theZoomer: Delicious Recipes for Hosting Solo



As we age, it gets harder to maintain regular social interaction with the people in our lives. The risk of social isolation is much greater for Zoomers, and various studies show that loneliness can have negative effects on our health and wellbeing. On the “Hosting Solo” episode of theZoomer, Libby gathers a panel of food and drink experts to show us how to boost our social time with a stress-free, laid back gathering to reconnect with those closest to us.

Rob Berry from the Bar Tending School of Ontario School and Chef Julian Pancer from The Chef Upstairs share their delicious recipes below so you can be prepared for your own low-key affair.

Old Fashion:

  • Zest glass with Orange Zest
  • 2 dashes of Bitters (Angostura Bitters is Default)
  • Cube of Sugar or/teaspoon or /simple syrup
  • Ice the Glass
  • 2 oz Rye (Canadian) or Bourbon (American)
  • 2 teaspoons of soda or tonic water


  • Squeeze 1-2 limes (depends how juicy they are)
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of sugar/or simple syrup/or flavoured syrup. Stirred until dissolved.

To make into a Mojito….

  • Crushed ice to fill glass
  • Add 1-2oz Rum (white, amber or dark)
  • To create more from this cocktail
  • Strain Mojito into Shaker

To make into a Sour….

  • Add eggwhites
  • Dry shake to create an awesome froth
  • Garnish with zest , crushed flavoured loose leaf tea.

Dim Sum Dumplings (Siu Mai)
(Serves 4 – 16 dumplings)


  • ¼ lb ground pork
  • ¼ lb ground chicken
  • ¼ lb shrimp, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • ½ cup green onions, sliced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • ½ cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 package extra‐thin wonton wrappers or regular wonton wrappers


1. Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight.

2. To wrap the siu mai, place 1 wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Bring two opposite corners towards each other, and press gently to adhere them to filling. Repeat with remaining 2 corners to form a little cup around the filling, gently squeezing to hold wrapper in place. Place one carrot round (if using) on the bottom of each siu mai, add a little bit of the minced carrot on top, and transfer to a plate. Continue wrapping the remaining siu mai.

3. To steam, line your steamer basket or tray with parchment paper (Napa cabbage leaves can also work). Pour enough water into your steaming pot or wok so that the water is about 1 inch below the bottom of the steamer basket or tray. Bring to a boil.

4. Arrange siu mai in the steamer tray, leaving room around each one and steaming in batches if necessary. Steam fresh siu mai until cooked through, about 7 minutes.

5. Transfer to a plate. Serve. (Note that siu mai are traditionally served without a dipping sauce, though if you prefer one, mix soy sauce with a little sesame oil and fresh scallions and serve alongside.)

Miso Soup
(Makes 20 servings)


  • 5 ltr water
  • 1 kg fish bones
  • 450 gm white miso paste
  • 1 pc dried kelp
  • 3 oz. Dry hana katsuo (Bonito)
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 package silken tofu
  • 1 handful shitake mushrooms
  • 1 oz dry wakame (dried sea weed)


1. Rinse the tofu and dice gently into ½” squares. (throw out any pieces that are slimy or sour)

2. Add fish bones to water and bring to a boil, reduce heat skim off impurities and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat strain and return to heat.

3. Bring to a simmer and add a piece of kelp.

4. Using a strainer add the miso to the water.

5. When the miso has completely melted bring the water back to a boil.

6. Add 3oz of hana katsuo (approx. 1 handful) and turn off the heat.

7. Using a strainer remove the hana katsuo.

8. Add 500 ml Japanese cooking wine.

9. When serving, garnish with green onion, tofu, mushrooms and wakame.

Vietnamese Rice Paper Spring Roll
(Serves 7)


  • 14 sheets of 22cm/8.5″ round rice paper
  • 11 small cooked shrimp
  • 50 grams dried vermicelli noodles
  • 7 lettuce leaves ‐ use Oak or Butter Lettuce
  • 14 mint leaves
  • 1 cup bean sprouts

For the Nut‐Free Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon tamari (gluten‐free soy sauce, for soy allergies, replace with salt to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon turmeric (freshly grated or powdered)
  • ⅛ teaspoon lemongrass (freshly grated or powdered), optional: a few dashes your favourite hot sauce
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


1. Make the nut free sauce ‐ Heat oil in saucepan over medium‐low heat. Add seeds. Sauté, stirring
occasionally, until golden browned, about 4‐5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool two minutes. Combine with remaining ingredients in blender. Season with salt and/or hot sauce to taste. (Tamari already has salt, so taste before adding extra salt!)

2. Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with warm water for 2 minutes, then drain (or follow packet instructions).

3. Peel the shrimp, slice in half lengthwise and devein.

4. Fill a large bowl with warm water. The bowl doesn’t need to be large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go.

5. Place two rice papers together. Note which side is the smooth side ‐ this is supposed to be the outside of the spring roll. Submerge the rice papers into the water (both of them at the same time, together) for 2 seconds. If your bowl isn’t large enough to fit the whole rice paper in one go, that’s fine, just rotate it and count 2 seconds for each section you submerge into the water.

6. Place both the rice papers (one on top of the other) on a board or the counter with the smooth side down.

7. On the top part of the rice paper, place 3 prawns with a mint leaf in between, as per the photo below.

8. Place some vermicelli noodles and bean sprouts in a lettuce leaf, then wrap the lettuce leaf around and scrunch together lightly in your hand to make a bundle that holds together. Place the lettuce bundle with the seam side down onto the middle of the rice paper. Fold the left and right edges of the rice paper in, then starting from the bottom, roll up. If you placed the ingredients on the rice paper as per the photo below, your rice paper rolls should look pretty with the prawn and mint leaves on the smooth side of the roll and the seam on the side or underside of the roll. Serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce.


  • A tip for rolling these up. is to wrap the bean sprouts and vermicelli noodles in the lettuce then scrunch it so it stays together. Then roll it up in the rice paper.
  • Use butter or oak lettuce because they are softer and more pliable than iceberg which makes it perfect for using my above tip. Iceberg and other crunchy lettuce doesn’t work as well because they break when you scrunch them. But you could still use iceberg lettuce.
  • You can make them up to 4 hours ahead, tightly wrap each one in cling wrap as soon as you make them and refrigerate. Don’t just put them on a plate and put cling wrap on the plate, you should roll up each on in cling wrap (you should be able to fit 2 per piece of cling wrap ‐ wrap one first, then place another next to it and roll up with the remaining cling wrap).

Simple Mango Sorbet
(Serves 6)


  • 4 cups frozen chopped mangoes
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1/8 tsp salt


1. Whirl frozen mangoes with sugar, lime zest and salt in a food processor, scraping down sides as needed, until creamy, about 5 min.

2. Scoop into serving dishes.

Tip: To preserve in‐season mangoes, peel and slice off the flesh from the pit. Cut into chunks and freeze on a parchment‐lined baking sheet. Once frozen, store in a freezer bag up to one month.

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