West Indies Chicken with Mango Salsa

This dish is a fresh rendition of Jamaican jerk chicken. Traditionally ‘jerk’ means to dry rub, marinate and grill meat with a combination of scotch bonnet chilli and fragrant spices. The quick curry powder marinade stains the chicken a vibrant gold. Serve it with the mango salsa for a fresh summer meal, but it’s so good any time of the year.

prep time 10 mins / marinating time 1 hour / cooking time 10 mins / serves 6

12 skinless chicken thigh fillets, vegetable oil for brushing, coriander (cilantro) leaves, for garnish. Tabasco or hot pepper sauce, to serve.

Jerk Marinade
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 French shallots, chopped
1 long green chilli, seeds removed and chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lime 
80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
 

Fresh Mango Salsa
2 firm ripe mangoes, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 large handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
juice of 1 lime 

Jerk Marinade: Place the ingredients in a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Place the chicken in a shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, pour over the marinade and coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Fresh Mango Salsa: Place the ingredients in a non metallic bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat a barbecue to high and lightly brush with oil. Place the chicken over direct heat and cook for about 5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Scatter over coriander leaves and serve with mango salsa and Tabasco Sauce.

 



Mini Meatloaves with Roasted Tomato Thyme Sauce

This stylish meatloaf had a little makeover by baking it in individual ramekins. A topping of sweet tomato and thyme keeps the meat moist. Make this for a casual winter get-together or when ever your craving comfort food.

prep time 20 min / cooking time 1 hour / makes 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
300 g (10 1/2oz) minced beef
300 g (10 1/2oz) minced pork
60 g (2 1/4 oz / 3/4cup) fresh breadcrumbs  
170 ml ( 5 1/2 fl oz / 2/3 cup) tomato passata (pureed tomato)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
200 g (7 oz) mini roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
3 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar, for sprinkling 

Preheat oven to 170 c (325 f). Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Remove and transfer to a large bowl. Add the beef, pork, breadcrumbs, half of the passata, Worcestershire sauce, egg and half the thyme to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and gently mix with your hands until well combined. Divide among six 10 x 5 cm (4 x 2 inch), 300 ml (10 1/2 fl oz) capacity ramekins and spoon over the remaining passata. They’ll seem very full but will shrink during baking. Top each with a handful of (plum) tomato, 1/2  teaspoon sugar and season with salt, pepper and remaining thyme. Bake for 50 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Top with thyme springs to serve.

Pairs great with chive mash potatoes and a side salad. You can also serve the meatloaves in the ramekins on a plate with a small napkin folded underneath.



Valentine’s Chocolate Fondue

Enjoy a delicious flirty and fun Chocolate fondue. It’s hip to dip so share with a group of friends or surprise your sweet heart this Valentine’s.

Ingredients:
12oz bag of your favourite good quality chocolate chips (You can use milk chocolate or semisweet)
1/2 cup up to 2/3 cup half and half cream
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Dipping ideas:  Fruit (strawberries are a must), other fruits work too like pineapple…yummy or graham crackers, red velvet cake pieces…

Directions:

 Over a double boiler melt the chocolate and half and half together.  Once the chocolate melts, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.  Place in a fondue pot to keep warm.  Serve with dipping ingredients. 

Enjoy. 



Grilled Vegetables

Feel free to use what ever vegetables are available. Grilled vegetables not only look great and taste great but are also a healthy choice. You can serve them at any temperature and can prepare them ahead of time to be used as your side dish, on top of sandwiches or in salads. 

(serves 6)

3 red bell peppers seeded and quartered
3 yellow squash (1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 zucchini (12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 Japanese eggplants (12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
12 cremini mushrooms or button mushrooms
1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
 12 green onions trimmed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil 
1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium high heat, or preheat a ridged grill pan over a medium flame. Brush all of the vegetables with a 1/4 cup of oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill all the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 12 minutes for the bell peppers, 7 minutes for the squash, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil and rosemary, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to blend. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and serve warm or at room temperature. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

If you want to try something different, sprinkle some goat cheese over the grilled vegetables…yummy!

 

Enjoy! 



What to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Venue

 

Choosing the best venue for your wedding is important, and it may seem like a task consisting only of liking a space or not, but in reality there is way more to consider than that. Since the number of wedding venue options are infinite now, there are many important questions couples need to consider before booking their venue.  It’s always a great idea to be prepared with your questions and priorities and keep track of all your top points on a spreadsheet, allowing you to keep track of each venues suitability as you do your research.

Having a rough idea of your “wedding size”, whether you will invite 60,125 or 300 guests, will narrow down the venues on your list that don’t have the capacity to fit your estimated guest list. It is also a good idea to have your budget in mind, no sense in keeping a $12,000 venue on your list when you can really only afford $4,000.

Things you should consider;

Is this venue available on the date that I want? 
Do you have a specific day or month in mind? Always a good idea to double-check availability at the site visit.

Does this venue’s space fit my needs? 
If you want your ceremony, cocktails, and reception all in one venue, does the space your considering have separate spaces for all of those events?  Does it require a space that is weather dependent, such as an outdoor space?  It’s also important to talk through the flow of the ceremony if you’re having one there and pay attention to the little details, like routes your guests will take, what the bathrooms are like, whether they have heating/air conditioning and where the power sockets are for your entertainment and speeches. 

Is the catering in-house or is there an approved caterers list?
Are there any sample menus you can look at and do they provide menu tastings? What type of menu service is provided, for example, plated, buffet, french service, food stations etc.

Location, Location, Location…
Will you have to provide transportation for guests from a hotel to your venue or do they have onsite accommodation for your guests? How easy is it to access by public transport? If everyone is driving, is there ample parking. 

How does the pricing structure work?
Is it based on room rental, price per head, minimum spend or are there set packages?  What are your bar options, can you supply your own beverages and will there be a corkage charge? Are there any extra rental charges for tables, chairs linen and flatware?  

What Kind of Venue are you looking for?
Consider whether you want a traditional or non-traditional venue. Are you looking for rustic, formal, romantic, elegant, relaxed, historical, the wedding style you envision will help determine your venue options. Keep in mind if you opt for a totally non-traditional venue that’s not equipped to host a party, you’ll be responsible for a lot more details so make sure they are in your budget. You should also consider the decor of the venue, is the venue naturally beautiful and impressive or is it a blank slate that will need additional decor and pizzaz to warm it up?

Few Ceremony and reception venues compare with the casual elegance and timeless style of the Old Mill Toronto to help you realize your dream wedding. Our on site 16th century candlelit chapel and out door wedding garden add to the array of personal choices. 

Join us for an intimate preview of our exclusive venue on Wednesday February 22nd for the Old Mill Toronto Wedding Open House. Meet our preferred venders, view our beautiful venue, enjoy complimentary hors d’ oeuvres and beverages and enter to win an overnight getaway. 



Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Double Smoked Bacon

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes  Servings: 4

Brussels sprouts that are sliced, tossed with garlic and oil, roasted until slightly caramelized, covered in melted parmesan cheese and tossed with double smoked bacon; brussels sprouts never had it so good! 

ingredients
  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices double smoked bacon (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
directions
  1. Toss the brussels sprouts in the oil along with the garlic, salt and pepper, place in in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes, mixing them up half way through.
  2. Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels before crumbling.
  3. Sprinkle on the parmesan and return to the oven until it melts, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Toss the brussels sprouts with the bacon and lemon zest, and lemon juice and enjoy!


Festive Table Decor

As we approach the craziness of the festive season, get inspired to make your holiday table sparkle with ideas for table settings and dazzling centrepieces when hosting get-togethers for family and friends this holiday season.

During our recent Girls’ Great Escape, one of our workshops was to share creative ideas on how to decorate your table with beautiful festive decor. The Old Mill Flower Shop created the dramatic flower centrepieces and can help you entertain in style this Christmas, with a custom made centrepiece for your home. 

These beautiful holiday tablescapes were a collaboration between Weddings by Design, weddingsbydesign.ca a full service event planning and design firm, and Dinner Party Diva, info@dinnerpartydiva.ca a dinner party tabletop rental company.  Together they create magic and bring you the ultimate experience in party planning and design.  
 
 

Traditional Table

“This traditional red and gold holiday dinner table takes its cue from the floral motifs that are huge in fashion this season.  A Romantic floral centrepiece surrounded by tall charcoal grey taper candles and an array of gold and red accents and formal dinnerware, complete this elegant table scape.”

Rustic Chic  

Inspired by current trends in reclaimed wood and copper, this Rustic Chic holiday table decor is perfect for your cottage holiday dinner party. 

Winter Wonderland

The silvery white “snowfall” table linen is the perfect backdrop for this winter wonderland themed table scape. The monochromatic light blue candle scape combined with crystal accents and snow globes make this table a show stopper!! 

Modern Geometric

This contemporary holiday table takes inspiration from modern geometric design and infuses it with a pop of colour. The gold pineapples are all the rage this season, and are the perfect accent to this holiday table symbolizing friendship and hospitality.

From intimate dinner parties for 6 in your own home to larger parties and events for any occasion, we hope these festive tables have inspired you! 
 



Office Christmas Party Planning

There is a lot of ideas to choose from when it comes to the type of Christmas party that you can plan. The location, budget, numbers attending and how much you want to be directly involved in planning and managing the event also comes in to play. However the most effective way to plan a successful office Christmas party is to first understand the goal behind the event.

1. Are you using this as a motivational event 
2. Do you want to hand out awards to employees in recognition of performance 
3. Do you want to say thank you to everyone and Celebrate.

When you know what your goal is it will help you get started on organizing things into place, as good preparation can help it run as smoothly as possible. Don’t go at it alone, you need to assign a team to help plan the Christmas party. This will allow the event to be the result of multiple perspectives and will make the party planning workload more manageable and allows you to enjoy the event as well.

The top key initiatives to begin with are;

1. Set a preliminary reasonable budget
2. Select the location for the Festive Party
3. Select the menu for the Festive Party 
4. Select the entertainment, decor, gifts and if necessary the awards.

Remember to consider the time and location, it should be a place that is suitable to everyone. Is it close to public transportation, is parking included, do they have over night accommodations? Wether your hosting a cocktail party, a buffet, or a sit down meal it is easier to have a theme which sets the tone of the event and gives you a starting point when selecting your menu, entertainment and decor.

Knowing your budget will determine how much you can spend on food, entertainment, room rental, decorations and other items you may wish to purchase. For smaller workplaces there are shared party nights, where you buy tables at a large ‘off the shelf’ Christmas party, sharing the event with a variety of other companies. This is ideal for those that want the atmosphere of a larger event, but don’t have the budget, time or enough guests to put something bespoke together.

When you find a location suitable make sure you discuss room rental costs and what is included in those fees.  Do they provide security for your event? Do they provide bar tenders? Do they provide linens, plates, napkins and silverware? Do they have in-house Dj’s? Do they have any festive decorations? Take advantage of everything they offer for free to help with your budget.

As you get closer to your date it’s a good idea to make a critical path list, tracking all the details big and small. Make sure you have covered all the time-sensitive details and double check your list to make sure you have not forgotten anything.

Also think about planning some activities during the party, nothing is worse than walking into a decorated room with tables full of food and employees hiding in every possible corner. As awful as icebreaker games can be, you need to find a way to inspire your employees to interact with one another.

A slide show of memorable moments from the year can give shy employees something to focus on. Everyone enjoys a photo booth, which will give you images to post on your company blog or at next year’s holiday party.

When you make the organizational experts at the Old Mill Toronto an integral part of your planning team, you can be confident that together, we will accomplish your every objective for a successful Christmas Party.

After the Christmas party don’t miss the opportunity to send a short survey asking your guests for their feedback. The information you receive will be a useful resource in helping you plan a successful Christmas Party the following year.  



Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas

This versatile Italian dish isn’t as difficult as you may think, there are endless variations of this creamy comfort food, but this Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas is a favourite that your friends and family will enjoy.

5 3/4 cups canned low sodium chicken broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

BRING THE BROTH to a simmer in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Cover and set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and finely chop. Cover the broth and keep warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms, porcini mushrooms and garlic; saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice, add the wine; cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes. Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, Season with salt and pepper to taste.

** In order to use dried porcini mushrooms – or any dried mushrooms for that matter, you have to reconstitute them by allowing them to sit in hot water for a few minutes, absorbing that water and plumping up. Then the mushrooms are ready to cook with, and you have all this flavourful liquid as a by-product.**
 

 



Romantic Winter Weddings

While winter is not the most popular season for weddings, it can be one of the most romantic and magical times of the year. We are seeing more couples capture the richness of this season with it’s warming colours, roaring fires and twinkling lights, that add a cozy warmth, which can not be captured the same way at a summer wedding. Winter weddings can be truly spectacular.

Keep in mind, when choosing a winter wedding location, the indoor space should be warm and inviting, making your guests feel at home. Wood-burning fireplaces and rooms with windows, so you can see the soft fall of snowflakes outside, and, the sun flooding your room with natural light adds a cozy warmth to your winter wedding. It is also a good idea to select a wedding venue that can accommodate everything you need in one location; ceremony, reception and overnight accommodations for your guests.

The ambience around a winter wedding is similar to the first snowfall of the season, it’s magical and very romantic. Make sure to highlight and maximize the winter elements in your decor; faux snow and Christmas twinkle lights add to a perfect winter wedding wonderland, incorporate this with natural components, such as frosted pinecones, pine leaves and snowflakes. 

A romantic winter wedding provides the perfect opportunity to serve wintry comfort foods. Try hearty dishes, like pasta, lasagna, a roast, casseroles, classic filet mignon, hearty greens and warm soups. Also, be fun and creative with the dessert course, consider setting up a fancy hot chocolate bar, and serve creamy eggnog cocktails and spicy mulled wines, it’s a sweet and stylish way to celebrate the season.

There’s a new take on self-service candy bars that’s perfect for trendy winter weddings: an all-white candy spread. Think white M&Ms, yogurt-covered pretzels, white chocolate-covered cranberries, white-coated chocolate mints, nonpareils covered in white sprinkles, and various white Jelly Belly flavours. Self service candy bars can serve as both dessert and party favours.

Have a look at some winter wedding inspirations on pinterest.

Don forget to have fun creating a winter-themed wedding invitation. You can play up the uniqueness of your chosen wedding date by including snowy scenes, holiday themes, snowflakes or cozy fireside tableaux.

And, when it’s time to shop for your wedding dress begin your search by browsing dress photos online. The season will also affect your choice of material, brocade, faux fur and velvet will keep you warm in the winter, but, satin, shantung, silk and tulle are perfect year-round.

The entire wedding, from ceremony to reception, is guaranteed to make an impression in the memories of all your guests simply because it’s different from all of the spring and summer weddings they typically attend. Plus, your wedding will provide something to look forward to in the colder months.

Few Toronto wedding venues compare with the casual elegance and timeless style of our unique Old Mill Toronto, creating an unrivalled location for your special Wedding day.