Garden Dip


Our growing season in Alberta is so short.  I savour the time we have in the summer to enjoy Mother Nature's magnificent bounty. My tiny backyard garden produces herbs galore, including basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme, dill, parsley, rosemary, sage, chives, and tarragon. Fresh herbs make such a huge difference in cooking. I love being able to just open the back door, pop into the garden and pick what I need.

Quite often I'm not actually able to keep up to the herb production. Friends and family often get 'herb bouquets' as a hosting gift. At the end of the season I'll dry trays and trays of herbs for use in the winter months. This summer, however, I wanted to add some more diversity to their use.

This dip was inspired from my desire to use more of what herbs I am able to grow.  I love its versatility too. It's great as a bread dip, drizzled over new potatoes and on salads, or even just a simple accompaniment to a vegetable platter.  

Garden Dip

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • roughly 1 cup chopped green onions or chives (~ 1 inch pieces, packed loose)
  • 2-3 garlic scapes or 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 - 2 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley (sometimes I'll add some fresh basil to mix) 
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper  

Place all the ingredients in a small food processor and blend until all the herbs are well incorporated. Let rest in the fridge 30 minutes before serving. 



Orange Rose Butter

Orange Rose

Making homemade orange rose butter has become one of my favourite spring baking traditions. These fragrant first signs spring definitely recharges my foraging winter blues. The delegate petals of the wild rose pair oh so beautifully with citrus notes of orange. The perfect way to welcome a change of season. 

This butter is best paired over a freshly toasted piece of bread, drizzled with just the perfect amount of honey. 

Orange Rose Butter

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • petals from ~ 15 wild roses
  • zest of one orange
  • pinch of salt

Place the whipping cream in a food processor and blend until the butter solids separate from the milk (forming buttermilk). Strain the butter out using a fine mesh sieve. Using a spatula or cheese cloth, squeeze as much of the liquid from the butter as possible. 

Mix in salt, orange zest and rose petals. Store in the fridge.

Don't throw out the buttermilk! You can use this in other recipes.  

Rose Butter
Orange rose butter
Orange rose butter
Orange rose butter

Cookbook Review & Salmon Gravlax from The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge

 I was invited by  Penguin Random House Canada  to review the recently released  The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge.  So they sent me a free review copy—but even better, they want to send one to you as well! I’ll be running an Instagram contest where one of my lucky followers could win a copy of this beautiful book. Be sure to check out my  Mushroomsandthyme  feed for details on how to enter. (Note: open only to entries with a Canadian mailing address. Contest closes July 1, 2018).

I was invited by Penguin Random House Canada to review the recently released The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge. So they sent me a free review copy—but even better, they want to send one to you as well! I’ll be running an Instagram contest where one of my lucky followers could win a copy of this beautiful book. Be sure to check out my Mushroomsandthyme feed for details on how to enter. (Note: open only to entries with a Canadian mailing address. Contest closes July 1, 2018).

The moment you lay eyes on The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge you are instantly transported to the ocean and the welcoming embrace it imparts on your soul. It’s the first cookbook that made me stop dead in my tracks from rushing to open the book and flip through the recipes and photos in a mad frenzy. The texture of the front cover draws me in instantly. I’m running my hands over the front, my mind even more curious as to what I’ll find inside.  

From reading the charming introduction and history of the Wickaninnish Inn you understand the connection of the cover. The wood grain that graces the cover is embossed to replicate the texture of the hand-adzed cedar posts and beams of the Inn, hand carved by master carver Henry Nolla using traditional First nations tools.

The recipes are compiled from many of the chefs who have led The Point restaurant since 1996. From Chef Justin Labossiere’s Dungeness crab and mascarpone ravioli in saffron pasta, to Chef Matt Wilson’s Tuff Session Sourdough Bread and Chef Rod Butters’ shellfish potlatch. All recipes that you can now make in your home kitchen!

It’s this attention to detail and thoughtfulness to weave the history of the restaurant, the Inn, and the tiny surf town of Tofino, B.C. on the west coast of Vancouver Island, throughout the book that makes it so remarkable. The beautiful photography of Makito Inomata that flows alongside the recipes takes the book to a whole other level.

The cookbook also includes several cocktails that I’m dying to try as well—‘cedar-infused rye whisky’, ‘foraging through the woods’,  ‘huckleberry liqueur’ spark instantly intrigued me. Not to mention, the last chapter of the cookbook, the Pantry, is a hidden gem. The Pantry details the vinegars, oils and preserves that are needed in some of the recipes. Leek oil, dill oil, strawberry jam, apple butter and cured egg yolks to name a few. For those that love to experiment in the kitchen, these pantry items are sure to inspire beyond the recipe they are called for. 

Admittedly, I have yet to visit Tofino. It’s been on my wish list of places to see within Canada. After reading this cookbook, it’s definitely jumped up several spots on that list!

Recipes that have left me inspired to recreate, include:

  • Sunflower seed cheese
  • Mini beef tartare burgers
  • Mushroom tortellini 
  • Root vegetable torte 
  • BBQ beach oysters 

At the top of the ‘I MUST TRY THIS!’ list was the salmon gravlax recipe, which is detailed below. I’ve never made gravlax before, but have been curious about it for a long time. You’ll find me eating smoked salmon almost every Saturday breakfast, served over grilled sourdough, an over easy egg and all the fixings—a little treat to kick start the weekend. For some reason I had it in my mind that gravlax would be difficult to tackle or turn out successfully. I always talked myself out of making it. However, it was surprising easy, and with a little planning ahead of time, really easy to make for a brunch gathering. Completely in love it the results.

Salmon Gravlax

Wickaninnish Salmon Gravlax

Picture British Columbia’s west coast and thoughts of salmon won’t be far behind. Executive Chef Barr’s recipe for a simple but flavourful gravlax makes the most of the bountiful and sustainable wild fish. Perfect for canapés or as part of a seafood charcuterie platter, this is one party dish you will make again and again.

  • 1 cup (145 g) salt
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of ½ grapefruit
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 Tbsp (5 g) toasted fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 sprigs dill, leaves only, chopped
  • 1 side fresh coho or sockeye salmon

In a small non-reactive bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the salmon, and mix well. This is the cure. Rinse off the cure, then put the salmon back on the tray and leave it uncovered in the fridge to air-dry overnight.

Slice the salmon thinly, being sure to leave the skin behind. Serve with crackers, bread, cream cheese, capers, red onions, and pickles.

Excerpted from The Wickaninnish Cookbook: Rustic Elegance on Nature’s Edge by Joanne Sasvari. Copyright © 2018 Wickaninnish Inn. Photography © Makito Inomata. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
Salmon Gravlax
Salmon Gravlax
Salmon Gravlax
Salmon Gravlax
Salmon Gravlax

Grandma's Fudge Brownies

Fudge Brownies

For the last couple of years I've been tackling a series of my Grandma's handwritten recipes and photographing the results to include in a family cookbook. It's been both fun and challenging. See my Grandma had a sweet tooth, I do not. So I've been putting off making lots of the desserts. It's also challenging in the sense that I constantly think I'm not making the recipes correct, often wishing she was still here to ask for advice or tips to ensure they'll turn out just right.  

That feeling of uneasiness was here as I made these fudge brownies for the first time (yes first). Something felt incorrect as I was mixing them. The ratio of butter and sugar to flour felt off. But I stuck to the recipe. Trusted it will turn out, if not, telling myself I could always make another batch. To my delight, they turned out on the first go! Super chewy, not too heavy on the chocolate side, and a little crunch from the nuts. 

I think the sweets might even be growing on me now. 

Grandma's Fudge Brownies

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 x 1oz unsweeted bakers chocolate, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325°. Beat together butter, sugar, melted chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs and beat until mixed. Stir in flour. Fold in walnuts. Bake in a greased 8x8 inch pan for 35 min.

Optional, but likely a must for those who love a bit of chocolate drama, I melted an ounce of dark baking chocolate and drizzled on top before serving.

Fudge Brownies
Fudge Brownies
Fudge Brownies

Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls with Lion’s Mane and Chaga Mushrooms

Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls

The incredible health benefits of edible mushrooms
Fungus has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. Lion’s mane mushroom is best known for their benefits of improved cognitive health and reduced inflammation. It’s great for supporting short-term and visual recognition memory.  Chaga is known for boosting the immune system, being a potent antioxidant, and lowering cholesterol. It contains melanin, which helps fights radiation and tumors. Chaga is also good at helping the body adapt and respond to stress.

Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls

Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls with Lion’s Mane and Chaga Mushrooms
Makes 20-24

1 cup hazelnut meal (ground fresh hazelnuts or purchase as a meal)
1 ½ cup medjool date, pits removed
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ cup shredded coconut flakes
4 tbs coconut oil, melted
3 tbs protein powder
2 tbs powdered lion’s mane mushroom
1 tbs powdered chaga mushroom
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt

Powdered mushrooms
I find the best way to get powdered mushrooms is to purchase them in their dehydrated state and pulse into a powder using a spice grinder. You can usually find dehydrated lion’s mane and chaga mushrooms at your local Asian supermarket.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the batter comes together and sticks. If you find the batter is still loose, add a tablespoon of water and pulse. Form the batter into small balls. If you wanted to be extra fancy, you could coat the energy balls in some melted chocolate and sprinkle with some fun toppings. I like to use bee pollen, pistachios, wild rose petals, coconut flakes, or some falvoured salt like raspberry.

Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls
Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls
Chocolate Hazelnut Energy Balls

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns

I think I might have started my own personal Easter tradition. I didn't grow up with hot cross buns being made in our house, or even purchased around Easter. However, with my ever increasing love for making bread, this is second year in a row I've made them. I'm sure I will make them again next year, or perhaps a second batch for Easter weekend! 

This year I wanted to make something a little different than the traditional bun made with raisin. I had some amazing whole wheat flour from a local Alberta farm, Gold Forest Grains,  I've been wanting to bake with. They grow heirloom and heritage wheat, stoned milled in small batches. Trust me when I say, you can feel the difference when you touch and smell this flour. 

Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns
Makes 12

Yeast Mixture & Dough
1 tbs dry active yeast
½ cup sugar, plus 2 tbs
1 ½ cups lukewarm milk
1 ¼ cups (two apples) of chopped apple
4 ½ cups whole wheat all-purpose flour
1 ½ tbs cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ginger powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
50g(1 ½ oz) melted butter

Mixture for Crosses
½ cup plain all-purpose flour
1/3 cup water

½ cup sugar
¼ cup water, plus more for blooming the gelatin
2 tsp powdered unflavoured gelatin

Add the yeast, milk and 2 tbs of sugar in a large bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture should start to form bubbles (activating the yeast). Add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla, egg, melted butter, remaining sugar, and apples to the yeast mixture. Mix until it forms a workable ball. Place the dough on a floured surface and kneed for 5-10 minutes, until the dough feels elastic. Let the dough rise in a lightly oiled bowl for 1 hour; covered with a damp cloth. The dough should double in size.

Grease a 9 x 12 inch pan and line with parchment paper. Form the dough into 12 evenly sized balls and place in the pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise for another 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. To make the dough for the cross; mix the remaining flour and water in a small bowl until it forms a loose paste. It shouldn’t be too runny, or too thick. Place the mixture in a piping bag, or plastic bag and cut off one corner. Pipe the mixture in a cross pattern over the buns. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.

To make the glaze, sprinkle the gelatin over ½ cup cold water until it “blooms” (has absorbed the water ~10 minutes).  In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water on low to medium heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the gelatin and heat for 1 minute. Glaze buns while they are still hot out of the oven.

Serve buns warm, with butter and honey.

Hot cross buns
Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

Cloudberry Salted Caramels with A Canadian Foodie


Valerie Lugonja, from  a Canadian Foodie, spent time showing Emily Mardell from Get Joyfull, and myself how to make cloudberry salted caramels. I attempted to make a batch of caramels in the summer, and it was an epic fail. So I was pretty excited to give these a go under the watchful eye of an experienced baker. We made two batches, using three thermometers to keep track of the most accurate temperature. It turns out my thermometer wasn't good at all. Likely the culprit of the first failed attempt. 

The end result of these batches, however, were soft, chew caramels with a subtle cloudberry flavour. A real treat! They were finished with some of Valerie's exquisite Atlantic salt. A perfect pairing for these Eastern Canadian berries.   

For a link to the full recipe, visit Valerie's blog at

Cloudberry Salted Caramels
Cloudberry Salted Caramels
Cloudberry Salted Caramels
Cloudberry Salted Caramels
Cloudberry Salted Caramels
Cloudberry Salted Caramels

Cloudberry Puree with A Canadian Foodie


I spent an amazing day in the kitchen of Valerie Lugonja's from  a Canadian Foodie in February, along with Emily Mardell from Get Joyfull, baking with a remarkable Canadian berry Emily brought back from a trip to Newfoundland. These cloudberries, or bakedapples, were a treat for me. They don't grow where I live, and I was told they are pretty hard to get your hands on. I can only imagine if they did, I would be out foraging for them all the time! 

We spent the afternoon making a few different recipes. Most of which used a puree as the base. From caramels, to tarts, and cloudberry whipped cream. For the recipe we used for the cloudberry puree, visit Valerie's blog at  

Cloudberry Puree
Cloudberry Puree
Cloudberry Puree

Hamburger & Cabbage Soup

Hamburger & Cabbage Soup

I remember this soup fondly growing up. It’s perfect on those days where you need something warm and comforting, but don’t want to comprise on a cheat meal. Loaded with lots of veggies, this is a hearty meal for a chilly winter day.


  • 1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 3 cups diced cabbage 
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups stock or water
  • 1 can beef consommé
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup barley 
  • parsley, thyme, salt and pepper

Brown meat and onions, drain. Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Simmer for 2 hours.