Sunday, December 26, 2010


With non-stop Christmas festivities I have been a little lacking on the posting lately, sorry!

Just a quick MERRY CHRISTMAS message to all my readers!!

Have fun boxing day shopping for those braving the malls!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Last night I was watching Food Networks “Best Thing I Ever Ate: Christmas Special.” This show is a bit different than the typical Food Network shows as it has the chefs telling us where they like to eat and the best thing they ever ate (each episode changes it could be chocolate dish, appetizer, eggs etc). So last night was the Christmas special and Giada de Laurentiis, Food Network’s Italian beauty was talking about her Christmas staple – panettone. Panettone is a traditional Christmas & New Year sweet bread loaf that originated in Milan. It is enjoyed in Italy, Malta, Brazil, Switzerland, and South America, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. It truly is a Christmas dinner staple. Giada regaled us of what panettone meant to her, but she also told us that instead of making this difficult cake she likes to head to Emporio Rulli in California for this “blissful” dessert.

According to Rulli, their panettone recipe is a century old recipe handed down to Chef Rulli during his apprenticeship in Italy. The knowledge and technique needed to make this 16th century leavened cake from Milan has been passed down from panettone maestri to their apprentices for generations! The cake is made up of fine wheat flour, creamery butter, egg yolks, golden raisins and Italian candied orange peels. There is a 50% butter to flour ration, it is soft, flakey, butter and delicious! The cake is about 12-15cm high, and when removed from the oven is hung upside to ensure that it doesn’t collapse! The “proofing process” ensures that this cake maintains its distinctive fluffy characteristics! (Proofing process means letting the dough rise high enough in order to get the height on the cake. The whole process takes 5 hours!!)

This yummy Italian dessert is one that our neighbours have given us every year at Christmas and something I always look forward too. Perfect with a cup of coffee or espresso, or even turned into a bread pudding, panettone is a wonderful Christmas dessert!

photo credit: google images


The Winterlicious 2011 restaurant names and menus are finally up!

Winterlicious is: "Toronto's favourite winter gastronomic celebration again offers TWO popular programs for you to savour. Discover new favourite restaurants by sampling mouth watering three-course prix fixe menus at 150 of Toronto's top restaurants. Food gurus will want to explore the culinary event series of 14 unique foodie experiences featuring diverse cuisine and notable chefs. Just in time for holiday gift-giving, culinary event tickets go on sale December 16, 2010"

Check out their main site and scope out where you want to head this Jan/Feb.

Reservations will begin to be accepted on January 13th, but if you have an AMEX you can call on either the 11th or 12th for early booking reservations!

photo credit: winterlicious

Monday, December 20, 2010


The ugly Christmas sweater parties we have all been to would not be complete without the spiked eggnog! A traditional holiday drink turned commercial has taken over the #1 place for holiday drinks! Variations of the drink are seen everywhere now, eggnog lattes from Starbucks, eggnog pudding, custard etc from chefs around town, its everywhere!

When I was younger around Christmas the family would always have out the eggnog and I just remember thinking how horrid it looked and that there was noooo chance I would be trying that stuff! It wasn’t until last year that I finally tried, and then loved the eggnog! But I mean how could you not, cream + eggs + cinnamon + nutmeg, hellooo!

Eggnog is actually said to have originated in Medieval England. There are two theories behind the drinks name. The first, “nog” is said to stem from the term “noggin” – a Middle English term used to describe a small, carved wooden mug used to serve alcohol. The second is that eggnog derived from the term “egg and grog”, a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. It was eventually shortened to “egg’n’grog” and then “eggnog.” Eggnog is said to have made its way across the pond in the 18th century.

Here is a recipe for a quick and easy eggnog you can make at home, from Alton Brown of the Food Network.

Ingredients: Yields 6-7 cups

- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 pint whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces bourbon (but here I would use rum instead!)
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 egg whites*

- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.

Cook's Note: For cooked eggnog, follow procedure below:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and set in the refrigerator to chill.
- In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture


Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly refrigerated, clean grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

photo credit: google images

Friday, December 17, 2010


Mashed potatoes are usually the go-to potato side dish of choice, but approaching the holidays I wanted to share with you a great roasted potato dish that is sure to wow your family and guests! A few weeks ago we were at my cousin’s birthday dinner and my aunt made this lovely dish, I completely forgot to share with you – but here I am now, and how timely with the holiday season.

The recipe is roasted fingerling potato salad with watercress and horseradish dressing. The thing I love about this dish is that the potatoes are wonderfully roasted with good kosher salt and pepper, giving them a great exterior texture and crunch, but the dish overall remains light not heavy, like potatoes usually are. The watercress gives it a nice airy sort of feel and the horseradish in the dressing gives the dish a nice bite. I love horseradish, but I know a lot of the time it is too strong for some – this is great as the dressing has sour cream and red wine vinegar to cut that typical harshness found in pure horseradish. Fingerling potatoes are really cool in texture and shape, quite different then a baking potato. They give the dish some life and they are really just a fun looking food, that looks great on a plate!

Roasted Fingerling Potato Salad with Watercress and Horseradish Dressing (serves 4)
From Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm (by Jeff Crump & Bettina Schormann)

- 2 lbs fingerling potatoes (make sure to scrub them)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp dry white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tsp salt (kosher or sea salt if you prefer)
- 2 bunches watercress

- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp freshly grated horseradish root
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Toss potatoes in oil, wine, thyme and salt
- Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until very tender (about 40 minutes)
- Prepare dressing: whish together oil, sour cream, vinegar, horseradish, season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add warm potatoes to dressing and toss to coat
- Top with watercress.

photo credit: my own and google images

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Jamie Kennedy. If you are Canadian and love food you have to know who this man is. A Canadian culinary star, Jamie Kennedy has been a large part of the food scene in Toronto (and Canada) for years, running a slew of restaurants, starting with Palmerston's. (He now does catering too, so if you are looking for someone fabulous for a special event check him out!) Two of my siblings are home for the holidays, so for a fun Christmas treat, the three of us and my dad decided to go out for lunch! My dad had been here before and knows how much I adore new places so he decided to take us to Jamie’s Gilead Cafe + Bistro.

Tucked down a little street in Toronto’s Corktown, you are walking into a café full of passion, Canadian flare and love for local and delicious food. The atmosphere is extremely cozy and inviting, I really just didn’t want to leave! At night the place is transformed into an intimate dining room, a perfect place for two or for a fun smaller group party. There is no menu – it is only written on the chalkboard, and the specials change daily depending on local produce. The food is seasonal local modern Canadian cuisine with French influence.

The food is fun, bistro rustic lunchtime (which I’m sure is converted perfectly for brunch and dinner) fare, from the typical crispy JK frites to a beautiful Ploughman’s lunch with house made pâtés and Niagara Gold cheese. The food is simple yet complex all at the same time, leaving you wanting more. With the café walls covered in jarred to-go preserves, beautiful loaves on rustic breads on display and a bounty of cheeses, pâtés and desserts on the counter, I think it is impossible to leave there empty handed. With a dinner party on the Sunday night horizon, I was thinking appetizers. I walked away with a great circle loaf of bread, the Niagara gold cheese and a great pâté Oh and I also had to have a jar of the beet soup – the vibrant fuscia colour was seriously calling my name, and I do love beets.

Our lunch menu yesterday consisted of quite a few sharing plates. A simple winter salad, the Ploughman’s lunch filled with cheese, pâtés grainy mustard, pickles and fresh bread, and the “special” poutine – JK frites with cheese curds and then pulled pork and cider vinegar. I also had the celeriac soup, so winter, so rustic, SO delicious. Nothing is better then a warming soup on a cold December day and this one just hit the spot.

So if you are looking for a cozy, cool and food loving place for dinner, lunch or brunch, Gilead Cafe is for you. The atmosphere alone is enough to keep you going back, and with Jamie in house frequently – who doesn’t want to see Canada’s all-star chef in action?!

Jamie Kennedy et moi!

Gilead Cafe and Bistro
4 Gilead Place
Toronto, ON M5A 3C9
(647) 288-0680

photo credit: my own

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Hello readers! I have some exciting news....I am now a contributer on the website Food Trotter: Travelling the World on a Full Stomach. I will be writing articles for them about once a month about travel as it relates to food.

"Food Trotter is dedicated to discovering the cultural wealth of the world through global food exploration. We aim to promote cultural diversity and understanding, bringing the world closer together and affecting positive change one dish at a time."
Check out my first article: A Food Trip to Greece – Emma’s Greek Food for Beginners

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Chipotle Mexican Grills are popping up all over the place, and with a million dollar donation pledge to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution I have a feeling they are going to just soar! Chipotle Mexican Grill started out as a little Mexican joint by Steve their CEO in Denver, Colorado 1993. It has seriously evolved and is now located across the United States and starting to take rise in Canada.

Chipotle is truly amazing “fast food”. Their motto? Food with Integrity. “Our commitment to finding the very best ingredients raised with respect for the animals, the environment and the farmers.” What a great foundation this is in today’s food world. It is this motto that is truly separating them apart from the pack. Chipotle uses sustainably raised food, meat from animals raised without antibiotics or added hormones, and dairy from cows raised without use of synthetic hormones. They are using real meat and fresh locally and organic sourced ingredients! Now that is what I am talking about!

Chipotle offers a variety of Mexican delights: burritos, burrito bowl, crispy tacos, soft tacos and a Mexican salad. Toppings include cilantro-lime rice, black beans, fresh guac, sour cream, 4 different types of salsa, a corn salsa, lettuce, “fajita” onions and peppers with your choice of meats: braised carnitas or barbacoa or adobo-marinated and grilled chicken or steak, and chipotle-honey vinaigrette for the salads.

Chipotle really is delicious and fresh fast food. I know, who would have thought the word “fast food” would be in a sentence like that. But check it out, you won’t be disappointed! Locations in Toronto are at Yonge & Eglinton and Yonge & Dundas. Check them out online at

photo credit:

Monday, December 13, 2010


Simple Bistro is delicately perfect. A favourite French Bistro of my mum’s, we went here this weekend for a Sunday brunch. French Bistro’s are a plenty in Toronto but Simple Bistro does it so well, giving the feeling of eating in the streets of Paris at a cozy bistro with some light bites of French classics such as egg, cheese, pear and vinaigrettes. 

Located on the Mt. Pleasant strip Simple Bistro is neighbours to quite a few French food eats. With a simple exterior of black with “Simple Bistro” in plain black type across the front on a beige strip, it just looks charming and inviting. Once inside, the bistro is simple. Wooden tables and chairs accompanied by a mulled red seat cushion, the place just has that charming bistro-feel.  After too much chatter and a few glasses of wine we finally got to the menu! And what a tough decision it was, each dish just sounded perfect in its own way, and it was so tough to decide between a favourite egg brunch or a lovely steak frites. Three of us decided on the crèpe du jour, filled with mushrooms, truffled scrambled eggs and chèvre. Truffles, mushrooms, chèvre….need I say more??

My mum had the quintessential steak frites. A beautiful piece of striploin cooked rare with horseradish butter, red wine jus, frites and chipotle mayonnaise. Every component of this just worked numbers together. The horseradish butter was a great twist from a typical herbed butter and the red wine jus was a perfect softening agent for the crispy bistro frites which were then luckily submerged into a chipotle wonder.

And to start off the meal we all split a “Winter Salad” of Belgian endive, raisins, walnuts, Benedictine Blue cheese (Quebec's answer to Stilton), and pear with a cassis vinaigrette. I have never had such crisp endive that held its shape just right.

Each of the plates we were presented just screamed bistro elegance. For a lovely brunch, lunch or dinner á la French bistro head to Simple Bistro, un bijou dans la coeur de Mt. Pleasant (a gem in the heart of the Mt Pleasant strip)!!

Simple Bistro
619 Mount Pleasant Road
Toronto, ON M4S 2M5
(416) 483-8933

photo credit: my own &


I had quite a few culinary adventures this weekend, and have been searching around the internet today for Christmas lunch places and I keep coming across the words “red fife.” I finally looked it up after not knowing what it was all weekend. So if you have ever seen this on a menu, you now know what it is!

Red Fife is a bread wheat, Canada’s oldest to be exact. It was introduced by David Fife and his family who began growing it on his farm in 1842 in Peterborough, Ontario. The kernel was red and Fife was the name of the farmer which is how the name came to be. This procedure for naming the wheat was typical during this time period. Red Fife is renowed as a fine milling and baking wheat and set Canadian wheat standards for more than 40 years.

One legend states that a load of wheat grown in Ukraine was on a ship in the Glasgow harbour. A friend of Farmer Fife dropped his hat into the red-coloured wheat, collecting a few seeds in the hatband, which he then shipped off to Farmer Fife. The wheat grew. The family cow managed to eat all the wheat heads except for one, which Mrs Fife salvaged. This was the beginning of Red Fife wheat in Canada.
eg., Jamie Kennedy’s Gilead Bistro serves “Red Fife Sourdough Bread and Butter”

Now that you know what Red Fife is I am sure you will start noticing it more often - this is always how it happens! Enjoy Canada's finest wheat!

photo credit: google images

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I love the Toronto Life - especially for posts like this.

14 edible present ideas for holiday gifts. They have a handful of great selections, like ordering a Poilâne-style miche. A heart loaf of bread based on the world-renowed Poilâne bakery is Paris. (Holt Renfew flies in this bread daily from Paris for their "tartines" on their cafe menu).

Or like a "O crostoli tree" - a four tiered Venetian dessert delicacy maked of thick flaky pastries (flavours of vanilla, raspberry, cinnamon and chocolate) dusted with icing sugar.

For more on these great gift ideas check out:

photo credit: Renée Suen via Toronto Life


Thanks to everyone who commented on discussion day! We had some really great answers and it was so fun to hear all of your holiday stories. If you haven't commented yet - go for it!

More blogging to come later today!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Hello my lovely readers! Emma's Eatery is going to try out something new, a DISCUSSION DAY- once a month. I really want to get some connection and chatter going on here on my blog. I get so much feedback verbally but I would love to hear what you have to say and to help encourage you to start a discussion among fellow readers, sharing your own ideas, not just mine!

So please take a minute to comment or share your thoughts on today's discussion day.

Today's discussion question:

Holiday's are special and different for everyone. How does food play a role in making your holidays special? Is it the preparation of food? Enjoying it with your family? Sharing it with friends? etc. Share your favourite stories, recipes or ideas here!

Let me know and let your fellow blog readers learn a thing or two from you!


For all you baking gift givers out there, President's Choice has launched a perfect gift wrap tin for baked goods. The Baker's Gift Loaf Pan includes six good looking cardboard loaf pans lined with silicone coated paper (meaning they can go into an oven up to 390 fahrenheit) and a festive red ribbon.

Simplicity at its finest: you can bake your loaf in the pan, let it cool and then tie a pretty bow around it and voila! A perfect holiday or hostess/host gift ready to go from your oven to their hands!
$9.99 from President's Choice

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Looking for a great gift this holiday season, or even just a fabulous coffee table book – look no further than Rene Redzep’s Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine. Voted one of the top ten new best cookbooks this year, Noma is certainly making noise for itself. The Globe Mail said of the book: “the most stunning, interesting, thoughtful cookbook most foodies will never cook from.” Which is why it brings me to offering this book up as something for the coffee table as the book is filled with jaw-dropping photos of each dish/

Redzepi has been widely talked about for his way to re-invent Nordic cuisine. His Copenhagen restaurant, Noma was recently recognized as the best in the world by San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards 2010. Redzepi uses his edge of gourmet cuisine, his unrelenting creativity, remarkable level of craftsmanship and complete knowledge of his Nordic produce to create such masterpieces. He previously worked at elBulli and the French Laundry – so you know he must be good. The book features nine different essays describing Redzepi’s relationship with his restaurant’s closest collaborators and local producers.

His exquisite concoctions along with his unique ingredients, local suppliers and beautiful landscapes of the Nordic region bring a wonderful new element to cooking and subsequently the way one reads and admires a cookbook.

photo credit: google images

Monday, December 6, 2010


What better sent to remind you of the holidays than cinnamon! Cinnamon buns, apple cider, dessert, donuts and tea – perfect ways to incorporate cinnamon into every day cooking - especially at Christmas!

Cinnamon is a spice that is taken from the inner bark of several trees in the genus cinnamomum. The trees are native to South East Asia and take back to 2800 BC. The largest producer of cinnamon today is Sri Lanka who accounts for about 90% of the world’s cinnamon! Harvesting cinnamon is kind of cool – the trees are grown for two years then coppiced (tree is cut down to near ground level to encourage new shoots to be produced). Dozens of new shoots will form from the roots and then the branches are processed by scrapping the outer bark off, beating the branch evenly with a hammer to loosen the inner bark. The inner bark is then pried out into long roles, only the inner bark is used as it is the thinnest part, the bark can also only be processed when still wet!

There are a few varieties of cinnamon out there today:
Cinnamomum verum – “true cinnamon” from Sri Lanka
Cinnamomum burmanni – Indonesian cinnamon
Cinamomum loureiroi – Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon
Cinamomum aromaticum – Cassia or Chinese cinnamon

Nothing beats walking into a house of a snowy day to the warming and soothing sent of cinnamon. Pure coziness and warmth is what cinnamon is to me!

Here are some fun ways to incorporate cinnamon into your cooking other than the typical cinnamon buns!

Cinnamon Honey Butter by Ina Garten
A lovely spread for toast in the morning, brioche, pancakes, scones or even as a rub for a chicken breast!

- 1/4 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons good honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

- Combine the butter, honey, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 3/4 of a cup

Spiced Apple Cider by Food Network Canada


- 2 liters apple cider
- 4 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 cloves
- pinch nutmeg, ground
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole star anise

- Place apple cider and spices in a large pot over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil an allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Ladel Spiced Apple Cider between four mugs.
- Place 1 cinnamon stick and 1 whole star anise in each mug.

Note – This Spiced Apple Cider can be refrigerated and enjoyed cold as well!

photo credit: food network canada & google images