Wild Foods Festival Recap

The Nanaimo & Area Land Trust held its 3rd annual Wild Foods Festival last Sunday at Bowen Park as a part of Nanaimo’s Earth Day celebrations. The festival drew our attention as it featured local chefs preparing savoury snacks and desserts with wild edible plants. It was an easy sell for us as one can never really go wrong when surrounded by copious amounts of food.

Chef Hamish Thomson from Real Food serves up stinging nettle and blackberry smoothies

As we approached the festivities honking our horn erratically at the minivan attempting to steal our parking spot, our minds conjured up images of endless salad bars, hippies and patchouli. We were instead met with an array of stalls manned by local market vendors, restaurants and community groups. Everyone from students to professionals, hipsters, crunchy granola types, vendors and food enthusiasts alike came out to sample and learn about edible wild plants. We had also come to the realization that they all had a good head start on us in the eating department and that there was some serious catching up to do. We opted out of the guided edible plants walk and headed straight for the food…naturally!
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Fab Food Photo of the Week: When Life Gives You Lemons

“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find someone who’s life has given them vodka, and have a party.” -Ron White

What a smart guy, who doesn’t love a good vodka lemonade party!

 

What’s your favourite lemon inspired dish? Let us know in the comments below!

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Meaghan’s Mediterranean Pasta

This Mediterranean inspired pasta is bursting with bold flavours characteristic of the region. The combination of zesty sun-dried tomatoes, the fruity punch of Kalamata olives, aromatic basil and garlic create a kaleidoscope of flavours on the palate. What’s wonderful about this recipe is its flexibility. It can be served hot as a savoury entree or cold as a hearty pasta salad. Soy cheese can be used in lieu of feta and parmigiano to make it vegan and the addition of grilled chicken breast would satisfy meat-eaters alike. Adapted and perfected by our very own flirty foodie Meaghan, this recipe is sure to transport your taste buds straight to the sunny Mediterranean, even on the dreariest of rainy days on the West Coast. Continue reading

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Fab Food Photo of the Week: Beer Chicken

Be prepared as there is some seriously exposed meat in this week’s Fab Food Photo.  It’s borderline pornographic and probably isn’t suitable for workplace viewing. Beer chicken is one of our favourite BBQ recipes, perfect for a weekend camping trip. Slide a full beer up the nether regions of a chicken, toss it on the BBQ, and grab a couple cold ones while you let the brew it work its magic.  We used Budweiser and Lucky Lager, an Island classic.

 What is your go to camping beer? Post your answers below!

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Eating Out: Bistro Taiyo Sushi Bar & Izakaya

A Japanese salad of burdock root and carrots with sesame oil

Bistro Taiyo Sushi Bar & Izakaya, located in the heart of Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter has served up authentic Japanese home-style cuisine for years. Under new ownership since 2011, Takeshi Hirose and Shin Koshimizu have given it a sophisticated remodel while still keeping true to the character and friendly atmosphere of its previous incarnation. From the moment you are warmly welcomed by the gracious all Japanese staff, you feel as though you’ve stepped into a small restaurant in Tokyo, minus the happy hour crowd in suits. The space though modest, features a sleek sushi bar where one can get a front row seat of sushi chefs in action. In addition, there are tables lining a bench and wooden chairs with traditional paper lanterns floating from the ceiling. While we do recommend that you pull up a seat at the sushi bar, we grabbed a table in anticipation of the serious spread we planned on ordering. The extra table space was needed. Continue reading

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Fab Food Photo of the Week: Condiment Heaven

Like the saying goes, “condiments are like old friends-highly thought of, but often taken for granted.” Like the generous dousing of Sriracha on a stir fry, the garlicky punch of tzatziki on a gyro or the sugary embrace of Heinz ketchup on a hot dog, condiments usually take a back seat to the food and are seldom given the credit they deserve. This week’s Fab Photo pays tribute to these unsung heroes, these patrons of flavour. From mayonnaise to soy sauce, we salute you!

Foodie survey: What is your pick for king of all condiments? Vote below! 

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West Coast Salad Rolls

Vietnam will always have a special place in both of our hearts and our livers (thanks to the mass consumption of Vodka Vietnam). We met and worked at a pho restaurant and spent the better part of two months backpacking through the bustling streets of Hanoi down to the serene waters of the Mekong Delta. It’s only fitting that our first food post paid homage to our ongoing fling with Vietnam.

Salad rolls (Goi Cuon) are a popular light Vietnamese snack food served cold or at room temperature. Ubiquitous in Western pho houses everywhere, our version comes with a West Coast twist; with smoked salmon lox and grilled scallops replacing the usual chicken and shrimp. For added flavour, we grilled our veggies, marinated our scallops in spicy peanut sauce and used Thai basil as well as cilantro. While most Western recipes calls for a peanut dipping sauce, our rendition is served with the traditional fish sauce (Nuoc cham). This was an experimental recipe with delicious results. These can be made well in advanced, perfect for entertaining guests.

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Fab Food Photo of the Week: Chocolate Covered Strawberries

We adore chocolate and strawberries respectively, but when you put them together the result is pure ecstasy. There really is an art to making these ambrosial little treats. Perhaps one day we’ll tell you more but for now here’s a little insiders tip. Stick a toothpick into the strawberry, after you dip it turn it upside down and insert the toothpick into a piece of Styrofoam. 

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