Photography by Del Mahabadi
Foraging is a something that many know about, but few know how to do it. Chef Michael Hunter shares his best tips on foraging and how to get started.
It seems fitting with a name like Michael Hunter that this Toronto-based chef grew up on a horse farm in Caledon. His passion for foraging was ignited after a chef he was working with came in with a handful of morels he found one day. "It's just kind of like a food treasure hunt. Once you get hooked, it's kind of like an obsession, " says Hunter.
Hunter, who has worked in kitchens since the age of 13, is currently chef and co-owner of the Toronto-based Antler Kitchen & Bar, which opened in Oct 2015. Hunter describes his cuisine as Canadian with a focus on wild food. "We aim to define Canadian cuisine, so we want to use regional ingredients and embrace Ontario as much as possible", he says. Wild game cannot be sold in Ontario restaurants, so Hunter points out that the offerings at Antler are all sourced from farms. To intrigue restaurant goers, who he believes are more adventurous than ever, Antler's inventive menu includes deer rack served on top of a stew made of the neck meat, rabbit pappardelle and eclectic snack items like Jamaican venison patties, wild boar gyoza and duck heart yakitori.
When he's not at the restaurant, you'll find this avid forager and hunter "playing in the woods" in Caledon, making maple syrup, hunting and foraging for morel mushrooms (his personal favourite), wild leeks and fiddleheads, as well as experimenting with new ingredients, like squirrel.
What's next for Hunter? He's heading off to a hunting camp deep in the Mississippi wilderness and he'll be headlining What's Cooking Bracebridge by embarking on a foraging hike and expedition and preparing a special dinner hosted by Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro's. It's clear that this hunter likes to be in his element.
4 things to consider before you start foraging:
1) Know what you're looking for
Always consult a reputable guide such as the Audubon Society's guide to mushrooms and plants. Stay away from any mushrooms or plants that have deadly poisonous look-a-likes.
2) Start small
Forage only things that can easily be identified – and that do not have poisonous look-a-likes - like fiddleheads and mint.
3) Think about ethical foraging
Some plants don't grow back the following year if you harvest the entire batch. Avoid over-harvesting by reading about the plants that you're foraging.
4) Be respectful
No one wants to come across strangers harvesting on their property without permission, so always ask before start to forage.
Spice Ash Crusted Venison Chop Del Mahabadi
Chunky baskets Source: All About Ami
Crochet has made a comeback, with a colourful modern twist! Here's a round up of our favourite free projects on the web.
Create this simple bright bunting for your next party. The best part? It's reusable!
These colourful donuts are pretty sweet, don't you think?
This cozy striped blanket will be perfect for cuddling up with a great book.
Scrub your pots and pans in style with these patterned dishcloths.
This small bag is the perfect gift for the photography buffs in your life.
Store everything from toys to bathroom essentials in these cozy-looking baskets
String these mini houses together to create a garland for your child's room.
These cloths simple to make, they do a great job washing dishes and they're reusable.
We love this delicate crocheted necklace from All About Ami.
Colourful mini madalas are perfect for using up the yarn you have leftover from other projects.
This doily rug is totally on trend.
Bright fruit-themed potholders are the perfect addition to your kitchen.
Beyond Thanksgiving dessert and carving jack-o’-lanterns, this autumn gourd has a host of health benefits. Here are five ways pumpkins can improve your diet, sleep and skin, plus five easy and nutritious pumpkin recipes.
1. Healthy eyes
Pumpkin is a rich source of beta-carotene—it’s what gives it that rich, vibrant colour. Packed with potent antioxidants, it helps protect your vision from degeneration. Bonus: You’ll also see stronger nails and healthier hair.
2. Glowing skin
Pumpkins are rich in a host of skin-healthy vitamins: the properties from antioxidant-rich vitamin A (retinol) act as a shield for your skin, protecting you from the damaging affects of free radicals; vitamin C helps promote collagen production and renew the skin for a glowing face; and vitamin E improves skin tone.
3. Energy boost
The daily recommended iron intake for women is higher than for men, and as women age or become pregnant, the necessary dose increases. Pumpkins are full of iron, an immunity-boosting mineral that can help ward of illness and fatigue and keep your energy high.
4. Better diet
High in fibre (7 grams per one cup of canned pumpkin) and low in calories (26 calories for 100g), pumpkins can help you stay full longer and keep your digestion on track. The Heart & Stroke association recommends 21 to 38 grams of fibre a day, however most people don’t quite reach half that amount.
5. Improved sleep and mood
Don’t toss the seeds. Raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) are rich in tryptophan (yes, the same snooze-inducing amino acid that kicks in post-turkey dinner) and can help you get more Zs. This compound also supports serotonin, which not only helps you sleep better, but boosts your mood, too.
Whether you use the whole pumpkin, the pulp or the seeds, here are five must-try recipes, ranging from savoury to sweet.
Thai Pumpkin Coconut Soup
This silky soup is a mix of traditional sweet and sour Thai flavours and has only 159 calories per serving. It’s guaranteed to be your go-to winter warm-up soup.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
A muffin is a great grab-and-go treat. Skip the maple cream cheese spread to keep the calorie count (250 calories) low.
Arugula and Pepita Pesto
Add this pesto to salad, soups or over meat. Keeps in the freezer for up to six months.
Almond Pepita Butter
This fragrant nut butter with a mix of almond and pepita is a super-satisfying topper.
Pumpkin Pie Granola
A mix of pepitas, pecans, flaxseeds, puffed rice cereal and a medley of aromatic spices, such as cinnamon, ginger and cloves gives this granola loads of flavour.
<p>Raina + Wilson</p>
As we usher in the fall season we also welcome changing foliage, pumpkin spice lattes and the coveted transitional coat—which depending on where you live in Canada can mean different degrees of warmth and protection. Here are 13 transitional toppers that will have you looking stylish and protected this fall, we picked one to go with every major city in Canada, related to their average fall forecast.
Rainfall isn't an issue in Calgary come fall, but temperature's sit right around 5c so keep cozy.
Oversized Suede-Like Jacket, $179.
Montreal get's a solid dose of precipitation (sometimes rain, sometimes snow) come the fall with averages hitting 4c.
TNA league jacket, $85.
Yellowknife's fall average sit at a brisk -10c with roughly 30 cm of snow projected, so it's time to break out the puffer—and snowboots!
The North Face Thermoball PrimaLoft Hooded Parka, $230, shop.nordstrom.com.
Halifax gets a hefty rain fall come the autumn, with its rainiest month being November. The average temp is 6c. Look for thin jacket or puffer with a water-resistant outer shell.
Alderwood shell, $425.
Whitehorse sits at a respectable -4 degrees come fall. Look for jackets made from natural materials such as cashmere, wool and alpaca to keep you cozy. It's a wee bit of a splurge, but if you buy a classic shape it will be a wear forever piece.
Charlotte Coat in Melton Wool, $528.
Saskatoon sits at 0 or below for 185 days a year, but come fall temps range from 18c to -7, so versatility is key—layering is also a smart idea. Try wearing a cape over a wool sweater to keep you toasty warm.
Twik Three-button cape, $70.
Iqaluit is in the Arctic, so it's average fall temperature is a chilly one: -15. A jean jacket won't cut it in these parts, look for a short parka or heavy duty puffer with a hood to protect you from the wind.
Anouk Paraka, $729.
Out east they get warmer fall's and St. Johns, Newfoundland is no exceptions, with temperatures sitting around 4c. Try layering a utility jacket over a hoodie.
Sherpa-lined utility jacket, $118.
Winnipeg has its nickname "Winterpeg" for a reason, the city's temperature fluctuates but the fall average sits at -1c. Look for an oversized stylish coat, perfect to layer over a puffer vest on cooler days or keep it open with a scarf draped around your neck for warmer days.
Cashmere-like open collar coat, $100.
Vancouver's wettest season is autumn, with an average of 450mm of rainfall and a temperature that hovers around 10c. Which means it's the perfect time to break out the rubber boots and find a slick coat to keep your warm and dry in the downpours.
Michael michael kors hooded trench coat, $149.
Toronto average forecast is sitting pretty around 12c, which means it's the perfect jean and moto jacket weather.
Cropped Suede Moto, $458.
October is Charlottetown's rainiest month, with and average of 110 mm of rainfall and temperatures at -1c.
Rains trench coat, $119.
Fredericton enjoys a sunny climate, averaging about 2,000 hours of sunshine a year however its temperatures are on the chillier side come fall, sitting around 4c.
Wane Lux Wool Waterfall Collar Jacket, $750.