Tuesday, May 20, 2014

the royal roundup

yesterday was kind of a big deal for me.

in case you haven't heard, Prince Charles & Camilla were in halifax yesterday and a stop at the seaport market was on their agenda. i knew i had to seize the opportunity to make something memorable. caricature cupcakes of the royal couple were what i came up with & as it turns out, they were quite a hit:

i was a smidge worried they would be offended, but they both got quite a kick out of them...phewf!! they were way more chill than anticipated, even laughing and joking about the cupcakes adorned with their likenesses. 

Leslie Evans (aka my voice doppelganger and stand in at the market) took care of all the grunt work. i am most definitely not technologically inclined or crafty but i knew what i wanted & she made it happen. 

i'm so glad it all came together because they made it in to the daily mail, the national post & apparently loads of other publications across the country!!! 

the market also enlisted me to make a giant cake to mark the occasion. out of everyone in the city they could have asked, they chose me, which was incredibly flattering. i'm so grateful for the opportunity!!! it also meant the pressure was on to create something great...and not drop it on the floor.

i wanted to go with lavender as it has particular significance for the royal family & Prince Charles even carries lavender biscuits in his line of organic foods. but i also wanted some citrus to balance it out, originally i thought lemon but decided that was too plain & went with pink grapefruit for more pizzazz. when i was chatting with Prince Charles (yeah that's right, we chatted) he seemed quite taken with the idea of a pink grapefruit cake :) i also wanted some fresh berries for added brightness.

the lavender was graciously donated by Dave of Seafoam Lavender.

the blackberries were all hiding in the centre.

i thought shades of purple & yellow would be both regal & springlike. so after i assembled the cake, i got to work mixing up the shades. this stage of cake building is one of the hardest & most time consuming. here's a work in progress shot after i had 7 shades mixed up:

and there were still a few more to go...

then i got to frosting. the pictures don't really do it justice but the cake was really big - 15 inches in diameter before frosting & four full batches of cupcakes! i finished frosting the cake at one in the morning. Prince Charles really noticed all of the detail work & asked how much time went in to it. when i told him i finished at one, he told me 'i needed a stiff drink when i got home!' - what a guy.

here are some of my favourite shots:

as the royals approached my table, we were swarmed by photographers, it seriously felt like the paparazzi. with the commemorative cake & the royal cupcakes, i anticipated a few photos being taken but i never expected anything like what happened. leslie & i just stood behind the table, awkwardly giggling because we were so overwhelmed...it was sort of awesome!

Charles & Camilla stopped & chatted for much longer than i expected. we were briefed on how to greet them - curtsying was at our discretion - but they both shook our hands & were much more laid back than i would have guessed. it was so great that they were able to see all the hard work that went in to everything - super rewarding.

and then they were whisked away & the cake was cut up & handed out to everyone around.

and then my cake looked like this:

but that's not all.

i was also asked to cater a tea that Camilla was attending over in dartmouth. i met Tara Grude through the halifax crafters society - we were table neighbours at a tibs pop up show. she loved my table display & treats, so automatically thought of me to provide the catering for the event.

for the menu, i was thinking british high tea & went with:

lemon shortbread bars with fresh raspberries
white chocolate & cranberry cookies
assorted pastel cupcakes
lavender cream scones with butter & jam

so the royals were in town for 1 day & i was asked to bake for 2 events - hard to believe!!!

it has been such a whirlwind. on friday i catered in the morning, then ran around buying more butter & eggs for all the extra royal baking, and as soon as i got home, cbc called & wanted to come over to interview me. i was in the middle of baking & trying to get organized for the weekend, i had to holler to my mum in the back yard, 'come wash the dishes, cbc's coming over!' not what you'd typically hear in a back yard in prospect village.

the exposure has been unbelievable & the positive feed back so gratifying. i'm so glad it all worked out, i was more than a little stressed! 

i wonder who'll come to visit the market next...

Friday, May 16, 2014

i'm tired

it's official, may is kicking my butt.

i'm really tired. it's late. here is the briefest blog in the history of blogs.

braised beef: red wine, pears, caramelized onions, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, kale, grilled root veg, chive polenta. gluten free.

small $10 large $20

paleo & dairy free version:

small $10

jerk chicken: super awesome, homemade jerk marinade, grilled pineapple salsa, rice & beans, lime & cilantro. gluten free. dairy free. paleo option available.

small $10 large $20


beet. vegan but FULL of gluten.

potato. vegan & gluten free.

broccoli. vegan, gluten free & paleo...don't worry i have some with bacon too ;)

the sweets are the same as usual.

i'll try to sit down & write a better blog tomorrow night, i've had a lot of adventures over the past two weeks that i need to document.

ok goodnight.

Friday, May 2, 2014

busy season

well it seems like a i never really had a 'non-busy season,' which is a pretty good thing, but now the catering jobs are coming fast & furious. next week will be the biggest EVER!!! i'm catering a bat mitzvah luncheon for 190 people, as well as the shabbat dinner. 

leslie will be working my table next saturday with baked goods & frozen foods but no salads - there's just no time to make them. then on mother's day i won't be at the market at all - make sure to pick up her goodies on saturday! 

this week was my last week of calm for the foreseeable future and i seized the opportunity to stock the freezers.

first up was smokey mac & cheese. the smokiness comes from brother's double smoked bacon, smoked chipotle peppers & a touch of cumin. the dish is rounded out with roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh corn, green onions, foxhill cheese curds, cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan & a panko crust.

small $9  large $18

then it was time for some carrot, apple, ginger soup. it's vegan, paleo & gluten free. there are lots of spices happening, like star anise & cardamom, but this one isn't spicy like the curried butternut squash.

$7 - 500ml serving

then thai green curry took over the kitchen. i made a green curry chicken soup; there's bok choy, peppers, carrots, celery, 5-spice, sesame, coconut, lime, cilantro & green onions. it's very similar to the thai chicken & rice soup i typically make, minus the soy & rice so it's gluten free and paleo.

it's really packed with goodies!
$7-500ml serving

and finally, i made some green curry tofu. there's a ton of ginger, coconut, basil, cilantro & lime. the veggies are: zucchini, eggplant (not very much), red pepper, cherry tomatoes & bok choy. it's paired with a mixture of millet & rice that's tossed with a little sesame oil. there's a bit of fish sauce but otherwise it's vegan. it's completely gluten free & dairy free, and rather spicy.

small $9  large $18

last week was absolutely bananas for salads - i think i was completely sold out before noon. i made bigger batches this week so hopefully there won't be as many disappointed faces. there's millet with asparagus, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, arugula, dill & basil, which i forgot to take a picture of.


with kale, pears, fennel, basil & red wine vinaigrette. most have goat cheese, but i made a bunch without so they're vegan.

sweet potato:

it's the usual with lime, cilantro, chipotle, cumin, peppers, tomatoes & avocados. this one is paleo, gluten free & vegan.

ok a couple odds & ends left to finish up in the kitchen, but i'm almost ready for the market this weekend.
saturday: 7am-3pm
sunday: 9am-3pm

ps: the royals are coming to the market (!!!!!) may 19th. it coincides with a really exciting 'cultivate' event as well - mark your calendars...buy a fascinator...