Sometimes I look at my life, and just feel so lucky. Do you ever get that? 

Don’t get me wrong, my life is certainly not without it’s work dramas, and bad ankles, and the odd just absolute crap day. I have those. 

But I also have an extraordinary amount of love in my life. That sounds cheesy but so be it. I do. 

And lately more than ever, I’ve been feeling the friend love. There have been some great phone chats, some wonderful conversations over a mug of tea (or glass of wine, or cup of whiskey…) 

So when two of my favourite people on the planet were both in Vancouver on the same day a couple weeks ago, we made brunch, drank cocktails, gossiped for hours, and then made a little stop motion video. 

The cocktails in question were Strawberry Rose Mimosas, and it is with great pleasure that I tell you that you can find the recipe here, on my new cocktail column I’m writing for the cutest site (co-founded by Zooey Dechanel) Hello Giggles. So make them this weekend!image

I thought that it would be fun to just have the camera going and it would catch some great stills of us just begin goofy, but it ended up being an adorable little video, I think. Remember when I did that cake photoshoot with the pink ribbon behind it?

Well I used that same technique but brighter colours (and some gold sequins!) and used that as a backdrop, set up my tripod, and we just made goofy faces and danced in front of it. I have some truly great photos of us from it, as well as the video. 


A big thanks to two extraordinary woman Natasha and Maudie, for letting me put pictures of them on the internet. 

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. 




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!

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! 

Strawberry Jam

I think it’s fair to say that my friends consider me pretty domestic. I think maybe it’s fair to say that I am pretty domestic, except in the world of cleaning, although I swear I am getting way better. Honest.


My girlfriends rarely complain when I show up at there houses with pies, or send them off to their boyfriends with scone dough to bake up in the mornings, but rarely do they come into the kitchen and help me out. So last week Jordan came home with 2 big flats of local strawberries and a few of my favourite girls came over to cook them down, sweeten them like crazy and put it all in jars to open in December when we’re jonesing for good fresh fruit. Some people know this process as jam.

So the urban planner, the song writer and the jewelry maker came over and we listened to Lionel Ritchie, hulls strawberries, ate amazing take out Indian food (man oh man do I love Tandoori Palace) and we all walked away with a lot of jars.

I don’t have a set recipe for jam, because every strawberry is different, and while jam has to be sweet because the sugar is a preservative and that’s how it keeps, I hate jams that taste like sugar.

There are a few things that are imperative to jam making. Firstly, clean hands, clean jars, clean lids. Clean. Bacteria getting inside a jar can become botulism, and that scares the hell out of me. Seriously.

Secondly, in order to get a really fresh fruit taste, you have to do it in small batches. Just use two pots. You’ll do it in half the time, and you’ll be able to taste a huge difference.

Thirdly, I say I don’t measure the sugar. The basic formula is 2 parts sugar to 1 part fruit, by weight (so two kilos of sugar for one kilo of fruit) but I find this excessive and so I use a little less.

I also don’t boil the jars, I clean them very carefully and then I keep them hot in the oven, I find this method easier.

Strawberry Jam

2lbs Strawberries

3-4 cups Sugar

1 Vanilla Bean

Juice of half a lemon

Place a plate in the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 300F

Wash your jars and lids very carefully, put them on a tray in single row and place them in the oven.

Hull the strawberries and cut them in half.

Wash them very carefully.

Put them all into a big pot and cook them, stirring frequently, on medium heat until most of the liquid has been dissolved, about 20 minutes.

Add in 3 cups of sugar, lemon juice and the vanilla bean and cook until that has reduced. Now taste it. If your using really good fresh local strawberries you may find that it’s sweet enough as is, or if your strawberries were a little less ripe you may need to add more.

Be careful at this point, the sugar is likely to burn if your not watchful and stirring pretty regularly.

Now check the consistency- take the plate out of the freezer and spoon a little jam on top. Let it sit for a minute and then push it around. If it’s done it won’t spread thin and if you spread your finger through it it will hold it’s shape and not spread out again. If your there jam is done! If not keep it on for another 5 minutes or so and then try again.

When your ready take out the jars and fill them up with about a quarter inch left from the top. You can do this wth a ladle or, if you have one, a canning funnel is very helpful!

Put the lids on and just barely screw them on.

Put them back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Take them out and let them cool at room temperature. You should hear popping noises as the jars seal.

And your done, strawberry jam!

Strawberry Shortcake

Lately I don`t get out much. I work a whole lot, I bake a whole lot, and I read quite a bit, but mostly when I read I fall asleep, in awkward places in awkward positions that make my neck hurt later.

I haven`t been seeing my friends as much as I should, but I have time to call them sometimes if I walk home instead of running home, which is usually a good enough of an excuse for me.

But sometimes I worry that my friends will all abandon me for being so boring.

So last weekend, for my dear dear friend Arlene`s birthday, I went out.

I wore a short skirt.

I baked a cake.

I drank to much sangria.

I watched some amazing flamenco dancing and cheered on a man named Jose, a 60 year old ladies man who sang Spanish love songs while beautiful women danced in front of him.

I pretended that I didn`t work at 5am the next morning.

I felt like the 23 year old that I am.

It was wonderful.

And on the theme of playful, fun, youthfulness and all those good things that go along with them, I made strawberry shortcake. It was light and fruity, it was summery and it was darn good if I say so myself.

Stawberry Shortcake

Adapted from a recipe from Epicurious

8 Large Egg Yolks

1 1/2 cups Sugar

1/4 cup Milk

1 tbsp Vanilla Extract

Zest of 1 Lemon

1 cup All Purpose Flour

1 tsp Salt

4 Egg Whites

Cream Frosting

2 cups Whipping Cream, very cold

1/4 cup Sour Cream

4 tbsp Icing Sugar

Zest of 1 Lemon

1 tbsp Rosewater

Rose Syrup

1/2 cup Sugar

1/2 cup Water

1 tsp Rosewater

1 lb Fresh Strawberries, cut into slices

Make Rose Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a pot and simmer until the sugar is disolved. Cool. (sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that!)

Make Cake

Preheat oven to 350F

Line 2 8 inch round pans with parchment, do not grease pans! Worst case scenerio don’t use anything. They will come out with some patience.

Sift all the dry ingredients, reserving 1/2 cup sugar, into a bowl

Mix the yolks, vanilla, zest and milk into a small bowl

Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until just smooth.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk egg whites until frothy.

With the mixer still running slowly add in the remaining half cup of sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the meringue is very shiny and holds stiff peaks.

Gently fold the whites into the cake batter being careful not to over mix.

Pour the batter into your prepared pans.

Bake until an inserted skewer comes out with only a few moist crumbs, about 25-35 minutes.

Make Frosting:

Mix all ingredients in a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Whisk together until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Assemble Cake:

Slice Layers of cooled cake in half lengthwise.

Put the first layer of cake on your cake plate and brush with the rose syrup.

Dollop with a heafty spoon of cream and gently spread out to the corners.

Spread some slices of strawberries on top.

Continue until you’ve done all the layers

Then ice the outside and put strawberries on the top!

I put some flowers on top, because I’m just like that.

Pop Tarts

I have never eaten a pop tart. I’ll even go further, I have never wanted a pop tart. Oh that’s probably not true, I’m sure they were popular for a while when I was in middle school or something but the point is, I can’t remember ever wanting one.

In a recent discussion about breakfast though I realized I am the only one in our household of two that way.

I am the only one in our household of two that feels that way about a lot of junk food. I’ll admit I’m a little evangelical about eating local, seasonal, unprocessed food.

But I am not unreasonable, friends. I do not allow pop tarts, McDonalds or powdered garlic into my house. BUT I will make pop tarts, burgers, and I am actively looking for a way to make powdered garlic that doesn’t  involve a dehydrator.

See? I’m a totally rational human being. I swear.

I made these pop tarts almost entirely from the recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen, which is a fantastic blog. The pastry is very flaky but also sturdy enough to hold as your running out the door with a coffee in your hand, which sounds like an oxymoron but I promise this works beautifully.

It’s crisp and light and great. Jordan thinks they are more like a toaster streudel. I’ve never eaten one of those either.

The dough is just like a pie dough but it has an egg in it so it holds its shape better and the filling is just jam with a little cornstarch to make sure the bottom pastry doesn’t get soggy. I made the jam (with local strawberries! Yeah!!)  but you could use any jam that you have with a little extra cornstarch, or even nutella inside if you don’t have the time.

I won’t judge.

Stawberry Filling:

1 quart Strawberries

1/2 cup Sugar

1 tsp Cornstarch

Cut up strawberries and get them in a pot on the stove

Let them simmer for about 15 minutes until nearly all the liquid is gone.

Add in the sugar and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes or so until it’s nearly dry again.

Mix the cornstarch with 1 tsp of water and then mix it into the jam. Bring to a boil and then take it off the heat and get it into a bowl in the fridge.

2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats, very cold.
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk

In the meantime make the pastry:

Mix the butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter. That means break it up with your hands until the butter is in pea sized pieces. It should look like this

Add in the egg and the milk. it should be quite dry but if it doesn’t come together add in another bit of milk.

On a lightly floured board push the dough into a flat rectangle and then fold it in half. Push it down, fold it in half and and keep doing it until it starts to feel a little tough and it doesn’t quite want to be folded. Then wrap it up and put it in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 375F

After about half an hour in the fridge and once the jam is cold you can roll out your dough.

Roll it out into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with a non-serated knife into rectanlges of your choice! I did mine about 4-3 inches.

Put a dollop of jam on top of half of the rectangles, about a teaspoon each. Brush some water on the bottom edges.  These will be the bottom pieces.

Cover the bottom pieces with the remaining rectangles.

Press down the edges with a fork. This will help make sure the jam doesn’t shoot out the sides. Poke the top of them too to let some steam out.

Get them on a tray and bake them! About 20 minutes, and they are deffinatly best served hot, or perhaps, out of a toaster.