Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies




If you are lucky enough to actually like the family you were born into, I highly recommend not leaving the city they live in. Because if you do, the chances of you falling in love are very high. With a person, or with a city, or with a job and then you will be stuck. Stuck in a city, with a person and a job that you are in love with, which is, by most measures, is a pretty fabulous situation to be in. But if you are lucky enough to actually like the family you were born into, there will always be a part that is missing.


That’s how it is for me at least. I absolutely love Vancouver, and I can’t put into words how wonderful Jordan is, and I get giddy every time I think about how I work for myself. But it is tough sometimes, and never more so than right after I’ve visited home.  I’ve been super lucky lately, my Mom came out to visit this summer for a whole week, and then I got to visit my whole extended family in Boston a month ago, and last weekend I was back in Toronto for a family wedding. By all accounts, I’ve seen more of my family than I usually do, but somehow that just makes it harder. It’s always so perfect when we’re all together, and now I’m here thinking about how I’m not sure when I’ll see them again, Which is a miserable situation.


And whenever I’m this hopeless and lonely, the only thing that does any good is to make cookies. Not fussy cookies, not fancy cookies, and not anything wild or crazy cookies. The kind of cookies I can imagine my Mom baking, the kind that you just drop on a pan and they turn into soft and caramel-y and glorious sweet bits of comfort that make everything a little bit better.


These cookies in particular are especially comforting. They are full of brown sugar and chocolate and copious amounts of peanut butter and sprinkled with Maldon salt on top for crunch. It will make you feel better when you’re sad, and that’s about all you can ask for from a cookie I think.




Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies


1 cup Butter, room temperature


2 cups Brown Sugar


2 Eggs


1 ¼ cup Peanut Butter


2 tbsp Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour


2  tsp Baking Soda


1 ½ cups Chocolate Chips


Maldon Salt for sprinkling.




Preheat oven to 400F.


Cream together butter and sugar.


Add the eggs one at a time stir in between.


Slowly mix in the peanut butter until it is totally combined.


Mix in all the other ingredients except the Maldon salt. Chill dough for an hour.


Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.


Roll dough into 2 tbsp pieces. Press them down a bit on top and sprinkle them with maldon salt.


Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are slightly browned but still very soft in the inside.


Cool for at least 20 minutes before eating too many at once!

Yoghurt Rice Pudding with Grapefruit and Pomegranate

I don’t remember my mom ever making us rice pudding.

My mom, the best woman you could ever hope to meet, and a very gifted cook, is a terrible baker. She makes brilliant pies and biscuits, and fails miserably at just about everything else. I grew up with banana bread for every birthday- it was the only cake dense enough that it couldn’t fall in the middle after it came out of the oven.

So her standard throw together desserts were not cakes or cookies, but pudding-y things. In the summer this meant ice cream with warm blueberry compote, and in the winter it was custard with stewed apples.

I love stewed apples and custard. To this day my favourite flavour to pair with apples isn’t cinnamon, it’s vanilla and I know it’s because it reminds me of weird powdered Bird’s Custard with slow cooked apples melting on top.

Imexplicably it was only ever the powdered variety. She never made it from scratch. That was the way it was.

Which seems so strange to me, having discovered the joys of rice pudding as an adult. Why did she never cook rice in cream and put a compote on top of that? She made everything by hand, why not pudding, which is so crazy simple to make?

Life’s big questions friends.

All of this leads up to two things- one of which is that homemade pudding is just the most glorious thing, and two, that rice pudding is a close second.

I love rice pudding. So much.

My only qualm with it is how heavy it feels, really it’s just whipping cream and refined rice. Rice pudding is not for the faint of heart.

So when I saw a recipe for sweet buttermilk risotto in Aran Goyaoga’s cookbook  I knew it needed to be mine right now. I substituted yoghurt for the buttermilk, mostly because I had some in my fridge and I was flipping through my cookbook having just gotten out of the bath, and there was no way I was not emotionally ready to take off my slippers and put on boots and head out into the rain. But also because I like yoghurt just as much as buttermilk.  And then I switched up the kind of rice and used Arborio, so it was super starchy, and so instead of stirring it for half an hour I just simmered it. I also, as I usually do with rice pudding, used some water with the cream, just because I don’t like thinking about eating that much whipping cream in one sitting. It’s delicious, but also a bit hard to rationalize.

Yoghurt Rice Pudding

Serves 4

2cups Heavy Cream

¾ cup Arborio Rice

¼ cup White Sugar

½ Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise with the seeds scraped out and reserved.

1/3 cup Greek Yoghurt

2 Grapefruit

1 Pomegranate

In a medium pot over medium low heat bring the cream, rice, 1 cup water vanilla, and sugar to a boil. Immediately turn down the heat to low and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes, or until it is very tender. Stir occasionally through this process, adding more water as needed so that it keeps a nice consistency.

Remove from heat and stir in yoghurt.

Segment the grapefruit- cut the tops and bottoms off of the fruit.

With it standing up, cut the rind off, making sure there are no little bits of white pith.

Carefully pick up the grapefruit and, over a bowl, cut out each segment of fruit between the membranes, so that you take out the fruit and leave all the white pith behind.

To serve spoon the pudding into 4 bowls, top with the grapefruit segments and liberally sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over top.


Tuesday Tutorials- Choux Paste + Strawberry Rose Eclairs


Choux paste is magical stuff. It’s a simple mix of eggs, flour, butter and milk, but the result is glorious. Mix some cheese into it and once it’s baked it becomes gougeres. Boil small pieces of it and it’s Parisienne gnocchi. Add some apples to the mix and fry it and it’s a fritter. Pipe it into little balls and your nearly at a profiterole, or cream puff. Pipe it a bit longer and you’ve nearly made an eclair.

Seriously, there is little that choux paste can’t do. It’s pretty amazing. You should learn how to make it. Stat.

I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but people always make professional jokes about me, the most common is calling me eclair. This is the lame joke that every man over the age of 65 says when I say I’m a baker

“Oh, really? Should we call you Eclair?” No dude, Claire will do just fine.

But to avoid being bitter and I’ve decided I just need to get crazy good at making eclairs. Somehow this feels like retaliation, even if almost no one knows how good I am at them but me. This way I can chuckle to myself and think at how awesome my eclairs are when old men say this to me.

It’s silly, I know it. But it makes me feel better.

This eclairs are pretty fantastic, if I may. They are super fresh tasting, filled with a whip cream that’s spiked with crushed strawberries, and a bit of vanilla. Then they are carefully dipped into fondant that’s scented with rosewater.

These are kind of ridiculously good. I ate an astonishing number of them.

So many in fact, that I lied to my boyfriend about how many I made. And then I felt no guilt. About the eating or the lying. They were that good.  


Rose Eclairs

Adapted from the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

1 1/4 c AP Flour

2tbsp Sugar

1cup Water

4oz Butter

1 tsp Salt

1cup Eggs

Strawberry filling:

1 cup Whipping Cream

1 cup Strawberries

2 tbsp Icing Sugar. 


1 cup White Fondant

1 tsp Rosewater, or as needed. 

In a medium pot, melt the butter. 

Add in the water and bring to a boil. 

Mix in the salt and flour and stir for about 4 minutes, until it is very thick and the flour is cooked. 

Put the flour mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 

Start beating on medium speed. Add in one egg.

Wait until it is fully combined before adding the next, continueing this until all the eggs are combined and the mixture is soft, shiny and smooth. This is your choux paste!

Fit a piping bag with a large star tip, and transfer the choux paste into it. Pipe the shape of an eclair onto your prepared trays, being as careful as you can to make them the same sizes. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the tray half way through baking. 

Allow to cool. 

Meanwhile make the filling:

Mash up strawberries as finely as you can- this can be done in the food processor or simply with a fork. Strain them through a fine seive. 

Whip the cream to stiff peaks, mix in the icing sugar.  

Fold the strawberry puree in. Transfer to a piping bag with a thin round tip and move to the fridge until ready to use. 


In a double boiler melt the fondant. 

Add in the rosewater and stir to combine. Check for taste. 




Cinco De Mayo Dessert! No Churn Dolce de Leche Ice Cream with Coconut Ganache

Dolce de leche has got to be one of the greatest things of all time. It’s a very simple idea- take sweetened condensed milk and caramelize it- whoever thought of it was a very, very clever person.

BUT whoever realized that instead of painstakingly stirring a pot of sweetened milk without burning it, you could just put a whole can in a pot of boiling water and leave it for 3 hours, and when you return the insides will have turned from white to auburn, and the taste will have changed from sweet milk to the richest caramel you could ever hope to know? Well that person was straight up genius.

Periodically, if I know I’m going to be home for 3 hours, and I’m feeling uncharacteristically organized, I pull out a big pot and make some dolce. It’s the sort of thing that makes everything feel a touch nicer- basic chocolate cookies? Sandwich some dolce in the middle. An end of the evening coffee? Stir in a spoonful of the good stuff. A bowl of vanilla ice cream? Drizzle some of this on top for a totally decadent dessert.

Or better yet- put it in your ice cream.

The blogosphere has been going crazy for a couple months now with this revelation that you can make fabulous ice cream without an ice cream churner- all you do is whip up some cream and condensed milk and throw the whole thing in the freezer. But, if you happen to have some dolce kicking around in your cupboard, you might as well use that instead.

This is truly one of the simplest things I think I’ve ever made. And the texture of this ice cream is unreal. Unreal.

Most ice creams that don’t use a machine tend to get icy quickly, to get so hard it’s difficult to scoop them, and to lack that smoothness of really good ice cream.

I’m not even kidding you- this has the texture of soft serve. A week later, it still had the texture of soft serve. It is soo smooth.

The only possible thing that might make this better, is if you made a ganache with coconut milk and poured that, while it was still warm, over top of your ice cream. It is the perfect way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, and also most nights of the week.

So here is how you make this, and you should probably make this right away.

Dolce de Leche No Churn Ice Cream with Coconut Milk Ganache

Makes about 1.5 liters

Ice Cream

1 175mL can Dolce de Leche*

600mL Heavy Cream

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract


1 cup Coconut Milk

1 cup Dark Chocolate

Coconut shavings for garnish

*To make dolce de leche take the whole can, unopened, and put it in a pot of water with at least 1 inch of water above it. Bring it to a boil. Boil it for 3 hours topping up the water periodically- if the water gets too low the pressure in the can can change, and apparently it can explode, so be mindful. After 3 hours take it out and let it cool completely before opening.

In the bowl of standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whip the dolce de leche, heavy cream, and vanilla until it is very thick- about 10 minutes.

Put into an air tight container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.

Put the chocolate into a medium sized bowl.

In a saucepan bring the coconut milk up to a boil.

Pour over the chocolate, let it sit for 30 seconds and then whisk until it is smooth.

Scoop your ice cream, pour your ganache, and eat to your hearts content!

Raspberry and Mascarpone Brioche Galette with Almond Crumble

Now is the time of year I start to miss summer fruit. In the fall there are quinces and apples to get me through, and then the fun of Christmas takes over and I can get excited about mashed potatoes, but by mid January I am sick of it. I want red berries.

It was glee, pure, unadulterated glee that took over me when, at my local market, I noticed some local raspberries in the freezer.

Apparently this dive-y rundown market that I frequent for their unbelievable deals on pecans just froze all of the berries that they didn’t sell this summer. Firstly, this makes perfect sense. Secondly, how did I only just see them?

Oh lord. My week has been made.

We had some friends over recently, and as Jordan and I were flipping through cookbooks deciding what to make, he made several pointed comments about a brioche tart in the Ottolenghi book.. So I, being that lovely charming girlfriend that I am, (self proclaimed at least) decided to make it.

This is the most perfect breakfast. We ate it for dessert, and it was great, but for serious friends, eat this for breakfast. Next time you have people over for brunch, put this out on the table. I promise, they will be friends for life. The whole thing is somewhere between a coffee cake, a tart, and yet so much better. So very much better.

Raspberry, Mascarpone, Brioche Tart

Adapted loosely from Ottolenghi


2tbsp barely warm water

1tsp Dry Active Yeast

1 1/2 cups AP Flour

1/2 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Sugar

2 Eggs

1/2 cup Butter


3/4 cup Mascarpone

3 tbsp Icing Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of 1 Lemon

2-3 tbsp Cream

1 1/2 cup Raspberries, or other red berry

Almond Crumble

1/2 cup Ground Almonds

1/2 cup AP Flour

1/3 cup Brown Sugar

1/3 cup Butter, cut into small cubes

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitting with the dough hook combine all ingredients except butter and mix until it comes together. Continue mixing until you can take a small piece of the dough and, when you stretch it carefully, it will stretch so thin you can see through it. This is called the window test. If the dough rips then keep kneading the dough until you can.

OR You can do this in a food processor fitted with a dough blade, OR by hand. If doing it by hand just mix it all into a bowl until it comes together, then move the dough to a lightly floured surface and push your heels of your hands into the dough. Then fold it onto itself, and repeat this pushing and folding motion until you do the window test.

Put the dough into a clean bowl and let it rise until it has doubled in size, this should take about an hour.

Punch the dough down. You can use the dough right away, but if you’ve planned long enough in advance, the dough will be even better if you put it in the fridge overnight.

If you do put it in the fridge, you will need to take the dough out about an hour before you start to bring the dough back up to room temperature.

When the dough is ready put it onto a lightly floured surface and with your hands stretch the dough out into a large circle. Using a rolling pin will flatten lots of the air bubbles that the dough has been working so hard on producing, so instead use your hands to push from the center out. It does not have to be perfect. This is a free formed galette, and it being a little rough around the edges is totally okay. Pick up the dough carefully and put it on a well floured cookie pan.

Preheat oven to 375F

In a small bowl mix the mascarpone, icing sugar, lemon zest and vanilla together. Add in the cream, tablespoon by tablespoon until you get a texture that is thin enough to spread, but not so thin it will be runny.

Spread this on the brioche dough leaving about an inch around the edges.

Now top with the raspberries.

In another small bowl mix together all the ingredients for the crumble, and with your hands break the butter into the other ingredients. You don’t want to form a cohesive dough, just a crumbly mixture.

Sprinkle this on top of the raspberries. 

Let this sit out for about 20 minutes as a last proof, and then bake until the crust is nicely browned and the center just barely wiggles when you shake it. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Blackberry Slump

There is something deeply nostalgic about blackberries for me. As a kid we never bought the berries they were always picked. They were grabbed along the sides of trails by my grandparents house in Nova Scotia and beside the dirt road that led to the cottage. We found them on hiking trips and they covered the sides of rivers we canoed down in Maine. Blackberries taste like summer vacation and freedom, and they taste a little bit like the fear of bears.

Blackberries might be my favourite berry but I feel pretty strongly that they shouldn’t be turned into anything fussy, blackberries should be rustic and simple and mostly just show off how perfect they are just on their own.

For me this blackberry slump is just the ticket. The berries are cooked until they just start to get soft and the pastry on the top both gets crisp and soaks up the juice and turns into something that tastes like home.

4 cups Blackberries

1 cup Sugar

2 tbsp Corn Starch

3/4 cup AP Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

4 tbsp Chilled Butter

3-4 tbsp Buttermilk

3 tbsp Coarse Sugar

Preheat the oven to 375F

In a 8 inch casserole dish mix the blackberries, sugar and corn starch.

In a separate bowl mix the remaining dry ingredients except the coarse sugar. Add in the butter and break it into pea sized pieces.

Carefully mix in the buttermilk adding more if necessary until the dough is quite soft. Do not over mix.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and with your fingers press the dough into the shape of the casserole dish.

Place the dough on top of the fruit and sprinkle the sugar on top.

Bake the slump for 45 minutes or until the sugar on top has started to caramelize, and the blackberries have started bubbling up around the edges.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova

I have this sensational Australian friend named Liz who is significantly cooler than I am. When she moved back to Oz in January she gave me tons of her old clothes that she had had for too long and didn’t want to haul across the world with her. They are practically the only clothes I own that I get compliments on, and even though she bought them several years ago, they are also the trendiest things I have. Basically Liz tends to have her finger on the pulse.

She has introduced me to a many amazing blogs over the years, mostly Australian ones, some style blogs, but lots of recipe blogs as well, and the one I go back to over and over again is What Katie Ate. Of all the photography/recipe blogs out there What Katie Ate would have to be in the top 5 ever. Her recipes are amazing, every one of them, but her photography is my favourite part. I can spend hours looking over her photos. Unlike a lot of French and American photographers hers is a little darker, her backdrops are often slate and she uses slightly un polished silverware. Theres something slightly antique-y about them, and it’s something I love.

So I wasn’t surprised when I saw the most delicious looking chocolate pavlova on Pintrest and it turned out to be one of Katie’s recipes. Now, I’ve written here before about pavlovas, and I’ve talked about the impossibility of making one in my terrible no good oven, but I thought perhaps if I made mini ones than maybe my oven would cooperate. And miracles do happen friends because here it is, the best pavlova I have ever had or made. I followed the recipe nearly to a T, the spot of balsamic in the meringue that cuts the sweetness beautifully, and the texture cannot be improved upon. But I did change the whip cream to a chocolate whip cream, and guys, even if you don’t have time to make the whole dish, I can not recommend to you enough making chocolate whip cream and putting it on anything and everything, all the time. It just makes everything better, and this is no exception.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova


6 Egg Whites

1 1/2 cups Sugar

3 tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

3 oz Dark Chocolate

Chocolate Whip Cream

1 cup Whip Cream

2 tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 tbsp Icing Sugar

1 pint Strawberries, hulled and quartered

Preheat the oven to 325F

Line a baking pan with parchment paper

In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whip egg whites until soft peaks form.

Tablespoon by tablespoon add in the sugar while still whipping on high speed.

Let it continue to whisk until the eggs are soft and shiny and hold very still peaks, but not until the eggs separate.

Fold in the cocoa powder, chocolate and the balsamic with a spatula, then spoon out the mix onto a baking sheet. I made 6 large ones but you could do 9 smaller ones if you were so inclined.

Put into the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 185F and bake for 45 minutes.

The tops should be hard and crack slighly with light pressure.

Allow to cool.

Meanwhile to make the chocolate whip cream just whisk everything together. You don’t need to do this in a mixer, because of the fat in the cocoa it will come together in a minute or so.

To assemble, carefully move the meringues with a metal spatula onto plates, spoon whip cream on top and then cover with fresh strawberries. C’est finis!

Pancetta and Leek Quiche

It was Jazz Festival in Vancouver last week, a weekend where every venue puts on shows ranging from Mexican folk music to old proper quartets and everyone in between shows up, and while admittedly most of the more senior people in this play at expensive sold out shows, slews of people play at the outdoor stages. Every year a couple friends of ours who live near one of these outdoor venues throw a big party and we eat too much breakfast and then spend the day in the beer garden and listen to great music. It is one of my favourite days of the year.

And this year was no exception, the only difference was that after several drinks I decided that everyone should come over to brunch the next day which was, shall we say, a questionable decision.

I love having people over for brunch, as one friend put it “it’s breakfast you don’t have to wake up early for” and I would like to add it’s breakfast you can drink champagne with and not feel guilty. So I hauled my butt out of bed and made quiche.

I think people get scared of quiche, the pastry the baking, but really, you eat it at room temperature, so while you have to get up a little earlier to put it together, it means you don’t have to cook at all when people arrive, which is a trade off I’m more than happy to give. This is also a very special quiche recipe, one that is smoother than smooth and not overwhelmingly eggy.

I served this with heaps of roasted potatoes and a big salad, and I think everyone was very happy, even me, once I had a glass of bubbly in my hands!

Leek and Pancetta Quiche.

This recipe is adapted from the Tartine Bakery cookbook, and is special for 2 reasons- it has a tiny amount of flour in it which helps it from cracking, and it uses creme fraiche, which gives it a bit of a tang. Because I made several of these this weekend and my grocery store only had one small container of it, I substituted half yoghurt in, and this worked beautifully)


This pastry works very simply. You keep big pieces of butter in the dough and chill it. When the cold butter goes into the hot oven it produces steam, and thats what gives you the flakey layers. So, it’s very important not to cut the butter too small or to overwork the dough.

2 cups AP Flour

1 cup Butter, very cold, cubed

1 tsp Salt

A small cup of ice water


5 Eggs

3 tbsp Flour

1 cup Creme Fraiche

1 cup Whole Milk

1 tbsp finely chopped thyme

1 tsp Salt

3 Large Leeks, sliced

200g Pancetta

Put the butter into a bowl with the flour and the salt, and with your hands break apart the butter into lima bean sized pieces.

Add the a couple tablespoons of butter and stir, then add a couple more until it just follows a fork around the bowl as you stir.

Now push it flat and fold it in half, and repeat until the dough starts to come together but it is still soft. If it starts to feel firm stop right away. Wrap it up and put in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F

Roll out the dough and fit it into a 12 inch tart pan, a 10 inch pie pan, or even a 10 inch cake pan.

Take a piece of parchment paper and cut it into a circle an inch wider than your tart. Press it into the top of your pastry and pour some beans or rice into it. This will prevent your beautiful pastry from rising too much.

Bake it for about 20 minutes, and then take out the beans and parchment paper and bake it for another 10, until the whole thing is a nice light brown color.

Turn the oven down to 325F


While all this is going on slice up your leeks and pancetta and start cooking them over medium low heat. They will get soft, loose their liquid and then start to caramelize. This will take about 20 minutes.

In a large bowl mix together one of the eggs with the flour. Stir until there are no bumps, a couple of minutes. Add in the other eggs one by one, scraping the sides to make sure no flour is sticking.

Mix the milk and the creme fraiche together with a whisk until smooth and add that to the egg mix. Season with the salt, pepper and thyme.

Once the tart shell is out, fill it with the leeks and pancetta mixture. Pour the egg mix on top until the tart is very full.

Bake until the center has just firmed up, about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool before eating.

Carrot Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing

A few years back when I was running the kitchen of a small brunch restaurant my sister sent me a recipe for carrot pancakes. Basically you add grated carrots, cinnamon and walnuts to your basic buttermilk pancake recipe and dollop cream cheese icing on top. I am a big fan of nearly anything with cream cheese icing on top, and I am wild about most things that teeter the line between dessert and breakfast. But the restaurant had 6 burners and a flat-top griddle that could barely support making french toast, much less adding pancakes to the mix, so I put the idea into the massive index of things I plan on making one day but mostly I forgot about it.

But this weekend I made a carrot cake and much to much cream cheese icing. I did however, have plans for a girlfriend to come by for brunch, and carrots in hand we made carrot cake pancakes.

Now I feel the need to explain this to you; it isn’t actually just fried carrot cake. I promise. It walks the line sure, but with 2 tablespoons of added sugar and spelt flour it’s hardly worse than the average pancake. It has 3/4 pound of carrots in it! And yes, the icing might not be the best but it’s no worse than maple syrup. Honest.

So without further ado, here are carrot pancakes, I reccomend eating them often.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

(Adapted from Joy the Baker)

1 cup AP Flour or Spelt Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ginger

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1 Egg

2 tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Cup Buttermilk

2 cups finely grated Carrots

Canola oil for frying.


1/2 cup Cream Cheese, room temperature

3 tbsp Soft butter

1/4 cup Icing Sugar

1-3 tbsp Milk

Mix together the cream cheese and the butter, add in the icing sugar and stir to combine. Add the milk to thin it out.


Put the oven on the lowest temperature it goes on.

Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and make a well in the center.

Stir the egg into the buttermilk and pour into the dry ingredients. Mix a couple of times and than add in the carrots- Stir just until combined.

In a large pan over medium-low heat warm a tablespoon of oil. Pour 1/4 of the batter and cook until bubbles appear all over the top of the pancake. Flip and cook until it’s firm to the touch. Keep warm in an oven.

Put on a plate and eat lots!

Rhubarb Strudel

If you don’t live in Vancouver you probably can’t get rhubarb any more. That first stalk that sprouts in the Spring and paves the way for the strawberries and raspberries that you’re probably eating now. The sign of Summer that hasn’t had time to ripen in the sun so it’s so tart you can’t even imagine eating without heaps of sugar?

But us Vancouverites can. Heck, the way this weather is going we’re going to be eating rhubarb in August. 

It’s the coldest June on record here. I can’t keep the windows open in my apartment and I start to shiver without my slippers on. I have yet to go outside without a sweater on this year. 

So I’ve retired to the kitchen, where the oven is nearly always on and that keeps the water in the kettle warm for when I need a cuppa. And I bake. I bake with rhubarb. 

Rhubarb Strudel

Adapted from this recipe


1 1/3 cups unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar


5-6 Stalks of Rhubarb, cut into 2 inch pieces.

3 cups of Sugar

1 cup Breadcrumbs

2 tbsp Butter, melted

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook- or in a regular bowl if you want to knead by hand) mix all the ingredients together and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. When in doubt keep kneading. You can’t really over knead this dough, 

Wrap with cling film and let it sit for about 30- 60 minutes. 

Preheat your oven to 400F and line a cookie tray with parchment or a silpat. 

Once the dough has rested take a linen dish cloth and sprinkle it with flour. Get some flour on your rolling pin as well. Cut the dough in half, put one half on the cloth and start rolling. You want the dough to be as thin as you can possible get it. It should be see through, if it tears a bit don’t worry.  I didn’t roll my dough out enough so don’t look at mine as an example. It was delicious but it wasn’t quite as light as it should have been. 

Carefully move the dough onto the pan (folding it over your rolling pin helps for this) and in a thin line spread half of the rhubarb, sugar, and breadcrumbs out.

Carefull bring the dough up on 1 side and then roll it gently so that the rhubarb mixture has been wrapped several times with the dough. 

Repeat with the other half of the dough. Brush with the melted butter.

Bake until the rhubarb is cooked, about 45 minutes. 

Let it cook for at least 10 minutes before slicing into it, dust with icing sugar and serve!

Lemon Glazed Baked Mini Donuts

One of the best parts about being a baker is that at Christmas time instead of getting socks, or bottles of wine that only last an evening, people buy you kitchen stuff. Stuff that most people would never use, and stuff that you might not be able to justify buying yourself. Things like vintage bundt pans and ice cream scoops, or teflon scoops that are only to be used for scooping out dry ingredients. And the pans. The one use kind of pans that are hard to spend money on because you know you’ll only use them a couple times a year. I have lots of those.

I have a mini baked donut pan that I got last year. I mean the name says it all doesn’t it? You can only make it if you want baked donuts and you want them mini. I don’t think I have that urge all that often, but yesterday morning I was very happy to have such a pan because it made these little numbers.

Here’s the thing about baked donuts. People always say at the top of recipes that it’s just like the fried ones and you can’t tell the difference. And I am going to tell you these are not just like the fried ones. The fried ones are yeasted and take ages and then you have to heat up a gallon of oil on your stove top. And you can produce incredible donuts like that, but you also have to be very aware and awake at a very early time if you want donuts on Saturday morning.

I do not like frying things on my stove top that early. I just don’t.

One of these days I will do this for you, but in the meantime you can have these. These aren’t crispy and light the way a fried donut is, because it’s not fried. But it is bright and citrus-y and the hint of cinnamon makes them taste a tiny bit like the cinnamon sugar donuts you get at a fair. They are not fried but that does not stop them being delicious. Which is why you’ll notice that because their so tiny you haven’t noticed how just how many you’ve shoved in your mouth!

Lemon Glazed Baked Mini Donuts


1 cup AP Flour

1/2 cup Sugar

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

3 tbsp Yoghurt or Buttermilk

3 tbsp Melted Butter, plus more for pans

2 Eggs


1 cup Icing sugar

1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice

Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400F

Grease pans very well- there isn’t much fat in this recipe and they will stick.  Even if it’s a non stick pan. 

Mix the wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk until they get a bit frothy and are pretty well emulsified. Mix the dry ingredients in a larger bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until barely combined. 

Put the batter in a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the end cut off and pipe the batter about half way up the pans.

Bake for 7-10 minutes until the outsides are starting to get brown and when you push the top it springs right back at you.

Let them sit in the pan for another couple minutes before carefully easing them out of the pans. Hopefully you greased yours more than me, because mine took some serious work to get them out. 

Let them cool. 

Meanwhile make the glaze:

Mix all the ingredients together. Yup, that’s it.

Once the donuts are cooled drizzle the glaze on top and dig in!


Rhubarb Breakfast Cake with White Chocolate Yoghurt Ganache

I am about to write the most pretentious thing I can think of. Are you ready? Are you sure? I just happened to have some white chocolate yoghurt ganache in my fridge. I know. Who am I?

In my defence it was there because I had failed miserably at making some macarons that I had been planning on filling with said ganache, but none the less. I happened to have some white chocolate yoghurt ganache in my fridge. Oy.
I have never been a huge white chocolate fan, unless your buying the really pricey stuff that is way out of my league, it’s just very sweet. Too sweet I think, but the yoghurt really mellows it out and brings in enough acid that makes you want to lick the spoon. It’s sort of like grown-up cream cheese icing.

So with this glorious stuff in my fridge, I made a very simple rhubarb cake, a buttermilk breakfast cake not to sweet with a wonderful crumb and slathered this ganache on top. Just enough to make you want to eat the top first and be a little spiteful of the bites that didn’t get any.

Rhubarb Breakfast Cake with White Chocolate Yoghurt Ganache

1/2 cup Butter

11/2 cup Sugar

1 egg

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of 1 lemon

2 cup AP Flour

2 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Buttermilk

3 cup Rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces

1/2 cup Yoghurt

4 oz White Chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F

Butter and flour a bundt pan or a 9 inch square pan.

Put the rhubarb half a cup of sugar and 1 cup of water into a small pot and simmer it until it is soft, about 10 minutes. Strain out rhubarb. The syrup will make fabulous drinks if you wish.

Meanwhile in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add in the egg slowly and mix until totally combined. Scrape down the edges of the bowl.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.

Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients starting and finishing with the dry. When the last batch of dry ingredients has almost been combined add in the rhubarb and gently mix by hand. Do not overmix it or it will get tough.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

While the cake is in the oven you can make the ganache:

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot filled with about an inch of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stir it regularly because white chocolate has a tendancy of burning.

Once the chocolate is fully incorporated add in the yoghurt and stir to combine.

Once the cake is cooled you can pour the ganache on top or spread it on with a spatula. And c’est finis.

Brown Butter Apple Cake

Most people who have ever talked to me for more then 5 minutes has probably heard be complain about my landlord. He is a glorified slumlord, who fixes nothing and does nothing and is exceedingly cranky more often then not. He doesn’t do a good job when problems arise and so they keep happening over and over again and he blames you for his shotty work. 

I am not a fan.

However, since Jordan has moved in, my gay landlord has been much more open about fixing a few things up. Apparently my charm is useless on him, but my handsome man is getting things done. 

It has been a crazy couple of weeks, but my apartment is now the proud owner of new dark laminate flouring, a glorious step up from the heinous 70’s grey industrial carpeting I’ve been living with for years. But heres the thing about putting in new flouring, you basically move. Everything you own has to be put into boxes and moved somewhere else and it is a hassel my friends. 

Now we’re starting to paint and put things together and, thankfully, my kitchen is back and working, and Jordan is so good looking we even got a new fridge! Miracles do happen friends.

So a couple days ago when everything was covered in dust and it reeked of paint fumes and all my books we’re in boxes and I was starting to go crazy, I did what I always do when I’m stressed, and I baked a cake. 

A wonderful cake too, rich from brown butter and brown sugar sauteed apples on the top. Most cakes get their moist crumb from lots of butter and sugar but this cake gets it form the buttermilk so it’s not to sweet ot two heavy. It also uses whole wheat pastry flour, which is very uncommon for me, but it adds a pleasant nuttiness without feeling too healthy. The top has some coarse sugar and salt so it gets a bit of a crunch when you bite in. 

The best part though; it doesn’t need a mixer, you put it together like a muffin base, just mix wet with dry, so it doesn’t dirty up the kitchen too much.

And then, with cake in hand I cleaned, and dusted, and gathered bags and bags to give to charity and felt like things would be okay. 

Brown Butter Apple Cake

Adapted from 101cookbooks. 

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit
zest of 1 lemon

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 large apple, or 2 small guys, peeled and sliced.
3 tablespoons large grain raw sugar
1 teaspoon large grain salt

Preheat oven to 325F

Butter and flour an 8 inch cake pan.

In a small sauce pan on medium heat melt the butter. Keep it on the heat after it melts until it bubbles and gets frothy and starts to get a sweet nutty smell, and you can see little brown bits at the bottom. Set aside.

In the same pan add the apples and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and sautee until the apples are translucent and soft- about 10 minutes. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt making sure there are no lumps of brown sugar.

Mix together the butter, buttermilk, eggs, zest and vanilla and then add it to the dry ingredients being careful not to over mix. 

Pour the batter into the pan and use a spatula to level it. Carefully place the apple slices in a nice pattern on top. Sprinkle the coarse sugar and salt on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs. 

Sunday Staples- Poached Salmon and Soba Noodles in Miso Broth

This is one of those amazing meals that takes under half an hour to make but is absolutely nice enough to serve company. It is also deeply satisfying without being heavy at all, it’s downright healthy actually.

Soba noodles are my favourite thing right now. Don’t get me wrong I’ve been eating and cooking with them for years but for some reason they’re all I want lately. In salads, in stir fries, and now in a soup of sorts. This is also a recipe that is very forgiving and can take nearly any substitution. Not the right time of year for salmon? A white fish would be delicious. Can’t get fresh fish? Chicken it is!- although that will need longer to cook. The vegetables are also loose, bok choy, broccolini, gai laing would all great alternatives. 

Poached Salmon with Soba Noodles in Miso Broth


5 cups Water

1 bunch Green Onions

Handful of Cilantro

1 stick Lemongrass

1 1inch knob of Ginger

2 tbsp Soy Sauce

1tsp Sambal Olek

1 tbsp Sesame Oil

1 tbsp Miso Paste.


2 Fillets of Salmon

1 Head Broccoli (Bok choy would also be great!)

2 sticks Celery

2 Bundles of Soba Noodles

6 Shiitake Mushrooms

Using the back of your knife bruise and cut your lemongrass until it will fit in your pot and is very aromatic.

Cut your green onions- use the white parts for some pretty little slices and then roughly chop the tops.

Add the tops of the green onions, the lemongrass, and all the other ingredients for your broth into a medium pot. Bring to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then strain it into another pot. Bring it up to a simmer again.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water up to a boil and season with salt.

While thats all happening cut your broccoli into little florets and slice your mushrooms and celery.

Once your water is boiling add your soba noodles, broccoli, celery and mushrooms and boil for about 6 minutes.

Add your salmon to your broth and turn the heat very low.

Once your noodles are cooked strain them and then place some of the soba and the vegetables into your bowls.

Add the salmon and ladel some of the broth on top. Add your slices of green onions and your done!

Momofuko Crack Pie

I think I might have completely fallen in love with this if not for the name,

Crack pie. Named of course, after the highly addictive drug whos prevelance in Vancouver has led to the notorious Downtown East Side. No joking around here. It’s a big name to live up to. You’d almost feel sorry for it really, so much hype in the title, it couldn’t possibly stand up.

It is, indisputably, a very good pie. It really is, it’s sort of a glorified butter tart perhaps, (for the non-Canadians out there, it’s like a pecan pie without the pecans). It’s nuttier then the usual because of the cleverly made crust, which is filled with toasted oats, and I made mine nuttier still by adding hazelnuts, and also some chocolate which meant you really only needed a small slice. Perhaps that was it, I just didn’t really want more then one slice. The addictive neede-to-have-you just wasn’t there, but it’s hard to say. I think there is a pretty good chance that had it been called, oh, butter tart with toasted oat crust, I would have fallen helplessly for it. I think, in fact, that it’s likely. 

Crack Pie

(from the Momofuko Milk Bar Cookbook, by Christina Tosi and David Chang)

2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
Scant 1 cup rolled oats

Preheat the oven to 350F

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the egg and mix well.

Add in all the remaining ingredients except the oats. Stir until just combined and add oats.

Spread out with your hands (if you get them a little wet they won’t stick as much!) and bake until it becomes a golden brown and the cookie is cooked through. As you’ll be crumbling and rebaking it, ere on the side of over crisp then gooey.

Crumbled cookie for crust
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine the crumbled cookie, butter, brown sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until evenly combined and blended (a little of the mixture clumped between your fingers should hold together). Divide the crust between 2 (10-inch) pie tins. Press the crust into each shell to form a thin, even layer along the bottom and sides of the tins. Set the prepared crusts aside while you prepare the filling.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus a scant 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk powder
1 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup plus a scant 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg yolks
2 prepared crusts

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, salt and milk powder. Whisk in the melted butter, then whisk in the heavy cream and vanilla.

 Gently whisk in the egg yolks, being careful not to add too much air.

Divide the filling evenly between the 2 prepared pie shells.

Bake the pies, one at a time, for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake until the filling is slightly jiggly and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pies and cool on a rack.

Refrigerate the cooled pies until well chilled. Serve cold, and the filling will be gooey. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Wunderbar Tart

While I am not a big fan of my birthdays, nearly ever, I get borderline obsessed with other peoples. I will always go overboard.

I love giving presents, I love cards (seriously, I can spend days this shop) and, not surprising to any of you I’d guess, I love making cakes. A lot.

So you can imagine that there is a serious amount of planning in making Jordan’s birthday cake.

I deliberate over flavours-it has to be chocolate, but chocolate hazelnut? Chocolate caramel? Chocolate pumpkin?

And textures, are we wanting dense and rich? Or light and whipped? Maybe with a crunchy layer somewhere, perhaps a praline?

Basically, I go on like this for a long time. I write notes, then I doodle pictures of what I want it to look like. I check online for inspiration, then later then I should, I make something and barely get it done in time, if I’m being honest here.

This year it wasn’t a cake per say, it was a mousse tart, a chocolate base, a thick layer of creamy caramel, a whipped mousse of peanut butter just firm enough to hold it’s shape when sliced, and topped with a layer of chocolate ganache gently sprinkled with maldon salt.

It’s an extremely grown up version of a Wunderbar, which just so happens to be Jordans favourite.

It’s also happens to be extremely good.

Wunderbar Tart/Peanut butter, Caramel Chocolate Tart

Adapted from this recipe


16 oz Chocolate wafers, or Oreo Crumbs

8tbsp Butter, melted


1 cup Sugar

3/4 cup Whipping Cream

4 tbsp Butter

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Peanut Butter Mousse

1 cup Peanut Butter

3/4 cup Whipping Cream

4 tbsp Sugar

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Mousse

8oz Chocolate

1/2 cup Cream

1tsp Salt-because I’m the sort of person who keeps vanilla salt around I used that and it was wonderful, but regular fleur de sel or maldon salt it lovely. Just make sure it’s a flaked salt not a chunked salt.


*Make sure you have everything you need for this measure out as caramel can go from light brown to black within seconds. Also, use an extremely clean pot.

Put sugar in pot with just enough cold water to give it the texture of wet sand.

On medium heat cook this mixture stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.

Take out spoon and bring heat up to high. Shake pot occasionally and watch it carefully.

When it turns amber color immediately pour in the cream. It will bubble up and splatter so be careful!

Add in the butter and vanilla. Allow to cool completely.

Make Crust:

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix butter and crumbs together

Press into a 10inch spring form pan, or a pan with a removable bottom, or 10 small tart shells

Bake until the crust just begins to firm, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Make Mousse:

Bring a couple cups of water to a boil.

Slowly add the water a few tablespoons at a time to the peanut butter stirring well until it is smooth, easy to stir and forms slowly dissolving ribbons when you pick up a spoon and let the mixture fall back in. It took more water then I thought it would, don’t be alarmed!

Let cool.

Meanwhile whip the cream and sugar to stiff peaks.

Once the peanut mixture is cooled fold in the whip cream and the vanilla.

Make Ganache:

Bring cream to a boil

Pour over the chocolate and stir until it is smooth.


Pour the caramel into the cooled tart shell. Let it set in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

Pour the mousse over the caramel and smooth with an offset spatula.

Pour the chocolate over the mousse and smooth.

Sprinkle with the salt.

Blackberry Galettes!

Here’s the thing, I`ve always heard about blackberry bushes in Vancouver. People say they`re at the train tracks, and I`ve seen them there in the springtime with bright red berries on them in Kitsilano around the train tracks at Granville Island.

And then I had an epiphany.

There are train tracks 10 blocks away from my house that I bike past everyday.

I know, I know, I`m a little slow on the uptake.

So I`ve now gone blackberry picking 3 times this week. I am a very happy girl. I love blackberries.

A lot.

So does my beautiful friend Liz, so the other day we spent the day picking berries and wildflowers and pretending we weren`t in the middle of the city, just half a block from a major road. And then we walked back with blackberry juice dripping out of our bags and staining our shoes laughing and just generally being very content in the city that we live in.

So I`ve made many many blackberry things lately that I`ll be sharing up here, but the first thing I did was make blackberry galettes, and they were so good, and so light and so fresh tasting I thought you should get this recipe first.

It`s a little showy but mostly it`s simple, elegant and very satisfying. And, while I made them for desert, I saved one for breakfast this morning, and it was the perfect start to my day!

1 cup (2 sticks, or half a pound) of Unsalted Butter, very cold

2 cups AP Flour

1 tsp Salt

1/4 cup-1/2 cup ice water

9 tbsp Coarse sugar (if you have it, otherwise regular old white sugar will do!

2 pints Blackberries

Make the dough:

Put the salt and flour onto your counter top. Put the butter in the middle and break them up and make sure they’re all covered in flour.

Using a rolling pin roll out the butter into long strips, using a spatula or bench scraper to scrape the butter off the bottom and move in the flour from the sides.

It will look like a big mess, don’t be alarmed!

Add in the water and again, using the spatula or bench scraper, fold in the water until a dough just barely starts to form. You may need to adjust the amount of water depending on the humidity.

Once it starts to come together use your hands to fold it in half, flatten it out a bit, then fold it again, continue to do this until the dough becomes something you think you could roll out without it falling apart but not so long that the dough becomes tough.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut it into squares that ate 3 inches by 3 inches.

Fold each square in half on an angle to form a triangle. Cut 2 slits each triangle paralelle to each side leaving a space at the end so that it is connected at 2 ends. I know this sounds confusing but its really easy, just look at the pictures!

Then fold the sides over each other to form a pretty little diamond. Like this:

Chill the dough for 30 minutes in the fridge. You want the butter to be very cold so that when it goes into the hot oven it produces steam and the steam is what makes those lovely puffy little layers of dough, so the colder the better!

Preheat your oven to 375F

Egg wash the tops of the dough, and then fill the middle square with heaps of blackberries.

Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar onto each tartlette making sure you get lots on the pastry. It will give it a wonderful crunch!

Bake them until they are a lovely golden brown on top and the berries are bursting and juicy.

And then eat and be very very happy!

Cherry Jewel Cake

Cherries are the only reason I know that is is summer. Truly.

The rain and the 15 degree weather are not convincing me that it is July. I am hesitant to believe it, but cherries do not lie.

They are only here for a few short months, and they are here now.

So, because it`s normally too hot to bake in my tiny apartment in July, I am experimenting baking with cherries this year. I am doing this because it`s very cold in Vancouver right now, and it`s actually nice to turn on my oven and have it heat the place up.

And it`s nice to have a warm piece of cake on a cold rainy day. And this cake is especially nice. I made it last night and brought it to a girls night potluck, and I was running terribly behind schedule so as soon as it was out of the oven I put it on a cloth bag and ran out the door, so it was still warm when we ate it. And we were fighting over the last piece, literally. It`s not to sweet, and has the perfect crumb, and of course, the most wonderful sweet cherries just bursting inside. It`s almost good enough to make me want to clouds to stay, so I can make it again today. Almost.

Cherry Jewel Cake

1/2 cup Butter, soft

1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1/2 cup White Sugar

2 Large Eggs

1 tbsp Vanilla, or seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

2 tbsp Raw Course Sugar, or brown sugar

2lbs Cherries, pitted (you can either use an olive pitter for this, if you have one, or cut them in half and push out the pit!

Preheat your oven to 325F

Line an 8 inch pan, preferably with a removable bottom with parchment paper, or butter and flour it.

Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add in the eggs one at a time beating well between each addition. Scrape down the sides and beat on medium high speed for about a minute.

Fold in your dry ingredients, it’s quite a dry dough but don’t worry.

Spoon the batter into your prepared pan and smooth it out, then carefully layer in your cherries in a circle pattern.

Bake for about an hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs,

Strawberry Buttermilk Tart

I have a very vivid picture in my head of going strawberry picking with my Dad and my sister when I was, oh maybe 6 or 7. My dad, the doctor, decided to go a scientific experiment of what size and shape of strawberry tasted the best.

He conducted this experiment scupulously and with the utmost precision, by moving lying down in the middle of 2 rows of strawberries and eating and eating and eating, moving about a foot every 20 minutes or so.

The verdict of his research was that the small to medium ones that were sort of bell shaped, were the best. Sweet, but not sugary, soft, but not mushy, and also, pleasing to the eye.

So the other day, when Jordan and I were driving past a strawberry farm we pulled in, sadly without enough time to pick them, but I knew we had to buy lots when I went over to the plants and they were nearly all that perfect medium sized bell shape.

We’ve been back to that farm a few times now, for berries for jam, and for shortcakes, but the other day, when my apartment heated up to some where high in the thirties, I used some for a tart that hardly takes any cooking, but tastes wonderful.

I made a graham cracker crust because I didn’t want it in the oven on for long but I think the crumbly texture works nicely against the smoothness of the buttermilk mousse. And the strawberries that were so ripe and juicy were completely perfect and not to sweet. This tart looks like a bit of work, but it is really easy, and a perfect ending to a summer meal, light and fresh, but still with a bit of substance.

Graham Cracker Crust

1 3/4 cup Graham Crackers

3/4 cup Butter, Melted

Buttermilk Mousse Filling

1 cup Buttermilk

1 cup Whipping Cream

Zest of 2 Lemons

Juice of 1 Lemon

Half a Vanilla Bean, or 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

1 tsp Gelatin

3 tbsp Sugar

Strawberry Topping

3 cups really good Strawberries, cut in half, or quarters depending on the size.

1/4 cup Really good Strawberry Jam.

Preheat oven to 350F

Mix the graham cracker crumbs and the butter until totally combined.

Press it down into a 9 inch round tart shell or pie pan.

Bake about 15 minutes or until the crush has begun to set, but not so that it’s coloring.

Pull out your tart shell and allow to cool. Your done with the oven now to so you can turn it off! Yes!

While it’s cooling whip up 3/4 cup of heavy cream until its at stiff peaks. Put it back in the fridge to keep it cool.

In the meantime sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice in a little bowl. Let if soften ther for 15 minutes

While thats sitting Mix 1/4 cup of the cream with the sugar  and the vanilla bean in a small pot and put it over medium heat and stir it until it’s dissolved.

Stir in the gelatin mixture and stir until that’s dissolved too.

Pour the cream and gelatin mixture into a bowl and stir in the buttermilk and the lemon zest. Put this in the fridge for about ten minutes, until it’s just about cool. The gelatin will start to set up and you don’t want it too firm, you still need to add in the whipping cream, BUT if you add the whipping cream in while it’s still warm the bubbles you’ve whipped into the cream will collapse. So just open the fridge door every couple of minutes and give it a stir. Once you notice it sticking to the sides a bit, you can carefully fold in your whipping cream.

And now pour it into your tart shell!

Now put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes until it is set up nicely.

In the meantime mix your berries and your jam. You might find it easier to warm the jam up in the microwave for a few seconds.

Now gently spoon all the strawberries onto the tart. And there you have a ridiculously good summer dessert! 

Hazelnut Scones with Macerated Cherries and Vanilla Whip Cream

A few years ago I ran the kitchen of a wonderful cafe called Little Nest. It’s a small restaurant with a full kitchen that makes only breakfast and lunch, and about half the menu changes daily. I had never run a kitchen before, never written my own specials before, never done the ordering before, never done the hiring before. To say I was in over my head was a serious understatement.

And while everyone was very patient in my slow understanding of how it all works, it’s important when your feeling entirely under qualified for a job to have a trick or two up your sleeve.

I call this the Amelia Bedelia.

You know the kids book about the maid who takes everything literally? She puts sponges in sponge cakes, and when asked to dress the turkey she puts it in childrens clothes. She absolutely makes a mess of her employers house BUT she always has just a little bit of extra time and she always bakes the most amazing pies. So. When the Mr. And Mrs. Rogers come home and freak out they eat the pie and all is forgiven. I think this book had an alarmingly large effect on me as a child.

So at Little Nest my Amelia Bedelia was pasta. It changed everyday but it was always dang good. And I gave one to the owner and manager nearly every day for a month and they decided I would be okay in the end.

Thank God.

So for the last few months I’ve been running on nearly nothing but adrenaline because I’ve been working so much and I will admit some very stupid mistakes have been made. Silly silly things, so silly I’m to embarassed to tell you, BUT fortunately I make killer scones. You know, they are super light and fluffy and with layer upon layer of butter flakeyness and that my friends, is my Amelia Bedelia.

Even though, my boss certainly doens’t always notice them, I do, and it give me the confidence when I feel dreadful (and maybe put coriander into the 10 times batch of cardamon cookies accidentally) I know that at very least I can do one thing very well. And that means that with some practise I can do other things very well.

I hope.

So, now that I’ve quit my second job and am focusing on not making stupid mistakes at the one job that’s actually important to me, I thought I’d make some scones for a girlfriend who came over for brunch the other day.

Light fluffy, flakey scones, these ones full of hazelnuts and then cut in half and stuffed full of fresh cherries and whipping cream.

Because if that isn’t going to save your job and make you feel a hundred times better, well, I don’t know what will.

Hazelnut Scones with Macerated Cherries and Vanilla Whip Cream

For the Scones:

4 cups AP Flour

1 tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 1/2 cups Hazelnuts

1 cup Butter, very cold

1 1/2 cups Buttermilk

Vanilla Whip Cream:

1/2 cup Whipping Cream

2 tbsp Icing Sugar

1/2 Vanilla Bean, or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Macerated Cherries:

1 1/2 cups Good, Ripe Cherries, cut in half and pitted.

2 tbsp Granulated Sugar

To Make Scones:

Preheat oven to 375F

Put hazelnuts in a single layer on a tray and bake until they turn a pretty auburn colour and smell very fragrant.

Using a towel try to scrub off the loose pieces of skin.

Grind them up very fine in a food processor and then measure out 1 cup.

Cut up the butter into cubes

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter, breaking it up with your hands until the butter is in chunks, roughly the size of your baby fingernail.

Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently until it is almost combined.

Then put it out onto a cutting board or counter and gently push it down, fold it in half, push it down, fold it in half until your dough is cohesive, but not at all tough. As soon as you start to feel a resistance, stop.

Cut into circles and put on a tray, then put the tray in the fridge to cool for at least 20 minutes. You get nice flaky scones because the big pieces of butter which are very cold go into the hot oven and the change of temperature makes the butter produce steam which causes the layers.  So it’s important to let them chill.

Brush with a little extra buttermilk or cream and sprinkle some brown sugar on top if you’d like.

Get them into that oven right away and bake until the tops are nice and brown.

Meanwhile mix those cherries and sugar together and them sit and meddle and be happy together.

Whip the cream with the sugar and the vanilla (sorry i forgot to take a picture of that!)

And then break a scone in half, plop some cherries down put a dollop of whip cream on top and top oit with the other half of scone and hot damn thats a good breakfast, lunch, or dessert.