Recipes

New Ways to Tanqueray

With almost a 200 year heritage the original 1830s Charles Tanqueray gin recipe is still being re-invented and enjoyed by people all around the world. If you go to any bar or restaurant the classic gin and tonic is bound to make it on the menu. It's a classic. I mean I just had a Gin & Tonic at my friend's wedding this past weekend! No matter the occasion whether it's at a fancy affair or just a casual night in with your friends, there are endless refreshing and delicious ways to enjoy a Tanqueray cocktail. 

Now re-launching in Canada, Tanqueray Malacca is one of the world's most awarded and expertly crafted gins. Malacca is known as a mischievous, flavourful gin that uses an exotic mix of peppercorn, rose, and clove to achieve its distinctive flavour. Providing the perfect base for creative DIY twists for your cocktails this season I have three fun and easy recipes that you can all try at home!

Each of these three recipes require the same base:

1 Part Tanqueray Malacca
4 Parts Tonic Water
Ice Cubes

How To Mix:

Fill your glass up with ice cubes. Add all the ingredients. Garnish with a lemon twist, cucumber swirl, or grapefruit wedge. 

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Tanqueray provides the classic foundation for a delicious and refreshing beverage. No matter how you put your own spin on it with your favourite garnish, the recipe is fool proof with the high quality gin at its core. For even more inspiration on new ways to Tanqueray so you can serve up that perfect gin and tonic, visit the Tanqueray Canada Facebook page HERE and remember to enjoy responsibly. 

At Home With The New Vitamix Explorian Series E310 - Chilled Green Pea Soup Recipe

If there's one kitchen appliance that tops the wish list for everyone year after year, most will probably say it's owning a Vitamix. It definitely was for me. The versatility of having a compact machine in your kitchen with a motor and blades powerful enough to make a wide range of recipes such as smoothies, salsas, doughs, frozen desserts, batters, and even hot soups without ever touching a stove top is a dream!

With a new year upon us comes new ideas and innovation from Vitamix. A brand new line of Vitamix blenders were being launched and I was invited to take part in a culinary journey hosted by Vitamix Canada and Chef Craig Wong of Jackpot Chicken in Toronto to see what the new Vitamix Explorian Series E310 was all about! A carefully curated menu was prepared for us where all the key ingredients of each dish was prepared by the new E310 Explorian Series Blender.

From start to finish, check out what we indulged in that night where the Vitamix E310 played an integral role in our dinner.

Flash forward a few weeks after the media launch and my grown-up, kitchen-appliance loving dreams came true! A brand new Vitamix E310 Explorian Series Blender landed on my door step and a flood of recipe possibilities through the simple act of blending came rushing through. What I love about this new series is that it perfectly fits my lifestyle and kitchen space. I don't have a huge kitchen at home, but because the Vitamix E310 is smaller than its predecessor coming in at a 48-ounce (1.4L) container it fits perfectly into my kitchen space without taking too much room on the counter. The smaller container size is also perfect to blend drinks fit for one or two people, nothing goes to waste. The smaller size also comes with a smaller price tag compared to some of the other models with a price point of CAD$400 which is what people have been asking Vitamix to come out with for a very long time. They listened!

If you're finally in the market to upgrade your smoothie game and want to get a great quality blender, but at a manageable price-point, the Vitamix Explorian Series E310 is then perfect fo r you! Here are some great features of the new Vitamix Explorian Series E310 that you'll love!

Variable Speed Control

Ten variable speeds allows you to refine every texture with culinary precision from the chunkiest salsas to the smoothest purees

Pulse Feature

Layer coarse chops over smooth purees for heartier recipes or thick vegetable soups

High-Performance Motor

The powerful 2HP motor can handle the toughest ingredients to create high-quality blends

Easy Cleaning

With just one drop of dish soap and warm water, the Vitamix E310 can clean itself in 30 to 60 seconds -  no disassembly required.

With all these great features I was able to put it all to the test at home by re-creating the exact same recipe that Chef Craig Wong made for us during the series launch at his restaurant. The "Chilled Green Pea Soup" was among one of the favourite dishes of the night and surprisingly so easy to make with the Vitamix E310 at home. You literally just need to throw in all the ingredients in the Vitamix and let it blend! All the work is done by that powerful motor and spinning blades. Before you know it a vibrant and healthy appetizer is ready to be served for a serving of 4 people. Enjoy!

Chilled Green Pea Soup

Ingredients

5 cups frozen peas
4 cups cold chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup baby spinach leaves, blanced, shocked in ice, squeezed of excess moisture
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp ground white pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions

Add frozen peas & stock into Vitamix
Blend on high for 3 to 5 minutes until mixture is very smooth
Add mint, spinach, salt & white pepper. Blend for another 30 seconds
Add heavy cream and blend for 10 seconds
Strain the soup and refrigerate or serve chilled immediately

Summer Fresh Holiday Entertaining

Can you all believe it!? Christmas is here in just under two weeks and probably like most of us it's going to be one of the busiest two weeks of the year. Juggling with last minute Christmas shopping and holiday gatherings, the lead up to Christmas day can be an exhausting one especially if you plan on hosting a holiday meal with your family and friends. Lets face it, often times you end up spending hours on end in the kitchen pumping out dishes for your guests, but this year I am here to show you that holiday entertaining does not have to be time consuming if you have the right recipes in mind. This year by using Summer Fresh products you will be able to make some delicious holiday appetizers that can all be prepared in under 10 minutes and will satisfy your guests with every bite! 

If you are not familiar with Summer Fresh, catch up by reading my older articles here and here! But to give you all a quick refresher, Summer Fresh is a Canadian success story that has found a way into many of our lives at home through their line of salads, hummus, and dips. Made from clean ingredients with no added preservatives, Summer Fresh makes it easy for you to enjoy mealtimes with your loved ones without spending hours on end in the kitchen.

For this holiday season I've teamed up with Summer Fresh to create two brand new appetizer recipes for you all that are outrageously delicious yet takes only ten minutes to make! If you're in need of a new recipe idea to impress your guests at your upcoming holiday party, take a look below to learn how to make my "Honey Glazed Bruschetta" and my "Hummus and Cucumber Pita Bites." They are both to die for! 

Hummus and Cucumber Pita Bites

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Recipe

1) Toast the pita bread in the oven and cut it into 6 to 8 slices
2) Spread a layer of Summer Fresh Roasted Garlic Hummus on each wedge
3) Cut your cucumber into thin slices and place two of them on top of the hummus on each wedge
4) Sprinkle with paprika
5) Dab a small spoonful of Summer Fresh Artichoke & Asiago Dip
6) Garnish with dill weed

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Honey Glazed Bruschetta

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Recipe

1) Use your favourite cracker/toast as the base
2) Spread a layer of Summer Fresh Traditional Brushchetta on each cracker/toast
3) Crumple a pinch of feta cheese on top
4) Top it off with one ball of Bocconcini
5) Drizzle everything with honey
6) Garnish with a leaf of parsley

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For even more great holiday entertaining tips and inspiration, Summer Fresh has put together some fantastic food pairing ideas and created nine more unique and mouth-watering appetizer recipes for you to try this festive season. Pick up their free Summer Fresh APPYS Entertaining Guide in the refrigerated deli section at your local grocery store. A couple of my favourite recipes from them this year include their "Hummus & Baba Ghanouj Toasted Sweet Potato Rounds" and "Artichoke Asiago Spinach Stuffed Mushroom Caps." 

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Masterchef Canada Mary Berg's Original Churro Recipe

If you recently finished marathoning a Netflix show like me and is in dire need to find a new show to watch, I have a mighty good suggestion right here for you! Around a month ago I was on set of Masterchef Canada's Season 3 Winner Mary Berg's brand new cooking show, "Mary's Big Kitchen Party" and saw her whip up some delicious things! Premiering last month already in October, we all get to see Canada's favourite home cook make some of her best dishes for an entourage of some of her closest friends. If you haven't read my full experience of my visit on set and my one-on-one interview with her yet, you can play catch up by clicking HERE.

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Rolling out over 8 weeks on Bell Fibe TV1 and Gusto TV, Mary's Big Kitchen Party will see her create original recipes with unique ingredients in an effort to bring people together in her favourite room of the house - the kitchen! From seared scallops with crispy pancetta and poke crisps to peach pecan cake with burnt caramel and gingerbread whoopee pies with eggnog cream, each week will give viewers something new to try, allowing them to bring the party home.

When I was on set and watched the TV filming magic happen before me, I was able to witness Mary make these most delicious looking churros for her guests to eat. It was hard not to hear my stomach grumble as I watched from far away the entire cooking process of making this fried treat come to life. After filming was done I was able to grab one to eat and in my honest opinion, best churro I have EVER had! It was mindblowingly good and because it was just that tasty I made sure that I was able to share this amazing recipe to all my loyal readers!

Enjoy and don't forget to tune in every Friday at 9PM on Gusto TV and OnDemand on Fibe TV, Channel 1 to catch Mary make even some more mouth-watering recipes!

Mary Berg's Original Churro Recipe

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Serves 8

Ingredients

1 cup water
Β½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 Β½ tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Β½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying
Β½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Store bought chocolate sauce

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, salt, sugar, and butter.  Bring this mixture to a boil, add the vanilla, and dump in the flour all at once.  Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball.  Remove from the heat and continue to stir for about 30 seconds.

Allow the mixture to cool and heat 3 – 4” of vegetable oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot to 375F.  Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.

Spoon the slightly cooled churro mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe a few churros at a time into the hot oil by piping and snipping with scissors.  Fry the churros until golden and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

While still hot, place the churros in the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.  Allow them to cool slightly and serve warm with store bought chocolate sauce.

Jarritos - The Perfect Cocktail For Any Party

When it comes to entertaining often times the hardest part of putting a party together is trying to figure out what drinks you'll be serving to all your guests. Of course you can go the easy route and have a selection of store bought juices, pop, and beers on hand, but that's not the type of party you want to have. That's not the host you want to be! You want to provide your guests with choices. You want to elevate your party with home-made cocktails that get the alcohol flowing and people talking. Something that can be put together in a jiffy without leaving you stuck in the kitchen for hours on end. By the time you get through reading this article, you'll have at least one more party trick up your sleeve and let me tell ya. This is a good one!

A simple solution to spice up your next party that will surely be a hit among all your guests is by offering up the Mexican soda, Jarritos. Introduced in 1950 as Mexico's first national soft drink, this drink has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Made with 100% natural sugar, many of their 12 delicious flavours here in Canada are sourced from actual fruit trees in Mexico. You can drink them straight up out of their distinctive glass bottles or turn them into colourful cocktails for a new and exciting way to make some boozy drinks.

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A few weeks ago Jarritos helped celebrate "Dia de los Muertos" aka Day of the Dead or All Souls Day in Toronto, where they hosted a media dinner at one of the city's finest Mexican restaurant La Carnita. We had the most epic Mexican feast the night after Halloween which consisted of Dips & Chips (the fresh guacamole was amazing), chicken wings, Mexican street corn, tacos, and paletas. One of the highlights of this feast was definitely the Jarritos cocktail that started the night off for me, and ended the night as well. I just couldn't stop drinking it and lucky for us here I have the recipe to re-create it back at home!

The "Strawberry For The Souls Cocktail" was created by Joanna Matysiak of La Carnita and incorporates the strawberry flavour of Jarritos in it. This is the perfect cocktail to incorporate at your next party because it's so easy to make and it just tastes absolutely delicious and refreshing with the aromatic strawberry flavour it brings.

Strawberry For The Souls Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

2oz Tequila
1oz Lemon Juice
3oz Coconut Water
3oz Strawberry Jarritos
Strawberry Slices (garnish)
Dehydrated Lemon Wheel (garnish)

Directions:

Combine tequila, lemon juice, and coconut water in a shaker and shake away. Strain contents into a mason jar (or glass) over fresh ice. Top up with strawberry Jarritos, garnish, and enjoy!

All pictures on this blog post taken by Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Jarritos Canada

All pictures on this blog post taken by Josh Tenn-Yuk courtesy of Jarritos Canada

If you want to switch it up a bit, or add some more variety of flavours into the mix just replace the Strawberry Jarritos in the end and try some other fruit flavours such as Pineapple, Mango, or Grapefruit (all personally my other favourite fruit flavours from Jarritos). Half of the fun is getting to experiment with all the colourful and fruity flavours Jarritos offer!