Cheesy Leek and Lentil Rolled Omelet with Artichokes

Over the holidays I hosted brunch a few times here on the homestead and today’s recipe was a hit at every gathering.

Serving brunch is my favourite way to pack friends in around the table when it is bitterly cold outside. Danny brews countless pots of French press coffee and I set up a hot cocoa bar for the kids, complete with homemade marshmallows. Everyone is happier in the morning (meaning the younger crowd) and as most of our friends have small children, it makes sense to get together early and wrap up by nap time.

I always like to bake when I’m hosting brunch –  scones, spiced swirl buns, citrus madeleines – there are always tried and true baking recipes to rely on for these special occasions. However, when it comes to rounding out the menu, I always get stuck when it comes to eggs. I’ve never been a fan of strata, and frittata is something I make for dinner when I need to clean out the cheese drawer. So what to make when you want to serve eggs to a crowd and are looking for something a little more exciting than a scramble?

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Fresh tomato + peach Caprese salad with wild blueberries & thyme

I‘ve been enjoying a tomato salad nearly every day this month; it’s effortless eating when the tomatoes are ripening on the vine in my backyard and the kitchen garden is packed with herbs two feet tall.

Often the tomatoes are paired with briny olives and salty feta in an easy Greek salad and other times I dice them up for a Kale Tabbouleh with Cucumber, Mint and Garlic Scapes. Another favourite – and real crowd pleaser – is my Bloody Caesar Shrimp Salad, which combines tomatoes, celery and shrimp into a tangy dish perfect for quick Sunday lunch.

A recent creation that proved to be most delicious was the addition of sliced, fresh Niagara peaches to a Caprese salad. I served this riff on a classic at the start of the harvest dinner we hosted on the homestead a few weekends ago, and promised you the recipe. It’s a salad I serve at every harvest dinner, mostly because it is so delicious when prepared in season, but also because it is very easy.

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Sour Cream Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote

My decision to serve panna cotta at our recent Canada Day party was influenced by a culinary lesson learned in London: the simple goodness of panna cotta should not be discounted in lieu of flashier desserts.

Creamy, light-as-air-panna cotta is scrumptious on its own and even better when served with a seasonal fruit compote. These days I have all the local strawberries I could wish for, both in my backyard garden and at the markets.

Hence a patriotic red and white dessert made the final menu on July 1, but on merits far worthier than colour alone.

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June camping and a Spring Green Campfire Frittata

The first camping trip of the year was somewhat of a revelation: my kids have finally grown up enough to stay out of trouble while we’re out in the woods.

At ages 5, 9 and 11 they are tearing around the trails, making new friends, climbing stuff, inventing games and working up a ferocious appetite. After a decade of keeping them from falling in the fire or falling off a cliff, I can actually relax and putter around camp – a complete novelty.

Cooking outdoors is how I hygge in summer. I love it all. The camp kitchen set up. The campfire foil dinners. Cooking an early breakfast on the camp stove. Yes, even washing the dishes. It’s a good thing I enjoy the food prep aspect of camping because every few hours my crew was famished.

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Black Pepper Beef Filet with Horseradish Cream

We’ve been eating dinner outdoors nearly every evening – now that the spring rains have let up – making the most of June weather, with its light breezes and warm temperatures.

The intense heat and humidity is starting, but I’ve still been able to turn on the oven to bake a rhubarb galette or roast a slab of beef and not cook us completely out of house and home.

Today’s recipe is a fantastic do-ahead main dish for a weekend picnic, backyard gathering or a Father’s Day spread this coming Sunday. Just pair it with a salad or tray of roasted asparagus and call it lunch.

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