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

Ingredients

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

Preparation

 

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!

 

Enjoy!

 

Locally Cured Chorizo & Homemade Ricotta Crostinis

 

Cooking in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Salivating at the thought of putting these ingredients together!

 

Ingredients

  • 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!

 

Preparation

 

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

Yum!

 

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!

 

Ingredients

  • 3 year aged Balderson cheddar
  • local honey

 

Cheese Torching in the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Kitchen

Far too exciting!

 

Preparation

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?!?

 

Kisses,

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.

Vancouver Theatre Lover Trick or Treat: Win Tickets to Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre

Who says adults can’t Trick or Treat!!! <she says stomping her feet, hands on hips, and pouting>  Well, I say you can!  Here at least. I have 5 pairs of theatre tickets to giveaway to 5 lucky adult Trick or Treaters to Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre Vancouver!

 

Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre Vancouver

Moon Over Buffalo at Metro Theatre Vancouver, November 2 to 30, 2013.

 

If you have happen to have caught Lend Me A Tenor at Metro Theatre Vancouver last season (easily my favourite play of the Season), you’ll know that you are in for a treat, as this in another Ken Ludwig play.  Translation: This is bound to be an evening filled with the laughter of romance meets a comedy of errors! Here’s a little as to the storyline, care of Metro Theatre:

Moon Over Buffalo centres on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950′s. At the moment, they’re playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York with only five actors. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s alleged indiscretion with a young ingénue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinée, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong as confusion surrounds everyone who enters the theatre: the Hays’ stage manager, their lawyer, their visiting daughter and her clueless fiancé, and Charlotte’s aging, deaf mother who hates every bone in George’s body. The show must go on, of course, but at curtain time one question remains: exactly which play are they performing?

Now for the Trick or Treat!

If you are inclined to perform this sort of Trick for me …

 

 

… I am sure I can find you a treat!

As for entering the contest to win one of the five pairs of tickets, for my own amusement and a bit of seasonal surprise this is a reader’s choice commenting entry.  You simply must:

  • Comment below with a TRICK!  You decide how to define that.
  • For a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th entry: Share this contest on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (one extra entry for each platform shared on), just be sure to include a link to this post, the hashtag #MoonOverBuffalo & my handle (so I am sure to see it). So, as an example:

For Twitter: Show @EmmeRogers a trick #Vancouver, to enter to win a treat … tickets to #MoonOverBuffalo at @MetroTheatre! http://ht.ly/qnMjh 

For Facebook & Google+: Show Emme Rogers a trick #Vancouver, to enter to win a treat … tickets to #MoonOverBuffalo at Metro Theatre!  http://emmerogers.com/win-tickets-to-moon-over-buffalo-at-metro-theatre-vancouver

  • I will then throw the names of all commenters and Twitter, Facebook and Google+ sharers into a hat, and randomly draw the name of the winner of the tickets, at the times mentioned below.

For the winners of this laughter filled Treat, I will be giving away 5 pairs of tickets to Moon Over Buffalo at the Metro Theatre, starting with the first pair of tickets at 10 am Sunday November 3rd to one lucky winner.  The next pair of tickets will be given away Monday November 4th at 10 am, and then again Tuesday November 5th at 10 am, Wednesday November 6th at 10 am, and the final pair on Thursday November 7th at 10 am. The tickets will be for one of the performances on the first full weekend of the Show with the winners choice of Thursday November 7th, Friday November 8th, or Saturday November 9th at 8 pm.

 

Cast of Moon Over Buffalo at the Metro Theatre Vancouver.

A sneak peek at what’s to come from Moon Over Buffalo, care of the Metro Theatre.

 

For those of you that don’t win, you should still be in for treat by purchasing tickets to Moon Over Buffalo from the Metro Theatre Vancouver Box Office. They have a special deal on their Thursday night Show. The Show runs now until November 30th, 2013, with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 pm on November 17th and 24th.

Kisses,

Emme  xoxo

Ross Neilsen RAWKs British Columbia This Week!

I’ve met some pretty cool people and the road, and one of those people is Ross Neilsen!  Two Autumns ago we passed each other, heading in opposite directions on the road – I eavesdropped on Ross and his band at lunch (or as I like to think of it, ‘conducted research’) and as my eavesdropping was abundantly obvious, Ross made fun of me – instantly worming his way into my heart.  A few months later, when he and the band played just over an hour from where I was, I went and listened to him and his band.  Love their sound!  Love listening to Ross even more singing solo, as I discovered a few months later at the International Blues Competition in Memphis, Tennessee!

Here’s a little taste of Ross …

 

 

and his band (with a couple of extra friends on stage) …

 

 

So I have many old favourites of Ross’ that I love to listen to, but those aside, Ross has come out with one new solo CD (The Shack Up Sessions) and one new CD from the band (Resurrection), so I’m looking forward to relishing in some new to my ears tunes, like this one …

 

 

And might I add, shortly after publishing this post, it was announced that Ross won Blues Recording of the Year at the Music NB Awards tonight for The Shack Up Sessions! Way to go Ross!

Now if you are lucky enough to be in BC this week, here is where you can catch the Ross Neilsen Band (featuring Ross Neilsen on Guitar and Vocals, Karl Gans on the Drums, and Jim the Temp on Bass) as Ross Neilsen and the boys RAWK British Columbia:

The rest of the country will be able to catch Ross and the Band after that as they make their way back across country. Click here for tour dates and locations of the Resurrection Tour.

Bluesy Kisses,

Emme  xoxo

A Van Sexy Date Pick: Rocky Horror Show in Vancouver with Fighting Chance Productions

Fighting Chance Productions' Rocky Horror Show in VancouverFor anybody familiar with the Rocky Horror Show and Fighting Chance Productions, you’ll know that Fighting Chance Productions is the ideal theatre company in Vancouver to put on the Rocky Horror Show, as they always bring a tonne of energy, enthusiasm and fun to their Shows! And they are definitely not afraid to interact with the audience and ad lib a little, which is a definite must for the Rocky Horror Show.

Now for those of unfamiliar with the Rocky Horror Show, it is a somewhat bizarre musical in the form of a  humorous tribute to the Science Fiction and Horror B Movies of the late 1940s through early 1970s, which  attained cult fame from the 1975 film The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when the audience began to verbally and physically engage with the Show in the theatre. It is for this reason that I will explain a bit of what goes on in the story, so that you as the audience knows how to respond in the theatre.

The musical tells the story of a newly engaged couple getting caught in a storm and coming to the home of a mad transvestite scientist alien unveiling his new creation, a muscle man named Rocky Horror. I did mention the word bizarre earlier, did I not.

Okay, so the cast of characters to know about … the Narrator (played by Sean Allen) for whom you are encouraged to listen to intently for cues and talk back to, Brad (played by Will Hopkins) who is our super straight edged groom-to-be, Janet (played by Erika Thompson) is our rather proper straight laced bride-to-be, brother-sister duo of creepiness Riff Raff (played by Ray Boulay) the handyman and Magenta (played by Jessa Brynn) the maid, Columbia (played by Kelli Ogmundson) a groupie of Frank’s, and of course Dr. Frank N. Furter the pansexual, cross-dressing mad scientist (played by Seth Gordon Little). And now for the …

 

Front Row at Rocky Horror Show in Vancouver

This photo from Fighting Chance Productions bears the question … do you dare sit in the front row?

Rocky Horror Virgin Cheat Sheet:

  • Wear Party Hat throughout in whatever fashion you see fit.
  • When you hear the name “Brad”, yell “ASSHOLE!”
  • When you hear the name “Janet”, yell “SLUT!”
  • Toss Confetti when Brad and Janet enter for the first time after “Science Fiction Double Feature”.
  • Throw Playing Cards when you hear the line, “Cards for Sorrow, Cards for Pain” during “I’m Going Home”.
  • Blow your Noisemaker when Frank is bringing Rocky to life!
  • Toss Rice when Frank and Rocky get married.
  • Don’t be shy, get up and do the Time Warp at the Show’s end!

Finally one of the most crucial ingredients to a rockin’ Rocky Horror Show is all in your date for the evening!  Mine was a new Brit friend, Jai!  Great gal and a lot of fun!  Find out for yourself … just go and ask her about her rubber cock!

For your convenience and the cast’s safety, all props thrown in the production must be from the $5 Rocky Horror Prop Bags that Fighting Chance Productions is selling on site, before the Show. I highly recommend you purchase one.

 

Fighting Chance Productions' Rocky Horror Prop Bags

Inside Fighting Chance Productions’ $5 Rocky Horror Prop Bags.

 

Now I must blow a few kisses of amour to the cast who had me smiling all night.  I was especially taken in by Sean Allen (the Narrator) for his witty repartee; Seth Gordon Little (Dr. Frank N. Furter) who made a mighty fine pansexual, cross-dressing mad scientist, who could really strutt his stuff; Ray Boulay (Riff Raff) and Jessa Brynn (Magenta) for being outstandingly creepy; Kelli Ogmundson (Columbia) for her sweet earnest; Erika Thompson (Janet) and Will Hopkins (Brad) for playing dorkily oblivious so well; and Hal Rogers (Rocky) for … well … all of him!!!  mmm … mmm … mmm!!!  Thoroughly enjoyed the band under the musical direction of Kerry O’Donnovan. Would have love to have been a fly on the wall for rehearsals for this. Ryan Mooney really outdid himself on directing this one.  And the choreography! Oh the choreography! Anna Kuman ~ you did a great job with the dancers.  I think this was perhaps my favourite part, and oh how I wanted to join them!

 

Vancouver does the Time Warp at Jericho Arts Centre

From Fighting Chance Productions’ pics, Vancouver does the Time Warp at Jericho Arts Centre!

 

Thank you Fighting Chance Productions for another fun night!

If you too wish to partake in the bizarrely absurd, you can catch the Rocky Horror Show in Vancouver at Jericho Arts Centre now until Saturday October 26th, thanks to Fighting Chance Productions in Association with Renegade Arts Centre, with performances MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, at 8 pm Tuesday – Saturday night, and a special additional performance MIDNIGHT on Friday October 25th. Get your tickets by clicking here!

Enjoy!

Kisses,

Emme  xoxo

A Van Sexy Date Pick: A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Studio 58 (Win Tickets)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the play that turned me onto Shakespeare, when I first saw it on the stage at the Stratford Festival in Ontario during my high school days. As a result, when Studio 58 invited me to Opening Night of their production of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, my response (in my head at least) was a resounding Fuck Yeah! (while out loud it may have been a Yes, Please!)

 

A Midsummer Nights Dream at Studio 58

 

Being invited to a play of youthful memory and delight does pose certain problems, however. Firstly, who to invite?  You can’t invite just anyone.  It has to be someone who has a similar appreciation for the story and for theatre, so as to share in your delight and fully appreciate the experience!  That for me was most definitely my old friend, the Cherry Blossom! I believe she even studied A Midsummer Night’s Dream with her students in her teaching days.

Now the second problem, how could this, a Langara College student production, possibly live up to my memories, especially as those memories were from the Stratford Festival.  They didn’t. They exceeded them!  This was bar none, the best production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that I’d ever seen. And that was not just my opinion, but that of the Cherry Blossom too.  Was seriously impressed by both the Cast and Crew of Studio 58′s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wow!  Some serious talent at Langara College, and whatever their professors are doing to inspire and mentor them ~ Bravo!

Now for those of you who are new to the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, here is a synopsis from Studio 58:

Shakespeare’s wild and wonderful comedy about the fickleness and joy of teenagers in love, fairies who vie for power and labourers who long to be actors …. with a new twist. Set in a rural farming village in the Carpathian mountains, circa 1900, these woods are filled with ‘vampire’ fairies who taunt and terrorize all who wander there. Beware!

 

Puck and Oberon in Studio 58's A Midsummer Night's Dream

Dominic Duchesne as Oberon and Lili Beaudoin as Puck, as photographed by David Cooper.

 

For those of you familiar with the story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you will remember the fairies in the woods as tricksters, but not vampires.  And to be honest, I find the obsessions with vampires and zombies in our storytelling of the past few years to be overkill.  That said, it actually worked here in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, depicting the fairies as their own imaginative brand of vampires, and Oberon’s henchmen as zombies.  As it was done in a somewhat more subtle and clever manner, that did not overshadow the story, it added a clever new bent to the story that had me watching with a new curiosity, as I soaked in this somewhat disturbing image of a fairy.  Plus I loved watching Puck and Oberon (played by Dominic Duchesne) dance on the aerial silks!

Now, for me, my favourite character in A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been Puck, and this production was no different.  Initially, I was quite startled to see Puck cast as a girl – Lili Beaudoin, even though she was playing a boy.  Fitting really for a 21st Century rendition of Shakespeare to have women play men, as opposed to men play women.  After my initial surprise, I quickly warmed up to this new Puck, and dare I say, she is by far my favourite Puck yet.

 

Lili Beaudoin as Puck at Studio 58.

Lili Beaudoin as Puck. Photographed by David Cooper.

 

As for the rest of Studio 58th production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?  I enjoyed the singing, dancing and acting by what was an outstanding Cast. When I entered the theatre I was struck by the creativity of the set design (created under the Supervision of Set Designer Pam Johnson), and as the production unfolded before me, I thought how cleverly they had designed it to switch with ease from Village to Wood, and how seamlessly elements, like the aerial silks were woven into the set design. I am quite curious to know if the actual performance space is always set up in the same way, as much like Pacific Theatre, the stage was situated in the middle of the room, with the audience on either side, facing across to each other.  Also like Pacific Theatre, I was most impressed by the blocking, under the Director Scott Bellis, created to play to the audience from all sides.  It was quite wonderful!  I’d actually like to see the production from the other side to get the other perspective on the performance. Tipping my hat (or shades, as the case may be) to the Crew that put some outstanding thought into action in Studio 58′s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream!

 

Studio 58 Cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Studio 58 Cast and Crew of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as photographed by David Cooper.

 

Now to conjure up a bit of fairy magic of my own with a pair of tickets to giveaway to Studio 58′s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the winner’s choice of Wednesday evening, October 9th or Thursday evening, October 10th.

To Enter to Win those tickets …

  • Comment below with either your favourite character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream or your favourite Shakespeare Play.
  • For a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th entry: Share this contest on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (one extra entry for each platform shared on), just be sure to include a link to this post, the hashtag #MidsummerNightsDream & my handle (so I am sure to see it). So, as an example:

For Twitter: With a bit of Fairy Magic, you could win #Vancouver tix to @Studio58Theatre’s #MidsummerNightsDream from @EmmeRogers: http://ht.ly/pyhYZ

For Facebook & Google+: With a bit of Fairy Magic, you could win ticket to #MidsummerNightsDream at #Vancouver’s Studio 58 from Emme Rogers! http://emmerogers.com/2013/10/a-van-sexy-date-pick-a-midsummer-nights-dream-at-studio-58

  • I will then throw the names of all commenters and Twitter, Facebook and Google+ sharers into a hat, and randomly draw the name of the winner of the pair of tickets, on Tuesday morning at 10 am.

 

Bottom and the Fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream

Claire Johnstone, Anthea Morritt, Erik Gow and Jessica Ross-Howkins in Studio 58′s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as photographed by David Cooper.

 

For those of you that don’t win, you can still adventure into the Fairy Wood at Studio 58 by purchasing your tickets to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Box Office. The Show runs now until October 20th, 2013, with performances Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 pm, and matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm.

Enjoy!

Emme  xoxo