In this 24/7 world of media – displaced refugees, human trafficking, war, the environment and so on – it is no wonder we have become desensitized.

It’s too much.

When I’m feeling numb, I know that music has the ability to cut through to my softer self. It opens my eyes and heart. It elevates. It educates.

Writing my Harlot’s Artists feature often finds me typing through misty soaken eyes – these amazing storytellers reach to the core. Most recently it was Lady Gaga’s performance at the Oscars that did just that (weird camera pans aside).

After bookmarking the film “The Hunting Ground” on Netflix it was that performance – Lady Gaga’s affecting voice, the swelling strings, the faces of the survivors – that drove me to watch the doc that very night.

Most women I know have been victims of some sort of sexual abuse and I can’t imagine what adolescence and early adulthood is like today. We are backsliding, losing all that vigilant and courageous work done by our sisters (and brothers), before us – for us.

My heart sinks every time someone stomps on the word Feminism. We’ve allowed the word itself to conjure negative images when, really, it is a concept that is undeniably sound.

Feminism:  the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

How can any woman person argue against that?

Our refreshingly relevant Prime Minister (being honoured this week at the White House), appointed our country’s first gender equal cabinet. When asked why he replied “Because it’s 2015”.

Use whatever voice is available to you and don’t be silent when you hear or see something unjust. Let’s remind each other that this world still needs changing.

PLEASE see The Hunting Ground. PLEASE talk about this. PLEASE proudly call yourself a Feminist if you believe in a sane world.

From that to this – I have no elegant segue.



serves 2

Sometimes you need a hug in a bowl. This is it. It’s spicy, sweet, sour and beautiful.

This hot and sour soup is far from authentic, but it has all the flavour with items you likely have on hand. You don’t need to use dried mushrooms, but their flavour is super concentrated and the texture stands up much better. Substitute fresh mushrooms if you’re in a pinch.

You can adjust the heat level by using a milder pepper paste/sauce. I like to garnish with fresh chilies for a more direct heat… and they’re pretty!

Add some shredded chicken or shrimp, or even pork or beef leftovers. Chef’s choice (as always).




50 grams dried shiitake mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1″ piece ginger root, peeled

1 small bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp white or black pepper

1/2 tsp ground allspice

a pinch kosher salt

2 tsp sesame oil

6 cups chicken stock

1 star anise

2 heaping tbsp hot pimento paste, chili paste or Sriracha, plus more to serve

175 grams extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

3 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tightly packed cup bok choy or savoy cabbage (or a mix of the 2), chopped

2 eggs, beaten

4 – 6 green onions, thinly sliced



  • Soak your dried mushrooms in very hot water for 30 minutes to rehydrate.
  • Chop your garlic, ginger and cilantro stems. Add to a pestle and mortar, bashing into a paste. Once mostly smooth, add the fennel seeds, pepper, allspice and a pinch of salt. Crush further to combine.
  • Place a large pot over medium/low heat and add the sesame oil. Stir in the paste and cook for 30 seconds – 1 minute, until fragrant.


  • Add the stock, star anise, pepper paste and tofu. Thinly slice the rehydrated mushrooms and stir in. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the star anise. Stir together the vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch and add to the pot. Allow to thicken a few minutes, then add the greens.
  • Pour the egg mixture in a steady stream to the simmering soup and turn off the heat. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then gently stir.
  • Toss in the green onions. Serve topped with cilantro leaves and more pepper sauce on the side.


Continue the conversation… it’s on us


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