2017 Christmas Treat #2 – Black Pepper and Citrus Shortbread

I’m a big fan of shortbread. I greatly appreciate true artisanal shortbread – buttery, the slightest bit crumbly, melt in your mouth goodness. So this recipe takes the simplicity of the shortbread and modifies the flavor with the addition of freshly cracked black pepper and whatever citrus you have on hand. So I present to you, Christmas Treat #2. This is a straightforward recipe with a few ingredients – my favorite type. I used the zest of 2 tangerines and some lemon emulsion. I’ve talked about emulsions vs extracts before. Extracts are alcohol based, emulsions are water based. Alcohol evaporates […]

2017 Christmas Treat #1 – Curry Leaf and Dry Mustard Cheeselets

  This is a tradition in our house at Christmas time, and it is Christmas time isn’t it. Well you know what that means (trumpets blaring in the background) – The 12 Treats of Christmas! (in a booming voice). This is Treat #1. I changed the name from Cookie #1 to Treat #1 because I want to bring you a bigger variety of treats (there is a reason that the word “eat” is in treats?!)  While this is not an entirely new recipe it is one that supports the message I always try to deliver in my cooking classes – […]

Date and Almond Torte with Salted Caramel Sauce

This is a torte so it doesn’t have much height, but what it lacks in height, it makes up in taste. Something magical happens when you use dates in cooking or baking. Sometime they dissolve into a beautiful paste that invisibly adds immense flavor and texture to foods, other times they provide the sweet to offset the savory. This recipe is one of my favorites and is sometimes included on my menus at the various schools I teach in. It comes together nicely and is great to present with the sauce. While I sometimes experiment (meaning it may not work […]

Lemon Zucchini Loaf

Yes my friends, it’s that time of the year again! Neighbors are gathering – in large baskets, zucchini of all sizes, shapes and colors. People you don’t even know are stopping by and knocking on your door to unload – I mean share, the bounty of this most glorious of fall vegetables. So here is my take on the humble zucchini loaf. This time I’m using yellow zucchini but that’s not really the twist. Although I must admit using yellow zucchini does give it a lighter color and a more cake like appearance. So of course I want to change […]

Indian Cooking in Italy – Madras Chicken Curry

It’s been a while, but I’ve been away, in Italy – Florence, Montepulciano, La Spezia, Genoa, Pienza, Cinque Terre and Rome (there were others but that would be bragging :)). Many were day trips and some, well “port” trips?! And really, how much could you see in a couple of hours on land?! But you know how much I love Italy and even if only for a few hours – it was fantastico! Ate much, drank more – this thing about Italian wines, even the single euro cost bottles were equivalent to many of our $20+ bottles here. My suitcase […]

Mediterranean Style Cracked Olives

If you have been attending any of my classes at Loblaw PC Cooking Schools you will have heard me speak of this delightful antipasto which was gifted to me last year by my friend Chef Maria. I was amazed with the taste of the olives she had pickled. How? I asked. Maria promised to show me and yes told me, that I would be making my own with her guidance in olive season. This meant I’d have to wait almost 1 year before I could make this recipe, they are only available here in September. We talked about it constantly […]

French Cheesecake

When I first became a Chef, I must have spent many months going through various culinary websites for inspiration, ideas and direction. One of the sites I came across belonged to David Lebovitz. I guess he intrigued me because he also made a change in his life moving from the US to France. I liked the way he poked fun at his handicaps in speaking the language, understanding the customs etc. But he always ended up with a great recipe. So much so that he put together a book – My Paris Kitchen, of which I am the proud owner. […]

Ricotta and Praline Cake

  Here’s another keeper cake recipe. I had some ricotta in the fridge. My friend Maria makes all kinds of delicious Italian treats (which I am sometimes the grateful beneficiary of – ahem, #shehasn’tmadesomethingformeinawhile) with ricotta. I wanted a recipe that was easy to come together and taste good. I ran across a recipe a while back and decided to try it out on the weekend. The original called for frozen berries but I’m not a big fan of frozen berries – unless I’m making a smoothie or something with vodka in it :)! I had just finished making a […]

Toasted Almond and Coconut Blondies

You know you have a hit when “everyone” who tries this says “OMG (insert something biblical or not), so good!” This is a variation on a standard Blondie recipe which combines two of my favorite ingredients – almonds and coconut. It’s a one pot dish – no really, and you know how I hate to wash dishes. Couple of things make this recipe special and give it unique flavors. The fragrance and flavor of the toasted coconut and almonds. I recommend toasting the almond slices and the coconut separately. I also suggest toasting the coconut first, emptying the pan once […]

Rhubarb and Custard Tarts

The first time I had rhubarb, I thought it was stringy and sour (I was 9 or so), I didn’t like it at all. Over the years (many of them), I have had a chance to try rhubarb in different ways – tarts, pies, with other fruit, compotes etc. That’s when I discovered what a wonderful vegetable (yes it really is a vegetable but quite often referred to as a fruit) it is.  These Rhubarb and Custard Tarts are a must make and very worthy of being added to your fast and easy dessert recipe repertoire.   First off, if […]