The sun is shining and it feels like summer again. With the nice weather back and the weekend to look forward to, we figured it was time for something refreshing and with a bit of a kick. We couldn’t think of anything more refreshing than the citrusy bite of lime, mixed with the cooling sensation of mint, ice, sugar, rum and a splash of soda. That’s right, you guessed it, it’s Mojito time!
INGREDIENTS (for 1 16 oz glass):
6 mint leaves (we used fresh chocolate-mint leaves from our garden)
1 tsp white sugar
1 oz white rum
4-6 ice cubes
Before you begin stick your glass in the freezer for about ten minutes
Slice lime into wedges. Squeeze all the wedges into your frosted glass, leaving 2 wedges aside
Add mint leaves, sugar and rum. With a muddler (or like object) ‘muddle’ the ingredients, this will extract the mint flavour from the leaves
Summer days call for simple meals that don’t require too much effort and yet still pack a flavourful punch. As we all migrate outside to enjoy the warm weather, the BBQ takes over as our main cooking tool. Below is the recipe for one of our favourite summer dishes done on the BBQ: Grilled Calamari that’s done in a Lemon, Garlic and Oregano marinade and cooked in a grill basket on the BBQ. Enjoy them on their own (they sure are tasty enough) or make a light meal or appetizer by placing some on top of a nice green salad like we did.
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
½ of the juice of one large lemon
½ tbsb fresh oregano
¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
12 FRESH baby squid, tentacle part only heads removed and discarded. If they make you squeamish, this would also work with the body of the squid.
This vegetarian panini sandwich is inspired by one of our old favourites that used to be on the menu of a Kensington Market cafe. We love the simplicity and the fresh flavour combinations that are created using only 5 ingredients: ripe avocado, brie cheese, pesto, bread and sprouts. The best part? This sandwich can be whipped up in less than 10 minutes!
sliced bread of your choice
homemade or store bought pesto
mild brie cheese
fresh baby sprouts
Spread a generous amount of pesto on each slice of bread
slice avocado and place on top of one slice of bread until bread is covered
slice brie and place on top of avocado until area covered
add sprouts on top
top with remaining slice of bread
grill in panini press until toasted and cheese is melted
Happy Birthday to delishsis photographer, and my sister Nicole Billark!
To celebrate, I made her these adorable burger cupcakes for her BBQ party over the weekend. Now I can’t take all the credit here, I found the idea after doing a google search for BBQ’d cupcakes and immediately changed my mind from cooking cupcakes on the BBQ to making these super cute burger themed cupcakes instead. They were super easy to make, just take your favourite vanilla and chocolate cupcake recipes and make a batch of each. The “buns” are just vanilla cupcakes cut in half with some sesame seeds for added detail. The “burgers” are just a slice of the chocolate cupcake topped with coloured icing condiments! So simple and they sure look cute!
Today is a cold, rainy, gloomy day here in Toronto. What we crave on a day like today is a hot, tasty, colourful bowl of soup to warm us and brighten up the day. Below is the recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Soup that’s smoky, slightly spicy and a little bit sweet. We hope you enjoy.
Ingredients: for 6-8 servings
6 large whole red peppers
3 cloves of garlic – minced
1 large onion – diced
4 tomatoes – diced
4 cups of vegetable broth
salt & pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)
fresh basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 F
Cut peppers in half remove core and seeds
Place peppers skin side up on a roasting pan and roast for 25-30 min or until nicely roasted
Set roasted peppers aside to cool
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil, onions, garlic and spices
Cook for 5-7 min stirring frequently until onions are translucent
Remove skin from peppers, roughly chop and add to pot
Cook for another 5 min
Blend with emersion blender until smooth (or in small batches in a food processor or regular blender and then return to pot)
Growing up in Niagara-on-the-Lake we were spoiled with the abundance of fresh local produce as well as fresh herbs and fruit from our own backyard. This was something I really missed when I moved to downtown Toronto in 2005 for University. I love cooking with fresh herbs and while my local markets have them year round, nothing is more rewarding than growing, cooking with and eating your own homegrown herbs and veggies. While growing produce in downtown Toronto might sound crazy to some of you, it’s actually quite do-able, even if you don’t have a backyard or large rooftop patio.
This summer marks the 5th summer of my urban gardening adventures and to celebrate, I’ve rounded up the some of my favourite small space garden projects and tutorials that I’ve found helpful and inspiring. Enjoy!
This is probably my all time favourite find for DIY garden projects. It’s perfect for growing herbs on a balcony if your space is limited or if you only get sunlight in a certain area. As a bonus, it looks good too! For full DIY step-by-step instructions head over to Fern Richardson’s Life on a Balcony.
Growing lettuce, arugula and other leafy greens in old containers is easy to do. Lettuce and baby greens are easy to grow and grow quickly so you don’t have to wait too long to reap the benefits. When growing in containers, I prefer to use wood containers as some plastics are not meant for growing food in and contain toxins can actually leach out into the soil and be absorbed by the plants you’ll be eating. Plus, a re-purposed vintage container (like the one pictured above) will look way better in your outdoor space. For step by step on this one, head over to apartment therapy.
If you happen to have a bakyard, the very best way to grow your veggies is in raised beds. We built one similar which is now home to lots of little tomato and pepper plants. For step by step on this one, and lots of other great growing tips head over to Sunset.
I hope this inspires you to get growing! Check back next week for some home grown herb recipes, straight from my garden.