Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Our London Food Tour: Part Two, Laduree

Hiya followers!
I'm back today to continue my blog series about some of the great London food spots my sweetie Kev and I visited while in England earlier this summer! Since both of us had already been to London a few times, we really weren't sure if we were going to squeeze it in while on our quick trip that covered Edinburgh, York and Chester. That is, until I came up with the fabulous idea to make our trip to London all about food! Hello?! Chef in London!!! Anyhoo, I decided where I wanted to go, got Kev to figure out our route and was absolutely delighted that every place on my list was within walking distance! Our first stop was the famous Food Hall of Harrods. While there, we stopped in at our second spot, the French luxury patisserie named Laduree. There are four Laudree locations in London and we were lucky enough to see two: Laduree at Harrods and another located in the iconic Burlington Arcade.

Our London Food Tour: Part Two, Laduree

Laduree is a luxury pastry house that was founded in 1862 by Louis-Ernest Laurdee in Paris, France. Years after the patisserie was founded, Louis-Ernest's grandson Pierre Desfontaine made the bakery famous by inventing Laduree's signature pasrty in 1930, the double stacked macaron. Pierre took Catherine de Midici's favourite cookie that was brought to France in the 16th century and sandwiched two together with a ganache filling. Since then, the patisserie has expanded with over 30 international locations and makes about 15,000 multi-flavoured macarons a day, along with a line of exquisite beauty products.

Soon to come... Our London Food Tour: Part Two, Ottolenghi


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Our London Food Tour: Part One, Harrods

Hiya followers!
My sweetie Kev and I went on a trip to Scotland and England earlier this summer. We weren't sure if we were going to venture down into London, since both of us have been there a few times before. But, upon further pondering, I came up with an idea! Instead of hitting all the major tourist attractions which both of us had already seen, I though we could do something a bit different. Why not visit some of the cities best food spots?! After a quick Google search, I got my sweetie to make a map of the five food spots I wanted to see and guess what? They were all with in walking distance of each other! So, the map was printed and put into the suitcase and off we went to Edinburgh, with the plan to head south into London a week later.

Our London Food Tour: Part One, Harrods

Harrod's motto: Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things for All People, Everywhere.
Harrods is a luxury department store located in Knightsbridge, London. The business was established in 1849 and the shop, as we see it today, was built in 1883. With 330 departments, seven floors and over one million square feet of retail space, it's no wonder that Harrods attracts more than 15 million customers per year. The famous Food Hall is located on the ground floor and is just as grand as you could imagine! My collection of photos are below, but if you wish to have a more in depth view, watch this video I found on YouTube. Enjoy the grandeur!

Soon to come... Our London Food Tour: Part Two, Laduree



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mini Souvlaki Skewers with Feta, Yogurt and Dill Dip

"Summer afternoon- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language." Henry James

Hiya followers! Isn't the weather oh so nice?!
Today I just had to get out and soak up the sun for a little while! I decided to do some weeding in the garden and before I knew it, I had gone back inside to grab my camera to take some pictures of the exciting goings on around the backyard! I know I'm not a professional photographer, but taking photos makes me happy, especially on a gorgeous, sunny summer day!
A day like to today is perfect for a BBQ and one thing that I absolutely love is souvlaki. The scent of these tasty skewers on the grill takes me right back to the summer festivals around Hamilton I loved to attend as a teenager and to the couple of times I've been to Greece. All I need to do is close my eyes and I can imagine I'm back on a Greek island... Busy narrows streets, white washed walls and little restaurants layered up the side of a rocky island with smoky BBQ grills. The air is heavy with the scent of lemon and oregano, small patios have simple furniture with bright and colourful table clothes and the sparkling blue water of the Mediterranean is stretched out in front of me, with tiny ferry boats far below taking their passengers to the next island and awaiting adventure. One day I will return, but for now, just having delicious souvlaki on the BBQ is good enough for me! Enjoy the recipes and if you don't mind, I also included a few of my pictures from today's backyard photo shoot! Bye for now!

Mini Souvlaki Skewers with Feta, Yogurt and Dill Dip
(makes 18)

450 gr. (1 lb) boneless pork, lamb, chicken or turkey
2 tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

 Cut the meat into 36 cubes, 2cm or 1 inch in size. Place the pieces into a bowl and add in the rest of the ingredients. Marinate and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
Thread 2 cubes of meat onto 18 skewers. Broil, grill or pan fry the souvlaki skewers until the meat is fully cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Sprinkle with sea salt as the skewers are cooking. Serve with the feta, yogurt and dill sauce.

Feta, Yogurt and Dill Dip

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
2 tsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
Pinch of sea salt

In a bowl, mash the yogurt and feta cheese together. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined. Cover and chill until needed. Enjoy!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ontario Summer Tomato, Herb and Cheese Tart

"It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato." Lewis Grizzard

Hiya followers! How are you enjoying your summer?!
Wow, it's been a little while since I have sat down and worked on a blog. You see, I have a problem concentrating on a computer screen indoors while outdoors the sun is shining and there is summer fun to be had! Camping, swimming, gardening are just some of the seasonal activities we have enjoyed so far and have loved every minute! Not all of my fun has been outdoors, I have also been busy doing my cooking demos in downtown Georgetown and always have been highlighting locally grown produce! For a recent demo, I bought some tomatoes from the Georgetown Farmer's Market and decided to do something simple, yet impressive! Today's recipe is something similar and I hope you attempt it at home because it's just SO easy! Serve as an appetizer at your next summer party or pair a slice with a salad for a lovely lunch or dinner course!

Simple and Tasty Recipe:

Ontario Summer Tomato, Herb and Cheese Tart
(makes 9 medium squares, or 18 small)

1 x 275 gram sheet puff pastry (I prefer P.C. Butter Puff Pastry)
1/4 cup of your fave pesto or chopped fresh herbs (I used basil pesto) 
3 good sized Ontario tomatoes, sliced
1 cup of your fave cheese, grated (I used a combo of mozzarella and asiago) 
¼ cup Parmegiano Reggiano cheese, grated
Extra virgin olive oil, good quality for drizzling
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
A handful of chopped fresh herbs for garnish (I used basil and dill from the garden!)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll out the puff pastry sheet and place on a parchment lined tray.
Spread out the pesto or sprinkle the fresh chopped herbs evenly over the puff pastry, leaving about a 1 cm border all around the edges. Top with the grated cheeses and lay the tomatoes out single layer on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, lightly drizzle with the olive oil and place in the oven for about 20 to 25 mins, until the pastry is evenly browned and crisp. Top with the fresh herbs for garnish, slice and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
See?! I told you it was easy! Use this recipe as a base and please fell free to switch things up to suit your own tastes! Instead of puff pastry, use pie pastry or even pizza dough. Change up the herbs to whatever you have in the garden and also feel free to top with yummy greens, such as arugula, frisse or chopped kale! The possibilities are endless, you honestly can't go wrong!
Alrighty loyal followers, bye for now and I swear, it won't be so long again before I'm back with another Culinary Adventure!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Canada Day Appetizers

Happy Canada Day!

Canada Day, 2008. My dad, brother Jordan, cousin Emily and Libby enjoying our first Canada Day weekend up at our 10 acres of land! Ahhh, the fun we get up to!
Hello my friendly followers and Happy Canada Day weekend!
I thought appetizers featuring red and white would be appropriate for today's quick blog! I say quick because I am racing off to work, then my sweetie and I are off camping at our 10 acres of land in Norfolk County, ON! Then, on Monday our family and friends are all gathering to watch the firework bonanza my brother Jordan has been planning since Victoria Day! And, as you can see form the photo above, we like to have fun on Canada Day! Ha! I hope you all have a great Canada Day and please remember to play it safe!

Simple and Tasty Recipes:

Ontario Cherry Tomato and Bocconcini Skewers
(makes 12)
12 Ontario cherry tomatoes, washed
12 bocconcini balls, cherry or small sized, not pearl
12 fresh basil leaves
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
*Balsamic vinegar (*optional)

Thread one cherry tomato onto a skewer.
Wrap a piece of basil around a bocconcini ball and thread onto the same skewer.
Repeat until all are on skewers, alternating the placement of the tomatoes and bocconcinis for fun!
Place on a platter, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the sea salt. Also drizzle the balsamic vinegar, if using.
Use the same ingredients, just larger sliced tomatoes and larger sliced bocconcini balls for a La Caprese Salad (pictured below)!
La Caprese Insalata

Greek Inspired Bruschetta
(serves two)

1 large Ontario ripe tomato, diced
a handful of kalamata olives, halved, pits removed
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped (or 1/3 tsp dried)
feta cheese, crumbled
4 slices of bread
extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

.combine the tomatoes, olives and oregano in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and drizzle in some olive oil, set aside
.grill the bread until it's toasty, rub with the garlic clove and drizzle with some olive oil
.top your bruschetta with the tomato mixture, crumble over some feta cheese, enjoy!

Fresh Ontario Tomato Salsa (Salsa Fresca)
( serves 4)

3 large ripe Ontario tomatoes, chopped
1 small Ontario onion, finely chopped

1 clove of Ontario garlic, finely chopped

½ to 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½  lime, juice freshly squeezed
Sea salt to taste
Combine everything in a large bowl. Give it a good stir, taste and adjust the seasoning with the sea salt. Add a little extra lime, jalapeno or cilantro to suit your tastes. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Ceviche with Ontario Summer Vegetables
(serves 4 to 6 as a main, 8 to 12 as an appetizer)

500 gr firm white ocean fish, sashimi grade (I used halibut but red snapper, cod and sea bass are all great choices), small to medium dice, it's up to you
1 1/2 cups lime juice, freshly squeezed (about 8 good sized limes)
1 small onion, diced

1 tomato, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced
1/4 cucumber, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1 to 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, good quality
Sea salt to taste
*optional additions:
- finely chopped manzanilla green olives
- your fave hot sauce
- a splash of tomato or Clamato juice
- ketchup
- a pinch of sugar
- orange juice
- sweet corn
- sweet potatoes
In a shallow non-reactive bowl (I prefer glass or stainless steel) combine the fish, onion and lime juice. Cover the surface with a sheet of plastic wrap and gently press down to make sure all of the air out and the fish is submerged. Place in the fridge for 1 to 4 hours, depending on how 'cooked' you want your fish to be (the longer it sits, the more firm it will become).
Remove from the fridge, pour the contents of the bowl through a fine mesh strainer and place the fish mixture into a clean non-reactive bowl. Combine with the rest of the ingredients, adding as many of the optional ingredients as you wish!
Keep refrigerated until being served.
Serve with your fave corn chips, tostadas or plain crackers. Provecho!