Cookbook Book Club: Lunch with Mairlyn Smith and #HomegrownTheCookbook

For this month’s instalment of Cookbook Book Club (my once a month most months “cooking from the same cookbook” meal with Jan and Jenn), we changed things up a little. Jenn wasn’t able to make it at the last minute but we had a very worthy stand-in – the author of the book we were cooking from, the formidable Mairlyn Smith!

Homegrown cover on disclosure here, Mairlyn is already a good friend so it really was just “friends getting together for lunch” even though Mairlyn is a big celebrity in the food world!)

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to have Mairlyn come and work with my cooking clubs a few times – she’s always a popular guest –  (they’ve even made the butter tarts from Homegrown!) but this is the first time I’ve cooked her recipes for her! NOT nerve-racking at all…(right!)

Jan brought our appetiser – Apple Maple Cheddar Spread served with crackers and celery:

Apple Maple Cheddar Spread from Homegrown on eatlivetravelwrite.comA tasty start to the meal, this is cream cheese and cheddar with a touch of maple syrup and grated apple. A nice change from heavier dips/ spreads and a good recipe for entertaining on the fly, using ingredients I mostly tend to have on hand.

For the main course, I chose a few different recipes to make a classic weekend lunch (at least in our house) – soup and toast with salad.  First up Maple Brussels Sprout Slaw which is served with a lovely tangy horseradish dressing. Mairlyn was a little aghast that I used a salad mix that I had on hand (it did have Brussels Sprouts in it at least!) but over lunch we discussed that this is exactly what most people do (i.e. don’t follow recipes to the letter) which we all, as recipe developers, agree can be frustrating but we all admit to doing it ourselves so…. 😉  This was a lovely salad, modifications notwithstanding, and I’ll make both it and the dressing again. A little bit of brightness on a grey winter’s day!

Maple Brussels Sprout slaw from Homegrown on eatlivetravelwrite.comI also made Maple Parsnip Soup and Whole Wheat Seed Bread.

Maple Parsnip Soup and whole wheat seed bread from Homegrown on eatlivetravelwrite.comLoved this soup though I used – accidentally – parsley root (it looks like tiny parsnips) as well as parsnips so, again, I wasn’t following directions (trying my best, Mairlyn, trying my best!) I’ll definitely make it again using all parsnips as I am always looking for a use for parsnips in the winter!  the bread I will definitely make again as it’s a no-knead batter bread (though Neil found it “too healthy-tasting” – so I guess Mission Accomplished, Mairlyn!) that tastes fabulous toasted the next day.

Since we were down a member of the Cookbook Book Club, we asked Mairlyn to get into the spirit of things and contribute dessert so she brought this Garden Carrot Cake which went down a treat and which we all enjoyed two (small) pieces of. Everything in moderation, right?

Garden carrot cake from Homegrown on Cleo got into the spirit of the Cookbook Book Club as she “helped” Mairlyn clean the plate when it was all packed up and ready to go)

Cat licking cream cheese frosting on eatlivetravelwrite.comSUCH a fun afternoon – Jan and I were so honoured to welcome Mairlyn into the Cookbook Book Club and though I was super nervous to cook recipes from her book, it was so interesting to chat about the recipes we’d cooked with someone very familiar with them.

If you’re interested in “cooking Canadian” Homegrown proves that “Canada” can be a key ingredient in any meal.  From Saskatchewan-farmed lentils to BC blueberries, Nova Scotia scallops to Quebec maple syrup or Albertan barley flour, Homegrown showcases the food that Canadians grow, produce and manufacture.  Canada’s geography provides terrain for some of the world’s most diverse agriculture and Homegrown contains over 175 recipes (collected from members and students of the Ontario Home Economics Association) which celebrate the best of Canada.  Homegrown also includes a wealth of nutritional information and a carb counter with every recipe, if that’s something of interest to you.

Canadians – WIN a copy of Homegrown! Details here.

Homegrown cover on


Buy your copy of Homegrown on Amazon (this link should bring you to the Amazon store in your country) or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.

Please note: The product links from Amazon and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!




Disclosure: I received a copy of Homegrown from the publisher for review purposes. I was not asked to write about this book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own. FULL disclosure: Mairlyn is a very good friend of mine but I wouldn’t write about her book just because of that.


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, dined with Mark Bittman, got together over a Gatherings-inspired baby shower brunch, dined with Simple Bites, cooked from Food 52’s Genius Recipes and ate dinner from The Broad Fork. and in December last year we hosted a holiday “Food Gift Love” party.

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