Honey garlic pork

Honey Garlic Pork with Stinging Nettle Fried Rice

If you’ve been around Island Vittles for awhile, then you’ll know I have an obsession with stinging nettles as food.

I’ve been out foraging almost everyday for the past week, spending 15-30 minutes a day clipping and gathering the tops off what most consider noxious weeds, but are, in reality, the healthiest, tastiest and cheapest food on the planet.

Go on…they won’t bite! At most, they’ll give ya a wee sting. Continue reading

Bokashi prawn heads

My Bokashi Experiment – Update 3

We’re two months into our new composting regimen using Bokashi, a hundreds year old system that uses the power of fermentation to reduce ALL of your kitchen waste to rich, black soil ready for the garden, and I am impressed.

I haven’t held back in the first 60 days – our regional landfill no longer accepts kitchen waste of any kind, so I really don’t have a choice – I’ve thrown in bones, raw meat trimmings, fat used for frying, and most recently, the biggest test yet, a pound of prawn heads that missed their chance to become bisque when I accidentally buried them at the bottom of the freezer downstairs. They had been sitting there since last April, leaving them freezer-burned beyond use.

I opened the bucket about 24 hours after I had added the prawn heads and a healthy layer of Bokashi bran, and to my surprise, there was ABSOLUTELY NO SMELL. And by no smell, I mean our perpetually hungry little dog was standing right beside me when I opened it, and his nose didn’t even twitch.

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Bokashi experiment bucket

My Bokashi Experiment – Week 1

Recently, the residents of the Southern Gulf Islands, including Pender, as well as everyone living in the Greater Victoria Area (aka the Capital Regional District), were given notice that as of January, 2015, The Hartland Landfill, depository for our region’s garbage will no longer accept kitchen waste of any kind.

While big city/island residents will have the option to have their kitchen waste picked up by a third party service provider, solutions aren’t quite so easy here on the smaller islands. The result has been a passionate, much-needed discussion about how and where we will handle our waste now, and in the future.

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red pepper and white bean soup

Roasted Pepper and White Bean Soup (Vegan)

Autumn is here! It’s my favourite time of year, especially when we get a stretch of clear, cold weather like we’ve had for the last couple of weeks. The beach is irresistible right now, especially early in the morning, when the tide is low and the rocks are frosty.

medicine beach, pender islandAfter a recent morning trip to the beach with the dog, I came home inspired to create a warm bowl of comfort for lunch from what I found in the pantry and fridge.

This delicious vegan soup was the result. You won’t miss the cream.

(Click on the link below for a printable version of the recipe.)

Roasted Pepper and White Bean Soup (Vegan)

Olive oil and white beans combine together to make this sweet pepper soup light and creamy. Makes a warming winter meal with a side salad and buttered slices of crusty bread.

Serves 4

  • Red, Orange or Yellow Bell Peppers – 3 or 4 medium
  • Olive Oil – ¼ Cup
  • Onion, chopped – 1 small
  • Celery, chopped – 1 large stalk
  • Carrot, chopped – 1 small
  • Garlic, grated or minced – 1 clove
  • Bay Leaves – 2 whole (optional)
  • Fresh Thyme, 1 sprig
  • Cooked or Canned Small White Beans (Cannellini, Navy, etc) – 1 Cup
  • Vegetable Stock – 2 to 3 Cups
  • s+p

Move rack to upper position and set oven to Broil.

Arrange whole peppers on a baking sheet and blacken skins under broiler. Turn to blacken all sides. Cool in a closed paper bag. Collect all pepper juices in a measuring cup.

When cool enough to handle, peel and de-seed peppers. Reserve flesh. Collect any additional liquid.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When shimmering, add onion, celery and carrot. Sweat, stirring constantly, until transparent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic, bay and thyme and stir gently until aromatic, about 1 minute.

Add beans, reserved pepper flesh and enough vegetable stock and pepper juice to make 3 cups. Stir, increase heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium low, stir and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.

Remove from heat; discard bay leaves and thyme sprig. Puree with an immersion blender, or counter-top blender until very smooth.

Reheat over medium, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot.


  • You can also blacken the peppers by holding them with tongs over an open flame on your gas stovetop, but it’s easier and faster to do them all at once in the oven.
  • The colour of your soup will depend on the colour of the peppers you start with. I used 3 orange and 1 red.
  • Don’t skimp on the olive oil. ¼ cup sounds like a lot, but it adds a real creaminess when pureed together with the beans.
  • Sweat is a culinary term that means to cook to translucency without adding colour.
  • I garnished our soup with Basil Oil, but regular olive oil (or maybe chili oil?) is also delicious.