Spring Tea

Near the end of exam season my housemates and I held a lovely tea party. We had been trying to plan one all semester and during the month of April we finally found a day to host it. With the excitement building and plans unravelling throughout the semester we prepared quite a long menu, but with five chefs in the house we were up to the challenge. Between the five of us we also had a huge assortment of teas, I really wish I had snapped a picture of them all.

I decided to make Sugarplum's Lemon Coolers and they were delicious. I would highly recommend visiting her site and making this recipe. Right now.

Despite some friends still with exams to write and the pouring rain, we had a large number of guests. It was a lovely evening with decadent treats and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. Gosh I miss our foodie parties!

Assorted cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches
Cheese and onion scones
Homemade hummus with crackers and veggies
Herbed tuna tartlets
Irish soda bread  with spinach dip (and we crossed off Ireland!)

Lavender cupcakes
Lemon raspberry tart
red velvet cheesecake brownies
Goat's cheese tartlets with shredded apple and walnuts in wine
Chocolate and almond biscotti
Lemon coolers
Dark chocolate and Toblerone dipped strawberries

Accompanied by an abnormally large variety of teas


Carrot Apple Salad

Fact: I am actually writing this post while sitting on a bus traveling to Toronto.

Fact: It is much harder to find time to blog when working full-time. Somehow I always managed to fit it into my schedule when I was in school and also working two jobs. It doesn't really make sense to me. Consequently I am writing on a public bus while my hand is jerked across the paper. I'm a little surprised I was able to read my scribbles to be honest.

Fact: I need a new camera. This one just doesn't cut it anymore and I'm unhappy with my photos. Even after editing them they still just don't have that awesome foodporn quality that I've been striving for.

Fact: Last week I went to a few shops to look at SLR cameras.

Fact: Sometime impromptu dinner parties are the best kind. On Saturday we headed around the corner to our neighbor's place for a bbq. It was 25C, the sun was shining - ah we enjoyed the first tastes of summer and it was lovely. It was a great dinner with too much food and of course plenty of sangria. It's not summer without sangria! That day was hot enough that I decided to wear shorts for the first time this year. Summer in May? I could get used to this. I am totally comfortable with skipping spring for an extended summer.

I prepared this carrot apple salad to bring over to our friends' place. It's sweet fresh, it's light, it's sweet and it's simple. A great side for those spring/summer bbqs.

Fact: I am halfway to Toronto and very much looking forward to celebrating one of my best friends' birthdays with wonderful company and fantastic food. Oh... and also, sangria :)

Carrot Apple Salad

3-4 medium sized carrots
1 granny smith apple, cored
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup blueberries - optional

Wash and peal the carrots and apple

In a large bowl shave the carrots and apple

In a small bowl whisk together the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and honey

Pour the dressing over the carrot and apple shavings and toss to coat everything evenly

Top with blueberries if desired

Serve immediately


When life hands you lemons... Bake

I don't know why but I've got a small obsession with lemon recipes right now. Maybe it's because it's spring and I want to make lighter, sweeter and sunnier treats. Or maybe it's because I'm bored of chocolate... hmm not likely. Desserts made with lemons are just so wonderfully tangy and tart, and have such a freshness to them.

I love squares (or bars). I think it's because there are endless varieties of these sweet treats and the colourful and textured layers are fun. I find them more exciting than cookies... I'm sorry, don't hate me.

These lemon squares are ridiculously easy, quick and delicious. You have no excuse not to bake them.

My next lemon dessert? I think I'll make a tart.

Lemon Squares
(adapted from Land of Lakes - Treasures of Country Recipes)

1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F

Grease an 8'' square baking pan

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Slowly mix in the flour until well combined and the mixture is crumbly.

Press crust mixture on bottom of the baking pan.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a small bowl beat all the filling ingredients until well mixed.

When the crust is done pour the filling over it and continue baking for 18 to 20 minutes or until the filling is set.

Let cool and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Mother's Day Dessert

I hope all you mothers out there had a wonderful Mother's Day! And everyone else enjoyed celebrating and spending time with their mothers :)

I just wanted to share with you the cake I made for my mom on Sunday. The weather has been gorgeous this week and all the flowers are in bloom - spring has finally arrived! So I wanted to make a light cake to suit the time of year...

I made an Angel Cake with three delicious layers of whipped cream, strawberries and raspberries. The cake was so fluffy and light, and with the cream and berries it really tasted great. I actually enjoyed it a lot (if not more) the day after I made it - when the cream and fruit juices had seeped into the cake making it all very moist and soft.

This cake was very big and disappeared VERY fast.

I will definitely be making it again.


To the Ladies of the Palace

It is unbelievable how fast time can move. Where have the past four years gone?

Saturday was move-out day. After three years in that house, it was time to say goodbye.

It's weird being home. I know I'll have loads more time to blog now that I'm out of uni, but will living without my housemates cause my drive to create and experiment in the kitchen to slow down? It was with my four housemates that I developed my deep passion for baking, cooking and eating. Together we discovered food - our TRUE love.

Cooking in our big kitchen was like an event. Almost every night of the week we came together, tossed around the dinner ideas we had been brainstorming that day, threw on some tunes and started chopping, dicing, seasoning and laughing.

With this post I have decided to look back on the meals we shared together in our house. I have compiled a collection of some of our most creative, most memorable and most delicious dishes.

So here's a reflection on the past 3 years of cooking, baking and eating with these extraordinary ladies.

A, J, S and M: I raise my fork to you

I'll start with a recent one: our traditional Peaster dinner (celebration of Easter and Passover).
This year for Peaster we were surprised with 3 lobsters brought fresh (alive) all the way on the train from New Brunswick by my one of my housemates. M cooked the lobsters and taught us how to eat them PROPERLY, step-by-step. It was such a fun experience, and a great way to enjoy lobster for the very first time.

This fantastic meal was accompanied by a spicy jambalaya, which we cooked a few times at the end of the semester to use up all our freezer food and fresh produce.

Another fantastic tradition of ours (and possibly my favourite) is our Dessert Party. This is held during the Christmas holidays and it replaces dinner. Each of us creates a spectacular dessert (sometimes more than one) and we devour them while watching Love Actually. Sadly I don't have any photos from the first annual dessert party, I think that was before the obsessive food photographing had begun. Last year A made pears poached in wine. Divine.

J made the beautiful dish above, which I will call a fluffy orange cloud as I can't recall the name of it.

This year's dessert party was definitely the most indulgent to date.

Last year some French exchange students came over and cooked us an amazing French meal complete with a cheese course. We were at the table savouring each bite for a good three hours.

We have some pretty odd fusion dinners every now and then but they are always delicious. This was a chocolate chili (sound weird? it was yummy!) accompanied by saffron and rosemary cornbread.

For dessert A and I experimented and made a dulce de leche mousse! It wasn't perfect, but it tasted pretty great.

Who could forget the chocolate, cheese and wine party we had for S' birthday?! The amount of chocolate and cheese that filled our house was unreal.

Thanksgiving is a big tradition in our house. We cook up a ridiculous amount of savoury and sweet dishes, invite over as many friends as our house can hold and stuff ourselves with as much food as our bodies will allow. I don't eat prior to the meal, and I'm still full the day after.

We've had some pretty yummy breakfasts/brunches at uni. For St. Patrick's day this year we had green pancakes (what else?!). Looks weird - tastes awesome.

Just one of our many weeknight dinners trying something new - Gordon Ramsay's Spicy Thai Coconut Soup. Wonderful.

Before leaving for reading week we tried to eat up the rest of our fresh foods. This dinner consisted of three of us adding together all of our leftover produce in a big casserole dish and throwing it in the oven. It was really colourful, fun and yummy.

We bake quite a bit in our house. We're all such foodies and we love to indulge... maybe a bit too often.

This is from the first, big, family dinner we all cooked together. I believe it was at the beginning of winter 2008 and we all contributed a dish. It marks the beginning of our cooking adventures, our dinner parties and our wonderful eats.

Missing my ladies and our kitchen already.


Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes

I've been experimenting a bit lately with different types of chocolate cakes. A while ago I made these chocolate coconut cupcakes to use up some leftover coconut milk I had. I took advantage of this opportunity and added in some Toblerone! I also used yogurt in the batter, and together with the coconut milk the cupcakes ended up with a nice texture. I topped them with a glaze using coconut milk and sprinkled some coconut flakes on top.

I have been dying to make a cake or loaf with chocolate and orange. The two just go so well together! I had a couple friends over for dinner and decided to make a chocolate orange cake for dessert.

I used orange juice, orange zest, cocoa powder and, yes you guessed it, Toblerone. I drizzled it with an orange glaze, melted Terry's chocolate orange and candied orange peel. It tasted pretty good but unfortunately I didn't write down the recipe as I went so I won't be able to share it with you. I guess I'll just have to make it again some time!

Luckily, I did write down this one...

Chocolate Coconut Cupcakes
Makes 12


1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg
3 tbsp plain yogurt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 pieces of Toblerone, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder.

In a large bowl cream together the sugar and butter, then beat in the egg and yogurt, followed by the coconut milk.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture until everything is well combined.

Stir in the chopped Toblerone.

Pour the batter into the muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes or when an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from tin and let cool.