Monthly Archives: January 2013

IACP cookbook winners and finalists for 2012

iacp-logo_200The International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) has been recognizing the best and brightest cookbook publishers for over 25 years. Here are some of the winners and finalists from 2012.
The Apple Lover’s Cookbook                                    Ancient Grains for Modern Meals
Author: Amy Traverso                                               Author: Maria Speck
Editor: Maria Guarnaschelli                                      Editors: Jenny Wapner, Dawn Yanagihara
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.              Publisher: Ten Speed Press

AppleLoversCookbook2-e1316712772420                                                         BOOK-REVIEW-Ancient-Grains-for-Modern-Meals-by-Maria-Speck

Cooking with Chocolate                                            Tomatoland
Author: Frédéric Bau                                                 Author: Barry Estabrook
Editor: Kate Mascaro                                                 Editor: Chris Schillig
Publisher: Flammarion                                             Publisher: Andrews McMeel

getimage                                                            tomatoland

All About Roasting                                                       The Table Comes First           
Author: Molly Stevens                                                     Author: Adam Gopnik
Editor: Maria Guarnaschelli                                            Publisher: Knopf
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

all-about-roasting-by-molly-stevens-b13cf05ceef05d97                                                       TABLE 001


East African peanut soup

peanut soup
I’m taking a big trip to East Africa in February and to get in the mood I’ve been looking at and making some Traditional African food. So far this has been one of my favourits.
East African peanut soup
  • 3 pounds Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk
  • 1 tsp Curry Powder
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 4 cups Fresh Cream
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
Peel and cube the Sweet Potato. Season and roast in the oven until soft.
Chop the Onions & Garlic and fry in a saucepan until transparent. Add the Coconut Milk and Curry Powder to the Onion mix and fry for five more minutes. Add the Sweet Potatoes and Cream to the Onion mix and simmer for ten minutes. Flavour the Sweet Potato base with Peanut Butter to taste. Liquidize all the ingredients and season to taste. Enjoy with a good glass of Chardonnay.
Note: I scaled this way back for 2 people but you could make it all and see how it freezes.
Cook books
The Africa News Cookbook
The soul of a new cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson

Jamie’s Food Revolution

This is one of my favourite cookbooks and a great one for people to have if they are just learning to cook.


Jamie’s Food Revolution By Jamie Oliver is about going back to making delicious, nutritious, and easy meals for your family at home. Jamie Oliver has been an advocate for bringing real food back into the homes and schools of England for many years. For this book Jamie Oliver looked at the work of Marguerite Patten during the food shortages of the Second World War for his inspiration in creating this book. She taught Brits to survive on the little food that they had and stay healthy at the same time. He took what Marguerite did during the war and used it to teach people today the importance of creating simple, delicious, affordable meals at home by setting up “Ministries of Food” in small towns where he would come and teach a few members of the community to cook on the promise that they would then pass on what they had learned from Jamie. Click here for more information about the Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
This book is great for beginners because it has easy dishes that anyone can make. You don’t have to even know how to chop vegetables to be able to make the meals in this book, he includes a number of images that show you how to do it, and in most cases everything is roughly chopped. Everything from salad dressing to a Sunday roast with vegetables can be found in this book. Many of my favourite recipes are from here like, Roasted chicken and vegetables , Hearty Winter Stew, and my boyfriends favourite lasagna.
I highly recommend this cookbook to both the beginner cook and even the more experienced. It is full of great recipes and will have you going back for more.
Some of my other favourite books by Jamie
Jamie at home
Jamie’s America
Jamie’s dinners
The Naked Chef

Cooking out of my comfort zone

Here is another installment of Cooking out of your comfort zone. This time I’ve made Momofuku Milk Bar‘s Birthday Cake.


I made this cake for my dad’s birthday because he loves confetti cake and this looked so much nicer than a mix cake.  I was also able to make it gluten-free so I could have some as well.
This cake took me a whole day to make. It’s very time intensive and requires you to make a few different recipes to put the whole thing together. I guess they do this on purpose so you will just buy the cake from them, but I don’t live in New York City so…. I made it. It was amazing, just like a boxed cake but I could eat it. The icing tasted just like it came from a can but i knew exactly what was in it. The homemade cookie crumb on the top of the cake is also in the icing layers of the cake giving you a nice crunchy bit every now and then.
I would make this cake again for sure, it was well worth the time and effort to make it. Plus who wouldn’t want to get a cake that looks that good for their birthday?
Leave a comment or email us at to let us know what you’ve been making to get out of your comfort zone.
Books for inspiration
All cakes considered by Melissa Gray
Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro
Party cakes by Mitch Turner

Kitchen chalkboards


I love the idea of chalkboards in the kitchen. They seem so handy, you can put recipes on them, shopping lists, grocery lists or have your kids make a new piece of art for you every week.
chalkboard2It has become so easy to make anything into a chalkboard now that you can get chalkboard paint at the hardware store, you can even get it tinted. You don’t even have to paint it on, you can get peel and stick panels or shapes that can be removed and placed somewhere else. They don’t even have to be just be in the kitchen they would be great in your office, play area or child’s room.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I want to do is take and old door with crackled paint and paint the panels with black chalkboard paint. I would love to hang it in my kitchen as a functional artsy piece. It would be a great way for me to work on a shopping list throughout the week and not lose it. If you are interested in making one you can do a Google and search DIY chalkboards.

One of the best all-purpose meat sauces

The sauce is a variation on Jamie Oliver’s. This is a staple in my house and we use to do stuffed peppers, on pasta, in lasagna, the options are endless.
Meat Sauce
4 tbs of olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 or 2 cloves of minced garlic
1 large carrot
2 celery stalks
1 lb lean ground beef
one tin (29 ounces) crushed tomatoes  
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
In a large frying pan saute the garlic and onions until tender.
When the onions are tender add the roughly chopped carrots and celery. Cook until the carrots are almost tender.Add the hamburger and cook until browned.Add the crushed tomato and simmer until your pasta is ready.This sauce is great for more than just putting on top of pasta. Instead of using crushed tomatoes try using diced tomatoes and half a tin of water or red wine, simmering for about 30 minutes to make a sauce that can be used as the meat layer in a really great lasagna. My boyfriend is always asking for the lasagna with this sauce. You can use any pasta you like with this sauce. I recommend using fresh pasta that can easily be bought in your local grocery store.

Bringing in the New year with a decluttered home

declutterOnce the Holiday season is over and the kids are back to school I always feel the need to bring our home back to normal and do some decluttering and cleaning.  We live in a small house and in the winter after a few Christmas presents have been added to the rooms, it seems even smaller.  I have always wondered if a professional organizer would have some new ideas on how to keep the clutter at bay. If you are looking to hire one, check out Professional Organizers in Canada .  If like me you “do-it-yourself” you can get some inspiration from the internet and the books at your local Public Library.
Conquering Clutter
De-Cluttering solutions for your home
Secrets of an organized mom : how to declutter and streamline your home for a happier family
Simpler living : a back to basics guide to cleaning, furnishing, storing, decluttering, streamlining, organizing, and more