Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pecan Pie

Decadent Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie, a decadent, sugary circle of nutty goodness.

I am often asked to bring dessert to family dinners. This Christmas, I wanted to bring a touch of the south to dinner with a rich, decadent Pecan Pie. True to form, I ran out of time to make my own pastry, so for these pies I used purchased pie shells (gasp!) which is perfectly FINE if you are BUSY and working full time and running around and don't want to show up at dinner without dessert! Stop judging me! LOL

I spent a year of my teenage life in Mississippi, in what you would call the Deep South. I was a fish out of water, being a Canadian girl suddenly living in a small town where foreigners never visited. My family never quite fit in there, however, my mother and I embraced the cuisine of our new home wholeheartedly.

I have so many fond food memories, but Pecan Pie is one that stands out, especially around the holidays. I never had a pie made of nuts before — it seemed so weird! Put a slice of Pecan Pie in front of me, and I am transported back to that time. And don't forget a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Decadent Pecan Pie
You beautiful, beautiful, pie.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sparkling Cranberries

Sparkling Cranberries
Sparkling Cranberries — a fun, festive way to present cranberries for the Christmas holidays!

I love cocktail parties! It’s so much fun getting dressed up and having your besties over for elegant appetizers, fun cocktails, and champagne, celebrating the holidays together. Between choosing the right outfit and decorating your space, you could easily get overwhelmed with too many complicated dishes. Why not make something simple, yet glittery and pretty, to serve at your next soiree?

Sparkling Cranberry and Brie Appetizer
A delicious way to use sparkling cranberries: a cranberry and brie appetizer... so easy!

These Sparkling Cranberry appetizers are beautiful, elegant, and tasty. The cranberries pop with sugar-coated tartness, enveloped by creamy brie. A basil leaf adds just a touch of savoury spiciness to balance the sweetness, and the tiny hint of raspberry jam holds it all together. Serve these with a glass of pink bubbles to complete the sparkle effect!

Click for the recipe…

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Cream Cheese Mints

Gifts from the Kitchen

Pretty Cream Cheese Mints
Give the gift that doesn't mints around... get it? See what I did there?

If you're stuck for a gift idea, these Cream Cheese Mints are super easy, quick to whip up and look incredibly pretty! Package them up in little jars, throw on a sparkly ribbon, and you have an almost-instant gift. And who doesn't like getting candy as a gift? (That's a hint, by the way).

Cream Cheese Mints
Based on this recipe from Kraft Canada
Makes 8-12 dozen tiny mints, depending upon the size you make them

1 pkg. (8 oz) Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp. peppermint extract
5.5 cups icing sugar
Blue food colouring (I used AmeriColor gel)

Tools Required
Piping bag
Rosette piping tip


  1. Prepare 3 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Beat cream cheese, peppermint extract, icing sugar and food colouring together until smooth.
  3. Spoon mixture into piping bag and pipe little swirls onto the parchment paper. Let mints dry overnight, then package them into pretty jars, decorated with ribbon.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lavender Gin & Tonic

Lavender Gin & Tonic: The perfect way to cool down on hot summer nights.

Ah, summer! It’s been hot, hot, hot here, with no rain or cool nights in sight. My perfect cocktail to cool down with is a Gin & Tonic.
Gin, gin, ginny gin gin :)
Did you know that June 13th was World Gin Day? I know – it sneaks up on me every year, too! I celebrated this auspicious day with some of my friends. We all brought a selection of gins, tonics, bitters, and other add-ins, and shared some cocktails, good food, and laughter.

My favourite Gin & Tonic of the evening was a Lavender Gin & Tonic, make with Lavender Simple Syrup and this gin from Ampersand Distilling Co. on Vancouver Island, BC. It would also be great with Bombay Sapphire gin. The tonic I used was Indian Tonic from Fever Tree. The lavender really brought out the floral and citrus botanicals in the gin.

Try this Gin & Tonic and let me know what you think – if you come up with something interesting, post it in the comments. Enjoy!

Lavender Gin & Tonic

Makes 1 Cocktail

  • 2 oz. Lavender Simple Syrup (recipe here)
  • 1 oz. Gin
  • Tonic water
  • Ice cubes
  • Blueberries and sprigs of lavender for garnish
  1. Pour syrup into an old-fashioned glass. Add gin, and stir until combined. Add ice cubes and top with tonic water. Garnish with a lavender sprig and blueberries. Enjoy!

Lavender Simple Syrup

Lavender Simple Syrup – add it to your cocktail and instantly up the class factor!

Simple syrup’s name does not lie: it is very, very simple to make. Add lavender, and this sweet syrup becomes something amazing. The syrup becomes this rich, rosy colour. It tastes like sweet, herbaceous and floral, but not bitter and perfumey.

You can add this Lavender Syrup to cocktails, lemonade, iced tea – whatever your imagination can dream into being. I made a refreshing cocktail for my friends – a Gin & Tonic with Lavender Syrup.

I hope you come up with some interesting uses for this syrup. Post your creations in the comments!

Lavender Simple Syrup

Makes about 1 cup of syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
  1. Bring water and lavender to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for another 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  2. Strain syrup to remove blossoms.
Syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lavender Panna Cotta with Blueberry Riesling Sauce

Lavender Panna Cotta with Blueberry Riesling Sauce

On a recent trip through Okanagan wine country in central British Columbia, I was sitting in the pretty flower garden at Peachcliff B&B, enjoying the scents of lavender and roses. As I sipped the crisp local white wine, I was inspired by the aromas and the countryside to create this unique dessert. Lavender had been in the forefront of my mind anyway, and I was lucky to be in the area just as it started to bloom.

At first I thought, "Will this taste like hand lotion?" The answer? It doesn't! Lavender adds a slightly herbaceous, almost fruity flavour, with a very faint, flowery note. I also made Lavender Syrup from the flowers (recipe here).

Botrytis-Affected Riesling from Wild Goose Vineyards, Okanagan Falls, BCThis decadent dessert is not overly sweet, so it pairs wonderfully with a slightly sweet white wine that has great acidity, like this botrytis-affected Riesling from Wild Goose Vineyards in Okanagan Falls, BC.  

I hope you try this decadent, creamy treat, and that it evokes images of wine country for you as well.

Click through for recipe and instructions...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

No Bake White Chocolate Cheesecake with Raspberry Vodka Sauce for Father’s Day

I once again volunteered to bring dessert to the family get-together. This time, it was a potluck BBQ for Father’s Day. My Father-in-law’s favourite dessert is cheesecake (psst it’s mine, too), so I knew I would be making one. Since we have been having unseasonable hot weather here, I thought I would whip up a no-bake cheesecake to bring. “I love having the oven on for hours during hot weather,” said no one ever.

This cheesecake is simple and quick to throw together. The sauce is to die for, with intense raspberry flavour. It’s worth the extra elbow grease to strain out the seeds, pressing the mixture through a sieve to get the tasty pulp along with the juice. Why add vodka? You can certainly leave it out, but the alcohol is cooked away. The vodka adds a rich body to the sauce, giving it a buttery mouth feel without adding butter. I wouldn’t use flavoured vodka, as the bright acidity of the raspberries would be lost.

Click through for recipe and instructions...