The Bojon Gourmet's Gluten-Free Honey and Cardamom Stone Fruit Galette

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We made The Bojon Gourmet's recipe for Gluten-Free Honey and Cardamom Stone Fruit Galette with peaches then topped it with homemade ice cream and a drizzle of Nova Scotia honey.

Link to recipe - http://bojongourmet.com/2017/08/stone-fruit-galette-honey-cardamom-gluten-free/

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food styling : Kathy Jollimore
photography : Kelly Neil

My Top 10 Professional Achievements of 2017

I usually write a 'Top 10 Favourite Blog Posts' post at the end of each year, but 2017 was such an exciting year for me professionally, I've decided to feature my 'Top 10 Career Highlights' instead.

1. Becoming a columnist for The Chronicle Herald - In August 2017, I sent an email to The Chronicle Herald, introducing myself, and asked, 'How do you get a column'?

photo by : Applehead Studio 

photo by : Applehead Studio 

The reply I received, in a nutshell, was - 'Send us your ideas, and, if we like them, we'll take them. If we don't use your ideas, they're off the table for any of our other columnists to use.

I pitched six column ideas, thinking to myself, "Maybe they'll take one".

They accepted three.

THE NANNY PROJECT - a personal project in which I interview people about a grandparent, usually a grandmother, and the role food has played throughout their lives together. Along with a recipe, this column appears bi-weekly on Mondays in The Nova Scotian.

OFF DUTY - I talk to food industry professional - chefs, bakers, restaurant owners, winemakers, brewmasters and more, about their work, as well as what they like to do, and cook, in their spare time. This column also features a recipe and appears bi-weekly on Fridays in the Lifestyles section.

ROAD TRIPPIN' - As well as being a food photographer, I am a serious vintage / thrift store addict. In this column, I write about road trips I take around Nova Scotia, including stops for treats, snacks, and meals, as well as spots to treasure hunt and explore, both outdoor and retail. This column appears bi-weekly on Mondays in The Nova Scotian opposite The Nanny Project.

To top it off, I was asked to participate in a new campaign called 'Inside Voices'. Photographed by the extremely talented Liam Hennessey at Applehead Studio, I was featured in a full page ad on the back page of the business section of the newspaper both Christmas weekend and New Year's weekend 2017. 


2. Wild Card Creative - Some of my best work has come from my collaborations with other creative people, and my work with food stylist Kathy Jollimore this year is no exception. In the spring, Kathy and I brainstormed an ongoing project called Wild Card Creative in which, together, we offer recipe creation and writing, prop and food styling, and food photography services. To see samples of our work, visit our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/wildcardcreative

Wild Card Creative - Kathy Jollimore & Kelly Neil

Wild Card Creative - Kathy Jollimore & Kelly Neil

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3. Becoming the 8th contributor to BAKED - the blog. - I'm still a little bit in shock, and completely in awe, that I get to work with a group of seven of the most talented Canadian recipe developers / food stylists / food photographers.

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I was contacted by Kris Osborne from 80Twenty in late November. 

Hey Kelly, how are you? I was wondering if you had some time sometime in the next couple of days? I wanted to talk to you about a possible opportunity. I'm available today here and there, tonight, and tomorrow most of the day. Let me know what you think!

The next evening, Kris and I had a video call and she formally invited me to become the eighth contributor to BAKED - the blog.

BAKED is a collaborative, creative project by several talented Canadian recipe developers, food photographers, and food stylists. Tune in each week as they bring rustic, accessible baking straight to your home kitchen. Through BAKED, there will be something for everyone.

My first post for BAKED, Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze went live on BAKED, December 13, 2017.


4. In May I was contacted by a producer from Gusto TV and asked to submit a four minute audition tape for a new cooking show.


5. Appearing on CTV Morning Live Atlantic twice, once by myself for a Canada Beef campaign I was working on, and once with Kathy, together as Wild Card Creative, for Cinco de Mayo.

Host Heidi Petracek and I on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic, for the #ReThinkBeef campaign, February 28, 2017.

Host Heidi Petracek and I on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic, for the #ReThinkBeef campaign, February 28, 2017.

Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, and I on location at Southwest Properties new building, Maple, on Hollis Street, filming a segment for Cinco de Mayo, May 4, 2017.

Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, and I on location at Southwest Properties new building, Maple, on Hollis Street, filming a segment for Cinco de Mayo, May 4, 2017.


6. Food styling for Aimée Bourque of Simple Bites. Aimée was touring across Canada promoting her new book, The Simple Bites Kitchen, and I, along with my friend Kris Warman of @shipshapeeatworthy, was hired by Aimée's publicist from Penguin Random House to do the food styling for Aimée's TV segments on both Global News Morning Halifax and CTV Morning Live Atlantic.

Always an early start at CTV Morning Live Atlantic (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Always an early start at CTV Morning Live Atlantic (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Aimée and I right before her segment on Global Halifax (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Aimée and I right before her segment on Global Halifax (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Myself, Kris, and Aimée, celebrating a job well done (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).

Myself, Kris, and Aimée, celebrating a job well done (photo courtesy of Kris Warman).


7. Photographing two covers for Halifax Curated | Food & Drink Magazine. Halifax Curated magazine publishes six print issues annually, and two of the six issues in 2017 featured my photos on the cover. Since the summer of 2016, I have also written and photographed an article in each issue.

Winter 2017 / styling + photography : Kelly Neil

Winter 2017 / styling + photography : Kelly Neil

Late Spring 2017 / food styling : Kathy Jollimore / photography : Kelly Neil

Late Spring 2017 / food styling : Kathy Jollimore / photography : Kelly Neil


8. I was hired by Current Studios as the food stylist for a two day TV commercial shoot for Chris Brothers.


9. Food styling for Dennis The Prescott. Dennis was touring his new cookbook, Eat Delicious, across Canada, and his publicist from HarperCollins Canada hired me to do the food styling for Dennis' Halifax stop at CTV Morning Live Atlantic. I asked Kathy Jollimore to join me and we worked the gig together as Wild Card Creative.

Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, Dennis Prescott, Kelly Neil, and Leanne Prescott on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic.

Kathy Jollimore, Heidi Petracek, Dennis Prescott, Kelly Neil, and Leanne Prescott on the set of CTV Morning Live Atlantic.


10. I was invited to Planters Ridge Winery in The Annapolis Valley to lead a food styling workshop. I loaded my car with rustic backgrounds, assorted linens, vintage dishware, and tarnished silverware to give attendees the opportunity to do their own food styling as I gave tips on how to improve smartphone food photography. Chef Sean Laceby prepared three fabulous fall-inspired plates, each paired with one of Planter's Ridge's beautiful wines. 

photo courtesy of Planters Ridge Winery

photo courtesy of Planters Ridge Winery

IT WAS A GREAT YEAR!!

Happy New Year to each and every one of you and best wishes for a fabulous 2018!!

xo.

Elodie's Eggnog

As the mother of a toddler, milk is essential, both as a drink, and an ingredient in my household, most especially during naptime and bedtime routines. I have two 4-litre jugs of whole milk in my fridge at all times because we use it every day in coffee, in cereal, and, in cooking and baking.

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The holidays are almost here, and now that Elodie is older, it’s time to start new traditions in our house. Because Canadian Quality Milk is delicious, refreshing, and a tried-and-true staple in our home, it made perfect sense that I would incorporate milk in a new holiday recipe for Elodie to enjoy this year, and every year from now on.

Last Christmas, Elodie was only six months old.

This year, Elodie is 18 months old. She can walk. She can talk. She loves to point and laugh at the lights and sparkly ornaments on our Christmas tree.

This year will be the first time I’m leaving milk and cookies out for Santa since I was a little girl.

AND I AM SO EXCITED.

This adorable video on the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s YouTube channel, featuring some seriously incredible felt animation, totally captures that sense of excitement I’m feeling. Because everyone’s a kid at Christmas time.

For me, Christmas is an opportunity to create memories for Elodie that she can hold dear for the rest of her life. So I’ve been brainstorming. I mean, of course, leaving out milk and cookies for Santa is HUGE right?

But what else?

One of my favourite holiday memories is from the year I went caroling with a group of neighbours, door to door, through our neighbourhood in Dartmouth. We met at one the nearby houses, and someone handed out sheets of music. We began to walk, as a group, and then we began to sing. I remember stopping in front of a beautiful historic home, decked out for Christmas, and, as a group, we started to sing ‘O Holy Night’. The family who lived in the house came to the door, and there was a small girl, maybe five or six years old, with curly red hair wearing a long flannel nightgown. I will never forget the look, or the light, shining from her face as she watched this group of thirty strangers gathered on the walkway of her home singing to her, harmonies floating into the cold, dark December air.

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After caroling, we gathered at a neighbour’s house for snacks and drinks. One of the neighbours had brought a ceramic crock of homemade eggnog and to this day I believe it to be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. The eggnog was milky, and sweet, and delicious, but it wasn’t just about the eggnog. It was about the entire experience. Walking the streets of my hometown, houses glowing with Christmas lights, singing beautiful holiday music, and feeling a part of something bigger than myself.

THAT’S why the eggnog tasted so good.

I want Elodie to have memories like that.

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My caroling memory inspired a new tradition in our family this Christmas. I experimented a few times with a homemade, kid-friendly eggnog recipe, using whole white milk, and maple syrup and honey in place of white sugar.

I made my own sweet milky eggnog for Elodie and she loved it.

On Christmas Eve, we’ll leave some of Elodie’s Eggnog out for Santa along with a glass of cold white milk, and some homemade cookies.

I hope he loves it as much as we do.

And the best part? With Canadian Quality Milk, I know I'll get it all done - I can make the eggnog, bake the cookies, and leave glasses of cold white milk out for Santa and his reindeer - just in the nick of time.

Ha.

Get it?

Nick of time.


Elodie's Eggnog

Ingredients :

4 cups whole white milk

6 egg yolks

½ cup maple syrup

¼ cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp whole cloves (optional)

3 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Directions :

1. In a medium pot, heat milk and honey over medium-low heat until steaming.

2. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and maple syrup until smooth. Scoop about ¼ cup of hot milk into a small measuring cup. Whisking constantly, gently dribble ¼ cup hot milk into egg yolk mixture until milk is gone.

3. Pour yolk mixture back into the pot of hot milk. Simmer gently over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Through a fine mesh sieve, pour eggnog mixture into a bowl and stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Eggnog will thicken the longer it sits. Serve cold.

Optional - At the beginning, place 1 tbsp whole cloves and 3 cinnamon sticks into the pot with the milk and honey and allow to simmer with eggnog. Strain cloves and cinnamon out at the end.


Disclosure : This post is sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada and I have received financial compensation. All views and opinions are my own, and, I will never endorse anything that I don’t use or love.

Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze

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I can hardly believe it but Christmas is almost here!

I've been working a lot - writing my three columns for The Chronicle Herald, working on a number of national campaigns with clients, as well as the project I'm maybe most excited about, Baked - the blog.

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I was contacted by Kris Osborne from 80Twenty a couple of weeks ago. We had a video call one evening and Kris got straight to the point.

"The other members of Baked and I have been talking, throwing around ideas of who we wanted to invite to be our eighth contributor, and you're name kept coming up, so I was wondering - would you be interested?"
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Baked is made up of a group of seven incredibly talented Canadian women food bloggers from across the country.

So let's see, I get to bake delicious food, style and photograph it however I want, and be a part of an amazing and inspiring team of women?

Um.

YES.

I'M INTERESTED.

For the full Cranberry Clementine Loaf with Clementine Glaze recipe (my very first post on Baked!) please visit Baked - the blog.

Make-Ahead Savoury Breakfast Bake with Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains

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You know what I love? 

Anything that makes my life easier.

When I was brainstorming recipes for Rogers Grains, one thing I kept coming back to was - how can I make holiday prep easier? And ta-da! The recipe for my Make-Ahead Savoury Breakfast Bake with Rogers Original Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains was born.

Essentially, it's a risotto, using oats instead of rice. With butter, parmesan, cooked crumbled sausage, cherry tomatoes, and fresh rosemary, they are so simple to make and, you only use one pot and a muffin pan. Less dishes definitely makes my life easier

Even better? YOU MAKE THEM THE NIGHT BEFORE. Just spoon the cooked mixture into the greased muffin apn, cover it in plastic wrap, take it out of the fridge the next day whenever you're ready, and bake.

And something else I discovered over the course of testing the recipe? 

After they're baked, they freeze beautifully. Every morning, I take one of the individual bakes out of the freezer, re-heat it, and serve it as a side with my daughter's scrambled eggs.

WE'VE BEEN EATING THEM EVERY MORNING.

Saving time and prepping ahead is, in my opinion, a key component for a stress-free holiday season. Make these versatile little guys ahead of time and fire them in the oven for Christmas Day breakfast with scrambled eggs and coffee, on a platter for Boxing Day brunch gatherings, or, as a New Year's Eve appetizer. 

Let's make your life easier shall we?

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Make-Ahead Savory Breakfast Bake with Original Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains, Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, and Fresh Rosemary

Ingredients :

1 ½ cups (375 mL) uncooked pork sausage

4 cups (1 L) chicken stock (no-added salt chicken stock optional)

2 cups (500 mL) ROGERS ORIGINAL PORRIDGE OATS & HEALTHY GRAINS

½ tsp. (2.5 mL) salt

½ cup (125 mL) Parmesan cheese, grated

3 tbsp. (45 mL) butter

1 cup (250 mL) cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 tbsp. (15 mL) fresh rosemary, chopped

Cooking spray or butter to grease muffin pan

Directions :

Generously grease a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or butter. Squeeze sausages out of their casings into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, breaking up with a spoon. Cook sausage pieces over medium-high heat until browned, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove sausage from pot and set aside.

To the same pot, add chicken stock and turn heat to high. Bring chicken stock to a boil then add Rogers Original Porridge Oats & Healthy Grains and salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook oats 8-10 minutes or until chicken stock is absorbed. Remove from heat.

Add Parmesan cheese and butter to cooked oats. Stir a few times until cheese is mixed through and butter has melted.

Add cooked sausage, cherry tomatoes, and fresh rosemary to oats. Stir well to combine. Divide oats evenly between prepared muffin cups. Cover muffin pan with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350º F (180º C) and bake, 23-25 minutes. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in refrigerator or freeze for later use. Baking option - Bake oats family-style in a 9x13 oven-safe dish instead of a muffin pan

Prep time : 10 minutes

Cook time : 45 minutes

Servings : 12

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*I was compensated financially by Rogers Grains for my recipe, photographs and blog post, however, that being said, I truly enjoy their products, as does my daughter Elodie, we truly have been eating the Make-Ahead Savoury Breakfast Bake cups every day!