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What's Cooking: Aphrodisiac Cake

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"Of all the aphrodisiacs, nothing fuels one's passion more than chocolate."

Chevonne Miller-Centini's Aphrodisiac Cake
Yield: Three 8" cakes


Butter and flour Three 8" pans --- or pour the batter into a lined sheet tray and cut the rounds from the flat sheet cake you will bake in a fraction of the time.

Step 1:

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

Whip with mixer until thick and light. The batter should form ribbons from the beaters when lifted.

Step 2:

  • 10 tablespoons high quality cocoa powder {We use Valrhona Cocoa at Centini}
  • 7/8 cups pastry flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Sift, and set aside.

Step 3:

  • 10 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar

Whip until firm.

Fold 1/2 of the beaten egg whites (step 3) into the yolk mixture (step 1). Fold in dry ingredients (step 2). Fold in remaining egg whites. This mixture should be handled gently, avoid over mixing. Divide among the 3 pans and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

  • Chambord Liquor. You can use whatever you like here. Grand Marnier would be nice if you liked orange. Or you could use Rum. The raspberry undertone works well for us and we use it unadulterated as a brush on soak to the cake layers before we add the icing.

Chocolate Buttercream

Yields: 1 1/2 quarts

  • 5 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 9 oz unsalted butter, soft

Whisk eggs and sugar over a double boiler until very warm. Remove from heat and mix until cool and light. Add melted chocolate (warm, not hot) while on low speed. Then add soft butter and beat until light.

To Assemble:

With a serrated knife, split the cakes into 3 layers each --- or do it the sheet tray way described above. For each cake assembled, place one layer on a cardboard circle or cake platter, moisten with rum syrup using a pastry brush. Top with chocolate buttercream, spread out to the edges. Top with a second layer of sponge cake and repeat until all 3 layers are assembled. Coat the entire cake with buttercream, and garnish with shaved chocolate.

These recipes make enough for 3 completed cakes. After the final buttercream coating, the cakes may be wrapped and frozen. To serve, pull out of freezer 4 hours before serving and let sit at room temperature. Garnish with shaved chocolate. These may be frozen up to one month ahead. 

***Recipe by: Chevonne Miller-Centini, MBA Pastry Chef / Restaurant Director & Co-owner, CENTINI Restaurant & Lounge, 160 8th Avenue SE, TELUS Convention Center, Calgary, AB T2G 0K6***

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What's Cooking: Cured Duck Breast & Citrus Salad

CZxArfYWEAMHZxW.jpgThis salad is served as part of a beer dinner at Calgary's Yellow Door Bistro.

Executive Chef Jan Hansen shares his recipe with Doug Dirks.

Cured Duck Breast



2   TBS rock salt
1   TBS freshly ground black pepper
½  TBS white sugar
1   Tsp chili flakes
½  TBS finely chopped rosemary
½  TBS finely chopped thyme
2   duck organic breasts (approx. 500g)


  1. Combine all ingredients together except for the duck breast in a bowl and mix together. Rub the mixture into the duck breast, then loosely wrap in parchment paper and place on  tray in the fridge.
  2. After 4 days take the meat out and truss it with butcher's string. Tie the string 1cm apart from each other nice and tight. Tie an extra-long piece of string to each end of the duck so that you can suspend it.
  3. Make room in your fridge to hang each duck breast and for a tray to sit under it and collect any juices. Allow to cure for at least 2 weeks before eating. It will keep in the fridge for 3 - 6 months.
  4. Remove string after 2 weeks and slice very thinly.


Recipe by:

Jan Hansen Executive Chef

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What's Cooking: Black Mustard, Tomato and Coconut Chickpea Curry

Black Mustard, Tomato and Coconut Chickpea Curry
Yield 10 portions

  • 50ml  canola oil
  • 30ml  whole cumin seeds
  • 15ml  black mustard seed
  • 15ml  ground turmeric
  • 10ml  chili flakes
  • 400ml  coconut milk
  • 750ml  pureed tomato (canned diced tomato drained and pureed)
  • 1.5L  drained and cooked chickpeas
  • TT  salt


- Precook chickpeas or use canned ones.

- Heat the canola oil in a large pan over medium heat.

- Once oil is hot add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds - lightly brown.

- As soon as the seeds are tanned and fragrant - add the turmeric and chili flakes - season with a touch of salt and stir well.

- Add the tomato and the coconut milk then bring to a simmer and cover pot with lid. Cook on low for 5 minutes.

- Add drained chick peas and simmer for 10 minutes - season with salt and cool until needed.

Mint and Mango Chutney
Yield 1L

  • 200g  fresh mint leaves - washed and dried - chopped
  • 125ml  cilantro - choppe
  • 750ml  mango puree (Alphonse mangos the best)
  • 125ml  coconut milk
  • 75ml  white vinegar
  • 5ml  salt
  • 30ml  ground cumin
  • 5ml  turmeric powder
  • 15ml  chopped garlic


- Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until very smooth and homogenized.

- Chill until needed - stir before using.

Swiss Chard for Chick Peas
Yield 4 portions

  • 60ml  olive oil
  • 15ml  coarsely chopped garlic
  • 5ml  whole cumin seeds
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 2  roma tomato diced
  • 1.5L  sliced and washed swiss chard
  • 150ml  paneer - diced
  • TT  salt


- In a sauté pan add the olive oil and heat.

- Add the garlic, cumin seed and chili flake and cook until fragrant.

- Add the roma tomato and season with salt.

- Reduce heat and cover with lid - cook for 4-5 minutes until tomato is cooked down and tender.

- Add the chard and cover with lid - steam until tender 

- Add the paneer to heat and season with salt.


Place the chickpeas on the bottom of a warm plate; place the sautéed chard on top of the chickpeas with the paneer visible. Serve the mango chutney on the side with a serving spoon.

*** Recipe by Chef Michael Allemeier, Culinary Instructor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism at SAIT Polytechnic ***