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

Monday, 19 August 2013

A Quiche for Julia


On August 15th this year, Julia Child would have turned 101 years old! So obviously we celebrate! With quiche!

Last year I wanted to acknowledge Julia's 100th birthday when I found out about it, so I cooked her recipe for a savory cheese souffle. And you know what? It turned out awesome! I felt so fancy cooking up something from her very own cookbook. So... I have decided to make it a bit of a yearly tradition. On her birthday, August 15th, I will cook something by Julia, for Julia!

This year: quiche.

I am such a quiche fan! It feels classy somehow, even though it is just any ingredients mixed in eggs in pastry. But pair it with a garden salad and BAM! You have a classy lunch, or light dinner.




The other awesome thing about quiche is that you can really put in whatever ingredients you like, or whatever you have in your fridge. In this scenario, I did caramelized onions and mushrooms. Oh yes and cheese. Because, cheese.


Happy Birthday to Julia! 
And as she would always say, Bon Appetit!

Mushroom and Onion Quiche
Recipe slightly adapted from Julia Child


So I must confess, my quiche did not turn out quite how I was hoping it would. It was delicious don't even worry! However I did not bake the crust long enough (and made a mistake with the oven temperature...oops) so while the sides of the crust were buttery and flaky like a dream, the base of the crust was quite undercooked. 

I will give Julia's instructions here, and hopefully it will work better for you than it did for me. I know Julia would have not given up (!) so I shall definitely try again and get the temperature right this time and hopefully perfect the art of quiche-making. I will tell you though, that if you think "maybe it should be a little more baked before I add the filling" then yes, listen to your heart. I didn't. And ended up with unbaked pastry. Nobody wants that.

Pastry:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 8 ounces cold butter cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water (plus a bit extra as needed)
Whisk together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the cold cubes of butter and using your sparkling clean hands, blend the butter into the flour with your fingers, breaking it up into pieces. Keep working the butter into the flour until the chunks are pea-sized. Drizzle in the cold water and using a cupped hand, quickly bring the mixture together to form a ball of dough. You will probably need a tablespoon more water to get all the flour to come together. 

On a lightly floured board, form the pastry into a ball and use the heel of your hand (not your palm because it will be too warm and will melt the butter) just smear the pastry against the board a few inches away from you. This helps to bring the pastry together completely. Flatten pastry into a round disk, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. The pastry will also keep for weeks in the freezer.

After the pastry has had time to chill, we can roll it out! Using a rolling pin, start in the center of the disk and just use small motions at first, turning the pastry after each roll to keep the circle even. Continue rolling out the pastry until it is 1/8" thick.

Grease an 8" tart pan with removable bottom with butter. Transfer the pastry into the pan. This is done easily by rolling the pastry round onto your rolling pin, then unrolling it over top of the tart pan. Press the pastry into the corners and up the side of the pan. Use your rolling pin to trim the excess pastry and isn't it looking gorgey already?!

But hold on, we gotta pre-bake this baby first. Like definitely.

Prick the bottom of the pastry all over with a fork. Place a piece of parchment on the top and fill the empty tart with dried beans or pie weights. If you are not baking the shell right away, keep it in the fridge! Bake the shell in a 400 degree oven until set, 7-10 minutes. (I will do more next time!)

Remove the parchment with the beans or weights and place the tart shell back in the oven to brown for 3 minutes or so.

Let the shell cool completely before adding your filling. You can unmold the tart from its pan now, or wait until your quiche is completely finished. I chose the latter option, just to be safe.

Filling:
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1 cup minus 1 tbsp milk (I used skim because that's what I had)
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/2-1 tbsp butter
  • about 8 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Optional: 1 slice Swiss cheese, torn into pieces
First, start by caramelizing the onions. I could eat anything with caramelized onions. Maybe even ice cream.

Heat a wide pot over medium low heat with the olive oil. Onve the pan is hot, add the onion slices and cook over a low to medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for a looooong time. How long? Maybe even up to an hour. Woah! Because good things take time my friends. Low and slow is the game. When the onions are soft and golden and caramelized like magic, you may remove them from the pot into a bowl and set them aside.

In the same pot, toss in a dab of butter along with the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Take a moment to appreciate the way your house now smells. Saute the mushrooms until they have lost their liquid and are cooked through. I added my onions back into the pot about halfway through... because I wanted them to make friends. Once everything is cooked to your liking, turn off the heat and set this mixture aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and cream and seasonings. This mixture can be kept in the fridge for a few hours if not used right away. Also, to this mixture you can add your own ingredients if your not feeling the onion and mushrooms. You could add cheese, sauteed veggies, cooked meats like BACON. I like where you're going with this...

When you are ready to bake your quiche, call your aunt and invite her over for a nice lunch. Then, preheat your oven to 375.
Spoon some of the onion and mushroom mixture over the bottom of the tart crust. Pour in the egg filling to just below the top of the tart and sprinkle the cheese pieces over the top.

*Note: I only used about half of my filling mixture in my quiche. The rest I baked up in a buttered baking dish to make a second crust-less quiche.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the quiche has puffed up and turned golden brown. Julia says that once it has cooked, it should not wiggle in the center.

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.



Serve alongside a garden salad avec a light vinaigrette and be proud that you just made quiche. Even if your pastry isn't fully cooked. You're still awesome. And so is Julia!

Bon Appetit!

<3 Lari

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Peach-Raspberry Tart with Cornmeal Crust


Fun Fact Number 1: August 11 happens to be National Raspberry Tart Day in the United States. 
Fun Fact Number 2: I was planning on making a peach and raspberry tart on August 11 ANYWAYS!

Don't you love it when life just lines up like that? But please do not feel that you must wait for an irrational National Food Holiday to bake a delicious summer fruit tart. You should do it just because you want to. And because you have a bounty of ripe fruit begging to be eaten! Like that is a problem.



I love summer for all of the fresh fruit! It seems like there is so much of it around and it tastes SO MUCH BETTER when it's in season. I want all the fruits. I made this tart with just peaches and raspberries but you could really use whatever fruit you have on hand. Apricots, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, pitted cherries... You could use a combination of fruits or just one fruit...choose your own fruity adventure.


The crust has cornmeal in it, woah! It pairs nicely with the summery fruit and adds a little crunch in texture. Not feeling the cornmeal? You can replace it and just use all flour. But cornmeal is kind of exciting! Is my life that boring that I get excited about cornmeal? No, I'm gonna go with cornmeal is really exciting. What? You are not excited about cornmeal? Weird.

PS This was my first debut of my NEW TART PAN SET WITH REMOVABLE BOTTOMS which I have been dying to use since I got them as a gift like 6 months ago... finally! It feels darn good. Let there be TARTS! I can also sense a quiche in my future... my pie senses tell me. And my pie senses are quite keen these days...

Peach-Raspberry Tart with Cornmeal Crust
Recipe barely adapted from Martha Stewart

Crust:
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3.5 oz butter (7 tbsp.) cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Filling:
  • 3 peaches cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 scant tbsp. turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Directions:
  1. Place all the ingredients for the crust into a food processor and whiz it up! Doesn't get much easier than that. Dump the mixture into an ungreased 8 inch tart pan with removable bottom. (If you don't have a tart pan you can also use an 8 inch springform pan. Press the crust mixture evenly into the pan and up the sides. Place the tart pan onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the crust at 400F for about 15 minutes until it is puffed and slightly golden. Remove the crust from the oven and press it down with an offset spatula. Reduce the oven temperature to 375F
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the peach slices, raspberries, brown and granulated sugar.
  3. Pour the fruit filling mixture into the partially baked crust and sprinkle the top with some turbinado sugar. Place back in the oven to bake for another 30-35 minutes, or until fruit is tender and bubbly and the edge of the crust is golden brown.
  4. Remove from the oven and move tart pan to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature and VANILLA ICE CREAM :) (obviously)
Enjoy!

<3 Lari

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Marbled Matcha and Lemon Pound Cake


MAN! I am so on Team Matcha. I used to think green tea tasted a bit like fish food... I won't lie.

But now I can't get enough! I find myself dreaming about what I can make into a "green tea version"... Matcha cookies, cakes, lattes, pancakes, muffins, truffles, milkshakes... pretty much anything. Except cheeseburgers. I will keep my green tea out of my burgers. For now.

Matcha powder is the magical ingredient in this pound cake. It is not the easiest thing to find however, and is often quite pricey. I managed to buy some for a good price at a Japanese/Korean specialty food market. I have also seen it sold at health food stores, and online. If you can find some (and not spend your life savings on it) then please buy it! You won't regret it. 

It's crazy green and tastes like the earth. Makes you feel really healthy. Feel the goodness of the green, my friends.

Matcha also pairs deliciously well with lemon, which is the other half of this marble cake. Don't be afraid of the green! Embrace it! The lemon and sweetness of this cake help to balance the grassiness of the matcha flavour so it's not overly strong. Grassiness is a word, right? Now it is.





Marbled Matcha and Lemon Pound Cake
Recipe from Joy The Baker

Note! I halved the orginal recipe to make a couple mini loaves, and some muffins. Baking times will vary depending on the size of loaf or muffin tins you use.

Also! You can see that I topped the muffins with some chopped pistachios, they add an awesome crunch and their flavour pairs really well with the matcha and lemon. Also, the more green the merrier! If you wanted I bet almonds would be a great addition as well.


  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/6 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest (about half a lemon)
  • about 1 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/4 of a lemon)
  • 1/2 tbsp Matcha green tea powder
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 1/2 Tbsp melted butter, cooled slightly
  • Handful of chopped pistachios if desired
1) Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour your loaf tins, and line with parchment paper to make life easier! Line muffin tins with paper liners.

2) Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until thoroughly incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and sour cream.

4) Stir in the dry ingredients in 2-3 additions, switching to a rubber spatula if needed. Next, stir in the melted butter, in two or more additions if necessary.

5) Divide the batter into two bowls. In one bowl, mix in the lemon zest and juice. In the other bowl, mix in the matcha powder.

6) In the loaf and/or muffin tins, layer the two different kinds of batter and gently swirl with a knife just a bit to make MARBLE MAGIC!

7)Baking times will vary depending on the size of the tins you use, but generally:
Mini Cupcakes: 15 minutes
Regular Cupcakes: 20-25 minutes
Mini Loafs: 30-35

Or until the tops are springy and a toothpick inserted comes out clean!

Let the loafs cool a bit in their tins before turning out onto a wire raack to cool completely.

Enjoy with a cup of tea, preferably green and especially Matcha :)

<3 Lari







Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Lemon Raspberry Yellow Rose Cake


I love having an excuse to make a fancy cake! Especially when it is for somebody special. And especially when it is a surprise for them. Surprises are always the best.

This particular cake was for my Aunt Joan. I have three aunts in total, and two of them are named Joan. How does that happen? THIS Aunt Joan is from my Dad's side of the family and her birthday just happened and I totally got to make a cake for her! I had a massive brainstorming session for what kind of cake I wanted to make, and how to decorate it. All free time was dedicated to cake thoughts.

I wanted to make it special for her, so I asked around the family for some inspiration. Turns out, she has a thing for roses, yellow roses in particular. BAM! Inspiration. And the Yellow Rose Aunt Joan Cake is born.


This cake was to be served after a family dinner, in the summertime... so I wanted it to be light and summery, not too rich. Also, YELLOW! (After much indecision and debate) I decided to create something lemony and raspberry-y. Seemed like the right thing to do. And when in doubt, cream cheese frosting.



Lemon and raspberries feel like summer! Yellow and white with a splash of pink makes me happy.

I seriously had a lot of fun making this cake, from designing it, to baking, to decorating... Give me an occasion. I'll make you a cake. Please? Cool, thanks. Let's be friends.



Lemon Buttermilk Cake
Recipe from Martha Stewart

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • zest of 3 lemons (about 3 tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
1) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2)Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the lemon zest and vanilla.
3)Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of buttermilk and lemon juice. Blend until just combined.
4)Pour batter into greased and floured 8" cake tins. (I saved some batter to make into mini cupcakes... you know, for mandatory taste-testing and quality control)
5)Bake at 325 for about 30 minutes or until cake tops are springy and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
*If you are making mini cupcakes, they will take about 15 minutes.
*If you are making regular sized cupcakes, they will take about 20 minutes.
6)Let cakes cool at least 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.
*Cakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one day, or wrapped in plastic and frozen for much longer!


Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 oz butter
  • 4 cups sifted icing sugar (you may need more depending on the temperature, my frosting was too soft so I added 1/4 cup extra)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
1) In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy and completely combined. Gradually add the icing sugar about one cup at a time, beating until well combined after each addition. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Taste and adjust as needed. If frosting is too thin, add more icing sugar. Too thick? Add a tiny splash of milk.

Frosting can be used immediately  or refrigerated in an airtight container for a few days, or frozen for up to three months.





For the filling of the cake, all I did was take about 1/3 of the cream cheese frosting and added a big handful of fresh raspberries and mashed it all up. I didn't blend it together completely because I was going for the marbled look. Pretty!

(A warning note: the raspberries I added were particularily delicious i.e. JUICY like mad and thinned out the frosting quite a bit. This made things a bit runny and messy and oozing-out-the-sides style when I layered the cake. Perhaps next time I will add more powdered sugar to help thicken it up. Once you put the first layer of frosting on the outside, however, if you stick the cake in the fridge it will firm up and help things along.)



My first rose, woo!

Meringue Buttercream Roses
Recipe from Martha Stewart


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup (8oz) butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Gel paste food colouring (I used a mixture or golden yellow and lemon yellow by Wilton)
1)In the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer whisk together the egg whites, sugar and salt. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved, about 2-3 minutes, the mixture should feel smooth when you rub it between your fingers. 

2) Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the bowl from the heat and attatch it to your standing mixer. Starting on low speed and increasing to medium high, whip the egg white mixture until it is completely cool, white and glossy and forming slightly stiff peaks. (this takes about 10 minutes)

3) Reduce speed to medium low and add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time, beating until combined after each addition. If the mixture appears to "curdle" after adding the butter, FEAR NOT! This happens to me every. time.  :( But the good news is all you have to do is keep beating, and whip that buttercream back into shape. Just beat it. Like Michael Jackson told you to.

4) Next mix in the vanilla extract and food colouring if desired. YELLOW!

5) You can use the buttercream immediately, or keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just bring back to room temperature and beat it some more to get the right consistency.

6) When you're ready to make the roses, fit a pastry bag with a petal tip, then fill the bag with your buttercream. You will also need 1 inch squares of parchment paper, a flower nail and an offset spatula is helpful when moving the flowers from the parchment to the cake.

7) I would reccommend watching a few youtube videos for a visual on how to pipe these flowers. They look complicated, but I found them to be quite simple. The petal tip does most of the work for you! And as always, Martha knows what's best: check out her instructions here. (I just used the petal tip, instead of switching back and forth between two and it worked out fine)

Cake Assembly

1) Place one cake layer on the platter you wish to serve it on. Spread with a thin layer of raspberry jam.

2)Spread the raspberry-marbled cream cheese frosting on top of the jam, no need to spread too far to the edges because it will ooze out otherwise when you put the next layer on.

3)Put the next layer on!

4)Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of the cake, working fairly quickly because oh my goodness this frosting is oozing out the sides and turning my white frosting pinkish and hey maybe that's still cool it's kind of looking like ombre and that's totally in right now maybe I'll just let it happen! But please get a coat of cream cheese frosting on there, pop it in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up a bit. I left mine in the fridge overnight, and left the rest of the decorating for the next day which was the day of the party.


5) Using an offset spatula, transfer your buttercream roses from their parchment squares to the top of the cake, arranging how you like.
I had some leftover cream cheese frosting, so I tinted it green and piped some leaves around the roses.

6)Finish the cake off by arranging fresh raspberries around the bottom and TADAA

               

Slice it, serve with vanilla ice cream, on the patio in the backyard. Rock on.




<3 Lari


Rhubarb Muffins








These are what I like to call "Early Morning Muffin Impulse Decisions."

It's what happens when you wake up ten minutes before your alarm goes off and the sun is streaming through your windows and your mind is thinking about how your neighbor mentioned making rhubarb muffins with sugary tops and how you totally have a recipe in your big, beautiful Nigella Lawson cookbook for rhubarb muffins with sugary tops and how you totally have a garden overflowing with rhubarb right now and how slightly crazy but awesome you would be for making fresh muffins before running out the door to two early morning appointments and just how dang much you love muffins!



This is my mind. You are always welcome to join :) Please do, I'll even give you a fresh muffin.

Fresh rhubarb from the garden, what what! I'm almost starting to forget that I ever hated the stuff. The vast amounts of cinnamon and sugar on the tops of these sure helps though.

And walnuts! Because adding nuts can only make things BETTER.

I also made a mini-loaf version! Because I have the pans and just dang wanted to. Variety is the spice of life they say. Variety, and cinnamon.

I hope you make an Early Morning Muffin Impulse Decision sometime soon. You will not regret it. Worst case scenario, you get fresh muffins. And that's not such a bad case to be in. Just add coffee! Or tea. Or a skim milk latte from Second cup in between doctors appointments :)




Rhubarb Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Tops
Recipe from Nigella Lawson's Feast (Who has yet to disappoint me)

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 175g rhubarb, cut into 1 cm cubes
  • 75g walnuts roughly chopped
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 50g wheat germ
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (just use granulated if you don't have turbinado)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
1) Whisk together the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk.
2)In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and wheat germ.
3) Combine the wet and the dry ingredients, but don't over mix! Over-mixing equals tough muffins. We are going for tender, not tough.
4)Gently fold in the walnuts and the rhubarb.
5) Scoop the batter into paper-lined muffin or mini loaf tins.
6) In a small dish, combine the turbinado and the cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture GENEROUSLY (YES) over the tops of the muffins.
7) Bake at 350! My muffins took about 20 minutes, and my loaf was just under 30 minutes or so. Better to check them earlier just to be sure.
8)The fresher you eat these the better because the tops will be their crunchiest! Which might sound weird, but it's really the best. Although they are still absolutely delicious the next day, and the next, and the next... mmmmm. Muffins.

<3 Lari

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Coconut Almond Anniversary Cake



Coconuts! Almonds! Chocolate! OH MY!

A few months ago, my supervisor from work hired me to bake his wife a surprise cake on their anniversary! That is just the cutest thing ever. So obviously, I said Heck Yes I will. He managed to sneakily ask her what her favorite cake might be and she came up with this:

A coconut cake, filled with chocolate ganache, and frosted with an almond buttercream.

And the Coconut Almond Anniversary Cake was born!

I was a tad nervous making this cake because I had never made (or eaten, really) a cake like it. It was my first time making an almond frosting... Sometimes I find that almond flavoured foods taste kind of artificial and fruity? That is weird. So I used very little almond extract, and mostly almond butter to create it. Good news it was delish! 
How do I know it was delish?
I tagged along with them on their anniversary and ate their cake. NO! Just kidding. I did not.
That could be creepy, so instead, FUN TIP: I decided to save just enough cake batter and made a single cupcake, which I later filled and frosted the same way that I did for the larger cake. This way, I could do some quality control taste testing before releasing my cake out into the big world! Quality control is extensively important and probably the best part of cooking. Always do some quality control :)

The toasted coconut and almonds on top of the cake added some lovely texture. And what is a proper dessert without a little chocolate? The ganache filling made it that much more special.

So if you are celebrating your anniversary, or somebody else's, try this cake! And if you are not, then it is probably somebody's anniversary somewhere in the world... do it for them.

Coconut Cake
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart


Almond Butter Cream
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) softened butter
  • 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed. Add half of the icing sugar, and beat until everything is light and fluffy, add in the almond butter and extract, beat until combined. Add in the remaining half of the icing sugar and beat until everything is combined and delicious.



Chocolate Ganache
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
Place your chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Warm the cream on the stove to just a simmer, just until you see bubbling around the edge of the pot. Take off the heat, and pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes or so to start melting the chocolate. Gently stir until the cream and chocolate make a uniform mixture. The ganache needs to set in the fridge before so it can become spreadable, and ready to go on the cake! 

Cake Assembly!

Place one of the cake layers on a serving platter. Spread the ganache over the cake, and top with the second cake layer. Cover the sides and top of the cake completely with the Almond Buttercream. Here is the cool part! In my stocking for Christmas... I got to open this one early for this reason... I got a nifty cake decorating tool called a decorating triangle. They are pretty inexpensive to buy and give the sides of your cake a fancy finish. And I am all about the fancy finish. All you have to do is make sure the side of your cake is covered in a nice even layer of frosting, then drag one side of the triangle all the way around. Tadaa: fancy sides.
I garnished the top of my cake with toasted shredded coconut, toasted sliced almonds, and some large-flaked coconut. Large flake coconut is my new favourite ingredient! It's just so fancy looking. And as previously mentioned, I am all about the fancy. It is hard to find in regular grocery stores, but I found mine at a health food store.
I have discovered that I have more fun now wandering in health food stores than I do in clothing stores. There are so many cool foods and ingredients that you don't normally see in a regular grocery store! I love going in and walking out with something totally new to try. Such as large-flake coconut.
If you have extra buttercream leftover, use it to pipe a nice little frame around your cake to finish it off.

Happy Anniversary or Non Anniversary! (Those are important to celebrate too.)

<3 Lari

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Blueberry Lemon Scones




"You can't be that kid at the top of the 

waterslide, overthinking it.

You have to go down the chute."

-Tina Fey

I have been saying this to myself a lot lately. I tend to sometimes (ALL THE TIME) overthink small details and drive myself (and others) a little crazy.

For instance it took me way too long to make up my mind whether I should make blueberry scones with lemon, or blueberry scones with almonds.

Sometimes the difference between lemons and almonds is a really big deal guys.




But like the wise Tina Fey reminds me, you have to go down the chute. So I just threw caution and lemon zest to the wind and went down the Blueberry Lemon chute.

And why was I ever doubtful!? Blueberry and lemon are like two really good friends that people like me tend to forget about when all they can think about is chocolate. But I didn't even add chocolate to this recipe! I kept things classy and classic, and the result was dang awesome. Proud moment.


photo.JPG

Fresh blueberries and fresh lemons. It's hard to go wrong! I made six scones, plus one baby scone. That baby one totally has my name on it.

Stop overthinking things and go down the chute. Make scones with the bounty of blueberries sitting in your fridge. Make them for you and your mom before you go to work. Eat them warm with butter and serve with milky tea. Enjoy it.

Because Tina Fey and I told you to.


Blueberry Lemon Scones
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
(I halved the recipe to make just a small batch, but it can be easily doubled. Unbaked scones can be frozen and saved in the freezer to bake up when you want them!)

Makes about 6 small scones
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp (1.5 oz) cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/6 cup almond milk (or any other milk if you prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • Cream for brushing (optional)
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 (375 for my hot oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Use your fingers to mix in the butter with the flour mixture. You don't want to blend the two together completely, just until the butter is in pea sized clumps. This equals flakyness!

Gently fold in the blueberries. In another bowl, whisk the egg into the almond milk. Combine the wet and the dry until they form a dough, you may need to knead it a bit. Need to knead, ha. (Sorry)

Gently roll out dough (don't flatten your butter too much!) onto a lightly floured surface. Use a knife or cookie cutter to cut out your scones. I used a small glass dipped in flour to cut out round scones.

Place on prepared baking tray. Brush the tops with a good amount of cream, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Make a pot of tea and serve up some scones, warm from the oven, with butter. Yes.

Warm food straight from the oven with melty butter is probably one of the most magical moments in life. Yes, I am easily pleased.

<3 Lari

PS: Have strawberries instead of blueberries? Make these Strawberries and Cream Scones instead! Equally awesome.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Stuff In My Yogurt



A new series commences: Stuff In My Yogurt.

It's pretty much all about the kinds of delicious "stuff" I add to my greek yogurt. You probably could have figured that out without me telling you...

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Greek Yogurt! My favourite is simply plain, 0% greek yogurt. Even though it is 0%, I still think it's so creamy and thick and everything I dream about! And when it is plain, then we can get all creative and add whatever the heck we want! And whatever the heck we have kickin' in the fridge!

I was recently inspired by this post about yogurt toppings. The photos are FANTASTIC, and were styled and shot by one of my favourite bloggers: Top With Cinnamon.

The picture above was taken from those ideas: blueberries + lemon juice + granulated sugar (mash it!) then topped with more fresh blueberries and lemon zest.


This here above us would be greek yogurt + bananas + cinnamon + crushed peanuts. (and an apricot-jammed muffin and some almond milk)


Breakfast time is indeed the best time.

Rock on, greek yogurt...
Rock on.