cake for six months


Lucie turned six months old the other day. And we held a little party.

Why not celebrate six months? It seems like a pretty big accomplishment to us. Recently, I was talking to my sister, whose baby boy is 4 and a half months, and we both said we used to wonder why parents held parties for little kids. What’s the point? we thought. Like the kid cares. It’s all for the parents.

Now we get it. Exactly! It is all for the parents. And the parents need those parties. It’s a way to say, “Look! We made it! You are six months old and you are still alive and healthy and happy!”

November 17, 2012

Coffee in Halifax


Still playing catch-up around here, and this one is a long time coming. I wanted to write about these cafes a year ago after I visited them in summer 2011, but it just never happened. On our trip to Halifax this past September, I stopped in at one of them again, and I’d like to tell you about it.

November 15, 2012

Gluten-free Nova Scotia oatcakes


Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, oatcakes were a coffee shop staple. A cross between a cookie and a biscuit, they were the size of pucks and nearly an inch thick, and sometimes dipped in chocolate. I remember often buying them and almost always being disappointed – they were usually far too sweet and far too dry, with a texture reminiscent of sawdust. But somehow I couldn’t stop giving in to the oatcake temptation.

I was reminded of oatcakes a couple of years ago when talking to a colleague who worked in Nova Scotia for a while. During that conversation I realized for the first time how regional the oatcake is. I had never thought about the fact that I didn’t really see them anywhere but in Nova Scotia.

November 9, 2012

The Junction


I’d like to tell you a bit more about Claire and Alex’s great neighbourhood in Toronto. I feel I got to know it fairly well after staying with them for three weeks and getting out and about quite a bit.

(P.S.- can you believe the Junction was a dry neighbourhood until 2000?? That explains why there are still very few liquor stores…)

I’ve already talked about Crema – a great neighbourhood coffee shop – and the Junction Farmers’ Market. Here are a few other highlights:

November 4, 2012

Toronto Farmers’ Markets


Since I was in Toronto for three weeks, Claire and I had lots of time to visit different farmers’ markets around the city – another one of our favourite pastimes. I was there in late August and September and this was the perfect time of year for these markets. The produce stands were full to bursting with a rainbow of tomatoes, peppers, greens, fresh beans, zucchini, mushrooms, corn, and summer fruits like berries, peaches and nectarines.

In the summertime in Toronto, you could visit a farmers’ market nearly every day of the week. And, unlike Edmonton, which also has its fair share of farmers’ markets, all the ones in Toronto seem to be accessible by public transit.

November 3, 2012

Hooked Fish Store – Toronto, ON


One of the reasons Claire and I went to Leslieville was to visit Hooked. Claire is a chef and she had heard from her colleagues about this great fish store. I haven’t been to many fish stores, but Hooked is an incredibly cool place. Its focus is on sustainably caught fish and seafood. The two owners, a husband-and-wife team, are professional chefs who really care about where their fish comes from. They buy direct from fish farmers and fishers across Canada. There is tons of selection, and the staff are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Overall it’s just a beautiful place to shop. They also carry a selection of sauces, marinades and pickles made in-store to complement your fish meal. Hooked even runs a teaching kitchen where you can take classes on fish preparation.

We picked up some oysters and fresh sardines for supper. It was a delicious fish feast, and only my second time eating oysters. The first time was after my father’s funeral 8 years ago, and I wasn’t a fan of the slippery sensation. This time I really enjoyed them! The taste reminded me of mussels, and I loved the salty brininess. They tasted like the sea. Dad loved oysters, and I think he would have been pretty proud to see his chef daughter cracking them open and the three of us knocking them back.

We broiled the sardines, and their firm, creamy flesh had an incredibly rich flavour. They were, however, on the large side (about 8 inches long) and full of bones. The meal was a long one – and at the end of it, we were all left with sticky fingers and plates covered in tiny fish bones. But it was worth it.


888 Queen Street East
206 Baldwin Street
Toronto, ON