Recipe #9: Spicy Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

If you like the mulligatawny soup recipe that I posted a few weeks ago, then you will probably like this soup recipe as well. If you don't like coconut, you should still give this recipe a try, because curry paste will undo a lot of the coconut taste. The balance between the coconut milk and the red curry paste is absolutely wonderful! We've only made this soup once, but both Malcolm and I loved this soup and we'll definitely make it again! This was also the first time that I baked sweet potatoes (with peel) in the oven, and was surprised at how easy it was to pull off the peel after baking. Prep & Cook Time: 50-60 mins Ingredients: - 1 1/2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes - 1 tablespoon vegetable oil - 1 onion, chopped - 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, thinly sliced - 1 tablespoon red curry paste - 1 (15 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk - 3 cups vegetable broth - 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice - 1 teaspoon sea salt - 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil - 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Place sweet potatoes directly on rack and bake until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork (~45 mins). Remove from oven and allow to cool.

  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan (medium heat). Add the onion and ginger; cook and stir until tender (3-5 minutes).

  3. Stir in the curry paste and heat for 1 minute. Then, whisk in the coconut milk and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for approx. 5 minutes.

  4. Remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and cut into bite size chunks. Add to the soup and cook for approx. 5 more minutes. Stir in lemon juice and mix.

  5. Ladle into bowls and, if desired, garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil and a little bit of cilantro.

Nutritional Info (per 1 cup of soup) Calories: 306 Total Fat: 20g Cholesterol: 0mg Recipe idea from http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/spicy-sweet-potato-and-coconut-soup/Detail.aspx


Recipe #8: Avocado & Tomato Sandwich (à la Heartwood)

A few weeks ago we went out to eat at the wonderful Heartwood Vegetarian Cuisine with some of our friends for a little reunion. We had been wanting to try this Cafe/Restaurant for a few weeks, after we were told about it by friends (thanks, Dave & Sunny). It is also great that they only use organic and local food for making their dishes. It is highly recommended!

While there, I ordered the Avocado & Tomato Sandwich, and I absolutely loved it. So much so, in fact, that I wanted to try to make it myself at home. So, the following is a mimic of the recipe from Heartwood.

- foccacia bread (baguette or other works too) - Cut in two
- lettuce
- ripe avocado
- tomato
- alfalfa sprouts
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp umeboshi dressing (type of plum vinegar)

I didn't have any umeboshi dressing at the time, so I just mixed a little bit of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and rice vinegar (you could use red or white wine vinegar too) together, to taste.

1. Cut up lettuce, tomato, and avocado into slices, thickness as desired.
2. Mix together olive oil and umeboshi dressing; drizzle over foccacia bread slices.
3. Add lettuce, tomato, avocado, and finally, alfalfa sprouts onto both pieces of bread.
4. Enjoy!

You could also just layer all of the veggies onto one slice of the bread and then make it into an actual sandwich, but I like having the two pieces separately.



Vote for Hero Hill: Best Canadian Music Website

Our friends Shane Nadeau and Bryan Acker run a fantastic Canadian Music Website, HEROHILL Music Blog, where they share reviews of a large number of different genres of musicians, albums, songs, and so forth. Basically anything to do with music.

CBC Radio 3 is currently undergoing a search for the best Canadian Music Website, and Herohill is currently in the TOP 20. Very exciting!

Without further ado, I would like to ask and encourage you to vote for Herohill. Voting is just a click of a button - it takes 2 seconds (literally!). Every vote counts!


Searchlight 2011

Photography:: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

I have been wanting to start shooting in RAW format instead of JPEG (thanks to Andrew K. and a recent NSCAD Photography "teacher" for the heads up), but have been somewhat intimidated by the whole process. Because of this, I've had my settings on the DSLR to shooting in both RAW and JPEG simultaneously, for fear of not knowing how to process the RAWs and losing some photos. Thus, before making the switch to RAW for the majority of my pics, I've been playing around with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (a 'professional use' photo management and editing software) a little bit in order to get used to the "lay of the lands" on the program and to become more comfortable with using it.

Here are some "BEFORE" and "AFTER" processing examples using Lightroom on some of my pictures. Click to enlarge, to see the full effects.

BEFORE increasing sharpness (left) and after increasing sharpness (right). It made more of a difference than I would have thought.

BEFORE increasing sharpness and without additional vignette (left) and AFTER increasing sharpness and adding additional vignette (right). Made a big difference in this salamander altercation capture.

BEFORE spot removal (left) and AFTER spot removal (right). I hadn't cleaned my lens in a while, and didn't notice these specks of dirt on the lens until after I had already taken this picture. I thought that it would take a large amount of work to remove these dirt spots, but thanks to Lightroom, it took only a few seconds. Pretty awesome what some of these programs can do without consuming a lot of time.