Hello, hello! There have been quite the days here, and while I'm sorry to say I don't have a proper recipe to pass along, there are stories to tell, all the small things that filled the hours in between our last conversation and now. For the record though, I've been making a lot of radish sandwiches lately and, in case that's your thing, I'll take a moment to tell you about them.

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Fergus Henderson, in a favourite article from Bon Appétit (seriously, the words, the photographs, the menu, everything is bang-on great, and it's where you'll find the recipe for this showstopper of an ice cream), suggests serving radishes whole, with the classic accompaniment of sweet butter and crunchy flakes of sea salt. That's a no-brainer, everyone knows that'll be delicious. What makes the suggestion smart is that he tucks the radish greens aside to dress with a Dijon vinaigrette — it's a peppery and pungent combination, the sort that catches and tingles at the edge of your mouth.  

I've taken his idea and put it into a sandwich, as afternoons right now are story book made for picnics. I fancy up some butter with grainy Dijon and lemon zest, then smear it across lightly-toasted pumpernickel. The radish greens get torn into a bowl with a bit of olive oil, juice from that lemon, Maldon salt and cracked blacked pepper. Sliced radish goes on top of the buttered toast, then the salad, and then another toast. Along with my recent fondness for avocado toasts, which I'll get to momentarily, radish sandwiches are one of the quickest, nicest routes between hungry and lunch that I know of. 

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On to that newsy, chatty stuff. 

One day in late May, we lit up sparklers for no better reason than the fact that the evening was warm and the grass green, and that sparklers are the best of summer's magic. In the softness of that indigo hour, the frizzling trails lit up smiling faces, and sparks flew and burst like the laughter that accompanied them. It was celebration of everything, yet nothing in particular, and we've still got some sparklers left and I want to do it again.

Something that deserves a celebration of its own is an announcement that's not mine, but belongs to some people who I think are pretty special. I've talked about my friend Nikole before, more than once, actually. She and I first began really talking around the time her father made a baby spoon for my son William — a lad who is turning 4 years old in a few days, so if you do the math you'll find we've had some years of cakes and conversation between us. She and I are sometimes collaborators, often with the exceptional talents of Michael Graydon to boost up our own, and those projects represent some of the work of which I'm the most proud.

Nikole and her father Lance are the pair behind Herriott Grace. You've surely heard of their shop before; it's a heartfelt effort between those two. They've got a great story behind all that lovely and, lucky us, they have decided to share their thoughts and history in a new endeavour. They've put themselves on film, in association with John Cullen and Industry Films, and resulting portrait is breathtaking.

Congratulations, NH + LH, and to all involved. xo

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Here's the biggie. I snuck away for a few days and made my way down to New York City. It was a brilliant, overwhelming trip, and I'm endlessly thankful to the dear, dearest friend with whom I shared it.

We walked bridges, navigated subways, and chatted up taxi drivers. We took the train out of town and I sat at a table I best remember in a snapshot taken when I was maybe five years old. We went to a party that filled up a room with admirable folks, and I wish I could have spent days in their midst. We toasted the city with cookies, and had sandwiches at Saltie for lunch. We poked around Union Square Market with fine company, and sat in the most charming bakery I've ever seen, with an equally charming (and talented, and funny) friend. There were chocolate buns as part of the deal. We people watched at Café Gitane and I became obsessed with their avocado toast. How can something so simple be so good? I've made it twice in the last week.

We sat in a restaurant on the edge of Central Park, just before a storm. We were served pickled strawberries on fresh mozzarella, and tiny sips of watercress soup. We cooed over crispy rice cakes underneath tender scallops. We blatantly eavesdropped on conversations, listening to mothers talk the serious business of the weddings of their children. We politely spied on a group of women catching up after years apart, each of them in cocktail dresses with the baubles and rings to match. And everyone heard the man who announced his presence in the room with an order for service; he strode in like he ruled the world. All of us could be his court.

When my friend and I walked outside, the wind had picked up, and we looked at a skyline dramatic against the clouds.

In the early hours of one morning we made our way to Grand Central Station. It was grey and pale out, the streets slicked shiny by a fine, misting rain. We snuck into the building as though it were a secret. Without the crowds, in that faint light, we stood beneath the turquoise arc of the painted heavens above, and it was like a scene from about a million movies. The irresistible wonder of place, the undeniable awe, saved it from cliché — we were left alone with the quiet potential in the space around us, the weight of what had been before.

The chandeliers shone like sequined planets. And maybe we laughed at ourselves.

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I came back full of ideas, and full of reasons to be grateful. We got to meet so many inspiring individuals, it's hard to know where to begin. I'll tell you this, yesterday I made a vinegar-kicked strawberry conserve with that one meal in mind. I look forward to sharing it all with you.

Hip, hip for the weekend, for being home, for new lessons and old reminders. Let's talk soon.

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The top two photos were taken with my camera, the rest were taken with my phone, using Instagram.

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I am proud to say that I am the Canadian host for this year's Menu for Hope, the annual campaign to raise funds in benefit of the United Nations World Food Programme and its Purchase for Progress initiative.

It's a simple idea with extraordinary results; from December 14-25, we will be holding a worldwide raffle full of amazing, wonderful, one-of-a-kind prizes related to food, travel and wine. Each $10 donated will count as a bid towards the prize of the donators choosing. The more you give, the move chances there is to win, with the proceedings going straight to the United Nations.

Easy peasy. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, we need those prizes.

If you are a food blogger, a producer, an artisan with a food related work, a publisher or restauranteur, we are looking for your help. Please consider donating a prize to be put up for raffle, one that you believe would garner at least twenty bids at $10 each. We are relying on your help in making this year's campaign a success.

If you’d like to participate, please send your prize information (plus two images 75×75 thumbnail and 200×200px) to your local host so that they can give you a prize code (important!) and more instructions on what to do for the Menu for Hope launch.

Here are your local hosts for this year's Menu for Hope:

US: West Coast (If you are closer to SF than you are to NY then you belong here.)

Shauna of Gluten Free Girl and the Chef (glutenfreegirl[at]gmail[dot]com)

US: East Coast

Helen of Tartelette (mytartelette[at]gmail[dot]com)

Europe *and* the UK

David Lebovitz (david.lebovitz[at]yahoo[dot]com)

Canada

Tara of Seven Spoons (tara[at]sevenspoons[dot]net) - that's me!

Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand

Ed Charles of Tomato (gastrotom[at]gmail[dot]com)

Our special Wine Blog Host

Alder of Vinography (alder[at]vinography[dot]com)

Event Co-ordinator (lots more information here)

Chez Pim

For those unable to donate a prize, we still could use your help. Please consider passing on this information to anyone you might think interested, or spreading the word on our own site. Of course, you can also bid for prizes, so check back on December 10 for further details!

Help us help the World Food Programme end world hunger.

Note: Please check back often for further information on prizes, bidding and the campaign's progress. I'll also be elsewhere with updates.

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My apologies; I had said that the review for Marty's World Famous Cookbook would be up today. However I foolishly made the statement without looking at the weather forecast. Little did I expect that the remnants of Hurricane Ike passing through Southern Ontario last night would leave us without power for the last 21 hours or so; with no leads on when it will return. I'm currently posting remotely, and will be back as soon as possible. Ours is only a minor inconvenience, with only a refrigerator of food to worry about; my best wishes to those who have been truly effected by this storm. Cheers.

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Photo courtesy of my ridiculously-talented brother.

I started to think about writing this announcement this past Mother's Day; it seemed a suitable occasion to attempt to collect my thoughts and to begin to find the words to properly convey how very lucky I feel in life, especially in regards to becoming a mother for a second time.

Even though I have tried to maintain the focus of this site to be food and recipes, I have been nothing short of humbled by the excited and supportive responses I have received whenever my personal life has been made mention. The encouragement, kindness and advice has been an unexpected bonus to my writing, and I am wholly grateful to all of you who continue to visit.

Seven spoons has been, as I have said, inextricably tied to many important milestones in my life, and the life I share with Sean and Benjamin. It has brought me what will surely be lifelong friendships and expanded my culinary and professional horizons. Most of surprisingly of all though, it has brought me a new sense of perspective and purpose.

When these words are published, it will mean our perspective has shifted again. Our threesome has become four and I will be beginning to see that Ben, though forever and always our baby, is no longer the baby; he is now a full-fledged big brother.

I am sure that this new journey will bring many more adventures, lessons and memorable meals. I do hope that you all will join me in exploring this new territory and enjoy the stories to come. As the next little while will be a tad hectic on our end, I will be shifting the content of the site from original recipes to feature more book reviews as well as resurrecting my "Taste to Go" columns, spotlighting products and purveyors of which I am particularly fond. As soon as time (and a newborn) permits me, please look out for this new content. Finally, I will be featuring more of the photographic talents of my big brother Anik and his equally-gifted wife Rene; they both have skills that far surpass mine and I am thrilled to have them contribute to the site.

Until then, we once again thank all of you. We have to thank our family for always being there with the standing offer of babysitting and for being a source of constant strength. To our friends, thank you for being such wonderful Aunties and Uncles to Benjamin, confidants to us and a wealth of boundless enthusiasm.

And finally I would like to take a moment to thank my dear Sean, our bundle of boy Benjamin, and this latest addition to the family for being everything to me.

[William was born on June 11th at 12:22PM EST, and is a handsome fellow.]

See you all soon.

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I was out with my lovely Mum the other day and we came across these little violet darlings, all tucked in a box at the back of the market. Though not on our list of things to buy, neither of us could resist their charming size; so they were bundled up to be brought home.

Yes, we were smitten by fruit.

Beyond their diminutive stature, I think I was most taken with their weeble-ish physique. Their little tops and gently bulging belly struck a chord with me, and my own recently expanding equator.

Though I am sure some some of my southern spread can be attributed to holiday excess, I do have a far more pleasing reason for the plumpness - and my unexplained absence towards the end of last year.

My dear Sean and I are ecstatic to say that our Benjamin is going to be a big brother.

Some astute readers may have noticed that my aforementioned absence spanned three months, or one trimester. I had not meant to take time off, but morning sickness struck at all hours of the day and with unexpected ferocity. When I could eat I was restricted to a few, rather dull, foods in small quantities. Oatmeal and banana. Toast with a bit of cheddar if I was lucky. Rice with lentils. Not really the stuff riveting food writing is made of.

I must take a moment to express my deep gratitude, once again, to our wonderful family and friends. They came with meals in hand to make sure that my boys were fed and with cozy sweaters to make sure I kept warm. Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm, we are so terribly lucky.

And so, while our last pregnancy was never highlighted here, I hope that you all will welcome a mention or two over the coming months. I am happy to say I am feeling much better and I have resumed my role in the kitchen. I am unhappy to say I am missing soft cheeses terribly and that it is frustrating to see the lack of interesting non-alcoholic beverages at restaurants.

Soon Ben will be two (my goodness!) and in a few months he won't be the littlest anymore. Big changes around these parts, but each and every one will be met with the same silly grin we have been wearing ever since we heard the news.

Thank you all for your patience with me and for still being here!

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