Category Archives: Summer begins!

Review: Andean Flavours 2014

Review by Gayle Hurmuses

Andean Flavours 2014, an event was organized for a group of growers & farmers and hosted by  EcoCanopy Andino , and the Trade office of Peru And Ecuador based in Toronto, was held at The King Edward Hotel on May 26, from 5pm to 9pm.

It was a nice choice of venue; even the conference rooms there have an elegance to them that enhances good food, and the staff are silently excellent.  Unfortunately, I arrived a bit late for the event and so missed the presentations, which were all in the first hour, but it was still a pleasant time being at the event, which was nicely thought out on a culinary level. A good thing, since its function was to showcase wonderful food from the Andean region…and it worked, since over 150 people attended this year’s event.

Fortunately for me, there was still a great deal of evidence of this thoughtful approach remaining and I was able to enjoy much of what had been presented.

There were several racks of Maca-herb crusted lamb chops, with artichoke salsa, remaining, perfectly cooked, tender and succulent, as it should be. These were prepared and presented by Chef Dennis of Hunter’s Landing and offered with a drizzle of Don Joaquin pepper sauce. The lamb paired well with the Quinoa and summer vegetables salad with Peruvian hot peppers vinagrette, and might have paired well also with the Quinoa noodles with Avocado Oil & tomato-palmito-artichoke salsa still being served, but I found that a bit too al dente for my taste. Also still available was an excellent Halibut ceviche with sacha inchi nuts, which was filled with chunks of delicious Halibut and had a nice fresh flavour.

I missed the Merken smoked chili pepper, spiked shrimp, exotic fruit drizzle, but am already a dedicated user of the Merken spice mix, which I regularly use to make a quick “chipotle-esque” mayo, as well as roasted chicken. I likewise missed the Hearts of Palm dip, living sprouts, so can’t comment on that, but am willing to believe based on the evidence, that I missed two excellent dishes.

The room was lined with vendors presenting their products, everything from the always wonderful Pacari chocolate to Olave oils, with a lovely and pungent single source pure olive oil that was delicious on its own and would be lovely as part of a garlic and Merken shrimp dish…this booth also had an excellent Avocado oil and the vendor was extremely knowledgeable about his product. Casillero del Diablo was sampling several nice wines and featuring their new and refreshing Rosé.

An enjoyable event made more memorable by the chance sighting of Bishop Tutu in the hotel lobby, he was there for another event, but graciously agreed to a photograph. My life is complete.

GayleWithBishopTutusm

Book Review and Interview: Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat, by Philip Lymbery with Isabel Oakshott

Review by Alison Cole, used with the generous permission of Animal Voices Vancouver.

It’s time to wake up and dramatically evolve our consciousness when it comes to making choices about our food.

So goes the underlying message of Philip Lymbery’s new book “Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat”, which takes us on his journey of traveling the world to observe and investigate global industrial farming systems. Through his analysis, he provides the reader with fascinating and alarming discoveries that reveal the facts involved when it comes to the production of our meat on a mass scale. The bottom line is the “bottom line”, where the priority for such food industry is money, with little to no attention given to animal welfare, environmental impacts, and the overall health and well-being of humankind.

As the CEO of the animal welfare organization Compassion in World Farming, with a vested interest in our food supply, Lymbery’s investigative efforts run strong in his search for the truth in various facets of the cyclopean picture. For example, he travels to Peru where he observes the effects of the decimated fish supply as a result of overfishing. One of Peru’s leading businesses is exporting ground-up fish to China and Europe to be fed to farmed animals, and he observes the now uninhabited ‘guano’ islands that were once abundant with birds. He learns that all birdlife has been demolished as a result taking all their fish to be made into fishmeal. He calls the fishmeal industry an “environmental catastrophe” and one of the filthiest secrets of the factory farming industry.

In addition to such ecological disasters, Lymbery gives us a glimpse into the world of the corrupt slaughterhouse system, in which the veterinarians employed by these establishments are forced either to play by the organization’s dirty rules or not at all. He tells us of a personal account relayed to him in which a slaughterhouse vet was threatened at knifepoint for stopping the slaughter line because he saw an issue that threatened the safety of the meat. Such a drastic action as ceasing the production line means less productivity which means less money for all involved, and is a deed that is rarely executed despite any frequency of need for it.

Where is the enforcement, then, for keeping the meat safe and for the welfare of the animals in such an aggressive environment where kill quotas by the hour must be met, lest the workers be docked pay and otherwise punished? These kinds of conditions in the abattoirs are, unfortunately, all too common, with little hope for improvement as the current system runs.

With “cheap” meat also comes the grandiose use of antibiotics in our food system, which is just one more prong of many that make up the faults in this global industry. It’s a fact that half the world’s antibiotics are used to feed farmed animals, whereas closer to 80 percent of North America’s antibiotics are. And these drugs are routinely fed to even the “healthy” animals in the factory farming systems, as a preventative measure to illnesses in the animals that are often inevitable with the systems of mass confinement (aka factory farming).

As more antibiotics are fed to the animals that we humans then eat, we are approaching a crisis in which this medication will be coming less and less effective to use for human illnesses when we need them! The audacious cycle affects us all on this planet – a fact that must be understood and addressed by us, the consumers and inhabitants of this planet.

So how does this all end? Given the many angles of this story as told in this 426 page tome alone, the effects of the meat industry on this earth are multi-fold and complex when you peel back the various layers wrapped around the core of the money, the factory farming system, and the peoples’ avid hunger for animal flesh. But that really is the core, and when contemplated at its foundation, I believe that we can empower ourselves to change the system, and at least become consciously aware of this system that manifests so much destruction in our world.

“Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat” will open your eyes to the hidden processes of industrialized food production. It will have you question how “cheap” that meat really is the next time you think of buying a hamburger, an action that once seemed so simple and insipid. Consider what lies beyond the shiny packaging in the supermarket when you purchase your meat products. And take one step further in truly educating yourself about the looming “Farmageddon” and taking personal actions to help reverse the disaster.

You can start now! The first 48 pages of the book are available to read here online for free.

And here’s an audio interview that I did with Philip Lymbery on the Animal Voices Vancouver radio show on various topics covered in the book:

Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Recipe by GaddAboutEating

Perfectly light and tasty cheesecake especially when coupled with this simple Graham Cracker Crust recipe.

It’s also a great recipe to mess with and try different variations.   If you are avoiding sugar:  use honey.   The general rule for honey/sugar substitution is replace by the same amount of honey if it is under a cup of sugar.  (If the recipe calls for more than 1c sugar, then substitute 2/3rds to 3/4s of a cup of honey beyond the first cup).  Remember:  honey is sweeter and contains more moisture than sugar.  The flavour and colour of the honey can have an interesting impact on the results.  Honey also contains some great antioxidants.

Or you could replace the eggs with an egg substitute.   Don’t feel like lemon?  Use orange!   Avoiding flour?  Replace with a gluten free substitute.   The flour is to help bind the cheesecake but it’s not as important an ingredient as it would be in a bread, so you can easily substitute it out.

HAVE FUN.

Get our FREE eCookbook, Easy Date Oven!

Sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send you our eCookBook Easy Date Oven, with simple decadent recipes for easy entertaining.

Sign up for our mailing list and get a copy of our eCookBook Easy Date Oven.

We'll send a maximum of two notes per month announcing new website content and other important foodie news.