We first connected with the lovely Sophie Mackenzie when we first launched our retail line early last year. Since then, we've adored following her visual food journey via Instagram, and we were delighted to share a few moments with her over coffee earlier this summer.
We're honoured to share her gorgeous Market style salad featuring our Golden Quinoa, and a few of our locally grown favourite vegetables - a long with a Q&A about some of Sophie's favourite things.
Q&A WITH SOPHIE MACKENZIE
What do you do for your day job?
I dabble in baking, primarily making sourdough bread, which I'm currently spending my days doing at a local coffee shop. On days when I don't work, you'll find me blogging away and making a mess of my kitchen.
What drives your for passion for food?
I am driven by the change of seasons and the fresh local produce that comes with it. For me, food should be a representation of where you come from. Cooking and sharing fresh ingredients with the people I love is most rewarding.
How did you start blogging?
Cooking has always been important to me. I've made it my duty to have one of those homes where if anyone stops in, they can expect a plate of warm food waiting for them. Blogging for me has just been a way of extending my table to seat more people, no matter where they are.
How has your home cooking evolved as part of your interest in creating beautiful images + recipes?
I think now I focus more on plating than I ever would if I didn't take pictures. Little things like garnishing items, or trying not to use to many vibrant colours in a dish (purple, red, and orange, can sometimes photograph odd together) beside each other have become part of my everyday.
What is the number one most used ingredient in your kitchen?
That's a toss up of oats, quinoa, tahini, and possibly avocado.
What is the biggest challenge you face when sourcing ingredients?
I love bulk foods, especially if I'm buying superfoods and very expensive flours or powders. In Victoria it was easy to access bulk foods, but I've yet to find a wonderful spot to get small quantities in Vancouver.
What is the kitchen tool you can’t live without?
Possibly my Vita-mix. Sometimes I use it three times a day.
What do you eat for breakfast?
In colder months I love oatmeal with all the toppings (nut butter, fruit, seeds, and coconut nectar), and in warmer months I love smoothie bowls and overnight oats. And to be fair, you can't go wrong with almond butter or avo toast!
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone who is new to a plant-based diet?
I think a lot of people feel that they will miss eating meat or that it's hard to cook without it. In all honestly, making vegetarian dishes is a lot more exciting and easy than any meat based dish. Eating whole grains, beans, and vegetables is economical and doesn't require any special planning or tools.
What do you do to re-charge?
I try to get away from the city. Making time to go back to my parents (on Vancouver Island) where I can be in the garden or spend time on the beach and in the forests gives me energy.
Favourite food city?
Probably NYC.You can get anything you can dream of.
Have you always cooked with grains and legumes like you do now?
I love cooking with grains and beans. Being a vegetarian, they have always been an important part of my diet. I think as I've gotten older, I've gotten more daring with them, using them in things like desserts and being more into sprouting them.
What is your current favourite grain to work with?
I am going through a buckwheat phase currently, but that isn't even a grain (it's a seed). So beyond that, I've been loving both Farro and freekeh in summer salads.
We feel grateful to have the support of so many amazing cooking enthusiasts in our city. What are some other noteworthy local personalities making a difference in the way you cook? Why?
I adore both Erin Ireland and Emily von Euw's style of cooking. They are two of my top Instagram /Snapchat loves. I find them both so inspiring in a culinary sense and for the animal rights work they both do here in town.
Quinoa and Crudite Salad:
1 cup raw Golden Quinoa, cooked according to directions
1 small cucumber, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/2 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandolin
10 small tomatoes, sliced in half
a hand full radish or Japanese turnips, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1 cup cauliflower, thinly sliced on a mandolin
1/2 avocado, sliced
4-6 Leaves kale, torn
2 tbsp. seed or almond butter
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tbsp)
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. mustard
Begin by cooking the quinoa according to directions. Once cooked, spread it evenly on a baking tray to cool. Once cool, place the quinoa in a bowl along with the sliced vegetables.
Next, make the kale salad. Stir together the nut butter, oil, salt, and vinegar in a bowl. Gently massage the dressing into the kale until it becomes soft. Add to the quinoa mixture. Finally, combine the dressing ingredients, stirring well to mix. Just before serving, poor the dressing over the quinoa and toss to combine.
A note from Sophie: "This salad works well with any crispy seasonal vegetables that you can get your hands on. As the summer goes on, feel free to mix in whatever is fresh and local at the market."
Purchase our GRAIN Golden Quinoa for this recipe here.