Blue Galentine’s Party

I’m definitely a romantic, there is no denying that. Beyond romance with my fiancé (we’re cooking homemade pasta and meat sauce on Sunday and I can’t wait), I think celebrating your friendships is uber important. It’s so much fun to dress up and drink some girly cocktails and eat candy!!

I’m super excited to share some behind the scenes pics from our feature with Rue Magazine this month. PS. the February issue is unreal – I can’t wait to read the whole thing with a glass of wine tonight!

Keep reading below for a fun little Valentine’s cocktail that I made which is so easy to recreate this weekend!

DSC_7944I knew that I wanted to make a cocktail that was romantic and easy. Elderflower liqueur immediately came to mind but then when I found this tiny bottle I knew it would be perfect! It reminded me of the love potion that Romeo and Juliet drank that decided their tragic fate. Luckily, this party ended on a totally different note (a lot more fun – ha!)

Love Potion Cocktail
Makes 1 cocktail

1 oz. gin
1 oz. elderflower liqueur
3 oz. prosecco

Add gin and elderflower liqueur to coupe and top with Prosecco.

Photography: Tracey Ayton Photography
Lauren Armstrong‘s Dining and Living Room designed by Gillian Segal Design
PARTYSKIRTS worn by Sophie Collins, Gillian Segal, Lauren Armstrong, Mariel Armstrong
Food & Drink: Me!
Makeup: Jasmine Hoffman
Flowers: Botany & Co. (our wedding florist!!)
Candy: Karameller (Vancouverites, if you haven’t gone, you must!)

I hope you have an amazing week leading up to Valentine’s day!

Here’s last year’s Valentine’s post. 

Smoked Salmon Bites

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was featured on Camille Styles this weekend, hosting a Valentine’s Day girls’ brunch with Gillian. We had so much fun coming up with this shoot and curating it together and shooting it with the PARTYSKIRTS ladies! As you know, I love pairing wine and food. For brunch, it can be a little bit more difficult because you definitely want to keep things light. My go-to is rosé when pairing brunch foods, but I also wanted to include a fun take on the classic mimosa. I’ll be sharing more pics and tips throughout the week, but for now I wanted to share my favourite new appetizer recipe, the Smoked Salmon Bite!Christie Graham Photography-23 Christie Graham Photography-33 Christie Graham Photography-38

SMOKED SALMON BITES W/ HORSERADISH CRÈME

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 bagel crackers (or any cracker)
  • 5 slices of smoked salmon, cut to bite size
  • a few chives, chopped for adding as garnish
  • Maldon salt, to top
  • Horseradish Crème
  • 1 cup of light sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives
  • 1 tsp horseradish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix together sour cream, chives, horseradish
  2. Lay all crackers on platter
  3. Layer smoked salmon onto cracker
  4. Add a small dollop of Horseradish Crème to salmon & cracker
  5. Top with a couple of criss-crossed chives and Maldon salt to taste
  6. Serve with a punchy Rosé (Spanish-style Rosé goes well with this dish)

Photos by Christie Graham

Sunday Night Dinner: Cozy Date Edition

During the cold winter months, there’s nothing I like more than cuddling up by the fire with warm food and a glass of red wine. It’s the best time of the year to get your house winter-ready by adding a new faux-fur blanket to your couch or even sprucing up your old throw pillows. The benefits of staying in? You’re most likely saving money, eating healthier, and it’s infinitely more relaxing! Why not move your date night in this month and enjoy the comforts of home? This Sunday Night Dinner is all about savouring quiet moments by the couch with good food, good wine, and even a good movie!

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a small flower arrangement (by The Flower Factory) goes a long way. Try tying in the palates of the dinner: red berries stand out with the red wine, the white spray roses complement the marble table and thai orchids bring in the warmth of the gold.

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Eating around the coffee table is a comfy way to enjoy a night in. Just plop some furry pillows on the ground and you’ll be good to go!

sophie october- christie graham photography-4908It doesn’t get more simple than a tray of popcorn and champagne. Spice up your popcorn with your favourite mix of dried herbs and some truffle oil and you’ve elevated your savoury dessert to a whole new level.sophie october- christie graham photography-4898sophie october- christie graham photography-4931sophie october- christie graham photography-4833

Sunday Night Dinner – Cozy Date Edition

This Sunday Night Dinner was all about rich foods: cheese paired with a warming cocktail, beef bourguignon paired with a Burgundian red wine that is full of flavour, and popcorn and Champagne enjoyed while cozying up on the couch.

The goal for this Sunday Night Dinner was to keep things simple: a small flower arrangement, a few candles, but most importantly, time spent with someone you love. You don’t have to go over the top to enjoy a night in. Make it easier for you by making your favourite foods and enjoying a couple different types of drinks!

This idea would be as good for a date night in as it would be for a girls night at your place. The cheese plate is as easy to assemble as 1-2-3, the beef bourguignon can be made in advance, and what’s easier than popping up a bowl of popcorn? Not much. Entertaining at your home can be easy and special.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my favourite beef bourguignon recipe along with an easy way to spruce up your popcorn. Tuesday will be focused on my favourite new cocktail recipe (umm, how delicious is ginger beer!?) and Wednesday, of course, I’ll be delving deeper into the food and wine pairings.

Pictures: Christie Graham Photography

Flowers: The Flower Factory

Rum for Dark & Stormy: Angostura – 7 Year Old Dark

Wine: Marquis de la Tour – Brut, Savigny Les Beaune Premiere Cru

Styling & Concept: Sophie Collins of Sip Savour Share

Table runner: West Elm

Gold flatware: West Elm

Pillows: Chapters

Perfect Pairings

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I’ve always been fascinated with food and wine pairing. Growing up, my dad taught me the basics of wine pairing: lighter food with lighter wine, a little bit sweet with a little bit spicy and how to put wines together that truly complement each other. There are literally infinite ways to pair food and wine. At the end of the day, all that matters is your tastes, but it’s important to know a few basic ground rules so you can impress your guests.

Last weekend I attended Perfect Pairings at Cornucopia, hosted by WineDiva Daenna Van Mulligen and Rachelle Goudreau of Provence Marinaside. Both women are trained sommeliers who have loads of experience and seriously on-point palates. I learned so much from this seminar and can’t wait to attend more like it next year. Here are the top five things I took away from Perfect Pairings.

1) Portugese wine is delicious! I rarely head to the Portugal section at the liquor store, but the Adriano Ramos Pinto Reserva Duas Quintas Red Blend has me changing my tune. This red paired fabulously with Chorizo sausage. It had licorice understones and the tannins cut directly through the fat in the sausage.

What you need to know: Portugese red + spicy grilled sausage.

2) Rosé really does go with everything! As Daenna mentioned during her lecture, rosé is a great middle ground between the lightness of white and the complexity of red. Throw in the Gamay Noir grape and you have a wine that can pair with pork to popcorn. My favourites are here.

What you need to know: when in doubt, rosé all the way!

3) Pinot Noir can stand up to fatty foods. When I think of Pinot Noir, I think of light foods or even sipping on it’s own. However, little did I know I was missing the deliciousness that came with pairing Pinot with a super flavourful food. It was paired with a duck confit and the pairing got better with every sip.

What you need to know: light wine + heavy food can be amazing.

4) I used to think that every bottle with the word “Fumé” on it would be full of oak and smokiness. Boy, was I wrong (and embarassed). The first wine we tried at the tasting was the Joseph Mellot Le Troncsec Pouilly-Fumé from the Loire Valley. It was herbaceous, full of flavour and paired fantastically with a goat cheese crostini.

What you need to know: don’t judge a wine by the words on the label – try it!

5) I’m not a huge seafood person. I like it, I try it, but it definitely isn’t my preference. However, when paired with the right wine it can be quite lovely! We had a typical provençal seafood salad paired with the Monte del Fra Ca Del Magro (an Italian white) and all I could think while trying the pairing was “take me to Positano.”

What you need to know: wine really can change the taste of food – and vice versa.

That’s all for my recap of Corncuopia 2014! I highly recommend checking it out next year if you haven’t in the past. I’ll see you there!

*photo by Christine Williams Photography for Framework Magazine (post here)

Sunday Night Dinner: Fall Harvest Edition

There is something so romantic to me about the falling leaves, cozy nights by the fire and even the rainy mornings that fall brings. What better way to spend a fall evening than enveloped in the aromas of fall’s best produce, drinking some (reasonably priced) perfectly-paired wine and finishing off the night with seasonal treats? For this Sunday Night Dinner, I wanted to emulate the fall wine harvest that happens around this time every year. Leaves have turned colours and the grapes are ready to harvest. While we weren’t actually on a vineyard, it certainly felt like it. Between the colours of the flowers by The Flower Factory and the big red wine glasses, this easy-to-put together family-style feast transported me straight to Napa in the fall. I hope this Sunday Night Dinner brings you around the table with your loved ones to sip great wine, savour great food, and share the memories you’ll certainly make. Make sure to stay tuned all week as I recap the recipes and wine pairings as well!

All photos by the incredibly talented, Christie Graham Photography.

Fall Harvest Flowers by The Flower Factory

Fall harvest flowers by The Flower Factory

Bringing in the bottles

Prepping for the fall harvest dinner

Ready for the harvest dinner to start

Catching the last of the afternoon rays

Details are of utmost importance

Small details can make a big impact

First wine of the night: Moschofilero Boutari

First wine of the night: Moschofilero Boutari

moschofilero boutari + harvest salad

Moschofilero Boutari + my harvest salad

Sip October-16

Butternut squash soup

chicken marbella

Chicken Marbella

ready to be served

Ready to dine

Sip October-12

Candles always set the tone

fall harvest floral closeup

Fall harvest flowers closeup (The Flower Factory)

ready to dig in

Bon appétit!

it was a success

Plotting the next Sunday Night Dinner (to come next month!)

looking forward to the next Sunday Night Dinner!

Happy Fall!

Sunday Night Dinner – Fall Harvest Edition

When hosting a wine pairing dinner, you don’t have to worry too much about what your table will look like. Cooking whole, natural foods and pairing them with delicious wine will look beautiful enough! However, if you want to take your dinner party to the next level (don’t we all), I would suggest investing in a couple of items. First and foremost, a flower arrangement can really bring everything together. Gloria from The Flower Factory hit the nail on the head with her arrangement of cabernet-toned dahlias, rich snow berries, perfectly placed greenery, and even some dried wheat to tie it all together.

When picking up a new book at Chapter’s, I found these gorgeous serving boards made of real wood that complemented our table. I loved the variation of heights on the table and think it made the whole tablescape a little more interesting.

Now, onto one of my favourite parts of the table: the wine glasses. Ever since starting to watch Scandal a few months ago, I’ve had my eyes on these wine glasses. What can be more romantic and elevated than super tall, big red wine glasses? While they aren’t the most practical, that’s ok! Not everything has to be! It’s nice to have a few different types of glassware for different occasions. These are going to become my go-to wine glasses for dinner parties.

Overall, when entertaining I always remember to keep the focus on the food and wine and let that shape how I plan the rest of the night. Most importantly, flowers make a huge impact and they last for a week so don’t be afraid to buy a small arrangement for your next party. You’ll be glad you did!

Coming up tomorrow and Tuesday – all of the recipes from the food you see above. Most importantly, make sure to stop by on Wednesday for a full recap of the wines pictured here as well as their food pairings and tasting notes. It is #WineWednesday after all!

Pictures: Christie Graham Photography

Flowers: The Flower Factory

Wine: Moschofilero BoutariBrunel de la Gardine Cotes Du Rhone 2012Dow’s Ten Year Old Tawny Port

Styling & Concept: Sophie Collins of Sip Savour Share

Kitchen Eye Candy

It isn’t often that I pick up a magazine and pull out almost every.single.page. But, that was the case with this month’s Style At Home. There were so many incredible pages that I nearly tore the magazine apart! Among my favourite features was this kitchen on the cover. Bright natural light, multi-toned cabinets, barss hardware, deep double under mounted sinks, a fiddle leaf fig tree, big range, and gorgeous black accents. It’s absolutely perfect and I love love love it! So much so that I scanned each picture to share with you. I hope you like it as much as I do!

photo4photo2photo3photo1photoWhat’s your favourite part? xo