food blog


Parsnip and Apple Soup

There is nothing better than when the summer finishes, the colder weather has started to roll in, and you know the holidays are on their way. For me it means more dinner parties, more chances to host, and more chances to make and share food with those around me. It’s the perfect opportunity to create moments, and make bonds that you wouldn’t otherwise make. So when I have guests coming over and I want something to warm them up right away, this is my go-to dish! It’s soothing and the you smell it as soon as you walk in the door.

This may seem like a lot of ingredients, but you’ll be surprised by what you already have. Most are pretty basic spices and the rest are things like an apple, some stock, and a cream. If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, skip the cream- it won’t change the dish drastically.

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds (from 3-4 pods)
40g butter
2 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onion, chopped
700g  parsnips
3 garlic clove, crushed
5 cm fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
150g peeled and chopped Golden Delicious apple (about 1 medium-size apple)
1.2L fresh vegetable stock
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tsp chopped chives to garnish

  1. Heat a small, dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds and shake them around for a few seconds until they begin to get a bit darker (you’ll also smell them toasting). Put these into a mortar and pestle or a pepper grinder and turn them into a powder.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a medium-size pan. Add the onion and cover. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Meanwhile, peel the parsnips and cut them into 2.5cm pieces. (Peeling is important or your soup won’t have a nice consistency).
  3. Uncover the pan, add the garlic, grated ginger and all the spices, then cook for 1 minute more. Add the parsnips, chopped apple and stock, then bring to the boil, cover and simmer. Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the parsnips are tender when you poke them with a knife.
  4. Remove soup from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Using either an immersion blender, or blender, blend.. Pour it through a sieve into a clean pan, using a wooden spoon to push it through. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, stir in the crème fraîche. Pour into heated bowls and top with chives.

I hope that you enjoy this, and if you did, feel free to tag me at @JackDHarding on Instagram and share your creation with me!

Grilled Portobello Burgers

As I’m sure anyone who has worked to maintain a healthy body, or working towards their ideal healthy self will know- it’s not easy. There are good weeks, and there are bad. There are times when it seems like months go by and you’re proud of all the good you’ve done for yourself. And then…. well, there are those weeks and weekends where everything you want, you have. It leaves you a little sluggish to say the least.

I had one of those weekends last weekend. I went to visit Detroit (I had never been!) and was happily surprised by the fact my hotel had  Burger King in it (there aren’t many in Toronto, and as I’m sure anyone who visits the US, or lives there and comes here knows- fast food is better in the US). A few Whoppers and very cheap chicken nuggets later and well… it was time to treat myself a little better.

I decided to start a week of clean eating, eating all vegetables and keeping meat out of the diet for 7 days. I’ll be sharing my other meatless recipes this week, but here was my first- Grilled Portobello Burgers.

Start off with fresh portobello mushrooms.

portobello mushrooms on cutting board

Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, and dredge the mushrooms in the bowl (I found a smaller bowl worked because the cap was the perfect size to spin in size and get total coverage.

portobello mushrooms in olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Heat a grill to medium high, and put the mushrooms cap side down first to start, for about 10 minutes. Flip and grill for another 5-10 minutes or until soft.

portobello mushrooms grilling on grill

Once you remove them from the grill, set aside and start building your buns. I started with a sunflower seed pesto (recipe here).

sunflower seed pesto on toasted bun

Once that’s done, I added the mushroom, some micro-greens (I like pea shoots) and a touch of hot sauce.

Portobello mushroom on bun with greens

Finish by adding any of your favourite toppings and additions, and seal with the top bun! A delicious heart healthy treat. This will definitely help you on Meatless Mondays!

Portobello Burgers with greens on plate

The Dirty Bird Toronto (Uber Eats) Review

Have you ever been scrolling through Uber Eats trying to decide what to order and you’re wary if something is going to travel well, or if will taste good when it gets to you? There’s been plenty of times I’ve ended up disappointed, so it makes it hard to want to take risks sometimes. Wishing there were more reviews about ordering from certain restaurants on the app (other than the amount of star ratings) I’ve decided to start adding the meals I order on here. Now- I don’t order too frequently, however, when I do, I’ll make sure to update this.

The first review is going to be of a Toronto favorite- The Dirty Bird. With their location in Kensington Market, the restaurant does all that it can to have its ingredients be locally sourced. It also is different than traditional fried chicken in that it is finished with maple dust that gives you a sweeter finish than traditional southern fried chicken which has a punch of heat.

Now, after seeing great pictures of them tagged on their Instagram, and positive reviews from friends and colleagues, I was wondering if something that is supposed to be crispy and hot, would travel well.  I was pleasantly surprised! Here’s what we ordered:

6 Piece #NorthernFried Bone-In Combo (4 Legs, 2 Thighs, Choice of Side Dish): $24.00
Choice of Side: Fries
Additional:  (2x) Waffle with Syrup ($5.00 each)

So how was it? Amazing!

The chicken was breaded to perfection. Being a bit on the saltier side, the maple finish really helped make your tastebuds happy because it’s that classic savoury and sweet combo. The fries were really well done, and travelled pretty well (sometimes they get super soggy and gross) but the boxes that The Dirty Bird uses keep the fries and chicken from getting soggy. And the waffles were what you’d want them to be-buttermilk, fluffy, and delicious.

Make sure to hit up The Dirty Bird on Uber Eats, or head over to their Kensington Market location- you won’t be disappointed

Yellow Pukka Curry Recipe

For whatever reason, curries were something I never attempted to make. Whether it because they’re a cheaper option when going out, or because I was a little intimidated by how much goes into them (probably this one) I never thought “Oh let me make curry for dinner.” That changed when I was trying to think of a nice dinner to make for a Sunday night, and went “I haven’t had curry in ages, why don’t I try it?” Now this recipe isn’t for the light of heart in that it takes a while to make, and if you’re not patient, it can be frustrating to make (there will be a lot of standing and mixing and stirring, and a fair bit of moving parts. That being said, this was a delightful recipe and made for a great dinner. (This recipe is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver’s Recipe found here). 


  • Two large yellow onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 10cm (about 3 inches) garlic chopped
  • 2 yellow peppers, chopped roughly
  • 1 Oxo Chicken stock cube
  • 3  red chilis
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander (more or less depending on how you like it)
  • 1 1/2 tsp liquid honey, warm
  • 1 heaping tsp turmeric
  • 2 heaping teaspoons curry powder
  • 8 chicken drum sticks (skin on or off, I prefer with no skin)
  • olive oil
  • 1 can of chickpeas (drained)
  • 1 heaping tsp of tomato paste
  • 3 cups basmati rice


  1. Peel and chop the onions, garlic and ginger and remove the seeds from the peppers.
  2. Put 1 onion, 1  yellow pepper, the garlic and ginger into a food processor. Crumble in the stock cube and add the chilli (I keep the seeds to make it a bit hotter), the coriander, honey and spices. Now use the pulse setting on your processor until it resembles a paste (you’re going to be adding this to your chicken and adding water later, so don’t worry about it being really fine).
  3. Place a large cast iron skillet (30cm or larger) on medium-high heat and fry the chicken drumsticks (pull the skin off first if you’re like me, otherwise keep it on) with the olive oil for 10-15 minutes. It should be golden brown (and crispy if skin is on). Once cooked, remove and put aside. Keep the skillet on the heat.
  4. Chop up the other onion and pepper (I prefer the onion finely chopped, while keeping the pepper a bit bigger) and add to the pan to cook for a few minutes (about 4-5 minutes). Add the paste you made earlier, and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add in 4 cups of boiling water (500ml). Now add the drained chickpeas and tomato paste, as well as some black pepper. You’re going to want to stir well, so everything gets mixed nicely.
  6. Add the chicken you removed back to the skillet. You likely won’t have a lid for the skillet, so use a piece of aluminum foil to cover. You’ll want to reduce heat and simmer for 45-50 minutes. The sauce should get thick and darker.
  7. When you only have 15-20 minutes left before the sauce is done, cook your rice (in 5 cups of boiling water). Cook for about 15 minutes (a little less if your rice absorbs quickly).
  8. Serve the curry in the skillet in the middle of your table, and place over the rice on your plate!