Where I’ll Be On Sunday


My neighbourhood, Leslieville, is totally the place to be in Toronto on Sunday. The Leslieville Flea will be on at the Ashbridges Estate, and the Leslieville Farmers’ Market is just down the street.  Hitting up both is always a treat, but this Sunday August 17 is extra special… it’s “BaconFest” at the Farmers’ Market. There’s a competition featuring chefs from the Ceili Cottage, The County General Riverside, Glas, Rashers, Skin + Bones, East Side Social and more. You know where to find me on Sunday!

PS – This is my 800th blog post. EIGHT HUNDRED. Whoa.

Best Idea Ever: Toronto Grilled Cheese Festival


Next weekend there’s a Grilled Cheese Festival at Roy Thomson Hall.  A $40 ticket gets you all-you-can-eat grilled cheese, gourmet soup and 3 beer samples. Check out the menu of different grilled cheese sandwiches… I would love the Tatooed Chicked (with oka-style cheese, chicken, bacon, herbed tomato and garlic mayo)  or the Bacon Avocado (cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, bacon, avocado, spinach, red onion, tomato and garlic mayo).

Of course tickets for the festival are sold out… I didn’t hear about it early enough (boo).  But if you want to put your name on a waiting list, you can do so on the Grilled Cheese Fest website.  Or, be like me and have your own mini-grilled cheese festival at home.  Best idea I’ve had all day.

Sticky Toffee Pudding



The recipe for the Ceili Cottage’s sticky toffee pudding is in the Toronto Star today.  Actually, it’s Kyle Deming’s recipe (he used to be the chef at the cottage, and now runs Sausage Partners down the street).  The recipe has been shared before (it was in Toronto Life in 2009), but it’s nice to see it circulating again.  Especially in wintry January, when that stuff would taste soooooo good.

Watch Anthony Bourdain in Toronto


Last night’s episode of The Layover with Anthony Bourdain featured his visit to Toronto (when he was here back in July).  Someone has posted the episode online, in case you missed it.  And if that link disappears, you can always readToronto Life’s roundup of the show (although reading about it isn’t nearly as fun as watching it).

[thanks to my pal Andrew for the tip]

The Yurt (aka Winter Patio) at the Ceili Cottage

If you’ve walked or driven by the Ceili Cottage recently, you may have wondered what the heck that big white thing is.  It’s a yurt!  They have it set up as a winter patio, and it’s fully licensed.  There’s no power [correction: there IS power and heat!] and the inside is lit up with candles and there’s a record player for entertainment.  Apparently it’s quite warm inside, and looks so comfy.

Next time we have a babysitter, we’re going to go check it out.

[images from the Ceili Cottage’s Facebook and Twitter feeds]

Leslieville Farmer’s Market – Fidel Gastro’s for Father’s Day!

We’ve been out of town for the last 2 weekends, so I haven’t been able to check out the Leslieville Farmer’s Market yet this year.  I’m so psyched to go on Sunday though – popup sandwich superstar Fidel Gastro’s will be at the market.  One of Fidel’s cubano breakfast sandwiches will go perfectly with a coffee and a waffle from the Waffle Bar.  You can read all about the vendors, available produce, and other market news on their website here.

Are You Afraid to Prepare Seafood?

Does seafood intimidate you?  Not to eat it (yummmmmy), but to prepare it?  You know I don’t cook, so of course preparing seafood scares the crap out of me.  But I’ll let you in on a little secret – it kind of intimidates the live-in chef in my house (aka husband Ian) too.  Just a little bit.  He’s less adventurous cooking fish than he is with meat. Which is silly, because the few times he’s grilled fish or scallops, or steamed mussels (and made frites from scratch), it’s been amazing.

There was a great article in the Globe and Mail last week that covered 12 Simple (but Essential) Rules For Buying and Cooking Fish.  Super helpful.  But if you still need assistance, or want to take your skills to the next level, check out Hooked, the awesome fishmonger in Leslieville.  They just announced their Spring Classes, where you can learn to shuck oysters, grill fish, and more. Heck, I might even sign up.

[image of Woody Allen and Diane Keaton from one of my favourite scenes in one of my favourite movies, Annie Hall]


How to Make Perfectly Hard-Boiled Eggs

I am a complete failure in the kitchen.  I don’t follow recipes well, I’m clumsy, and I often forget that I have something in the oven and I burn it.  So if I’m going to make anything, it has to be dead simple.  Trust me, perfectly boiling an egg isn’t as easy as it sounds – I often overdo it and get a chalky yolk with a weird green ring around it.

So I appreciated these instructions from Bon Appetit on how to make a hard boiled egg, the super-easy way:

Place 6 large eggs (older eggs will be easier to peel) in a medium heavy saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 1/2″. Bring to a boil; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water to cool. Gently crack the eggs and peel under running water for ease.

I know many of you will read the above and say “duh”.  But maybe you needed a reminder, and with Easter coming up this weekend, you can now make perfect hard-boiled eggs.

[img from Southern as Biscuits, via Pinterest]

Easy Holiday Treat: Peppermint Bark

As a general rule, I don’t cook. I’m pretty useless in the kitchen, and as long as Ian keeps cooking for me, I don’t have to. But, I have been known to make a few things here and there, and at the holidays, I like to make peppermint bark.  Mostly because it’s really really easy, and ends up looking pretty impressive when it’s done.  Oh, and it tastes amazing too.

All you have to do is melt chocolate chips, pour them into a pan and let that cool in the fridge.  Then melt white chocolate chips, and pour those on top of the milk chocolate that has already cooled in the pan.  Smash up some candy canes, and sprinkle those on top.  Then put the whole thing in the fridge overnight, and break it into pieces the next day.  Could not be easier.

Here’s a full recipe with instructions.  There’s even a video.