A Seasonal Menu for July


A Menu for July

Trout Rillette on Toasts with Green Salad Vinaigrette
Summit Blueberry Tarts

I just arrived home from our three weeks in France where my business partner and dear friend Sarolta and I cooked our hearts out for the Messors Decorative Art Restoration that was held at the inspiring Chateau de Gudanes. As always, I was hoping to have this post up before now but between preparing the kitchen, sourcing ingredients and then cooking for a truly wonderful group of participants who attended this workshop the time for blogging slipped away and so here we are.

I will be sharing my photographs and some thoughts from our time in the Pyrenees in the coming week but first, here is a menu that I worked on with my seasonal menu project collaborator Diane, of Nourishing Vancouver, which is perfect for the summer weather we are finally enjoying here in my home town. Happy to be home and cooking again in my Vancouver kitchen!


I prepared our first course for this menu while I was working at the Chateau with local trout, both fresh and smoked, and used the delicious French demi-sel butter along with some herbs and lemon. Easily made ahead it was wonderful spread on pieces of a toasted, rustic bread filled with seeds and nuts and organic flour made by a local woman Marianne who truly bakes her bread with love and care. All that was needed to accompany it was some salad greens dressed in a simple mustard vinaigrette.


While I was still in Vancouver I made the paella. This is not something that is in my regular repertoire but suggested by Diane and I was so glad for this inspiration! Making paella is very straightforward and the perfect dish to make for a mid-week dinner for family or for a celebratory meal for a large group. In doing some research on this dish from the province of Valencia in Spain I came to understand there are as many versions of paella as there are people who make it. Purists call for it to be made with only chicken and rabbit, perhaps snails, never seafood, and only with a very specific type of rice, Calasparra to be precise. In the end the main focus should always be on the rice and how to cook it to achieve the much sought tender texture and the crispy crust on the bottom, known as socarrat, that is the hallmark of what is ultimately a very versatile dish. I did add seafood and chicken and sausage, seasoning the rice with saffron and pimentón. It may not be entirely traditional but the results were truly delicious.

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Dessert was also Diane’s brilliant idea. This is a recipe that she created while working as a pastry chef a few years ago. Over the years she has tweaked the amount of sugar added to the filling and when we enjoyed it at a dinner we shared before I left on my travels we were all thrilled with the way the sweet/tart flavours of the blueberries and the lemon shine through. This tart is quite straight-forward to make, even for someone like me, who has a slight fear of making pastry. You can find the recipe and the story behind the Summit Blueberry tart over on Diane’s site here.

In keeping with these last few months, I am only home for a few weeks before heading back to Italy to host Kitchen Culinaire’s Culinary workshop in Puglia. There happen to be a few spots left if you would care to join us. It will be 8 days of eating and drinking and hands-on cooking with local people who will open their home kitchens and hearts to teach us how to make the beautiful cuisine of this amazing region.

Until then there are birthdays to celebrate (my sweet son turns 15 this month!), meals to share with friends and family (hopefully al fresco) and planning and packing to do. August’s seasonal menu is on the way.

I hope that you are all enjoying these last precious weeks of summer.






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