Category Breakfast & Brunch

A Proper British Breakfast

How lovely to wake up on a beautiful farm, with a gaggle of gal pals, and be served a “proper British breakfast” by our hostess with the mostess. Fried eggs, fried tomatoes, sausages, hash browns, fried mushrooms, whole grain bread, Wiltshire bacon rashers (Loblaw’s), and British baked beans (British Grocer Wholesale). Cracking good! Thank you, Christine!


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Day Tripping: The Glen Oven Café in Glen Williams

I have a favourite little spot I like to wander off to come summertime. I didn’t even know it existed until my friends brought me there one happy afternoon. Glen Williams is a peaceful little hamlet hidden amongst the trees of the meandering Credit River Valley, in the outskirts of Georgetown. The tree-lined street is dotted with just a handful of heritage buildings and homes. It is so quiet you can hear the crickets chirping.


Walk onto the porch of the Glen Oven Café and the regulars give you a nod as if to agree “yep, there is something so serene about this place”. Feel welcome in a modest but charming interior filled with vintage fine china tea cups, little British flags, a few tables, a couple of arm chairs, and a little wood stove.


Order at the counter. Choose from quiche, salad, soup, or sandwiches – all lovingly made from scratch (even the bread) with quality, wholesome ingredients. Everything I have tried has been delicious. My favourite is the Roasted Veggie sandwich: sweet potato, parsnip, red peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and red onion all roasted until tender and slightly caramelized then piled on billowing homemade bread spread with creamy chèvre.


Buy a loaf of bread to take home. This is the home of the Hearty Seed Bread, my son’s favourite flax seed bread; I have to hide it or he will polish off the whole loaf in one day. My friend loves the Whole Wheat Muesli Bread, a breakfast bread with raisins, cranberries, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Don’t even try to resist the baking displayed in the counter – it is definitely worth giving into. I love the Lemon Squares the most: rich, buttery shortbread crust covered with a luscious layer of tart lemon filling.

Order tea: a pot and a delightful vintage tea cup will arrive at your table with the rest of your order.


Eat inside or better yet, relax in the shade of the big trees on the outdoor porch. Leaves dancing in the gentle breeze on a warm, sunny day – it just feels so summery, so carefree.


Allow enough time to poke in the antique book shop (Reeve & Clarke Antiquarian), marvel at the glassblowing (Glen Williams Glass), and shop for one-of-a-kind art by Canadian artists (Williams Mill Visual Art Centre), or get lost in booth after booth of vintage treasures at the Beaumont Mill Antiques & Collectibles Market. A stroll beside the tranquil Credit River is always good for the soul (Glen Williams Park).

The Glen Oven Café
520 Main Street
Glen Williams, ON L7G 3S8
Telephone: 905-873-0940


The Glen Oven Café has a second location in historic downtown Georgetown, The Glen Oven Tea Room. It offers lunch and afternoon tea. Catering available.

The Glen Oven Tea Room
98 Main St S,
Georgetown, ON L7G 3E4
Telephone: 289-891-8833

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La Vie en Rose: Wild Rose Petal Syrup from Forbes Wild Foods

This summer, Olive is living life through rose-coloured glasses, thanks to a gorgeous Wild Rose Petal Syrup from Forbes Wild Foods. This exquisite syrup is made from pure organic sugar, water, lemon juice, and the fragrant petals of the five-petal wild rose that grows across Canada. Delicate rose petals suspended in a beautiful pink-tinted syrup; a luxurious mouthfeel with soft notes of rose, just the right amount of sweetness, and a hint of lemon that keeps it from tasting cloying. I swoon every time I taste it.

Forbes Wild Foods (based in Toronto) supplies high-end, sustainably-harvested wild foods from the Canadian wilderness to restaurants, hotels, gourmet stores, Toronto farmers’ markets, and on-line customers.  Founder Jonathan Forbes was recently celebrated as one of the top twenty picks from twenty years of Food & Drink (20 Things We Love, Food & Drink 20th Anniversary issue, Autumn 2013, page 134). To learn more about the high quality and sustainable practices used by Forbes Wild Foods click here.


Wild Rose Petal Syrup is sumptuous simply poured over your favourite vanilla ice cream (I like Kawartha’s Vanilla or Belly’s 16 Vanilla Bean). What an easy but elegant summer dessert to dazzle your summer dinner party guests.  Look at the pretty wild rose petal; be sure to spoon a few out as garnish, they taste delicious.

Black_Cherry_Rose_Water Sherbet

It is absolutely dreamy in my Black Cherry Rose Water Sherbet. Replace the half teaspoon of straight rose water with 3 tablespoons of Wild Rose Petal Syrup (maybe a touch more) and cut the white sugar back to half a cup.


In my Ispahan Parfait, replace the homemade rose syrup with an equal amount of Wild Rose Petal Syrup.  You could also replace the yogurt with whipped cream and serve this chic fruit salad on meringue; or with ice cream in a crêpe. Hmm, I wonder what an Ispahan Martini would taste like…raspberries, lychee, rose syrup, and almonds? Ooh là là!

Like the flirty skirts of the cancan dancers, rose-scented stewed rhubarb is saucy and pretty; its tartness tamed by a sweet hint of je ne sais quoi.  Serve cold, layered with plain yogurt and garnished with pistachio dust for a delicious breakfast parfait; or warm with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche for dessert.  I made this batch with Ontario greenhouse rhubarb and it turned out such a pretty colour of pink.


Rose-Scented Stewed Rhubarb

Makes about 1 1/2 cups


3 cups chopped (3/4” pieces) fresh rhubarb, root ends and toxic leaves discarded (from about 1 pound of fresh rhubarb stalks)
1/3 cup sugar (preferably Demerara sugar)
3 tablespoons Wild Rose Petal Syrup


  1. Place chopped rhubarb in a medium glass bowl. Sprinkle with sugar; stir. Let rest on the counter for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice more, until rhubarb begins to release its juices and sugar dissolves.
  2. Place the rhubarb in a medium saucepan. Gently simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 25 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and add rose syrup.  Serve warm or cold.



Strawberry Rose Angel Food Cake

I had fun dreaming up a Strawberry Rose Angel Food Cake. It was the first time I made it and we liked it but next time I may make a few changes as noted below. I thought it was worth sharing the recipe with you now, as inspiration? I used a store-bought angel food cake but you could easily use a mix; add a little rose syrup to the mix before baking for an added touch of rose.

The only thing a bit complicated about making this ultra-feminine cake is getting your hands on the Wild Rose Petal Syrup (okay, that’s easy just order on-line from Forbes Wild Foods) and the candied rose petals (hey, you can order those on-line too from Golda’s Kitchen). The rest is a breeze using ready-made, store-bought ingredients.


In fact, because I was in a rush to capture the natural light for my photo-shoot, I bought white buttercream icing from Bulk Barn for the first time ever – don’t laugh, it was fine and saved my morning. Bulk Barn is in the same ‘hood as Golda’s Kitchen.  I beat a cup of whipping cream into the buttercream to tone down the sweetness. I was happy with the stability of the icing but it was still pretty sweet and I had about 1 ½ cups of extra icing left over. Next time, I am may try using a ratio of 3 cups buttercream to 1 cup of whipping cream (instead of 4:1) or probably will just use 4 cups of whipped cream and no buttercream. The recipe below uses my original measurements.


1 pound of fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into bite-sized pieces (save one whole for garnish)
3 tablespoons Wild Rose Petal Syrup
1 package (.5 oz/14 g) candied rose petals (optional)
1 already-made angel food cake
4 cups prepared white buttercream icing (see suggested amendment above)
5 tablespoons juice from mashed, rose-infused strawberries
1 cup whipping cream (see suggested amendment above)


Place strawberries and rose syrup in a medium-size bowl. Roughly mash with a potato masher or fork to release the juice from the strawberries.  Let sit at room temperature while proceeding with next steps.


Finely chop candied rose petals (the ones in my photo of the finished cake at the bottom of the post are a bit too big and too crunchy). Set aside.

Cut off the top third of the cake, slicing evenly with a serrated knife. Set aside and reserve top. Using a knife, cut a circle about 1” or so from the outside of the cake and another concentric circle about 1” or so from the inside of the cake, cutting only halfway down through the bottom two-thirds of the cake. When the top is placed back on the cake, the trench will sit in the middle third of the cake.  Use a fork to help you remove the cake in the trench and discard those pieces.

Strawberry Rose Cake

Strain strawberries in a fine sieve, reserving both the juice and berries separately.

(See amendments noted above) In a large bowl, place 4 cups white buttercream icing and 5 tablespoons of reserved juice from mashed strawberries. While beating with an electric mixer at high speed, slowly pour in one cup of whipping cream. Beat until frosting holds soft peaks.

Measure out 1 cup of frosting and set the remaining frosting aside. Fold 1 cup of frosting into reserved strawberries, folding gently until combined. It may separate a bit but it’s fine. Spoon into trench.

Cover with top section of angel food cake. Spoon remaining mixture into centre hole of cake to fill. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Garnish with fanned whole strawberry and sprinkle with finely chopped rose petals. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 4 hours. Serve.


Forbes Wild Foods

Toll Free: 1-877-354-WILD (9453)
Phone: (416) 927-9106
Twitter: @forbeswildfoods
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The Scent of an Orange: Honeyed Oranges with Basil

What is it about the scent of an orange that buckles me under with happy gratitude? Inspired by my favourite fragrance, Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic by Guerlain, my Honeyed Oranges with Basil recipe is sparkling and fragrant. The spicy licorice note of fresh basil flirts with the sweet and juicy citrus; a luxurious drizzle of golden honey brings it over the top. What a cheery way to end a winter’s meal when winter’s end seems elusive. Don’t get caught licking your plate!


Honeyed Oranges with Basil

Serves 1 (easily multiplied)

Cara Cara oranges are an exceptional navel orange – so sweet and flavourful, they barely need any honey. President’s Choice has a new Orange Blossom Honey that works wonderfully here; mellow with a light citrusy flavour, it’s worth seeking out.


1 Cara Cara navel orange (seedless)
1 large basil leaf
President’s Choice Orange Blossom Honey or your favourite mild honey


  1. Cut top and bottom off of orange, slicing just deep enough to expose fruit. Slice off peel, cutting from top to bottom, removing white pith but leaving as much fruit behind as possible; work your way around the orange until all peel and pith have been removed (reserve peel). Run a sharp paring knife along each side of the membrane between each orange segment; remove segments and reserve.
  2. Arrange segments on a pretty serving plate or glass cup. Squeeze peels over segments to extract juice from any fruit attached to peel.
  3. Just before serving, roll basil leaf from edge to edge to form a tight roll; slice thinly, across the roll, into a fine chiffonade. Sprinkle basil over orange. Drizzle segments with a touch of your favourite honey. Serve immediately as a refreshing finish to a meal; or add a few walnuts and serve as a snack.
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Get Your Motor Running: Artisanal Toast with Ricotta, Grilled Figs & Honey

It is mighty hard to leave a warm bed and face a cold, dark, winter’s morning; a little extra pampering is required. Here is how I got my motor running this morning: artisanal toast, but not at $4 a slice from a trendy San Francisco coffee shop. I’m talking about artisanal toast made at home by you, the artisan.


Artisanal Toast with Ricotta, Grilled Figs, & Honey

Special equipment: cast-iron grill pan


Locally-baked, artisanal whole grain bread, thickly sliced
Olive oil
Fresh figs, sliced in half lengthwise
Ricotta cheese or cream cheese
Good quality honey
Shelled, unsalted, roasted pumpkin seeds
Ground cinnamon


  1. Start with a seasoned, cast-iron grill pan; get it good and hot (but not smoking) over medium heat.
  2. Brush olive oil on both sides of the best artisanally-crafted, nutrient-dense bread you can get your hands on (see suggestions below); lay them on your grill pan. After 1 or 2 minutes, check the underside of the bread – when it has nice grill marks on it, flip it over and grill for 1 or 2 minutes more until both sides have grill marks; remove to a serving plate.
  3. Place fig halves in a bowl; add a healthy dose of olive oil; toss to coat evenly. Place the figs cut side down on the grill pan. Grill for 1 or 2 minutes, until cut side has nice grill marks; flip to other side and grill until softened about 1 more minute.
  4. Meanwhile, smear the best ricotta or cream cheese you can find on one side of your toast. Top with fig halves, drizzle with your favourite honey, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, dust with cinnamon. Feel a smile draw across your face like the sun rising on the dawn of a bright, new day. Make a vow to treat yourself this well every morning. And then thank your local artisanal baker.

Some suggested breads from local artisanal bakeries:

Rye Walnut Bread from La Villa Bakery & Café in Port Credit, ON: baked using recipes and techniques passed down through generations of the Bozzo family.

Pumpernickel from Monestary Bakery & Delicatessen in Oakville, ON: baked fresh daily.

Fig, Raisin, & Walnut Filone from Pane Fresco in Burlington, ON: handcrafted and baked in a European Deck oven. Preservative free.

Hearty Seed from The Glen Oven Café in Glen Williams, ON: A golden flax bread with sesame seeds and poppy seeds.

Boston Mills Multigrain from Spirit Tree Estate Cidery in Caledon, ON: Handcrafted with cracked grains, seeds, and a touch of honey. Baked daily in a wood-fired oven. No artificial preservatives.

Chia Fruit Loaf from Cobs Bakery (click link for locations): Made with whole grain flour, cinnamon, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, dates, and raisins. Made without preservatives or added sugar. Cholesterol free.

Walnut, Fig, & Raisin Loaf from The Hot Oven Bakery at Cloverdale Mall: During the month of February all bread on the bread wall will be only $2.00 each.

Please check my Grocery/Gourmet Store Directory (Bakeries) for details on local artisanal bakeries.

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