Gingerbread Snacking Cake

For dessert, Michelle prepared a recipe from Martha Stewart for the South Arm Seniors Kitchen. This cake has the elements of gingerbread which fits for the season.


This Gingerbread Snacking Cake freezes well. You can serve this cake with a dollop of whipped cream or ice-cream for a treat. The aroma of molasses filled the kitchen while the cake is baking. This cake is light and fluffy.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • icing sugar for garnishing
  • whipped cream or ice-cream for topping


Source: this recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 12


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How to cook Farro

Besides the Orange and Pecan Salad with Red Onion Dressing, Michelle also prepared another side dish for the South Arm Seniors Kitchen. The seniors had expressed their interest in learning  more about grains.


Michelle brought a grain called Farro to make a simple side dish. There are other grains which are very similar to farro like emmer, spelt and einkorn. Barley also has similar characteristic as farro and so, you may substitute farro with barley in recipes. Farro can be eaten plain or used in salad and soups.

Here is the recipe for a spelt salad and some barley soups (Herbed Lentil and Barley Soup, Hearty Bean Barley Soup, Barley Yogurt Soup and Mushroom,  Barley and lentil Soup)  that I had blogged before.

Farro is sold dried and is prepared by cooking in water for about an hour or more until soft, but still crunchy (it is recommended first soaking the farro over night). The ratio of water to grain to cook the farro is 2 to 1.


The farro that Michelle brought is the pearled version which takes a much shorter time to cook, about 15 minutes. Michelle bought it from … (more…)

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Orange and Pecan Salad with Red Onion Dressing

For side dish, Michelle prepared an Orange and Pecan Salad with Red Onion Dressing at the South Arm Seniors Kitchen.


You can make the dressing ahead of time and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can use fresh oranges, canned oranges or mandarin oranges in this salad. Other fruits like strawberries and kiwis can also be used.

We like that we can taste the onions in the dressing and yet there is no chunks of onions to bite into.


  • 2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and chopped, pat dried or spin dry using a salad spinner
  • 2 oranges, sliced into sections
  • 1 cup pecans (candied or toasted)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard or dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon water


Source: via Michelle Li

Serve 8 to 10


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Swiss Turkey Broccoli Bake

This is the first time I return to the South Arm Seniors Kitchen after the summer break and South Arm kitchen renovation. I think I missed at least one kitchen due to my trip to Beijing. The new senior kitchen facilitator is Michelle Li.


Stella, the South Arm seniors program coordinator decorated the table with a Christmas theme since this is the last kitchen in December. Michelle also prepared some festive recipes which can utilize leftover food from the holiday feast.

Here is some tips that Michelle shared with the seniors on food safe regarding leftovers. The excerpt is adapted from dietitian Heather McColl.

  • Ensure the fridge is at the correct temperature, 4 degrees Celsius or colder; a fridge thermometer is a great tool to have.
  • Refrigerate leftovers immediately after dinner or within 2 hours of cooking
  • Cool food quickly by storing in shallow containers on your refrigerator’s wire shelves to promote maximum airflow and even cooling.
  • Quickly cool a large pot of hot food like soup or stew by chilling in an ice bath and stirring frequently before storing in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Chill large  pieces of mat or poultry quickly and safely by deboning and dividing into small portions before storing in the refrigerator.
  • Date your leftovers and use within 3 to 4 days or store in the freezer for up to 6 months
  • When heating leftovers, be sure to heat foods to an internal temperature of 74 degrees Celsius or bring liquids like soup to a rolling boil
  • Since you cant tell the safety of food by its look, smell or taste, a good rule of thumb is “when in doubt, throw it out”.


The main course for this kitchen is Swiss Turkey Broccoli Bake. This is a good recipe to encourage kids to eat vegetables with the incorporation of a cheesy creamed sauce.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken or turkey
  • 3 cups broccoli florets or asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces, steamed
  • 1/2 cup grated swiss, chesddar or parmesan cheese
Cream Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, half and half or light cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg


This recipe is a great way to use up leftover chicken or turkey and already cooked vegetables. Leftover can be packaged into individual portions and freeze for enjoyment later.

Source: via Michelle Li

Serve 4 to 6


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Richmond Community Kitchens Christmas Potluck 2011

The Richmond Community Kitchens celebrated Christmas with a potluck at Gilmore Park Church. We are very grateful for the church to allow us to use their facility for this potluck.


Old, new and existing members and friends attended this potluck. Some of the members also brought along their kids since the kids are on their winter break. The more people the merrier.


We had a lot of food to share. The above are the savory dishes.


There were not many items on the dessert table. The cake is sponsored by Safeway as I was told.


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Swiss Chard and Mushroom Stir Fry

The second dish that Minoo prepared for the South Arm Community Kitchen is a stir fry vegetable dish that incorporated Swiss Chard. Swiss Chard is a fall vegetable but it is easily available in winter in the groceries stores. This is a hardy and versatile vegetable that can be used in soup or stir fry. It is rich in dietary fiber. It is high in vitamin A, K and C.


We love the color of this stir fry dish, which is very Christmasy. The sesame seeds add crunch and nuttiness to it.


  • 2 bunches Swiss chard
  • 1 sweet red or yellow pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped mushroom
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • soy sauce to taste


Source: Minoo

The other 2 recipes had been covered before; i.e. Salmon and Potato Chowder and Oatmeal Blueberry Muffin.


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Swiss Chard Gratin

Minoo prepared 4 recipes for the South Arm Community Kitchen. This is my first time to the kitchen since it’s renovation. I love all the stainless steel appliances and the addition of a convection oven. It takes time to get to know where the pots and pans and utensils are stored in a new kitchen.


The first recipe is a Swiss Chard Gratin. This is a healthier version to the regular potato gratin with the addition of Swiss Chard. You can use spinach instead. All the participants love this dish.

You can prepare this dish in advance and bake it when you need it. A great dish for potluck party and the color of Swiss Chard makes this dish very festive.


  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded Swiss Chard


Source: via Minoo


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Fish Taco

A member of the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen requested for fish recipes in her feedback form. So, Minoo came up with two fish recipes for this week’s kitchen.  One of the recipe is Salmon and Potato Chowder which I had blogged about two years ago.


The other fish recipe is Fish Taco. This is an easy and fun recipe where you can involved your kids to participate in assembling their own meal. You can vary your toppings to your preference.


White Sauce

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Fish Taco

  • 4 x 2oz Mahi Mahi fillet or any other white fish
  • cilantro, finely chopped
  • green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Corn or whole wheat tortillas


Minoo brought up the issue on eating fish that are sustainable. The consumption of fish over the last century has drastically reduced the fish population and this has an effect om the world’s marine ecosystem.  So, we should make a conscience choice in choosing a sustainable food source to preserve the food chains that we depend on. Here is the Canadian Seafood Guide to help Canadians purchase ocean-friendly seafood. If you want to learn more about sustainable seafood, here is a link for your reading pleasure.


The above is the sustainable logo on packaging that we can look out for.

Source: via Minoo


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Dried Fruit and Spice Oatmeal Cookies

This Raisin and Spice Oatmeal Cookies ties up the spice theme in the Gilmore Park Church community kitchen. Besides the benefit of spices, this cookie also has the goodness from oatmeal.


Here is an excerpt that Minoo shared in the community kitchen on the reasons to eat oatmeal.

  1. Many studies show that eating oatmeal may help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The soluble fiber in oats helps remove LDL or bad cholesterol, while maintaining the good cholesterol that your body needs. In January 1997, the Food and Drug Administration announced that oatmeal could carry a label claiming it may reduce the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet.
  2. The soluble fiber in oatmeal absorbs a considerable amount of water which significantly slows down your digestive process. The result is that you’ll feel full longer, i.e. oatmeal can help you control your weight.
  3. New research suggests that eating oatmeal may reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, the American Diabetes Association already recommends that people with diabetes eat grains like oats. The soluble fiber in these foods help to control blood glucose levels.
  4. With the exception of certain flavoured varieties, the oats found in your grocery stores are 100% natural. If you look at the ingredients on a canister of rolled oats, you will usually see only one ingredients… rolled oats.
  5. According to recent studies, a diet that includes oatmeal may help reduce high blood pressure. The reduction is linked to the increase in soluble fiber provided by oatmeal. Oats contain more soluble fiber than whole wheat, rice or corn.
  6. Oatmeal contains a wide array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and is a good source of protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.
  7. the fiber and other nutrients found in oatmeal may actually reduce the risk for certain cancers.
  8. Oatmeal is quick and convenient. Every type of oatmeal can be prepared in a microwave oven. Even when cooked on the stovetop, both old-fashioned and quick oats can usually be made in less than 10 minutes. And what about instant oatmeal… a hot breakfast in under a minute.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats


Source: this recipe is adapted from

Makes about 40 cookies


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Pomegranate Salad with Nuts

Minoo served a side dish of Pomegranate Salad with Nuts along with the Chickpea Curry and Moroccan Carrot Soup. Pomegranate is in season in late fall. Minoo’s daughter loves this salad and she must have it when pomegranate is in season.


Pomegranate is rich in Vitamin C. It is a good source of vitamin B5, potassium and polyphenols such as tannins and flavonoids. It is also rich in fiber which is entirely contained in the edible seeds which is also a supply of unsaturated oils.


  • 2 cups pomegranate kernels
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts
  • lemon juice from half a lemon or to taste
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper  to taste
  • a teaspoon of mayo


P/S: You may add arugula or lettuce to this salad as well.

Source: Minoo


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