News

Animal Commissions (Limited Time) by Alex Boake

Alex Boake Illustration's Animal CommissionsDapper AlpacaTotes Mah Goats - Alex Boake IllustrationMugginsFor a limited time I’m going to be doing Animal Commissions! Get an illustration of your favourite animal, or your own pet. If you’d like your pet illustrated, please provide me with good reference photos. Feel free to prompt me with your favourite colours for either option (for the background/text). The text element is open to suggestion, though for pets I recommend their name.

Payment via Paypal. I will provide you with a good quality digital file for personal use. There’s an extra $5 fee for a high-resolution print file, also only for personal use. I retain the right to use the images in my portfolio, etc.

Contact me through email at alex.boake@gmail.com to get your very own personalized piece.

Thanks! -Alex

NeatoShop 3 Tee Giveaway! by Alex Boake

You may have noticed an abundance of Graphic Tees on my blog lately. Well, I'm about to make it up to you with a fantastic giveaway! Here's the scoop; recently I was asked by an up-and-coming Tee shop called Neatoshop to join and post some of my tee designs. I figured, the more the merrier! It's great to support other companies, and the more places my work can appear, the more chances I have to make a little bit of dough to support all this drawing I do. You can click on the following image to check out my store:

AlexBoake_neatoshop_teesYou've probably seen me posting some of these designs on my blog, Instagram and Facebook page. Some of them, I haven't even really posted yet! Exclusive! Now, these Neatoshop fellows were kind enough to offer me 3 Tees to give away to my super cool fans. That means you guys!! Aren't they nice?

AlexBoake_neatoshopThere's two ways to enter this time:

  • Through the rafflecopter widget on my blog, and;
  • On the pinned post on my Facebook Fanpage where you can comment and tag a friend for an opportunity for each of you to win a shirt.

Cool, huh?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contests both close on May 28th at 11:59 PM. Good luck, friends!

New Nerdy Tshirts on Teepublic by Alex Boake

Sorry again for the radio silence. Or blog silence, rather. Good things come to those who wait, right? In the mean time, I just got approved as a tee designer on TeePublic, and I've uploaded a bunch of my cool video game and other geeky designs over there. Feel free to check them out, if that's something that interests you! They're $14 until Sunday, then they go up to $20. alexboake_teesUntil next time!

Valentine's Day Chocosol Chocolate GIVEAWAY! by Alex Boake

It's that time of the year again. Beginning of February. Tons of crap covered in red and pink hearts begin to creep into your vision. Every time you enter a store, you're assaulted. You just can't escape it. Yes, my friends, it's that mass marketing season that leads up to Valentine's Day. I've never really bought into the idea that you have to buy a whole bunch of stuff to show your partner that you 'really care'. You should make the effort through the year to show your love--and not just with gifts! However, having an excuse to go out for dinner or to give a small token of affection isn't necessarily a bad thing. Especially when you can support local businesses.

Speaking of which, this year I partnered with ChocoSol Traders, a local chocolate making company. Together we dreamed up, and I created a special Valentine's Day card which features the flowers of the Forest Garden Trinity. Check out that link to hear ChocoSol founder Michael Sacco speak of the teachings of Spiritual Ecology that inspired the illustration.

You can only really get your hands on this amazing gift card if you're in the Toronto area...but luckily I am offering the chance for one lucky person to win a copy--as well as a selection of ChocoSol's stone-ground, fair trade, horizontally traded, vegan, soy-free, paleo-friendly, chocolate bars. Phew, what a mouthful! A mouthful of pure goodness!! 

The prize includes (~$50 value):

  • 1x 'Darkness' Large Size Bar
  • 1x '5 Chili Bullet' Large Size Bar
  • 1x '100%' (Sugarless) Large Size Bar
  • 1x '65% Artisan Blend' Large Size Bar
  • 1x '85% Uranga' Single Origin Large Size Bar
  • 1x Spiritual Ecology Valentine Card

You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest closes February 16th, and the winner will be notified the following day. Prize will be shipped out by February 24th because I'll be out of town. Yes, it's Valentine themed, but the chocolate will be arriving afterward. All of this chocolate is out of my own pocket, and the giveaway isn't sponsored. I just like to share the love. Open to US and Canadian residents only, due to shipping costs. Sorry! Thanks for your understanding.

Good luck to all entrants! Hope you enjoy all your time with your sweetheart, whether you celebrate Valentine's Day or not.

Freelance Life: Want to work with me? Want to support my work? Here's the scoop! by Alex Boake

As you may or may not know, I'm a freelance illustrator! Yes, you may know me as "that girl who makes recipes and draws a picture of them", but actually I'm also a trained, professional illustrator. When I'm not creating illustrated recipes for this blog, for your enjoyment and meal-planning purposes, I'm actually available for hire. At any time, I might be working on a number of secret projects for clients, which will only be unveiled after they're published or used on a label. Of course I'm not allowed to post them all here! Depending on the contract the work is created under, you may only be able to see all of the pictures that I drew by checking out the book they're printed in--either through purchasing it, or checking it out in your local library.

This is why it's sometimes quite a while between recipe posts. If I'm putting all my time and effort into my freelance jobs, sometimes there's nothing left to put together another illustration for this here blog. That being said, I love to be able to do the work that makes me happy, and also try to make a living through my art!

I decided to put together a post to show you where you can find my published pieces, support me through purchasing prints, or work with me directly.

COMMISSION ME

Character Commissions - Alex Boake IllustrationLooking for a custom character for your blog? Personalized social media icons that match the flavour of your site? Want a recipe illustration of your very own? Well, you're in luck! I have quite reasonable rates for independent bloggers and small businesses. Contact me with the details of your project, and we can have it done in a flash.

Satisfied customers include:

PRINTS AND POSTERS

This hasn't really been public knowledge until now, but any one of my recipe illustrations can be available as a print or poster. If you get in touch with me through email, I can provide you with a high-resolution file and a licence to print one copy for display at your home or business. You can get the file printed locally, and there's no hassle with shipping. Prices tend to run from $20 to $30, depending on the size. These make a great present for the foodie in your life, or for yourself if you want your kitchen to look awesome!

PUBLISHED WORK

Practical Paleo Poop Pageant

Practical Paleo

It's no secret that my big debut in the Paleo publishing scene was Diane Sanfilippo's infamous Practical Paleo. I did a number of spot illustrations of various fruits, vegetables and meats to embellish the book, as well as a handful of diagrams. My favourite, of course, is the Poop Pageant. You could say this was the "crappiest job I ever had". (Just kidding, it was awesome.)

The Ancestral Table

The Ancestral Table : Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle

Coming out this month is Russ Crandall's The Ancestral Table. His excellent blog is known as The Domestic Man, and if you're not familiar with it already, go check it out. This stunning book approaches the Paleo diet from a traditional foods background. I'm a tiny part of this fantastic project, but I feel very lucky to have been involved. He wanted a looser, black and white ink style, which was a fun way to get a bit more spontaneous with my line work. Not every illustration I did made it into the final book, so you can see a couple above which weren't included. (It was just too jam-packed with goodness already!) Definitely order this if you haven't already!

Paleo GrillingPaleo Grilling : A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire

Written by Tony Federico of F.E.D., this book covers everything you'd want to know about grilling. A meaty book, that's for sure! Speaking of which, I illustrated a TON of meat diagrams for the informational sections. I know it's tough, but you'll have to wait until June to get your hands on this. It's coming out in the summer, just in time for grilling season! Though, honestly, I'm Canadian and we BBQ all winter... I've had a glimpse at some of the recipes, and this is gonna be a good one!

Dougie the Hospice Dog

Dougie The Hospice Dog

This was a project by local Toronto authour Diane McQuaig, and was made possible by the Kensington Foundation. Based on a real location and dog, it makes the topic of death more approachable for children, and can be used to introduce the difficult subject in the case of the death of a loved one. This was a bit of a different style for me, but suited the tone and subject matter of the book. Currently available in some bookstores locally or directly through the hospice website.

OTHER MERCHANDISE

Phew, you've made it pretty far. Don't stop yet! In my Storenvy Boutique, I have tons of mugs for foodies and nerds, and also foodies who are nerds. I aim to please! Tons of designs, made by me personally and shipped right to your door. What's not to love?!

Lastly, I have a Society6 store, where you can get awesome totes and pillows with my drawings on them. I have one of the bags, and the quality is great! Very sturdy; it makes a perfect Farmer's Market bag for hauling some heavy veggies back home. There are also prints available here, but I get a very small cut, so unless you're looking for a canvas print, it's best to contact me directly to order regular prints.

Congratulations if you made it through this post! I appreciate anyone who takes the time to appreciate my work on any level. Even a comment makes my day. Hope you keep enjoying my work and I'll try to keep the recipes coming! 

Beyond Bacon Book Review by Alex Boake

For a lot of people pork falls into two categories: Torturous dry pork chops and delicious crispy bacon. However, pork is so much more than that, as Stacy and Matt show in their wonderful new book, Beyond Bacon. It takes the focus off of one part of the animal and shows you how to take each and every part, cook it properly and make it delightful! You can learn how to render your own lard, make porchetta, cure bacon, smoke pork belly, break down a head for head cheese and even make brownies, biscotti and ice cream. Holy pig!

There was much anticipation surrounding the release of this book, and I have to say it's very justified. Beyond Bacon is a complete package looks-wise; from the lovely design work, including the hand-rendered chalk typography and illustrated cover by CJ Hughes, to the yummy food styling (seriously, they make head cheese look DAMN GOOD!), captured by the lovely photography of Aimee Buxton. However, it's not just about looks here: Stacy and Matt walk you through everything you need to know to order your own pastured hog! How to pick the right parts and decipher a cut sheet are essential tools that are included in this book. They show you how to talk the talk and walk the walk in the land of pastured pork goodness. This book could successfully change peoples' perception of pork for the better!

I was overwhelmed by the number of recipes I wanted to try, and managed to select a few to start with. Rendering my own lard was super simple when following the instructions in the book. The Bacon Salted Caramel Sauce was a hit with my family, when drizzled over ice cream-topped 'The Best Brownies'! Plus, I know I'll never again have to suffer a dry pork chop after learning the foolproof cooking technique as described in Stacy and Matt's excellent cookbook.

This delicious photo is courtesy of my sister who blogs over at Sweet Boake, and is an expert at baking and food photography!

Even if you're not interested in ordering a whole pig, this book could still be for you! There's plenty of chops, belly and bacon to tide over less adventurous eaters, PLUS a robust treats section. Hey, once you're hooked on the basics, who knows if you'll be wanting to check out the more adventurous bits pretty soon...hey, it can't be that offal! ; )

In short; if you like pork, and you like cookbooks that are well-designed and thoughtful, you should DEFINITELY order this book!

Kind Organics Unquestionably Raw Chocolate Labels by Alex Boake

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm now a member of the Kind Organics team; a local farm based out of Newmarket, which is north of Toronto. They're a certified bio-dynamic farm, and they sell awesome sprouts, salad blends, leafy greens, kombucha, kefir, herbs, teas, tinctures...they've got it all! In addition to that, they are incredibly nice people. You can find them at many farmer's markets in downtown Toronto, the GTA, and outside of the city. One of our first projects together was to do some illustrations for their chocolate labels. Partnering with Chocosol, they combine their organic herbs and mushrooms with the raw, fair trade chocolate, to create these beautiful and delicious chocolate bars. So unique, you won't find anything else quite like them! The task was to create an illustration for each flavour that would represent the taste and ingredients. Here's what we came up with!

A rainbow of flavours! Each one different from the next. I have to say that the Cosmic and the Flower Power are probably my favourite.

Let's have a closer look at the illustrations! Click to enlarge. Pretty nice, huh?! It's difficult to play favourites, but I like the Flower Power a lot. In a display the colours pop, and there's enough detail to make you want to take a closer look. Plus, who puts a chocolate bar down once they're that committed? Especially since it's fair trade and soy-free? Bingo!

You can find these locally from Kind Organics at farmer's markets, and in a couple health food stores in Toronto. Plus, we're giving away a full set over at Sex, Food and Kettlebells! Pop on over HERE to enter!

Paleo f(x) 2013 Recap and Friday Foodle: Cherry by Alex Boake

Well I'm back from my first ever Paleo Conference. Yes, I went to Paleo f(x) 2013 and it was extremely awesome! It was in Austin, which is a super excellent city, with plenty of great food and friendly people. Meeting all of the cool bloggers in the Paleosphere was kind of mind blowing, I must admit. My roommate was the fabulous Kaila, of In My Skinny Genes! It was great to have a cheerful person to share a room with. Mostly I hung out with Russ the genius behind The Domestic Man and the ever friendly Tony who blogs at Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction. Very awesome dudes!! Letting little old me hang out with them, haha.

I also chilled with Stacy and Matt, The Paleo Parents, and occasionally Josh who is the Paleo Rapper, Slim-P*. Over the weekend I got to meet, for the first time, in person, all the most badass bloggers: The Food Lovers, Balanced BitesThe Urban Poser, Against All Grain, Civilized Caveman, FreeRange Human, Stephani Ruper, Ancestral ChefThe Spunky Coconut, and the incomparable Nom Nom Paleo, Fitbomb and family. I even got to have dinner with Paul Jaminet, author of The Perfect Health Diet! He is a very humble and gracious fellow, I appreciate his book so much! Please forgive me if you were overlooked, it all happened so fast!

It was a weekend chock full of learning new information, all crammed in between hilarious conversations and mouth-watering food. (Can we say smoked brisket and grass-fed ice cream?) I'd definitely go back again, and I am seriously considering attending AHS this summer as well...

Anyway, you're not here to hear me gush about meeting famous bloggers, you're here for illustrations! That's my job, right?! Here's my favourite fruit, the cherry! When I went to Vancouver in the summer last year I was eating them by the pound. NO REGRETS!! I think white cherries are the tastiest, but I'll take them all.

Thanks for dropping by! Happy Friday!!

*Disclaimer: He may or may not be a rapper.

Friday Foodle: Red Pepper by Alex Boake

For 2013 I'm introducing a new feature: Friday Foodles. They're doodles of food and I will be posting them on Fridays--hopefully every week! Compared to my recipe illustrations they might be underwhelming, but it's been tough to dedicate the time to full recipe posts, so I'm hoping this will keep me from getting rusty, and will spark me to increase the recipe flow. They might be pencil sketches at worst, and at best they may be mini watercolour paintings. Only time will tell! This week: Red Pepper

Happy Friday! ...and be sure to enter my CHOCOLATE GIVEAWAY!

Chocosol Chocolate Giveaway! Sustainable, Fair Trade, Soy-free by Alex Boake

My love affair with Chocosol Traders began at the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers' Market one Saturday morning this past summer. First thing that grabbed my attention was their eye-catching skull adorned packaging. The second thing was their bike powered blender, whipping up frothy drinking chocolate. I left the market with a little cup of that delicious chocolate drink and things haven't been the same since!

After that fateful day I began noticing them at many of the other Farmers' Markets that I attend, and of course I decided to try out some of their chocolate bars. Let me tell you, they are delicious! All the ingredients are organic, and locally sourced wherever possible. The cacao is horizontally and fair traded. The beans are stone ground and the bars are made without gluten, soy, nuts or dairy products. Can you say perfection, or what? Being stone ground the texture isn't as fine as say a Lindt bar, but that's part of the charm.

"Our artisan chocolate is made right here in Toronto using organic, forest garden, shade-grown cacao, sourced directly from indigenous communities in the Lacondon Jungle of Chiapas and the Oaxacan mountains of Southern Mexico. Our horizontal trade relationships go beyond the exchange of commodities and bring symbolic products, whose story is as important as the product itself. Our relationships are based on reciprocity, friendship, respect and mutual learning."

Now that's a tasty initiative! Being so locally-focused, they sell only in a handful of retail locations in Toronto, directly at Farmers' Markets, and from their Cacao Loft where all the magic happens. I had the chance to go there and take a chocolate making class. It was wicked cool! They showed us all the aspects of their process, including their composting project in the basement. All their compostable cups and organic waste from the markets and their operation becomes food for their earthworms. The soil is sent to their local suppliers who grow some of their ingredients.

Chocosol is so inspirational and the people who run it are incredibly nice and delightful. In a chocolate-fueled art-frenzy this poster was born as a tribute. I must admit that I am very proud of it!

 I wish I could share their chocolate with everyone, but alas I can't possibly do that. However, I do want to make more people aware of their efforts and their products, so I am holding this giveaway!

CHOCOSOL CHOCOLATE GIVEAWAY

Prize Pack 1 (Approximate Retail Value $50):

  • Hemp Gold 6 Square Bar
  • Raw Vanilla 6 Square Bar
  • 5 Chili Bullet 6 Square Bar
  • Darkness 6 Square Bar
  • Luscious Coconut 12 Square Bar
  • 1 Mini Print of my Chocosol Traders Poster

If this contest reaches 40 entrants, a second prize pack will be unlocked!

How to Enter Two of these steps are required, and they will score you ONE entry to the giveaway. The rest are optional, but they will score you additional bonus entries. Comment once, and once only, with all of the things you have done to enter. You can get up to 4 entries total.

Required to Enter

Bonus Entries

Again, comment on this post to enter, and please try post only once with all the steps you did to enter. This giveaway will close Sunday January 13th, 2013 at midnight. Open to residents of Canada and the USA. The winner will be contacted by email so that the chocolate can be shipped to them. This is not a sponsored contest, the chocolate was all purchased by me, and I have torturously resisted eating it. ; ) Good luck everyone!

They don't have an online store, but I did ask, and they said that it would be possible to email them directly for a shipping quote. 

Top 10 Gluten-Free Illustrated Recipes of 2012 by Alex Boake

Wow, the year is drawing to a close! I've had some memorable moments and milestones this year. Also, I've done a TON of cooking. One thing this blog has done for me is turn me into quite the chef! Here are my top 10 recipes of this year, listed from least to most popular!

Grain-free Chocolate Raspberry Banana Pancakes

Delicious and secretly healthy Grain-free Pancakes.

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province

A perfect hot grilled salad with fresh vegetables and melted cheese.

Jan’s Meatloaf Cupcakes with Sweet Potato Frosting

My tasty collaboration with Jan of Jan's Sushi Bar!

Super Garlic Cabbage Salad

If you like Garlic, you will LOVE this salad.

Link's Flying Hyrule Chicken Wings

Gluten-free chicken wings for your favourite Hyrulian.

Beef and Pumpkin Stew

An easy and delicious slow cooker stew with pumpkin and cacao.

Sausage and Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Makes a huge batch so you can freeze and enjoy the deliciousness as you desire!

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

A perfect holiday morning brunch!

The Domestic Man’s Korean Short Ribs

My collaboration with Russ of The Domestic Man fame!

Spicy Sweet Sausage Hash

A super simple and quick hash with Sweet Potato and Sausage. 

There you have it folks! Did you catch all of these in the last year, or did you miss a few?! Rest assured, there will be even more deliciousness coming your way in 2013! Have a very healthy and happy New Year. : )

First Blog-a-versary! Year-long Recap! by Alex Boake

Wow, as of today The Boake Blog has been around for a whole year! Pretty crazy right? When I started this blog I had no idea it would become the illustrated recipe collection that it is today. My first post was just an illustration of some characters from a small comic. I didn't really know what I wanted the blog to be, but I knew I wanted to get my work out there, and have a reason to post on a regular basis.

For some reason, I decided to do some crazy 'fan art' for my favourite local organic dairy company, Organic Meadow.  Their response from their social networking and PR team was so great, that it really encouraged me to fire up my social media, and get more prolific online!

At this time I was also kind of coming into my own in terms of taking over the kitchen, and getting comfortable with making up recipes without directly following a source. One of my first creations was this Creamy Chard with Bacon and Mushrooms, which coincidentally used Organic Meadow products. I knew I wanted to submit the recipe to the Organic Meadow website, but not only is this dish rather ugly, but food photography really isn't my forté. Then I thought, why not combine my two interests, cooking and illustration! It was then that my first illustrated recipe was born.

Following the surprisingly receptive response to this creation, I decided to continue my work and see where it lead me. I remember nervously biting my nails when I submitted my first one to Chowstalker, thinking that I would get rejected because I didn't have a traditional photograph. Luckily for me, Patty, who runs the site, has been supportive and welcoming of my submissions since the very beginning, and because of this I was able to begin making friends and connections in the Paleo and Primal blogging community.

I reached out and collaborated with bloggers like Jan from Jan's Sushi Bar, Russ from The Domestic Man and Nancy from She Cooks, He Cleans. I flexed my illustration muscles by doing recipe swaps, and illustrating their recipes, which pushed my boundaries by making me render ingredients I might not have used on my own. My swap with Russ for his Kalbi recipe was one of the very first time I rendered a cooked cut of meat. The best part about this networking is I now am lucky enough to call many of the bloggers I admire friends.

Getting my work out there in this way began to catch the attention of other people in the ancestral eating sphere. Then, things got really cool. Bill, of The Food Lover's Primal Palate, mentioned me to Diane of Balanced Bites who at that time was writing her amazing book, Practical Paleo. If you want a fantastic read, and to also see some cool published illustrations by me, you should definitely check it out. You can see a few of them the downloadable nutrition guide PDF from their site, here. If you want to see the coolest ones, including some POOP, you might just have to spring for the whole book.

Being invited to do guest posts for The Paleo Parents made me feel like a rockstar, and gave me chances to experiment with different kid-friendly illustrating styles, while still sticking to content that matters most to me...food and nutrition!

It's been a journey so far, but I'm still traveling along and developing my work, but I'm grateful for how far I've come in the last year, and the support of the community and my friends. Things have been a little lean here as I've been working on some projects that I can't post about until they're completed, but I hope to have many cool things to share with you in the next year, so please continue to follow along!

Cheers,

Alex Boake Super Cool Food Illustrator Extraordinaire  

Announcing a new Recipe Illustration Series: Fandom Foodie by Alex Boake

Hi there ladies and gentlemen! It's quite likely that most of the people currently reading this blog stumbled upon me due to my recipe posts, which is awesome! I am very passionate about cooking and illustrating food. Running this blog has lead to me many new and fun opportunities, especially in the foodie community. It's allowed me to fuse two of my primary interests: illustration and cooking.

Currently, I've had this little idea brewing in my head; why not combine my interests even further! Yes, my most recent project will combine illustration, cooking and...fandom. What does this mean for you? Well, it means that I will keep posting delicious recipes, so rest easy on that one! Now, I'm planning on compiling these recipes into a little book, eventually, so I must confess that not all of the content I will be creating for this series will be posted to the blog. If you want everything, you'll just have to get your hands on the book, somehow... ; )

So, what am I sourcing from, exactly? Current recipes in the works include references to Portal, Studio Ghibli Films, Pixar, The Legend of Zelda, and many more. I'll spill the beans on the theme of the first one: Pac-Man.

Look forward to it!

Alex in the Flavour Studio by Alex Boake

Hey everyone! I hope you've been enjoying all my recipes lately! Have to say, I know I have...they are pretty delicious. Also, they are fun to draw, too, so win/win for me. While I was grilling up some vegetables the other day, I was doing a little sketching, and this time I wasn't drawing food! This is pretty surprising, since lately my work has been pretty exclusively food-based. But, y'know, I've recently felt some little tickles of inspiration. So, I wanted to announce what may be a fairly occasional column as an addition to my regular recipe illustration postings. The Flavour Studio. They will be food and flavour inspired illustrations, that will not necessarily feature the ingredients exclusively. What does that mean? Well, you'll have to wait and see. For now I leave you this illustration of myself with some of my tools of the trade.

Until next time!

Lemon Garlic Fiddleheads and Asparagus by Alex Boake

Oh it's my favourite time of the year again! My Dad has a small farm up north and in the spring and summer he starts bringing home some of our own fresh produce! Not huge crops, but enough to supplement our meals. Organic produce from our own remote backyard! Right now we're not harvesting vegetables that we've planted. No, he's been bringing me foraged things like Wild Leeks and these cute little Fiddleheads! Last week he brought me home quite the bountiful harvest of them, so I dreamed up a recipe that really puts them front and center. If you don't have someone gathering these for you, you may be able to find them at a local Farmer's Market! Just in case you haven't seen Fiddleheads before...this piece isn't to scale. The baby fern shoots are much smaller than Asparagus...I've taken some artistic liberties here!

Lemon Garlic Fiddleheads and Asparagus Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Fiddleheads
  • 1 lb White Asparagus
  • 2 to 3 Shallots
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Directions

Wash your Fiddleheads, removing any of the brown papery covering from the outside. Pat dry, or spin in a lettuce spinner. Peel Shallots and chop finely. If using White Asparagus, peel, and then cut into 2 inch pieces. For Green Asparagus peeling is not necessary, so simply cut them up.

In a large pan, over medium-high heat, melt 1 Tbsp of Butter, and then add the diced Shallots to the pan. Using a Garlic Press, press the Garlic and cook it along with the Shallots. Cook until the Shallots are translucent. Sprinkle generously with Salt and Pepper.

Add another Tablespoon of Butter to the pan, and then toss in the Asparagus. Cook until they begin to soften slightly. Then add the last Tablespoon of Butter to the pan, and begin to cook the Fiddleheads along with the Shallots and Asparagus. When the Fiddleheads and Asparagus are fairly softened, pour in the Lemon Juice.

You want to cook everything until the Fiddleheads are soft, and start to unfurl slightly--but don't overcook! The beauty is the fresh crunch that they will maintain, which goes nicely with the bright Lemon flavour. Taste one to test for doneness and seasoning, before serving, add more Salt and Pepper if needed. Enjoy!

Dragon Eye Salad with Dragonfruit, Mango and Longan by Alex Boake

Hey everyone! I'm pleased to announce that I'm now contributing over at Feast On It!On the 21st of each month I'll have an extra recipe posted over there. Here's this month's recipe.

This fresh-tasting salad was inspired by a desire for some juicy fruit, and a jaunt through my local fruit market. I’d never tried Longan Fruit before, and was struck by their uncanny resemblance to eyeballs. Rather than being put off, I was inspired by the imagery. I decided to pair them with Dragon Fruit, and this tasty Dragon Eye Salad was born.

 Dragon Eye Salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6oz. or 6 Handfuls of Baby Spinach
  • 2 Ripe Avocados
  • 3 Baby Cucumbers
  • 1 Red or White Fleshed Dragon Fruit
  • 1 Large Ripe Mango
  • 3/4 Cup Whole, Raw Unsalted Cashews
  • 3 Green Onions
  • 1 Dozen Longan Fruit

Dressing

  • 3 Medium Limes
  • Avocado Oil to Taste

Directions When I make this type of salad, I don’t just toss the ingredients all together in a big bowl. I like to compose each plate so that each of my dining companions has a beautifully presented dish, with a even distribution of all the ingredients.

Wash and dry your Baby Spinach. If you don’t have a lettuce spinner yet, I absolutely recommend that you add one to your arsenal! If the leaves are on the large side, chop them before dividing them between 6 bowls.

While you’re working on preparing the toppings, toast your raw Cashews. You can do this in a toaster oven or on the stove top in a pan on low heat. Keep an eye on them and toast them until they are lightly browned and fragrant. If you’re using the stove top, stir frequently.

Cut the Avocados in half and remove the pits. Peel off the skin and then slice in half lengthwise. Make at least a dozen slices width-wise, and then divide these Avocado wedges between the bowls, arranging them on top of the Spinach. Then, wash the Baby Cucumbers. Slice into relatively thin slices, and then also divide between the plates.

Take the Dragon Fruit and cut it in half, and then slice each half into halves. Peel off the thick skin and then discard. Chop the flesh of the fruit, and then divide evenly. Take your Mango and peel the skin. Remove the flesh from the pit, and then slice. Again, divide between plates.

Your Cashews should now be done and ready to go. With a large knife, chop roughly and top the salad. Wash and dry the Green Onions. Chop, then sprinkle on top of each salad.

Now comes the Longan fruit! These fruit are extremely sweet, so I’ve only recommended a ‘pair of eyeballs’ for each person. Peel off the hard skin, and discard. Remove the ‘iris-like’ pit from the middle of the fruit, and give each plate two.

Quarter the Limes and rest two slices on the edge of each plate. Serve with a bottle of Avocado Oil on the table. Let each of your guests squeeze on the Lime juice, and drizzle on the Oil to make their dressing.

Enjoy these bright and delicious flavours!

I've got new T-Shirts, and they're Happy to Meat You! by Alex Boake

So, I've been working on a few projects lately, some bigger and some smaller. The huge ones I can't really talk about in detail, but let me say that there are cool things happening in the shadows which will be revealed this summer! But, as for the smaller things, I can talk about them whenever I please, and so I'm here to tell you that I have a brand new shirt design!

Delicious, nutritious! They want to become a part of your wardrobe in addition to being part of your daily diet!

They're available through my spreadshirt store, The Boaketique! Get 'em while they're sizzling. : )

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province -- Plus CONTEST! *Contest now closed* by Alex Boake

Wow, things have been a little quiet around here...sorry about that! I'd been overseas, away from my kitchen and out of the studio, which made it a little difficult to cook and draw. But now I'm back, and ready for action. The lovely spring weather we've suddenly been gifted with is really inspiring in so many ways! Though we Canadians never stop barbecuing, I'm sure that the change in temperature has inspired many people to dust off their grills. Today I have for you a grilled salad that takes advantage of this outdoorsy cooking contraption! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering! But first I'd like to announce a contest! It's my first contest, in fact, so I'm pretty excited. Here's what you can win!

The Grand Prize: A Recipe and Illustration developed and created by me, featuring your favourite fruit or vegetable. You'll be mailed a poster of the Illustration, signed by myself!

Here's how to enter! Comment on this post with your favourite fruit or vegetable AND either:

  • Follow Alex Boake - Illustration on Facebook or Twitter, AND/OR;
  • Draw me a doodle of your favourite fruit or vegetable, and link to it in the post.

Want additional entries? Share this post on Facebook or Tweet about the contest!

You can get up to 5 entries, one each for the social media follows, one for your drawing, and one for each share or tweet. Just let me know in the comment what you did, and you will be entered accordingly. If you're already a follower on Facebook or Twitter, awesome! You can still enter, just let me know when you comment with your fruit or vegetable.

The contest closes on April 12th at 12:00 AM EDT. I'll get in touch with the winner, and the recipe will be posted about two weeks from the end of the contest. The poster will be mailed to the winner after the post goes live! I look forward to hearing everyones' favourite fruits and vegetables, and seeing peoples' doodles! This contest is now closed! Thank you for entering!

Now, how about that salad?

Grilled Salad with Camembert and Herbes de Province Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Large Round of Soft Cheese with a rind, such as Camembert or Brie (You won't use all of the cheese in this recipe)
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 Small Zucchini
  • 2 Large Sweet Red Peppers
  • 2 Chinese Eggplants
  • Herbes de Province
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil

Directions

Wash all of your vegetables well. Rinse the Mushrooms and pat them dry. Cut the Zucchini in half. Take the halves and then make cuts along the length, from bottom to stem but stopping before you reach the end, essentially creating a Zucchini 'fan'. This allows for quicker cooking on the grill, and creates a nice presentation. Lightly brush the Zucchini fans with Olive Oil, and sprinkle with Herbes de Province. Cut the tops off of the Red Peppers, and cut them into quarters, removing the seeds. Slice the Chinese Eggplants into 1 cm thick slices, on a slight diagonal.

Depending how quickly you prepare your vegetables, you can preheat your grill to medium high while you work. Grill the Mushrooms and Zucchini for 4 minutes per side, and the Eggplants and Peppers for 3 minutes per side--keep an eye on them, if your grill runs hot you don't want to run the risk of incinerating them!

While the vegetables are grilling, you can begin to plate the Camembert. Take the wheel and cut it in half. Cut 4 slices and plate them on oven-safe stoneware plates. You want there to be rind all the way around each slice. If you love Cheese, then cut those slices thick! It's best to place the Cheese in the middle of the plate, and then arrange the grilled vegetables around it.

When your vegetables are just about done, turn on your broiler to high. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 4 plates. Sprinkle generously with Herbes de Province, and drizzle with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. Put the plates under the broiler, and broil until the Camembert is melted and bubbly. Ensure you have some heat-safe placemats so you don't melt anything, or singe your table--then serve immediately! Make sure you get some of that delicious Cheese in every bite! To make this for more people, just add more vegetables and cut more slices of Cheese.

Make this salad, you won't regret it! ...and also enter my contest, you surely won't regret that either!