Mocktail Hour

Using our new library catalogue find the perfect appetizer book for the cocktail party you are hosting & learn how to mix up a perfect cocktail with these books.

The LCBO’s Food & Drink magazine is a good resource for Cocktails and Mocktails.

Measure Like a Mixologist: A Guide to Jiggers: “With the rise of bartending culture and classic cocktails, the jigger has become the mark of precision and care in crafting cocktails. We have now come to expect our Manhattans and Martinis will be made with some mathematical formulae—two to one or three to one—and measured to order”. To learn more about what jiggers to use for mixing read this article.

Have a drink with the best of them, try one of these famous writer’s cocktails of choice.

Get set for cocktail hour

I made three non-alcoholic drinks for January, the first was a Frost Bite Mocktail and the second a Cucumber Mojito, and the third an Iced Tea Dance. It is nice to go from sweet to refreshing.

Iced Tea Dance – recipe from Cocktails Galore. This is a cooled fruit tea paired with a sprite or 7-up to top up with slices of frozen tangerine and ice cubes.

Frost Bite Mocktail

Substitutions/variations: I used a lemon soda instead of a lemon-lime soda for the first batch and that also tasted good.

Cucumber Mojito

Mojito anyone?

Mojito anyone?

 This was a nice light refreshing drink and the cucumber although I used less was still flavourful enough. The mojito was more time consuming than the mocktail so to spare some time I added more club soda to my first drink when it was empty. However, I would recommend adding some sugar if you plan to do this if you like a sweeter drink.


  • I do not own a muddler, instead I used the back of a spoon or you could also use any rounded/flat end of a kitchen utensil
  • White Rum: Left out to make this a non-alcoholic version
  • Cucumbers: I pureed half of one cucumber and then sliced the rest (I used the mulling technique & steps for making a single serving drink but used the ‘party serving’ portions for ingredients from this recipe)

Variations on Mojito recipe: Cucumber slices only as in this All Recipe Mint-Cucumber Mojitos recipe or half cucumber puree and half cucumber slices as in this wikiHow to Make a Cucumber Mojito recipe which is nice because it gives you the version for a single glass or a pitcher sized version for a party (8 servings).

This was an interesting twist on the mojito from the wikiHow website as well: “To add pineapple flavor to the single mojito, simply muddle some pineapple with the lime wedges, sugar and mint. Or replace 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of club soda with 1 ounce of pineapple juice. … For a twist on the pitcher of cucumber mojitos, peel, chop and puree one small pineapple and one small cucumber together in a blender or food processor. Add the puree to the pitcher of mojitos.”

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Cheers to a new you!

Barrielicious is here again! January 28th – Febuary 8th

Let the healthy eating begin!

There are health benefits to drinking tea. Local Foods has tins of tea from Rebecca at Clearview Tea Company, both for sale in the store and to savour downstairs in The Café, including: Creemore Market Blend and Royal Blend (both black teas selected by the Legislative Assembly at Queen’s Park to sell under a private label in their gift shop at Wellesley & University). I enjoyed a delicious cup of London Fog tea made with their Early Grey tea at the Creemore Coffee Company in Collingwood.

You can also find Creemore Tea sold at Café Fromagerie in Barrie.

Places to meet friends in the new year – Catch up over a cup of coffee or tea

  • Goodness Me! is open in Barrie, just in time for you to make healthy eating plans for 2015. Sign-up for their cooking classes with a partner or friend, they offer paid and free courses. Goodness Me! has their own organic farm located just 30 minutes from most of their stores, which grows organic produce for all Goodness Me! stores.
  • Local Foods Café is now offering brunch on weekends; try out their fresh local healthy fare breakfast on Saturday or Sunday from 11-2.
  • Catch up with friends this new year at the Grounded Coffee Midland and try a cup of their coffee.
  • Lazy Tulip Café – Features local art and live music, all coffees and teas can be made with 2%, soy milk or almond milk
  • Creative Café – Create pottery
  • Pair-a-Dice Boardgame Café – Play boardgames
  • English & Miller – Serves British high tea (call in advance)
  • Barrie Bean Counter – Serving Balzac’s Coffee Roasters
  • Williams Fresh Café – Serving breakfast, lunch, dessert and hot and cold beverages.
  • Warwick & Hughes Food Market – Features Simply Tea & Chocolate & baked
  • Canvas & Cabernet – Paint and enjoy the wine lounge and European style menu of charcuterie and specialty cheeses and chocolate
  • Casa Cappuccino – features live music & events
  • MacLaren Art Centre Radio Café – Fresh espresso from Hamley’s Tea and Coffee Co., & loose leaf tea and tea products from Kali’s Kollection Whole World Trade Organic
  • Unity Market Café & Studios – serving Hamleys teas & coffees, also features local artists and music
  • Bohemia Barrie – fresh locally sourced breakfast & lunches. Enjoy tea in a pot and cups with saucers.

Appetizers for New Years

Old is New!

  • Enjoy some humour and learn something new this year with the Dictionary of Middle-English Cooking Terms
  • Revisit some old Fashioned Cooking Terms:
  • From the book Wordbirds enjoy these cooking terms:
    • baregnawn (adj.) Eaten bare. Who hasn’t scraped the ice-cream container, hoping for one more spoonful, but found it baregnawn? Try the lid…there might be a little bit more.
    • coquinate (v.) To behave as a cook. Some chefs you see on cooking programs have stupendous stove skills, and others…not so much. But whatever their level of expertise, if they’re good at coquinating, they know how to wield a whisk with conviction; and if you copy them, you can, too.
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Cooking for a Crowd – Company’s Coming

The cookbook clubs theme is Company’s Coming!

How much should you make for a crowd? Betty Crocker article. Here are a few library cookbooks on cooking for a crowd and holiday entertaining. Company’s Coming’s website has a list of their Christmas/Holiday related cookbooks.

Cooking Tips from Company’s Coming:

  1. Carving the turkey
  2. Serving beverages
  3. Potluck food safety
  4. See other cooking tips here.

I made the Feta Penne Lemon Salad from the Choosing Sides Company’s Coming Cookbook. The salad was delicious, light and fresh. I used 4 cups of uncooked pasta but kept the other ingredient portions the same.

Feta Salad - need a big bowl

Feta Salad – need a big bowl

I added a Christmas baking recipe from Company’s Coming: 150 Delicious Squares.

Squares with icing

Squares with icing

Squares without icing

Squares without icing

BPL Cookbook Club Favourite Hidden Gems Restaurants List

BPL ‘Best of’ Cookbook Gift Giving Recommendations

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Share the joy of food

Barrie (and area) Food News & Reviews

  • Give the gift of local food: Costco promotions get two $50 gift certificates for $79 – features various local restaurants
  • Saturday, Dec. 13-14th 10am-5pm 8th Annual Dickey Bee Honey Inc. Christmas Open House – Tour the honeyhouse, teaching facility, shop & museum. Visit Santa. Complimentary Refreshments & Baked Goods. Christmas baskets available.
  • I made it to Collingwood’s Olive Oil Co. the tasting bar has 40 oils and balsamics it’s worth a visit. Make sure your stomach is ‘happy’ before going here as you will be sipping oil and vinegar! The staff that work there will walk you through cooking with and the processing of all their different types of oils, fruity & savory fused or infused, extra virgin, gourmet and their dark or white balsamics. Their mini bottles make great stocking stuffers!
  • Renowned National Food Writer Deborah A. Rankine is speaking at the Writers’ Community of York Region this Sunday, December 7th at 12:30pm. Pre-register and pay $25, at the door pay $30. Learn more about this event here.

Restaurant recommendation of the month

Chavo Crepes I used to have a chavo crepe at the farmer’s market every morning when I worked a Saturday. Now they have a store front shop instead. My go to favourite is the Parisian Style Ham & Cheese, I also recommend the Turkey & Cheese. The Lemon & Sugar crepe was a great desert option.

New(ish) Restaurants

Island Vibe – The Ultimate Caribbean Cuisine – 63 Dunlop St. W. Open Monday – Saturday 11am-9pm, closed Sundays. This is one of our library regulars family business. The curry chicken Roti is delicious and filling. The curried goat comes with rice, beans and potatoes, bring an appetite!

Cravin the Flavinserving-up Peruvian and Caribbean meals (a two minute walk from the Downtown library). I recommend their baked then grilled wings, they taste home-made. Large portions, when they say half jerk chicken meal with rice and potato salad they mean it! Don’t forget to say yes to their hot sauce it’s got a nice heat and flavour.

Fresco Café and Catering – Fresco’s Pumpkin Soup recipe was recently featured in the Barrie Advance. Chef Paul has a blog that you can follow. All items on their menu are fresh. I really enjoyed their half soup and sandwich combo. Don’t forget to try a butter tart, they aren’t too rich, the top is nice and crisp and there aren’t too many raisins! Order your individual or group Christmas dinner today.

*Under construction – Coming soon…* Gibby G’s All day breakfast restaurant. This restaurant is still being renovated and is beside the Aldergrove Animal Clinic on Yonge St.

Food magazine

Dairy Farmers of Canada Dairy Goodness magazine – All You Need is Cheese, subscribe today for delicious recipes and coupons.


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Bread from scratch

November’s theme is Breads for the BPL Cookbook Club

Quotes about Bread

  • “How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?” – Julia Child
  • “All sorrows are less with bread.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” – James Beard
  • “The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight… [Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” – M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition  

Bakeries (selling fresh breads) in town

  1. Fox’s Bakery & Deli
  2. Sigrid’s Fine Café & Bakery
  3. The Italian Bakery
  4. LaFortuna
  5. Lemon Tree Bakery
  6. Fresh-A-Fare (2 locations)
  7. Holly’s Sweets & Eats
  8. Warwick Hughes Food Market
  9. For Goodness Bakes
  10. Victoria Bakery – closed

Bread Recipe

I made a whole wheat bread recipe that my partner’s Mom uses called 100 Percent Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Recipe. She got it from a Mother Earth Magazine and they in turn featured the recipe from the cookbook: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg. You can borrow this library book and the revised version as well as another title by Hertzberg here. The library carries the other titles by Hertzberg including Artisan pizza and flatbread and a soon to be published gluten free bread recipe. Learn how to make other Five minute a day breads here. Our library pages that sampled this dense hearty bread really enjoyed it, teen approved!

Find other Artisan Bread in Five recipes on their website.

Substitutions: I didn’t have instant dry active yeast on hand. So, I used active dry yeast which I had to proof before incorporating it into the wet ingredients. UPDATE: Turns out the concept behind 5-minute breads is that you don’t need to proof OR knead your dough!

I baked one loaf and then reserved the rest of the dough in the fridge to bake later in the week. The dough can keep for one week in the fridge but the dough won’t rise as much.

Dough rising

Dough rising

Nice dense bread

Nice dense bread

Ready to serve

Ready to serve

Bread attempt 2

Bread attempt 2

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A Loafty List

November the Cookbook Club is making breads, savory, sweet, flatbreads, yeasted breads, leavened, buns and more! There is much news to share about the restaurant scene in Barrie, hence our many lists in this posting!

Movember Food Specials!

Barnstormer Brewing is donating $1 from every Movember Pizza Special ordered to Gildas Club Simcoe Muskoka.  Featured Movember Pizza: Sausage, Hot Peppers, Green Peppers, Onions, and a Spicy BBQ Sauce. They will also be combining CFL games with Movember and feature different specials and giveaways throughout the month so stay tuned for Mo’ Specials.

New(ish) Restaurants

  • Sticky Fingers Bar and Grill has opened a North end location, it is in the old Diamond Buffet location at 150 Dunlop Street. Their tentative opening date is December 1st. Check their Facebook page for their entertainment line up.
  • Chocolate lovers beware! J’Adore Fine Cheese and Chocolate Shop has opened at 111 Dunlop Street E. beside Flying Monkeys Brewery. They have over 100 types of cheese and a variety of chocolates in their romantic Paris-themed shop. They cater. You can enjoy a gourmet soup or a personalized cheese plate during lunch hour.
  • Taj Bistro opened in May 2014. I finally got around to eating here yesterday and tried the Indian menu. The Chicken Tikka Lababdar had the lovely addition of paneer and fried spinach. The naan bread had fresh garlic pieces in it and the Indian Cardemum Flavoured Tea was a nice addition to my meal.
  • Newmarket based Made in Mexico Restaurant and Cantina, featured on You Gotta Eat Here is opening a second location in Barrie. If you want truly authentic Mexican then make the trip to LaMexiCanada Restaurant in Bradford.
  • Canvas and Cabernet opened in September 2014. Enjoy a little wine and a little paint.

Barrie (and area) Food News & Reviews

  • If you haven’t already got one visit a local participating business in Downtown Barrie to get your loyalty card and start saving! Learn more about this rewards program in this article – Barrie businesses welcome universal loyalty card and visit
  • David’s Tea is open at the Georgian Mall just in time for the cold weather and holiday season.
  • Local Foods Mart recently opened a café under their store front. Fresh foods made from ingredients from the store, nice atmosphere and good food! Menu changes daily. Sign-up for their newsletter.
    • Local Foods Supper Club: Thursday, November 27 at 7:00PM in The Café at Local Foods Mart 123 Dunlop St E, Barrie. A hot, hearty, four-course meal, made using the delicious ingredients from our store, and sourced from nearby farms and producers. Menu: Harvest Soup, Smoked Trout Salad, Pastured Beef with Sunchoke Purée and Seasonal Vegetables, Apple Tarte Tatin. Tickets: $35 per person, only 16 seats available. Please notify us of any food allergies when you purchase your ticket.

Restaurant recommendation of the month

Lazy Tulip Café is a great place to meet friends. I enjoyed the Barrie Fresh vegetarian wrap from their lunch menu and recommend the Dirty Chai tea. I can’t wait to go back and try the Golden Milk latte. During the month of November they have Sunday Brunch Live with PJ & Oli. The brunch menu has many vegetarian options.

The Barrie Advance’s Readers’ Choice 2014 Awards:

Stay tuned for the BPL Cookbook Club Favourite Hidden Gems Restaurants List next month!

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For the love of potatoes!

I love to eat potatoes, but we don’t eat them often. Mashed potatoes are my favourite side dish. Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking cookbook has the creamiest mashed potato recipe. It calls for a potato ricer however you don’t need this tool to make them.

Potato and Leek Soup

Jamie’s Food Revolution is one of my go-to recipe cookbooks. The ingredients are fresh easy to find and the recipes are not too labour intensive. I made the leek and potato soup. I pureed the soup at the end (optional) and used the homemade vegetable broth we had just made. Bonnie Stern has a simpler (fewer ingredients) version of ‘Leek and Potato Soup’ in her Simply HeartSmart Cooking cookbook.  It uses thyme and chives and excludes the carrots and celery that some leek recipes include. She has a good tip ‘The soup can be served pureed or chunky style, and sometimes it is cooked with half milk, half stock. She also has a variation to turn this recipe into a clam chowder.

Soup pre-blending

Soup pre-blending

Soup after blending

Soup after blending

The Looneyspoons Collection is another of my dog-eared cookbooks. I made the Podleski sister’s Bisquito Bites (potato biscuits made with mashed potatoes). Here is another version from Ontario Foodland. The Foodland website has a good tip for potato bread: “It’s best made with potatoes that are still hot, it can be made with leftover potatoes if they are heated for about 30 seconds in the microwave to soften before mixing with the rest of the ingredients. Be sure the potatoes are mashed well until smooth and lump-free, or put them through a ricer before measuring.”

Soup with potato rolls

Soup with homemade potato rolls

The third recipe I made with potatoes was The Looneyspoons Collection Starvin Guy Chicken Pie (1).

Chicken Pie - a Looneyspoons classic

Chicken Pie – a Looneyspoons classic

I substituted plain greek yogurt for the crust as that is what I had on hand.



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