We recently opened up our backyard to host an intimate filipino style kamayan dinner. Our friend Cess did all of the prep work with the food and cooked it on site while I set up the backyard. We had an old swing door that we removed from our kitchen that Matt repurposed into a table with some wooden legs purchased from Home Depot. All of the pillows, carpets & faux fur are from our home that I collected and brought outside! The string lights are always back there and they made for some nice light when it got darker. Lastly, the lace was all leftover from our wedding (purchased from a fabric store) that I kept and have been repurposing them.

The food was absolutely unreal, but we made way too much. It was a trial run for Cess' passion project turned real life business; a specialized catering company. I am crossing my fingers and toes that this idea lifts off because she is such an amazing cook and this entire thing was her vision. I want to recommend her to everyone!

I think this would be such a neat idea for an intimate backyard wedding or elopement. I've been dreaming of shooting a wedding with a very colourful but intimate vibe. C'mon, you know you want this in your life! 

Korean Short Ribs
Barbecue Salmon
Fried Chicken
Spring Rolls
Barbecue Ribs
Pickled Radishes & Cucumbers
Barbecue Milk Fish
Barbecue Shrimp
*Soy Sauce, Sriracha, Fish Sauce
**Warm water & lemon to clean your hands
***Yes, you're supposed to eat with your hands!


I recently visited Mill Valley in California to photograph a wedding. While there, a local pointed me to this adorable little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, called Punjabi Burrito, that apparently served the best burritos ever in the history of the world. I can confirm, it was by far the best thing to hit my taste buds. As the temperature drops here in southern Ontario, we are constantly searching for quick, easy and hearty meals to fill out bellies. Look no further!

2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can organic coconut milk
1 can chick peas
1 large sweet potato, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp cardamom seeds, ground

*leave out the chicken for vegan option.

1. Add all your ingredients into a large pot and bring to a boil. Keep chicken and chick peas to the side.

2. While your ingredients come to a boil, chop up your chicken breast into small bite sized pieces. 

3. Heat up a pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add chicken and brown.

4. Once chicken is cooked through (no longer pink), add the cooked chicken and chick peas to the mixture. Allow to boil then simmer for 15 minutes.

5. While your pot is simmering, cook 3 to 4 cups of long grain (or basmati) rice. 

6. Add cooked rice to mixture. Remove from heat and stir. Serve atop roti!


Too often we found ourselves lingering in the granola aisle of our local grocery store, overwhelmed by the shelves of choices and investigating all the ingredients closely. You see, Matt is allergic to almonds. It's an allergy that developed in his early 20s. According to many physicians, adult developed allergies can be very dangerous, the severity of the reaction increasing with each exposure. With almonds and the ludicrous price of granola up against us, we inherited a recipe from Matt's mom. It's so simple, only requires a handful of ingredients and you can alter it to your liking! 

We substituted almonds for chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds & cashews. You can also add sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pecans and flax seeds. We tried the recipe using honey and dried cranberry, sans unsweetened coconut.

1. Put the oats in a large bowl. Add nuts & seeds to the oats.
2. Pour the sweetener over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon
3. Add cinnamon and salt.
4. Pour mixture on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes. Check every 5-10 minutes to prevent burning.
5. Put the mixture back in the bowl (there may be clusters now, held together by the sweetener). Add the fruit and stir. 
6. Let the granola cool then pack in an airtight container. Serve on it's own or on top of yogurt!

6 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2 cups mixed nuts and seeds (sunflower seeds, almonds, pumpkins seeds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, flax seeds, sesame seeds)
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
Pinch of salt
1 cup liquid sweetener (honey, agave or maple syrup)
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, apricot, raisins, goji berries)


This is the first of many recipes & food styling posts that will be gracing this new blog. We want this to be a place where we can share our favourite recipes, renovation progress, DIYs and home interiors. Essentially, Craven Homestead is our nonwedding related commercial portfolio with a personal blog. We've recently started our kitchen renovation and although it's not quite in a terribly unusable state, I wanted to cheer myself up with a chocolate cake. Not too sweet and heavy on the chocolate, this is my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup coffee (I used pour over coffee from my Chemex)
1 cup water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 tablespoons milk

*makes 2 11” inch layers or 24 cupcakes

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare two 11-12 inch cake pans with butter.

3. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl until everything is well blended. Add the wet ingredients and mix well to combine. Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake until the top springs back gently when pushed, about 20-25 minutes. You want the cake to be moist, but not runny in the middle. Let the cakes sit for 5-10 minutes then remove from the cake pans and cool completely on a wire rack. 

4. For the frosting, combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix together with a spoon. You can alter the consistency by adding icing sugar or milk. I made mine quite thick so it didn't run too much. 

5. Finishing your cake: Trim your layers so they are flat and even. Frost your first layer, adding about 1 cup of frosting to the middle, spreading around the first layer and pushing excess to the sides. Top with the second layer and repeat. Enjoy!