Cranberry White Chocolate and Almond Blondies

(click on the picture for details)

These Blondies, not the 70’s rock band, are the lighter version of the brownies because they use butterscotch instead of chocolate. Unless you decide to let your chocolate craving decide for you! In that case, just add one cup of white chocolate chips! Sweet and sour dried cranberries and flavourful roasted almonds and you are set for goûter!


½ cup butter

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup crystallized sugar

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose or cake flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch salt

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup chopped roasted almonds

1 cup dried cranberries

1. Melt the butter over medium high in a large saucepan and let simmer until golden brown.

2. Stir in the sugars using a whisk.

3. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

4. Beat in the eggs, syrup and vanilla.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

6. Line a square baking pan with greased foil.

7. In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.

8. Incorporate the flour into the butterscotch mixture.

9. Stir in the chocolate chips, chopped almonds and cranberries.

10. Transfer into the lined baking pan.

11. Bake for 20 mins.

12. Let cool on a rack.

White Chocolate and Persimmon Pots de Crême

(click on the picture for details)

Pots de crême are of the same vein as Panna Cotta. This dessert is just as easy to prepare as its Italian counterpart, and I could not resist the temptation when I saw Ricardo and Friends. It follows the same steps, but the white chocolate definitely adds depth and richness to the cream. The refreshing persimmons balance each unctuous and decadent spoonful. Simply delicious!

(Adapted from Ricardo and Friends Pots de Crème Recipe)

Ingredients for 6 servings:

8 ounces white chocolate chips

¼ cup unsalted butter

3 large eggs

½ cup whipping cream

¼ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon gelatin

3 tablespoons cold water

3 persimmons

Fresh mint

1. Melt the butter and the chocolate in a double boiler.

2. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat.

3. Stir in the eggs, then the cream and buttermilk using a whisk.

4. Add the gelatin to the cold water and let soften for 5 mins.

5. Put the mixing bowl containing the chocolate mixture on the hot water.

6. Stir in the gelatin until completely dissolved.

7. Remove from the heat.

8. Equally distribute into ramequins or glasses.

9. Chill overnight.

10. Before serving, top with thin slices of persimmons and a sprig of mint.


Homemade Cremini Ricotta Cannelloni with Sweet Basil and Tomato Sauce

(click on the picture for details)

If you need a change from vegetarian lasagna, go for these whole wheat cannelloni. Instead of being layered with the pasta, cremini mushrooms and ricotta cheese make a substantial filling for these square pasta crepes. The sweet fragrance of purple basil infuses not only this pasta dish but also your kitchen, making it warm and inviting. Perfect comfort food after shoveling your snowy sidewalks!

Ingredients for 3 generous servings:

1/3 basic pasta dough using whole wheat flour

Cremini and ricotta filling for 6 cannelloni:

1 cup cremini mushrooms

1 small onion

1 tomato

1 cup fresh purple basil

½ cup ricotta cheese

½ cup dry white wine

Sweet basil tomato sauce:

6 anchovy filets

1 16-ounce tomato can

1 carrot

2 celery stalks

1 small onion

½ bunch fresh purple basil

1 cup romano cheese

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the basic pasta dough.

2. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.

3. Chop onion, mushrooms, tomato and basil.

4. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

5. Stir fry the onion and the mushrooms until soft.

6. Add the tomato and the purple basil. Let wilt for 2 mins.

4. Add the wine and the cheese and let simmer for 5 mins until all liquid is evaporated. Season to taste.

8. Chop onion, carrot and celery for the tomato sauce.

9. In a saucepan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.

10. Stir in the onion until translucent then add anchovies, carrot and celery.

11. When the vegetables are soft, add the canned tomatoes.

12. Slightly mash the tomatoes with a wooden spoon to liberate the juice.

13. Add the purple basil to the pan and season to taste.

14. Cover, reduce the heat to medium and let simmer until serving.

15. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

16. Roll the pasta dough and cut into 4 inch squares.

17. Cook the pasta squares in boiling salted water for 3 mins.

18. Plunge the squares into cold water and drain on paper towel.

19. Spoon some filling on the first third of each square and roll.

20. Place the rolls in a baking pan, with seams underneath.

21. Cover the rolls with the tomato sauce and freshly grated cheese.

22. Bake for 20 mins and serve immediately.

My New Favourite Kitchen Gadget and Basic Homemade Pasta

(click on the picture for details)

We finally broke down and decided to get a pasta machine! Nothing to break the bank, just a simple, stainless steel pasta machine with a hand-crank! Just like the one my mum had! One set of rollers to make the thinnest sheets of dough ever and one set of cutters for spaghetti and tagliatelle!

Fresh pasta are dead easy to make, all you need is eggs, flour and water. If everyone knew how cheap and easy they are, they would not stop buying the overpriced, ready-made pasta from the grocery store. Once the dough is ready, you can decide on shape you want to give to your pasta!

Ingredients for 4 portions:

2 cups flour, whole wheat or all purpose

2 large eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons water

1. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt.

2. Form a well in the flour.

3. Break the eggs and add the olive oil into the well.

4. Stir the flour into the wet ingredients using a fork to form dough.

5. Knead to form a ball. (Note: Add the water if the dough is too dry)

6. Let rest for 1 hr at room temperature before rolling.

Moroccan-Style Raisin Orange Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks! Yes, I thought I grabbed veal shanks and got ready for a delicious osso bucco that night. Luckily, I had all these cloves and cinnamon from Madagascar in my pantry! With all these spices, plenty of dark raisins and oranges! This sweet and savoury dish turned out to be the perfect comfort food, away from the frigid nights of Edmonton. And even better: instead of Italy, we got to travel to Morocco for supper! Tagine instead of stew! Not bad for a mistake, was it?


11/2 pounds lamb shanks

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

100 grams pancetta (or 2 to 3 bacon slices)

1 onion

3 sticks celery

4 large carrots

2 cups cremini mushrooms

1 tangerine orange

1 cup raisins

½ to 1 cup dry white wine

10 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

2 bay leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat.

2. Chop the onion, celery and carrots.

3. Brown the pancetta in the hot oil until slightly crisp, and drain on paper towel.

4. Add the chopped onion to the pan.

5. Once the onion is soft and lightly caramelised, add the chopped celery and carrots.

6. Sauté the vegetables until soft and transfer into the slow cooker with the mushrooms and the pancetta.

7. Wash and spike the tangerine with the cloves. Place on top of the vegetables with the cinnamon stick.

8. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan.

9. Mix the flour with salt and pepper on a plate and coat the lamb shanks with the flour mixture. Drain the flour and brown the meat in the hot oil.

10. Transfer the lamb shanks to the slow cooker.

11. Add the raisins to the pan and stir-fry for 1-2 mns over low to medium-high heat.

12. Deglaze with the wine and stir in the leftover flour.

13. Let simmer for 2 mns. Pour the gravy over the meat.

14. Slow cook on high for 6 hours, until the meat falls off the bones.

15. Serve hot over steamed rice or couscous.


Chocolate Banana Almond Tarts

(click on the picture for details)

Still on my tart roll! Have you ever had one or two bananas that were too ripe to eat but could not use for banana bread? Well, you could blend them up with frozen berries and yogurt for a booster smoothie or you could just go for these decadent tarts. In individual portions for the weight-conscious gourmands!

These treats draw their sweetness from the bananas, which are infused with the spicy aroma of the dark rum! Especially, if you can get a hold of a bottle of Madagascar dark rum!

Ingredients for one dozen tartlets:

For the pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup almonds

¼ cup sugar

½ cup cold butter

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons cold water

1 pinch of salt

For the filling:

2 ripe bananas

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup butter

¼ cup dark rum

½ cup dark chocolate

1. Chop the almonds in a food processor until ground.

2. Mix the ground almonds, the sugar and the salt with the flour in a bowl.

3. Cut the butter into small cubes and, using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until obtaining coarse grains.

4. Slightly beat the egg yolk and stir into the flour mixture with a fork.

5. Add the water and knead for 1 min to form a ball.

6. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins.

7. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

8. Line tartlet pans with parchment paper.

9. Roll the dough on a floured board.

10. Cut the dough and drape it over the lined pans.

11. Bake blind for 20 mins, until golden.

12. While baking the tart shells, chop the bananas.

13. Heat the olive oil under medium high heat in a small pan.

14. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and the bananas to the pan and stir fry for 5 mins.

15. Pour the rum on the fruit and cook until caramelised.

16. Remove the banana mixture from the heat and let cool.

17. Spoon the banana filling into the baked shell.18. Finely chop the chocolate using a serrated knife.

19. Cover the banana with the chocolate and ½ teaspoon of butter.

20. Bake for 10 mins, until the chocolate has melted.

21. Serve immediately.


Tomato Cream Cheese Almond Tarts

Guess I am on my tart and pie kick this month! These tomato tarts are another easy way to enjoy my almond pastry, especially if you have extra dough from the chocolate tart recipe. The savoury cream cheese enhances the sweetness of the baked tomatoes, matching the cookie-like tart shell. Perfect as a first course or side dish!

Ingredients for one dozen tartlets:

For the pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup almonds

1/4 cup sugar

½ cup cold butter

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons cold water

1 pinch of salt

For the filling:

1 bag of two dozen cherry tomatoes

1 package light cream cheese

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1. Chop the almonds in a food processor until ground.

2. Mix the ground almonds, the sugar and the salt with the flour in a bowl.

3. Cut the butter into small cubes and, using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until obtaining coarse grains.

4. Slightly beat the egg yolk and stir into the flour mixture with a fork.

5. Add the water and knead for 1 mins to form a ball.

6. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins.

7. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

8. Line tartlet pans with parchment paper.

9. Roll the dough on a floured board.

10. Cut the dough and drape it over the lined pans.

11. Bake blind for 20 mins, until golden.

12. Chill in the fridge for 15 mins.

13. Generously brush the tart shells with mustard.

14. Slice the cream cheese and lay on the mustard.

15. Halve the cherry tomatoes and place on the cheese with their skin up.16. Bake for 15 mins, until the tomatoes are browned.

17. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and serve immediately.

Chocolate Almond Tarts

It is fall, and we could be happy with apple and other fruit pies. But for those who know me, there had to be a chocolate tart recipe soon! Yes! This recipe works best for tartlets, which are served warm. And this time, I decided to spike my pastry with ground almonds to contrast with the filling.

You will find a sweet surprise in the oozing chocolate ganache.
You would not want to share these delicacies with anyone!

Ingredients for one dozen tartlets:

For the pastry:

1 cup all purpose flour

2/3 cup almonds

¼ cup sugar

½ cup cold butter

1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons cold water

1 pinch of salt

For the filling:

2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

¼ pound dark chocolate

2/3 cup butter

Candied cherries or orange peel

1. Chop the almonds in a food processor until ground.

2. Mix the ground almonds, the sugar and the salt with the flour in a bowl.

3. Cut the butter into small cubes and, using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until obtaining coarse grains.

4. Slightly beat the egg yolk and stir into the flour mixture with a fork.

5. Add the water and knead for 1 mins to form a ball. 6. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 mins.

7. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

8. Line tartlet pans with parchment paper.

9. Roll the dough on a floured board.

10. Cut the dough and drape it over the lined pans.

11. Bake blind for 20 mins, until golden.

12. Chill in the fridge for 15 mins.

13. While baking the tart shells, melt the butter and the chocolate in a bowl using a double boiler. 14. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat.

15. Beat the eggs and the sugar until fluffy.

16. Fold the melted chocolate into the egg mixture using a wooden spoon.

17. Chill completely. If you are eager to try the tartlets the same day, transfer the chocolate filling into a metal bowl and freeze for 30 mins. If not, the filling will solidify in the fridge overnight.

18. Drop a teaspoonful of candied fruit into the tart shells.

19. Top with a spoonful of the chocolate filling.

20. Bake for 10 mins and serve immediately.


Fresh Fig and Apple Breakfast Pudding

It is Thanksgiving today, South of us. One of the best times to enjoy the fruits of the harvest. A bountiful harvest of apples and figs for every meal, including breakfast! This bread pudding is my low-fat version of the traditional Pain perdu (a.k.a. French toast). Who would have though that I would go for the oven-baked instead of the ever-so-tempting pan-fried in butter original!? Believe me, the warm and juicy fruit and the cream cheese are worth coming back to this breakfast treat! I usually add toasted walnuts on top for their earthy crunch.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

½ pound bread (about 8-10 slices)

1 cup milk

1 large egg

¼ cup fancy molasses (or maple syrup)

½ cup light cream cheese

4 fresh figs

2 gala apples

½ cup golden raisins

1 stick cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter

½ cup walnut halves

1. In a bowl, beat the egg with the milk and the fancy molasses.

2. Coarsely cut the bread into one-inch squares.

3. Soak the bread into the egg mixture for 5-10 mins, until all the liquid is absorbed.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

5. Grease a 9 x 9 in. pan with butter.

6. Transfer the bread into the pan.

7. Slice the apples and quarter the figs.

8. Slice the cheese.

9. Add to the fruit and the cheese to the bread.

10. Toss with the freshly grated cinnamon.

11. Pop in the oven for 15 mins.

12. At the same time, toast some walnuts on a baking sheet.

13. Cut the butter into small pieces and scatter on the pudding.

14. Bake for another 5 mins, until the butter is all melted.


Shrimp Stuffed Squid with Hot Tomato Sauce

This recipe is for those who have always associated squid with chewy, rubbery and tasteless chunks of fish. Just like me, you will be surprised at the tenderness of these stuffed squid. Most stuffed squid recipes just use the tentacles, but because my squid was armless, I had to go for shrimp.

A mouth-watering dish to enjoy with gnocchi!

Ingredients for 2 servings:

2 squid

2 slices pancetta

1 stalk celery

1 medium carrot

16 (about 1 cup) medium shrimp

Fresh thyme

2 slices bread

For the sauce:

2 small leeks

4 medium tomatoes

1 cherry bomb (or hot pepper)

½ to 1 cup dry white wine

Olive oil

1. To make the stuffing, finely chop the celery and carrot and peel the shrimp.

2. Brown the pancetta in a non-stick pan over medium high heat.

3. Remove the pancetta from the pan and drain on paper towel.

4. Add the chopped vegetable to the pan and stir fry for about 5 mins, until soft. 5. Transfer the vegetable to a bowl.

6. Add some oil to the same pan and stir fry the thyme and the shrimp for 1-2 min, until just pink.

7. Coarsely chop the shrimp and add to the vegetables.

8. Toast and chop the bread in the food processor.

9. Stir the breadcrumbs into the shrimp vegetable mixture.

10. Rinse the squid with cold water and pat dry with paper towel.

11. Close each squid at one end using skewers and stuff with the shrimp stuffing.

12. Close the other end of each squid with skewers.

13. Heat some olive oil over medium high heat in a non-stick pan.

14. Place the stuffed squid in the pan and fry all sides for 1-2 mins. Remove the skewers.

15. To make the tomato sauce, chop the leeks, the tomatoes and the cherry bomb.

16. In a small pan, heat some olive oil over medium high.

17. Stir fry the leek then the tomatoes for 5 mins. 18. Add the hot pepper and pour ½ cup of wine into the pan.

19. Let simmer for 2 mins and add the pancetta into the sauce.

20. Pour the sauce on the squid and add the rest of the wine to the pan.

21. Stir and cover for 5 to 10 mins.

22. Serve immediately.


Homemade Gnocchi

My first gnocchi take me back to my first year of college, my first year away from home. I was a real geek or a lazy cook then. Just like my fellow students, all I wanted was something quick and easy for supper, so that I could go back to my books ASAP.

Sure enough, I found them in the fresh pasta section of the local Franprix: all I had to do was get a saucepan of salty water boiling, drop the gnocchi in and wait for them to float. All that in less then 5 mins!!! Quicker than spaghetti or tagliatelle, full of creamy goodness!

I rediscovered the potato dumplings at our favourite Italian shop last year and I finally decided to take up the challenge and make my own with Adam’s potatoes. Nothing compares to homemade gnocchi! The keys to light and fluffy gnocchi are sieving, instead of mashing, the potatoes and adding as little flour as possible.

To enjoy with a sprinkle of parmegian or a spicy tomato sauce! Yum!

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 pound baking potatoes

½ to ¾ cup all purpose flour

¼ cup romano cheese

1 large egg

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

2. Wash and prickle the potatoes with a fork.

3. Wrap the potatoes in foil and bake for about 1 hr, until tender. You can also boil the potatoes but you will loose the flavours in the water.

4. When the potatoes are soft, peel their skin off.

5. Press the hot potatoes through a sieve using a spoon.6. Spread the fluffy potato strands onto a floured board.

7. Let cool to room temperature.

8. Sprinkle the flour and the cheese on the potatoes.

9. Make a well in the middle. 10. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with the nutmeg. Season to taste.

11. Pour the egg mixture into the well.

12. Lightly knead the potato and egg mixture for 1-2 mins to form a ball.

13. Divide the ball into six smaller balls with floured hands.

14. On a floured board, roll each ball into a one-inch thick rope.

15. Cut the ropes into one inch segments and shape the gnocchi with a fork.

16. To cook, heat some salted water to aboil and drop the gnocchi into the water. The gnocchi is ready to serve when they reappear at the surface. You can also keep the gnocchi on floured parchment paper until you are ready cook them.

Italian Herb Oven Roast Beef with Chanterelle Mushroom Leek Sauce

Another Sunday dinner favourite! I love this roast because it only takes a few minutes to prepare, never fails and gives enough leftover the following Monday and Tuesday. The Italian herbs not only flavour the meat, but also lock the juices in, keeping the roast moist and tender. Roast beef usually comes with gravy, but here I decided to stick with fall and made a very simple chanterelle mushroom sauce.

Just give it try!


3 pound (1½ kilogram) outside round roast beef

¼ to ½ cup Dijon mustard

1 cup dried Italian herbs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup chanterelle mushrooms

2 small leeks

¼ cup dry Vermouth (or dry white wine)

½ cup chicken broth

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brush the roast with the mustard.

2. Mix the Italian herbs with the slat and pepper. Completely cover the roast with the herb mixture.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

4. Fill the bottom of the roast pan with water.

5. Place the roast on the rack. (Tip: Use the broiling pan if your roast pan does not have a rack)

6. Cook the roast for 10 min.

7. Reduce the heat to 275 F and cook the roast for another 75 mins, until the internal temperature reaches 155 F. (Do not open the oven door at this point!)

8. Remove from the oven and tent with foil for 5-10 mins.

9. In the last 20 mins of roasting, brush and slice the mushrooms.

10. Chop the leeks.

11. Heat some olive oil to medium-high heat in a non-stick pan.

12. Stir in the leeks then the mushrooms. 13. Once the vegetables are soft, add the vermouth and the chicken broth.

14. Let simmer for 10-15 mins, until the roast is ready to serve.

15. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and peas.

Raisin Gala and Spartan Apple Pie

With fall come apples, which means homemade pies. I do not understand why people buy ready-made pastries when it only takes a few minutes to mix butter, flour and water.

This recipe features a pâte brisée, the easiest pastry ever - and I am sure you will agree with me when you try it! No need to fuss around to get this thin crust ready!
In this pie, the sweet tartness of small red and yellow Galas and bright pink Spartan is balanced with the candied and dried fruit. Perfect for a light dessert!

Ingredients for the pâte brisée:

200 grams all-purpose flour

100 grams room temperature butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (75 mL) cold water

Ingredients for the filling:

4 apples (2 gala and 2 spartan)

¼ cup raisins

2 tablespoons candied orange peel

¼ cup orange liqueur

1 egg yolk

1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. 2. Cut the butter into small cubes and rub into the flour until obtaining coarse grains.

3. Pour the water in and slightly knead to form a ball.

4. Wrap the dough with clingfilm and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 mins.

5. Slice the apples. You can also peel the apples, but I prefer them with their skin on.

6. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

7. Line a deep pie pan with parchment paper.

8. Roll the dough using a pin on floured board.

9. Transfer the dough to the pan. Bake the pastry blind for 15 to 20 mins to avoid a soggy crust.

10. Layer the candied peel, the raisin and the apple slices in the pie pan.

11. Bake for 30 mins, until the apples are golden brown.

12. Slightly beat the orange liqueur with the egg yolk.

13. Brush the apples with the egg mixture.

14. Bake for another 5 mins.

15. Serve warm, au natural or à la mode.


Parker House Rolls

Two years of buttery croissants and danishes from the Bee-Bell bakery, and we kept on seeing customers popping into the store just for Parker House rolls! Once we tried them, we were hooked! They can be kept in the freezer for a few weeks and reheated for 10 mins in a 350 F-oven. Perfect with stews and soups!

No wonder I had to try and adapt this recipe from the Joy of Cooking(again!)as soon as I found it.

Ingredients for 30 rolls (see other bread recipes for pics):

3 2/3 cups cake or all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons warm water

3/5 ounces (approx. 35 grams) fresh yeast

1 cup milk

¼ cup butter

1 tablespoon sugar

¾ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1. In a small bowl, warm the milk and stir in the sugar, butter, and salt until dissolved and let cool.

2. In a larger bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

3. Stir the milk mixture then the egg into the yeast mixture.

4. Stir the flour in and knead lightly for 2 mins to form a ball.

5. Brush with melted butter.

6. Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size.

7. Roll the dough into a long log.

8. Cut into 30 one-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. 9. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten into a two-inch disk using a rolling pin.

10. Fold each disk into two using a knife and place on a greased baking sheet.

11. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 mins.

12. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

13. Bake for 10-15 mins, until golden.

14. Let cool on a rack.

Crusty Baguettes

If you have never had a piece of crusty baguette with a chunk of old, runny camembert and a glass of Merlot (or Pinot Noir for the Sideways fans), then you have definitely been missing out on the joys of life.

What else can I say about baguettes!? A staple in French households, you can find baguettes everywhere but finding the perfect baguette can be a challenge. Too chewy, too soft, too crusty, too doughy…etc. Hard to make everyone happy!

My favourite baguettes are crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like the ones will get from this recipe that I adapted from the Joy of Cooking. The recipe makes two baguettes, but you can bake one loaf the first day and save the other one for breakfast the next day. Just make sure to have butter, jam or nutella handy!

Ingredients for 2 baguettes (check the other bread recipes for pics):

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

3/5 ounces (approx. 35 grams) fresh yeast

1½ cups room temperature water

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.

2. Crumble and mix the fresh yeast with the flour.

3. Make a well at the center and pour the water into the well.

4. Stir thoroughly by hand and knead for about 15 mins, until a soft and elastic dough is obtained.

5. Cover the dough and let it rise for about 2 hrs in a warm place, until doubled in size.

6. Once doubled in size, punch the dough.

7. Divide the dough into two rectangles on a floured board.

8. Roll each rectangle to form a long, thin loaf. 9. Place each formed baguette on a greased baking sheet.

10. Score each loaf with a knife and cover with a floured cloth.

11. Let rise in a warm place for 30 to 45 mins, until almost doubled in size.

12. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

13. At the bottom of the oven, place a baking pan filled with water.

14. Bake the baguettes for 15 mins. (Reduce the time to 10 mins to less crusty bread.)

15. Lower the heat to 350 F and bake for another 30 mins.

16. Beat the egg white with water.

17. Brush the baguettes with the egg wash and bake for another 5 mins.

18. Let cool on a rack.

Sautéed Shrimps with Fresh Thyme

Adam made a huge, creamy soup with all the garden lettuce we managed to save from the snow! So huge we finally got to use our tureen!

These light and crisp shrimps perfectly balanced the heartiness of the thick broth. I would definitely have them again for a snacky dinner on a lazy TV night!

Ingredients for 2 servings:

16 medium size shrimps

¼ cup milk

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

¼ cup flour

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Peel the shrimps leaving the end of the tail on.
  2. Transfer the shrimps in a small bowl.
  3. Add milk and oil to the shrimp.
  4. Chop and sprinkle the thyme over the shrimp.
  5. Season to taste and toss. Let sit for 10-15 min.
  6. Lightly flour.
  7. Heat some oil in a frying pan.
  8. Fry the shrimp for up to 1 min and serve immediately.


Blue Cheese and Walnut Fig Antipasto

I was so surprised to find flats of figs this late at our Italian centre…and, of course, one of them had to join the hot cherry bombs, capicollo, and mortadella!

Figs are such sweet and fleshy delicacies, that sharp cheese and earthy walnuts balance perfectly!

Simple and delicious!

Ingredients for 2 servings:

4 fresh figs

100 grams Blue cheese

8 Walnut halves

Fresh rosemary

Olive oil

1. Cut the figs across.

2. Slice the cheese and place one slice of each fig halves.

3. Top with one walnut halves and one sprig of rosemary.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately!!!

Zesty Chicken Tomato Curry À Ma Façon

This is one of our favourite chicken curries, but I completely forgot its name. I found the recipe online when I was still in Montréal but we just had to say goodbye to our old computer two weeks ago, and to my old internet favourites with it… I tried to find the site through Google, and the only recipe that was close to it was this Tomato Curry Chicken.

Thankfully, I made this curry so often that I haven’t needed to look up the recipe for years...Close enough to the original with leeks, new potatoes, garlic and parsley seeds from our garden, plus Hot Cherry Bombs we just found at the Italian Center.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

1 pound chicken drumsticks (or breasts)

1 lime

1 clove garlic

1 hot pepper (Cherry bomb)

2 pieces aniswood

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ 16-ounce tomato can

1 tablespoon garam masala

1 tablespoon curry powder

3 to 4 small leeks

1 teaspoon parsley seeds

1 yellow zucchini

4 medium new potatoes

Olive oil or ghee

  1. Smash the garlic and chop the hot pepper and the leeks.
  2. Score the chicken with a knife and place in a plastic bag for marinating.
  3. Add the garlic, hot and black peppers, aniswood, salt, cloves, and cardamom seeds to the chicken.
  4. Zest and cut the lime into quarters. Add zest, juice and quarters to the chicken.
  5. Massage the marinade into the chicken and let rest for at least 30 mins in the fridge.
  6. Turn the oven broiler on.
  7. Transfer the chicken with the lime and the aniswood onto a baking sheet, saving the rest of the marinade for the sauce.
  8. Broil for 15 mins until all sides are golden and tent with foil.
  9. While broiling the chicken, heat some oil over medium high heat in a pan.
  10. Add the garam masala and the curry powder to the pan and toast for 1-2 mins.
  11. Add the chopped leeks and stir fry for another minute.
  12. Stir the canned tomatoes in, then the rest of the marinade (wrapped in cheesecloth to keep the cloves together).
  13. Let simmer for 10 mins.
  14. Cut the potatoes into quarters and add to the sauce with the broiled chicken.
  15. Let simmer for 30 mins over medium to low heat, until the potatoes are soft.
  16. Chop the zucchini and add to the sauce 5 mins before serving.
  17. Serve with sticky rice.


Not Eggs Benedict

With all those eggs in the fridge, I woke up this morning with an irresistible craving for Eggs Benedict. Could you resist those yummy poached eggs on English muffins, generously smothered with lemon-buttery Hollandaise sauce for breakfast?

Quick run through my fridge! With my luck, no butter, no lemon left! No English muffins either! With only 2 cups of whipping cream and pickled capers, I had to be creative…

And breakfast actually turned out just as it was supposed to…scrumptious.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

4 slices of bread, toasted

4 large eggs

2 slices ham or mortadella

3 large egg yolks

1½ tablespoons cold water

½ cup and 2 tablespoons whipping cream

¼ cup grated Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons capers

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Starting with the sauce, separate the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk in the cold water until light and frothy.

2. Bring some water to a gentle simmer over medium high heat in a saucepan.

3. Place the bowl on top of the hot water.

4. Continually whisk the eggs for 5 to 10 mins, until thickened.

5. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk to cool.

6. Slowly add the cream while whisking.

7. Incorporate the cheese (Note: I put the bowl over the double boiler to slightly melt the cheese).

8. Add the capers and season.

9. Reserve the sauce over the warm water while poaching the eggs.

10. Toast the bread and layer the cold cuts on the slices.

11. Bring some water to a boil over high heat in another saucepan.

12. Once the water is boiling, poach the eggs (i.e. break each egg into a ladle, slowly dip the ladle into the boiling water to keep the white around the yolk, and transfer the poached egg onto a slotted spoon.)

13. Transfer the drained eggs onto the cold cuts.

14. Pour the reserved sauce atop and serve immediately.


Cupcaked Madeleines

…or How I turned this French Classic into Buttery Cupcakes.

Just like in Proust’s à la Recherche du Temps Perdu, a bite into one of these treats remind me of growing up. Especially with a glass of warm honey milk for dunking!!!

These madeleines that I discovered in Alain Rayé’s La Régalade are just as delicious with a dollop of rosehip jelly, for a very special Goûter – except that I didn’t have any shell-shape moulds.

Ingredients for 12 cupcakes:

1½ cups unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1¾ cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 whole eggs

3 tablespoons honey

½ cup milk

Lime or lemon zest

  1. Melt and brown the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Remove from the heat and cool completely using a cold water bath.
  3. Mix the sugar, flour, and baking powder in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and honey.
  5. Form a well into the solid ingredients.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the well and stir until smooth using a whisk.
  7. Incorporate the cooled melted butter and the zest into the smooth dough.
  8. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  9. Butter and flour the muffin tins.
  10. Drop a heaping tablespoon of dough into the muffin tins.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden.
  12. Cool on a rack - if you can resist!!!

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.