Special Recipes from Julian Armstrong

Made in Quebec pic

Many thanks to Julian Armstrong, long time food writer for the Montreal Gazette for generously providing us with two recipes that incorporate the healthiest oil—olive oil. Both recipes are from the Spring chapter of her cookbook, Made In Quebec: A Culinary Journey, by Julian Armstrong (HarperCollins).

Tartare de saumon fume
(Smoked salmon tartare)

Down the road from the little restaurant called La Broue dans l’Toupet in the old fishing village of Mont-Louis on Gaspé’s north coast, you’ll find one of Quebec’s finest fish-smoking enterprises, Atkins & Frères.  Chef Daniel Gasse likes using their products in his cooking, in particular their Atlantic salmon and their mackerel and shrimp from the Gulf of St. Lawrence. You can reduce the smoked salmon flavour in this appetizer by replacing half of it with fresh, sushi-grade salmon.

Serves 4

  • 12 slices (250 g) cold-smoked salmon
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) capers, rinsed, patted dry
  • 2 peeled mandarin oranges or clementines, white filaments removed, in segments, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon quarters and capers
  • Baguette slices

Using a sharp knife, chop the salmon finely. In a salad bowl, combine salmon, dill, capers, mandarins, lemon juice and oil. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, pack tartare into four molds or ramekins (1/2 cup/125 mL each) and unmould onto four serving plates.

Trim plate with lemon quarters, and capers. Serve with baguette slices, toasted or grilled until crisp.

*Canned mandarin orange segments, sold in 284 mL cans (1 cup), may be substituted.

Salata Pashkalini
(Greek Spring Salad)

Menus at Montreal’s celebrated Greek restaurant Milos have been setting a standard for the city’s Greek chefs ever since Costas Spiliadis opened his cheerful blue-and-white taverna in 1979. Even when he is away supervising his other Milos restaurants (in New York, Athens, Las Vegas and South Beach, Miami), you find his mother’s cooking lives on at his original Montreal establishment.

Serves 8

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, or 2 small heads, leaves separated
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch dill, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) red wine vinegar, or 2 tablespoons (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup (125 mL) Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 4 ounces (125 g) feta cheese, preferably Greek, rinsed, thinly sliced

Trim leaves of romaine, stack them up and slice them in thin strips. Place in a salad bowl with onions and dill, tossing to distribute.

In a cup, make dressing by whisking oil and vinegar together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad, tossing to distribute. Arrange olives and cheese over the top of the salad.


Olive Oil Ice Cream

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream“— this recipe may seem strange, but it’s really delicious!


Yields about 1 quart

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup 35% cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon or orange zest


  1. Place milk and cream in a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from stove.
  2. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with the sugar and make sure mixture is well blended—it should be a light yellow colour.
  3. Continue whisking the mixture in the bowl, and slowly pour the milk and cream into the thoroughly blended egg yolk and sugar concoction.
  4. Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium to low heat, stir with a wooden spoon until it thickens.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. After straining, add olive oil and vanilla. Place in freezer safe bowl with lid.
  7. Cover and freeze overnight for best results.
  8. Top with freshly grated orange or lemon zest and serve.

ENJOY! ice crream Gigi A.

…and the Liquid Gold Medal Goes to VOO and EVOO

1 prize

New research suggests that virgin and extra-virgin olive oils produced by mechanical pressing of the olives, (with no chemical additives) contain antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in red wine and green tea and prevent free radicals from oxidizing LDL—oxidation of LDL causes damage to the arteries.

In a three-week study of 200 men published recently in Annals of Internal Medicine, those who consumed just under two tablespoons a day of high-polyphenol virgin olive oil in place of other dietary fats registered larger increases in “good” HDL cholesterol and fewer markers of oxidative stress than men who consumed the same amount of “ordinary” olive oil, which had a very low polyphenol content. Chemical refining processes remove some polyphenols from “ordinary” olive oils (often labeled as “pure” in the U.S.) and other cooking oils, says Maria-Isabel Covas, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a researcher at the Municipal Institute for Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain.

The next time you go shopping for a healthy oil in the grocery store, pick up a bottle of virgin or extra virgin oil—your heart will be thankful.

Farah S.

Avocado Oil – Natural Mosquito Repellent

I had been complaining to Wanjira Njenga, my yoga teacher about mosquitoes constantly attacking my dog and me on our daily summer evening walks. Wanjira suggested the perfect solution for our problem — a natural recipe for a mosquito repellent prepared with a blend of avocado, lavender and spearmint oil. Eager to try the repellent, I bought all the ingredients and blended them all together and to my surprise— IT WORKED! Bella Mia, my cocker spaniel and I can now enjoy our walks sans mosquitoes.

Wanjira’s Mosquito Repellent

Materials: Spray bottle, avocado, spearmint and lavender oil

Measure three parts avocado oil to one part spearmint and lavender oil. Pour oils into a spray bottle and use liberally before venturing outdoors.

Caution: Prior to using the repellent, make sure you are not allergic to avocados by rubbing a small amount of the oil blend on your arm and then simply wait 15 minutes, if you do not have any reaction, use the repellent freely on your skin.

Properties of the oils in the Repellent Blend

  • Avocado oil acts as a carrier oil for other flavours. It is high in monounsaturated fat and vitamin E.
  • Lavender oil functions is an antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Spearmint oil functions as an antiseptic and wards off mosquitoes and other insects.

Avocado oil

Louise R.

Almond Oil for Dark Circles Under the Eyes

I personally suffer from hereditary dark circles under my eyes. No matter how well rested or nourished I am, the dark circles persist. After experimenting with countless creams and diets for my problem—nothing worked. One day during my online research session, I stumbled upon an article about almond oil for dark circles under the eye area. The article was intriguing and I decided to do further research before taking the plunge to purchase the oil. My research was invaluable and worth sharing.

Causes of Dark Circles under the Eyes

  • Lack of sleep, mental stress and improper diet.
  • Aging, exposure to sun, and vitamin deficiency.
  • Hereditary can also play an important role.

Almond Oil Fact

  • Almond oil is a good moisturizer and it works well to alleviate the dark circles under the eyes. Since the skin around the eye is very sensitive and delicate, and it advisable to use this natural remedy rather than applying any harsh chemical beauty product to the area.

Three Treatments to Try

  1. Form a paste of almond oil and milk powder and apply to the area under the eyes. Leave mixture on for 10 to 15 minutes and gently wash off with tepid water.
  2. Mix two teaspoons of honey and two teaspoons of almond oil and apply the mixture under the eyes nightly before bedtime.
  3. Gently massage almond oil around the eyes before bedtime daily to increase blood circulation and eliminate dark circles.

Benefits of Almond Oil

  • Lightens dark circles around the eyes.
  • Reduces dullness and provides moisture.
  • Minimizes fine lines and wrinkles.

Five Tips Stave Off Dark Circles under the Eyes

  1. Get adequate sleep.
  2. Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.
  3. Eat healthy foods.
  4. Engage in daily exercise.
  5. Minimize stress levels.

Caution: Individuals with nut allergies should not use almond oil.

I am on my way to Marche Tau to my bottle of almond oil. Fingers crossed!

Almond oil

Rosa H.

Argan Oil Homemade Hair Mask

Argan oil is made by extracting the oil from the Argan tree (Argania spinosa) nut kernels. Argan trees are prevalent to Morocco, with much smaller regions of growth in Algeria and Israel. The production areas are very limited, but demand and cost of the oil is high. The Argan trees grow 8-10 metres tall and live from 150-200 years. The shelf life of Argan oil is 3-6 months.

Even though Moroccan Argan Oil has gained worldwide popularity in the last few years, in my native Morocco, the oil has been around since antiquity and used both in the country’s cuisine and for personal beautification of the skin and hair.

My wife attributes her long, healthy, frizz free and dandruff free hair, to her regular use of Argan oil treatments. The oil’s fatty acids provide numerous nutrients and anti-oxidant properties make her hair shinier, softer and stronger.

To make the monthly homemade hair mask, she simply applies two full tablespoons of pure and natural Argan oil and massages the oil into her scalp and hair. After the massage, she wraps her hair in a towel for 2-3 hours. At the end of the treatment time, she takes a shower.

Try the Argan oil homemade hair mask, you will notice a big difference. Feel free to write to me about your Argan oil homemade mask experience. Argan oil Mohamed F.

Coconut Oil Conditioning Hair Treatment

Coconut oil makes hair radiant and healthy. It is 100% natural and is also free of silicone, alcohol, and other chemicals usually added to commercial hair oil treatment products. Coconut oil is not only rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, but also moisturizes, strengthens, nourishes and protects the hair.

Coconut Oil Hair Treatment Steps

  1. Measure 3 to 5 tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil into a microwave-safe bowl. The quantity of coconut oil you will require depends on the length and thickness of your hair.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in the microwave. Heat for about 30 seconds. Then stir oil and heat again for another 30 seconds, if necessary, or until the oil has melted.
  3. Remove oil from microwave and allow to cool down. Prepare to apply oil treatment.
  4. Drape a large and old bath towel around your shoulders. The towel will prevent excessive dripping of oil onto your clothes and floor.
  5. Rub the coconut oil into your hair. Pour the oil in your palm and massage generous amounts of the oil into your hair and scalp.
  6. Put on a plastic shower cap after you have finished massaging the oil into your hair.
  7. Keep oil in hair for at least 2 hours. The longer you keep it in your hair, the more conditioned your hair will be.
  8. Remove plastic shower cap and shampoo. Wash hair two or three times, until it no longer feels oily.
  9. Dry hair. Blow dry your hair to see the lustrous and healthy effects of the coconut oil conditioning treatment.

Coconut oil

Lydia M.