top of page

89 items found for ""

  • A Moose Ossobucco Recipe that falls off the bone

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Feb 8, 2020 | Recipes Ossobuco, or osso buco, is typically made using cross-cut veal shanks that are braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. The marrow in the bone is the defining feature of the osso buco and a prized delicacy. In this recipe from our friend Mandy, the veal is swapped for moose for a wild take on an Italian classic. 1 moose shank 1 medium onion diced 2 medium carrots cut into “1” chunks 2 stalks celery diced 1 tbsp fresh thyme 1 tbsp fresh rosemary 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 3 cloves garlic 4-5 juniper berries 2 cups chicken stock 2 cups white wine 2 cups tomatoe sauce 2 tbsp olive oil Add olive oil to oven-safe pan/pot with a heavy lid (cast iron works well). Brown shank on all sides, season with salt and pepper and cinnamon. Once browned, remove and set aside. Next add onion, carrots and celery to pot. Cook for approximately 5 mins, then add garlic, thyme and rosemary cook for additional 1-2 mins. Return shank to pot with seasoned veggies. Add chicken stock, wine, tomato sauce. Bring to a boil. Put in the oven. I cooked at very low heat 250°F for 8 hours. It fell off the bone!

  • Bear Barley Soup, the perfect recipe for a cold day

    Posted by Mandy Starnes | Apr 3, 2020 | Recipes Mandy Starnes shared this amazing recipe with us. It’s sure to be a hit on a cold day. The bear can be substituted for beef too! Approx 1lb ground bear meat (or beef) 2 & 1/2 cups beef broth or, even better, game bone broth 1 & 1/2 cups water 1 quart of canned tomatoes (use home-canned if you can) 1/3 cup pearl barley 1/2 medium onion 3 garlic cloves 2 medium carrots diced 2 stalks celery diced 2 cups chopped green cabbage 2 tsp mustard powder 3 tsp dried or fresh parsley 2 tsp black pepper 2 tsp paprika 1 & 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp anise seed, or 2 whole star anise pods 1/2 cup of ketchup First, brown the bear meat in a large pot with a bit of cooking oil. Cook the meat well, do not leave any pink pieces. Add the onion, garlic, broth, water, pearl barley, and tomatoes to the pot, as well as the spices, and ketchup. Let this simmer for about 30 mins to let the barley cook. Add the carrots, celery and cabbage, cook until vegetables are tender, then enjoy!

  • What is the Slow Food Movement and why does it matter?

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Apr 19, 2020 | Slow Food, Stories Food. The way we look at it, how we value it, how we consume it, and how we waste it has changed. Choice, convenience and accessibility – an assault on the senses – getting further disconnected and detached from where our food is coming from. As we walk into a grocery store, the multinational companies are making the purchasing decisions for us. We have every right not to trust where our food is coming from. So, it’s my job with The Paisley Notebook to plant a seed, get people thinking and comfortable enough to ask lots of questions. With the commercialization of our food system, there’s this sameness in what we are eating. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world anymore, close your eyes and you’re lost – we’ve not only lost our sense of place, but a taste of place. That’s where Slow Food comes in – it’s all about ‘Good’, ‘Clean’ and ‘Fair’ food for everyone – it’s a pledge for a better future by going back to basics. Tied into that are things like food security, holding onto and preserving our food culture and identity, and being mindful about the biodiversity of the soils, eco-system and the land. All that helps to tell our story. I thought I’d share some insight into my Slow Food thinking, breaking it down briefly section-by-section: 1. Good Food that is real, delicious and high quality is what you’re looking for here. From its flavour and smell to the intention behind it without genetically modifying it in any way. When you think about heritage grains or veggies, they may be harder to grow, but they are tastier, better for you and better for the planet. Getting deeper, learning from indigenous peoples from around the world, respecting the land, and asking lots of questions about where your food is coming from. 2. Clean The goal is for food production to be done in a way that’s healthy for the environment and you, rather than harming it. So, that’s everything from farming without herbicides/pesticides (like RoundUp), choices for eco-friendly packaging, and how animals are humanely raised and treated without growth hormones or antibiotics until one bad day. I think it’s important to point out how our food system is unfortunately linked to the pharmaceutical industry and that’s a bad thing. Firstly, Monsanto produces RoundUp, which kills everything in sight with a single application (except for their GMO seeds, of course), causes cancer and messes with the microbiology of the soils. Not only that but they exploit farmers, especially in the developing world, by promising bigger yields if they use their seeds – yep, all kinds of messed up. 3. Fair Oh, fairness. This part of the manifesto is about fair working conditions and pay for small-scale producers, liveable wages for staff, and accessible prices for you as a consumer. Supporting local means our purchasing dollars stay in our local community, which helps our economy, too. But even that has become complicated because of the monopolization and commercialization of our food system and the people behind controlling things like fishing quotas for instance. Check this out: 85% of Canadian seafood is exported, whereas 93% of what is available is imported – meaning we ship out the good stuff for an inflated price and we consume lesser quality fish from someplace else. Again, it’s really important to ask questions every step of the way and buy from trusted local farmers or producers direct-from-the-source. Fortunately for us, we live in a country that is not only super edible but I think we have everything we need in our Canadian backyard. From heritage grains and wheat, pulses and legumes, wild or humanely raised meats and ocean-friendly seafood to organic fruits and vegetables, oils, hops, and even rice, we have it all. In conclusion, sustainability and Slow Food is a lot more complicated than it seems. For people to value something, you need to see it, play with it, and experience it as the seasons change to connect the dots for yourself. And that’s when the magic begins. It’s my job to just plant a seed and then the rest is up to you. Vote with your fork. Photo Credit: Jessica Zais Photography.

  • Why I Love Foraging for Food and How To Get Started

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Apr 22, 2020 | Foraging, Slow Food, Stories for·age verb gerund or present participle: foraging (of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions. “gulls are equipped by nature to forage for food” For thousands and thousands of years, Indigenous peoples around the world were self-sufficient in their eco-systems with a deep respect for the land – the ultimate hunters and gatherers. Being one with the environment, adapting to the harsh conditions and surviving on very little, but surviving nonetheless, was the name of the game. Fast forward and sadly, convenience has overtaken survival. We’ve become victim to cheap, over-processed foods thanks to the accessible and commercialized tangled web of our food system. It may be quick but not simple. We’ve become so disconnected about where our food comes from, the sacrifice and work involved and the stories behind it – I didn’t want that to ever ring true for me. My journey into wild foods, including hunting and foraging, took flight a few years ago – for me, it was a natural progression as a cook. Foraging is an epic game of hide-and-seek; a culinary treasure hunt. Whether in an urban city landscape, playing in the tide pools or deep within the boreal forest, you don’t know what you’ll stumble across or how much you’re going to find, and that is part of the excitement. Foraging for your food is supporting local at its finest with little or no carbon footprint because these delicious edible things just happen to be there. The grocery store of the woods is always there to serve us. You do, however, need to be willing to exchange a five-finger discount with your time. These are some of my tips to help you enter the wondrous world of wild foods: What you need: Bring reusable market bags or a basket – they come in handy, even if you’re just out for a stroll. A utility knife (optional). Gloves for harvesting things like Nettles because they will sting you (hence its full name) and cause itchiness and other irritations. I like to mark my location using my GPS on my iPhone when I come across an abundant species, so I can easily find a spot again. Aman Dosanj in her happy place. Photo credit: Kevin Kossowan. Tips: Start with a foraging adventure in your backyard, or urban forage around your neighbourhood for easy to identify (non-toxic) things like dandelions, yarrow and clover. Go on a foraging walk with an experienced person, especially when you’re first getting started. Find a mentor who you can ask questions and verify wild foods before eating them. A lot of fungi and berries are poisonous – rule #1 for me is ‘don’t die’. The world of wild foods can be pretty overwhelming. Instead of trying to identify all the things, select a few things to learn. It’s amazing how quickly you pick things up and it’s only going to continue to grow because that’s what food does. Be able to spot Poison Ivy before playing in the woods. Harvest in clean off-road areas because, well, pee and pollution. You also want to be away from areas sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. Dehydrate or dry everything for your pantry to relive the adventure. Do your homework – research is key with wild foods. ‘Everything in moderation’ is a good rule for wild plants, too. Food is medicine, but some wild foods have side effects if binged on. Harvest what you need, but leave enough behind for the other members of our eco-system – everything has a consequence. Some wild plants and fungi, like Labrador Tea or Chaga, are slow-growing, so you don’t want to harvest everything you find. Know the rules – ask permission if you’re on private property and you’re not allowed to forage in provincial parks, for example. Knowledge and the willingness to share that is power when it comes to food. When you start foraging or growing your food, you start to see the environment as the delicious place it’s supposed to be – proving it’s not necessarily expensive to eat locally and in-season. To all of your edible adventures ahead – cheers.

  • Spring Foraging – What’s in Season (Wild Food in Plants)

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Apr 27, 2020 | Foraging, Slow Food Super, Natural British Columbia is called that for a reason – so beautiful you catch yourself staring – but also abundant in its edible offerings. When you know what to look for, it’s very much a case of once you know, you know. Spring is an exciting time in the wild plant world, with a lot of the greens popping up long before even the organically grown stuff. Here are a few things to keep your eyes open for: Dandelion Fancy name = Taraxacum Officinale Dandelion is a good starting point when you’re new to foraging. The chances are you are familiar with the ‘weed’ in-and-around the garden or neighbourhood, but probably not how to eat it. Packed with all kinds of antioxidants, an inflammatory thing and it can even help regulate your insulin. Pick the petals and make a simple syrup that tastes like honey (because cocktails!), you can make a tea with the roots, the leaves are similar to bitter greens for salads or sautéed, and once you’ve picked the petals and expose this small caper looking bulb, you can pickle them and turn them into… capers. Watercress Fancy name = Nasturtium Officinale Part of the nasturtium family, it’s the ultimate swamp thing – bathing in running streams. From its tangled vibe, delicate stems, and pretty webbed leaves, to a sprinkling of vitamin C, antioxidants and calcium, there are all kinds of yes with this wild green. Naturally, with its deity looks, it gets the garnish treatment, but flavour-wise it packs an unexpected punch with zesty, peppery, spicy notes. Use it like you’d use arugula – tossed in your salad, as a crunchy sub for lettuce in sandwiches or burgers, whizzed up into a refreshingly vibrant springtime soup or sautéed down (which mellows out its fierceness, by the way). Once you’ve cleaned your freshly harvested watercress, try and eat it within 3 to 4 days – they’re built for the here and now, so carpe diem. Morel Mushrooms Fancy name = Morchella Meaty, nutty and earthy, morels have a bit of a rock-star reputation in the fungi world. Firstly, they only grow wild, mainly because of its unique relationship with the land, and trees in particular (this also is one of the reasons why they’re quite expensive). Follow last year’s wildfires in search of the good after the destruction and scout out rich soils, which means the morels are loaded with vitamins and mineral, but also help to balance your blood sugar, repair some liver damage, and are high in things like fibre and protein, as well. They don’t get slimy like other mushrooms and their sponge-like holes not only make them pretty to look at, but they are epic at soaking up sauces and creating this flavour pocket. Saying that those pockets can also hold grit, too, so be careful. Food-wise think risotto, pasta, soup, stuffed with minced meat (including wild game) and cooked, or sprinkled with one of my spice blends. Don’t forget to dry some for your pantry, too. Tip: you should always cook mushrooms. Wild Asparagus Fancy name = Asparagus Acutifolius Just like the regular asparagus you’d find in the grocery store, but someone hasn’t intentionally planted it – the chances are the nomadic seeds from old orchards were taken where the wind had taken them. As every edible plant is different, it’s good to know what eco-system you’re looking for. With wild asparagus, it likes to be near water but not in it, so moisture is key and so too is alkaline soil. It’s a plant species that likes to sunbathe in or around direct sunlight, so you wouldn’t find it in a forest setting, but try ditches along irrigation line or stream, or on the edges of marsh type soils (moisture, remember?) Nettle Fancy name = Urtica Dioica Like with the other wild things listed so far, food is medicine, and nettle is no exception. Serving up a dose of iron, potassium, vitamins A and C, magnesium and calcium, treat nettles like spinach, but pricklier. Nettle is a medium, jagged-edged leaf wild weed that grows in clusters with a thick stem with camouflaged white hair-like thorns covering its length. You want to harvest these with gloves on because, just as its name suggests, they will sting you – causing red itchiness on your skin. For that reason, you want to cook them first to kill off that sting. Both the leaves and stem are deliciously edible – try it in a detoxing tea to flush out that system (it tastes like the colour green), a hearty soup, blanched and filled in pasta, dried and powdered and lots more. Before consuming any wild plant, it’s always good to do your research – I’m just here to plant a seed about what is possible. Another thing to keep in mind is the ‘everything in moderation’ approach (like pretty much everything) when harvesting or consuming because we share Mother Nature’s grocery store. Happy foraging! Photo credit: The Paisley Notebook.

  • Spring Foraging – Wild Plant-Based Field Lunch Recipe

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | Apr 30, 2020 | Foraging, Recipes, Slow Food, Stories Wild Plants. These are things that haven’t been deliberately planted by another person, they just happen to live there. That means, Mother Nature has her own grocery store where there are no lineups. Once you’re able to identify a few edible plant species, all you need to do is be willing to give up a some of your time, to be rewarded in all kinds of epic and delicious ways. Spring is an exciting time in the plant world. Whilst we patiently wait for salad greens to be ready in the greenhouses of our local farmers or our home gardens, wild plants tend to pop up way before any of that. All of my adventures tend to be of the edible kind; there’s something about working for your lunch that gets me every time. So here’s an easy-to-navigate Indian-inspired recipe for your upcoming adventures in the field: Ingredients: 2 tbsp. vegetable oil (any oil or animal fat really) 2 tsp. cumin seeds 1 medium-sized yellow onion (finely diced or sliced – you do you) 2 tsp. garlic (finely chopped) 2 tsp. ginger (finely chopped) ½ tsp. turmeric powder 1 tsp. Kashmiri chilli powder (Indian-style paprika) or ½ tsp. red chilli powder (add half first, depending on how spicy you like things – remember, it’s easier to add than take away) 2 tsp. The Paisley Notebook’s Garam Masala Salt (to taste) 2 medium-sized local tomatoes (diced) This top bit can be made ahead of time to make your camp or field cooking session really quick. This recipe makes more than the greens you’d find when foraging, so you can leave some in your fridge or freeze it, too. Foraged wild ingredients – whatever you find. In spring, there’s usually wild asparagus, lamb’s quarter, mustard greens (be careful, these will get super bitter when you cook them), watercress (when cooked it mellows out it’s spicy peppery notes), to name a few in the grocery store of the forest. Garnish with mustard flowers or whatever you find. Instructions: Start by prepping your other ingredients non-foraged ingredients. In a frying pan or pot (it needs to be big enough to fit the onions and tomatoes), heat oil over a medium flame. Once heated, add the cumin seeds, let sizzle for 10-20 seconds (you don’t want to burn these because everything will turn bitter – if you do, start again (trust me)). Now stir in the garlic and ginger, cook until slightly golden brown. Add the diced onion and sauté with 1 tsp. salt until soft and translucent (like a ghost but less scary). Now reduce the heat and add in the chilli powder, turmeric and Garam Masala. The spices will stick together, but that’s normal. After you mix this, add in the diced tomatoes and stir. The acidity will deglaze the pan. Random fact: the French would use wine to deglaze the pan, but Indians use tomatoes – everything will stop clumping together (kind of like magic). Cook this mixture for 8-10 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy and it becomes a bit paste-like. This is the flavour stage and flavour is important. This onion/tomato mix can be made ahead of time to speed up field cooking and concentrate on maybe having a drink. The recipe above gives you more than you’d need for 2 to 4 people, so save some for later. Remove whatever you don’t need from the pan and leave to the side. Now add whatever foraged things you found. For me, it was wild asparagus (wooden stalk removed and cut into 2-3” pieces), sauté for a minute or two depending on the thickness of the spears. Throw in the lamb’s quarter and cook until just wilted. Now this is the most important part – taste, tweak and then taste again until it’s delicious. What’s missing? Salt? Chilli? Spices need just the right amount of salt for their powers to kick in. Once you’re happy, serve it up with some toasted sourdough and garnish with wild mustard flowers (if you find some). If you want to save on washing up, a rock works well as a plate. For me, this is how I complete the adventure by eating seasonally with a real taste of place. Camp food with a little elevated Indian ‘something-something’, done! Photo credit: The Paisley Notebook.

  • The Unspoken Truth About Hunting

    Posted by Jenny Ly | May 1, 2020 | Hunting, Stories I ran barefoot from the fields, past the goose nest, angry roosters, pig pen, and towards our outdoor kitchen where I heard my aunt cursing away. The feeling of the cool clay squishing between my toes was a welcome sensation in the sticky afternoon heat. I arrived to find her lean, wiry arms, wrestling with a brown hen surrounded by smoke fuming from our wood-burning stove. It was a familiar scene that signaled lunch would be ready in a few hours… This particular memory comes from my family’s hobby farm in Vietnam, where I spent most summers from infancy to my preteen years. They were humbling experiences that kept me grounded when the glass towers of Vancouver, B.C. became my predominant environment as I transitioned into adulthood. The unlimited variables and options in a city can overcomplicate matters and my adolescent memories cautioned me to stay connected to a simpler way of life. But, it’s not easy in a large and modern city. Nevertheless, as time wore on, my desire to seek out experiences that brought me closer to the rural lifestyle I once knew intensified. I suppose this is normal as we mature and realize what’s important in life. And so began a somewhat impractical but whole hearted fascination with hunting, attributed no doubt, in part to my upbringing. After much deliberation and research, I decided my desire to hunt was not an unusual path for me to take—despite my urban living conditions—and I dove in. Venturing into the hunter-gatherer world set me on a journey of awkward, sometimes strained, but progressive conversations with strangers, co-workers, friends, and family. The vast majority were curious to learn more and thrilled at the possibility of trying the wild organic meat I hoped one day to share. A select few were too disconnected from their food sources to comprehend the steak, chicken, or pork they regularly ate came from a whole animal—hair, bones, guts, and all—and expressed distaste in my hunting desires. One’s detachment from the whole, live animal does gain my sympathy to a certain degree; outside of some very remote communities, subsistence hunting is no longer common in North America. But those communities are so far removed from the glass, concrete, hustle and bustle of modern cities that they may as well be on another planet. For most of us, eating has become easy, arguably too easy. But easy does not make it right. I wanted to bear the burden, to see and live the experience of procuring my own food from beginning to end, and specifically, work for the meat that ended up on my plate. Surprisingly, many of those that opposed to my desire to hunt were appeased after I shared a snippet of the vast number of regulations and laws created to ensure we maintain a healthy and sustainable population of wildlife. Despite what you may read or see in the media, there are no legal hunting seasons for endangered or threatened species. And, hunting seasons and harvest quotas are not decided by drawing straws. The province devotes millions of dollars each year to measuring, managing, and regulating the system that determines what and where we can hunt. Is it a perfect system? No. But, what human designed bureaucracy is? Thankfully, that knowledge quickly eradicated any thought they might have had of a feisty Vietnamese woman recklessly running into the forests, and shooting anything that moved. As much as I was looking to reconnect with a simpler way of life, hunting is actually not that simple. More recently at a dinner party, while savoring spit-roasted wild Canadian Goose Agnolotti, I asked a local expert on “how-to-hunt” education how many of his students actually decode all the regulations and make it out into the woods? The response was a shockingly small enough percentage to delay another forkful of the to-die-for pasta from entering my mouth. That’s saying a lot, considering I love to eat more than the average person. Buying a hunting license is one thing. Feeling sufficiently comfortable with the regulations and restrictions to take the plunge and head afield was quite obviously another. After that discussion, I realized that the admittedly boring but critical topic of hunting regulations and how they are determined was rarely mentioned in any conversation involving hunting. No wonder so many non-hunters misunderstand the difference between hunting and simply killing. Admittedly, I too have done a poor job of sharing everything involved in putting wild meat on the table. For all the countless times I’ve spent recounting my epic adventures and the indulgent dishes I’ve cooked up, I have made zero mention of all the hours spent researching animal behavior, scouring both digital and virtual maps, selecting gear, and teaching myself in-the-field butchery. And that’s on top of familiarizing myself with all the regulations referenced earlier. The immense number of rules that protect not only our wildlife but the safety of the general public cannot be overstated. I can honestly report that if you want to become a successful hunter, you have to be prepared to spend a lifetime acquiring knowledge across a dizzying array of subjects: animal behavior, age/gender/antler/horn assessment, habitat, diet, tracks, weather patterns, firearms regulations, hunting regulations, land use regulations…the list could go on. It’s a hell of a commitment. And that’s with no guarantee of success. You still need to outsmart the animals—harder than you might think—or get damned lucky. In my first year hunting, I spent all my weekends, vacation time and even sick days out in the woods to only come home empty-handed. After months of effort, I had one chance to admire a deer on the last day of the designated deer hunting season before my scent scared her away. This is far more common than you may have been led to believe. There’s a going joke in the hunting community: more often than not we’re really just hiking with a rifle or bow in our hands. Every now and then we come home with something. The forest has a curious way of instilling life lessons in those that spend a prolonged period exploring her. Mother Nature hears my pleas, but she makes me wait. I crave the tangible and the immediate, but instead, I am presented with the practice of patience. Being mindful of each step and focused on the present induces my mind into a meditative state. An effect that, for me at least, is uniquely pronounced when I’m hunting. Nothing else compares. Learning how to hunt and navigate the majestic forests and mountains of British Columbia has been profoundly spiritual. It has awoken a primal instinct that had been dormant for far too long. I hope this perspective has helped you better understand the commitment it takes to be a hunter. And why, in this modern era, many people are still drawn to this ancient pursuit. Humans, animals, and plants all contain life, why is one organism valued differently from the next? The majority of the population still eats meat in some capacity. Leather purses, belts, and shoes are everywhere you look. I urge you to be willing to ask questions, dig a little deeper and find your own truths because, the hunters I know would all agree, there’s more to being a hunter than just killing. A lot more. About Jenny Ly Jenny Ly runs a collective called the Chasing Food Club, where she shares the stories and lessons from interesting individuals that hunt, gather and protect our wildlands. During the day she works as a business software consultant. At night she is the regional leader for one of the fastest growing wildlife conservations groups, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. The key to balancing it all out is good food with a heavy dose of laughter.

  • These ‘Meatless’ Patties are tastier than you’d think!

    Posted by Joanna Shimwell | May 3, 2020 | Recipes Looking for something different? Try these creative ‘meatless’ patties! Thanks to Joanna Shimwell in the UK for sharing this recipe and allowing us to use it. 3 raw medium beetroot grated 1 medium raw onion grated 1 medium raw carrot to grated (I use a food processor with grate attachment for speed) 3 heaped tablespoons of plain flour 1 large egg 1 heaped teaspoon cumin 1 heaped teaspoon garam masala 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper salt and pepper Mix all together. Form by hand into patties and gently fry on each side for 4 minutes. After that pop them in the oven on medium heat or 20 minutes. Then you’re good to go. Enjoy! Find Joanna on Instagram @joannashimwell

  • A ‘Foodie of the Year’ shares 5 food waste hacks

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | May 6, 2020 | Recipes, Slow Food As a cook and an adventurer, my connection to the land and bigger picture thinking feeds into everything I do. When the land is borrowed, you’re taught to leave no trace when it comes to exploring. Being close to my food source and knowing the people behind my produce, means you try your best not to waste anything. I thought I’d share some of my tips to help reduce food waste and even save you a little cash money at the same time: Re-growing from Scraps First things first, seeds and plants have all they need to know inside them already. So, even if you’re just starting to flex that green thumb of yours, it’s going to be ok. Once you know a few little tricks and tips, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. Ok, before you throw out that stumpy bottom part of your lettuce (the last 2 inches) or green onion (about an inch from the root) or leek or bok choy or a lot of things, stick it in a narrow glass or see-through container, give it a bit of water, place it on your window sill to sunbathe, add a dash of patience, and then boom – your lettuce or salad greens have re-born. After a few days, you’ll start to see new leaves or sprouts growing, which means it’s time to plop it into the soil, water (damp but not super wet) and don’t forget to check in on your new plant babies because you’re in this together. This also works with regular onion scraps, leeks, celery and even potatoes. Oh, try it with herbs like cilantro and mint, too. Did I mention that this is now free food? Bread In the words of Oprah, ‘I LOVE BREAD’. When it comes to real bread, like sourdough, the idea is to eat the entire loaf that day (all of it), so Carpe Diem (seize the day). Or, you can pre-slice your sourdough, stick it in the freezer, and then take it out slice-by-slice for your morning toast routine. Not only zero-waste but also you can stretch out the magic longer without the stale business. There’s always someone who isn’t a fan of crusts or doesn’t do the end pieces. You can stick them, along with any stale pieces, in the freezer to make breadcrumb (or skip the freezing part and go straight to the breadcrumb part). When you’re ready, defrost, blitz up, add to a baking sheet with no oil, bake at a low temperature (say 200 degrees) to dehydrate, leave it to cool, and then store in an airtight container for whenever. Bread should only ever have flour, water, yeast and salt listed as ingredients, but the store-bought stuff tends to have a whole lot more than that. Doing it this way means you know who has made it, what’s in it and it’s a really solid pantry item, so win-win. Cheese In 2016, I travelled the world writing about how food connects us. During that edible adventure, I got a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how Parmigiano Reggiano is made. Randomly and by-chance, it happened to be the day the cheese inspector showed up – then the theatrics of knocking on the highest grade of cheese, followed by tasting a freshly cracked open wheel began. That food memory will live with me forever. This brings me to cheese rind – don’t throw it away – instead use it to add funky umami to stocks or sauces. Did you know you could freeze cheese, too? Ocean-Friendly Fish When you have a relationship with your farmers, fishmongers and producers, it’s easy to ask questions to figure out the option that be right for you (not something you can easily do at a chain grocery store, might I add). At my local fishmonger, fish are friends and food. Whenever you’re making fish cakes or salmon burgers, ask about mince instead of a fillet. You can step that up a notch by asking for the fish bones instead. Let me explain: whenever you fillet a fish, there is always a tiny bit of flesh left on the bone – take a spoon, scrape the mince off and make delicious, ocean-friendly things for cheap. In the past, I’ve managed to scrape off 3lb of mince, which cost me about $10 (wholesale). That’s a lot of patties for a family feast and your freezer. After scrapping off the mince, it’s time to make stock using the bones, which can then live in your freezer for months and months. The concept of food culture is pretty interesting – in England, Michelin starred restaurants are serving up fish like Hake – but over in Canada, it’s considered by-catch, as well as an undesirable fish. That said, it’s pretty neutral in flavour, meaning you play with it, and cheap – hopefully, we can create a demand for by-catch to help our oceans and reduce food waste by buying more by-catch. Catching something, killing it and then throwing it back shouldn’t be a thing. Greens – Beet, Salad Turnip Carrot Top You’re at the farmers’ market waiting for your turn and then someone asks for the greens on their salad turnips or beets to be removed – cringe. You can and should eat them – if you eat them, you can save them from the compost pile, which reduces greenhouse gases, plus did I mention if the salad turnip or beet is organic, so, too are these greens? Simply sauté and add them to your stir-fry, or toss them with the rest of your salad mix and a vinaigrette. On a market day, I’ve put in a request with my farmer to save me all the salad turnip greens that have sacrificed their vegetable lives, collecting them at the end of the market. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. When it comes to the green carrot tops, again, use them and eat them – it was fake news that they were ever poisonous. Twist the tops off, chop them finely into a pesto type thing and there you go. I’ve served up the chopped carrot tops with lime juice, chilli and grated coconut before as a riff on a Sri Lankan recipe and sprinkled this onto some charred corn on the cobs. My rule is who cares what something is called as long as it’s delicious. For me, supporting local doesn’t have to be more expensive. So, ask questions, play with your food, and leave no trace. Photo credit: The Paisley Notebook.

  • Field Cooking Recipe: A 2-ingredient flatbread for in the field

    Posted by Aman Dosanj | May 12, 2020 | Recipes The science of baking is a real thing. That said, the very clever people of India have conjured up a two-ingredient flatbread called Chapati Roti that involves little or no science or exact measurements at that. You don’t even need to let the dough rest if you don’t want to, sounds pretty good, right? Quick, simple and delicious, which is perfect for when you’re in the field. Even though Indian food is really regional, this bread is found in homes across the country, from the north, all the way down to the south – so breaking bread is a real thing. Here is a step-by-step for how to make it: Roti / makes 4 dough balls: Equipment: Fire or gas burner (or your regular stovetop at home) A flat skillet or non-stick frying pan A small mixing bowl Rolling pin (a wine or water bottle would work too) A chopping board or work surface to roll A clean cloth or kitchen paper square Ingredients (ish): 2 cups organic Canadian flour + extra for rolling – I like to use part all-purpose and part red fife, but you can use 100% whole wheat, too Approximately 200ml lukewarm water – this depends on the humidity and the flour, so add bit-by-bit Instructions: This bread is all about feeling and trusting your gut. In a small mixing bowl, add the flour and make a well. Gradually add water bit-by-bit, until you’re able to shape the dough into a ball. With your hand, knead for 2 minutes until smooth – you might need to add a drizzle of oil to your hand while you’re kneading to stop it from being so sticky. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes – you want to keep it covered so a hard skin doesn’t form. Heat your skillet on a medium-high flame. Uncover your dough ball and briefly knead again – it should be soft and smooth. Divide into 4 equal-sized balls. Shape with your hand, dip both sides in some flour, and then flatten the ball against the counter or chopping board. Roll a round roti, dusting with flour if it is sticking. You want your roti to be even thickness all around. Once you’re ready, remove any excess flour, and then place onto the hot skillet. Note: there is no oil needed for cooking this, which makes it even more badass. After a minute or so, you’ll notice the top of the roti will start turning brown. That’s when you do your first turn. Take the roti to the side of the skillet and flip over. Exercise a little patience and wait for the side facing down on the skillet to create brown spots and bubbles on the topside. Don’t be scared to take the roti to the side of the skillet and check how it’s doing. Once it’s shown it’s brown spots, flip it a second time for your second turn. This is the fun part – with a clean cloth or paper towel square, start pressing down on the edges of the bread to distribute air and cook the sides. It should start to puff up like a big science experiment. (Don’t be sad if it doesn’t puff up). Carefully smack down the inflated roti (ok, my middle name is danger, so give it some). Before you repeat the process with your next roti, give your skillet a little wipe to remove that excess flour – you don’t want it burning. You can lash your roti with some butter (or animal fat) if you’d like. Serve hot with whatever you’d like – from daal to pretty much any dish that needs a bread, or dishes that you didn’t think need a bread but do. They work well as wraps for your campfire scrambled eggs, as well. There are no rules now that the recipe has been passed on from my family to yours. Happy eating! Make Rotis not riots, people. Photo credit: The Paisley Notebook.

  • A Legacy for All British Columbians

    Posted by Mark Hall | Jun 2, 2020 | Stories B.C.’s Conservation Legacy Started with a Single Idea My grandfather and I were close. He hailed from the small community of Marysville in Southeastern B.C and was a mine worker, logger, hunter and a trapper. I was born into his family and developed a strong sense of empathy for wild animals at an early age. Our love for wildlife and the outdoor lifestyle created a strong bond between grandfather and grandson. Grandpa was the sole income earner for a family that saw 8 children needing to be fed, clothed and schooled over a 35-year span. Hunting and trapping were a necessity. Trapping supplemented Grandpa’s income, and hunting, along with gardening, were the primary ways he and my Grandmother provided for my father and all my aunts and uncles. When I was younger, Grandpa and I hunted together. Between hunts, we would sit for hours in the back room as he tended the woodstove, recounting hunting trips and planning our next outing. From his rocking chair, he would retell the same family hunting stories time and again and teach me his views on wildlife and habitat management. He often reminisced about his younger days in the outdoors. Grandpa was a busy man. He often met and tormented the local managers of wildlife and forestry or his local MLA with his concerns for wildlife and what was needed to better protect it. Grandpa also understood the importance of having dependable sources of funding to invest in wildlife management. In the late 1970’s, he started a conversation with East Kootenay MLA Terry Segarty about how best to increase funding for wildlife management. Grandpa pitched the idea of having two taxes dedicated to fish and wildlife conservation: one on outdoor gear and one for logging and mining companies. Over time, others joined in the conversation to help grow support for the ideas. The Conservation Ball was Now in the Government’s Hands MLA Segarty worked with the government of the day to advance this new conservation funding idea in the legislature. The tax was going to be a challenge for the provincial government to implement, especially on the province’s resource industries. So, the conversation evolved and began working around the idea of committing all the revenue from the sale of hunting, guiding, trapping and angling licenses to a dedicated conservation account. In 1981, The Honourable Stephen Rogers, then Minister of the Environment, announced the creation of the Habitat Conservation Fund. Revenue for the Habitat Conservation Fund initially came from a voluntary surcharge on hunting, trapping, angling and guide-outfitter licenses. The Fund didn’t receive all the revenue from license sales as was first proposed. Some members of the BC Federation of Naturalists voluntarily contributed an amount matching the new license surcharge. While the dream of having a wildlife conservation fund that could operate with considerably more revenue was not realized by its early architects, what did come out of this initiative was a major win for fish and wildlife conservation in the province because the creation of the Habitat Conservation Fund helped usher in an era of better funded wildlife research, land acquisitions and ecosystem restoration. The success in creating a dedicated conservation fund came about because of broad community support for a grassroots idea, a strong political will to enact it, and a compromise to find the balance between all those involved. Legislated Funding: A Huge Win for Fish and Wildlife By the end of 1981 British Columbia’s Wildlife Act had been amended to give statutory meaning to the new Habitat Conservation Fund. The statute amendment made the surcharge a mandatory part of the cost of hunting, trapping, angling and guide-outfitter licenses. A board of independent wildlife scientists, government Fish and Wildlife Branch staff and representatives from the user-pay groups were the first leaders to chart the course for the Habitat Conservation Fund. In its formative years, money from the Fund paid for new government-led habitat restoration projects and acquisition of private lands that were important to wildlife. In the 1990’s, the Fund generated more money than it was spending on conservation projects. Talk began to surface that the Fund’s growing surplus was going to be transferred into the province’s general revenue coffers. Hunters, anglers, trappers and guide-outfitters united and opposed the transfer of any funds that were promised for fish and wildlife conservation into the government’s coffers for anything but fish and wildlife conservation. In 1997, the Wildlife Act was amended to strengthen the legal provisions that protected money in the Habitat Conservation Fund so that it could only be used for fish and wildlife conservation. Under the amended Wildlife Act, the Habitat Conservation Fund became the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. Under the new legislation, non-government organizations including academic wildlife researchers and community groups could now apply for grants. In 2007, the Wildlife Actwas once again amended and the present-day Habitat Conservation Trust Foundationemerged. The Foundation was now an entity at arms length from government, and control over the disbursement of grant monies shifted from government to the Foundation. The Foundation now had full autonomy to invest in public conservation projects while still maintaining statutory protection of the revenue created from the license surcharges. Isn’t All This “Conservation” Just for Hunters? The revenue generating mechanism and funding role of the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation is what some call a “user-benefit pay model.” An example of a user-benefit pay model in conservation is the fee paid for a pass to visit a National Park that is used to protect or restore natural values in the Park. User-benefit pay models help offset the costs associated with providing the things that the specific users want to use or enjoy. The notion of a user-benefit pay model has also been presented as a criticism of the Foundation’s model by the non-hunting community, often by their saying that the benefits conferred from the conservation projects are exclusive. About 70% of the annual revenue is generated from surcharges on hunting, trapping, angling and guide-outfitter licenses and game tags. Most of the remaining revenue for the Foundation comes from investment income and court awards (i.e., fines from environmental, wildlife and pollution violations ordered payable to the Foundation by a judge). In 2018-19, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation awarded over $8 million dollars to a range of fish and wildlife projects that reflect the natural diversity of environmental values and user groups in Super Natural B.C. The benefits of these projects, however, are not exclusive to hunters, trappers, guide-outfitters or anglers. The mission of the HCTF is to improve conservation outcomes for B.C.’s fish and wildlife and the habitats in which they live. One of the Foundation’s goals is to increase British Columbian’s participation in environmental stewardship, education and responsible use. Who Benefits from B.C.’s Only Legislated Wildlife Conservation Funding Model? The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation employs a rigorous technical and science-based approach to evaluating and selecting proposals to fund. This year, the Foundation is helping support an incredible range of conservation projects including: wetland, aquatic and riparian habitat restoration, research on bats and bat habitat including funding for a citizen science bat program, leading edge non-intrusive DNA-based wildlife research, rattlesnake and toad conservation, endangered caribou conservation, grizzly bear research, bear-human co-existence programs and the Fisheries and River Guardian programs. Funds were also awarded for sturgeon, steelhead and trout conservation projects, the removal of “ghost nets” from the Fraser River, fish and wildlife population counts, management of conservation lands, the Invasive Mussels Monitoring Program, removal of invasive plants, restoration of B.C.’s rare and endangered Garry Oak ecosystem, land acquisitions, the NatureKids BC program and dozens of other projects that are spread out across the entire province. Over 40% of this year’s funds were aimed at projects that benefit multiple species of flora and fauna in a single project. Since the Foundation is a user-benefit pay system, some of the user’s funds are used to directly enhance hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities. Despite the fact 70% of the Foundation’s annual revenue is currently coming directly from the hunting, trapping, angling, and guide-outfitting communities a lot more citizens and industries in the province are enjoying benefits of these funded projects without having to contribute. Should More Users be Contributing to Conservation? The argument that the hunting community only engages in conservation, so they can kill more animals is quite simply not true. Hunters, trappers, anglers and guide-outfitters are as dedicated to protecting biodiversity as anyone and they are willing to do their part for conservation and more if necessary. But if these conservationists that are so dedicated to contributing more dollars were to disappear from society then fish, wildlife and their habitats will suffer. Even with all this amazing conservation work and funding from Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, B.C. is still falling behind in its obligations to protect biodiversity. The growing needs of conservation in the province are outstripping the public resources available. B.C. is not investing in Super Natural BC at a level commensurate with the breadth and depth of the province’s biodiversity, the spectrum of growing outdoor user groups or the rate of natural resource extraction. B.C. is one of the largest and most biologically diverse jurisdictions in North America, yet the total amount spent on fish, wildlife and habitat management is among the lowest. On a per capita, per hectare and per species basis, B.C. spends less on biodiversity conservation than the province’s neighbouring jurisdictions. In 1960, the budget for fish and wildlife management in B.C. accounted for 0.6% of the total provincial budget. Today, the budget for fish and wildlife management is an order of magnitude lower, accounting for about 0.06% of the provincial budget. Many hunters, guide-outfitters and trappers are advocating that all the revenue from their license and tags sales be dedicated directly to conservation in lieu of the smaller surcharge. Many hunters have stated they will accept paying more for licenses and tags if all the revenue were put back into managing wildlife and habitat. It’s not often a user group asks the government to pay more for something that benefits so many others, but hunters are. The Passing of the Conservation Funding Torch Being close to and caring about wildlife was the foundation of my Grandfathers’ values and passion for being in the outdoors. As he aged, his ability to go hunting with me diminished. In my early twenties, I moved away to attend university and we didn’t see each other as much as we used to, which was often daily. I was away in the big city studying and missed most of the hunting seasons back home. We had fewer days together in the woods and less time was spent together reminiscing. The last time I visited him in the care facility, he did not know who I was. At his funeral, I sat there looking at a picture of an elk I painted for him resting on an easel next to his photo. I said goodbye and thanked him for the time we had together. I am proud of the legacy he left for me, his future great grandchildren and for all British Columbians – a legacy of conservation rooted in biodiversity and a legacy for all British Columbians to improve upon and pass onto the next generation. A legacy that was started by a hunter-trapper. What is the Future of B.C.’s Conservation Funding? Resident hunters, trappers, guide-outfitters and anglers are proud and honoured to have helped support so many conservation projects over the last several decades. But we can’t do it alone. The task is too large. It’s time to revisit old ideas. Taxes on all outdoor equipment and gear collected as revenue for the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Small shares deducted off crown land rent, tenures and natural resource royalties dedicated to conservation. A general backcountry outdoor license for all users with a surcharge to help the conservation of B.C.’s biodiversity. Imagine what could be done. One billion dollars for conservation? It’s doable if British Columbians get behind the idea of increasing revenue dedicated to conservation. Whether you choose to enjoy the outdoors by hiking, skiing, climbing, camping, fishing or hunting it is imperative that we work together to find new ways to grow British Columbia’s fish and wildlife conservation funding model. Let’s be proud of the bigger and better conservation legacy we leave British Columbia’s future generations! Everyone’s individual voices are equally important because Super Natural BC belongs to everyone, but a united collective voice for conservation will have a more positive impact on the future. While conversations between user groups are taking shape why not make a voluntarily donation to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to show your support for conservation? About Mark Hall Mark holds a master’s degree in environmental science. He is a Professional Agrologist and retired Professional Forester. The focus of his career has revolved around environmental protection, ecosystem restoration and wildlife habitat management. Mark served on numerous Boards for conservation organizations including the British Columbia Wildlife Federation and the British Columbia Conservation Foundation. You can read more of his writings at

  • Black Bear and Mushroom Omelette – Breakfast is served…

    Posted by Mike Anderson | Jun 3, 2020 | Recipes You can never go wrong with a well-made omelette, but this recipe from Mike Anderson really takes it to the next level with the addition of black bear meat. 1 teaspoon coconut oil 3 large eggs 2 crimini mushrooms (or similar size mushroom) chopped 1 sprig of fresh parsley 1/2teaspoon chives 1/4cup grated mozzarella 1/2 cup of canned bear meat (garlic rosemary recipe) In a small frying pan heat 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil on medium heat. Add eggs to pan and mix to break yokes. Cook for 3 minutes and flip. Cook for 3 more minutes and move whole omelette to plate. Add the remaining coconut oil to the frying pan and add the chopped mushrooms, parsley and chives. Cook mushrooms over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Add the cooked mushrooms to half the omelette. Drain the liquid from the canned bear meat and add to frying pan. Heat for 2-3 minutes and the top the mushrooms. Top the bear and mushrooms with cheese and fold the omelette. Add the omelette to the frying pan over med/high heat for 1 minute per side. Add to serving dish, garnish with ground pepper and chives and serve.

Search Results

bottom of page