Garam Masala Recipe

Garam Masala is a combination of spices.  Garam means hot, masala means mixture. The hot refers not to its spicy quality but to the warming effect the spices have.

Garam Masala Recipe
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  • 3 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp green cardamom pods
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
recipe by STIR Cooking School


Toast the spices in a frying pan until fragrant.

Cool. Grind spices in a coffee mill(used for spices only) or high speed food processor.

Store in an air tight container for up to 4-5 months.


Sun-dried Tomato Jam on Goat Cheese Crostini

Easy tasty Recipe for entertaining!


Sun-dried Tomato Jam on Goat Cheese Crostini
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  • 1 8 ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, in oil, drained chopped, reserve oil
  • ½ onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup veg or chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp. unrefined salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • Crostini
  • 1 baguette, cut in ¾ in.slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 5 ounces goat cheese, room temp.
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
recipe by STIR Cooking School


In a medium sauce pan over med heat ,brown onions with olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes,1 Tbsp reserved oil, and garlic, 5-7 minutes.

Add sugar, vinegar, water, broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 30 min. Remove lid and simmer 5-10 more min. until mixture is jam consistency.

Pre-heat oven to 400F.Line a baking sheet with parchment. Brush baguette on each side with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toast lightly, approx. 8 min.

Mix goat cheese with thyme and spread on crostini, top with tomato jam.

Serve on a platter with thyme garnish.




Healthy foods to help fend off the Season of Sniffles!

Let’s face it, there are a lot of things worse than that dreaded tickle at the back of your throat and the accompanying watery eyes and runny nose.  However, seasonal colds and bugs are unpleasant and no one wants to have one or spread the dreaded condition to friends and family!


Here are a few of the immune busting foods that can help fend off those nasty germs…

1) Salmon

Dietary Vitamin D offers some protection from upper respiratory infections like cold and flu. Fresh or canned salmon is a reliable source of Vitamin D; add salmon to sandwiches, soups, tacos, pastas.


2)  Kefir

Ramping up the pro-biotics is another good way to ward off the bugs. Friendly gut critters found in fermented foods can lessen the risk of the sniffles and symptoms.


3)Pumpkin Seeds

These little powerful seeds are chock full of zinc, magnesium and iron. Keeping your protein up and adding zinc can lessen the duration of the cold.



Forget the orange juice, this delicious southern fruit offers an entire day’s worth of vitamin C.  A regular source of Vitamin C keeps immunity in top shape.


5)Barley and Oats

Called Beta-glucan, the soluble fiber in these amazing grains can rev up your immune system and shorten the duration of symptoms.


Want to learn more about Immune boosting foods and drinks?

Come to our Immunity Foods Class Thursday, January 25th, Pomme, 7-9pm.

You can register on the STIR website.

Foodie Gifts for 2017


I know I never tire of getting new cookbooks.  Some of my favourites – Oh She Glows, Thug Kitchen, Flavor Bible, anything by Ottolenghi

Cooking Class

Experiential services are a great way to go when you are giving to someone who has everything.  STIR offers gift certificates for upcoming cooking classes or private cooking classes.

Ice Cream/Cookie Scoops

We use these all the time for energy ball production.  Makes measuring evenly simple.  Fits nicely into a stocking.

Weber iGrill

This handy thermometer is perfect for the grilling enthusiast on your list.  This is used regularly in my house.  Weber iGrill

Flavoured Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Small jars of these infused oils and vinegars are perfect for a stocking and then the pantry.  Great to have these on hand for instant flavour.

Olive Branch Nanaimo

Local Food Products

Support local this holiday season by buying gifts from Vancouver Island Food Producers

Chipotle Corn Chowder

This Chipotle Corn Chowder is warming for autumn as the nights descends earlier and the days grow colder.

Chipotle Corn Chowder
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  • 2Tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp chipotle puree
  • 2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 ears sweet corn or 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 ½ cups milk
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
recipe by STIR Cooking School


In a large soup pot, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add celery, carrot, red pepper, chipotle, potatoes.

Add broth and cook until vegetables are tender, approximately 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour and milk. Pour into soup pot.

Add the corn kernels, thyme, salt and pepper.

Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with cheddar cheese if desired. Serve with warm bread or cornbread and crisp salad or slaw.


Healing Power of Turmeric

In this interactive workshop learn how to incorporate fresh and dried turmeric into your everyday meals and snacks. Discover how this golden rhizome can help with many health conditions as well as improve your general well-being. STIR will demonstrate recipes from sweet to savory, and provide samples and recipes.

Go home with your own jar of turmeric chai tea mix.

This class is gluten-free and vegetarian. 10% off store-wide.

Healing Power of Turmeric


Vietnamese Pho Class

You will learn 2 broth methods; a Vegan and a Chicken version of Vietnam’s famous dish as well as how to make spring rolls and dipping sauce. These authentic recipes come to us from a famous chef in Hanoi.


Vietnamese Pho Class

Vietnamese PHO …say FUH!

Pronouncing Pho correctly ,especially when in Vietnam, will reward you with a delicious, aromatic bowl of comfort food.

If you haven’t tried this tasty national dish from Vietnam you are in for a treat.

PHO starts with an amazing complex flavoured broth and ends up in your bowl filled with noodles, protein ,and crunchy, spicy ,tangy condiments.

PHO is held as a reflection of the daily life of the peasants tracing back to the Hanoi area in the 19th century.It is believed to be a culinary merge with the French stew Pot au Feu the Vietnamese pronounced as Pho. Prior to the French Colonization ,the Vietnamese did not slaughter their cattle.The French added the cow as a protein source and by the 1920’s beef  or water buffalo in Pho was the norm and chicken was added soon after.

When I was in Vietnam last year I was able to obtain an authentic Pho recipe at a very well respected restaurant in Hanoi.I am excited to share it with you!

Join us on Tuesday, November 28th and learn how to make your own Chiken and Vegan Pho .

We will also make Vietnamese rice paper rolls and dipping sauce.