Dessert Lasagna

It was my friend's birthday on Monday so four of us went out for dinner at Woodenheads: a gourmet pizza restaurant. From start to finish the dinner was delicious and I really want to go back to try more of their unique pizzas. I just had to share with you one of the desserts we had: dessert lasagna. It was amazing. It consisted of layers of phylo pastry and chocolate mousse, with strawberries and various sauces and glazes.

I am not a huge lover of chocolate mousse but this one was so lovely. The dish had so many different textures and was plated so beautifully - what a treat! This has now been added to my list of Things to Make - I'm going to try to recreate it to the best of my ability.


Dim Sum YUM

I love Yum Cha. I just think it's so much fun. You get to pick lots of different, little dishes to share at your table and try them all! My friend drove a few of us home after exams had ended, and she treated us all to Yum Cha! As I could understand maybe 1/4 of what the menu said, I didn't really do any of the ordering. My friend took care of that and she picked so many yummy dishes, some of which I had tried before and were my favourites, and others that were completely new to me...

Rice noodle stir-fry with beef (gong chow ow haw)

Steamed rice roll - bbqed pork (left), shrimp (ha cherng) (right)

Sticky Rice

Bbq pork buns (cha siu bau)

Crystal dumpling shrimp (ha gao)

Pork dumpling with fish roe (siu mi)

Sesame balls (one of my favourites)

Mango tapioca pudding

Thanks Kathryn :)


My First Homemade Bread

So I have never baked with yeast before. I know, it's terrible. I have been missing out on such a wonderful world of yeast-involved recipes! For some reason I've just always been scared to try...

Last semester I discovered that my friend knew how to make bread. WITH YEAST. So obviously I had to have him give me a crash course in breadmaking. It was time to face my fear. The big event took place last weekend when my friend came over to teach me how to make a cheese loaf. I was so excited... and nervous. We made a loaf with cheese rolled into it as well as individual buns with cheese sprinkled on top. The process was a lot longer than I had anticipated - it took us about 3 hours in total.

We used the following recipe: Basic White Bread - Robin Hood

Waiting for the yeast to activate, mixing, kneading, rising, punching, rising, baking... I can see why the majority choose to buy their bread from the store/bakery.

But let me tell you how satisfying it was to see the beautiful, aromatic buns and loaf pulled from the oven with a perfectly golden brown crust underneath a bed of melted cheese. It was so delicious with a lovely texture, and knowing we had made it ourselves made it THAT much better. I really don't know why I was so terrified of using yeast, it's really quite simple.

Aren't they cute?!

First homemade bread = success!

Slicing the loaf reveals a beautiful swirl of cheddar... yum
Cheese + bread = true love 

So now I'm obsessed. I have to make up for those yeastless baking years and there are tons of recipes I can't wait to try! Next we'll hopefully make a cinnamon raisin loaf - I'm pretty excited for that one.

Thanks Mack :)


A Tea Party

A few friends and I had been planning on having a tea party for a while - a Mad Hatter's Tea Party

It ended up being more like the type of tea party Alice would have had though

Cucumber wrapped smoked salmon & cream cheese


Crostini with sauteed vegetables and salami, topped with goat's cheese

French baguette toasted with honey and goats cheese

Ginger peach tea - perfect during those cold winter days

Chocolate macarons with salted caramel buttercream, custart strawberry tarts with cream, shortbread

Don't you just love finger foods?

One friend brought sugar cookies with cherries and gingerbread


Dinner in Louisiana

Well actually in Ottawa. For New Year's my family and I went up to Ottawa to visit my sister for the weekend. On the Saturday we went out for dinner and my friend from Ottawa had suggested Fat Tuesday's so we decided to try it out. They had a New Orleans style menu with lots to choose from. The food was great and absolutely full of flavour, we could have been sitting in a restaurant in Louisiana!

Crab Cakes Vermillion - I think these were some of the best crab cakes I've ever had

Honey Dijon Chicken with roasted garlic mash

Honey Dijon Chicken with dirty rice

Blackened Louisiana Catfish with dirty rice

And I had the Jambalaya! With shrimp, chicken, ham and andouille sausage in a spicy creole tomato sauce, accompanied by dirty rice - it was DELICIOUS


Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Buttercream

One of my baking goals this Christmas was to challenge myself by making a tricky dessert. I decided upon the deliciously elegant yet disobedient, the ever temperamental, the French Macaron. I was looking forward to making them for weeks, my housemate spent an hour grinding almonds into flour as we anticipated the big event. I spent a long time hunting through recipes for flavours to try with my first ever macarons and baking tips. The more I searched, the more scared I became that my macarons would not turn out well. I read so many horror stories that this started to seem like an impossible treat to master. You have to weigh EVERYTHING and our scales are old and sketchy. You are also supposed to age the egg whites for a few days... which I did not do. Making macarons is apparently a science. After learning all that I could and gathering plenty of tips and tricks I set my heart on chocolate macarons. It was a simple flavour to try first. I wanted a yummy filling so decided that in honour of my macarons (if they came out successfully) I would break open my new bag of sea salt and make a salted caramel buttercream.

I am very pleased to announce that my first batch of macarons were successful! They weren't perfect of course, but for my very first attempt I was quite happy with the result and am really excited to make more. I followed all the steps and tips very carefully, it actually took me a long time. I painstakingly converted all the weighed measurements into tablespoons/teaspoons so that I didn't have to count on our scales. The careful measuring of the ingredients and counted folds of the meringue were all worth it when I looked in the oven and saw the little feet forming on my macarons!

They did of course have flaws, but I know what I did wrong so the next batch will be perfect! Some came out cracked and this was because I didn't leave one of the trays on the counter long enough for them to form a shell. I also should have drawn circles on the parchment paper, because some of mine were wonky shapes. Other than this, they were quite pretty and yummy :) Biting through the chocolate meringue to find a deliciously soft salted caramel buttercream was a lovely surprise

Chocolate Macarons


6 tbsp almond meal
11 tbsp plus 1 tsp icing sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
10 tsp sugar
50 grams egg whites - at room temperature and preferably aged for about 4 days

Preheat the oven to 320F

Line baking trays with parchment paper.

Blend together the almond meal, cocoa powder and icing sugar so they are well blended and fine. Pass the mixture through a sieve.

Place the egg whites in a very clean, dry bowl. Beat on medium speed, slowly adding the sugar by the spoonful. Increase the speed after a minute, beating on high for about 4 minutes or until stiff peaks start to form. You don't want them to be too stiff, but still hold peaks.

Add the dry mixture slowly by sprinkling it over the egg whites, and fold it in with a spatula very carefully. You should do this gently and be careful not to overmix. It should be about 40 folds. In order to know if you're done, the batter was once firm and held its shape and now it should fall in ribbons.

Fill a piping bag with a tip less than 1 cm with the mixture. If you drew circles on the parchment paper, pipe the mixture to fill the circles. Carefully hit the tray against the counter to remove any air bubbles and let them stand for 30 minutes. This allows the meringues to form outer shells so they don't crack. They should be dry to the touch before going in the oven. Place them on the middle tray with another tray underneath them on the next level.

Bake the macarons for about 10-11 minutes. You know they are done if when gently pushing the macaron, the feet move a bit.

Remove the trays from the oven and place them on a wet cloth to stop the baking process.

After a couple minutes peel the macarons off the parchment paper and lie them on their backs.

Create your desired filling to sandwich between the meringues :)


Holiday Cookie Exchange

Yesterday one of my friends at home hosted a cookie exchange! (So far this holiday break, I haven't really eaten many cookies...) Five of us traded cookies, making 10 for each person. I was so excited for it and it was pretty fun! Everyone made something unique so we had a great variety, and they were all packaged differently. We also each brought a bottle of wine, and the host served punch, so this made it even more fun ;).

This was the perfect opportunity to use up some of those Toblerones! I made a nut and mocha biscotti and added fruit and nut Toblerone. It's nice to enjoy along with your tea or hot chocolate. Unfortunately though, I was in a hurry to get to the cookie exchange and was unable to take any photos of my biscotti. I do, however, have photos of all the other cookies...

My friend just graduated from Le Cordon Bleu so I was SUPER excited for her cookies. She made these checkboard cookies, which are beautiful and elegant (and took her 4 hours!)


Coconut and chocolatey goodness

Gingerbread cookies!

So beautifully decorated

 Magic Squares

Very similar to Seven Layers with chocolate chips, coconut and a graham cracker crust

 Classic chocolate chip

Toblerone Biscotti
(sorry for the lack of pictures)

2 eggs
1 Tbsp. Instant Coffee
2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 pieces of Toblerine, coarsely chopped (I used fruit & nut), plus one extra piece
Preheat oven to 325F
Mix the eggs and coffee together and set aside. Combine flour and baking powder, and set aside. Using an electric beater, cream together the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg and coffee mixture, mixing well. Slowly add flour mixture, while continuing to blend. Stir in nuts and chocolate.
Split dough into two and place on lightly floured surface. Roll each into a log, about 1 inch high and 1.5 inches wide. Place the two logs on a greased baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Carefully cut each log, diagonally, into approximately 15 slices (or 3/4 inch thick pieces). Return them to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes, or until dry and crisp.
Remove, and cool on wire racks.
Melt the extra Toblerone pieces. Fill a plastic bag with the melted chocolate, cut off the tip and drizzle the biscotti with melted chocolate. Store in an air tight container.