My mother was an extraordinary cook, and my parents together were legendary for their hospitality. In my youth they ran a catering business out of our home, so I really grew up thinking about the planning, preparation and presentation of food and drink. I apply what I learned from them in my homemaking, raising my family, entertaining, and at work.

Chorizo, sweet potato and kale stew

This nutritious soup of chorizo, kale and sweet potatoes takes inspiration from the flavours of Spain. Garnish with harissa to add heat.

Challenge Borscht

I made this up on a cold, Winter day when I couldn't find a Borscht recipe that met the criteria for a dietary challenge I had undertaken. This one includes lots of vegetables, beef shank, but no sugar, dairy or potatoes.

Paleo Chorizo Sweet Potato and Kale Stew

This nutritious soup takes inspiration from the flavors of Spain. Garnish with store bought (or homemade) harissa to add heat.

Sidecar Cocktail

This is a super-tasty brandy cocktail. Lemon juice is shaken with ice, Cointreau and brandy, then served with a wedge of lemon. Enjoy this summer drink anytime of the week.

Gin Martini

My father invented his version of this classic cocktail to satisfy his taste for gin, while allowing him to slightly dilute its effects with vodka. His passion for this concoction quickly spread to my friends, who have been known to throw parties solely to celebrate him and his martini!

Pink lady

This cocktail is pretty pink in colour. Egg white is shaken with grenadine syrup, single cream, gin and crushed ice. The egg white and cream in this recipe create a frothy foam and unique texture.

Terrific Tequila Sunrise

This cocktail is perfect for a hot summer's day. It's refreshing and the colours make this drink beautifully vibrant. It's made with tequila, orange juice and grenadine syrup.

Elegant Champagne Cocktail

A truly decadent cocktail made from only three ingredients - sugar, Angostura bitters and Champagne. Serve at your next girly get-together or dinner party.

Best barbecue sauce

This barbecue sauce is simple and delicious. It combines butter, garlic, soy sauce, mustard, ketchup, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. It's perfect when used on barbecued salmon.

Carrot Cauliflower Soup

This pureed soup is a great low calorie/low fat way to add vegetables to your diet. It makes a big batch (15 cups) so you may want to scale it. I put this into the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder and it came out to 2.5 points per 1 1/2 cups (I'm calling it 2 points per 1 cup serving.)

Parker's Famous Margaritas

My father-in-law developed a taste for margaritas made from scratch during the summer they spent in Zihuatanejo during the 1960s. After decades of tinkering he has arrived at this foolproof recipe for the ultimate Mexican cocktail.

Joan and Dan's Clam Dip

Cream cheese blended with canned clams, lemon juice and garlic combine to make the perfect dip for potato chips with ridges.