I’ve always loved soup. When I was younger, it was usually pasta for dinner, and soup made a rare appearance. If we did happen to have soup, it was either a chicken broth with pastina (small pasta), or a potato-based soup. But now that we are older and I’m cooking a lot more for the family, soups are a more common occurrence during the week.

Carrot-Garlic Soup

  • 2 Heads of Garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Cups Carrot
  • 2 Medium Potatoes
  • 6 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • Salt and Pepper

After potato leek soup, carrot garlic is my favourite. It’s a simple recipe that does not require much work. You being by cutting and prepping all of your vegetables, and putting your vegetable stock/broth in a pot to warm for later. Get your oil in a pan and brown your garlic; remove it once it is brown, and cook your onions until they’re soft. (This is my favourite part of the recipe, because your whole kitchen smells like garlic.) Add your carrots and toss your garlic cloves in whole. Cook until the carrots are soft; when soft, add your 6 cups of broth to cover your carrots. If you prefer to thin out the soup, since it is a thicker soup, add another cup of water. When it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 30-45mins. Once it’s cooked, season and use a hand blender or blender to puree your soup.

When working with this recipe myself, I made quite a lot of soup, so we had enough to last throughout the week. My mom took it to work; my dad had 3 bowls of it. The soup itself has a nice garlicy taste, with the subtleness of the carrot working to take the edge off the garlic. It’s a delicious soup; I hope those of you who try it enjoy it as much as I do!




As my sister and I were growing up, we often saw large amounts of fruits or vegetables being prepared to be made into jams, jellies, antipasti (vegetables in oil), or giardiniere (pickled vegetables). Restocking our cantina became a weekend event whenever our supply was running low.


When the opportunity arose to pickle or preserve something, I wandered into the cantina to look for something we hadn’t had in a long time. I settled on Grape Jelly, reminded of my mom and her best friends making it in years past. Something as simple as concord grapes can be made entirely versatile. The trick: having fresh grapes. (And in my case, having a family friend that grows them by the tonne.)


My mom and her friend took their time tweaking recipes to arrive at the perfect jelly. You need:

  • 4 cups of grape juiceJam (10)
  • 7 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • 1 pouch of certo pectin

Because the grapes I was working with were as fresh as can be, I washed them twice, and made sure to remove any that were deformed or unripe. Then, you start to juice. The easiest way to do it is to put the grapes in a pot, crank the heat, and use a potato masher to squish the grapes. The fragrant smells the grapes emit at this point in the process are amazing.
Jam (8)

Once you’ve accumulated enough juice, you need to separate the juice from the skins. What I recommend using is a Jelly Bag: a filter that you can stretch across a juice jug, that separates the juice from the waste.

Once you’ve got 4 cups of juice, you want to add the sugar and butter into a pot and wait for the sugar to dissolve. Don’t add the pectin just yet; that’s the final step. While you’re waiting, you want to preheat your oven to 200°C. Set your jars to heat up, having the lips in a small pot of boiling water to warm up the seals. Once your mixture has come to a rolling boil, stir in the content of the pectin pouch. Keep the mixture at a rolling boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Then, remove it from the heat and skim the remaining foam off the top.

Jam (5)

Though the jarring process is very easy, I recommend getting someone to help you, for the sole reason that you work a lot faster with double the hands. You want to ladle the jelly into the hot jars, leaving ¼” or .5cm headspace. Cover the jar with the hot lids and screw the rings on: not too tight, just snug. Once a few jars have been completed, you find yourself with an impromptu concert, as the lids of the jars begin to pop, signalling that a seal has formed and you’ve successfully jarred your jelly.

Jam (4)

Best of Both Worlds

Hello again whoever is reading this out there. This week we were told to perform a sensory evaluation. For everyone who doesn’t know what that is, it’s when we try something that we have never had before and describe the five sense. We do however go into more detail in taste.

Since I got this assignment I couldn’t really think of a “new” food that I have never tasted before. I didn’t want to pretend that I never had Parmigiano Reggiano so I could have the perfect sensory evaluation. And I didn’t really have the “balls” to go out and try bull’s testicles. I started working at William Sonoma recently and one day while working I found something called Mulling Spice. I read further into it and found out that you could use it not only to make apple cider but also to make Mulled Wine. So I thought I’d give it a shot and make mulled wine for my sensory evaluation. I chose a Ruffino Chianti which is a medium-bodied and fruity profiled wine. I tried it and found it to be sweet and dry. It was a perfect balance in my opinion, and I would suggest that if you are moving from white to red wines try this one first. After tasting the wine I followed the recipe on the back of the mulling spice but adjusted it to suggestions from people who have tried making it already.

Infusing the Wine

Infusing the Wine

Mulled Ruffino Chianti

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 5 tbsp of mulling spice

While simmering these ingredients you could really smell the fruitiness of the wine coming through. Closer to the end of the simmering process you could really smell the cinnamon, orange rind, allspice and clove. After 20 mins of simmering I was finally able to taste what I had been smelling. The best way to describe it was imagine drinking apple cider and red wine together. Since I chose such a fruity based wine it was just like drinking apple cider. You got the really earthy flavours from the cinnamon, allspice and clove. While you got the fruitness of the wine still there as well as slight hints of orange. I can say that this is an honest balance between the wine and the spice that come together to make something extremely enjoyable in warmer climates. I wonder if it would have a different flavour if served cold…too bad their was none left to try it.

Final Product

Final Product

To sum up this sensory evaluation I learned that by combining two things that I enjoy separately you can make something extremely enjoyable. I like wine like any Italian and I really like the spices found in the mulling spice. Who knew that combining the two flavour profiles you would elevate them to make an earthy and fruity blend? I know there are probably people out there that know this basic principle but for someone who loves to cook and is learning new things you start wondering if you could us these spices elsewhere. I already use my palate in trying to identify what is in dishes and figuring out how I can make it at home. What I want to take back from this week is how to perfect my palate in order to become better a determining flavours as well as a flavour profile.