Brie Crostini with Cranberry sauce

Brie Crostini with Cranberry Sauce

We’re bringing in the new year with some festive snacks before dinner. We still had some cranberries in the fridge so I made a quick sauce to put on the brie crostini. I love the bright red colour of cranberries and I love cheese of all kinds. I don’t discriminate. Today it’s brie. Here’s the recipe for the cranberry sauce.


1/2 cup water

4 tsp sugar

1 tsp cherry jam (optional)

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 tsp orange rind

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

In a saucepan, bring your water to a boil. Add the sugar and jam until incorporated. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the cranberries and stir for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cranberries have reduced into a sauce. (You can add a little more water if you want your sauce runnier). Let cool.

In the meantime, top your crostini crackers with brie. Warm them in the over for a couple of minutes. You don’t want to leave them in too long; you just want to warm the brie, not melt it. Top your crostini with the cranberry sauce and fresh herbs.


Candied Cranberries and Cranberry Sauce on Brie

Candied Cranberries and Cranberry Sauce on Brie

I made this for the first time today and I was pretty happy with the result. All the flavours worked really well together. This dish is beautiful, festive and delicious. You can use the candied cranberries to decorate cheese plates, desserts or just serve them as they are. They are a fun addition to any holiday table.

Candied Cranberries:


1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 cup cranberries

1/4 cup sugar (for the topping)

In a sauce pan on medium heat, dissolve 1/3 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water. Heat until sugar has completely dissolved. Take off the heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes before you add the cranberries. If you add the cranberries while the simple syrup is really hot, the cranberries will split.

While the syrup is cooling, sprinkle some sugar onto a plate.

Put the cranberries into the saucepan with the warm simple syrup. Stir them for a few minutes. This will allow the sweet syrup to penetrate the surface of the tart cranberries.

Remove some of the cranberries with a slotted spoon and gently place them onto the plate covered with sugar. Roll the cranberries around in the sugar by shaking the plate until the cranberries are evenly coated in sugar. Carefully remove the sugar coated cranberries and gently place them on another plate. Repeat this step a few times until all of the cranberries are coated.

Let the candied cranberries set for about an hour and then refrigerate until you are ready to serve them.

Cranberry Sauce:

Remaining simple syrup from the candied cranberries recipe

1 1/2 cups cranberries

1 tsp cherry jam (optional)

1 tbsp cognac or brandy

Heat the remaining simple syrup in the sauce pan on medium heat. Add the cherry jam and dissolve. Add the cranberries and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes. You’ll notice that some of the cranberries will split and some will remain whole. That’s okay.

Take the pan off the heat and add the cognac.

Stir for a few more minutes so that the alcohol can cook off. Allow the sauce to cool for at least 5 minutes before you top your cheese with it. The sauce will firm up as it cools.


Zucchini Carpaccio

Zucchini Carpaccio

The first time I made this dish, I was surprised how absolutely delicious it was. I didn’t think raw zucchini could taste this good, but the dressing brings this dish to life. It’s bright and flavourful and of course the Parmesan is the perfect finishing touch.


1 Zucchini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese

Fresh herbs to finish – (options: dill, chives, mint, fennel fronds)

Use a Mandoline to thinly slice your zucchini. If you don’t have a Mandoline, that’s okay, just use a knife and cut the slices as thinly as possible. Lay the zucchini out on a serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge while you make the dressing. Combine the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Dress the zucchini one hour before serving. Finish with cheese and herbs. This is a great make ahead dish.

Serve with thin slices of toasted baguette.

Serves many. Enjoy!

Port wine prunes with cheese and walnuts

Port Wine Prunes with Blue Cheese & Walnuts

Port Wine Prunes with Blue Cheese & Walnuts

This appetizer/dessert was inspired by a recipe in Ina Garten’s new cookbook “Cooking for Jeffrey.” All of Ina’s cookbooks are great, but I especially like this one because it’s a tribute to her husband, Jeffrey. They’re such a cute couple. I tried this recipe out on Eli, my husband, and it’s definitely a keeper, as is he. ;0)

I know what you’re thinking…prunes? They’re not as sexy as figs, but prunes are definitely underrated. Not only are they sweet, they’re loaded with antioxidants and when they’re infused with port wine, it’s pretty magical. Add sharp blue cheese and nuts to the mix and it’s pretty fantastic.

Before you start making this recipe, pour yourself a small glass of Port and start sipping. Cheers!


12 pitted prunes

1/2 cup port wine

1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg

3 cardamom pods

5 cloves

3 tbsp blue cheese

2 tbsp mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)

12 toasted walnut halves

Place your prunes and Port in a sauce pan. I used a small sauce pan so that the Port covered the prunes half way. Add your spices to the pan. Bring the Port to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and let the prunes simmer in the Port and spices for 10 minutes. Turn the prunes over and let them simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove the prunes and cover them to keep them warm. The Port will have reduced to a nice thick glaze. Strain the liquid and drizzle the reduction onto your serving plate.

Mix the two cheeses together and then top the prunes first with the cheese mixture and then with the toasted walnut halves. I’m definitely going to add these to my next cheese platter. They are delicious!


Link to Cooking for Jeffrey:

Avocado Crema

Avocado Crema

Serve the avocado crema on its own with tortilla chips or pair it with steak or chicken. Either way, it’s going to be difficult to stop eating it. It’s really delicious.


5 tbsp sour cream (or Greek yogurt)

1 lime (juice)

1 tsp water

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp feta

A handful of cilantro (optional)

2 avocados

Put all of the ingredients in the food processor, except for the avocados. Blend until incorporated. Add avocados. Blend until smooth. Have a taste. If it needs a little more salt, add it now. Garnish with green onions, jalapeño peppers and tomatoes.

Serves 2-4