Posts Tagged ‘General’

We just love Asian flavours, particularly in the summertime. The food is light, fresh and easy to eat on these endless, hot, muggy, summer days. I’ve made quick-pickled daikon in the past as a garnish but this time I wanted something that will serve a few meals. I love Nami’s no-nonsense approach to authentic Japanese food so her blog Just One Cookbook is generally my go-to and this was no exception. I did make a minor change by omitting the heat and reducing the sugar (even though she warned against it). I love the fresh crunch of this daikon pickle. But be warned, the daikon odour will penetrate everything and it is potent! I put the Lamp Berger on every time I open the jar!

Pickled Daikon

For the original recipe, please click here.

Makes about 500 mL


  • 454 g fresh daikon, julienned thinly
  • 45 g sugar
  • 30 mL rice vinegar
  • 5 mL mirin
  • 2 g salt


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a tightly sealable container (you may wish to double bag it because it really stinks up the refrigerator).
  2. Mix well. Seal the container and place in the fridge for 2 days.
  3. After 2 days, rinse well and strain. Sterilize a jar and add the daikon to the jar, seal and refrigerate. Will keep for about 1 month.

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I am a fatalist, which means I believe in fate. There are too many things in this world that seem like coincidences but were totally intended by the universe. Case in point: on more than one occasion, I have decided to make something with the intent of searching for a recipe and before I can even open Google, up pops a recipe a blogging friend has posted on Facebook or Instagram! The very thing I had decided I would make! Coincidence? I think not, it’s fate!

That is my story of the English Muffins. I was walking back from getting a mani-pedi in our hood, thinking about the upcoming weekend visit with our dear friends from Wisconsin/Arizona (they have two homes) and I realized that I didn’t have a breakfast planned for one of the days and I remember wanting to try baking English Muffins, so on my walk home, I decided that I would bake English Muffins!

Upon my return, I sat down at my kitchen desk to catch up on Facebook and low and behold, dear Lorraine has reposted her recipe for…wait for it…English Muffins! That is fate! I was destined to bake English Muffins that afternoon.

Home Made English Muffins

Makes 6-8 English Muffins.

Please click here for the original recipe.

Please click here to print this recipe.


  • 200 mL (7 oz) milk
  • 5 g (1 tsp) sugar
  • 3 g (1 tsp) instant dry yeast
  • 20 g (1 oz) butter
  • 320 g (2  1/2 cups) AP unbleached flour
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1 small egg
  • cornmeal for dusting


  1. Heat the milk to 37° C (100° F), sprinkle in the sugar and yeast and mix well. Allow to proof for 10 minutes or until frothy.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to cool a bit. Add the butter to the milky yeast (once proofed) stir in the egg and mix well and set aside.
  3. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in the large bowl of your stand mixer, add the liquid all at once and beat/knead for about 10 minutes or until smooth and silky.
  4. Lightly cover with oil and set aside in a draft free spot for about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 325° F (160° C).
  6. On a lightly floured board, turn out the dough and roll out to about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thickness. Cut 8-10 cm (3 1/4″ to 4″) rounds. Dust with cornmeal (brush off any excess) and cook over a low heat in a cast iron frying pan for about 3 minutes each side (do not oil). Finish baking in the preheated oven 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 199° F (93° C). Allow to cool slightly, and then separate each into two using a fork to maximize the nooks and crannies!

The top one is perfect!


  • If you cannot get small eggs, then take 1 large egg and whisk it to incorporate both yolk and whites, weigh it and divide by 2. Use half in this recipe and save the other half for something else.
  • In hindsight, my English Muffins pictured puffed up way too tall, so I have modified the instruction to roll out to half of the original thickness. Plus you should get a few more that way.

Like Lorraine, I like a little English Muffin with my butter.

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ChoppedLogoLast summer I received a most welcome email from my dear blogger friend, Lorraine Elliot of the famed Not Quite Nigella blog. She was coming to Canada as a guest of the Canadian Tourism Commission and Tourism Yukon and she wondered would I be available to meet if she could arrange a slight diversion to Toronto! I was absolutely thrilled! Of course, I wrote back, who wouldn’t want to meet with one of their blogger heroes? I kept having to pinch myself! No, really!

I suspect that there were many arrangements to make/and subsequently change with the Canadian Tourism Commission so that Lorraine could be in TO for a couple of days. They booked her solid so it was a bit whirl-wind, but Lorraine made sure we had at least a half a day and it was awesome! (You can read about Lorraine’s Toronto experience here, here, here, here, and here). I had asked Lorraine to email me her Toronto schedule so that I could a) make the most of her time, and b) choose something to do that wasn’t on the Tourism Commission’s itinerary. I wanted to show her something unique.


I’m not too good at taking selfies.

I am very fortunate to know or be acquainted personally with many culinary giants in Toronto, mostly through my past life as a Client Service Rep for a design firm that specializes in Food Packaging, but some because of my current vocation, so I got out my address book. I called Claudia Bianchi, a very close friend of a friend, and an accomplished chef, food stylist and producer of several Food Network Canada shows. I knew Claudia was in the midst of the taping of Season 3 of Chopped Canada and I wondered if there might be an opportunity for us to visit the set and even stay a bit to check out the taping. Claudia very generously put me in touch with Cary Mignault, the PR guy for Chopped Canada, Season 3. It was such an amazing experience, Cary was open and more than happy to make the set visit happen. And such perfect timing too, because as it turned out, the day we visited the set was the LAST DAY of taping the show! Can you believe our fortuitousness? Had Lorraine made arrangements for the day after, it simply could not have happened and I would have been up the creek without a paddle!

I picked Lorraine up at the hotel at 7:30 am and we drove across town to Leslieville where they were taping Chopped Canada, Season 3. As soon as she stepped into the car, we talked and talked and talked, it was as if we were long lost friends! I can attest that Lorraine is as lovely, kind and sweet in person as she is on Social Media. Cary met us in the parking lot and we entered the building. To say this is a huge production is an understatement, there is even an enormous refrigerator/prep room filled with full-size refrigerators! And the set is outstanding, sparkly and new, filled with the latest gadgets and appliances, it is a cook’s dream!


The Fridge and Prep room


The off set Prep area.

Claudia met us on set and took us for a little tour, this little slide show includes some of the photos sent to me by Cary. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to chat with Claudia about the show, so here are some insights:

There are a total of ten judges who participate on the show, but there are only 3 seats actually on the show, the judges alternate depending on availability (read about the judges here). The judges are not just there to assess and evaluate the participants but their interaction also provide mentorship to each culinary participant. I enquired how the secret basket of ingredients are determined and Claudia said that she gets her inspiration from many places…it could be a trip to the market, a weekend at their cottage or perhaps her husband’s restaurant (Actinolite) or even some of the judges! And the ingredients need not be Canadian! I asked what ingredient was sourced from the furthest place, sadly she could not mention it as the show had not aired! As you can see from the slide show below, the on stage pantry is exceptionally stocked (here is a link to some great pantry photos (BTW, my friend the designer Kim Sewell, designed most of the labels because they were not permitted to have branded product on set!)).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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We survived another Paul & T weekend!

Paul & T did a marathon drive, starting at 4am Chicago time. They made great time and arrived around 2pm! Then we packed up the car and drove another 4 hours to the cottage.

Let me just say, we survived! 1.75L of Gooseco (Costco’s version of Grey Goose) and about a dozen bottles of wine with little to no fog. I’m not bragging, just relieved! Cocktails begun promptly at 4 (on Sunday it was more like 5 because someone was napping!!!) Weather was fantastic and food was yum! We laughed so much. It’s always such a blast with our good friends Paul and T.

Here is the menu:

Friday Lunch: Quickie salami pizza with mixed cheese (I just used soft fajita shells (flax seed fajitas) drizzled with olive oil, some Italian tomato paste, home mixed grated cheese and of course, salami)

Cocktails: Home made Eva’s Flatbreads with black bean dip and guacamole (home made too!!)

Dinner: Grilled chicken and mango salad with a lime dressing; almond and cranberry sugar tart.

Saturday Breakfast: Anna Olson’s Heuvos Rancheros – it was delicious – however, I would recommend poaching the eggs instead of baking them, you have more control over how well or runny they are!

Saturday Lunch: the LCBO’s Mushroom and Leek tart with a side salad (they haven’t posted the recipe on-line yet)

Saturday Dinner: Epicurious’s Braised Beef and Onions (slow cooker) I added potatoes to make it a bit heartier! Crepes Suzette

Sunday Breakfast: Goat’s cheese, spinach and sundried tomato frittata’s with homebaked walnut bread (from Anna and Michael Olson’s cookbook from On the Twenty!)

Sunday Lunch: Hungarian Lecso (cubanello pepper with sausage stew)

Sunday Dinner: Slow cooked BBQ’d ribs (I make my own rub and BBQ sauce as I am not fond of sweet) with German Potato Salad, Madeleines (really really easy) with Grand Marnier macerated strawberries.

Monday Breakfast: Chocolate Croissants (not home made, but from a French bakery). Note to self, croissants don’t freeze well. Next time it will be Montreal bagels and cream cheese.

The weather was phenomenal, lots of sun, not too hot, just perfect! A bit of paddle boating, a long walk up to our lookout at the top of our property and lots and lots of laughing. It was a fantastic time.

Looking forward to our next visit! Hopefully soon as we’ve already gotten into the Gooseco!

Luv you guys!

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My Pantry

I thought it would be fun to write about what I generally have in my pantry – that way I am able to come up with something for any occasion.


  • Unbleached all purpose flour
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Cake and pastry flour
  • 12-grain (or multi grain) cereal
  • Bran cereal
  • Flax seed
  • Wheat bran
  • Rice flour (for my gluten free friend)
  • Custard powder
  • Baking powder
  • Yeast (kept in the fridge)
  • Baking Soda
  • Vanilla (bean, preferably) and a multitude of other flavorings
  • Chocolate chips (good quality, semi sweet)
  • Good quality Coco powder
  • Unsweetened baking chocolate (for my sugar free relatives)
  • Unsweetened coconut
  • Walnuts (I keep nuts in a zip lock bag in the freezer to keep them fresher longer).
  • Pine nuts
  • Almonds
  • White sesame seeds
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Icing/superfine sugar
  • Sugar in the raw
  • Regular sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Splenda (for my sugar free relatives)
  • Spenda brown sugar
  • marshmallows
  • Puffed rice cereal
  • Caramel shards
  • Peppermint candies
  • Variety of cookie decorations (red, green sparkles, etc)


  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Milk
  • Buttermilk (about 1/2 the time)
  • No fat yogurt
  • Miso paste
  • PC chicken stock concentrate (no msg)
  • PC beef stock concentrate (no msg)
  • Hungarian sweet paprika paste (in a tube)
  • Italian tomato paste (in a tube)
  • Sweet butter
  • Olivina
  • Marjarine (for baking)
  • Yeast
  • Jamacan hot sauce
  • Green curry paste
  • Asian chillis
  • PC Chimichurra sauce
  • PC Thai sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Dijon mustard
  • Ketchup (for the kiddies)
  • Sweet & hot red chili jelly
  • Sweet & hot green chili jelly
  • Citrus marmalade
  • Just fruit berry only jam
  • Peanuts only peanut butter
  • Tahini
  • Sesame oil
  • Macadamia nut oil
  • Fish sauce
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Rosa lime cordial
  • Maple syrup
  • Pickles
  • Olives (for martini’s)
  • Black olives
  • Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • Dried fruit (mix)
  • Dried prunes
  • 2 seltzer bottles on the go all the time
  • Parmesan Cheese (whole, not grated)
  • Another type of cheese – depends on when

Fresh Vegetables:

  • Arugula
  • Spinach or mix greens
  • Celery
  • Cucumbers (I prefer the mini english)
  • Tomatoes
  • Broculi
  • Cauliflower
  • Vidallia Onions
  • Herbs (usually cilantro because I dont’ grow that)
  • Radishes
  • Whatever is in season

Dry Pantry:

  • Risotto rice (arborio, carnaroli or vialone or a good quality risotto rice)
  • Basmati rice (for Indian Food)
  • Jasmin rice(for Thai Food)
  • Sushi rice
  • Wild rice
  • Brown rice
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Variety of dried mushrooms
  • Barley
  • Dried and canned garbanzo beans (for hummus)
  • Dried beans (for soups)
  • Canned crab meat
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned salmon
  • Whole wheat pasta (variety of shapes and sizes)
  • Rice pasta (mainly vermicelli and fettuccine)


  • Bag of single portioned fish (generally cod, tilapia, salmon)
  • Bag of single portioned skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Bag of 3 dinner portioned beef for stewing
  • Pork roast (when on sale)
  • Beef tenderloin (when on sale)
  • Bag of extra large scallops (frozen when caught)
  • Bag of large uncooked shrimp
  • Bag of large cooked shrimp
  • Individually bagged turkey sausages
  • Bag of chopped vidallia onions (this is usually only in winter when I cannot get them fresh)
  • Bag of sliced brown mushrooms
  • Mini tart cups
  • Phyllo pastry (I usually separate sheets into about 5 portions and freeze)
  • Home made pizza dough (I usually make 2 batches and freeze one)
  • Home made onion confit (this is delicious on pizza)
  • Home made beef & veal reduction in ice cubes
  • Crumbled sausage
  • Pancetta (individually wrapped for easy separation)
  • Croutons
  • Shredded sharp cheeses (freeze very well)
  • Goats cheese (I buy the 500g portion and cut into 4, bag individually and freeze)
  • Crumbled blue cheese (because I buy the large pack, it’s always too much and it freezes beautifully)
  • Individually frozen mini boconcinni balls (freeze on a cookie sheet and put back into plastic jar without its brine)
  • Frozen berries (from costco)
  • Bag of mixed vegetables (just in case)
  • Home made soups (this time it’s butternut squash and some celery root)

Ready made Hors D’oeuvres in the Freezer:

  • Home made cheese puffs
  • Home made Chinese style dumplings
  • Home made cheese sticks
  • Home made bacon wrapped dates
  • Asian spring rolls (not home made, left over from shoot)

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It’s been a while

We’ve been busy…a trip to Europe from May 2-19 took us from Vienna, Budapest, Venice, Verenna (Lake Como), Province and Paris! Check out our photos – 345 of them! Enjoy.

Highlights of the trip: Venice was wonderful, we were there 1.5 days and could have used about 2 more to really explore. Verenna in Lake Como was lovely, very picturesque – we were there 3.5 days and likely could have cut it down to 2. Paris was fantastic, as usual we stayed in the latin quarter where it was very lively. Next time we’ll find an apartment for a week! Lots of eating, walking and shopping! I didn’t put on any weight, mainly due to the walking!

My favorite dishes: Caprese Salad (tomato and fresh mozzarella cheese!), Salade Nicoise (tuna and salad stuff, YUM), Steak Tartar (yep, that’s raw meat!) and Snails. We also had a crepe in Paris that was fantastic (ham and cheese!) JT and I took it across the street and had it in a lovely park.

Best buys: Milan skirt (brown dotted skirt), brown capris from Paris, and a couple of really sexy bras from Venice (those Italians know how to make lingerie).

Best Adventures: Venice – the Valporettos (water buses) went on strike on the morning we were leaving…we ended up having to walk about 1 hour with luggage in tow. The bridges in Venice are stepped, never ramped! The roads are cobblestone or brick…thump thump thump. We could have taken a water taxi for $80 and as a good friend put it “you cheap bastards” but then we wouldn’t have had the adventure.

The car: the car that we would be spending about 15 hours in (7 at once, then various day trips) would have cost us an additional $500 to drop in a different country than where we picked it up…ended up not costing the drop off fee because we got a France origin car. A teeny tiny little Mercedes. The boys filled it with luggage (see photos) packed so tight. T and I couldn’t see each other in the back!

Manifestation, Paris: Upon arrival from Avignon TGV we could not get a cab because of some Manifestation (Protest) whereby the protestors blocked all bridges to car traffic. When I went back into the train station to buy a map (because we didn’t have any maps because we had Garmin) I noticed army guys in fatigues with machine guns – which kind of freaked me out. John and T had noted that there were some bad guys convicted in France the day before so we figured it was related to that…so we didn’t want to be stuck in the subway, so we walked to our hotel…about 1 hour!!!! That glass of wine was well deserved!

A few shots:

This little movie is taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe one weekday afternoon. It seems that a bunch of students got together to protest something or such, and blocked traffic for about an hour. The dark blue area on the left are the cops, very systematically walking after the students. They didn’t really seem interested in catching anyone!

This little video is the speed of the TGV from Avignon to Paris (about 800 km in 2.5 hours!!!!)

And last but not least, this little video is a street entertainer on Montmartre directly on the steps to the Sacred Heart Church.

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It just won’t stop…

Last weekend we had about 30cm (1 foot) of snow. It’s March for god’s sake. A foot of snow in March? Damn lying groundhog!

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking, I just forget to take photos!

Check out our snow photos:

Our lovely little Japanese Maple is buried under this pile, which is to my shoulders (by Sunday it was up to my head!)


This photo was taken right in the thick of it. It was pretty ugly. Snow plow came twice and deposited a mountain of thick, wet, heavy, icy, muddy snow at the end of our driveway. It was pretty ugly!!!!


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We got about 10cm of snow (don’t know what planet The Weather Network was measuring on, but I do know I had to shovel TWICE!). It was bone chilling too!

Saturday turned out to be a lovely and much warmer day. We caught this squirrel catching a few Z’s just outside our kitchen window:


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Spring Break 2008

Unfortunately, this trip was postponed until March 28…but we’re still really really really looking forward to it…we’ll have to have a few martini’s in anticipation!!!!

Countdown Clock.

Paul and T are coming to Toronto!!! We’ve had to scramble (well, not really scramble, but we were putting off buying the bed and mattress for a sale, and Ikea had one, so we bit the bullet! AND what better reason than our great friends coming up for Spring Break?). We completed “The Guest Suite” and and it looks fabulous, if I do say so myself!!!! I still have a bit more art to add.




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Huff Estate Weekend!

We went down to Prince Edward County and stayed at Huff Estate for one night over the long weekend. The restaurant I had booked a month ago canceled our reservation 6 days ahead (Valentine’s weekend, no less), due to the snow (oh, poor babies, too much snow in Canada in the winter?????) Not much of a good start for the PEC! Take a look at the photos.


Huff was lovely. The room was very nicely appointed and the bathroom was great (huge tub and glass shower with 6 heads!) We checked in around noon on Saturday and then set out for Lunch! We tried Portabella in Picton. The food was lovely, although a bit expensive for Picton, but I guess it’s up and coming! We checked out all of the antique stores and the Inn that JT booked for our dinner Claramont Inn and Spa. We were quite disappointed that the menu was a fixed menu and the two mains were Duck Confit and Venison (two very meaty dinners and neither of my taste!) So we canceled our reservations and went to No Frills and bought a variety of cheeses, cold cuts, fruits and crackers for a lovely and tasty meal in the room. Maybe a couple of bottles of vino too! Actually, it couldn’t have been nicer. In summer, each room has a lovely patio where they put a table and chairs…would have been great for cocktails (but not at -8°C and a metre of snow!!!).

The next morning I work with the worst case of Pink Eye…off to a drug store to get some Polysporin and I’m good to go! Huff provided a nice little breakfast (although the room was small and flow was difficult). We set out to see some more sites, unfortunately, I was feeling really badly from the Pinkeye and we decided to head home, with a minor stop at the Big Apple for some tasty pie! This is a great spot for kids in the summer, as they have wild bunnies running freely on their land (they are quite friendly!).

Our weekend continued in Toronto JT went to visit his dad at the retirement home and I went shopping. I dropped by Linens and Things and picked up a couple of cordless pleated shades for the kitchen…I had to customize the size (which was a bit of a challenge, with my tin snips) but they turned out fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier for the slim spend of $25 each! What a deal!


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We had cousin Lucy, Larry their two kids, Ilona and Vaz, and Gus, Wendy, Jack and Annie for a lovely brunch on Sunday Feb 10. lucawendy.jpg
The kids horsing around in the new basement:



We had a honey clove baked ham with potatoes gratin (scalloped potatoes with creme fraiche and gruyrere cheese – very very bad for you, but delicious!) and braised red cabbage. For dessert, I made a black forest triffle. They left an hour after the scheduled departure time, so I guess they must have had a good time!

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We were out last night at 9:30pm shoveling…for the third time that day! As you can well imagine we are quite sick of it. Good thing we did a workout too, otherwise, I’d fear that we’d plummet into unfitedness (is that a word?)

Anyway, as troublesome the snow is, it is extremely beautiful. Here are a few photos of our back yard (I can hardly believe that this is the middle of Toronto!)





And we’re expecting MORE today. Anyone want to help shovel snow?


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It’s the middle of January and I have been purposely absent. I may have put on a couple of pounds during the holidays…we’ll I did, about 10! But fret not, I went back to the old Dr. B and I’m almost done. 2 weeks, 10lbs and most importantly, back on track. We’re working out regularly and I’ve controlled my portions again! I’ll be back to entertaining and cooking in no time.

It’s not that I haven’t been cooking, but it’s been, how shall I put it nicely, rather bland! No olive oil, no butter (not that I used that much, but a little for taste never killed anyone) and no balsamic (one of my staples!). We’ve still been eating great, just not as tasty as usual! The sacrifices we make…speaking of which…we haven’t had a drop of booze for 2 weeks! I can hardly believe it myself! That first martini sure will taste good! I can hardly wait…1 more week to go!

I was put onto a very cool, healthy product called Shirataki Noodles. These are soy based noodles with little to no calories or carbs! I’m allowed 4oz per day (which is a good portion since they expand and fill your belly really well) so I’ve been eating fake pasta this time! Yahoo! They are a bit chewy so if you don’t like that type of texture, these are not for you, but if you do you’ll be in heaven! Try Whole Foods in Toronto to get them (across from the Deli Meat section in a cooler).

We’re doing Winterlicious again and I’ve got two places lined up for next weekend: Maro (Chef David Adjey’s place (Restaurant Makeover) and Rosewater Supper Club.I will do my best to post a review!

JT is moving his Dad and Mary into a retirement home. Very posh, non the less, still jarring. So, we’ll be selling a condo at Yonge and Sheppard in the next month or so. Interested? You know how to get in touch!

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We rented a car and drove down to see Paul and T in Yorkville, Illinois, arriving around cocktail hour on Friday, December 28th. 9.5 hours! It was due to boarder complications (frankly, I think they take their time with each car on purpose, because they can!) and weather (at one point around Flint, we averaged about 30km/hr because of snow).

We shopped and shopped some more – outlet stores, more outlet stores and then there were the outlet stores. 1 pair of boots and 2 pairs of shoes later (2 for JT too!) we were almost done!! On Sunday we all ventured downtown to the Talbott Hotel a lovely boutique hotel down by the John Hancock Tower and Water Tower Place (where Oprah lives). We shopped at the infamous Filine’s Basement (which is on the second floor) and on Michigan Avenue. For lunch, Paul and T took us to the world famous Billygoat Tavern (made famous on Saturday night live – remember the cheezeburger skit?) We had burgers, yes, even me! Actually, I didn’t have much choice…the serving/cooking guy is just like the one in the skit, kinda pushy but friendly too! It was fun!


See Photos of our trip here Chicago Trip December 2007.

In the evening, Paul and T generously took us to the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock tower. It was magnificent! I had the Cured Tuna Carpaccio and Seared Scallops (which were HUGE!). It really was lovely! Thank you Paul and T!!!

OK, so here is the menu for New Year’s Eve 2007-8. It’s An Appetite for Europe, hitting countries at we’ll be visiting in May with Paul and T (in approximately the same order!).


Course 1: Austria
Bunderfleisch mit Brot-Stöcken (air-dried beef with bread sticks)


makes 4 per person

16 bread sticks
8 slices of air dried beef, or proscuito sliced lengthwise in the centre
16 stems of baby arugula

Wrap each bread stick with bunderflieisch, adding the arugula at the very top.
Serve on a platter.

Course 2: Hungary
Töltöt Paprika (stuffed peppers) makes 1/2 pepper per person

1/2 cup cooked white rice
200g lean ground beef
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp hungarian paprika (hot or sweet)
1 tsp salt or to taste


  1. Finely chop the onion and sauté until translucent, add finely chopped garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute. Add beef and sauté until cooked. Add the cooked rice and about 1/4 of the canned chopped tomatoes.
  2. Cut tops of peppers off, and clean out the insides. Stuff each pepper with about 1/2 of the meat filling.
  3. Put peppers into a shallow oven proof dish, cover with remaining canned tomatoes and bake until peppers are soft but still hold their shape (1/2 hr at 350F).

Course 3: Italy
Confit della cipolla e pizza di formaggio delle capre (onion confit pizza with goats cheese) (not my photo) makes 1 small pizza

1 proofed bread dough, rolled very thinly
1/4 cup onion confit (slow roasted onions until golden and sweet)
1/4 cup goats cheese
4-5 leaves of arugula


  1. Bake thinly rolled dough in a very hot oven 425F until golden on one side.
  2. Flip dough and cover with the onion confit.
  3. Crumble the goats cheese on top.
  4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until cheese is melting and dough is crispy.
  5. Rip the arugula on top and allow to wilt. Cut and serve hot.

Course 4: Italy (slightly unplanned as Paul and T had this at the Signature Room and wanted to know how to make them)
Parmesan Tuiles


About 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (the store bought kind works too, NOT lite)


  1. Preheat broiler to 450F.
  2. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a large cookie sheet.
  3. Spread the grated parmesan evenly about 2mm thick.
  4. for 8-10 minutes, broil until the cheese bubbles and turns slightly golden (if it’s not golden it will not crack). Watch this part it can burn easily.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Break appart to form bite-sized pieces.

Course 5: France
Beef Bourguignon (beef stew) Martha Stewart Recipe


Course 7: Switzerland (out of order since we’ll be going to Switzerland for the day before we get into France!)
Swiss Chocolate truffles (no photo)

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The new couch for the guest suite has arrived. The delivery guys were very concerned about getting it downstairs…I have to admit, I didn’t even think about it. It’s a regular sized door, with regular sized stairs and no major turns – UGH. They had to remove the outside door, and take the legs off the couch, and we squeezed it in, just barely! Phew! That was close. We would have been up the creek without a paddle!

We had it covered in a canvas like fabric (hate that micro fibre stuff) in a dark chocolate brown. It’s quite soft. The chaise lounge side is completely reversible, and they even gave us an extra sofa cushion in case we wanted to just use it as a sofa instead of a chaise lounge sectional! Wow! I’m quite happy with it.


Jt on a test run: it works!


Our next purchase for the ‘guest suite’ is going to be the Malm bed from Ikea. I am waiting for their bedroom sale in January (hopefully), plus we won’t have anywhere to store the old futon until the spring anyway!


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Since the passing of my Mom, we’ve been doing Christmas Eve Dinner at my brother’s place since it’s easier with the kids. I am looking after the hors d’oeuvres (like we really need this much food), the Hungarian Cherry Soup and the dessert, traditional Yule Log (entirely home made of course!) with meringue mushrooms!.



The two boys on the right and the guy are neighbours of my brother’s. Jack is the kid standing up and Annie is kneeling!

I won’t bore you with all the Christmas photos, so if you want, check them out at Shutterfly! Yes, I am still resisting Facebook!

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Sunday, December 16 – what a storm! 36 cm of snow. WOW! We shoveled 2 times to try to keep up with it! (fortunately, our neighbour Frank, just bought a snow blower and he cleared up the majority by the time we returned in the afternoon!).



It was beautiful! The driving was a little sketchy but thank goodness we have the all wheel drive which made it much easier! We had a Champagne Jazz Brunch at the Palais Royale on the lakeshore. It was lovely. A little expensive but the food was amazing! I would definitely do it again! Geo was supposed to come with us, but because of the storm couldn’t make it, so we called in Brian (nephew).

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Happy Hallowe’en!

Halloween, or Hallowe’en, is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, Halloween festivals, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and viewing horror films. Halloween originated from the Pagan festival Samhain, celebrated among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century. Halloween is now celebrated in several parts of the western world, most commonly in Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom. (ref: Wikipedia)

JT and I did our traditional pumpkin carving last night. It’s always so much fun – kind of a competition between us. We scour the net for cool templates, and then come home and carve. JT did the one on the right (grim reaper) and mine are the two on the left (the centre one was a centre piece for a dinner party on Sunday!).


2006 pumpkins (JT on left):


2005 Pumpkins (JT on right):


We’ll be out on the porch with a cocktail handing out candy tomorrow night – should be fun!

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