greenhorn espresso bar

after visiting roedde house museum, my sister and i went for lunch at greenhorn espresso bar. i’ve been wanting to try this place since moving back into the neighbourhood, and i’m so happy that i finally did. the food was amazing! everything we tried tasted like it was made with fresh clean ingredients. you can tell that they take pride in their offerings.

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my only complaint is that there wasn’t enough seating. greenhorn is super popular, but there isn’t enough seating for the amount of table space there is. so some people have to stand to eat which, unless you’re somewhere in europe and going for the whole “do as they do” thing, it’s kind of a pain in the ass to stand while eating your soup. hopefully they get that sorted out.

i look forward to returning though. my mouth still waters every time i think about the deliciousness they serve up.



greenhorn espresso bar

roedde house

my sister and i recently visited roedde house museum, located a few blocks from my house and somewhere i’d been wanting to check out for several years.

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the museum, a late-victorian home in the queen anne revival style, was built in 1893 for the family of gustave roedde. mr. roedde was the city’s first book binder, and the house has been beautifully restored and filled with interesting artifacts reflect the day-to-day life of a middle class immigrant family at the turn of the last century.

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we both enjoyed ourselves and had fun poking around each room learning about vancouver’s history. it’s always nice to see things from our (regular people, that is) perspective. in fact, i enjoyed it so much that i bought myself a membership, and hope to return soon.

if you’re interested in visiting roedde house, i’ve included the link below.



roedde house museum

sweet potato and chorizo soup

a couple of weeks ago i was trying to decide on a new soup recipe to try when the boyfriend suggested this one. the name didn’t grab me, and i wasn’t really excited to try it. fast forward to the next day, after i had gone grocery shopping to buy what i needed and came home to make it. the light curry smell in our house was amazing and i couldn’t wait to try it. it’s not the prettiest soup, i agree, but the flavour combination makes for a party in your mouth. this recipe quickly jumped into my ‘hug in a bowl’ list of favourites and i look forward to making it again. plus it gives me an excuse to use my immersion blender, which is one of my favourite kitchen tools.


2 carrots, peeled and roughly sliced

2 celery stalks, sliced

2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

7 oz chorizo sausage, sliced

1/4 c fresh parsley (including stalks), finely chopped

1 3/4 litres chicken broth

olive oil

1 rounded Tbsp madras curry powder

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 fresh thai chili

2 Tbsp olive oil


put the broth in a saucepan and heat until boiling.

meanwhile, put a large pan on a high heat and add the olive oil. add all your chopped and sliced ingredients with the curry powder and mix together with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes or so, with the lid askew, until the carrots have softened but are still holding their shape, and the onion is lightly golden. add the boiling broth to the vegetables. give the soup a good stir and bring to a boil. reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sweet potato is cooked through. season with salt and pepper. using an immersion blender pulse the soup until smooth and scatter over a little finely chopped chili. divide between your serving bowls and dive in.

serves 6 to 8

bon appetit!


mexican pot roast tacos

i’ll do my best to not drool over my keyboard while typing this post.


last year for the boyfriend’s family birthday dinner i decided to go with a mexican theme. my sister brought delicious salsa and guacamole, and i made these beef tacos. i also made a sort-of deconstructed guacamole salad (lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and cilantro lime dressing). for dessert i made an amazing chocolate cheesecake, and i’ll share the recipe for when i make it again and remember to take photos.

anyway, back to the tacos. after months of craving them i finally made them this week and, let me tell you, it would be a serious disservice to the public if i didn’t share the recipe. they’re that good. super easy too!

2-3 lbs beef shoulder


freshly ground black pepper

extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 large onion, sliced

1 (28-ounce) can crushed san marzano tomatoes

1 Tbsp ancho chile powder

1 Tbsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp ground cumin

3 bay leaves

season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. in a large heavy pot that has a tight cover, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over moderately high heat. add the garlic and the beef to the pot, browning the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. add the onion and allow to lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. add the crushed tomatoes, plus 1 tomato can of water, spices, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to cover the meat. bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer with a lid for 3 hours until the meat is fork tender. let meat cool in the liquid. shred meat, add enough of the cooking liquid to coat the shredded meat to your preference, and set aside.

to serve: use whichever tortillas you prefer (we like flour), and top with your favourite fixings. one of my favourite finds is queso fresco, but if you can’t find it any cheese would work (jalapeno jack and feta are good substitutes in my opinion). don’t forget cilantro or a squeeze of fresh lime!

bon appetit!



tyler florence mexican pot roast tacos

black bean soup


this recipe is adapted from budgetbytes (link below), and was super easy to make – and super tasty!

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, grated
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup medium salsa (store bought is fine)
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
combine the garlic, onion, celery, carrots, black beans, salsa, chili powder, cumin, oregano, chicken broth, and water in a large pot. stir well. bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. remove the pot from the heat, and blend the soup with an immersion blender – being careful to not splash hot soup all over yourself. taste, and adjust seasoning as required.
serve with toppings of your choice (sour cream or yogurt, green onions, tomatoes, cheese, guacamole, hot sauce.. the possibilities are endless!)
makes 6 servings
bon appetit!

book club news

exciting news to share!

once upon a time i started a book club with a few friends. each month we’d read a book, post a review on our blog and share a recipe that the story inspired us to make. a book a month – on top of our often hectic busy lives – proved to be too much to handle, so we managed to get through only three books before putting the project on hiatus.

fast forward a couple of years, and we’re starting up the book club again. we’ve got a new name, a new site, and are committing to a book every two months. this seems much more manageable.

the current book selection is .. drum roll, please ..


i’ve read this before and absolutely loved it, so i’m super excited to read everyone’s reviews and see what delicious food they made.

if you’re interested in learning more about our book club and perhaps joining us (the more the merrier), please check out the link below. be sure to check out the frequently asked questions page, and get to know us through the links on the members page.

i hope you’ll join us!



nibbles and books book club

creamy basil pesto

when i was younger i thought pesto was supposed to look like the jarred stuff bought at the supermarket. have you ever looked at it closely?

disgusting pesto

what the hell is that?! it’s nothing like proper pesto, and super unappetizing. it boggles my mind that people think it’s good.

my friend shared this recipe with me for creamy vibrant delicious pesto. the secret is to blanche the basil, which helps to keep its vibrant colour. now that i’ve made it this way i don’t think i’ll ever go back – or resort to that horrible store bought stuff again.

ice bath

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt

3 c packed basil leaves

1/4 c ice water

2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

1/2 c pine nuts

1/4 c grated parmesan reggiano

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

bring a large pot of water seasoned with 1 Tbsp of the salt to a rolling boil. meanwhile, set up an ice bath by combining ice and water in a medium bowl.

put the basil in the boiling water, pressing it gently under the water, and cook for just 2 or 3 seconds. quickly remove the basil from the water with a metal mesh strainer and plunge it immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. let cool completely for 2 minutes.

remove the basil from the ice bath and squeeze it lightly with your hands or in a clean dishtowel to remove most of the excess water.

chop the basil coarsely with a sharp knife and then put it in a food processor. add the 1/4 cup ice water, the garlic, the pine nuts, the cheese, the remaining 1 tsp salt, and the pepper. blend until the basil is coarsely puréed, scraping down the sides and adding more water to facilitate blending only if needed. be patient; don’t add more water if it isn’t necessary. with the food processor still running, add the oil in a steady stream until the pesto looks creamy and emulsified. cover and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for up to a few months.

doesn’t this look delicious? creamy and a perfect blend of flavours.



i’ll definitely be making this one again!

bon appetit!


bella italia

my sister and i went to italy to celebrate my 40th birthday. we visited rome, pompeii, sorrento, capri and lucca. it was a great trip and it’s difficult to believe it’s already been 2 months since we returned home. sad kittens.

people often ask me what the highlight of my trip was and it’s impossible to answer. any given moment of any given day i’ll give you a different answer to that question. italy is .. well, it’s amazing. how can you narrow down your favourite moments or experiences into a short list?

i’ll do my best, but please understand that these are my highlights for this minute and they’ll likely change if you ask me again tomorrow.

in no particular order:

trastevere twilight walking tour

our garden suite at hotel cisterna

walking into basilica di santa maria for the very first time

waking up in sorrento and looking out across the bay of naples

the boat ride to capri

torre argentina cat sanctuary

shopping for groceries and pretending to be locals

guided tour of pompeii

a decaf cappucino to start my days

pasta and sauce cooking class

pizza at pizzeria florida

wandering the streets with my camera in hand

our last italian dinner in san lorenzo

spending time with my sister

real buffalo mozzarella that puts the stuff we buy here at home to shame

here are a few photos from our trip. if you’re interested in seeing more, feel free to check out my flickr account (link below).

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italy photos


ricotta meatballs with tomato sauce, and a dash of sweat and tears

i love ricotta cheese and one day hope to try my hand at making it myself. until then, i’ll continue to buy store bought whenever a recipe calls for it. like for these delicious meatballs. yes, for a non-fan of balls of meat on my plate, i really loved them.

i wish i could say that i had a wonderful experience making them, but that would be a lie. it was hell. we’d recently moved back into our old apartment downtown (long story) and the smoke detector is directly across from the entrance of the shoebox sized kitchen. what i’d forgotten, from the first time we lived here, is that the smoke detector is super sensitive. i swear, if you looked at it the wrong way it would start screaming at you.

the recipe calls for baking the meatballs in the oven, so that’s what i did tried to do. within 10 minutes of putting them in the oven the smoke detector was shrieking its head off at me. regardless of what i did, the stupid thing would not stop it’s assault. i tried fanning it with a tea towel, pressing the buttons on the front, covering it with the tea towel.

nothing. worked.

keep in mind that the meatballs had only been in the oven for 10 minutes – they were still raw, and definitely not burning. it seems that the smoke detector took exception to me having the oven on at such a high heat (450F). and let’s also discuss my fear of fire and the fact that i’ve been diagnosed with panic disorder. i was barely keeping myself together.

after about 10 minutes of this (but what felt like much longer), i heard a knock on the door. in a normal situation i’d be embarrassed but this wasn’t normal. i opened the door and saw the concerned look on my neighbour’s face and practically begged her to come in to help me. she stood on a stool whacking at the smoke detector with a wooden spoon while i set up the stand fan and faced it up at the wall. finally, the smoke detector shut.the.hell.up.

it was then that i fell apart. big fat tears rolled down my face as i sobbed and tried to thank her and apologise at the same time. bless her for keeping her composure, because i can only imagine how much of a nutter i looked like. needless to say, i sat down with a much needed glass of wine afterward to calm myself down while waiting for the boyfriend to come home.

her suggestion was to finish cooking the meatballs on the stove top and speak with our landlord about getting a replacement smoke detector. i did both. the meatballs were delicious and we are now the proud owners of a subtle, less sensitive, smoke detector that literally beeps while a woman’s calm voice calls out “there is a fire. there is a fire.”

so, i do recommend this recipe – but make sure your smoke detector isn’t an uptight cow before you turn the oven on. or do yourself a favour and cook them on the stovetop.


for the tomato sauce..(this makes 7 cups, so freeze the extra)

1/4 c olive oil

2 shallots, finely diced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 tsp salt or to taste

2 Tbsp tomato paste

2 28-ounce cans whole plum tomatoes, chopped with their liquid

heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. add the shallots, bay leaf, oregano, garlic, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the shallots are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 5 minutes. add the tomatoes and stir constantly until the sauce begins to boil. lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the sauce on the bottom of the pot from burning. taste and season with additional salt, if desired. remove the bay leaf before serving.


for the meatballs (this makes 2 dozen 1 1/2 inch balls)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 lbs 80% lean ground beef

1 c ricotta cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 c bread crumbs

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp ground fennel

4 c tomato sauce

preheat the oven to 450°F. drizzle the olive oil into a 9×13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. set aside.

combine the ground beef, ricotta, eggs, bread crumbs, parsley, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel in a large mixing bowl and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated.

roll the mixture into round, golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the meat firmly. place the balls in the prepared baking dish, being careful to line them up snugly and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. the meatballs should be touching one another.

bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. a meat thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball should read 165°F.

while the meatballs are roasting, heat the tomato sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring often.

when the meatballs are firm and fully cooked, remove them from the oven and drain the excess grease from the pan. pour the tomato sauce over them. return the meatballs to the oven and continue roasting for another 15 minutes.

or, as i mentioned, cook them on the stove top in the tomato sauce following the same guideline for internal temperature.


bon appetit!