Hot Tea Month!

Did you know, it’s hot tea month in Canada? Neither did I until about 5 seconds ago! lol. Not that I ever think people need an actual occasion to drink and celebrate tea, but since it’s tea month… why not drink even more tea?!

Here are a couple of ways to celebrate all that is tea:

A short article talking about the “Top 5 Ways to Celebrate Tea Month” which includes doing a tea exchange, tea tastings, and even cooking with tea!

There’s also Tea Festival Toronto, January 30th and 31st at the Toronto Reference Library. If you’re looking to buy and sample tea, hear talks on tea, or maybe attend a tea ceremony or two, this festival is for you!
For more details, check it out here!

And if you’re STILL looking for more ways to celebrate tea, then why not participate in the Tea Association of Canada’s Instagram Hot Tea Month Photo Contest! The contest is open until January 31st, and you have a chance to win a Breville Tea Maker!! Woohoo!

That’s all for now! Happy tea drinking!

Cheers,
Rhi 🙂

 

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East Coast treats!

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get to visit part of Canada’s East Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick to be exact). It was my first time out there and, well, I was not disappointed! Though the weather was a bit cloudy and chilly at times, overall it was a fantastic trip. I’m not entirely sure what it was; the fresh air, the laid-back friendly people, or the delicious gluten-free food I found everywhere but I could not help but feel relaxed and right at home. Seeing as this is a blog about food, however, and not travelling, I’ll skip the sightseeing parts and get right to the eating!

I’m going to mention 3 restaurants that I went to (two in Halifax, one in Moncton) though there were a few more that offered gluten-free options, these 3 stood out the most to me.

2 Doors Down (http://www.go2doorsdown.com)
Not a big restaurant but it has a great atmosphere. Casual and yet it feels intimate and classy. The menu is great because it offers variety without being lengthy (about 20ish options), and of course, it offers many gluten-free meals. In fact, 13 meals are or can be made gluten-free!! From piri piri chicken to smoked potato chowder to curry and salads. This place has great food and for excellent prices! For $10, I got the Gaia Bowl – “a salad of fresh and pickled vegetables, sprouts, avocado, heirloom carrots, radish, quinoa tabouleh, smashed spiced chick peas, and a valley peanut & ginger dressing.” It was absolutely delicious! So fresh and crisp, all the flavours worked perfectly together. I highly recommend this place.

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Gahan House (http://halifax.gahan.ca)
A friend of mine recommended I check out a country music event that the pub was hosting, and that’s when I noticed they offered gluten-free options! They also offer diary-free and vegan alternatives too! (The other restaurants I’ve mention in this post might, but I just remember this place having it for sure.) Though the options weren’t extensive I was happy with the selection they offered – mussels, bacon-wrapped scallops (though I’m allergic to bacon so scratch that), fish cakes, pan-fried trout, and curry butter chicken (I will come back for that one!). They also offer 5 different gluten-free ciders, should you need something to wash down the food with. I ordered their Fish Cakes – “salt cod, atlantic haddock, Yukon gold potatoes with a horseradish cucumber aioli” with a side salad.  If I though I could have gotten away with licking the plate without people giving me weird looks, I would have! It was that good.

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Gusto Italian Grill & Bar (https://www.facebook.com/GustoMoncton)
Gusto is an Italian restaurant in Moncton with a great menu…. in fact the majority of the menu can be made gluten-free! Which is a huge surprise considering it is Italian and Italian is known to be big on everything gluten. I started with a warm spinach and asiago dip with amazing toasted bread, followed by a margherita pizza, and the meal finished with a piece of cheesecake. Every single bit of it gluten-free!!!!! (How I had room for all that food in my stomach, though, is a mystery.)

Moncton

 
And special mentions to Rhubarb restaurant near Peggy’s Cove, NS. Though they only had a couple of gluten-free items on their menu, the fish and chips was FANTASTIC! So if you’re out that way doing the touristy thing, check out this place! (http://www.rhubarbrestaurant.ca/)

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I’m used to travelling and not finding much more than salad to eat, and I’m pretty sure I would have loved the East Coast even if that were the case, but the fact that there were so many options for me made this trip so much more amazing and memorable! Can’t wait to go back!

Cheers,
Rhi

It’s Pumpkin Season Again!

Hi Everyone!

It’s that time of year again – Pumpkin (spice) time! As many of you know by now, I love all that is pumpkin and pumpkin spice. But what about you? Are you all for it, all against it, or could take it or leave it all the same? No judgement here. I genuinely would like to hear people’s opinions on the matter. 🙂

Cheers,
Rhi

Simple Sauce

Looking for something possibly a little sweet to go with that chicken and rice or meatballs? With just a few ingredients you can make a quick & easy sauce!
Ingredients
1/2 cup of broth (either chicken or vegetable)
3 tbsp jam of your choice
1 tbsp gluten-free flour blend (I use 1/2 rice flour, 1/2 potato starch)
2 tbsp cold water.

Directions
1. Heat broth over low-medium heat. Add jam and stir until melted.
2. In a small bowl, mix flour and water until smooth.
3. Add flour mix to jam mixture. Stir until thick.

Voila! That easy!
Tip 1: If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can use a hand mixer to puree the broth-jam mix before adding the flour mix to it.
Tip 2: It’s important you mix the flour with the cold water first, because adding it directly to the hot broth will cause it to clump.

Cheers,
Rhi

Japanese Cream Stew

I’m not sure what brought on the craving last night, but I had it bad for cream stew!

I’m honestly not sure how popular cream stew is in North America but in Japan, it sure is! For those of you who don’t know, it’s a typical stew consisting of meat (in this recipe – chicken) and vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and broccoli, in a thick cream/milk base. In Japan, you can buy little cubes of ready-made roux in a box, and you add it to water and vegetables. Voila, instant cream stew! You can also buy ready-made curry cubes, as seen here, but since neither cubes are gluten-free I don’t use them. This recipe is also easy enough that many of you probably already have the ingredients necessary!

I apologize in advance as this recipe was created without measuring, but I will do my best to give you approximates. The vegetables were based on my preference, feel free to add more or less of a vegetable; it’s completely up to you.

Ingredients
1 cup diced Chicken breast
2 cups Chicken broth
2 cups Milk
3 – 4 tbsp Butter
1 small onion, diced
1 – 1 1/2 cups diced Potatoes
1/4 cup diced Carrots
2 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 – 1 cup Broccoli, cut in any way you’d like
1/2 cup Cauliflower, cut same as broccoli
3 tbsp flour blend (approximately 1.5 tbsp of rice flour, 1 tbsp potato starch, 1/4 tablespoon tapioca starch)
2 tbsp Grape seed oil (or canola oil)

Directions
1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for a couple of minutes.
2. Add chicken and cook until slightly brown. Add minced garlic and cook for one minute.
3. **Optional step but I find it quickens the cooking process** Place remaining vegetables in a microwavable container with 2 tbsp of water, cover with cling wrap and steam in microwave for 1 – 2 minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan, add chicken-onion mix and vegetables along with 2 cups of chicken broth (should just barely cover the vegetables). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
5. Making the roux & white sauce: In a small saucepan, melt butter over low-medium heat. Once butter is melted, add the flour and whisk continuously. Reduce heat and continue to whisk for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1 cup of milk and whisk. Add it back to the heat and continue to whisk as it thickens. Gradually add remaining milk until you get the desired consistency. (In other words. you want a very thick white sauce, if it’s too thick add more milk, if it’s too thin – mix cold  milk with bit more flour then add the mixture to the sauce).
6. Add the white sauce to the vegetables and broth. Stir. Add salt and pepper to season and serve.

If there is any confusion as to what I was trying to explain, please let me know! I tried to be clear but for all I know that was as clear as mud. The above recipe makes 3-4 servings.
As an option, you can shred cheese and add it to the white sauce prior to adding it to the vegetables and broth, to give the stew an extra level of flavour.

Roux is a very useful recipe to master as it can be used to make many simple sauces such as cheese sauce, bechamel sauce, and also in stews such as this one. I invite you to experiment with a variety of gluten-free flour blends until you find one that works for you, though a bit of advice, too much tapioca is never good when it comes to this haha. 😉

Cream Stew

Enjoy! 🙂

Cheers,
Rhi

Calgary!

Just wanted to make a small post – I recently returned from a business trip to Calgary and can I say, wow! So many restaurants with gluten-free options! Yes, of course it’s becoming more and more popular everywhere, but I was really impressed there. Even the restaurant in my hotel had gluten-free pizza, pasta and bread (and it was good)! Wish I could have stayed longer to test out more places. Now I feel like I should try harder to test out new restaurants in my own city!

Cheers