Friday, December 12, 2014

it's been a blur

the title of this post is twofold... 

this week has been an absolute blur, filled with endless checklists and hours in the kitchen. and the past four years have been a blur - tomorrow marks the four year anniversary of little red kitsch'n & i can't even believe it!

anyway i'm exhausted so this will be short & sweet. i'm catering a christmas party for 40 after the market tomorrow. for some reason i'm a glutton for punishment & design really elaborate cocktail party menus. on top of all my regular market prep, here's what's on the menu tomorrow night:

pear, brie & walnut puff pastry
crab & corn cakes with spicy mayo
mushroom & goat cheese phyllo bundles
fried chicken biscuits with cranberry & blue cheese
roasted tomato, bacon & kale strata
red wine braised brisket tarts
prosciutto wrapped scallops with maple glaze
chipotle lime pulled pork sliders with southern slaw

charcuterie board
cheese board
olives, chutneys
crudites with curried hummus & white bean dip

mini cupcakes
chocolate peppermint bars
maple walnut bars
lemon squares

it's a little silly but it'll sure be tasty. i remarked today that i'd like to be a guest at this party because i think the food will be pretty great ;)

for the market i made:


beef & pork combo from getaway farm, caramelized onions, warm spices.
$25 for a 9 inch pie

creamy british fish pie:

haddock, organic salmon & tilapia in a white sauce with peas, celery, carrots and a touch of lemon, topped with sour cream & dill mashed potatoes. i swear my brother has been asking me to make this for about 2 years & i just finally got around to it!
small $10  large $20

there's also a new batch of seafood chowder with smoked haddock, regular haddock, mussels, clam broth & tilapia.


the salads this week are broccoli & asian slaw.

they're both gluten free, dairy free & paleo. the slaw is even vegan!

thanks to everyone who came to visit me at the crafters market - i had a super successful weekend & it's always a nice change from the seaport.

also, don't forget to place your holiday orders. just check out my previous blog post for all the details. i'll be doing up sweet sampler boxes on sunday at the market if you'd like one but not tomorrow.

for tomorrow only, to celebrate my 4th birthday, baker's 1/2 dozens of minis will be $5 & big cupcakes will be 3 for the price of 2.

ok sleep time!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

holiday orders

i can't even believe how fast december is flying by - i'm not ready!!!

i'm just trying to get a handle on holiday orders so i don't get overwhelmed at the last second.

i'm already all booked up with cakes so i won't be taking any cake orders until the new year.

i will be doing lots of holiday sweet samplers though!

they're $30 each for a 9-inch pastry box loaded with festive goodies. there is an assortment of:

mini cupcakes
maple walnut bars
snickers brownies
choco-peppermint bars
lemon squares
eggnog cheesecake bars

they all need to be preordered...they take forever to put together on the fly. orders can be picked up on sunday the 14th, saturday the 20th or sunday the 21st from my table at the market. 

i'm also setting up holiday 'office hours' at my kitchen in prospect. if you'd like to take a nice drive you can pick up sweets & raid the freezers on december 22nd, 23rd & 24th from 10-4. there will be complimentary hot cocoa & a mini cupcake for making the trek. the address is:

1663 prospect bay road
prospect, b3t 2b3

i will also be making pumpkin-chai pies. these are always a massive hit! they are $15 each & i'll have them starting december 20th. it's best to reserve.

this week i'll also be making tourtieres. they will be a pork & beef combo with lots of warm spices & caramelized onions in an herby crust.
$20 each

seafood is also really popular this time of year so i'll be making batches of seafood chowder & british fish pie this week & next week lobster mac & cheese will finally return to the menu!

if you'd like to place any orders, email me at or direct message me through my little red kitsch'n facebook page.

i almost forgot to mention gift certificates! any denomination, no expiry date, always available at the market.

thanks so much & i hope everyone's holiday preparations are coming together nicely!

Friday, December 5, 2014

big weekend

it's the halifax crafters winter market this weekend at the olympic centre. i actually just got home - it was open from 5-9 tonight & will be open from 10-5 tomorrow & sunday. for those of you who don't know where the olympic centre is, the entrance is on hunter street & the building is on the corner of windsor & cunard. it's free admission, there's great tunes & it's the best holiday market around, it's definitely worth a visit. my table is located upstairs, right at the top of the stairs up from laughing whale coffee.

leslie will be running the show for me at the seaport tomorrow (i'm skipping the seaport on sunday). there are a ton of frozen meals at the moment. this week i made a batch of mediterranean vegetable ragu which is a vegetarian & gluten free option. there's roasted red peppers, zucchini, red onion, kalamata olives, swiss chard, feta, parm & goat cheese in a super flavourful marinara sauce. it's served with a side of quinoa dressed lightly with olive oil, garlic & basil.
small $9  large $18

the other frozen options at the moment are:
beef shepherd's pie
paleo beef shepherd's pie
 chicken parmesan
turkey & dressing pie
moroccan meatballs
sweet & sour pork meatballs
smokey mac & cheese
pasta primavera

there are a couple small chile pork & cornbreads left and i think 1 small brisket & blue.

there are a ton of salads this week - FIVE varieties in fact!
quinoa: gluten free, vegan, fennel, olive, grapefruit, pomegranate, parsley, honey
potato: gluten free, vegan, cucumber, green bean, celery, radishes, dill, parsley, kale, dijon
beet: pears, wheatberries, kale, goat cheese, red wine vinegar, maple syrup
asian slaw: gluten free, vegan, paleo, red & green cabbage, red peppers, carrots, cucumbers, ginger, lime, cilantro, peanuts, coconut milk, chillies
broccoli: gluten free, paleo, almonds, cranberries, peppers, red onion, sunflower seeds, double smoked bacon (vegetarian option)

there are tons of sweets at both locations as well.

leslie & i will be set up to accept credit cards & to sell gift certificates at both locations.

ok time to sleep.

Friday, November 28, 2014

small business saturday

hopefully you've all survived the hooplah of black friday & can make it out tomorrow to support local businesses on 'small business saturday!' black friday is stupid (yup i said it) and makes no sense in canada, it just encourages people to waste money at the giant big box stores and line the pockets of jerkface ceo's. small business saturday encourages people to keep their money local and make more unique & interesting purchases.

end rant.

i won't be at the market on sunday this week but hopefully everyone is able to pop by tomorrow. don't forget, when you come to the market, take a gander upstairs & in the pavilion - it's where most of the artists & craftspeople have ended up since the big shuffle. there's lots to offer if you're looking for great gift ideas.

ok, back to food.

i had a busy, busy week. the menu is very well rounded again :)

festive, chocolate-peppermint brownies are back!

they're gluten free & grain free!

in honour of american thanksgiving, turkey & dressing pies are back. they're a convenient way to enjoy all the flavours of a thanksgiving dinner in one bite.

small $10  large $20

i used all the white meat in the pies and all the dark meat in a big batch of turkey stew.

it also has turnips, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, peas, savoury & sage - hard core comfort food & perfect as we head in to cold & flu season.

this week i also made a whole whack of shepherd's pies. i bought 30 pounds of getaway farm beef so hopefully i have enough to last a couple of weeks. i made the regular version with cheddar-green onion mash & a paleo (& dairy free) version with sweet potato puree.

small $10  large $20

and continuing with orange food, i made a batch of carrot, apple, ginger soup. it's vegan, gluten free & paleo. there are lots of warm spices like star anise & cinnamon but it's not spicy like some of my other soups.

it's $7 per 500ml serving just like all my soups.

then i went out to the garden & picked some kale.

kale is the best - i can't believe it's still going strong & that i haven't used it all yet! it made its way in to two of the three salads this week.

vegan potato & kale

beet & kale (vegan & regular versions)

there's broccoli salad too but everyone know what that looks like by now.

ok just a few desserts to portion & i'm done for the night & it's a reasonable hour!!!

hope to see you at the market tomorrow :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

bring on the comfort food

i just checked the forecast for's depressing.

if you plan on hibernating, swing by my table at the market first to stock up on food. my menu is back to normal & i have lots of classic comfort foods to get you through this first official cold snap.

i made three new main courses this week.

the first is the ultimate in comfort food - smokey mac & cheese. it's seriously cheesy with foxhill cheese curds, parmesan, mozzarella & aged cheddar. there's also double smoked bacon, roasted tomatoes, corn, scallions & a touch of chipotle to add extra smokiness.

small $9  large $18

then i made sweet & spicy pork meatballs using getaway farm's pastured pork. the sauce it nice & tangy and filled with bell peppers, pineapple, carrots, green onions, lime & cilantro. it's served with a side of basmati rice. it's both gluten & dairy free.

small $10  large $20

and lastly, i made moroccan beef meatballs using getaway farm's grassfed beef. they're served in a piquant tomato sauce with fennel seed, sumac, dates, olives, roasted peppers, zucchini & swiss chard. the side dish is harissa quinoa with toasted almonds, green onions & citrus. this is another gluten free, dairy free option.

small $10  large $20

the salads this week are exactly the same as last week: potato & kale, beet & wheatberry, broccoli & bacon.

i do have a couple of new sweet selections this week.

gingerbread cupcakes will be back for the holiday season.

gluten free, spicy chocolate brownies are back.

and i have a brand new treat!

i'm calling them snickerdoodle muffins. they're muffins that are rather reminiscent of cake doughnuts. i added a touch of lemon to make them a bit more interesting & then rolled them in cinnamon sugar to add to their doughnut qualities. i think that they'd be excellent with a cup of coffee for a market morning treat :)

ok time to rest up before another busy weekend...i'm not really relishing the thought of packing the car at 4:30 tomorrow morning in the freezing cold...stupid winter.

sleep well.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Operation Restock

this week i wasn't preoccupied with 37 cakes so i took the time to restock my freezers in a big way.

i started off the week replenishing soups. i made three flavours and they are all vegan, gluten free & paleo!

first up was beet, parsnip & pear:

the sweetness of the parsnips & pears really rounds out the beets. i add some fresh dill at the end just to liven things up a bit.

then it was curried butternut squash:

this batch is not nearly as spicy as i typically make it. there's lots of warm spices, a touch of heat, coconut milk, lime & cilantro.

and finally, i made chai spiced cauliflower soup:

this soup features fennel seed, cardamom & star anise. it's nice and creamy - without using any dairy - with a touch of citrus to brighten it up.

then it was on to meals.

i've had a ton of requests for brisket & blue & it's finally back on the menu this week.

it's red wine braised beef brisket from getaway farm with caramelized onions, turnips & whole grain mustard. it comes with a side of creamy, blue cheese gnocchi, roasted beets & kale. there is also a paleo version with glazed parsnips & carrots in place of the gnocchi.

then it was on to my absolute favourite dish - chile pork & cornbread.

it's big chunks of braised pork shoulder stirred in to a thick chili with blacks beans, bell peppers, corn, chipotle, lime & pickled jalapenos. then it's topped with cheddar cornbread crumbles & green onions. these are most of my favourite flavours combined in to one dish.

then it was time for chicken parmesan - another all time fave!

it's buttermilk marinated chicken breaded with panko & parmesan. it's served over a robust tomato sauce with roasted red peppers, basil & swiss chard and comes with buttered pasta & a generous helping of cheese.

there's also a paleo version with mushrooms, bell peppers and zucchini in place of the pasta & no panko on the chicken.

and with that, the freezers are full once more.

i have another big week planned for next week and then my menu should be completely back to normal...just in time for the cold weather to set in :(

i have 3 salads for the weekend too - broccoli, beet & potato. there are lots of vegan, gluten free & dairy free options for folks to choose from.

and of course i will have loads of sweets.
7 flavours of cupcakes
gluten free cupcakes
breakfast cookies
lemon shortbread bars
maple walnut bars
hello dollies
snickers brownies
goat milk fudge

and since it's friday night, of course i just made another cake:

it's been a pretty busy week in the kitchen. it's time for me to get some rest.

this will be the first weekend in a very long time that i will be at the market both days. word on the street is that sundays are getting slower & slower. i'm really hoping that heading in to the holiday season, things turn around a bit. i'm looking forward to seeing lots of familiar faces this weekend & getting back in to the swing of things.

a demain.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

the 37 cake marathon

for those of you following along on my facebook, instagram & twitter feeds last week, you know i made a lot of cake... 37 cakes in fact. 

those who know me well, also know that i hate making cakes. 

this may come as quite a surprise. sure my cakes are pretty & they taste great, but they are a TON of work and super stressful. when i add a single cake to my weekly workload i have to work around it for days, so when i announced that i had accepted an order for 37 cakes for 1 event, people were shocked.

i wasn't even sure if i could do it, but it was a really cool idea for a really cool couple, so i accepted the challenge. adam & ariela got married on sunday. they had a giant wedding. they also wanted to limit the waste generated by their wedding, so they came up with the idea of edible centrepieces instead of a bunch of florals destined for the compost.

when they first came to me with the idea, i had horrible visions of tacky edible arrangements made of out-of-season fruit decked out in chocolate & yogurt. but when they explained they wanted one of my cakes for each table, i warmed up to the idea. it's actually quite flattering that they thought my cakes were pretty enough to stand in for flowers at their wedding.

i was essentially given carte blanche - any flavour, any colour scheme - which is always nice, so i got to play around with palettes & get creative. i've made my fair share of cakes over the past four years so i know which colours work best but i also wanted a nice variety and for the frosting to reflect the flavour hidden within.

there were many, many lists involved with this undertaking. from the # of cakes i wanted to have finished each day, to the pounds of butter i would need, to the delivery schedule, to the cake boards & boxes i would need to transport them to the hotel - there was a lot to consider.  it was rather daunting to think that i had to fill each of these boxes with an ornately frosted cake:

i cleared my schedule for the entire week leading up to their big day. i was quite the recluse just baking & making frosting, designing colour schemes & piping cakes, day in & day out. each cake was two layers with a hefty helping of frosting in between. never before have i gone through so much butter & sugar in a single week.

i was making frosting by the stockpot-ful. 

and thankfully it all came together, i finished slightly ahead of schedule & the cakes were a huge hit at their wedding. this may, in fact, become a new wedding trend - it really is a great idea.

i made 2 or 3 cakes in each of the colour schemes so they had a nice variety.
here they are:


pink grapefruit

pink grapefuit






red velvet-raspberry

red velvet-raspberry





they also ordered 37 dozen mini cupcakes to go with it all!

when it was all said & done my hands ached, my eyeballs burned & i was exhausted, but it may have been the biggest sense of accomplishment i've ever had.

here they all are just before their big debut:

i'd been stressing about this for months & i'm so relieved that it all worked out.