Romantic recipes to cook now

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s, Gal-entine’s or neither, it’s always good to have a handful of romantic recipes for the repertoire.

We generally don’t do much for Valentine’s Day around here beyond setting a pretty table and cooking a special dinner.

Danny and I always stay in, because if a decade of restaurant experience will teach you anything, it is that February 14th is one of the worst nights of the year to eat out (expect rushed service, hastily prepared foods and stressed staff).

So Clara puts out candles and makes place cards for our table and I whip up something dreamy in the kitchen. This year we’ll probably eat all together, but when our children were really young, we’d feed them first and then enjoy a ‘date night in’ dinner for two when they were asleep.

However you choose to celebrate at home, one thing is certain: the menu is of the utmost importance! Although most of my recipes here on Simple Bites lean toward the practical (chicken soup! breakfast sandwiches!) I do have a lovely little collection of recipes I consider to be romantic, and today I’ve rounded up the best ones for winter.

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Fall cooking and Thanksgiving menu ideas

Temperatures have dropped around here, sending us scampering to dig out warm sweaters, matching socks and windbreakers. Fall is indeed in the air; invigorating me in a way the warm summer winds never can.

I’ve taken refuge from the cooler weather in the kitchen, which is no surprise, I am sure. A quick trip to market on the first day of October was all I needed to get in the spirit of fall cooking and baking. I filled my basket with pears, leeks, winter squash, fresh cranberries, beets and sweet potatoes  – all locally grown – and rounded out the haul with herbs from my garden.

Then, I fell to menu planning: weeknight meals, recipe development, and the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. We’re hosting a small gathering for eleven people this weekend, with turkey and all the usual trimmings.

Today I’ve rounded up my favourite recipes for Thanksgiving — and fall cooking in general. Whether you are setting a holiday table for for family, or serving up Sunday dinner to friends, you’ll want these recipes within reach.

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cookbooks on bookshelf

Favourite Spring Cookbooks and Authors for Indies Events

I finally admitted to myself this week that I was missing the hustle and bustle of book tour days past.

It’s not the smell of a Sharpie or the late nights I find lacking, but getting out and connecting with you readers. That was absolutely the best part of that whole crazy month. It sure wasn’t the inflight snacks.

Meeting so many of you was such a highlight of my year to date, that I decided we should do it again soon. At least locally for now. This Saturday, May 2nd is Canadian Authors for Indies Day and I am jumping in with both feet, with events booked all day at independent bookstores around Montreal.

Read on to see where I’ll be throughout the day and to find out if I’m bringing the kids or any snacks (yes, and yes). Then, I’m sharing nine of my favourite Spring 2015 cookbooks. Books, books, books!

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Stew and Scones: a St. Patrick’s Day recipe round-up

During my culinary school days, I shared a loft with a girl who was half Irish.

We sipped our first Guinness together, staked out for the front row at a U2 concert, and dyed our hair green on St. Patrick’s Day. We’d show up to the Montreal parade so decked out in shamrocks and flags, it’s no surprise we landed ourselves on the front page of the local paper one year.

As enthusiastic as I was about being Irish for one day, I never delved into cooking a feast inspired by the Emerald Isle. I know Irish cuisine is spectacular (I’m admittedly addicted to the food blog, Farmette), and so this post is an attempt to showcase a handful of recipes suitable for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

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Q&A: Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Tell us how or why not.

Oh, Valentine’s Day. A few of us could do away with the chocolate-dipped heart-shaped holiday, others embrace the opportunity for a romantic evening with their significant other, and the majority of us fall somewhere in the middle.

Danny and I have never stated a tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day for a simple reason: I was always working. In our days of dating and for the first five years of marriage, I worked one of the busiest nights in the restaurant industry. (Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve also rank high on a level of insanity.)

On February 14 I was otherwise occupied plating hundreds of chocolate deserts and decorating them with raspberry coulis. When I quit work to stay at home with my boys, I continued to associate Valentine’s Day with long hours, sore feet and demanding customers. I suppose that is how it is going to be from now on and that is fine.

Instead, we’ve made our own traditions, like keeping Friday evenings work-free, mixing a cocktail and having ‘us’ time. We have a terrific babysitter that enables us to get out to our favourite restaurants on occasion. Those allotted times to connect are essential in a marriage, especially during this stage of life with young children and two careers.

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