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The Spring Menu | September 2015


Look at this spectacular Spring Menu for the Southern Hemisphere….

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

The Spring Menu | Southern Hemisphere | September 2015

Apéritif/Pre-Dinner Drink

Mimosa Cocktail


Appetiser/Starter (by Margot)

Smoked Salmon Salad

Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Pinot Gris, New Zealand
Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Provençal Rosé, France


Main Course (by Poli)

Lemon Thyme Lamb Racks with Goat Cheese Aioli

Bacon-wrapped Green Beans

Roasted New Potatoes

Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Shiraz, Australia
Wine – Northern Hemisphere: GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre), Côtes du Rhone, France


Dessert (by Johnny)

Lemon & Coconut Cheesecake with Strawberry Purée

Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Sparkling Moscato, Australia
Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Brachetto di Acqui, Italy


Spring Wine Pairings (by Anatoli)


The full recipes, along with Anatoli’s Comprehensive Wine Pairings, will be released over the coming week. We hope very much that you’ll enjoy this season’s selections from our talented team of Food and Wine Bloggers.

Please follow ‘The Dinner Party…

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Boeuf Bourguignon | Autumn/Fall Menu | Main Course


Hope you enjoy my offering for the Dinner Party!

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:


Boeuf Bourguinon, a classic French dish, hearty and warming and a wonderful meal in the Fall and Winter. It’s filling and really simple despite several steps, think of it as layering flavors, this layering yields a stew that is complex with simple ingredients and is perfect for a dinner party because much can be made in advance and put together the day of the party. Tender beef, vegetables, herbs and wine married together in a rich broth is pretty much my idea of heaven. This is adapted from one version of Julia Child’s great recipes for Boeuf Bourguinon, I learned that there are several variations, but chose to use this particular recipe because over the years it has become one of my absolute favourites.

The name sounds fancy but really it’s beef stew and is a combination of beef, carrots, onions, mushrooms and herbs. I used a very good French Burgundy…

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The Autumn/Fall Menu | September 2015


So excited to have helped to work on the Fall Menu,!

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

The Autumn/Fall Menu | Northern Hemisphere | September 2015

Appetiser/Starter (by Seana)

Trio of Root Vegetable Dips

Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Champagne (Blanc de Blancs), France
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Chardonnay, Yarra Valley, Australia


Main Course (by Suzanne)

Boeuf Bourguignon

Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Sagrantino di Montefalco, Italy
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand


Dessert (by Anne)

Blackberry Tart

Wine – Northern Hemisphere: Recioto della Valpolicella, Italy or Banyuls, France
Wine – Southern Hemisphere: Reserve Ruby Port or 10 year old Tawny, Australia


Autumn/Fall Wine Pairings by Stefano


The full recipes, along with Stefano’s Comprehensive Wine Pairings, will be released over the coming week. We hope very much that you’ll enjoy this season’s selections from our talented team of Food and Wine Bloggers.

Please follow ‘The Dinner Party Collective’ to make sure that you never miss out on a…

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Classic Pound Cake

Pound Cake

Pound Cake

There are certain things that no matter how hard I tried I was never able to find the recipe that produced a result that satisfied me. Pound cake is something I have tried to make so many times I can’t even count how many I have made that the results were disappointing. I hold every pound cake up to the Sara Lee Pound Cake, you know the one in the freezer section of the supermarket. I love that cake and have tried finding a recipe that will give me a similar result. So far I have not found it, the cakes are too heavy, the texture is not right, they don’t develop that top crust that I love among other issues. The Sara Lee cake is light as a feather and has a very dense crumb. I know, its full of stuff like preservatives etc.. but I can’t help it, I like it.

I was checking my email the other day and got one of those you need to follow emails from Twitter so I scrolled through and there it was, the title of the tweet was “How to make the perfect pound cake” that sucked me in immediately, it was from Wilton, you know them they make all manner of things for baking. I watched the video and the cake is simple to make and judging from the cake that came out of the oven in the Wilton test kitchen it looks pretty good. So I set out to make it, lets see how it is.

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Perfect Pound Cake

Recipe from Wilton

1 lb (4 sticks) butter softened to room temperature

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

6 large eggs at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s. Grease a tube pan plain or decorative your call. If fluted or the pan has grooves make sure every single crease is greased. Pound cakes tend to stick and you want to make sure it comes out perfectly.

Place flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.

In your stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment add the butter and sugar and cream until light in color and very fluffy. Scrape sides of pan with your rubber or silicone spatula. NOTE: Perfect mixing makes a perfect pound cake

Add your eggs one at a time mixing well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Make sure the eggs are completely incorporated in the butter/sugar mixture. Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.

Add the flour mixture and beat for EXACTLY one minute (60 seconds) scraping down sides with your spatula as needed.

Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for 50-55 minutes. The cake will be golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, gently press the sides of the cake so they are loosened do the same with the middle tube. Use a small flexible offset spatula if cake needs to be further loosened. Invert onto cooling rack and let cool completely before serving. Dust with a little powdered sugar.

Looks good

Looks good

The cake is pretty good,  but it’s not exactly what I have been looking for although it’s closer than any of the other recipes I have tried. It will be really nice with coffee or tea or ice cream or whipped cream and berries. It would also be good with a lemon glaze. I baked it for 55 minutes and in retrospect I probably should have taken it out sooner but it didn’t seem quite done, again this could be my oven

I liked it but will keep searching for a pound cake like my favorite Sara Lee Cake. I think I am ridiculously picky sometimes.  How did that Jingle go “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee”? Although good I probably won’t make it again, do any of you have a great pound cake recipe? One thats light and dense? Let me know, my quest continues.


Sir Johns Table A Review


I follow many blogs and more than a few are authors, I love reading and it’s a big plus for me when there is mention of food in the book. I was honored to recieve a copy of Lindy Mechefsky’s new book “Sir John’s Table”. This book is fascinating, giving some insight into the life of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John Alexander MacDonald. Many of you know Lindy and her beautiful blog Love In The Kitchen not only is Lindy an amazing cook and recipe developer but she is an accomplished author, her blog is intellectually stimulating as well as hunger inducing, in one of my favorite posts she artfully links Jung to food in particular a cranberry almond apple tart. You will find all of her recipes are delicious and most are woven with literary references, brilliant Lindy!!

Lets get back to the book. Beautifully written, it tells the history of Sir John and each chapter boasts a wonderful recipe from that era. See Lindy’s recent post on a Champagne Cup cocktail which is found in Chapter 14 of her book. You get a lovely recipe along with the Victorian disposition to alcohol consumption. Great reading and drinking.

I chose a recipe in Chapter 21 for Sir John A. Pudding, I love bread pudding and this is just that, but made with breadcrumbs rather than slices or chunks of bread. Or at least I think it’s breadcrumbs. The recipe is a bit vague, 4 cups milk may not be 8oz in Victorian. Anyway I added 4 cups and my pudding was quite soupy, so I added another 2 cups of breadcrumbs. We’ll see how I do with Victorian cooking. They may have meant tea cups which are about 4 oz.  The recipe say’s a few minutes in the oven, well,  It’s been in the oven 30 minutes and it’s still like soup. It tastes really nice though.  There was no mention of oven temperature I guess in those days you heat the oven and put your food in hoping for the best, I baked at 350 degrees. I don’t think I would make it in a Victorian kitchen. I am having fun though, trying to channel Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey. After about an hour in the oven it came out and it’s quite lovely. I think I have a new found respect for cooks of that era now, we have our kitchen gadgets and measurers which they did not have. Cooking was instinctual and I think although the recipes are simple a good outcome was harder to come by simply because they did not have the tools we possess today.

Sir John A. Pudding

Sir John A. Pudding

Sir John A's Pudding

Sir John A’s Pudding out of the oven

The book is written in a way that makes a historical novel approachable and interesting, Lindy took a political figure and brought him to life by intermingled some fun and delicious recipes which gives insight into what it was like in a Victorian home and kitchen. Highly recommend this book.

Lindy’s book is published by Goose Lane Publishers and is available here:

Order at Chapters/Indigo.

Order at

Order at

Since I am getting all literary I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention other amazing authors who I count as friends and fellow bloggers, I faithfully read their blogs and books and I hope you check them out.

Teagan Riordain Geneviene – Teagan’s Books Teagan is an amazing fantasy writer and pens a weekly series of  interactive episodes on her site with a continuing story that is both fascinating and entertaining. She is also a published author and oh so talented!! Teagans books are available on Amazon and other purveyors of good reads, you have to read “Atonement Tenessee”, it’s so good. I told Teagan to write a screen play it would make a great movie.

Sean Munger – Sean– Historian, brillian writer and a very very interesting blog. I am a horror fan and Sean writes some fantastic horror novels. Sean’s latest book is “Doppelganger” I thoroughly enjoyed reading this ghostly thriller set in Victorian New York.

David Prosser – Barsetshire Diaries David writes about his daily exploits, he is a character and one of my favorite people. he is also an accomplished author.  I love reading Davids descriptions of what his day was like, his family and friends and Joey his parakeet, he always includes some great music and photo’s as well. A very lovely read, and David I promise to purchase and read one of your books soon.

Chocolate Cake With Penuche Frosting, The Verdict

The finished cake

The finished cake

I saw this frosting recipe on Food52, it is family recipe from editor Lindsay Jean Hard and thought a caramel frosting would be nice on the cake. The frosting couldn’t be easier to make. I doubled the recipe because the recipe frosted an 8 inch cake and mine is 9 inches and used 4 oz of salted and 4 oz of unsalted butter, because who doesn’t love salted caramel!! It really is a lovely frosting, and so simple to make. A quick caramel that is whipped with some powdered sugar, thats it.


Penuche Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 to 2 cups powdered sugar
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the milk, raise the heat, and cook until the mixture boils. Remove from heat, and let it cool until the mixture is lukewarm.
Gradually stir in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth. NOTE: It took the better part of an hour and a half to bring the caramel to room temperature but I think it’s important for the outcome to make sure your caramel is not warm at all. Also, I folowed the instructions and cooked the caramel 2 minutes before adding the milk, test it by putting a little bit on a spoon, let it cool slightly and rub between your fingers the brown sugar should be dissolved and it should not have any grit. I should have let mine cook a little longer as the brown sugar was not completely dissolved.

Because I had to bake the cake longer than the time called for on the recipe the edges were over done. The cake was crumbly making frosting it challenging. I made a crumb coat and refrigerated for 30 minutes and then added the other layer of frosting.  The layers were quite high, a very nice rise, I love a tall cake, it always looks so nice.

I don’t know if it was my oven it could have been but I did test it with my oven thermometer and the oven temp was 2 degree’s higher it registered 352 degree’s. I think based on this I would take the temperature down a little but honestly don’t think that 2 degree’s would have made an appreciable difference in the outcome.

Moist and tender and the frosting is great

Moist and tender and the frosting is great

The Verdict

Well it’s a great cake, very moist and tender I thought it was going to be dry but it wasn’t. The cake itself tastes amazing. There were a few slips and falls, the middle sunk not sure why and it did take longer to bake than it said in the recipe but all in all a wonderful cake. The frosting compliments it beautifully, caramel and chocolate as you all know is such a delicious combination I would definitely make this again but when I get my new stove.

Chocolate Cake


This is a recipe from Bon Appetit for Chocolate Cake. What sets this cake apart is the method of preparation. When I read the directions I really wanted to give it a try, I have a simple chocolate cake recipe that I have been using for years and it’s fantastic, it’s a very old recipe from Hershey’s and it’s right on their can of unsweetened cocoa. I love it and have never deviated or tried another recipe, it’s that good.

The method of preparation is the brainchild of the great Rose Levy Beranbaum, she is amazing and I have several of her cookbooks but missed this and it took Claire Saffitz from Bon Appetit to bring it to life. I will let her explain why this method is so genius.

Contrary to the traditional method of creaming the butter and sugar before adding eggs and wet and dry ingredients, reverse creaming does pretty much the opposite. The dry ingredients and sugar are mixed with the fat (oil and butter) plus some of the wet ingredients (eggs + buttermilk + melted chocolate + coffee). The fat coats the dry ingredients and inhibits gluten formation, which would normally result in a tough cake, while the addition of some moisture simultaneously develops just enough gluten to give the cake structure. It’s hard to overmix with this method, giving you a tender crumb. Because there’s less air in the batter due to no creaming, the layers bake evenly and stack up without the need to level or trim. It’s the perfect method for building a layer cake.


Batter is thick and creamy

Batter is thick and creamy


Bon Appetit by Claire Saffitz adapted from a recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1¾ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2½ cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • Preheat oven to 350˚. Butter two 9″-diameter cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  • Heat chocolate, coffee, and ⅔ cup cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl set over a medium saucepan of barely simmering water (water should not touch bottom of bowl), stirring until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Let cool, then whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla into chocolate mixture.
  • Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix salt, baking powder, baking soda, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl just to combine. Add brown sugar, oil, ½ cup butter, and ½ cup reserved chocolate mixture and beat on medium speed until flour is evenly distributed and mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Add remaining chocolate mixture in 2 additions, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed and beating until smooth after each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  • Bake cake until top is firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30–40 minutes. Transfer cake pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
cake sunk in the middle

cake sunk in the middle

nice rise

nice rise

Tomorrow I will frost and taste the cake but have to to say so far I am not in love with it, it took longer to bake than the directions, now that could be my wonky oven that I had repaired to tide me over until I get my new stove. So that could have been a factor but the cake feels drier than my go to Hershey’s cake, I tend to like layer and cupcakes that use oil rather than butter, I find the crumb is perfect, they are light and moist. This cake feels more like a brownie that is a bit overdone. I also like that the Hershey’s recipe is one bowl, super fast and easy. This was not difficult but had steps that I normally don’t have to do. It is possible I did something wrong or it was my oven so I cannot say with certainty that there is a flaw in the recipe.

The proof will be in the tasting so stay tuned because tomorrow I will frost and try the cake.

Full disclosure: I got distracted and forgot to add the vanilla.


14 Years Ago Today



Tuesday, Sept 11, 2001 a day of tragedy none of us will ever forget. None of you, I am sure will ever forget where your were or what you were doing on that fateful day, I know I won’t. Our lives will never be the same. I think it’s important to think about the events of that day and remember the lives that were lost and just how fragile our world is, I hope nothing like this ever happens again. Every year I mark this day watching the memorial service at the site and the reading of the names. You can still see the profound pain each family member feels when they read the names and it’s so sad. A new tower has been built and a Memorial has been erected, things change, life goes on, it was the day NYC closed down completely and the events of that day will live in our memories forever.


8:46 AM – American Airlines Flight 11 crashes into the North tower there were 92 people on board

9:03AM – United Airlines Flight 175 Crashes into the South Tower there were 65 people on board

9:37 AM – American Airlines Flight 77 Crashes into the Pentagon 125 people died including 64 passengers on the plane

9:59 AM – The South Tower falls only 56 minutes after impact

10:03AM – United Airlines Flight 93 crashes into an open field in Shankesville, Pennsylvannia 65 people were on board

10:28 AM – The North Tower Falls

At least 200 people jumped or fell to their deaths from the burning towers

At least 411 emergency workers died trying to rescue people

We lost 343 Brave New York City Firefighters

We lost 37 Port Authority Police Officers

8 EMT’s lost their lives that day

The NYPD lost 23 brave police officers

A total of 2,977 were lost and that does not include the 19 hijackers, I refuse to include them with the innocent people that died that tragic day.

a tribute in light

a tribute in light


Lest we forget……

What Kind Of Stove Do You Have…..

Old Fashioned stove, no computer way to go???

Old Fashioned stove, no computer way to go???

My stove or really the oven died. I have had a middle of the road Maytag stove for years, I bought it in 2002. It has worked well has had the Mother Board replaced twice and has had other service issues that I have had to fix but all in all it has been a pretty good stove. Not being able to bake is not good, my stove top works fine and the broiler still works but my oven is caput.

What kind of stove or range do you have and do you like it? I plan on getting a new one in the next couple of months. I am toying with the idea of taking the plunge and getting a Viking or Wolf. There are so many choices. One thing I don’t want again is a stove with a computer board. The heat destroys it and I use mine almost every day which gives it a very short life span. I don’t have a wall oven, my range has to do it all. Do I want duel fuel, convection. I just don’t know at this point and am researching the options.

I want to hear from you all, tell me why you would recommend the stove you use or why you wouldn’t. Just like when I purchased my new blender, which by the way is fantastic, I am looking at the myriad of products available and it’s really confusing, they all make grand promises and sound good but are they really?

Would love to know your thoughts and recommendations!! Because I do A LOT of cooking the stove has to be a real workhorse, durable, reliable, able to leap tall buildings, well not really but I really want a stove that will last.

Thanks All!!


An Epic Biscuit…The Sequel, And Garden Update

On Occasion I make a recipe and it turns out great and the second time I make it, it flops. Since I have sought the perfect biscuit recipe like seeking the Holy Grail for years and having found a great one on try #1, I decided to make them again to see if my results are the same.

Epic Biscuit II

Epic Biscuit II

Notice the photo is better, I used a dark background and that makes a huge difference in the photo quality IMHO.

The second go around the biscuits rose but not quite as high, it could be that I patted the dough down a bit thinner than the last time, I did not place them as close together on the sheet pan, or that my buttermilk was not as fresh who knows but they still rose nicely, were tender, fluffy and delicious. I wrapped and froze them for another day.



In July I had my garden re worked to help me with diminishing the weed population and hopefully the mosquitoes too.  Happy to report that although I still have some weeds they are about 90% better than before and almost manageable for me to take care of myself. I have only killed 4 or 5 of the plants that were initially planted (may not have been my fault). Also my herbs including the basil are doing really well. I am also very happy that there are less mosquitoes this year as well so I can enjoy my backyard.

two types of basil regular sweet and smal spicy

two types of basil regular sweet and smal spicy

Jessica planted sunflowers, it is her signature flower and when she initially put them in the ground they were about a foot tall. Now they are over 6 ft tall and look at this beauty.



In closing I believe this biscuit recipe is a keeper and will be made over and over again.  Since I already gave credit to the author in my last post and there is no way to contact her I am including the recipe in this post.

Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

From Author P4

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the board ( if you can get White Lily flour, your biscuits will be even better)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder ( use one without aluminum)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ( approx)1/2 cup sugar ( for topping) NOTE I did not put sugar on mine
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor.
  3. Cut the butter into chunks and cut into the flour until it resembles course meal.
  4. If using a food processor, just pulse a few times until this consistency is achieved.
  5. Add the buttermilk and mix JUST until combined.
  6. If it appears on the dry side, add a bit more buttermilk. It should be very wet.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured board.
  8. Gently, gently PAT (do NOT roll with a rolling pin) the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Fold the dough about 5 times, gently press the dough down to a 1 inch thick.
  9. Use a round cutter to cut into rounds.
  10. You can gently knead the scraps together and make a few more, but they will not be anywhere near as good as the first ones.
  11. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet- if you like soft sides, put them touching each other.
  12. If you like”crusty” sides, put them about 1 inch apart- these will not rise as high as the biscuits put close together.

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