Monday, 13 October 2014

Whole Wheat English Muffins (For Muffin Monday)

Thank goodness I don't have classes on Monday! I use my Mondays as my day to prepare for the crazy week ahead, Monday is my Reset Button.

That said, sometimes I just want to ignore all of the other things on my To-Do list, and just bake. This was one of those instances. I may not have gotten done any of the so called "important" things, BUT I did make homemade english muffins! With whole wheat flour! Because, HEALTH. 

English Muffins, to be honest, have been on my To-Make list for a long time! So really this was a productive use of my Monday morning. I have this thing with alliteration, Muffin Mondays. Right!? It just works. PLUS you get some delish home baking to last through the busy week.

These make the most delicious hearty breakfast, please toast them! So much better that way :) My favourite way to enjoy them is either simply with butter, or with a little honey or jam. Crispy on the outside, and softy-spongey on the inside. Makes me feel all warm and squishy inside. (In a good way)

The bonus about making your own, is that you can make a MINI ENGLISH MUFFIN! See?

These guys have a two step cooking process, that really makes them like English Muffins as opposed to just baked buns. First you toast them on both sides in a dry skillet on the stove, then you bake them. I had attempted to make them heart shaped with my heart-shaped-cutter, however when they were toasting in the pan they kinda slumped into weird triangle blobs. Next time I would just keep it at circles, probably more appetizing that way. But whatever shape these come out in, they are just as yummy and comforting as you could ever dream about!
Here's to Muffin Mondays!

Homemade Whole Wheat English Muffins

Recipe from Double Thyme
Makes 10 (Although, I halved the recipe, and got about 12... just depends on how big you cut them!)


  • 2¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. sugar, divided. 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 1¾ cups whole milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • cornmeal, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Activate the yeast by stirring it into 1/4 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand until the mixture has doubled, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flours, salt, 1 tablespoon sugar, and baking soda. Stir in the yeast mixture. 
In a small saucepan set over medium heat, heat the milk and butter until the butter has just barely melted. (Or, you can do this carefully in small increments in a microwave)
Add the egg and the milk/butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until the dough comes together (this can also be done with a mixer, but it worked fine by hand). Add a little more whole wheat flour as necessary, until the dough isn't sticking to your fingers. 
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for a minute or two. Roll it  out to 1-inch thickness, and, using a round cutter (or the top of a drinking glass, if you don't have a biscuit cutter), cut the english muffins, re-rolling the dough as needed.
Place the cut dough on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal, cover the baking sheet with a dish towel, and allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes.
Heat a nonstick skillet over low heat and cook the muffins 4-5 minutes per side, until crispy and brown. No need for oil or butter, this step works best with a dry pan. Move the muffins back onto the baking sheet, and finish cooking the muffins for 12-15 minutes in the oven, or until firm to the touch and not dough-y if poked with a fork. 
Before serving, split the muffins in half and toast. Serve with butter and or jam! They will keep for 1-2 weeks in an airtight container at room temperature, Or pre-slice them in half, and keep them in the freezer.
Enjoy! And Happy Monday

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Squash and Apricots

Sundays seem like the most appropriate day to cook a roast. My mom says that when she was growing up, that was all they ever had on a Sunday. Sunday was roast day. I am partaking in this Sunday tradition!

These photos are nothing to be proud of, however this dish certainly was! So I must include the recipe. It is rare that we have all the ingredients for this dish in our house at one time... but we did! So OBVIOUSLY I had to make it.

This recipe is from the ever brilliant and talented Chef Lynn Crawford, whose recipes are almost always a huge success with me :) In fact, I think I have yet to be disappointed!

The flavours of this roast are quite lovely together! The squash and onions caramelize around the edges, the fruit adds a lovely burst of sweet which I crave. The rosemary just kicks your tastebuds into flavour town. And prosciutto? I'M SOLD! As my dad says, "Pork wrapped in pork! Can I have mine with bacon?" I like the way you think, Dad.

Roasted Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Squash and Apricots

  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 2-3 slices of prosciutto
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat oven to 375F

In a roasting pan, toss together the squash, onion, apricots, raisins, rosemary and butter. sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, and heat the olive oil. Season tenderloin well with salt and pepper. When oil and pan are both hot, sear the pork briefly on all sides just to brown. Set it aside for a few minutes to cool a bit.

Wrap the prosciutto slices around the pork tenderloin, then place it on top of the squash and dried fruit mixture in the roasting pan. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until an instant read meat thermometer registers 160F. Let rest about 10 minutes before slicing.

I enjoyed this on a Sunday evening in October with my mom and dad, with brown rice, whilst listening to Bon Iver and discussing potential halloween costume ideas. 

XO Lari

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Smore Cupcakes

These are my new favourite cupcakes!!!

I love taking two different desserts, mashing them together to create one bundle of awesome. In this case, the classic campfire treat of Smores is the theme, but it takes shape in form of a cupcake.

Also, any opportunity to use a blow torch in the kitchen is one that should be jumped upon. The potential of lighting cupcake papers on fire is real... and thrilling.


Graham flour and honey flavour the cake part of these cupcakes, reminding us of graham crackers. A semi-sweet chocolate ganache is spooned over, and a marshmallow frosting is whipped together in no time at all to sit all cute and pretty on the very top.

As if that were not enough to achieve the ultimate crowd pleaser, the marshmallow frosting is TOASTED! We are bringing the campfire to our kitchen, people. It feels so great!

 Serve these cuties at a party outdoors on a summer evening, preferably with patio lights and good music. They are serious friend makers. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Smore Cupcakes
Recipe from Martha Stewart (Gotta love her, or at least her cupcakes)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups graham flour (found it at Community Natural Foods, Bob’s Red Mill brand)
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
6 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in honey, then eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients on low speed.
Divide batter into muffin tins... I used mini muffin tins.
Bake at 350 (325 for our oven). I baked the minis for 15 minutes. The original recipe for regular sized cupcakes calls for 25 minutes.

Made about 4.5 dozen mini cupcakes. (recipe makes regular sized cupcakes and claims to yield 2 dozen)

Chocolate Ganache Glaze:

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I did 5 oz semisweet, 1 oz bittersweet... because I love me some bittersweet)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp corn syrup

Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and syrup until steamy and hot, but not boiling!
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 or so minutes. Stir slowly with a spatula to gradually combine the two until you have a silky smooth ganache!

Marshmallow Frosting

1 tbsp powdered gelatin
1/3 cup cold water (for gelatin)
1/4 cup water (for pot)
1 cup sugar

In the bowl of a standing mixer, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/3 cup cold water. Let stand to soften. (about 5 minutes)
Heat the remaining 1/4 cup water with the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Let the sugar bubble and boil until the temperature reaches 238 degrees F - “soft-ball” stage. Remove from the heat, and add to gelatin mixture. Whisk by hand for about one minute to cool slightly. Then use the standing mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium high speed for 8-10 minutes until  soft, glossy white peaks form. Use immediately, as the frosting begins to harden and set quickly.

Cupcake assembly:
 For mini cupcakes, spread about 1 tsp ganache glaze over the tops. Pipe marshmallow frosting with a plain round tip. Use a kitchen torch to lightly toast the frosting... just like a marshmallow!!!

HOLY MOLY! These cupcakes are WINNNNERRRSSSS!!


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Hazelnut Gelato


I have only been dreaming of owning my own ice cream machine for years... and now I am finally the proud owner of one! I got this model, and I have used it once. And so far I LOVE IT!


I can't wait to make 198359283745987 different flavours and make homemade ice cream sandwiches... I have quite the line up of bookmarked pages of things to try including this, this and THIS!

My first flavour with this new baby is Hazelnut Gelato, absolutely inspired by my recent trip to Italy. My favourite gelato flavours in Italy were usually hazelnut or coffee. You best believe I will be trying coffee ice cream out soon soon soooooon!


Ice cream takes patience, love and whole milk :)
I am willing to spare all of these.

Hazelnut Gelato
Recipe from Rocco DiSpirito

Note: This recipe only makes a very small amount... but I thought that was okay for my first batch! Plus I know I will be wanting to try out other flavours like IMMEDIATELY.

This recipe tasted good, although I must admit that it seemed to take a lot of effort and produce not very much. But I am far too excited not to share my first creation!! MANY MORE TO COME :)

4 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and skinned (a little bit of skin left on is okay. for my standards at least!)
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp granulated sugar

In a food processor, whiz up the hazelnuts to fine crumbs and then keep on processing until they turn into a paste. You just made hazelnut butter! What what!
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until hot and small bubbles form around the outside, but not boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the hazelnut paste until thouroghly combined. Set mixture aside and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, strain through a fine mesh strainer. Wash out the strainer, discarding any solids. Strain the mixture again, but this time line the strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth to make the mixture even smoother.

In another bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until foamy. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the hazelnut-milk, a little at a time, until completely combined. Place the custard mixture over a pot of simmering water. Whisk constantly over medium heat for about 4 minutes, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Let the mixture cool completely, and cool it in the fridge for at least a few hours until it is really cold. (this will speed up the churning process)

Follow the instructions on your ice cream machine... and voila! Homemade Hazelnut Gelato! YOU'RE A WIZARD!


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Cinnamon Bun Cake

When you say "Birthday", I say "Cake"! No seriously. Any time someone says birthday I think of cake. And I feel like I'm not the only one out there am I right.

SO When I was given the opportunity recently to make not one BUT TWO cakes for a friend's birthday party I was like HECK YEAH! 

This is the story of the first cake. (Second cake coming soon!)

I was given the memo that said friend really really likes cinnamon buns and wanted a "cinnamon bun cake... what ever that is". It was my job to figure out "what ever that was" and turn cinnamon bun into cake form.


I thought about just making one big ass cinnamon bun.

But there is something about birthday parties and layer cakes that are just such a great combination... I could not resist!

The Cinnamon Bun Cake was born!

This is a dessert that has all the physical properties of a layer cake, but all the flavours of the classic breakfast treat. Cinnamon spiced vanilla cake, sandwiching a layer of cinnamon sugar filling, all coated in a cream cheese frosting. And decorated with lil' mini cinnamon buns. Cuz, CUTE!

If you like cinnamon buns, and you like cake, then this is a keeper for you! The birthday friend approved. As did the birthday party goers!

Cinnamon Bun Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350F, butter two 8" round cake pans with butter, dust with flour and tap out excess flour.
Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches alternating with the milk, beating until combined after each.
Divide the batter evenly between the two tins and give the tins a firm tap on the counter to let any air bubbles escape. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and tops are springy, about 30 minutes or so.
Let cakes cool for at least 10-15 minutes in the tins before removing them. Let them cool completely before filling/frosting them. At this point, you can wrap the cakes individually in plastic wrap and keep them in the freezer until you need them (up to one month). Fun fact! Frozen cakes are actually way easier to frost than room temperature ones.

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling

1/4 cup melted butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 ounces (1/4 cup) softened butter
4 cups sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream the cream cheese and the butter together. On low speed, gradually add the icing sugar and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in the vanilla extract. Beat on high for a few minutes to create a light and fluffy frosting. Like the cake, frosting can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.


Place one cake layer onto desired serving platter or cake stand. Spread the top of this cake with the cinnamon-sugar filling. Spread a layer of the cream cheese frosting over top of this layer. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake, using an offset spatula to make it as even as possible. This is just the base layer of frosting, so it can be quite thin (called the "crumb-coat"). Place the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let the crumb-coat firm up a bit. This will make it easier to frost later.
Take the cake out of the fridge and frost with the remaining cream cheese frosting, swirling and spreading as you wish. Garnish the top with halved mini cinnamon buns

Happy Baking!
XO Lari

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Ricotta and Spinach Pasta Bake

WELL! It has certainly been a while since my last post. But hey that is okay because I have been busy doing other various things. These things include but are not limited to the following:

  • Finishing my third year at Alberta College of Art and Design
  • Going on an epic journey to do an exchange program in Glasgow, Scotland which in turn lead me to other epic journeys in Berlin, Amsterdam, Spain, London and finally Italy!!! (Is this real life?)
  • Getting a new job at a sweet little cafe in the trendy neighbourhood of Kensington. Come on down to Higher Ground! We have some delicious specialty coffees and tea mistos which I am drinking far too many of.
  • Taking a spring course to lighten the load of 4th year... Am I really going to be in FOURTH YEAR next year?? What is this madness...
  • Wearing a dress everyday in June to raise money for charity. Not a very difficult challenge for me.
  • Various other things that a 21 year old with the personality of a 60 year old would do! Cooking, reading, going to bed early etc.
But I do believe it's time for a new recipe. What do you say?



Sometimes, hardest part about coming back to something after a long time is trying to decide "where to begin"? Do I try and start from where I left off? This seems too complicated. What feels right is to just jump in from wherever. The rest will fill itself in. And let's be honest, it doesn't really matter does it! 

The key for me at the moment I think is to just keep things simple. Let us not rush in with complicated cakes and fancy new dishes... although I have some brewing don't even worry about it!

Let's be super simple and just go with what I whipped out for dinner this very evening!

Let's call it "Ricotta and Spinach Pasta Bake" and let's call it Dinner. Let's call it more often, it was gooooood.

Look at dat cheeeeeese...

This recipe was given to me by a lovely girl who was my flatmate when I was staying in Glasgow. Long story short, I was ridiculously lucky to be able to live in a flat with two other girls who wanted to share cooking and groceries duties... which makes life awesome! The two girls were Laura and Evie, and I am truly grateful for them being a part of my Glasgow Adventure.
Laura has some trusty recipes tucked up her sleeve. By sleeve I mean a book that where she writes down all her tried and true dishes, often ones from her mother.
I was lucky enough to get some of these recipes passed on to me! YES.

This particular recipe was not one that Laura ever made for me... but I happened to have ALL the ingredients for it at once, which let me tell you is a rare occasion in this household. Especially when we are talking about ricotta cheese and fresh basil. But the cheese and pasta stars aligned and it was meant to be.

We had my dear Auntie Joan over for dinner and she loved it so much she asked for the recipe. So it's safe to say it passed the test! Thank you to Laura :)

The photos are not the greatest ever, but I ain't even worried! I'm just glad to be back. :)

Ricotta and Spinach Pasta Bake
Serves 4 with leftovers
Recipe from Laura Gaiger
  • 250 grams pasta (any kind will do, I used fusilli)
  • 400 grams ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 50 g parmesan, grated
  • 15 g fresh basil, chopped
  • 125 grams spinach (I used frozen)chopped
  • about 1/2 jar pasta sauce (I used Newman's Own Marinara)
  • Mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup?)
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until almost done, but not quite. It will continue to cook in the oven.
In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta, garlic, half of the parmesan, the basil and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 375.
When the pasta is done, drain it, then add it to the bowl with the ricotta mixture. Stir.
In a large oven proof dish, spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom. Pile on the pasta mixture, then spread another thin layer of sauce over the top. Sprinkle on the mozzarella and the remaining parmesan.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes until brown and bubbly on the top... YUMNESS!

Serve with a lovely garden salad and you have yourself a lovely but hearty veggie meal!

<3 Lari

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Breakfast Tacos

Breakfast Taco Sunday. That is totally already a thing, isn't it? Or maybe it is not. But it absolutely SHOULD BE. 

I treated myself this morning. Because it is important to treat yo self. Especially when you have to work later in the day. Especially when you wake up from a sugar hangover from all the s'mores (and extra marshmallows, and handfuls of kettle corn) you ate the night before. The cure: Make a cup of coffee and drink it in bed. Get up and go for a run. Just do it, you'll feel better. Morning air! It just feels good. Then pull on a fresh shirt and make yourself brunch. And make it tacos. And eat it outside because it is summer and that is just what you do.

My usual classic most favorite "I could eat this everyday" breakfast of fruit and yogurt was just not going to cut it today. All the sugar from the evening before left me wanting nothing but something savory... something with eggs, and cheese, preferably in a tortilla. We have avocados? YES. We have black beans? YES! Brunch time.

Tacos for breakfast is something that should indeed happen more often! This goes right up there on my list of best thing I have ever made. My intense love of tacos prevails <3

Breakfast Tacos with Eggs and Black Beans
Recipe inspired by Shutterbean
(This is more of a guideline than a recipe. Choose your own taco adventure)

Makes one big, overflowing taco.

  • corn tortilla
  • spoonful of black beans (I had some from a leftover dinner kickin' in the fridge, but you could used canned)
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped fresh chives
  • slices of avocado
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • fresh cilantro
In a small bowl, whisk the egg with salt and pepper and some of the chives. Char the corn tortilla over the open flame of a gas stove for a short time... careful, you don't want to burn it! Keep it wrapped in a towel until ready to fill to keep it warm.
Scramble the egg mixture until just cooked.
Take your tortilla, spoon on the beans, then the egg, layer the avocado slices, sprinkle with cheese and the extra chopped chives and finish with CILANTRO! (Oh cilantro, I love you.)
Go outside and eat it on the porch and feel the pride.

To Ten AM tacos!

<3 Lari