July 07, 2016

I'm about to give birth...

Not to a baby. To a film. (I made you look though right?)

There might be a few similarities: there's a lot of nurturing and care going on, a bit of anxiety, trepidation, ups and downs, exhaustion... It's painful, it's scary, it's a heck of a lot of work, but it's so exciting. By my best estimate, I'd say I'm in early labour right about now, in other words, at rough cut stage. Things are starting to happen, the film is taking shape.

I've been working on this film for nine years and part of the reason it's taken me so long is that I've funded and produced it entirely on my own up until now. Crazy? Yup, quite probably. But it's been an all-out labour of love at every step. It's a film I'm dedicating to my mom, and to everyone who believes we have a right to know what's in the food we eat, that we need an agriculture that doesn't harm our planet, and that food tastes better when you know the story behind it.

After years of researching, shooting, travelling, interviewing, shooting some more, little by little, I've finally reached the final stage where a lot technical stuff now needs to happen (picture editing, sound editing, color correction, music composing, animations, final mix, subtitles, etc, etc). The expenses are far beyond anything I can afford on my own and that's why I'm asking for a bit of help to put this film into the world. Please watch my introduction to the campaign and film trailer below, and visit my Indiegogo campaign page to get the full story behind the film.

If you can, please consider making a contribution (no contribution is too small, every dollar gets me closer to completing the film). Another way to help me out is to spread the word by sharing my Indiegogo page with friends and family through email and social media. This is the short link to share: https://igg.me/at/modified

Keep in mind that for any contribution $25 and over, you'll receive a digital link to view the film online when it is complete.

Thank you so much for your support and I can't wait to show you my film!

With my most heartfelt gratitude,

June 16, 2016

Fresh Mint and Chocolate Ice Cream: A Special Collaboration!

I am generally a bit of a hermit blogger, tucked away in my rural corner of the east coast doing my thing. So it’s not too often that I get to meet other food bloggers. But I’m in Toronto for a few months this summer and I decided it was time to get to know some fellow bloggers whose mouth-watering blogs I follow with a big appetite. My first “blind blogging date” was with Alanna of One Tough Cookie. Meeting up reminded me a bit of online dating... Would we recognize each other? Would she like me? But put two food lovers in front of each other and there’s no shortage of things to talk about. I instantly felt a kinship with Alanna and we slipped into easy banter about food photography, and wwoofing, and Italy... and cake. We also talked about more intimate things too, like losing our moms, and how profoundly that impacts your life, in ways you sometimes don't even realize.

My next blogging date was with Sofia of From The Land We Live On and since she is a fellow gardener, I thought it would be fun to collaborate on something together and feature her making a special recipe from her garden. 

We spent a glorious day together and I’m so grateful that she graciously let me follow her around with my camera. Filming in her kitchen was a dream come true because she had just finished renovations (which she and her husband took on all on their own which makes them my heroes! see the photos here). Their renos involved installing a stunning new Lacanche stove that had me swooning and dreaming... one day, perhaps. Every angle of the kitchen was beautiful to look at. And that stove, I could sit and gaze at it all day long. I forgot to take photos of it but you can see some here on Sofia's blogyou'll also see some sweet fleeting glimpses in the video! The brass knobs. Enough said.

Taking a filming break to lick the ice cream paddle, one of life's great joys.
Photo credit: Sofia Eydelman

We got so carried away with filming that we almost forgot to eat but Sofia quickly whipped up an elegant lunch of rice pasta salad with garden pesto, peaches, and slivered almonds. She paired that with some beet crackers and the silkiest homemade hummus I've ever had, beautifully presented with za'atar and olive oil. The girl has style.

At the end of it all, we enjoyed her delicious homemade ice cream in the garden, where the whole adventure started. As you can see in the video, we had a very earnest, tiny helper. My latest heart throb. 

You know it's good when ALL the tongues are sticking out

Get Sofia's recipe and read all about what makes this ice cream so extra-special in my post on PBS Food (ok fine, I'll give you a few clues in case you don't have time: two types of chocolates! tapioca instead of egg yolks! and fresh garden mint instead of mint extract!)

Happy mid-June my friends xoxo.

Photo Credit: Sofia Eydelman

April 14, 2016

Candied Lilacs and spring delights!

For those of us in the great white north, it's still a little early for lilacs, but they really are just around the corner. 

My latest video recipe for Lilac Coconut Cream Tarts is truly an unabashed lilac fiesta, and if you want to go all out with it, then I'm afraid you'll need to make some candied lilacs to plop on top for a fancy flourish! 

But first, here's the video of the tart-making in its full spring glory (I filmed it last year so I could release it just a little ahead of lilac season this year):

For the Coconut Lilac Cream Tart recipe, go to my post on PBS Food.

As for the candied lilac, they're really quite simple to make and there are two main techniques I'd like to share with you. One age-old method involves dipping the blooms in an egg white wash and then then dipping the flowers in sugar. But I know some people feel a bit squeamish about raw egg whites, so the other option is to make a basic sugar syrup instead of using egg whites. (Alternately, you can use powdered egg whites mixed with water). I've used both methods and either one is fine. As an aside, this will work for violets as well as most edible flowers.

Fresh, unsprayed lilac blossoms (stems removed)
1 egg white
2 tsp water
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

Be sure to use freshly-picked, unsprayed flowers and remove any green bits as they will give an off-taste. Whisk the egg white and water together. Using tweezers, dip the flowers in the egg wash (or for more control, paint the egg wash on with a small paintbrush) and then sprinkle the sugar on top of the flower, making sure you cover every side of the flower. Allow the flowers to dry for around 12 hours. You can use them right away or store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Fresh, unsprayed lilac blossoms (stems removed)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

Be sure to use freshly-picked, unsprayed flowers and remove any green bits as they will give an off-taste. Cook the sugar and water until it reaches 220F on a candy thermometer. Allow mixture to cool fully before dipping in the lilac blossoms. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the flower, making sure you cover every side of the flower. Allow the flowers to dry for around 12 hours. You can use them right away or store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

In other news, spring seems to have FINALLY arrived in Toronto where I'm based for the next couple of months, madly scrambling to finish a documentary film and graduate research. (More about that very soon!) And yesterday, I had the great privilege of interviewing the one and only Dr. Jane Goodall who is just simply one of the most delightful human beings to walk this earth. She is so full of love and wisdom that you can't help but come away feeling a renewed sense of hope and determination to make the world a better place. Here is a snapshot after our interview (I think I might be professing my undying love here):

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 
                                                                                                                           ― Dr. Jane Goodall