Thursday, 15 March 2018

Chocolate Grasshopper Martini

If your favorite color is green, you’ll be quite happy this coming weekend because of this worldwide event… St Patrick’s Day! Green signs, ribbons and other decorations will be showcased in most big cities, plus people will be wearing green hats, green clothes, and other green accessories. Not only will they wear something green but they may also consume green food or drinks as well.

A friend of mine from Toronto, Brent whose Irish descendant told me that on St Patrick’s Day he likes to drink green beer! Let’s stop right now… I’m not a beer person to begin with let alone green beer! Alright, occasionally, especially on a hot summer day, I might have a beer but I mix it with Clamato juice which is called a “red-eye”. For those of you who are not sure what that juice is all about, it’s basically similar to tomato juice but not as thick and far less tomatoey with a hint of clam flavor and some added spices. As much as a Bloody Mary (vodka & tomato juice) is very popular in the USA, a Bloody Caesar (vodka & clamato juice) is our superstar here in Canada. Okay, enough with red and let’s go back to green… All right so now that I established that green beer is not my thing, it might not be yours either but we still want to sip a green drink on Saint Patty’s Day.

I always enjoyed a Grasshopper cocktail here and there but find it a little too rich for my liking. So what I’ve decided to do is to turn it into a martini – now we’re talking! By adding vodka to this mix, it helps to cut down the creaminess from the heavy cream used in the Grasshopper. What I like about my Chocolate Grasshopper Martini is a cocktail I can serve as a digestif after a meal as well as just casually. It’s optional but sprinkling some shaved dark chocolate on top of a small dollop of whipped cream makes this drink even more delicious. It’s like savoring a chocolate mint candy in its liquid form with a grown up twist… yummy!

This is definitely a drink I won’t have a problem having on St Patrick’s Day!

P.S. Please drink responsibly otherwise you just might turn into a leprechaun!


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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Old Fashioned Baked Beans with Bacon

Both my mother and father liked to cook. It wasn’t a rigid schedule but most of the time during the week my mother did the cooking and on weekends it was my father… although many times dad didn’t cook for weeks. Between the two of them, they’ve made many great recipes. From complicated to elegant, traditional to comfort, it was a rotation of yumminess in our family kitchen!

There’s a dish we all really liked… Baked Beans!

My father was the one who made it often. When he started on Friday after work to soak the beans in water, we knew we would be having them for dinner over the weekend and if there were any leftovers, breakfast on Sunday along with eggs and toasts. After soaking the beans, the following morning, he rinsed them and slowly cooked them for hours. The whole day had that yummy aroma floating in the air… perfect on cold Canadian days!

When I moved out on my own, either I was too lazy to make them or not ready to eat beans the whole entire week (it’s a big batch…) therefore buying them at the store was more convenient. Recently I was asking my mother if those baked beans in the brown glass jar were still available at the supermarket. Apparently not although it was a cool concept! The shape was a miniature duplicate of a traditional Bean Pot just like the one I’m using in the video but the container was a dark glass… like dark amber color. The only thing we had to do was to remove the lid, follow the baking instructions and pop them in the oven. They were quite good I have to admit. The only place I could find them though was in Québec’s supermarkets so when I moved to Ontario, I had to start making my own beans from scratch… After years of practice, I tweaked the recipe quite a lot from my parents’ traditional one and now they make mine…

This is a dish that can be served as a side with chicken breasts, Brown Sugar Mustard Glazed Ham , burgers, and so on. It is also very delicious to enjoy in the morning with your eggs, pancakes, waffles or French toast. A way I like to eat them for dinner is alone with a fried egg and toast for dipping, topped with Québec maple syrup. I introduced this way of eating them to David and now he likes to eat them my way too – copycat… lol! This dish freezes well so you can have it later for lunch or a picnic. As great weather is approaching, this is an awesome recipe that you can serve for your backyard BBQ party…
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 8 March 2018

Mornay Sauce

Could my family roots have an impact on the way I’ve been cooking? I’d say “YES”! Being a French descendant and Québécoise, my roots definitely have had a huge influence on my cooking style. I grew up eating a lot of sauces. My mother made sauces for almost every dish. Besides a few exceptions, sauces were as common at dinner time as having a fresh baguette and butter on the family dinner table every night. It’s interesting because a friend of mine when I was just starting at junior high was impressed that each time she came over for dinner, there was always a sauce accompanying the meal – either cooked in or with sauces. Her background was Scottish and her family didn’t eat that much sauce.

As a child, I was used to eating that way and it’s only when I moved out on my own that I realized I had to learn how to make sauces… and quick! My culinary talent was minimal but one thing that saved me quite often with my amateur recipes was my sauces. I mastered the 5 mother sauces of French cuisine without knowing it. I obviously had a great culinary teacher… my mother!

Let’s go back to how our background can effect what we eat…

When David and I started to live together, after a few months he told me that he never ate so much cheese in his life – his background is German! I always have at least 7 different cheeses in my refrigerator. This is how it was at my parents so obviously I love cheese… a lot!

A couple of months ago, I showed you the technique on how to make a Béchamel Sauce aka White Sauce which is one of the 5 mother sauces of French cuisine. From this particular recipe, a few other sauces are made and they are called “secondary” sauces. One of them is Mornay.

Mornay is basically a white cheese sauce. It is used quite often in pasta recipes as well as with poultry, seafood, fish, vegetables, and so on… This is a great sauce for you to have in your repertoire because it can be used in a wide variety of your dishes. Like anything else, you have to learn how to crawl before running and this is why I first posted the Béchamel Sauce aka White Sauce so you can make sauces like Mornay and many others! It’s very easy to make and you’ll be very happy to have this recipe around…
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Sardine Cups

When I’m hosting a dinner, I’m pretty meticulous about my menu. I want to make sure that from start to finish, everything goes together well. The same applies with my wine selection and my digestifs (cocktail after a meal). Although I love to serve an appetizer, I realized that often my guests were too full to enjoy the whole experience all the way to dessert after eating an “appy” plus the main course – I guess as we age, we tend to eat less! This is when I decided to cut down on what I’m serving prior to dinner, of course it always depends on your main course…

I started creating many different bite-size hors d’oeuvres because it’s so convenient! When there’s a large group of people over at your place, bringing out little “bouchés” is always fun as well as replacing that “formal appetizer” dish before dinner. With Easter and summer around the corner, there will be many gatherings, backyard parties, big family dinners, receptions and so on… I really think that this is a delicious way to go without stuffing people to the gills before the main course.

In this video, I’m going way out there… I’m sharing a sardine creation with you! Oh boy! If you are like David, just move on to the next recipe… forget about this one! Otherwise if you are like me then stick around…

I realize that sardines can be extremely “fishy” even the ones from the cans but I simply love them! My parents were eating them and as a child I was fine with sardines. I always enjoyed them without knowing that they are actually super healthy! These little guys surprisingly are one of the highest sources of omega-3s plus vitamins and minerals. They reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, have a high level of calcium and vitamin D and so on… What I like about them is they can be a great addition to so many dishes such as sandwiches, soup, salads and for today, appetizers.

Every time I mention “sardines” to David, his reaction is “eww” and then “cough, cough, cough” to finalize with him saying “kitty breath” with a lisp to it like Sylvester the cat. Yeah, yeah… funny man! Jokes aside though, not everyone likes sardines so a word of advice, please ask before serving…
Bon Appétit!


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Thursday, 1 March 2018

North African Chicken Thighs with Dates & Pomegranate Molasses

Chicken is such a popular meat worldwide. The most common parts from the chicken are breasts, and then drumsticks followed by wings/drumettes. Often the thighs are overlooked and they shouldn’t be… Thighs with bone-in and skin on are very tasty and when cooked slowly, they release so much flavor! They are also absolutely amazing on the “barbie”… yep BBQ season is coming soon…

A couple of years ago I bought a Tagine on Amazon but not by choice… I just couldn’t wait any longer. My perfect Tagine purchase would’ve been while visiting Morocco so there’d be a story behind it. The only sentimental value, and not really a positive one, I had from it was when I got my VISA statement bill the following month! Anyway being impatient, I conveniently bought it on that site because I wanted to cook so many recipes I created in this particular cooking vessel.

One thing about Tagines is it can hold so much and I found out pretty fast. I had friends coming over for dinner and after thinking about this particular recipe, a Tagine was the way to go… well that’s what I thought. After I started cooking my new creation, I ran out of space. David and I quickly transferred the ingredients into a wider skillet… Phew! The recipe still came out quite scrumptious. Why I wanted to use a Tagine at first is because I wanted to give a truly North African culinary experience to my guests…

All right I went on and on about cooking vessels which really is not what I wanted to talk about. Tagine or not, this North African Chicken Thighs with Dates & Pomegranate Molasses is an awesome recipe! The different flavors combined together give this dish quite a unique taste. As I mentioned at the beginning, the chicken thighs give a delicious layer to this dish. A few months ago, I posted how to make Pomegranate Molasses and this chicken thigh recipe is another yummy way to use this extraordinary condiment. The mix of ingredients combines so beautifully, making this exotic dish a must try. Just keep in mind that using a Tagine is awesome but it can hold only so much…
Bon Appétit!


For ingredient amounts and much more, visit