On Beergaritas and Beerjitos [Guest Post from Katy Watts; beer aficionado]

You know I love a good beverage around these parts, right? Maybe more than I’d like to admit some days. 

When it’s hot as it’s been all summer, the first thing I’m reaching for after a long day of work followed by a hot evening in the kitchen is an icy cold, frothy pint of beer. There is just nothing like that first sip that leaves a foamy mustache lining your upper lip. 

While I do enjoy beer as much as one can, my knowledge of the stuff is fairly pedestrian. Light vs dark, red vs blonde, cloudy vs clear. That’s about as far as I get before I gulp it down. So whenever I’m stuck on a pairing, or want to know more about a certain brand or style of beer, I find myself asking one person. Katy Watts.  Ottawa’s designated “beer girl”, or at least I consider her as such. Not only does Katy spend her time discovering all that Ottawa and surrounding area has to offer in the way of brews, she travels far and wide simply to discover new breweries for herself. In fact, when we were last together on a weekend in Prince Edward County, she regaled us with tales of a trip to Detroit simply to visit Dogfish Head Brewery. If memory serves (and it’s likely it doesn’t), she even shared her last bottle from Dogfish when we dined at Atelier for their Black Box Dinner (which allowed tables to bring their own beer or wine). This is a girl who is passionate about beer and all it’s many flavours and styles. 

Because I think Katy is talented and wonderful, I asked if she might consider sharing some of her knowledge with us so I could in turn share it with you. Not only did she agree to that, she even shared a few recipes for beer cocktails! BEER COCKTAILS! I am tickled at the thought. And so, I’ll stop rambling on and let Katy take it away! If you want to visit her blog, Sheltered Girl Meets World, there is a link at the bottom of the page with all her information. If you enjoy what you see, I’d love for you to leave Katy a comment at the bottom of the page! 


It all started when I saw a picture of a margarita on my Instagram feed.  It was a pretty classic cottage photo; large glass filled with lime coloured liquid looking out onto a lake but it was the “beergarita” caption that caught my attention more than the scenery.  With a Google search I quickly found a recipe and recreated the beergarita in the photo (without the lake) and found it almost too tasty - especially for a weeknight.  In my beer and tequila glow I started wondering, what else can I mix with beer?

I know, why mess with perfection right?  But combining the right ingredients with beer can sometimes make it more refreshing and intensify those subtle flavours that are so enjoyable.  Look at the classic beer cocktails like the Shandy (citrus pop or lemonade with lager), Snakebite (stout and cider) or Black Velvet (stout and sparkling wine) - all of them flatter existing flavour profiles or provide a refreshing contrast.

For my experiments cocktails I used some of my favourite Ontario craft brews and tried my best to complement them with spirits and fruit.  I learned that most beers will easily pair with citrus and India Pale Ale’s love the herbal flavour of tequila but using mint or berries requires a bit of patience and a willingness to dump a beer down the drain.  Try my recipes or try mixing your own special blend to enjoy at the cottage or on the couch. 

The Kichesippi Beergarita
(Yield: 6 servings, 3 .. or 1 with a headache the next morning)

1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup coarse salt
1/2 cup thawed frozen lime aid concentrate
2 chilled bottles of Kichesippi Natural Blonde
1/2 cup chilled tequila
Ice cubes

Prepare glasses by rubbing lime wedge around the glass rim and dipping in coarse salt. Combine beer, tequila and lime aid concentrate in a large pitcher, stir to combine. Pour over ice in salt rimmed glasses. 

[photo by Katy Watts] 

The Spearhead Spike
(Yield: Two servings)

1 chilled bottle of Spearhead’s Hawaiian Style Pale Ale
1 oz of white rum
2 oz of pineapple juice
Ice cubes

Combine rum, pineapple juice and ice cubes in a shaker - shake till ingredients are well mixed. Combine Hawaiian Style Pale Ale and rum/juice mixture into pint glass. 

 [photo by Katy Watts]

Hogsback Raspberry Beerjito
(Yield: Two servings)

1/2 pint of raspberries
Chilled can of HogsBack Brewing Co.’s Vintage Lager
1 oz white rum
Mint leaves
2 T agave syrup (also called nectar)
Ice cubes

Combine raspberries, rum, mint and agave syrup and muddle together. Pour raspberry mixture in glass filled with ice and add Hogs Back Brewing Co.’s Vintage Lager.  Stir with straw to combine.[photo by Katy Watts]

Katy Watts
Website: Sheltered Girl Meets World
Twitter: @klwatts
Flickr:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/klwatts 
Instagram: @klwatts 


Milk Shop Blog Guest Post [Pistachio-Rosewater Cupcakes]

I’ve started doing bi-monthly sweet-treat posts on the Milk Shop Blog to bring you all a little something to up your cavity count (surprisingly, I am a cavity virgin - so I think you’ll be ok, too!)

This month, I’ve shared a recipe for Pistachio-Rosewater Cupcakes that bring the flavours of the Middle East and nestle them into a North American tradition. They are simple, delicately flavoured, and oh-so-very-pretty to look at.  

Head on over and see the recipe here!


La Dolce Vita [A Trip to Southern France Guest Posted by Laura Norris]

Greetings, fellow Gouda Life followers and lovers of all things food. I am Laura, Ms GL’s sister, and she has graciously allowed me to share my recent honeymoon experience with you all. My new husband and I spent ten days this month in France’s Cote d’Azur / French Riviera region, and just could not keep the experience to ourselves.

While I do not possess all the passion, charm and wit that you have come to love and expect from Ms GL, I will do my best to keep your attention. I hope this post not only inspires you to visit this beautiful region, but also to slow down and enjoy everything that life has to offer – no matter how small.

We learned a lot on our visit by immersing ourselves in the culture. Food is not just sustenance; it is a way of life. From restaurants and bakeries to large outdoor markets, food is everywhere. And people take the time to ENJOY it. Dinner in France is an evening long affair, starting with aperitifs and ending with an array of rich and decadent desserts. I also learned to slow down. We spend our lives rushing around, getting to this meeting, picking up the kids, and getting the errands done. But we don’t take enough time to sit back and relax and actually enjoy our lives. Try it – you won’t be sorry! 

We certainly took advantage of the food and wine in France, and while I could yammer on for days about it all… you just don’t have that kind of time. So instead I will tell you about some of the delicious highlights.

Best Entrée (the equivalent of an appetizer in Canada):

On our first night we spent what seemed like an eternity walking around trying to find somewhere to eat – but it was worth every step. We stumbled upon La Saliere, a lovely restaurant nestled into the port. We dined on the patio, overlooking the yachts and up at the Prince’s palace. Caprese salad is one of our favourite things to eat, but this restaurant put all others to shame. The buffalo mozzarella was like nothing we’d ever seen – it was hand stretched and tied in a large knot. With the slightest touch it oozed milky goodness, and paired wonderfully with the pesto marinated tomatoes and basil. We even went back on our last night just to indulge one last time.

Best Lunch – On the go:

Between touring and beaches, you don’t always have time to sit down and eat. The solution: sandwiches! Turn down any street, and you will instantly find a sandwich shop. And these aren’t just any sandwiches, these are foot-long fresh baguettes topped with the most deliciously fresh ingredients. All washed down with Coke from a glass bottle (yes, the glass bottle part is a very important detail).

Best Lunch – Restaurant:

I absolutely fell in love with a small town on the coast called Villefranche Sur Mer. The beach was out of this world, the small shops carried such wonderful treasures from the region, the architecture was a photographer’s dream… and the FOOD.. oh the food. Don’t get me wrong, I l-o-v-e me my carbs. Pastas, breads, pizza… they all make my heart skip a beat. But after a number of days of eating nothing but stick-to-your-thighs meals, we sat our bums down at Le Cosmo and added some protein back into our diets. I ordered the tandoori chicken skewer on a bed of basmati rice with curry sauce drizzled over. If I ever have to plan my last meal, this is a definite contender.


Best Dinner:

I go crazy for anything spicy. I’m talking runny nose, flushed cheeks spicy. However I find it’s rare in Ottawa to find spicy done well. It normally is just burn-your-tongue spicy so that you can’t even enjoy the remainder of your meal. So you can imagine my delight when I ordered the penne arrabiata at L’Escale and was served the most flavourful, deliciously spicy pasta. Made with chili-infused olive oil and ridiculously simple tomato sauce, I devoured every last bite, runny nose and all.



Best Dessert:

Tiramisu is the obvious answer, but I was surprised at how many variations there were of this classic dessert. My favourite version was that of Le Michelangelo. It was decadent and rich, and the bottom layer just oozed espresso. I am not a big dessert person, but I lovingly ate every last bite of this piece of heaven.

** sorry, I didn’t get a photo of this…. I ate it too fast **

Best Gelato:

Like sandwiches, gelato can be found on every block. My favourite was my lemon and green tea combo from l’Atelier du Glacier. The flavours were so fresh, and in the 30-degree heat, extremely refreshing. A great mid-afternoon snack (or any time really, let’s be honest).

Best Market:

I have never in my life seen anything quite as fantastic as Nice’s Cours Saleya Flower Market. When you first walk in, you are greeted with the most beautiful flowers. There are rows upon rows of blooms and plants and cacti. When you make your way through that section, that’s where the real wonder begins. Hundreds of little baskets with flavoured salts, loose spices, teas, and soaps. There are fresh veggies, fresh fish, olive oils and breads. I could have spent a full day just taking in all the different tents.

Best Adventure:

We could not go to somewhere like France and not bring back something absolutely fantastic for Ms GL. It just would not be right. So when we saw a write-up in our Frommer’s guide about a man named Nadim who had a storefront in old Nice selling handmade olive oils that he makes using ingredients from the region, we knew we had to find him. The old towns are no easy feat to navigate through, as street signs are few and far between and all the roads intersect creating a maze-like obstacle course. Just when we had given up hope, I threw my hands up in the air and said ‘we are NEVER going to find this guy!’, and lo and behold we were at the doorsteps of Oliviera. He welcomed us into the shop and we explained why we hunted him down. He let us taste all of the oils, and we finally picked THE oil for Kelly. He grabbed a glass bottle and filled it up right there while we waited, then corked it and packaged it all up for us. It was a very neat experience.

While this is all just a tiny piece of our experience, I think you will be left with a taste of what France is like and I hope you decide to visit there in your travels. You will certainly not be disappointed.

Thank you, Kelly, for letting me step up on the soapbox for a few minutes. I have a new appreciation for your art. My brain hurts and my stomach is growling. xo


Laura Norris, my wonderful sister, is also the talent behind the lens at Laura Jane Photography. Check out her work and drop her a line! 



Guest Post: The Lean Green Bean does bread!

Do you ever stop and think about what a crazy thing the Internet is? Not all the Ipads and Itouchs and tablet doo-dads, but just the Internet. The fact that I can type up this entry and the whole world can read it in a matter of minutes is neat. The fact that I have ‘friends’ in other parts of the world that I haven’t met, but only conversed with via twitter/tumblr/email is also pretty neat.

When I started writing this blog (not even 2 years ago), I figured it would be something for me to just get out all my food talk that no one wanted to hear about. Somewhere I could dump a recipe, share with close friends and family who had inquired, and forget about. I never imagined it would have connected me with so many wonderful like-minded people. And with those wonderful people, comes inspiring recipes, tips and thoughts on food. If I’m ever feeling stuck in a rut, or uninspired, I just look to my many peers and am never stuck for long.

All of this to say, I have a special entry for you today. All the way from Ohio! Lindsay writes a blog called The Lean Green Bean and if you haven’t yet read it, you’re missing out! I asked Lindsay last week if she would be interested in guest posting on The Gouda Life with a baked good or doughy recipe. She was quick to respond with an enthusiastic yes and said she had a great bread recipe she’d made over the weekend. I’m especially thankful for her post since I don’t do a lot of bread making at home (call me lazy). So before I go on much further, I’ll let Lindsay do what she does best!


Hello lovely Gouda Life readers! My name is Lindsay and I blog over at The Lean Green Bean.  Kelly was nice enough to let me do a little guest post for you guys and I couldn’t be more excited to tell you about this bread recipe!

Have you ever made something that too good not to share, but so good you don’t want to share? That’s this bread! I’ve been on a bit of a quest these past few days to find a new bread recipe and I finally have a winner. But losers, ohhhhhh did I have some losers first. Allow me to tell you about some of my latest baking fails. (*All you bakers out there will probably cringe as you read this but please stick with me…I figure it out in the end, I promise!)

The best part about this is that I learned something new with each failed loaf. I will share these lessons with you now so that those of you who aren’t yet expert bakers can learn as well J

Lesson #1: Do not substitute whole-wheat pastry flour for all of the flour in your banana bread recipe. The loaves may look pretty, but they will taste like the inside of your sweaty tennis shoe. Into the trash.


Lesson #2: Do not substitute whole wheat flour for all the flour in your sweet potato bread. The sweet potatoes make it slightly more edible, but still not worth eating. Into the trash.

Lesson #3:
Instant yeast and active dry yeast ARE NOT the same thing. If you use active dry yeast in the same way the recipe tells you to use instant yeast, nothing will happen! I found this awesome-looking recipe for Almost No Knead Bread on one of my favorite blogs, Framed, and gave it a try. The idea is that it rises overnight and then you bake it in the morning in your dutch oven. I mixed up the dough, went to bed, woke up super excited in the morning and……….it looked exactly the same.  Into the trash.


 And finally, we come to the success! After my third fail, I did some research and discovered that while you can use active dry yeast in recipes that call for instant yeast, you must first activate it! (I knew something didn’t feel right when I was making the dough!) I didn’t want to wait another night, so I did some more searching and found this recipe for Speedy No-Knead Bread on The New York Times website. It was a very similar recipe, except it only needed to rise for 4 hours! And it turned out PERFECTLY!

You only need 4 ingredients:

3 cups of bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups water
1 package of yeast.


1. If you’re using instant yeast, you can mix the yeast, salt and flour together and then add the water.

2. If you’re using active dry yeast, mix the flour and salt together in one bowl, and activate the yeast in another by adding the yeast to the water (100-110 degrees Fahrenheit) with a pinch of sugar! Let it sit for five minutes, stir it up and then mix the two together.

3. Once all of the ingredients are in the same bowl, stir until combined into a doughy ball.



4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise somewhere warm for 4 hours.

5. Take the dough out, place on a lightly oiled surface and knead 5 times. That’s it! Just 5 times! Then put it back in the bowl for another 30 minutes.



6. Place your dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.



7. After the second rise, carefully take the dutch oven out, dump the dough in, put the lid on and into the oven it goes for 30 minutes! You’ll hear a satisfying little sizzle when you dump the dough in. 



8. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and let the bread cook for another 10-15 minutes until it’s golden brown all over.


9. Slice, serve and enjoy! 


PS. I may or may not have made a second loaf IMMEDIATELY following this because I ate 4 slices in about 2 minutes. And guess what?! The second one turned out just as well as the first!

So go grab your dutch oven and give this bread a try. It’s AMAZING! Perfect for making sandwiches, French toast or even dipping in some soup!

Thanks to Kelly for letting me share this recipe with you guys! Feel free to stop by The Lean Green Blog and find some new recipes! Don’t forget to say hi!




Guest Post: Julia’s Marinated Spicy Eggplant

Today entry comes to your courtesy of my lovely friend Julia! Julia is from Ottawa originally but now lives in New Zealand with her beautiful son and husband (their story is just so romantic, but I’ll save that for me to know and you to likely not find out).

Julia is a full-time devoted Mummy and wife and somehow still finds the time to make delicious little morsels like the one she’ll be sharing with us today.

SPICY MARINATED EGGPLANT! Have you tried it? Have you been privy to it’s magical powers? If not - I suggest you make it immediately. Don’t hmmm-n-haaa over it. Just make it. Today. Right now.

(Julia and her little man in New Zealand - does it get any prettier than this?)


I first got the idea to make this when I moved to the UK. Spicy marinated eggplant doesn’t seem to exist anywhere but Ottawa, ON.  
After moving to New Zealand I was disappointed to find they didn’t have anything like this there, either! Every time I’ve gone into a deli or Mediterranean shop and
ask about it, I get a lot of “This girl is crazy…” looks. Making it was the obvious answer since I’m not willing to live with out it and no one is willing to send over a glass jar of it!

After some trial and error (which is still on going!) I came up with this successful recipe. It’s the best attempt I made and it’s delicious. It’s a bit of a long process
but the end result is totally worth it.

Pile this chunky condiment into sandwiches, on top of crackers or just stuff your face with it.

Spicy Marinated Eggplant

3 Large eggplants
1/2 Cup salt
1/2 Cup water
1 1/2 Cup white vinegar
1/4 Cup olive oil
2 Teaspoons fresh parsley
Hot chili flakes/fresh to taste
6 cloves garlic

Peel and cut the eggplants into thick long fry shapes.
Place the eggplant into a colander and mix in the salt, you want a good covering of salt so that it draws the moisture and bitterness out.

Place the colander in a big bowl so that the juice won’t run every where.
Now you want to put some pressure on the eggplant to get as much
moisture as possible out, I put a plate on top and then several heavy cookbooks on that. If you have a cast iron pan, that would work quite well.

Let the weighted eggplant sit for at least 2 hours, longer doesn’t hurt though. Squeeze the eggplant as much as you can, I ring it out over the sink

In a pot over high heat, boil the 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white vinegar. Place the eggplant in the boiling water/vinegar mixture for about 1 minute. You can leave it longer if you like it mushy but you should be aiming for a firm texture.
Again, squeeze out moisture from the eggplant.

In a bowl, place squeeze out eggplant in remaining vinegar for about 20 minutes.
Again, squeeze out excess moisture.
After the last squeezing, it is ready to be marinated.

Coarsely chop up garlic, parsley and hot chili’s.
Add that to olive oil in a jar/container and add eggplant.
shake up really well so that oil covers everything.

Place in fridge for at least 12 hours, the longer the better though so I would
recommend 24 if you can.