Readers Earl Grey teabag cookies

earl grey tea(bag) cookies

Event…

Our book club was meeting at my house this month. What to serve? Looking in my tea box, I discovered a couple of packets of loose-leaf tea labelled Readers Earl Grey Tea. What could be more perfect for this special group of readers, I thought. More

Frozen! Easy home-baked bread for random holidays

Christmas bread

Christmas bread works well for Valentine’s Day, too. Fill it with cinnamon and coconut palm sugar and  serve it with raspberry jam.

Braided bread

I always make braided bread at Christmas… because what would a Ukrainian Xmas Eve be, without a steaming warm loaf decorated with ancient baubles handed down from our great grandmother?

But if you’re looking for directions on making bread from scratch, read no further. For this project, I have always bought frozen bread dough at our local grocery store. I usually have to ask at the cake counter, and someone disappears behind humungous stainless steel doors and emerges with the five stone-hard loaves I need. Easy!

This post is all about the presentation. Your results will look as mouth-wateringly delicious as the warm, fresh bread tastes. More

Adela’s Bird of Paradise

Remembering Adela - the hostess with the mostest!

Remembering Adela – the hostess with the mostest! 1963

Vinny’s Grandma Adela loved a dramatic presentation. She had inherited her own dad’s artistic temperament. Great granddad William Enge was a master woodworker, making violins as well as decorative furniture. He played the violin so beautifully, his music made a woman 20 years his junior fall in love with him.

Adela too had musical ability, singing in the choir at church, as well as for the Ottawa Opera Company.  Like him, she had an eye for color and fashion, designing and sewing her own clothes and much of the clothing for her family. She also built or refinished many pieces of furniture for her home, following in her dad’s footsteps. Knitting, sewing, carpentry, painting—nothing was too difficult for her to try her hand at.

But Adela was at her best in the kitchen. She kept an extensive recipe collection. And, like an early Martha Stewart, Adela was known to set an elegant table. More

Leek and sweet potato soup in pumpkin bowls

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“It’s called the  great pumpkin bowl, Vinny Grette!” Isla tied on her apron furiously, then began pulling out pots and spoons and cream. “For Halloween, we’ll make some creamy soup and dish it up in bowls made from jack-o’lanterns.”

“Awesome!” said Vinny. “My granddad made a wonderful soup he called Vichyssoise.” Vinny’s voice became softer and rang with a little sadness. “But Grandpa used mainly potatoes. The starch in potatoes is a simple molecule that turns into sugar as soon as it hits our stomachs. I haven’t had  vichyssoise in ages.”

“I have an idea,” said Isla. “Let’s try the soup with sweet potatoes instead. Orange ones for Halloween. We can call it Vinnyssoise!”
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Vinny cooks up an Internet dinner

Gourmet dinner - red theme

Our annual dinner party

Vinny and I have made new friends since we’ve been blogging. Many of them are great cooks!

When it was our turn to host a dinner party this spring, Vinny thought it would be fun to showcase recipes he’s found on-line. It was such a hard choice seeing as there’s only so much food you can take in on any given evening… and there are so many wonderful dishes to choose from. Thank goodness for Pinterest, where a foodie can save and sort favorite recipes found on the Internet. For this particular evening, Vinny picked the following dishes, based on Mediterranean small plates. More

Nutty gluten-free cake with or without spun sugar

Candied hazelnuts

Candied hazelnuts

The gluten-free birthday cake challenge

Totally in awe is the only way to describe my state at 1:00 am on the eve of my sister’s birthday, as I stared at my work.

I had been in desperate need of a cake. Not just any cake… but a gluten-free confection, so the birthday girl could have some, too.

Chef Janet Rörschåch’s blog suggested a beautiful angel-light cake made from eggs and ground nuts, decorated with vanilla-infused fruit and boozy whipped cream.

The pièce de resistance was glittering threads of sugar, spun from hazel nut centers. Perfect! More

Mushroom soup

Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Mom’s shitake mushroom and spinach soup

Boost your soup’s healing power, flavor, and presentation

Turn your Cinderella leftovers into a healing soup stock fit for a princess.  Here are a few magical ways to take my basic recipe for garbage soup and boost the healing power of your bone broths.

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eGgs and veG… Breakfast many ways

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Humpty on the half-shell, with hard-boiled egg and beets on toast

“What experiments are we doing, today, Vinny?’ asks Will, poking his head into my basket of vegetables.

“So many ways to cook eggs for breakfast,” says Vinny with glee. “Today, we’re going to try three of them.” More

Shape Up with holiday cookies

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Our Christmas-shapes inventory is pathetically low.

The problem

Those aren’t Christmas cookies, Vinny,” says Isla. She’s looking at a new batch of Melting Moments fresh from the oven, each decorated with a jewel of raspberry jam (no sugar added) and crowned with flakes of real gold.

“Of course they are,” I say. “I make these every Christmas. Ergo, they are Christmas cookies. Delicious!”

“But, Vinny! Christmas cookies gotta have shapes! They gotta look like candy canes or Christmas trees!” More

Jubilation! A royal cake for Canada Day

Oh, Canada!

Our home and native land is celebrating a birthday! Isla says: We need to bake a cake. Of  course we do. I should have thought of that myself!

First, I thought about making a Victoria sponge cake, named after an old by-gone queen. But it  doesn’t make the grade as a food suitable for posting here, where we like to feature healthy eating for kids of all ages… Darn!

Then I made a wonderful discovery. More

Slaying the fearsome dragon fruit

Great bowls of fire!

There’s a strange new animal stalking the aisles of the produce section of our grocery store these days. It’s beautiful and a little dangerous looking… with long, scales tipped in green overlying a glossy, red, leathery skin. It’s almost as if it’s breathing flames at you… or getting ready to stab you with poison darts!

Oh No! It’s Dragon Fruit… Hide!

Of course it’s not an animal at all.  It’s a delicious but sinisterly attractive food called the Dragon Fruit. I say ‘sinister’ because you do have to be a little careful. More

Fry up a little love this Christmas

Love on toast!

Here’s a twist on a favorite recipe that has love written all over it… a heart-y breakfast to get the family into a peaceful mood for Christmas. It’s made with eggs, Vinny’s theme in recent posts.

Eggs often get a bad rap in the press. But they have lots going for them, More

Fried eggs set the mood for a green Christmas

Murre egg? Afraid not!

How you serve up a meal is often more important than what you serve. Food that looks different from what you’d expect  can put you off. Or, it might just be fascinating!

Rumor has it that prospectors ate blue eggs during the gold rush… More

Pickled Pink! Eggs Make a Great Snack

Pink up your pickled eggs for even more pizzaz!

Like pickles? Then maybe this easy recipe from Auntie Marlene will tickle your taste buds. Pickled eggs make a healthy snack, whenever hunger fangs sink their teeth into you and dinnertime isn’t anywhere in sight. More

Sharon and Vinny meet up with kids at Ottawa Farmers Market

Reading at the Farmers Market

Sharon bundled me up the last two sunny Sundays and carted me off to the Ottawa Farmers Market, at Lansdowne Park. She also took along our book, Cook Up A Story, and some other props. We hoped to meet with some kids who would like to listen to stories where good food sets the mood. And we met lots!

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Kookie Cukes

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Cute cuke – good for more than eating

Do you need to get your crayon art off the bedroom wall before Dad gets home? Have you scratched a splotchy mistake with a pen on your brother’s birthday card? Never fear. Cukes can save the day. That’s right… cucumbers are just full of surprises! More

Devilish eggs – Easier than pie!

Devilish egg

If pies give you trouble, either in the making or the eating, try this tasty high-protein snack instead. It’s as easy as boiling an egg!

The secret is in the baggy. More

Awesome cookbook for beginning chefs of all ages

Tasty protein!

Check out DK Children’s Cookbook , Canadian Edition. This thoughtfully planned, brilliantly photographed, and clearly written guide to healthy eating makes a good investment for any household. Click on Read more for a full review.

Foods with lots of ewww factor

Yes… but what the heck IS it?

Have you ever imagined sitting in a far-away land and tasting some really weird stuff? Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain does more than imagine… he’s eats whatever is put in front of his nose. More

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