This is a storm. A rain storm, even though is ugly out it’s really pretty to listen to. Soft taping on the glass, familiar streaks falling, wind throwing gusts through the trees and over the walls. Tonight deserves a cup of steaming tea and a book. Speaking of which, any recommendations?

Due to a surplus of vanilla genoise from this delicious desert, I decided to make a cake. Blackberry layer cake to be exact. It was wonderful. A stark contrast to the weather outdoors and sound confirmation that I miss summer.

A summer like I used to spend picking delicious wild blackberries from behind our little house. Picking only as many as we could eat before retiring to the house with nothing to show for our efforts.

This recipe I pulled together with a little homemade blackberry-strawberry jam and a little buttercream frosting. It’s the richest frosting I have ever tasted and its melt in your mouth texture means you need only a very little piece.

Happy puddle jumping!

a sort of funny story

In keeping with a winter theme, happy snow day!
We got an extended vacation this year.
S. also took a snow day.
So we made a desert we’ve been meaning to finish.

Green tea ice cream, vanilla genoise, blood orange curd, soft meringue and blood orange reduction. Though the components sound odd, together they taste amazing.

Since we couldn’t find and matcha powder on the shelves of the stores in our small town we went to Starbucks where we knew they had it.

“Hey” we said to the little girl working “We need green tea powder”
Her, “Ummmmmmmmm, whhhhhhhhhat?”
Us: “You know the stuff you make green tea lattes with, we’ll pay you what it costs to make the drink but all we want is the powder”
Her: “ohhhhhh, I …don’t….knowwwww”
Us: “We just need a little to cook with”
Her: “… … ..Ohh! okay!! You can just have some! How much??”
Us: “Like two tablespoons”
She comes back with 1/3 cup.
Her: “Is that enough”
Us: “YUP!” and we quickly scamper away.

The following morning I spilled all but two tablespoons of it on the floor.

today was: warm maple waffles, a very long drive, chains for traction, long lifts, steaming soup, a good thrill, wet snow on my back, cold toes, large flakes,
chocolaty coffee, chickpea stew and a warm shower.

I’d forgotten what it felt like on the slopes. Happy snow days!

Sponge candy

Every morning I wake up the first thing I notice is the way a fresh blanket of snow reflects light under the slats of my blinds. And every morning the first thing I do as I rise is peek through the same slats and with a giddy little grin turn and move on with my day. I’ve never seen so much snow and for so long. We’re 80 cm over our average for the season and we’re only a month in. Even though my main mode of transportation is my bike and the only way to get around now is my feet, the snow doesn’t bother me as it should. It’s like the weather gods are making up for all the snow-less Christmases and winters we’ve suffered through. I love it.

Because it’s the beginning of the year and for no other specific reason I decided today was a good day to make sponge candy in the form of my favourite chocolate bar, the crunchie. I think they’re delicious. I love that they are light and airy somehow both popping and melting on my tongue. Caramel air covered in chocolate…yummm. You want one?

Seriously, there is nothing complicated to this recipe so long as you know your way around sugar and how to use your brain. Something I couldn’t seem to do to avoid what happened.

This is how the candy turned out. You’ll notice it’s about 1/4 of the size it should be with teeny little air bubbles. Not the texture I’ve been dreaming of.

Even as a first attempt I’ll say I’m disappointed, and this is where I’ll blame the recipe. Haha! Indeed it’s not my fault at all (though common sense now tells me otherwise.) Still, I guarantee it will be gone by tomorrow evening.

Only in my post disappointment searching did I find that mixing the baking soda into the candy mixture is necessary. I also found a vinegar component added to most other recipes. I’m not sure this is significant, but it may help the structure to form a little better.

Sponge Candy

1 c. white sugar
4 T. white corn syrup
2t. baking soda slightly dissolved in 2 t. water
1c. dark chocolate

Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper, be sure to well oil the paper.

In a large pot combine sugar and syrup over medium heat. Turn down heat to maintain steady simmer. Cook until light yellow in colour about 300ºf. As soon as the mixture turns colour sprinkle in the baking soda mixture. (Note: this is where I went wrong, the recipe I was following said NOT to mix! Mixing is necessary for even distribution, just be careful not to over mix, you want to keep the air bubbles.)

This is the yellow you need to achieve

Mixture should bubble up and increase in volume by four times. Take off heat and quickly pour mixture on prepared sheet.

Melt chocolate in a double-broiler and slather on sponge. Cool until set. Store in air tight container.

snow in chilliwack

A snowy day to start off 2009. For me I’m not sure it could have been much better. On second thought…it could have, I could have woken up to wonderful scents of crisp bacon frying, gooey cinnamon buns, oozing cheesy eggs and a delicious creamy latte. But I’m content.

Remembering the last year I realize how wonderful it’s been and how happy I am to be where I am. And to start off the year right we begin with oliebollen. Oliebollen translated literally means oil balls, which makes these suckers donuts, dutch donuts. Yum. Traditionally these are made by the mothers and grandmothers of our families but this year I’m old enough to learn.

They are actually a very simple treat to make as far as yeast treats go, they required only half an hour for proofing and maybe the equivalent for frying. Deliciously simple and a blank canvas for flavour this tradition is a diet breaker. To me these are the donuts of all donuts, the super donut if you will, light, and full of dough-y goodness. Like any donut these are highly addictive and too easy to eat, just know that you’ve been warned.

It should be noted, our family always eats oliebollen with raisins and apples dipped in powdered sugar (the word saturated is probably more accurate.) I suppose you could introduce nuts, currants, citrus zest, or spices, just be careful not to make your batter to heavy. To test if the oil is hot enough without a thermometer, which no dutch lady I know owns, my mother taught me to drop in a little piece of bread. If it floats and begins to sizzle the oil is hot enough. I prefer using a thermometer personally, but that’s probably because I’m a little careless when it comes to looking after hot liquids. p.s. this recipe makes about 30 medium-ish donuts that only keep for a day so make sure you have a handful of mouths near by.


2 tbsp. active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
sprinkle of sugar
3 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. raisins
1 apple chopped
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs beaten
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. lukewarm milk

Combine yeast, water and sugar foam for ten minutes.
Stir raisins, salt, apple and flour in a large metal bowl. Add risen yeast, eggs, sugar and lukewarm milk and mix by hand until smooth. Let rise covered by a damp towel in a warm place for 1/2 to 3/4 hour or until approximately double in size.

With two spoons shape batter into balls and drop into deep hot fat at 375ºf. Cook until golden brown, turning if needed. Drain on paper towels. Roll in icing sugar.

I took a nice long walk today, but I forgot my camera. Disappointing I know, the river was gorgeous. Unfortunately my words will never do it justice and you’ll have to wait till next time to see it.

In other news I thought I might share with you the most amazing and inspirational book I have seen this year. Alinea.

I bought it for S. this Christmas (one of the benefits of having the same interests). He loves it, I love it, were both happy, actually, I’m super happy. All I want to do is cook! First, of course, we need chemicals, so our next trip to the city will be in search of soy lecithin and agar agar. Something we can’t find ’round these parts. So we can make this.

Duck with pumpkin, banana and thai aromatics. I do believe I’m drooling already.

The book consists of more than a hundred recipes, but the essays it starts with especially the one by Grant himself are worth the price alone. I’m loving his essay describing the thought process behind his inspiration for food. He’s an incredible chef.

But for now I’m going to go, to end the new year with P.S. I love you, swooning over Gerard Butler and munching on carrot sticks.

May the new year bring you down many new roads. Goodbye 2008.

1 183 184 185 186