Wednesday, April 20, 2011


So the other night with my banoffee pie for dessert, one of my side dishes was a roasted beet salad! This past weekend we went out for dinner to Scaramouche and one of the starter's was a roasted beet salad with goat cheese, so from this delicious appetizer, I was inspired! This salad is so simple and a great alternative to a classic green salad. Beets have a really sweet natural flavour to them, making it a tasty treat for those kids who don't like leafy greens! The basis of the dressing, red wine vinegar, dijon and tarragon are a natural combination, and a perfect light dressing for the beets.

Roasted Beet Salad with Tarragon

- Large red beets (depends on how many people you are having, at least 1 medium size beet per person)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 3 sprigs of tarragon

- Wash beets. Set oven to 400degrees F
- Place on a layer on aluminum foil and mix olive oil salt and pepper around with the beets to cover them. Then take foil and mold it into a tent shape (in order to both steam and bake the beets at the same time)
- Place beets in oven for 45minutes to an hour, or until for tender.
- Remove from oven and peel (you may want to wear gloves when doing this as beets do stain a bit!)
- Slice into rounds.
- Whisk dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper together until emuslified. Mix in the tarragon leaves (you may chop them if you wish but I like the look at the leaf in tact)
- Toss beets in the vinaigrette and let rest until serving.
- This salad may be served warm or cold. ENJOY!

photo credit: my sister, nora b.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I have been dying to try out Chuck Hughes' Banoffee Pie and tonight I finally made it. The bottom layer of the pie is ground up Oreo's and melted butter, followed by caramel, bananas and whipping cream. Could it sound more heavenly?! I however stray a bit from Chuck's recipe, as instead of using boiled evaporated milk as the caramel, I made my own caramel. (Which for those of you who don't know, is SUPER easy and takes legitimately 10 minuets max!) This dessert was so great, fun to make, and a total hit with my family tonight! Give it a try!

Banoffee Pie
Serves 4


- 20
Oreo cookies
- 1/4
cup butter, melted (60 ml)
- 1
can of condensed milk (300 ml)
** ( Instead of this I made my own caramel. To do that: dissolve one cup of sugar into 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil on med-high heat stirring occasionally (5-7 minutes max). Once you reach a medium brown colour add in 1/3 cup of cream and thicken on low heat for about 2 minutes. Finish with a splash of vanilla and cool.)
- 2
ripe bananas, sliced

- Juice of 1 lemon

- 2
cups 35 % cream (500 ml)
(I used whipping cream instead)
- 1/4
cup icing sugar (60 ml)

- 2
tablespoons strong coffee (30 ml) 


- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C).

- In a food processor, add the cookies and process until it becomes a crumb like mixture. Add butter and process again. Set aside.

- Meanwhile, take the condensed milk can and place it in an oven-proof stockpot filled with water. DO NOT OPEN THE CAN. Make sure the can is constantly covered in water. Bake in the oven for 3 ½ hours. Remove, let cool, open and set aside.

- In a bowl, mix the bananas with lemon juice. Set aside.

- Whip the cream with icing sugar and coffee in another bowl until soft peaks form.

To serve: Using a round 4 inch mold directly on the serving plate, put a layer of the cookie mixture, then the slices of bananas, cover with the condensed milk (now toffee) and repeat the layers. Remove the mold and garnish with a dollop of cream. (I just used a regular circle cake mold as my cake was for a family of 8!) 


photo credit: my sissy


My mom was having a dinner party this weekend so I offered up my help, and one of the dishes I though to make were tomato/basil/bocconcini skewers. These hors d'oeurves are beyond cute and extremely tasty! So easy to make, with basically no prep time involved, these are perfect for the stressed dinner party host!

Tomato Basil Bocconcini Skewers
To serve 8 people
- 16-20 bocconcini balls
- 16-20 baby tomatoes
- 1 basil leave per skewer
- salt and pepper
- olive oil to drizzle over top
- 16-20 mini wooden skewers

- Season bocconcini balls with salt and pepper
- To assemble place half of the basil leave then tomato on the skewer, then the rest of the basil leave and finish with the bocconcini ball (refer to image)
- Drizzle the skewers with olive oil and let rest before serving in order for the flavours to marry.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Today in our Banquet & Production class, one of the foods we made was Fennel Gratin. I truly love fennel, and I find it so underused! Today just reaffirmed my need to get fennel back into my cooking program! As my classmate Kyle put it, fennel is like "licorice celery." Fennel is known for its licorice-y flavour, but fennel is also a bit of a tougher vegetable that needs to be braised or cooked slowly and for longer times in order to soften it right up.

Today’s recipe could not have been more simple - only 5 ingredients! A perfect side dish and one that is sure to wow anyone you have over for dinner.

Fennel Gratin
Total time: 1:20 minutes

- Fennel bulbs (1 will serve two people, or you can serve one per person depending on how large the bulbs are)
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup vegetable stock (chicken will be fine too)
- softened butter

- Heat oven to 350 degrees F
- Remove the leaf part of the fennel bulbs and split in half. Cut fennel into strips but maintain the shape of the fennel (this is a bit tricky to explain, but look at the picture for clarification. When putting the “half fennel bulb” in the baking tray, it maintains it shape and does not look like it has even been cut up)
- In a roasting pan with high sides, smear the butter all along the bottom so that it covers the pan.
- Add in the fennel bulbs with each half laying flat on the bottom of the pan side by side.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover midway up the fennel with the stock.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 45-60 minutes.
- Remove the aluminum foil, and sprinkle the cheese so that it covers the fennel.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve warm

photo credit: my own

Friday, April 8, 2011


Back in the winter I talked about my top five winter ingredients and ways in which to use them. So here are my favourites for Spring, and what I am looking forward to stocking up on! Knowing 5 ingredients like this is great as sometimes just being able to focus in on a few key items helps can really help in meal planning and recipe searching!

1) Peas
I love peas! They are just to me the epitome of springtime, with their fresh taste, vibrant green colour and sweet flavour. They are a great ingredient for many different dishes; soups, pastas, side dishes. Quite versatile and extremely inexpensive, peas are a great go-to for the spring.
- Sweet pea risotto
- Crostini with mushed sweet peas and lemon ricotta
- Pea soup

2) Asparagus
I don't think there is one vegetable I truly couldn't live without other than asparagus. Such a great flavour, and to me a good looking vegetable. It always looks good on a plate and can really make a dish look pretty and rustic. Great on their own, with natural flavours of olive oil, salt and pepper or one of my favourite ways, with eggs in a frittata. They also could accompany any meat dish you serve!
- Roasted asparagus
- Asparagus frittata

3) Lemon
I am obsessed with lemons these days. Their tart flavour, versatility and bright colour just draw me in! A great springtime flavour, you will be sure to love this ingredient. It can be in salad dressings, in desserts, freshly squeezed
- Meyer Lemon tart
- Lemon ricotta for a crostini (basically this is a light and fluffy spread that can go on a crostini, delicious on its own or with crushed peas on top, this is a great springtime dish. To assemble just mix 1/2 ricotta with 2 tbsp lemon juice, some lemon zest, salt and pepper. For a deeper lemon flavour continue adding lemon juice to the mix)

4) Mint
I keep repeating how "fresh" flavour all of these ingredients are, and I guess the word fresh is just what I think of as necessary for Springtime. Mint is another one of those ingredients. After using it in my lab at school this week I rediscovered my love for mint! Beautiful as a garnish!
- Mint sauce for lamb chops
- Mojito (Cuban drink with fresh mint crushed into it)
- Two ingredient combo: pea soup with mint (also mint as a garnish for this)

5) Honeydew melon 
Honeydew for me just brings back the memories. In high school, everyday after school my mom would have a fruit platter waiting for us, and springtime meant copious amounts of honeydew, that is definitely part of the reason I adore honeydew. A great fruit, with a smooth texture and extremely sweet flavour, kids will gobble this one off their plates!
- Cold melon soup
- Melon wrapped with prosciutto
- Cut up on a fruit tray

Happy Spring!!

photo credit: google images

Monday, April 4, 2011


My newest post for the other place I write, Food Trotter, is up!

Check it out, on my adventures at my beloved Eataly in NYC!!