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

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