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Linguine With Roasted Butternut Squash & Crispy Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian streaky bacon rolled into a cylinder. Pancetta is cured, but not smoked, and comes sweet or hot, much like Italian sausage. Autumn squash has a deep orange interior and butternut squash is especially delicious when roasted.

1/2 medium butternut squash or 12 oz. (375 g) peeled squash
6 cloves garlic
6 to 8 oz (175 to 250 g) thinly slice pancetta, preferably not paper thin
1 lemon
1/2 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
1/2 tsp (2 ml) hot red chilli flakes
several grindings of black pepper
 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1 lb (500 g) dry linguine or fettuccine
4 cups (1 L) lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

1. Cut off narrow neck of squash just where it joins bulbous lower half; set lower half aside for another use. Cut off stem; standing up-right, thinly cut away peel. 

2.  Cut squash crosswise into 3/4 inch-thick (2-cm) rounds. Cut each round into irregular pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5 – 4 cm ) long. Peel garlic cloves; leave whole but thinly cut off rough end. Set Squash and garlic aside. 

3. Arrange oven rack just above oven centre. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 c).

4. Line a large, rimmed baking tray with aluminium foil. Lay pancetta, overlapping as needed, in a single layer. Bake above oven centre for 10 minutes; remove from oven. Pancetta has shrunk, arrange so slices are not overlapping. Continue baking, checking every 3 to 5 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove pancetta to drain on paper towels; leave fat on tray.

5. Place squash pieces on tray; so they are coated in fat. Arrange in a doughnut fashion. Place garlic cloves in centre; stir garlic so coated with fat. Roast 10 minutes; turn squash and stir garlic. Continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes or until squash is golden and tender. Leave squash on tray to keep warm. Remove garlic to a plate; mash with a fork.

6. Meanwhile, zest lemon; set half aside for garnish. Squeeze 2 tbsp (30 ml) juice. Stir mashed garlic cloves into oil along with lemon juice, sugar, chill flakes, pepper and half of lemon zest.

7. Bring a pasta pot half-filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. Add linguine; boil according to package directions, usually about 8 minutes, or just until al dente. Scoop out about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of pasta water; then drain pasta.

8. Turn linguine into a large warm bowl; toss with olive oil mixture until coated. Leaving 12 pieces of pancetta whole, crumble the rest over the pasta. Add spinach. Toss, adding some reserved pasta water, if needed, for extra moisture.

9. Serve right away in warmed bowls garnished with roasted squash, pinches of lemon zest, a sprinkling of Parmesan and reserved pancetta pieces as garnish. Pass remaining Parmesan and a shaker of hot chilli flakes at tables.

Serves 6



Not Your Typical Wedding

Helen Pispidikis from Weddings by Design has been planning Weddings and Events for over 15 years. Many trends have come and gone but says Helen “the key to creating a unique and memorable wedding celebration is to make the trend your own”.

As an Event Designer, her goal is to fuse the personalities of today’s couples, with inspiration from the latest trends in colours and fashion / design to create a unique and memorable experience for all to remember. “A wedding is a chance for each couple to create a celebration they’ve always dreamed of — the story of who they are as a couple representing their personal taste and style. Elements of design are than added to the mix to bring the event to life in its own unique way.”

The wedding featured in this article illustrates how current trends in fashion, colour and floral design can be adapted to create a very organic and eclectic approach to wedding design. “In 2016 floral trends are more organic rather than structured. The trending colours for 2016 are Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue. In fashion we are seeing a lot of large floral prints. When we merge all the above with the couples personality and the look and feel of their venue — magic happens! Love is in the details and no details should be overlooked”.

“The floral inspiration in this wedding design was the Tulip which was used in the floral arrangements throughout the space.  However, taking our inspiration from the large floral prints in the 2016 Dolce Gabbana Spring Collection, we decided to create drama in the space by translating the tulip motif on the Dance Floor, with a custom vinyl floor — this was the WOW factor in the space.”

In this above photo the dresses on the left are from the Dolce Gabbana Spring 2016 Fashion collection, you can see where the design was translated onto the dance floor.

There are many ways to incorporate colour and interest into the design of a space. “Design elements can include cutlery, glassware, charger plates or even dessert plates — small items can make a big statement.”

The floor plan and the use of different size and shape of tables along with the use of coordinating linens and florals all play a role in creating a unique and interesting event space.

“Don’t be afraid of mixing things up. In this space the floor plan incorporated square and round tables. The round tables featured coordinating linens and napkins in Serenity Blue and black, with two styles of centrepieces — a mixed organic floral arrangement on some tables, alternating with tall candles with garlands and a deconstructed floral design on others. The rectangular tables featured a garland of greens accented by tall candles at different heights and clusters of florals in different vessels. The black tulip overlays were used to match the black wrought iron chandeliers and wall sconces in the event space.”

Let’s not forget the cake!!! “Wedding cakes have come a long way and today they are not only one of the design elements in a wedding but a work of art. Hand painted florals and designs on weddings are a big trend in 2016.”

From start to finish your wedding theme should be reflected in every element of the design. “Your invitations are the first impression of what is to come. Stationary at the event including menus, table numbers and seating charts all play a role in the design and theme of a wedding.”

For inspirational ideas and creativity a Wedding Designer can help plan a memorable wedding that reflects your style.  #weddingsbydesign



Shrimp Crêpe Recipe

   

Crêpe, a pancake, made by cooking a thin batter sparingly in a very thin layer in a frying or special crêpe pan. The word comes from the Latin “crispus,” meaning curled. In French rural society, crêpes were also considered to be a symbol of allegiance: farmers offered them to their landowner. In western France, particularly in Brittany, crêpes are prepared throughout the year and served with salted butter. Crêpe consumption is nowadays widespread in France and is considered the national dish. Crêpes can be compared to the African injera, the tortilla, the Indian dosa and the Mexican sope. In traditional cookery, Crêpes are served as a hot hors d’oeuvre, filled with a fairly thick mixture of veloute sauce with mushrooms, ham, Gruyere cheese or seafood. They may also be cut into fine strips and used to garnish soup. Most often, however, crêpes are prepared as sweet dishes.

 Our crêpe Recipe is easier to make then you think!

Shrimp Crêpes

Shrimp, Wild Mushroom, Asparagus with a Tarragon Cream Sauce 

For Crêpe Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chicken or beef broth
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves or a mixture of other minced fresh herbs, such as chives, coriander, or tarragon
  • melted unsalted butter for brushing the pan

To make crêpes:
In a blender or food processor blend the flour, the broth, the eggs, the butter, and the salt for 5 seconds. Turn off the motor, with a rubber spatula scrape down the sides of the container, and blend the batter for 20 seconds more. Transfer the batter to a bowl, stir in the herbs, and let the batter stand, covered, for 1 hour. The batter may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Makes enough batter for about 16 crêpes.

Heat a crêpe pan or non-stick skillet measuring 6 to 7 inches across the bottom over moderate heat until it is hot. Brush the pan lightly with the butter, heat it until it is hot but not smoking, and remove it from the heat. Stir the batter, half fill a 1/4-cup measure with it, and pour the batter into the pan. Tilt and rotate the pan quickly to cover the bottom with a layer of batter and return any excess batter to bowl. Return the pan to the heat, loosen the edge of the crêpe with a spatula, and cook the crêpe for 1 minute, or until the top appears almost dry. Turn the crêpe, cook the other side lightly, and transfer the crêpe to a plate. Make crêpes with the remaining batter in the same manner, brushing the pan lightly with butter as necessary. The crêpes may be made 3 days in advance, kept stacked, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled.

For Filling: 
13 – 15  shrimp- peeled and deviened
1 bunch of Green Asparagus
½ lb assorted Mushrooms (*Button, Oyster, Shitaki or Portobello) finely sliced
2 cloves Garlic Finely Chopped
Pinch of Nutmeg
1 oz White Wine
2 oz Butter
2 oz Olive Oil
1 Lemon juiced
Salt and Pepper to taste

Method: 
Cut Asparagus into small spears; blanch for 2 min in boiling salted water.

Add 1 oz of Olive Oil to hot pan, add mushrooms, sauté for 1 min, add garlic and nutmeg, butter and White Wine, sauté for another 2 min, add salt and pepper.

Put Juice of Lemon on Shrimp, add salt and pepper sauté in hot pan till shrimp is               cooked through. Add Asparagus and Mushrooms to shrimp, let mixture cool. Place crepes on cutting board, fill crepes with mixture, roll crepes and set aside.

For Cream Sauce

2 Garlic Cloves Minced
½ cup White Wine
¾ cup 35% cream
½ oz Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
3 teaspoons Fresh Tarragon 

Method:

Sauté Garlic in Olive Oil till translucent, add white wine and reduce by ½, add cream and Reduce by 1/3, add fresh Tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Put Crepes in an oven at 350 Degrees for 8-10 min, take out of oven and pour cream sauce over top and serve.

ENJOY!     



Old Mill Toronto Wedding Open House

This past Tuesday, the Old Mill Toronto held a Wedding Open House with a host of top vendors on hand. The gorgeous space is a picturesque hotel and spa that features 57 well appointed rooms and suites. Attending guests were awe-struck by the opulent beauty of each of the decorated rooms. Thankfully, Ian Liwanag was on hand to capture the timeless details.

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We love that each room had a luxe vibe that complemented the ornate furnishings found all over the venue. The beautiful linens in each room were provided by Chair Decor, the in-house linen team. We love that the Old Mill provided organized tours of the venue so that attending couples were able to experience the array of venue options available for their wedding. Each tour was conducted by an experienced coordinator who was able to spend one-on-one time with each couple, answering questions and finding rooms that worked best for their wedding vision.

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We love the simple backdrop and glitzy rose-gold linens of the head table pictured above. Our friends at Patricia’s Cake Creations displayed their intricately designed cakes in each room and provided yummy samples to attending guests.

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iceFX created several intricate ice sculptures and luges that proved to be a crowd favourite. Ice luges are always a hit at events – who doesn’t love a delicious cold drink that comes with a show?

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Our friends at Snapz Photobooth had a great traditional photobooth set up and provided fun keepsakes for attendees.

IanLiwanagIan Liwanag0015MAXIMUM MUSIC WAS ON HAND TO PROVIDE MUSICAL ADVICE TO ATTENDING COUPLES

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The Old Mill Toronto is almost fully booked for 2016, so act fast if you want to be married at this gorgeous venue this year! We saw many couples meeting with coordinators to finalize their details, and everyone walked away with big smiles. Congratulations on a fantastic open house!

By Alisha Chadee



Easter Brioche Recipe

 

This brioche recipe is soft, light and deliciously buttery.
 

Ingredients:

400 g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
5 g powdered dried yeast
10 g fine sea salt (I’ve put 8 gr)
90ml warm milk
2 Tbsp caster sugar 100 g butter, softened
4 medium free range eggs, beaten
zest of 2 lemons

To Glaze

1 medium free range egg
2 Tbsp milk
sugar for finishing

To knead by hand: mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, and bring it all together to form a dough. Knead for about 10 mins, until smooth and shiny.

Or, to use a food mixer: fit the dough hook and add all the dough ingredients to the mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until combined, and leave to knead for about 10 mins, until smooth and shiny.

Shape the dough into a round ball, place in a bowl and cover tightly. Leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, divide the dough in two and form into the shape of your choice. Lightly flour the loaves, lay them on a wooden board or linen cloth and cover with a plastic bag. Leave them somewhere nice and warm to prove until almost doubled in size; this could take 3 or 4 hours, as the dough is cold.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. For the glaze, beat the egg and milk together. Transfer the risen loaves to a baking tray and brush all over with the glaze. Sprinkle with sugar on top. Bake for about 10 mins, then lower the oven setting to 180C/gas mark 4 and bake for a further 20 mins or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Brioche is best enjoyed the day they are baked, but will keep for a day in an airtight container, or can be frozen for up to 2 months.



Live Longer, Feel Better

Live Longer, Feel BetterDon’t Miss the recipe at the end…

Anti-Oxidants

Plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains contain many components that are beneficial to human health. Research supports that some of these foods, as part of an overall healthy diet, have the potential to delay the onset of many age-related diseases. These observations have led to continuing research aimed at identifying specific bioactive components in foods, such as antioxidants, which may be responsible for improving and maintaining health.

Antioxidants are present in foods as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols, among others. Many antioxidants are often identified in food by their distinctive colours—the deep red of cherries and of tomatoes; the orange of carrots; the yellow of corn, mangos, and saffron; and the blue-purple of blueberries, blackberries, and grapes. The most well-known components of food with antioxidant activities are vitamins A, C, and E; β-carotene; the mineral selenium; and more recently, the compound lycopene. Antioxidants have anti-aging effects because they are scavengers of free radicals (and other reactive oxygen species) which are linked with human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and with aging. Free radicals are also associated with other aging-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage induced by free radicals and reactive oxygen species by (1) suppressing their formation; (2) acting as scavengers; and (3) acting as their substrate.

Few fruits have quite the provocative allure, the fragile charm or the nutrients of berries. They’re full of fiber, minerals and vitamins, and loaded with healing antioxidants. Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are rich in proanthocyanidins, antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries contain ellagic acid, a plant compound that combats carcinogens. Blueberries also appear to delay the onset of age-related loss of cognitive function.

 

Tomatoes are fast becoming one of our favourite modern foods, and for good reason — they can ward off certain kinds of cancer, prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, and help maintain mental function as we age. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a relatively rare member of the carotenoid family, also found in pink grapefruit and twice as powerful as beta-carotene. Other studies suggest lycopene can help prevent lung, colon and breast cancers. Tomatoes also contain the antioxidant glutathione, which helps boost immune function

The “stinking rose,” perhaps the world’s oldest known medicinal and culinary herb, is packed with antioxidants that can help fend off cancer, heart disease and the effects of aging. The sulfur compounds that give garlic its pungent odour are thought to be responsible for its healing benefits. Studies have shown that garlic keeps the heart healthy by lowering cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, fighting free radicals and keeping blood from clotting. Other studies suggest that eating garlic regularly can help prevent cancer. It also has potent anti-fungal properties and can help treat asthma and yeast infections. 

Popeye may have thought eating spinach gave him strength, but it also allowed him to hit a nutritional jackpot. Because lutein (an antioxidant found in spinach) is the main pigment in the macula – the region of maximum visual sensitivity – it can help protect your vision. Studies have shown that people who eat spinach are less likely to develop cataracts and macular degeneration, the two most common causes of vision loss. Lutein appears to work by shielding the retina from sun damage and fighting free radicals that can harm the eyes. Some preliminary studies have suggested that lutein can also help prevent heart disease. 

The most frequently consumed beverage in the world may also be one of the best ways to prevent a number of degenerative diseases. Tea has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases. It was originally thought that green tea had more antioxidants than black tea, but recent studies suggest that they are equally beneficial. The catechins in green tea are oxidized in the manufacturing process of black tea, forming free-radical fighting theaflavins.

Other Anti Oxidants:  Grains, Red Grapes, Cranberries, Artichokes, Prunes, Apples, Carrots.

Smoked Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Guacamole and Red Chili Salsa

  • 4 lbs ripe tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • 2 onions chopped
  • ½ c. fresh chopped basil
  • 1 t. crushed red pepper
  •  ½ t. cinnamon
  • 1 6oz. Can tomato paste
  • 5 c. chicken broth
  • Salt as needed
  • Pepper as needed
  • ½ cup Sherry or Port
  • ¾ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T. crushed garlic
  1. Prepare 3 handfuls of wood chips, hickory might be best, by soaking them for ½ hour to an hour.
  2. Smoke 4 lbs of ripe tomatoes. Rinse them and spray with olive oil . Place the tomatoes in a grill basket. It is easiest if it is one that can be turned. Otherwise, the tomatoes will have to be turned by hand. Add half the soaked wood chips and wait a moment for them to begin to smoke. Over a moderate fire use direct heat. If the fire is hot, use indirect heat. Roast the tomatoes checking to see when the bottoms begin to blacken. When they have, remove the basket and grate. Add the rest of the wood chips. Turn the tomatoes or basket. Roast until done on the other side. The tomatoes should be soft and thoroughly cooked through. This process will take 10-20 minutes depending on the heat of the fire. The secret is to make sure they get smoke without burning up. They can be covered and used 1 or 2 days later.
  3. Start the soup by sautéing 2 chopped onions in olive oil in a heavy soup pot until soft.
  4. Add the tomatoes, cut in half, with the tomato juice that has accumulated, 3 bay leaves and 2 T. crushed garlic. Cook together about 10 minutes over moderate heat.
  5. Add ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, 1 t. crushed red pepper, 1 ½ t. cinnamon, and 1 6 oz can tomato paste. Cook a few minutes until it becomes fragrant.
  6. Add 1 sherry or Port and 5 cups chicken broth Adjust the soup with salt and Pepper
  7. Simmer uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally from the bottom to prevent sticking and burning. Adjust the seasonings.
  8. Cool and then puree in batches.
  9. Reheat when ready to serve

 Goat Cheese Guacamole

½ cup Goat Cheese
1 Avocado (Peeled and Pitted)
1 Lime Juiced
Salt & Pepper

In a bowl break avocado into small pieces, add goat cheese, lime, salt and Pepper, mix until folded in but still little lumpy.

Red Chili Salsa

2 tomatoes (deseed and chopped
½ shallot finely chopped
1 Serrano Chili or Red Chili chopped finely
Salt , pepper to taste
½ bunch of Cilantro chopped

Mix all ingredients together.

Place Guacamole on bottom of bowl, then a large table spoon of the Salsa, pour hot soup over and enjoy !!!