Cabane à Sucre

Bonjour mes amis! I’m here at Trois Pistoles with very limited internet access, which is why I haven’t been blogging much lately. I also haven’t been cooking much because all my meals are prepared by my wonderful host, Aline, who cooks amazing vegetarian meals for 14 people 2 times a day. I don’t know how she does it, it’s so much work. Other than that, everyone is really nice here. The town is full of bicycles because that’s how the students get around. I don’t know how come the locals don’t get really angry because it’s really hard to drive a car around and not kill 5 students at once.

So since I don’t have a recipe to share with you, I will leave you with a few pictures from a trip we took to a cabane à sucre, which is the place where they make maple syrup and other maple products. This place is of course in a maple forest and the owner Jean-Pierre, whom you can see in the pictures, is a very kind and funny man. I ate way too much maple syrup there (served on ice, as you will see) and maple butter. Very delicious!

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Soba Noodles Lunch

It’s been one of those weeks when I’m preparing for traveling and I am living as if I am already at the destination (as I wrote in my last post, I will be leaving my city for one month to go to a little town in Quebec called Trois Pistoles for a French immersion program). There are dozens of lists all over the house: list of items I have to pack, list of what I have to do before I leave, list of the people I have to contact before I go, list of things I have to clean before I leave and many more. I am a listomaniac. My friends are very amazed when I tell them that I do the actual packing of my baggage only a few hours before I leave but they don’t know that packing is the easiest thing to do when everything is organized on a list.

Besides making lists, I spent my last few days worrying. This is quite new as I never used to worry before I left on a trip. I worry about having enough warm clothes, about the place I will be living in, about having to speak French with native French speakers but most of all I worry about two things: food (I’m not too sure Quebecois cuisine is vegetarian friendly) and keeping active (I tend to get lazy on trips). In what concerns food, I can only hope that I will be able to find a good grocery store and cook at least once in a while. For the fitness part, I really need to step it up and be more active. This will be a bit tough with the amount of socializing happening around me. Today I had the perfect post-workout lunch. Packed with protein and healthy carbs, plus green veggies. I will probably miss this workout+healthy meal routine for the next month but…what the heck, I need to step out of my comfort zone.

Soba Noodles Lunch
Print
: Lunch, Main
Author:
Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
A light lunch with spelt soba noodles, tempeh and vegetables.
Ingredients
  • 115g organic spelt soba noodles (half of a container)
  • 198g organic tempeh (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
  • 1 cup oyster and shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • ¼ red pepper, sliced in length
  • 1 cup chopped bok choy (chinese cabbage)
  • 5 pieces asparagus, rough ends cut and then halved
  • ½ cup green peas
  • 5 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 4 Tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring the water for the noodles to a boil. When it is boiling, add 1 Tbsp sesame oil to it and the noodles. Cook for about 7 minutes on medium until al dente.
  2. Steam the tempeh, red pepper, bok choy, asparagus and green peas. Add 1 Tbsp sesame oil and the dried basil and steam for about 10 minutes.
  3. In a pan, heat the remaining sesame oil (2 Tbsp) and saute the mushrooms for about 3 minutes.
  4. Serving:
  5. In a separate dish, transfer the noodles, then add the other ingredients in the order you like. I stacked them like this: soba noodles, mushrooms, bok choy, red peppers, tempeh, asparagus and peas. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper.
  6. Add the fresh basil and the fresh ginger on top or on the side.
  7. For eating, I recommend stirring the ingredients together, so that the flavours blend a little more.

I felt a little less stressed after the workout plus this delicious lunch but not for too long because I had to go shopping for things I need on the trip and shopping really annoys me. I’m an atypical girl, I really don’t enjoy shopping and malls in general.

Now I have to return to packing and stressing out. I will try to post as much as possible during this one month that I am away. I don’t know how many recipes I’ll be able to post though. There are lots of things that are uncertain about the upcoming month but I’m ready to jump into the unknown. I will keep you posted about my journey!

Eat well, keep active and learn new languages! :)

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Chai Popsicles

Exactly one week from today I will be on a train to Trois Pistoles, a place I know nothing about other than the fact that they push your lazy ass to learn French and actually speak it too. There, in the heart of the Quebec region, I will take an oath that I will only exist in French for the next four weeks. I don’t know if I will break the oath to write on my spelonca in English. What I can tell you for sure is that starting from next week I will write at least my recipes in French as well, something I have been planning to do for a while, but since there’s nobody around pushing me to do it…I didn’t do it. There are a few of reasons I want to add a French section to my blog: 1. I live in Canada, where the official languages are English and French; 2. Since French is an international language spoken officially in 30 countries, I want to make my recipes available to the francophone public as well; 3. I am in love with French language and francophone culture for a trillion reasons ranging from the mellifluous sound of the language to madeleine cookies.

My recipe today has nothing to do with French but it has to do with me having a gigantic craving for chai: chai spices, chai lattes, chai-flavoured desserts, chai-flavoured pizza. Just joking. Let’s keep pizza chai-free. I made these popsicles for this afternoon, when we are going to hang out at the pool across the street from my place. I made eight of them but I’m only taking four to the pool because I already had one and my boyfriend had one as well….then someone else had two more. I don’t know who, maybe someone who’s been craving chai desserts lately…:)

Yeah, that was me. I ate three popsicles for breakfast. Yes, my craving is gone. No, probably not for long.


Chai Popsicles
Print
: Dessert
Author:
Cooking time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
Creamy and chai-infused popsicles with almonds.
Ingredients
  • 4 cups coconut milk (organic and BPA-free)
  • 3 tea bags of your favourite chai (I used my favourite, which is Organic India Tulsi Tea Chai Masala)
  • 4 Tbsp honey (or agave nectar for vegans)
  • 1 pinch cardamom (I wanted the taste of cardamom to be a little stronger)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
Instructions
  1. In a pot, heat the coconut milk to an almost boiling point. Put the tea bags in, cover, and let sit until slightly warm.
  2. Add the honey and cardamom stir and let cool completely.
  3. Take the tea bags out and add the slivered almonds and stir.
  4. Pour the mix in the popsicle forms, place in the freezer and let cook for at least 5 hours.
  5. To take the popsicles out, run them under hot water for about 30 seconds. They will come out easily after that but they must be eaten right away as they can make quite a mess when they start melting.

This is not one of my most beautifully looking desserts. However, it’s really really tasty. I wouldn’t have shared it with you otherwise. The coconut taste is very subtle, instead the chai flavours take over and the crunchiness and nuttiness of the almonds give it a delicious twist. It’s a popsicle recipe that makes me think more of kulfi than of regular popsicles.

I have to finish this post and run to the pool because if I linger around for much longer there will be no popsicles left.

Enjoy! Bon appetit!

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