Articles

It Was a Dark and Stormy Day

Posted on Sep 28, 2010

Fall is such a peculiar season. One day it is sun-dappled and picturesque; you prance around, feeling as though it might be summer returned. The next it’s chilly and damp – verging on dismal. Unlike in the spring, when a string of rainy days can be balmy and bright, a welcome relief from snow and sleet; a wet autumn day can leach into your bones and chill you from the inside.

Unfortunately every one of my aches and pains come shining through on bitter fall days. My knees ache, my elbows hurt and my spine sends a migraine running up my neck to my head that just won’t go away. It’s days like this that I am in desperate need of warmth and coziness – and food has always been the most readily available source of comfort for me (let’s not get started on what that might possibly mean).

I love creating meals that make me smile when I eat them. Foods that remind me of my childhood are the usual fare that will cheer me up on a gloomy day. Cuisine that is rich and flavourful, slow-cooked and filled with love will do the same. Dishes that are colourful in presentation and robust in taste brighten up my evening, just when I need it most – and these last ones, I find, are the simplest dishes to prepare.

First, choose a vegetable that is cheerful in disposition, something with a nice sunny colour. Peppers, tomatoes, asparagus, squash…you get the general idea. Take your veggie of choice and roast it or quickly pan fry it with the tiniest bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Select another vegetable that you can�t live without (my own personal choice would be onion) and roast it as well. Add your two vegetables to something supple and scrumptious and hot, such as risotto, soup or pasta and voil�: the perfect meal to warm you on a cold, dark and stormy day.

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TIFF-Berries (CONTEST)

Posted on Aug 27, 2010

Sun-kissed and sweet, straight from the celebrity capital of the world, California Strawberries are the official strawberry of the Toronto International Film Festival, 2010.

This "celebrity berry" will be on the red carpet at the festival, and now you can be there (or at least kind of close to it), too!

If you love film, you’ll love the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival has become the launching pad for the best of international, Hollywood and Canadian cinema, and is recognized as the most important film festival after Cannes.

And now you (yes, you!) could win two non-gala Screening tickets to the festival.

Please send me an email telling me about your favourite strawberry dessert recipe. Entries will be accepted as of now (August 27) until next Friday, September 3 at 5pm (Eastern Standard time). One winner will be chosen randomly.

Some of my personal favourite strawberry recipes are:
Fresh Strawberry Cake, Strawberry Clafouti, Strawberry Cornmeal Bread and (to die for!) a White Balsamic Custard and Strawberry Tart.

These non-gala tickets do not include a red carpet and the recipient must be 18 years or older. Obviously it would be best if you live in Toronto, but if you are willing to travel here to see a movie then by all means, enter the contest!

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Relax and Enjoy

Posted on Aug 17, 2010

The winners of the Relax and Enjoy contest (chosen randomly from over 400 entrants) are Victoria Hyde (who declared her love of Carmel is due to it’s various forms and textures) and Masa Soliman (who claimed that caramel is "gooey and delicious and tastes good in everything — chocolate, ice cream, creme caramel, cookies, YOU NAME IT).

Thank you to everyone who entered. My email inbox is very tired and grateful that this contest is now closed.

There are few sweet combinations that I like more than caramel and chocolate. Actually, to be completely honest, chocolate does go with just about anything. But caramel, with it’s slow, subtle flavour and it’s deliberate texture, it is probably the ideal companion. The chocolate stains your fingers and the caramel lingers right alongside for serious licking enjoyment, long after the actual confection is gone. Dessert doesn’t get much better than that.

Caramel is one of those concoctions that make you slow down and take your time. Chocolate is dreamy and delicious and studies show that it actually does make you happier and more content. And now, thanks to Milky Way we can have our chocolate and our caramel too – with their new "Simply Caramel" bars.

And, thanks to the good people of the Milky Way brand, I have an amazing prize pack for two lucky winners. The "Simply Caramel Relax and Enjoy" gift packs each contain the a $75 gift certificate to SpaFinder.com (for a yoga class or a massage) and enough Simply Caramel Bars to indulge in for a month (that’s five, according to the chocolate bar professionals). I know my ideal prize is getting a massage WHILE eating all five of the chocolate bars in one afternoon though, and you are welcome to do that if you wish (just don’t tell anyone!).

So, if you’d like to win one of these prize packs, all you have to do is email me with why you love caramel. All entries must be received by 12 noon on Friday August 20th. The winner (randomly selected) will be announced here before 4pm that same day.

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I Can Smell Happiness

Posted on Aug 15, 2010

I Can Smell Happiness

I adore blueberry season. Blueberry sauce for ice cream, blueberry pancakes, blueberry smoothies, blueberry bars, blueberry jam, blueberry pie, blueberry muffins and blueberry loaf. I can’t get enough of those brilliant little indigo spherical bursts of tender sweetness. They are also very good for you, containing vitamins A, B1, B2, C, as well as niacin, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and iron. Yummy AND healthy hasn’t come along very often in my lifetime.

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Back in My Kitchen

Posted on Aug 11, 2010

Back in My Kitchen

Lately there have been days that I don’t even make it into the kitchen…which for me is extremely difficult. Many days I’ll grab a coffee while on my way to work after dropping Leith at school, to drink along with a yogurt for breakfast. Lunch these days is almost non-existent and is, more often than not, eaten while submitting payroll or editing reports at my desk. By dinner I’m famished and craving something hearty and delicious – that also takes little or no effort on my part.

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It Happened

Posted on Jun 11, 2010

Stop. Breathe. Seriously — take a whiff…deeply, through your nose. Do you smell it? I mean, really smell it? No, not the smog or the pollution. Not the boring everyday smells. The nice one. The sweet, light, airy scent that bounces and flits its way along, throwing itself beneath people’s noses as they make their way…wherever they’re going.

It’s not flowers or grass or water or even that odd scent that lightning leaves behind on the thick air after a storm. It’s neither warm nor cold and definitely not damp or dry. It’s got a heat like chili’s and a depth like really delicious, red wine. It bubbles and makes me light-headed much in the same way that champagne does and goes right along with it like strawberries. Chocolate, in shapes like bunnies or hearts or just in good, droolingly delicious lumps. Fresh, double cream brie with peppercorns — soft and sumptuous with just that little crack and spice of pepper between your teeth.

I can’t stop there…

It’s ice cold beer on patios and peanut butter cookies sold at lawn sales. It has the feeling of freshly picked tomatoes with home-grown basil in a salad with buffalo mozzarella that you buy on your way home from work one night, because you simply had to go to the gourmet cheese shop that was more than a half-hour walk out of your way…

It’s more than food though, too. It’s Frank Sinatra on the stereo and patio lanterns on the balconies. Oh, and who can forget having the window open again after a long cold winter? It’s the smile you swear you see on your son’s face when you are walking home in t-shirts and sunglasses…and your husband’s face when he sees you in a light summer dress again after so long in jeans and big, bulky sweaters. It’s freshly painted toenails and hair pinned up off of your neck…

My fickle friends, the summer wind has come blowing in. Leith and I celebrated it with a gorgeous, fresh Caprese Salad last night…a short swim before dinner and the windows in our apartment open all night (even though it rained). We made it through the winter. Summer is coming. It finally happened. I love it.

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