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The Sugar Shack

GOLD! That word has us grinning from ear to ear this week as we proudly watched our Canadian hockey teams take home the prize at the 2014 Olympics. As a tribute to our great Canadian athletes, I’m sharing one of my husband’s original winter cocktail concoctions: The Sugar Shack. This is a simple mix that is absolutely delicious and tastes a bit like grown-up ice-cream! Be sure to use a blended scotch or whiskey so as not to overwhelm the flavours with the strength of a single malt.

sugar shackFor 1 cocktail – multiply as necessary

  • 1 oz. blended scotch or whiskey
  • 1 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. pure Canadian maple syrup

Mix ingredients together and pour over ice in a rocks glass.

Please enjoy responsibly.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

As if there weren’t already enough reasons to celebrate the 2014 Olympics, the historic advent of Women’s Ski Jumping as an Olympic event and that crazy amazing Gold won by the Canadian Women’s Hockey team as well as the Women’s curling team has made this one of the most exciting Winter Olympics to watch in recent memory. I don’t know about you, but we will definitely be cheering loud this weekend as we gather for the final events.

In honour of the occasion, I’ll be whipping up a batch of everyone’s favourite TV snack, this deliciously creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip. This can be served cold right after mixing, or baked to golden bubbly perfection for those wanting something a little more warming. Serve with our Salty Date & Almond Raincoast Crisps or toasted pita chips and a plate full of Coconut Crusted Prawns with Mango Tango Sauce and your friends and family will be cheering for more than just the athletes!

spinach and artichoke

Makes about 3 cups

  • 1/2 lb frozen spinach
  • 8 oz. artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup marscapone cheese
  • 1/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. goat’s cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Place artichokes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse for 5-7 seconds or until very coarsely chopped.

Add the mayonnaise, marscapone cheese, crème fraîche, Parmesan, goat’s cheese, roasted garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Process for another 5 seconds or until well combined. Add the spinach and pulse 3-4 times more until they all ingredients are well combined. The dip should still have some texture and not be completely smooth.

Refrigerate for cold dip or place into a small baking dish and bake at 375 F until the top is golden and the dip is bubbling.

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Patria | Toronto, Canada


I recently had the chance to visit Patria, the much talked about Spanish tapas style restaurant on King Street in Toronto. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. The décor and ambience they have created transports you right to an updated scene of Barcelona, and they have done a fabulous job of capturing the true flavours of Spanish cuisine.

We started with the Jamón Ibérico De Bellota (36 month acorn-fed black hoof Iberico ham): this is the finest type of Jamón Ibérico which is made from free-range pigs that roam the oak forest and eat only acorns. This is like prosciutto…only a billion times better. Very expensive but worth the splurge! The Spanish Octopus was very well executed, and the  Patatas Bravas Con Huevos Fritos were delicious – taking potatoes to a whole other level. The Dátiles Con Tocino Ibérico (dates stuffed with a pepper and wrapped in bacon) were delish, and the generous portions of seafood Paella Patria for 2 is to be highly recommended but can definitely be shared by 4. I’d also suggest the Ensalada De Alcachofas Fritas Con Queso Manchego (shaved fennel salad) – it was the perfect palate cleanser next to all the richer dishes. Oh, and you MUST try the Churros Con Dulce De Leche for dessert with the chocolate…Oh My!

It’s hard to find any fault with Patria: my only comment would be that the wine list could be a bit more expansive in the Spanish section with more representation by the top producers. Unlike tapas in Spain, this restaurant is not inexpensive, but both the food and the experience are worth the price.


Patria Restaurant
480 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5V 1L7

For Reservations contact:
T: 416.367.0505
E: reservations@patriatoronto.com

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