BFree giveaway: We have a winner!

I know you’ve all been waiting to find out the winner of the BFree giveaway. The winner is Sheila K, who wrote, “I like honey-maple turkey, asiago cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and a bit of horseradish-mustard on my perfect sandwich!”

The winner has been notified. Thank you all for taking part. Stay tuned for more exciting giveaways! 🙂

The science – and magic! – behind gourmet smoked salmon: my H. Forman & Son brunch experience

To me, brunch is about taking your time – to enjoy your morning, to savor carefully prepared food, to live life. As for me, I am a “breakfast girl,” who leaves for work early and in a hurry every day, and who cannot “function” properly without eating first thing in the morning. Under these circumstances, brunch has become a luxury to me – yet, I’ve always wished the situation were different.

Thankfully, I recently got an invitation to brunch which stirred my curiosity – and my appetite! The sender was Ethan Forman, the representative for North America of the famous H. Forman & Son London-based smoked salmon family business. With a tradition of artisan fish curing which spans over 110 years and 3 continents, the name of this company has become synonymous with high quality fish products, crafted to perfection. Brunching on salmon and getting out of the daily routine sounded great, so I happily accepted their invitation.

Keep Reading

What to make in my new cast iron skillet? An upside-down pineapple cake will do :-)

I can’t remember how many times I ate my aunt’s upside-down cake as a child, but one thing is for sure: I ate it a lot! This is a modified version of her 40+ year-old recipe. The original version uses apples, and its deep caramel flavor coupled with the refreshing lemon undertones makes it simply unbeatable as a dessert.

I recently went back in time and rediscovered this cake. I had bought several pineapples from the local grocery store and was tempted to use them in a cake, which would have made a nice change from our usual way of eating pineapple (fresh, on its own). I fondly remembered how my aunt sliced apples picked fresh from her countryside orchard to use them in this dessert. And then, the penny dropped: Why not recreate my aunt’s upside-down cake with pineapple instead of apples? With my cooking dilemma solved, I went straight into the kitchen. 🙂

Keep Reading

CLOSED What do you need to create the perfect sandwich? A review of BFree gluten free products – and a giveaway!

*Disclaimer: BFree Foods sent me a pack of BFree products free of charge for me to review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

I have vivid memories of eating bread as a child. At a time when meat was hard to find and throwing food away was simply not an option, bread was a household staple we thoroughly enjoyed: It filled our bellies and kept us away from hunger, and content in our little world. I remember my father and I would often dunk days-old bread into warm milk and have it for breakfast, in the kitchen of our tiny apartment. A lot of time has passed and a lot of things have happened in my life, yet I’ve actually never grown tired of bread. It is a simple yet deeply meaningful food, with the simplest of ingredients 🙂

These days I’m always on the lookout for new breads to use in my panini and sandwiches. As I said in a previous post, I was inspired by my visit to this year’s National Restaurant Association Show (you can read my review here) to search for quality breads, to work hard to discover innovative and flavorful varieties, and to share my findings with my readers. This is why I was very excited when BFree Foods contacted me and asked me to review their range of gluten-free, low-fat and high fiber products, which are now available for purchase in select Chicagoland stores. Keep Reading

My 4th of July bell pepper & black bean burger topping: fast to make and easy on the eye – and wallet!

I came up with this burger topping idea almost by accident. We used to love eating chutneys when we lived in the UK, and so I was looking for a burger topping similar to a chutney yet faster and easier to make. I also wanted the topping to have a good consistency and to be able to hold up beautifully when served on a burger. Last but not least, I wanted a relatively inexpensive burger topping, with ingredients that were easy to find and affordable.

Since we love peppers, bell peppers were a “must” from the start. I knew I needed a starchy element for my dish, and initially I didn’t know what that element would be. However, I did have a lot of canned beans in my pantry, so on a whim I decided to experiment with them – hence the “almost by accident” part. 🙂 After several rounds of “bean testing,” my conclusion was that canned black beans worked the best, especially in terms of texture.

Keep Reading

“A kind of magic” and a search for perfection: my Zucchi extra virgin olive oil blending experience

Close your eyes and imagine a salad ripe with the flavors of summer, fresh and perfect, and ready to be devoured. Then, try to imagine the extra virgin olive oil that would go with it. You know it has to be light and delicate, yet at the same time it has to be strong enough to assert itself among the other flavors on your plate, and to make your salad taste experience complete. You know the basics, but that’s not all. How can you turn this oil – this figment of your imagination – into something real, something which can be enjoyed by many, something authentic, which represents your values and stands the test of time?

You may think these are way too many questions. After all, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is just another kind of oil, right? The makers of Zucchi extra virgin olive oil would definitely disagree with you on this point. I reconsidered my own perception of this oil recently, when I was invited to attend an EVOO Tasting Master Class conducted at Chicago’s Quartino restaurant by Giovanni Zucchi, the blend master behind an Italian company with three centuries of tradition and experience in the field: Oleificio Zucchi.

Keep Reading