Red Wine Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese Tartlets with Thyme

Goat Cheese Tartlets with Red Wine Onions and Thyme

Wow! Well here we are (finally!) with our final recipe for the season and the year.

Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014. Happy New Year!

Thanks to everyone who visited this site over the past year, who booked a class, left a comment and came on our culinary tours in Vancouver and Paris. Your support of this blog and our small business venture means the world to me.

May the new year be filled with good health, exciting adventures, inspiring friendships, lovely love and lots and lots of good food.

xo J



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Smoky Beetroot Hummus with Dill and Pistachios – Day 11 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013

Smoky Beetroot Hummus

A very quick post tonight.

We just got back from the beach where we spent some time with friends, had a bonfire, drank some wine, roasted some marshmallows and shared plenty of stories and laughs.

I took a double batch of this dip down to the beach this afternoon and it was a major hit. Even the kids seemed to love it, initially drawn to it by its crimson hue. Sweet paprika gives this dip its smoky flavour. Make sure you use a good quality brand. Also, feel free to adjust the amount of sweet paprika, garlic, lemon and salt to your personal taste.

Now we are settling in for a quiet evening at the cabin, just happy to be together.

One recipe to go!

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Cheese Sablés with Rosemary – Day 10 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013

Rosemary Sablés

Early in December I had big plans. Plans to bake batches and batches of cookies. Enough to give to friends and family. Enough for all of my husband’s co-workers. Enough to send Max to school each day with a different seasonally inspired cookie and have extras to send in a festive box to his teacher on the last day of school.

Sadly it didn’t turn out that way. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season my beloved, feisty, cranky, funny 100 year old Grandma ended up in the hospital. She spent three weeks there before moving to a care facility and so understandably cookie baking was just not at the top of my list.

To say things have been stressful would be an understatement. It has been a huge adjustment for everyone. For the last two years my Baba (grandma) lived in the little basement suite in the house right next door to me. We visited and spoke on the phone a dozen times each day.

She lived in her own home for 100 years. Now, however, her body and her mind are slowing down and she simply needs more care.  I miss her being right next door and I know that she misses it too. We are moving towards a brand new year, things are settling into a new normal. A real mix of emotions.

We are away at our cabin for a few days and yesterday after sleeping in, having breakfast at 11:45 am and  taking a two hour walk in the woods my mind drifted for the first time in weeks to the thought of baking. Baking, unlike cooking, always seems like a bit of a luxury to me.

I set out some butter, flour, baking powder, rosemary, cayenne pepper and salt. I was going to make cookies. But not the sweet kind. On this cold, rainy afternoon it felt like the perfect time for some savoury cookies.

Sablés are the french version of shortbread cookies. Originally from Normandy they are commonly a sweet biscuit flavoured with orange zest, lemon or almond. These savoury biscuits are a breeze to make and at home at any cocktail party. The herbal hit of rosemary seems particularly perfect at this time of year. They can be made ahead of time and formed into logs that can be kept in the freezer and then baked off when needed.

I found the whole process of baking and photographing these cookies to be amazingly soothing and relaxing. A bit of a step away from the stresses of real life. I think I will make a batch of these savoury cookies and take them to my Baba when I visit her next. I hope that she will like them as much as I do.

xo J


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Radish Canapés with Black-Olive Butter – Day 9 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013

Radish Tartines with black olive butter

Here is a stylish take on the classic french snack of buttered baguette with slices of radish and a sprinkling of crunchy fleur de sel. The French make a dizzying array of demi-sel butter which is the secret ingredient for these simple snacks. Think Echiré, Bordier, Isigny-Ste-Mere and Celles-sur-Belle.

Sadly, French butter is very hard to come by in Vancouver, so here is where the addition of the black olives comes in. I used some small, oil cured, Niçoise olives and a very good quality local butter and baguette. Add in some finely chopped mint and scallions and you have something that, while not the same as the classic French radish tartine, is still very, very good.



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Cauliflower Fritters with Yogurt and Salmon Roe – Day 8 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013

Cauliflower fritters with yogurt and salmon roe

After all of the Christmas day feasting I am sure no one wants to talk about canapés but we have New Year’s Eve coming up in less than a week and I still have some great recipes to share.

Let’s cut to the chase.

Making these fritters was a bit of a revelation for me. They are like a pancake but so light and airy. Perhaps that is because they are made without any flour and so as long as you use a gluten free baking powder these are great for the wheat free people in your life. The nubs of boiled (or roasted) cauliflower are spiced with some cumin, coriander and allspice and everything is held together by beaten egg whites.

Topped with some yogurt and salmon roe these are one of my new favourite canapé recipes that I can’t wait to make for our classes and dinners in 2014!




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Spiced Almonds with Rosemary – Day 7 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013

Spicy Almonds with Rosemary

Happy Christmas Eve!

I am thinking there may be some of you out there that might take issue with me trying to sneak through these spicy almonds under the “canapé” title. I would argue that every good cocktail party needs some savoury (preferably) spicy nuts and so here we are.

I chose to post this recipe today as I figured it might come in handy for anyone out there who had plans to make all kinds of wonderful home made treats to pass around to friends and family on Christmas Day and found themselves a wee bit short on time. Sound familiar?

I had big plans to make the almond and chocolate biscotti I make every year. Then I was going to whip up a triple batch of salted Marcona almond and caramel chocolate bark and I was also going to tackle the apple cider caramels I have been reading about for years. All before Christmas day.

Now it is 10:30 pm and there are still presents to wrap and it seems a bit ambitious to start pulling out the mixing bowls and softening the butter.

There is, however, still time to whip up a batch or two of these spicy almonds. It will take less than half and hour and then once they are cool I am going to fill up some festive bags and tie the tops with ribbon. I will have something homemade to pass around tomorrow after all. I will also be leaving a bowl of these for Santa and the reindeer before I turn in for the night. Nice break from cookies and milk!

Merry Christmas everyone! xo J



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Panko Fried Read Island Oysters, with a Squeeze of Lemon. Day 6 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013


Well… Here we are at day six! Half way through!

A good time to reflect on this year’s canapé choices. Funny thing, this year, I have noticed that I have chosen more rustic recipes. There are no recipes that feature meat. So far there have been no fancy, pricey, hard to find ingredients.

These are not conscious choices. More of a reflection of how I (and so many of you) have been eating this past year.

Freshly shucked, panko crusted fried oysters with a squeeze of lemon are pretty much the perfect “canapé” for me. Crunchy, briny, and with a hit of citrus, I can’t think of anything better. Shucking some smallish, local, oysters which results in a higher ratio of the crispy batter to the soft, briny meat, is the key to this recipe.

Six canapés still to come!

Panko fried Read Island Oysters




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Bite-Size Spanish Omelet with Peas, Prosciutto and Saffron – Day 5 of the 12 Days of Canapés – 2013

Spanish omelet

Who says canapés need to be served in the evening?

On Friday morning I was invited to stop by my sweet friend Cathy’s house for a “let’s celebrate the last day of school” Irish coffee and some breakfast.

After getting Max off to school, (who was beyond excited due to the snow that was falling and the promise of a Christmas party at school complete with chips and pop), I made my way up to Cathy’s to enjoy the last few hours of freedom before the craziness of the holidays set in.

Nestled in amongst the biscuits with jam and Christmas cookies were these bite-sized squares of spanish omelet. Packed with peas and potatoes and flavoured with threads of saffron these were the perfect thing to nibble on as we drank our coffees and shared our plans for the fast approaching holidays.

These omelet bites would, of course, be just at home at an evening cocktail party with a glass of sherry, some spicy, rosemary-scented almonds (that recipe is coming in the next few days) and an olive or two. A traditional spanish omelet is served chilled or at room temperature which makes this a great hors d’oeuvre to travel with when asked to bring along something to share at your next potluck.



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