Category Archives: Great ingredients

#Cocktail recipe for my June column for @albertaatnoon

Katie Mayer and Christina Mah in the poolside garden at the Hotel Arts talking about Gnome Come Home's local ingredients - photo - Karen Anderson

Katie Mayer and Christina Mah in the poolside garden at the Hotel Arts talking about Gnome Come Home’s local ingredients – photo – Karen Anderson

Coincidences make for great stories.

One day last week, I went to visit Christina Mah. Mah is the general manager of The Hotel Arts’ “Viet Mod” bistro called Raw Bar by Duncan Lee. She is also the president of the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Professional Bartender’s Association (CPBA).

I interviewed Mah about cocktail making and asked if she would create a summer cocktail that I could share with you. Her creation is fresh and seasonal. Fresh and seasonal might not be words you think of when it comes to cocktails but they are an emerging cocktail trend that – happily – seems to be here to stay.

In this post I’ll talk about how to make cocktails, give you some recommendations for great places to drink them in Alberta and I’ll also share the story of how we named this drink Gnome Come Home after the Raw Bar’s gnome mascot was coincidentally “kidnapped” the day I arrived to interview Mah.

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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

Friday night cooking improv – a @cgyfarmersmkt supper with @SpraggsMeat – Apple Brined Pork Chops

Apple Brined Pork Chops - photo - Karen Anderson

Apple Brined Pork Chops – photo – Karen Anderson

It’s been a busy week.

The pickings in the refrigerator got slimmer as the week progressed. There was a small rib-in pork roast bought at the Calgary Farmers’ Market last Sunday that called attention to the time span that had evaporated between then and now. It needed to be eaten before this little piggy could make another trip to market. There were three very petite potatoes, some old Gala apples and some still good looking broad beans. I’d bought a fresh bunch of “living” thyme and its scent inspired this Friday night supper.

Read on for the recipes for Apple-Brined Pork Chops and Potato, Bacon and Apple Hash
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Happy St. Paddy’s and Happy World Happiness Day this Friday – I’ll be speaking @cgyfarmersmarkt to celebrate Food and Happiness – Come on out and say Hi!

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Filed under Food markets of the world, Great ingredients, Health, Joy, Savour food

Mr. Abraham’s Spice Garden – cooking with coconut in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala

Mr. Abraham's cheery home - photo - Karen Anderson

Mr. Abraham’s cheery home – photo – Karen Anderson

Coconut is a great ingredient and though I love coconut, I think spices are perhaps the greatest ingredient ever given to a cook.

This post allows me to share another savoury coconut recipe but it also satisfies my longing to share my journey to a very special place in Kerala, South India.

When I planned my first trip to India, I planned it around two equally passionate quests; I wanted to meet India’s people and I wanted to go to where the spices grow.

Both of these desires were fulfilled when I found myself at Mr. Abraham’s Spice Garden in a quiet, lush corner in the Cardamom Hills near Periyar. I fell in love with the garden and of course with the garden’s caretakers.

Mr. Abraham’s garden was included in a BBC TV show and book by Monty Don called Around the World in 80 Gardens. I think it’s as close to the Garden of Eden as I’ll ever get. Read on, for the recipe and a virtual tour of the garden and you’ll see why I’ve been back and will keep going back as long as I’m able.

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Filed under Farm Tours, food tours, Great ingredients, India, Recipes, Time in Nature, Travel

A lovely bunch of coconut… recipes from #Kerala and #Tamilnadu – a recipe for Fish Moilee from Cochin

fresh local ingredients - including coconuts at Barbecue Restaurant Thekkady - photo - Karen Anderson

fresh local ingredients – including coconuts at Barbecue Restaurant Thekkady – photo – Karen Anderson

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconut…recipes for you.

From Cochin (Kochi) to Thekkady in Kerala to Mahalamapuram to Chettinad in Tamilnadu I’m going to finish my coconut theme strong. This post will highlight Fish Moilee (Moylee, Molee) – a coconut flavoured fish dish mildly spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric and curry leaves.

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CocoLoco – why coconut intake continues to snowball – my @AlbertaatNoon column for December


Today on CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon I talked about why the world’s gone loco for coconut and some ideas for using coconut in your holiday baking. The recipes can be found here and the podcast here. I’m on at the 17:44 mark in the show.

Read on for a little more background on coconut’s popularity around the globe.

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Filed under Alberta at Noon, Great ingredients, Health, Savour food