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When the weather turns cold and wet I always crave something hot! So for those who like it spicy, this one is for you. Guaranteed to add some fireworks to any meal, I like to pair this with a fish, chicken or pork belly dish as the asian flavours meld well with a lighter meat.

Serves 4-6

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp sambal chili paste
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 lb green beans, stemmed and trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp toasted finely chopped cashews

Heat oil in a heavy skillet and gently sauté garlic. Add the chili paste, sugar, and fish sauce, and heat through for another minute. Add the green beans and sauté for 1-2 minutes on high. Toss in cashews and serve.

It’s gotten really cold here in Vancouver, and the perfect companion to any frosty day is a warming bowl of hearty soup. This recipe comes to us from one of our team, Danielle, although she gives full credit to her mother, Nicole. “My mom passed this soup recipe down to me from her mom”, says Danielle, “and it’s a ‘Go-To’ staple in our family when the weather turns cold!” The recipe doubles and freezes really well so make a big batch and you’ll be warmed all winter long.

Makes 10-12 cups

  • 2 litres chicken stock or beef stock
  • 2 litres water
  • 1 smoked ham hock – available at most butchers and grocery stores
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks diced
  •  2 cups green peas, frozen or fresh
  • 3-4 cups yellow or green split peas
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the ham hock, the stock and the water in a large pot over a high heat; bring to a rolling boil and then turn the heat to medium-low. Leave on the stove for approx. 1 1/2 – 2 hours to reduce the liquid by half (you want to do this slowly so that the ham hock has time to add a lot of flavour). You should be left with about 2 litres liquid total. Remove ham hock and let cool.

Saute the onions, carrots and celery in olive oil over medium high heat until soft. Add vegetables to stock.

Once the hock is cooled, take all of the meat off the bone discarding the fat. Cut the meat unto a medium dice and add to stock.

Add the green peas and split peas to the stock and turn the heat back on to medium. Cook for approx. an hour and a half or until the split peas are soft, making sure to stir often as the split peas will tend to sink to the bottom. Salt and pepper to taste.



James - January 18, 2012 - 11:05 am

Making this today!

Susan - January 25, 2012 - 3:01 pm

This looks amazing and hearty! Can’t wait to make it and enjoy!!

Marilyn Kivela - January 14, 2015 - 12:24 am

Made this today..added garlic. It was fabulous. This recipe is a keeper! So much flavor!

This rich dish is immoderate comfort food at it’s very best and is guaranteed to warm up the family in the cold months to come. Ask my stepson, Douglas, who considers it the ultimate mac and cheese – the cheesier the better! (Feel free to experiment with different cheeses: Edam, Asiago, Manchego, Stilton, fontina or pecorino). Douglas loves to get in the kitchen to cook up a batch, but he’s not so thrilled when it comes to the clean-up. Luckily, this doesn’t generate too many dirty dishes, which seems to be key when getting teens interested in cooking.

Makes 6 servings

  • 2 3/4 tsp (13 mL) sea salt
  • 1 lb (500 g) penne
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp (12 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) shredded aged cheddar cheese 
  • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded Swiss or Gruyère cheese 
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled Cambozola or chèvre 
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Meanwhile, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts (4 L) water to a boil; add 2 tsp (10 mL) of the salt. Add the penne and stir a few times until it comes to the boil. Cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. (It should still have a little resistance when you bite into it.)

In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat just until warm (do not let come to a boil). In another saucepan, melt the butter; whisk in the flour and let the mixture bubble for a few minutes. Pour in the warm milk, whisking, and cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the mustard, nutmeg, remaining salt and pepper; simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheddar, Swiss and Cambozola cheeses. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour into a 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and bake until golden and bubbling, 30 to 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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