Gastown Grazing

One of Kale’s favourite foodie activities in Vancouver is hanging out in Gastown for a progressive dinner with friends.  They hop from restaurant to restaurant for different courses throughout the evening.  It can be called a dine-around or dinner crawl, depending on their mood; but the places are spontaneously selected and no two evenings are the same.  That’s the fun part!   For those of you less familiar with Vancouver, Gastown is a stylish, historic neighbourhood in the city centre and considered a hub for unique dining.  Since most of Kale’s gastronomic experience of Gastown is nocturnally-driven, she thought a progressive lunch would be a good Kake2Kale challenge.  And, to up the ante,  Kale wanted to find comfort dishes, with superfoods, that can be eaten in a bowl. At first, I was skeptical and thought we could only eat pasta and soup. But Kale convinced me to be open and surprised by what we might find. I’m glad she did, and without any plans, here is how we grazed our way through Gastown on a rainy January afternoon!

Flying Pig
The Truffled Cauliflower Gratin with 4 cheeses on the menu of the Flying Pig restaurant peeked our interest. Kale and I knew we HAD to have it.  As we were giving our order, the server suggested we order the brussel sprouts as well.  They were served in boats, which was bowl-like enough for us.  Wow, the brussel sprouts were outstanding. They were roasted with capers, which brought a brightness to the earthy flavor of the sprouts.  The cauliflower, however, was a little underwhelming as they were under cooked.  Please bear in mind I am not a restaurant reviewer, but I do know what I like.  The cheeses were yummy though – white cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan.  Cauliflower and brussel sprouts are both cruciferous vegetables which have indole-3-carbinol and promotes a healthy balance of good estrogen.  They also have anti-tumour properties and are high in fibre.  So we were off to a good start!

Gastown 1 Kake2Kale

Jules Bistro
For a romantic meal where you feel like you’ve been whisked away to an intimate, pretty, little jewel (pun intended) of a restaurant in France, Jules Bistro is the place for you.  More importantly, the food is delicious as well!  We ordered a bowl of mussels with a leek cream sauce, which turned out to be light and flavourful.  The sauce was sooo delicious, and I couldn’t stop dipping chunks of baguette into it.  We went in search of our next course after being fortified with protein, Omega 3’s as well as minerals – like calcium, zinc and iron – from the mussels. Continue reading

From the Culinary Trail – Sailing and Savouring the Gulf Islands Part 2

Does kitchen size matter? In Amsterdam (The Netherlands), we lived in a small top floor apartment of a canal house that was built in the 17th century.   My partner and I loved this cozy flat particularly for its location, that is – in the historic center of the city and overlooking one of the grand canals.   It had a lot of nice features, such as a roof deck and a wood-burning fireplace.  But, like so many small flats in the city, our place had a teeny-tiny kitchen. It measured roughly 3 x 4 feet and included a dual burner electric stove, sink, short counter, and mini-fridge.  Only one person could squeeze into the L-shaped space to prep/cook; but we managed to make elaborate and gourmet meals….and, without an oven!  I didn’t miss the baking…after all, I’m the {Kale} in this blog and prefer savoury dishes.

Typical sailboat galleys are no bigger than our old Dutch kitchen. There is a common misconception that the confined galley space limits your cooking to simple or camp-like meals.  Not at all.  In my view, the quality of our culinary creations has never been affected by the size of the kitchen or galley.  Even though I am pretty creative with menu planning and provisioning for our sailing trips, I am always interested in cookbooks that focus on galley-friendly options.  I recently discovered a cookbook that is fantastic and worthy of sharing with our blog circle.  It’s a fairly new cookbook from Vancouver Island called “Sea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley“.  This cookbook has received rave reviews and won ‘Best Fish + Seafood Cookbook in Canada’ and ‘Third Best Fish + Seafood Cookbook in the World’ by Gourmand International.   During our Gulf Islands sailing trip on the Amritha Catamaran, we had the pleasure of meeting two of the cookbook’s authors.  We were sailing with a friend from a yachting magazine and because he was preparing an article about the cookbook and interviewing the authors, our group was able to experience a unique dinner prepared by the authors and based on the cookbook’s recipes.  This part 2 of 2 posts is my recap of our spectacular culinary evening and includes a recipe of a dish that we sampled from the cookbook.
sea salt cook book - kake2kale
The mother-daughters collaboration behind this successful cookbook is made up of Lorna, Hilary and Alison Malone.  They are a family of sailors and reside in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  Alison, an accomplished lifestyle writer and editor, is one of the daughters but was not available to join us. We met Lorna, the mom and avid racer, and the other daughter, Hilary, a chef and an expert food styler.  Both are incredibly down to earth and their passion for their project and the local food/wine scene shows when you meet them.

The award-winning Sea Salt cookbook is a collection of over one hundred sea worthy recipes which are fast and delicious, whether aboard in the galley or at home on land.  I love that the eight chapters are logically organized by the time frame of a sailing trip.  My favorite chapters include: i) Chapter one (Breakaway) highlights recipes with fresh ingredients on the first nights, ii) Chapter five (Entertaining: On the Dock and Rafting Up) showcases recipes for appetizers, dinners and desserts that are ideal for sharing, and iii) Chapter six (North) features recipes of food with a longer shelf life that can be used near the end of a trip.  There is a lot more to enjoy from their cookbook, from stocking and provisioning tips, suggestions about markets to the stunning food photography by Christina Symons.  But, what stands out is that the recipes are inspired by the freshest local flavours of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Products from twenty artisan producers of food, beer and wine are featured and stories of the producers are included with various recipes. Our 4-course Sea Salt dinner comprised of:

Balsamic Beets and Goat’s Cheese Crostini with beets from a Nanaimo farmers market, chive flowers from the Malone garden, goat cheese from the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company, and red fife sourdough bread from Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery
sea salt cook book 2 - kake2kale
Seared Qualicum Beach Scallops with Sweetcorn-Basil Purée and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Qualicum Beach scallops from Island Scallops Ltd.
sea salt cook book 3 - kake2kale
sea salt cook book 4 - kake2kale
Pacific Cioppino
with mussels from Island Sea Farms on Salt Spring Island and sea salt that is hand-harvested and natural from Vancouver Island Salt Co.
sea salt cook book 5 - kake2kale
Cranberry and Hazelnut Coffee Cake
with hazelnuts from Foote’s Hazelnut Farm
sea salt cook book 6 - kake2kale

Four wines, handpicked by Lorna, accompanied this amazing meal.  My favourites were the Averill Creek’s Cowichan Black and Joie Farms 2011 Pinot Noir.

There were so many superfoods in our Sea Salt dinner.  Scallops, clams, mussels, salmon, prawns, beets, tomatoes, hazelnuts and cranberries were just a few of them. Go to our list of favourite superfoods to see the nutritional benefits.

I highly recommend the Sea Salt cookbook, whether you’re a sailor or not, and regardless if you cook in a small or large kitchen.   I wish the Malones continued success with their cookbook and I look forward to trying all of their recipes!  Thank you to Lorna and Hilary for an unforgettable culinary experience.

The Seared Qualicum Beach Scallops with Sweetcorn-Basil Purée and Heirloom Tomato Salad recipe and cookbook cover photo are courtesy of Sea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley by Alison Malone Eathorne, Hilary Malone and Lorna Malone, with photographs by Christina Symons, Harbour Publishing, 2013,

Travel Far, Explore More! – {Kale}

The Iron Dinner Party

Most people probably decide on a dinner party menu by selecting dishes that they’re comfortable making or would be crowd-pleasingly practical.  It is less likely that social dinners are designed solely around one health benefit; however, that is what we did. When several family members developed significant iron deficiencies, we thought it would be helpful and fun to focus on iron-rich foods at family gatherings.  In the most recent dinner party, we kicked into iron chef mode with our best feast yet. Our iron-powerhouse meal included:

Baked Kale Chips – Kale has loads of calcium and vitamin K.
Liverwurst with rice crackers – Pork liver is a good source of vitamin A, D, B and C but also zinc.
Panko-Crusted Fried Oysters – Oysters are high in zinc, good for immunity, protein and Omega 3’s.
Steamed Mussels with gluten-free beer – Mussels are high in minerals.
Marinated Octopus – High in selenium, an antioxidant and vitamin B12 good for energy.
Grilled Asparagus with Spinach salad – Asparagus is high in B vitamins, good for nervous system. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K and Omega 3.
Baked Yam Fries – High in antioxidants like beta carotene, great for eyes.
Chocolate and Raspberry Trifle – Beets and spelt flour adds iron to this dessert.

All deliciously healthy but easy and fun to make! We’ve included Kake’s dessert recipe and Kale’s directions for preparing the oysters and octopus.  Enjoy! {Kake} & {Kale}

iron dinner 1

Panko Crusted Oysters serves 4-6 as an appetizer


  • Rinse raw oysters (18-20 medium size) and drain on paper towel.
  • Coat each oyster with flour then dip in egg mixture (1-2 beaten) followed by a dip in panko (Japanese style bread crumbs). Make sure the oyster is fully covered.
  • Pan fry the oysters in hot oil until they are golden brown and cooked through.  Lay on paper towel to drain oil.

Marinated Octopus serves 4-6 as an appetizer


  • Simmer fresh Octopus (2 lbs) in hot water for about 40 minutes until tender (pinch with fork).
  • Let cool a bit and lay tentacles over an upside down bowl or hang them over the ridge of a bowl.
  • Place in fridge for 2 hours.
  • Cut octopus into slices.  Make a marinade by mixing pressed garlic with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon (approximate amounts by taste).
  • Toss octopus in marinade and add cut parsley. Place in fridge for another 30 minutes prior to serving.

iron dinner 2

Grilled Asparagus with Spinach Salad & Baked Yam Fries

iron dinner 4

Kale Chips & Steamed Mussels

iron dinner 3

Chocolate and Raspberry Trifle Serves 10

  • 1 1/4 cups light spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 398 ml can beets drained
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  •  2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 T. Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 2 T. Chocolate syrup
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  • Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Puree the beets.
  • With an electric mixer beat the sugar with the oil in a medium sized bowl for 2 minutes, then add the egg and vanilla.  Then add the beets.
  • Gradually beat in 1/3 dry ingredients, till just blended. (Don’t over do it, or cake will be tough)  Then 1/2 of buttermilk, keep alternating and end with dry ingredients.
  • Pour batter into pan till 3/4 full, if you have more batter, make cupcakes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Test with a toothpick inserted in the center, if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs it is ready.
  • While cake is cooling whip the cream until it is partly whipped, then add the Bailey’s and chocolate syrup. Continue to beat until cream is fully whipped. (Coconut cream may be substituted, just make sure the beaters and the coconut cream is chilled prior to whipping.  Buttermilk has very low lactose so if coconut cream is used, this dessert is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.)
  • Once cake is completely cooled, cut into squares and place half of the cake chunks in a serving bowl (a glass one is pretty) dollop half of the cream over top, and repeat, then sprinkle the raspberries over the top.  Chill for a couple of hours, then serve to oohs and ahhs!!

You don’t even have to let on that this dessert is nutritious, I even had some for breakfast the next day and did not feel the slightest guilt, now that’s having your cake and eating it too!  {Kake}