Nova Scotia

A weekend away.

I've always said that I don't self-identify as a blogger.

I'm a photographer with a blog.

However, because of my blog, I've made some really wonderful friends.

I spent this past weekend on a 'creative retreat' with Nicholetta from www.pepperandpaint.com, Gabby from www.foodgirlintown.com and Kathy from www.eathalifax.ca. We stayed at Nicholetta's summer home on the North Shore where we ate, drank, cooked and laughed for hours.

We talked about blogging, photography, food styling, creative writing, our families, friends, and inspirations. We talked about future goals - our hopes and our dreams.

We ate non-stop. Nicholetta's velvety roasted cauliflower soup, Kathy's baked oysters, Gabby's favourite Italian treat, prosciutto wrapped melon, and the small mountain of smoked salmon that I had brought along. Sesame noodles, mushroom bruschetta, a plethora of cheeses, chocolate, crackers, and cured meats, plus copious amounts of wine.

I am thankful to have met these women who so inspire me. 

Squash, Chorizo and Blue Cheese Strata

collaborate  (verb)   kuh lab uh - reyt

to work, one with another

My friend Kathy, from eatHalifax!, and I have been wanting to collaborate on a project for a really long time. Finally, last Sunday we got together to make this gorgeous breakfast Strata featuring Chorizo sausages from Ratinaud French Cuisine, Chef Jason Lynch's beautiful new Dijon Mustard and Blue Harbour Cheese's Urban Blue - all made right here in Nova Scotia.

Food styling and recipe : Kathy Jollimore

Photography : Kelly Neil

Squash, Chorizo & Blue Cheese Strata - serves 6

1 small or 1/2 large acorn squash, seeds removed, cut into wedges

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 Ratinaud Chorizo sausages, casings removed

6 eggs

1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tbsp. Jason Lynch's Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. chopped herbs: oregano, rosemary and\or sage

1 loaf rustic French bread, cubed or torn into pieces

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano 

4 oz. Urban Blue cheese, crumbled

- Preheat oven to 450º - Place the squash on a baking sheet - Drizzle with 2 tsp. olive oil and season with salt and pepper - Roast until soft, about 20-30 min (you could also roast longer at a lower temperature if desired) - Remove from oven and scrape off any charred bits. Scoop out squash into a bowl. Lightly mash and season lightly with salt and pepper.

- Reduce oven to 375º - Butter a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

- Heat a skillet over medium heat - Add the remaining olive oil - Fry the chorizo until just cooked, breaking it into smaller pieces - Set aside.

- Whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, Dijon, and fresh herbs - Season with a pinch of both salt and pepper - In the baking dish, mix together the bread, squash, Chorizo, Parmigiano and Urban Blue cheeses - Pour the egg mixture over top - Press the bread into the liquid (if using day old bread, feel free to refrigerate an hour or even overnight) - Bake until the liquid is fully absorbed and the top golden brown, about 40 min. Serve immediately.

2014 Taste of Nova Scotia Culinary Guide

I've been shooting the 2014 Taste of Nova Scotia Culinary Guide for the last three weeks and today I FINALLY get to show you a sneak peek! 

Of course, what is more quintisentially Nova Scotian than lobster?

Well, maybe seafood chowder, lighthouses and sou'westers but whatever.

I photographed this gleaming little guy with Christine White from Taste of Nova Scotia and Chef Ray Bear at Saege Bistro this past Sunday and today, Taste of Nova Scotia uploaded it as the cover photo on their Facebook page!

I AM BEYOND EXCITED.

The 2014 Taste of Nova Scotia Culinary Guide will be released on April 28 and I can't wait to share the rest with you!!