Penne Alla Vodka Recipe

Penne Alla Vodka

One of the most mouth watering Penne a la Vodka’s you will try and it’s made right in your kitchen. Each bite oozes deliciousness.


1 lb (500 g)             Penne Pasta         (about 6 cups) 

4 tbsp                     Butter

1/4 lb (126 g)          Pancetta   (you can also use lean smoked bacon)

4                            Garlic cloves minced

1/2 tsp.                  Nutmeg

1/2 tsp.                  Cayenne pepper or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

3/4 lb (375 g)         Ripe tomatoes peeled & diced (approx. 2 – 3 large)

** You can use peeled 28 oz canned tomatoes when fresh tomatoes aren’t in season**  

1/4 cup                  Vodka                  

1/2 cup                  Whipping cream

Salt & Pepper to taste - 

1/2 cup                  Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese  

Directions - 

1.      Boil water for pasta

2.      Melt butter in skillet.  Add pancetta or bacon, garlic, nutmeg, cayenne pepper                     tomatoes & vodka.  Cook until vodka absorbed.           

3.      Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender. approx. 8 – 10 min.  Drain.

4.      Stir in cream.  Season with salt & pepper.  Cook until sauce thick and creamy, stirring          from time to time.  Toss with penne.

5.      Sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano cheese.  Garnish with fresh basil or parsley.  


Makes 6 servings.  


BBQ The Perfect Steak – Recipe Included

BBQ - delicious, flavourful, tender, mesquite, heat, outdoors, friends and family, these are the words that come to mind when we think of a BBQ. Let’s consider the various things you should do before you BBQ the perfect steak.

It is important to allow your steak to reach room temperature, this helps to BBQ a steak faster and more evenly. Just before you grill, brush Olive Oil on both sides and season your steak with black pepper and kosher salt, be generous, seasoning is entirely a personal preference so you can get fancy if you want.

Preheat the grill as hot as it will go before putting on your steaks. Place each steak on the grill for one minute then turn and grill on the second side for an additional minute. Some BBQ’s have a searing section and this is the perfect opportunity to try it out. After searing, turn down your BBQ to a medium heat, or move steaks to the indirect heat side of your charcoal grill to finish cooking. Make sure to turn and rotate your steak 45 degrees and grill for half the remaining cooking time turning over only once on the other side for the remaining time to get a nice diamond pattern of grill marks.

Remove your steak from the BBQ when it has reached your desired doneness. You can use the pressure test to check your steak by using your index finger, press down on the middle of your steak, a rare steak will be soft, a medium steak will be firm but will spring back up, a well done steak will be firm with no spring.

Another important trick is to let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the natural juices to flow out from the center and redistribute the moisture, leaving you with a perfect, juicy steak, cover with foil to keep warm.

While NY steaks can be seasoned and grilled, other meats, which aren’t as tender, such as flank steak or flat iron steaks need to be marinated a day in advance. Allow the meat to marinate overnight in the fridge. When ready to barbecue remove from marinade, season, and barbecue until desired doneness.

A BBQ wouldn’t be complete without the Old Mill Toronto’s favourite BBQ sauce recipe to enhance your meat. The great thing about this sauce is its versatility, as it goes well with a lot of different proteins such as chicken, wings, quail, ribs, and pork.

BBQ Sauce -

• 1 Bottle of ketchup / 2 cups

• 1 tsp. of mustard seeds

• 5 cloves garlic chopped

• 1 tsp. oregano

• 3 oz of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce 

• 1 oz of packed brown sugar

• 1 Medium Spanish onion chopped

Cook the onions until slightly caramelized, add the garlic and continue cooking until a nice aroma presents itself (approx 1-2 minutes) add brown sugar and cook until you reach a nice deep brown colour. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Let the mixture cool and blend well using a hand held immersion blender or a standard blender and blend until smooth. 

The next time you have friends and family over for a BBQ  keep these suggestions in mind and your guests will be happy and satisfied. Happy barbecuing!

Grilled Shrimp with Citrus Aioli

Perfect summer appetizer that pairs well with a chilled glass of white wine. The citrus dipping sauce is quite refreshing. Use a variety of citrus fruit or use 1-1/2 tsp of grated rind and 1tbsp juice of either orange, lemon or lime.

Serves 4
12 oz. (340 g) raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp (10 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground cumin
Pinch each of cayenne pepper and salt

Citrus Aioli:
1/3 cup (75 ml) light mayonnaise
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated lemon rind 
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated lime rind 
1/2 tsp (2 ml) grated orange rind  
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Citrus Aioli: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, orange, lemon and lime rinds and juices, garlic and pepper. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in air-tight container for up to 2 days).

In a bowl, combine shrimp, oil, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt. Place shrimp on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until shrimp are pink and opaque, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate; refrigerate until cold. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in air-tight container for up to 2 days). Skewer with toothpicks and serve with Citrus Aioli.

Simply Delicious!


Tomato Feta Basil Salad

This tomato, feta, basil salad is easy to make and it’s a simply delicious Summer salad that everyone will enjoy! Pairs great when served with a crunchy fresh baguette…mmmm

Recipe (serves 6-8)

3 pints (6 cups cherry tomatoes)
3/4 pound Feta Cheese
1 small diced red onion
3 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1/4 good olive oil
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 Tsp. ground black pepper 
2 Tbs. fresh chopped basil
2 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley 

Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a large bowl. Add the onion, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, basil and parsley to the tomatoes in the bowl. Toss together well. Dice the feta in 1/4 inch pieces, try not to crumble. Gently fold the feta into the salad and serve at room temperature.

Grow your Own Herb Garden

Growing a Herb garden can be a fun and rewarding experience and a great addition to your culinary skills. You can enjoy snipping herbs to add to food, brew in relaxing teas, and toss into your salads. Herb gardening in containers is a useful, attractive addition that is relatively easy to maintain and most varieties can be grown successfully on a windowsill, a patio or a balcony. 

Just about any container will work to grow herbs in but keep in mind, most varieties prefer fast draining soil, so your container must have adequate holes to drain.  Ideally, you will water your container garden only when needed. Feel the soil 2 to 3 inches below the surface, if it is still wet, don’t water.  When you grow plants in containers, it’s important to provide them with a high quality potting soil and for best results, most herb varieties require at least 6 hours of sun per day.   

You can grow herbs in pots together but some types of herbs will out-perform others in containers and remember to avoid mixing those that like plenty of water (such as chives, mint, chervil, coriander,) with those that like a well-drained soil (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, bay, and oregano).

Here are a few herbs you may want to start off with;


Basil plants are easy to maintain indoors and out. Remember to pinch off the flowering buds whenever they appear.  Not only will basil enhance many dishes, it is also considered one of the healthiest herbs, as basil leaves are rich in antioxidants, it provides an array of health benefits.


Mint is very versatile, you can use it for everything from tea to mojitos, to mint and coriander chutney. It’s also easy to grow, even in difficult shady spaces that only get a little sun. Growing mint in a pot is best so you can keep it from spreading, which it will do quite easily. Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser, and it promotes digestion.


Brilliant in salads, snipped up over soups, or added as garnish to many dishes. Growing chives is an easy way to always have a mild onion flavour on hand in your garden.  Also, chives boast pretty lavender blooms in spring, making them attractive herbs for flowerbeds as well as herb gardens. Make sure it doesn’t dry out, as chives like damp soil.


Parsley is a hardy herb grown for its flavour, which is added to many dishes, as well as its use as a decorative garnish. Aside from its deliciousness, parsley is a powerhouse of nutrients. Did you know that parsley actually has more vitamin C in it than an orange? Try adding several leaves and stalks to your morning juicing blend.

Sage, Bay, Thyme, Rosemary

Not only are they the most common herbs called for in recipes, but they are also the best herbs that you can freeze for later use. Easy to grow with unique flavours, these classic herbs are excellent for soups, stocks, meats, pastas and more. They don’t like wet roots, so grow in well-drained soil and take care not to over-water. You can grow sage from seeds but the others are better bought as plants.


Also known as cilantro, prefers cool weather, so it should be planted in the spring or fall. Coriander adds fresh flavour in everything from salsa to marinades. This plant will survive most winters, and it’ll grow back strong and lush in the spring. Cilantro or coriander herb contains an impressive list of nutrients, essential oils, anti-oxidants that are required for optimal health and wellness.

Everyone loves good food, and herbs grown in your own container garden is simply the best. Chef Martin has recently planted a herb garden at the Old Mill Toronto, and we are growing Basil, Purple Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Dill, Sage and Oregano to enhance our delicious recipes.

Spanish Fritatta

Serve this simple and delicious Fritatta at your next Sunday Brunch get-together!

Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper and Baby Spinach Fritatta

Serves 6
Pre heat oven to 375

*  12 eggs
*  1/2 cup milk
*  2 roasted peppers – cut into bite size strips
*  1 cup fresh baby spinach (use extra if desired)
*  1 cup goat cheese (1 x 125 mg package)
*  2 tbsp. butter
*  1 white onion or 2 green onions – chopped  
*  salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter & saute onion until soft

Whisk eggs with milk, add cooked onion, roasted pepper, spinach and half the goat cheese

Grease casserole dish (approx. 9 x 12) add mixture

Bake for 30 minutes, check if cooked by tapping top to see if firm

Add balance of goat cheese, broil for 3 minutes to melt


French Gratin of Potatoes Recipe

There are many ways to make a potato gratin, but this one is our favourite…cream, butter & garlic, how can you not be tasty!  This indulgent gratin will be sure to please everyone.

Butter for gratin dish
1 garlic clove, cut in half
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter melted
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped garlic
1 tsp (5ml) chopped fresh thyme (can be substituted with tarragon)
2 lbs (1kg) red-skinned potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced on a mandolin or by hand
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (250 ml) milk
1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

1 tbsp (15ml) butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 c)

2.Butter the base and sides of a rectangular 8-cup (2-L) gratin dish large enough to hold the potatoes in layers. Rub with whole garlic clove. In a seperate bowl combine melted butter, chopped garlic and thyme (or tarragon).

3. Layer potatoes into the dish, mounding slighly in the centre. After each layer, spoon a small amount of the butter garlic mixture overtop and season with salt and pepper. Finish with a layer of potatoes.

4. Heat milk and cream together until simmering. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over gratin. Liquid should come just to the top layer but not cover the potatoes. Drizzle with extra butter.

5. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender and browned on top.

Serves 8


* Sprinkle goat cheese between the layers

* Layer onions and tomatoes between layers

* Use stock instead of cream

* Make it cheesy with 2 cups (500 ml) cheddar sprinkled between layers. 

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

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

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 


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.


Easter Brioche Recipe


This brioche recipe is soft, light and deliciously buttery.


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.