#Recipe More ways with Mustard

These recipes began life as part of quest to use locally produced goods in my recipes whilst at the same time peddling for some coverage (I am a “struggling artist” after all!) Using unexpected ingredients in unexpected places is something that I love doing- creating a talking piece as well as something delicious. The recipes here take mustard, an ingredient traditionally confined to the realms of condiment and served in unadulterated accompaniment with (mainly) savoury dishes and use it an ingredient in ways elevated beyond that of a cold cuts sidekick.

From the outset I wanted to include a “sweet” dish or bake in this bunch of recipes. The turnovers drew inspiration from that quintessential combination of pork, apple and mustard. What would happen if I removed the pork element of the dish? A juicy fruit pocket with a comforting earthy taste and slight sweetness. Lightly warm them and you have a great coffee break treat.

My cheese, herb & mustard biscuit recipe is my take on that stalwart recipe of any Canadian baker- the savoury biscuit. The flavour of the mustard adds a depth of flavour so that it’s like sampling the most perfect cheeseboard in each bite. By sheer coincidence (and luck?) they go very well with the last recipe for Dutch Mustard Soup.

This soup is based on a traditional soup from the Netherlands that I came across in the course of researching uses for mustard as an ingredient. Don’t be put off by the name. It is no way pungent or strong flavoured like you might imagine. The dairy elements of the soup give it a mildness and creaminess that help to highlight the mustard seeds flavours, without letting it take over.

Apple & Cranberry Turnover (2)

Apple & Cranberry Turnovers

Makes 8


  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups chopped Granny Smith apple (peeled) (2-3 apples)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Maple flavor mustard (I used Kozliks Amazing Maple)
  • 1 lb puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg white
  • sugar for sprinkling

Apple & Cranberry Turnover (1)


  1. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Once melted add apples, sugars and mustard. Fry until apples are softened and other ingredients start to thicken. Remove from heat and cool
  2. Line two baking trays with baking parchment
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  4. Make an egg wash with one large egg white and 1 tablespoon of water by whisking them together
  5. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into four equal rectangles measuring 5 x 6 -inches each. Place 2-3 Tablespoons of cooled apple filling on one side of the rectangle and brush edges with egg wash. Fold the dough over the filling to make a 5 x 3-inch rectangle. Press to seal the edges and using a fork to crimp and seal the edges. Use a sharp knife to cut a few slits in the top of each hand pie for ventilation
  6. Repeat with the second sheet pf pasty
  7. Brush pies with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar
  8. Place 4 turnovers on each baking tray
  9. Bake for 15 before rotating trays and swapping shelves minutes. Bake for a further  or  minutes until golden brown and puffed up
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 20 mins before trying

Apple & Cranberry Turnover (3)

Cheese & Mustard Biscuits (1)

Cheese, Herb & Mustard Biscuits

Makes 12


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter cubed
  • 1 cup strong cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons mustard (I used Kozliks Balsamic Fig & Date)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg


  1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C)
  2. In bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs
  3. In a separate jug whisk together the buttermilk, egg and mustard
  4. Stir into flour mixture with fork to make soft dough

    With lightly floured hands, press dough into ball. On lightly floured surface, knead gently to a maximum of 10 times

  5. Pat into 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick round. Using floured 2-1/2-inch (6 cm) round cutter, cut into rounds
  6. Place on lined baking tray and bake in oven until golden, 12 to 15 minutes
  7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack

Cheese & Mustard Biscuits (2)

Soup & Biscuits (3)

Dutch Mustard Soup


  • 4 ounces streaky bacon, chopped
  • 2 TB unsalted butter
  • 2 TB all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 4 TB coarse grain mustard (I used Kozliks Triple Crunch)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock

Dutch Mustard Soup (1)


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered and the pieces are crispy. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside, and drain pan of all bacon grease
  2. In the same pan, add the butter and the onion. Melt the butter butter and saute the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and coat the onions, stirring until the flour is a cooked, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and mustard, and bring to a boil
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and, using a stick blender, puree until smooth. Add the cream and the cheese and stir constantly until the cheese is melted and well incorporated
  4. Top with a sprinkling of the bacon, and serve

Soup & Biscuits (2)

I’d like to state that although these recipes use Kozliks Canadian Mustard, this post was in no way paid for or sponsored by the people at Kozliks.

If you are interested in collaborating with me at Mr. Mom’s on a project, whether it’s food, baking, photography or writing,  you can contact me at chef@mrmoms.kitchen


#Recipe Station Cold Brew Coffee Company- Food Collaboration

Title 2

Before moving to Canada I’d never really heard of cold brew coffee. I guess it was something that maybe slipped under the radar of my London life in the deluge of Hoxton Hipsters, deconstructed menus and “free-from” frenzies. But here in Toronto it’s huge. In fact “huge” is too small a word to relay how prominent it is. Now that the “Unicorn” and “Fraken-Frappe” craze has passed, “Cold Brew Coffee” is THE thing- each and every coffee shop having their own take on it.

I’ve tried (quite) a few and hand on heart, whilst the other one is holding my coffee, the best one I’ve tried is by the team at Station Cold Brew Coffee. Available in a variety of formats from the travel-friendly stubby to their innovative “Nitro Can” to the customisable concentrate (and so much more) there’s something to suit coffee-lovers galore. You can find out more about them here. You can also catch the team on Dragon’s Den airing September 28th at 8.00pm EST/PST on CBC.

I have already mentioned that I think Station Cold Brew Coffee is the best and since I only work with the best, we teamed up to do a collaboration. You’ll find here a collection recipes showcasing their wonderful caffeine-laced beverage. Ranging from sweet to savory the recipes feature Station Cold Brew Coffee in unexpected, but always delicious, ways. I do hope you enjoy!

Station Brewnies (7)

Station BREWnies

A few years ago one of my brownie recipes picked up an Observer Food Monthly award for Best Readers Recipe. The recipe combined chocolate, chilli…oh, and crispy bacon! It’s a pretty good example of my recipe development ethos- think outside the box! This recipe for Station BREWnies is kind of a redux, a 2.0 version combining chocolate, crispy bacon, and this time, coffee. I hope you enjoy!

Makes 9 or 12, dependent on selected baking tin



  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 6 ½ oz dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/3 cup Station Cold Brew Concentrate
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups packed, golden yellow sugar
  • 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup 100% unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecan pieces


  • 2 oz semi-sweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Bacon shards

  • 3 strips of unsmoked bacon (or 4 if making 12 brewnies)
  • 2 tablespoons pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons golden yellow sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Station Cold Brew Concentrate

*Equipment note:

This mix will yield 9 Brewnies if made in an 8”x8”x1.5” deep proprietary silicone brownie pan, or 12 brewnies if made in a standard 12”x9”x1”deep baking pan


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and grease, or line, the baking pan if using. If you are using a proprietary silicone brownie pan there is no need to prep it (see Equipment note above)
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or bain-marie), stirring occasionally. Once melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until the mixture is thickened, fluffy and increased in volume
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt
  5. Add the cold brew concentrate to the cooled chocolate/butter mixture, and stir to combine
  6. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
  7. Sift in the dry ingredients, and fold together.
  8. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecan pieces until well combined.
  9. Pour your mixture into your chosen pan and gently spread to level the surface.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 mins if using deeper proprietary brownie pan, or for 20-25 minutes if using shallower baking pan
  11. When done remove from oven and leave to cool completely in the pan before removing or cutting into squares

Bacon (Step 1)

  1. Chop each bacon strip into 3. You should end up with 9 or 12 pieces (depending on your final number of brewnies) and place in a bowl
  2. Add the cold brew concentrate and mix with the bacon pieces. Set aside and leave to soak
  3. Chop the pecan pieces until fine. Add to a bowl with the sugar and mix. Set aside until needed


  1. Gently heat the heavy cream in a in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (or bain-marie), stirring occasionally. Don’t let it boil- you want it just hot enough to bare putting a finger in. When ready, remove it from the heat, add the chocolate pieces and stir to melt
  2. Continue stirring until the mixture is well combined and glossy. It will look a little separated and mottled at first but if you keep stirring it will come together in a uniform mixture. Set aside to cool and thicken

Bacon (Step 2)

  1. Set your oven to medium high broil
  2. Remove the bacon pieces from the cold brew concentrate and dredge in the pecan/ sugar mixture. Press so the mixture sticks
  3. Place on a foil lined baking tray, top each piece with any additional pecan/ sugar mixture and place until the broiler grill under they start to crisp and bubble. DO NOT leave unattended as they won’t take long and you don’t want them to catch!
  4. Remove when done and leave to cool

To finish

  1. Once all components have cooled you are ready to assemble
  2. Smear the top of each brewnie with some ganache and top with a bacon piece
  3. Serve and enjoy. They go particularly well with an ice-cold Station Cold Brew!

**The “done-ness” of the brewnies can be checked by inserting a skewer, cocktail stick or toothpick into the mixture about 1” from the edge. It should come out with a little mixture/ crumbs attached.

Station Brewnies (5)

Kickstarter Overnight Oats (2)

Kickstarter Overnight Oats

We’ve all been there. You’ve hit the snooze button too many times so now you’re rushing around in a manic frenzy. One sock on whilst you jam a slice of toast in your mouth and running out the door is never a good way to start the day! These overnight oats massively cut corners and give you a filling and satisfying breakfast. Combining a hearty helping of oats and fruit with your (much needed) cup of coffee you’ll be making those meetings in no time at all!

Serves 1


  • ¼ cup Quick Oats
  • ½ cup Jumbo Oats
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup Station Cold Brew concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • Berries, to taste
  • Nut and seed mix, to taste


1 medium Kilner jar or Mason jar


  1. Place the quick oats and jumbo oats in a Kilner jar or Mason jar and stir to mix
  2. Add in the almond milk, cold brew concentrate, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Stir well until all ingredients are well mixed
  3. Close the jar and place in the refrigerator overnight or for 7 hours minimum
  4. When ready to serve, remove from the refrigerator and stir. Add the berries, nuts and seeds to top
  5. Serve and enjoy a tasty kickstart to your morning routine!

Kickstarter Overnight Oats (3)

Pork n Beans n Joe (3)

Pork n Beans n Joe

Pork and beans is one of my all time favourite recipes. Comforting, filling and so tasty it begs to be on everyone’s “Know How” list. This recipe came from the mental image of a Wild West campfire. The cowboys surrounding it comparing stories and scars whilst filling their hungry bellies. And what  better way to wash it down? A cup of joe!

Dependent on serving portions, usually a good serving of 4


  • ¼ cup shallots, chopped finely
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or chopped finely
  • 4 slices thick cut peameal bacon, or pork loin, chopped into pieces
  • 1 tin (540ml) tin white kidney beans or haricot beans
  • ½ cup tomato sauce (pasatta)
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon tomato concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (I use maple mustard)
  • ½ cup Station Cold Brew concentrate
  • Salt and Pepper, to season


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C
  2. Lightly fry the garlic and shallots in a tablespoon oil in a skillet.
  3. Add the bacon pieces and continue to fry until browned. Remove from heat and leave to cool until needed
  4. Empty the contents of the beans tin (incl water) into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients
  5. Stir well to combine
  6. Add the bacon/shallots/garlic mixture, season with salt and pepper stir well again
  7. Transfer to complete bean mixture to a baking dish (mine is 9 ½” diameter x 1.5” deep) and place in preheated oven
  8. Bake for 50-60mins, stirring occasionally
  9. The liquid will reduce and the overall mixture thicken. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy! Try topping with cheese shreds, and serving alongside crusty loaf

Pork n Beans n Joe (1)

Early Bird Cinnamon Rolls (1)

Earlybird Cinnamon Rolls

Saturday mornings mean cinnamon rolls in my house. I guess you could say it’s become somewhat of a tradition since my family and I moved here to Canada. Mornings (in general!) also mean something else to me – coffee. In the words of wise Chief Hopper (Stranger Things) “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation”. The recipe for these rolls combines my favourite things of a weekend morning- cinnamon rolls slathered in cream cheese frosting and coffee. Definitely cause for contemplation.

Makes 12


Roll dough

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons quick rise yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup Station Cold Brew concentrate
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup fine sugar


  • 2 teaspoons fresh cardamom seeds, crushed finely
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar


  • 1 cup (8 oz block) cream cheese
  • ¼ stick unsalted butter
  • 2 cups icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Station Cold Brew Concentrate
  • Zest 1 orange


12”x9”x1”deep baking pan


  1. Gently heat the milk and butter over a medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Remove and leave to cool.
  2. When cooled, add in the cold brew concentrate and olive oil, stir to combine and set aside until needed
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer (with dough hook attachment in place) combine the flour, yeast (to one side) and salt (to opposite side)
  4. Add the egg and start the mixer on a low setting
  5. Pour the liquid mixture into flour mixture in a steady stream
  6. When all the liquid has been added increase the setting to medium and mix for 8 minutes, until all the mixture comes together into a dough ball and the bowl sides are clean
  7. While the dough is mixing lightly oil a large bowl
  8. After 8 minutes of mixing remove the dough from tip the dough from the mixer bowl into the pre-oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling wrap. Leave to rise until doubled in size
  9. While the dough is rising, make the filling
  10. In a bowl combine the butter, brown sugar, cardamom seeds and cinnamon
  11. Beat (either by hand or electric beater) until fully combined and fluffy. Set aside until needed
  12. When dough has doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface
  13. Punch and knead the dough, for about 5 mins, until all the air has been expelled from it (called “Knocking Back”)
  14. Stretch and shape with your hands into a long rectangular shape, approximately 16” x20”
  15. Spread the butter mixture over the dough, covering the entire surface
  16. Starting from the long edge, roll the dough into a tight log shape
  17. Trim off the uneven ends and then slice the remainder into 12 equal slices
  18. Place the roll slices into your prepared tin, cut side up, in a 3 x 4 arrangement
  19. Cover with oiled cling wrap and allow to rise until double in size again, about 45- 60 minutes
  20. Preheat your oven to 350F/180C
  21. Bake the risen roll sin your preheated oven for 25- 30 mins, until golden. (If the rolls start to brown too quickly at the edges, cover with foil and continue to bake until all are baked)
  22. Remove from the oven when baked and set aside to cool while you make the glaze
  23. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine whip the cream cheese and butter until fluffy
  24. Add in the cold brew concentrate, orange zest, 1 cup of icing sugar and whip until well combined
  25. Add in the second cup of icing sugar and whip until smooth and well combined
  26. Spread the cream cheese topping over the warm rolls to your preferred thickness
  27. Serve warm and oozing the topping!

*Breakfast Make Ahead

If you want to start your day in a tasty Station Cold Brew way, these can be made up to step 19. Place the cling wrap covered rolls in the refrigerator and let them have their second rise overnight. In the morning, remove the rolls and allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before final baking. You can also make the cream cheese topping the night before, cover with cling wrap and have it ready for spreading on the baked rolls.

Early Bird Cinnamon Rolls (2)

Coffee & Walnut Cake (3)

Coffee & Walnut Bundt Cake

Here is a revamp on that classic British baked staple- the Coffee & Walnut cake. I’m sure Mary Berry would spit out her battenburg at the thought of tampering which such a classic (if she were ever to read this?) but irreverence can sometimes taste oh so delicious! Spiking the cake with blackcurrant provides a pleasing tangy contrast to the delicious sponge. The glaze and nuts are just an excuse to add more of that wonderful coffee flavour. If you like Coffee and Walnut cake, I’m sure you’ll love this.

Makes 1 large bundt cake


Bundt Cake

  • 3 ¼ cups cake & pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 sticks butter, softened and cubed
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Station Cold Brew Concentrate
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ¾ cup blackcurrant conserve


  • ¼ cup Station Cold Brew Concentrate
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup


  • 1 cup icing (confectioners) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Station Cold Brew Concentrate

Candied Walnuts

  • 14 walnut halves, lightly toasted
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/8 cup Station Cold Brew Concentrate


  • 10-Cup bundt cake tin

Coffee & Walnut Cake (7)


Bundt Cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350/180
  2. Prepare your bundt tin by coating either liberally with softened butter and flour, or cake release spray. Ensure every crevice receives ample coating
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for approximately 10 minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Sift into a different bowl. Set aside until needed
  5. In a skillet over a medium height, lightly toast the walnuts. Stir them frequently to make sure they don’t catch and burn. Remove from the heat an skillet, leave to cool for a few minutes, then roughly chop. Set aside until needed
  6. In a jug combine the sour cream, coffee concentrate and vanilla extract. Set aside until needed
  7. Fill a piping bag with the blackcurrant jam. Tie and set aside until needed
  8. After 10 minutes of creaming the butter/sugar, reduce the beater speed to slow and add the eggs one at a time, alternating with 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture
  9. Increase the beater speed to medium and continue to add the flour mixture 2-3 tablespoons at a time, mixing well in between. The mixture will get quite thick and stiff
  10. Once all the flour mixture has been added, add in the liquid coffee mixture, pouring in a steady stream. Continue to mix until well combined
  11. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the cooled, chopped walnut pieces
  12. Fill the bundt tine with half the cake batter. Using a teaspoon or small spatula knife create a shallow trough in the middle of the batter, all the way around the tin
  13. Pipe the jam into the trough all the way around the tin
  14. Add the remaining cake batter ensuring that the jam ring is completely covered. Gently level the surface of the batter
  15. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 mins. You can test with a skewer but be aware that you may hit the jam ring so some jam may come out on the skewer. You just don’t want any cake batter
  16. When baked remove from oven and set aside to cool on a rack


  1. While the baked cake is cooling prepare the syrup. In a jug add the coffee concentrate and maple syrup, and whisk well to combine
  2. After 10 mins of the cake cooling use a skewer or cocktail stick to make random holes over the surface of the cake
  3. Drizzle it over the cake 1 tablespoon at a time until it has all been added
  4. Allow the cake to cool fully

Candied Walnuts

  1. While your cake continues to cool, make the candied walnuts to top the finished cake
  2. In a saucepan add the dark brown sugar, coffee concentrate, walnuts and heat over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and continue to heat for 5-8 minutes – stirring frequently to ensure the walnut laves are coated in the sugar mixture
  4. Remove from the heat and carefully place the mixture on a lined parchment tray. Using the forks separate each of the nuts, allow to cool and set. *Please be extremely careful here as the molten sugar mixture can burn. DO NOT attempt to separate the nuts using your fingers!

To finish the cake

  1. When the cake has fully cooled, invert and remove it from the tin
  2. In a large jug combine the icing (confectioners) sugar and coffee concentrate. Whisk until you have a smooth, viscous liquid.
  3. Drizzle the glaze over the bundt cake in a desired pattern. You can cover the cake surface completely or drizzle in strands. Using a spoon may help you here.
  4. When the glaze has been added, place the candied walnuts on the surface in a pattern to your liking
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Coffee & Walnut Cake (22)

*The cold brew coffee concentrate used in the recipes in this post was supplied free of charge by Station Cold Brew Coffee Company.

For further disclaimer information please see here

See you in the next cartoon…


First things first, in the words of one of my culinary idols, some parting advice…


I’m still here! I just wanted to clear that up. I know it’s been quite some time since I lst posted anything here but I’ve been otherwise occupied with the other great occupation in my life- my family. To cut a long story short- we’re moving…to Canada! Toronto to be precise, in a couple of weeks.

Those of you that know me and have followed my social streams and blog will know that I have a bizarrely preternatural love for Canada. In case you missed it, or have arrived late to the party (hey! hello!..pull up a stool and grab a drink!) here’s my post about the catalytic visit to Toronto.


So yes! After 14 years in the UK, 1 husband , two kids, an architectural career and a baking business later I’m off to the land of Mounties and Maple Syrup. It may be a while until I get to post something on here again but do keep watch on my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for updates. In the meantime, I’d like to thank all of you for following me on this wonderfully fragrant, tasty and sometimes frenetic journey that has been Mr. Mom’s. Triumphs have lifted me, frustrations have tempered me and failures have winded me but they’ve all paved a long and winding road which now leads into the West. So long for now and see you in the next cartoon…



Don’t say, We have come now to the end,

White shores are calling,

You and I will meet again.

And all will turn

To silver glass.

A light on the water,

Grey ships pass

Into the West.


#Recipe Peanut Butter Cream Pie

If you’ve read my previous post on Toronto you may remember me mentioning a favourite restaurant there – The Gabardine. (If you haven’t you can read it here). One of the desserts I had the pleasure of trying was a Peanut Butter Cream Pie. I had never had it before and had no idea what it was but it sure sounded good. And boy, I was not disappointed! I can only describe it as a lighter version of a cheesecake with moreish peanut buttery goodness abound. Ever since then I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind and so set about trying to receate it. Not to detract from chef Graham Pratt’s original of course- the best form of flattery is, afterall, imitation.

For me this is one of those dishes that is truly evocative of a time in my life. One bite and I’m instantly back in the bright buttermilk interior of The Gabrdine, smelling herby puff pastry and smoked ham, cheeks gently puckering from a chilled Sauvignon, all the while watching the Torontonian business clique milling back to their desks. Typing this oddly stirs subtle pangs almost of homesickness. I hope to get back there some day- and hopfully try another slice of pie!

So with it being Peanut Butter Lovers Day today (seriously who decides these things?) it’s the perfect time for posting the recipe for my version of it.

Peanutbutter Cream Pie- Recipe Image

For the Pie

250g Digestive biscuits
5 tablespoons Melted butter
50g Demerara sugar
75g Salted peanuts
160g Icing suga
280g Cream cheese
230g Smooth peanut butter
230ml Double cream, lighlty whipped

To finish

150ml Double cream, whipped

You’ll also need a 9″ x 1″ or 1.5″ deep circular pie dish

  • In a food processor blend the digestive biscuits, Demerara sugar and salted peanuts.
  • Whilst blitzing drizzle in the melted butter. Blitz to rough breadcrumbs stage.
  • Pour into a pie dish and press into the base and sides using a metal spoon.
  • Place the crumb lined pie dish into the refrigerator to set at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
  • In a stand mixer blend the icing sugar and cream cream until smooth.
  • Add in the smooth peanut butter and mix again to combine.
  • Gently fold in the whipped cream. Don’t stir too much as this will whip the cream even more and make the filling “heavy”.
  • When the whipped cream is fully folded in, pour/ spoon the filling into the set crumb base, and smooth the top.Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
  • When ready to serve remove from the fridge and top with the remaining whipped cream.
  • Slice, and serve (with additional whipped cream if you really want to treat yoursefl!)

Maple syrup and more

So finally I’ve managed to snag some time to post here about my recent trip to Toronto. It’s only taken the best part of a month! Seriously- where did that go?!?!? Anyway before time moves on even quicker I CANNOT wait to tell you about the city of Toronto and what it has to offer. Most of what I say will indeed be food orientated but hey- why else would you be here?

We decided to take adavantage of a child-free week (thanks to family!) and jet off to the land of bacon and maple syrup, Apologies for the massive stereotyping there but they do make hella’ good bacon and no one, but no one, does maple syrup like the Canadians.

2015-06-29 10.19.58

Our first day there and I had a couple of hours to myself as my husbear was getting some business meetings out of the way. First on my checklist (and you’d better believe I had a checklist!) was St. Lawrence Food Market. If you’re a foodie and you’re in Toronto, you MUST go here. It’s the Mecca for mezze; the Valhalla for veal; the…you get what I’m saying? I arrived there not long after opening so there weren’t many people and it was fantastic to be able to meander the hall at a leisurely pace taking in a myriad of sounds and smells- meat being cut on the bone; cheeses; freshly baked breads; smoky tendrilled BBQs being fired up; ice being tumbled onto gleaming fish; freshly roasted coffee beans – this was seriously foodie heaven. Suffice to say I spent most of the free time I had here. In fact I had to take in a few laps of the hall as my first couple were spent in complete, child-like wonder at every new stall and culinary treasure trove I found.

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2015-06-30 09.41.29

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One delight I didn’t manage to partake of was a peameal bacon roll from Carousel Bakery. Consosting of lean back bacon rolled in cornmeal, or “peameal” and served in a soft roll, this apparently is a national insitute with near legendary reviews on the internet. It’s available served in a number of ways from additions of fried eggs and cheese to just good ol’ fashioned mustard. It’s the breakfast sandwich of choice for many discerning Torontonians.

2015-06-30 09.50.12-2And so on to my next Toronto “Bucket list” destination- “The Gabardine”. I cannot rave about this place enough! Sitauted in the finacial/ business district it’s a haven for suits and secretaries alike so I’d recommed going there slightly after what you would expect to be business lunch time. On our first visit we arrived at 1.30pm and not long after being seated the majority of diners left to go back to work. It seems the Torontonian lunch hour is a little ahead of the Britisih one. There were two things on our “must-try” list- the Mac and Cheese, and the Chicken Pot Pie. I’m not normally a pie type of guy (believe it or not!?!) but after seein this featured on TV I knew I needed this in my life! Rich, creamy and utterly, utterly comforting this was a chicken pie of dreams. Not at all scrimping on the filling of mosit chunks of meat and sublimely favoured herb sauce this needs to be perserved for the sake of humainty. If chicken soup heals, then this pie can raise the dead. The best way to eat it is to break off the surrounding pastry crust and dip in, scooping up rich sauce, whilst harpooning meaty galline nuggets. That way you get the flaky, buttery pastry with the creamy herb sauce and succulent chicken…now just STOP IT!

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The Gabardine: Chicken Pot Pie

My other half opted for the other dish synonimous with The Gabardine – their Mac and Cheese. Being of the more Umami persuassion than me, he opted for the pimped version with ham. Now, we were excpected diced bacon mixed into the cheese sauce, or maybe some lardons to add some extra flavoursome oomph. What arrived was…

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The Gabardine: Mac and Cheese (topped with smoked bacon)

Yup – ham topped Mac and Cheese. Topped with ham chunks the size of sugar cubes and then some! Rich, cheesy (sad to say not cheesy enough) sauce with a crispy hearb crumb and then topped with “man chinks” of smoked ham this was no “sissy side dish” . Now while I say the sauce wasn’t cheesy enough I do reckon this was just a one-off as on another visit we say other diners having the dish and there was plenty of “cheese pull” to be had.

Purely in the name of research, I opted for the pudding special that day. Peanutbutter Cream Pie. I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

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The Gabardine: Peanuttbutter Cream Pie

So you may gather I was particularly fond of this restaurant. You’d be right. So much so that we went back a second time for dinner. I opted to try the special of “Korean Fried Cauliflower”- and I was not diappointed. This indeed was a special dish.  Cauliflower was fried and transformed into crispy, sweetly spicy morsels with jam-like stickiness served with green leaves and creme fraiche. If you’re there and this is on the menu (or specials board) I whole-heartedly recommend ordering it. Now I normally errupt in Verruca Salt-esque pouting if I can’t see meat on my plate but so good a dish was this that in fact I happily scoffed the lot and ne’er a word of complaint was uttered! This was follwed by the pork chop, hominy and greens. And boy what a pork chop it was. Brined, moist and succulent- I was a happy man indeed. So happy was I, that I completely forgot what my husabnd had ordered for his meal!

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The Gabardine: Korean Fried Cauliflower (l); Pork Chop w/ hominy (top right); House Chocolate Brownie (bottom right)

And that was just one restaurant! The next on my “To Do List” was the fine establishment called “Rock Lobster”. Or rather one of the fine establishments of Rock Lobster.  Part of a trio of seafood resturant set up by Chef Matt Dean Pettit, we went the the Queen West venue. Situated in the Boho/ Alternaitve area of Toronto (think Camden-esque thrift fashion shops and tatoo parlours) it’s still within easy walking distance. In fact so eager were we (well, was I) to get there that we arrived to be one of the first that day for lunch service. Chef Matt has taken seafood and made it appealing- even for me! I digress a little by saying that prior to this we had sampled our first Canadian signature dish that is “Poutine”. Made up of fresh cut fries, topped with “squeaky” cheese curds, and then finished with gravy, this sounds like the stuff of late-night, taxi rank nightmares. In fact it’s quite tasty! Getting back on track it was with much eagerness, and I believe I errupted with a gurgling of, “Nommm!”, that I saw one fo the dishes on the menu was Lobster Poutine – hand-cut fries; cheese curds; Nova Scotia Lobster; lobster bisque gravy and chives. Yes Sir, I’ll take one of those! This along with the Jerk Shrimp Roll were the highlight for me. While the house Lobster Roll was good with creamy, succulent lobster chunks (none of this spreadable, mayo paste nonsense), it was the juicy shrimp and the wonderful punchy jerk spice seasoning that won me over. My only greivance being that they didn’t have my size available in their Rock Lobster T-shirts (Chef Matt, if you read this please feel free to send one over!). Again if you’re in Toronto make sure you make time for a visit to Rock Lobster and feel the Lobster Love.

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Rock Lobster: Lobster Roll (front); Lobster Poutine (l); Deep Fried Clams (r); Jerk Shrimp Roll (back)

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Rock Lobster: Lobster Poutine

Next on our foodie stop was the CN tower and it’s signature resturant 360. Very much a tourist “must do” the CN tower is none-the-less awe inspiring for it’s views of Toronto and surrounding areas. It was from here that we realised just how big the subrban sprawl fo Toronto really is- whilst getting unnaturally freaked out by the glass floor in the observation area. The first few steps onto it are fine, but it’s when you start getting a couple of feet from the solid floor plate that your feet seem to grind to a halt of their own accord!

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Whilst the food at the revolving 360 restuarant is good the main selling point of it are the views afforded from a loction at such a height. Prompt service, to the point of being a little too prompt, gave the venue an air of table-turning and client conveyor-belting. I guess it’s be expected in such a place with massive footfall. Admittedly this was a downside but overall the food was good and we enjoyed the visit here- particularly the aerial views of the neighbouring Hamptons Islands. I would recommend here for lunch, a good place to eat but not to linger too long.

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Dining at CN Tower 360 restaurant

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Speaking of awe ispiring views we decided to go uber-touristy and take a trip to Niagara Falls. Well if you’ve seen The Great Barrier Reef you may as well take in once of the other Wonders of The World, right? We opted for a bus journey that would take us into Niagara-on-the-Lake prior to dropping us at Niagara falls itslef, while stopping at a vineyard en route. All might sound very hectic but was paced really well and I’d throughly recommend it. The vineyeard stop allowed us to sample the Niagara speciality that is “Ice Wine”. Made from picking grapes harvested on the coldest night of the year, so cold in  fact the grapes freeze, this is a crisp, sweet dessert wine that is definately worth sampling. Niagara-on-the- Lake is one of those quaint Colonial towns here everything is apple pie and shiplap boared houses. Ambling along it’s wide, sun-drenched streets with horse drawn carts it was all too easy to forget the frentic pulse of everyday life. But alas the Falls beckoned!  Niagara Falls itself proved to be somewhat of an antithesis with Niagara-on-the-Lake. Gone were the quaint boutiques, open boulevards and porch festooned houses to be replaced with Hard Rock Cafe; traffic ensanred roads and josstling pavements. The Falls themelves are magnificant and the “Maid of the Mist” boat ride places you right in the middle of The Falls- so much so that the obligatory plastic poncho is required. Although you can be soaked to the skin from the spray it’s a worthwhile trip where you can appreciate just how small humankind can be in the face of Mother Nature.

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Ice Wine grapes

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I can hardly write aboout Toronto and not mention Church and Wellesley. Otherwise known as The Gay Village, this has beome a distict in it’s own right. This is where being LGBT has become life, work and leisure- not only were the people are gay, but also the crossings and ATMs! 13 years ago I went to Manchester for Mardi Gras weekend and feel in love with it. My visit here showed me I didn’t have to compartmentalise who I was; to leave being a gay man until the weekend at certain venues, or mind my Ps & Qs with who I was talking to. It was part of something that made up who I was, not defined me. In Manchester I saw people going about their eveyday lives, enjoying and celebrating their lives and loves. I realised I wouldn’t have to go without those things, both large and small, that sometimes can be taken for granted – public displays of affection; a significant other and a family, to nut name a few.  Walking through Church and Wellesley I sensed that same resoulte, steadfast sense of pride around me. Being LGBT wasn’t a taboo here-  it was a cause for celeration and pride. Celebrating everyday life. One sight still sitcks in my mind and at the time made me swell with emotion- an elderly couple of gents walking along arm in arm. Not looking to see if they were being noticed they were too engrossed in their own conversation. Who knows about what? It could have been anything from what to have for dinner, to resolving that morning’s argument, to what color to order the new couch in? The thing was they were having that conversation, arm in arm and not heeding the surrouding world. It was everyday life to them.

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Some of the sights of Church and Wellesley Village

And so that was our trip to Toronto and I loved it. It’s a place of great food, great culture, where the people are friendly and relaxed- free from the hectic pace of life so easily found in London. A place where rush-hour is just that – an hour! Would I go back? Absoluely! But maybe next time it’ll be winter- there’s a hankering to see the place snow covered and white, and feel the bitter chill while walking along Church Street. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off the bath in maple syrup!

In the meantime,

“Remember Mom’s the word- that’s Mr. Mom’s!”