Recently we were fortunate to connect with a wonderful couple from British Columbia, Canada. Nigel and Sue own Side Street Studio, a shop in Victoria, BC. They work with over 320 highly skilled local artists to showcase and provide amazing handmade products to the world. Nigel and Sue believe that “real art should be accessible to everyone”.
A little more about Nigel and Sue
Nigel and Sue started off as high-school sweet hearts in North London, England. They spent most of their professional lives in senior management positions at global retail corporations and other large companies
After a few visits to Victoria, BC and a new baby boy, they decided to settle down in Victoria; as they put it, “one of the best places on the planet”. It didn’t take long before they stumbled upon what would become the next adventure in their lives… Side Street Studio. “They couldn’t help but be impressed and they bought the business, admiring not only the quality of the art but also the founding principles”.
At Photos & Food we take pride in partnering with reputable companies and working with products we love. Side Street Studio is a perfect example of that. We love that this company supports and promotes local artists and that the beautiful one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces they sell are not reserved for the elite. We also appreciate Canadian-made–we have so much talent right at our doorstep.
Nigel and Sue sent us this beautiful large serving bowl from the Quasimodo Pottery collection. Isn’t it gorgeous? We think so! This particular bowl is handcrafted by Marlyn and Dave from Mayne Island, just an hour ferry ride from Vancouver and Victoria. How special is it to be able to see the faces of the people who made a serving dish you use in your own home?
What to Make?
As soon as we received the bowl, we could hardly wait to use it. I decided to make a Chicken Pesto Fettuccini. It’s colourful, delicious and we knew it would look scrumptious in our new bowl. So yesterday I headed over to Multi Pasta; a local shop that specializes in fresh pasta. To us, this is another example of supporting local artists. Multi Pasta makes amazing homemade pasta with simple ingredients and no additives. Isn’t this sort of like art for the belly?
We feel proud to serve food in this bowl. Although we think our meal was delicious on its own, Liz said that having it served in this beautiful bowl actually elevated our meal to a new level. Who says serving vessels can’t be art pieces?
Indulge in some art–it’s not all out of reach. Buy local, or at least domestic, when you can. Celebrate the arts and support local artists. Be your own kind of artist in the kitchen today, and always eat well, friends!
Pesto sauce, fresh fettuccini, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes… A perfect traditional Italian dish for a special dinner with family and friends.
- 8 portions fresh fettuccine (about 2 1/2 lbs or 1.13 kg)
- 1 1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water (save a cup after the pasta's cooked)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups basil leaves (1.4 oz or 40 g)
- 1/3 cups pine nuts
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1.3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (4 small) (0.6 kg)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup pitted sun dried black olives
- 3 oz sun dried tomatoes (85 g)
- Fresh basil, shaved parmesan and extra virgin olive oil to top the pasta
Add (from the list of pesto ingredients) the garlic, sea salt, black pepper, basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil and parmesan cheese to a small food processor or blender. Blend until the ingredients are well combined and form a paste. Set aside.
Butterfly the chicken breast (cut each chicken breast across the centre to form two thinner pieces of chicken). This helps the chicken sear quickly and cook evenly.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive and sun-dried tomato oil on a large pan between medium high and high.
Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan and distribute the minced garlic over the pieces of chicken.
Sear/brown the chicken on both sides. This should take about 8 minutes, total. Cut through the largest piece of chicken to make sure it's cooked through.
Bring a large pot of water and 1 1/2 tbsp of coarse sea salt to a rapid boil (do not add oil).
Add the fettuccine to the boiling water and stir immediately to avoid sticking.
Cook the fresh pasta for about 2 minutes (until al dente), stirring occasionally.
Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
Drain the pasta in a colander (do not rinse the pasta).
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl.
Immediately add the pasta water, pesto, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes and chicken over the pasta and toss (with tongs) until the pasta is completed coated.
Place the pasta on a serving dish or bowl and garnish with fresh basil, shaved parmesan cheese and olive oil.
Serve the pasta hot with a side of crusty bread and a good glass of wine. Enjoy!
- You can also use dried fettuccine for this recipes. In this case, increase the cooking time to 10 to 12 minutes.
- As usual, handle raw chicken with caution to avoid spreading bacteria. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. Wash your hands often.