December 31, 2009

Yesterday was: a long morning sleep, a walk in the snow, a day in the kitchen, a two cookies stand-off, spicy stew, dinner with family, first aid on the puppy and a cardamom coffee creme-caramel.

Happy New Year!

February 15, 2009

valentines dinner

sundried tomato jam with goats cheese on crostini

tomato soup with basil foam

espresso-honey glazed scallops with pork chips and pineapple

beef tenderloin with syrah sauce and garlic chips on garlic potatoes, braised shallots and sauteed kale

pineapple flambe and coconut icecream

chocolate torte, espresso glaze and cinnamon icecream

February 8, 2009

Another wonderful night in the city.

We went to the symphony and though I have no photo evidence I'll tell you it was magical.

The following day we went for a short hike up mount thom.

February 2, 2009

Much love from a rainy city, where the groundhog saw his shadow.

Yay! Six more weeks!

January 28, 2009

Tash and I were in the city yesterday for her birthday
Happy early birthday tash!

January 26, 2009

These taste fantastic. Their flavor is unsurpassed by any bagel I've ever tasted. No joke.

Today I earned my bagel. I woke, as usual, before the sun showed even blushed to the dark sky. My petals
stretched my legs as we inhaled pure dark cold. Pumping to get moving, hustling to stay warm. It's worth it for the feeling of freedom as we tear down vacant roads and gaze up at spinning stars.

After we return warm and refreshed we fill with a buttery, light yet impossibly chewy bagel, slathered with a tangy homemade butter.

This is a
wonderfully simple recipe once you have the technique down, though three hours are necessary for you to be involved.


3 c. warm water (105-115F)

4 T. yeast
1/4 c. sugar
2 T. salt
7 c. flour

2 quarts of water
1/4 c. sugar

1 egg
1 T. water
coarse salt

poppy seeds,
sesame seeds, etc.

In a mixing bowl combine water and yeast, let sit to foam for a couple of minutes. Stir in the sugar and salt with the 4 cups of flour and beat at low speed for at least one minute, then turn to high for 3-4 minutes. Stop mixture and add remaining 3 cups of flour,
incorporating at a low speed. Knead until dough sticks to hook and finish needing by hand for a total of 8 minutes.

Place in greased bowl
tightly covered in a bowl for one hour. An optimal rising environment temperature it between 75-85 degrees. During the rising period, prepare the water in a large pot, adding the sugar after it comes to a boil. Cover and leave simmering. Prepare two baking sheets with oil and cornmeal and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Whisk together glaze and set aside.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and punch down, cut into 16 equals. (I weighed mine at 4.2 oz each). Shape into identical balls and leave to rest for 3-4 minutes.

With your thumb press a hole into the center of each ball
stretching and tearing to get a traditional center hole. Leave formed dough on work surface covered by towel to rest for ten minutes.

Lift bagels into water for 30 seconds on one side flipping for a following 15 seconds. Do not exceed for than three at a time. Lift and place on baking sheet, glaze and top with seeds and salt. Bake for 30 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them as they will burn fast, turn down oven
accordingly. Cool, then slather with butter, cream cheese or an assortment of savory choices.

January 23, 2009

I am looking forward to a day tomorrow alone with my sourdough starter and I. With only silence and my thoughts to accompany us. Maybe a longing glance in the direction of the four litres of ice cream smirking in our freezer. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Just as promised. A little something simply delicious. I was craving a custard-like texture but I didn't want to wait. Zabaglione sounded perfect. I knew I needed to have something firm to eat it with and remembered this cake took only 20 minutes to bake. A vanilla genoise I've made before. Tart cranberries and sweet zabaglione marry perfectly.

To make the cranberry compote I stewed fresh cranberries in a simple syrup on low for 20 minutes. The tartness the cranberries perfectly balanced the sweetness from the zabaglione.
The zabaglione is something I've been making my entire career and here I used an orange liqueur to make the flavour in the cake more prominent.

Vanilla Genoise
Adapted from here

3 eggs, separated
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
2 T. hot liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)
2 T. melted butter
1/2 c. AP flour

In mixer combine egg yolks, 1/2 c. sugar, salt and vanilla and beat on high with whisk until thick, 3 minutes. Reduce speed and add warmed liqueur. Scrape bowl and again whip on high until thick. Fold in flour and butter. Set aside.

In clean bowl whip egg whites on medium until frothy, add remaining sugar. Whip until stiff and fold into reserved batter. Spread into 9x9 inch pan lined with parchment. Bake for 20 minutes at 350
ºf, until golden brown on top and springs back when touched lightly.

January 21, 2009

Day four.

I had a wonderful post planned, I swear.
But my camera is out of batteries and they need replacing, but soon, I promise.

January 18, 2009


it's sunny here
and beautiful.
I went on a bike ride this morning.
hence the second picture

the first picture continues the tree series.

January 15, 2009

Good morning sun.
It's the first sun we've seen all year and it's beautiful.

This is a recipe for peanut butter smores in the middle of winter.

I always thought that marshmallows were hard to make, Alton Brown has shown me otherwise. It's simple and well worth the effort I think. The recipe is an open canvas for flavour, so create.

I did take this recipe from here, but it's my first time, so go easy on me. I paired these marshmallows with a peanut butter cookie and dipped the top in dark chocolate. The recipe makes 8 large cookies and in the interest of moderation I suggest that you make the cookies smaller, (1-2 t. balls of cookie dough instead of 1T. balls)

Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 c. room temp. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. flour

Beat butter and peanut butter together until combined. Add sugars, baking soda and powder and mix until combined. Add vanilla and egg and stir until Incorporated. Mix in flour. Roll into balls and flatten cookies with a for
k. Bake at 350ºf for 10-12 minutes of golden around edges.

Vanilla Marshmallows

3 pkgs. gelatin powder
1 c. cold water, divided
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/4 c. icing sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch

Place the gelatin into the bowl of a mixer with 1/2 cup of the water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.

In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, granulated sugar, corn syrup and salt. Place over medium high heat, cook until the mixture reaches 240ºf, approximately 10-15 minutes. Once the mixture reaches this temperature, immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low speed and, while running, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once you have added all of the syrup, increase the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture becomes very thick and is lukewarm, about 11 minutes for softer marshmallows and 13 minutes for firmer ones. Add the vanilla during the last minute of whipping.

To make molds grease pan (I used a loaf pan) and sift in icing sugar/cornstarch mixture to coat all sides well. Alternatively, grease and dust parchment paper and pipe marshmallows into lines, cut when firm to make mini-marshmallows. I just piped my mixture onto the cookies.

January 11, 2009

I made this yesterday.

While at T&T in the city the other day we happened across kaffir lime leaves. Though commonly used in savory cooking, I, inspired by the wonderful fragrance, wanted to make it into a dessert. So I made a kaffir lime leave sorbet. To accompany it, rum and coconut. A sweet rum tart. A coconut tuile. A spicy candied pecan. And candied lime leaves.

The kaffir lime is native to Indonesia and Malaysia and is grown on a thorny bush. Unlike a regular lime these leaves are very sweet and can be eaten, though they are commonly used for flavour. The kaffir lime leaf has a very unique citrusy-floral flavour that can not be substituted.

I couldn't find a recipe I wanted to use so I made my own. It needs work, but the basics are there. There are two types of custards stovetop and baked. I wanted a combination of the two and I also wanted a mixture that did not have a starch in it.

In my recipe I used 1 c. of liquid to 2 egg yolks and 3 T. of sugar.
The minimum ratio which will produce a properly thickened custard is 1 c. of liquid to 1 egg plus 2 T. of sugar.
Increased sugar lengthens cooking time and makes result less firm.
Increased egg yolks shortens cooking time and make results more firm.
Two egg yolks can be used in place of one whole egg.

Rum tart

1 1/4 c. AP flour
1/2 c. icing sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut in 3/4-inch pieces
2 lrg egg yolks
1 T. heavy cream

1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. milk
2 egg yolks
3 T. sugar
1/4 fresh nutmeg
2 T. dark rum

In food processor combine flour, icing sugar and salt. Pulse 1 or 2 times to mix. Add butter pieces and pulse 7-8 times until mixture forms coarse crumbs. In small bowl lightly beat egg yolks with a fork, then stir in cream until blended. With motor running, add the egg mixture and process just until the dough begins to come together, but does not form a ball.

On a work surface, shape dough into flat disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, at least 45 minutes or up to overnight.

Roll out crust into 4-inch tart shells and par bake in 350ºf oven for 10 minutes.

Heat cream and milk in saucepan until hot but not boiling. Meanwhile mix together egg yolks and sugar. Temper in hot milk. Pour mixture into saucepan and heat stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture coats back of a wooden spoon. Take pan off heat and mix in rum.

Pour mixture into shells and bake in 325
ºf oven until centers are set. About 25-30 minutes.

January 10, 2009

Let's talk about this

This is the perk or having friends.

What a magical night in the city we had. With two very worthy companions I ate and one of the city's best restaurants, West. I can still feel the textures on my tongue and tingling in my toes from such a wonderful experience.

We dined gazing into a beautiful kitchen, watching the graceful dance that happens in a well-run kitchen. Amazing food and wonderful company.

Plate after plate, sweetbreads, fois gras, mussels, pork tongue, the kitchen kept sending out food. Until we couldn't eat any more, when they sent out deserts.

January 6, 2009

This is a storm. A rain storm, even though is ugly out it's really pretty to listen to. Soft taping on the glass, familiar streaks falling, wind throwing gusts through the trees and over the walls. Tonight deserves a cup of steaming tea and a book. Speaking of which, any recommendations?

Due to a surplus of vanilla genoise from this delicious desert, I decided to make a cake. Blackberry layer cake to be exact. It was wonderful. A stark contrast to the weather outdoors and sound confirmation that I miss summer.

A summer like I used to spend picking delicious wild blackberries from behind our little house. Picking only as many as we could eat before retiring to the house with nothing to show for our efforts.

This recipe I pulled together with a little homemade blackberry-strawberry jam and a little buttercream frosting. It's the richest frosting I have ever tasted and its melt in your mouth texture means you need only a very little piece.

Happy puddle jumping!

January 5, 2009

a sort of funny story

In keeping with a winter theme, happy snow day!
We got an extended vacation this year.
S. also took a snow day.
So we made a desert we've been meaning to finish.

Green tea ice cream, vanilla genoise, blood orange curd, soft meringue and blood orange reduction. Though the components sound odd, together they taste amazing.

Since we couldn't find and matcha powder on the shelves of the stores in our small town we went to Starbucks where we knew they had it.

"Hey" we said to the little girl working "We need green tea powder"
Her, "Ummmmmmmmm, whhhhhhhhhat?"
Us: "You know the stuff you make green tea lattes with, we'll pay you what it costs to make the drink but all we want is the powder"
Her: "ohhhhhh, I ...don't....knowwwww"
Us: "We just need a little to cook with"
Her: "... ... ..Ohh! okay!! You can just have some! How much??"
Us: "Like two tablespoons"
She comes back with 1/3 cup.
Her: "Is that enough"
Us: "YUP!" and we quickly scamper away.

The following morning I spilled all but two tablespoons of it on the floor.

January 3, 2009

today was: warm maple waffles, a very long drive, chains for traction, long lifts, steaming soup, a good thrill, wet snow on my back, cold toes, large flakes,
chocolaty coffee, chickpea stew and a warm shower.

I'd forgotten what it felt like on the slopes. Happy snow days!

January 2, 2009

Sponge candy

Every morning I wake up the first thing I notice is the way a fresh blanket of snow reflects light under the slats of my blinds. And every morning the first thing I do as I rise is peek through the same slats and with a giddy little grin turn and move on with my day. I've never seen so much snow and for so long. We're 80 cm over our average for the season and we're only a month in. Even though my main mode of transportation is my bike and the only way to get around now is my feet, the snow doesn't bother me as it should. It's like the weather gods are making up for all the snow-less Christmases and winters we've suffered through. I love it.

Because it's the beginning of the year and for no other specific reason I decided today was a good day to make sponge candy in the form of my favourite chocolate bar, the crunchie. I think they're delicious. I love that they are light and airy somehow both popping and melting on my tongue. Caramel air covered in chocolate...yummm. You want one?

Seriously, there is nothing complicated to this recipe so long as you know your way around sugar and how to use your brain. Something I couldn't seem to do to avoid what happened.

This is how the candy turned out. You'll notice it's about 1/4 of the size it should be with teeny little air bubbles. Not the texture I've been dreaming of.

Even as a first attempt I'll say I'm disappointed, and this is where I'll blame the recipe. Haha! Indeed it's not my fault at all (though common sense now tells me otherwise.) Still, I guarantee it will be gone by tomorrow evening.

Only in my post disappointment searching did I find that mixing the baking soda into the candy mixture is necessary. I also found a vinegar component added to most other recipes. I'm not sure this is significant, but it may help the structure to form a little better.

Sponge Candy

1 c. white sugar
4 T. white corn syrup
2t. baking soda slightly dissolved in 2 t. water
1c. dark chocolate

Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper, be sure to well oil the paper.

In a large pot combine sugar and syrup over medium heat. Turn down heat to maintain steady simmer. Cook until light yellow in colour about 300
ºf. As soon as the mixture turns colour sprinkle in the baking soda mixture. (Note: this is where I went wrong, the recipe I was following said NOT to mix! Mixing is necessary for even distribution, just be careful not to over mix, you want to keep the air bubbles.)

This is the yellow you need to achieve

Mixture should bubble up and increase in volume by four times. Take off heat and quickly pour mixture on prepared sheet.

Melt chocolate in a double-broiler and slather on sponge. Cool until set. Store in air tight container.

January 1, 2009

snow in chilliwack

A snowy day to start off 2009. For me I'm not sure it could have been much better. On second could have, I could have woken up to wonderful scents of crisp bacon frying, gooey cinnamon buns, oozing cheesy eggs and a delicious creamy latte. But I'm content.

Remembering the last year I realize how wonderful it's been and how happy I am to be where I am. And to start off the year right we begin with oliebollen. Oliebollen translated literally means oil balls, which makes these suckers donuts, dutch donuts. Yum. Traditionally these are made by the mothers and grandmothers of our families but this year I'm old enough to learn.

They are actually a very simple treat to make as far as yeast treats go, they required only half an hour for proofing and maybe the equivalent for frying. Deliciously simple and a blank canvas for flavour this tradition is a diet breaker. To me these are the donuts of all donuts, the super donut if you will, light, and full of dough-y goodness. Like any donut these are highly addictive and too easy to eat, just know that you've been warned.

It should be noted, our family always eats oliebollen with raisins and apples dipped in powdered sugar (the word saturated is probably more accurate.) I suppose you could introduce nuts, currants, citrus zest, or spices, just be careful not to make your batter to heavy. To test if the oil is hot enough without a thermometer, which no dutch lady I know owns, my mother taught me to drop in a little piece of bread. If it floats and begins to sizzle the oil is hot enough. I prefer using a thermometer personally, but that's probably because I'm a little careless when it comes to looking after hot liquids. p.s. this recipe makes about 30 medium-ish donuts that only keep for a day so make sure you have a handful of mouths near by.


2 tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
sprinkle of sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. raisins
1 apple chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs beaten
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. lukewarm milk

Combine yeast, water and sugar foam for ten minutes.
Stir raisins, salt, apple and flour in a large metal bowl. Add risen yeast, eggs, sugar and lukewarm milk and mix by hand until smooth. Let rise covered by a damp towel in a warm place for 1/2 to 3/4 hour or until approximately double in size.

With two spoons shape batter into balls and drop into deep hot fat at 375ºf. Cook until golden brown, turning if needed. Drain on paper towels. Roll in icing sugar.