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This diva is learning new words: Cassoulet, confit and crema

25 Feb Benmiller Inn Taste of Huron Dinner

jennaheadshot

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

The title of this article highlights three foods or terms I had to Google to figure out for sure what they meant!

For many of us, food talk can be a bit difficult to understand. What I’ve realized is that all of it usually tastes good and I can Google the words to get their full meaning!

Cassoulet– Cassoulet is a rich, slow‑cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat, pork skin and white beans.

Confit– is a cooking term for when food is cooked in grease, oil or sugar water (syrup), at a lower temperature than deep frying.

Crema– Italian for cream, a variation of sour cream popular in Mexico and Central America or a commune in the northern Italian province of Cremona.

Soooo let’s hope that crema is not a commune in Italy, that would not mix well with poached pears!

The red door entrance at Benmiller Inn and Spa

The red door entrance at Benmiller Inn and Spa

As per usual, I try to get out to as many Taste of Huron dinners as possible and earlier this week I made my way to the Benmiller Inn and Spa with five friends. Let me just say that they didn’t disappoint!  This three-course dinner is available until February 28 and is $39 for all three courses.

We were first served an amuse bouche (happy mouth) of chicken in sweet and sour sauce on a deep fried wonton. This starter was a tangy surprise and helped us to get excited about the rest of the meal.

We started with a White Bean Cassoulet duck confit, wild boar and orange sausage. While we were eating this course I looked around and noticed that most of us were saving the wild boar and orange sausage until the end. The tender meat was perfectly flavoured with orange and tied the cassoulet together. I also loved the use of white beans, seeing that Huron is home to Hensall – the White Bean Capital of Canada!!!

Kate, Hellen and Erin enjoying the bean Cassoulet

Kate, Hellen and Erin enjoying the bean Cassoulet

White Bean Cassoulet duck confit

White Bean Cassoulet duck confit

The main course was Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin braised date stuffing, celeriac mashed potato, and maple glazed carrots. Living in Huron, we have great opportunity to try some really unique local pork meals at most restaurants in the area. Many of us would also agree that bacon makes everything better! The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and the date stuffing added a unique and yummy sweetness. The celeriac (celery root) mixed into the mashed potato added that extra tangy flavour.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin braised date stuffing, celeriac mashed potato, maple glazed carrot

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
braised date stuffing, celeriac mashed potato, maple glazed carrot

To finish we had Prosecco Poached Pear and gordon’s goat dairy crema. Booze, fruit and cream: A great mixture to end a meal. This dessert was not crazy sweet and the pear essence was the shining star!

Prosecco Poached Pear and gordon’s goat dairy crema

Prosecco Poached Pear and gordon’s goat dairy crema

Another highlight of Benmiller is its extensive wine list and liquor offerings. One friend even tried a flight of Scotch, which she seemed to enjoy thoroughly!

The taste of Huron winter dining menus run until Feb. 28 and you don’t want to miss out on these yummy meals.

Benmiller Inn & Spa

519-524-2191

81175 Benmiller Road, Goderich, ON N7A 3Y1 Canada

Website:

http://www.benmillerinnandspa.com

 

 

Beef cheeks and scrumptious cheese

25 Feb

jennaheadshot

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

If you haven’t heard it yet, beef cheeks is the new tenderloin when it comes to food trends! OK, I may be making that up, but being a big foodie I do follow food trends. One of the major 2014 trends was eating meats from nose to tail and I really think this particular trend is going to continue in to 2015.

So you’re probably wondering, what do beef cheeks have to do with my story? Well, I’ll start at the beginning. I met up with three girlfriends, Emily, Katie and Natalie, last Friday at the Black Dog in Bayfield for dinner. I was super excited to have a nice dinner and catch up with friends, so I hadn’t even remembered to look at the Taste of Huron menu before I left home.

BlackDog1

When I entered the restaurant, the familiar amazing smells delighted me. To top it off I ran into one of the owners, Kathleen, and she highlighted the Taste of Huron menu with delight. Katie and Emily read the menu and said “beef cheeks?” with a bit of concern on their faces. I explained that these tender meat morsels would excite their taste buds and that they would like the food. So they both decided to try the meal, which is three courses all for $32. Nat skipped out on the special and went with village salad ($8.25) and vegetable curry ($16).

Nat with her Vegetable Curry

Nat with her Vegetable Curry

Three Cheese Fonduta and Garlic Crostini

Three Cheese Fonduta and Garlic Crostini

The first course of the Taste of Huron dinner was Cheese Fonduta with Roasted Garlic Crostini. I thought this course would be kind of like a Swiss cheese fondue and it was, but way better than I have ever been able to make! The garlic buttered bread dipped in the cheese was a mouthful of dancing rich flavours that I never wanted to end. As you’ll see below in the photos, Emily and Katie couldn’t get enough and licked their cheese fonduta ramekins clean. I’ll also note that the photo was not posed, I looked up and they were both pretty much trying to drink their cheese.

Licking the last bit of cheese fonduta

Licking the last bit of cheese fonduta

The next course was Braised Beef Cheeks with Winter Vegetables and Parslied Egg Noodles. Yet again, the chef did not disappoint. The meat was extremely tender and the sauce mixed with noodles and vegetables made it a complete meal.

Braised Beef Cheeks with Winter Vegetables and Parslied Egg Noodles

Braised Beef Cheeks with Winter Vegetables and Parslied Egg Noodles

For dessert, we had Apple Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce. This was no ordinary donut! Essentially it was a whole apple covered in smooth pastry and loaded with ice cream and butterscotch. An excellent end to a great meal!

Apple Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

Apple Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

This menu also highlighted wine pairings to go with each course, which Katie and I tried. Both Emily and Natalie selected beer from the 20 on tap at the Black Dog. We had a wonderful evening and left the restaurant happy and full!

Our waiter Jan holding all of our empty dishes.

Our waiter Jan holding all of our empty dishes.

The taste of Huron winter dining menus run until Feb. 28 and you don’t want to miss out on these yummy meals.

The Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro

Phone: (519) 565-2326

5 Main St N, Bayfield, ON N0M 1G0

Website:

blackdogpubbistro.ca

 

 

Loving Spring Sunrises

7 Apr

By Travel Diva Jenna

The past three mornings along Ontario’s West Coast have been absolutely glorious! Bright sun and warmer weather is the best.April Sunrise

Spring is here!

7 Apr

by Travel Diva Jenna

Hiking Guide Cover

Finally we have reached temperatures above 10 degrees! I am excited to get out and Hike this year. Did you know that Huron has 29 hiking trails? What a great opportunity we have in the area! I haven’t decided what trail to start with, so please send me your recommendations. Take a look at the Hiking guide here: www.hikehuron.ca

Winterlicious at the Black Dog in Bayfield

5 Mar

By Travel Diva Jenna Ujiye

BlackDogWinterlicious10

Before I tell you about my most recent Winterlicious I wanted to make sure that you all know that there are only 4 days left to try out these amazing 3 course meals for $29.00. To find menus and information visit: www.tasteofhuron.ca

Last Friday I headed out to the Black Dog Pub in Bayfield to try out their Winterlicious menu. My three friends Ang, Nisa and Nat joined me and it turned out to be a wonderful evening! I was the only person to order the specific Winterlicious meal and it was yummy!

One of the great things about this facility is the bar offereings, many choices in liquors, beers and wines. Now there was a confusion with the first course, I read the cheddar and ale portion of the menu and thought it was soup. Well I think I need a lesson in reading, cause the first course was actually Traditional Potted Cheddar with Mill Street Organic Tankhouse Ale and Toasted Olive Bread. So it turned out to be cheese and bread. The cheese was very strong and had a unique flavor and the olive bread was nice.

Cheese and Bread

Traditional Potted Cheddar with Mill Street Organic Tankhouse Ale and Toasted Olive Bread

Best Beet Salad

Best Beet Salad

Village Salad

Village Salad

Nat ordered the village salad and Ang got the beet salad, both of which I have had and I must say that the beet salad is one of my favourite courses at the Black Dog.

The second course that I had was Pan-Seared Metzger Smoked Pork Chop with Herbed Stuffing, Mustard-Cider Cream, Braised Red Cabbage and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. The mashed potatoes where so creamy and even with all of the food on the plate I wanted more!

Metzger's Pork Chop

Metzger’s Pork Chop

We joked about having favourites and Nat and Ang both got what they normally get. It’s great to try something new, but if you love something it is sometimes what you have to go with. Nat got the curry, which is a favourite of many and Ang got the weth’s mushrooms on toast with brie, which looked super scrumptious. Nisa tried something she had never had before the pasta e verdure, which comes in a lovely cream sauce and has weth’s mushrooms in it as well!

Weth’s Mushrooms on toast with brie

Weth’s Mushrooms on toast with brie

Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Pasta E Verdure

Pasta E Verdure

For the final course my mouth was exploding with love for the Apple Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce. My friends Selena and Meighan were both trying out the Winterlicious the same night and both stopped by the table before leaving to pump me up about the Apple Fritter. It really was a treat. Nat and Nisa both got the sticky toffee pudding, we’ve had it before and it is amazing! Overall we had a wonderful evening with superb food!

Apple Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

Apple Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

The Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro

5 MAIN STREET N., BAYFIELD ONTARIO – PHONE (519) 565-2326

http://blackdogpubbistro.ca

Eddingtons Winterlicious

1 Mar

By: Diva Jenna Ujiye

The Divas at Eddingtons

The Divas at Eddingtons

This week has been a perfect week to get to a couple more Winterlicious events. On Wednesday five of us divas went for a wonderful meal at Eddingtons in Exeter. Karen, Claire, Christine, Trista and I had a marvelous time!

Trista, Karen and I all decided to go with the Winterlicious menu. Eddingtons had two choices for the starter and main, here is the menu:

Starter – Local atibo white bean and root vegetable chowder. Or Late harvest kale and beet salad. Parmigianino, hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds and sundried cranberry, tossed in a local garlic dressing.

Bean Soup

Bean Soup

Kale and Beet Salad

Kale and Beet Salad

Main – Local Pork shoulder braised in an apple cider vinegar served on a caramelized onion and blue cheese tart accented with a Grand Bend potato and root vegetable medley. Or  Supreme breast of chicken stuffed with fresh herbs, roma tomato and flavorful Italian sausage glazed in a Chianti red wine and shallot reduction. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and market vegetables.

Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder

Chicken Supreme

Chicken Supreme

I had the  soup to start and the pork as my main and they were both great. The bean chowder had a nice mild flavor letting the beans and vegetables show their true flavours. The pork was super succulent and tender.

Claire and Christine both decided to get their courses off of the menu. Christine started with the Thai Chicken Salad and Claire had the martini scallops, both starters looked yummy! They both got the gourmet macaroni and cheese, and my the silence at the table you could tell they liked it!

Thai Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

Martini Scallops

Martini Scallops

To end the meal Karen Trista and  I had Sticky toffee pudding cake with a coastal coffee caramel sauce, Christine had and apple dessert and Claire had the flourless chocolate cake… Wow, it was amazing!

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sticky Toffee Cake

Sticky Toffee Cake

The Taste of Huron Winterlicious dining program is running until March 9 at various restaurant around Ontario’s West Coast, if you want more information, visit here: www.tasteofhuron.ca

Eddingtons of Exeter:

Address: 527 Main St S, Exeter, ON N0M 1S1

Phone:(519) 235-3030

Website: http://www.eddingtons.ca/

Winterlicious at Benmiller Inn

23 Feb

By: Travel Diva Jenna

Benmiller Winterlicious - Happy Divas

The Group – Ang, Sarah, Jenna, Monica, Kate, Courtney, Griffyn, Katie and Melissa.

I finally got out to my first Taste of Huron Winterlicious event at Benmiller Inn and was it ever delicious! What made the dinner even better was that 7 other divas joined me on this culinary evening, oh plus our token “dude” Gryffin! The Winterlicious events are such a great opportunity for people to try out menus at restaurants across Ontario’s West Coast, Prix Fixe menus, 3 courses and the cost is $29!!!

Benmiller Inn wowed us from the start, before our first course came they served us a mushroom wonton amuse bouche, which indeed made our mouths happy! Of course the whole menu is available during Winterlicious, but all of us decided to go with the special. Between all of us we ordered one of everything. I have always had a tough time getting great photos at Benmiller, since the lighting is low and I never bring extra lights, luckily Katie Schedlich was along with us and had the idea to use our phone lights to make the photos looked posed and perfect… so much better than a flash! Below are the menu options and photos of the food:

Benmiller Winterlicious - Amuse Bouche

Above – Amuse Bouche – Mushroom Stuffed Wontons

 Starter

Benmiller Winterlicious - Duck RaviolliBenmiller Winterlicious - Pork Soup

Everspring farm Muscovy duck confit ravioli, honey beets, sea buckthorn mirin glaze.
or
Slow roasted Metzgers pork, udon noodle, dashi broth, chili oil, scallion

Benmiller Winterlicious - Fish and ChipsBenmiller Winterlicious - Gnocchi

Main

Ausable gold potato gnocchi, Wild boar with cranberry & Berkshire pork sausage, Weth shiitake cream sauce
or
Panko crusted yellow perch goujons, Garlic box scape caper tartar sauce, pomme pont neuf

Finish

 Winterlicious - Poached PearWinterlicious - Cheese Plate

Blyth farms chevre with spiced pecan and Inn made lavash
or
Prosecco poached pear, vanilla ice cream, Johnston’s Apiary honey drizzle

I chose the Roast pork soup, Gnocchi and the poached pear, all of which were wonderful. To be honest I was full after the soup, it had three large pieces of pork that could be a regular serving for a dinner! But of course I was able to find room for the creamy gnocchi and the poached pear. Out of the whole meal I would have to say that my favourite dish was the gnocchi; the wild boar sausage mixed with the perfectly cooked cream sauce and potato dumplings made my taste buds jump for joy!

We left Benmiller feeling happy, full and excited for the next adventure. During the next week I will be heading to Eddingtons and the Black Dog for more Winterlicious dining… I can’t wait! The Taste of Huron Winterlicious runs until March 9, and there are 9 restaurants taking part! For menus and more information visit: www.tasteofhuron.ca

 

 

 

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