Homemade Rhubarb Tomato Ketchup

French Fries dipped in Rhubarb Tomato Ketchup
Homemade Rhubarb Tomato Ketchup is Perfect with French Fries

I am always looking for ways to use rhubarb as it’s one of my favorite ingredients to cook with and to eat.  It’s a versatile ingredient and I have discovered, when combined with tomatoes, it makes a tasty Rhubarb Tomato Ketchup.  Use this condiment just as you would a typical tomato-based ketchup. Continue reading Homemade Rhubarb Tomato Ketchup

Baked Caramel Pudding For One

Caramel Pudding
Baked Caramel Pudding for One

Single-serving “mug” cakes and puddings are popular for those living alone. I haven’t published many recipes for one or two servings since the industry standard for recipe development tends to be dishes that will generate four to six servings.  That, however, for singles living alone can be a problem, particularly if the dish desired is not one that can be batch cooked and frozen in individual serving sizes for later use.

Sometimes, one has a craving for something sweet but if there are not several people to eat it up, who wants a pudding that will make four to six servings when you really only want the one serving! My proportionately sized Baked Caramel Pudding is perfect when you have no one to please with a dessert but yourself! Continue reading Baked Caramel Pudding For One

Gluten Free and Lactose Free Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese
Gluten-free and Lactose-free Macaroni and Cheese

Tasty homemade macaroni and cheese that is both gluten-free and lactose-free is indeed possible! Gluten-free pasta has come a long way in its quality and I find the variety of lactose-free products is now reasonably extensive. I have created this recipe for Gluten-free and Lactose-free Macaroni and Cheese specifically to accommodate diets where both gluten and lactose intolerance are issues. Continue reading Gluten Free and Lactose Free Macaroni and Cheese

Rustic Oat Bran Biscuits

Biscuits
Rustic Oat Bran Biscuits

Having a repertoire of biscuit recipes at the ready is always handy. The wonderful thing about biscuits is that they are easy to make and can be pulled together quickly, just in time for a meal. This, of course, is due to the fact that they are leavened with baking powder, not yeast.

Biscuits are always best served when they are fresh from the oven and still slightly warm and that is true of these Rustic Oat Bran Biscuits, too. Continue reading Rustic Oat Bran Biscuits

Ham Salad Sandwich Recipe

Ham Sandwich
Ham Salad Sandwich

I am a huge fan of cooking a big turkey, roast of beef, or ham for the leftovers they generate. It’s great to be able to get multiple meals from one cooking exercise. Today, on the sandwich board, I am featuring a tasty Ham Salad Sandwich made with ham that was leftover from a recent boiled ham dinner (leftovers from a baked ham work equally well in this sandwich). Continue reading Ham Salad Sandwich Recipe

Lemon Sponge Pudding Recipe

Lemon Pudding
Lemon Sponge Pudding

This self-saucing Lemon Sponge Pudding, baked in a bain marie, consists of a lovely lemon sauce topped with a light-as-air sponge cake.  How this all transpires is actually quite magical.  This is because the pudding mixture (both the sponge cake topping and the lemon sauce) are all mixed together when they go in the baking dish.  During baking, the two components, like magic, separate out with a delectable creamy lemon sauce forming on the bottom beneath the light sponge cake. Continue reading Lemon Sponge Pudding Recipe

Classic Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Quick Bread
Classic Banana Bread

This Classic Banana Bread is super moist and tasty.  Best of all, it’s really easy to make and, apart from the bananas, takes only standard pantry ingredients.  It’s the perfect way to use up extra ripe bananas since Banana Bread is best made with overripe bananas. They have so much flavor and add the extra moisture for which banana bread is known. Continue reading Classic Banana Bread Recipe

MEAL PLANNING – WEEK 5

Here is my suggested meal plan for the upcoming week which is Week 5 in our meal planning series. If you want to check out previous weeks’ meal plans, hotlinks to them are included at the end of this posting.

As with previous meal plans I have published, I’ve provided a list of the main ingredients for each recipe that, for the most part, would probably involve a shopping trip to the supermarket for most. However, as always, read each recipe thoroughly and carefully to create your own list as I have not listed what I consider to be “staple” items like regular milk, butter, eggs, flour, sugar, butter/shortening, oil, spices, etc.

This week, we’ll start off with a baked ham which will give us leftovers for the next day. Continue reading MEAL PLANNING – WEEK 5

How To Make Perfect Scones

Scones
Scones

There is just something absolutely delightful about fresh scones still warm from the oven.  Ever so much better they are when slathered with a dollop of either clotted cream or English double cream and a favorite jam or lemon curd. This posting today is all about how to make perfect scones. Continue reading How To Make Perfect Scones

A Cream Tea to Celebrate 8th Blogiversary

Cream Tea
Components of a Cream Tea

Today marks my 8th Blogiversary. Eight years since I began My Island Bistro Kitchen food blog.  My, how time does fly!

In previous years, I marked this day with some kind of special sweet treat.  You can check those out by clicking on the links at the end of this posting.  It has occurred to me that I have never celebrated the occasion with a simple Cream Tea. And, regular followers of my blog will know I love anything related to a tea event!  So, a Cream Tea it is to celebrate my 8th Blogiversary! Continue reading A Cream Tea to Celebrate 8th Blogiversary

Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

I am not a fan of muffins that have a cake-type texture.  I like the muffins, whether wheat-based or gluten-free, to be deli-or café-style, hearty, and generously sized.  That’s exactly how I have created these tasty Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins to be! Continue reading Gluten-free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

These Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites prove there is more than one way to enjoy coffee!

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

Energy bites are known by several different names including energy balls, power balls, or bliss balls. A tasty, portable, and convenient on-the-go snack, these bites are great for the lunch bags. They are also  the perfect pre- or post-workout snack. I often take one with me if I am out running errands and they are a frequent snack packed when I travel as they can be consumed on the go.

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

One of the best places I find for ingredients for these energy bites is my local bulk food store. Here, I can purchase just the precise amount of each ingredient needed for the recipe and I am not left with a big bag or container of some ingredient I might not use for anything else.

This recipe for Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites calls for Medjool dates.  These are large dates that have a softer, more chewy texture than the smaller firmer dates.  The latter do not have the rich flavor that the Medjool dates have. Because of their soft texture, Medjools are great to infuse with the coffee for these energy bites.

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

Energy bites freeze very well and I have a stash of about four kinds stowed away in my freezer at the moment as I like a variety to choose from.  Later in this posting, you will find links to other energy bite recipes on my website.

These treats are not difficult to make but, in terms of special equipment, a food processor is required to prepare them and to get the ingredients well mixed.

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

 [Printable recipe follows at end of posting]

Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

Ingredients:

5 oz Medjool Dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (apx. 6-7 large dates)
½ cup strong hot coffee (e.g., Espresso)

4 oz hazelnuts, finely ground (apx. 1 cup)
¼ cup smooth hazelnut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp hemp protein powder
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required), pulsed 4 – 5 times in food processor
2/3 cup shredded coconut

Method:

Pour hot coffee over dates in small saucepan. Cover and let sit 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain, reserving the coffee.

Place drained dates in bowl of food processor. Pulse 8 – 10 times. Add 1 tbsp reserved coffee, pulsing until dates form a thick, pliable, moist, paste-like consistency. Add 1 tbsp additional coffee, if required.

Add remaining ingredients and pulse mixture until well combined. If mixture seems too dry, add 1 – 2 tsp of reserved coffee. Place mixture in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill.

Roll mixture by hand into balls, using approximately 25g of mixture per ball.  Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight covered container in refrigerator for up to five days or, for longer storage, store in freezer.

Yield: Apx. 22 balls

For other energy bite recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

No-bake Chocolate Almond Bliss Balls
Peanut Butter Coconut Energy Balls
Prune and Pistachio Power Balls

Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

These no-bake Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites prove there is more than one way to enjoy coffee! Super great treat for when the energy wanes.
Course Snack
Keyword energy balls, energy bites
My Island Bistro Kitchen My Island Bistro Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 5 oz Medjool Dates, pitted and coarsely chopped (apx. 6-7 large dates)
  • ½ cup strong hot coffee (e.g., Espresso)
  • 4 oz hazelnuts, finely ground (apx. 1 cup)
  • ¼ cup smooth hazelnut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp hemp protein powder
  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup quick rolled oats (gluten-free, if required), pulsed 4 – 5 times in food processor
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Pour hot coffee over dates in small saucepan. Cover and let sit 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drain, reserving the coffee.
  2. Place drained dates in bowl of food processor. Pulse 8 – 10 times. Add 1 tbsp reserved coffee, pulsing until dates form a thick, pliable, moist, paste-like consistency. Add 1 tbsp additional coffee, if required.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and pulse mixture until well combined. If mixture seems too dry, add 1 – 2 tsp of reserved coffee. Place mixture in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes to chill.
  4. Roll mixture by hand into balls, using approximately 25g of mixture per ball. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 20-25 minutes to firmly set. Store, in single layers separated by waxed paper, in airtight covered container in refrigerator for up to five days or, for longer storage, store in freezer.

Recipe Notes

Yield: Apx. 22 balls

 

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen by:

Joining the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Following “the Bistro” on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

Seeing the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Following “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

(and you can pin the Pinterest-ready photo(s) below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

PIN ME TO PINTEREST!

Energy Balls
Coffee Hazelnut Energy Bites

 

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

Christmas is, in my opinion, a time of the year when a tablesetting can be well glitzed and glammed up.  If you want to add opulence and glamour to a holiday tablesetting, go with gold.  It shines, it sparkles, it shimmers and glows in all kinds of light, and it has such warm tones. This is my Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting.

The Christmas color theme in my dining room is gold.  It appears on my tabletop tree and in my mantle design.  Therefore, for continuity, my table carries the same singular color theme.

The Backdrop

Basic white is most often the blank canvas I start with when constructing my tablesettings.  It’s neutral and, in the case of this gold-plated tablesetting, it provides a wonderful plain backdrop to let the metallics form the focal point of the table.  Had I left my maple table bare, the gold-colored centerpiece would not have stood out as dramatically as it does against the white backdrop. Conversely, had I used a patterned tablecloth, it would have been very busy and cluttery looking and the effect of the centerpiece would have been completely lost.

Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold-Plated Christmas Tablesetting

The Centerpiece

Nothing was bought new specifically for this centerpiece.  I have had all the Christmas balls, baubles, twigs, feathers, and berries for years and they have been used for many different purposes at previous holidays. So, I simply went shopping in my own storehouse!

For this setting, I have chosen one large gold ball and then added three or four other different sized balls of a scale that will fit the size of my dining table.  This type of centerpiece is scalable meaning it can be made somewhat larger to suit a longer table. It is important to keep the elements in the centerpiece to scale both to the other components of the centerpiece as well as to the size of table itself.

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

I have used balls/baubles with different textures with some having designs and others perfectly plain.  So, in the centerpiece, I have included balls that are plain satin-finished, glittery, pearlized,  and matte finish.  The balls are in various shades and hues of gold. This adds wonderful texture and interest to the centerpiece plus their finishes play well off each other and they all react to light differently.

Gold Christmas Table Centerpiece
Use a Variety of Balls in Various Textures and Shades of Gold in Centerpiece

I had some gold twigs that I used to create a base for the balls.  To achieve the luxe look, I did not want to introduce any greenery or other color into the centerpiece, save for a bit of ivory in the berries and on ribbon.

The twigs serve the purpose of providing a nest for the balls so they do not roll out of place.  I then started with placement of the large ball, followed by the next sized balls, and so on until I achieved the aesthetic look I was going for, filling in any gaps with smaller balls.  Some gold-colored feathers and ivory berries were added for interest.  Finally, I strategically placed some pretty ribbon bows of ivory and glittery gold  in various places throughout the centerpiece arrangement. By doing this, I addressed any remaining gaps and made the centerpiece look full and luxurious.

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold-Plated Christmas Table Centerpiece

The ribbon corresponds with that on my dining room tabletop tree. Tabletop trees are so adorable and I find they are particularly suitable for dining rooms.

Tabletop Flocked Christmas Tree
Beribboned Tabletop Christmas Tree

Candles

As those of you who are regular visitors to my website will know, I am not a huge fan of taper candles. I find they are a bit precarious for my liking for use on dining tables. For that reason, I typically use the more stable pillar candles in tablesettings.  However, in this case, the table has a very elegant and glamorous theme so the tall, slender tapers do work better than the larger pillar candles. The tapers give height and elegance to the table and, because they are slender, they do not obstruct diners’ view of each other. And, of course, tapers burn down faster than pillars so they become even lower as the meal progresses.

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Table Centerpiece
Glamorous Gold-Plated Christmas Table Centerpiece

I have a collection of glass candlesticks in various shapes and sizes and many are cut glass with prisms that really do play well to light. This makes them really sparkle on a table, further adding glitz to the tablescape.  It is not necessary to have the candlesticks all matching and I do recommend using ones that vary in height as that contributes to layers of lighting when the candles are lit. Using clear glass candlesticks keeps the focus on the gold in the centerpiece and gives it an airy look. In other words, the candlesticks accent and do not compete with the gold centerpiece.

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Cut Glass Candlesticks Reflect Light and Give an Airy Look to the Centerpiece

I have used two types of gold tapers in this centerpiece.  Some candles have a glittery finish while others have a polished, satin finish.  This adds interest to the centerpiece and does not make it look so matchy-matchy or that it all came out of a box, pre-assembled in a factory. These are the types of details that give a centerpiece a custom-designed look.

Gold-colored Christmas Tablesetting
Different Textured Tapers Add Interest to Table Centerpiece

Varying the height of the tapers as well as the candlesticks, also adds light from different levels  of the centerpiece.  If I can, I try to add about three layers of light to a centerpiece like this – high, medium, and low – so that the centerpiece is really glowing from all angles.  Of course, using an odd number of candles makes the centerpiece more pleasing to the eye.

Smaller gold-colored votives are nestled in around the edges of the centerpiece. To keep the votives clean and free from wax build-up inside,  I have used small tealights that are already encased in little tin holders.  They still add lots of light from the lowest level of the centerpiece. In the photo later on in this post that shows the dinnerware up close, the tea light in a votive can be seen.

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

I do not recommend using scented candles in a tablesetting as they can be quite overpowering and interfere with the enjoyment of the scent of a good meal. Also, anyone with scent allergies can find scented candles distressing. It’s important to always consider the comfort of dinner guests.

Linens

My fall-back for table linen is often a vintage Irish linen tablecloth which is what I have used in this setting.  I am not a fan of busy tablecloth designs or seasonally-themed ones. Tablecloths with Christmas designs, for example, may be pretty but they typically  require plain dinnerware so they are not too busy for the eye. Additionally, they can really only be used at Christmas and must be stored for the rest of the year.

My preference is to go with non-seasonal neutral tablecloths. If I want to have a seasonal design in table textile, I will usually opt for seasonally-themed napkins, like the cotton napkins with the gold snowflake motif shown in the photo below. Because the thread in the motif pattern is glittery, the napkins blend well with this tablesetting.

Christmas Table Placesetting
Snowflake Motif Napkins

I find the best way to fold napkins that have motifs is to use a simple flat fold.  Trying to fold this style of napkin into an intricate or fancy fold would result in the motif and its effect being lost.

Snowflake Motif Napkins
Snowflake Motif Napkins

For that reason, I simply laid the flat-folded napkin over the salad plate so it becomes the focal point of each individual placesetting.

Snowflake Motif Napkin
Snowflake Motif Napkin

Dinnerware and Flatware

Plain gold charger plates frame each placesetting. The gold color connects the placesettings to the centerpiece. Chargers are an easy and simple way to glam up a tablesetting plus they serve a useful purpose in keeping the tablecloth clean should any food escape the dinnerware. We all know it happens from time to time!

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

I have chosen dinnerware with a significant amount of gold metallic color for this setting as it ties in with the gold theme and does not introduce another color. The contemporary metallic gold polka dot porcelain dinner plates add some pizzazz to each placesetting.  The gold-edged salad plates are in a coordinating design.  It is not always necessary (and sometimes it is too much) to have completely matching dinnerware. Mixing dinnerware designs is another great way to create a customized tablesetting look.

So long as the color scheme remains the same and the patterns do not clash, coordinating plates can contribute to a glamorous tablesetting. When mixing dinnerware patterns, it’s a good idea to have one plate with a fairly large design (like the polka dot dinnerplate) and the second plate to have a much smaller design (like the salad plate).

Luxe by Ciroa Gold Polka Dot Porcelain Dinner Plates
Gold Polka Dot Porcelain Dinner Plates and Coordinating Salad Plates

Because there is so much gold color on the table, I did not want to introduce silverware. I have, therefore, opted to use a very simple design of gold-colored stainless steel flatware. I think it is more pleasing to the eye as it holds and carries the gold theme. It is elegant in its simplicity of design.

Gold-colored Stainless Steel Flatware
Gold-colored Stainless Steel Flatware

Glassware

The super tall gold and rhinestone decorated champagne flutes add grand glitter and glam to this tablesetting giving it a totally festive look and feel. When you see glasses like this, you just know it’s party time!

Champagne Flutes
Sparkly Champagne Flutes

Because the flutes are very tall, I used my tallest wine glasses for proportion. They are about 9″ tall and are perfectly plain tulip-shaped stemware. Using tall stemware in this type of setting balances out the height of the tapers.

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

Consider How  the Table Looks in Different Lighting Situations

When constructing a tablesetting, it is important to consider how it looks in different lighting situations in which it will be used.  For example, if the dining event is in the evening, you want the table to sparkle in the candlelight. Notice how the tablesetting takes on a different hue and ambience with just the Christmas tree lights and the lit candles on the table.

Candlelight Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting at Night

The tablesetting becomes much more dramatic when lit for evening dining. Layers of candlelight bathe the table in soft glowing light and the tea lights in the votives provide great highlights to the setting. It is best to avoid harsh overhead lighting of tablescapes that have bright gold or silver as it can be quite hard on the eye and distracting.

Christmas Candlelight Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting at Night

This tablesetting will easily carry me through the entire holiday period up to and including New Year’s. There are no flowers to water or wilt and I can easily exchange my plain white dishes for the patterned dinnerware and use other glassware to change up the look without having to touch the centerpiece (unless, of course, it is to replace the candles that have melted their way down in the candlesticks).

Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting at Night

A beautifully set table sets the tone for a wonderful meal. Using a single color palette that looks polished and sophisticated helps to create an elegant and glamorous tablesetting.

Gold-themed Christmas Tablesetting
Glamorous Gold Plated Christmas Tablesetting

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into my custom-designed holiday tablesetting.

To view other Christmas-themed tablesettings from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Snowmen and Snowballs Tablesetting
The Christmas Rose Tablesetting
Blush Pink Holiday Tablesetting
The Christmas Greens Holiday Tablesetting
Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Jinglin’ Tablesetting
Twas The Night Before Christmas Tablesetting
The Warmth of the Christmas Light Tablesetting
A Tartan Holiday Tablesetting
Pretty Poincettia Tablesetting
Poinsettia Trio Tablesetting
The Holiday Table
The Pink and Green Holiday Table
Purple Tablesetting for the Holidays
Christmas at My Island Bistro Kitchen
Christmas Eve Tablesetting and Dinner
Cupcake Tablescape
Evergreens and Reindeer Christmas Tablescape

Connect with My Island Bistro Kitchen by:

Joining the Facebook page for My Island Bistro Kitchen:  https://www.facebook.com/MyIslandBistroKitchen/

Following “the Bistro” on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/PEIBistro/

Seeing the drool-worthy gallery of mouth-watering food photos from My Island Bistro Kitchen on Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/peibistro/

Following “the Bistro” on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.ca/peibistro/

(and you can pin the Pinterest-ready photo(s) below to your favorite Pinterest boards)

(Mostly) PEI and Maritime Food – Good Food for a Good Life!