Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Last week I catered an event for the Writer's Trust of Canada. It was a literary salon with David Chilton (the author of the ever famous The Wealthy Barber) for a crowd of young adults & friends.

I was asked to do the event as it was all about the twenty-year-olds. The event was hosted by two friends and recent university grads, and so that is how I came to participate on that evening. It was quite an amazing night, and very special to hear David Chilton talk about life, the book, and what it's like to be Canada's newest Dragon on "Dragon's Den."

There happened to be a writer from MacLean's Magazine in attendance that night - and I luckily had the chance to chat with her about my new catering business venture. Check out the article from Jessica Allen, and read a little bit about Emma's Eatery and the appetizers that night!


One of the three appetizers: mini pulled pork with coleslaw on a mini ciabatta


This is probably going to be the first post I have ever written for Emma's Eatery where I am not talking about food, just life...but here it goes!

I honestly can't believe where the time goes, and let me tell you why:

A year ago today I was just starting my second semester at George Brown. A summer semester filled with 7am labs, long days, brutally hot cooking classes, and a hunger for more food knowledge. It was an exhausting summer but by the end of it I still felt that I had so much to learn. Then came September, which brought on my internship at BUCA, which eventually led to a my part time job! I could never have imagined how much I would learn at BUCA, even about things that were completely unrelated to my station - such as how to make a perfect pasta dough.

I sit here today, basically a year later from the start of my second semester of culinary school. I have just begun a new adventure, starting my own catering company, and I am happily getting to be quite busy. I feel confident in my skills & knowledge, although I know I will always be wanting to learn and know more. My life has completely changed from the student days of last summer to dealing with paperwork, taxes, client relations, and the logistics of serving good food all over the city.

I am so happy that I took the plunge into this crazy catering world. Last week I had a day that started at 7am and wrapped up at 1:30 am. And as ridiculous as it sounds, I loved every minute of it - and it didn't even feel like work. After a day like that I wholeheartedly know I have made the right decision to follow my passion and take my love for food to the next level!

Thank you to all my blog readers & supporters for the countless words and messages of support. They all really do keep me going!!

And for more on my catering services, take a peek at Emma's Eatery Catering Website.

Monday, May 28, 2012


With the recent launch of my own catering business, I have found that clients are constantly having breakfast meetings! For a breakfast I offer scones, bagels & muffins (with fruits, jams, and then of course you can always include homemade granola and yoghurt) - but to make sure that I am not repetitive I like to switch up my scones recipes & flavours.

This weeks batch is from Trish Magwoods "In My Mother's Kitchen." After last week and being on set with Trish, I knew I wanted to cook out of her book. The recipe is dead simple and so delicious. The buttermilk gives the scone a nice tangy flavour without being overpowered by acridity (as you would be if you used a lemon for example). The scones are rich & creamy, something luxurious to bite into first thing in the morning. Trust me. Make these.

Cranberry & Apricot Buttermilk Scones

- 3 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup cold butter, cubes
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup buttermilk plus 1 tbsp for brushing
- 1/4 cup rock sugar, for dusting

- Preheat oven to 375 & line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add butter and pulse just until mixture resembles coarse meal, leaving a few pea-sized pieces of butter.
- Pour into a bowl. Using a fork, stir in apricots and cranberries until mixed throughout. Stir in buttermilk just until incorporated. Do not over-mix.
- Gather dough into a ball until it just holds together. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead

- Press into a circle about 2 cm thick. Cut into 8 triangles (or circles like I did). Transfer to prepared cookie sheet. Brush tops with buttermilk & sprinkle with sugar.

- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden, serve warm

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Last week I had the absolute pleasure of working on set with Trish Magwood!

Trish is a Chef, Cookbook Author, James Beard Award Winner & host of Food Network's Party dish. She previously owned dish cooking studio in Toronto where she ran a full scale catering company, a boutique kitchen store, hosted cooking classes and ran the gourmet cafe. She is definitely a culinary icon & legend on Toronto's food scene and someone I really look up to.

Last year she launched her newest cookbook, "In My Mother's Kitchen." A beautiful cookbook filled with recipes from three generations all about simple family food - making life easier for the modern cook! The recipes are simple, fast and delicious. One of my favourites is picture below and names "roasted reds" a twist on a tomato side dish, brought to life with beautiful radishes & herbs.

Trish's newest adventure is in creating APPS. Two to three minute videos with recipes, entertaining tips & ideas, and "gifts from your home" ideas.

Last week I helped Trish on her film set for these videos, we filmed I think about 45 in total! The APP will be called "Trish's Kitchen." I wanted to share some of the pictures I took during my week on set for a sneak peak of what to expect from Trish's Kitchen! I can't wait to see the finished product, and will keep you all informed for the expected release date.

For more on Trish Magwood visit www.trishmagwood.ca or follow her on Twitter @trishmagwood

Entertaining Ideas "Outdoor Bar Set Up"

Entertaining Ideas "A centrepiece that doubles as a herb box"

Recipes & BBQ tips "Flank Steak & Ribeye - wet & dry marinades"

Recipes "Rosemary Bread Boule"

Recipes "Simple Sole Meuniere"

Friday, May 18, 2012


My favourite weekend is here! Nothing beats the start up of summer like a beautiful weekend at the lake! A tradition for years, I am really looking forward to getting up north, soaking in some sun and cooking up a few tasty treats with an all Canadiana theme!

view from the dock!

I thought I would share with you my May Long weekend top three picks to have on hand!

1. Fresh Pies: nothing says summer to me like a pie! Whether it is store bought up north using local ingredients or you make it from scratch, a pie is a perfect dessert for a cottage night. With a few scoops of Kawartha Dairy vanilla ice cream and a warmed pie, how can you go wrong??

my blueberry & apple pies

For those of you really going all out, here is a simple pie dough that produces an incredibly flaky crust! Happy Baking!

Yields: 9 inch pie crust (top & bottom layer, for just a bottom layer cut the recipe in half)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup cold lard or shortening
- 2 tbsp cold butter
- 4 tbsp cold water

- sift together flour & salt
- in another bowl combine and soften shortening and butter
- add half of the shortening mixture to the flour bowl and mix until the texture feels somewhat flakey
- add the remaining shortening mixture until you have a dough like consistency
- add the cold water and knead until you have formed a dough ball
- chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes
(note: when you roll out the dough you will probably need to add a little bit more water to get it going because it might be a bit dry and crumbly!)

2. Burgers: burgers are a family staple on our dock at lunchtime. I truly don't think I have ever spent a weekend at my dad's cottage where we didn't have burgers at least one of the weekend days! Homemade burgers are just the best. When making them at home you can keep them juicy and moist, and control the size and thickness! Buy a nice pack of buns from a bakery and you are all set to go!

Yields: 12 burgers
- 48 oz lean ground beef (4 oz / patty)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 small diced yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl. Portion into round 4 oz pattys. Grill or BBQ and enjoy!

3. Muffins: I love a good bacon & eggs breakfast, but sometimes I want something more and toast just doesn't cut it! Muffins are one of my favourites - and this banana recipe has been in the family a long time! They are so easy to assemble, quick to bake, and will leave your kitchen & cottage smelling delectable for those waking up! (tip: you can make the batter the night before to avoid waking up too early)

the middle are banana and to the right are carrot

Yields: 16-18 muffins
- 3 bananas mashed (its better if the bananas are getting brown and soft on their own)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 cup flour
- 1/3 cup melted butter

- mush the bananas in a bowl with the sugar
- in another bowl sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt
- melt butter
- add the flour mixture to the bananas and incorporate
- then add the melted butter and mix until all the lumps are gone
- bake at 375 for 20 minutes

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I follow Bonnie Stern on twitter which is what led me to this extremely cool article, 18 National Flags made from food that reflects the countries known food!

The Italian Flag: basil, spaghetti, tomatoes

The flags were originally designed for the Sydney International Food Festival by an advertising agency named WHYBIN/TBWA.

I think these flags are just genius, and the pictures are quite beautiful!

There is no Canadian flag represented here...but what do you think it would be made out of?!

For the rest of the flags from the festival check out this LINK

The United States: hot dogs & mac n' cheese

France: blue cheese, brie cheese, grapes

Great Britain: scones, devonshire cream & jam

Greece: feta & olives

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


When I first stared my George Brown Chef School program last January (2011), I had the pleasure of being taught by one of my favourite chefs, Chef Walker! Chef Walker has an incredible garden and would always share stories about what she had planted, or what was coming into season. With constant garden photos loaded up to Facebook, I was always in awe and jealous of not only the gorgeous produce but the incredible garden she had built!

I live in a condo, so that means no real garden for me. (One day though I will have a full fledged garden, that is a definite culinary challenge dream!) But after a beautiful mother's day Sunday at the Brickworks, my mom helped me to realize that this was the summer to finally get my mini garden going!!

I get so sick of buying large quantities of herbs at the grocery store (because as you probably all know, they don't come in smaller packages!) and throwing them out if I don't use the whole bunch in time. I also hate not having all types of herbs around because I never know what I will be making!

This summer that will all change! I have planted rosemary, basil, mint, thyme, Italian parsley and a beautiful pot of chives which will also bloom the gorgeous purple coloured chive flowers!

This really was so simple to do, buy the herbs from a local green grocer, along with a bag of dirt and away you go! Pot away, water and keep in the sun! Herbs all summer long! I am SO excited to cook with the bounty from my balcony!

Happy gardening and happy eating!!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


You really can never go wrong with beautiful tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, good quality olive oil and a sprinkle of maldon salt!

These ingredients truly perfect one of the most popular salads around - the tomato salad! These salads tend to be everywhere, especially at this time of year and I really am all for it!

You can really do whatever you like with the tomatoes, another great option is to roast them first (by baking at 350 for about half an hour with some olive oil, salt & pep). I really do like them when they are just sliced and drizzled with that lovely olive oil & balsamic goodness!

For a great, quick & entertaining type salad give this tomato salad a whirl!

Tomato Salad
Serves: 8

- 4 large beefstake tomatoes
- 1 ball mozzarella, hand pulled into pieces
- handful of basil leaves
- salt (I like Maldon salt best with tomatoes) & pepper
- good quality olive oil
- good quality balsamic vinegar

- Slice the tomatoes to the same width and arrange on a plate
- Season with salt & pepper
- Place the pulled mozzarella & basil on top of the tomatoes
- Drizzle with olive oil & balsamic
- Serve & enjoy!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I recently just stumbled across this event, don't know how I missed it but will certainly be purchasing a ticket to TORONTO TASTE!

Below is the announcement for what exactly Toronto Taste is! Check it out online at : http://www.torontotaste.ca/

Watch this preview with hosts Bob Blumer & Roger Mooking to get an idea of what Toronto Taste is all about!

Hope to see you all there!!

Toronto Taste is Sunday, May 27, 2012 at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Join us for the most coveted culinary event of the year - Toronto Taste! Indulge your senses in a gastronomic adventure showcasing over 60 of Toronto's top chefs and 30 beverage purveyors, all coming together to celebrate the love of food and support Second Harvest. One ticket to Toronto Taste will provide 250 meals to Torontonians in need and this year the event aims to raise enough funds to provide 700,000 meals for Toronto's hungry. Toronto Taste is presented by The Daniels Corporation.

On Sunday, May 27, 2012 join Second Harvest and 60 of Toronto's top restaurants and over 30 of Ontario's most prestigious beverage purveyors for the city's most coveted culinary event.

This year marks the 22nd annual Toronto Taste and we look forward to continuing to raise the bar of excellence. Since the first Toronto Taste in 1991 (then known as Taste of the Nation), Toronto Taste has netted over $4.3 million, enabling Second Harvest to provide food for over 8.6 million meals. 

Enjoy the unique opportunity to stroll down Queens Park and within the historic Royal Ontario Museum as you rub elbows with top chefs and sample the best dishes and drinks the city has to offer.

Bid on our crowd pleasing live, silent and fine wine auctions. Please visit torontotaste.ca for more information.

Our goal is to raise enough funds at Toronto Taste to rescue excess food and provide more than 700,000 meals!

Monday, May 7, 2012


I needed to find a second hors d'oeuvres for a catering event I was doing this weekend, and for some reason I was struggling! That was until I read about "Roasted Shrimp" in the Barefoot Contessa's cookbook. The idea to roast shrimp gave me the inspiration for my dish!

Ina's recipe started off by saying that she had never tried roast shrimp before, but how she loved that whenever she roasted something it tasted better, so why would that be any different with shrimp?! I have to say I was a bit skeptical because they were roasted simply, as per usual, with just olive oil, salt and pepper. Would they really be that special? Let me tell you - they were! I will never pan fry shrimp again after trying out this technique. The shrimp stayed moist and juicy, and the flavours one gets while roasting actually shone through!

So for the final plate I served roast shrimp with two different sauces. One was a jalapeño & cilantro mayonnaise and the second was my version of a cocktail sauce, made from ketchup, horseradish, hot sauce and lemon! Both sauces were really nice, the mayo full of refreshing flavours where the cocktail sauce kept the traditional shrimp flavour profiles!

Try them out at your next party, they were a definite crowd favourite!

Roast Shrimp:

Peel shrimp (you can take off the tail or leave it on, up to you!) toss in olive oil salt & pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Serve warm!

- 1 bag frozen shrimp (whatever size you like, I chose smaller ones because they fit perfectly onto these great cocktail forks I bought!)
- Olive oil
- Salt & Pepper

Jalapeño & Cilantro Mayo:

In a blender, mix ingredients until finely blended. Chill & Serve

- 1/2 cup mayo (I always use the one with olive oil)
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 lime, juiced
- salt and pepper

My Cocktail Sauce:

Mix ingredients all together in a bowl, chill & serve.

- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup horseradish
- few dashes of hot sauce
- juice of one lemon (and zest too if you want a more citrusy flavour!)
- salt and pepper

Friday, May 4, 2012


I have previously posted about banana cream pie, but now I have without a doubt found the best recipe for it, hence the title, "The Best Pie."

I made this dessert tonight for an event I was catering and it was a huge hit!

The secret to this recipe, there is mashed banana baked right into the crust, giving it a complex banana flavour throughout! The custard is rich and thick, but balances out perfectly with a fluffy whipping cream top!

Tonight I went all out with the pie and made homemade peanut butter ice cream to top it all off!

Banana Cream Pie
Serves 8-10

- 2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup sugar - can sub brown
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream 
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 ripe bananas (about 1 1/2 pounds total), peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

- Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and mashed banana in large bowl to blend. Add unsalted butter and stir to moisten evenly. Press onto bottom and up sides of 10-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Bake crust until set and pale golden, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.- Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to blend. Gradually whisk in whipping cream and whole milk, then egg yolks. - Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add vanilla bean. - Whisk over medium-high heat until custard thickens and boils, about 6 minutes. - Remove from heat. Whisk in unsalted butter and vanilla extract. Discard vanilla bean. Transfer custard to large bowl; cool completely, whisking occasionally, about 1 hour.- Spread 1 cup custard over bottom of prepared crust. Top with half of sliced bananas, then 1 cup custard, covering bananas completely. Repeat layering with remaining bananas and remaining custard. Chill banana cream pie until filling is set and crust softens slightly, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Cut pie into wedges and serve.