Friday, August 26, 2011

Anzac Cookies + Happy Blog Birthday

Just a quick little post to say HAPPY (belated) BLOG BIRTHDAY to ursula over at Apples and Almonds, one of my favourite blogs. In honour of ursula's blog birthday, I made a batch of Anzac bicuits, one of my favourite posts on her site. They're super tasty and really easy to whip up. It's also easily veganized since there are no eggs involved. I was going to make something with almonds and apples in it ... but I thought that would be a bit too weird and cheesy! :)

Let me tell you more about these biscuits. First, they make your house smell like a bakery. The combination of oats and coconut give these cookies a toasty, hearty flavour, absolutely perfect with coffee or tea. They're slightly crunchy on the outside and magically chewy on the inside. I made a few tiny tweakings, because that's what ursula always does and I felt that she would have approved! First, I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of self-rising flour (you could add a bit of baking powder to make up for it, and I meant to, but forgot. The cookies were still fabulous), honey instead of gold syrup (which I'm sure what it is exactly .. ) and I added a splash of almond extract. Likes I said, these cookies are pretty toasty perfection.

I've said enough. You should head over to Apples and Almonds and find the recipe. You'll find a whole bunch of other cool and funky things as well. I love it for many reasons:

- Ursula lives on the other side of the world, so it's sooooooooo cool to see her cooking wintery soups in May and summery fresh pastas in January
- There's a video, often featuring funky music at the end of each post
- There's so much more than food! Crafts, sewing, fashion ...
- Ursula makes crazy classics likes Julia Child recipes, french pastries, multiple layer (and coloured!) cakes, and lots .. of .. treats!

There's more, but I won't spoil it for you. Head on over and take a peak. And make the Anzac biscuits!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Almost Autumn Cookies

I woke up yesterday and it was ... kind .. of ... chilly. There. I said it. It was kind of chilly and I had to put on a sweater. Although summer hasn't officially said good-bye (there are still watermelons and peaches and cherries and sweet corn galore!), we know that it's coming. Autumn is around the corner, whether we like it or not. And why shouldn't we? Fall means pumpkins and sweaters and leaves changing colour .. and it also means apples.

When I felt the chill yesterday morning, I thought it appropriate to bake up something with apples. I mentioned in an earlier post that I just discovered the ginger gold apple: a tart and slightly sweet, firm apple that's available in August -- possibly the first apples of the season. I bought a bunch the other day just because they reminded me of the Quebec pomme blanche, and today, I put a few of them to good use in this apple cranberry multi-grain cookie. It's delicious. It's totally addictive, and that's coming from a person with a good amount of will power. But addictive is good in this case because these little apple-y bits of love are packed with whole wheat flour, oatmeal and spelt flakes.

This is spelt. Ever used it? It's nutty and toasty and great in granola. You can also cook it up in porridge like oatmeal, but be careful because it turns mushy really quickly. And I discovered today that it's great in cookies. This cookie is kind of a combination of two oatmeal cookie recipes that I've tried. I liked one because it had fresh apples which you never find in cookies, and I like the other one because it was healthy and had cranberries and nuts. I smooshed the two recipes together and put them in the oven. 15 minutes later, I was in cookie heaven. The grated apples kept this cookie moist, which also let me reduce the amount of oil, and the walnuts and cranberries were the perfect match. But the spelt was really the star. It worked so well in these cookies, making them hearty and healthy enough for breakfast. Yup! Cookies for breakfast!

I can already see myself playing with different flavours. Cinnamon would have been an obvious addition, and I think I probably meant to add it but forgot (my migrain-wracked head was not on it's "A " game .. perhaps I shouldn't have exceeded the recommended maximum dosage of ibuprofen pills..). You can use maple syrup to replace some of all of the sugar -- I bet that would be awesome with the walnuts! You could even replace the oil with something like tahini or almond butter. My mouth is watering already...

See? Fall isn't all that bad.. you just need cookies.

Multigrain Apple Cranberry Walnut Cookies
inspired by Joy the Baker and kickpleat's post on Poppytalk
makes about 2 dozen

2 small apples, grated
1 egg
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of canola oil
2/3 cup of whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of spelt flakes
1/2 cup of rolled oats
1/3 cup of dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts

1. In a large bowl, beat the egg with the sugar and canola oil. Add the apples and mix well.

2. Sift in the flour and baking soda and mix. Add the spelt and oats, cranberries and walnuts and mix well.

3. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a prepared cookie sheet. These cookies don't hold together too well before baking, so do your best to shape them up on the cookie sheet. Once they come out of the oven, they'll be fine.

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until the tops get nice and brown.

5. Enjoy a few with your morning coffee. I dare you!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Fruit

I've been spending a lot of time in the kitchen this summer .. usually baking .. baking and daydreaming. It's lovely and luxurious .. and fleeting. It's already the second week of August, and soon, instead of dreaming about berry popsicles, strawberry compote and watermelon, it'll be pencils, screaming pre-teens and chalk dust. We've discussed the fleeting nature of summer and its natural goodness already, so I'll spare you the lament. Instead, I'll share a quick little recipe. I know, I know. That best way to enjoy summer fruit is to just eat it. Yup, I agree. I was going to make a watermelon and peach gazpacho inspired by the watermelon strawberry gazpacho I read about over at Delicious Days after I got a beautiful yellow watermelon from the local farmer's market ... but ... the watermelon was just soooooo good on its own. I also bought a little basket of peaches. Although I did eat most of them, I sacrificed a couple to make this bread .. twice ..

It's delicious. It's comforting, and easy. It's sugar crusted! It makes use of some beautiful late summer fruit and gives just a subtle hint of those warm fall flavours that are right around the corner. It's also vegan and wholesome. It's from Joy the Baker, who's by the way my baking hero. She made a vegan mango banana bread and it looked so beautiful that I had to try it. However, I didn't have enough mango left, so I added a peach. My fruit-cake ratio was heavier on the fruit, but it was still beautiful. I also used freshly grated ginger instead of the ground ginger that the original recipe called for and it gave the bread a beautiful warm glow. I also played around with flours. I used a combination of whole wheat, kamut and spelt flours. Delicious. The second time I made this bread, I used apple butter instead of canola oil (low-fat snack? yes!!) and it still tasted perfect. I could totally eat this cake for breakfast and feel no guilt. Nope. None at all. That deserves another coffee... (keep scrolling after the recipe!).

Vegan Banana Peach Bread

makes one little loaf adapted from Joy the Baker
*I halved Joy's recipe, so I'm sure the one below doubles beautifully

1 large ripe banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons of canola oil (or apple butter)
3 tablespoons of soy or almond milk
2 tablespoons of brown sugar (reduce to 1 if you're using apple butter)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (or a combo of whole wheat, spelt and kamut)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
a pinch of salt
2 peaches, skinned and diced, or a combo of peach and mango (go nuts with the fruit! blueberries would rock! so would sweet yellow plums!)
2 teaspoons of sugar

1. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, ginger, soy/almond milk, oil or apple butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix it well!

2. Sift in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Gently this time, mix until just combined. Add in the peaches or whatever fruit you're using and give it one final mix.

3. Pour into a greased loaf pan and sprinkle the sugar one top. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted comes out clean.

4. Serve with coffee .. yes ... coffee

Coffee Update!
Sorry! I've been too lazy to update, but we've made tremendous progress!

Ella's Uncle: drip, americano and cappuccino, enjoyed with
their famous berry scones.. so fruity and light... trying to remake them...

Jimmy's Coffee: drip, cappuccino and americano enjoyed with a fruit and yogurt cup.. lovely space and delicious coffee! I've already make repeat visits!

La Merceria: drip, americano and cappuccino along with a spinach empanada, alfajore cookie and complimentary buttery biscuits (served when you order a coffee); very cute! lovely coffee and you can also shop for things like bath salts, linens and homemade jams..

Full of Beans: drip, iced coffee and cappuccino enjoyed with some scones

T.A.N. (in Baldwin Village): two iced americanos and an iced cappuccino enjoyed with a vegan cashew cookie and an oatmeal cookie; beautiful, dark, rich espresso.. yum!

Cafe Unwind: americanos and iced cappucinno (repeat visits .. once enjoyed with a freshly baked strawberry and banana muffin spiced with allspiced.. yum!); hidden away on a residential strip, well worth the search!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Montreal Coleslaw

So, did I mention that I went to Montreal? Oh yeah.. I did. Did I mention that I'm yearning to be back there? Did that too, eh? I haven't officially come down off my Montreal high, even though it's been more than enough time. There's just something about that city that makes me miss it in a strange way.

I've been to Montreal many times, but I always find something new each time I go there. This year, we discovered the markets. And during one of our market visits, I discovered la pomme blanche. It's a beautiful, small green apple that's first harvested in July, and then again August. It's not just tart, it's sour. Think sour apple candy! It's totally delicious, totally refreshing and totally sour! I bought a huge basket just a few days before were were supposed to come home, and seeing as I didn't want to lug a gigantic bag of apples on the train with me, I had to eat most of them up. My partner is not really a sour apple snacker. He'll have a bite, but that's about it. My best friend is against apples in general (yes yes.. only when they're raw because they have a weird texture .. crunchy? crispy? delicious? ahem...).

So. I. Ate. Apples. I snacked on them pre-breakfast, post-workout with a glass of grapefruit juice at the tiny kitchen table before anyone else even got out of bed. I packed them on our walking adventures and happily crunched them in between drinking coffees and eating bagels. I ate them after dinner as a refreshing fruity dessert. I even made a sandwich with one and stuffed slices of it in between orange-honey mustard and vache qui rit cheese. It was the perfect train snack. Totally perfect.

When I got home, I had 4 pommes blanches left and with 2, I made this delicious coleslaw that reminded me of all my favourite flavours from this past Montreal trip: sour apples, sweet local strawberries and tangy orange mustard. I also threw in some beet because I remembered seeing these beautiful mulit-coloured beets at the market. It added a beautiful deep flavour to the salad and balanced out the cheek puckering apple very nicely. The dressing is on the sweet side, and doesn't follow the 3:1 oil-vinegar ration, which is what I like, but feel tree to taste as you make it and adjust accordingly. Seeing as we don't have pommes blanches here in Ontario, I'd say the granny smith would be a fine substitute, or even better, the ginger gold, which I just discovered. It has a very similar texture to la pomme blanche, but isn't quite as sour. If you're against apples, I can't help you here.. this salad screams "J'aime les pommes!"

Counting the says til my next trip back to la belle province...

Sour Apple Coleslaw with Sweet Fruity Dressing

1/4 of a large (I mean huge) head of purple cabbage (or 1/2 of a normal sized one)
2 sour apples
1/2 a giant beet root (or 1 normal sized one)

1.5 tablespoons of honey mustard
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of orange marmalade
2 teaspoons of strawberry jam
1 tablespoon of olive oil
a little grinding of black pepper

mix-ins (optional): goat cheese, sunflower seeds, toasted walnuts or almonds

1. Shred your cabbage. Julienne your apples and beet. Mix together in a large bowl.

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, marmalade, jam, olive oil and pepper. Give it a taste and adjust to what you like.

3. Pour your dressing over the salad and give it a nice big toss. Let it sit in a fridge for at least 20 minutes. Top with mix-ins of your choice and enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Je suis folle d’amour .. absolument folle d’amour pour Montréal. Pourquoi je l’aime tant? Je ne sais même pas .. et ça m’est égal. Je suis content de savoir que Montréal est une des plus belles villes que j’ai jamais visité et j’ai l’intention de le visiter encore .. et encore .. et encore.

Je viens de passer un beau séjour là-bas, pas pour deux ou trois jours comme auparavant .. Mais pour une semaine entière. Et quelle semaine ..

On a bu beaucoup de café …

Café Myriad, Café Olympico, Brulerie Saint-Denis, Café Névé, Café des Bois, Café Kahwa

et de bière …

en fût ..

Le Saint Bock, Vices et Versa, Hurley’s

et en bouteille en confort dans notre petite appartement, louée pour notre séjour..

St. Ambroise, Ephémère (cassis), Ephémère (pomme), Boréal, Dieu du Ciel

On a bouquiné…

LinkLibrairie Mona Lisait, Librairie Gallimard, Le Colisée du Livre

On a cherché de la musique, des films, de l’art et des vêtements…

Musique Nice/Death of Vinyl, Maison du Disque, Arcteryx, George and Jane Boutique, La Boîte Noire, Monastiraki

On a exploré beaucoup .. beaucoup..beaucoup…

UQAM, École Polytechnique, Université de Montréal, McGill, Musée McCord, Parc Mont-Royal, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Canal LaChine, Outremont, Westmount, Avenue de Mont-Royal, La Main, Rue Saint-Denis, Parc Olympique

à pied et aussi en vélo grâce à Vélo Montréal

Et parmi nos plus belles aventures était notre randonnée à travers le cimetière Mont-Royal et le cimetière Côte-des-Neiges à la recherche de l’École Polytechnique (où on a pris un petit moment pour commémorer le massacre de Montréal, et a laissé une toute petite bouquet de fleurs, cueillie pendant le promenade), guidée par les plus grands corbeaux que j`ai jamais vu de ma vie, et un cycliste bien amical ..

et le longue promenade sur rue Saint-Laurent avec mon meilleure amie à côté de moi … comme auparavant..

et notre aventure en vélo à traverse le pont Jacques-Cartier, où mon amour et moi avons arrêté pour partager un petit bec.. c’est beau l’amour!

Est-ce qu’on a mangé bien? Mon dieu que oui..

Il y avait du poutine chez Frites Alors! (mais pas chez notre poutinerie préférée, Patati Patata .. ils sont partis en vacances! Quelle dommage..), et les crêpes à Paris Crêpes. On a mangé aussi chez nous avec les beaux ingrédients biens fraîches et locaux comme les haricots, les petites patates, les délicieusement sûres pommes blanches, les belles mûres fraises, les pâtés de Charlevoix … tous achetés chez une des Marchés Publiques de Montréal (le Marché Jean-Talon étant le préféré .. et je regrette de n’avoir pas gouté le gelato au marron!)

On a eu aussi un beau pique-nique au Parc Jeanne-Mance où on a goûté de la viande fumée de chez Schwartz’s et The Main (le dernier étant beaucoup plus mieux) avec une moutarde à l’orange et au miel .. dont je suis maintenant obsédée…

Et bien sûr il y avait des bagels de Fairmount .. aux graines de sésame, tout garni, à l’ail, aux bleuets, absolument parfait. Et les souvenirs d’un séjour il y a 7 sept ans venait chatouiller à mon esprit.

Je rêve d'y retourner déjà …