Chocolate Desserts Cookbook Series

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious - Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4

Denise invites you to click to explore her Urb’n’Spice Chocolate Desserts Cookbook Series

Lavender Rose Mini Cheesecakes

Lavender Rose Mini Cheesecakes

When I develop a recipe, there is often something pertinent behind its creation that has inspired me.  Here is the story behind the creation of this little cheesecake.  


Lavender Rose Cheesecake

Every one has fond food memories and for me, growing up in a large French Canadian family, I have many precious memories. Family gatherings were frequent and boisterous affairs – full of the happy chatter of young children playing and the elderly family members speaking in typical friendly and demonstrative manner.  Our extended family included many aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. One of my Mom’s sister’s is aptly named Rose and she was famous for bringing her famous Poppy Seed Cake to every family gathering.  We all looked forward to having a little slice of this heavenly cake.

Orange Glazed Roasted Salmon with Orange Fennel Salad



The Confident Kitchen – DOUBLE DUTY RECIPES 


Glazed Roasted Salmon

Glazed Roasted Salmon

The arrival of the New Year often means that schedules are a little less hectic. Most people hope to cocoon to catch up on their reading, or other activity that had to be shelved during the busy holiday season. It is also the time when lighter recipes/meals are the order of the day. This article will focus on a double duty recipe that is quick to prepare, flavourful and refreshing. Fennel and citrus pair very well with fish. The following recipes feature oranges beautifully.  As an additional bonus, these recipes are gluten free and grain free.  

Orange Fennel Salad and composed Salad duo with herbed Goat Cheese

Orange Fennel Salad and composed Salad duo with herbed Goat Cheese



CHEF TALK: It is surprising what one orange can do to perk up a salad or entrée – in this recipe, both! Orange sections are added to shaved fennel to make a refreshing salad. The juice and zest of the orange is used to glaze salmon. You will need to cut the oranges first (often called supreme) over a small bowl to capture any juice which is used for the salmon glaze. Save the fronds of the fennel for garnish. Substitute Steelhead Trout or any other favourite fish.


Orange Glazed Roasted Salmon with Orange Fennel Salad


    For the Fennel Orange Salad:
  • 1 medium to large orange, cut into supreme sections
  • 1 small fennel bulb, halved, cored, & shaved thinly
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey or more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds, optional
  • For the Orange Glazed Salmon:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 x 1-inch thick, skin-on salmon fillets (5 oz. each)
  • Zest of orange (from above)
  • 2 Tbsp. orange juice (or orange juice concentrate)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garnish: reserved fennel fronds


  1. Preheat your oven to 400oF (205oC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, zest the orange and set the zest aside for the salmon.
  3. On a cutting board, cut a small slice off the top and bottom of the orange. Place the orange, one of the cut sides down, on a cutting board. Using a small, sharp paring knife, slide the knife between the peel and the flesh of the orange from top to bottom, removing the peel. Continue around the orange until all the peel has been removed. Discard the peel.
  4. Over a small bowl, take the orange in your hand and use the knife to cut the orange carefully in between the flesh and the membrane, reserving any accumulated orange juice in the bowl to use for the salmon glaze. (for the orange supreme technique in detail, please visit this link:
  6. Shave the fennel and set aside in a medium size bowl.
  7. Combine the salad ingredients (orange sections, honey, oil and seasoning). Keep chilled.
  8. Arrange the salmon fillets skin side down on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and orange juice or concentrate. Sprinkle the salmon with zest, salt and pepper.
  9. Roast the salmon until just cooked through. Brush the salmon occasionally during the roasting process with the cooking juices. (Roasting will take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Do not overcook. Brush any remaining glaze on the salmon.
  10. Mound some of the salad in the middle of a plate and surround the orange sections onto one side. Place the salmon fillet on the side or on top of the salad.
  11. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds. Enjoy!



  • The fennel can be shaved using a mandolin, V-slicer or peeler, or sliced very thinly with a knife.
  • This dish would pair well with Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir


“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne


Further Resources:


Orange Supreme Technique

Mandolin or V-Slicer


Other Double Duty Recipes:


More Gluten Free:

Urb’n’Spice Books:

Chocolate Desserts Cookbook Series


Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious - The Cookbook Series

Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious – The Cookbook Series from Pastry Chef Denise Paré-Watson of Urb’n’Spice


Classic Cobb Salad

The Classic COBB Salad

You don’t know what you are missing if you have never had a Cobb Salad – it is a classic salad with a great story behind it.  The original salad was invented at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood by the owner – Mr. Cobb, of course.  The story reports that he worked non-stop in the busy restaurant until midnight.  He was starving so he frenziedly mixed together this amazing salad with the house vinaigrette and the rest, as they say, is history!

The Classic Cobb Salad

The Classic Cobb Salad

Sausage & Potato “No Bread” Stuffing – Gluten Free

Sausage & Potato “No Bread” Stuffing – Gluten Free

The Potato "No Bread" Stuffing - a Great Make Ahead Dish for the Holidays!

The Potato “No Bread” Stuffing – a Great Make Ahead Dish for the Holidays!


If your guest list this holiday season has you hesitant to face gluten-free or dairy free restrictions, this is the perfect side dish for you. As it happens, my guest list this year includes gluten-free, dairy free and grain free restrictions, so I can definitely relate.  This is a no-fret recipe.   It has all of the traditional ingredients of a classic stuffing without the bread and includes aromatic vegetables, rich chicken stock, a splash or two of white wine, flavourful sausage and crispy bacon.  I can guarantee that after you taste this Potato “No Bread” Gluten Free Stuffing, you will want it to be part of your family holiday favourites.



Sausage & Potato “No Bread” Stuffing – Gluten Free

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

CHEF TALK: This gluten free, make ahead dish, is sure to become one of your go-to side dishes. It is delicious served with a ham or turkey dinner or for any occasion.


  • 1 lb mixed Potatoes from the Little Potato Company (I used 1/2 lb of Blushing Belle and 1/2 lb of Something Blue potatoes)
  • 1/2 lb (226 g) of pork or breakfast sausage (I used gluten free Bratwurst), removed from casings
  • 2 slices of bacon, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced finely
  • 1 stalk celery, diced finely
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried savory
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock


    Prepare the potatoes:
  1. Pierce the potatoes once or twice with a skewer and place them on a microwavable dish.
  2. Microwave for five minutes and remove from the microwave. Cool for a few minutes until they are easy to handle. (You can prepare these ahead)
  3. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, quarter them or dice them into small pieces as shown in the photographs. Set aside.
  4. For the Stuffing:
  5. In a large fry pan over medium heat, fry the sausage meat, breaking it up into small crumbles, until it is browned and caramelized CHEF TIP: This process of caramelizing adds flavour to the stuffing). Remove the cooked sausage meat from the fry pan and set aside.
  6. Now add the diced bacon into the same fry pan and cook the bacon until it is brown and crispy.
  7. Add the diced onion and stir together until the onion is starting to turn colour.
  8. Add the diced carrot, celery and bell pepper and stir until the vegetables are softened.
  9. Add the minced garlic and stir until the garlic is cooked.
  10. Add the herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Add the white wine and cook until the wine evaporates - about one minute.
  12. Return the sausage to the pan and stir in the cooked diced potatoes.
  13. Stir all of the ingredients together and then add the chicken stock.
  14. If you want to make this dish ahead, take the fry pan off of the heat and let it cool before you cover and refrigerate until you are ready to reheat at 325F for 30 to 40 minutes.
  15. If you wish to serve this dish right away, simmer for a few minutes until the chicken stock has been absorbed by the vegetables and potatoes. Check and adjust for seasonings.
  16. Keep warm.
  17. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.


Dark Chocolate Truffles

Dark Chocolate Truffles

What do you do with a bit of leftover dark chocolate ganache?  Make truffles, of course! You can make these truffles in a snap and they make wonderful hostess gifts and they are also great additions to a cookie plate.  Besides, they are fun to make and a great activity if you have children helping in the kitchen.  There is no complicated tempered chocolate dipping with this recipe – the outside of the truffles are covered easily in Chocolate Vermicelli . Anyone can make these – give them a try!


CHEF TALK: I used Inaya 65% Dark Chocolate for this ganache from the Vanilla Food Company.  


Dark Chocolate Truffles - a closeup

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Upcoming Events

No events scheduled at this time.  

However, there is always lots happening in the Urb’n’Spice kitchen. Coming soon will be “Urbnspice Tastings” – a pairing of confitures, chutneys and compotes with cheese and charcuterie, together with wine.  Cooking classes and baking classes will also be available in a group setting of 6 – 8 students or private lessons in 2015.  

Urb’n’Spice confitures, chutneys and compotes make excellent gifts!  Contact me at for inventory or shipping information.  

Peach Confiture and explanation of tent card

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Quadruple Chocolate Brownies by Urb'n'Spice

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Phone:      778-477-4253







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Thanks for dropping by!

Denise Paré-Watson

The Urbnspice Chef

Urbnspice Rainbow Poppers - a version of award winning Vanilla Bean Poppers

Urbnspice Rainbow Poppers – a version of award winning Vanilla Bean Poppers

The Urb’n’Spice Chef Profile


Denise Pare-Watson - The Urb'n'Spice Chef









Denise invites you into her world of the culinary arts.  Her passion for food and nutrition was developed early in her life, whether it was helping her father tend his extensive gardens or preparing sumptuous meals with her mother in the French Canadian tradition.  Denise truly discovered her passion when she chose to enroll in a professional cooking program as her second career.

About Denise – The Urb’n’spice Chef

 About Denise – The Urb’n’Spice Chef

Urbnspice – “A Taste of Heart and Home”

As a Red Seal Chef and Pastry Chef with a passion for the creative, technical and teaching components of the profession,“Urbnspice” was designed to share with a wider audience some useful & easy-to-follow information, help and support surrounding everyday questions, concerns and issues dealing with everything food related.

 In addition, for the past several years, due to the ever changing dietary issues and sensitivities that seem to be so prevalent, I have been developing recipes and helping people with gluten free, grain free and dairy free options.  We will discuss tips on such subjects as recipes, diets, what’s hot, what’s not, what is working well and what may not be working at all.

When I semi-retired from a wonderful career as a pastry chef, one of the things that I wanted to do was write a cookbook – it was on my Life List!   The result is a series of Cookbooks called, “Chocolate Desserts Made Easy and Delicious.”  I hope you will take the time to check them out on my page.  I am quite proud of these books and I know that you will enjoy the recipes.  There are always more books and recipes in development stages, so look for more coming soon.

Quadruple Chocolate Brownies by Urb'n'Spice

As a female working in a professional kitchen, a few things became apparent very quickly.  Firstly, one needs a sense of humor!  Secondly, one’s vocabulary expands – and not in a good way.  At one point, my husband commented how “colorful” my language had become since I started working in food services!  On “Urbnspice”, I will concentrate on the sense of humor portion of my kitchen experience along with some practical day-to-day tips on how to make your life a bit simpler in the kitchen.  


I am inspired by not only foods, but also, interesting people, inspirational quotes and situations. Whether travelling to the local market or to another country or immersing myself in another culture through our Habitat for Humanity builds or cooking with children and for the people I love, the creativity feeds my soul.  I have an inordinate amount of energy – that can be a blessing or a curse, depending on one’s point of view.  I will use it to your advantage!

The recipes on Urbnspice have been created or adapted by me.  The photographs are taken by my husband – he calls himself the “Kitchen Rat.”  He is a very creative guy and actually came up with the name “Urb’n’Spice.”  He is the inspiration behind many of the ideas that come across the pages of this blog.   He is also the recipe taste testing ‘tweaker’ because he has the fine palette of a Saucier.  No recipe is complete without his final taste testing and critique.  This blog would not be possible without his talent and passion.

My collection of tested recipes span decades; I embrace my cookbooks – they are like my friends – I treasure them. If I have adapted the recipes from other sources, I will indicate this. My wish list includes a very good camera; in the meantime, however, I am having fun with my ever present, adaptable and very versatile IPhone. If you are inspired to try the recipes on my blog, please give credit to my website “Urbnspice”. If you want to re-publish any content or photos from “Urbnspice”, please note the information under “Creative Commons License”.

You will find that there are posts on “Urbnspice” which pertain to topics that are near and dear to my heart. Therefore, you will find that there are links that enhance the information on these topics.  You will also note with the development of this site there will be opportunities to purchase E-books, with a portion of the proceeds going to favorite charities; for example: “Breakfast for Learning”.  Thank you for your consideration.

Cake Competition for L'Arche Charity

Pastry Chef Invitation for Charity Cake Competition


Your questions are welcome, your feedback is important and your ongoing participation will be my inspiration.



I encourage you to explore the different categories.  Some posts will inspire you (see “Little Mom”), and some will surprise you (see “W.T.F.!”).  Enjoy the ride.

Your questions are welcome, your feedback is important and your ongoing participation will be my inspiration.



My specialty confiture, chutneys, jellies and compotes are lovingly created in small batches, using the highest quality ingredients, as natural as possible, with no preservatives.  All of my products are gluten free.

With the trend toward more at-home entertaining, cocooning, and casual gatherings taking place, Urb’n’Spice chutneys, port and wine jellies, and compotes are very popular for cheese and charcuterie platters. With the addition of a very good baguette, either fresh or baked into crostini, a great bottle of wine and you have a feast.

Urb’n’Spice confitures are as unique in their technique as they are in their ingredients. Pure and simple, with a rich and intense flavor to make them shine, you will find that these confitures (“confiture” is the French term for jam) will be an extraordinary addition to any function or meal.

The jars are decorated with a jar collar, as I call them.  These are not just for decoration – I believe in functionality!  My computer background has come in very handy in designing these unique collars.   The jar has a simple label over the cap so that once opened, you can see the contents of the jar.  The jar collar is multi-purposed in that it not only decorates and protects the jar, but the collar becomes a tent card to display the confiture, chutney or compote.  The back of the collar has a wealth of information including the inspiration behind the product, how to serve it, and the ingredients.  It makes entertaining easy.  This is why these little jars are so popular for hostess gifts.

peach confiture and tent card demo


Save them for special occasions.  They are perfect for hostess gifts.   All jars are 125 ml and the cost is $6.95 plus shipping and handling.  (see note below)

Contact:  Chef Denise Paré-Watson at

NOTE:  If you are interested in purchasing any of my products, you can contact me at

I will respond quickly to your email.  Since these products are made in small batches with locally sourced ingredients, my inventory varies.  (Shipping is in Canada only.  A minimum of six jars is required for shipping.  Shipping and handling costs are separate.)


Health and happiness to you.


Urb’n’Spice Chef


“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne

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