Melon, Nectarines, Speck and Citrus Vinaigrette

As summer slowly slips away into fall, the last thing I want to do is hole up in my kitchen and tuck into a complicated recipe. Instead, I take advantage of the seasonal abundance that late summer brings. I relish in the hard work of my favourite farmers at the market by making simple, classically inspired dishes that let the fresh plentitude of the season do the talking and that speak from the heart of where the food came from.

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Roasted Eggplant with Garlicky Granola and Strained Yogurt

It’s the end of August and the markets are bursting with sun-ripened food. I have been cooking in Naramata, B.C., for the past three weeks and the Penticton Farmer’s Market is hands down one of the most amazing places I’ve ever shopped for ingredients at. For starters, a two block stretch is devoted entirely to organically farmed produce. Not even the incredible 2.5-kilometre long Saturday market in Arles, one of the most beautiful and abundant I have ever been to in France, can boast that. Also the farmers are incredible – passionate and dedicated, each specializing in something a little different and ready to share what they know and love about the food they grow. It is heaven…

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Panisse, a Classic South of France Snack

If I could be anywhere in the summertime, I would chose the south of France. More specifically, Marseille. Sure, it gets crazy hot, and as a city, it gets a bad rap for being dangerous and dirty, but if you take the time to look just beneath its deceptively rough surface, you will find that France’s second largest city is also a charming and vibrant city full of colour, life and soul…

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Marinated Roasted Red Pepper Dip

This dip isn’t fussy, or at least it really shouldn’t be. In fact, it should be prepared in exactly the same way it is intended to be eaten – that is, in a leisurely fashion. Take your time roasting and chopping and mixing it all together and then promptly enjoy eating it, standing barefoot in your yard, feeling the grass tickle your toes beneath you…

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Fridge Sweep Pasta

I live on the fifth floor of an apartment that doesn’t have an elevator, and this might sound a little
lazy, but sometimes I just can’t be bothered to walk down (and then back up again) all those
stairs in order to buy supplies for making dinner...even if the closest shop is only right across the
street from our building. Good thing figuring out what to do with all the bits and bobs I tend to
have leftover is basically one of my favourite activities. Call me crazy, but some of my most
memorable meals have been born from simply cleaning out the fridge or rummaging through the
semi-abandoned contents of my crisper. Off the top of my head, some of the greatest hits in this
repertoire include the caramelized onion dip my friend Rebekah came up with, the spicy kimchi
fried rice I made for lunch yesterday and the warm lamb salad made from leftovers the day after
our wedding…

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Strawberries with Whipped Creme Fraiche, Rhubarb Sorbet and Gluten-Free Coconut Cookie Crumble

Fresh, sun-ripened, first of the season strawberries. There is nothing like it. Luckily, they appear
at the market just at that time of the year when I start to swear I may never again be able to
recall what a real strawberry actually tastes like. A bit dramatic? Perhaps, but greenhouse
strawberries in the middle of winter, imported from who knows where? Not for me, thanks! I’ll
hold out for them to be in season every time, because potentially forgetting, only to then
rediscover what a sun-ripened strawberry actually tastes like each year, is worth the wait in my
opinion…

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Grilled Sardines and Broccolini

Spring might just be the best season. Not only does it mean asparagus and strawberries (which taste oh so incredible after all the endless winter months of practically nothing but beets and celery root), but it also means that there is hope in terms of the weather. Trees everywhere start to blossom, the days get longer and the weather finally starts to get warmer. It also means that it is finally time to drag out the ole’ barbecue and get back to grilling!…

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In Praise of Fish Sauce

It was on a recent trip to Vietnam this past December, that I unexpectedly rediscovered salad. There, amidst steaming bowls of brothy noodle soup and giant plates of drool-worthy grilled meats, were these little unsuspecting produce-forward wonders. Salads bursting with flavours and textures beyond anything I had ever imagined. Each bite a new experience, we savoured every mouthful. Safe to say it completely blew my mind. This recipe pays homage to that experience while also highlighting all the beautiful spring greens the markets seem to be bursting with here these days…

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Radishes with Nettle Butter

Although no longer necessarily considered essential to survival, wild foraging for ingredients has renewed itself over the past ten years or so as a popular pastime. Due largely in part to the success of the local food movement, the resurgence of wild ingredients being served now more commonly in restaurants has also been a factor…

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Citrus Salad

Every year around this time I am reminded of the wonder I felt during my first winter in Paris, when I experienced the extensive varieties of citrusfruit available during this season. So in awe was I at the time, I lined up every single variety we had on hand in the restaurant where I worked before snapping a quick photo and throwing it up on my Instagram. Blood orange, Meyer lemon, bergamote, limette, volkamer lemon and yuzu, each one a tangy orb of liquid sunshine brightening up my workday. In the eyes of a cook, there is nothing more cheerful and inspiring…

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Herb-Infused Greek Feta in Oil

Real Greek feta is one of my favourite cheeses, so it's a pity that it isn't more popular here in France where I live. A brined cheese that is traditionally made from a combination of sheep and goat milks, feta is often seen used in salads and pastries. Sliced, cubed or crumbled, it is deliciously tangy and a simple way to add saltiness to any recipe that calls for cheese…

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An ode to staff meal: Green Soup with Chickpea Salsa and Cheese on Toast

In my opinion, the most important meal of the day in a restaurant is not necessarily the one being served to the customers, it is actually the one being served to the employees. Staff meal, or perso as it is called in french, is a group meal served to the entire restaurant staff prior to the beginning of each service. Synonymous with the restaurant world, especially here in France, this meal is an essential part of the workday. Even if the actual sitting-down part of the ritual lasts only for a brief 30 minutes, taking the time to collectively eat together encourages team building and allows all levels of staff a space to connect as they nourish themselves in preparation for the grind that lies ahead of them… 

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Grilled Flatbread with Chye Poh Condiment and Fingerling Potatoes

It shouldn't come as much of a surprise when I tell you that the most important holiday traditions for my family tend to revolve around food. In the lead up to Christmas this year, however, I'm on a month-long trip to Singapore. I'm here with my friend Harry Cummins, and we are collaborating on a pop-up restaurant focused on sourcing and featuring as many local ingredients as possible. And while Christmas decorations are certainly in abundance here, turkey is not. For the time being, I'm not too heartbroken about it, though, as Singapore has a rich and diverse food culture just waiting to be devoured…

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Grape 'Cheesecake', Crispy Oat Cookie, Vermouth and Grape Jelly

The first time I ate grapes in France is seared into my memory. I had arrived in Paris at the height of grape season, a fresh-faced, naive, young(er) Canadian who had simply forgotten (or never known) what real grapes taste like. The markets were bursting with local varieties, many of which I had never even heard of. I carefully selected a beautiful bunch of Muscat grapes, their skins as black as the night sky.

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Lina CaschettoComment