Monday 4 January 2016

Nurturing Self Care & Creativity, or, How I Broke Apart & Started a Retreat to Fix it

There are times when my deeply instilled love for efficiency and ability to visually 'Tetris' things comes in handy, as was the case one weekend this September where I managed to pack what was essentially a generous helping from each aisle of an entire No Frills grocery store into the trunk of my friend's tiny car. 
My European roots (and likely my love for leftovers) translated into a menu that could easily serve an Italian family reunion but was meant instead to nourish a group of very special women who gathered together for three days in an old house called Loretto Maryholme on the shores of Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. 
Let me tell you how we got there...

Wednesday 3 June 2015

Trail of Crumbs - Feeding Body & Soul on the Camino de Santiago (Part 2)

On the Camino, what each day provides you in terms of difficulty (foot pain, blisters, chafing, your own thoughts, an unexpected intimacy with Spanish toilets), it makes up for in beauty. The vistas capture your spirit in such a way that you are impermeably changed because of what you see and how you feel when you see it. The feeling is one of such intense gratitude for being alive that at times you burst into tears at the next cafe stop, snotting into the fleeced shoulder of the closest pilgrim (whom you may or may not have met before). You might burst into uncontrollable laughter shortly afterwards, because you've realized an old Loreena McKennit album has been playing dramatically in the background the whole time.

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Trail of Crumbs - Feeding Body & Soul on the Camino de Santiago (Part 1)

You could say I walked 800km for a slice of cake. My backpack and I spent late March and all of April of 2013 walking from the tiny French town of St. Jean Pied-de-Port, across the entirety of rural Northern Spain on an ancient pilgrim route - the Camino de Santiago. A generous wedge of Santiago Cake greeted me at the end of each special pilgrim's meal as I got closer to my final destination of Santiago de Compostela. The tell-tale almond-y crumbs on pilgrims' plates were as good a sign of nearing the end as the diminishing numbers on the kilometer markers dotting the path, which is marked by yellow arrows or scallop shells to guide the way.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Mandarin & Orange Blossom Upside-Down Cakelets

On an otherwise cold and overcast March day, those of us with thick sweaters and thin pocketbooks can escape the gloominess and bake our way to a sunny afternoon on the Cote d'Azure

These little upside-down cakes, with their rounds of caramelized mandarin oranges and a soft hint of aromatic orange blossom water, will enchant you away from salty sidewalks and slushy streets. In four bites or so, you are strolling along the seashore, dressed in breezy linen, catching the flirtatious gaze of a sun-kissed local. They're that good. 

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Chocolate-Dipped Espresso Bean Shortbread & a Visit to Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionery Arts

When you get the chance to go on a culinary date with some rich, hot piece of French... chocolate, you can spend hours imagining where the two of you might go together: for a dip in a pool of ganache; for a spin in an ice cream maker; to an intimate gathering in the creamy middle of a flourless chocolate cake.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a chocolate class hosted by Cacao Barry at the new location of the Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionery Arts. The class centred on the proper tempering techniques when working with couverture chocolate (the chocolate pieces used in baking and candy making). I discovered that chocolate, like any amorous relationship, requires specific temperatures, much patience, and careful tending to elicit the appropriate response (or a delightfully inappropriate response)

Thursday 31 January 2013

Tres Leches Cake with Blackberries & Coconut - Happy Birthday Kitchen Boudoir!

The Kitchen Boudoir turns one this week, after a year of 'dishing, intimately.' With the recipes on this blog, neighbours have been won-over, friendships have been cemented, landlords have been bribed, and much fun has been had. As a result of what happened with butter, sugar, eggs, flour, milk and cream this year, buttons were often unbuttoned for reasons more amorous than overindulgent.

You can read all about how this blog came to be on my inspiration page here. Today, however, I want to celebrate what this blog has come to be over this past first year: a virtual space to make real connections, and a truly wonderful (not to mention delicious) creative outlet. To celebrate - creatively and calorically, I made a Tres Leches birthday cake: a threesome of milks mingling atop a bed of almond-flour sponge cake, filled out with billowy whipped cream, plump, juicy blackberries and fragrant toasted coconut.

Saturday 19 January 2013

Caramelized Leek, Mushroom, and Roasted Heirloom Tomato Quiche with an Oat Flour Crust

If you undressed this quiche - peeled back its layer of golden cheese; unburdened it of its heaps of garlicky mushrooms, caramelized leeks, and oven-kissed tomatoes - you would be met with a simple, buttery crust that defies expectations. It's a new year, and I'm keen to experiment with new things, eat more vegetables, and see for myself what the rewards are in cutting out gluten from my diet for a month or so. This is by no means a permanent venture - I am too intimately tied to my dear Croissant, Baguette, and Freshly Baked Scone (and a variety of other glutinous lovers, many of them French). My intent is to welcome a few new lovers into my kitchen boudoir rotation who are a little gentler on the waistline. A surprising amount of my favourite baked goods are adaptable to gluten-free options - starting with the classic quiche, which, as this recipe affirms, 'by any other crust would be as sweet.'