• Parisian Potatoes

    Parisian Potatoes

    Parisian Potatoes may sound elegant but they’re just everyday potatoes shaped with a dollar store melon baller.  It’s a simple trick that transforms ho-hum potatoes into a dressy side-dish for steak, roast chicken or pork. The potatoes can be sautéed in any sort of fat but duck fat transcends all others. When you shape potatoes [...]

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    Parisian Potatoes

  • Duck Confit

    Duck Confit

    When I tell friends I’m making duck confit they look at me suspiciously, like maybe I skin rabbits or have a gutted deer hanging in my garage. Duck may sound exotic but the only hunting involved is rooting through the freezer section of your local grocer. Where there’s frozen turkey, there’s often duck. Duck confit [...]

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    Duck Confit

  • Photo by Caroline West

    Carrot & Orange Soup

    You know your soup is good when you’re enjoying it cold from the refrigerator in the Tupperware container you stored it in.  It’s even better served warm. Carrot soup is pretty tame, some might say boring, until it’s cheered up with freshly grated spicy ginger, freshly squeezed orange juice and acidic tomatoes.  Now, that’s a [...]

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    Carrot & Orange Soup

  • Linzertorte Cookies

    Linzer Torte Cookies

    Nothing says holiday like a sugar-dusted cookie filled with jam. Linzer Torte cookies are scrumptious and gorgeous in equal measures. Made of toasted ground almonds, sweet butter and a whisper of lemon zest, these dainty cookies sandwich a filling of raspberry preserves. An adaptation of Austria’s classic Linzer Torte, these cookies are one of the [...]

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    Linzer Torte Cookies

  • Raspberry Rugulach

    Rugelach

    These crescent shaped pastries are one of my favourite holiday treats. The dough comes together beautifully, they’re fun to make and absolutely addictive. With a ratio of one part butter, one part cream cheese, it’s no wonder Rugelach are habit-forming. The trick to working with buttery dough is to keep it well chilled. Once it [...]

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    Rugelach

  • Double Chocolate Mint Meringue

    Chocolate Meringue

    If you enjoy the delicate crunch of meringue and the creamy texture of a chocolate ganache, you’ll love these sweet bite-sized morsels. The meringue is made by warming egg whites and sugar before they are whipped. This technique, called Swiss meringue, offers better stability than a standard cold whipped meringue.  The addition of coco powder [...]

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    Chocolate Meringue

  • Almond Chocolate Toffee

    Almond Chocolate Toffee

    The first time I made toffee, it turned out beautifully: a crisp sheet of caramel-coloured ice that snapped into shards of buttery bliss. The second time I made toffee, it crumbled in my hands. The third time, it turned a grainy mess; the forth, it wouldn’t firm ….  I’ve had my issues with toffee. Fortunately, [...]

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    Almond Chocolate Toffee

Parisian Potatoes
Photo by Denise Marchessault

Parisian Potatoes

Parisian Potatoes may sound elegant but they’re just everyday potatoes shaped with a dollar store melon baller.  It’s a simple trick that transforms ho-hum potatoes into a dressy side-dish for steak, roast chicken or pork. The potatoes can be sautéed in any sort of fat but duck fat transcends all others. When you shape potatoes [...]

Read More
Duck Confit
Photo by Denise Marchessault

Duck Confit

When I tell friends I’m making duck confit they look at me suspiciously, like maybe I skin rabbits or have a gutted deer hanging in my garage. Duck may sound exotic but the only hunting involved is rooting through the freezer section of your local grocer. Where there’s frozen turkey, there’s often duck. Duck confit [...]

Read More
Photo by Caroline West
Photo by Denise Marchessault

Carrot & Orange Soup

You know your soup is good when you’re enjoying it cold from the refrigerator in the Tupperware container you stored it in.  It’s even better served warm. Carrot soup is pretty tame, some might say boring, until it’s cheered up with freshly grated spicy ginger, freshly squeezed orange juice and acidic tomatoes.  Now, that’s a [...]

Read More

A message to the reluctant cook,

Sometimes you’ll scorch the rice, burn the sugar or overwork the dough.  You might under-cook, over-salt or overcrowd the pan.

I’ve made all these mistakes and plenty more.

But with every blunder, a new lesson unfolds. Knowing what NOT to do is as important as knowing what to do. If your cooking history is, um, colourful, consider yourself ahead of the curve.

With practice, you’ll learn to trust your senses:

Touch your food.  You’ll feel when the dough is ready or when the meat is perfectly cooked.

Smell  your food. Your nose knows if the fish is fresh or funky — or when the garlic’s about to burn.

Listen to the sizzle and the sputter.  It’s telling you if your pan’s the right (or wrong) temperature.

Watch your food. It’s always perfect — just before it burns.

Taste as  you cook.  You’ll know if the soup needs a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy the pleasures of the kitchen. And have a glass of wine while you’re at it.

Just don’t toss in the apron!


Denise Marchessault