Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Romantic Dining at Home

A few months ago a friend of mine (Maria with CoverBoo Couture) posted on Facebook that she had enjoyed a romantic dinner at home with the help of a personal chef. I was intrigued so contacted her for additional information. She explained how she had met a chef through twitter who came to your home and hosted a private cooking lesson for your and your significant other. He brought his own dishes, taught you how to cook an elegant 3 course meal and best of all, wait for it... he cleaned it all up on his own - SCORE!

So I contacted Chef Richard with ASNA Cooks and set up a post-Valentine's date for Hubs and me. We picked a 3 course meal consisting of butternut squash soup with paprika oil, pan seared fillet mignon with mashed potatoes and brussel sprout leaves, and creme brulee. He came over with his own groceries, equipment and dishes. He even taught us the proper way to chop vegetables and believe it or not I'm still practicing this process. I even got to torch my own creme brulee!

We had such a fun time cooking together! Hubs and I really enjoyed learning some new techniques, and information about flavours and food pairings. Chef Richard made the experience playful and informative at the same time. We would help him cook a dish, then we'd go eat it while he cleaned up the dishes and kitchen (once again - SCORE!)

 I can't find my photo of the delicious soup but did find our main meal and dessert photos!

I'd highly recommend finding something like this to do in your own city. We enjoyed doing this as a couple and have even talked about having Chef Richard back to cook for a larger group of friends. The best part is that we never even had to leave the comfort of our own home to enjoy such a unique experience. And one more time, he cleaned up everything!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

February 2013 Book Reviews

February was a slower reading month for me but I certainly enjoyed what I did read!

1. The Hostile Hospital - Lemony Snicket: This is the 8th book in the series and it's actually probably one of my least favourite IF I had to pick favourites in the bunch. I've liked all the other settings the kids have found themselves in but the hospital setting seemed a bit drab. Still, I enjoyed it and would read this entire series again and again.

2. Unless - Carol Shields: I found this book a little hard to peg and then I felt it all came together at the end. The story is about a mother who is struggling to keep it together and find meaning in her daughter's actions. Her daughter has dropped out of college and become a homeless beggar by choice. The mother seems quite lost and at times her thoughts/stories are disjointed. Once you get towards the end of the book you really understand it's a good way to see how her daughter's actions had unsettled her whole world and nothing could really go back to normal. It was also an interesting ending which at least made you feel more resolved. Decent read for sure.

3.The Importance of Being Seven - Alexander McCall Smith: This is book 6 in the 44 Scotland Street series. I have always enjoyed Alexander's works and specifically this series mainly because of one of the characters, Bertie. He's a very intelligent (now 7 year old) who has an extremely overbearing mother who puts him in therapy, yoga, and a school for gifted kids which he detests. Each chapter progresses the story of at least 1 or more of the characters and there's at least a dozen characters to follow. Most of the characters and stories are interesting but there are certainly a few slower story lines. It's a fun series and you should pick it up if you like his other works.

4. Here Comes Trouble - Michael Moore: This isn't your typical autobiography! It's more of a collection of important moments in Michael's life. He's one of America's most controversial filmmakers and he's certainly led an interesting life! He's had some incredible encounters with many famous people that helped put him on the path of documentary film making. I found his life stories to be very entertaining and humours.

5. The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson. I got about 1/2 way through this book and thought 'Gosh, this is just like Forest Gump!' then a few days later I turned the book over to read the cover and saw one of the reviewers said the exact same thing! It's an entertaining story that starts exactly how the title describes. It flips from past to present as he goes on his adventure while reliving his past adventures. It's a really sweet story I think most anyone would enjoy.