I continue my series on easy holiday entertaining ideas with a Canadian twist on a popular Egyptian spice blend. This dukkah recipe replaces the traditional hazelnuts, pistachios and sesame seeds with pumpkin seeds and almonds or pine nuts.
When people asked me what they should keep in their pantry to be ready to entertain, dukkah naturally comes in mind. While your guests are enjoying a glass of wine or your welcome cocktail, cut a baguette, pour some olive oil in a large plate or an oil serving bowl, and serve dukkah in a low bowl. You dip bread into olive oil, then into the nut mixture. I have to warn you to make plenty since dukkah can become addictive. Leftovers can be stored into a airtight container for a month. Another easy to make appetizer is to cover goat cheese balls with dukkah.
Pumpkin & Fennel Dukkah recipe by Josee Robitaille
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) almonds or pine nuts
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) sesame seeds
- 4 teaspoons (20 ml) fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) sea salt
How to make it
- Preheat your oven at 350 °F (180°C)
- Grill the pumpkin seeds and almonds on a cookie sheet for 4 to 6 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
- Deposit the sesame seeds into another cookie sheet and grill for 3 to 4 minutes (until they are lightly golden)
- Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let cool completely
- Deposit the fennel seeds into a pan and roast them 3 to 4 minutes at a medium heat. Then, remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Pulse the pumpkin seeds and the pine nuts in the small bowl of a food processor to a coarse consistency. Be careful, it should not become a paste. Another option is to chop them with a knife.
- Grind or place in a mortar and pestle the fennel seeds and pound until the mixture is crushed
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
Voilà! Put another batch into a Mason jar, attach a gift tag and you will have a tasty hostess gift ready to bring during the holiday season.
photos: tote bags made with the tea towels from The Curiosity Shoppe at Target collection
It is a fast and easy sewing project that you can do for yourself or make a provision for your hostess or housewarming gift stash. You can use a brand new tea towel or go with a vintage tea towel that you like. The Curiosity Shoppe owners Lauren Smith & Derek Fagerstrom created this craft using the tea towels from their Shops at Target collection. Their repetitive pattern works well as a tote bag.
How to Make your own Tea Towel Tote Bag
- 1 tea towel
- 1.5 yards of 1” cotton webbing
- Sewing machine
- Fold tea towel in half, right sides together
- Using a half-inch seam allowance, stitch up the sides of the towel, back-stitching at the beginning and end of each seam. Turn bag right side out.
- Cut the webbing in half to make the 2 straps.
- Pin the ends of each strap 1” down from the top of the bag and 3” in from sides, making sure they’re not twisted.
- Attach the ends of each strap by stitching a square around the edges of the 1” tail of webbing, removing the pins as you go.
You are done! I fold my textile tote bag and carry it in my handbag. I bought mine on Etsy. I might start to make my own tote bag.
Mix, Cook and Serve apron | Bright Kitchen apron – both by Ladelle
I was overdue for an apron showcase. I usually opt for a modern design when I buy an apron that I will wear everyday. I own several since I like to vary my look. Maison Simons (in Montreal and Quebec City) carries some kitchen linens by the Australian brand Ladelle but I did not see these models. The Mix, Cook and Serve is my favorite due to the darker color and large pocket. Simons still sells the Geisha apron by Ladelle that I bought several months ago.
When I host a party, I want to look fabulous in the kitchen. I keep a selection of feminine, vintage style aprons for when I entertain. For those aprons, Anthropologie is my place to shop. Anthropologie always carries a vast selection of fabulous aprons. These three are on my short list to be added to my collection.
Fiammetta Apron $32 | Cuisine Couture Apron $32 | Tea and Crumpets Apron $32 at Anthropologie
What is your favorite apron of the moment?
Gingham Spatulas on sale at $3.00 to $5.99 at Sur La Table | Progressive Brown Sugar Keeper $14.95 at Sur La Table or Chefs Catalog | Chicago Metallic Individual mini pie pan $24. 95 USD at Sur La Table or Crate & Barrel
I suggest pretty, useful and stylish for these mini gift round up. The Gingham Spatulas will add pretty in your kitchen. It reminds me of something that the girls in Pushing Daisies who uses to bake.
I read good things about the next product. Who does not look for a solution that prevents its brown sugar from drying out? There is nothing more annoying than to find out in the middle of a recipe that your brown sugar is hard as a rock. A moist terra cotta disc does the trick. Remember to re-soak the disc every 3 months for 15 minutes if you do not wish to have a bad surprise. You can store the disc in the airtight lid of Progressive brown sugar keeper when not in use. I own a few Progressive products and they work well.
Last but not least, have a look at this individual mini pie pan set that will enables you to serve beautiful savory and sweet pies to your family and friends. It comes with a neat two-sided dough cutter that will assure the perfect top and bottom crust size. The best part is the festive design.
Here is a perfect Easter gift idea since it will please even people who count their calories. To be safe I suggest that instead of showing up at the Easter brunch where you are invited with a chocolate Easter bunny this year, you show up with a box of Euphoria, the latest addition to Kusmi Tea’s Wellness collection. Personally, I plan to end my Easter brunch with a cup of Euphoria tea.
Their Quebec PR agency sent me a box of Euphoria this week. My husband made us a tea pot after dinner yesterday night. We both like it. Euphoria is made with roasted maté, orange peel and chocolate. The chocolate taste is just present enough to appreciate it.
Euphoria is sold at Kusmi’s Montreal store and online. They operate a Canadian online shop and an American online store.
+ For Canadians: Euphoria Wellness Teas by Kusmi Tea
125g tins $22.90 CAD, 250g tins $37.60 CAD, pack of 20 sachets $17 CAD
+ For Americans: Euphoria Wellness Teas by Kusmi Tea
125g tins $22.90 CAD, 250g tins $37.60 CAD, pack of 20 sachets $17 CAD
No, these are not donuts! Lucidipedere Studio created for Normann Copenhagen a fun version of the classic mezzaluna. I always use a mezzaluna to chop herbs. Believe me when I tell you that the round shape of the blade makes it more comfortable and efficient to chop herbs.
A pretty coloured rubber band hides the handle, and the blade when it is not in use. I predict that you will not want to hide the Chop Knife in a kitchen drawer. I only wish that they sell it with a mezzaluna cutting board.
+ Chop Knife by Normann Copenhagen $35.19 at Scandinavian Design
Planning to take a bottle of wine to that dinner party this weekend? Though your host probably won’t turn it away, a favorite bottle of red (or white) is a somewhat conventional take along.
Pretty packaging may be one way to dress it up, but Corkers – a new creation by Reddish Studio – offer something unexpected.
Smartly packaged in a wine bottle hang tag are push pin sets that bring bottle corks to life as adorable animals. Available in six creatures – monkey, deer, buffalo, bear, bunny and crow – each pack includes the body parts for one creature.
Corkers are sure to add some interesting conversation, creativity, and whimsy around the dinner table. We’ll drink to that!
+ Corkers, $8, Monkey Business
+ Reddish Studio
+ Via Not Cot
This story is a nice follow-up to Mother’s Day since Ashley Leckey Schoenith was inspired by her grandmother’s cooking habits went she founded IceMilk Aprons. You know how much I love aprons and her aprons provide a feminine twist on a minimalist design. They are on my wish list. The big bow adds the right amount of style while the nice décolleté of the full apron makes it appropriate for when you play the hostess.
But if you wish to follow the rule of etiquette, you should wear instead a waist apron when you are the hostess. The IceMilk’s waist aprons have the high waist that is in fashion this year. The Rollings of Cinnamon full apron, that you see on the top picture, is backorder until August 2011 but you can buy the full apron from the Heritage collection with a belt in a different color.
+ Full Apron Heritage collection $85 USD – photo of the founder
+ Whisked Whipping Creme waist apron $55 USD
The season of backyard barbecues and potluck parties is almost upon us – and that means digging out your serving dishes, filling them with your favourite recipes and toting them along to share.
How can you ensure your dishes find their way back to you? Ashley from Make It and Love It shows how to make a basic glass dish stand out from the crowded buffet table with just stencils and glass etching cream. This is a clever way to add a personalized touch to standard glass bakeware – especially if you intend to give this kitchen must-have for a bridal shower or as a housewarming gift.
Check out the step-by-step tutorial for complete instructions and never use a Post-It note or a piece of tape to label your dish again.
For those of us in the northern hemisphere, we have at least a few more months until farmer’s markets start filling up with locally-grown, full-of-flavour produce. But the first few sunny days of spring always seem to stir cravings for lighter, fresher meals after a winter’s worth of rich comfort food.
Adding fresh herbs to your dishes – either as a garnish or as ingredients – can help bridge the gap while we wait for vegetable gardens to come to life. They’ll provide the burst of flavour at an affordable price point.
If you tend to steer clear of fresh herbs on account of all that chopping, this microplane herb mill from Williams-Sonoma will substitute nicely for a sous chef. Fill the mill with herbs then let the stainless steel scissoring blades mince herbs with just a twist of your wrist. Best of all, clean up is a (fresh, spring) breeze since the blades can be tossed in the dishwasher. After all, you likely have other spring cleaning to get to.
+ Microplane Herb Mill from Williams-Sonoma, $19.99 USD
If your baked goods rival the fare found in fancy sweet shops (and why wouldn’t they?), this cool kitchen tool may be just what you need to remind snackers your creations are the real home made deal.
The 2.75″ stamp is made with food-grade silicone and features a sturdy wooden handle made from sustainably harvested trees. It even comes with a special peanut butter cookie recipe, but the stamp would also work well for shortbread and sugar cookies.
+ Home Made Cookie Stamp $14.95 USD at NerdSeven
+ Home Made Cookie Stamp by Suck UK