Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Wedding Day Ottawa!

Today is day one of the Spring Wedding Show here in Ottawa, and these are the cupcakes I have on display with Jo-Ann Pullen. If you are looking for invitations, you might like to chat with Jo-Ann at Studio No 8, where she designs the most exquisite wedding and business logos and stationery (watch for change on my website, courtesy of the talented Jo-Ann shortly). She is one talented and creative lady and I am glad I know her. Here's hoping some of her talent rubs off on me!

I only made 100 cupcakes for today, so fingers crossed, if you were there, you got to sample some! These babies are vanilla cake, topped with vanilla buttercream and I made each daisy by hand with gum paste. I love tone-on-tone colour schemes - so chic. And, what's a cupcake without a little bling?

As much as this blog is about what I am creating and working on in the food arena, if you are looking for cupcakes for your wedding or special event, give me a call - weekends are filling up fast!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spaghetti Boscaiola

One of my favourite pasta dishes of all times. I had completely forgotten about it since moving to Canada over 12 years ago, until I came across a reference to it on a menu search I was doing for inspiring ideas. I used to order this every time I went to our favourite Italian restaurant in Syndey, and I don't even really like mushrooms, but I love them in this dish.
I had never even thought the recipe could be so simple, just a handful of ingredients which I generally have on hand. We always have bacon, cream, garlic and reggiano in the fridge, and spaghetti, or some type of pasta is in the pantry. And, well, wine is just a given in our house.
Easy enough to put together, delicious flavours with some cracked black pepper and wonderfully quick for a weeknight dinner. Serve with a crisp green salad and some garlic bread.

Spaghetti Boscaiola
Serves 4, adapted from here

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 slices bacon, chopped fine (remove most of the fat)
8 mushrooms, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup reggiano parmigiano, shredded
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
Salt & pepper, to taste
Spaghetti, or linguine, your choice

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large pan until foaming, add bacon and cook until beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, but not coloured. Deglaze with white wine, scraping caramelised bits off bottom of pan. Add cream and reggiano and continue cooking until sauce has thickened slightly. Stir through parsley and check seasoning.
Add spaghetti to pan, and stir through to coat with sauce. Serve immediately.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chipotle Corn Bread

It's been a very busy couple of weeks - my brother and his girlfriend arrived from Australia on March 1st for a week, then we took the whole family down to Punta Cana for a week over March break. On March 15th, I returned to work full time - a shock to the system after being a stay-at-home mom for the past 16 months. Seriously, having to get up and be somewhere, on time, is really tough, after days where I would be still in my pyjamas at 2pm, and then decide it was too late to get dressed. I miss those days....

But, getting back into a solid routine has been good for me. I am exhausted at the end of the day, but a good exhausted, the feeling you get after you feel like you have achieved something.

So, my apologies for the lack of exciting posts in the last little while. It's April 1st today, so the beginning of a new month, and the beginning of Spring - such an amazing time to be cooking and eating.

This recipe was made with everything I already had on hand - pantry staples. It makes a wonderfully moist bread with a crisp crust, a touch of sweet from the corn and a touch of heat from the chipotles. Apart from enjoying it with chili, I think it would make a delicious wrapper to a smoked turkey salad - give it a try.

Chipotle Corn Bread
adapted from a recipe found here
Makes 1 loaf, 9"x5"

1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup corn kernels, pulsed with immersion blender
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies (about 1 1/2 chilies)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 9 x 5 x 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and melted butter in medium bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; stir until blended. Add corn kernels, green onions and chipotle chilies. Mix well. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes. Turn bread out onto rack; cool completely.