Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Ayoub's Dried Fruit and Mixed Nuts

love the chandelier in Ayoub's
If you love nuts and dried fruit, you'll have to check this place out.  Ayoub's first of all is beautiful. It's like walking into another world.  The white shelves, silver urns filled with fragrant spiced nuts and the huge candelier hanging in the centre of the room make for an impressive first impression.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Crackle Crème, Vancouver

Duelling my 7 year old for the crackle!

Basho Cafe & Sweets, Vancouver

Matcha Latte Afternoon Tea special ($5)
Upon entering Basho Cafe on East Hastings (my old teenage stomping grounds!) you are immediately taken aback by the fine details evident in the decor and the food.  By gosh, even the door handle at the front has a knitted warmer wrapped around it!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Earnest Ice Cream, Vancouver


London Fog
Do you ever argue with family members about where to eat for dinner? well, this is us practically every weekend.  I figured out a compromise.   One person chooses the resto for dinner and another can choose a different place for dessert.  Win Win!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Blueberry Milkshake

Blueberry Milkshake
My friend gifted me a HUGE ice-cream pail full of perfectly sweet local blueberries from a UPick farm in Richmond.  The blueberry season is here NOW! and I don't know about you, but I have blueberries starting to turn mushy and I'm heading to the freezer now with trays of them to save them for smoothies and baking.  

Aside from a healthy smoothy, a more decadent way to enjoy a nice heap o' blueberries is in a milkshake.  Here's my quick recipe:

Blueberry Milkshake
2 scoops vanilla ice cream (can be made dairy free with almond or coconut ice cream)
1 cup milk (can be made dairy free with almond or coconut milk)
1 cup blueberries

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until combined and no longer lumpy.

Parthenon Greek Supermarket, Vancouver & a GF rant

Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
Spanakopita (Spinach pie) 
The best part of living in Vancouver is my proximity to good authentic eats if I'm craving it.  I live within 10 minutes of excellent foods from India, Greece, China, Japan, the Middle East, Italy, France and practically every other major country you can think of.  I'm so lucky. Today, the crave of the day was Greek.  The Parthenon is a Greek supermarket that's been around for ages.  It's always been there on W. Broadway as long as I can remember and I was born and raised in Vancouver.  Let me google it for you and see if I can find out.  Oh! Over 45 years!  that's pretty close to my age (which I shall stay mum about).

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Matcha Chiffon Cake (gf)

Matcha Chiffon (GF)
I'm looking forward to seeing a few of my high school classmates today.  It's kind of neat to be able to see them so many years later and catch up.  I see some of my high school friends only once a year.  We make a bit of time to have coffee or tea and chat for hours about life events and all sorts of things.

Gluten Free Flour Blend


The following GF flour blend recipe is the one I have tripled and kept in an airtight container to be used in place of regular flour.  It has been truly amazing and I imagine you can adapt it, as I have seen numerous permutations on the net.  For cakes, you will find that using the Thai Rice Flour brands that I have pictured below are important for fine texture.  You will find the 3 Elephants Brand rice flours in Asian markets.  They are really cheap.  You can buy a whole bunch at once and  blend up your mix.  For the other starches, I believe brands are not as important. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

ONE BLUEBERRY MUFFIN! NOW! (Small Batch Baking)

One Blueberry Muffin.  Now. 
My 7 yr old loves blueberry muffins.  The trouble is no one else in the household is that crazy about them.  

Monday, 28 July 2014

CHRISTMAS IN JULY COOKIE CONTEST: Vanilla Pod Butter/Tiffany Snowflake Cookies

Christmas in July Cookie Contest!
Can you believe I've been blogging since 2007 and this is the 1st contest I'm entering?  I'm submitting my butter cookie recipe to the Eat In Eat Out 3rd Annual Christmas in July Cookie Contest

Matcha Coconut Mochi (GF)


Matcha Coconut Mochi.  An excellent Japanese sweet to serve with tea or coffee.
Summer's here and I have the kids full-time.   Aside from locking them out of the house once because they were fighting, I think I've been able to keep them busy enough to stay out of trouble.

Monday, 7 July 2014

LAZY SUMMER LOCAL STRAWBERRY & VANILLA ICE CREAM TARTS


Fresh local strawberry & vanilla ice cream tarts 
In keeping with my "Lazy Summer" theme I started with my last post, I thought I'd show you a sneaky-delicious treat to use up those local strawberries that are so juicy sweet this month.  After we visited the driving range in Richmond, we noticed the blueberry & strawberry farm next door to it had a "U Pick" sign.  It didn't take much to convince the kids to pick berries.  They were half-way across the strawberry field before I could finish "Do you want to pick..."

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Matcha Madeleines (GF)

Matcha Madeleines (gf).  Note the "hump"...a good thing 
Madeleines are one of the most beautiful little cakes I've ever seen and positively scream of lazy days on the patio.  Perfect for afternoon tea or coffee.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

LAZY SUMMER CUCUMBER SALAD (GF)


This Lazy Cool Cucumber Salad is what I look most forward to during a bbq each summer. 
Chop the cucumber in 1 cm rings and then in quarters

Monday, 2 June 2014

GLUTEN FREE BANANA CHIFFON CAKE



Gluten Free Banana Chiffon Cake
Right.  It's been a long time since my last post.  
No regrets though (sorry dear readers) as real life takes precedence over virtual life!
"Cloud 9" GF Flour Blend from Costco & Whole Psyllium Husks

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Chocolate Quinoa Layer Cake with Chocolate SMB (GF)

Chocolate quinoa layer cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Booya. I feel huge.  I've been eating nonstop since holidays began.  This Chocolate layer cake was a dessert I made for a NYE dinner party.

I doubled my usual cupcake recipe and baked the batter in 8 inch circular pans.  Then I ended up reserving one layer for the freezer as I thought 3 layers would be enough.  And it was.  I had just enough SMB to frost all the sides.  The layers were moist and I did not have to slice them though if you like lots of frosting I guess you could.  However, at that point you would also need way more buttercream.

I thought of melted chocolate decorations as I was too lazy to pipe buttercream around the cake.  I think they turned out quite well considering I had not made these before.  I made big evergreen trees and plastered them on the sides of the cake.  Then I topped the centre of the cake on top with a daisy and a bunch of swirls of chocolate. 





For the over the top Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream, I used THIS recipe and added 4 oz dark melted chocolate to the buttercream.
For the Chocolate Quinoa Layers, I used THIS recipe BUT ADDED 1/4 CUP MORE COOKED QUINOA TO EACH BATCH.  It has more quinoa than the original recipe; is baked in 8 inch layers (2) and I doubled the recipe and added 5-10 minutes to the baking time.  Make the recipe twice because only one batch will fit in your blender or processor anyway.  You will kill your Vitamix if you try to do a double batch (and it won't fit anyway).  Freeze one of the layers so that you'll have 3 layers in total from the double-batch (or make extra cupcakes with the batter after you make 3 layers).

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

CLASSIC CHRISTMAS COOKIES: VANILLA BEAN BUTTER COOKIE RECIPE


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean, ground up)
2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup fine sanding sugar

1. Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt and mix until combined.

2. Halve dough; shape each half into a log. Place each log on a 12-by-16 inch sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to 1 ½ inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Transfer to paper towel tubes to hold shape, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Brush each log with egg white; roll in sanding sugar. Cut into ½-inch thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. (cakebrain note: ensure the cookies are golden brown and they'll taste much more flavour as well as a better crunch). Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.




Nothing says Christmas more than the smell of baking sugar and butter in the oven.  'Tis the season to watch the waistline spread!

This has been a tough year for me baking-wise.  There simply is no time for my fave hobby.  I do miss it so.  I have learned that I need to let go of the notion that I have to bake 8 different cookies and craft together a homemade selection of artisanal cookies and treats for my Christmas giveaways.  Not happening, folks!  Fulltime teaching, mentoring and mommying doesn't allow me to anymore!
This classic Vanilla bean butter cookie is perfectly easy.  I double a batch and keep rolls in the fridge for baking off fresh and gifting.   I make another double batch Gluten Free for myself and my GF buddies too. It is such a versatile recipe it was also used for my Tiffany Snowflake cookies pictured below.  Give it a try and don't beat yourself up if you can't make the snowflake.  It is simply gorgeous as it is packaged in cellophane bags too.   Make sure the cookies are baked until golden brown or you won't truly get that lively nutty flavour from the butter.  I like mine almost burnt but they don't look as festive.  Lol.

Merry Christmas dear readers and Happy New Year!


XMAS GIFTING IDEA (FOR THE TECH-INCLINED)
I am so geeky I sometimes surprise myself!  This batch was gifted to IT (love you guys!) and they of course know what a QR code is.  You do know what a QR code is, don't you?  If you don't know, don't attempt it because you're not tech-inclined and I'm not telling! lol  HOHOHO!


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Hallowe'en!

Happy Hallowe'en!


I baked a batch of my Chocolate Quinoa Cupcakes (GF) for my daughter's Girl Guides & Brownies Hallowe'en party.  A batch of regular cupcakes makes 48 mini cupcakes.  I piped on vanilla buttercream, sprinkled orange sprinkles and then free-hand drizzled melted dark chocolate from a parchment cone onto parchment paper in the form of pumpkins.  


After the chocolate pumpkins dried, we placed one on each mini cupcake.  I think they look pretty cute!  I was surprised how well the chocolate pumpkins turned out. 



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