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FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation RECIPES + menus

Tastespotting watch | enRoute Best New Dining Trends

enroute magazine 2007 dining trends

This in-flight magazine for Air Canada always brings significant views on restaurants and the dining experience.

It is clear that classics making a comeback are growing in importance. From the November 2007 issue, I am listing enRoute latest trends in dining:

  • Tap Water
  • Feist
  • Tiny Restaurants with Tiny Menu
  • Blackboard Menus – I am a big fan of them even at home
  • Champagne Cocktails
  • House-Marinated Olives
  • House-Made Chorizo
  • Mom’s Cooking
  • Spaetzle – the new gnocchi
  • Pannacotta – the new crème brûlée – I see them everywhere
  • Single Varietal Honey
  • Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  • Tongue, cheek
  • Duck Confit in Risotto
  • Rosé
  • Salt Cod
  • Cheesecake
  • Mostarda
  • Fernet-Branca and Cynar – two herb-based bitter Italian digestifs
  • House Ketchup with unexpected flavors
  • Ratatouille

Recipes on Tastespotting

The recipes that I selected from Tastespotting represent well the new dining trends. Rhubarb is popular lately. It is so easy to grow your own rhubarb that you can enjoy them for many weeks. Brandade, a salt cod tapenade is a classic French appetizer. Almost every French bistro will serve them. The provencale ratatouille is one of all time favorite vegetable dishes.

The worst trend according to enRoute is square plate. Personally, I like them. My everyday tableware are square plates and bowls. I received lots of compliment for my dinnerware set. So it is fair to say that I am not the only one that appreciates them. You need a little time at the beginning to get used to plating the food. I have this set for a year now. I do not regret my purchase.

Their dislike has not deter enRoute from recommending several restaurants that used square dinnerware. I feel that the plate from Vella Restaurant seems a little bit to full to look truly stylish. From my point of view, the green salad should rest in another plate or bowl.

Recipe: Ratatouille by Fanny on Tastespotting
Recipe: Panna cotta with hibiscus and rhubarb jelles by Lincoln on Tastespotting
Restaurant: Vella in Montreal – picture from enRoute
Recipe: Brandade by Sarah on Tastespotting

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation RECIPES + menus

Discover the dishes that you can do with a sushi ginger dressing

September 2007 edition of Canadian House & Home magazine

Thanks to Liberty Post, I visited the video section of Canadian House & Home Magazine.

One food video caught my attention. It shows the multiple usages for a simple sushi ginger dressing. You can use it to marinate firm fish, to enhance the taste of a BBQ salmon or as vinaigrette.

There are a few cooking tricks to know. What is practical is that the video explains the dos and the don’ts. Watch the Sushi-Ginger Dressing video to learn how to create a tasty dish in a few minutes.

More recipes for entertaining

Since many of you are without the September 2007 issue of Canadian House & Home, I took the liberty of publishing the recipe. The magazine edition showcased finger food recipes. Three that I recommend for entertaining are the Gingery Asian Nachos, the Ricotta Pancakes with Smoked Salmon Gremolata and the Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Saffron Almond Sauce.

If you like Canadian House & Home, you can subscribe to a print subscription, a digital only edition or the print and digital version. Having access all the time to the digital version is handy. As a bonus if you opt for the print and digital subscription, you will get access to the September 2007 issue. And the digital edition arrives before the print magazine is delivered in my mail box.

Sushi-Ginger Dressing by Food Editor Jennifer Low


  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 stalks green onion, white parts only
  • 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped sushi ginger
  • 2 Tsp mirin (Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1/2 Tsp sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp dried thyme (or ½ teaspoon of finely chopped fresh thyme)
  • 1/4 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp canola or corn oil (or any mild vegetable oil)

How to prepare:

  • Make all ingredients except the vegetable oil in a small food processor and purée.
  • Stir in manually the vegetable oil. IMPORTANT: At this stage, do not use the food processor because you will produce a creamy texture and we do not want that.

Watch: Sushi-Ginger Dressing video on Canadian House & Home
Buy online the back issue: Canadian House & Home, September 2007 edition – Recipe by Food Editor Jennifer Low

CAKES + desserts FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Flickr watch | Cool Cupcakes art

I went looking for inspirations on how to decorate cupcakes for you on Flickr. I would several types.

Textile cupcakes

First, Amigurumi Kingdom is excellent at crafting decorative cupcakes. Although you cannot eat her creations, they would be a cute way to decorate your dessert table at a baby shower or a party.


Super Mario cupcakes

My husband is a gamer and we like to host Wii parties as I told you earlier. Hello Naomi makes these amazing Super Mario cupcakes. The levels of details are well executed. I wish I knew how to decorate cupcakes like that. These cupcakes are perfect for birthday parties for kids and adults that enjoy video games. 

So grab your fondant and baking gear and challenge your friends this week-end to a game of Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. You can read a review on Gamespot.


Inspiration: Cupcakes! set by Amigurumi Kingdom
Inspiration: Super Mario Cupcakes set by Hello Naomi
Via: adorable upcakes on Hostess with the Mostess

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Etsy watch | Fresh Gourmet Dishware Collection by Lorena Barrezueta

french Gourmet dishware by Lorena Barrezueta

Artists can take the simplest things in life and elevate them to a higher ground. This is exactly what the talented artist Lorena Barrezueta from Brooklyn, New York did with her Gourmet Collection. This tableware collection is huge.

The tasty wink to disposable tin food container can become a conversation starter at your next party. Gourmet pieces are made of fine porcelain in three finishes. My favorite is Fresh for the array of wonderful colors like salmon, lemon, chartreuse, green, and turquoise.

The next time you will get invited to a potluck, why not bring your food in a witty fine porcelain dishware like those? And you are sure to receive lots of invitations if you can leave it as a hostess gift.

I am letting you on a secret: I wrote down a few pieces so I can ask Santa Claus when I will see him. You can find them at several specialized retailers. Naturally, Lorena Barrezueta has her own etsy shop.

Buy online: Rust Red Nibble at lorenabarrezueta on etsy – price: $20 USD
Buy online: Green Meal at lorenabarrezueta on etsy – price: $55 USD
Buy online: Dine pie plate at lorenabarrezueta on etsy – price: $55 USD
Buy online: Classic Mac n Cheese at lorenabarrezueta on etsy – price: $70 USD
Artist: Web site of Lorena Barrezueta


Revisiting last year Christmas inspirations by EQ3

eq3 christmas inspirations

Before chatting about the latest trends in Christmas decorations and party themes, why not examine some stylish tabletop realized in the past?

I selected EQ3 because they supply modern design home furnishings at affordable prices to the fashionable crowd. Since I am Canadian, you will understand that I like to promote outstanding Canadian brands whenever it is possible. EQ3 products reflect the global trends in modern design.

Reviewing the designs

The tables look splendid. By changing the color scheme and a few accessories, you can simply actualize these looks.

You can deposit a small stainless steel bowl inside a large one to make your own version of the featured serving bowl. Use flaked coconut to simulate the snow effect. Make sure the coconut is high enough to hide three quarters of the small bowl.

The middle picture features their tableware collection. Most of the products are still available. That design is not complicated to reproduce. If you have bold floral wallpapers and play with glass, white and silver on your Christmas table, omit a floral arrangements.

I typically forgo the flowers and the greenery centerpieces for my Christmas tables. I prefer decorative items and lights instead. It is the time of the year to play with reflections and sheens. Take a peek at the stainless steel SHINE candle holder family for a start.

The bottom picture can served as the basis for setting up a buffet or a dessert table. An all white theme is always appropriate. Here the organic treatment modernizes the look. To create some depth, add some hints of pale silver to the white sprayed fruit twigs. They are shown here inside the OFF CENTRE vases.

Do not try to find these pictures on EQ3’s Web site, they just removed them. Lucky for us, I prepared my montage two weeks ago.

Learn more: Web site of EQ3
Learn more: SHINE candle holder at EQ3 – price: $12.99 CAD for small, $14.99 for medium, $19.99 for large
Learn more: OFF CENTRE vase at EQ3 – price: $27.99 CAD

+ Trend: Natural sophisticated Christmas
+ A Montreal store for EQ3


Chic plating and modern tabletop designs by Match Event Venue

plating and tabletops by Match Restaurant & Event Venue

Upbeat gourmet Chef Domenic Chiaromonte of Match Restaurant & Event Venue used an adorable dishing technique for serving a pasta dish.

Sometimes, a set of stylized bowls is all you need to simulate a Chef creation. Stay tuned as I will tell where to find similar bowls in my next post. The bowl elevates a pasta recipe which proves that you do not need to be a Chef to impress your guests.

If your cooking experience is limited, concentrate on food presentation when you are entertaining. The only thing that you need to remember is that a host should only serve successfully cooked recipes. So plan to prepare what you are good at.

Modern Orange Table designs

It takes no time to set up the modern orange table. Still this table looks refined. The key for this no-fuss tabletop design is to have on hand the right style of tableware. The table linens were replaced by shiny Lucite sheets to fashion a trendier atmosphere.

The concept is monochromatic. If you decide to put flowers on such a table, I suggest running between the candle trios one Zen minimalist bouquet of orange blooms inside a glossy solid white vase.

Todd.event design.creative services - photo taken by steve wrubel

Orange is my favorite color. So I could not resist showing you another bright citrus table design. This more traditional table was created by Todd.event design.creative services, an impressive event studio.

About Chef Domenic Chiaromonte

Executive Chef Domenic Chiaromonte at Match Restaurant & Event Menu is a three-time International Caterers’ Association (ICA), Catered Art through Innovative Excellence (CATIE) first place award winner for best food presentation, best new food trends and best plate presentation.

I did not show you their most imaginative food presentations because we cannot dare trying those in our own kitchen.

Learn more: Web site of Match Restaurant & Event Venue
Learn more: Web site of Todd.event design.creative services – photo by Steve Wrubel

+ Best party decorations by Todd.event design.creative services
+ Genevieve Lethu’s Corso fiorelli dinnerware collection
+ Vibrant colors in elegant pieces

ENTERTAINING FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation HOLIDAY entertaining RECIPES + menus

More creepy treats and drinks by Martha Stewart Living

I want to share some Halloween ideas that I got from Martha Stewart. They provide inspirations on how to set up your room, food and drinks for a Halloween party.

Setting the mood right away

Everyone will pass a comment about the Spooky Arachnophobia Porch. Be prepared if you do this one. You set a high level of expectations for the rest of your party.

The Candy-filled Headstones can continue the ball. For the setting, place the black paper bags placed in a tray filled with black sand. Pay attention to proportion when selecting the paper bag size and the tray. Pour red and blue food coloring in water to simulate a realistic blood.

Neat tricks for food presentation

The Spider Toothpicks are so simple to do. Cut the bugs off plastic spider rings available at party stores or toy stores. Then puncture their centers with a needle tool and insert the toothpick into the hole you just made. Stop by a craft store to find a needle tool.

A take on the fashionable silhouette trend is to decorate the buffet table with the Shocking silhouettes. Heavyweight black card stock silhouettes are propped above candles to create spectacular shadows dance across the walls.

Go for larger shadows as they look scarier. The instructions for this DIY silhouette project are easy to follow. Be safe and use the flameless candles that I spoke earlier this week instead of real candles.

Creepy and spooky drinks

Being wedded to an amateur mixologist, I may have reservations with the taste of some cocktail variations. But one thing for sure, the visual impacts of these creepy drinks are quite convincing. I suggest you make a few in advance to show them off to your guests.

My favorite is the Eyeball Highball. Full impact and great taste united. The eyeball is made with a skin-off radish and a green olive freeze with water on an ice tray. Once your guests are in, it takes you no time to serve them the creepiest classic martini.

If you are a fan of sweet drink, a Pina Colada drink in a red-rimmed glass is called Pina Ghoulada for Halloween. The red substance can even stain your lips on the rosy side.

Once you passed the slimy texture, you probably enjoy the tequila and lime cocktail called Swamp Sip.

With name like Ghost in the Graveyard, Screwed-Up Screwdriver and Berry Scary Martini, the Spooky Halloween Spirits look pretty special.

Learn more: Bad Things in Tricks and Treats by Martha Stewart
Learn more: Halloween cocktails by Martha Stewart

+ Halloween makeups
+ Halloween party favors
+ Mad Scientist Halloween party

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

3 blogs and a mood board – 2007.09.29, part 2

apartment therapy :  black white bliss : style me pretty : hostess with the mostessMaybe being interviewed by a journalist about party ideas for the upcoming Holidays put me into the Lucite and glass mode, but these pictures inspired me. Plexiglas and glass containers are hot to serve food in the catering industry.

My mood board reads like a chronicle: the wedding party, the after party treats and the new house kitchen. Exceptionally, it showcased 4 bloggers instead of 3.

1 | Hostess for the Mostess for Inspiration Tuesday: Think Bold

A favorite of Hostess by the Mostess, Simple Stunning Weddings is a gorgeous book from wedding planner Karen Bussen. These monochromatic photos and modern minimalist Lucite servers & glass arrangements create an impressive drink display. This

I dug a source for Lucite buffet risers. They do not look as sharp as those. I suspect the drink displays used in the book were custom made. If you know where we can buy something similar, do not be shy to share the information.

2 | Style Me Pretty for Inspired Weddings

A bird cage on a cake. What a remarkable idea, especially when it well executed like here. This wedding cake was created by Lark Cake Shop but it would be at its place at a milestone birthday party or a formal dinner party. It is simply magnificent! Being inspired by this cake, Style Me Pretty crafted a wedding mood board.

3 | black . white . bliss for Happy Pills

A new blog for me, black . white . bliss presented Happy Pills, a hip candy store located in Barcelona. This small retailer invented a unique concept. Instead of bringing home the candies you buy in a bag, you can opt for a bento-style pill box, prescription bottles and pill carry-on plastic containers. A unique idea for a wedding party favors and the color complements our wedding cake.

4 | Apartment Therapy for Slinksn. (slingks)

The latest Slinksn by Apartment Therapy featured the jewel-toned glass cabinets from Ernestomeda. This kitchen is called Barrique and it has the most incredible wine bottle holder you ever seen.

+ Simple Stunning Weddings at
+ Acrylic risers for buffet table
+ Web site of Lark Cake Shop
+ Web site of Ernestomeda

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

The secrets behind the culinary creations of Pastry Chef Philippe Conticini

culinary creations of Pastry Chef Philippe ConticiniWhy French Chefs master the art of cooking? This is a question that can open many debates.

One thing for sure, the Chefs in France place a superior level of attention to the techniques, the taste and the food presentation.

The culinary creations of Philippe Conticini will not change my mind about my love affair with French cooking. Imagine the Wow factor around your guests if you were to hire a caterer that served desserts like those.

About his style, his philosophy

Philippe Conticini relies on his audacity, his techniques, the tradition and finally his intuition to invent his creations.

What distinguishes a Chef from all of us is that a true Chef knows how to play with every aspect of taste and texture. They often used a wide variety of flavors to achieve the look and taste they are looking for. For him, gastronomy is a game of flavors whether he does a dish, a terrine or a dessert.

A look at some of his creations

The balls filled with Nutella were created in 2005 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Nutella in France.

The leaf shaped pastry bites are so beautiful. The macarons look mouthwatering. And I want to sink my teeth into the fig and fruit skewers possibly topped with coconut, sesame seeds, salt and pepper.

Dishing looks that you can steal from Philippe Conticini

We reuse some of these food presentations at home. To keep things simple, make easy recipes that are popular with everyone. Add a twist in the way you present the food.

Serve honey donut balls in a paper cone. You could tie a raffia ribbon for a more finish look. This will make an ordinary dessert out of the ordinary.

Use these skewers that are widely available at Chinese shops to prepare fresh fruit brochettes. Set a couple of chocolate fondue pots and let your guests dip in the fruit brochettes. For a buffet, it is preferable to use a lower side and wider bowl than the usual chocolate fondue pot.

You can visit the Web site of Philippe Conticini to check out the rest of his photo gallery. You can find a few recipes in the Word of Mouth sections.

Learn more: Web site of Philippe Conticini

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Stylish use of dry ice with the smoking teapot

smoking pot by Encore catering from Toronto

I have shown you earlier how to use dry ice at Halloween but what if you are looking for a creative idea to a formal event.

A caterer from Toronto, Encore Food with Elegance introduced the smoking pot at an event last February. At last, an original dishing idea that anyone can do at home.

How to do it?

You start by pouring a few small pieces of dry ice in a teapot filled with warm water. Instead of the lid, place a small bowl or a saucer such that the steam can escape from the top and the spout. For the finishing touch, add a scoop of sorbet or ice cream into the bowl or saucer. Voilà!

Learn more: Web site of Encore Food with Elegance
Via: Read on BizBash Magazine Toronto – June / July 2007 Issue

ENTERTAINING FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation HOLIDAY entertaining

Start making plans for Halloween

Halloween Party Picks by Martha Stewart

For the past two weeks, I am seeing wonderful Halloween decorations on the Web. I started gathering amazing stuff for several Halloween boards that I cannot wait to show you.

My initial thoughts were to start posting Halloween tips around the second week of September. I got this principle that you do not talk about Halloween before the back to school season is over. It is only me or do you already making plans for Halloween right now?

Crafting decorations take time

If you want to send printed invitations for a Halloween party, it is not too early to start now. You will be able to get your hands on the best Halloween decorations. And if you make your own decorations to complete the look, it is best to not wait until the last minute. You spot an exceptional party in the details. As we all know details take time.

Halloween Party Picks by Martha Stewart

While you wait for my first inspiration board, I am leaving you with a nice craft project on Martha Stewart‘s Web site. These decorated Halloween party picks are not just for a children party. Halloween is a whimsical celebration. So go ahead and fell free to use them for adult parties.

On Martha Stewart’s Web site, you get the written instructions and an average TV segment video. You will learn how to make a Black Cat, a Bat, a green Witch, a Skull and a Jack-o’-Lantern party picks.

Do you plan to host a Halloween party? Is it an adult only, a kid only or a friends and family party?

Craft project: Halloween party picks by Martha Stewart