Here’s a delicious way to ring out 2012. I adore profiteroles – I used to choose chocolate-covered cream puffs instead of a birthday cake. I sometimes succumb to the frozen tubs at the grocery store (perfect for chocolate fondue, by the way), but they’re not at all hard to make from scratch. My friend Shaina’s new book, Desserts in Jars, has a recipe for profiteroles in jars, which is kind of a fun presentation. I still have a plethora of jars in the basement. Fill the cooled profiteroles with cream or ice cream – peppermint ice cream would be pretty fab, no? – then top with warm chocolate or hot fudge sauce. I’ve taken to making a quick ganache by simmering a cup of cream, then adding 8 oz. chopped dark chocolate, letting it sit, then stirring until smooth.

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I brought a cake to the office this week. (I don’t usually work in an office, as most of you know, but out of our spare room. But sometimes I get to hang out in a cubicle outside the studio when I’m taking over traffic at CBC, and feel very Mary Tyler Moore-ish.) I happened to be subbing in on David‘s birthday, and so I baked a cake. Peanut butter, because he loves it and so do I. I’ve rarely met a person who doesn’t practically jump up and down with glee at the sight of a peanut butter cake, especially when the layers are sandwiched with chocolate ganache and the whole thing is topped with creamy peanut butter frosting, made with cream cheese. Not that I’ve ever actually made a peanut butter cake, that I can remember, but that was the unanimous reaction I got to this one. Because I didn’t plan ahead and made ganache just a few hours before I had toContinue reading

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Aw, I’m all verklempt. I’m so glad to have you guys here, cheering me on, balancing things out, telling me what I need to hear when I can’t see past my thighs. (Especially my right one, which is inexplicably two inches bigger than my left one.) It’s silly, isn’t it? The hungry part of my brain easily convinces the part that controls my hands and mouth that life is too short to worry about aesthetics, that I shouldn’t waste my time caring about my hair or what I can or can’t wear and who might see me, but rather seize the day (and the donut) and appreciate what I have. Which is all true. Especially when news comes of the death of someone close to many friends and colleagues, and another old friend is suddenly admitted to the ICU. What better salve than a comforting meal shared with people you love? To obsess about that extra piece of buttered toast with tea before bed seemsContinue reading

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My craving for pizza has not been satiated since the disappointing pizza I brought home last week.  A few days ago I mixed up a batch of no-knead bread dough with the intention of making a pizza. Yesterday, when the dough had already been sitting patiently on the counter for 24 hours when it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to use it, I put it in the fridge – this slows the yeast-rising process, so it was fine to use today and hadn’t morphed into some form of sourdough. I sauteed some mushrooms and wilted some spinach, and turned out our usual big rectangular pizza on one of my rimmed cookie sheets. Happily, I did need to test a recipe for an article on honey I’m working on for City Palate, so we made Chocolate-Honey Cupcakes with Honey Ganache. They turned out incredibly well; not overly sweet despite their name, with a fine, dense texture. Although I’ve never been one to turn downContinue reading

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Ganache is just a fancy word for chocolate melted with cream, and in this case, honey. It’s the same mixture you’d use to make truffles, only more liquidy. It’s actually easier to make than frosting.

So yeah, it’s been a crazy week. A week ago tonight I was making pasta with Jamie Oliver in London – and shared a plate of the pasta he made with him, even – and I need to tell you about it. How, everyone asks, did I come to be in London on an otherwise regular Monday night, wilting stinging nettles to mix with ricotta and mascarpone and stuff into fresh ravioli, alongside one Jamie O? He has a partnership with Sobeys, who as part of their Better Food for All campaign launched a healthy eating/living challenge for which the grand prize was a trip to London to do a private cooking class with Jamie himself. They chose two winners from across Canada (both from out east), and then asked me to come along for the trip, just to tweet and Instagram and generally report on it all. Which, of course, I was thrilled to do. I hadn’t been to London since I was twenty-one,Continue reading

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I realize that 90% of the chocolate cakes you see here are bundt cakes. There are two reasons for this: 1) I like dense, damp, not-too-sweet (even squidgy) chocolate cakes best. And 2) I’m pretty lazy; I’d rather not deal with the layers, which require to be dressed with frosting, and I like the sort of cake you can eat by the wedge – it’s easier to shave off a nibble here and there. And so last Sunday, having just made a round of smoothies, I decided that while the blender was out I’d fast-track the batter for a chocolate cake I had decided to bring my mother in law, who likes a wedge of cake to nibble every night before bed. My standard chocolate cake has a very thin batter anyway; I figured it could be blitzed up like a smoothie and poured into the pan. Right? I was being so lazy about it all that I didn’t even go upstairs to get myContinue reading

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Lara bars 1

Second day of school. I offer this rebuttal: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! We’re making the leap from pie pans to lunchboxes. No biggie. It’s really not so bad – fall is my favourite time of year. I get all nostalgic and organizational and back-to-school pumped, without the teenage angst. (I’ve managed to hang on to my teenage skin, however.) Besides, right now I’m poolside (OK, the inflatable in my mom’s back yard that’s mostly a watery grave for hundreds of bug carcasses), Coke slurpee in hand, and the car thermometer reads 34 degrees. It’s still summer, despite these 6 1/2 hour interruptions in the middle of the day. The difference is I’m back to paying attention, to catching up and clearing out and organizing and noting deadlines in red on my calendar. Schedules constrict, expectations rise and all that. Aaaaaand I was just strafed by a sluggish wasp, who triggered me to grab madly for the bug zapper, upending my slurpee onto my laptop and into my shoe.Continue reading

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I don’t have recipes for you today as much as I have ideas – but they’re good ones, I think. The boys and I spent a glorious Friday afternoon out in Dalemead, 20 minutes south of Calgary, at the home/farm of Darrel and Corrine of Winter’s Turkeys. I was working on a story and wanted to chat and check out their Thanksgiving flock, and planned it for a Friday afternoon to coincide with what we call “Fun Fridays” – a secret trip to a surprise destination that the boys look forward to on their Friday afternoons off school. (And so do I.) The car thermostat read 29 degrees, with not a cloud in the sky. Corinne made peach iced tea and lemonade, and ice cream sandwiches made out of thick slices of chocolate zucchini loaf and honey ice cream from Chinook Honey. She spread softened ice cream on one slice, chocolate ganache on the other, then sandwiched them together. Brilliant, no? Although I love iceContinue reading

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