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Red velvet and banana caramelCupcakes

Prairie Girl Bakery owner Jean Blacklock is adamant her confections be baked from scratch using fresh eggs, good-quality chocolate and salted butter, not shortening.

“Shortening is very much cheaper, but it has a really different texture and cheaper baked goods use it, but I think it’s a real trade-away. It gives you an odd mouth feel and not the same flavour as butter,” she says.

Slow cookers bring out the best in pork and Indian flavours

There’s a real joy in slowing down in the kitchen. Gone is the frantic stress of trying to get dinner on the table in an instant and in its place comes a different type of gentle cooking. It allows beautiful smells to waft through the house and ingredients to mingle and develop over time into something deep, rich and flavourful.

7 steps to pairing great wines with hearty winter roasts

Nothing pairs quite so well with a midwinter day as an herb-crusted slab of meat roasting alongside a few root vegetables. And to toast that roast you’ll want a rich, flavourful wine that can stand up to the snappiest of cold snaps.

Here, experts dish up seven tips to pair with heartier fare.

IT’S OK TO ORDER THE MERLOT

Want easy elegance for an Oscars party? Go with crostini

They sound simple. Crostini, that is. Slices of bread that have been brushed with olive oil and toasted, then topped with something that need be no more complex than a sprinkle of salt and a generous rub with a fresh garlic clove. Of course, something more complex is nice, too. I’m talking to you, tomato and Parmesan and anchovy.