Chef Ned Bell’s Heirloom Tomato Soup

July 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

On Saturday July 21, 2012, Chef Ned Bell cooked an heirloom tomato soup at the Vancouver Farmers Market, Market Kitchen series. The second installment out of four, I was not only curious to see the Chef in action, but to see how the kitchen was set up during the event. To my surprise, they had transported a full kitchen with a gas range and fridge to the outdoor parking lot at Trout lake. A crowd gathered around to watch the demo and learn insightful cooking techniques.

The heirloom tomato soup is simple and something that everyone can make at home. Chef Bell added layers of ingredients and flavours that made the soup heavenly. After the demo, samples were given out with recipes cards and all the ingredients were available at the market.

I was quite excited to get a sample and try the soup. My first bite had a chunk of sorbet which made the soup feel cool though there was a spicy after note. On my second bite, I scooped up some of the cherry balsamic which was warm and tangy. The cucumbers were refreshing and felt like a palate cleanser. Overall the soup was delicious and I will make it soon.

This is Chef Ned Bell’s recipe for Heirloom Tomato Soup

Served 6-8
2 lbs heirloom tomatoes – assorted and seeded
1/2 lb cucumber – peeled and seeded
2 roasted red peppers – char grilled, peeled and seeded
1 clove fresh garlic
2 tbsp sea salt
fresh herbs – your favourite in-season variety
1 jalapeño – seeded and chopped

Puree all ingredients in a bar blender until smooth. Season to taste. Chill for at least an hour until very cold.

Cucumber Pickle:
1 cup honey
1 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 of 1 medium English cucumber

Bring honey and vinegar to a boil. Slice cucumber thin and soak in honey vinegar. Chill.

Cherry Balsamic Syrup:
1/2 litre white wine vinegar
2 cups honey
1 cup salt
1 lb cherries – stemmed but not pitted
1 cup good quality balsamic vinegar

Put cherries in a heat-proof bowl or jar. Bring vinegar, honey and salt to a boil. Pour over cherries. All balsamic vinegar. Let cool.

Chef Ned Bell brought this spicy sorbet to add to the soup. It was amazing.

To serve, ladle the soup out into chilled bowls or a large family style bowl. Garnish with the cucumber pickle, cherries balsamic and fresh herbs. Optional, add one scoop of fruit sorbet per serving. Crack some fresh black pepper over top and enjoy.

Aloo Tikki Burgers

July 11, 2012 § 2 Comments

When mini burgers became popular menu items in restaurants, I must admit I was a bit jealous that I could not partake in eating palm sized burgers like everyone else. In restaurants when my friend’s burgers would arrive on a delicate plate lined with three carefully prepared mini burgers, I could not help but feel left out when my large sloppy veggie burger was presented in front of me. I really shouldn’t complain because a few years back you could barely order an average veggie burger and nowadays restaurants offer a variety of creative toppings.

One of my favourite places to eat veggie burgers is at the McDonald’s Restaurants in India. Indian McDonald’s do not serve any beef and make up for it with the abundance of veggie options. They have three veggie burgers on the menu including the McAloo Tikki, the McVeggie burger and the Mcspicy paneer burger. I am normally not a fan of McDonald’s but in India it is a real treat.

This aloo tikki burger was inspired by the McAloo Tikki burger that I had at a McDonald’s restaurant in India. Aloo tikki patties are made from mashed potatoes which are mixed with veggies and spices, rolled into balls and deep-fried. They can be quite spicy and taste delicious with a touch of mango chutney. You can buy a box of aloo tikki patties from an ethnic grocery store and they are found in the freezer section.

Cooking time 20 minutes
Serves 1

aloo tikki patties
mini buns
vegan mayo
thinly sliced tomatoes
mango chutney

1. Cook the aloo tikki patties as instructed on the box.
2. Spread vegan mayo on both sides of the bun. Add the lettuce and tomato to the top bun.
3. Place the aloo tikki patty on the bottom bun and add a dollop of chutney.


Pola’s Summer Salad

July 4, 2012 § 2 Comments

To celebrate the beginning of the summer, my friend threw a party and served this amazing summer salad. When I asked her how she made it, she said that she basically threw together some ingredients that were in her fridge. The salad was very fresh and juicy and like a fusion of a greek and fruit salad. It is one of the best salads that I’ve had in a long time and I will be definitely taking this to my next bbq.

watermelon cut into 3/4 – 1 inch pieces
strawberries cut in half
cucumbers cut in quarters lengthwise and into 1 -1 1/4 inch pieces
red pepper cut into long thin strips
cooked quinoa
crumbled feta
sliced almonds
dried cranberries
roughly chopped dill
roughly chopped mint
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Combine the ingredients in a big bowl, toss and serve.

Matchstick Coffee Shop

July 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

This morning I met a friend at one of my favourite coffee shops, Matchstick on East 15th Avenue at Fraser Street and Kingsway. Matchstick Coffee shop serves single origin coffees and if you are a coffee snob like me, you will thoroughly enjoy their americanos. For those of you who like drip coffee, you will love their pour-over selection of beans that are freshly ground and brewed per cup.

An hourglass shaped carafe sits on a digital scale and near the top rests a stainless steel filter which does not impart taste from previous use. The coffee is ground fresh when you order a cup and is place in the filter. They measure the amount of water used by weight and set  a timer to the brewing time. The result is a beautiful cup of drip coffee. In general the pour-over coffees taste, light and clean and this style of brewing allows the characters of the coffee to shine on the palate.

Matchstick is also known for their pastries which are baked on site and my favourites being their muffins and croissants. This morning I tried their banana coconut muffin which was delicious and not too sweet. I love everything coconut and the flavours of the banana and coconut complimented each other beautifully. Their almond croissants are to die for and probably the best that I’ve tried.

For an americano and muffin, I paid $6.50 with tip. Matchstick is located on 639 E 15 Avenue in Vancouver, BC. They are open from  7 am – 6 pm, every day.

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