For the past month my oven has been broken and it’s been hell trying to coordinate a time to meet with the repairman to get it fixed. My creativity for cooking meals that don’t require an oven is dwindling fast, especially now that cold weather is creeping in and my body craves warm food. So I was thrilled to receive an invite last week from Bonne Maman to attend a four-course meal prepared by chef Jon Svazas of Bar Laurel. The twist? He creatively incorporated jam into each of his dishes. Not only was I excited to check out Bar Laurel for the first time, this meant someone was going to cook for me, someone with access to an oven. #winning
On Thursday evening Jenn and I headed to the event with our curiosity piqued and bellies empty. We were ready to get our jam on. And boy, were we in for a treat! The space at Bar Laurel is absolutely beautiful. Its moody décor and soft lighting made a cozy environment to mix and mingle with the others who attended the event.
When we arrived a beautiful spread of cheese, fruit, crostini, and most importantly, a variety of Bonne Maman jam, was laid out on the table for snacking. Bonne Maman products are high-quality, with high fruit content, no colourings, no preservatives and no artificial flavourings. All natural ingredients here! Did I also mention that Daniel surprised us by stopping by the event while he was in Ottawa visiting family. What a sweet surprise!
Throughout the evening, Chef Jon presented us with four Spanish-inspired dishes sweetened with different jams. The plates were served in traditional tapas style, which meant I got to eat more food plus I had room for dessert. Chef Jon did an excellent job crafting each recipe using exotic ingredients paired perfectly with the sweet, juicy flavours of Bonne Maman. Check out the tasty plates we ate:
Course #1: Foie Gras Torchon with Caramelized Fennel + a Peach Jam & Scotch Bonnet Compote on Baguette
Course #2: Serrano Ham & Blue Cheese Des Basque Cheese with Fig Jam on Baguette
Course #3: Grilled Secreto Iberico Pork with Red Currant Glaze & Maldon Salt
Course #4: Fried Vanilla Ice Cream with Cherry & Amaretto Coulis
I have major weakness for dessert, so course #4 was next level for me. From now on, cherry jam on everything, or just straight off the spoon. Totally drool-worthy. Before the evening ended, Bonne Maman made sure to spoil us extra by sending us home with a goodie bag filled with jam – enough to last me a year. But of course, I’m sharing with friends to spread the love.
I had the opportunity to chat with Jenn about what it’s like being a busy mom and how Bonne Maman can make life easier for her. Her response was so amazing I asked her to share it with you all as well:
“Having picky eaters can make mealtime such a chore. There’s fighting, threats, pleas, crying, and begging. And that’s just the parents. Worse than just having a child who won’t eat is worrying about the nutrition that may or may not be getting. I have never been above bribing my kids to eat the foods I want them to eat and that their bodies require. Sometimes that bribe comes in the form of money and sometimes it comes in the form of a special treat that I know they can’t resist. Enter Bonne Maman jam!
I have two sons and I have struggled with eating difficulties with my oldest. Things really escalated when he began grade school. He would frequently come home with his lunch uneaten and a note from his teacher. It got continually worse and he had a very limited scope of foods that interested him and that I would allow him to eat. I wanted him to have good nutritious foods to grow his brain and body while he was away from home. It disturbed me that he ate very little. Also, having a peanut free classroom was a challenge for our family because both my kids literally lived off peanut butter, so that restricted us even further (although I was happy to contribute to the safety of another child and took that very seriously). Having a tasty way to serve up sunflower butter on a sprouted grain bread with a touch of Bonne Maman raspberry jam would have guaranteed a full tummy at lunch! I know, I’m a bit of a hippie. The adage “a spoonful of sugar” really can help the nutrition go down for those picky eaters. Although I don’t advocate for a diet filled with sugary snacks, sometimes you need to sweeten the pie!”
A huge thank you to Bonne Maman and Chef Jon from Bar Laurel for hosting such a delicious event! After tasting the yummy food, I was inspired to create my own sweet and savoury recipe incorporating my favourite Bonne Maman flavours, sans oven. Good thing my stove top still works… As the weather cools down, my food warms up. This happens every year without me really even noticing. While technically it’s still summer, a high of 15°C doesn’t warrant summer recipes. Plus the leaves are falling from the trees, so it may as well be autumn…
Here is my autumn-inspired recipe using Bonne Maman apricot jam. Enjoy!
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 4 cups carrots, peeled & chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 plum tomato, cored & chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp. Bonne Maman apricot jam
- 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
- 1-2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- Cayenne, to taste (optional)
- Sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
- In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil or ghee over medium heat.
- Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 4 to 6 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Stir in the turmeric, cumin, ginger and cinnamon until combined. Continue cooking for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Open the can of coconut milk. Add 1 cup of coconut milk to the pot and reserve the rest on the side to garnish before serving. Add the broth, tomatoes and carrots. Add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Stir to combine.
- Increase heat to high and bring to a low boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to medium-low, covered, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
- Turn off the heat and using a blender, blend soup until smooth. Add the Bonne Maman apricot jam and lemon juice, and blend again. Taste and add more salt, pepper or lemon juice, if necessary.
- If desired, thin the soup by adding more broth. Serve and enjoy!
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With love & gratitude,
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