Try some of Birgitta's easy, wholesome and fabulous recipes

With her first cookbook, 2005's TASTE THIS: Ordinary Ingredients, Extraordinary Flavours Birgitta Hellman introduced the world to the simple pleasures of cooking with fresh, organic ingredients.  TASTE THIS proves that you don't have to be a chef to cook like one, or produce extraordinary meals using the simplest of ingredients and technique. 

Go ahead and indulge:  See below for two  popular recipes from TASTE THIS, Soba Noodles with Edamame and Ginger Tahini Sauce and Red Grapefruit and Mascarpone Tart, a small sample of the great recipes you'll find between the covers of TASTE THIS.


Soba Noodles with  Edamame and Ginger Tahini Sauce

Soba is a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat or a blend of buckwheat, wheat, kamut or spelt with a nutty flavour and lots of texture. Buckwheat is gluten free and a good substitute for people with wheat allergies.  Do not overcook the noodles as the taste is better when al dente.  Edamame is a good source of a plant-based protein as well as "good fats".  In this recipe you will use shelled beans.  They are also available in pods.  This recipe is VEGETARIAN and GLUTEN FREE.  Replace honey with sugar for a VEGAN meal.


1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
2 tsp honey
cayenne pepper to taste

8 oz (225g) soba noodles
2 cups (475ml) shelled edamame (green soybeans), thawed if frozen
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
4 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp Gomashio

In a small saucepan, over medium heat
WHISK the first seven ingredients together
SIMMER for 4 minutes
REMOVE from heat and keep warm

Bring water to a boil in large pot and add salt
ADD soba noodles, STIRRING gently
COOK 3 minutes or until noodles are al dente
STIR in soy beans and carrots
RETURN to a boil and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until tender--don't over cook
DRAIN well
TOSS with warm sauce
SPRINKLE with green onions and Gomashio




Red Grapefruit and Mascarpone Tart

Choose the deepest red and sweetest grapefruit for this tart.  Blind baking is a procedure used when making a crust that will be filled later.  Place foil or parchment paper on tart pastry and fill with pie weights or rice before baking.  This prevents the pastry from bubbling and becoming too puffy.

SERVES 6 to 8


1 1/2 cup (360ml) pastry flour
1/4 cup (60ml) white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (125ml) butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (60ml) cold water

PREHEAT oven to 375 degrees F (190 C)
GREASE a 9-10" (22.5-25cm) round tart pan
COMBINE flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl
CUT in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal
In a separate bowl:
BEAT egg yolk with cold water
STIR into the flour/butter mixture until dough comes together
SHAPE dough into a disc and refrigerate 1 hour before rolling out
ROLL out dough into 13" (32.5cm) circle
PLACE in tart pan and press onto bottom and edges
TRIM away excess dough by firmly rolling pin across the top of the tart pan
BLIND BAKE for 15 minutes then remove foil and pie weights
BAKE an additional 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned
TRANSFER to a rack and cool


4 red grapefruit plus 1 additional for making 4 tbsp of fresh juice
8oz mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp crystallized ginger, finely chopped
4 tbsp icing sugar

PEEL and remove white pith from grapefruit
CUT between membranes to release segments of grapefruit
SET aside
WHISK together mascarpone, ginger, 2 tbsp of grapefruit juice and 2 tbsp icing sugar
ADD remaining juice if mixture is too thick
SPREAD mixture evenly in cooled tart shell
ARRANGE grapefruit segments decoratively atop tart
DUST with remaining 2 tbsp of icing sugar

SERVE immediately



All content and images © 2006 Birgitta Hellman