I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and Santa treated you well! I sure did... in fact, I'm still full. We had our double Christmas feast - two giant meals in a row - and it was magical! Such an incredible amount of food, I think it's the most I've ever seen in this house. Seriously, I'm still eating the leftovers, and there are nuts, chocolates and cookies everywhere!

We had a huge 20-pounder on Christmas day, accompanied by many other dishes such as roasted carrots, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, squash and stuffing. I also made yorkshire puddings but they kind of failed, they turned out more like muffins. I am not sure if it was the recipe, or the heat wasn't high enough, but they didn't puff up as much as they should have :(
We normally have pavlova for dessert but since my sister didn't come home, we are saving it for when we go visit her at New Year's (for yet another turkey dinner). Instead we enjoyed the many baked goods around the house such as fruit tarts, nanaimo bars, cookies, chocolate and cheesecake.

On Boxing day we prepared a huge feast for 11. We had a roast beef, barbequed pork, salmon and trout. We also had scalloped potatoes au gratin, squash, salads, yorkshire puddings, mashed turnips, and a huge vegetable dish of roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, leeks, parsnips and onions. It was fantastic.

This was followed by a dessert. But not just any dessert. One of 6 platters. Because we didn't have enough food already...

My uncle made more 7 Layers, shortbread cookies and a delicious pumpkin pie. We also had nanaimo bars, a variety of fruit tarts, cheesecakes, and a platter of goodies from our neighbor.

Just before dinner she dropped this off. Our neighbor is an amazing baker, her brownies taste like fudge and everything is so perfectly sliced and presented! There are lemon squares, peanut butter cookies, ginger cookies, nanaimo bars, brownies/fudge and coconut/cherry truffles. Of course, I tried everything...

I got some wonderful presents from Santa:

 Cook books galore! I've wanted Gordon Ramsay's World Kitchen for a while :)

 My friends gave me this beautiful sea salt! I used it in my salted caramel and chocolate macarons

Some nice stainless steel kitchen utensils


Cause you can never have too much...

I actually have so many toblerones now it's ridiculous... I think I might bake with them, any ideas?


Nanaimo Bars

One of my favourite desserts are nanaimo bars, so this holiday season I decided to finally make them myself. I never had before I think because you need so many ingredients that wouldn't normally be already in our kitchen - walnuts, coconut and Bird's Custard Powder. We needed coconut and walnuts for Seven Layers as well, so it was perfect! They were really easy to make, and this recipe yields 36 squares so they should last a while... hopefully. They turned out so nice - rich and chocolatey. My mom can't keep her fingers off them :)

The recipe I used was from Kraft Canada: Nanaimo Bars


I ODed on Christmas Cheer

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE! Christmas has arrived - a day of joy, family, friends, and above all - FOOD! Currently I'm counting down the hours to our holiday feast. I am so incredibly excited for turkey, the thought of it is making my mouth water. So many delicious dishes planned and desserts made. I'm making yorkshire puddings for the first time! I've been saving up lots of room in my stomach for this :)

Breakfast this morning - thick french toast

I plan on stuffing myself until I'm far past full. I won't even have time to digest as we have yet another holiday feast planned for tomorrow. We are hosting our big family Christmas dinner with aunts, uncles and cousins! I am so excited for the meals oh my goodness. I think I will dedicate Monday to digestion. I have already eaten so much this holiday it's insane, and there's so much food to come. There's no doubt in my mind I'll be going back to uni 10 pounds heavier.

So since I've been home I basically haven't left the kitchen. I got really excited about Christmas baking. Maybe a little too excited. I made a long list of treats to make, and our house has just been filling up with food. It's now overflowing so I have put a hold on the baking... at least for a short while. I made some of the classics, gingerbread and shortbread cookies, and also tried a few new recipes that I've been dying to try for a while. I don't think I could pick a favourite though, everything is just too yummy. I will post some recipes soon, but first feast your eyes on these...

Gingerbread fun with my housemates :)

Shortbread cookies

Custard tarts

Blueberry Tarts

Nanaimo bars!!

And drumroll please...

Chocolate macarons with salted caramel buttercream

Will be posting lots of recipes asap - including the macarons, which were tricky but worth it! I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas day, where ever in the world you are!


Cookie Fail

I was really excited about these cookies because it was the first time I have ever made pinwheel cookies. I baked them to take to a friend's where we watched White Christmas (one of my all-time favourite Christmas movies!). I made them all Christmasy using strawberry jam and chopped almonds. Everything was fine until I put them in the oven and went to skype my friend. I put the timer on, but for 2 minutes too long apparently because when I ran downstairs to take them out, they had burned. Not black burnt, but they weren't chewy and soft anymore. Lesson learned - never skype friends while in the middle of baking. I was too ashamed to take photos of the cookies after they came out of the oven...


There's always room for Dessert!

Especially when you don't even bother to eat dinner. In second year of uni my housemates and I started our own traditional way of celebrating the holidays, with a dessert party. Yep, that's right, a dessert party. It's when you replace dinner with dessert. And a lot of desserts, might I add. There are five of us that live in the house, and we each make our own special dessert for the house. So a couple weeks ago we had our third annual dessert party, which we all agreed was our most successful yet. We had been looking forward to it all semester. I had known for months what I would be making because I found the recipe in the Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook that I received for my birthday. I made, wait for it.... chocolate soup with cinnamon toasted croutons. In terms of rich desserts, this takes the cake. It's basically melted chocolate and caramel. YUM. We actually ended up with such a great variety of tastes, textures and dishes it was fantastic! And of course, it was accompanied by a viewing of Love Actually (also tradition). So check out our night of indulgence, and try not to drool all over your keyboard...

Baked apples stuffed with cranberries, nuts, honey & spice

Can`t tell from the pictures but they`re actually massive. When you break into them, the inside spills out and the apple is super soft.

Chocolate soup with cinnamon toasted croutons

A little spoon of vanilla ice cream and a cinnamon sugar rim perfects the dish

 The croutons - made from pound cake

 torta rogel aka milhojas - an Argentian dessert

Thin slices of puff pastry layered with dulce de leche

What my housemate calls `Sex in a pan`

Layers of cream, chocolate pudding and cream cheese atop a buttery walnut crust

And to finish off the night - Butter Rum Ripple
(or what I called butterber)

Think you`ll make this your family`s tradition too


Escape from the Studio

I spend so much of my time in the studio, it's like my second home. Most of the fine art students basically live there. But outside of the studio, we never do anything together as a group so this holiday I decided to host a BFA potluck at my place. Last week we had about 17 people over at my house, accompanied by an array of hot and cold dishes. We ended up with such a delicious variety it proved quite successful in the end. I made appetizers: Vietnamese spring rolls with peanut sauce, and goat cheese & honey toasts. It's so nice being able to spend time together outside of the studio, not covered in ink and oil paints, and talk about something other than our studio work... though we always end up talking about it anyways. And always a plus of hosting potlucks: the leftovers! We had such an overload of cheese; I have actually eaten an unhealthy amount of brie in the last week.

Goats Cheese & Honey Toasts

I'm not going to write an actual recipe, because it's basically all there in the title (I don't know what they're actually called, they probably have some french name)

Take a french baguette (or any type of loaf you like) and slice it widthways. Align them on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Broil them for 1-3 minutes, and take them out, flip them over and do the same thing again. They should be nice and crisp now. Spread each with about 1 tsp of honey, followed by your desired amount of goats cheese. Then top them off with a little more honey. Bake them at 350F for a few minutes (5-10), just until the cheese is starting to melt. Serve immediately.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Cabbage with carrot and apple


Lionhead Meatballs


Sweet Potato Pie - first time I've had this!!

No-bake Berry Cheesecake