It was Spring Break last week which gave Nick and I an opportunity for a few nights away, while the boys stayed over at my parents (thanks Mom & Dad!). We decided to hop on a ferry and explore Salt Spring Island for the first time. We planned on kayaking in the ocean, cycling around the island, and do some hiking too. We picked a bed and breakfast that included a private jacuzzi tub so we could relax after the days adventures and enjoy some sunsetting views.
The trip didn’t go exactly as planned, no kayaking, no cycling, or stunning sunsets due to the non stop rain we had. The only sun we saw was on the ferry ride over. But the trip overall was truly a peaceful and relaxing getaway, and the island was definitely the perfect place to recharge, especially with a jacuzzi tub! We stayed at The Quarrystone House B&B and it was lovely, I highly recommend it. The breakfasts were a three course gourmet style country breakfast and they accommodate any food requests. They also make these incredible x-large muffins overstuffed with fruit that are a meal in itself!
Even with the heavy non-stop rain, we decided we would still go for a hike up Mt. Erskine, we read it was similar to the Grouse Grid in North Vancouver. We discovered the major difference was there was nobody else on the trail, which made it very eerie and many times the trail split off in different directions. It was a bit less intense then the Grind, since the trail had many spots that flattened out, areas to catch your breath! The hike was still a great cardio incline and the calfs got a good burn.
It took us about an hour to hike to the top, the viewpoint at the peak of Mt. Erskine is 436 meters high, but unfortunately we were greeted with a disappointing thick fog instead of the amazing view of the ocean and island below us. The other difference we soon realized was when you hike the Grind you get to take the gondola down. We now had to turn around soaking wet from the rain and descend the mountain. I thought it would be easier, maybe a bit faster, but heading down the quads were in full use to stabilize the legs in the steep areas. It sure felt great to get to the bottom and gave us a sense of accomplishment for the day, after all it wasn’t even noon yet and we had climbed a mountain!
In the days after our hike we booked massages, checked out the shops in Ganges, and drove around the island exploring all the parks and beautiful homes with magnificent views. One evening we had dinner at a restaurant called Rock Salt, located at the Fulford ferry dock. We shared the Green Thai Curry and the Kung Pao Noodle Dish with smoked tofu. Both meals were fantastic and inspiring! I knew I’d be recreating these dishes in my kitchen when we returned. I found out the smoked tofu was actually from Salt Spring Island. The company Soya Nova, is a traditional Japanese farmhouse styled tofu from certified organic, non-gmo, Canadian grown soya beans and mineral rich unchlorinated deep well-water, with a perfect 7.3 PH balance and nigari. We bought two different kinds from the local store before leaving. We also discovered a funky vegan friendly coffee shop worth mentioning called Morningside Organic Bakery Cafe and Bookstore, located next to the Rock Salt Restaurant. The walls are covered with inspirational books for sale and the delicious coffees are made to order.
Our last evening we had dinner at the Oystercatcher Restaurant at the Ganges Marina and we shared an appetizer that inspired this next recipe post. A roasted brussel sprouts and cauliflower dish. We roast brussel sprouts all the time but with the addition of roasted capers that were crunchy and the fresh taste of lemon truly makes this dish blog worthy. The restaurant topped the roasted veggies with grated parmesan (which was not on the menu description), but I knew my Almond Sesame Parm would be a great plant based replacement when I attempted to recreate this dish.
So here’s my version of this delicious dish that makes for a great appetizer or side dish. I’m working on recreating the other two dishes we enjoyed during our trip as well.
- 2 cups Brussel Sprouts
- 2 cups Cauliflower Florets
- 2 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
- 1 tbsp Capers
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Pepper
- 1 tbsp Almond Parm (omit almonds and use all sesame seeds for nut free version)
- 1 Lemon Slice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash and trim the ends of the brussel sprouts. Cut in half lengthwise and place in large bowl. Any outer leaves that have come off, wash and add to the bowl as well. These make delicious crunchy pieces once roasted. Discard the yellow leaves.
- Cut bite size pieces of cauliflower and add to the bowl.
- Add oil, capers, lemon zest, sea salt, and pepper. Toss to distribute evenly.
- Place on baking sheet or in a baking dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Shake the pan around and place back in oven for another 15-20 minutes, until veggies have turned a golden brown.
- Top with almond part and place back in oven on broil for a few minutes, watch carefully, you want it to brown slightly for a crisp bite, but not burn!
- Remove from oven, put on serving plate and squeeze a fresh lemon slice over top.