on the berry bandwagon

Well, I still have rhubarb recipes gathering dust in my drafts file and I had hoped to post those before popping back here to simply announce that the next instalment of Kate’s Plate is live over at Ottawa Magazine (online and in print!), and yet here I am. Something about the best laid plans going awry…berry prep Continue reading

berkeley birthday

In contrast to the chilly October weekend that just passed, my twin brother and I celebrated our birthday last year in sunny California. Between hiking along the coastal beaches and under sequoia canopies, and roaming the hilly street of San Francisco, we spent a night and a day with most of our family in Berkeley.On our birthday-eve (not something we typically celebrate!), we wandered through town in time to hear the tower bells on campus, and back too late for the farmer’s market. Upon having our ID checked at Jupiter, we were challenged to a birthday beer race by our server (we lost, obviously). There were birthday candles floating in our stout which was a big enough win for me. We ate pizza and then my brothers and I fell asleep while watching Harry Potter in the motel room; a great way to ring in another trip around the sun.

Before driving across the bridge to San Francisco the next day, we had a late lunch at Chez Panisse Cafe. I will attribute the same-day reservation that my parents made to being a birthday miracle.

My mum had introduced me to the name Alice Waters and her restaurant Chez Panisse many years ago. When the assigned reading for my high school French class was Marcel Pagnol’s Marius & Fanny, the connection to the character named Panisse, in my mind, was the Californian restaurant. I thought it was an exciting coincidence at the time. (It’s not a coincidence, of course.)

The significance of Alice Waters’ influence on American cuisine is expansive – extending far outside of Californian kitchens, into farms, schools, and global communities. Many more skilled writers and cooks than I have described her impact in the industry and beyond. I’ll just add that it was a real treat to sit in the sunlit café on my birthday, with some wonderful people, eating delicious, simple food that was a testament to all the good things I had heard before getting there. Another birthday candle, this time in my persimmon pudding, was icing on the (birthday) cake. I can’t wait to go back.cali bday (1)
We left with one of Alice Waters’ cookbooks, with recipes ordered by season and ingredients. It’s almost encyclopedic, and wonderful to flip through for inspiration. The recipe I’m sharing is certainly not Continue reading

Stand Up for Science [Pavlova with Chocolate Cream and Ontario Fruit]

Stand up for Science Photo.fwLast spring, I wrote about the decline of science in Canada, and the frustration in the science community. That spurred the Death of Evidence rally on Parliament Hill, where scientists and concerned citizens alike gathered to protest the current situation of science in our country. The rally garnered international attention, but since then the situation has not improved.

That’s why on Monday there will be rallies across the country, urging Canadians and our government to Stand Up for Science(!). I’ll be in my lab coat on the Hill, and I’d love it if you joined me. (Practice your chanting: What do we want? Science! When do we want it? After peer review!) It doesn’t matter if you think you are a scientist or not, these issues affect all Canadians. We need evidence based decision making, not the opposite.

And now, because thoughts of science and desserts often dance around my head simultaneously, a pavlova.
pavlova4

Backyard bounty.

Backyard bounty.

Continue reading…

The Ballerina of Desserts

Bursting with juicy fruit and cream between layers of brown sugar meringue, this delicate and versatile dessert is certainly fit for its namesake.  Believed to be created in honour of Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova while dancing on tour in Australia or New Zealand (they still debate it), the dessert has become one of my favourite things to make (and eat, obviously!).
This “triple-layer” version of the pavlova is a little more high maintenance than a more typical pavlova with one large meringue and toppings, but it is still easy to make and assemble and the overall effect of the layers is worth it! Recipe and variations

What do you do with stale bread?

Make French toast, of course!  With a loaf or hardened baguette on my hands and some left over challah, I got to work this morning! Just to clarify, I mean stale as in the bread is a little dry and not super for a sandwich, not stale as in there is mould on your bread…

If you google “French toast recipe” you will find a seemingly endless supply of recipes for the classic breakfast, some traditional and some with their own twist.  There are French toast soufflés, baked French toast, some with Grand Marnier, French toast BLTs…

They all sound delicious, but I just went for an easy brekkie and made Pomegranate Orange French Toast with Orange Sauce and Pecans & Classic French Toast with Raspberries, Bananas and Maple Syrup. A super tasty way to start of the day! What are your favourite French toast combinations??  See recipes here!