Mexican Today with Pati Jinich

Last Saturday, we welcomed Pati Jinich to our shop to celebrate the publication of her new book, Mexican Today. 

An enthusiastic group gathered around our table to learn about this rich cuisine and its evolution and to enjoy a delicious lunch cooked from the pages of Pati's book.  Pati shared plenty of knowledge about everything from tequila and where it comes from, to the best method for preparing your own corn tortillas. 

We loved learning more about Mexican food last weekend, and are looking forward to cooking from this new book!

Saturday's Lunch Menu:

Black Bean Soup with Masa, Mint and Queso Fresco Dumplings

Avocado, Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomato Salad

Shrimp Enchiladas

Chocolate Custard with Blackberry, Mint and Lime Coulis

Pati is the resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., hosts a PBS television series called "Pati's Mexican Table" and has also written a book by the same name. Mexican Today is her new book.

Pati is the resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C., hosts a PBS television series called "Pati's Mexican Table" and has also written a book by the same name. Mexican Today is her new book.

What's for Dinner, Barbara-jo? Jim Byrnes' Spaghetti with Garlic, Red Pepper and Olive Oil


Jim byrnes' Spaghetti with Garlic, Red Pepper and Olive Oil

This is my definitive go-to when time is short and folks are hungry. It couldn't be much simpler and it couldn't be much better. ~Jim


1 pound of spaghetti

3/4 cup of good (and I mean good) olive oil, divided

8 thinly sliced garlic cloves

red pepper flakes, to taste

minced flat leaf parsley

Parmesan or Pecorino Cheese (optional)


Cook the spaghetti in a pot of boiling salted water. You know how to do that, don't you? Cook it just shy of al dente, let's say a minute less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and reserve the cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat six tablespoons of that good olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of those red pepper flakes. Cook very gently until the garlic is lightly golden. Be careful not to overcook the garlic; gentle is the key word here.

Transfer pasta to the skillet along with 1/2 cup or so of the cooking water. Increase the heat and cook, stirring and tossing rapidly until a creamy sauce forms and coats the noodles. Remove from the heat, drizzle with remaining olive oil and fold in the parsley. You can also add some good Parmesan or Pecorino if you have it on hand, although a Sicilian might frown at that - it's up to you. Pofta Buna! (As they say in Romania.)


Jim Byrnes is an award-winning musician, actor and broadcaster.


What's for Dinner, Barbara-jo?

Hello friends,

Every day we are confronted with the same question.

“What’s for dinner?”

Some of us face it in the morning, before our busy day begins, while others remember it around 4 pm. and race around the grocery store on the way home, searching for inspiration.

What is it about this question that is so hard to answer? Is it because we are required to answer it every day? Is it because we are all so busy? Is it because we tend to get stuck making the same things over and over?

Here at Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, we often chat about what we’re planning for our own dinners, and love asking you what you’re making. Many times we’ve faced this question with a blank stare, but it always helps to hear what someone else is making. That’s why we’ve decided to start a new initiative.

Introducing: “What’s for Dinner, Barbara-jo?”, a new weekly offering from your friendly neighbourhood cookbook shop. Each week, we will ask a member from our community to share their go-to dish - the one they turn to when time is short. This recipe will arrive on your email doorstep on Wednesday mornings, a quick midweek dinner pick-me up.

We are all so busy. Despite this, we want to encourage you to cook and to feed the ones you love from your own kitchen. It’s always worth the time.

One of our favourite quotes is from Thomas Wolfe, and we believe it wholeheartedly: “There is no sight more appealing than the sight of someone cooking dinner for the ones they love.”

Cook something for yourselves and your loved ones this week, and keep your eyes peeled for the first recipe- this one comes to you from award-winning musician, actor and broadcaster, Jim Byrnes.


Barbara-jo, et al.

You are invited... 

Ciao Vancouver!

Please join us for a memorable evening of Italian fine dining and dancing on Thursday, June 16.

We'll gather at The Vancouver Club for a dinner featuring elegant Italian dishes, inspired by Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence, and fine Italian wines. After dinner, a live band will accompany our dancing.

Cost: $195, includes your Italian dinner and wine, dancing and a copy of Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence.

This special event is a celebration in partnership with the Italian Cultural Centre, in honour of Italian Heritage Month (June).


As many of you already know, the Autumn Sessions of Eating Between the Leaves and The One Book Club are both sold out. However, we will be hosting another session of one of these groups.

If you would like to add your name to the waiting list for either of these monthly book clubs, please telephone the shop (604-688-6755 (tel:%28604-688-6755) ). Each name on the waiting list will count as a vote towards having another session of that particular club. Click here for more information about both of these book clubs.

On June 1, we will post a second session of either Eating Between the Leaves, or the One Book Club, depending on which group has the largest waiting list.

Stay tuned! Click HERE to see more of our upcoming social gatherings.



Celebrating the Natal Days of Classic Chefs


Dear friends, 

Last week, we gathered to celebrate the natal day of one of our favourite classic chefs, Michel Roux. 

It was Michel's 75th birthday, and our guests were treated to a special evening of fine dining and reminiscing about the times we have been fortunate enough to have Michel visit our shop. Barbara-jo read a letter from the chef himself, recounting his life, decade by decade, and Chef Max Straczek, of Fable Restaurant, devised the following special menu from Michel's books:

First course: Feuillets d'Huitres tieds aux Framboises

Second course: Ouefs Brouilles aux points d'Asperges et au crab

Third course: Soup de Moules

Fourth course: Pave de Boeuf a l'ancienne

Fifth course: Chocolat Fondant.

This dinner was the first in a new series designed to celebrate the chefs who have impacted both the culinary and cookery book world. In honour of the rich culinary legacy these chefs have given us, we will dine on meals inspired by their lives and books. *

We have three more of these dinners already posted to our website (listed below), and will be posting more as the year unfolds. We hope you will be able to join us in celebrating around our table. *

Until next time,

Your friendly neighbourhood cookery bookshop,

Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks


Darina Allen

Saturday, July 30, 12 - 2 pm

Today we celebrate Darina Allen's birthday with a delicious lunch cooked by Chef Adrienne O'Callaghan, our first in-shop resident chef. Adrienne trained at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, founded by Darina and her brother in 1983, and will share stories of her time there, in addition to demonstrating our lunch. Click here  for more information.

Julia Child

Monday, August 15, 6-8 pm

If you've been to our shop, one of the first things you might notice is the lovely photo of Julia Child celebrating her 90th birthday. Tonight, Chef Adrienne O'Callaghan will present us with a delightful menu taken from an assortment of Julia's books and we will celebrate in Julia's favourite way: eating and drinking. Click here  for more information.

Auguste Escoffier

Friday, October 28, 6 - 8 pm

Tonight we dine in honour of Auguste Escoffier, born on October 28, 1846, and possibly the most celebrated chef in history. This French chef and restaurateur was known as the "King of Chefs, Chef of Kings". His motto was "faites simple" (do it simple) and his many books are still revered by chefs worldwide. To celebrate this culinary great, Chef Max Straczek will cook a classic French meal inspired by Escoffier's books. Click here  for more information.




June has been proclaimed Italian Heritage Month by both the Provincial Government and the City of Vancouver. During this month, our city will be filled with learning, sharing, and celebrating everything Italian.

For us, the best way to celebrate is with food. We've partnered with the Italian Cultural Centre for this month's festivities and during the month of June we will be offering 15% off Italian cookbooks and hosting a variety of gatherings centred around a few of our favourite Italian books and dishes.

Join us for a month of celebrations - Mangia Vancouver!


 Join us for Dinner:

We have invited a number of chefs and culinary experts who are not Italian by birth or heritage to celebrate the cuisine we all love.

June 5, 5 pm: My Kitchen in Rome, with Chef Curtis Luk

June 12, 5 pm: Sharing Puglia, with Chef Quang Dang

June 16, 6:30 pm: A Night in Florence at The Vancouver Club

June 26, 5 pm: Venice: Recipes Lost and Found, with Chef Glenys Morgan


 Learn Something New:

Each of these one hour sessions will focus on a specific aspect of Italian cuisine, with a local chef as our teacher. Afterwards, we'll all have a taste!

Saturday, June 4, 11 am - 12 pm: Italian Cheese, with Alison Spurrell of les amis du FROMAGE

Saturday, June 11,11 am - 12 pm: Stuffed Pasta with Chef Robert Belcham of Campagnolo

Saturday, June 18, 1 - 2 pm: Pizza on the Grill, with our Resident Chef Glenys Morgan

Saturday, June 25, 11 am - 12 pm: Cicchetti, with Chef Jamie Maxwell of Nook


 Click HERE to see our other upcoming events.

Learning at Latab

This morning we received this lovely photo from a guest who attended our dinner event with Latab on March 14. The evening's offerings encouraged him to forage for his salad greens - ones he had learned were edible.

Here is Chef Kris Barnholden's menu from the evening, for those of you who are curious:


Flatbread with Roased Beets, Herbs, Sunflower, Yogurt Dried Blueberry Flax Crisps, Chestnut, Wild Garlic

First Course:

Salad of Wild Spring Greens, Poached Egg, Potato Foam, Brioche Crumb

Second Course:

Cow Parsley Root and Potato Latkes, Wild Garlic Creme Fraiche, Garlic Mustard, Oxalis

Third Course:

Coffee Cured Trout, Carrot, Wild Shoots

Fourth Course:

Braised Lamb Neck, Wild Mustard Salsa Verde, Stinging Nettle Gnudi, Porcini Granola


Angelica Yogurt Cream, Wild Flowers, Honey, Buckwheat Crumble

 Susan Musgrave - The Poetic Cook


Two Opportunities to meet Susan Musgrave, the Poetic Cook:

Lunch w/ Susan Musgrave at Mission Restaurant

Sunday, April 10, 2016  11:30am - 1:30pm

Mission Restaurant (2042 W 4th Ave, Vancouver)

What happens when Susan Musgrave writes an excellent book about the food and culture of Haida Gwaii? Well, many people want to gather with her, and share a meal.

Today, please join us for lunch at Mission Restaurant with acclaimed author Susan Musgrave. Chef Curtis Luk will prepare a menu selected from the recipes in a Taste of HAIDA GWAII.

Cost of lunch will be $95.00 and include a sparkling libation, your feast and a personalized copy of a Taste of HAIDA GWAII.

Please telephone the shop 604.688.6755 to reserve.

CBC Radio Interview: North by Northwest w/ Sheryl MacKay

Sunday, April 10, 2016 10:00 am

Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks

Rise and Shine! This morning we will be transported to the Isle of Haida Gwaii with author Susan Musgrave and her book, a taste of HAIDA GWAII: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World.

Please telephone the shop at 604.688.6755 to confirm your attendance.

There will be books available for purchase and personalizing.

First, catch your March here. 🐇 

First, catch your March hare

Lunch with Susan Musgrave at Mission Restaurant

Sunday, April 10, 2016 11:30am - 1:30pm

What happens when Susan Musgrave writes an excellent book about the food and culture of Haida Gwaii? Well, many people want to gather with her, and share a meal.

Today, please join us for lunch at Mission Restaurant with acclaimed author Susan Musgrave. Chef Curtis Luk will prepare a menu selected from the recipes in a Taste of HAIDA GWAII.

Cost of lunch will be $95.00 and include a sparkling libation, your feast and a personalized copy of a Taste of HAIDA GWAII.

Please telephone the shop 604.688.6755 to reserve.

Celebrating a Classic Chef's Natal Day

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 6 - 9 pm

Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks

Tonight we celebrate Michel Roux, on the day he turns 75. We are grateful to have Michel as a friend. Michel has visited the shop on many occasions, always offering support. Michel still continues to move around the world with spirit and joy for his very well honed craft.

I have asked a local young chef, Max Straczek, who met with Michel when he last visited, to prepare a five course menu from a selection of Michel's books.

Please join us to wish Michel a bonne anniversaire, while we dine in style. I will read passages from Michel Roux's memoir: "Life is a Menu".

We ask that you wear black and white, in honour of the classic attire of the French restaurateur. We imagine Michel will enjoy his natal day with his family, in his chef jacket.

Cost of this evening is $135.00 per person and will include a $30 voucher for any purchase you may desire in shop. Seating is limited to 14.

This will be the first of our classic book dinner gatherings.

Please telephone the shop 604.688.6755 to reserve.




Remembrance of an excellent repast

February 15th is a day we will remember fondly.

We hosted Ruth Reichl in shop, while Margaret Gallagher interviewed Ruth for North by Northwest on CBC Radio One. Ruth demonstrated a recipe from My Kitchen Year, the delicious and EASY VIETNAMESE CARAMELIZED PORK.

After the interview, we hightailed it downtown to the Vancouver Club. I asked local blues-man Jim Byrnes to interview Ruth for his radio show on Roundhouse Radio. Actually, it was more of a conversation than interview, and delightful.

Ruth then signed books for her loyal fans while they sipped Champagne and enjoyed BROCCOLI RABE BRUSCHETTA, FRIED OYSTERS, and PINK DEVILED EGGS.

30 guests had reserved to dine with Ruth and Jim, and in typical Vancouver Club style, all enjoyed a perfectly designed meal, paired with magnificent wines, served with grace.

Roxanna Bikadoroff created and illustrated this fine menu for the guests to take home. 



Please join us for two Summer evenings where we shall dine in style to discuss the books we have read.

The dates will be Wednesday, June 8th and Wednesday, July 6th, 2016. I will have the two books selected and ready for pick up on Friday the 13th of May.

Cost for this abbreviated session will be $220.00, and includes the books, the meals, enlightened discussion, gathered around our kitchen in the shop.

My Kitchen Year, our Reichl Day, and more...

"My Kitchen Year"

Our Reichl Day

Monday, February 15th, We welcome Ruth Reichl to Vancouver with two exclusive engagements. * Monday, February 15, 2016 * 4:00pm - 5:00pm * Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks * * CBC Radio's Sheryl Mackay interviews Ruth in our shop. * * Cost: $40 * includes personalized copy of * My Kitchen Year

  • Monday, February 15, 2016
  • 6:00pm - 7:30pm
  • The Vancouver Club *
  • Blues-Man Jim Byrnes interviews Ruth at The Vancouver Club. *
  • Cost: $75
  • includes refreshments and a personalized copy of My Kitchen Year.

Please telephone our shop at 604.688.6755 to reserve your place 

And for something down the road...

"MEXICAN TODAY" with author and Television cook Pati Jinich

Saturday, May 14, 2016  12:00pm - 2:00pm

Pati Jinich, host of the PBS series Pati"s Mexican Table, will be in our shop to present her new book, Mexican Today. Pati is also the official chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Please join us for a delicious lunch prepared from Pati's new book, full of recipes that have evolved with innovation and style from the traditional Mexican kitchen.

Cost of this presentation is $105.00 and includes your lunch and a personalized copy of Mexican Today.

Please telephone the shop at 604.688.6755 to reserve.

We welcome the arrival of Ruth Reichl! 

Ruth Reichl is coming to the Vancouver Club with Jim Byrnes

Monday, February 15, 2016 * 6:00pm 7:30pm * Vancouver Club

Tonight, we have the pleasure of presenting one of America's culinary legends. Ruth Reichl is well known for her journalistic career; restaurant critic for Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Editor of Gourmet Magazine until its demise. The year following this tragic loss for food lovers and travelers, found Ruth blue and introspective. Ruth has penned a delightful book: My Kitchen Year. Ruth writes beautifully. Her chapters take us through the seasons, her thoughts and observations as she heals, and shares the 136 recipes that she believes saved her life.

Here in Vancouver we can boast that Jim Byrnes lives here. Jim is American born, the same vintage as Ruth, and a master of dealing with the blues. Tonight Jim will interview Ruth about the book, the blues and their mutual capacity to embrace cooking and life.

This evening will begin with the interview, followed by a reception with tasty nibbles from Ruth's new book, wine, and book signing. COST: $75.00

There will be a dinner after the signing for 28 guests. Ruth and Jim will be at the table, and price includes the interview portion, the book, dinner and wine pairings. COST: $175.00

Please telephone the shop to ensure your attendance for this special evening. 604.688.6755

Latab is all about FORAGING, inspired food, and drink. 

Monday, March 14, 2016 * 6:00pm - 9:00pm * Latab Wine Bar

Latab is a fairly new Wine Bar in Vancouver's downtown. Small, friendly and extremely interesting. Kris Barnholden & Eryn Dorman have created a unique menu with many of the ingredients locally foraged.

Tonight we will enjoy a menu that highlights these ingredients. Camille Flanjak - local forager to the restaurants of our community - will be on hand to enlighten us with her craft and knowledge.

You will leave enchanted and with a Foraging pamphlet that will encourage you to notice what delightful edibles are growing right under our noses!

Cost of this meal which includes tax and gratuity along with a fine education and pamphlet is $75.

Please telephone the shop to reserve your seat at the table. 604.688.6755

"The grace of understatement"

Soon, we will begin our one book club.  The book I have chosen is: Nigel Slater - a year of good eating.   I always suggest one reads the introduction to every book they purchase.  You can learn a lot about the writer, and this often encourages you to take the book into your kitchen even more than you might have expected from your first flirtation.

From this book, I have chosen these paragraphs from Nigel's introduction to share with you. 

"With this book comes something of a plea for both good food and a love of cooking to be just part and parcel of our everyday lives.  Thoughtful, considered, always delicious, but something to be quietly enjoyed rather than put on a pedestal. (The very notion of someone being a 'foodie' makes me shudder).

I worry that the competitive element currently prevalent in food and cooking is scaring people, particularly new cooks, away from getting stuck in.  There is, I believe, too much pressure on us to 'perform', to reach for perfection, instead of simply treating the art of making something to eat as the lifelong joy it should be.

I like to think I have an attitude to cooking and eating built on foundations of good taste and pleasure rather than of veneration and worship.  Yes, I like eating the good stuff and I cook from scratch pretty much every day of my life, but I can't help thinking good food should be something we take in our stride, a life-enriching punctuation to our day, rather than something to be fetishised.  And if I read once more that someone is a 'passionate cook' I think I'll eat my other gloves."

Our mid-month forecast: DELICIOUS.

Our mid-month forecast: DELICIOUS.

Thursday, January 14th 2016

A conversation in our kitchen with Bonnie Stern

6:00pm - 7:30pm

Canada can boast a true culinary treasure in Bonnie Stern. This evening we welcome Bonnie into our kitchen for a conversation about her present career in the culinary world. Though Bonnie no longer has her legendary cooking school, she remains very active writing her newspaper column, hosts a book club, travels the world and interviews the well known figures of gastronomy.

Cost of this evening is $35.00 and will include refreshments and stimulating conversation.

Please telephone the shop at 604.688.6755 to reserve.

Sunday, January 17th 2016

We will be hosting these three amazing women here at our bookshop.

These events are free of charge, but we advise to telephone in advance to confirm attendance.

 Tara Austen Weaver 12:00pm - 1:00pm Today at noon, please join us in shop to hear Sheryl Mackay interview writer Tara Austen Weaver for CBC's North by Northwest radio show. Today's topic will be the food we remember from the books we read and loved as children. Anne of Green Gables? Little House on the Prairie? Winnie the Pooh? Alice in Wonderland? We will ask audience members to participate, so please come prepared with your memories.

Madhur Jaffrey 1:00pm - 2:00pm I have long been a fan of this wonderful woman. Madhur has lived an incredible life; acting, writing, living. Most recently, Madhur has penned another book of recipes: Vegetarian India. CBC's Sheryl MacKay will interview Madhur, live to tape, for North by Northwest Radio program. We welcome Madhur back to the shop this afternoon. Please join us for chai and treats, conversation and laughter. There is no charge to meet Madhur, there will be copies of Vegetarian India available for purchase. Please telephone the shop to advise of your attendance. A nice post holiday affair.

Rose Levy Beranbaum 3:00pm - 4:00pm Rose Levy Beranbaum is unquestionably one of the best writers on baking and pastry North America has produced. Her definitive collection is always in our library.

Rose has travelled from New York to Vancouver for a very special occasion. She has designed the wedding cake for Nathan Fong and Michel Chiccone's extravaganza, and she is going to personally bake it in the kitchen of the Sutton Place Hotel.

Rose will visit us today, the day after the wedding, and will chat about her adventure with this project. The cake will be featured in her upcoming publication: Rose's Wedding Cakes. Monday,


January 18th 2016

Chef Kian Lam Kho joins us at Mission Restaurant

6:00pm - 9:00pm 

A beautiful new book has entered our library this Autumn; Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees by chef and author Kian Lam Kho. Kian lives in New York city, teaching the fundamental techniques of Chinese cooking. This book is a guide for home cooks who are curious to learn more about this magnificent cuisine. Chef Curtis Luk of Mission is both Chinese, and talented at cooking many cuisines, tonight he is delighted to alter the regular offerings of Mission and present us with a menu from Phoenix Claws and Jade Trees.

Our evening will begin with a Cocktail, paired for the occasion, a book signing and conversation with Kian, and dinner.

Cost of the evening is $140.00. This includes a personalized copy of the book, cocktail, meal and gratuity.

Please telephone the shop at 604.688.6755 to reserve your seat.

Stay tuned for details on Ruth Reichl, Monday, February 15th...

The world is in a whirl, but life is beautiful. 

the world is in a whirl, but life is beautiful.


“Three six nine, the goose drank wine, the monkey chewed tobacco on the street car line, the line broke, the monkey choked, they all went to heaven in a little row boat, clap clap!”

We found ourselves singing this ditty in the shop the other day, it seemed quite fitting as the year, another crazy and unsettling year in the world’s history, comes to a close. This year, the shop is grateful to be celebrating Christmas - edition 19. The year wraps up with many memories, both joyful and sad. Thankfully, the relationships we have formed with chefs, cooks and authors continue to nourish us, I delight in introducing new ideas and technique to you all. We all have a story to tell.

I truly think our presence in the community is to encourage the souls who grace our doorstep to embrace cooking whether living alone, or cooking for another, or many others. But also, I feel it important to understand where your ingredients are coming from, how they are produced, and how that production affects our world, though sometimes I think it best not to get me started into this conversation!

What I have learned from this year is to continue to feel empathy and show kindness, being cognizant of this has been a great help to move through the muck as I crave to be surrounded with sanity, truth and peace.

I leave you with this illustration I commissioned Roxanna Bikadoroff to create around one of my favourite quotes by Thomas Wolfe.

May you all enjoy the season,

Barbara-jo ~ December 15, 2015

My list for 2015 is all about us - Canada, True North, Strong and Delicious

Every year, I receive hundreds of new cookbooks into our library, from all over the world.  When it comes to food and cooking, our world is not at a loss to share creative thought.      This year I have decided to dedicate my list to us.  I don't think I have ever been prouder of our cooks and publishers, and if you cast your eyes over this list, you will notice how much of the West Coast of Canada is represented, whether it be author, publisher, or a home-grown lad gone East to make his culinary dream come true.

Haida Gwaii by Susan Musgrave, publisher: Whitecap Books

True to Your Roots by Carla Kelly, publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

Ocean Wise Cookbook, edited by Jane Mundy, publisher: Whitecap Books

Great Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook by Eric Akis, publisher: appetite by Random House

The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker by Jennifer Schell, publisher: Touchwood Editions

Deerholme Vegetable Cookbook by Bill Jones, publisher: Touchwood Editions

Winnipeg Cooks by Robin Summerfield, publisher: Figure.1

Montreal Cooks by Jonathan Cheung + Tays Spencer, publisher: Figure.1

Olive Oil & Vinegar Lover's Cookbook by Emily Lycopolus, publisher: Touchwood Editions

True North by Derek Dammann and Chris Johns, publisher: Harper Collins Canada

Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook by Cinda Chavich, publisher: Touchwood Editions

Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady, publisher: appetite by Random House

GOODNESS, recipes & stories by Peter and Chris Neal, publisher: BlakemanBooks

Butter Celebrates by Rosie Daykin, publisher: appetite by Random House


Zsuzsi Gartner's Boreal Feast

Here's the menu for our Boreal Feast New Year's Eve Dinner inspired by Michele Genest’s gorgeous and inspiring new cookbook, The Boreal Feast: A Culinary Journey through the North (Lost Moose, 2014). I bought a copy for myself and one each for two friends so we could all make something from it for our annual New Year’s Eve Celebration (this year, eight “grown-ups” and five teens). We were too busy eating, drinking and talking to take a photo of anything
but the tourtière, which tasted much better than the photo makes it appear. If you look closely, you’ll see a little maple leaf on top.


Modernist Celery and Olives:

Grilled Celery & Sauteed Green Olives with
Spruce Tips

(I was curious whether people would dig the celery dish -- it turned out to be was a huge
hit.  I substituted fresh rosemary from my backyard due to the lack of fresh
spruce tips. For the olives, I used cerignola. I was going to make the Parmesan Crisps as well, but ran out of time in my usual crazed-hostess style. 

Game patés (Hills Wild: rabbit & blueberry and wild boar & apricot) rounded out the appies.



  Wild Berry and Gewurstraminer (pg. 94)

(Yowza!  So crazily rich. We served in assorted tea cups. My friend Jillian (who I brought to
Michele's Books to Cooks session with me) is a most accomplished cook.

She had put away her own wild blueberries in freezer, so used those)


Endive, Daikon and Kohlrabi with Walnuts & Cranberries (pg. 27)

(Jillian substituted pomegranate seeds for lack of fresh cranberries)


Tourtiere for 10 (pg. 175)

(My husband John (top chef!) was even going to render his own lard for the crust but
time-crunched -- next time!  If we'd decided on the dish sooner we could've
ordered up some venison or caribou for the moose (which is illegal to sell,

at least in Vancouver, as we discovered).

John used stewing beef, pork tenderloin, duck legs, and
free-range Alberta bison meat)  It was stupendous!

The big surprise here was how well the bottom, and especially the side, crust

 held up even as leftovers considering all that juiciness inside.


Honey-Mead Glazed Carrots (pg. 95)  ZZ

Turnip Gratin (pg. 97)


(In the tradition of Julia Child, my friends, including Janet,

who made this dish, never shy away from more cream and butter!)

Dessert was not from the book, but in the spirit of the theme my friend
Patty decorated her chocolate bundt cake with antique pewter woodland creatures (hares,
foxes) from Denmark, and drifted it with icing sugar and cedar sprigs to look
like a winter forest scene. Patty and Paul also found this Zubrowka “Bison Grass Vodka” from Poland that came in its own very fashionable jacket:

My Mother's Prize Shortbread

Lately, I find myself quoting Nora Ephron a lot; “I remember nothing”.  My busy days jumble together, lovely moments with friends, the Opera or Theatre, are soon forgotten.  But when I open my mother’s recipe box, and take the time to read her recipes, my palate has no problem savouring the flavours of her cooking, as if it were being served to me that very moment.  And mostly, I remember the Christmas baking.  Every Christmas mother would pick a Saturday, usually the 2nd Saturday in December, and the day was dedicated to baking.   Every Saturday we would listen to the Metropolitan Opera, but Christmas baking day, mother would turn up the volume, sip a little sherry and the drama paired with the aroma was intoxicating.  We were allowed a wee taste of everything on baking day; the rest was put away for company and Christmas Day.    Her list wasn’t onerous; Mince tarts, Naniamo Bars, Birdsnests, Christmas Drop Cookies, Cherry Snowballs and the Prize Shortbread.  To this day, I believe my mother’s shortbread to be the best in the world.  Now the sad story is, my mother died 11 years ago, and every year I fondle the recipe, remembering, but fearful to make the shortbread; what if I make a mess and ruin the memory?   Well, I have decided, my mother often said that FEAR was False Evidence Appearing Real, so I will make the shortbread this December and create a new memory for myself, one that I hope to remember.

PRIZE SHORTBREAD – the recipe of Peggy McIntosh, nee Gladys Margaret Clunas

1 cup unsalted butter

½ cup powdered sugar

1 egg yolk

¼ teaspoon salt

Flour (Mother did not include the amount, try 2 cups)

1.     Soften the butter slightly, but do not allow it to become oily.

2.     Stir in sugar, salt and egg yolk using a wooden spoon (wooden spoon is underlined in the recipe)

3.     Add the flour, a very little at a time, until mixture is too stiff to work with the spoon.

4.     Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly, drawing in flour all the time until the lump begins to crack.

5.     Divide mixture in two, pat into 2 ungreased pie plates. Bake at 350 degrees, no time is given for baking (no wonder I am fearful!)

Barbara-jo McIntosh

November, 2015


December 3rd, 2015     -    Shortbread update.

Today I took the leap and made my mother’s shortbread.      I put Ben Heppner into my CD player, turned up the volume and enjoyed the labour of love and memory.   Did the first bite feel as good as mother’s?  No, but it does age very well.  Each morning before I leave my nest for the shop, I remove the wax paper that keeps the slab fresh, and break off a gentle, buttery, morsel.   I find this ritual very pleasing,  a nice way to start the day during the sweet season.

Introducing: The One Book Club 📖

Reading, Cooking, Eating, a little bit every day.


Between the Leaves


We introduce to you a new initiative to our shop. This club comprises of 4 dinner sessions and one book.

When you sign on, you will receive the book. When we meet for the first dinner, you will have read the required quarter of the book and cooked at least three recipes.

At our get together, we will discuss the writing and recipes, while dining on a menu we have concocted from the book.

Cost: $350 Includes your book, which I have chosen to be Nigel Slater's Year of Eating, and your meals. Dates are Wednesdays: January 20, February 17, March 16, and April 20. Space is limited to 12 guests.

Telephone 604-688-6755 to reserve

We are presently sorting details for many upcoming gatherings... stay in touch. Gift certificates are available and always a nice idea