Cookbook Book Club: A “Gatherings” baby shower

Baby shower card on eatlivetravelwrite.comIt hasn’t been long since my last Cookbook Book Club post (my once a month “cooking from the same cookbook” meal with Jan from Family Bites and Jenn from Chocolate Shavings) but this edition is a special one! Jenn and I organised some of Jan’s friends to cook from her cookbook, Gatherings, and we surprised Jan with a baby shower lunch last weekend!  Jan has less than a month to go before Baby Family Bites (#3!) arrives and we were thrilled to be able to find a date that worked for everyone AND we were able to surprise Jan too! I’ve already written about the top tips for entertaining that I learned from Gatherings but I was excited to taste more dishes from there!

We started out with Jan’s preferred tipple these days – San Pellegrino Blood Orange sparkling water…

Blood orange drinks on eatlivetravelwrite.comAnd a fun kid-themed “apéritif” snack – birthday party popcorn. Salty and sweet, this was a fun treat. Never mind for kids’ birthday parties, I’d eat this as an everyday snack. And I don’t even much like popcorn. This is THAT good!

Birthday party popcorn from Gatherings on eatlivetravelwrite.comFor the main meal, I made Jan’s French onion soup. I didn’t have enough oven-proof bowls to do the whole melted cheese thing but tucked slices of baguette topped with melted Gruyère at the bottom of the soup bowls and sprinkled some more cheese on top of the soup just before we served it.

This soup was really wonderful – it’s got red wine in it which I have never seen before but which I will be doing again – and the leftovers have just gotten even tastier 🙂

French onion soup from Gatherings on eatlivetravelwrite.comFor our salad course, I served this pear, red onion, goat cheese, cranberry and caramelized pecan salad (missing avocado and Roquefort – Jan’s used to me freestyling recipes 😉 ) with a honey Dijon dressing.  I could eat this salad every single day. Sweet and savoury with crunch. My idea of a perfect salad.

Pear, red onion, goat cheese and caramelized pecan salad from Gatherings on eatlivetravelwrite.comFor dessert, we enjoyed a wonderful pear cardamom cream cheese tart. With a beautifully short crust, creamy filling and caramel pears topped with slivered almonds, this is the perfect lunch/ brunch dessert. I’m a big fan of fruit tarts and cheesecakes for daytime desserts and this one is a hybrid of both.

Pear and cardamon cream cheese tart from Gatherings for a baby shower on eatlivetravelwrite.comT’was a wonderful afternoon of fun, friends and fabulous food, thanks to the great cookbook choice 😉

Our next Cookbook Book Club is on hold until after Baby Family Bites appears – we’ll re-convene sometime in late March with a new member in tow 🙂 Jenn and I can’t wait to meet him!

In the meantime – Interested in our Cookbook Book Club? So far we’ve enjoyed dinner with Marcella, dinner with Nigella, dinner with Ottolenghi, dinner with Maria Speck, dinner with Naomi Duguid, lunch with Jamie Oliver, a dessert party with Butter Baked Goods, dinner with Jacques Pépin, dinner with Smitten Kitchen, recipes from Rachel Khoo, we brunched with Donna Hay and dined with Mark Bittman!

Gatherings cover




Now – shoo – go buy the book on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.





Disclosure: Jan and Julie are my friends. I received a copy of Gatherings from Whitecap for review purposes. I have not received compensation for writing about it or organising the “blog tour” where a group of Canadian bloggers cooked from the book. I love the book, am proud of my friends and think everyone should own a copy. All opinions 100% my own!

6 thoughts on “Cookbook Book Club: A “Gatherings” baby shower”

  1. Yes, when Mardi asked for RED wine for the soup, I was a tad surprised…

    Pulled a bottle of Chinon, a Cabernet Franc based wine from the Touraine region in the Loire Valley, France. It was a little on the lighter (well, mid-weight) side, with nice herbaceous notes that I thought would work well in the soup. It did!

    As all the wine was finished IN the soup, I paired my meal with a small glass of off-dry Vouvray, also from the Loire. (This Chenin Blanc based.)

    Then the ladies shooed me back upstairs… 😉

  2. Back in my university days, we’d have French Onion Soup as a get- together pretty often. Our buddy in Geology usually hosted: pretty informal. He’d have people hanging around the kitchen as he let the onions cook (I don’t know how it happened, but I was always too late to help with the chopping…). Nicely browned, he’d add a couple of cans of consomme, some water, and always, ALWAYS a good quantity of red wine (which we were happy to supply).
    Student budgets, and I KNOW our red wine was not as thoughtfully chosen as yours!
    I still use red wine in almost all my soups. After it’s cooked for a while, it seems to add a complexity of flavour that’s just so good. And I hear you about the leftovers just getting tastier!
    This sounds like a marvelous Gathering. What a lovely thing to do.


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