Two Favorites: A spice blend and a photography duo

WFD? Cornish Game Hen Roasted with Ethiopian Berbéré Spices, Sour Cream Gnocci, Acorn Squash and Braised Baby Bak Choy.

Finding a great new restaurant is no easy feat. One must take friend’s suggestions and critic’s raves with a grain of salt. Not until you have tried a place yourself can you really be sure that it’s a place you will be often retuning to and making your own.
Finding a great photographer is kind of like choosing a restaurant—just a lot more risky. You are entrusting someone to encapsulate an event or milestone in your life that can’t be repeated. There is no rewind button for a wedding day, infants only get bigger, not smaller, and unless those moments are captured expertly on camera, they are gone for good.

Yes, I really am pregnant! Cooking lunch around my 7 month baby bump.

Recently we had the good fortune of welcoming not one, but two, photographers into our home for a personal family photo shoot and lunch. The goal: to capture my growing baby bump and this momentous time in our lives. While we weren’t really sure what to expect from Tim and Angela, we were thrilled with the stunning results from these talented photographers and their moving photographs.
We sat down to a hot lunch after the photo shoot and Angela continued snapping away as I put the finishing touches on our roasted guinea hen. I loved her work so much and was so excited when she graciously allowed me to use a few of her shots for this post. She makes my food look really good!

It is with utmost sincerity that I recommend Tim and Angela from
They specialize in weddings, so if you (or someone you know) are planning to tie the knot in the Montreal area, give them a call. You will be hard pressed to find a more dedicated team to capture your big day in a truly personal way.

And now for my current favorite dinner dish!

I almost never use the word sensational, but with this exotic spice blend, I am tempted to. ..
The guinea hen for our lunch was rubbed with an authentic Ethiopian splice blend called Berbéré that is available from Montreal spice guru, Philippe de Vienne. Called the curry of Africa, it is an absolutely transporting melange of 14 different spices that come together to create an unforgettable flavor. Black cardamom, fenugreek, cassia, paprika, and coriander are just a few of the spices that tickle your palate.

I love this aromatic traditional blend so much, I practically buy it in bulk when I drop by his store, Olives et Épices ( Marche Jean Talon, 7070 Henri-Julien étal C-11, Montreal)

If you are not in the area, you can order your berbéré blend online; however, if you want to make your own, Philippe gives the recipe in his new cookbook, La cuisine et le gout des épices, and I will pass it on to you at the bottom of the post.

Berbéré Roasted Chicken
4 garlic cloves, chopped 3 Tablespoons Berbéré, ground 1 teaspoon salt 3 Tablespoons butter, melted 3 Tablespoons lemon juice 1 whole chicken, 3-4 lbs, or two plump Cornish hens 4 onions
Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix together the berbéré, garlic, butter, lemon juice, and salt. Cut the chicken into 8 and brush with spice mixture. Peel onions and slice into thick slices. Place the onions on the bottom of a roasted pan and arrange chicken pieces on top. Roast for about 1 hour. Baste occasionally with cooking juices.

Philippe de Vienne’s Berbéré Spice Blend
2 Tablespoons dried ginger 2 teaspoons green cardamom 1 teaspoon cloves 1 stick cinnamon 1 stick cassia 2 teaspoons fenugreek ½ whole nutmeg 1 teaspoon all-spice 2 teaspoons black pepper 1 teaspoon black cardamom 2 tablespoons coriander 1 teaspoon adjwain (lovage) 3 whole, dried Cayenne peppers ¾ cup paprika

Ed. Note: Huge thanks and props to Tim and Angela for the photos. You guys rock!