5 Essentials To A Healthy Gourmet Meal

Busy Mummys: This Is For You!

5 Essentials To A Healthy Gourmet Meal

It is always a challenge to prepare a healthy and delicious meal when rushed with time. But with these 5 essentials, you are guaranteed to turn every meal into a feast, while succeeding in combining quality, good taste, and good timing. Here are the 5 key ingredients that I always have in my pantry:

  1. A good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  2. A good piece of Parmigiano Regginano cheese
  3. Lots of lemons
  4. Dijon mustard
  5. A lot of fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, etc.

With these 5 key ingredients, you can prepare a gourmet meal in less than 30 minutes. For example, let’s say you have some lamb chops—marinate them all day with olive oil, lemon, Dijon mustard, and rosemary. When you get home, grill them on the bbq, while you cook some pasta and steam your vegetables. Add lemon zest, olive oil, parmesan, and fresh cracked pepper to your pasta before serving, and you have a feast!

Let’s say you have fish filetsmarinate them during the day with some nice olive oil, lemon, and sage. When you get home, they are ready to go in the oven for 10 minutes, while you cook some rice and prepare a nice arugula (or even spinach) salad with olive oil, lemon, and some shaved parmesan.

The beauty with rice is you can enhance it in so many ways! Just a mix of fresh herbs and a dash of olive oil will make it yummy. Or try some soya sauce, lemon juice, scallions, and ginger to give it an Asian twist. (That is very nice with some grilled chicken.) Again, don’t forget to marinate your chicken in olive oil, lemon, and thyme, to give it that extra oomph.

By the way, I just discovered a great new product that can turn any of your regular meals into a gourmet experience. In Cuisin frozen risotto is almost like you made it yourself from scratch, but so easy, because it is ready in 5 minutes. Again, add some of your secret gourmet ingredientsa little olive oil, parmesan, fresh herbs—and make it your own!

It comes in 4 different flavours: Asparagus and Pea, Mushroom, Cheese and Spinach, and Pomodoro (tomatoes). Perfect as a vegetarian meal, a side dish, or as a complete gourmet feast, if you feel so inclined as to add something to it. 

I just love Spring, when asparagus, fresh peas, and snow crab are in season. Perfect for a risotto! And if you don’t have time to make it, you can just add snow crab to the In Cuisin one, and you've got a perfect gourmet dinner.


I’ve created a festive Jambalaya-style risotto with the Pomodoro, just by adding some chorizo, nordic shrimps, fresh tomatoes, basil, and my secret gourmet ingredientsa slpash of olive oil and a little lemon juice.

And don't forget the ultimate key ingredient that is certain to make it a success: Love♥


Eight Things You Didn't Know About Your Morning Coffee

Turn Your Morning Coffee Into A Real Love Affair

Eight Things You Didn't Know About Your Morning Coffee

It is my morning ritual, and sometimes even an afternoon treat. It’s creamy and rich, sweet and comforting. I use only the best coffee grains. My favourite at the moment is New York, from Saecco, ground on the spot for the best aroma. My Italian espresso machine is old, but it still makes the best coffee.

What I like about this beauty, besides the fact that it is the perfect blue, is that it is small and easy to carry, so I take it with me whenever I go out to the country. Yes, I do. 

Especially if I am having a little time off, I want to have the perfect coffee when I get up in the morning. I like a strong latte, so I make a short double espresso and foam enough milk (1%) to fill in the rest of the cup. I add cinnamon on top, because I love the taste. Also, because it is a champion spice, helping to reduce blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol.

Did you know that . . .

  • Drinking a single cup of coffee provides the body with 300 phytochemicals, which act as antioxidants and stay in the body for up to a month.
  • An espresso has 1/3 less caffeine than a regular coffee cup.
  • It takes 40 coffee beans to make an espresso.
  • A coffee tree lives for 60 to 70 years.
  • Coffee has a mood boosting effect and may help ward off depression.
  • Coffee stimulates the brain and activates short-term memory.
  • Some studies even suggest that it may prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Worldwide, more than 1,400 million cups of coffee are drunk every day.

And what about you? I would love to read YOUR love affair with your coffee.


How About a Virtual French Wine Tasting?

Live on April 19th @8pm EDT

How About a Virtual French Wine Tasting?

It’s like inviting a private sommelier to your house and almost like going to France, to the beautiful Alsace region, but in the comfort of your home…

All you have to do is buy the four wines and cheeses listed below, get your wine glasses and cork screw ready and log-in here at 8pm EST on April 19th. You will be greeted online by sommelier extraordinaire Aurélia Filion who will take you on a beautiful tasting adventure. Great occasion to dust off your high school French and/or to get inspired for a future trip on a ‘French Route des Vins.’ The event is interactive and you can tweet (#degustationweb) and ask questions live to Aurélia. Of course she speaks English so your questions or comments don't have to be in French :)   

Aurélia while choosing the right cheese to pair with the right wines

Photo: Sommelier Aurélia Filion busy pairing the wines with the right cheeses. 

I am inviting my girlfriends over to my house and making a special girl night out of it! You can share your experience with us on Twitter @natalierichard. Everyone is bringing something to eat and I am making this easy and fantastic classic recipe from Alsace: Tarte Flambée (Flamenkuche)

Recipe: 1 pizza dough, 3/4 cup of sliced bacon cut in 1-inch pieces, 1 small onion thinly sliced, 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of heavy cream 35%, a little nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste.

Heat the oven at 475°. In a skillet, fry the bacon until crispy and set aside. Add some olive oil to the pan and sauté the sliced onions until golden, then mix with the cooked bacon. Mix the cheese and cream together with the nutmeg, salt & pepper and spead on the dough, add the onion and bacon mixture as a topping and cook in the oven for 6-7 minutes, until brown. Finish at broil to give the tart a nice Flambée! 

Sorry girls, this is not light! But the wine will wash it off..

You can enjoy this recipe anytime with a nice glass of Reisling and it will be a delicious pairing.

See you on Twitter on the 19th! Cheers!

The List for the Tasting:

 Pierre Sparr Reserve Pinot Blanc 2010 – $14.95 paired with any soft-ripened cheese, like a tomme, if you find the Contomme it's great!

 A Riesling from Alsace, paired with any extra-strong cheddar.

 Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris 2007 – $24  paired with Le Riopelle cheese.

 Helfrich Gewurztraminer 2008 – $18.95 paired with Bleu Benedictin or La Sauvagine.

Note: The wine types are equivalent to the ones you will find in the tasting but the house may vary due to the different products offered in various liquors stores across Canada.