Tag Archives: Cookbooks

Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen

It’s not too late to be that person that makes all of their Christmas gifts. You don’t need to channel Martha Stewart;  there’s many fairly low effort items that you can whip up in your kitchen and look like a superstar with something either savoury or sweet.

Thanks to the cookbook from Alison Walker, Handmade Gifts From The Kitchen, if you can follow some straightforward instructions and you know how to tie a bow, you can wrap up everything from Bourbon Peaches to mini Christmas Cakes and please all sorts of hungry people on your holiday gift list.

We recently made the Rosemary Grissini (page 127) and served it up with some Marinated Goat Cheese from her recipe on the opposite page.

Apricot am Homemade Gifts

Apricot Jam

Summer apricots made there way into a Apricot and Almond Jelly and we’ve got some pears marinating right now as we substituted them for the peaches in Walker’s Bourbon Peaches recipe.

Make cookies, marshmallows, or popcorn bark, there’s everything in here to show that special someone you really do care. Better yet, give them the book as well and maybe they’ll return the favour.

Check out this recipe for peanut brittle and you’ll have something sweet in very little time. Substitute hazelnuts from one of the great local Agassiz nut producers and make it full of locally sourced ingredients.

Peanut Brittle


PREPARATION: 15 minutes, plus cooling
COOKING: 20 minutes
MAKES: about 1 lb 6 oz

1/3 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
2 2⁄3 cups salted roasted peanuts
scant 2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
scant 2⁄3 cup water

Whether you like to snap a sweet nutty piece onto ice cream or just
nibble on some when you feel the need, this brittle also makes a perfect foodie gift. Don’t feel wedded to peanuts, though; toasted almonds, macadamias, or pistachios are all admirable substitutes.

Liberally grease a cookie sheet or a marble slab measuring around
12 inches x 16 inches. Preheat the oven to 250°F.
Sprinkle the nuts on to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the oven.
Put the butter, sugars, and corn syrup into a large deep pan along
with the water. Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals.
When the sugar is completely dissolved, bring to a boil. Boil steadily
without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 300°F (the hard
crack stage). If you don’t have a thermometer, drop a teaspoon of the
mixture into a bowl of cold water and it should snap easily.
Quickly and thoroughly stir in the warmed nuts. Pour the mixture
onto the greased cookie sheet or slab and spread out thinly. Leave to
cool completely, then break into pieces. This brittle keeps for up to two weeks in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag.

Excerpted from Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen.  Copyright © 2014 Alison Walker.  Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada Limited a Penguin Random House Company. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Araxi and Blue Water Cafe win Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

araxi-cookbookA note from TopTable proprietor, Jack Evrensel:

“Cookbooks may take years to compile and months to edit, but their real joy comes when you bring them home, and just cook.”

Our entire Top Table team is delighted to share with you that our two recently released cookbooks, Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant and Blue Water Cafe Seafood Cookbook have won Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for Best Chef Book in Canada and Best Seafood and Fish Book in Canada respectively, joining West: The Cookbook, which won Most Innovative Cookbook in Canada in 2008.

This great news came to us just yesterday from Madrid, and we wanted to let you know right away.
Araxi and Blue Water Cafe will now be entered in the Gourmand Best in the World competition, with the results announced at the Paris Cookbook Fair on February 11th, 2010.
I would like to especially acknowledge the efforts of chefs James Walt and Frank Pabst, each of whom spent many hours relentlessly testing their recipes, and making them accessible for the home cook.
Wishing you and your family a warm and happy holiday season.

With best regards,

Jack Evrensel

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Island Lake Lodge Cookbook Class

Ski buffs may be familiar with stunning Island Lake Lodge near Fernie, B.C. Originally known for its world class ski amenities, the restaurant at Island Lake Lodge has become well known for its decadent local, regional cuisine. On Wednesday, October  21 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., drop by for a signed copy of Island Lake Lodge: The Cookbook by Keith Liggett and meet Head Chef Keith Farkas and General Manager Steve Kujit. This is a free event.

On Wednesday, October 21 at 6:30 p.m., Chef Glenys Morgan gets crafty in the Books to Cooks kitchen with Jam It, Cure It, Pickle It and Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon. Chef Glenys will demonstrate several better-than-store-bought kitchen creations–just in time to put up the last of the fall harvest and to start planning culinary holiday gifts. The cost of this event is $95.00.

After offering last Saturday’s Essential Baking class that covered the basics of baking, we are pleased to offer Better Baking with Chef Glenys Morgan this coming Saturday, October 24 at 10:30 a.m. This week, our Saturday Baking class will feature Bakewise by Shirley Corriher and will cover the why’s and how’s of baking. Chef Glenys bakes her way through Bakewise and will discuss and demonstrate unique and exclusive science-based baking tips to ensure successful home baked goods. This event is $90.00.

For more information about these and other events, visit our website at www.bookstocooks.com and please call 604-688-6755 to register.

Slow Cooker Comfort Food by Judith Finalyson

slow cooker275 Soul-Satisfying Recipes – by Judith Finlayson

My concept of comfort food is warm and welcoming and provides a sense of sustenance — a kind of culinary haven in a heartless world. But most of all it is delicious. When things seem grim, there is nothing like a mouth-watering bite of something delectable to set things right.  Or, as the ever-elegant M.F.K. Fisher reflected, “At the end [of a good meal] you know that Fate cannot harm you, for you have dined.”” – Judith Finlayson

This outstanding collection of 275 recipes combines the convenience of the slow cooker with dishes that make us feel better, evoking the warmth of home and family.  With everyday favorites, elegant entertaining, and meals that embrace a diversity of international flavours, Slow Cooker Comfort Food is a perfect addition to the kitchen, (especially during those frenetic back-to-school days,) and is destined to become a favourite in Canadian homes.

Responding to requests from her readers, in a unique colour guide on every page, Judith has included tips on halving recipes for single people and couples and has highlighted dishes suitable for entertaining as well as vegan and vegetarian friendly recipes, and a comprehensive feature on “understanding  your slow cooker” and food safety.

Judith Finlayson is a food writer, journalist and author.  After a long career as an author, journalist, editor, speechwriter and consultant, Judith Finlayson decided to transform her passionate love of cooking and interest in the culture of food into a second career. Her slow cooker books, The Healthy Slow Cooker, 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics, The Best Diabetes Slow Cooker Recipes, The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes and Delicious & Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes have now sold over 750,000 copies.  She is also the author of 125 Best Rotisserie Oven Recipes and The Convenience Cook and The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook.  Judith Finlayson lives in Toronto.

Judith will be in Vancouver September 30th and October 1st and available for interviews.

She will also be teaching at Barbara Jo’s Books to Cooks Wednesday September 30th 6:30pm

Books To Cooks

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News from Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks

Mark September 20 to 27 on your calendars! It’s Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks’ Annual Cookbook Sale. We are offering a 25% discount on all regular priced merchandise with deeper discounts on selected items. Magazines and cards will be discounted by 10%. Shop early for the best selection.

This Autumn we celebrate locavore eating: buying and eating food that is grown and produced close to home. We begin our season with some upcoming classes:

On Monday, September 21 at 6:30 p.m., author and chef Jeff Crump, formerly of Lumiere, Chez Panisse and The Fat Duck, presents his book, Earth To Table. He will demonstrate recipes that celebrate great food while being earth friendly. Wine for the evening will be sponsored by Farmstead Wines. The cost of the evening is $105.00.

In Season by well-known UK author Sarah Raven combines gardening with eating seasonally in one beautiful and informative book. In Season weaves stories, tips and recipes into a lush volume on how to grow and eat a bounty of fresh produce year round. On Thursday, September 24 at 6:30 p.m., Chef Glenys Morgan shows guests how to make the most of fresh produce every season and how to feature fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit as the centrepiece of every meal. Tickets are $105.00.

On Tuesday, September 29 at 6:30 p.m. author Terry Walters joins us with her book, Clean Food. Clean Food is a book dedicated to improving your health, the environment and future through eating seasonal, local and sustainable food. This evening, Terry will discuss and demonstrate innovative and delicious recipes that are prepared in harmony with the changing seasons. The cost of this class is $85.00.

For more information about these and other events, visit our website at www.bookstocooks.com and call 604-688-6755 to register.

Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks


If you are looking for a cookbook, this is the place. Books to Cooks also hosts cooking classes and informative discussions on all things of a culinary nature. The staff is wonderful and Barbara-Jo herself is a wealth of knowledge.


1740 West 2nd Avenue (half a block east of Burrard)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6J 1H6
Telephone 604-688-6755 Fax 604-688-6759

Outside of Vancouver? Call 1-866-688-6744

email bookcook@intergate.ca