So Much On My Plate – Salt Spring Island

Img_2337 This week So Much On My Plate explored Salt Spring Island, including a delicious lunch served as part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations at Hastings House.

My guide for my explorations on Salt Spring was Wendy Hartnett of Island Gourmet Safaris.  If you want to cover a lot of ground with all hits and no misses when it comes to great food and wine, give her a shout.

Marcell Marcell Kauer is the chef behind many of the delicious creations at Hastings House, and a number of those recipes, along with a history of the property are included in the Hastings House Country Estate Cookbook.  The cookbook is available in Victoria at Houseboat, and Plenty Epicurean Pantry.  On Salt Spring it can be found at Volume Two Books, Salt Spring Books, Houseboat, Garry Oak Winery, Salt Spring Winery, The Fishery, Calvins, Moonstruck
Cheese and of course Hastings House. They are happy to ship the book as well.

Here are the recipes I made from the book for So Much On My Plate:

Oven Roasted Salt Spring Island Rack of Lamb
Blue Cheese Polenta and Grainy Mustard Sauce

When cooking a meal like this, timing can be everything. Marinate the lamb
at least 4 hours ahead.  Then we suggest you first make the grainy mustard
sauce and keep warm on the stove.  Next prepare your vegetables and set them
aside ready to cook, and gather the ingredients for the polenta.  Sear the
lamb and after placing it in the oven, begin your polenta.  When the lamb is
done and resting, cook your vegetable and finish off the polenta.

Roasted Lamb
2 racks of lamb, about 19.4 ounces each  (550g), frenched
¼ cup fresh, chopped thyme
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
4 fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish
¼ cup fresh, chopped rosemary

When buying your lamb, ask the butcher to "French" the racks by scraping off
any sinew and meat from the rib bones.
Mix together olive oil, garlic, rosemary and thyme in a large bowl.  Add the
lamb and coat well.  Grind some coarse black pepper and slat over all.  Wrap
well and marinate the racks in the refrigerator for at least four hours or
Remove the lamb from the marinade and scrape off as many herbs as possible.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Sear lamb racks on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.  Transfer to a
large baking dish and into the oven for about 10 minutes for medium rare.
Cover the rack with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Grainy Mustard Sauce
11/4 Cup reduced lamb or veal stock
½ cup red wine
4 tablespoons grainy mustard
2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh, chopped rosemary
¼ cup fresh, chopped thyme
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and gently bring to the boil.
Simmer for 20 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Keep
warm until ready to serve.

Blue Cheese Polenta
1 cup polenta
1 cup whipping cream
4 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
2/3 cup good quality blue cheese – Moonstruck Beddis Blue Cheese,
gorgonzola or stilton

In a medium saucepan bring the chicken stock and whipping cream gently to
the boil.  Add the polenta and stir until quite thick and creamy.  Stir in
blue cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve Cut each lamb rack into individual servings, one bone per chop.
Arrange a layer of blue cheese polenta on each plate, top with roasted lamb
and drizzle with grainy mustard sauce.  Garnish with fresh rosemary.  Serve
with seasonal vegetables such as wilted kale.

Serves 4

Savoy Cabbage
4 slices of bacon, cut into 1/8 inch pieces
2 shallots, finely diced
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 cups Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
¼ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper

In a large pan or wok, sauté bacon shallots and garlic for 2 minutes.  Add
the cabbage and sauté for a further 3 minutes.  Add the white wine and
chicken stock and cook until cabbage is tender.  Season with salt and pepper
to taste.

The other chef I spoke with at Salt Spring was Alan Miceli.  I’ll have much more about Alan in another program, but for now you can learn more about him, his food and his music by going to his websiteImg_2358.

But I do have his recipe for his Chocolate Espresso Tart:




5 ounces finely chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, or hazelnuts)

1 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 tbsp. sugar

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 tsp. vanilla


2 cups cream

1/2 cup butter

20 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces

1 shot espresso, cooled


2 ounces whilte chocolate, finely chopped

whipped cream, fresh fruit, mint (optional)

In a food processor, blend the nuts, flour and sugar until fine.  Add the butter, egg, and vanilla, and pulse until the mixture holds together.  Press into an oiled 10-inch tart pan.  Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Cool.

In a saucepan, bring the cream and butter to a boil.  Pour over the semisweet chocolate, and let sit for 1 minute.  Stir gently until smooth.  Stir in the espresso.  Pour mixture into the crust.

In the microwave on low, melt the white chocolate, then drizzle it on top of the filling.  Using a toothpick, swirl the white chocolate to create a decorative effect.  Chill for about 2 hours or until set.

Cut into 20 slices.  Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, a piece of fresh fruit, and a sprig of mint if desired.

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3 Responses to So Much On My Plate – Salt Spring Island

  1. Great to read about Salt Spring Island food. Wendy’s Gourmet Safaris are a blast, not just for the food that’s in them, but for her enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge. My favourite site for all things Salt Spring Island is the market website at

  2. Helene says:

    For more about what’s fresh and tasty on Salt Spring Island, please see our island’s new blog at

    Maybe it’s time for another visit to the island? So many new eateries have sprung up since you wrote this piece and there is so much faaaaaaabulous local food being served. Hope to see you soon Don!


  3. Helene says:

    Woops, sorry, I typed that wrong… should be

    That’s better!

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