Category Archives: Alberta at Noon

My @AlbertaatNoon podcast on Classic French Gastronomy and the fun food fad – #MugCakes

Mug Cakes are included in this VIP - Very Important Pots cookbook - photo - Karen Anderson

Mug Cakes are included in this VIP – Very Important Pots cookbook – photo – Karen Anderson

I made eight mini Mug Cakes this morning to take to my friends at CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon.

If you’re wondering how I worked Classic French Gastronomy and Mug Cakes into the same segment, you can listen to the podcast here.

If you master the Mug Cake try making this beautiful French menu with recipes from my friends at Succulent Paris.

Today’s CBC column proved that whether you go classic or faddist – you can still savour it all.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Recipes, Time in Nature

A French Food Fad for 2015 – Mug Cakes

little mug cakes cookbooks were everywhere in Paris - photo - Karen Anderson

little mug cakes cookbooks were everywhere in Paris – photo – Karen Anderson


I don’t think Mug Cakes are new. I’ve found blog posts dating back five years with oodles of recipes for them but they seem to have taken Paris by a chocolate brown cocoa powder storm this year. Everywhere I looked little cookbooks were devoted to them. At Le Grand Epicerie de Paris you could even buy a mug fully loaded with the ingredients for the mere price (I jest) of 13.50 Euros.

This post has a recipe I developed for a deliciously ooey-gooey Chocolat-ey Chocolate Mug Cake. It’s easy and fun and ANYONE can make it. I hope you will. Let me know how it turns out for you.

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The Gastronomic Meal of the French – #recipes from my friends @SucculentParis

My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta - photo - Kim Irving

My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta – photo – Kim Irving


My friends Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris food tours are wonderful cooks who love to share their passion with visitors to their city. This post will highlight a day where I booked them for a private gourmet tour. We met for coffee, shopped on Rue de Levis near their home and then prepared a seasonal multi-course gastronomic meal.

Cooking with Willard and Mahoudeau is a joyous occasion. Sitting down and sharing a meal together even more so. I hope that you’ll see that in the photos I’ll share here and that you’ll try some of the recipes as well. If they all seem a bit too much skip ahead to the next post where I share a ridiculously easy and fun Mug Cake that anyone can make and enjoy. It’s all good.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Cooks I know, food tours, Great ingredients, Heritage cooking skills, Recipes, Travel

The Gastronomic Meal of the French – a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Value and my CBC @AlbertaatNoon food column for May

I’m just back from Paris.

I had the opportunity during my visit to spend a day shopping and cooking a multi-course French meal with my friends Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris. For my Parisian friends, this is a daily occurrence. They have culinary skills that have been passed down through the generations of their families. They learned to cook both at extensive family gatherings and in the day-to-day preparation of meals with their parents. They enjoy shopping daily for what is fresh and in season and they use their culinary skills to pull together meals to celebrate those ingredients.

While this is la vie quotidienne (daily life) for my two friends in the food business, cooking a multi-course meal is no longer taken for granted by French families. Families in France also have two partners working outside the home, just like other families around the world, and here in Alberta. This means that their children and ours have less access to cooking mentors than previous generations.

The French government nominated The Gastronomic Meal to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage values in 2008 (it was accepted in 2010) in an effort to preserve its essence – taking time to care and enjoy family and life through gathering at the table to share a thoughtfully prepared meal. The traditional preparation of Kimchi in Korea is currently being considered for UNESCO’s list and Japanese and traditional Mexican cuisine have also already been accepted to the list.

The French realize future generations will need help to sustain this part of their culture due to the evolution of modern family life so they are working with UNESCO to save this intangible part of their heritage. As children’s health advocate Jamie Oliver puts forth in his Food Day Revolution, the life skill of cooking is necessary to the health of future generations. Suddenly, the intangible values surrounding a culture’s way of eating become very tangible supports for a healthy lifestyle when their manifestation has this outcome.

This post will talk a bit more about what’s involved in The Gastronomic Meal of the French and how the values it embodies translate to resilience needed for daily life.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Health, Heritage cooking skills, Travel

Cool thing #30 – Grocery delivery research “drones on” – via @guardian

All of this could be just a drone away - photo - Karen Anderson

All of this could be just a drone away – photo – Karen Anderson

I recently wrote about Corner Grocers and some other grocery shopping trends for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon. I talked about the money Amazon is spending on research to make home delivery – by small aircraft drones – of groceries (and many other items under five pounds – which is 86% of their business) a reality. Some of you might have thought that was a little far-fetched but it turns out that strides they are making towards turning this into a reality are happening very close to home.

As this article from The Guardian describes, Amazon is testing its delivery drones in our own backyard in beautiful British Columbia. Alberta has set aside 700 nautical square miles for testing drones beyond visual capacity. According to The Guardian, Amazon believes that ultimately drones will be faster, safer and more environmentally and economically friendly.

I usually tune out when someone “drones on” but this trend has me riveted. I’ll always want to visit farmers’ markets for my fresh groceries for the love of the community that comes with that type of shopping but I’d be quite happy for my toilet paper to fly the friendly Canadian skies and be delivered to my front door. My bottom and my bottom line will both be happier with less time in the car and the big box stores.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Cool things

Recipes for Easter and a menu for Passover – my @AlbertaatNoon column for April

Crown Rib Roast of Pork - photo - Karen Anderson

Crown Rib Roast of Pork – photo – Karen Anderson

It is both Passover and Easter this weekend. May everyone have a peaceful weekend and enjoy sharing the warmth of community and great food together.

I’m going to refer our Jewish friends looking for great recipes to this Saveur article with a beautiful Passover Menu (not something I’d want to get wrong). And for those that can enjoy pork and non-Kosher eating, I’ve got an Easter Refresh Menu for you.

Hamming it up at Easter is delicious but a little predictable. If you’d like to change things up try frying a few slices of ham steak for your Easter brunch – with a side of chocolate eggs fresh from the annual hunt – and enjoy this special occasion Crown Rib Roast of Pork for the big feast.

I’ve attended several Long Table Dinners over the last few years in Alberta and the Easter Menu that follows is inspired by the great tasting food I’ve been served.

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#LongTableDinners – my @AlbertaatNoon column for April

the table is set for a season of long table dinners - photo - Karen Anderson

the table is set for a season of long table dinners – photo – Karen Anderson

The Guinness World Record for the longest of long table dinners is 1.286 kilometres.

The record was set in August of 2014 in Finland where the long table dinner was measured with three decimal precision to eek out Spain’s record of 1.258 kilometres. This record has toppled more than once in the last few years proving that long table dinners are “a thing”. But are they truly a new phenomenon or are they an exaggeration of an age old tradition?

This post will look at this trend in dining and the list of long tables setting up for an exciting season of outdoor dining in Alberta this year. Check out a holiday menu inspired by this phenomenon here.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Cooks I know