Monday, May 31, 2010


I have been looking for a good coffee table book related to food photography, but after spending some time in Indigo the other day, I realized it was going to be difficult to locate one. That was until today when I was reading Toronto Life. A Matter of Taste by Fulvio Bonavia an Italian photographer is truly remarkable. This food/fashion genius has brought new life to ordinary fashion which is now defined by a piece of food. The book features her conceptual photos of FOOD AS FASHION.  I cannot wait to purchase this coffee table must! (you can order it at Check out some of the killer images from the book! My excitement for its arrival is overwhelming!

photo credit: & google images


Who knows (or remembers) Chef Lynn Crawford from Food Network's Restaurant Makeover or from her current series Pitchin' In or as New York's Four Seasons head chef, one of the most distinguished positions in the food world. Well she is back! And taking Toronto by storm with her newest venture Ruby Watchco, a restaurant on Queen. Ruby Watchco is run by chef Lynn Crawford, designer Cherie Stinson and her husband Joey Skier with Lora Kirk as the restaurants head chef. It has always been Crawford's dream to return home to Toronto and open her own place and now she has done it! And what a different type of restaurant it is! Each night the restaurant offers ONE four course meal - salad, main, cheese & dessert which showcases local farmers ingredients, whatever they happened to find that day. You won't find a menu on their website, simply a line stating "Chef Lynn and Chef Lora are working on next week’s menus.  We are looking forward to cooking for you all soon!" ( The meal is $49 per head, so you know for a cost like this you will be served something fabulous. Another plus, Chef Crawford is open to make allowances for allergies and vegetarians which is, in my mind an important quality in restaurant's today: accommodation. 

On her different way of running a restaurant Crawford says, “When you go for dinner at a friend’s house, you don’t ask what the menu is,” she points out. “That’s what we’re doing here—saying, Trust us, it’s going to be delicious.” ( Her website is filled with testimonials and James Chatto's review in Toronto Life gives the restaurant a great vibe, one which I can't wait to test out myself. Crawford's idea is bold and unusual, but it is for that exact reason that she will have tables full every night! How neat to think that what you have one night will be completely different from someone's the next. And the even better part, she is doing all of this while supporting local Ontario farmers!

James Chatto's meal at Ruby Watchco on opening night:

Salad: Confited chicken leg, chopped up with croutons, red lettuce leaves, shaved radish, a quartered soft-boiled egg and some shaved pecorino, two chive buttermilk biscuits served alongside with house-churned butter (James Chatto, Toronto Life)

Main: Grilled flank steak, sliced thickly on the bias, a puck of herbed cabernet franc butter melting over the meat, with watercress beneath it. Smoked button mushrooms, sautéed with baby creminis and caramelized onion petals, nestled in one Le Creuset ramekin. Another held chopped leeks and spinach, both braised in cream. A third was filled with buttery roast parsnips, cut like plump frites. (James Chatto, Toronto Life)

Cheese: A bold 10-year-old Ottawa Valley cheddar, accompanied by unctuous balsamic onion chutney, some local honey and toasted walnut bread from nearby St. John’s Bakery (James Chatto, Toronto Life)

Dessert: A superb lemon tart finished the meal, the intensely citric curd swelling up inside pastry, its surface still trembling from the hot kiss of a blow torch enhanced by whipped cream scented with thyme and vanilla. (James Chatto, Toronto Life)

730 Queen Street East
Toronto ON M4M 2H4

photo credit: &

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Lemons are a delicious fruit that seem to be apart of everyday life now through their accompaniment with water. But lemons have so much more to offer and can be used in so many ways from appetizers to dessert. They are very versatile and the whole fruit can be used (the juice, skin, and pulp). Lemon trees produced around 2,000 lemons per year per tree. There are many different types of lemons produced, a lot more varieties than you would suspect. These include; eureka, bush lemon, lisbon, meyer, ponderosa, variegated pink, verna, villafranca, yen ben and yuzu. Lemon trees are native to Asia and are taken from small evergreen trees. Lemons are available all year round and when selecting a lemon look for one that is smooth which brightly coloured yellow skin (greenish colour means they are under ripe).

Lemons can be used so many great ways, to flavour water, with their zest in baking, their juice to prevent the oxidation of fruit, in dressings, in desserts or as flavouring for chicken.

Here are some great recipe ideas (from two of my favourite chefs Ina Garten and Jamie Oliver) for using lemons:

Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa) Lemon Bars:


For the crust:
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
- 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup flour
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
- Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on
- For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
- Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Jamie Oliver's Grilled Asparagus with Olive Oil, Lemon and Parmesan

Ingredients: Serves 4 
- 800g of asparagus (2 big handfuls)
- Good squeeze lemon juice
- 3x lemon juice in olive oil
- pinch of sea salt and cracked black pepper 
- shaved Parmesan

- You will need to wash 2 big handfuls or 800g of whichever kind of asparagus you’re using, with their woody ends snipped off.
-  Heat a large griddle pan and dry-griddle the asparagus spears on both sides until nicely marked. 
- As soon as they're ready, put them on to four plates and dress with a good squeeze lemon juce and three times as much olive oil
- Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, then take a block of Parmesan to the table and either grate or shave some over the asparagus wtih a speed peeler.

photo credit: & google images


Habitez-vous a Montreal!? Ca c'est le restaurant pour vous!

Do you live in Montreal? If so, this is the restaurant for you!

AU PIED DE COCHON or in English "The Pig's Foot" is a restaurant that when entering you just think "so french!" If you like good meat that's well prepared along with a little French love this is the spot to go. The restaurant is jam-packed six nights a week and is a local favourite, now quite well-known in the city. I first went there about ten years ago when it first opened. I was in Montreal with my family and we had been wandering for too long looking for a great place to eat, until we stumbled upon this one. The wood tables and outdoor cobblestone street gives the restaurant a cozy and cabin like feel. The food is delicious, warm and comforting. Perfect in the winter but delicious at any point in the year. Not only are they known for their meat, especially pork but their seafood is equally tasty.

Here are a few of their menu items!

Duck Carpaccio
Tomato a Tartlet
Apple Fois Gras
Pigs Head for 2
Duck in a Can
Confit Lamb Shank
Zucchini Blossoms
Fois Gras Poutine

As you can see, the menu items here are definitely outside the box. Pushing the boundaries to create wonderfully delicious food, which has it's own feel and taste!

I recommend trying this place if you can - but by this point I think reservations are a must!

536 Duluth Est
Montréal (Québec)
H2L 1A9

photo credit:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Pimentón: Spanish & Mediterranean Fine Food is a new store on Mt. Pleasant in Toronto. I have recently noticed it while driving but today was the first time I checked it out and let me say it was so great! I lived in Spain for about four months and Spanish food and cooking have always been near to my heart - so this place just hit home. Pimentón is Spanish for "paprika" or "cayenne pepper." The store is a combination of "a fine prepared food store and a gourmet retail." ( There is great prepared food, many different products of Spain and the Mediterranean, cooking classes, catering and take out meals.

The classes seem really interesting. They are hands on classes or demonstration classes. Here is an example of one of the classes they offer! Paella - probably the most associated dish with Spain. A delicious rice dish filled with vegetables and fresh seafood!

Paella Menu 
Learn about this, the most famous dish outside Spain and how to cook it properly.We will talk ingredients, techniques and utensils. As well, you will make a Catalunian specialty called Escalivada and learn how to make Turron ice cream from scratch. 

Their products include olive oils, flavoured oils, cheeses, charcuterie, condiments and olives. One of my favourite cheeses is manchego which I tried the first time I visited Spain and luckily they sell it here! And you know it will be good quality just by being in the store.

Pimentón writes that Manchego is "made with 100% manchega ewes milk, is an aged cheese. It can be found semi-cured to cured. It is made primarily in La Mancha. It is one of the most well known cheeses of Spain. It has been protected by its DOC appellation (Denomination of Origin and Quality) since 1984. Manchego cheese is sliced and served up as a Tapa, it is sometimes paired with membrillo or quince paste."

Their catering includes things like a "Tapas Party." A party in which you serve tapas, little Spanish appetizer type foods. They offer two different combination platters along with individual tapas choices. The "Iberian Platter" includes a selection of Spanish cheeses, Spanish Serrano Ham, Chorizo Ibérico, Salchichón Ibérico, olives and assorted fresh bread. Individual tapas includes chicken and Spanish serrano ham croquetas, chorizo tartlets, herb stuffed mushroom caps, and Galician tuna empanada.

For those of you Spain lovers I highly recommend making a stop at Pimetón and for those of you interested in learning more this is the place for you!

681 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto  M4S 2N2 

 photo credit: & google images

Monday, May 24, 2010


This weekend was a long weekend in Canada and the start of the summer cottage season! For the first time in years the weather was beautiful, 30 degrees and sunny, chilly water but perfect for cooling off. Burgers on the dock are a must during the summer, and with a weekend identical to July it was only natural we started off the season right!

One of our friends brought up the burgers from Summerhill Market in Toronto. Summerhill has been around for over 50 years right in the heart of Rosedale. A neighbourhood "kitchen" whose food is delicious, fresh and homemade. They have many prepared products like chicken pot pie and quiche. I have tried many of their products but never the burgers. They were one of the best burgers I have ever eaten! For those of you looking to switch up your President's Choice burgers go out and try the Summerhill ones. They are homemade, I think have a hint of garlic and are truly juicy and yummy! A perfect lunch on the dock at any cottage this summer.

Summerhill Market
446 Summerhill Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M4W 2E4
(416) 921-2714 

photo credit: & google images

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Some new food art from Brussels, pretty cool, what do you think?!

photo credit:


Air Canada's enRoute magazine's May edition features an article about the use of different trees as a creative preparation of food. Springtime tips of fir, pine and spruce have traditionally been a source of food for "foragers" but now apparently restaurants are also adapting this technique. Brett Graham the chef of Ledbury in London created a evergreen sprig-studded sausage served with baked Douglas fir needles. Toronto's Temple Kitchen has created a remoulade spiked with pickled spruce tips. Vancouver's Boneta has created pine macaroons while their sister restaurant The Diamond has put conifer syrup into a cool cocktail.

Would you want to try tree flavoured food!?

1 Cordova, Vancouver 
The Diamond
6 Powell St, Vancouver
The Ledbury
127 Ledbury Rd, London

Temple Kitchen
85 Hanna Ave, Toronto

photo credit:


Who doesn't love a good cold caesar during the summer months. They are refreshing and a perfect drink on a patio or the dock. You can now buy pre-made caesar's but making your own is the way to go. Chuck Hughes is a Montreal based chef with his own show on Food Network called "Chuck's Day Off." He is a great chef, with great ideas that are always a little outside the box. Here is his recipe for a caeser with a twist!

Chuck's Snow Crab Bloody Caesar


- 2 wedges of lemon 
- steak spice 
- handful of ice
- salt and pepper
- dash worchestershire sauce
- dash hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated horseradish
- 2 ounces vodka
- 4 ounces Clamato juice
- 1 celery stick
- 1 Snow Crab claw


- Rim your glass by running a lemon wedge around the edge, then dipping the rim into a small dish of the steak spice
- Put ice into a tall glass
- Add a dash of salt and pepper to the ice
- Add dashes of Worchestershire and hot sauce
- Peel and grate some fresh horseradish into the glass
- Add the vodka (or omit if you are making a non-alcoholic drink)
- Top up with juice.
- Garnish with a lemon wedge, celery stick and crab leg

photo credit: & google images

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

CN Tower 360 Restaurant

360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower is one of the neatest restaurants I have ever been to. The CN Tower is the tallest free-standing structure in the world, a signature on Toronto's skyline and a big tourist destination. The restaurant is rotating, giving you a beautiful revolving view of Toronto over 1, 151 ft above ground. If you are looking for a really special restaurant to try out for an occasion this would be it. Beautiful in both the day and night, the restaurant's view is breathtaking. The food is equally delicious! 

This spring they have a Prix Fixe for lunch and dinner alongside the regular menu. We went for the Prix Fixe and it was divine! Here are some musts to order:

Caesar Salad: Hearts of romaine, pancetta, vinaigrette and Parmesan cheese

Applewood Smoked Atlantic Salmon: extra virgin olive oil, caper berries and 360 pumpernickel bread

Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Sage Cream: Wilted spinach, grilled artichokes, Asiago cheese

photo credits: google images & 360 website

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Lucy Waverman is a columnist for The Globe and Mail Food&Wine Section. I have been reading her articles lately and came across one labeled "Halifax's Seasonal Fare." The article highlights two of three chefs whose restaurants are in the town where I go to school; Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Tempest and Restaurant Le Caveau at the Grand Pre Winery are two of the best restaurants around Nova Scotia but more specifically the Annapolis Valley. These chefs' recipes were featured in the article so here they are, everything I have ever tried by them is delicious so I'm sure these recipes will be equally as tasty!

Chef Michael Howell: Tempest in Wolfville

Serves 6

- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 pounds (1 kilogram) haddock fillets, cut into about 3-inch chunks
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup cold sparkling water or club soda
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Sea salt to taste
- 1 lemon, sliced

- Heat oil in a deep heavy pot or wok to 350 F.
- Beat egg in a bowl and add cold water
- Lightly mix in flour with a fork and beat gently. Don't worry too much about lumps
- Dip the fish pieces into the batter and allow most of it to come off
- Only a thin layer of batter should remain on the fish
- Working in batches, place a few pieces of fish in the oil carefully and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and crisp
- Remove fish from oil with a slotted spoon and gently shake off any excess oil.
- Place on a tray lined with paper towel, sprinkle with sea salt and lemon

Chef Jason Lynch: Le Caveau at the Grand Pré Winery in the Annapolis Valley


- 2 pounds (1 kilogram) boneless lamb shoulder
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Spice mixture:
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 12 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 pound (250 grams) frozen butter puff pastry sheets, defrosted.
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cream

- 1 cup mint pesto (see below)
- 3 tablespoons harissa, thinned with a little water if necessary
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt

- Preheat oven to 325 F. Season lamb with salt and pepper. Place in a stock pot with spice mixture and garlic and cover with cold water
- Bring to a boil, cover pot, place in the oven and bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meat starts to fall apart. Remove lamb and allow to cool.
- Turn oven up to 375 F. Cut rolled out puff pastry into 12 equal pieces
- Place puff pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, prick with a fork and bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.
- Return pot to stove over high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes or until reduced sauce is the consistency of heavy cream. You should have about 2 to 3 cups.
- Pull lamb apart, add to sauce and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, place a piece of puff pastry on a serving plate, top with warm lamb mix and a second piece of puff pastry
- Garnish plate with mint pesto, harissa and a drizzle of plain yogurt

Mint Pesto 

Use this mint pesto to garnish the above or any lamb dish.

- 1 bunch fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Pinch sea salt

Combine mint, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil in a food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of a pesto. Season with salt to taste.

 photo credits: google images

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The James Beard Award is known as the "Oscars of the food world," and this year was presented to Canadian Laura Calder, host of the TV series French Food at Home. Calder's show is fantastic, a sort of Julia Child feel as all her dishes are based off French cuisine as she has spent a large portion of her life living in France (much like Julia Child, a North American in France). I have blogged about Calder's recipes before but after winning this award her rising status is sure to take off. I would really suggest checking her out, watching her show and trying a few recipes!

The Globe and Mail Life section wrote an article on her, well worth the read! Here is the link!

photo credits: google images &

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Guacamole has got to be one of the best dips around, and this week was wonderful having the traditional Mexican dip freshly made each day! Guacamole is a avocado based dip from Mexico which was traditionally made by mashing ripe avocados in a molcajete (mortar and pestle) with lime juice and salt. Today there are many variations on the dip, but no matter what way you make it, the end result is delish! Guacamole was first made by the Aztecs in the 1500's and the word is derived from an Aztec dialect, ahuacamolli: ahuacatl = avocado and molli = sauce.

Here is my variation on guacamole:

- 4 ripe avocados
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely diced purple onion
- 2 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
- juice of 2 limes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1 clove crushed garlic

- Peel and dice avocados
- Chop and dice remaining ingredients
- Place in bowl with sour cream, limes, salt and pepper
- Mash until creamy, but still chunky
- Serve with tortilla chips or warm pita!


photo credits: google images


Sorry for the week hiatus! I have been away in Mexico ....but come back with some fabulous new finds!

Gazpacho - an old favourite, one that I had forgotten about but was reintroduced to in Mexico,  I think I ate it at nearly every meal for a week, I just couldn't get enough! Gazpacho is a tomato based, raw vegetable cold Spanish soup - originating in the region of Andalucia. This soup is so refreshing in the heat and is perfect for the summer. Light and refreshing as it combines delicious vegetables such as tomato, cucumber, onion, peppers and garlic. The part that I love about Gazpacho is the it combines a silky soup with chunky vegetables. Not only is the soup first blended smooth, but tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and peppers are finely diced and served alongside the Gazpacho. You can put in as many diced vegetables as you like - often croutons are also another garnish that you can toss in!

Mario Batali might as well be Spanish considering his love for Spain so I have found his recipe for Gazpacho to share with you...

Yield: 6 servings

- 5 very ripe beefsteak tomatoes, quartered-plus 1 cut into 1/4 inch dice, set aside
- 2 large cucumbers, peeled, quartered- plus 1 cut into 1/4 inch dice, set aside
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, quartered- plus 1 cut into 1/4 inch dice, set aside
- 2 small jalapenos, seeded and stemmed (be careful not to touch your face or eyes when handling hot peppers or else your eyes will be burn!)
- 1 small red onion, peeled, quartered-plus 1 cut into 1/4 inch dice, set aside
- 2 slices day old white bread
- 3 bread slices cut into 1/2 inch croutons
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
- 1 cups ice
- salt and pepper to taste


- Toast croutons in extra virgin olive oil in a pan till deep golden brown.
- Peel the cucumber and stem and seed the peppers.
- Tear bread into pieces.
- Place vegetables, bread, water, vinegar, oil and ice into a mixer and blend
- Blend for 15-20 seconds, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Pour soup into a pitcher, cover and refrigerate until very cold
- Place garnishes in small bowls and refrigerate as well
- When ready to enjoy, stir well with a spoon.
- Serve in shallow bowls with the garnish bowls on the side and drizzle each serving with a little more Spanish extra virgin olive oil


photo credits: pinkbites blog & google images

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I love jellies or sauces when eating meats, fish, vegetables, the works! I am a big lover of HP sauce for my meat, but I love to try out new sauces. This weekend we had a big family dinner and I was introduced to Summer Kitchen's Sweet Horseradish. It was delectable! Summer Kitchen's Fine Food is based out of Toronto, Ontario and has a large array of products; condiments, spice rubs, jams and jellies, sauces, salad dressings and nutties. Their products reflect their "old fashioned ideals" - their food is handled with care and they use pure natural ingredients - there are no trans fat acids in ANY of their products. Mary Fabiano is the chef behind this company and her passion and curiosity allows her company to produce creative products. Visit their website because each product is accompanied by one or two recipes highlighting their product - it's great!

Here are some of the great, different products they have:

Amorizia Sweet Horseradish: An unexpected twist to a traditional ingredient. Amorizia's sweet robust flavours complement any cheese, meat or seafood dish and add a zest to marinades and vinaigrette's. Simply a perfect match to any food (Summer Kitchen Website Product Information)

Banana Patch Jam: This "chock-full" of bananas jam is a must for banana lovers. Spread on any peanut butter sandwich, toast or muffin; or use as a filling in chocolate cakes or on ice cream. A true taste sensation. (Summer Kitchen Website Product Information)

Chili Lime Peanuts: As a host you will rise to the occasion. This addictive combination makes it difficult to stop at the first mouthful. Bring out this desirable snack food at any informal gathering or add crunch to stir-fries and/or salads. (Summer Kitchen Website Product Information)

Simply Shallot Dressing: With its edgy shallot makes this dressing sing! Its simple fresh flavours make it equally delicious for potato salad, salad greens or for marinating meats and fish. (Summer Kitchen Website Product Information)

Surf & Turf Grilling Sauce: Get the sparks flying with Surf & Turf Grilling Sauce. For use on or off the fire, it transforms plain vegetables, stir-fries, and grilled meats or seafood into tantalizing dishes. (Summer Kitchen Website Product Information)

Gone Fishing Seafood Rub: A refreshingly subtle flavoured rub ideal for fish and seafood. Give your fish or seafood a good douse of wine, or a generous squeeze of lemon and apply the rub to it and cook. (Summer Kitchen Website Product Information)

photo credits: my images & summer kitchen website