Fruit Skewers

I was quite pleased with myself when I was able to make the teen girls at my son’s birthday party go, ‘Oh my gosh! Those are SO adorable!’  I’d like to give you the same power by sharing this really simple recipe for fruit skewers.

fruit skewers

I think these would also be great sticking out of a summer drink!

All you need is a watermelon, a large carton of raspberries, a large carton of blackberries, a melon baller and a package of wooden skewers.

Wash all of the fruit well and pat dry.  Cut your watermelon in half and make little balls using your melon baller.  This was my first time using one of those so I suspect you’d be able to do an even better job than me as mine were more like half moons…but they were still loved!

Pick up a wooden skewer and slide it through the fruit alternating between watermelon, blackberry, watermelon, raspberry, watermelon, blackberry.

That’s it!!! Keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

Simply Delicious Recipes at the Chateau Laurier

Cocktails in kitchen of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Cocktails in the Chateau Laurier Kitchen! A great start to an Ottawa evening!

I’ll admit it, I am a bit of a foodie, although I do find the term slightly pretentious. Reality is I like good food, quality ingredients, and quite frankly I’m a good cook.

Most of what I do, however, is quite simple, using quality ingredients and intuitively knowing what will taste good together.  I don’t spend hours over recipes, and often find the tastiest things I create are the simplest things.

As a result I have very little time for seemingly fancy cookbooks with obscure ingredients, and where everything needs to be measured out exactly and be perfectly presented on the plate.  This is simply not enjoyable to me.

So when I was lead down to the kitchen of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, I was not quite sure what to expect.  I do love a good kitchen party, but what would the chef be like?  Would he be uptight and pretentious about his cooking?  Quite the contrary!  He was a delight, fun to flirt with (for whatever reason men that create tasty morsels tend to illicit my overly flirtatious side), and got it as far as I am concerned with food. Executive Chef Louis Simard‘s attitude towards creating culinary delights, as he informed us, was selecting choice fresh local ingredients (for which the Chateau Laurier is well situated, just steps away from Ottawa‘s Byward Market) and putting them together in simple ways that would tantalize the tastebuds.  And that is exactly what he did with me! Flushing just thinking about it!


Fairmont Chateau Laurier Executive Chef Louis Simard

Eying up Executive Chef Louis Simard in anticipation!


Here were a few of the ways Executive Chef Louis Simard teased and tantalized:


Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers


  • watermelon
  • fresh basil
  • heirloom tomatoes (ideally yellow ones, to create a colour contrast to the watermelon)
  • espelette pepper
  • olive oil



Fairmont Chateau Laurier Executive Chef Louis Simard prepares the Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers

Deneen Perrin watching on as Executive Chef Louis Simard prepares the Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers.


First Executive Chef Louis Simard prepared the basil infused watermelon by:

  • Placing a large chunk of watermelon (rind removed) into a bag with fresh basil and vacuum sealing it.
  • I’m am not sure how long he vacuum sealed the basil and watermelon, but my understanding is that the vacuum seal accelerates the marination process, so this should not take long, and will give you a fun home experiment in determining the perfect marination time.

* This also works with vodka and watermelon, if you want to pack some tasty boozy snacks for that music festival next summer!

Meanwhile Executive Chef Louis Simard had whisked a pinch of espelette pepper in olive oil and was marinating hearty bite size chucks of heirloom tomatoes in the espelette pepper and olive oil.

Just prior to serving, he:

  • Removed the watermelon from the vacuum sealed bag and cut it into sturdy bite sized chunks;
  • And on top of each chunk, he placed a marinated tomato chunk;
  • Securing the two layers together with a toothpick.


Executive Chef Louis Simard's Basil Infused Watermelon Appetizers

Looking forward to tasting one of these!




Locally Cured Chorizo & Homemade Ricotta Crostinis


Cooking in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Salivating at the thought of putting these ingredients together!



  • fresh slices of ciabattas or crostinis (slices of ciabattas lightly brushed with oil and toasted)
  • ricotta (sadly I don’t have the recipe for the Chateau Laurier’s homemade recipe, but ricotta from the store will do)
  • mango chutney
  • chorizo (definitely recommend finding some locally cured chorizo)
  • radishes
  • pea tendrils


Executive Chef Louis Simard in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

… and the prep begins!




Making crostini appetizers in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Did I mention how much I love mango chutney!?!


This simple hors d’oeuvres is all about using choice ingredients.  To put it all together, simply:

  • Place an evenly distributed dollop of ricotta on the crostini;
  • Add a dollop of mango chutney on top of the ricotta;
  • Cover the mango chutney with a slice of chorizo;
  • On top of the chorizo place a radish slice;
  • And finally top the whole thing off with fresh pea tendrils.


Crostini Appetizers in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen



Bite in and enjoy!


Honey Cured Balderson Cheddar Flamed on a Cedar Plank


Honey Cured Balderson's Cheddar

With ingredients like this, how could this turn out as anything less than amazing!



  • 3 year aged Balderson cheddar
  • local honey


Cheese Torching in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Far too exciting!



Fell in love with Executive Chef Louis Simard as I watched him prepare this:

  • Prior to us arriving, he had soaked chunks of the Balderson cheddar for 24 hours in local honey;
  • When we arrived, he placed the honey soaked chunks of cheddar on a cedar plank; and
  • Slowly smoked and caramelized all of the honey soaked cheddar with a culinary blow torch!!!
  • Serving them up on toothpicks, so we could pop the ooey gooey goodness in our mouths!


Flaming Cheese in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

I think I’m in love!


This was bar none, my favourite, but then who wouldn’t be swooped off their feet by flaming hot cheese soaked in honey!  And I had no idea that Balderson Cheddar came from the Ottawa area.  Drooling just thinking about it! My only regret … that no one let me get my mitts on the blow torch, to take it for a spin.


Fairmont Chateau Laurier's Executive Chef Louis Simard and Deneen Perrin

Our two wonderful kitchen party hosts, Executive Chef Louis Simard and Deneen Perrin. Thank you both!


Now while these were all the tasty tidbits that Executive Chef Louis Simard demonstrated his culinary prowess with, I did do a bit of culinary sleuthing and heard a few rumours on how the chefs at the Chateau Laurier make their drool worthy maple butter!  It is quite simple from what I understand – an equal part maple syrup to butter, whipped together.  It was served over their scrumptious crepes warm, so I suspect they heat up the maple syrup a bit and then whip in the butter.  Will most definitely have to try my own experiment with this in the kitchen!


Kitchen Party at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier

Our Kitchen Party (almost) in it’s entirety! … now how to get invited back for another kitchen party?!?



Emme  xoxo

PS. In Full Disclosure: As always, the opinions and thoughts shared here are my own and honest ones. I am bought out by no one. In the spirit of disclosure, it should be noted that on this trip I was a guest of Ottawa Tourism.

Brunch Poached Healthy with Local Organics

With the rain showering down on Vancouver, it turns me back into a Chesire Cat. Craving weekends filled good books, writing in my PJs, and scrumptious brunches!  Chesire Cat does not necessarily mean unhealthy, however.  And luckily, in addition to the eggs and cheese that I am craving, I am also craving healthy things like beet greens.


Brunch: Eggs Poached Healthy

My latest brunch time creation! Eggs Poached Healthy!


As I often do, I decided to turn those cravings into a culinary experiment. Here is what I came up with:


  • Eggs
  • Beet Greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Olive Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Pepper


Stewed Tomato & Mushroom

  • Turn oven to 325 degrees.
  • Cut tomato into large bite size chunks.
  • Slice mushrooms.
  • Stick tomatoes and mushrooms in a small baking dish.
  • Drizzle tomatoes and mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil and lemon juice.
  • Sprinkle tomatoes and mushroom with pepper.
  • Stick in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Poached Eggs & Beet Greens

  • Place a small pot of water on the stove and bring the water to a simmer.
  • Add a handful of beet green to the simmering water.
  • Crack 2 eggs over the beet greens and leave them to poach.

Final Poached Healthy Brunch

  • Carefully remove the bed of beet greens with the poached eggs from the pot and place on a plate.
  • Arrange the stewed tomatoes and mushrooms around the beet greens and poached eggs.


Peanut Butter & Blue Cheese, Avocado & Chocolate

I feel the need after that title to emphatically state, “No, I am not pregnant.  Or at least not unless, unbeknownst to me, I have been artificially been impregnated by aliens.”  And I am fairly certain the latter has not occurred.  What has occurred, however, is that I have been introduced to a few rather bizarre, but bloody divine food combination these past couple of weeks.

The first for those of you that have yet to enlighten your taste buds, is peanut butter and blue cheese on toast.


Click on this photo for a pixengo to my audio reaction to bizarrely scrumptious dish.

Click on this photo for a pixengo to my audio reaction to this bizarrely scrumptious dish.


This was inspired by a picture of a rather gooey peanut butter, blue cheese and bacon sandwich from Nat & Tim of A Cook Not Mad (rather fitting name, based on the current food discussion). Now while, I didn’t have bacon in the house, I did have a fresh loaf of bread, peanut butter and blue cheese, and after one of these, this became my lunchtime go-to for a week, it was so scrumptious.

Since sharing a pixengo of this, I have been told that the following combinations are also quite tasty:

  • “A Peanut Butter, Bacon and Tomato Sandwich (PB BLT)” ~ Ralph Talmont
  • “Peanut Butter and Egg on Toast” ~ Monica

Will definitely have to try those once I’ve made a trip to the bakery and the butcher.  Just have to ask Monica, what style of an egg.

My second rather scrumptious oddity is chocolate pudding made from avocado of all things.


Click on the photo to be taken to a pixengo of my audio reaction to this tantalizing delight!

Click on the photo to be taken to a pixengo of my audio reaction to this tantalizing delight!


This tantalizing recipe was shared with by Kana Yamashita:

Whip together 1 avocado with 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of honey.

Now according to Kana this makes enough for 1 serving, but personally loving it, but finding it quite rich, I’d say that makes approximately 4 servings.  Perfect for a small dinner party!


Let me know what you think, tell if you have modified concoctions of your own, or let me know of other food oddities that you enjoy. Thanks!


Emme   xoxo



Flu Season Pick Me Up / Knock Me Out: Hot Lemon Honey Ginger Whiskey

Hot Lemon Honey Ginger Whiskey ~ click on the image for a pixengo version of these, in which you can hear my sickly voice recount this recipe.

Hot Lemon Honey Ginger Whiskey ~ click on the image for a pixengo version of this image, in which you can press play to hear my sickly voice recount this recipe.


Been slammed this past week with what I’m calling the Ontario Plague (aka the flu that’s hit the Province hard). Yes, quite a lovely way to ring in the New Year.  It did mean I took a few days for a bit of R&R, which is never a bad thing.  And I did spend the time perfecting my version of a favourite hot drink of mine when feeling under the weather ~ one hard core virus kick butt drink for me and a toned down version for my Mom with bronchitis, who decided my drink was a far preferred nightcap to cough syrup. Here’s the recipe:


The Basic:

  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 of a cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp of ginger (chopped or minced) or a dash of powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • 1 oz of whiskey or brandy

Kick Butt Add-Ons:

  • 1/4 tsp of minced garlic
  • a dash of cayenne powder


  • Boil water.
  • Cut lemon into quarters.
  • Squeeze lemon juice from two lemon quarters into a large mug, and then leave the squeezed lemon quarters in the mug.
  • Add the cinnamon stick, ginger, honey and whiskey (and garlic and cayenne, for the kick butt version) to the mug.
  • Pour boiling water into the mug.
  • Stir until the honey is fully melted and immersed throughout.


Oh and please let me know if you come up with any other variations.

No longer contagious kisses,

Emme  xoxo

PS. And for a prolonged flu, here’s an evening alternative ~ Hot Apple Mandarin Toddy ~ so your palette doesn’t get bored.