Tag Archives: wine

Easter Brunch

14 Apr

I love Easter. It always makes me think of new beginnings, a fresh start and of course, Cadbury creme eggs (lots of them).

Today I bring an Easter Brunch inspiration. I think brunch is a fantastic meal to have at Easter time. Everyone has time to go to church or sleep in late and then afterwards a no hassle relaxed brunch. For brunch there are usually lots of options; pastries, omlettes, cakes, cheese boards…the works. I chose three recipes I think would add a great touch to a brunch menu. They are all simple and affordable. I also laid out an Easter/Spring tablescape and added a delicious cocktail.

ON THE MENU

Deviled eggs

Stuffed mushrooms

Fruit Fluff

Peach “mimosa”



Deviled Eggs

This is a brunch staple and of course well suited for Easter. Deviled eggs turn simple boiled eggs into a creamy flavourful treat.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Makes 6

Eggs -The number of eggs you use will give double that number of deviled eggs as they are served as halves. I used 3 eggs so I got 6(only 4 shown)

1 tbsp Mustard– I used a spicy mustard

1 tbsp Mayonnaise– This is optional but it does add a certain creaminess

Spices– I used salt, black pepper and paprika, just a pinch of each.

Deviled eggs ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Hard boil eggs, let cool and remove shells.

2) Cut eggs in half and gently remove yolks. Set whites aside.

3) Add condiments and spices and mix until a smooth paste forms.




4) Place paste into piping bag (you can use a zip lock and snip the end) and pipe into egg whites.



Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms 

I remember the first time I had this version of stuffed mushrooms. My mother brought them home from a local Italian bistro and my life was changed. Something about soft, tart cream cheese against the crunch of a fresh mushroom is a perfect match.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Mushrooms– I used 8 medium sized ones (they were unfortunately a bit bruised)

Cream cheese– The amount you use depends on the number and size of the mushrooms but about 2 tbsp fill 8 medium sized mushrooms.

Spices– I used lemon pepper and some oregano.

Mushrooms and cream cheese 


WHAT TO DO 

1) Add spices to softened cream cheese and mix.

2) Place in a piping bag and pipe into mushrooms. 

Mushrooms and cream cheese mixture



3 )Top with oregano 


Stuffed mushrooms 



Fruit Fluff 

This is my take on an Ambrosia salad. I substituted cool whip with Greek yogurt for a healthier twist and a more “brunchy” feel.

WHAT YOU NEED 

I used arbitrary amounts, a little bit of each. The amounts you use depends on how much you plan to make.

Greek yogurt- The one I used is plain combined with honey so it’s already sweet. A great alternative is vanilla but really any flavour you prefer can be used.

Fruit– I used  mixture of frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, lingonberries) and fresh  (strawberries and blueberries)

Mini marshmallows

Fruit Fluff mixture

WHAT TO DO

Mix altogether and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Peach “Mimosas”

What’s the best part about brunch? The fact that you get to splash your juice with wine. Lol. Now mimosas traditionally consist of wine and citrus juice hence my use of air quotes. Technically this is a peach cocktail but when doing brunch, we call it a mimosa.

WHAT YOU NEED 

White wine

Peach juice

Canned peaches

Peach mimosa ingredients 




WHAT TO DO 

1) Place 1 or 2 peach slices in the bottom of the glass and muddle it a bit (mash it with a spoon if you don’t have a muddler, which I don’t)

2 ) Fill glass halfway with wine.

3) Top off with peach juice and add a straw.

Peach “mimosas”



Tablescape

An important part of entertaining is creating ambience. For this I chose a simple, clean fresh look in keeping with the idea of a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

This tablescape employed some crafty skills but all were simple. My colour scheme was pink, white and gold.

Table runner

I made a table runner of sorts by overlapping lots of doilies along the Centre of the table. I added a touch of gold by swiping gold paint over them in a random fashion.

Table runner from doilies




Flowers

I went with pink and white carnations. Carnations are often a very affordable option from the florist costing only a few dollars. I used about 4 bunches in all keeping  the look minimal.

I swished some of the same gold paint onto the flower petals to keep with the theme and placed them in jelly jars.

Flowers




Centre piece 

My “Centre piece” began with ambition. In fact, the failure of this centrepiece led to the final colour scheme, so maybe it was for the best.

For the centerpiece of an Easter Brunch I had to incorporate eggs somehow. I decided to dye some eggs. People have different methods of doing this. The best way I’ve found is using regular food and egg dye and a bit of vinegar to allow for better uptake of colour.

I removed the contents of the eggs by making a small hole at one end and simply allowing it to run out, gently shaking if you need to. Don’t waste your egg ! I put mine in the refrigerator and made omelet the next day.

I mixed the dye, vinegar and water in a mug. I find you get a more even coating if you use a mug.

As it happened the only colour that worked out was the pink (the yellow one broke and the purple came out streaky)

Once my one surviving egg was dry I splattered it with the by now ubiquitous gold paint. I displayed it in a mini jelly jar on a bed of Easter egg shaped jelly beans.

Centre piece




I placed the flowers and Centre piece on the table runner and laid the table with simple white plates and bowls.

The tablescape and settings

Table with food

Deviled eggs 


Stuffed mushrooms



Fruit Fluff



Peach mimosa


Easy breezy Easter Brunch. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you if you plan on doing brunch for Easter or any other occasion. Have a happy Easter and an awesome day!

Save

Advertisements

FESTIVE DRINK- Red Cocktail 

14 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 13

Hello and welcome to Day 13 of Blogmas. Today I bring you a festive red cocktail that’s great for a Christmas soiree.

WHAT YOU NEED

(This makes one 12 oz/400mL drink)

1) 1 cup/250mL of wine – A sweet Blush or Rose works best.

2) 1/2 cup/125mL cranberry juice -or any other redberry juice.

3) 2 tbsp/30mL grenadine syrup

4) Wine glass (12 oz or bigger)

Grendine syrup, wine and cranberry juice


5) Red maraschino cherries 

6) Dried cranberries (for garnishing )

7) Red sugar (for rim)

8) Toothpick (for garnish)

  Red sugar, dried cranberries ,  red maraschino cherries


WHAT TO DO 

1) Rim the glass with the coloured sugar– you can use simple syrup(sugar dissolved into small amount of water) or  a bit of water to moisten the glass. Then dip it into your sugar. If you’re like me and don’t have red or pink sugar you can make your own, I did this in my 10 Baking hacks post.

Syrup and sugar


Rim in syrup 


Rim in sugar


2) Add 2 or 3 cherries along with their syrup to the bottom of the glass.


Cherries in glass


3) Add wine and juice to glass.


4) Skewer a few dried cranberries along with a maraschino cherry and place on top.

Completed cocktail
And there it is! A cheerful holiday drink. A sweeter wine pairs well with the cranberry juice which is a bit sharp and the syrup adds more sweetness as well as some substance to the drink. The sugar and garnish make it look festive.
Enjoy! and have an awesome day!

Aside

Champagne mouth but Prosecco pocket- Fine dining on a budget

18 Oct

Hello

So the saying goes :”champagne mouth and beer pocket” or in my homeland  Barbados : ” champagne mouth and mauby pocket”. Mauby is a drink made from the bark of the tree with the same name. It is fairly popular throughout the Caribbean and like beer, is very inexpensive compared to champagne.   I drink neither beer nor mauby, but I do drink Prosecco which I often refer to as Champagne’s cheaper Italian cousin so this is the drink I use for comparison.  

I digress…

The point I’m making is this post is about enjoying something very pricey without spending all your savings at once.

A couple nights ago I had dinner with family and friends at a fairly upscale osteria. The ambience was gorgeous with glass light shades housing Edison bulbs and tall glass vases with sheaths of wheat inside them not to mention an open faced floor to ceiling shelf housing an eclectic array of items from metal colanders to cook books reflecting the Italian cuisine they serve.

As we sipped and supped, and believe you me, we did, I thought to myself about the fact that I love food and love fine dining but my entire life mantra is to stick to a budget. I basically assessed the entire experience along with other previous similar ones and came up with some tips that a budget savvy individual might want to use.

The point of living life on a budget isn’t to always choose the cheapest option and deny yourself of enjoyable,  meaningful experiences but rather to achieve what you want in the most cost effective way.

TIPS



1) Eat the bread

Most dine-in restaurants will offer a complimentary bread basket. It can be as basic as sliced french bread or as varied as olive bread, cheese crusted bread etc. A few restaurants will devitae from bread and offer things like popcorn. But the point is…EAT IT. 

Many times most persons will nibble at a piece and leave the rest behind, hoping not to ruin their appetite with empty calories but trust me the bread will fill you up and decrease the need for extra food. You may be able to skip an appetizer or avoid having to order a soup or salad if you fill up on that bread.

Olive bread- came with balsamic  vinegar and olive oil to dip.
2) Make the most of appetizers


If you decide to order appetizers this can be where more savings come in. Most appetizer servings are now as large or in some cases larger than mains. You may want to order an appetizer and eat it as your main since it will be cheaper.

Another benifit to appetizers is the ability to share. For example our dinner party was comprised of eight persons and we had 3 appetizers between us. The combination of the bread and the appetizers left most of us almost full.

Tempura fried portobello mushrooms


Bruschetta with: tomato, prosciutto and pear with gorgonzola cheese



Tagliere with Prosciutto, salami, olives and cheeses.
3) Share your food

This was touched on in the previous tip but to reiterate the point, ordering something that can be spread among two or more persons is almost always more cost effective. This means selecting dishes that are easily shared such as pizza or large pasta dishes.

Pizza



Seafood soup, easy to share 


Meatballs 

Ravioli 
4) Have water


Just like the bread basket, most respectable restaurants offer complimentary,  refillable glasses of water. DRINK IT! Ordering a fountain drink or juice will cost you especially if you go through more than one drink per meal. Just stick to the water.

5) Order the bottle

Most “fancy” meals are never complete without a glass of wine. We all know the alcohol sold in restaurants is always ridiculously marked up, however the wine gets cheaper with increased volume. If eight persons were to order a glass of wine each, it would have easily added up to more than an entire bottle from which you can get multiple servings.

 

6) Skip dessert

This is not a hard and fast rule (none of these are). If for example the restaurant is known for it’s desserts then it’s different, or if you are like my close friend Mark and totally addicted to sweet treats then go ahead. 

I personally have found that no matter how good a restaurant is, the desserts are often just okay. There are usually limited to just 4 or 5 options and it’s either some kind of cake or some kind of ice cream. When I go to a fine dining restaurant I am going for the appetizers and mains. If I want desserts I go to a bakery.

Dessert- Ice cream with espresso 




I hope my tips are useful to anyone planning a fine dining dinner experience and I hope you have an awesome day! 

Food,Wine and Rum Festival

19 Nov

Image

Hey there,

It’s absolutely no secret that I love food, always have. However I can’t deny that a lot of my passion particularly for gourmet type dishes was borne from my obsession with many of Food Network’s cooking shows.

This explains why my heart nearly stopped when I learned that most esteemed Chef Marcus Samuelsson would be gracing my shores of Barbados for our annual Food,Wine and Rum festival.

But that wasn’t all, He was among other popular celebrity chefs some seen on Food Network as well.In addition, a number of local top chefs would be featured in this festival, I couldn’t wait.

This began my quest to obtain tickets to at least ONE event where I would see at least  ONE celebrity chef. Well as with most of my life it wasn’t without drama. Despite knowing about the festival at least 8 weeks in advance and despite knowing how many avid foodies inhabit my island my friend and I waited until the week before the festival to pursue tickets. 

Needless to say, the events were sold out. ALL! Every last one! We were devastated! Our dreams had been crushed. And  it was all self inflicted, we should have known better than to think high priced tickets would have deterred others from seeing some of the most famous faces in food, it certainly didn’t deter us.

I had an idea though, I visited one of the main ticket outlets “just to see” if they had so much as half of a ticket lying around. Of course, there were none. I literally asked if there were any tickets that might have accidentally dropped on the floor. Of course, the answer was still no. So, truly defeated, I made my way out of the store and down the steps. That was the moment my life changed………….. only seconds after exiting an employee came through the door and said “Ladies (my sister and I), someone just cancelled 2 tickets to an event, are you interested?”

Well I didn’t need to be asked twice, or even once for that matter. I didn’t even know which event it was for, I was just so desperate that I rushed inside. It turned out they had exactly 2 tickets for an event called “Ambrosia” where 12 chefs: 6 local and 6 guest would prepare a dish each and provide sample sized servings for the guests to taste, not to mention getting to see and meet the chef. I learned that among the guest chefs would be Aaron McCargo Jr and Anne Burrell from food Network. Others included Jose Garces, Paul Yellin (who grew up in Barbados)Marc Murphy(didn’t see him though). Without further adieu I purchased the 2 tickets (one for myself and the other for my friend)

Well the event was a roaring 20’s hit! Being sold out, it of course was packed but there was enough space that it wasn’t too cramped. Every chef had their station serving as previously mentioned, a sample size of a signature dish. I don’t think I tasted anything I didn’t like.

There was seared mahi mahi (by Anne Burell). This woman’s food tastes as good as you think it will.Chicken,mushroom and truffle soup,spicy buffalo chicken pasta( by Aaron McCargo Jr) seared tuna(rare), profiteroles,cheesecake. There were so many other dishes many whose names I can’t recall but it sure was delish! And the wine and rum was flowing!

My friend and I were on a celebrity chef stalking mission. Our target: Anne Burrell. We found her soon enough. She was approachable and friendly and we got our pics. Then I went to find Aaaron McCargo Jr and have a picture with him. The real treat however came when we feasted our eyes on someone not slated to be present at the event, who didn’t have a food station. It was none other than the new face of gourmet food in my opinion: Chef Marcus Samuelsson! I screamed and jumped up and down and literally ran over to him where my friend and I were able to have out picture taken with him.

All in all it was a pretty awesome night. The food was good, the atmosphere was happy and lively and I got to star watch. I shall leave with you some pics I took.

Have an awesome day!

Image

With Chef Aaron McCargo Jr

Image

With Chef Anne Burrell

Image

Myself and my friend Flavia with Chef Marcus Samuelsson #epic

 

Pink and Gold Wine Coolers/Cocktails

1 Aug

Nothing adds a unique touch to a shindig like a signature cocktail. It doesn’t have to be anything over the top requiring an expert mixologist or high end liquor. It just has to be fun, easy and most of all affordable.

Most recently my favorite thing to make is a wine cooler/cocktail (the definitions confuse me) essentially wine and fruit juice. The possibilities with this type of drink are endless as you can use any type of wine and any type of juice depending on the theme of the event.

In addition you can add fun extras like carbonated water,syrup or bits of fruit.

Image

These are two wine cooler/cocktails I made a few months ago for an impromptu get-together one evening. At the time they had no names so now I’ve decided to simply call them Pink and Gold.

Here’s what I did:

PINK

  • Rose’ wineI literally always pick up the cheapest bottle in the supermarket, it tastes great and I’m able to buy enough to serve everyone. I filled the glass half-way with the wine
  • Cranberry and kiwi juiceFill the remainder of the glass with the juice, no need to swirl or stir , just allow it to blend by itself.
  • I have mixed rose wine with grape juice as well and it’s phenomenal!

GOLD

  • White wine- I believe this was a sauvignon blanc but really choose whatever kind you prefer.
  • Cloudy apple and pear juice-This mild yet sweet flavour really compliments the white wine.
  • As an extra touch I had a can of lychee fruit in syrup which we added for extra taste and texture.

To top off the drinks I added some kitschy “flamingo” straws and served cold.

Hope my little post inspires someone to make an exciting signature drink for their next party

Enjoy and have an awesome day!

%d bloggers like this: