Soba 101


One of my most favourite places to explore is any neighbourhood China Town. Bustling with people, new aromas, and spilling produce, this exciting area of most major cities is a feast for the eyes.

Here in Toronto, tucked a few blocks over from the central China Town is a small but wonderful Japanese store. After refilling my wasabi prescription, I gaze along the long aisles of offerings. Included are various teas, Hello Kitty Pocky sticks, every shade of miso, enoki mushrooms and of course, noodles.

Wheat, rice, green tea, tofu, ramen, udon and soba noodle varieties ready for any dish the Far East has ever created.

How elated was I to discover that soba is the name for buckwheat in Japanese?
For those of you who weren’t sure, like me, buckwheat is neither a grass or related to the wheat family. It’s a flowering plant which produces the seeds for great things like pillows and yes, buckwheat flour.

Asian noodle soup has to be in my top list of most amazing meals. The simplicity of them makes them satisfying and perfect. The noodles and broth create a host bowl for just about any combination imaginable.


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Maple Pumpkin Quick Bread


One of the best things about living in Canada in the fall, other than the fabulous hauls from the farmers market, is that other reason why we appreciate the almighty maple tree.
The nectar of nature, maple syrup is truly a spring gift, however delicious, a simple autumn walk can be just as spectacular. The colourful displays the scarlet and rusted orange maple leaves screaming their last vibrant shrieks before plunging to their deaths is always enough to get my heart racing back to life.

When I recently took part in a detox diet, I realized my longing of food. No, I didn’t crave fatty snack food or sugar, per se, it was the bread. Neglected of fruit, sugars and wheat among (many) other things, it was the bread I craved.

Always a creative person, by mid-diet, I was determined to solve my dilemma.
Only restricted by wheat, gluten and yeast, I set out to find any alternative.
Scanning the aisles of the health food store, I found various root and bean flours which met my specific diet requirements. Knowing that some of these new flours would lend an undesired new flavour twist to my creation, I found the most mild; brown rice, cranberry bean, arrowroot and soy flours then set off to work.

Inspired by a dense, sticky snack bread sent to me from my Blogging By Mail partner, Arden. Her Kruidkoek was spiced, but not too sweet, perfect for something like, say, pumpkin.

Next having to go sugar-free, I knew I wouldn’t get the sticky, sweetness of that super Dutch snack, but it didn’t matter. I wasn’t looking for cake, I wanted my bread back. Something to clean my plates and dip in my soup. Something just to finally eat and feel satisfied again. The maple syrup was perfect in this regard. Not the same sweetness as sugar and just a hint of smokiness – perfect.

What I ended up with made me feel like I was cheating, isn’t that terrible? Great on it’s own and with the Roasted Vegetable Soup, I finally I felt like this diet was really working for me. I had my bread, I felt whole again.
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