Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Beef tenderloin is one of the top meals that I am always making for clients! When cooked perfectly, beef tenderloin just melts in your mouth & when properly seasoned and serve with some horseradish or dijon mustard, this piece of meat is perfect for any event!

I tried a bit of a new cooking marinade this past weekend for a client, and it was a complete hit! I will forever now use these seasonings when cooking beef tenderloin. I am going to share a great cooking technique for beef tenderloin, so that at your next event whether it be a family birthday meal, a buffet or a special treat for friends, you are ready! One tip, rest your meat. Resting the meat is so important as it allows all of the flavour and juice to absorb back into the meat ensuring that your meat stays flavourful and juicy!

1 beef tenderloin (2-3kg in weight)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 minced garlic cloves
salt and pepper

1. Pat dry the beef tenderloin and generously seasons with salt and pepper.
2. In a bowl mix together the mustard, balsamic and garlic until thoroughly combined. Rub all over the beef tenderloin.
3. Pre heat the oven to 500 degrees!! (make sure your oven is clean as this is a hot temp and will smoke any old food that is on the bottom of the oven)
4. Cook your beef tenderloin for 25-30 minutes. Do not open the oven!
5. When you remove the meat, cover in aluminum foil for at least 20 minutes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Love in the air and cupid around the corner can only mean one thing, Valentines day!

I love Valentines - not  for the mushy gushy, but for the fun that you can having in cooking or baking for you family, friends and your main squeeze! When we were younger, Valentines was a big day in our house. We would wake up to a table that was covered in a pink or red tablecloth, smothered in chocolate kisses, cinnamon hearts & pink tulips. My mom would always have our favourite breakfast treats waiting (mine was always an almond croissant from Summerhill) as well as a cute Valentine's card & treat. 

For such a simple day my mom would go all out, and it is for that reason that I love doing the same on Valentines. Here are three fun things you can make tomorrow (or today) as a treat for those you love!!

1. Valentine's night appetizer, heart tomatoes & boccinicini: these would make for a great appetizer. Cut the cherry tomatoes on an angle in half and arrange on the skewer in the shape of a heart. Not pictured here but add a boccincini ball on and you have a great pre-dinner nibble!

2. Treats for all: these chocolate dipped pretzles are dead simple to make and would be a great gift to girlfriends, coworkers or kids friends at school. Since they are so simple, this is a great activity for kids as well. Melt some white chocolate in a bowl, have a few other bowls filled with your favourite red & pink sprinkles. Dip half of the pretzel into the chocolate and then straight into the sprinkles. Dust off and let harden. Put a handful into a see through bag, tie with a festive ribbon and you have a great Valentine's day treat!

3. Special Breakfast: jazz up those boring pancakes by putting in a little effort to ensure that they are heart shaped! For your kids - tint them with some red food dye! Serve with good quality Ontario maple syrup and a few strawberries or raspberries for that pop of red!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


After a Christmas laden with heavy foods, I thought I would share a lighter salad recipe that can be easily transformed from lunch to dinner with the addition of a juicy nicely roasted chicken breast.

I had two girlfriends over for dinner last night, and this salad was inspired by the one that my friend brought for us!

A Refreshing Salad
Servers 4

- 1 handful spinach
- 1 handful arugula
- 1 handful red or green leaf lettuce
- 1 green or yellow apple, diced (squeeze some lemon juice over the diced apple before adding it to the salad, this gives the fruit a nice tangy bite when you eat it!)
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 handful coloured cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 handful red and green grapes, cut in half
- nuts of your choice but I would suggest toasted pinenuts or toasted pecans
- Shaved parmesan cheese

For the dressing:
- 2 part good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 part rice wine vinegar (or white balsamic)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper

1. Wash and cut lettuce.
2. Wash and cut vegetables & fruit.
3. Shave the block of parmesan cheese by using a Y peeler
4. Toasts the pinenuts or pecans
5. In a glass jar, combine all the ingredients for the dressing and shake until emulsified.
6. Toss and serve immediately

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


After a totally insane first Christmas as a caterer, I have welcomed the quiet January 2013 with open arms!

After indulging in great food all December and trying out different menu creations for the new year, I have a few inspirations to share as we head into our next few months of winter.

Here are my top three ingredients right now:

1. (DOVER) SOLE: After Christmas I spent a week in Florida where I ate fresh quality seafood all week long. I love eating fish when I am on a coast, it is super fresh and just tastes like the salty ocean. Dover sole is one of my favourite fish. You cannot always find Dover Sole in stores, but often they will have another type of sole. Sole is really quick to make, about three minutes a side. Pan sear and serve with a sauce composed of lemon juice, butter & parsley; a classic French sauce.

2. TRUFFLE HONEY: an absolute luxurious indulgence. With hints of the irresistible truffle flavour, truffle honey is a delicious accompaniment to cheese, sandwiches, & hors d'oeurves. The sky is the limit with this great product!

3. BARLEY: I am over mashed potatoes and plain old white rice! Barley is a great subsitute to your every day starch. Barley is a really great grain that contains 8 essential amino acids. Use in your next risotto, create a barley & wild rice salad. The opportunities are endless, as barley is a total vehicle for flavour combinations. It does however provide a nice nutty flavour on its own!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The Christmas season is already upon us, but I want to share my top three ingredients for a holiday gathering or a Christmas dinner!

1. PEPPERMINT: a classic flavour that always makes me think of Christmas. Whether its a peppermint hot chocolate or an actual candy cane, I just can't get enough of this flavour during the holidays. This year try making a chocolate cake (or chocolate cupcake) with a peppermint buttercream frosting. Finished with a little crushed candy cane and you have an incredibly festive dessert that will make any dessert table proud.

2. ORANGE: a great citrus fruit that can be transformed into many holiday treats. Orange is a versatile flavour that you can take the sweet or savour route. Not only is it a delicious flavour, but also a beautiful fruit. Keep the rind in tact when using an orange, it helps to enhance the flavour and the appearance! Try making an orange marmalade, great on toast or scones on Christmas morning. Combine with flavours like cloves and cinnamon to make a warm mulled wine.

3. SAGE: an earthy herb that is great both fresh and dried. Sage is the quintessential turkey stuffing flavour, this year try cooking it out a bit with your butter when making your stuffing. This will release all of the oils from the leaves, letting out that strong sage flavour!

photo credit: google images

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I love nothing more than a festive & inviting table. Whether it be a Christmas table, a holiday gathering, or a table featuring all types of treats at a party - I can't help but love each little piece that makes that table perfect to look at.

I have a serious hobby of collecting items to make a table look fabulous - chargers, table cloth, candles, decorative pieces, the list goes on!

I discovered this great DIY chalkboard chargers, and I am now on a mission to do these for my Christmas dinner table. Simple to make, these chargers will bring life and winter fun to your table!

(via delight by design)

Monday, December 10, 2012


A CRANBERRY CHRISTMAS... Last week I did a photo shoot with a great fellow blogger named Sara Russell. She wanted a foodie inspired post, something festive. I had just finished a batch of cranberry ginger jam and thought that picking the cranberry would be a perfect way to highlight a great and versatile seasonal ingredient.
Three ways to highlight a totally seasonal ingredient. Tart, but beautiful when sweetened, cranberries can be shown off in so many ways during the holiday season. Here are three quick ways to please your family and friends.

1) BAR STYLE: champagne & cranberries. In the bottom of your glass place a few fresh cranberries, fill with champagne, ginger ale or sparkling water and serve at any holiday gathering.

2) PRESENTS: give the gift that says you care the most – something homemade! This cranberry jam is quick and amazing. The addition of ginger elevates the jam from your boring old cranberry sauce. (In a sauce pan, mix together equal weight cranberries & sugar. Grate in a knob of ginger and cook for about 45 minutes – 1 hour or until jam consistency is achieved)

3) ENTERTAINING: serve this quick cranberry brie bites at a cocktail party or a holiday dinner. Super easy, you will spend 20 minutes max from start to finish! In a mini muffin pan, place a buttered square of phyllo pastry. Fill with 1-2 cranberries and 1-2 cubes of good quality brie cheese. Bake on 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown and the brie has melted and is oozing. Serve warm and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of pepper. Festive & delicious, these treats will not disappoint!

photo credit: sara russell

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Finally December is here, marking the start of the Christmas season and many wonderful goodies to come!

To start off the December posting, I thought I would share a recipe for a celeriac and potato mash, something to think about as a twist on your mashed potatoes this Christmas season.

Celeriac is a totally underrated root veg that is widely available! It has a fabulously sweet and earthy flavour, but most people don't know what to do with it! It is a great option in lieu of sweet potatoes, turnips etc. It can be mashed, roasted or thinly shaved to be part of a festive root vegetable salad. I hope you enjoy this twist on the boring old mashed potato and give it a whirl - even if it's not for Christmas dinner, impress some family or friends with this dish this holiday season!

Note: This dish is also beautiful under a braised short rib, braised lamb shank or some lovely beef filets, flank steak or roast beef!

Celeriac & Potato Mash

1 whole celeriac
About 800g of potato (roughly the same amount as the celeriac)
Splash or two of cream or milk
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper

1. Peel the celeriac by slicing off the rough skin - do not use a peeler, you will need a knife! Then cube into pieces.
2. With the equal amount of potatoes, wash and peel and cube into the same size as the celeriac.
3. Boil in salted water, and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.
4. Drain the veg, return to the pot add the cream, butter, salt and pepper and mash. Season to your taste and serve!

photo credit: google images

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Today I stumbled across a really great new website (LEIF) - which definitely brought out my Christmas spirit. I love finding new kitchen-y things for Christmas to help brighten up the holiday and also to change it up from my boring old year long utensils.

This website has some really great kitchen utensils (all under $25) which would be a perfect host/hostess gift, a gift to a foodie friend, or a gift to yourself!

Blinged out tart server

Blinged out spoons - really fun for a Christmas coffee morning

Tree branch teaspoons

Tree branch mini knives - these would be great on a cheese board, or as a hostess gift with some cocktail napkins!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Last week for a client, one of their courses was a cheese platter. I felt this was a great opportunity to try out some new cheese. I went down to the St Lawrence Market - to one of my favourite cheese shop Olympic Cheese Mart. I asked the owner George for some good recommendations of a few new delicious cheeses to taste. Here were my top three picks:

1. Pecorino Affinato: Is a small cheese made from sheep's milk with a white and crumbly texture. This was one of my favourite cheeses to snack on when I worked at BUCA. I loved having this one on the cheese board. The cheese is aged for 2-3 months in terracotta jars under layers of scented hay and honey. The two flavours lend a unique flavour to the cheese - and also is visually stunning on a cheese platter.

2. New Glarus Raspberry Ale Washed: This one of Glarus the best cheeses I have tried in a while. Made in Wisconsin, the cheese is soaked in Wisconsin-brewed New Raspberry Tart Ale, a fruit, pungent ale that is brewed with fresh raspberries which lends a slight sweetness to the final product. A combination of aged cheddar & parmesan - a perfect combination of crumbly but smooth. The flavours are strong and complex. The first bite the cheddar hits you, but then the saltiness and nuttiness of the parmesan cuts through that. Perfect to enjoy with onion jam, roasted hazelnuts and a nice glass of Guinness stout or a dry Riesling. This cheese won "Best New Cheese" & "Best AMerican Cheese" during the 2008 World Cheese Awards in Ireland.

3. Applewood Smoked Cheddar: This is a cheddar that is naturally smoked with applewood embers and then finished with a light dusting of paprika - hence the reddy orange outer layer to the cheese. The cheese is a semi-hard cheese that has a wonderful smoky flavour due to the natural smoking. This is a favourite in the UK and goes extremely well with sweeter apples, raisins and also a pork chop. This smoked cheddar also could lend a really nice smoky flavour to a homemade quesadilla!