Savor Peruvian cuisine at Mochica for MTL à TABLE

MTL à TABLE has arrived in Montreal! You can now sample 150+ restaurants at very fair set prices. And this particular culinary trip takes us to Peru at Mochica.

Let’s face it, November is a depressing month. The cold weather slowly sets in, the sky is grey and trees look sad and naked without leaves. You almost wish for a snowfall to cover the brown landscape.

Thankfully, for the past four years now, a ray of foodie sunlight has brought warmth and joy to the month of November in Montréal, Québec. Happiness envelops Montréal when MTL à TABLE arrives.


Restaurant Mochica: fine Peruvian dining


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Coconut-Spiked Pork with Quinoa and Peanuts

When we were kids everyone could eat anything without any allergies or complications. Well maybe we were not aware of it as much back then – or we were too young to realize – but food intolerances are definitely on the rise. I do count my blessings that I have no need for restrictions. But I have friends who come over regularly for dinner who do so having a nice selection of delicious recipes everyone can enjoy is a plus.

Gluten is one of the big no-nos and I think people who need to suddenly eat gluten-free get very intimidated at first. But there are lots of wonderful recipes tempting to the palate, you just need to experiment. A great resource is the The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook.



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Secret Recipe Club: Quinoa Vegetable Soup

Wow we are already in the month of March. And in less then a week we are going into daylight savings time. Does that mean winter is almost over? Another reason to make me smile is that today is my group’s reveal day for the Secret Recipe Club. What is the SRC? Basically you are assigned a fellow participant’s blog by the organizer and then you pick a recipe of your choice from that blog and make your version of it. But it is a secret, you cannot reveal whom you picked and what you made until the established posting date and time.

I really enjoyed my pick this month and I have to say I have a lot of respect for her too, she is a very courageous woman. My assigned blog was Biting Life which is written by Miranda. She loves to read, has a great supportive boyfriend and, lucky girl, has her dream job as an editorial assistant at a publishing company (do you take cookbook submissions lol?).

Quinoa-soup 04

Miranda’s blog focuses a lot on eating healthy and she used this blog to help her eat well and sucessfully loose weight. Unfortunately she was diagnosed with a disability some time back which pretty much limits her capacity to exercise as it can bring on a lot of pain. She writes extensively on her disability Heel Pad Syndrome and I urge you to go check it out.

The great thing is this does not stop her from living life to the max and enjoying things she loves…like food. I was very tempted by several of her recipes. My first choices were a Beer Caramel Sauce, an Orange Beef and a yummy Vegetable Moo Goo Gai Pan.

Quinoa soup 01

But I went with the Quinoa Vegetable Soup finally because I always say I have to eat more quinoa. It’s one of those things I like but then I forget they exist. Quinoa originated in the Andean Mountain range and the words comes from the native tongue Quechua, kinwa. The Incas considered this crop to be sacred and called it the “mother of all grains”.

And they had good reason to hold it so dear. Quinoa is packed with good stuff such as a high protein content, dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, it is gluten free and it is also a source of calcium. In fact 2013 has been declared International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations.

Quinoa soup 02

This was a wonderful soup indeed. It is packed with vegetables and quinoa that is a protein source. Vegan meal anyone? Well I actually used chicken broth because that is what I had on hand but the original recipe calls for vegetable broth. I also omitted the celery stalk and replaced it with fenugreek. It was a perfect addition to a meal I made where my guest must eat lacto and gluten free.

OK so one more thing before the recipe. I only saw one mention but Miranda, claims she is more than a little bit obsessed with goats. Funny enough I was introduced to one of the current viral YouTube videos where popular songs are mixed in with goats. Check them out, there are tons. But this one is for you Miranda!


Quinoa Vegetable Soup
Recipe Type: Salads & Soups
Author: adapeted from Miranda Mowbray
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups spinach, frozen
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp fennugreek
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and add your garlic, onion, and celery, stirring frequently over medium high heat until the onion is translucent (5 minutes).
  2. Add your vegetable broth, water, and tomatoes. Add your spices and stir. After a few minutes, add your spinach and allow it to wilt. Lastly, add your quinoa, lower your heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving.



Can you guess what this picture is? I had so much fun playing around with Photoshop in my last post, I went all artsy again. This was made from the first picture on top. Cool right? Wanna know how I did it? I’ll tell you in the next post if you do, just let me know in your comments.

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