Going Beyond the Pale [Beer Brownies]

btp (20)Beyond the Pale Brewing Company turned two last weekend! (Come celebrate our beerthday with us!)btpbtp (25)
There was a post from the brewery at the top of my Facebook newsfeed one morning in July; they were looking to hire. I didn’t know much about BTP except that I loved their beer and their ‘help wanted’ ad made me chuckle, and so I sent off my application (which included some brewtal beer puns). A couple pints and two interviews later, I found myself working at this great little brewery in Hintonburg.diving for mash
After spending the first part of my summer travelling and being funemployed, starting at BTP certainly felt like a change of pace, but a mighty fun one. (My mum, who hated me going around saying that I was “funemployed”, likes to joke that I became “funnERemployed”.) Compared to my past few summers at a student government job it was a huge change of pace. …I sell beer. I don’t brew (yet?!), although I do occasionally zest the grapefruit that goes in to Pink Fuzz, so I like to think I have some part in the beer creation. Sometimes muscles are sore at the end of a long day (beer is heavy!), and some of the initial novelty of working at a brewery might have worn off a little bit, but overall it’s just been a ton of fun. The friendly bunch at BTP was super welcoming and has been a hoot to work with. I’m learning more than I thought I’d ever know about beer, I get to talk to people all day who are as excited about the craft brewing scene as we are, put my social media addiction skills (#employability?) to good use (you can follow along with the brewery here, here, and here), and it’s been great to meet all these wonderful people in an industry that I’m happy to be a tiny part of.btp (11) Click to continue reading…

The Great Food Blogger Swap, Year 3 [Chewy Ginger Chocolate Cookies]

cookieswap2014Three years ago, I discovered The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, probably while procrastinating school work and perusing food blogs. I had just started my little blog at the time, so I eagerly signed up for an email that would let me know when I could sign up for the following year.fbcookieswap2014_whiteLGTwo years ago I was living in Spain (wah, where does time go!). Suffering from a serious case of FOMO, I signed up for the cookie swap even though I was out of the country, and my wonderful mother baked and mailed my cookies for me.  She even froze the cookies I received in the mail until I came home for the holidays. I know, I’m so spoiled.cookieswap2014Last year, I created a biscotti blizzard in the kitchen and might have prioritized cookie swapping over studying for finals. Just a little bit.cookieswap2014This year, I swore I’d be more organized. I wasn’t. But! Somehow, cookies were made and mailed. I’ve almost survived another exam season. And the novelty of receiving pretty packages full of cookies in the mail continues!   Click to continue reading…

Peras al vino especiado

cook & tastecafe con lecheThough it was a little bit of a splurge given the student budget I was travelling on, my day at Cook & Taste Barcelona was well worth it in my books. My friend Jane and I got up early to grab our cafes con leche on the way, and then arrived at Cook & Taste’s lovely space in the heart of Barcelona’s gothic quarter. (SO lovely. I wanted to stay and live in their kitchen.)cook and taste (5)cook & tasteWe started with a little exploring through La Boqueria. I had walked through Barcelona’s famous market a few times before, but it was great to go with our guide/teacher/food-guru for the day, María José, as we stopped to speak to each of the vendors while buying our ingredients. Jane had to jet off to Italy, so I was on my own for the cooking part of the day but my “classmates” were all super fun and friendly. I made friends with a lovely Dutch couple as we prepared mussels for the paella, and seemed to mistify a couple of nice older men from Scandinavia as to why on earth I was traveling by myself, chatted with a fellow Canuck about a certain crack smoking mayor that was making headlines at the time, and bonded with the two Aussie sisters who were charged with making sure everyone had full wine glasses. Everyone was kept busy with tasks in the kitchen and the day went by quickly. Though I had made a couple of the dishes on our menu before, it was great to follow along with a professional. We spent a couple hours getting everything ready, and then enjoyed our delicious little feast starting with tortilla de patatas con pan con tomate, salsa romesco with seasonal vegetables, the showstopping giant pan of paella de marisco, and finishing with these beatuiful burgundy pears.cook and tastecook and taste Click to continue reading…

Quitters

quitterhands(Accompanying soundtrack.)DSC_0987DSC_0992quittersDSC_0166Earlier this year, Ottawa-based chanteuse Kathleen Edwards announced that she was going to be taking a break from the music scene and that she was planning on opening a coffee shop in Stittsville. Since I just live a suburb over from ‘beyond the fringe’, I was stoked to check out Edwards’ Quitters Coffee. Star power aside, Quitters brings some serious coffee shop appeal to the suburbs. The great folks over a Apartment 613 have my full post, so grab your coffee and click on over there — happy caffeinating!quitters.

Highway 1, California

bigsurWith views hazy from the ocean spray and the Californian sunshine, everything in Big Sur seemed more dreamlike than it already is. Winding and steep at times, Highway 1 was by far the most scenic drive I’ve ever been on (kudos to Dad behind the wheel); and we made frequent pauses along the side of the road to take it all in. Mile after mile, the scenery didn’t get old. Those massive waves crashing over huge, jagged rocks like they’re just little pebbles that stand between them and shore – it’s the kind of scene that reminds you just how powerful nature is. Even from way up above on the bluffs, the swirling ocean looks like billowing clouds before a storm (under the least threatening cloudless blue sky). It’s a dangerous kind of beauty.bigsur1bigsur2

“So that later when I heard people say “Oh Big Sur must be beautiful!” I gulp to wonder why it has the reputation of being beautiful above and beyond its fearfulness, its Blakean groaning rough-rock Creation throes, those vistas when you drive the coast highway on a sunny opening up the eye for miles of horrible washing sawing.” –Big Sur, Jack Kerouac

beachreadbigsurcambria Click to read more

Wine County, Ontario

PEC (1)pec (1 of 1)Fall colours, summer sunshine, French onion grilled cheese, scenic drives, good people, and (of course) delicious wines. Not a bad way to spend a Monday.devil's wishbonepec (1 of 2)PEC (2)hinterlandWith vineyards in the region just starting their harvest, we made it down for a quick winery blitz in the county. (Thanks to Devil’s Wishbone, Exultet Wines, Lighthall Vineyard, and Hinterland Wine Company for the hospitality and wine chats on our short tour!) As usual, Prince Edward County left me wanting more. Cheers, PEC. Hope to see you again soon! exultetpec2poppy cafepecounty

Cardamom and Cloves [Moroccan Carrot and Red Lentil Soup]

c&cCardamom and Cloves brings a world of spices to Ottawa’s Little Italy. Nestled among the restaurants on Preston Street, Jodi Samis’ shop has pretty much every spice you could ever think of needing to get cooking.
SONY DSCSONY DSCWith jar upon jar lining the shelves you’re also bound to find ingredients you didn’t know existed, but Jodi will be happy to educate you. I met my parents at the shop last week for a workshop dedicated to a spice that’s ubiquitous in many kitchens, but that I honestly couldn’t have told you much about: cinnamon. As we sipped our apple cinnamon infused water, Jodi cooked and taught us about some of the history of the spice, the differences between “true” cinnamon and cassia, as well as some of it’s lesser and more commonly known health benefits. Jodi has a whole bunch of great workshops (only $10!) lined up this fall, AND (bonus!) there’s a great little deal on Groupon right now — go spice things up!Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSONY DSC Click to continue to recipe