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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

It was Thursday before the long weekend and we all know what that means in my house…cocktails! And we all know I really don’t like serving cocktails without a little grub on the side. But I’ve been at work all day and haven’t really thought about it until now. I rummage through the freezer and find a little baggy with Smoked Salmon Horseradish Mousse that I made recently. This little appi is a re-invention of a the mousse which I blogged about in 2008 (no, the mousse is not THAT old ;-)!). I served it last night in little cucumber cups (you know, the mini cucumbers that are so darn adorable?)

Smoked Salmon Horseradish Mousse

I know what you're thinking, is that a fire back there? Why yes, it was a bit chilly that evening and we thought we'd have a lovely fire to keep us toasty!

an adaptation from Gourmet | November 1992
Serves 6 as a first course (freeze leftovers like I did).

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (I used yogurt cheese)
  • 2 ounces smoked salmon, chopped (about 1/3 cup), plus 6 ounces smoked salmon, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh horseradish, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill plus dill sprigs for garnish
  • 2 mini cucumbers, cut into 5 equal sized ‘cups’
  • 2 tsp red roe
  • 2 tsp chives, finely chopped

Directions:

  1. With a small melon baller or a sharp edged spoon, scoop out the middle part of the cucumber until about 2mm from all edges. Turn up-side-down on paper towel and allow to drain.
  2. In a small saucepan sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it soften for 1 minute.
  3. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring, until the gelatin is dissolved, add 1/4 cup of the yogurt cheese, and cook the mixture, whisking, until it is smooth.
  4. In a food processor purée the chopped salmon until it is very smooth add the gelatin mixture, the remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, the horseradish,
  5. Remove from blender and stir in the minced dill, and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spoon small amounts of this mixture into the cucumber cups and top with red roe and chopped chives.
  7. Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Betsy at Bits and Breadcrumbs recently nominated me for the lovely ABC Award, thank you kindly. I am always very flattered and touched by your kindness. As Betsy put it there doesn’t seem to be any specific rules attached to this fun award; just thank the person who gave it to you and share something about yourself using each letter of the alphabet. Wow, this almost made my brain explode. 😉


ABCD: Assertive, Blue-eyed , Cheeky, Deliberate
EFGH: Exacting, Feminine, Gullible, Happy
IJKL: Introspective, Joking, Kind, Loving
MNOP: Mature, Naughty, Observant, Polite
QRST: Quirky, Right, Sassy, Talented
UVW: Unusual, Vivacious, Witty
XYZ: X(any suggestions?), Youthful, Zealous

Thanks again Betsy.

Cheers Everyone!

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The Invitations were mailed last week. I wanted to help my friend Angela out by creating her invitations in the original format of the Boarding Pass for the Titanic. I found a low res print here and recreated it in Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop, it’s something I love to do and I was happy to help out. Plus, it’s not like there are a thousand going out, just three (not counting our’s and Angela’s)!

It looks real, doesn't it?

I created it like a four page booklet, with the cover being the boarding pass, the inside front is the actual invitation, the facing page is an actual ticket and then the outside back cover was a note from White Star Lines Angela found that talks about the danger of professional gamblers on board. I just love the language used.

I blurred out the names for privacy reasons!

I also made up little stories about why each person is travelling on the Titanic and some very specific preferences to be considered by the Titanic staff.

I suppose this was directed toward the Gentlemen, as the Ladies were likely not invited into the casino!

I am rather excited about the evening, everyone will be coming in period clothing and Angela has already bought a CD of music of that time. My friend Monica loaned me a gorgeous lace dress that seems to be of the period (it was her sister’s MILs), now I am scouring ebay for long black gloves to go with the dress. JT needs to get some tails and we’re all done (lots to be found on ebay!)! We’re preparing some trivia for the evening that will also be loads of fun.

Now onto something as exciting, my friend Betsy over at Bits and Breadcrumbs has bestowed the honour of four awards and I am excited to tell you about them, but first a little bit about Betsy. Betsy is a graphic designer by day in the Atlanta/Decatur, Georgia area. She lives on a lovely country lot with a gorgeous garden; she can have bon fires in her back yard, how cool is THAT?! You should check out her blog, she cooks up wonderful comforting but healthy meals for herself and her hubby. Thank you Betsy, I am very flattered.

Thank you Betsy for this wonderful honour

  1. Favourite color? Red
  2. Favourite animal? Bunny Rabbit
  3. Favourite number? I’ve never really thought about it.
  4. Favourite drink? Non alcoholic: a good cup of coffee. Alcoholic: vodka martini (I really don’t care if it’s shaken or stirred, just get it to me, chop, chop!)
  5. Facebook or Twitter? Both, but I am slowly losing interest in both.
  6. Your passion? Cooking and travelling (we’ve got three trips planned: May NYC, June Chicago and September Europe (Vienna, Budapest, Barcelona, Lyon and Paris!) ! I’m hoping to bring you along on all three!)
  7. Giving or getting presents? Giving, for sure.
  8. Favourite day? Friday
  9. Favourite flowers? Hydrangea and Lilacs. No wait, Lilly of the Valley.

Now, it is customary to pass along the love (as Betsy put it) and I therefore nominate the following blogs. As usual, your participation is entirely up to you, if it’s a busy week and you just can’t deal with it, just put it aside or don’t even think about it. They are lovely awards and it’s a way for me to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. In no particular order:

  • Promanade Plantings lives in St Leonards On Sea. Her plot of land offers a gorgeous views on a southerly slope facing towards the sea. She gardens like a pro; the most beautiful pumpkins that are not just for Halloween!
  • Generation Y Foodie I came across Dara after she had asked Ann to review her cookbook. Dara is a lawyer by day and enthusiastic foodie by night. She has healthy recipes with a lot of appetite appeal!
  • Charlie Louie of Hotly Spiced is one of my favourite reads. Charlie has a wonderful knack to entertain and weave in a recipe; her family is a rich source of most of her entertaining stories. And she’s a great cook!
  • My friend Barb, Profiteroles and Ponytails, just because. And I’m dying to have a slice of that Moose Tracks Ice Cream Pie! 🙂
  • My other friend Pamela who runs Downton Abbey Cooks a blog about the British show Downton Abbey. Pamela has the skill to weave the storyline of the show into her blog along with a poignant recipe. The show has only recently caught my interest because of the Titanic Party we are going to — the show begins with the dreadful sinking of the Titanic. Pamela also enlightens me on words such as Entail!
  • Karen over at Back Road Journal, much like Oliver Wendell Douglas and Lisa Douglas, Karen and hubby gave up their urban life for a 1730’s home with an apple orchard in a small town in New Hampshire. Karen generously takes us along when she and her husband travel and it’s a wonderful experience of lovely country inns and delicious food.

So there you have it. A few more facts about moi, 6 more bloggers to add to your reading list. Thank you Betsy for the lovely nomination!

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Thank you Charlie

Charlie-Louie was gracious enough to give me this award. I am flattered that she has selected me (and four others) as blogs she finds educational and for that I am quite grateful. The only requirement of this award I was able to discover is that I have to call out to five of my most supportive and meaningful commenters. I don’t wish to leave anyone out, because I truly find everyone’s comments meaningful and I am so thankful for them. Because of your comments, my blogging has become more purposeful. Please don’t feel obligated to participate, I am just happy to share your wonderful blogs with others.

OK, so here we go,

Charles at Five Euro Foods, his support and his witty comments makes me want to review the comments on my blog at all hours of the morning (sometimes even at 4am!) ;-).

Kristy at Our Family Food Adventures my first Give Away Winner. It seems that Kristy and I share the joy of inappropriate footwear during inclimate weather!

Maria at Live Journal because she reminds me so often of my wonderful Hungarian heritage through food.

Chicago John at From the Bartolini kitchens because he consistently brings me back to my childhood with my own food memories.

and last but not least my good friend Barb from Profiteroles and Ponytails who recently started commenting; her comments are meaningful because we actually do know one another in real life.

Well, there it is. I think I am also supposed to tell you something new about myself, but I have nothing more to tell you. 😉

Charlie Louie who generously honored me with this award kindly brought to my attention that our good friends John and Charles may not be as smitten with the stiletto (however gorgeous it may be), so I have created a slightly more masculine version of this wonderful award.  I hope that I haven’t offended anyone, it was unintentional.

This is the masculine version of the same lovely award

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My friend Charles from Five Euro Food tagged me in a recent post. Thank you Charles, I am so flattered.

  1. Describe yourself in seven words

    Perfectionist, Project Manager, Aspiring Chef, Dependable, Logical, Artistic, did I mention perfectionist?

  2. What keeps you up at night?

    I’m a pretty good sleeper.

  3. Who would you like to be?

    I am reasonably happy with the way I am, except maybe I’d like to be 10lb lighter!

  4. What are you wearing right now?

    Brown top with a bright pink camisole, Brown suede skirt, Brown and black tights and my cowboy boots that I bought in Calgary.

  5. What scares you?

    Identity theft.

  6. What are the best and worst things about blogging?

    Best: As so many others have said, it’s my new age pen pals. Worst: the overwhelming, all consuming time it requires.

  7. What was the last website you visited?

    Trip Advisor; we are planning a trip to New York or Chicago in the spring and Europe in the fall.

  8. What is the one thing you would like to change about yourself?

    Lose 10lbs, maybe 15!

  9. Slankets – yes or no?

    From the many other blogs I’ve had the pleasure of reading, I sadly now know what this aborition of synthetic nature is, and my answer is definitely, decidedly NO!

  10. Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

    Charles was one of my first blogging commentors last year; he lives with his lovely Swedish wife just outside of Paris, is likely some kind of programmer (just a guess), has a cat named Sammy and he has a wonderful blog about his recipes and the occasional day trip that is creative, informative and mostly quite affordable.

…And 5 tags of your choice…

Oh my, it’s a little difficult to tag someone, since I’ve only just met most of you and have no idea whether you have been tagged before, but here goes, participate as you wish…

  1. Flavour Fiesta – Divya is a fellow Torontian who has a wonderful blog and on line magazine!
  2. Bunny, Eats, Design is a designer from Australia who has the most adorable bunny name Tofu.
  3. Back Road Journal belongs to Karen who has moved out to the country and is experiencing a slower way of life.
  4. A bloke who can cook, posts recipes infrequently and they are usually comforting and tasty looking.
  5. Oops! That’s only four…

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My blogger friend Sharyn of Kale Chronicles recently bestowed the Food Bloggers Unplugged award to me; I am quite flattered and very touched that she has now given me two awards! Thank you, Sharyn. The Food Bloggers Unplugged is designed to allow the blogger to divulge a few personal details about their blogging motivation.

Awarded by Sharyn at Kale Chronicles

What or who inspired you to start your blog?

I started blogging in early 2007 as a chronicle of our renovation. It ended up being a bit of a venting place for me; we had issues with our renovator. But I enjoyed blogging so much that when the reno was complete and the party was had I decided to continue with Kitcheninspirations and document cooking in my new kitchen. I enjoyed blogging but I never really understood the value of commenting until I started to gain a bit of a following and in turn, get to know a lot of great people.

Who is your foodie inspiration?

I would have to say that my foodie inspiration were my parents. My Father had a very refined palate and my mother was a home cook, undaunted and unafraid of any recipe or ingredient. My father used to say, “why should I go out and pay for a restaurant meal when your mother can make it so much better.”

Your greasiest most batter splattered cook book is?

Five Roses Flour Cookbook. For $1 I sent away for this basic cookbook in the late 1970’s and it’s been my Go To cookbook for basics. That and the Fanny Farmer Cookbook which I was given as a wedding present 25 years ago!

The best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it and what was it?

Bouillabaisse in Marseille, France. I had never had the real bouillabaisse before but had read that it was invented in Marseille so I had to give it a try. I have never really been fond of fish soup, but I can tell you, that soup with the rouille and the crostini, sitting on a patio on a gorgeous fall day overlooking the harbour was breathtaking and unbelievably delicious. JT ordered the steak frites but had wished almost instantaneously that he had ordered the bouillabaisse instead. Fading into to dreamy land….

Another Food Blogger’s table you would like to eat at?

So many and so little time; but to name a few: Sawsan at Chef in Disguise, Ann at Cooking Healthy for Me, Kristy and Mike at Eat, Play, Love, John at from the Bartolini kitchens, Charles at Five Euro Food and Lorraine’s at Not quite Nigella (I would add Barb’s at Profiterols and Ponytails, but I have actually eaten at her table and enjoyed it immensely!) and many more.

What one kitchen gadget would you like Santa to bring you? (money no object)

A warming drawer; I wish I had worked it into my kitchen reno but alas it was not so.

Who taught you how to cook?

My dear mother taught me the basics of cooking. She also taught me not to be afraid of trying something new, if it doesn’t work out, start again. Years of watching Food Network and early TV cooks, I have honed my skills.

I’m coming to you for dinner, what is your signature dish?

Barley Risotto. I always have dried woodland mushrooms on hand, barley, stock and parmesan cheese. Flourless Molten chocolate cake for dessert.

What is your guilty food pleasure?

Escargot in garlic butter with lots of crusty bread. Or steak tartar.

Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

My favourite pet in the whole world was my gorgeous little brown bunny rabbit named Dustie. She passed away almost six years ago and I have been able to bring myself to get another.

Tag five other Food Bloggers to answer these questions:

  1. Hotly Spiced, Charlie Louie is a beautiful Mom with some very sophisticated recipes and a lovely way she weaves a story about her family into her posts.
  2. GenYFoodie, Dara puts together healthy, local ingredients into comforting meals. And she wrote a cookbook.
  3. Ichigo Shortcake, interesting food and travel adventures.
  4. Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, good down to earth recipes.
  5. The Big Fat Noodle, recipes and anecdotes.

Thanks again, Sharyn, I really appreciate the award. Now, I must contemplate some requirements for an upcoming giveaway! Very exciting…indeed.

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My dear Mom used to make a cold soup for Christmas dinner. I really don’t know why because traditionally it’s more of a summer-time supper (Hungarians used to eat their main meal at lunch and supper was just something light). My brother’s wife, Wendy fell in love with this soup the first time she ever had it and every year she asked my Mom to make it. Since my Mom’s passing I’ve made it from time to time, whenever Wendy asks but not as regularly (maybe mine is not a good ;-)!) This year I decided to make it without being prompted because I know the kids love it too! The tip about sorting through the cherries for seeds is from me. My brother used to always get the lot of seeds if there were any to be found in the soup!

I had a professor over for dinner when I was at University and I made this as a first course; he was ecstatic that we were having dessert FIRST!

Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle sour pitted cherries in light syrup 540 mL/19 oz
  • 3 cups water
  • 40-50g granulated sugar (depending on how sour the cherries actually are)
  • 5-10 cm lemon peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-4 whole cloves (I use a tea infuser so I don’t have to sort through the soup to fish them out)
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (the Hungarians use sour cream)
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Strain the liquid from the cherries and put it into a medium sauce pan. Sort through the cherries making sure they really don’t have pits in them (I pulled out 5 out of my bottle) set aside.
  2. Heat the cherry liquid, sugar and the water with the lemon peel, cinnamon stick and cloves until softly boiling.
  3. Mix the flour with the yogurt well. Add about a cup of the hot liquid to temper the yogurt, then pour the entire yogurt into the softly boiling liquid. Stir well until it slightly thickens. Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon peel. Add the cherries and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve. It actually thickens as it cools.
  4. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, if desired (we always forget!).

It

As you may have gleaned from the title of this post, I have again been bestowed with the honour of The Versatile Blogger award by my new friend Sharyn at Kale Chronicles. I’ve been intrigued with Sharyn’s blog as she doesn’t photograph her food, but paints a lovely little water colour about it or the inspiration she has garnered from the experience around it. Check out her blog, her recipes are off the beaten track and a nice change!

Thank you Sharyn for this honour!

The conditions of this lovely award are as below.

  1. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post – check, see above.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself – seeing as I really like talking about myself…just kidding, since I’ve done this before and many of my readers are from places far away, I’m going to tell you 7 things about Canada that you may not know 😉 ). You can read the first set here.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 blogs you enjoy reading – I shall do my best to find bloggers who have not been given this honour previously, and I’ve come up with 7!
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. – check

Seven Things about Canada you may not know:

  1. Canada’s Prime Ministers do not have a fixed maximum term length, like the US Presidents. Our Prime Ministers can literally go on forever, or at least feel like they do 😉
  2. Our legal driving age is 16, but we now have graduated licensing. Way back when I got my license, I was able to get in the car and drive when and where ever I wanted, but that was a billion years ago! Ironically, our legal drinking age is 19! (Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec is 18).
  3. Canada’s population is about 1/10th of the US and the majority of our residents live within 100 miles of the US boarder.
  4. Although Canada’s Constitution was repatriated by Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, we are still connected to the Queen of England through our Governor General. David Johnston is the 28th Governor General of Canada.
  5. We spell words just like the British: colour, not color; neighbour, not neighbor; flavour, not flavor; favourite, not favorite — you get where I am going with this…my comments do not contain typo’s, we just spell that way!
  6. In the 1970’s Canada began her conversion from the Imperial system of measures to Metric; by the late 1970’s all our roadsigns were converted and schools were teaching both. Although legally Metric is our form of measure, you will always find food sold in Pounds and Kilos, and fabric sold by the Yard or Metre (that’s another Canadian spelling, really).
  7. We call electricity Hydro in Ontario, I suspect mainly because some of our power comes from Niagara Falls!

Blogs I humbly nominate for said award:

  1. Profiteroles and Ponytales: I’ve known Barb for about 20 years; she is now a Wife and a Mummy and a “Big Wig” in a fancy firm downtown Toronto. I am happy that she is finally enjoying the benefits of blogging. Hope you pop by her blog and drop her a note.
  2. Flavour Fiesta: I recently met Divya and am amazed and slightly jealous of her determination, dedication and perseverance with the launch of her extensive magazine. We’ve done magazines before at work and I know what an enormous project it is. She is also a fellow Torontonian! (and she spells like I do ;-))
  3. Grazing in the City: Bill is a southern transplant to Chicago and I really enjoy reading about discovering Chicago, one of my favourite cities of all time!
  4. Bits and Breadcrumbs: Betsy is a fellow designer and she blogs about cooking and traveling (Canadian spelling!) and her lovely artsy-fartsy friends (sorry, that’s what we call ourselves up here ;-)!)
  5. Back Road Journal: I just met Karen today and love her kitchen. I am looking forward to peaking into her life in the future.
  6. A_Boleyn: Maria doesn’t have a blog, but she does document her food on live journal. She’s a substitute teacher, so watch your spelling and grammar 😉
  7. Eat Tori: I just met Tori and love the way she writes. She gets to go places I can only dream of.

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The Liebster Blog Award is to recognize your favorite up-and-coming bloggers who have fewer than 200 subscribers, and my good friend, Charles from Five Euro Food was kind enough to give it to me! Thank you Charles! I am most touched particularly when you said “Anyone who made their own croissants from scratch deserves a nomination in my book!” — I like that a lot! But now I need to lay off making (and eating) the croissants, otherwise I will have to buy new clothes for our upcoming trip (hmmmmmmm….)

Rules are:

  1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you. Check, see above.
  2. Reveal your top 5 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. Check, see below
  3. Copy and paste the award on your blog. Check, see above.

The five bloggers I nominate are:

Oishii – Michael does a lot of recipe testing, and is working on his photography.

The Big Fat Noodle looks for anything positive as inspiration. Has lived in far parts of the world, but now resides in Surrey UK.

Bunny. Eats. Design. A graphic designer living in Auckland, NZ. with her hubby and bunny.

Bits and Breadcrumbs, Betsey is another graphic designer who loves to cook (notice a trend?)

Rosemary and the Goat. I really liked the name of her blog.

My brother’s wife Wendy, just bought a lovely new fire-ring; it helps to contain the fire in the fire pit. My nephew Jack LOVES making fires. JT is very good at making fires since he practically grew up at the cottage, he helped Jack make this fire so we could cook lunch on it. Lunch on Sunday was hot dogs (I haven’t had a real hot dog in 20 years, I usually opt for the veggy dog!). We roasted the dogs over the fire, it was such fun. I’d forgotten how the skin gets all tense that it pops when you bite into it!

Jack stoking the fire

The New Firepit

Sunday morning I had made fried eggs in pepper rings (Flower Power Eggs from Donna’s Tasty Kitchen) so I had a lot of peppers left over. We needed an hors d’œuvre and I thought why not fire roasted peppers? We had an amazing fire, perfect embers; I roasted each pepper until the skins blackened and bubbled, took quite some time, but well worth the effort. The skin came off reasonably easily, and I sliced them into long strips.

Fire Roasted Peppers

A few crumbles of sheeps milk feta, a drizzle of olive oil, a minute or two under the broiler, and you have a gorgeous hors d’œuvre! It’s an iPhone photo, not the best, but you can see how beautiful the colours were. The smoke from the fire really came through, it was very tasty!

Here are a couple of great photos of the beautiful fall colours.

The morning sun shining through the trees down the road (right about where Martin Short's cottage is)

Gorgeous colours, even my iPhone 3Gs was able to capture the beauty!

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