roman holiday I

It turns out that the third time is a charm.

Behind the tourist menus and the long lines at historic sites, Rome is irresistibly charming. I was charmed by gelato that tastes like rice pudding and the corners of buildings where centuries of architecture overlap. I was charmed by an antique market that sells only books and fresh pasta drowned in pecorino. And, I was charmed by late-night dinner reservations and Roma fans who don't mind if Bayern beats Milano.


dressing up pancakes

I am a big believer in big breakfasts. I like refills of coffee and side orders. I like spending so much time with breakfast that morning turns to afternoon. I like breakfasts with friends at home and breakfasts alone with newspapers at local diners and cafes.

Pancakes are a clear favourite. Shortly after I shared my classic pancake recipe I noticed that Mark Bittman wrote an article in the New York Time titled "For Whole-Grain Pancakes, Try a Little Tenderness". This article really raises the bar when it comes to making pancakes. He included recipes for Bulgur-Ricotta Packages, Cornmeal Pancakes with Vanilla and Pine Nuts, and Cardamom-Scented Oatmeal Pancakes with Apricots and Almonds. Wow. I was inspired and came up with my own spiffed up version: Sweet Potato and Coconut Pancakes. I will always love classic pancakes, but it is fun - and often delicious - to experiment with classics now and then.

Sweet Potato and Coconut Pancakes


1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of ground nutmeg, or cinnamon, or both
a pinch of sea salt
1 small sweet potato (1/2 to 2/3 cup)
1 egg
1/2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp coconut milk
oil, or coconut oil for frying

Peel and cube the sweet potato. Cook in boiling water until tender. Drain water and mash well. Because pancakes should be smooth, make sure that the sweet potato is also smooth. In the meantime, mix together the flours, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, mix together mashed sweet potato, coconut milk, egg and oil. Add the dry mix to the wet mix and stir until combined. The batter should be thick, but add more coconut milk or a splash of other milk if necessary. Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Once pan is hot add oil or coconut oil and distribute across the pan. Spoon batter into the pan and cook until each side of the pancake is golden. Serve with lots of butter, maple syrup and fresh fruit. Blackberries and bananas both taste delicious with the sweet potato.



dressing up february

I have dressed February up in black lace, gold beads and feathers. I have dressed February up in masks and bunny ears.

This year the shortest month has a little sparkle.


for the love of chocolate

I may not like Valentine's Day, but I do like chocolate.

If you too grew up in North America, you probably have memories of being eight years old and stressed out wondering if your crush was going to give you a Valentine's card or a handful of cinnamon hearts. I was eventually able to overcome this stress and concentrate on the more important things: chocolate. I am against specific things for specific days and cheap, drug-store chocolate. However, I do believe in everyday luxuries and home-made chocolate desserts.

Petits pots de crème au chocolat et pommes

inspired by la tartine gourmande


1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
80g of dark chocolate (at least 60%)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup plus 3 tbsp milk
1-2 tsp ground cardamom
a splash of vanilla extract

1 apple, diced into tiny pieces
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
a pinch of fleur de sel
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 320F/160C. Combine coconut milk, milk, ground cardamom and vanilla in a pot. Bring to a simmer and then turn off heat. Although flavours to infuse. While still hot, add finely chopped chocolate and stir until melted. Meanwhile, beat together the egg and egg yolks. Add sugar. Slowly, add the milk mixture. Stir until well combined. Pour into oven-proof jars or ramekins. Arrange jars in a large baking dish and fill the baking dish half way up with water to make a water bath. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove jars from the water bath and allow to cool completely. Wrap with plastic wrap and place in fridge to set - anywhere from a few hours to overnight.

When ready to serve, melt butter in a skillet. Add apples, spices and salt and stir. Add maple syrup. Once apples are cooked, place aside. Serve petits pots with apples on top.



more citrus for winter

I am starting to realize that lemons are probably the single food I buy most of. No, I do not peel them and eat them; and, no I am not crazy about things that taste sour. However, most foods I make somehow include lemons. I had fresh lemon juice in my tea this morning. I put lemon zest in my pasta sauce this evening. I add it to pizza crusts and to cookies. I add its juice to salads and its zest to salmons. I put it in cakes and I eat it in vegetable tarts.

Needless to say, this love for lemons also means a love for lemon curd. Lemon curd, like ketchup, is something that I have always bought. A trip to London in the spring ended with me stocking up on lemon curd at Marks & Spencer to bring back to Canada. If I had had this recipe then, I would have brought home-made lemon curd from Canada instead.

Lemon Curd

from Nigel Slater's column for the Observer


zest and juice of 4 organic lemons (they must be unwaxed)
1 cup/200g. sugar
100g. unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 egg yolk

Cut butter into small cubes. Mix butter with lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a heatproof bowl or small pot set over a larger pot with simmering water. Stir occasionally until the butter has melted. In a bowl, mix together the eggs and egg yolk lightly with a fork. Add eggs to the lemon mixture. Let the curd cook while stirring regularly. Stir with a wooden spoon or a whisk. Don't let the curd overheat as this will cook the eggs. Once the curd coats the back of a wooden spoon or feels heavy on a whisk, remove from heat. As it cools, stir occasionally. The curd will thicken as it cools. Pour into two small jars and seal. Store in the refrigerator for a few weeks.



postcards from tel aviv

Sometimes I like to think that a postcard can be used similar to a conch shell. A postcard from Tel Aviv then holds the sounds of the Mediterranean sea and fresh fruit being pressed into juice.


thursday morning

a) quinoa and buckwheat cooked in milk with ground ginger, cinnamon, hemp powder, pumpkin seeds, pear, walnuts and maple syrup

b) tulip from the market

Is it too early to buy tulips hoping that they mean it is spring?


citrus for winter

Despite their common association with warm climates and sunny days, I crave citrus fruits most come winter. Winter is when I become serious about citrus. It is when I fill my book bag with clementines and when I drink hot water with fresh lemon juice and ginger. It is when I grate lemons for lemon curd and when I peel grapefruits for salads.

This roasted fennel and grapefruit salad satisfies two of my winter cravings. It includes both something warm, the roasted fennel, and something refreshing, the grapefruit. If you are lucky enough to have some ripe, hass avocados (oh, I do love you Scandinavia, but you just aren't the place for avocados), add them as well.

Roasted Fennel and Grapefruit Salad


1 head fennel
1 grapefruit
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
a splash or fresh lemon juice
fresh cilantro or mint for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Remove the green parts of the fennel and slice into medium sized slices. Toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and coarse salt. Place on a roasting pan and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the grapefruit. If necessary cut; however, the pieces should be on the larger side. Whisk together olive oil, salt, pepper, honey, and a splash of fresh lemon juice. Once the fennel is cooked, let cool slightly. Toss the roasted fennel with the grapefruit and arrange on a plate. Add dressing. Garnish with fresh cilantro or mint.


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