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cupcake gatineau

Birth of a New Cake: Trendy Desserts.

Macaroons and cupcakes and cake pops, oh my!  When it comes to birthday celebrations, what happened to just a simple, traditional birthday cake?  It seems that particular notion may have disappeared much like the flame of a birthday candle after it has been blown out.  Just as modern technology has changed over time and impacted how we live our lives; the birthday dessert has also evolved into something different.  Gone are the days of a plain vanilla cake with a few sprinkles, surrounded by children wearing pointy hats.  Instead we have more elaborate birthday cakes featured at more elaborate birthday celebration events.

Every year there are trends that become all the rage in all avenues of food and popular culture.  When it comes to the world of desserts, this is true even more so.  The amount of dessert bakeries and restaurants that have popped up in the Ottawa-Gatineau region over the past few years has been astonishing.  However, it’s important not to discount your local grocery store!  They have always been a reliable place to get a cake, cupcake or a variety of other desserts.  Realizing the importance of keeping up with trends, many grocery stores have upped the ante when it comes to what their bakery departments offer.  Whether it is edible print art, or custom designs and flavours, from Kanata all the way to Gatineau, grocery stores have helped to elevate the regular birthday cake concept.

Television shows such as ‘Cake Boss’ and ‘Cupcake Wars’ have driven home the idea that these confections can be works of art as well as tasty treats.  This has only heightened the popularity of these cakes and the events where they are present (pun intended).    A popular trend with cakes over the past year was a coloured layered style referred to as ‘ombre’.  Essentially this is where a cake has several layers, and each layer is a different shade of the same colour (from darker to lighter).

Another trend related to cakes is the type of icing/frosting that is used for them.  Savoury icing is something that may seem strange for a birthday cake or cupcake in Gatineau, but the idea of manipulating flavour profiles where they weren’t traditionally ever played with is not only interesting, but has created very tasty results. Getting cupcakes in Gatineau is a great place to test out these particular savoury icing flavours because they are smaller than cakes; you can test the icing on one cupcake at a time and tweak if necessary.  If it doesn’t work, at least you haven’t ruined a whole cake and can start over much faster.

January 12, 2015
Marche Laflamme

Have a Very Merry BBQ in Gatineau This Year!

It’s winter in Gatineau. Naturally, you miss your BBQ – both the simple act of cooking a meal on the grill, and the taste of your perfectly charbroiled food. Why not reunite with your BBQ for the most important meal of the year? Christmas dinner!

While a BBQ in Gatineau at this time of year may not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a meal for your holiday guests, the Christmas season can actually be a great opportunity to make use of your most beloved cooking tool. Since this is likely unfamiliar territory, here are some suggestions and tips for easing into your first Christmas BBQ in Gatineau.

Grill the main event!

Making use of the BBQ to grill your main dish leaves the oven free for side dishes and desserts, and gives you an excuse to leave the room when Uncle Rob starts singing carols.

When it comes to Christmas dinner, unless you’re a vegetarian or vegan, meat is usually the star of the show. A turkey can be cooked using a BBQ, and you may even find it easier and less time consuming than using your oven! Just be sure to use the indirect method of grilling by turning off the burners directly below the turkey, while the burners on either side are left on. You can even use a disposal drip pan to catch the drippings for gravies and sauces!

You should also keep in mind that the shining star of your holiday feast doesn’t have to be a turkey. Perhaps a perfectly grilled steak or delicious BBQ salmon could steal the show this year!

Grill your sides

If you can’t fathom the idea of not having a traditionally cooked turkey, just like your mom used to make, how about grilling your sides? Delicious grilled veggies could take the place of your aunt’s green bean casserole, and roasted potatoes in place of your usual mashed are a great alternative!

Simply coat your veggies or potatoes in oil, toss in your favourite seasoning, and grill on skewers, in a grill basket, or wrapped in foil!

BBQ a unique dessert

Anyone is capable of buying another yule log. Why not think outside the box, and bring your sweets to the grill? Almost any desert that can be cooked in an oven can be cooked on a BBQ, but a BBQ can add unique flavours that you won’t find in the kitchen. Consider grilling fruit for dessert, or making s’mores on the BBQ!

No longer are BBQs in Gatineau for summer use only! If you can bear the cold weather, your BBQ can be a helpful tool in cooking a delicious Christmas feast! Create a unique holiday experience that your family will remember for years. Who knows, an Annual BBQ in Gatineau (or anywhere for the matter) could become your newest Christmas tradition!

December 19, 2014
Marche Laflamme
beer king gatineau

How to Get Your Beer Ice Cold in Minutes

Kicking back with a cold beer with friends after work or during a big hockey game is always a treat – except when the beer is a less-than-ideal temperature. For most people, the only way to drink a brew is when it’s ice cold. Any warmer than that and it’s just not as good.

Obviously, the best way to ensure that you have truly cold beer is to make sure it has time to chill in the fridge before you’re ready to enjoy it. However, when you buy beer by the case, like at a Gatineau beer king store, it often is stored at room temperature.

So what can you do to make your Gatineau beer king brews ice cold right after you bring them home? Thankfully, there are a couple of things you can try.

Salt and Ice

This method has been used for years to cool things quickly, and the best part is that everyone already has all of the necessary ingredients at home.

First, take your warm Gatineau beer king cans or bottles and put a few of them in a large bowl (a small cooler will work well.) Then, fill the container with water and ice, making sure to cover the brews entirely.

This is where the science comes in: the final step is to stir in some regular table salt. You need enough salt to make the water salty, so if you’re using a cooler you might need a cup of salt or more. Salt lowers the freezing point of water, super-cooling the water (and your beer) quickly.

Once you’ve mixed the salt, water and ice together, it shouldn’t take more than five minutes to get your beer to optimal drinking temperatures. Just make sure to rinse the cans before you drink from them so you don’t get a mouthful of salt water.

Paper Towel

Though this method is less effective than the salt and ice version, it works in a pinch if you don’t have enough salt.

Everyone knows that putting their warm beers from the Gatineau beer king in the freezer will cool them down, but if you wrap a wet paper towel around them first, they’ll cool even faster.

After you’ve placed your wrapped beers in the fridge, it should take about 15 to 20 minutes to get them cool enough to drink.

So there you have it: two ways to effectively cool warm Gatineau beer king brews in a snap, so you’ll never miss a minute of the game.

November 26, 2014
Marche Laflamme
bbq

Tips for Cooking With Your BBQ in the Winter

If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor grill, you know the unfortunate feeling of having to pack it away for the cold winter months. However, the savoury taste of honey-glazed pork chops and roasted ears of corn doesn’t have to be exclusive for sizzling summer months. Having an outdoor grill gives you the luxury of having delicious BBQ’ed food all year round, even in the winter. Stick to these winter grilling tips and you’ll be enjoying your BBQ in every kind of weather.

Heat Things Up

Whether you’re looking to buy a new grill or you’re already a proud owner, it’s important to make sure it will have good heating qualities to help with cold weather cooking. Gas grills are top contenders when it comes to heating up quickly which will also help keep you out of the cold longer. Look for a BBQ with a good hood that will keep heat in and features a built-in thermometer. Remember to be patient. Allow your grill to heat up to the desired temperature before cooking. You’ll save time and cook your food safely.

Be Prepared

One of the joys of summer cooking is feasting on all sorts of grill-worthy foods. Whether you’re cooking steaks or vegetable skewers, prepare the food beforehand to avoid shivering in the cold. Marinate any meat ahead of time instead of applying BBQ sauce and spices outside, season vegetables and wrap baked potatoes in foil so everything is ready to be popped on the grill and left to sizzle away. If you’re planning on being outside for long periods of time while cooking, make sure to protect your hands and head as you may be at risk of frostbite.

Maintain Your Grill

While scooping up your food from the BBQ and heading inside right away seems like the best case scenario, your grill still needs a little love before closing up shop. Make sure to clean your BBQ thoroughly after every use so you can avoid having to do so the next time you fire it up. Also keep a stocked supply of propane or charcoal to avoid having half-cooked food in the dead of winter. There’s nothing worse than biting into a poorly-cooked steak with a rumbling tummy.

Get Creative

Every season brings new market-fresh foods to enjoy. Whether you’re grilling zucchini in the summer or roasting butternut squash in the fall get inspired by the various seasonal foods available to you. You can even go as far to make yummy BBQ s’mores in the winter. How fun!

 

 

November 7, 2014
Marche Laflamme
Cupcakes

Cupcakes Will Save Your Sanity at Children’s Birthday Parties

Rare is the person who doesn’t enjoy a good cupcake. In fact, they’ve actually become something of an art form; visit Pinterest or Google food blogs and you’ll see the offerings are endless—both in flavour and design, and ranging from kid-pleasing to adult-focused.

As children embark on pre-school or kindergarten, their social world instantly expands. Birthday celebrations will start to look a little different than previous gatherings that may merely have consisted of immediate family and grandparents! Enter the world of the birthday party. One area that you can make life far easier for yourself – and still be a hit at the same time—is by serving cupcakes. Having cupcakes for even one of the following five reasons will have you patting yourself on the back at the end of the party.

  1.  Cupcakes are less expensive than a custom cake. While both cakes and cupcakes can be made incredibly elaborate—and be priced accordingly, cupcakes are generally cheaper to provide on a per-serving basis.
  2. Cupcakes are easier to manage. Serving individually wrapped cupcakes is far less messy than serving slices of cake. Plus, you eliminate the need for utensils—which can still be difficult for younger children to use. Seriously, consider the odds that pieces of cake will end up on a lap or floor due to less than fully-developed motor skills.
  3. Cupcakes are more apt to get eaten. There is nothing more discouraging than putting hours of time and effort—and expense—into a cake only to notice during clean-up that a good portion of each slice remains on the plate.  Between the excitement of the festivities, and generally smaller appetites, many young children may enjoy some frosting and a bite or two, with the rest of their serving being destined for disposal.  The perfect serving size of the cupcake effectively reduces the chance of significant waste.
  4. Cupcakes double as a birthday activity. While this isn’t for everyone, DIY cupcake decorating can be a fun way to gather the party guests around the table. Depending on the age, kids can frost their own prior to adding their creative touches, or you can simply supply the cupcakes already frosted and provide an assortment of age-appropriate toppings—gummies, for instance, are easy for younger guests to use.
  5. Cupcakes allow for a range of presentation ideas. The presentation at the table is not limited to simply displaying them on a tray—though that’s fine, too. Arrange them as a centrepiece according to some aspect of the party theme; create an attractive pattern or clever shape. Even assembling them in the shape of your child’s new age would be appreciated by the little guest of honour and his or her visitors! Consider adding dramatic effect by using a tiered dessert stand.  The options are as big as your imagination!
October 17, 2014
Marche Laflamme