SodaStream Source.

                                                                                         images via SodaStream

Ok, so here is the newest kitchen accessory that I am beyond excited about: the new SodaStream Source designed by award-winning California-based Swiss designer Yves Béhar.

Not only is the Source something that makes soda water from tap water in 60 seconds and looks chic in my kitchen (unlike the hoards of kitchen appliances I find myself frantically shoving into drawers before my guests arrive), the Source proves that sustainability and great design can exist beautifully together.  

 Revealed at the 2012 Milan International Design Fair, the Source, Yves Béhar's new streamlined version of the original SodaStream machine boasts reusable bottles that can prevent the average family from wasting up to 550 plastic water bottles in a year. 
Beautiful and conscious.

Perfect for the environmentally conscious foodie, and anyone who detests lugging cases of water around from the grocery store and desperately wants to reclaim the pantry square footage usually reserved said case.

And, as if it could get better, the Source offers a choice of three levels of carbonation (with graphic water droplets to display levels - amazing) and over 60 soda flavours you can add to your water to create your own sodas.  
Look out big soda companies. 

Refined design with environmental sensibility -simply refreshing!


new girl in town.

OK. So, big changes - and yet another move!
This past month I have joined forces with Canadian Interior and Lifestyle Magazine Style at Home, and am so excited to call Toronto my new home! As style and food editor for the magazine, I will be working on all things style and food - but near and dear to my heart is the desert of the month column I have been working on with amazing photographer Joe Kim.
You can find the recipe for these Chocolate Mint Icebox Creams at styleathome.com and each month a subsequent one in the publication. My goal is to create simple, fresh and beautiful deserts and adore this assignment.
New town, new job, and lots of new inspiration!


olive tapenade.

One of my favourite things to make when I am all out of ideas is roasted vegetable sandwiches on an artisan bread with goat cheese.
The ingredients are so simple, and each time I make it I find myself almost surprised by the complexity of this seemingly simple flavour combination.
Stone oven bread, olive oil, roasted vegetables and goat cheese. Thats it.
Well almost...
This sandwich would not be complete without the addition of simple olive tapenade.
Here is my favourite way to make it.

Olive Tapenade
you will need:
1 1/4 cup best kalamata olives, pitted
4 anchovies, drained
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
sea salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend first four ingredients until mixture is almost smooth.
With processor on low, slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil until the mixture forms a thick paste.
Transfer the tapenade into a bow and stir in lemon juice.
Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon into sterilized glass jar and add remaining oil over tapenade to cover the surface.
Store in the refrigerator.

Photography: Sturla Bakken
Food and Styling: Tara Ballantyne


sweet and spicy.

I thought this week I would share with you one of my Mothers best recipes - it's simple, sweet, and just the right amount of spicy.
Of course, this time of year you will need to buy the hot peppers from a market or grocery store, but I would encourage you to start a small pepper plant this spring if that's possible for you.
Every year my Mom does a great big batch of this relish with the hot peppers from her garden; and each time I try to replicate it - I can never get the bite quite right. I always attribute this to the fresh garden peppers and my impatience and/or lack of garden space...( but then again, there is always that special something that Moms and Grandmas do to their recipies that makes them near impossible to replicate ).
Soooo yummy!

Sweet and Spicy Relish

You will need:

6 jalapeno peppers, chopped

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups (330 ml) apple cider vinegar

4 small yellow onions, chopped

1/4 cup (25 g) of carrots, chopped

1 teaspoon dill seed (or 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill with stems)

1 teaspoon mustard seed

In a saucepan, add apple cider vinegar and sugar over low heat. Mix until sugar is dissolved.

Add jalapeno peppers, onion and carrots and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add mustard and dill.

Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Serve or package!

*makes about five 250ml jars of relish

*Cook’s tip:

Wash peppers: soak in 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar for 10 minutes. Rinse. Always wear gloves to cut up jalapeno peppers to prevent skin irritation and burning!

Food and Styling:Tara Ballantyne

Photography: Sturla Bakken


january recipe.

Okay. I did it.
I went to an apple farm and bought a large basket of apples that I am not sure what to do with exactly.
The price was right, and they looked so fresh and tempting…(please omit Eve or Snow White reference here).
Besides keeping the doctor away, I am at a loss of how to use up these red beauties before they spoil. So here is a recipe that I looked up from a year ago shot with my dear friend and photographer Trine Thorsen.
So yummy with coffee or as desert!

cinnamon apple cake

you will need:

7 small apples

1 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup orange juice

2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped out

4 eggs

Peel, core and chop apples into small chunks. Stir together sugar and cinnamon and toss with apples to coat. Set bowl aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt.

In a smaller bowl whisk together oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla bean.

Pour wet ingredients over dry, and stir to combine (mixture will be thick).

Add eggs one at a time, being sure to incorporate fully with each addition.


Pour half of the batter into the prepared flute pan. Spread half of the apple chunks over the top. Cover apples with remaining batter, and finally, top with the rest of the remaining apples.

Bake in a 350 F degree oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

*makes 1 apple cake!

food and styling: Tara Ballantyne

photography: Trine Thorsen


up-cycle it.

I am so happy to know the top-sanded captains chair from environment is coming to Canada.
Environmentally sensitive, one of a kind, and so graphic!

This limited edition up-cycled classic university chair would definitely be a welcomed addition to the end of my dining table….
Available at Stony Lake Furniture Co. in Lakefield, Ontario.

Yes please!
(images via environment)


i'm sorry.

So, it is with many and great apologies that I write this new blog post.
You see, I have been so amazingly busy this past month with a big move from Scandinavia to Canada.
In October I packed up all of my belongings, life, and warm memories and flew them across the ocean. I have been so sad to have left my friends, colleagues and home, that it has been a bit tough to get excited about blogging...

That being said,
I have hopped into new work, and a huge main floor renovation.
Missing Oslo so dearly and re-designing a living space, this week I have placed an order for a new sofa blanket from Norwegian design studio Funkle.
They have just come out with a great new line of wool throws and cotton cushions that are beautiful, soft and graphic.

Thanks for understanding, and following of course!
Back in the swing of things,


october recipe - pumpkin soup.

I love the fall… chilly air, scarves, and carving pumpkins.

Today I was at the Princess Café in Waterloo and had the most amazing Pumpkin Peach soup - it was so yummy!

Here is a recipe for one of my old favourites - perfect for a lazy Sunday or for a few fall lunches.

To make things really easy you can use pure pumpkin in a can for this recipe…

And don't be afraid to ramp it up by substituting the red for a green curry paste if you really like it spicy.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

you will need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

240 g (1 cup) chopped onions

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon grated ginger

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 L (4 cups) chicken or vegetable broth

425 g pumpkin puree (or 1 can pure pumpkin)

3.5 dl (1 1/2 cups) viking milk or cream

2 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.

Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

Stir in ginger root and cook for 30 more seconds.

Stir in curry and flour until smooth. Cook until mixture begins to bubble.

Gradually whisk in broth and cook until thickened. Stir in pumpkin and evaporated milk.

Season with soy sauce, honey, salt and pepper.

Bring to just a boil, and remove from heat.

Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and sour cream.

*makes 8 servings

Styling and Food: Tara Ballantyne

Photography: Birgit Fauske


a workshop to note.

Today is one of those special September days I love so much. The sun is shining, and the air is crisp - and I will get together with one of my dearest friends to bake treats for thanksgiving. This month I have been working on simple and easy ways to make gifts for the holidays.
Here is one of the recipes that we would like to make - from this months issue of Maison Mat &Vin.

. . .

I have worked on these images with the fantastic Trine Thorsen. She is a blogger, photographer, antique hunter and now - a teacher! This October 15th and 16th she will be holding a digital photography workshop for beginners in Tofte, Norway. Check out her blog so mee for details!

photography: Trine Thorsen
food and styling: Tara Ballantyne



This is the fantastic work of photographer Henrik Bonnevier and stylist Lotta Agaton for Swedish graphic artist Therese Sennerholt.
I love the composition, need the notebooks, and appreciate how the small shadow in the shot makes the image feel alive, not flat.
Fantastic work and inspiration for the day!
(images via henrikbonnevier)
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