Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What Makes a Delicious Cup of Coffee Even Better? Saving the Rainforest! Puro Fairtrade Coffee.

Fairtrade * Organic * Shade Grown

I am happy and proud to partner with Puro Fairtrade Coffee to help launch their awesome products in Canada and spread awareness about the importance of responsible coffee farming and giving back to the community and environment.

So grab a cup, and a couple of cookies, and read about this wonderful company that is saving the world - one cup at a time.

In the last 50 years, more than half of the world’s tropical forest has been cleared. More than 100 rainforest species become extinct every day, many of which are yet to be discovered.

At Puro we see no sense in industrial growth at the expense of the community and the welfare of our planet. We aim to assist in every small way in halting the deforestation of our planet and are proud to have teamed up with the World Land Trust to assist in making it an economic reality.

 Visit Puro Fairtrade Coffee on Facebook at

The World Land Trust is a UK based land conservation charity whose patron is Sir David Attenborough. The World Land Trust conserves biodiversity by protecting threatened habitats and in co-operation with local partners and communities, helps to ensure they are managed sustainably.

Money from each bag of Puro coffee sold goes towards buying and protecting areas of rainforest vital for biodiversity in coffee producing countries. To date, consumers of Puro coffee have enabled the following:

9105  acres of rainforest to be bought and protected,
14 new species to be discovered and named by science (1 tree, 12 orchids & 1 frog) and 1 guard (Luis) to be employed full time to protect the reserve in Ecuador from poachers and loggers.

Trees4Schools initially began working together with South African schools to plant, nurture and grow trees within the schoolyard to provide shade and green space. Upon recognition of some of the other challenges faced by these schools, the initiative expanded to also include the planting of vegetable gardens to provide food to the children who attend them.

Some of the biggest South African names in both the gardening and hospitality industry have now joined us in supporting Trees4Schools.

To date we have helped fund the planting of:
1,196 trees and 68 vegetable gardens are now in place helping to feed 649 people.

 Saving The Rainforest

Puro Coffee Reserve, Ecuador

Located near to Baños, this reserve is more than 5,330 acres in size and features a stunning array of orchids and other species unique to this area. Read more ...



Puro Coffee Reserve, Brazil

Located within the Rio de Janeiro province and covering 395 acres in size, this area which is crucial for biodiversity, was threatened by deforestation. Read more ...


Puro Coffee Reserve, Guatemala

Located in the region of Huehuetenango, north-western Guatemala, this reserve is 1,112 acres in size and its huge lagoon is home to 2 critically endangered species of frog. Read more ...


Teaguela puroana (Puro Orchid)

Discovered within the Puro Coffee Reserve in Ecuador, by Lou Jost and published as a new species previously unknown to science in April 2011. Read more ...



Golden Poison Arrow Frog Reserve

Located within Chocó, Colombia. This 124 acre Puro reserve is the only protected location in the world of the critically endangered and close to extinct Golden Poison Frog. Read more ...

Our Coffee

Puro Fairtrade coffee is lovingly blended, roasted and packed in Turnhout, Belgium by Miko, a company that has been roasting coffee since 1801 and is in fact older than their own country! The team at Miko don't ever get cold feet because the heat generated from the coffee roasting process is recuperated and used to warm the offices and the production floor.

Using Miko’s 200+ years of industry knowledge and expertise, we became one of the first coffee brands in the world to challenge the mis-conception that Fairtrade coffee is poorer in quality and taste than its less fair counterparts.

Puro coffee is currently available in beans, ground and pouch pack across 4 blends and comes packed in 250g and 1kg bags.

Other Products

We have applied the same people and planet principles used to source our coffee to other complimentary products. Together with our Fairtrade coffee blends, we also have Puro Fairtrade teas and Fairtrade hot chocolate along with all the other essentials.

Fairtrade Hot Chocolate

The cocoa used to make our Luxury Fairtrade Hot Chocolate is grown under the canopy of tall trees native to the Dominican Republic. The creation of this rich and creamy product is a team effort, produced by a co-operative made up of 10,000 small Dominican Republic based cocoa farmers who have come together through their love for chocolate.


Fairtrade Ancillaries

Alongside our Fairtrade brown and white sugar sticks and packs, we also have a range of biscuits, milk options, vending machine ingredients and many more.

Fairtrade Tea

Our Fairtrade Premium Tea comes from Kenya and Malawi, two of Africa’s finest tea growing countries. This colourful tea packed full of flavours is produced by a co-operative made up of more than 8,000 smallholder tea farmers. The premium price they receive for their harvest helps to fund a number of social projects for the neighbouring communities.

Fairtrade Fruit Teas

The Puro Fairtrade fruit tea collection includes, green tea, rooibos, mint, earl grey, lemon, forest fruits, rosehip and strawberry.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

The Healing Herbs Cookbook

The Healing Herbs Cookbook
By Pat Crocker
Forword by James A. Duke, Author of The Green Pharmacy

Paperback, 208 pages

Hurray for Herbs! Not only do they deliver great flavour in the kitchen, but many pack a nutritional punch that bolsters the diet and immune system.

We all have our favourites, I grow different kinds of thyme and rosemary, mint, oregano and basils, parsley and chives. I am pretty savvy with this bunch of herbs but would love to expand my repertoire and also learn more about what benefits they provide.

The Healing Herbs Cookbook gives entire profiles on each of the herbs showcased. You'll find Description, Flavour, Parts Used, How to Grow, Healing Properties, Availability, How to Use in Cooking, and Folklore. Everything from Alfalfa to Turmeric and 115 vegetarian recipes that feature healing herbs.

Contents Include:
Foreword by James A. Duke
Herbs: The Helping Plants 
Herb Profiles
Cooking with Medicinal Herbs
About the Recipes
Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Pasta & Grains
Condiments, Sauces and Dressings 
Herb Sources
Recipes Index
Herb Index

With a list of herbal organizations, mail-order sources, a glossary and an herb-specific recipe index, this is the ideal book for people who want to bring the benefits of healing herbs into the kitchen.

Chilled Calendula-Strawberry Gazpacho + Calendula Pesto, page 72

2 cups    chopped peeled tomatoes    500 mL
4 cups    sliced strawberries    1 L
3/4 cup    diced peeled seeded cucumber    175 mL
1/4 cup     shredded fresh basil    50 mL
3 tbsp    chopped fresh chives    45 mL
1 cup    apple juice    50 mL
1 cup    stock    50 mL
1/4 cup    raspberry vinegar    50 mL
3 tbsp    CALENDULA PESTO     45 mL
    (see recipe below)

1.    In a large bowl or soup tureen, combine all ingredients and mix well. In a food processor or blender, purée 3 cups (750 mL) of mixture. Combine with remaining mixture in bowl.
2.    Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to chill and blend flavors. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3.    Serve cold, garnished with whole strawberries or calendula flowers.

Serves 4 to 6


This is meant to be a chunky soup but may be completely puréed, if desired.
With its large, thin leaves, basil is easy to shred:  remove stem and stack 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves; roll up from the wide end and slice into thin ribbons for garnish, salads, omelets or soups.

Calendula Pesto
2    garlic cloves    2
2    ginger squares in syrup    2
1/2 cup    unblanched almonds    125 mL
1 cup    fresh calendula petals    250 mL
1/2 cup    fresh basil leaves    125 mL
1/2 cup    fresh thyme leaves    125 mL
3/4 cup    freshly grated Parmesan cheese    175 mL
3/4 cup    olive oil    175 mL

1.    In a food processor or blender, mince garlic and ginger for 1 minute. Add nuts; process until coarsely chopped. Add calendula, basil, thyme and cheese; process until minced. With motor running, add olive oil in a steady stream. Process or blend until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
2.    Transfer mixture to a jar or storage container. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Makes 1 1/2 cups (375 mL)

Excerpted from The Healing Herbs Cookbook by Pat Crocker © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Fall Vegetable Paella, page 106

3 tbsp    olive oil    45 mL
3    cloves garlic, chopped    3
1 cup    chopped onions    250 mL
1 1/2 cups    brown rice    375 mL
2 tbsp    tumeric spice paste     25 mL
2 cups    stock     500 mL
1 cup    apple juice    250 mL
2 cups    eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) cubes 500 mL
1/2 cup    chopped green peppers    125 mL
1/2 cup    chopped red bell peppers    125 mL
1 cup    sliced shiitake mushrooms    250 mL
1/2 cup    cauliflower florets    125 mL
1/2 cup    broccoli florets    125 mL
1/2 cup    sliced carrots    125 mL

1.    In a large wok or pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in rice and spice paste; cook for 2 minutes.
2.    Stir in stock and apple juice. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer for 35 minutes.
3.    Stir in eggplant, green peppers, red peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. Cover and bring to just under a boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes or until rice is tender and vegetables are cooked. If desired, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 6


For a non-vegetarian dish, add 4 skinless chicken legs or breasts

Excerpted from The Healing Herbs Cookbook by Pat Crocker © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Fall Fruit en Papillotte, page 156

•    Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C)
•    4 sheets parchment paper, 12 by 18 inches (30 by 40 cm)
•    Baking sheet

1/4 cup    raisins    50mL
1/4 cup    chopped pecans    50mL
1/4 cup    chopped candied ginger    50mL
4    1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces cinnamon stick    4
4    1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces licorice root    4
4    1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces vanilla bean    4
4    whole cloves    4
1    pear, cored and cut into eighths    1
1    apple, cored and cut into eighths    1
4    dried or fresh apricots, halved    4
1    peach, cored and quartered    1
1    plum, cored and quartered    1
1/2 cup    apple cider    125 mL
1 tsp    butter    5 mL

1.    Fold each sheet of parchment paper in half. Trim to make 4 heart-shaped pieces.
2.    Open each heart of parchment paper. On one side of fold line add 1 tbsp (15 mL) each raisins, pecans and ginger; 1 each cinnamon stick, licorice root, vanilla bean and clove; 2 each pear, apple and apricot pieces; 1 each peach and plum quarters. Sprinkle 2 tbsp (25 mL) cider over each; top with 1/4 tsp (1 mL) butter.
3.    Fold other half of parchment heart over fruit. Beginning at curve of heart, roll cut ends together to seal.
4.    Place fruit packages on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until apples and pears are tender. Slide each package onto a serving plate; cut an “X” on top of each package with a knife. Pull back tips of “X” to make an opening. Serve warm in parchment.

Serves 4

Parchment paper (not the same as waxed paper) is used to line baking sheets, cake tins and to oven-steam fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. It seals in cooking liquids and keeps food moist as it bakes in the oven.

Excerpted from The Healing Herbs Cookbook by Pat Crocker © 2013 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with publisher permission.

Friday, 22 November 2013

The Rude Story of English, by Tom Howell

The Rude Story of English
By Tom Howell

Illustrations by Gabe Foreman
Paperback, 320 pages

Are you ready for something completely different?

Tom Howell treats the history of the English language and how it came to be as an epic hero story with all the bumps, embarrassments, embellishments and guesswork of a true word nerd. And he makes it funny!

This is a strange book to classify: Historical, humorous, intellectual, tongue in cheek, naughty and irreverent.

And penis jokes. Don't forget the ancients and their love of penis jokes. Good things like that are timeless.

It is a strange and wonderful book, written by what I assume is a strange and wonderful man. It takes some time to get through as there is so much going on in each page - but you will feel like part of a special society. A little warped, like you, this is a truly original work.

From the back flap:
There are only two problems with the story of the English language: one, no hero. Two, not rude enough. In The Rude Story of English, recovering lexicographer Tom Howell swiftly remedies these and gives us a rousing account of our language – without all the boring bits and with all the interesting parts kept in – and reveals English’s boisterous, at times obnoxious, character.

From a haphazard beginning in 449 AD, when a legendary, fearsome Germanic warrior named Hengest tripped and fell onto British shores, the real story of English has been rife with accident, physical comedy, phallic  monuments, rude behaviour, dubious facts, and an alarming quantity of poetry written by lawyers.

Across vast distances of space and time, from the language’s origins to its fast-approaching retirement, a moody and miraculously long-lived Hengest voyages to the pubs of Chaucer’s London, aboard pirate ships in the north Atlantic, to plantations in Barbados, bookstores in Jamaica, the chilly inlet of Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland, a private men’s club in Australia, and beyond.

Part Monty Python sketch, part Oxford English Dictionary, The Rude Story of English displays an exuberant love of language and a sharp, anti-authoritarian sense of humour. Entertaining and informative, it looks at English through its most uncomfortable, colourful, and off-putting parts, chronicling the story of the language as it has never been told before.

Tom Howell wrote definitions for the Canadian Oxford Dictionary and thesaurus entries for the Canadian Oxford Thesaurus before abandoning serious work. He became the in-house word nerd on CBC Radio’s language show, And Sometimes Y, which involved rewriting Fowler’s Modern English Usage as an opera, composing the “Phoenician Alphabet Song,” and other important cultural tasks. Then he took a job as poetry correspondent for CBC’s The Next Chapter. Originally from London, England, Tom currently lives and makes various noises in Toronto.

Gabe Foreman was born in Thunder Bay. Over the years, his drawings and paintings have appeared on several albums by the musical group The Burning Hell. In 2011, his book of poems, A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People was published by Coach House Books. He lives in Montreal where he works at a soup kitchen.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook

The Complete Leafy Greens
67 Leafy Greens & 250 Recipes
By Susan Sampson
Paperback, 448 pages

I am super excited about this book. I love leafy greens but my styles of cooking them are limited. They are great for your diet and lifestyle and offer numerous health benefits and there are tons to choose from. 67 in this book alone!

Now you will not only have tons of new ideas and recipes for your favourite leafy greens, but you will get a full education on choosing and using all the ones you didn't know what to do with before.

I have seen the future. And it is green.

Contents Include:
The Wild World of Greens
Greens A to Y
Green Beverages
Dressings and Other Handy Recipes

Dandelion Salad with Balsamic Pepper Strawberries
If you haven’t tried strawberries with balsamic vinegar and pepper, now’s the time. Check out the amazing combination in this simply dressed, bitter/sweet dandelion salad.

Sweet onions are mild. The best-known variety is Vidalia. If desired, substitute red onion.
Cane sugar is likely to be filtered through bone char, while beet sugar is not. Most labels don’t indicate the source of the sugar. If you are following a vegan diet, use unbleached organic sugar that has not been filtered through bone char, or a sweetener such as agave syrup.
To toast almonds, cook them in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden and aromatic.

1     bunch dandelion greens (10 to 12 oz/    1
    300 to 375 g), trimmed and coarsely
    chopped (about 5 cups/1.25 L)   
1 cup    thinly sliced sweet onion     250 mL
    (see Tips)
2 tsp    freshly squeezed lemon juice    10 mL
2 tbsp    extra virgin olive oil    30 mL
1⁄2 tsp    kosher or coarse sea salt     2 mL
    Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb    ripe strawberries, quartered    500 g
1 tbsp    balsamic vinegar    15 mL
1 tsp    granulated sugar (see Tips, left)    5 mL
1⁄4 cup    slivered almonds, toasted     60 mL
    (see Tips)

1.    In a large bowl, toss dandelion leaves and onion with lemon juice. Add oil and toss again to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Divide greens equally among serving dishes.
2.    In a small bowl, toss strawberries with vinegar, sugar and additional salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over greens. Scatter almonds overtop and serve immediately.

Makes 2 to 4 servings

Vegan Friendly

Excerpted from The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook by Susan Sampson © 2013 Reprinted with publisher permission.

As Kermit determines at the end of the song, it's actually pretty wonderful to be green!
Susan Sampson was born in Budapest and grew up in Toronto’s Little Hungary, nicknamed the “Goulash Archipelago.” Having both parents in the gruelling restaurant business sent her running in the opposite direction. She landed in the field of journalism.

The Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper, became her second home for 23 years. She worked as an editor and writer, eventually producing the Saturday lifestyles section before moving to the Test Kitchen in 2002. There, she stirred the pot as an editor, columnist, news and feature writer, recipe tester and developer, and product reviewer. It was a fortuitous midlife career change: Susan ended up doing what she loved best without the inconvenience of leaving the building.

Along the way, she started collecting kitchen tips and tricks – an addiction that culminated in her first book, 12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets.

Susan is a versatile, self-taught cook with an adventurous palate. She has frequently been asked to judge cooking contests in categories ranging from butter tarts to hot, hot chili. While pursuing her craft, she has cooked dishes from an array of cultures and stoically sampled a host of strange foods, from crunchy locust snacks to stir-fried snake to barbecued beaver tails to civet dung coffee. As a food expert, she has made guest appearances on TV shows and radio stations across Canada.

In 2010, she left the Toronto Star to cook, write and collect kitchen secrets at home. She has since produced two more cookbooks: 200 Best Canned Fish & Seafood Recipes is a guide to choosing, using and getting creative with everything from tuna to clams to anchovies. The Complete Leafy Greens Cookbook, appearing in bookstores this fall, is a comprehensive introduction to a wide world of nutritious, delicious veggies, from kale to nettles to tatsoi.