Delicious food without the fuss!

The word “smart” has been thrown around a great deal in recent years: smart phones, Smart cars, and even smart toilets. And then there are the more traditional smarts, usually attached to the other end: book-smarts, street-smarts. But what about kitchen-smarts?

It might sound trivial, but being smart in the kitchen is all about saving time and money, and not many would pass up on more of those. There are the tips that I’ve picked up from my mom (buy produce that can be used in various ways throughout the week); those I’ve learned from living alone (only buy packaged foods when they’re on special); and those I’ve gained through the weekly routine of cooking for two (buying and eating less meat means more money for DQ Blizzards).

Kidding aside, being kitchen smart simply comes down to determination. By implementing new systems and habits into your routine, and exposing yourself to new ideas, you’ll find that you’re optimizing your cooking experiences, and eating delicious food, too.

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Australian food editor Valli Little offers an abundance of good habits in her latest cookbook Quick Smart Cook, which is full of enticing and unique recipes not just for busy families and bachelors, but anyone in search of a fast, delicious meal. Recipes like Rib-eye with Espresso and Mushroom Sauce and Instant Fondue with Roast Vegetables sound super swanky, but Little’s writing is clear, concise and simple—suitable for beginners and seasoned home-cooks alike.

Best of all, it lives up to its Smart title. Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic and Quail Eggs might suggest a lengthy prep time and unusual ingredients, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. I easily found quail eggs at the first place I looked—my local Asian grocer’s. And the recipe instructions are designed to minimize both cooking time and washing up: bread is toasted in the oven along with a whole head of garlic, and tiny speckled quail eggs are boiled at the tail end of the pasta’s cooking time. After a little wait and a whiz in the food processor, all you have to do is toss and serve.

And in case you needed another incentive to check out Quick Smart Cook, the beautifully-styled, full-page photos should do the trick.

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Spaghetti with quail eggs and roasted garlic

Serves 4

1 whole garlic bulb

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

1 slice rustic-style wood fired bread

2 tbsp grated parmesan

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves

250g creme fraiche

400g spaghetti

12 quail eggs*

100g baby arugula

 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

Drizzle the garlic with 1 tablespoon of oil, wrap tightly in foil and place on a baking tray. Drizzle the bread on both sides with extra oil and place on the same tray. Bake, turning the bread once, for 15 minutes until the bread is golden. Remove the bread, then roast the garlic for a further 30 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, pulse the bread, parmesan and parsley in a food processor to form coarse drums. Set aside.

Unwrap the roasted garlic. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves from their skins into the creme fraiche. Mash together well and set aside.

Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to packet instructions. Add the quail eggs for the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time, then drain. Remove the eggs and set aside. Toss the pasta in a little extra oil, then toss with the deme fraiche mixture and arugula. Season and divide among 4 bowls.

Peel the eggs (it helps to roll them on the counter first to ease off the shell), then halve and place on the pasta. Serve scattered with the parmesan crumbs.

*For Vancouverites, I found them at Kim’s Mart on East Broadway, but they’re also available at T&T Supermarkets. Substitute 4 small chicken eggs, hard-boiled and quartered.

delicious. quick smart cook book by Valli Little available in store

 Review and Photography by Melanie Kwan © 2015

Our 2015 Under $50 Valentine’s Gift Guide!

It’s the most loving time of the year — chocolate hearts, pink cards and candy galore. But if you are looking for something a tad more thoughtful without breaking the bank, we have got you covered. Take the stress out of Valentine’s Day shopping with our ultimate gift guide for under $50! No matter who the loved one, we have carefully selected treats for your sweetie (you can thank us later).


under50 for him

  1. Freudian Slippers. Don’t be afreud to show your love on February 14th. They’re like therapy couches for your feet! $34
  1. Master of All Trades Multi-tool. Nothing says “I love my guy” like a steel gadget that turns into an intimidating (but useful) appliance. This impressive device from Wild & Wolf contains 15 brushed stainless steel tools and folds up to fit in your pocket. $48
  1. 3. The Three Wisemen stackable flask. Why give one when you can give three? Like any good boy scout, your man will always be prepared with these stacking flasks, each of which are aptly named and can hold up to 3oz of his drink of choice. $42
  1. 4. Pickmaster guitar pick maker. Guitarists are known for two things: being good with their hands, and always losing their darn plectrums. With the Pickmaster, the musician in your life can make their own! Finally, a practical use for old Starbucks gift cards. $44

 

under50 her small

  1. Kobo Soy Candles. Set the mood with subtle and mysterious scents like Moon Wisteria or smokey Warm Embers. Each candle is beautifully packaged and comes with its own box of matches. $44.95
  1. Chibi Moon & Stars earrings. Who needs matching earrings, anyway? Give these beautiful brass earrings to the moon of your life”. (Yes, that was a Game of Thrones reference.) $34
  1. Smoko Butta Hand Warmers. The cutest gift for your hardworking gal, these ingenious plush toasties plug into the computer and keep typing fingers warm all day and night. $38
  1. B.U. Always Connected bracelet. Delicate gold and silver links are a beautiful, wearable reminder of your love. This bracelet comes in both sterling silver and 22 karat gold vermeil. $46

unisex gifts

  1. Why You Really, Really, Really Deserve Candy notepad. Are you terrible at letter-writing? Does the idea of penning a romantic poem make you break out in a cold sweat? Rest easy, and just check off any and all reasons that apply, such as “You’re sweet,” “It’s Passover” and “You plan for the worst.” $10
  1. Music boxes. Musically challenged? Play a little tune for your sweetheart effortlessly with these hand-cranked miniature music boxes. We have a great selection of songs ranging from You Are My Sunshine to Stairway to Heaven. $9
  1. Ice King Adventure Time plush toy. Now the princess in your life can cuddle an Ice King without any fear of being kidnapped! Unfortunately, Gunther not included. $16
  1. I Heart You Egg shaper and Toast Stamper. Tell that special someone how you feel with a surprise breakfast. Egg shaper, $10; Toast stamper, $5
  1. Cooking for Two: Perfect Meals for Pairs cookbook. This is the perfect gift to share. Forget making reservations two months in advance or braving the restaurant crowds on Valentine’s night—prepare a romantic and cozy dinner for two following simple recipes like Sake-and-Ginger-Poached Black Bass and Mexican Chocolate Sorbet. $24

Travel Picks

Planes, trains and automobiles! Weekend getaways, remote beach resorts, and adventurous jungle trekking! We, here at Front & Company have the travel bug. If you’re anything like us, you just can’t wait to spend your summer days escaping to unknown places, foreign cities and white sandy beaches. To make sure your trip is smooth sailing we’ve compiled some travel must-haves!

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1. Packing and organizing can be stressful especially with pre holiday jitters. Here are some products to help you pack like a pro and remember everything you might need! You can’t go wrong with this What To Pack list notepad!

2. Hair pins, band aids, jewelry and all your other knick knacks can be stored and kept safe in these crafty little stash and go containers!

3. Cute wash bags are a must have for any traveler. Take a look in store for more fun styles!

4. When the packing is done, help tell your suitcase apart from the rest with these eye catching and quirky luggage tags!

5. Ideally, we’d all like to bring our entire wardrobe with us on holiday, but alas, this cannot be done and won’t be done with this digital travel scale! Handy for any airport bound traveler.

6. Holidays are about adventure, friendships, experiencing new things and sometimes just plain old relaxing. We can think of nothing better! Spend your time reading a good book, jotting down your memories and holding on to keep sakes along the way. Journals, good books and fun trip accessories are abundant at Front & Co. This journal is one of our favorites!

7. Snap some pictures of your ocean side escapades with this under the water disposable camera, for use both on land and off!

8. Now for our tech savvy travelers, this gadget will make any trip entertaining. An ultra thin battery for iPhones will keep you charged up and in the know, no matter your location.

All of these fantastic travel accessories are available in store right now! If you can’t make it in, you can also order it online!

Happy and safe travels!

By Beth Murtagh
Graphics by Grace Altobar

Summer Grillin’

Summer nights call for nothing better than burgers, beers and a few good friends. What better way to spend your time than sitting around a lit BBQ while waiting for a delicious meal out in the open air with good company? Let us, at Front & Company, help turn your average BBQ into a summer soiree for you and your pals.

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Help set the mood with these colourful, bright, and pretty items that reflect the best of the sunny summer days. Create a holiday away from home for your BBQ Guests and let these charming products set the tone. Put on your party dress and shake up a couple cocktails and you’re ready to go.

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These unique products are bound to bring a smile to a lot of faces. Have a night filled with laughs and make some memories with your friends over these light hearted and fun items.

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Try a new recipe! Whether it’s a fancy gourmet burger or a fruity cocktail; here at Front & Co, we have lots of cook books to help you along. Impress your guests and please their taste buds. You’ll have them coming back for more. As the cooking commences keep your friends entertained with some silly party games. Smiles laughs and good food: what summer is all about!

By Beth Murtagh
Photography by Grace Altobar

Wedding Wishes

Does it seem like everyone you know is getting married this year? Or maybe your boyfriends– cousins–best friends–sister is getting married and you have no idea what to get them! Well, no need to panic, we here at Front & Co. have got you covered. We’ve got a little something for every step of the way; from the engagement party to the wild stagette, and of course the big day itself.

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These beautifully packaged Fringe candles and soaps are a perfect little something to say congratulations. Pair them with a cute little ring dish for the bride-to-be and her ring will always have a safe place when not on her finger.

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The stagette party is the perfect time to get a little bit racy and maybe more importantly, silly! These fun and sassy gifts are the perfect remedy for any pre-wedding jitters.

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Wedding gifts can be tough, especially if the couple have been together forever and already seem to own everything! A wedding is a new chapter in someone’s life and what better time to get all new things for your day to day life as well.

By Krystina Arndt
Photography by: Grace Altobar