Lunch at Fifteen

British hospitality and an event with Jamie Oliver

London Bridge in the fog. The view from the galleries of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Cheery Christmas markets. Mince pies from Harrods.

I pondered every little detail of my recent trip to London, as I tossed and turned, draped over two airplane seats. Flying over the ocean for hours on end, I finally summed it up in one word: hospitality.

The British have had a long-standing reputation for being polite, but everything my sister and I experienced went far and above common courtesy. It was enough to leave a lasting impression, and oddly enough, made me understand my dad’s preoccupation with good manners.

It started at the airport, receiving friendly assistance as we sorted out the public transportation to central London. (If you’re taking notes, buy the Oyster card and hop on the Piccadilly line.)

[Read more…]

Bûche de Noël / Yule Log / Chocolate Hazelnut Roll | Simple Bites #kidsinthekitchen #baking

Chocolate Hazelnut Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)

Whipping cream into soft peeks, spreading frosting on cookies, or dusting the fruitcake with powdered sugar, holiday baking has to be the ultimate opportunity to welcome the children into the kitchen and let them stir, mix and roll alongside you.

In doing so, you are making memories together and creating traditions that just might last through generations. Perhaps it is just a simple batch of shortbread, prepared a few different ways and loved by all, or cut-out gingerbread cookies, our annual holiday cookie of choice. But whatever the recipe, make sure to include little helpers when you bake – it will have a lasting impression on them.

We recently sweetened up a Saturday afternoon preparing something extra special for our weekly Sunday dinner. It was enormous fun to make with my Mateo, which is why we decided to share it here with you.

[Read more…]

pie header

Weekend links and photos

This week was a blur, packed with a never-ending to-do list before I pack my bags and fly.

That’s right, today I head East over the Atlantic for the first time since my honeymoon. I’m off to London for a few days with my sister. We’re going to have some much-needed girl time together over afternoon tea, fine art, and cathedrals views. We’ll also attend a holiday event with the one and only Jamie Oliver, so be sure to follow along on our adventures on Instagram!

I’m feeling festive these days, as demonstrated by today’s link love:

[Read more…]

A thrifty Thanksgiving tablescape | Simple Bites #decorating #thanksgving #holiday #harvest

My best suggestion ever for Thanksgiving leftovers

Our Thanksgiving was over a month ago, back when local harvest was in its peek, our homestead was still green and a vibrant display of colourful leaves carpeted the ground.

It wasn’t so long ago that I’ve forgotten my genius plan for Thanksgiving leftovers, however, and today I’ve shown up to tell you about it – and present you with a little challenge.

Perhaps you’re expecting Cream of Turkey and Wild Rice Soup or Lemon Pepper Turkey Sandwiches, but no, it’s a different idea entirely.

[Read more…]

2014 Cookbook Gift Guide | Simple Bites

My 2014 Cookbook Gift Guide

On the rare occasion I ever find myself out and about on my own, I inevitably end up at a bookstore, and within that store, in the cookbook section.

It’s thrilling to be around old friends and new, seeing what’s hot and what’s not (discount). At a glance one can pick up on photography trends, fad diets and styling shifts. And then there is the excitement of knowing your book will be joining the party soon. Yes, the cookbook corner of a book shop is my favourite place to wind up.

If you are not immersed in the ever-changing, multiplying world of cookbooks, however, how to know which ones to buy? Who will vouch for their quality of recipes, reliability and readability?

Well, my annual holiday gift guide is a good place to start.

[Read more…]