Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hera Bell's Asian Inspired Fennel & Yellow Beets Salad

I love harvest time. You can find all bunch of locally grown yummy veggies and fruits.

I particularly am in love cooking with yellow beets since my discovery of them few years back.

Check out the nutritional value of beets.

They are great oven roasted. They are great boiled... Lovely in color. And they do not stain your hands as bad as red beets.

So I peel them off. Cut them into cubes. Shred a fresh claw of garlic and a sprinkle of salt, boil them until tender.

Meanwhile, slice up an entire fennel.

Add it into a bowl. I squeezed an entire orange, one lemon, then added 2 table spoon of apple cider vinegar. I added 4 table spoon sesame oil and 2 table spoon olive oil and 3 tablespoon low sodium soya sauce. I cut 2 marinated garlic into very tiny pieces. Pour over the sliced fennel.

When the beets are ready and still hot drain them ad add them over the fennel. This process with make the fennel softer. Add some lemon or orange grind, chop 3 shallots. Toss the entire batch, and refrigerate.

I can assure you it will be very yummy. Bonne appetite.

PS: The photos were shot with a cell phone.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

La Verita Your High ($$$) End Italian Dining Experience In West Island (by Hera Bell)

If you live in the West Island and you have a date who loves Italian food and who is easily impressed by a high end menu ($$$$$)  I suggest you go and experience Restaurant La Verita in the heart of Dollard Des Ormeaux's Marche De L'ouest...

I heard about them few years back from a friend who was raving about the place. My mother in law loves Italian food. When the place got suggested again by my sister in law, we have decided to treat my mother in law for her birthday.

So off we went last night without any reservations around 7pm on a Friday night. We took a chance.

The friendly and polite staff seated us. They brought us eact the menu.

The web site does not have any menu on line. Their pasta dishes are between $19.00 and $25.00. They include soup or salad.

They brought us a small plate of warm focaccia bread. It had sun dried tomatoes and few black olives on the side. Later on they brought  the bread which was yummy and warm.

The soup last night was a cream of pea soup with subtle hints of mint.

I was very happy that I opted for their lobster ravioli dish with a light creamy sauce. My dish was $24.00 and it was tasty.

When the time came for desert, our friendly waiter made a menu presentation on a tablet. He indicated that their signature desert is Mascarpone cheese cake.

If you ever to this restaurant, I strongly suggest you to keep space for their deserts. It will be the best part of your dining experience.

My hat off to their pastry chef.

Apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

Espresso crème brule..

And voila their delicious mascarpone cheese cake.

All the photos are snap shots with a cell phone.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Verger Phillion in Hemmingford (by Hera Bell)

Last Sunday among many other wonderful discoveries, Anthony and I discovered Vergers Philion in Hemmingford.

I thank Val for introducing us to  their amazing Pear Ice wine Gaia. Wonderfully balanced, lightly sweet and very fruity. Great company to be consumed with various cheeses and sweets.

I brought back an empty bottle as well. And I had to use it as a vase. Voila...

The photos are cell phone snaps.

Discovering Le Circuit Du Paysan At Hemmingford And Val's World ( by Hera Bell)

About an hour and a half drive away from Montreal  towards the USA border you will discover the wonderful world of  Le Circuit Du Paysan .

It is worth your visit. A very pretty pastoral landscape will await you. From artisanal ice cider or vine producers, to apple orchards and various other activities will enchant your entire family. Visit the red text above.

There are no accidents in life. Nor coincidences... Meeting Val had to happen. For that I have to thank Vito.

Last Sunday we were invited to their house in Hemmingford. It was an open house Fall harvest party.

I did not bring my camera. Only my cell phone. So all the images were taken with my cell phone.

May I present you tiny glimpses into Val's world with her permission. She is a warm, kind, giving and inspirational lady that stole my heart last Sunday.




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Play Not To Miss A World Premiere at Centaur Theatre "The St Leonard Chronicles"

When Montreal playwright /  screenwriter Steve Gallucio writes a play like " The St Leonard Chronicles"  and it will be opening as a world premiere at Centaur Theatre in Montreal, you can not miss to go and see it.

A start studded cast will welcome you from October 1st. to 27th 2013 to this comedy depicting a young Italian couple's journey trying to move from St Leonard to an Anglo Saxon Beaconsfield neighborhood.

If you saw Mambo Italiano, and you left the play with tummy cramps due to laughing too much. Make sure to see The St. Leonard Chronicles... There is something intimate about seeing such masterpieces at a theatre stage instead of in the movies.

Few years ago we saw  "Incendies"  at Centeaur. Later on it became a movie. It was even nominated at the Oscars under the foreign film category. The movie although good, did not make the same emotional impact on us as the play. There is something magical about the theatre. You become a part of the story as you watch.

For more information just click to the red text above. Make sure to buy your tickets. They are going fast.

We will be at the opening. Some of our relatives will travel to Montreal from Toronto to see the play.

3 of the actors from the play were in my studio recently.

Happy Theater,


Monday, September 2, 2013

Beets Season Is Here. What To Do With Them? (by Hera Bell)

I personally know many people who can no longer enjoy eating beets. Most of the time it is because their mama fed them much too often with beets dishes.

How sad. Too much of anything is no longer a great experience.

I can't say that I eat beets every single week. I did not grow up with them. But I now enjoy them in their many forms of cooking.

Fall is the season to find them in abundance in our veggie markets. This year's crop is much smaller then other years in Montreal. This might happen. They still taste yummy.

Would you like to know the nutritional values of beets?

We can prepare them in few different ways.

Ukrainians  cook them in soup form. Borscht soup.

You can find them in our supermarkets as pickled in jars. You can make your own at home. Anything you buy packaged is full of salt and additives. Try to make your own.

Last night I roasted them in the oven.

I peel them first. I suggest you wear some gloves. Otherwise you will end up with nice red hands. And we are not into Halloween party mode yet. (ROFL)

I put them in a bowl first. Add  some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and a thin layer of unsalted onion powder and a pinch of salt. Then place them in the oven. Cover the top of your roasting pan. Cook them at 400 degree until they become soft.

Take them out, garnish them with oven roasted crushed  walnuts. Voila... Enjoy them as a side dish with any of your dishes. Their sweet roasting aroma will fill your home and trust me they will taste yummy.

You actually can add anything you like. The beauty of cooking is marring flavors.

PS Warning: after eating beets you will have very red bathroom experience. It is not blood. Do not worry. It is a part of eating beets. But I can  assure you eating beets will make you more regular.

Bonne appetite,


Montreal's Biodome A Unique Eco System & Over 4500 Fauna To Discover And Much More (by Hera Bell)

What to do in Montreal on a rainy day? Even better, on  a very cold -30 Celsius Montreal winter day?

You can take the entire family to Montreal's Biodome. If you are a fauna photographer, you will be delighted to take your camera. Your visit will be worth while, I can assure you. You might even get addicted for return visits.

Yes, it might not be the best kept secret to us locals, but since this Blog is being followed by a fair amount of visitors from other countries. So therefor, I would like to talk about such treasures as our Biodome in Montreal. You will enjoy an immersion experience in five ecosystems. There is over 4,500 animals from 250 different species and 500 plant species, all under one roof.


Around the same area, if you have any time left you can also visit the new  Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium . There you will discover the splendors of our universe, reach up and touch the stars. Here it is how it was constructed . It opened its doors to the public  this year April 6 2013.

 Montreal's Botanical Garden   has a great indoor green house for winter visitors. However if you are in Montreal this summer, be sure not to miss seeing a very special exhibit  Mosaicultures Internationale . It will last till September 29 2013 ... Entrance fee per person is $29.50 this summer due to this special exhibit. You can buy your tickets on line to avoid long line ups. to explore the rates on line click on the red text.

Usually during Fall   Gardens Of Light at the Chinese Garden is quite a magical place to take your kids during a nice evening. This year it will take place between September 6 till November 3 2013....

The photos you see here were taken previous years. Photography by Hera Bell. ©

All the  RED texts are links. Be sure to follow for more fun discoveries and  information.