Tag Archives: Ottawa Food Bloggers

Bacon, Wine and Bloggers

I struggle with what to make when a bunch of food bloggers get together. I want it to be good, really good. It’s not that they are a fussy crew, they just know good food and they are good people, so I want it to be special.

This past Saturday night a group of us got together to match some fabulous Sandbanks wine with food. I chose the Sandbanks Rose. I surprised myself. I am not a big Rose fan, but I like this one. A big mouthful of lovely fruit, it reminds me of summer.

So I decided on cheese, then remembered this fabulous savoury cheesecake I once had at this martini bar. Thought I would go ahead and create my own recipe and in my research came across an interesting one from one of my favourite blogs Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body. This Cheddar, Bacon and Chive Cheesecake was perfect, in fact it had me at bacon. I know these bloggers!

It was a hit, and despite my bringing crackers to spread it on, people were choosing to eat it as they would any piece of cheesecake, in a slice on a plate, but this time covered in crumbled bacon. Bacon Bliss. That is all.

With Julia’s permission and your eating pleasure I am posting the recipe below. You can also check out Julia’s version here (with much prettier pictures).

Oh, and how did the wine work with the cheescake? Both were good, but I don’t remember. Frankly ANY Sandbanks wine would have been a great match with this beauty (well, not sure about the Winter Harvest).

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
6 tbsp melted unsalted butter

24 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, at room temperature
2 tbsp flour
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/4 cup chopped chives
1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of fresh cracked pepper

1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup cooked and crumbled bacon
2 tbsp chopped chives (or green onions)

Water crackers, pita chips and apples slices for serving
*Why apple slices? Because apples and cheese are another FANTASTIC combo!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with tin foil (this makes it really easy to transfer to a serving platter).

In a small bowl combine the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and melted butter together. Mix thoroughly and pour into a 9 inch springform pan. Firmly press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool while making the filling.

Increase oven to 400°F.

In large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth (about 2 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the mixture off of the sides of the bowl. Add the cheddar, sour cream, chives, bacon, flour, salt and pepper. Beat until combined. Pour into the pan.
*Adding flour or cornstarch to cheesecakes helps prevent them from cracking while baking.

Bake 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 325 and bake for 1 hour (until the cheesecake is slightly golden brown and it doesn’t jiggle when you shake it).
*Do not open the oven door when you lower the temp. You don’t want the heat to escape.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool in the pan completely. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cheesecake before removing it. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before servings.
*Refrigerating cheesecake, savory or sweet, prior to serving allows the cheesecake to get firm and the flavors to really blend together. You can make them up to 3 days ahead of time and just keep them refrigerated until ready to serve.

Transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter and sprinkle with the toppings.


Grill Forty One

Last night I attended the Grand Opening of Grill Forty One at The Lord Elgin Hotel a beautiful new spot downtown with a locally sourced menu and substantial wine selection.

A fun night in a warm and inviting atmosphere, it was a full house with offerings of fabulous wine, martinis and local beer. The food was plentiful and included, Michael Smith’s Chowder, deep-fried mac’ n cheese, scallops, roast beef, a creamy mushroom gnocchi, a variety of delicious cheeses and desserts plus much more.

Deep-Fried Mac' n Cheese



Roast Beef

It was also an oppportunity to hang out with other foodies, including fellow food bloggers (which doesn’t happen often enough!), Simply Fresh, After The Harvest, Foodieprints, Wine Out Loud.

The lovely Heather Heagney from After The Harvest

Hey it's that Foodieprints guy! Don C.

Jodi of Simply Fresh and her partner Chris

TL Rader and Margaret Dickenson

Savvy Company's Debbie Trenholm (centre) and guests

Grill Forty One’s Chef Aurelio Petraglia started his career as an intern in Burgundy, France at Bernard Loiseau’s three Michelin Star restaurant and has also worked in Toronto, Dubai and most recently as the Executive Chef for the Relais & Châteaux Pavilions in Phuket, Thailand.

Even in the bustling, sometimes chaotic moments of the evening the service was outstanding (both Patrick and Andrew below served up some fabulous wine). Kudos to Chef Petraglia and staff!

If you get a chance, check out the New Year’s Eve menu at Grill Forty One, at $69 per person you are sure to get an exquisite meal at a more than reasonable price!

Can’t wait to take the good man there for dinner….

the urban element

I spent a lovely evening this week at the urban element with other Ottawa food bloggers and Ron Eades. Invited by the Chicken Farmers of Canada, it was a great opportunity to network and put faces to some of the blogs I read regulary (and any invitation to the urban element must not be missed!).

The urban element’s philosophy is “to provide the ultimate culinary event studio to inspire a love of food and cooking while supporting and bringing together our city’s greatest talent. The urban element believes in community and supports local chefs, food producers, farmers and restaurants” (from the web site).

I was impressed by the Chicken Farmers, they weren’t there plugging the organization or with any agenda. They quietly participated and made the rounds to say hello. They were gracious hosts and thanked us for coming.

Ron Eades spoke to us about food blogging, what draws people to a blog and what to avoid. He spoke about sodium content of products, his own blog, a few of his experiences and his appreciation of originality and being authentic.

We were able to observe Chef Candace Butler (seen above) create a chicken pate and we tested a few that she had already prepared (below).

I had a fabulous German Riesling along with mini-chicken pot pies, pulled-pork on focaccia, cod cakes and lovely chicken dumplings served with a spicy peanut sauce.

The atmosphere is so comfortable. There is a casual elegance about the place. It makes me want to go back, so I have decided take some classes, they have a full schedule of them each month both demonstration and hands on. Now, which ones to take?