Mortar & Pestle



Mortar & Pestle


You could call it a food blog, because it’s inspired by exciting taste experiences, but it’s also a travelogue, a collection of photo essays, random ramblings inspired by ingredients, the seasons, and shades of green. Mortar & Pestle aims to capture the flavour that comes from the story behind a dish or ingredient, and the nourishment that comes from becoming acquainted with the people, places, and traditions that make great food taste so alive.

This story explores a visual and symbolic connection between the cruciferous vegetables, in all their life-giving greenness, and the evergreen boughs and branches we bring into our homes to celebrate the holidays.

Here we wanted to evoke the flavour of both a perfect fall dish, and the deep instincts that surface as the beauty of fall suddenly peaks, and turns towards winter. This work was featured in the Applied Arts Photography Annual for 2016.

Inspired by a wine-tasting trip through Canada’s Okanagan Valley, this recipe-based travel story captures the the gilded flavour of late summer, and celebrates the perfection of the season’s most delicious bounty.

Hungry? Here are some of the best recipes we’ve developed for Mortar & Pestle.

Peach and Pancetta Pizza

Makes 1 pizza, enough for a single main course

  • 130 g pizza dough
  • 1 cup grated smoked Mozzarella
  • one corn cob
  • 5 slices of pancetta
  • 1 peach
  • a handful of chanterelles
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

NOTES: There are all kinds of pancetta. Taste what you’re buying, and try to find one that’s not too salty and on the ‘dry’ side – it will crisp up nicely in the oven. It’s important to slice the peach thinly.

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Shuck the corn and slice the kernels off the cob. Slice the peach into 16 sections. Coarsely chop the chanterelles.
  2. Roll out the dough on a floured surface, then scatter the grated cheese over its surface. Add 8 slices of peach, pancetta, chanterelles, and a handful of corn kernels. Season the pizza with salt and pepper, lightly drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling.

Balinese Chicken Satay

makes 8 skewers

  • 2 pounds chicken breast tenders, or whole breasts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. kecap manis (or soy sauce)
  • 2 tsp. sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 small shallot, roughly chopped
  • 1 three-inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 two-inch piece of lemongrass, minced
  • 2 keffir lime leaves, torn (or zest of one lime)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar


1. If using whole chicken breasts, slice them into long pieces for threading on skewers.

2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a food processor and process for about 20 seconds, or until the marinade is mostly smooth, with some small chunks for texture.

3. Coat the chicken with the marinade and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. (Longer than this can over-tenderize the chicken.)

4. Soak 8 wooden skewers in water for half an hour. Thread the chicken onto the skewers, and grill at 450° F for about 8 minutes, turning every couple of minutes.

The Manhancho

makes one cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz. Bourbon
  • ½ oz. white vermouth
  • ½ oz. red vermouth
  • ½ oz. Ancho Reyes
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • cocktail cherry, twist of orange

Fill a small cocktail pitcher with ice, and add all the liquids. Stir for 30 seconds. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a cocktail cherry and a twist of orange.

Publisher: Mortar & Pestle

Culinary Direction, Photography, Styling: Rob Lee & David Rollins (August Industries)