Category Archives: Gourmet Cooking

Bourbon Soaked Cherries with Vanilla Ice Cream

This dessert is simple and quick to make, and the combination of smooth vanilla ice cream topped with tender, bourbon-spiked cherries is to die for. Enjoy this boozy treat outside during those hot summer months, after a long day at work.

Cherries Jubilee

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

1 pound pitted sweet cherries, halved
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 fluid ounce bourbon
pinch of kosher salt
1 pint vanilla bean ice cream

1. In a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat, combine the cherries, brown sugar, and unsalted butter. Cook gently until the butter and sugar have melted and the cherries begin to release some of their juice. Continue to stir until the mixture is bubbling gently, about five minutes.
2. Stir in the bourbon and kosher salt. Cook for an additional five minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice to taste and let the mixture rest for 5-10 minutes.
4. Divide ice cream between six bowls and top with a cherry mixture.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Blog Network family.

Pork Ragu with Pappardelle from The Hot Plate

I always believe that Valentine’s Day needs a special dinner. Every year I try to make something delicious, gourmet and nothing that will break the bank. This year I wanted to try an Italian dish that would make us feel like we were actually in Italy dining at a romantic restaurant. I knew that I had to make this Pork Ragu.

This dish is perfect for that special someone on Valentine’s Day, but it can also make great leftovers, when you are still thinking about how delicious your meal was last night. The extra sauce you have left from this meal can be frozen for up to 2 months, which is awesome for those days you need a tasty, yet easy meal on the fly.

This is dish will not only make you feel like you are in Italy, it will warm you up and during this cold February we are having. It’s a hearty meal that will make anyone love you a little bit more this Valentine’s Day.

*Calories per serving: 525.6, Fat 18.5 grams, Cholesterol: 35.2mg, Sodium:, Carbs: 45.3 grams, Fibre: 3.2 grams, Sugars: 4.6 grams, Protein: 40.1 grams

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 6


1 pound pappardelle
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound lean ground pork
2 spicy Italian sausages, casings removed
1 Spanish onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup reduced sodium chicken stock, divided
1 – 14oz can whole peeled tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add ground pork and sausage meat to skillet, stir until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer browned meat onto a clean plate, set aside.
2. Add onion, carrot, garlic and oregano to the skillet, sauté for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Add half the stock to deglaze. Add the meat back into the skillet. Stir in tomatoes and remaining stock. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, cook pappardelle in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot. Add half the pasta water to the simmering sauce. Add a spoonful or two of sauce to the pot with the pasta; stir to coat.
4. Divide the pasta between plates, top with a ladle of Ragu and a sprinkling of Parmesan and freshly chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

Extra sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Amanda_GarbuttAmanda Garbutt is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.