We have been doing more and more cupcake towers for weddings these days. Not only is it a great way to serve the “wedding cake” (much easier for guests to move around with!) but it also allows couples to be creative with flavours as it’s not as big a commitment for guests.
So, when June and Thomas approached us to make coconut and pineapple cupcakes for their big day we were 100% on board! And with the help of their wonderful photographer, Joee Wong, their beautiful wedding was featured in Today’s Bride. Congratulations to you both – looks like it was a wonderful celebration!
Now I don’t know about you, but I LOVE rhubarb. This humble fruit (actually, technically it’s a veggie) is only available for a short time – as in, right now - and makes the most wonderful desserts and sauces. Although it’s natural tartness has to be countered with generous amounts of sugar, it still somehow provides the perfect foreground for other seasonings - orange zest , ginger and tarrgon are just some of the flavours that play well with rhubarb.
On our current Dinner Menu we have decided to let rhubarb sparkle on it’s own in this Rhubarb Meringue Tartlet. The rhubarb is juiced and made into a curd with the addition of eggs, butter and sugar. The hot curd is baked in the tart shells and then topped with soft, billowy meringue before being bruleed.
Served the day they are made, these little delicacies, much like the rhubarb season, are not to be missed.
We were so happy that Patricia and Mariano decided to use us to do their wedding cake this past winter. Not only were they a totally fun and lovely couple to work with, they were responsible for introducing us to a wonderful Argentinian wedding cake tradition – the “ring” pull.
The ring pull is just as it sounds – a (fake) wedding ring is inserted under the cake board with a ribbon tied to it for pulling. Numerous other empty ribbons are also placed under the cake. Before the cake is cut, all the single women attending the reception are asked to participate; The one who pulls the ribbon with the ring is considered to be the next to wed! A tradition that is similar to our bouquet toss but without the scramble and the resulting ruination of the bridal bouquet.
The couple found the inspiration for the cake pull from photos of Mariano’s mother and father wedding many years ago (see below). They both loved the concept and thought it would be a great tradition to carry forward – we have to agree.
Congratulations to both of you!
We were at the Shaw Festival last weekend for their annual Shivaree. We have helped their fundraising efforts for the past 6 years and always enjoying heading down to Niagara-on-the-Lake each Spring for this fun event.
For this year’s station we decided to do something on the less-fussy side. We have a miniaturized Banh-Mi on our cocktail menu and decided that given it’s fantastic response, to make it more of a sample size for the Shivaree.
This humble but delicious Vietnamese sandwich consists of pate, Asian BBQed pork, pickled daikon & carrot, cilantro and fresh chilis. It is all served on fresh baguette with a generous slick of mayo and butter – decidedly un-Asian elements that were introduced to the Vietnamese under colonization by the French.
The result is a little s’wich packed with flavour, crunch and heat; the ”Saigon Sub” is truly the perfect balance of all things that make a sandwich great.
We served ours here with Gingered Taro Root chips for a perfect little evening snack and were cleared out in under 2 hours!
We are doing a Mardi Gras breakfast event next week and had a little beignet tasting this morning. I can safely say there is truly NOTHING more indulgent than a freshly-fried doughnut dredged in powdered sugar (except maybe the addition of an awesome cup of coffee).
Anyhow, these little wonders are pretty simple to make and we thought we should send off the recipe in time for the weekend – anyone hosting brunch this weekend? Serve with some Eggs Sardou (created in The Big Easy itself) and some Virgin (or not!) Creole Bloody Marys and voila – a New Orleans-inspired brunch – done!
220 ml water
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 tsp dry yeast
2 eggs, lightly beaten at room temperature
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3.5 cups flour
3 cups icing sugar
Make the dough at least 1 hour before cooking or even better, the night before so that the work in the morning is a breeze.
If using a mixer, dissolve sugar in lukewarm water in mixer bowl. Any large bowl will do if you don’t have a mixer. Add yeast and let stand for 10 mins. While yeast mixture is standing, in another bowl mix together eggs, salt, butter and evaporated milk. Add egg mixture to yeast/water mixture and stir briefly (hook attachment if using mixer, wooden spoon if not) to incorporate. Add flour and mix on medium-low speed until dough forms. If you are not using a mixer, add flour and mix with spoon to first incorporate and then use hands to knead until dough is smooth and uniform. Let dough rest 10 mins.
Roll dough out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut into 2″ squares (classically, these would be 1″ but we think that is just too small!). Place squares of dough on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and wrap in plastic wrap. Let sit for 1 hour on counter or overnight in fridge (they will rise slightly during this time).
If beignet dough was made the night prior, pull from fridge 30 mins before cooking.
Heat vegetable oil in wok to 325 degrees fahrenheit; It is best to use a deep-fry thermometer but if you don’t own one, oil is 325 when a piece of bread drops in starts to bubble right away and cooks to a golden brown. Place the icing sugar in a wide bowl. Carefully slip squares into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Cook beignets in batches of 5 so that the oil temperature stays constant. One the underside is a golden brown (they will be floating), flip using a fork or tongs. Once the 2nd side is browned, remove from oil with slotted spoon and let cool slightly on paper towel lined tray. Once beignets have cooled slightly (they need to be warm but not so hot that you can’t pick them up with your fingers), dredge the warm beignets in the icing sugar and transfer to a serving platter.
We did a large event last week and had to come up with a yummy but cost effective nibbly item. The idea to do pissaladiere came to me perhaps because I’ve had Provence on my mind (see posts from 2 weeks ago), or more probable, because I LOVE the flavours and simplicity of this dish. Take a simple dough, brush with olive oil, top with soft and slick caramelized onions, fragrant rosemary, nicoise olives and a generous sprinkle of sea salt.
We loved the result so much we decided to include it on our new Spring Grazing menu.
Now, purists would complain that our version lacks the anchovy - and they have a point; Classically this dish would be topped with several of those salty and to some, offensive, fillets. So in order to preserve the integrity of this dish, we “melted” a fillet in while caramelizing the onions. The end result is a dish that will keep the non-anchovy-loving crowd happy but still give those who love the addition a subtle hit.
Recipe below – serve with a Southern Cotes du Rhones red or rose.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs. white onions, sliced around ¼ in thickness
1 anchovy fillet
1 small clove garlic, smashed with side of knife blade (but not chopped)
1/4 cup white wine
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup pitted and halved nicoise or kalamata olives
2 sprigs rosemary, chopped
Good quality sea salt (fleur de sel, Maldon) to taste
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
160 ml warm (100 – 110 degrees F) water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil ( plus 4 TB for brushing pan and 2 to brush 4 for top)
2 teaspoons sea salt
Heat olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft (10 mins). Add anchovy and garlic and stir to incorporate – the anchovy will disappear over the remainder of the cooking time. Reduce heat to low and let cook, stirring occasionally, for an additional 30 mins or until onions are very soft and sweet (but not browned). Stir in rosemary and cook for an additional 5 mins. Deglaze the pan with white wine and continue to cook until the wine has evaporated. Remove pan from heat and discard the bit of garlic remaining.
Meanwhile, for the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 1.5 cups of the flour, then the salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add 1/2 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Mix the dough on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes, until smooth, sprinkling it with flour to keep it from sticking to the bowl. When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. Allow to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and warn baking sheet in oven. Remove baking sheet from oven when ready to assemble pissadiliere.
Roll the dough lightly with a rolling pin, then stretch it to a 10 by 15-inch rectangle and place it carefully on the warmed baking sheet brushed with 4 tablespoons olive oil.
Spoon the onion topping onto the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border all around. Sprinkle olives on top, brush the edge of the dough with remaining 2 TB olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and golden brown. Let cool slightly before sprinkling with a generous amount of sea salt, cut and serve.
If you have a pizza stone, you can omit the baking sheet and put the untopped dough (being sure that the dimensions will fit your stone) on a cornmeal covered cutting board or pizza peel. Omit the 4 tablespoons of olive oil used for brushing the baking sheet – the cornmeal will create a “non-stick surface”. Add the cooked onions, olives and sea salt. Cook the pissaladiere directly on the stone as per the instructions above.
It seems like just yesterday we were up at Ewetopia Farms catering one of my most favourite weddings to date – Lindsey & Matt’s. Not only was the couple a ton of fun to work with, but I got to know Lindsey’s parents along the way (and their 5 dogs!) who live on one of the most beautiful country properties I have ever visited – it was THE perfect backdrop for a wedding.
The ceremony overlooked the farm’s springfed pond (complete with geese) and was followed by cocktails on the lawn outside the Murray’s turn-of-the-century red brick home. Oysters and shrimp were offered alongside our hors d’oeuvres and many guests took their time pre-dinner to wander the gardens, play an old-fashioned game of croquet, or simply mix and mingle by the glorious pool.
Lindsey & Matt chose a great menu that reflected both their tastes and the setting – grilled lamb chops, sundried pear/pecan/Stilton bites and mini burgers to start followed by rustic mac ‘n cheese, a simple carving station and a spicy Southwestern station featuring jerk chicken, blackened salmon and succotash salad. Our signature French orange cake and berries finished the meal off alongside a beautiful candy bar that the couple created themselves.
All this to say, we weren’t surprised when WeddingBells notified us Lindsey & Matt’s wedding was being featured in their 2012 Fall/Winter magazine. It was truly one of the most beautiful weddings I have had the pleasure of catering made only more special by the wonderful couple and family at the helm. Congratulations to you all!
We are so excited to announce that Shannon & Stephane’s wedding was featured in the Real Weddings section of WeddingBells’ December issue/online feature. We did the cake and cupcakes for this wonderful couple’s big day and thank them for naming our cupcakes, “the most perfect in the city”. Congratulations!
I am so thrilled to announce that our Provencal and Lavender-inspired Wedding shoot was featured on Green Wedding Shoes, a very popular online blog. Thank you to the dedicated and talented individuals who helped make this concept come to life and of course, to Green Wedding Shoes for the post! To see some of the amazing photos and the team involved, click here.
I have been looking SO forward to sharing these images with our fans! The idea for our shoot, which took place last May, was the result of a casual cup of coffee shared with my good friend and (amazing) photographer, Krista Fox. In chatting with Krista about my need for more gallery images she mentioned an editorial concept, a Provençal Lavender wedding, that she had been hoping to shoot for some time. I quickly fell in love with the idea and excitedly shared my vision about the foods such a wedding could inspire: a bountiful harvest table of rustic cheeses and charcuterie, an elegant but simple dinner served al fresco and finally a selection of beautiful pastries, petit fours and sweets to finish.
Realizing we needed help in making our vision come to life, Krista made a quick call to Malvina from Fabulous Occasions. Malvina immediately agreed to come on board to pull together the design and decor aspects of our shoot, while in turn enlisting the help of others to arrange the finer details: florals (Margaret from Wild Thyme) , stationary (Sarah from Hip Ink), cake design (Christine from Truffle) and last but not least Nicole Richards to take look after the model, fashion, hair and makeup.
The whole shoot took place at Lakewinds Country Manor in Niagara-on-the-Lake and, despite the heat and long day, the results could not have been more beautiful. Everyone did an incredible job and I truly believe we have captured the feel and essence of a true Provençal Wedding. Enjoy!