Food

The Friday Five: Things on my Mind

1.Watch. This otter doing sit-ups.

2. Inspiration. “When you believe something is hard, the universe demonstrates the difficulty. When you believe something is easy, the universe demonstrates the ease.” ― Esther Abraham Hicks (via Swiss Miss)

3. Music. Have you listened to Madonna’s Madame X album yet? I can’t believe she’s 60! I’m so impressed by her artistry.

4. Food. Last weekend, I went to Langdon Hall’s first BBQ of its 2019 summer BBQ series. Five chefs created mini menus, and guests feasted for hours. It was heaven! I posted a few photos on my Instagram feed if you’d like to see some mouth-watering food.

5. The ION in Kitchener-Waterloo. The ION, Kitchener-Waterloo’s light rail, is making its official debut today. The city is offering free rides from June 21st until July 1st to celebrate the launch (here’s the map). The ION has been in development since 2011, so it’s nice to finally see the launch day arrive. I last wrote about the ION in April 2017 when there was an open house to share info with the public about the ION light rail system in our region. This weekend, I may just ride it from my local stop to Conestoga mall in Waterloo or the market in Kitchener.

Travel: 8 Restaurants to Try in Montreal

Last month, I spent the Victoria Day long weekend in Montreal with my good friend. It was a girls’ weekend away, and we had a great time! In addition to sleeping well in the luxe Hotel Birks and being entertained by Pink, we ate our way through the city. Oh, what fun! We did our food research by searching online, polling our Montreal friends, and asking for recommendations from our hotel concierge. We were not disappointed with any of our choices! Here are the restaurants we visited (in alphabetical order), and my reviews of them.

Arthurs

We took an Uber from our hotel to Arthurs where we feasted on breakfast on the patio in the May sunshine. After our meal, we walked to Atwater Market to browse the food and flower stalls. Arthurs is a great option for breakfast and lunch, and the vibe is fresh, local, and retro.

Bar George

We walked to Bar George from our hotel. It’s located right off Saint Catherine, so it’s an ideal stop for pre- or post-shopping during the day or a pre-dinner cocktail. The food is fine, but the decor and history is amazing. I found it pricey for brunch, but if you’re a sucker for decor (like me), then it’s worth it. The vibe is historical, moody, and chic.

Café Parvis

Café Parvis is located just off of Saint Catherine sort of behind the Bay. It is less than a 5 minute walk from Hotel Birks which makes it a great option if you stay at the hotel. I was pleasantly surprised by this restaurant. The restaurant is filled with plants, and the atmosphere is comfortable and friendly. This is a great option for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cocktail hour. The vibe is inviting.

Drogheria Fine

Drogheria Fine is near the Outremont neighbourhood, so we took an Uber from our hotel downtown on Saint Catherine. This was one of the highlight meals of the entire weekend. Here, you order a $5 container of gnocchi from a walk-up window and find a spot (bench, park) to eat it. After your meal, you can walk around the neighbourhood and pop into vintage stores and boutiques. This is an awesome place to go for lunch (or breakfast, dinner, or snack if you love gnocchi as much as I do!). The vibe is uber casual as you’re eating gnocchi out of a box on the street! Don’t forget to ask for hot chili flakes if you want added spice

Le Pois Penché

Fashion blogger Jessica from Westmount Fashionista recommended Le Pois PenchĂ©. It did not disappoint! This French brasserie offers classic French food like moules frites (mussels and fries). It’s a great option for lunch, cinq-Ă -sept (pre-dinner cocktail) or dinner. We opted to go here for dinner before the Pink concert as it is a short walk from the Bell Centre. The vibe? French, bien sur!

Nora Gray

Nora Gray is on so many “top restaurants of Montreal” lists we consulted, so we had to try it. It’s small, so reservations are a good idea. Nora Gray is about a 20 minute walk from downtown. It’s a great option for cocktails or dinner. The vibe is moody, hip, and fashionable.

Olive & Gourmando

Olive & Gourmando is in Old Montreal, and it’s a great option for breakfast and lunch. The servers are friendly, and the place is constantly packed. The vibe is bright, fresh, and healthy(ish).

Tommy

Tommy has not been open for too long, but it has grown quickly and steadily. There are now three locations in Montreal, and we went to the original location in Old Montreal. Tommy is great for breakfast or lunch. The vibe is bustling, beach chic, and garden fresh.

I would go back to all of these restaurants the next time I go to Montreal. I don’t think I can pick a favourite because each one has something special to offer. Drogheria Fine is certainly calling my name, and I’d like to try the pizza at CafĂ© Parvis.

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

1.Gift Guides. Last week, Daniela shared this awesome Father’s Day gift guide for White Cabana readers. I love that she focused (as per usual) on Canadian brands. Go back and look at it if you’re still on the hunt for a gift idea as Father’s Day is this Sunday. And if you’d like even more ideas, browse these guides by Jacquelyn Clark, Katie Considers, Rambling Renovators, Rachel Parcell, and Oh Happy Day.

This week, Daniela shared an impressive gift guide for teachers. It has been the most popular gift guide yet! If you missed it, have a look at it here.

2. Netflix. I finished watching two seasons of David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. I hope more seasons are in the works. My favourite interviews from seasons 1 and 2 were with Ellen Degeneres, Barak Obama, George Clooney, Malala Yousafzai, Tina Fey, and Lewis Hamilton.

3. Food. I made this quiche last weekend for lunch guests, and it’s a winning recipe. I’ve made it before (and it was a winning recipe then, too). Asparagus is now in season, so it’s a perfect time to make the quiche!

4. Books. I’m reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. It’s an easy read, so I’m going through it quickly. In between my reading time, I’m thinking about her stories. What would happen if you started saying yes to things that made you nervous/uncomfortable/move out of your comfort zone/anxious? You’d face and overcome new challenges, and be open to opportunities for learning new things. This is one of the messages that’s coming through the book so far.

5. We the North. The Toronto Raptors won the NBA championship game last night. And if social media is any indication, many Canadians are very excited! As for me? Well, I tuned in last night when the score was 91-91 and there were about 10 or 15 minutes left in the game. I figured I should keep watching, so I did. That has really been the extent of my viewing of basketball this season. I liked following along the commentary on Twitter, too. And I’m grateful to my friends and students who kept me informed throughout the season.

Have a great weekend!

The Friday Five: 5 Go-To Kitchen Utensils

Do you have a drawer in your kitchen that is filled with kitchen utensils? Yep. Me, too. I have a drawer full, and while I use just about all of the items, some utensils get more use than others. Today I’m sharing five kitchen utensils that I use on nearly a daily basis.

From left to right:

1.Tongs. I picked up these Kuhn Rikon tongs last summer at Sur La Table. Did I need another pair of tongs? No. But was I drawn into this compact pair by one of my favourite utensil companies? Yes. So I bought them. I went all the way to Florida, and I brought back a pair of kitchen tongs. What’s wrong with that? Well, they’ve been my go-to tongs ever since. I don’t think I’ve used any of the other pairs in my drawer. What I like about these is that they lock easily, and they have silcone edges, so they don’t scratch my pans. Most importantly, when they close, the edges actually touch each other and can grab whatever it is that they need to grab!

2. Peeler. I have had this Kuhn Rikon peeler for years. I wasn’t lying when I said I really like this brand. This peeler is comfortable to hold and has stayed sharp over many years and many washes.

3. Mini scoop. When my friend bought this mini ladle for me a few years ago, I asked her what she thought I should do with it. I didn’t know I needed a mini scooper until I had one! This little gadget is great for scooping out batter for muffins, cookies, pancakes, and more!

4. Mini spatula. Same friend. Same question. Little did I know that I’d put a mini spatula to use on a weekly basis! My favourite use for the mini spatula is for scooping out the last of the Nutella in the jar! Here’s a similar spatula if you’re in the market for one.

5. Bamboo tongs. I bought these bamboo tongs five years ago at Le Bon MarchĂ© in France. The apartment I stayed at had a pair next to the toaster, and since I used them everyday, I thought I should get a pair, too. What do I use them for? Getting baguette toast out of the toaster, of course! Here’s a similar pair if you’re looking to pick some up.

Food: Pasta E Broccoli

I’m a carbaholic. I could easily eat pasta every day of the week. I find it easy to make, and I can make various sauces with whatever I already have in my house. It always works!

Earlier this week, I had leftover broccoli, so I quickly cooked up pasta e broccoli.

There are plenty of recipes online for pasta e broccoli, but here’s what I normally do.

  1. Cook pasta.
  2. Heat olive oil, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes over low-medium heat. Add cooked broccoli. Toss. Cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Toss cooked pasta with broccoli mixture.
  4. Add lots of parmigiano reggiano (parmesan).

It’s such an easy and delicious weekday meal for one or many!

Travel: 10 Places to Eat in Paris

After a week back in snowy Waterloo, I’m ready to start my Paris-focused posts. Are you? Hold on to your hats! Let’s go!

I’m starting with food because, well, I love food. And on this trip, I ate so many delicious things! I’m sure this doesn’t come as a surprise! If you’ve been to Paris, and like French food, then you already know there are plenty of great things to eat!

Here are some places that I recommend if you’re planning a trip, and I would eat at every one of these places again. You should note that these restaurants are all on the left bank in the 6th arrondissement (which is my favourite place to stay).

1.Paul. Paul is a great place for a coffee, baked good, or sandwich. It’s a chain restaurant, so there are several around Paris. On a mid-afternoon/lunch break on my first day in Paris, I opted for a pain au chocolat, yogurt, and a coffee.

2. Mamie Gateaux. Oh, I just love this sweet restaurant. When I’m at Mamie Gateaux, I feel like I’m in a French home. The food is so fresh and delicious, and the lunch menu is a good deal. On this visit, for about $20CAD, I got a pumpkin-onion-bacon tart with a side salad and (my favourite kind of) carrots, a glass of wine, a dessert, and a coffee. The place is always busy with French people taking a break from their days, and, for a francophile like me, I just love being surrounded by people speaking French.

3. Chez Dumonet – Josephine. I spotted Chez Dumonet (affectionately known as Josephine) on Mimi Thorisson’s Instagram page. As soon as I saw her photo of the soufflĂ©, I called the restaurant to make a reservation. It’s a good idea to make a reservation as the place gets busy. Chez Dumonet is closed on weekends, so if you’re interested, plan ahead. As per many online reviews, I opted for the boeuf bourguinon for my main course and the Grand Marnier soufflĂ© for dessert. I’d easily go back and order the exact same thing. Many diners ordered the soufflĂ©, so I asked the waiter how many they serve in a night, and he said about 30 or 40. Can you imagine? And each one looks perfect! During my visit, many diners opted for the boeuf bourguinon, but one French group of diners opted for other things on the menu – like the herring, smoked salmon, and steak.

4. Aux Près. This place was recommended to me before I left by a Parisian. I later learned that Gwyneth Paltrow included it on one of her Goop Paris travel guides. When I asked the hotel concierge to make a reservation, he said it was un très bon choix (a very good choice). So with these three recommendations, I was eager to go. I loved the design of Aux Près‘s cozy space. The servers were attentive, and it was probably the fastest meal I have ever been served in France. For my main, I opted for Coquilles Saint Jacques (scallops). My scallops were delicious, and I would definitely order them again. The servers had recommended the sushi, but I wasn’t in the mood for sushi. For dessert, I opted for the pain perdu avec les poires et de la creme glacĂ©e – french toast with pears and ice cream. It was yummy, but I didn’t absolutely love it. I felt like french toast was a bit too basic for a fancy restaurant.

5. Luetita – Bar JosĂ©phine. Bar JosĂ©phine is one of several eateries at the 5-star hotel Luetitia hotel. On the night I went, there was live jazz music which was a bonus. The design and decor was impressive as was the food. I’d go here again for a light dinner. Or I might opt for a quieter meal in the stunning Le Saint Germain (the photo with the bookshelves below).

6. Maison Sauvage. Maison Sauvage stands on a corner on Rue de Buci in the 6th. We opted for this place because the outside was dripping with plants and greenery, and the patio was full. We ate on the outdoor patio which made me very happy as it had been -25 Celsius when I left Canada. Sitting outside under a heat lamp in close proximity to other diners – the French way – made me so happy. My friend and I shared a cheese plate here for a light dinner.

7. LadurĂ©e. LadurĂ©e is a sweet spot for a coffee and macaron break. And if you don’t like macarons, there are plenty of other beautiful confections to nibble on. The second-floor tea room at the St. Germain des Pres location is charming with its low ceilings, wallpapered walls, and crystal chandeliers.

8. Les Deux Magots. Les Deux Magots has been around since 1812. Incredible, right? 1812?! Go at any time of day, and you’re sure to be spoiled by the food and atmosphere.

9. CafĂ© de Flore. Next door to Les Deux Magots, CafĂ© de Flore is another iconic Parisian cafĂ© that is/was the favourite of the artistic Parisian crowd. I opted for an omelette at both cafĂ©s on two mornings. Why are French omelettes so good? I blame the butter. Oh, jeez, it’s just too good!

10. La Crepe Rit du Clown. If you’re keen on savoury or sweet crepes, then you may be interested in La Crepe Rit du Clown at 6 Rue de Cannettes. The menu is crepe menu is extensive, so there’s something for everyone. On this visit, I went vegetarian.

En Français: 5 French Restaurants To Know

Oh, jeez, there are so many delicacies in Paris. From the boulangeries to the patisseries to every other -erie, there is plenty of food to keep you full as you explore France. Sure, you can survive on cheese, baguette, and wine, but sometimes you want to indulge on even more! C’est vrai?!

Today I’m focusing on Parisian restaurants that are currently on my radar. On y va!

I came across Josephine Chez Dumonet via Mimi Thorisson‘s Instagram. This soufflĂ© has all of my attention!

Le Grand Marnier soufflĂ© at Josephine Chez Dumonet – photo by Mimi Thorisson

I spotted Kong on Gabrielle Caunesil‘s Instagram as she seems to go there each time she’s in Paris. The view and atmosphere look wonderful. The reviews online are varied. I’m not sure I’ll make it on this trip, but it does look interesting.

Alain Ducasse is a well-known French chef and has many restaurants around Paris (and France and Japan and USA), including in Le Meurice and Plaza AthenĂ©e (two of Paris’s most luxurious hotels).

Alain Ducasse – Le Meurice

I went to Montparnasse 1900 brasserie on my last trip to Paris, and I had a delicious meal among art deco decor. It was a lovely evening with friends, and you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to make a return visit.

Montparnasse 1900

Paul is a chain restaurant, and it makes me très happy. They’re everywhere, so if you’re ever in need of a quick bite of something savory or sweet, Paul is a great place to go.

Paul
Paul

Christmas: Holiday Decor Inspiration

December is right around the corner, which means it’s time for me to start my holiday decorating. I’ve collected these images over the last few weeks, and they certainly inspire me to include greenery and simplicity in my decor this season.

One Kindesign

Julie Blanner

Style at Home

Decorators Notebook 

Martha Stewart

Style at Home

204 Park

So Soft Sunday

My Scandinavian Home

via Svenngarden

100 Layer Cake

via Country Living

via My Paradissi

Style Sweet CA

Two for Tuesday: Structured Curves

Sorry about that little technical hiccup with yesterday’s announcement post. I thought the solution was going to be much more time consuming than it was, but my web host Namespro worked magic and resolved my tech issue quickly. I have been a loyal Namespro customer for many years now (too many to count), and I am always grateful for their service (which is always explained very clearly, I might add). Anyhow, I’m back in blogging action, which makes me happy.

So here we go with today’s potentially surprising duo.

dress (currently sold out)

cake, Hint of Vanilla

Trivia Thursday: The Springform Pan

On Monday I shared my experience baking a Schichttorte cake. An essential tool for this cake is a springform pan because once the cake has been cooked, you can release it easily with this type of pan. If you used a closed pan, I’m sure you’d make a mess of the cake.

A springform pan has a clamp that is used to tighten the side around the base to form a seal. After a cake has been baked, you release the clamp to release the side. All that remains is the cake on the base. It’s very useful when baking thinks like cheesecakes, tarts, and, of course, a Schichttorte!

Springform pans comes in an array of sizes, so it’s best to have a few on hand for different recipes.

springform pan, $12.57 USD, Amazon

springform pan, $39.95 USD, Williams Sonoma

springform pan, $30+ USD, Le Creuset

 

Food: The Schichttorte 20 Layer German Cake

While I was in Florida, I watched many (many) episodes of The Great British Bake Off. Have you heard of it? Seen it? In brief, it’s a baking competition show from the UK. My friend Shannon and I were hooked! The hosts – Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry – really made us laugh, and we were rooting for so many contestants along the way. And the baking! Oh the baking! Each week, the bakers were given challenges for both savoury and sweet baking, and some of the items I had just never even heard of! In one technical challenge, the contestants had to make a Schichttorte. This is a 20-layer German cake that looks absolutely cool!

photos from the Daily Mail UK

Aren’t those layers beautiful? I wanted to make it. So this past weekend, I did. I was invited to a dinner party, and I knew my friends would appreciate it.

I used a combination of two recipes. The main cake recipe is from the BBC, and the icing recipe is from PatĂ© Smith. I’ve shared it below with measurements in cups.

Here’s how my cake making went down.

I prepared all of my ingredients in advance.

I mixed the egg yolks until they were creamy. I added the butter and sugar mixture as well as the flour mixture as per the recipe.

I whipped up the egg whites until they formed stiff peaks.

I carefully folded the egg whites into the egg/butter/sugar/flour mixture. I greased my spring form pan and lined the bottom with parchment paper.

As per the recipe, I spread one layer at a time. I used my crepe spreader to evenly distribute the batter for my Schichttorte.

I tried to carefully keep track of the layers and timing as I put each new layer under the broiler, but I failed at this. I completely lost track. I watched the oven like a hawk during the cooking process. My timing wasn’t too consistent. You’re supposed to alternate between light and dark(er) layers by adjusting the baking time, but my baking time was inconsistent. I left the spring form pan in the oven anywhere from 45 seconds to 2 minutes for each layer. As per the recipe, the pan was right under my broiler (about 4″ or 10cm).

It looked golden and delicious when all the layers were done, and I released it from the spring form pan. I brushed melted apricot jam on the cake once it had cooled a bit.

I made the chocolate glaze and covered the top and sides of the Schichttorte.

Once that had dried a bit, I decorated the top with vanilla glaze. I was too lazy to pull out my piping bag, so I put the vanilla glaze into a Ziploc bag and snipped the end off for a DIY piping bag. In this way, it was easy to drizzle the vanilla glaze over the chocolate.

The outside of the cake made for a pretty presentation, but the true test was when we cut into the cake. Would the layers appear? Would the be distinct? Well, the suspense is over!

Layers! Distinct layers! I call this a successful first Schichttorte attempt!

And here are a few more photos if you’d like to see.

   

I’m so pleased that the cake turned out. All cake eaters (n=6) were impressed by the layers, the decoration, and the chocolate glaze. The same number of cake eaters were surprised by the cake’s density. Post-eating Googling revealed that the Schichttorte is in fact on the dense side, so I baked it as it should have been baked. Phew! Good to know, right?

If you’re like to challenge yourself, go ahead and bake a Schichttorte. The ingredients are easy, and the overall process is easy. The trickiest part was keeping track of the oven and time.

Recipe
(adapted from the BBC and Pate Smith)

Ingredients

The Cake

  • 10 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (100g/3½oz ) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (150g/5½oz) caster sugar (I used granulated sugar)
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (150g/5½oz) flour, sifted
  • 1/3 cup (65g/2ÂĽoz) cornstarch, sifted
  • oil, for greasing
  • 6 tbsp apricot jam

Chocolate Glaze

  • 1 cup (150g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Vanilla Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Method

  1. Whisk the egg yolks in the bowl of a freestanding mixer on a high speed for five minutes, until pale, thick and creamy.

  2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the whisked egg yolks and beat well. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix.

  3. In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter to loosen the consistency. Then gently fold the remaining egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.

  4. Preheat the broiler to high.

  5. Grease a 20cm/8in round springform pan with oil and line the base with parchment paper.

  6. Spoon some of the batter into the base of the cake tin and spread evenly across the bottom. Give the tin a gentle side-to-side shake to even out the top of the batter. Place on a shelf 10cm/4in below the grill and cook for two minutes, or until light golden-brown.

  7. Remove from the oven, add another spoonful of batter, spread it out, and place under the broiler for three minutes, or until dark golden-brown. Continue layering and baking under the broiler until you have 20 layers alternating in colour from light golden-brown to dark golden-brown. (Or continue until you have used all the batter.)

  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for five minutes. Carefully release from the pan and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

  9. Melt the apricot jam in a small pan over a low heat. Pass through a fine sieve, then brush the top and sides of the cake with jam. This will help the glaze stick to the cake.

  10. To make the chocolate glaze, sift together icing/confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Stir in milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. If it is too thick, heat it up over a small pan. Pour evenly over cake.

  11. To make the vanilla glaze, melt butter and add in icing/confectioners’ sugar, milk, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Add more milk (very little at a time) if necessary. Pour into a squeeze bottle or icing bag and drizzle over cake.

A few extra notes:

  • The full process (including kitchen clean up) took 2.5 hours. Not that bad, in my opinion. If I make it again, I know I’ll be a little faster, too.
  • I used a 9″ spring form pan because I didn’t have an 8″. I didn’t think this was a problem although I did have fewer than 20 layers.
  • This is a dense and eggy cake. If you’re looking for something light and airy, this isn’t it.
  • I used granulated sugar as I thought that it was a fine replacement for caster sugar, but the next time I make this recipe, I’m going to use caster sugar to see if there’s a difference.

The Friday Five: Things on my Mind

Here are a five things that have been on my mind this week.

1. I learned that apparently Justin Bieber bought a $5M house in Puslinch, Ontario (a short ride from Waterloo). In fact, I features the home two years on my blog because, yes, it’s super white!

2. I gave a talk about blogging at Sheridan College in Oakville earlier this week (#WhiteCabanaGoestoSheridan). I met with students who are studying industrial design, ceramics, furniture design, glass, and textiles. Gosh, they’re creative! Every time I go to Sheridan, I feel like enrolling in a class. I’m inspired to see what’s offered a little closer to home.

3. After devouring hours and hours of The Great British Bake Off while I was in Florida, I took the plunge and made this cake last night for a dinner party tonight. I’ll let you know if it is in fact delicious. And if there are 20 layers.

4. I enjoyed reading this Fundamentals of Team article (via Swiss Miss).

5. I just started an audio book that is making me laugh out loud. It’s called Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin. If you need something interesting and entertaining about life in New York City (so far, it completely mimics my sister’s life as a mother when she lived there), you might want to check it out.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Friday Five: 5 Ways to Brew Coffee

How do you make your coffee? Are you loyal to one method? My coffee of choice these days is a classic latte made with my Bialetti – a stovetop espresso machine – you know, the one that just about every Italian person owns? I have multiple sizes of Bialetti machines, and I pull the appropriate one out depending on how many cups of coffee I need to make for me and my guests. I also put my Alessi espresso machine to use every once in a while, too, because it’s so beautiful.

I go in stages with my coffee, however. For a long while, I was purely a drip coffee drinker. My Cuisinart coffee maker is still serving me quite well.

In addition to my two go-to coffee options, I’m sharing a total of five ways to make coffee today. Feel free to let me know how you make your coffee in the comments below! I’d love to chat coffee with you!

1. Stovetop Espresso

Bialetti espresso maker, $43.99 CAD, Hudson’s Bay

2. Drip

Cuisinart coffee maker, $69.99 USD, Bed Bath & Beyond

3. French Press

Bodum Caffettiera, $15 CAD, Chapters Indigo

4. Pour Over

brass pour over coffee maker, $27.99 USD (on sale), World Market

5. Siphon

Grosche Heisenberg Siphon coffee maker, $71.99 CAD (on sale), Hudson’s Bay

The Friday Five: Things on My Mind

I’m ending the week with five things that have been on my mind lately.

1. Netflix

Over the course of two days, I watched the first season of Broadchurch. Oh, was it ever good. Have you watched it? Watch it!

2. Random Blogger Meet-Up

When I was in Paris, Ontario last Saturday, I ran into Amber and Derek (from Canadian Fashionista). We bonded over blogging, our love for colours (her – pink, me – white), and our failed attempt to check out the Paris Night Market. I love random meet-ups with bloggers who you sometimes only ever meet online!

3. BBQ Chicken

When I had Tim and Chris over for a BBQ a couple of weeks ago, I made this grilled chicken. It turned out well. I’d easily make it again!

4. Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies

After reading this Smitten Kitchen post, I had to give Alison Roman‘s salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread cookies a try. The Cookie has gone viral on social media (as cookies sometimes do?). Bon AppĂ©tit’s article about The Cookie started with a declaration that “EVERYONE” is making them! I have to say that the recipe was extremely easy, and the cookie turned out well (see this Instagram photo). Not only that, but the cookie really is delicious! They’re a nice change to a more classic, sugary, chewy chocolate chip cookie.

5. Bayfield, Ontario

I met friends at their cottage in Bayfield, Ontario last week. It was glorious. I enjoy that little town and Lake Huron so much. My “must buy myself a cute cottage one day” remains on my mind!

Food: Langdon Hall’s Tasting Menu

Have you ever had a dining experience that renders you speechless? And if you’re like me – someone who loves words, writing, and language – such an experience becomes that much more remarkable.

Last week, as an early celebratory treat at Langdon Hall, I was fortunate to enjoy Chef Jason Bangerter‘s tasting menu. It was heavenly. Ten beautiful, dramatic, and delicious courses served over the period of several hours made for an incredibly memorable evening.

Let me take you through a bit of the experience today, since I love a good walk down memory lane. (And I love Langdon Hall, as you must know by now, too!)

The tasting menu started off with a terrine (kind of like a patĂ©) served on a pig’s skull. Yes, a pig skull. I realize this could be disturbing to some people, but it wasn’t for me. It was wild.

Next up was a crispy sunflower root. Inside was a purée of seeds, summer truffle, and thyme.

Then came the caviar. This was paired with a deviled egg, brioche, and crème fraiche.

The presentation of the sea scallop was beautiful. The scallop was in its own shell, surrounded by a backing of “trees.” Then water was poured into the bowl, producing a beautiful smokey mist. Gorgeous. (Note: Simply B‘s photo captures this dish beautifully.)

The asparagus with a lemon verbena sauce came next. Veggies have never looked so pretty in my own home!

Next came the fried pork belly with rhubarb and rhubarb sauce. I loved the combination of sweet and tart of this dish. Along with the sunflower root and scallop, this was one of my favourites of the menu.The lovely hen mousse came next. The creamy mousse was paired with morels.

Veal with peas and truffles was the final main course on the tasting menu.

As a palate cleanser, we were served orange and rum ice cream (aka The Creamsicle), which was topped with marigold.

For dessert (my fave!), we had Langdon Hall’s signature milk chocolate with caramelized butter croissant, Ontario black walnuts, and wild blueberries. Divine.

And because one dessert is never enough, the meal ended with a mignardise (a final sweet treat).

Amazing, right? Oh, the flavours and the presentation of each dish was amazing. Truly memorable.

I know the attention is on the food in the post, but there’s much more to it at Langdon Hall. As you’ve read here before, the service is top notch, and the decor is beautiful. I absolutely enjoy speaking with the Langdon Hall staff. Everyone I have met over the years is genuinely interested in what they do and the contributions they make to guests’ experiences.

Even on a very busy evening, Chef Jason Bangerter comes out of the kitchen to greet his guests and to ensure everyone is enjoying his creations. It was also a pleasure to meet Sous Chef Steffen. I know I’m not the only one who appreciates Chef’s creativity and his love of local flavours.

Many thanks to the following Langdon Hall crew for making our evening special: Chef Jason Bangerter, Sous Chef Stefan, Greg, Evan, and J.J. Thanks to Anna, too, who always makes me feel like a part of the LH family.

Food: The Nugateau Éclair

When I was in Toronto on the weekend, my friend and I picked up a pair of Ă©clairs from Nugateau – a sweet Ă©clair-focused patisserie. In fact, Nugateau is Canada’s first all-Ă©clair patisserie. As soon as I entered the shop, I was reminded of the classic French patisserie with colourful pastel creations. Every piece of dessert was so beautiful.

I had experienced Nugateau at the Terroir Symposium last spring, but this was my first time I was able to see all the creations in person. It was delightful!

We picked up the Pistachio Royal and Rosabelle. It was hard to take the first bite because I didn’t want to mess up the design. But the Ă©clair was delicious, so you know I couldn’t wait all that long! Because the Nugateau Ă©clairs are made with high quality ingredients, and no artificial flavours are used, their taste is rich and distinct.

Snowbelle

I love the idea of bringing the French patisserie to Canada, don’t you? And for those of you who love Ă©clairs, definitely make a stop into Nugateau on your next trip to Toronto.

The Friday Five: 5 Things on My Mind

Here’s what’s been on my mind lately.

1. The other week, I made my way through this Warren Buffett documentary. I enjoyed it. I especially like what Buffett had to say about ethics, public speaking, and reputation. Just look at all the subsidiary companies of Berkshire Hathaway (his company).

2. Over the long weekend, I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (via Amazon Prime), and I loved it! The clothes, the characters, the decor, and the story…yes, I enjoyed all of it!

3. I have 6 more weeks of my last MBA course. I can’t believe it. It’s been an almost 4-year long degree (part-time). I’m pretty excited to get some free time back into my life. I’ve really enjoyed the courses I’ve taken these last two years (e.g., negotiation, mergers & acquisitions), and the struggles I had in the core courses in my first two years are a distant memory. If you’re considering an MBA, I’d recommend you go for it. Then again, I’m a fan of further education regardless of the degree, so my advice is always the same.

4. I popped into the mall the other week looking for a pair of basic black workout tights. Instead, I came home with these colourful tights from Aerie. I don’t wear much colour to work, but I do embrace it for workouts.

5. I made this salmon and spinach pasta last week (with my fresh pasta, of course!), and it was delicious (and quick and easy, too). I usually go for classic pasta with tomato sauce, so I really switched things up this time!

What’s been on your mind?

Have a great weekend, everyone!

The Friday Five: 5 Things to Do This Month

Here are five festive things to add to your to do list this month.

1. Set a pretty table for you and your guests.

Emily Henderson

2. Make a gingerbread house with little ones in your life.

Keys to Inspiration

3. Wrap presents in a signature style.

Almost Makes Perfect

4. Enjoy an evening by the warm fire.

Wit and Delight

5. Bake up something delicious to share with family and friends.

Your Marketing BFF

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Gift Guide: For the Host and Hostess

I’m so grateful that Daniela has taken time out of her very busy schedule to share four amazing gift guides on White Cabana. Her earlier guides, in case you missed them, focused on babies and toddlers, tweens and teens, her and him.  In this last guide, she’s sharing more original ideas for the host. Or, as she told me, thoughtful “just because” gifts. And, yup, that’s Daniela…always thinking of others!

***

Are you always stuck for what to bring to that dinner party or holiday drop-in? Or maybe you’re stuck on ideas for a small token for a teacher, coworker, or friend? This list is made up of affordable (under $30, with the exception of one!) items that cater to all types of people, but it is especially geared towards those drop-in visits and dinner parties we attend more frequently this holiday season.

Candles. Who doesn’t love a nice smelling candle? This one comes wrapped so nicely, so it’s ready for gift giving!

candle, $14 CAD (on sale), Chapters Indigo

Ornaments are great for those of us who celebrate the holidays with a tree. An ornament is a thoughtful gift your recipients will remember you by year after year. These ones are monogrammed with an initial and can be given by first or last name.

monogram ornament, $6 CAD (on sale), Chapters Indigo

The pineapple trend is still hot, and people are incorporating pineapples in home dĂ©cor and accent pieces. This pineapple jar can be used for anything “dry,” or it can be left out empty. In addition to it being a trendy item, pineapples signify warmth, friendship, and hospitality. These are all the things you receive when going to visit friends and family over the holidays.

pineapple storage jar, $22.49 CAD (on sale), Well

The store Saje started off with only a few locations, but now you can find many all around. It has the best essential oils and aromatherapy items for home and body healing. No doubt this store will continue to grow and thrive as people are increasingly pursuing personal wellness. This great housewarming gift is priced just under $30.

electric ceramic diffuser, $29.95 CAD, Saje

Know anyone who loves stationery? Eighty Seventh St. is a Canadian company founded by Monica Smiley. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for great illustrations that are sure to bring a smile to your face. These items found online are sure to please the stationery-lover in your life.

notes, $12.50 CAD, Eighty Seventh St.

all occasion boxed notecards, $20 CAD, Eighty Seventh St.

greeting cards, Eighty Seventh St.

L’Occitane En Provence is sure to please anyone on your list. Below are two well-priced hostess/host gifts. I am a big fan of the hand cream and lip balm. They’re packaged beautifully in true “French” fashion.

shea butter holiday bauble, $14 CAD, L’Occitane

shea hugs and kisses, $20 CAD, L’Occitane

Who doesn’t love a magazine subscription? The gift of reading is perfect every time. Start someone’s year off right with a subscription to Style at Home, since it is priced perfectly, and it’s gift that will have your friends thinking of you each month.

Style at Home year subscription, $23.95 CAD for print, $19.95 for digital

As a true coffee lover, I can’t start my day without two cups. I have to draw attention to my favorite coffee – Dineen Coffee Company. We drive here monthly to pick up a few bags of their beans which we grind at home each morning. When I say “we,” I really mean my husband. There is really nothing like a good quality cup of coffee. If you happen to be in the Toronto area, trust me, buying someone a nice bag of Dineen’s temperance roast will not disappoint. It truly is my favorite cup of coffee.

Dineen Coffee

I know that many people won’t be able to make it down to Toronto, so on the subject of coffee, if you have a coffee lover on your host/hostess list, this coffee maker is not only one of a kind, but it makes an incredible cup of coffee. It is on the higher end of my price point for a hostess gift. However, if you know someone who really loves coffee, they will thank you each time you visit by making an exceptional tasting cup. And, cool bit of info, this Chemex coffee maker is featured in the MOMA in NYC!

Chemex coffee maker, $47.99 CAD (on sale), Well

Happy shopping!

– Daniela

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Oh my goodness, Daniela! You’ve shared another excellent gift guide today! Thank you! I hope you get spoiled this holiday season!

Food: Playing Around with Pasta

I use my KitchenAid stand mixer regularly – mostly to make bread, but I also use it for baking, crepes, and pasta. While I’ve been quite happily making linguine with the KitchenAid pasta cutters for the last couple of years, I’ve had my eye on the pasta press because of the pasta varieties it can make.

Figuring out the right texture for the dough and speed of the mixer has taken a bit of practice, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.

While I do like mixing the dough with the dough hook in the bowl of the mixer, I have found it has worked better for me to do it right on the counter instead. Especially since I’ve been trying to get used to the proper texture.

My very non-precise recipe is eggs, flour, and a touch of water. I know how annoying this lack of recipe is, as I’ve experience the same thing whenever my mom has tried to measure things out when she’s cooking. The thing is is that no matter what recipe I’ve tried, I’ve always had to make adjustments.

Gather the three ingredients and start kneading them into a dough. Rough textured dough is what you’re going for here – rather than smoothy, stretchy dough like you’d use for pizza.

Once you’ve got the dough right, it’s time to use the attachment. Essentially, you take a chunk of the dough (golf ball size is a good guide), toss it into the attachment (into the hopper, specifically), and watch the shapes form!

Each shape will require a different speed. For rigatoni – like you see in the first photo – set the speed to 6. When the rigatoni is your preferred length (i.e., a couple of inches), use the integrated cutter to swipe across and cut the pasta.

Toss the rigatoni with some flour and put it aside. As with my linguine, I place the pasta on a clean tea towel before I cook it or freeze it.

To change the shape of pasta, all you need to do is trade out the shape plate at the bottom of the attachment.

I tried the bucatini next. I didn’t adjust the dough at all, but I did set the mixer to speed 10. It worked out perfectly! Isn’t the middle hole just magic? I could hardly believe that it was actually working!

The fusilli is still giving me issues even after trying several times to get it right. I just can’t get it. I think the dough needs to be even rougher/more textured/drier for it to go through the hopper and come out as a spiral. Speed is set at between 2 and 4 for the fusilli, but I tried both, and neither produced a true fusilli.

For the final trial of the day, I attached the large macaroni plate. And then I smiled when the curvy shape started coming through. Magic once again! I set the speed to 6 as per the KitchenAid manual, and it worked out well.

There are so many great things about fresh pasta. If you have made too much, it’s easily frozen.

If you’re ready to eat it, then it cooks very quickly! Here’s my bucatini paired with my mom’s sauce. Trust me, it’s a great combo!

If you have any tips about using the pasta press, please share! I’ll continue to do the same!

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Food: How To Make a Cappuccino

I recently added to my Alessi collection, and it was a very happy day! I bought the Alessi 9090 espresso maker designed by Richard Sapper.

As with many Alessi items, this one has a story. It was the first product that Alessi produced that was for the kitchen. It was released in 1978, and since then, the company has sold over 2 million machines. The 9090 won a Compasso d’Oro award in 1979, and it was Alessi’s first object to be added to MOMA’s permanent design collection in New York City.

This is a short video from Dezeen where we hear the story of the 9090 from Alberto Alessi:

And now, to the cappuccino! Here’s how I make mine:

I gather my machines – the Alessi 9090 (or, generally, a Bialetti maker) and my frother gadget from Ikea.

If you’ve never used a stove-top espresso machine, then you’ll need to know that it comes in three parts: the base, the middle, and the top. In the base, you put the water (in this machine, I fill it just to the gold steam screw). In the middle – the basket – you put the ground espresso coffee. In terms of coffee, I like Illy and Lavazza, but I also buy what’s on sale. And I recently picked up espresso from Ikea, which I’m looking forward to trying out soon.

A coffee dispenser is handy, but it isn’t essential. After you fill the base with water and put the basket in place, you put the dispenser on top and turn the dial twice (or more for packed, stronger coffee). The dispenser dispenses just enough coffee for any size of espresso machine.

The Alessi 9090’s top attaches to its base via a patented lever-lock system. It’s pretty cool. If you’re using a Bialetti, at this point, you would screw the top onto the water-and-coffee-filled base.

Turn your stove onto high and put your espresso machine on top of the burner. If you’re using a gas stove, keep the flame smaller or the same size as the base of your maker. If you’re using a traditional burner, move the machine so that it’s on the element (off-centre). This ensures that the full base is getting heated and it also means that the handle won’t get hot from the element’s heat.

While the coffee brews, get your milk ready.  I like to heat up my milk on the stove, but a microwave will work, too.

Side note – I love my parents’ Wolf stove!

When your milk is heated (after a few minutes), use the frother to froth the milk.  

Another side note: Check out my parents’ dedicated espresso machine cabinet. It makes me laugh every time I see it. And what’s even funnier – there are more machines stored elsewhere in the house. We do love espresso, and I guess you just never know what size you may need!

When the coffee whistles, it’s done. You can check on the brewing process by carefully opening the lid.

I like to pour my coffee in first, then add the milk. But if I need a bit more coffee, I confidently add it in post-milk. 

To finish, I top off my cappuccino with a sprinkle of cinnamon (and a side of peach pie, when possible!).

Are you a cappuccino fan? How do you make yours?

Check this out – I’ve been writing about coffee since 2010!

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Event: Terroir Symposium, Toronto

Food makes any event pretty darn great, doesn’t it? Well, what about an event that showcases the best-of-the-best in culinary gems? Count me in! Today, I’m sharing news from the Terroir Symposium. Founded by Arlene Stein, the symposium brings together chefs, pastry chefs, food enthusiasts, publishers, bloggers, and more to showcase and share the achievements of Canada’s culinary industry. This year, Terroir was held at Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). In short – the event was memorable!

I arrived around lunch, and easily made my way around the food booths. Lunch was presented by Ocean Wise, and each chef prepared a dish to highlight Canada’s sustainable seafood offerings. I was in fish food heaven!

Hor mok, steamed white fish from Georgian Bay, and rice in a banana leaf, from Chef Noureen Feerasta of Rickshaw Bar

crispy fried pickerel wings and cheeks with thai larb, from Chef Kristin Donovan of Hooked   

Acadian Shortnose Sturgeon Toasts, from Chef Katie Venables Lloyd of lbs

albacore tuna donburi, from Chef Michael Hunter of Antler

Water and wine flowed.

S. Pellegrino – an event sponsor (and one of my faves!)

I met up with my friends from Langdon Hall for some bonding over food.

me, Anna, Chef Jason Bangerter, and Franco Stalteri (of Charlies Burgers)

Mingling and desserts pair very nicely together, so that’s where we headed post-fish! The desserts were so beautifully presented in the centre court of the AGO. Were they delicious? Of course they were! I had multiples just to be sure! (I had to do the research to report back to you, right?) The flavours were rich, and everything was of the highest quality. The pastry chefs and their teams sure did spoil all the attendees!

eclairs from Atul Palghadmal of Nugateau 

white perfection (white chocolate, vanilla cream, maple mousse, biscuit) from Lior Aronovich of Amadeus Patisserie

from Chris Kwok of Cluny Bistro

With a full belly, we happily attended sessions to learn about Canada’s culinary industry from the experts. We started with a session on cookbook publishing. It seemed right up my alley considering my background in writing. The panel consisted of Michelle Meade (senior editor, Figure 1 Publishing), Lisa Jager (art director, Penguin Random House), and Trish Bunnett (publicity manager, Penguin Random House). It was moderated by Alison Maclean. These four women spoke about the cookbook publishing industry for chefs, bloggers, and enthusiasts. I was pleased that bloggers were included in several presentations throughout the day. The women spoke of the publishing process – for pitch to proposal to editors meetings to writing to food styling – there are so many parts that go into book making, and I soaked it all up!

We then turned from cookbook publishing to Quebec’s culinary traditions in a session titled “French Flavour.” Since my trip to Montebello, Quebec has been on my mind quite a bit, so when I saw this session in the program, I was curious. We heard from Alex Cruz and Cyril Gonzales (co-owners: SociĂ©tĂ©-Original and L’École Buissonnière), Anne Desjardins, Geneviève VĂ©zina-Montplaisir (Caribou magazine), and Simon Thibault.

The third session we went to before the break was titled “The Science of Flavour.” In this session, moderated by Brian Gilvesy (YU Ranch), Joshua Evans (PhD student), Mark Schatzker (author and hst on Flavour TV), and John Szabo (master sommelier) addressed questions and concerns about flavour. Why do people taste things differently, what are we doing when we grow our food to enhance or change flavour, etc. “Tomatoes” was a hot topic…flavourful or flavourless? It depends on the time of year and where they’re grown, of course!

At this point in the day, attendees were invited to a reception. While I could not eat more caviar (I know, I know, but I couldn’t!), I did manage to sip on a delicious bourbon cocktail! And just like the food and desserts that were served earlier in the day, the cocktails were made with much attention to detail. Loved it!

The late-afternoon sessions first consisted of a panel moderated by Matty Matheson, Viceland TV host and chef, Parts & Labour. We saw clips from Kevin Kossowan’s dramatic film about food and agriculture, learned about pulses (which are dried goods like chickpeas and lentils) from Courtney Hirota from Pulse Canada, and Michael Ableman, author and organic farmer. It was a session that urged us to think about where our food is grown, where we buy it, and how we can maximize our local efforts.

Following this, we heard about the San Pellegrino Young Chef competition. Jacob Richeler of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants moderated the session with Alison Ramage (Design to Dine) and Normand LaPrise (ToquĂ©). Could you imagine judging a food competition? That would be amazing! They should get the public (aka people like me) right on in there alongside the top chefs! Right?

To end Terroir Symposium, we attended an “Iconically Canadian” panel with Lynn Crawford, Dufflet Rosenberg, Susur Lee, and Matty Matheson. The four chefs have different personalities and culinary backgrounds, so it was interesting to hear about their perspectives on the Canadian culinary industry. While the session focused on Toronto, I know that there are many gems across Canada that add to our culinary excellence!

So would I attend the Terroir Symposium again? You bet I would! Food, mingling, art, and learning…these are some of my favourite things, and Terroir served them all!

All photos by Jordana.

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Event: Relais & Chateaux Congress at Langdon Hall

Please tell me you’re still enjoying all of my #WhiteCabanaGoestoLangdonHall news. I thoroughly enjoy my visits there. It’s a unique gem, and I’m happy to share stories about my experiences. The staff is so kind and welcoming, and I’m thrilled that I get to keep visiting. Some friends have asked me about my recent dinner there, so I thought I’d write a little something about it in case others were interested in learning, too.

Last week, Langdon Hall hosted the Congress of the North American Relais & Chateaux partners. Owners, general managers, and others from Relais & Chateaux properties came to Langdon Hall for a few days of learning and mingling. On the Sunday before the learning began, Langdon Hall hosted a reception for its guests – congress attendees and a few other friends, too. I was thrilled to have been invited to join in on the fun.

I arrived at Langdon Hall on a rainy evening, but the weather didn’t dampen anyone’s mood. As soon as I stepped inside the main house, I was handed a glass of champagne (rain? what rain?). While sipping on the bubbly, I chatted with a few of the guests. Everyone was in a happy mood, and everyone seemed to be amazed by the beauty of Langdon Hall. I know! I get it!

Wine tasting was happening in several of the rooms, and in addition to the Bergström and the Guado al Tasso wines, I was fascinated by the Coravin wine opener. A needle punctures through the cork, and the wine is poured. Through the power of magic (and engineering), after you take the opener off the bottle, the cork remains in place. The wine is protected, and it won’t spoil, since the cork remains as the seal.

While we were sipping on champagne and wine, plenty of hors d’oeuvres were passed around. Presentation was beautiful and we were treated with plenty of delicious treats!

A little while later, all guests were invited to make their way to the Firshade Room which is Langdon Hall’s newest event space (I wrote about it when it was set up for a wedding open house.). Here, Langdon Hall’s owner, Mr. Bill Bennett, welcomed all of his guests and introduced three performers from the Stratford Festival – Sean Arbuckle, Blyth Wilson, and Laura Burton on piano. They performed a few songs, and the songs from Guys and Dolls were especially entertaining. It seems like it’s a really fun show!

costumes from A Little Night Music

And then…we feasted.

Chef Jason Bangerter and his team worked wonders once again. Charcuterie, truffle risotto, beef and pork with turnip purée, oysters, and apple slices topped with cheese and marcona almonds? Oh, jeez, I was in food heaven! The meal was served buffet-style, and everything was plated in style. As is the Langdon Hall way!

And to end our meal? Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson and her team created so many artistic treats. There was something for everyone. I opted for a creme brulĂ©e and a peanut butter and strawberry mousse. It was hard to resist at just two – let me tell you!

The evening was memorable, fun, interesting, and delicious. I had great conversations throughout the evening, and I learned more about several Relais & Chateaux properties.

Thanks again, Langdon Hall, for welcoming me in so warmly!

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Travel: Things to Do in Collingwood, Ontario

As I mentioned on Monday, I recently enjoyed a relaxing time at the Scandinave Spa Blue Mountains in Collingwood, Ontario. The day was a full one, and I’d like to fill you in on a few other things I experienced during this mini-vacation.

As I mentioned, the drive from Waterloo to the Collingwood area is very easy and enjoyable. Driving the country roads is relaxing and beautiful. The route took us through the charming town of Erin, Ontario, and just as we entered the main part of town, we spotted a house painted black with cafĂ© on the sign – the Tin Roof CafĂ©. We grabbed homemade cookies and coffee (healthy way to start a spa day, right?) for our journey. I appreciated the design, and the coffee was well-made, too. I recommend it.

As we made it to Collingwood, we stopped to walk the main street. When we spotted a white bike in a shop window, I knew I had to explore. Turns out that the store – Leuk – was made for people like me. White, white, and more white! In fact, Leuk has three stores – a flower store, a cafĂ© and clothing store, and a furniture store – all on the main street (Hurontario St.) in Collingwood. I wanted to buy everything.

photo via Leuk

On the recommendation of a Leuk saleswoman, we stopped in at The Tremont for a delicious lunch in a design-y, French atmosphere. Marble tables get me. Every. Single. Time. I had a freshly made quiche and side salad, which I thought was an improvement from my morning cookie. The closer you get to a spa, the healthier you get? 🙂 I would definitely go back to The Tremont on a future visit.

photo via The Tremont Cafe

Not wanting to return home after five hours at the spa, we took the quick drive over to the Blue Mountain Village. This is the ski zone. There are shops, restaurants, and accommodations for all those people who love to ski. In the spring, though, the Village is a great place for a little walk. We were also hungry for dinner at this point in the day (worked up an appetite after all that relaxing!), and we walked around the sweet boardwalk to the Oliver & Bonacini CafĂ© Grill restaurant at the Westin Trillium House hotel. I had already known that the Westin was in the Village, but I didn’t know that Oliver & Bonacini was the in-hotel restaurant. The restaurant has a beautiful, modern, and welcoming interior, and the sun was shining brightly in the restaurant even though it must have been close to 7pm at this point in the day. Such a wonderful atmosphere! Here, I opted for a classic pizza margherita. Yum. I’d order it again. And one of these days, I’m going to stay at the Westin because it looks like my kind of place – regardless of season!

photo via Oliver & Bonacini

So, not only did I have an amazing time at the Scandinave Spa, but I also really enjoyed exploring a bit of Collingwood. I know the area has so much to offer, and while we generally hear about the winter activity options, I think now is also an ideal time to take explore the area.

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Food: My Experience with a Juice Cleanse

I have been thinking about trying a juice cleanse for quite a while now, but it wasn’t until after Easter weekend that I finally decided to go for it. My stomach had been making grumbling noises for a couple of weeks – probably because my eating habits haven’t been great – and a weekend of eating chocolate at Easter made me feel full and uncomfortable. As such, I thought it was a good time to spring clean my body with a cleanse.

Cleanses get mixed reviews. Some people like them because they give our body a break, give us many nutrients intensely, and give us a fresh start. Others say that cleanses aren’t necessary and as powerful as they claim. I can see both sides of the story. I generally try to take the “everything in moderation” approach so that I can eat crepes one day and not feel like I have awful nutritional habits. And I thought that a cleanse could only help my body.

So, moving on to my actual juice cleanse experience. After doing a Google search for juice cleanses in Waterloo (since I didn’t want to do all the prep work on my own!), I came across Good Vibes Juice Co. I recognized the branding from seeing the juices at Vincenzo’s, and since I’m a sucker for beautiful design, I was hooked into the Good Vibes website and read all about the cleanse options.

I mentally prepared for a 3-day cleanse, went into the Good Vibes shop early Tuesday morning, met with the owners, Lloyd and Drew, and left with 24 bottles of juice. Each day, I was to drink 8 bottles (400ml each) of juice in the suggested order: Lemonade, Eby Apple, The Cool, Heartbeet, Sunkiss, Tiger, Envy, and Cocoagood.

Day 1

I was excited to get started. The first juice was basically lemonade, so it went down easy. The same was true for the second juice  – Eby Apple – which was a really delicious apple-based juice. I reached my third juice – The Cool – just after noon, and this juice, along with juice number 4, took me hours to drink. The Cool is a green juice, and while I didn’t mind the taste, I didn’t love it. Juice 4 – Heartbeet – is a beet-based juice and I didn’t like it at all. In fact, I only drank half of it because I didn’t want my taste buds to suffer.

I drank a lot of water throughout the day – as per Good Vibes’ recommendation and as per my usual habit. It really helped me wash down the Heartbeet juice (the beet-based juice) actually!

I had juice 5 – Sunkiss – around 6pm, and it was a delight. By this time in the evening, I wasn’t actually hungry (as I thought I would be), and I was feeling energetic and awake (no coffee all day, by the way). I still had three juices to go before bedtime!

Before I grabbed juice 6 (Tiger), I had a handful of almonds. I wanted to get rid of the taste of the other juices before I went for another juice. Drew and Lloyd told me that if I was hungry, almonds or raw veggies would be good options.

I skipped juice 7 (Envy), and I was quite excited for juice 8 (Cocoagood), which is made up of almond milk, maple syrup, and cocoa. Yum! I was excited for my “reward” at the end of the day, but I ended up only drinking half of it. I wasn’t hungry. This was certainly unexpected!

Day 2

I thought I would wake up starving, but I didn’t! The first two juices (Lemonade and Eby Apple) went down easily on day 2. The third (The Cool) was easier to drink on day 2 than it was on day 1. I struggled through the rest of my beet juice from day 1, and I ended up giving away my two unused Heartbeet juices to friends who appreciated the flavour much more than me!

Again – I wasn’t so hungry during the day, which surprised me. I did have another handful of almonds around 2pm. And I drank a lot of water throughout the day.

After work, I came home for the Sunkiss, then followed it with a bit of the Tiger (a carrot-based juice). Like on Day 1, I couldn’t actually finish all of the Tiger. I guess my taste buds are not so used to these flavours!

Again, I was really looking forward to the “reward” drink at the end of the evening. I definitely liked the sweeter drinks more than the healthier ones! Good Vibes provides the nutritional information online, and I discovered that my favourite drinks were the ones that were higher in sugar. Go figure.

Day 3

Last day! Hooray! The end is in sight! The cleanse has been doable even if I’m complaining about the taste of some of the juices.

My day was similar to day 2. I had a few almonds mid-day, and I made it through about 6 of the juices again…leaving out Heartbeet and Envy. I know that by skipping juices, I missed out on some of the nutrients, but I accepted this. I wasn’t hungry, and I was feeling energetic throughout the day.

I enjoyed my last drink – Cocoagood – around 8pm on day 3, and I felt great. While I wasn’t craving any of my usual favourite foods (pasta! pizza! Nutella!), I was looking forward to a nice latte the following morning!

Would I do a cleanse again? Yes.
I would do a 1-day or 3-day cleanse easily once or twice a year. Maybe even 4 times a year to go with the change of seasons. More than that – I’m not sure. The timing of this cleanse was perfect considering my work/life schedule, and I think that this helped me stay focused.

Would I recommend Good Vibes Juice Co.? Yes.
The opening hours of the store is convenient for me. This honestly made my decision an easy one. Beyond this and the gorgeous packaging, I appreciate all the ingredient and nutritional info that is provided online about the juices.

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Food: Finding the Perfect Pizza Dough Recipe

Among all the other things on my to do list this year, I’d like to try to find the perfect pizza dough recipe. My parents get the best fresh pizza dough from a local bakery near where they live, but I have only been able to find frozen pizza dough here in Waterloo. And it’s okay. Nothing amazing. Just fine.

Recently, I watched Anthony Bourdain’s Rome episode in his show The Layover, and I cannot get over the pizza that I saw in the show. The dough looked just perfect.

I tried this recipe from Ina Garten (side note – Ina and Jeffrey – #couplegoals), but I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t malleable and, frankly, it was bland.

I put a call out on Instagram, and Deborah from Green Light District sent me over a recipe from Gourmet from 15 years ago. I gave it a go, and it was quite good. Although it was a time consuming process – the rise, punch, rise, punch routine – the dough was soft and easy to work with. It had a nice amount of saltiness, too.

Steps 1 & 2

Steps 2 & 3 

Step 3

Steps 4 & 5

Final product!

Here’s the recipe if you want to give it a try – with a few of my add-on notes at the end:

Ingredients:
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (over the years I substituted 1/4 cup or so with whole wheat or other interesting floors like buckwheat)
Cornmeal for dusting the pizza tile

Procedure:

  1. In a large bowl, proof the yeast with the sugar & 1/4 cup warm water for 10 minutes or so, until foamy.
  2. Stir in remaining 1 cup warm water, salt, oil and 2-3/4 cups flour. Blend until it forms a dough.
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead, incorporating as much as the remaining 1/4 cup flour as necessary to prevent dough from sticking. Should take anywhere between 7-10 minutes. Should be smooth like a baby’s bottom!
  4. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, turn to coat, let rise covered with plastic wrap in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled.
  5. Punch down, let rise again for 45 minutes until doubled again, covered with plastic wrap.
  6. Divide the dough into 3 balls.
  7. Preheat oven to 500.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll one of the three balls out into a 12″ round. Quickly transfer on pizza tile, top with sauce, veggies, other toppings. Bake 8-10 minutes or so. Check it often.
  9. A couple of minutes before the pizza is done, add the cheese.

Additional Notes:

  • I don’t use a pizza tile. I use a cookie sheet. I also don’t use cornmeal. I oil up my cookie sheet.
  • I heat my oven to 450.
  • I use my KitchenAid stand mixer for most of the mixing. I then knead it a few times on my floured counter before I let it rise in the bowl.
  • I used “OO” flour (this one from Granoro) because this is what my aunt in Italy uses, but I’m not sure if it makes a difference. I really need to ask her for her recipe. That’s what I really should do!
  • I really like the classic margherita pizza, so that’s why you’ll see it in my Instagram feed most often.

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Food: Riviera Yogurt

Months and months ago when I was grocery shopping and my local Sobey’s, I picked up a package of Riviera yogurt. Now, I’m not much of a yogurt consumer. I buy Greek yogurt every so often, but I’m not a daily consumer. So when I saw this Riviera yogurt, I was mostly interested in the glass jars. They reminded me of France. So I picked them up and hoped for the best.

image via Riviera

Let me tell you, this yogurt is really good. It is like the yogurt I’ve had in France and Switzerland. I opted for the plain yogurt (I’m not that fancy when it comes to yogurt), but I’ve since bought the lemon yogurt (mostly because I like saying citron), and I like alternating between these two. The yogurt is delicious, it doesn’t upset my stomach (some yogurts do), and the serving size is perfect. Plus, les petits pots look fancy and pretty. Beyond plain and flavoured yogurt, the Riviera line also includes parfaits, cheeses, and milk. My local Sobey’s doesn’t carry everything, but the Riviera website helps you find locations where the Riviera line is carried.

So what do I do with the glass jars after I’ve eaten the yogurt? Well, they have so many uses! I’ve used my jars to store nuts, hummus, candy, and candles. You can order plastic lids in just about every colour online, and porcelain lids may be available, too (the website notes that these are currently out of stock).

If you live in Quebec and you don’t want to reuse your pots, you can drop them off at Renaissance. Otherwise, you can check out the 1001 tips for reuse.

pistachio dessert recipe and photo via Maison Orphée

photo via Riviera Facebook

For those who are interested to learn more about this yogurt, the Riviera line is part of the Chalifoux company, an award-winning, family-owned business based in Quebec. Oui oui!

Many thanks to Kathleen H. for sending me some lids for my petits pots.

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Travel: Niagara Icewine Festival, Niagara, Ontario

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? If yes, I’d like to suggest you take a trip to Niagara to tour the wineries, sip on icewine, and eat delicious food – all part of the Niagara Icewine Festival. I know it shouldn’t take much more than that to convince you, but if you need some more info before you plan your weekend, this is the post for you.

When I reached out to the Niagara Icewine Festival organization, the kind folks there kindly sent over a pair of Discovery Passes. I was eager to go to the festival because I had never been, and I thought it would be a nice day away from my weekend routine of chores, errands, and work. It turned out to be much more than that!

The Discovery Pass ($40) allows you to visit 8 wineries of your choosing over the period of the festival (January weekends). Planning can be done before you arrive in Niagara via the Discovery Pass Listings and Wine Route Planner. I didn’t actually plan too much before we set off, so I did some of the route planning during the car ride over. Although the plan did change a bit as the trip progressed because of chats with other guests and winery staff, it was nice to have some sense of wineries that I might enjoy. Because the participating wineries extended from Grimsby to Niagara-on-the-Lake, it was nice to visit wineries along the full route. Thank goodness for reliable GPS systems!

We began our tour at Kacaba (pronounced Ka-sa-ba) where we met David, a friendly and informative Kacaba employee. Here, we learned about Kacaba’s history and soon-to-be-completed expansion, sipped on Jennifer’s Pinot Gris, and enjoyed jumbo prawns with our icewine cocktail. It was a great start to the day!

From Kacaba, we headed to Stoney Ridge winery. Here, we sipped on some chardonnay and  munched on some apple smoked bacon mac n cheese. The winery has a specialty cheese counter, too. I wanted to try everything! And for dessert – icewine-infused marshmellows roasted on the outdoor fire pit.

After Stoney Ridge, we drove to Megalomaniac. We drove up a windy road through the vineyards, and were greeted by an impressive, modern  building that had been hidden by the fog. It was pretty remarkable. Megalomaniac’s branding is awesome with wine names like The Narcissist and Big Kahuna paired with labels designed to match perfectly. The staff were friendly and generous. Here, we tasted four icewine cocktails and marveled at the grandness of the building’s design and decor. And the fog – oh the fog was pretty dreamy!

We made another stop at Tawse with good intentions to enjoy the Discovery Pass, but we needed a break from wine sipping (imagine that). Instead, we took a tour of the facilities and had a very informative conversation with Julie, one of the friendly Tawse staff. I’d like to go back to Tawse in the spring/summer to explore a bit more. The cave-like setting was charming, and it certainly reminded me of French wineries. Tawse is also interesting because it’s an organic and biodynamic winery – apparently it’s a place where chickens roam. I must learn more!

So after these stops in the area of Vineland, we headed to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a hearty lunch before our next tour.

Our first stop in Niagara-on-the-Lake – and last of the day – was at Strewn Winery. The event was organized so that while guests stood at large tables in the cooking school area, they were served icewine paired with a chocolate ganache tart.

I honestly thought that visiting 8 wineries in one day would be doable. In fact, it isn’t. We spent almost an hour at each winery – sipping, eating, chatting, touring – and if you add in travel time, the day just flies! Plus, who can actually keep track of time when you’re in wine country surrounded by beautiful vineyards? If you’re planning a trip and would like to maximize your Discovery Pass, I highly recommend you stay overnight in the region.

On Day 2, we began in Niagara-on-the-lake at Reif Estate Winery (Reif is pronounced Rye-f). This easily became one of my favourite spots on the tour. The Discovery Pass had us enjoying icewine paired with porchetta. The pig wasn’t happy, but I sure was! The setting was old-world, and I learned that Reif is one of the oldest winery in Niagara. After visiting some of the younger (less than 10 years old) wineries, it was nice to see a place with a longer history.

From Reif, we drove down the road to Konzelmann. This is another winery with a longer history and German heritage. The staff was, once again, informative and welcoming. We learned about the family traditions, the building’s construction, and some of the plans for the future. The retail shop has bottles at various price points.

Stop number 7 (were you counting?) was Sue-Ann Staff Winery in Jordan. This smaller winery is run by a passionate owner and team. Here, our icewine was paired with a sweet potato crème brulée. Yes, I said sweet potato!

To wrap up the Niagara Icewine Festival adventure, we visited Redstone Winery (by mistake, actually) to enjoy a chocolate-infused chili with our icewine. Redstone is owned by the Tawse family, but the feel of the winery is quite different. While Tawse is old-world and cave-like, Redstone is industrial and bright. The building is absolutely stunning, and we learned that it has won awards in the architectural world (I didn’t take any photos of it, unfortunately!). While we couldn’t see the views from the restaurant on account of the fog, I imagine that this would be a spectacular place in the spring/summer.  I’d love to make a return trip here, too. (Are you sensing a pattern?)

As someone who had never been to the icewine festival, or Niagara wineries in general, the Discovery Pass was an ideal option for casual exploration. The winery listings is large, so there’s something for everyone. The pass is also a nice way to spread out your visits during the month of January if you live in – or close to – the region, since the 8 visits are not confined to one weekend of the festival. What I enjoyed about the tour is the variety of wineries that I got to visit as well as the stories and buildings to go with the incredible scenery. The people I met are certainly passionate about what they do!

The Niagara region is approximately a 1.5-hour drive from Waterloo. The drive is easy and pleasant, and it doesn’t include a 401 traffic jam in Milton (great news, right?). There’s one more weekend to go for this year’s Niagara Icewine Festival. Let me know if you have any questions if you’re planning a trip.

Thanks to K.H. at the Niagara Icewine Festival for arranging my Discovery Passes. All opinions, thoughts, and photos are my own.

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Gift Guide: For the Cook

I was debating creating Christmas gift guides because I know there are so many wonderful guides already floating around the internet, but then I thought it might be fun to see what I could come up with all-in-white. I’ll be publishing a few guides over the next couple of weeks so as to not overload everyone, but to also get us into the generous holiday gift-giving spirit.

I’m kicking things off with a “for the cook” guide. While I adore my kitchen, I’m not much of a cook. My go-to handmade pastas and pizzas are top-notch, but beyond those staples, I’m just an average cook. I do like to bake though, so some of these items are good for both the chef and the baker in your life!

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Le Creuset dutch oven, Le Creuset large spatula, Martha Stewart kitchen towels, Kate Spade polka dot apron, KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer, KitchenAid pasta attachments, Peugeot salt and pepper set, GlucksteinHome linen napkins, Sophie Conran for Portmerion pie dish, OXO produce keeper, Stelton ice bucket, marble bowl, Godinger marble cheese board, Cuisinart knife set, Joseph cutting board

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Food: Langdon Hall + Shoushin

I absolutely do not know how to begin this post. Do I start by telling you about the 10-course menu? Or maybe about the first time I sipped on sake? Perhaps I could tell you about how I shared an evening with a group of strangers. A good place to start might be to tell you about how two celebrity chefs came together to plan a unique dining experience. Okay, you want me to just get to it, don’t you?

You already know that I’m a big fan of Langdon Hall. Ever since I drove up the winding driveway and saw Langdon Hall for the first time in June 2015, I’ve been hooked. It’s not just something in the water. There’s something in the air, the food, the surroundings, the garden, the architecture, and the people. The place is special.

A couple of weekends ago, I was invited to be a guest at an exclusive dinner prepared by Chef Jason Bangerter of Langdon Hall and Chef Jackie Lin of Shoushin. This dinner was a celebration – and collaboration – of two cultures. It was a dinner that brought together tradition from the Japanese and French. It was a unique feast that showcased the culinary art of two incredibly talented chefs as well as incredible sake and wine pairings from Kado and Halpern, respectively. It was certainly a night to remember!

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A 10+ course meal? I trained for it! I only ate breakfast that day in preparation for the event! (Although I did have some Terroir upon arrival…do you blame me?). I’m pretty sure my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw the extensive menu. Chef Jackie Lin prepared fish that was flown in from Japan for the occasion. Chef Jason Bangerter worked with Jackie to prepare and pair the fish with French flavour and flair, and, as per usual, he sourced many ingredients from Langdon Hall’s gardens. It was inspiring, educational, and delicious! It was chemistry. It was art.

British photographer Simon Boucher-Harris snapped a collection of beautiful photos that I’m thrilled to be able to share here.

Behind the scenes…

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(Simon took this photo of Chef Jackie during the cooking demonstration the following day, but it’s such a great photo that I had to include it!)

The dinner…

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Each course – as you’ve seen in the photos above – was paired with sake or wine. I had never had sake, so I was a bit hesitant, but since I was sitting beside Kiyoko Miyashita – sake expert and owner of Kado – I was given excellent explanations of what I was drinking. Sake has a higher alcohol percentage than wine, and it has a unique flavour. I thought I had tasted anise, but Kiyoko assured me that there was no anise in the drink. Althought I was told that the flavour is even better after the drink sits for a while, I could never seem to let mine sit for too long since it was so delicious!

As the evening was a celebration of two cultures, we were also lucky to sip on French red wine for some of the fish courses and the venison course.

It’s hard to put into words how special this evening was. Although many of the 30 people in attendance started the evening as strangers, after clinking glasses to toast, sharing travel stories and laughs, we ended the evening as new social media friends and conversations continued after the evening ended. To have two remarkable chefs collaborate to create a menu just for us, share their recipes, and mingle as they put finishing touches on our meals at our tables was extraordinary. Shoushin at Langdon Hall was a very good idea!

This event was a partnership between two well-recognized establishments – Langdon Hall in Cambridge, Ontario and Shoushin in Toronto.

Photos by Simon Boucher-Harris.

Thanks to Langdon Hall for inviting me to be your guest.

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Marketplace: Unique Items at UncommonGoods

Online retailer UncommonGoods recently contacted me to see if I would be interested in shopping for some unique items. I’ve known about UncommonGoods for a while now, but I hadn’t ever ordered anything, so I thought I’d give it a try to learn more about what this company is all about.

It won’t take you long to recognize that the collection of items at UncommonGoods is just that – uncommon. Out of the ordinary. Unique. Different. Interesting. Soon after this initial thought, you might notice that the product selection and variety is large. Luckily, the search filters are effective and specific, so if you’re searching for something specific (e.g., gift for a kid), then you’ll get to that area of the site in no time. The site has a ton of cool gadgets for hard-to buy loved ones, birthday gifts for her, for him, and for kids, and the all-so-popular personalized gifts (isn’t this personalized family art adorable?).

As I often do in sites that have a large product line, I search by colour (white, obviously). This narrows things down easily and really helps me to focus my search. From there, I might expand to other colours (black, stainless). Alternatively, I search by need (e.g., kids, food, art). UncommonGoods search bar and filters really did work well for me, and I found items that suit my style (personal and for gifting!).

palm-trees

All the Palm Trees in Florida, $251.61CAD (I also like All the Taxis in New York)

olive-oilolive oil, $34CAD, (US shipping only)

shave-box

shave box set, $78.88CAD (US shipping only)

travel-pack

men’s organizing travel pack, $62.56CAD

travel-pack

women’s organizing travel pack, $65.28CAD

mealtime-stacking-set

mealtime stacking set, $59.84CAD

empanada-fork

empanada fork, $27.20CAD

UncommonGoods was founded in 1999 by Dave Bolotsky, and since then, he and his team has been devoted to connecting makers of unique items to consumers in an easy way.

I placed my order, and I was pleased to see that the taxes and duties were calculated before check-out. This means that there will be no extra payment surprises once my items arrive at my door. I’m sure other Canadian shoppers will appreciate this checkout option as well. Finally, when I had a question about shipping, I contacted customer service, and I received a reply within just a few minutes. I was very pleased about this, too!

Thanks to UncommonGoods for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

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Food: Langdon Hall’s Terroir Noir

Yes, yes, I’m back with more news from Langdon Hall. I could easily start a regular Langdon Hall series on White Cabana. The place is amazing, and I’ve recently been calling it My Langdon Hall. Yes, I am totally biased and also completely smitten by the place.

Anyhoo – a few months ago, the team at Langdon Hall invited me to interview Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson. An interview, I asked? About what? Chocolate! Tough gig, I know.

You see, Langdon Hall decided that they should have their own signature chocolate (as if the place wasn’t special enough), and they wanted some help to get their story out.

You may have seen this post on Instagram recently if you follow me or @LangdonHall or @LangdonHallChef:

Langdon-Hall-Terroir-Noir

via @LangdonHallChef

You see those words right there? Yeah, I wrote them (with some edits from LH)! So cool! Since that paragraph only provides a glimpse into LH’s chocolate, I was given permission to share the full story here on my blog. Read on if you’d like to learn more about how this chocolate came to be.

***

Making of Langdon Hall’s Signature Chocolate: The Beginning
Jordana Garbati

Being whisked away to France on a highly unique chocolate mission seems like an incredible experience to add to one’s bucket list. For Langdon Hall’s Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and pasty chef Rachel Nicholson, this experience turned from dream to reality in February.

Jason and Rachel were invited to Cacao Barry’s prestigious Or Noir in Paris to develop a signature chocolate recipe for Langdon Hall. Only a few Canadian chefs, and only about 200 chefs around the world, have developed a signature chocolate recipe! Armed with a few goals in mind and a clear idea of the flavours the chefs wanted to include in Langdon Hall’s future house chocolate, the duo zipped off to Paris for a three-day chocolate adventure.

At Or Noir, Jason and Rachel were confronted with cacao beans from around the world and wasted no time working with Or Noir’s highly-qualified team to begin the process of developing Langdon Hall’s distinct chocolate.

Chef Jason wanted to ensure that Langdon Hall’s philosophy was well represented in its chocolate. He wanted the chocolate to instill ideas of the land, smokiness (we all know about Langdon Hall’s divine fireplaces), warmth, and tradition. Chef Rachel was on the same page and wanted to ensure that the final chocolate recipe would not only work beautifully on its own, but also become that more memorable when transformed into a chocolate ganache or pain au chocolat.

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 Chefs Jason and Rachel and the French team at Or Noir

The chefs went through Or Noir’s chocolate recipe development process whereby they explained their desired taste profile, explored cacao pastes from around the world, blended flavours, and tasted multiple production samples.

After a few gruelling days in the Parisian chocolate laboratory (as much as crafting a chocolate recipe can be gruelling), the chefs settled on the perfect recipes for dark and milk chocolate that are set to impress.

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Langdon Hall chocolate samples – some of the first pieces Langdon Hall’s dark and milk chocolates – ready for a taste test

The dark chocolate has an ideal amount of bitterness. It’s great paired simply with an after-dinner espresso, and it is sure to increase the quality of Langdon’s popular chocolate-filled pastries and desserts. The flavour lingers on the tongue and is of beautiful texture and consistency. The milk chocolate is as creamy and shiny as you would want it to be, and it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Both chocolate recipes are as distinguished as Langdon Hall, they embody luxurious hospitality as much as a chocolate could, and they are yet one more piece that will raise guests’ experiences to another notable level. Jason-Rachel-Langdon-Hall-TerroirNoir

Executive Chef Jason Bangerter and Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson with the first chocolate production at Langdon Hall

For chefs Jason and Rachel, the signature chocolate brings prestige and innovation. The creation of the Langdon Hall chocolate brings outside-the-box thinking and creativity. This addition to the existing repertoire of phenomenal recipes will entice new and returning guests to visit Langdon Hall to experience its inimitable chocolate.

After the recipe was created in February, the chocolate went into production in France. Since the arrival of the first shipment of chocolate, the chefs have been busy in their kitchen creating new decadent recipes.

On April 25th, Executive Chef Jason Bangerter will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario to launch Langdon Hall’s chocolate and its top-secret name at the Terroir Symposium, which is an event that brings together top chefs, sommeliers, and artists with the goal to promote innovation, collaboration, and creativity in the field of hospitality. Industry leaders will no doubt be enthralled by the story of how Langdon Hall’s chocolate came to be and I challenge them to stop at just one bite.

***

I should say that Chef Jason did make sure I had my fair share of chocolate during the interview (Thanks, Jason.) I preferred the dark, but the milk was so darn smooth. I know, such a tough gig. Hanging out at Langdon Hall eating chocolate – life. is. good.

p.s. In recent news, did you see that Drake went to Langdon, too? Cool.

Drake-Langdon-Hall-ChampagnePapi

via @ChampagnePapi, photo by @CaitCronenberg

 

Food: How to Make Gnocchi

Easter lunch at my parents’ place means gnocchi. This tradition certainly makes me a happy daughter! My mom’s gnocchi and tomato sauce is amazing. While I always help out – we all have our jobs when it comes to making gnocchi for a gazillion people* – this year, I tried to document the gnocchi making process just in case some readers are interested in learning how to make it.

This isn’t a definite recipe. With much of my mom’s cooking (and recipes), you just “have to feel it”. This makes learning a bit of a challenge, I have to say, but I’ve gotten better at figuring out what “feels” right, and I’m sure you will too!

1. Boil a bunch of potatoes with the peels on for a bunch of minutes so they soften.

2. Drain the potatoes, peel them, and smoosh them in one of these potato press gadgets. (You can also use a food mill, but mom recently told me that she likes the results from the potato press better than the food mill.)

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3. Spread the grated/smooshed potatoes onto a clean tea towel and let them cool.

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4. Once cool, put the grated potatoes onto the counter, crack two eggs on top of them, and spread a bunch of flour around the pile of potatoes.

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5. Gather these ingredients together, then knead, knead, knead, and knead some more. The consistency has to be “just right” so “feel” the dough and stop kneading once the texture is good. If the dough is too soft, the gnocchi will lose its shape. If it’s too hard, it’ll be tough to eat. Like I said, the dough should “feel right”. Good luck!

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6. Once the dough has been formed, break off small bits, and roll the dough into long dough snakes.

7. Cut 1-inch-ish pieces from the dough snakes. Flour the pieces as you go, so they don’t stick together.

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8. Spread all the pieces out on a large, clean tablecloth** and sprinkle flour over top the pieces.

9. If you want to be fancy, invest in one of these inexpensive wood gnocchi rollers. Roll individual pieces of dough quickly down the wood gadget. While the gnocchi is delicious without this step, the rolled gnocchi is amazing because the newly formed ridges catch the sauce, and the little hole/space in the gnocchi holds sauce really.

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10. Take a moment to step back and admire your rolling work.White-Cabana-how-to-make-gnocchi-11 White-Cabana-how-to-make-gnocchi-12

11. To cook the gnocchi, boil a pot of water. Once the water is boiling, add a bunch of gnocchi. The gnocchi are ready once they float to the top of the water and the water is boiling slightly again. Scoop them out, drain them, then add them to a bowl of sauce. By rolling them around in sauce right away, the gnocchi won’t stick together.

12. When you’re ready to serve, call out “tutti a tavola” just like Lidia Bastianich (and a lot of Italian people!). The expression is Italian for “everyone to the table”, which signals to your guests that it’s time to eat, and they should hurry up so they don’t keep everyone waiting.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of the final product, but trust me, it was delicious, and the sauce worked beautifully with the rolled gnocchi.  (I was definitely more concerned about eating than taking photos once my plate of gnocchi was in front of me.)

*this year, there were only 6 of us, but mom must have made about 20 servings worth because a few of us like to have seconds and there’s always a bunch to share for leftovers

**The tablecloth is an essential part in our process. It might seem unusual, but it’s our tradition. The pieces might stick to a counter, but they don’t stick to a tablecloth.

Thanks, Mom, for letting me capture you in action!

Food & Drink: MoĂ«t for Valentine’s Day (or any day)

I’m of the mind that champagne (whether from Champagne or not) should be consumed during celebrations both big and small: closing on new house, having a great day at work, meeting with a friend you haven’t seen in ages, a new baby, or a school graduation*.

I guess with Valentine’s Day around the corner, bringing out the bubbly is very Ă  propos. Heck, whether you’re in a relationship and you celebrate this day of love, or you’re single and avoid the commercialization of it all, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t toast you and your loved ones with a glass of champers**.

It’s not too often that I actually get spoiled with some of the popular champagnes like MoĂ«t or Veuve Clicquot***, but maybe 2016 is the year that I bring this luxury to the forefront of my life (maybe to go with my future luxurious but affordable bed makeover?).

Just look at this work of champagne art:La-maison-depuis-1743_fixed_310x310

And the Moët & Chandon bottle is so beautifully classic.

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If you’re looking to pair this with food, the MoĂ«t & Chandon team tells me that the ImpĂ©rial Brut (feature in the photo above) pairs particularly well with sushi, scallops, oysters, white fish, and white fruit (e.g., white peach tart), but I’m pretty sure my tastes buds are also happy when I pair champagne with the goodness of homemade pizza. Who’s with me?

Or, if you’re looking for a way to switch things up with your champagne, you might opt to try the following recipe for the MoĂ«t Ruby Red (festive for Valentine’s, the Oscars, etc.):

Moët Ruby Red
Ingredients
3/4 oz. Lemon
3/4 oz. Tarragon, Raspberry, Citrus Shrub (see below)
1 oz. Vodka
2 1/2 oz. Moët & Chandon Brut

Directions:
Serve over ice in a white wine glass. Garnish with fresh tarragon and citrus.

Tarragon, Raspberry, Citrus Shrub
Ingredients
2 cups Raspberry Purée
2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
4 cups Cane Sugar
1 Lemon Peel
4 sprigs of Tarragon

Directions
Bring ingredients to a simmer on a stovetop, then remove from heat and let cool.

This drink seems to be right up my alley – even though I generally prefer to drink champagne in its original state. I tend to take my champagne in a coupe, maybe with a raspberry thrown in for good measure.

What about you? How do you take your champagne?

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* Maybe this is one of the reasons why I have pursued more than one university degree (I’m on lucky #5!)
** Is this a word people use, or is this just a word I use with my friends. Blurred lines.

*** Toasting my PhD achievement was probably my most memorable Veuve occasion (see this and this and this).

Images via Moët & Chandon.

 

Travel: Dining at Langdon Hall

Yesterday, I took you on a tour of my Cloister room and the main house at Langdon Hall. Today, I’m highlighting all the delicious food I consumed during my stay. Warning – you’ll likely want to make a dining reservation as soon as you see these photos.

Langdon Hall has received numerous awards and accolades for its cuisine (and accommodations, too). For example, it has held the CAA/AAA Five Diamond Restaurant award for ten consecutive years. Under the direction of head chef, Chef Jason Bangerter, Langdon Hall’s team of chefs create dishes that are made from local ingredients, including treats right from Langdon Hall’s own gardens. From its pastries to its country breakfast to its fine dining options, everything that is served at Langdon Hall is top-of-the-top.

A White Welcome

Waiting for me in my room was a bottle of wine and a beautiful tray of white goodies. White! For me! Just perfect! A white plate was covered with white mushroom meringues and white macarons.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-41 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-42 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-43Afternoon Tea

Soon after I checked in to my suite, I met my host, Kate, for afternoon tea in the bright white Orchard Room. Oh, this room was made for me! The walls are made of windows,  the tables were dressed all in white, and the beamed ceiling had me staring. The view is amazing, too. You can see some of these things in the photos below.

Afternoon tea began with a generous glass of champagne, and Kate and I toasted to my return visit to Langdon Hall as well as the new year! I then opted for the Cassis tea (yum!), and our individual treats were brought over soon after tea was poured. The three-tiers contained a selection of mini-sandwiches (my favourite was the egg salad in the croissant), two scones, and a selection of bite-sized desserts (I really liked the quince macarons, but the cheese cake was my favourite) prepared under the direction of Head Pastry Chef Rachel Nicholson.

Even if you do not stay overnight at Langdon Hall, you can still make the drive for Afternoon Tea. It would be such a special way to celebrate or just be spoiled on any random weekend.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-47 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-52 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-53 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-56 White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-57Country Breakfast

If you book a stay at Langdon Hall, I highly recommend adding the breakfast to your reservation package. The food is high in quality, beautifully presented, and abundant. Service is friendly and attentive, and the dining room is gorgeous. Nothing is rushed, and care is taken to ensure a memorable dining experience.

The coffee is from local brewers Monigram, and the serving platters and flower pots are from Cambridge potters Hillborn. I commend Langdon Hall for its commitment to working with community partners. These details do not go unnoticed!

As I was sipping my latte, and before my meal arrived, a server came to my table with a surprise from the kitchen.  (A surprise? For moi? I love surprises!) Head Chef Jason and one of his sous-chefs, Chef Andrew, had prepared an egg and truffle amuse-bouche for me. (For me!) Chef Jason did not want me to leave Langdon Hall without trying some truffle (his fave), and seeing as I had no room in my belly for anything the previous night (after eating three tiers of goodness at afternoon tea), it was decided that I should indulge during breakfast. Good idea, Chefs! #trustthechef

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-aOh, geez, was this ever good! It smelled delicious, looked delicious, and tasted delicious! A feast for the senses!

While I was very tempted to order the pain perdu for my main meal (dang it – I have such a sweet tooth), I opted for one of Langdon Hall’s popular breakfast items – the lobster omelette.

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-bYes, this was as good as it looks! And, yes, I finished it all (and even had a croissant “for dessert”).

Service

The staff’s attention to detail surpassed any expectations that I had before my arrival. My table, for example, was the only one (or one of very few) that had a white rose plant on it (the other tables had colourful rose plants). A white rose plant for White Cabana? Whether this was a coincidence, I’m not so sure. It would be just like Langdon Hall’s team to pay attention to something like this.

Version 2I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Jason Bangerter, and I think it’s pretty common to see him mingling with guests in the dining room. He has achieved much success in Ontario and abroad and was recently awarded Relais & Chateaux’s Rising Chef Trophy.

Langdon-Hall-Chef-Jason-BangerterWhite-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-62Here I am with Head Chef Jason Bangerter in the main dining room.

As I hope you can see, the cuisine at Langdon Hall is top-notch and the staff make the dining experience is of the highest quality. There’s something for everyone, and even if you don’t stay over night, you can still enjoy a meal at this gorgeous hotel.

I’d like to end this two-part Langdon Hall review by extending a warm thanks to my host, Kate, for ensuring my stay was one to remember!

White-Cabana-Langdon-Hall-dSee you again soon, Langdon Hall! I won’t be able to stay away for too long!

Note: Part 1: A luxurious stay at Langdon Hall.
Photos by me. I received a discount on my stay. All opinions are my own.

The Friday Five: Orlando Edition

While my friend Shannon and I were in Florida last month, we decided to take a day trip to Orlando. We avoided all amusement parks and opted to try some of the recommendations on Design*Sponge’s 24 hours in Orlando guide written by Jessica Bennett.

Orlando-hwy-signMy TomTom directed every step of the way, and we were very thankful that we had it! We punched in the various addresses, and off we went. Freedom!

Here are five of the stops we made:

One: Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets
Our first stop was the Vineland outlet mall on the southern end of Orlando. It was on our way to the centre of the city, so we thought we might as well stop in to see what it had to offer. Well, it offered us quite a bit. The mall has high-end designer outlets like Fendi and Burberry as well as more mainstream outlets like JCrew, Banana Republic, and the Gap. We were surprised to see a Lululemon outlet at this mall, and we picked up some goodies at Barneys NY and Kate Spade.

Vineland-Outlet-Orlando-1Vineland-Outlet-Orlando-2Two: Prato
After a couple several hours at Vineland, we needed some food. When we learned that we had missed the opening hours of The Strand, we drove straight to Prato in the Winter Park district. We sort of missed the opening hours there, too, but luckily the restaurant was still serving a limited menu, so we were in luck. We were hungry! We ordered a couple of cocktails (to celebrate a successful shopping excursion, of course!) and pizzas. I went for the Fiorentina and Shannon ordered the Widowmaker, and we were both very happy with our meals.

Besides the food, Prato is a feast for the designer’s eyes. It is beautifully designed, and its front black-framed windows are gorgeous.

Prato-Orlando-2Prato-Orlando-1 Prato-Orlando-3 Orlando-Prato-1Three: Hannibal Square
I quickly fell in love with the Winter Park district, and I was surprised to see such a quaint and historic neighbourhood in Orlando. Why does everyone talk about Mickey when there’s Winter Park? Beautiful trees, cobble stone roads, and plenty of sweet stores and restaurants to explore, this is an area worth visiting!

From Prato, we lazily walked around, following as much of the guide as we could. The guide led us to Hannibal Square which included a huge Jenga-style game under this (apparently slanted) structure.

Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-2Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-1 Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-4 Hannibal-Square-WinterPark-Orlando-3Four: Rifle Paper Co.
We knew Rifle Paper Co. was in Winter Park, but we almost missed it! Thankfully, we turned a corner, and there it was. It was our lucky day because Rifle was having a sidewalk sale. Ah-mazing! We were thrilled! Each of us stocked up on cards and artwork. I scooped up a few Garance Doré prints as well as this super bright and happy print for my work office.I was so impressed to learn that Rifle Paper Co. items are made in the USA and assembled right in Winter Park. Just so awesome.

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Rifle-Paper-Co-4As if the sidewalk sale wasn’t enough, Nick from Mama’s Sauce was at Rifle screen-printing his heart out! Meeting Nick was so fun and unexpected. In addition to all of his design and printing work, Nick is an avid traveller, and he gave us great advice about where to go, what to do, and what to see in various parts of Florida. He spoke so highly of Winter Park, Orlando, and Florida in general, and I just love it when people appreciate where they live so much! The fact that Nick time out of his busy day to chat with us completely impressed me (Thanks, Nick!).

Rifle-Paper-Co-2And beyond the sale and screen-printing excitement, on our way out the door with our hands full of gorgeous letterpress art, we met the very friendly Stephen (The Hyppo and Cousteau Waffle & Milkshake Bar) and Ryan (MC Pressure). They served us up some delicious popsicles which was a very welcome treat considering the fact that we (a) didn’t have dessert at Prato, and (b) it was ridiculously hot! I had the blueberry-lavender-lemonade popsicle, and it was so absolutely delicious. A month later, and I’m still thinking about how great it tasted!

Rifle-Paper-Co-3Five: P is for Pie Bake Shop
Our last stop before we left Orlando was P if for Pie Bake Shop. We opted to get mini pies to go (banana pie and chocolate peanut butter pie), and enjoyed them back home in Madeira Beach (yum!).

P-is-for-Pie-Orlando-1P-is-for-Pie-Orlando-2As you may have gathered, we had a great day trip in Orlando. I would definitely like to go back and spend some more time around the city (especially Winter Park since it was so pretty). I’m glad the Design*Sponge 24-hours in Orlando guide worked out, and I’m extra glad that my TomTom directed us for the day.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

I’d like to thank Meaghan B. and TomTom again for providing me with the GO 500. It is proving to be very useful and dependable!

Travel: A Quick Trip To Toronto

A friend and I met in Toronto last weekend for a fun weekend away from reality. It was glorious. Here’s a quick recap of what we did, saw, and ate during our 24 hours in the city.

Shopping…what girls’ weekend doesn’t include a bit of shopping? Anthropologie was a highlight – mostly for the styling, I have to say. It’s such a pretty place!

White-Cabana-Toronto-9I saw the white background and thought it was perfect for a selfie. Please note: I am actually wearing sandals (spring has finally made an appearance), and I do not have a jacket on. There were big changes in the weather last weekend!

 

White-Cabana-Toronto-1On the recommendation of a friend, we went to The Carbon Bar for dinner. The menu has all the goodness of southern cookin’ – ribs, cornbread, slaw, grits – and the cocktails to match I was torn between the brisket and the squid/mussels/pork belly + lentils dish, and in the end, I opted for the fish. I don’t think you can actually make a wrong decision at The Carbon Bar. Everything that was coming out of the kitchen looked delicious.

White-Cabana-Toronto-2White-Cabana-Toronto-3  White-Cabana-Toronto-4For Sunday brunch, we did a bit of a Google/Trip Advisor search and settled on Smith (Church & Wellesley). I’m rarely on this side of town when I’m in Toronto, so it was nice to see what’s on the go east of Yonge. If you don’t know where Smith is, you might just walk right past it (like we did), but once you find it, you’ll feel like you hit the jackpot. Our dining neighbours told us as much. I opted for the salmon plate (with cream cheese, capers, and bagel crisps), and my friend got the croque madame. We were both pleased. The food was plentiful and fresh. I loved the design of this space, and the patio and bathroom both looked really cool.

White-Cabana-Toronto-7White-Cabana-Toronto-8White-Cabana-Toronto-6   White-Cabana-Toronto-5So there you have it – a peek into my quick weekend in Toronto.

Food: Vanilla Danish Cookies

A couple of years ago, I learned about Danish chef Trine Hahnemann as I was munching on some simple vanilla cookies that a friend made from Trine’s recipe. The little white rings are full of goodness – they’re perfectly sized and have just enough sweetness.

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I didn’t make them in time for Christmas, but I did bake a batch in time for my family’s New Year’s Day feast.

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before – little ring cookies ready for the oven

Trine-hahnemann-danish-cookies-White-Cabana-2Trine-hahnemann-danish-cookies-White-Cabana-1after: little ring cookies ready to be eaten

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Trine Hahnemann’s Vanilla Danish Butter Cookies

375 g butter
250 g sugar
1 egg
2 vanilla pods
500 g plain flour

1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until the mixture is pale and fluffy. Add the egg and continue beating.
3. Split the vanilla pods lengthways and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife. Stir them into the flour.
4. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. (I knead the dough a little bit so everything sticks together.)
5. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill for (at least) two hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 200°C (I set mine at 390°F).
7. Roll the dough into very thin sausages about fix or six centimetres long. Curl each on into a ring and press the ends firmly together.
8. Place rings on a parchment-lined baking tray (I put the trays in the fridge for a few minutes before putting them in the oven. This helps them keep their small ring shape).
9. Bake for about eight minutes (I baked mine for about 6 minutes.)
10. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
11. Store the cookies in an airtight container and do not mix them with other types of cookies or they will go soft.

*Instead of converting the measurements into cups and tablespoons, I used a scale and weighed each of the ingredients.

Thanks to Emmy for teaching me about these delicious Danish cookies. Recipe via Red (original recipe is in The Scandinavian Cookbook). Photos by me.

The Friday Five: #HappiMess with Delta Faucet Canada

My life this fall has been slightly chaotic. Sometimes I do wonder why I decide to take on so much work and extracurricular and blogging activities. Why, oh why, do I do this to myself? Then I realize that I have so much fun doing what it is that I do that I have no reason to complain about my sometimes-overly-packed days. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I headed to Toronto to join the very colourful Tiffany Pratt and about 20 other bloggers and influencers to create a #HappiMess sponsored by Delta Faucet Canada. Here’s my recap in five points…

1. Delta Faucet Canada welcomed us into a very white event space at Andrew Richard Designs. The long white table was all set with artsy materials.

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2. Tiffany encouraged us to create and paint and sparkle up a unique clutch. I was totally frozen when I saw the palette of colourful paints. Luckily, the Tiffany and the PR crew had a spare tube of black paint, and I put it to very good use. I definitely felt more at ease once the black paint made an appearance! (Thanks, team!)

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That’s my clutch! (It sparkles more in real life!)

4. We mingled and laughed and played with paint. And then washed our hands…obviously. Here I am washing up (and pretending to be a hand model):

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 great faucet, right?

3. We nibbled on delicious eats by the Food Dudes and talked about Delta’s collection.

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5. In addition to the painting, the clutches, the food, the drinks, and the Skittles, we filled our Instagram and Twitter feeds with photos of lovely flowers from Blush and Bloom.

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It was a very fun evening, and completely different from my day-to-day university life. Kudos to Tiffany and Delta for bringing out our creative sides (and for showing us how magical sparkles can be!).

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! Do let me know if you make a #HappiMess over the next couple of days!

Photo credit: Koko Photography

Marketplace: Boxed Water

It’s a bit suprising that I haven’t yet featured Boxed Water. The packaging is right up my design alley. Not only that, but the design is environmentally-friendly.

boxed-water-Jeff

 

photo credit: Jeff G. (my brother-in-law)

That being said, I’m actually one of those people who still drinks tap water. Call me crazy.

Learn more at Boxed Water is Better.

In the Kitchen: Making Bread with the KitchenAid Stand Mixer

Okay, okay. Since you already know that I love my KitchenAid stand mixer, I’ll get straight to my recent bread making experience.

Although I was a bit hesitant to make bread from scratch, I was also very curious and determined. I opened up the handy KitchenAid recipe book that came with my stand mixer, and I flipped to the page that had the “basic white bread” recipe. I prepped all of my ingredients, I followed the directions exactly, and here is a photo-heavy recap of what happened…

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basic white bread recipe from KitchenAid + packets of active dry yeast

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butter, salt, sugar, milk melting on the stove

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4.5 cups of flour to start (I probably ended up using 5.5 cups)

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mixing 2 packets of active dry yeast with warm water in a warm mixing bowl

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mixing all of the ingredients: yeast, water, milk, melted butter, sugar, salt, and flour

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level 2 speed for a few minutes

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mixing the dough with the dough hook until the sides are clean and the dough is sticky

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sides of bowl are clean and dough is sticky

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see – I told you – clean bowl!

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dough in a oil-lined bowl

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risen dough after 1 hour in the bowl

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punched dough

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rolling out half of the dough

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rolling up the flattened dough

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into the loaf pan it goes

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risen dough after 1 hour in the loaf pan

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after 30 minutes in the 400° oven

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the recipe made 2 loaves (one is wonky because I had to DIY a loaf-type pan)

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golden bread

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crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside

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the best way to enjoy fresh bread – with Nutella

The bread was FANTASTIC! It was perfectly golden, had a crunchy crust, was soft on the inside, and the recipe worked! It was as time consuming as bread making is (I think it took about 10 minutes to prep, 1 hour of wait time so the bread could rise the first time, 1 hour to rise the second time, and 30 minutes to bake in the oven). I did a bunch of other things around the house during the wait & rise times, so I really didn’t feel like bread making was a whole lot of work. Oh my goodness – I could probably live on fresh bread and Nutella*. It’s too darn delicious!

Oh – and I know I’m “supposed” to eat healthy, grainy, brown bread, but sometimes I just don’t care. White and simple worked perfectly for me!

* This is not a sponsored post, but if Nutella wants to offer me with a year/lifetime supply of Nutella, I’d be grateful, and I’d make fresh bread more often! 

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