As the saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention. I feel like there are millions of ways to prove this old adage true, but none more true than the desperate moment when a friend approaches you at your own party and says, with a grave look in his eye, “You’re out of punch.” This happened. This is a true story. And he was right, the punch bowl was dry. Immediately we set to work, tipsy ourselves, and crafted a delicious drink primarily from two seemingly disparate ingredients: whiskey and red wine.
Stay with me. It was delicious, I promise.
Now, since that particular December evening (it was at last year’s annual Holiday Open House), I have thought about that sweet, tart, potent drink many times. Like most delicious things, perhaps more so than many, drinks can easily adapt to suit the season or what you have on hand. In this case, that made up punch has since been transformed into an ice cold summer drink full of boozy fruit and optional bubbles. Continue Reading →
I did something wild, guys – I juiced an entire 12 lb watermelon in my blender.
In my tiny kitchen.
It was mayhem but I lived to tell the tale and the Watermelon Basil Coolers that were borne of that sticky afternoon were worth every drop.
Firstly, cutting a watermelon is messy business; they are obviously juicy and made mostly of water, but given the minuscule amount of counter space and patience that I have, I’m not sure what I was thinking. No sooner had I quartered it, I realized how much watermelon and flesh, and ultimately juice, I was dealing with. I cubed it up and blended 4 batches of deep pink, pulpy juice. As it whizzed around in the blender I helped myself to the remains and cleaned all the pink from the rinds and thought about how sticky the kitchen was. But how amazing is this: that one watermelon yielded almost 4 litres of juice!
This begs the question: what does one do with nearly a gallon of fresh watermelon juice?
If you’re me, you add vodka. So that’s exactly what I did. Continue Reading →
At our house that means that time is at a premium in a way that is unlike any other time of year. Trips to the cabin, beach days, BBQs, after dinner swims, the list goes on and on. I find that summer gets us up earlier and into bed later, but somehow there’s no extra time – just more fun packed into long sunny days. How we cook and eat in the summer is the most ideal: fast, easy, fresh. Really, it’s an inspiration for the rest of the year, but there is no busier, fresher and lower maintenance time of year to cook and eat than the summer months. I’m loving sangrias and smoothies these days, and almost anything if it’s in sandwich form – I want that speed, big flavor and the potential for portability, in case plans change, or crop up, and the meal needs to move with you. One thing I’m really digging is the resurgence in popularity of the banh mi, or Vietnamese Sandwich, affectionately called ‘Nam Subs around here. They are a perfect storm of flavor and texture and they can be re-interpreted to suit your taste or what you have on hand.
What does that mean? A Strawberry Recipe Round Up, of course! If your house is anything like my house this means that strawberries are in every smoothie, packed into lunches, sliced on yogurt or oatmeal, baked into EVERYTHING and almost always dolloped with soft mountains of whipping cream. Here are seven of my favourite strawberry recipes, each a berry-filled celebration of spring. Welcome to our Strawberry Recipe Round Up!
There’s Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake , an ideal pairing with a cup of coffee, possibly even better with tea, this snack time treat has all the hallmarks of a classic coffee cake and gets its great flavor and moistness from the double fruit combo of strawberries and rhubarb.
Tall, moist and perfectly sweet with juicy berry bits, Strawberry Banana Bread bakes up beautifully in a Bundt pan for a pretty presentation.
I’d be very happy if my lifestyle, waistline and conscience allowed me to bake a pie a day. Okay, maybe a pie a week. I really enjoy the process of stirring together aromatic fillings, paring fruit, making and rolling pastry and then assembling it all into a beautiful, edible object. It’s no secret I like my pies rustic. Continue Reading →
Creativity is a funny thing. It seems, so often, to have a mind of its own, like a wild creature you can’t pin down and even if you bait it with inspiration and woo it with promises of productivity it can scuttle away just as you think it is within your reach. When I was in art school I had a frustratingly brilliant professor who told us, quite bluntly, that none of us were creative and that the very concept of creativity is nothing more than a construction of ego: we hold onto the idea of being creative because it makes us feel special, unique, to know that we have created something. What he was trying to do was make us understand that our own creativity does in fact exist, it just doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We don’t create anything without the influence of things that have come before us. Even the most innovative ideas are based on something else, or at the very least they are based on things they are not. I find recipe development very much a creative process, but that means accepting that there is a whole international history of food that has come before my idea, and in most cases, what I am making has been done before. How could that not be so? For almost long as there have been people, there has been cooking. There is nothing earth shattering and unique about this Asparagus Tart but it is simple, spring-flavoured and special. Continue Reading →