2015 was a pretty good year for me. I moved this blog over to a self hosting site and have diligently blogged once a week ever since. My boyfriend and I traveled on our first big trip together to Turkey and it was incredible. We had two amazing camping adventures together during the summer and later in the year relaxed in Mexico while celebrating my best friend getting married. I watched a lot of fantastic horror movies. The best horror movie of the year was “It Follows” though technically I saw it at the 2014 TIFF, so I would say my favourite horror movie I saw last year was “The Final Girls”, also at TIFF. Finally I created and ate lots of delicious dishes, my top Instagram posts below!
Most of all I just feel so lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends & family (and two fluffy cats), and that we all made it through another year with good health and happiness. I try to never take for granted the freedom that I have living in Canada.
So 2016, what will you bring? I resolve to always be kinder, more positive, more patient and spread love. I resolve to try to do more good deeds and to take care of those I love. And of course, I resolve to keep up with my blogging!
I love being able to come home from work in the summer and head out for an evening run. The warm air along the lake cools to the perfect temperature as the sun sets on the horizon. I return home feeling so relaxed…and ravenous for dinner! On a night like this, I don’t have the patience for a complicated dish. This shrimp fried quinoa is one of my go-to post run meals, as I often have leftover quinoa in the fridge, and some frozen shrimp or scallops in the freezer. I like to add a lot of ginger to this dish because ginger is really good for muscle recovery, as it helps to reduce inflammation and is a natural muscle relaxant, as is lavender. I had some lavender salt from Prince Edward County Lavender, and sprinkled a bit at the end to finish off the dish as the mild floral infusion along with the thyme compliments the seafood nicely. Packed with protein and classic Asian flavor combinations, this shrimp fried quinoa is completely addictive. You’ll need to go for another run just so you can finish off this tasty dish!
I have become obsessed with making the perfect quinoa curry ever since I ate this particularly flavourful tofu curry at Urban Herbivore in a food court in Toronto. One wouldn’t think that a meal from a food court would make such an impression but I distinctly remember the crispy tofu and the creamy, sweet and spicy broth. Ever since then, my mission has been to create the same comforting experience, and I believe I have finally completed my quinoa curry quest!
My quinoa curry is packed full of protein, hints of sweetness, simmering spice and a creamy finish that will have you returning for seconds. The base of the curry is oil infused with whole cardamom, fenugreek and coriander seeds, however if you don’t have whole seeds handy substitute with 25% less (1 teaspoon whole seeds = 3/4 teaspoon ground). In Indian cooking ground spices are used as well as whole spices to slowly build layers of flavour. I used fenugreek because it has all kinds of great health benefits – including flushing out harmful toxins and helping digestion – an important aid during our detox! The heat from these spices builds slowly on the palette, and is balanced out by the soothing sweetness of the coconut and raisins. The carrots and almonds provide a nice crunch, as well as complimenting the earthy element of the quinoa. What makes my curry unique is that instead of using an onion as a base, I used fennel. I made this substitution because my boyfriend loves fennel, and because I thought the licorice flavour would tie the spicy and sweet elements together nicely. We devoured this curry while watching the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones – the perfect comfort food when watching that unpredictable show. Needless to say, I have really fallen in love with fennel, and I can’t wait to make this curry again!
350g package extra firm tofu, drained and sliced into half inch cubes
For the curry:
1 tablespoon coconut oil
5 cardamon pods, shell removed
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon fenugreek (substitute for coriander seeds if needed)
1 x fennel bulb, top removed and two layers of outer bulb finely diced. Save fronds for topping.
2 x garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 x 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
½ a red chili finely chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 x medium carrots peeled, trimmed and sliced lengthwise and chopped into half moons
2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 x 398ml can coconut milk
4 x baby bok choy, trimmed and coarsely chopped
300g frozen shrimp, defrosted
2 teaspoons garam masala
splash of lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
handful cilantro, finely chopped
unsweetened shredded coconut
Rinse quinoa if needed. Combine quinoa with chicken broth and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn down to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with fork. Add raisins. Keep covered.
In the meantime, heat oil in a hot skillet until oil starts to smoke, then turn down to medium heat. Carefully place tofu in hot oil and toss every few minutes until just lightly browned, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on paper towel to absorb the oil.
Heat coconut oil in a small pot over medium heat. Toss whole spices a few seconds until they crackle.
Add fennel and cook until translucent.
Add garlic, ginger, chilies, ground curry, cumin, and coriander. Stir for 1 minute.
Add carrots and enough stock to cover the ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add coconut milk & bok choy, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add shrimp and 1 cup stock, stir and bring to a simmer.
Add the garam masala & tofu. Stir well.
Bring to a boil and season to taste with salt, pepper and lime.
Place one scoop of quinoa in a bowl, pour curry over quinoa and top with fennel fronds, cilantro, lime wedges and sliced almonds or shredded coconut