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Month: July 2016

Ocean Wise and SeaChoice, why we need to support them.

Ocean Wise and SeaChoice, why we need to support them.

I may have weaned myself off meat, but I still eat fish. I know, “boo,” say the real vegetarians. I’m just not there yet but, in an effort to be a bit more environmentally conscious, I try to stick to sustainably caught seafood.

Why is sustainably caught seafood important? What difference does it make really?


Remember the Atlantic Cod Moratorium back in the 90’s? I do. What a mess. Scientists were grumbling about the declining fish population, as were the local fishermen, but the government didn’t listen and/or waited too long to take action and the Northern Cod off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador were fished to commercial extinction. The moratorium was only supposed to be for 2 years to allow time for “the spawning biomass to recover” but 23 years have passed and that moratorium has not been lifted.

Over 30,000 people lost their jobs. It was called “the biggest layoff in Canadian History”. There was a lot of yelling and pointing of fingers at other countries. It was a shit show. But the fact of the matter was that the cod were overfished. Technology had gone way beyond the cod trap and long-lining traditions of the past and had moved to “factory freezer trawlers” which could fish non stop for weeks. Even when they knew the cod supplies were dwindling nobody stopped and no quota reductions were enforced until it was too late.

So that’s a little piece of Canadian history with a big impact, but what about now? How do we avoid making the same mistake?

Seafood caught using high volume, high impact trawling and gill net fishing should be avoided. Not only do these methods cause over fishing but they also have a large volume of by-catch (accidentally catching other fish and marine mammals) which includes dolphins, porpoises and turtles.

Trawler at work
Trawl Gear depolyed
Trawl Gear deployed

As a consumer it is hard to know what to buy. There are so many different fishing methods – which ones are sustainable?

fishing weaponry
fishing weaponry-which ones are sustainable?

sea choiceHappily there are two organisations designed to empower us to make good seafood choices; SeaChoice and Ocean Wise.

SeaChoice, jointly operated by the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre, and Living Oceans Society, targets seafood in supermarkets. If you see the SeaChoice logo on seafood you can be sure that it was caught sustainably. They also have a list of recommendations on their website.

oceanwise_logoOcean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program, created to help businesses and their customers make environmentally friendly seafood choices. On the Ocean Wise website you can see which variety of seafood is recommended and what local restaurants or fishmongers serve Ocean Wise seafood. They even have an app!

Each organisation targets a different area of the seafood industry but both are trying to educate the public about sustainable fishing practices. Why should we care? Because if we educate ourselves then we can make better informed choices about what we eat and who we buy from.

Money talks and we are the consumers. We have the power to change things. We’ve already fished one species to the brink of extinction, let’s not make the same mistake twice.

Cod Moratorium in Newfoundland
The Announcement of the Moratorium (Press Release 1992)
Scientists say Newfoundland’s cod stocks are coming back. Can we get it right this time? (Globe and Mail June 2015)
The collapse of the Canadian Newfoundland cod fishery (May 2009)

Muesli for non breakfast types

Muesli for non breakfast types

Super easy super healthy muesli recipe
Need a healthy muesli recipe? Read on

Either you are a breakfast person by nature or you’re not — I’m not. Give  me a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and I’m good to go. And while I’ve made some health improvements over the years (it used to be coffee and a cigarette first thing in the morning) I’m still feeling the need to clean up my eating habits. So I started with breakfast and this super easy, super healthy muesli recipe.

Muesli is definitely a good choice on the health front. Because it is pre-soaked (in yogurt or soy milk, almond milk, whatever) I find muesli super easy to digest because, again, I don’t usually eat first thing in the morning. It’s homemade so I can control the amount of sugar I use (other than what’s in the dried fruit, the recipe below adds none). It’s full of fibre and, with all the raw oats, it will not only keep you fuller longer, it will also get you burning more calories (more on that here). I don’t know about you but I need to burn some more calories…

super easy, super healthy muesli recipe
Some people might think this looks disgusting but it’s not. It’s delicious.

Muesli is also perfect for for the non breakfast type because it’s fast. Mix half a cup of this with yogurt and let it soak while you’re  getting ready in the morning. Or better yet, (if you’re organized)  throw it together the night before and it’s ready to eat while you’re waiting for that precious first cup of coffee to brew.

The biggest argument for eating muesli in the morning though is that it’s delicious. Top it with fresh fruit or just as is, you can’t go wrong.

Super Easy, Super Healthy Muesli Recipe


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews) combined and chopped
  • ½ cup sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ½ cup dried cranberries or craisins (contains sugar, so optional)
  • 3 or 4 dried dates chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of sea salt

Mix it all together and you’re done. Easy as that.


Confession time: coffee and cigarettes were my breakfast vice for over 20 years. Anyone want to confess an unhealthy vice past or present? Dare ya to comment below.

Super Special Veggies and Eggs (for that super special someone)

Super Special Veggies and Eggs (for that super special someone)

An easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs

This is basically a fancy version of a Swedish Hash–leftover roasted veggies and potatoes with an egg on top–only the potatoes and veggies are cooked up fresh. And this version has cheese, not just any cheese either, this has Gruyere. Very Fancy. You’ll be wanting to whip this dish up when when you’re out to impress that special someone with a super special brunch after you two have uh, you know…


easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs
The humble potato base

It’s super easy, and that’s why I like it. I don’t have time to fuss (too much) in the kitchen. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) toss your potatoes in oil and salt (this was a spice mix gifted by a client, but it’s basically salt) and place them in an oven safe pan. Roast for 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven).

easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs
Spinach, mushrooms, garlic and Gruyere. What more do you need?

Pull your potatoes out after the 10-15 minutes and add the mushrooms and garlic. Stir it all about and put it back into the oven for 10 minutes. It’s going to look like this going in:

easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs
potato mushroom garlic mix

Pull it out after 10 minutes and stir in the spinach:

easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs
Stir in the spinach till it wilts

Then add the cheese and eggs and cook for another 6-8 minutes until the eggs are set.

easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs
Gruyere and eggs–yes please

Final product seasoned to perfection. Dig in and enjoy.

easy and delicious brunch using veggies and eggs

 What’s your go-to brunch delight? Let us know in the comments below.


    • 1 large Russet potato
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • 200g mixed mushrooms
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 100g baby spinach
    • 1 large handful of gruyere, grated
    • 4 medium eggs
    • Salt, to season
    • Large pinch of chilli flakes


    1. Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Cut the potatoes into chunks and season with oil and salt. Put in a large ovenproof frying pan, and roast in the oven for 10-15  minutes.
    2. Cut the mushrooms into quarters, chop the garlic, then mix with the potatoes. Roast for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
    3. Remove from the oven and stir in the spinach.
    4. Add gruyere and eggs, season with salt and the chilli flakes. Return to the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes until the eggs are set.
    5. Serve with love
Okonomiyaki Party!

Okonomiyaki Party!

One of my many fond memories of living in Japan is the Okonomiyaki Party.  The host would supply the staples and the friends brought the beer, along with any special ingredients they wanted to include–because that’s the beauty of okonomiyaki, basically you can put whatever you want in it–and the party was on. I love communal cooking, because everyone has a slightly different take on what’s tasty. So people would create all of these interesting variations of okonomiyaki, some with meat, others without, some with kimchi, or seafood or yams or…whatever they want. The possibilities are endless! So start with the easy okonomiyaki recipe below and get creative.

For those who don’t know, okonomiyaki is like a vegetable fritter, a basic batter with a vegetable ingredient, usually cabbage, fried and topped with a sweet sauce. But that description does not do the okonomiyaki justice because it is way more complex and delicious than that.

The toppings in all their glory
The toppings in all their glory

This is a simple recipe designed for you to add whatever you want from there. The dried goods you will need are okonomiyaki flour, panko (to make the batter a little more fluffy) and katsuobushi, or dried Bonito flakes.

from left to right: Okonomiyaki flour, Katsuobushi, and Panko
From left to right: Okonomiyaki flour, Katsuobushi, and Panko

Cats love Katsuo by the way

photo bomb
photo bomb

Toppings are the other thing you might have to hunt around for. Any Asian market will have these though. For an authentic okonomiyaki experience you should use Kewpie Mayonnaise (the one in the creepy doll bottle) but I didn’t have any so the Wafu Mayo worked just fine.

Okonomi sauce and Wafu sesame Mayo for toppings
Okonomi sauce and Wafu sesame Mayo for toppings

From here on it’s super easy.  Mix your flour and water (measurements below) then add your wet ingredients:

The humble cabbage

Green onions, prawns and homemade pickled ginger
Green onions, prawns and homemade pickled ginger

And things will start looking like this:

Batter ready to go
Batter ready to go

Heat up your pan and add your batter and now it’ll look like this:

Carnivores can add bacon at this point, just sayin'
Carnivores can add bacon at this point (just sayin’)

Flip it and it will look like this:


And then once it’s cooked and topping have been added you will get something like this.

Presentation not perfect but It doesn't matter beause it tastes so good
Enjoy with beer

Good friends, good food, good fun–it’s the perfect combination. So get on your contacts list and gather your people for an Okonomiyaki Party. It’ll leave you with fond memories, I promise you.


(What’s your favourite okonomiyaki combo? Let us know in the comments section below.)


Easy Okonomiyaki Recipe

Ingredients (makes 2 large pancake/fritter thingies)

1 cup okonomiyaki flour
¾ cup water (or stock)
2 eggs
4 cups cabbage shredded
2 stalk of green onion sliced
¼ cup panko
½ cup raw shrimp cut into chunks
2 Tbs. pickled ginger (diced)


Okonomi sauce
Kewpie mayonnaise
Katsuobushi (dried Bonito Flakes)


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together okonomiyaki flour and water until smooth
  2. Add eggs, cabbage, green onion, panko and ginger and mix
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. of cooking oil in a frying pan over medium heat until pan is hot (200C / 400F)
  4. Spread half the batter in a circle on the pan. It should about 12″ (30cm) in diameter and about ¾” (1.5 cm) thick
  5. Sprinkle ½ of the shrimp onto the pancake (Carnivores can layer bacon over surface at this stage)
  6. Cook for 3 minutes then flip over (always an adventure!)
  7. Gently press the okonomiyaki to ensure the middle is getting cooked. Cook for another 4 minutes
  8. Flip one final time and cook for another 3 minutes or until pancake is cooked through
  9. Store finished okonomiyaki on a warm plate in the oven and repeat steps 4-8 with second pancake
  10. Drizzle with mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce and sprinkle katsuobushi over everything