Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More Eating In London...

My girlfriend told me Kate Moss once said, “nothing tastes as good as skinny”. If skinny gave me millions of dollars I may agree….who am I kidding??! For me, nothing tastes as good as food! It’s been complete piggery this week, I just don’t know how to say no… I tried thinking of Miss Moss today, telling myself those very words while I resisted a gelato shop, a cupcake shop…and then I thought- life is too short… Instead of indulging a little bit, I went on a complete rampage…

I made a pilgrimage to my absolute favourite little Eatery called Ottolenghi. They have several locations but I love none more than their Notting Hill spot. I think it might be special as my sister-in-law took me there on my first visit to London and was blown away by how delicious everything was. You can grab take-out or sit in if you’re lucky enough to score a seat on their first-come-first-serve communal table.

Stoked with my prized seat, I sat down and contemplated one of the toughest decisions of my day “what should it be, the couscous, aubergine, Moroccan carrots, beetroot…why am I limited to four choices…erm…ahh…ooh….” Under intense pressure by the very patient but growingly annoyed waitress I went with the aubergine, okra, grilled broccoli and roasted peppers. She assured me I made an excellent choice and rest assured she was right! It was so super duper delicious!
I left very full and content…but I couldn’t help noticing all the scrumptious sugary treats on my way out…uhoh….

I’m about to take the train back to my hotel when I notice this pizza shop from the corner of my eye. They had an orange car cut in half and used it to display their tempting proper Italian pizzas…. “But I just ate!” My better half says to its shameful counterpart… guess who won that battle…

I got a slice of margherita pizza and eggplant parm- for takeout of course! There was no chance I’d be able to eat it…or so I thought… half way through my 5 minute train ride I cant help ripping away bits of crunchy dough topped with fresh tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella…

Now I’m back at the hotel tucking away at the eggplant parm.. It would be poor reporting if I didn’t! 

Oh, it really is so delicious. I’ve had to put it away because I am literally a bite away from combusting. Thank goodness there’s a gym here!!!!! xxo

Monday, May 30, 2011


Some people have friends they go to for shopping, exercising, wreaking havoc, or in my case dining out with! It’s very difficult for me to have a deep friendship people who constantly watch what they eat.  Although this is a very admirable quality and I do very much admire such discipline, it makes going to restaurants soooooo boring! I love sharing food, ordering several dishes and having a bit of each and then discussing how perfectly crunchy the sugar snap pees are, how velvety the risotto is, how juicy the steak tastes and so on!

Shailee is a wonderful culinary companion. She’s the kind of person who will take the dessert menu without hesitation and with equal eagerness as me, she’s not afraid of deep fried, carbs or dairy…In a nutshell, she’s great! Today, we went to Cecconi’s and I was a bit skeptical at first because I wasn’t blown away with the one in Miami. However this one is superb!

We feasted on char-grilled asparagus and baked goat cheese, the best eggplant parmagiana I’ve ever had the privilege of eating and house made tagliatelle tossed in the freshest tomato sauce. It was divine. For dessert we shared the miele tart with mascarpone cream and fresh berries. Day’s sweeter than this are really hard to come by!

Friday, May 27, 2011

La Fromagerie

La Fromagerie, how I love thee!

I always manage to overdose on dairy when in London. Their milk, butter, yogurt and cheeses are so much richer than what we get in North America! Without a doubt, visiting La Fromagerie is a must on my very long London “to eat” checklist.  In a way it’s good I don’t have a kitchen in my hotel room as I’d spend all my time cooking things purchased from this very fine establishmentJ Although nothing I’ll feature will be cooked by me, all of these beautiful places inspire my recipes and fuel my creativity.

I’m here for ten days and this was my very first stop. La fromagerie is a culinary paradise. There is a cheese room, cafĂ©, loads of fresh produce, homemade pickled veggies and spreads, cakes galore and so much more!

If you’re ever in London, you must visit this cheese paradise!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

I love cupcakes! They're so tiny and girlie and delicious... I tried using several cupcake batter recipes and they were lacking. Fed up, I used David Lebovitz devil food cake recipe with one revision- sour cream! It made them even more airy and delicious!!!

The cream cheese icing was not over the top sweet which is important as I'm not a fan of things that are too sugary. The tart cream cheese, when mixed with butter and sugar is perfectly balanced and makes for an icing that's silky smooth.

If you want to get pastel colours, make sure you only use ONE SMALL DROP of food colouring. It's amazing how potent these dyes are!

I made the cakes a night prior to serving. I waited for them to cool and stored them in a cake container. They were still moist when I iced them the following day!

9 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup strong coffee
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup full fat sour cream


Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.
4. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)
5. Mix together the coffee, sour and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.
6. Use an ice cream scooper to divide the batter into the cupcake liners and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
2-3 cups confectioner sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With a paddle attachment on an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and butter together for 3-5 minutes until it's smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and when it's well blended add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time. After the second cup I taste it and add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time if desired. Ice your cupcakes as you like:)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb

Are you a good cook? Are you a bit challenged in the kitchen? Well your skill level really doesn't matter when it comes to this dish. All you have to do is mix the marinade and let your oven do the rest! This is the most insanely succulent, tender, and absurdly delicious lamb dish ever:)

The lamb is slow cooked for 9 hours and releases a medley of juices that intensify to make such a delicious gravy. This is a show-stopper kind of dish that will leave you hassle-free before your guests arrive.

I like to serve it on a large platter and then wow everyone as I effortlessly pull the meat apart with a knife and fork..

1 large leg of lamb (6-9pounds)
12 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (smashed)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
2 rosemary sprigs
5 sprigs of thyme
1/2 tablespoon salt
1.2 tablespoon pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

As your butcher to take off the silver skin from the leg and cut the bone if it's too big (save them though! They add to the gravy). If there's loads of fat then trim some off. But if only parts of it are covered, leave it on as it gets rendered and makes for an incredible gravy.

Insert the tip of a sharp knife into several parts of the lamb and twist (you want to make a wide incision so you can insert garlic. Add the reserved bones. Cut garlic cloves in half and push into the holes. Salt and pepper the entire leg and rub the mustards, oregano and coriander seeds well into the meat. Add the thyme, rosemary, olive oil, wine and balsamic on the lamb and let marinade for at least 12 hours but ideally 24.

Before roasting, remove the lamb from the fridge and let it sit covered for about 1.5 hours- it's best to put the meat in the oven at just above room temp than cold.

Heat oven to 250 and cook, tightly covered in tinfoil for 6-9 hours (depending on how many pounds your piece is). Baste every two hours. Half way through cooking, flip the leg over.  The meat will tenderize and fall off the bone with ease. Serve on a platter and pour the pan gravy all over the lamb:)

ps. sorry for the poor quality pictures- eating was the first thing on our minds and I took it in haste!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011


My husband and I recently moved into a new apartment and wanted to start things off with great memories filled with friends, laughter and FOOD!

I love hosting people. It's such a joy for me to prepare a menu and watch it come to fruition. I also prefer family style servings so I made: a veggie crudite in jam jars, sun dried tomato and orzo salad, semi-homemade babaganoush, garlic and chili PEI mussels, roasted dill potatoes, slow roasted leg of lamb, chimichurri sauce and homemade cupcakes!

I put everything out so people could serve themselves and not feel shy about asking for seconds and I think the annihilated leg of lamb shows it worked out rather successfully:)

Recipes to follow...xo