¡viva genevieve!

Embracing change through travel and culinary discovery

Archive for the month “January, 2015”

Decadent Date and Maple Slice

It’s a Sunday, how about some slice?

Recently I have been busy most Sundays making myself some healthy slices for the coming week to keep me away from those pesky chocolate bars. Upon informing my international flatmates of what I have been making I have realized that a “slice” as we say back home in New Zealand is quite a vague and nondescript name for these little treats that accompany our coffee on an afternoon at our favorite cafe. “A slice of what?” they say, well it’s a date slice of course a deliciously decadent raw date slice that will be fueling my busy week of activities.

All of the good stuff:

For the base:

2 C of oats (or a mix of nuts and oats)       – 1 T Cocoa

1/2 C of desiccated coconut                      – 2 T Honey

– 1 T coconut oil

The top layer:

– 3/4 C coconut milk                                      – 2 T maple syrup

– 1/2 C chopped dates                                  – 1/2 C cashews

The steps:

1. Simmer the coconut milk, maple syrup and the dates in a saucepan over a low heat.

2. In a food processor, finely blend the oats, cocoa, coconut, honey and coconut oil until you have a moldable consistency. If the mixture is too dry, add some more coconut oil.

3. Press the oaty base mixture in to the bottom of a non-stick square cake pan or in to a loaf tin (makes a thicker slice) and place in the freezer whilst you prepare the top layer.

4. Take the coconut milk mixture off the heat and let it cool slightly. Place the cashews in the food processor and add the coconut milk mixture to blend. The consistency should be similar to caramel.

5. Remove your base from the freezer and pour the top layer evenly over the base. Freeze overnight until the slice is set then cut the slice in to slices (of course!) Store in the freezer ready for snack time!


Rewarded with Risotto

Today was my very first rainy run here in Vancouver. Which is a surprise really since it’s raining more often than not. This morning I packed my little running backpack to take with me to work which gave me only one option to get back home again, by going for a run. Even though I have been here for almost 3 months now, I am still never prepared for the rain. Maybe it’s because when there happens to be a fresh beautiful BC sunny day I am lured in to this false sense of summer paradise where I think it surely can’t ever rain again. Until the next day when I am out in the middle of the street, waiting for the bus, soaked to the bone because I neither carried my umbrella nor wore my rain jacket. Always the same. Hopefully I learn before the winter is out.

Luckily for me there are some absolutely stunning running paths in this city and it makes getting out there in the rain a lot easier to do. When you are striding along the waterfront with the mountains in sight, the beach around the corner and the city lights burning in your peripheral it’s easy to get lost in your rhythm and it seems like you are experiencing several different locations all in one great place. I pounded the pavement and the beach feeling the freshness of just fallen icy cold rain and wound up at home an hour later (good practice for my New Years resolution of doing a marathon!) After exercising in the elements I needed a dinner that would not only warm me up but make me feel all homely and cosy inside. For me that meal is often a creamy risotto, I love the simplicity of a good risotto it’s an elegant meal that doesn’t require too much effort and really hits the spot on a rainy evening.

So tonight I had a buckwheat aborio mix with this pumpkin and caramelised onion risotto, you could use either just buckwheat or just aborio but I love the texture of the aborio rice and the nuttiness of the buckwheat so the mix is a great balance, check it out…


Caramelised onions:

– 1 Red Onion                  – 1 T Balsamic Vinegar

– 1 T Brown Sugar           – 1 T Olive Oil

The Rice:

1/2 C Buckwheat

1/2 C Aborio rice

2 – 3 C Vegetable stock

1/2 C Dry white wine (optional)

2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 C diced/cubed pumpkin or squash

1 T Olive Oil

1 T Butter

Finely shaved parmesan


1. Prepare the caramelised onions (can be done a few days in advance) by slicing the onion and mixing it with the sugar, vinegar and oil.

2. Cook the onions in a fry pan over medium to low heat for around 40 minutes until nicely cooked to caramelisation.

3. Prepare your stock in a pot and keep hot over the stove whilst you prepare your risotto.

4. Fry the garlic, oil, paprika and pumpkin in a pan over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and soft. Add both the buckwheat and aborio rice and turn the heat up high.

5. When the rice looks translucent and the buckwheat is giving of a nutty flavour, pour over the white wine and listen to the beautiful sizzle as the alcohol burns off. Turn the heat back down to low.

6. Continuously add your stock, 1/2 C at a time, making sure that the liquid is completely absorbed before adding the next lot of stock. Do this until the rice and buckwheat is no longer crunchy.

7. Add your caramelised onions and butter and stir in to the risotto. Top with shaved parmesan and serve with fresh steamed greens. Get cosy and enjoy!

* It takes around 30-40 minutes for the pumpkin to be cooked and the rice to be creamy and cooked through.

** Serves 3

New Year, New Me, New Home

Hello my blog.

I’m sorry I went away for so long but I have good reasons for leaving you so empty and out-dated, you see I was taking time out of my old life to start my new one. New lives are pretty complicated things you know; they require an awful lot of dedicated time and effort to birth them in to reality. There are cities to scour, homes to hunt for and jobs to snatch up. There are fresh friends to make, unique lingo to learn and strange foods to eat. There are also new rooms to fill, renewed routines to begin and unheard of recipes to try. With all of these new aspects to cultivate and pursue my days have felt short but my life has felt full and a full life is what’s most exciting about starting anew.

I finished my European travels in November and I have now found that my latest stop is the place I call home. Beautiful, vivid and adventurous Vancouver is where the new me begins. Although right now in January I must say it is more like grey, dreary and gloomy Vancouver. But even in the wet and wintry season I still feel at home, with the beach near by and the mountains in my view I know that this is where my new life is.

Since leaving the professional rowing world earlier in 2014 I have now found the gut feeling I have been looking for, that instinctive feeling where things just feel right, even when some days they’re wrong. Making the decision to finish up my rowing career and end my Olympic pursuit was a complicated and at the time painful decision, but it was the right one. Now I feel like I can prepare for my next long term pursuit in finding my path towards becoming a sport psychologist. This is a path that won’t be clear and won’t be easy but the timing is right to get the ball rolling, because when you’re passionate about something, the timing is always right.

So I find myself now in this wonderfully diverse Canadian city that has so much to offer. Not unlike the surrounds I’m used to back home in New Zealand, there is so much on offer here but on a much grander scale. Being around people of all ethnic backgrounds is a great bonus of being in a city such as Vancouver; there are so many opportunities to learn about not only Canada but also the rest of the world and what’s to complain about when Canadians are just so damn nice!

As the time passes on I am sure I will get used to the subtle differences in language and Canadian culture, although I am not sure I can learn to love a Caesar cocktail (is that a requirement for obtaining residency? I should look in to that) but for now I will stick to the cultural fusion. The fusion of Canada and New Zealand is an easy one as we tend to get along famously, apart from some strange cocktail preferences, so since I am now back in a beautiful, grand and functional kitchen I have started getting back in to my deeply missed passion of cooking. To kick-start my new life and my renewed blog I have made an ultimate “New Zanada” fusion recipe with these ….

Maple walnut ANZAC biscuits


3/4 C Oats                                                          50g Butter

1/2 C Flour                                                          1/4 – 1/2 C Maple Syrup

1/2 C Desiccated Coconut                                  3/4 C walnuts or pecans (or a mix of both!)

1/2 t Baking soda mixed with 1 T hot water

How it’s done:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius or in my Canadian kitchen 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2. Mix all of the dry ingredients and nuts together (minus the baking soda)

3. Melt the butter and maple syrup over a low heat, stir the baking soda into the hot water and then add to the  butter and syrup mixture.

4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients, mix and place spoonfuls on to a greased or baking paper lined tray *.

5. Bake until golden (approximately 15-20 mins) and enjoy the fusion of these great flavours in a simple yet  classic and tasty biscuit.

* Make sure there is enough space between biscuits on the tray as they expand during cooking.

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