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The Ace Bakery Cookbook (March 23, 2004)


It all began just over ten years ago when Linda Haynes and Martin Connell pulled their first loaves of bread from the oven and introduced Toronto to ACE Bakery. Seemingly minutes later, the little downtown bakery on King Street West became a place of pilgrimage, stated popular food writer and author James Chatto.

Great bread is a true culinary wonder and, it transpired, so was the pair behind the endeavour. For Haynes and Connell, a glamourous and successful couple, this was not a vanity project; Linda devoted extraordinary energies to the new business and she and Martin guaranteed the quality of each loaf with their signatures.

And what loaves they are; just read this description by James Chatto: "Under the dark, crunchy crust, the crumb had the fleeting, complex, fruity, nutty subtlety that is the hallmark of a properly timed, properly fermented sourdough."

Chatto goes on to write, "These loaves had stood at the heart of so many meals from the most casual picnics to the grandest banquets; now we have the rest of the menu."

The rest of the menu is in Linda Haynes' new Ace Bakery Cookbook, which, like the bread, is perfection. It's full of the family's favourites, from casual soups for a quick lunch to exquisite, elegant dishes for important dinner parties.

Rest assured, nothing is overly complicated, and everything is absolutely wonderful. It's a great browser as well; Haynes has sprinkled interesting facts and helpful hints throughout the book, and we promise that you'll love it as much as that perfect loaf of bread!

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (63 KB)


Asparagus, Beet and Chèvre Salad

This simple and easy-to-make salad looks absolutely gorgeous. The colours are so vibrant and the tastes of the three ingredients really complement one another. Serve with thick slices of a really good baguette to make the perfect, light springtime lunch or an elegant appetizer before grilled fish or roasted chicken.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  • ¾ lb. beets, boiled or roasted, and peeled
  • 1 lb. asparagus, washed, cooked and plunged into cold water to maintain colour
  • 7 oz. creamy chèvre that will keep its shape
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1¼ Tbsp. raspberry vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp. kosher slat
  • Freshly ground white pepper to taste

Cut the room-temperature beets into 1-inch chunks. Cut each room-temperature asparagus spear into 2 or 3 pieces. Cut the chèvre into 1-inch chunks.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Drizzle in the oil, whisking continuously. The vinaigrette will become fairly thick. Mix in the salt and pepper.

Toss the beets in half of the vinaigrette and separately toss the asparagus in the other half.

Mound the beets and asparagus beside each other on one large plate or four smaller ones. Or, if you prefer, toss the two vegetables together. Top with the chèvre and garnish with chives.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Sauvignon Blanc – Pouilly – Fumé, New Zealand Sauvignon or Ontario.


Zuppa alla Pavese

Nothing to eat? Don't open a can of boring soup – this recipe can be done from scratch in the same time. Quick, simple, and so delicious, this delightful soup is named after the city of Pavia in Lombardy. Use really good chicken broth, or try beef or vegetable broth for a tasty variation.

Serves 6

  • 9 cups strong chicken broth
  • 6½ inch slices country, Calabrese or white bread
  • 6 eggs
  • Up to 6 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 6 tsp. minced fresh Italian parsley

Bring the broth to a simmer. Cut each slice of bread to fit the bottom of your bowls. Toast the bread.

Poach the eggs. (The eggs can be poached ahead of time and held until ready to serve.

Place the slices of toast in the bottom of 6 heated bowls. Carefully slide 1 poached egg onto each piece of toast. Gently ladle up to 1½ cups of broth into each bowl. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of cheese and 1 tsp. of parsley over each bowl.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
Valpolicella or Beaujolais or Ontario Gamay


Smoked Salmon, Spinach and Chèvre Strata

This is great cold-weather food. For a less hearty version, Linda Haynes says use white bread instead of dark rye, but the rye bread really complements the salmon. Pair this with an arugula salad or steamed asparagus for a delicious brunch or informal supper.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 bunch or bag spinach, washed, drained and stems removed
  • 1 to 2 tsp. unsalted butter for buttering the dish
  • 15 to 20 slices dark rye or dense whole wheat bread, crusts on
  • ½ lb. smoked salmon, sliced and cut into 1-inch strips
  • ½ to 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 3¹/3 oz creamy chèvre
  • 2 cups homogenized milk
  • 1¼ cups 18% cream
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. freshly ground white pepper

Blanch the spinach in boiling water. Drain on paper towels.

Butter an 8- to 9-cup baking dish. Place a layer of bread slices on the bottom of the dish. Cover with all of the salmon. Sprinkle the dill over the salmon. Spread all the chèvre on enough bread slices to cover the salmon, and add to the baking dish, cheese side up. Layer the spinach evenly over the bread slices that have been spread with the cheese. Cut the remaining bread into 1-inch cubes and toss over the spinach, covering it completely.

NOTE: the strata can be prepared to this point up to 12 hours before serving. Keep in the refrigerator, tightly covered.

Mix the milk, cream, eggs and salt and pepper together and gently pour over the strata. Cover with plastic wrap and press down so that all the bread soaks up the liquid. Leave for at least half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let the strata sit for 10 minutes before cutting into pieces. Serve with a mustard-yogurt sauce.

Accompanying wine? Tony recommends...
dry Riesling – Mosel or Rheingau QbA, Ontario dry Riesling or Alsace Riesling.


We wish to thank Whitecap Books for permission to publish material and photographs from The Ace Bakery Cookbook by Linda Haynes, photographs by Christopher Freeland. © 2003 by Linda Haynes.


Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (63 KB)




More Gourmet Recipes