anna march rocks

Anna is awesome.  Not only is she a super lovely, nice person (and friend), but she’s also a kick-butt chef.

She makes everything taste delicious.

If you don’t believe me … check out Mariposa farm’s Sunday brunch.

Or if you were lucky enough to attend Oz Kafé’s industry night this past Monday then you know what I’m talking about.

THIS WAS THE BEST INDUSTRY NIGHT @ OZ KAFÉ EVER.

EVER!!!!!!

I write this knowing that you are likely rolling your eyes … since I practically declare everything to be the best.

However, please believe me.  There was not a single thing that I ate that I didn’t completely and utterly enjoy.  I basically licked my plates clean (yes … all four courses).   There wasn’t a single thing I would change about the menu.  Well … except that I would have liked to have more.  Of everything.

(For the record – I even ate most of Charlotte’s duck confit “burger” … which means I had two of those)It all started with a sunchoke & potato soup (duck fat crouton, truffle chive oil)

Duck fat makes a lot of things better.  Especially croutons.  And truffle chive oil … yeah … amazing.  Perfect start to the meal.

The soup was followed by beet 3-way.  The beets were marinated.  And pickled.  And roasted in vinaigrette. Then Anna grated some roasted hazelnut over the beets, tossed in some whole roasted hazelnuts, and shaved some creamy cheddar … a mouthful of deliciousness (and a real taste of the season). Soup … Salad … now SANDWICHES.But not just any sandwiches.  These are the KINGS of sandwiches.

Duck confit “burger” (that’s what I call it at least) – tiny bun (yum), duck confit (ridiculously rich and delicious), caramelized onion, apple, mustard … mother of pearl insanely delightful!“Foie on toast” (again … I’m calling it that).  Everyone should get to try foie gras like this … I mean … seed bread with a cornel of foie and an onion jam (along with crabapple, tomato chutney and mustard).  Amazing.  And this coming from a foodie that isn’t a huge lover of foie gras. Grilled goat cheese.  I’m only going to have grilled cheese sandwiches this way.  Why I hadn’t thought of it before … I don’t know.  But served on house bread and with a tomato salad … the sharp goat cheese was the perfect accompaniment to the other two sandwiches.And then it was time for dessert.  This was SWEET.  Truly.  It was sweet and delicious.  pudding chomeur – a great traditional Québecois dessert … only … topped with bourbon ice cream.  House made of course.  The combination of the bourbon with maple; and the hot pudding with the cold ice cream … mother of pearl.  DELIGHT. I can’t find fault with this meal.  I loved it.

Thank you Anna. (and Kshonzay, Vinnie and Tarek).  It was brilliant.

thank you thank you thank you

Have I ever told you how AWESOME you all are???

Well … YOU ARE!

Thanks to all of you – I was able to raise $1825 for Ride the Rideau and cancer reasearch at the  Ottawa Hospital.

I have to admit – it was a spectacular day – the weather was perfect – Flash and  I just flew (ok … peddled) from Ottawa to Merrickville – 103 km in 3 hours 29 minutes. 

IT WAS AMAZING.

And I have all of you to thank for it.

Within a few days of posting my blog I had raised the minimum donation … and the money just kept coming. 

That means I’ve been baking.  Because that was the deal.  You help me out and I bake for you.  Slowly but surely I’m getting it all done (thank you all for your patience). 

And am I ever having fun with this little project :0)Hello Kitty cake to the extreme … the request was a strawberry shortcake, and then I was informed that the dessert lover in question (Jenn from @foodieprints) not only loves strawberries, but also hello kitty.  This cake was born of that … strawberry vanilla cakes, a strawberry whipped cream filling …I LOVE THIS CAKE!!!!!  Seriously.  If anyone wants a hello kitty cake … email me.  Or call me.  I could make this cake any day.  My next goal is to bake a pumpkin cake and cover it in chocolate frosting with a blue bow :0)

Then there was the baby shower cake (super-duper donation).  A chocolate tier, topped with a vanilla tier – all covered in cream cheese vanilla frosting.  Emily was kind enough to do the decorating … an adorable little owl.  Then there was the spiced zucchini – chocolate chip bundt cake.  It’s moist and delicious – and this time I topped it with a cinnamon sour cream frosting.  Lots of butter … lots of cinnamon … so creamy and thick.  LOVELY. The requests haven’t just been for cakes.  I’ve been baking cupcakes (there is a cupcake addict who donated) … and will have some brownies to deliver this weekend, as well as cookies to mail off (espresso  – double chocolate cookies for Ms. Nicole & Mr. Eric).   So again … I thank you.  My team was able to raise $39,408 … all for a great cause.  I already have a game plan for next year’s ride … stay tuned :0)

And … finally  – there are a couple of people who donated whom I don’t know how to get a hold of.  Please send me an email – or leave me a comment – I would like to fulfil my promise and bake for you. 

Cheers!

weekly wrap-up & atelier’s elBulli tribute dinner

Oh what a week I have had!

First … I was on TV. Yep. I was on ctv ottawa morning baking some tomato soup spiced cupcakes with goat cheese frosting. I’m gonna blog about that. I promise. But I want to play around with that recipe just a bit more (beware friends & family … you’ll have some more cupcakes to sample this weekend).

Second … I reached my goal for the Ride the Rideau Ottawa Hospital Foundation – I’m currently @ $1750 … and counting. ONE MORE DAY PEOPLE. Feel free to donate :0) (I’ll blog about all the baking I’ll be doing for my sponsors).

Third … I got an “all access pass” to Atelier’s elBulli tribute dinner. It was so cool. Seriously rad.

This all started over twitter (it seems a lot starts on twitter) with this …Marc responded with deal.

And that’s how I ended up in atelier’s kitchen on Wednesday night. Surrounded by probably the calmest group of chefs. EVER. And the most intense (that would be Luis. And I mean it as a compliment). Before continuing you should know … I didn’t eat all 20 courses. I sampled bits and pieces of only some of them … I really was there simply as an observer (well I did start issuing orders around course 17) … so I’m not writing this as a review. Heck no! I’m just showing you what 4 days of prep, and 3 hours of service leads too.

Plus … since the meal sold out in 2 days (after Marc posted that first, and only, tweet) – this will allow anyone who wanted to attend, and couldn’t, the opportunity to check out some pretty insane food.

You might notice that I don’t have a picture for all 20 courses … two of them just didn’t happen. The Grapefruit and Basil Mojito (first course) was a table service (and I stayed in the kitchen) and the Frozen Chocolate Air seemed to leave the kitchen before I even noticed and took a picture. It is what it is :0)

beet ribbons with vinegar powder & ground black pepper

spherical raviolo of peas and minty pea salad (iberian ham fat scratching)frozen charcoal of duck foie grasrhubarb with light brown sugar & black peppercarrot air with bitter coconut milk and madras curry powderdoritos croquant polvoron with lime pearlssamphire with coconut milk and aromatic toucheshazelnut shots

I tasted these. They tasted like bland hazelnuts. Tossed in their own skin. seriously. The hazelnuts were creamed and then tossed in liquid nitrogen to form the mini nibs … they needed salt. snails with hazelnut soup and black pepper air

thaw (espresso sponge cake, yogurt jelly, star anise, fennel, lemon leaves, lemon thyme, rosemary flowers, thyme flowers, broom flowers, borage flowers, purple shiso shoots, rose sugar, lemon sorbet, water powder)

I love this dish. JUST LOOK AT IT!!!!! It’s awesome. The guys plated it so well. And … well it was cool cuz they were so excited about it too.ham consomme with melon beads

This was Matt’s dish (visiting chef) – I have to say … the iberian ham cosomme was salty wonderfulness. Like … REALLY wonderful – rich, salty, warming. Yum. corn soup with popcorn powder

As soon as Marc pulled out the bucket of popcorn powder, all I could smell was popcorn. Salty, buttery popcorn. This powder might have brought those images to mind, but it certainly wasn’t salty or buttery. Nope. It was airy. My picture doesn’t do this dish justice though … the corn purée was topped with a rectangle of butter, which was drizzled with smoked oil and then topped with the powder. corn nitro foam with black truffle and foie gras airraviolo/mozzarella chewing gum

I loved this. It was so much fun. After we plated all the dishes, Marc torched the remaining squares for us in the kitchen … one by one we each popped a piece in our mouths. And one by one, you could hear us all start to giggle. This dish just made me laugh. It was hilarious. It really WAS like chewing gum. Was it the most amazing, flavourful thing I’ve ever tasted? No. But it was probably the funnest thing I’ve ever had. I mean … how often do YOU giggle when you take a bite of something????spherical balloons of rose water with lychee

Loved this. The flavours were bright and wonderful. A lychee base, chili oil, ginger, mint, lime, and the amusing rose water balloons. I saw them get plated, so I knew that they weren’t solid … and yet, it was still a surprise when I put one in my mouth and it popped. The rose water just exploded in my mouth, mixing with the lychee and chilli and lime. It was unlike anything I’ve tried before. LOVED.two tone carrot and beet snaps

It tasted of carrot. A lot. :0) But it sure was pretty. And über delicate.

nitro meringue of strawberries and cream

I heart this course. I mean … strawberry meringue dipped in liquid nitrogen, tossed in cream, and then re-dipped in liquid nitrogen. The one I ate was cold. And crunchy. A hint of strawberry. It was so cool. LOVED.mini spheres of mango with vanilla ice cream

I only sampled the mango. Did you know that they exploded in your mouth? I didn’t. I don’t know why my brain is so slow to catch on sometimes … but I was certainly slow on the uptake with this one. It made me smile. A burst of mango in my mouth. Awesome. That vanilla ice cream looked pretty sweet too :0)

**Thank you Marc for allowing me in the kitchen. And to Luis, Jason, Murray, Matt, and Daniel – thanks for putting up with me while you plated each course. You guys were amazing.