Molten chocolate cake

Molten chocolate cake with white truffle centre by Chef Arpi Magyar

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heartwarming party

On Friday night, we catered a lovely housewarming party. We love getting involved in such important life events for our clients, and it’s especially heartwarming when they rave about our work!

The guests were welcomed with crystal flutes of Veuve Cliquot – fitting, as the colour scheme mirrored the orange-yellow trademark Cliquot label. As the guests mingled, hearty hors d’oeuvres such as individual lobster pot pies, potato gnocchi with gorgonzola crème, and wild mushrooms on puff pastry were served. A playful mini taco station had guests gleefully filling homemade shells with cilantro and garlic spiced chicken, limey guacamole, and wasabi sour cream. As if that wasn’t enough fun, the client also selected a gourmet ice cream station complete with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, berries, toasted almonds, crushed Oreos, and a wild blueberry-rum sauce.

Just this morning, we received the kindest note from the host – we’re blushing!

Jacqueline,

What can I say!!!

Thank you so much for an amazing party and all the wonderful food. My guests were thoroughly impressed with everything they saw and ate. The staff was unbelievable and the attention to detail unparalleled. I couldn’t have hired a better caterer. I can’t wait to find another occasion to use you guys again. Knowing me, that won’t be long.

Words cannot describe how happy both we are….
Thank you again SO, SO much!


home sweet home

We are thrilled to announce that our home venue, Graydon Hall Manor, has been honoured with the prestigious 2011 WedLuxe Award for best event venue. (Last year we were so happy to accept the award for best caterer)










While we love to work offsite at gorgeous spaces like the Royal Conservatory of Music, Andrew Richard Design, and the Carlu, Graydon Hall is our home base, where we create intimate, romantic weddings each weekend, and inspiring corporate events during the week.















In 2000 this grand Georgian manor was thoughtfully re-designed as a boutique reception facility with the discriminating client in mind. Conceived amidst the glitter and glamour of the 1920′s for a financier and his family, Graydon Hall Manor brings to life the spirit of the era. In its heyday, Graydon Hall was host to the city’s most exclusive parties – Mary Pickford and Katharine Hepburn being two of its more famous guests.











Some of the manor’s distinguishing features include the 160-foot stone terrace which overlooks formal English gardens and fountains, the grand dining room with huge sunny windows, fireplaces in nearly every room, and of course our state-of-the art catering kitchen, designed for our inimitable Chef Arpi Magyar.











We are tremendously grateful to WedLuxe for recognizing us!



the open house returns

It’s back!

Please join us for another beautiful open house at our home venue, Graydon Hall Manor. It’s always a spectacular showcase of table settings, yummy treats, and a great opportunity to chat with our Event Team about your upcoming event. You can read about last year’s open house here, and see an album of photos here.

The open house takes place on Sunday, February 12th from 1-4pm at Graydon Hall, 185 Graydon Hall Drive. Please direct questions and your RSVP to concierge@graydonhall.com. We look forward to seeing you.


Spanish and Italian treats

We are gearing up for a lovely wedding tomorrow at one of our favourite venues, The Royal Conservatory of Music. We’ve profiled this lovely space before, here, here and here.

Tomorrow, guests will be treated to grazing stations during the cocktail hour – they’ll nibble on Parmigiano-Reggiano, marinated olives, breadsticks, and two incredible cured meats Chef has ordered directly from Spain and Italy. Pictured below is a little sample plate the design team was lucky enough to enjoy – Pata Negra ham on the left, from Spain, and Salame di ‘tipo Felino’ from Italy. Yum!

cured meats from Spain and Italy





















Keep checking back for details and photos from this lovely wedding – it’s sure to be spectacular.


ancient wines & a tasting menu to match

Happy New Year!

Before the holidays, Chef Magyar donated his time to a charity dinner which featured a staggering array of very old – ancient, practically – wines.

Chef was thrilled to taste a number of the wines, and found the 1911 Moet & Chandon to be surprisingly good – “fantastic,” he said, with tiny bubbles. Quite a feat for a 100 year old bottle! Only 66 bottles of this ancient wine were released & auctioned around the world.

In particular, though, Chef enjoyed an 1811 bottle of Hungarian Tokay. Not only was this the last bottle of its kind, but it was made and bottled in his home country. He said it had an amazing, “very dark” taste, and the experience was very special.

1811 Tokay
















Unlike ordering wine in a restaurant, when one might decide upon the menu before selecting wines, Chef needed to do the opposite for this event. So how exactly does one go about creating a menu for mysterious, ancient wines? Beyond researching the wines extensively for tasting notes, Chef says he tried to limit the acidic elements such as tomatoes in each dish. He says it was very difficult, but enjoyed taking his time to try many different ideas before deciding on the final menu.

We are delighted to share all the yummy details with you – warning: this might be dangerous reading for those on January diets!

As guests arrived, two separate Champagnes from the 1990s were served along with canapés traditional (oysters, poached shrimp), and non (kangaroo carpaccio).

Once seated, a playful amuse of garden vegetables in a pot of “dirt” was served. Inspired by Denmark’s Noma restaurant, the dish was layered with herbed buttermilk, “dirt” (roasted & crushed hazelnuts, beer, granola), and baby lettuces. This dish was served with the lovely 1911 Moet as described above.

vegetables in "dirt"

















Next came the Hungarian wine, paired with an opened can of foie gras, quince cheese, mushroom dust, and brioche.

a can of foie gras

















The third course – lobster soufflé with “Kelly gator” (alligator, inspired by the iconic Hermes bag) – was matched with a trio of Burgundies from 1996 and 2001. The unique wire serving piece was inspired by Chef’s recent visit to the famed Alinea in Chicago.

lobster souffle with Kelly gator

















After a cellar tour (with glasses of 1976 Krug – from a magnum, naturally), guests moved on to the fourth course – beef cheeks, carrots, bone marrow, and Jerusalem artichoke – paired with three Burgundy wines from 1911 and one from 1971 (a Domaine de la Romanée-Conti)

bone marrow and beef cheeks

















Next, an exceptionally rare wine was served solo – the two hundred year old Château Lafite-Rothschild, 1811, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France.

two hundred year old Bordeaux

















To follow, three Bordeaux wines from 1961 (Château Montrose, Saint-Estèphe; Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan; Château Latour, Pauillac) were served with smoked wild boar, red cabbage, caraway, and pulled pork burger steamed buns.

Next, Chef prepared Nunavut arctic musk ox curry with cauliflower, parsley and beets to be served with wines from the Rhône: E. Guigal, Côte-Rôtie “La Mouline”, 1991; M. Chapoutier, Côte-Rôtie “La Mordorée”, 1991; Paul Jaboulet Âiné, Côte-Rôtie “Les Jumelles”, 1961

The cheese course included Parmesan foam, Roquefort bavaroise, and double preserved olives, and was served with Sandeman’s Vintage Port “Coronation”, 1911, Portugal.

Guests expecting a sweet dessert to follow might have been initially surprised by Chef’s playful take on “bacon and egg” – milk jelly and mango became an egg, sunny side up, and a crunchy chocolate/sugar blend became crumbled bacon. “Ketchup” (raspberry-strawberry purée) was squeezed by the guest from a small tube. A 1986 Sauternes was served with the course.

"bacon and egg" for dessert

















Finally, chocolates were served with a selection of cognacs and single malt whiskies.

For more amazing wine tasting menus, please see our blog posts here and here, and see photos on Facebook here and here.


…and mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again

How’s this for multitasking: keep the little ones engaged while finishing your holiday baking. It’s actually possible with this super-simple shortbread recipe…

1 pound butter
1 1/4 cup icing sugar
4 cups all purpose flour

optional, but we like to add:
1 teaspoon organic vanilla
1 teaspoon salt

Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

Whisk together flour and salt.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add sugar, and continue to beat until pale and fluffy, occasionally scraping down the sides of bowl (2 minutes more).

Beat in vanilla if using.

Add flour mixture, and mix on low speed, scraping sides if necessary, until flour is just incorporated and dough sticks together when squeezed with your fingers.

Turn out dough, forming into 2 disks; wrap each in plastic.

Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll out 1 disk to a 1/4-inch thickness.
Cut out shapes using desired cookie cutter, and transfer to prepared baking sheets.
Reroll scraps. Repeat with remaining disk. Indent cookies with desired stamps.
Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Bake until firm, 8 – 12 minutes. (You do not want cookies to be golden.) Let cool completely on a wire rack. Dip into melted chocolate or decorate with sprinkles or icing.

Happy holidays to you and yours, and all our best for a healthy & yummy 2012!

The Couture Cuisine Team

Scarlett helps out in the kitchen


winter warmers: part II

We love something traditional and warm to sip while trimming the tree. Mulled wine fits the bill perfectly, and lucky you! We’re sharing our favourite recipe:

ingredients:
1 bottle red wine
4 tablespoons brandy or cointreau
1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
1 orange, quartered, each quarter stuck with 1 clove
large pieces of zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
6 allspice berries
6 whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup sugar

directions:
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to low; simmer until flavours have melded, about 30 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve; garnish with cinnamon stick, if desired. Serve in a large cabernet glass.


winter warmers – part I

Chilled to the bone after hanging Christmas lights outdoors? Warm up with some decadent hot chocolate…here’s our favourite recipe:

ingredients:
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cream
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet (we use Valrhona or Callebaut)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for a little extra kick we love to add dark rum or Kahlua (2 tablespoons or to taste)
freshly whipped cream, cinnamon

directions:
Put the milk into a saucepan and break the chocolate into pieces and add to the milk along with a cinnamon stick, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted.

Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk. Continue whisking while adding rum or Kahlua. Add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or caffe latte cups, and top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Enjoy!


kind words

Just a few days ago, we catered a corporate dinner party in downtown Toronto. We’re pleased to report the client was thrilled with our work – in fact, she even sent along a kind note to the Event Designer taking care of the event:

It was a real pleasure working with you and I just want to thank you for all your terrific help. Last night’s dinner went very smoothly and I heard nothing but rave reviews about the meal from my bosses and the special guests themselves. I was lucky enough to enjoy each course and the food was, as usual, superb. Hope we’ll have future events with you and your team.

The menu consisted of three decadent courses:

starter
chilled lobster, avocado, pineapple carpaccio, brandy sauce

entrée
black cod, maple miso glaze, sticky rice cake, pickled cucumber, white ginger














dessert
warm pear baked in crispy pastry, currants & kumquats, crème anglaise, fruit sorbet