Monday, December 19, 2011

Pretty Pouches

Here is a great find I discovered recently. They are cute little bags made by Bonjour mon coussin.
It is a company started by a French couple, Claire Eglizeaud and Paul Moreau, a designer and a graphic artist from Bordeaux. I just love their whimsical designs. You should check out their little shop here.


Share/Bookmark

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dry Cherry Tarts

Here is a yummy tart recipe that will be great for the holidays. It's a little different from the bright red variety that we're used to seeing. This one is made with dry cherries and looks very gourmet, don't you think? Another thing about this recipe is that it is super easy! If you wanted to really save time, you could even use store bought pastry. Enjoy!




Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1. In a food processor, add flour, butter and salt and pulse until mixture resembles a small meal consistency.
2. Place flour mixture in a large bowl and add water.
3. Knead by hand until a ball forms.
4. Divide pastry into half and roll each half out onto a floured surface to 1/4" thickness.
5. Cut 7".


Filling
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups dry cherries
2 cups water
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and cook until mixture becomes a thick, jam consistency.
2. Set aside to cool.
3. On a parchment lined baking sheet, lay out pastry shells and fill each with approximately 2 T of filling. Be sure to leave a 1" border.
4. Neatly fold the sides of the tarts towards the centre.
5. Bake at 350ºF for 15 - 20 minutes.
6. Once cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar. (optional)
Share/Bookmark

Monday, November 28, 2011

Banana Nut Muffins

I thought I would start the week with a recipe for my banana nut muffins which are so nice to make in large quantities and freeze. I love having these on hand for a quick breakfast on the go or warm them up as part of a weekend family brunch.









































Recipe
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 large bananas
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.
2. Add bananas and egg to butter mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until ingredients are incorporated.
5. Add 3/4 of the walnuts to the mixture and mix.
6. Fill muffin tins 1/2 full. I recommend buttering and flouring your tins instead of using muffin pan liners to create a prettier and nicer tasting muffin.
7. Sprinkle a few walnut pieces on top of each muffin.
8. Bake in a 350ºF oven for approximately 15 - 20 minutes.
Share/Bookmark

Friday, November 25, 2011

Calling all Crafters and Artists!

Today is black Friday and I just thought I would put in a little plug for my daughter's online store.  My daughter, Paige is a very talented artist and she has created a company called PaigeeDraw which has a series of apps that teach kids how to draw and an online store that sells Copic Markers.  Copic markers, if you don't know of them, are the premium art markers artists and crafters use to create amazing works of art.

Paige has made these markers available for half the price you would find them at your local art store! So, if you are looking for art markers for yourself or as a christmas gift for an artist please stop by the PaigeeDraw store.
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Peach Tartettes with Mascarpone

Today I wanted to share with you a very simple appetizer recipe. It looks impressive and tastes great. This dish is sweet and savoury and I'm sure you and your family will love it! Try it an let me know what you think.







































Recipe
3 sheets phyllo
3 T butter, melted
1/4 cup peach preserve
1/4 cup walnut halves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese

1. Brush melted butter between each of the layers of phyllo.
2. Cut stack of phyllo into 12 squares.
3. In a mini muffin pan, place each square into a cup pulling the sides up to form a papery tart shell.
4. In each shell, drop 1/4 tsp. of peach preserve and top with a walnut half.
5. Sprinkle 2 or 3 thyme leaves on top and bake in a 350ºF oven for approximately 5 minutes until light golden brown.
6. Let cool slightly and top with a bit of mascarpone cheese and a tiny sprig of thyme.
Share/Bookmark

Monday, November 21, 2011

Beef Wellington Bites

Wow, did I ever have a busy weekend cooking! It was a good thing too because last week was nearly a write off. You know those weeks where you are doing a lot of everything but not much of anything in particular? Well, this weekend I made up for it and because of that I have a very nice recipe to share with you today. It's for an old fashioned recipe (beef wellington) that I've adapted as an appetizer.



Recipe
3 - 4 Beef tenderloin steaks, cut into 1" pieces
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp dry thyme
1/2 package puff pastry, rolled out to 1/8" thickness and cut into 1/2" strips
1 egg, beaten


1. Season steak pieces with salt, pepper and thyme and brown all sides in a non-stick fry pan. Be careful not to over cook the meat.
2. Place meat on a dish lined with paper towels, cover with foil and let rest for 3- 5 minutes.
3. Wrap each piece of meat with a strip of puff pastry and place on a foil lined baking sheet.
4. Brush each piece of meat with the beaten egg mixture.
5. Bake in a 450ºF oven for 6 or 7 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

This dish can be served alone or try it with a little hollandaise sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Betty Crocker, you make good cake!

I'll be the first to admit that I do not subscribe strictly to puritanical food preparation methods.  I love good food but I would not consider myself a food snob.   I like to do things right but I am always looking for time saving alternatives.  Furthermore, I am not too proud to  admit when someone does something just as good( if not better than) myself.  Every now and then we all deserve to engage in some culinary trickery.  For me, Betty Crocker cake mixes are the perfect excuse to cut corners.  In my house, it is a pantry staple.  Chocolate, White, Confetti.... you just can't go wrong!







































These are some cupcakes my daughter made. They were delicious, as always.
Share/Bookmark

Friday, November 11, 2011

November Hail

Just thought I would sign off for the weekend with a couple of photos I took today after a bit of a hail storm. Tiny pea sized ice crystals showered down and it left the ground looking as if it had snowed. It was so beautiful, I had to snap a few pictures.



Have a great weekend!
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chili Lime Salmon + Roasted Vegetables

Last night I was wondering what to make for dinner. (The dreaded "what's for dinner?" dilemma that befalls us all at one time or another.) Anyway, I had these purple new potatoes in my refrigerator.







































So, I decided to roast them with some other vegetables and make my go-to salmon recipe that is super easy and very delicious.




































Recipe

Salmon
1 salmon filet
3-4 T Williams Sonoma Chili Lime rub
3 T butter, cold and cut into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. Place filet on baking sheet, skin side down.
3. Sprinkle filet with pieces of butter then spoon the chili rub over top.
4. Cover with foil and cook for approximately 25 - 30 minutes.

Roasted Vegetables
4 cups new potatoes(assorted), halved
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
1- 2 tsp herbes de provence
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp fleur de sel
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small pieces

1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place all of the vegetables onto the sheet.
2. Cover all of the vegetables with the oil and spices.
3. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the vegetables evenly. Cover with foil.
4. Bake in a 400ºF oven for approximately 45 minutes.
Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inspiration from Eat, Pray, Love

I ran across this picture again recently and just thought I would share it here. I absolutely love the casual beauty of the space. It just looks like the kind of place where you could picnic in the middle of the room and not worry about ruining something. I think that some interiors look overly done and not very livable. This one seems like the perfect place to have lots of rustic bread, savory cheeses and of course, wine!






































Image from the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Best Banana Bread Recipe

Banana bread is one of my favorite snacks. It also makes a very nice quick breakfast if you need something as you run out the door.
This recipe is actually my mom's and it is the best recipe I have ever tried.  The top has a beautiful sugary crust and the centre is soft and chewy.  Try it, I am certain it will be your favorite as well.







































Recipe
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 large bananas, mashed
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup flour

1. Cream butter and sugar.
2. Add egg and banana to butter mixture and mix well.
3. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
4. Butter a loaf pan then lightly dust with flour.
5. Pour batter into loaf pan.
6. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes - 1 hour.
Share/Bookmark

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lunch Made Easy!

One of my favorite lunches is a sandwich and a salad. It's a healthy lunch that is as filling as it is calorie wise.
This is my Ham and Cheese Panini with Baby Greens.






































Today I helped my son choose university classes so I prepared this for our power lunch together!

Recipes
Ham and Cheese Paninis
2 mini focaccia loaves
6 slices black forest ham
4 large slices monterey jack cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper
oregano, dried

1. Cut the focaccia loaves in half horizontally.
2. Drizzle olive oil over the insides of each piece for moisture.
3. Sprinkle each half with salt, pepper and oregano.
4. Place 3 pieces of ham folded over onto the two bottom pieces and top with two slices of cheese.
5. Fold the top half of the focaccia loaves onto the bottoms and place in a panini grill until cheese has melted.

Baby Greens with Balsamic Vinegrette
2 cups prepared baby greens
2 T dried cranberries
4 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium sized bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper and stir.
2. Add greens and cranberries and toss.
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, November 3, 2011

DIY Slipcovers

Today I thought I would share some photos of a pair of chairs I slipcovered. They were nice before but I felt they were just a bit boring. Also, my dog LOVES to sit in the one on the right and I was forever spot cleaning it. Now all I have to do is throw the cover in the wash when it gets dirty.




I got the fabric in the remnant section of my local fabric store for $3/metre and I used about 3 metres or so. I'm really pleased with how they turned out.


Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

High Tea at Faubourg

If you ever get the chance to go for high tea at Faubourg, you must!  Faubourg is a little French cafe located in the Kerrisdale area of Vancouver and it is my daughter's and my favorite cafe. So, on my  daughter's birthday last Friday,  I let her skip school for the afternoon so we could enjoy tea at one of our favorite haunts.


I apologize for the photos, they were taken with my iPhone. You can't really tell how small the pastries are but, they are really tiny (and delicious). We had everything from poppyseed scones to smoked salmon rolls and the sweets out numbered the savoury at least 3 to 1! That's what I call a balanced meal.
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, October 27, 2011

San Francisco Dollhouses!

These aren't doll houses, but they are certainly cute enough to be one! I love how these homes are usually girly on the outside and very simple on the inside.






source: Dijeau Poage Construction






































source: unknown
Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

French Onion Soup

The cold weather is definitely here to stay for a while... it was 5ºC this morning in Vancouver!  That means nesting and warm, wintery food.  So, today I thought I would share my recipe for French Onion Soup.  Hope you like it.







































Recipe

3 onions, sliced
1/2 stick of butter
1tsp salt
1tsp pepper
3 - 4 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
2 cups beef stock
1 cup chicken stock
1 baguette, diced
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
splash of sherry


1. In a medium sauce pan, sautee onions in butter with salt and pepper until cooked down and dark brown( about 40 minutes).
2. Add fresh thyme, sherry, beef and chicken stock and simmer slowly for 1 hour.
3. Ladel into an oven-safe dish or ramkin.
4. Place 1 slice of bread on top and cover with cheese.
5. Broil in the oven until golden brown.


Share/Bookmark

Friday, October 21, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake

In case plain cheesecake isn't sinful enough, I have a recipe for a chocolate one that is sure to live up to any devilish expectations!




































Recipe
1/3 cup chocolate wafers, crushed finely
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 egg
Butter to grease pan

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Mix wafers and melted butter together.
3. In the bottom of a mini cheesecake pan, pack wafer mixture 1/4" thick.
4. In an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, sugar, cocoa and egg and mix until smooth.
5. Fill each mini cheesecake pan with enough cheesecake batter to fill 1/2 - 2/3 full.
6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
Share/Bookmark

Fraîche Ideas ... over 1000 likes!


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Organized Beauty

Today I thought I would post a photo of a cheery pantry.  This picture made me think of how nice it is to bake or cook when everything has a place.  Organization can make all the difference in how much you enjoy your kitchen.  For instance, I think if getting out a box of baking soda requires the juggling skills of a circus performer, you likely won't be doing much baking.  However, if you were to go to a cupboard like this one, baking 100 cupcakes for your kid's school bake sale could even be, dare I say, enjoyable!






































source:unknown
Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shortbread Cookies

Here is a fun recipe to try if you have small children. Since the holidays are just around the corner, shortbread is a great recipe to make in advance and freeze. This recipe is intended for use with a cookie press which you can pick up at a kitchen shop or even some art supplies stores.








































Recipe
1 1/2 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 T milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until fluffy.
2. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat well.
3. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until dough is smooth.
4. Fill cookie press with dough and press cookies directly onto a baking sheet. (Make sure the sheet is not greased and do not use parchment paper as the cookies will not stick to the pan when you press them.)
5. Bake at 375º F for approximately 10 minutes until slightly golden around the edges.
6. Let cool on a rack.
Share/Bookmark

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pretty Dollhouse

Today I thought I would share a few photos of a doll house my dad made for my daughter when she was small. A couple of years ago, we painted and started to decorate the inside. It was a very fun project and I think it looks quite cute. We still need to make some curtains and add a few accessories but, I'm pleased with it so far. I think a project like this is never quite "done". There is always room for improvement. However, it is a great mother/daughter project.




Share/Bookmark

Friday, October 14, 2011

Madeleines

Recently I was inspired to buy a madeleine pan at a cook shop. I've always wanted to make them and just never got around to it. So the other night at the request of my daughter, we whipped up a few batches. They are really simple to make and they taste great! I think they are really pretty too.






































Recipe

2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
2. Brush a madeleine pan with vegetable oil.
3. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
4. With an electric mixer, beat eggs on high for approximately 5 minutes.
5. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until combined.
6. Fold flour then melted butter and mix well.
7. Fill each cup 3/4 full and bake for approximately 10 minutes until edges are lightly golden.
8. Once baked, let cool on a rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Here is a cookie I guarantee everyone will love! The cookie is soft and chewy and not too sweet, making the ice cream filling a perfect pairing. Great for children and kids at heart.








































Recipe
Cookies
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 square bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1. Mix flour, cocoa and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
2. In an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until fluffy.
3. Add dry ingredients and chocolate to butter mixture and mix until combined.
4. Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness.
5. Cut with a linzer cookie cutter and place on parchment lined baking sheet, spacing 2" apart.
6. Bake in a 350ºF oven for approximately 10 minutes.
7. Once cookies are cooled, ice 1/2 of the cookies with a very good quality vanilla ice cream and press the rest of the cookies on top to form the sandwiches.  Freeze cookies for about 30 minutes before serving.
Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Butter Pecan Tarts

I think there are a few recipes that mark the holiday season. For me, pecan pie or tarts are definitely contenders. These flakey pastries may seem intimidating but they are really quite simple to make. Here is my recipe.








































Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
whole pecans, to top tarts

1. In a food processor, add flour, butter and salt and pulse until mixture resembles a small meal consistency.
2. Place flour mixture in a large bowl and add water.
3. Knead by hand until a ball forms.
4. Divide pastry into half and roll each half out onto a floured surface to 1/4" thickness.
5. Cut 7" circles to fit into muffin tin.


Filling
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup corn syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Heat sugar and corn syrup until sugar is dissolved. Add butter and mix well. Let cool to room temp.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and vanilla. Add egg mixture to sugar mixture and mix well.

3. Pour into unbaked tart shells to about 2/3 full, then top with two or three pecans. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beautiful Cafe Down Under

Here is a very neat cafe in Melbourne, Australia photographed by Rebecca Hughes. Rebecca is a professional photographer in Australia and publishes a unique blog called Melbourne Cafes Photo Blog.  The cafe is called Friends of Mine and it looks so inviting, I wish I was there! I wonder what the coffee is like from that amazing looking machine?


Share/Bookmark

Friday, October 7, 2011

Contemplating Winter...









































This picture is so beautiful and I love the way it romanticizes fall/winter. It brings to mind how much attitude plays a huge part in our perception of reality. I'm sure that a wet cold day like the one in the photo could be quite miserable. However, the girl in the picture is dressed appropriately and stylishly for the weather...waiting for a cab ( I imagine) and appears to be indifferent to the elements . Seeing her standing amongst the beautiful buildings in an almost ethereal setting, makes you wish you were there, doesn't it?

This photo reminds me of the winter ahead and inspires me to make preparations; like stocking the beverage cupboard with tea and cocoa,  brushing off the dust on my Hunter boots and bringing out my raspberry coloured umbrella I got in Paris the last time I was there. (We get a lot of rain in Vancouver during the winter, so I will get much use of these items.)

I think these are important things we can easily do to make the most of the inevitable weather ahead.
And I think that it is important to remember that although we can't change the weather,  we can at least re-imagine it.

Hope you have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving for those who celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving!
(By the way, I cannot find the name of the photographer. All I know is that it was originally posted on awesomephotography.co)
Share/Bookmark

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pretty Journals







































For as long as I can remember, I have always kept a journal in one form or another. I'm not very fond of the "Dear Diary" types, but I do like to keep track of my thoughts and ideas in one place. Mostly because I can never rely on my memory for more than a few hours.
Here are some pretty notebooks I picked up at the bookstore. Very cute and very useful.


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Milk + Cookies!

Today I was thinking about when my children were small and how I would often make them chocolate chip cookies as an after school snack. They are both teenagers now, but they remember this little tradition. It is a fond memory of theirs as well as mine. It's been a while since I've made them. So, for nostalgia's sake I made a batch which I served with milk, of course.






































Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup oats, large flakes

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
2. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and eggs in an electric mixer until fluffy.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt.
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mixing by hand.
5. Mix in oats, chocolate chips and pecans.
6. Drop large teaspoons full of cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Space 2" apart.
7. Cook for approximately 12 minutes.

Note: This is a great icebox cookie recipe. Just roll the dough into a 1.5" diameter log and cut 1/2" slices as needed. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Can I get a light?

Here is a unique find I got at a junk shop. I was on the prowl for some silver flatware which, by the way, is the Holy Grail of antique hunting these days. Anyway, I happened to notice this table lighter for $5! Although I don't smoke, I thought it would be a pretty desk accessory that I could use to light candles. It didn't work at first, and it was very tricky to fix. However, after replacing the flint and filling it with butane, I am happy to say that it works quite well and looks like new!



Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Table Makeover

Here is a little DIY project I finished a while ago. I found this table one day at a vintage shop. It was pretty beaten up but, nothing a little sandpaper and some white paint couldn't fix.
Anyway, I think it turned out quite nice and is definitely useful as I have been using it as a desk in my kitchen while I work on my recipe apps.
Here's the before and after shots:


After























Before
Share/Bookmark

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Simple Breakfast

Sometimes I think we take the simple things for granted. In an effort to "just get things done" it is very easy to miss out on the simple pleasures life has to offer. Sunday morning I got up earlier than everyone else in my family and so I made a breakfast of tea and toast. That's it... nothing else. It looked so pretty on my plate, I decided to take a few photos before enjoying every bite!


Share/Bookmark

Friday, September 23, 2011

Welcome Home!

Here is a quick decorating project to consider for the weekend. It is inexpensive and takes so little time it hardly seems like a "project" at all. No matter where you live, your front door makes one of the first impressions for your home. Every time someone comes to visit and every time you come home...it should always feel welcoming. So, whether you live in a condo or a big house, hang a wreath, paint your front door, do something that personalizes it. Just a thought... enjoy your weekend.

By the way, that's my front door and the Boston Terrier is ZuZu, my little dog.
Share/Bookmark

More Soap!

Just wanted to share another pretty soap!

Share/Bookmark

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cajun Chicken Pitas

Here is a quick dinner idea that I came up with a while ago. I just made it for dinner tonight and everyone really enjoyed it. I thought I would share the recipe with you.






































Recipe

3 pita pockets
3 Chicken breasts cut into small pieces
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
5 or 6 tiny roma tomatoes , quartered
2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow pepper, julienned
1/2 small onion, sliced very thinly
1/4 cup cajun spice
2 T olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 cup thick caesar dressing

1. In a medium fry pan sautee peppers and onions with a bit of butter on medium-low heat until soft and brown.
2. In a medium fry pan, cook chicken in olive oil until cooked through.
3. Add 1/4 cup of water with cajun spice and let simmer until all of the water evaporates and chicken is coated.
4. Cut pita bread in half and fill with chicken, peppers and onions. Then top with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of caesar dressing to each pita for added flavor.
Share/Bookmark

Pretty soaps

Gastown is a quaint little part of Vancouver where lots of trendy shops and restaurants are popping up.  Its a great place to find unique gifts and affordable luxuries. This past weekend I made a quick trip and found these handmade soaps that smell so beautiful that I will be saving them to scent my dresser drawers.  I have always found that scented soaps are the best way to add fragrance to a drawer or closet.  All you need to do is open either end of the bar packaging with scissors and place it somewhere like a linen closet.  It's one of those nice surprises; when you get a whiff of perfume unexpectedly going about your daily activities. Try it, I'm sure you will be hooked.

Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Polkadot Envelopes

There is a place called Daiso in a suburb of Vancouver which is a Japanese version of a dollar store. My daughter had been begging me to go for a while, so we finally made the 45 minute treck and I found some really neat things. This was one of them. They are envelopes with the address on the back so that the front stays pretty. How adorable! The Japanese are very good with papery things.


Share/Bookmark

Friday, September 16, 2011

Macaron Madness

For the past few weeks I have been working on a little project involving lots of macarons.  They are arguably one of the prettiest desserts but an undisputed tricky one to master.  From lavender macaron shells to rose ganache... I have been testing and tasting alike.  I am nearly finished and will share the finished product in due time. For now I leave you with a few macaron images.








































Recipes

Chocolate Macaron Shells

1/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
egg whites from 2 eggs, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons berry sugar
3-6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder.

1.In preparation for making macarons, you must separate the eggs (keeping only the egg whites) and let them rest in the refridgerator over night, then take the eggs out and let them reach room temperature just before you whip them.
2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Sift powdered sugar and almond flour into a large bowl (discard any large
pieces).
4. In an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks begin to form.
Then add berry sugar and continue to beat on high until the eggs are very stiff. At this point add the cocoa and mix well.
5. Pour the beaten egg white mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until the mixture becomes a thick ribbony batter.
6. Fit a piping bag with a #10 tip and fill with batter. Pipe 1 1/2” rounds onto your baking sheet spacing each macaron 1” apart. You can simplify this by making a template to slide under the parchment paper as a guide.
Bake for approximately 10 -12 minutes at 290 ° F.
Once cooled, fill with chocolate ganache and enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache

2 oz dark semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream

1. Place chocolate in a mediun glass bowl and melt over a pot of simmering water stirring with a small spatula.
2. Once chocolate is melted, add cream and stir until smooth and remove from heat.
3. Place in the fridge until chilled.
4. spread over macaron shells when the ganache becomes a soft butter consistency. If the ganache becomes too hard, you can soften it in a double boiler.
Share/Bookmark