Archive for Recipes: Savory

Plum Tartine

Exactly this time three years ago, I was in London, and by coincidence, my friend Shae from Vancouver was flying into London from Portugal that day. We met up at restaurant near Victoria Station so I could quickly jump on my train back to Brighton where I was staying.

That night, I ordered a Tartine.


My London Tartine: base of beet hummus with sauteed veg and finished with boccinci

Had I ever had a Tartine before? I don’t know. Maybe. Or I had, but I didn’t know that’s what it was called.

A tartine is, simply put, an open-faced sandwich (can it even be a sandwich if it’s not two pieces of bread??!?). They’re pretty popular in Euorope, especially France, which is where they come from, and tend to be eaten with a fork and knife.

The basis of any good tartine is to use really good bread, and then you pile on a bunch of stuff that has a mix of textures and flavours. Many come with an egg for added protein.

I recently went to the farmer’s market and came home with peak summer produce; fresh, locally-grown corn, and Okanagan peaches, plums and apples. I looked at those beautiful, purple, juicy, fat plums and knew exactly what I was going to do with them: tartine.

This is one of those posts that’s less recipe, and more template.

Here’s how to build the perfect tartine: 

  • As I already said, you need good bread. Here, I used my own homemade sourdough, but if you’re not a quarantine baker and you live in Vancouver, I’d recommend Livia or Flourist for a good, sturdy loaf of crusty artisan bread. Also, you’re going to want to toast it. This gives it even more sturdiness, and it also adds to the texture of the dish. Feel free to drizzle it with a little olive oil and toast it in a pan, even, for some sexy grill marks. You could also do this on the BBQ.
  • Your base layer should be something that will anchor the rest of the ingredients that are going on top. I like to use cream cheese, a savoury herbed one if possible, a goat’s cheese (again herbed would be pretty bomb here), or ricotta. If you’re vegan, hummus or mashed avocado is a great base for your tartine. You’ll want to spread a nice, thick layer.
  • Next up, the main players: in this case, it’s thinly-sliced plums, but you could use almost any fruit or vegetable here. Thinly-sliced zucchini or cucumbers, dressed with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper would be amazing. Sautéed mushrooms with garlic? Oh yeah. Fresh, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes? Orgasmic.
  • Now you want to think about sauces and dressings. My automatic go-to is balsamic reduction and a drizzle of good olive oil.
  • Garnish: a bit of peppery arugula tossed in a bit of olive oil would make a lovely topping. You could also go with microgreens, herbs, or edible flowers on top. Another potential garnish would be something to give your tartine an extra textural element, like seeds or nuts, something crispy.

That’s it! Let your taste buds be your guide, and play around with this great summer meal that has about a million different variations! I also need to add that this is the perfect dish to cook right now because it requires very little actual cooking, and let’s face it, it’s too hot to turn the oven or stove on.

Plum Tartine

Plum Tartine

Here’s my Plum Tartine:

  1. Thick slice of sourdough bread, toasted
  2. Layer of herbed cream cheese
  3. Layer of thinly-sliced plums
  4. Balsamic, olive oil, flaky salt
  5. Thyme leaves and blossoms

The ultimate tartine is all about the play of textures and flavours. Here, the creamy, slightly acidic cheese plays off of the sweet, juicy fruit. Then you have the crisp of the toasted bread and the sweet/acid of the balsamic reduction. It’s the perfect summer bite!

PS. If you want to try tartine in Vancouver, I recommend Ubuntu Canteen.



Sourdough Focaccia

When the going gets tough… the tough head to the kitchen.

Cooking and writing have always been my best therapy. But there’s a bonus to being able to cook and bake, and that’s being able to take care of other people.

Sourdough Focaccia

A few nights ago, I made this tray of Sourdough Focaccia. I love making sourdough bread, but I’m moving beyond it (I’m still making loads of bread) to other kinds of baked goods using sourdough. Like Focaccia. I was so happy with it, it turned out so well.

And I was able to leave some for my neighbour.

And I walked a few blocks and left some on the doorstep of my friend Lori’s apartment, and then backed away and then texted her. We had a 6-foot-distant conversation, and she placed a container of freshly made banana bread on the sidewalk in front of me.

This is love. This is the new love. Checking in, connecting, still feeding each other, even during a global pandemic when we can’t go within 6 feet of each other.

Focaccia Sourdough

Sourdough Focaccia


  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups flour (I used 1 cup WW and 3 cups AP)

To top:

  • olive oil
  • course sea salt
  • rosemary (dried or fresh, whole)
  • cloves of roasted garlic (optional)


  1. In the workbowl of your mixer, place the sourdough starter, the water, olive oil and salt. Mix well together.
  2. Slowly add in the flour, using the doughhook attachment. (you can do all of this by hand as well, it just takes more time).
  3. Once all the flour is incorporated, continue to knead for another 5 minutes or so, until smooth and elastic.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and drizzle over some olive oil. Cover the whole dough ball with a thin layer of olive oil. Place back into the bowl, cover, and allow to rise. You could also do a slow rise in the fridge over night. I let mine rise about 6 hours. It should be doubled in size.
  5. Drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil and brush it all over. Place the dough on the sheet pan and use your fingers to spread it out.
  6. Set aside for 30 minutes in a warm place, while your oven preheats.
  7. Turn the oven on to 450 degrees and allow it to preheat.
  8. Before putting the Focaccia in the oven, “dimple” it with your fingers, then drizzle over more olive oil and sprinkle with course salt. Sprinkle with rosemary and roasted garlic as well, if you like.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden on top. Eat while still warm. I like to dip mine in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
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