Zucchini Pecan Loaf

zuchini pecan loaf- delish

It’s that time of year again, already! Sheesh, it’s almost August and it seems like it was June about five minutes ago.  Well, the good thing is the availability of  fresh, local produce. One of my daughter’s male friends keeps bringing me giant zucchinis–so I had no choice but to figure out a great recipe for Zucchini Loaf. This one is easy, really tasty and fairly healthy. It makes 2 nice big loaves, everyone likes it, freezes well…and uses up all those zucchinis that everyone keeps dropping off! Continue reading

Easy Afternoon Platter on the Patio

Since ‘chacuterie’ (prepared and preserved meats) seems to be the trend these days, this platter of cured meats and old cheeses was just the answer for an afternoon with company on the patio. Try to find a good local  source for some of these delicacies. I love to have some on hand in the fridge — great if company shows up unexpectedly…with a cold beer or nice glass of wine or a spritzer, it’s hospitable and tastes great too.  Put out some mustard, pickles and olives and Bob’s yer uncle. 😉

*For my local readers, these products come from our newest business on Rd. 38 “Seed to Sausage” – no antibiotics/hormones, ethically raised, etc. (amazing breakfast sausage as well). You can sample his products at the Sharbot Lake Farmer’s market (at the beach) on Saturday mornings from 9am-1pm. Continue reading

French Crêpes

blueberry ice cream filled crepe with yogurt and berries with lemon zest

ham and swiss filled crepe with mustard sauce

Crêpes are like very thin pancakes that you must handle a little more gently so as not to tear them. The batter is simple, but it needs to ‘rest’ at least an hour after you mix it up. They can be used in a myriad of ways – plain with maple syrup and butter, filled with fruit and cream or even used in savoury applications — ham and asparagus with a hollandaise sauce, chicken and broccoli in a cream sauce – the possibilities are limitless. The crêpes will keep well in the fridge or freezer, stacked with parchement paper in between. Continue reading

Wild Blueberry Ice Cream

wild blueberry ice cream

Hello, I’m back!  While I was up north, I was able to procure some wild blueberries from the Powassen Farmer’s Market. They weren’t cheap…but I am committed to making Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream for a personal chef dinner for 12, so I really wanted to use wild blueberries– they are smaller, taste better (as in, they actually have flavour), no pesticides and they are perfectly seasonal and so Canadian. This recipe turned out a creamy, flavour-packed delicious ice cream– and I do consider myself an expert on the subject of ice cream.  I’ll be serving this with a blueberry/lemon poundcake. I think it’s going to be a nice ending to an elegant summer BBQ.  Well, if you have an ice cream maker collecting dust in the cupboard, get it out and make some ice cream. God knows it’s hot enough, eh? I think tomorrow will be a record hot and humid day, it’s  ice cream all the way. This is super easy to make!  Who knew?

Wild Blueberry Ice Cream

from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My House to Yours

makes about 3 cups

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, thaw and drain before using) (I used fresh wild berries)
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
grated zest and juice of 1/4 lemon (or more, to taste, or play around with limes/lime juice)
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream

*I will also be trying a dairy-free version with coconut milk


In a medium sauce pan, bring the blueberries, sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice to a gentle boil. When the mixture is boiling and the berries start to burst, about 3 minutes, remove from heat.  Cool slightly.

Pour the mixture into a blender and puree until relatively smooth (it will never be completely smooth). Pour the heavy cream and sour cream into the blender and mix until  well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill completely in the refrigerator – probably 2 hours.

Pour into the bowl of your prepared ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.

When ready, transfer to a plastic freezer container and place in freezer to harden, at least 6 hours.

Freeze in an air tight container. (will keep well for 2 weeks in freezer)

Remove from freezer 15-25 minutes to soften before serving.  Enjoy!!!

*would be amazing with a peach pie. Or a lemon pie. Or a cake. Or by itself. Or with chocolate sauce. It tastes wonderful.

berries, lemon, sugar, whip cream, sour cream

cook berries, lemon zest and juice and sugar for 3 minutes

the base -- berry mixture with cream added, refrigerate until very cold

pour into ice cream maker for suggested amount of time

enjoy! delightfully divine and creamy and super blueberry-y.

Swedish Birthday Cake

Swedish Birthday Cake

I came across this recipe from a Swedish friend of the family, Margitta.  She is well-known for her culinary skills and my daughter, Emily,  spent a week in Stockholm with Margitta in May, so I felt inspired to make this cake for my birthday. It is deliciously different from our North American perception of birthday cake, easy to put together, and classy in it’s presentation. It uses an odd sized pan — 12×4 inch loaf pan –I picked one up at a kitchen store for $10, but if your feeling brave, try it in your regular 9×5 loaf pan and let me know the result.  It is 3 layers of strawberry/banana/whip cream in a vanilla cake, and it’s absolutely delicious. It will serve 8-10 people, so  try it at your next birthday celebration – the recipient will feel extra special and  everyone I served it to -and  I’ve made it twice so far — loved it.

Swedish Birthday Cake

from Margitta Wendin

serves 8-10

For the cake:

3 large eggs

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup cream or milk

Preheat oven to 350F. Line pan with parchment paper (holding paper to pan with a few dabs of butter). Spray parchment with non-stick cooking spray. Place pan on a baking sheet.

Beat butter and sugar until combined, then add eggs, one at a time, and mix until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add to sugar/egg mixture alternately with cream, ending with flour. (Flour = 3 additions, cream = 2 additions). Mix until well combined.

Pour into prepared pan, bake 40 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan, and let cool on rack. When fully cooled, slice into 3 even layers using a serrated knife.  Make filling and topping. Assemble. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

cake baked but not filled

slice into 3 layers with serrated knife

For the filling and topping:

500ml 35% whipping cream

1 tbsp icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup strawberries, mashed, or strawberry jam (I used freezer jam)

1 banana, grated

a few sliced strawberries or some mandarin slices for garnish

Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add icing sugar and vanilla, continue to beat until firm peaks form.

Place first layer of cake on platter and top with mashed strawberries or strawberry jam and spread with about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Top with second layer. Grate banana into about 1 cup of whipped cream. Mix and apply to second layer. Top with 3rd layer. Cover completely with remaining whipped cream, top with sliced berries or mandarins.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy! Excellent cake when strawberries are in peak season.

strawberry jam, banana, cake, whipped cream. Easy and delicious.

apply berries and cream to first layer

mix grated banana and whipped cream, apply to second layer

top with third layer, then apply whipped cream all over.

top with berries, finished product

layers of awesomeness