Tomatoes, Basil and Garlic……..it’s that simple.

Yes my followers, Mount Dora is back on the map!

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Tonight I came across these perfectly ripened  plum tomatoes, remembered the abundant basil growing in my yard outside and decided that with the addition of garlic it was time for some Tomato Bruschetta.

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Chopped up my tomatoes, garlic and basil, added some olive oil, salt and pepper and for the drum roll finale, added some delicious ( and by this I mean you can drink it with a spoon) Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar from the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company!

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Slight technical hitch, there is no fresh french baguette in the house to serve it on! So I had to settle for some last minute crostini made from several types of leftover sliced bread, not ideal but who’s complaining right?

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I went from a totally unplanned dinner, to a delicious satisfying appetizer which will pair very well with a new wine I got to taste recently. The wine is called Apothic Dark which has a blend of blueberry and blackberry with notes of coffee and dark chocolate, need I say more…

Perfect scenario would have been to be enjoying this appetizer at the Wine Den in Mount Dora in the company of some crazy lovely ladies but instead I will settle for the loving hubby ❤ ! What can I say, I am a lucky girl, always surrounded by good company 🙂

The History of Artichokes……

The Artichoke is one of my favourite veggies! I grew up eating these as a kid, dunking each leaf (petal) in salsa golf (mayo mixed with ketchup)

I haven’t come across too many people that eat it which is a pity or maybe a blessing as that would mean that there are more for me to enjoy! lol

Anyway, for those of you who might be wondering where the artichoke comes from here is a little bit of history.

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The globe artichoke is a variety of a species of thistle cultivated as a food. The edible portion of the plant consists of the flower buds before the flowers come into bloom. The budding artichoke flower-head is a cluster of many budding small flowers together with many bracts, on an edible base. Once the buds bloom the structure changes to a coarse, barely edible form. Another variety of the species is the cardoon. It is a perennial plant native to the Mediterranean region.

Ok, so now that we are done with the artichoke history lesson, here is how I prepared this delicious flower for tonight’s dinner.

First of all you start by cutting the stalk so that they kind of stand flat, then you fill up a pot with water, add some salt, add the artichokes and bring to a boil. Do not cover them! I let them boil for just under an hour and test their readiness by poking a knife at the bottom to make sure its nice and tender.

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Remove from boiling water and place on a draining rack upside down to make sure that all the water goes bye bye.

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Prepare your favourite vinaigrette, which I did today by using some olive oil and my fabulous Blackberry Ginger Balsamic Vinegar from the Mount Dora Olive Oil, some dijon mustard and a few capers.

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I drizzled some of the Blackberry Ginger Balsamic vinegar at the bottom of my plate, then placed my artichoke and carefully opened it up so that when I drizzled my vinaigrette it kind of seeps into every nook and cranny!

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The artichokes turned out delicious. I love eating the petals one at a time and look forward to that lovely flavorful heart, but the star of the dish was the vinaigrette! I nearly licked it off the plate, but being the lady that I am, I finished it off with a teaspoon :-)!

Thinking my friend Ann and I might need to prepare some of these to take over to The Wine Den on my next visit as the Balsamic Vinaigrette would pair wonderfully with their fabulous wines <3!

Mount Dora Flashback……..

For those of you who have been following my recent blog of my wonderful Adventure in Mount Dora, this evening I am having one of those Flashback moments!

Yes I know it was only last weekend, but some places leave a lovely feeling in your heart and I will do anything to relive them over and over!

So last weekend, Saturday night to be exact my good friend (aka Big Sister) Ann, made us a wonderful dinner that ended with a yummy Chocolate Lava Cake, topped with double vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar. Yeah I know what you are thinking and it was all of that and more…….


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Tonight, home alone, hubby traveling and kids out doing their thing, I had this overwhelming feeling to relive a tiny little bit of last weekend and I did so by making myself this little bite of heaven!

I made a gooey chocolate and salted caramel brownie, then topped it off with 2 small scoops of salted caramel ice-cream and wrapped it all up with more than a drizzle of Expresso Balsamic Vinegar!

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Yes it just took one bite and I got transported straight back to Mount Dora, into my friend Ann’s dining room and through the streets of Historic Mount Dora into the Mount Dora Olive Oil Company where I purchased the delicious Balsamic Vinegar. From there, took a little stroll down the road right back into the Wine Den to sip of some lovely wine…….

Nearly had to go for seconds hoping I would find myself back on the Segway tour through the quaint streets, broad walks, wooded areas, parks and sidewalks…….but I am strong and I didn’t! Will save that for another time….

Next time you find yourself reminiscing about good times, why not make the effort and relive them in your own house? It’s not that difficult and the feeling is totally priceless :-)!

Happy Friday ❤

Wine Lovers – Can’t get any better than this……..or can it?

During my recent trip to Mount Dora, I experienced something really special.

I visited a Wine Bar, but not just any Wine Bar!

It’s called “The Wine Den” and you might be wondering why did I think this particular wine bar was so special?

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Well, here is why…….. you usually think of a wine bar as a place where people go and hang out , socialize and drink copious amounts of wine right? Not saying that they don’t do that here, but this place is more like a “Family” Wine Bar! Everyone knows everyone and in the midst of the social hustle and bustle you get the random tourist that pops in and out, joins in the conversation and buys some wine.

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But the best part is watching the locals savour their wine whilst chatting with the owner and staff, and guess what? You buy your bottle of wine, they put your name on it and keep it in the fridge for you, so that when you stop by the next day or so, its readily awaiting your arrival! Isn’t that a fabulous idea?

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They also, every Friday night, have what they call Yappy Hour – which translates to “Happy Hour” with dogs! Yes, you read it right, its bring your dog to the wine bar night and having experienced it first hand, I have to say that the dogs were very well behaved, it was a very pleasurable evening!

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Should I mention that my good friend Ann diligently prepares and takes in  some to die for appetizers which pair wonderfully with the wines 🙂

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During my visit, not only did I get a chance to taste some lovely wines but I also got to meet some wonderful people, as well as spending some time catching up with old friends!

So next time you find yourself in Mount Dora, swing by “The Wine Den” and enjoy a glass of wine!

Thank you my dear friend Ann for the wonderful experience!

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