Curried Squash Soup for Halloween


Nutmeg sat up when she received an email from her girlfriend, Wild Rice, who had trained in the kitchen at cooking school in London. It was not the cheery note that grabbed Nutmeg’s attention, but rather the new recipe that was contained in the text, a warm blend of pumpkin and Thai flavours. This recipe is not from the famous cooking school, there is no need to be chef material, read on, anyone can make this simple soup.


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Gluten-Free Whole Grains A Journey from Keyboard to Slow Cooker

GFWholeGrainsFinalCoverWith the Internet, email and social media – does anyone get real mail these days?

Needless to say, Nutmeg was thrilled to find a copy of Judith Finlayson’s The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook, buried under the innumerable junk-mail fliers for duct cleaning, roof repair and debt consolidation.

Judith took some time one spring afternoon to talk about this book, and how her career path (from keyboard to slow cooker) got her to where she is today – working on her 15th cookbook!

Her professional life began in book publishing, in her words as a “glorified secretary.” Judith moved into editing and then to well known Canadian magazines such as MacLean’s. Her career stops included freelance work, recipe development and a long running Globe & Mail column. She was always interested in food related journalism, although her articles also covered a broad range of women’s and social issues. Even while juggling a busy career and editorial deadlines over a twenty-year period her passion for food remained constant.

Judith was not classically trained in the kitchen. She spent a few years “cooking my way through Julia Child’s book” – her introduction to French kitchen methodology. Subsequently, her passion has taken her to many global regions including Mexico, India and Thailand to work with masters in these cuisines.

The first book came together by hazard; her husband who is a publisher had the idea in the late 1990s to create a cookbook focused on high-end slow cooker meals. This was at a time when slow cookers were hardly the height of kitchen fashion. He approached at least seven top chefs to ask if they would be interested in working on this project. NO – was the resounding answer. Finally, he reached the end of his list and asked Judith whether she would consider the venture.

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Recipes from Provence Aidan Larson Conjugating Irregular Verbs


Don’t let your mother tell you that the Internet is a scary place! Nutmeg has met so many interesting people via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest that she has decided to start a Guest Blog Thursdays, so they can share their stories. Volia:

Aidan Larson is an American mom of three navigating her way through life in France and writing about it on her blog: Conjugating Irregular Verbs. She writes from her dining room table in the south of France in between motherhood, French lessons and perfecting her oeuf en croute. If you want to read more from Aidan she can be found on her blog site Conjugating Irregular Verbs (letters from my dining table in the south of France).

Melon Soup with Basil

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One Very Scary Post for Halloween


For Nutmeg this is a terrifying blog post, so it is fitting that it arrives just in time for Halloween.

Ginger and Nutmeg left Calgary on September 30, 2010. Nutmeg has quite happily not set foot on Canadian soil for 13 months. What is so scary?  They are headed back to Calgary in the darkest, coldest month of the year!

Here are some fun statistics from their time abroad:

35,000Kilometers driven in the trusty car by Ginger
8,000Photos documenting the year
5,000Toll booths
395 Number of days since Nutmeg has been in Canada
395Wine bottles consumed more or less
150Number of times Nutmeg went to a market
150+Bike rides
50+Churches visited
18Ski days at new resorts
15Gap T-shirts
13Provencal deserts at Christmas time
4Ferry rides: to Corsica and Sardinia
4Pairs of runners
3Masks from the Venice Carnival
5Cooking lessons
5Countries Visited:France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, UK
2Jars Cherry Jam by Ginger
4New pieces of art
2Gym memberships
1Mountain bikes
2Pairs of Hiking boots
1Opera – Aida
1Kayak trip
1Trip to the Grand Prix in Monaco
1Trip to Paris
1Market bag
0Number of sessions with a personal trainer

It has been a fantastic time, hardly captured in the numbers above.  Ginger and Nutmeg have made some new friends and improved their French a bit. So as a send off before they leave G&N will share a pot-luck (“Buffet Canadien”) with the neighbours. Nutmeg can hardly wait to get back to Calgary to dig out her woolly sweaters and visit her dentist!

Do not despair; Nutmeg has prepared another 12 months of posts, yet to come on their trip. That way she can continue to feel like she is living abroad. When the grim, endless days of Canadian winter show up there are always the photos in the galleries to keep Nutmeg going (a few specific galleries are below).

Market Images

Fabulous Firenze

Eygalières Views



As Ginger and Nutmeg fly across the Atlantic eating questionable airline food, they would like to leave you with this warming recipe.



Squash (Pumpkin) Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This soup is very easy to make. Their friend Sassafras made it for dinner after a big ski day in Chamonix. Roasting the squash takes a bit more time but adds a more flavour.

  • 4 Cups Butternut Squash (in France you can use Courge), peeled and diced 3 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Fennel Seeds
  • ½ Teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • ¼ Cup Sour Cream
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C)
  2. Toss the diced squash in olive oil, put on a baking sheet and top with a little salt and pepper
  3. Bake for about 20 minutes until the squash softens, check occasionally
  4. While the squash is cooking, heat some olive oil in a heavy stock pan on the stove top
  5. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent (about 3 minutes)
  6. Add the coriander, cumin, fennel and chili flakes and cook for about a minute to sweat the spices
  7. Add the chicken stock and cooked squash
  8. Allow the pot to simmer for 10-15 minutes
  9. Put the soup in a blender, until smooth
  10. Share the soup evenly in bowls, garnish with sour cream and cilantro



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Cool Summer Soups

Nutmeg has a very dear friend Sassafras.  They have been friends for several decades and even though they live quite far apart, they usually manage, to get in a ski or bike or hike weekend here and there.  So a bit about Sassafras (besides the great name). She is so smart she has two university degrees because engineering was not hard enough.  She loves the open water, craves mountain vistas, has a great laugh and generally embraces live.  Sassafras also loves to cook and has decided that she will help Nutmeg out and provide a few of her favorite recipes for all of you to try.  So as Nutmeg is digging out her puffy down jacket, the rest of the country is still experiencing summer, so Sassafras’s first recipe is a cool summer soup:  North African Spiced Tomato Soup.

Garden Fresh


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Global Warming its Soup Time

Nutmeg is a “greeniac” (just ask Ginger)… she turns out lights before she leaves a room, recycles everything, uses the rain barrel to water her plant pots,  faithfully composts greens and browns, buys eco-friendly cleaning products – but she does NOT believe in global warming!  On August 29th, Ginger and Nutmeg awoke to slightly above freezing temperatures and a very clear view of snow a third of the way down the nearby mountain peaks.  Yes it is true, the rest of the country, and possibly the world is suffering with heat stroke, water restrictions and cool blended drinks.  Al Gore be damned according to Nutmeg, there is no global warming in Southern Alberta, it is soup time! So out comes the Corn and Crab Chowder (check out the recipe below).

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Hearty Hot Soup to Celebrate the New Year

Nutmeg loves this idea for an open house – invite people over for a bowl of soup and a drink on New Year’s day.  It is a great way to hear all the stories from the night before and toast the New Year with your friends.  One additional bonus, is there is a very good chance no one will stay late as they were up the night before…

Poker Sign #FunnySigns #NewYears

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Fall is Soup Time

Nutmeg has a bit of time on her hands this fall and this soup one of her new favorites:

Bosc Pears

Pear, Fennel and Acorn Squash Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
This is an easy soup to celebrate the best of fall produce.
Note: mild curry can be added as well (optional). Enjoy!
  • 1 Small Fennel bulb, diced
  • 3 Shallots or ½ onion, diced
  • 1.5 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 2 Pears cored and cubed
  • 5 cups Vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ Tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp. Fresh ginger, crushed
  • 2 Medium Acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • ½ Cup Coconut milk
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  1. Saute fennel and shallots in pan with 1 Tbsp oil until lightly brown.
  2. Add the remaining oil and the pears.
  3. Saute for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, combine the stock, ginger, cinnamon and squash.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. When the squash is almost cooked, add the pear mixture, coconut milk, salt and pepper.
  7. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth.

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