John Bil’s Oyster Mignonette

The late John Bil was Canada’s oyster shucking champion in 2006 and one of the most knowledgeable (and modest) seafood experts we’ve seen. “The first 20,000 are the hardest.” he quipped. But Bil is also very serious. “Oysters are the essence of the ocean…and they are environmentally very...

Summer Strawberry Pavlova

There’s a debate at to the real origin of Pavlova…New Zealanders claim it but it was a fabulous Australian cook, June Pearson, who shared this recipe with me a few years ago.  In Australia baking must be fast and easy, particularly in the summer when the thermometer soars but when...

Chilled Sour Cream-laced Cucumber Soup

A perfect summer soup, served chilled or just as tasty when it’s warm. English or ‘seedless’ cucumbers are one of Canada’s most prolific greenhouse crops 2 English cucumbers 1 tbsp (15 mL) butter 1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil 1 small onion, minced. 2 tbsps (30 mL) all purpose...

Glencoe Mills Oatcakes

Deep in the rolling hills near Glencoe Mills, Cape Breton, Elizabeth “Mrs. Angus” Beaton bakes utterly amazing oatcakes. They are so good that she packs them with great care and ships them to her daughter, entrepreneur-extraordinaire, Janice, who once shared them with her lucky customers in her...

Pulla (Finnish Coffee Bread)

This recipe comes from the Finnish community of Sointula on Malcolm Island in north coastal B.C.  The Finns settled there to build a ‘place of harmony’ in the early part of the last century. Tuula Lewis, one of the community’s beloved matriarchs, often provided many loaves of...

Cream of Mushroom & Leek Soup with Thyme

This could be the best mushroom soup ever!  Use a mixture of mushrooms if you can. I used both white, cremini and a few portabellos. The more varieties, the better! If thyme isn’t available, use a generous handful of flat leafed parsley.  ¼ cup (60 mL) butter 3 medium leeks, cleaned, trimmed and...

Ricotta Pancakes with Thyme

The thyme provides an extra, and unusual, spark of flavour in these really delicious, surprisingly light pancakes.   They are great with good bacon or well-browned breakfast sausages…or with applesauce, maple syrup or even last summer’s stewed plums!  If you make them small, they’d be...

Madeleines

Good eggs and butter are really the basis for the classic French pastries called Madeleines. Sift the flour, then measure it. If you don’t have a sifter, a large sieve will suffice.  The molds are available at kitchen supply stores or on line.  1 ¾ cups (425 mL) sifted cake flour 1 cup granulated...

Maple Pouding Chomeur

Maple sugar-making was an important social activity for the indigenous peoples. Families and small groups gathered in temporary camps in early March, staying for about a month in order to make their yearly supply. Diagonal cuts were made in the base of the sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum) with...

Basque Boeuf Bourguignon

This Basque Boeuf Bourguignon is all about the flavour! This is a recipe that you’ll never see in another cookbook other than my own. Its Basque-chef Roger Dufau’s version of the traditional wine-soaked braised beef that is on countless menus but which constantly disappoints. There is one very...

Pasta with Beans (Pasta e fagioli)

This is classic vegetarian Italian pasta. Fresh beans are best but the dish is easily made with dried beans in the winter time.  Many Italian families grow their Romano beans, garlic, basil and tomatoes. To use fresh beans, shell them and freeze them with no additional processing. To use the fresh...