Local Lovin’ [Peach Tart]

Good one, Roger.

Good one, Roger.

I was thrilled to wake up on Saturday to see a super nice article about this little blog of mine on Apt613 , a great blog about all things Ottawa. With my eyes still bleary I texted my mum the link from my bed — priorities! It was so exciting and I’d like to give a big thank you to Dylan (and Apt613!) for the lovely writeup. (Thank you!!)peachtart2This weekend in Ottawa was beautiful, with long days of sunshine and weather that just begged for us to stay outside. On Saturday we picked up fresh sweet corn and peaches on the side of the road, grabbed a few Beau’s on the way home and really enjoyed some of the best of Ontarian summer bounty.
Some local love.

Some local love.

Movin' to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches...

Movin’ to the country gonna eat a lot of peaches…

After reading through several recipes for peach pies, tarts, crumbles, and cobblers, I threw this one together while the corn was on the BBQ; no bake, with a bit of a healthier twist, heavy on the fresh peaches, de-lovely. Enjoy peach season!

Feliz día de San Valentin! [Vanilla Bean Pudding]

rose.jpg

Une surprise de mes élèves et collègues!


This week my students have been writing words of love and compliments on hearts to display around the school. It’s amazing: even the boys who scoffed at the assignment came up with some of the most beautiful little quotes — this proves my theory that everyone is a little romantic. Vive l’amour!20130214-203019.jpg
Last year I put some Valentine loving into these sugar cookies and meringues; because what’s February 14th without some dessert? So, if this (sexy) pink quinoa salad leaves your heart wanting something a little sweeter, I’d recommend trying this vanilla bean pudding.
20130214-234211.jpgI’m sending my love across the ocean today, y a toda la gente maravillosa de mi vida aquí — and to you, of course, for reading! You make my heart happy.
endearment.jpg

Continue reading

My First Ice Cream Cake on My Twenty First Birthday

To be honest, when I realized my birthday was three weeks after arriving in Huelva I thought I might not really know anyone and didn’t think I’d do anything special, but it was a really nice night and my roommates and I put together a fun little party. I was a very happy and grateful birthday girl:) We hosted a little birthday dinner shindig and invited the friends we had made so far in Huelva.We told everyone that they were more than welcome to bring a friend or any housemates, so I don’t think I actually knew about half the people who came, but we made a lot of friends and met some new neighbours, which was awesome!
To make things even more memorable, my fabulous roommates surprised me with a cake at the salsa club the next night and after they told our salsa instructors that it was my birthday I was made to dance with all the men at the club– I’m sure I looked more inept than Jennifer Grey at the beginning of Dirty Dancing, but it was so fun I really didn’t mind!
Now, my twin is visiting me in Huelva after a an awesome twin-time/sightseeing weekend in Cordoba — I couldn’t be happier.

I made a modified chocolate ricotta mousse tonight in Huelva to celebrate TShap’s arrival!

Without a working oven, I decided to improvise and make an ice cream cake. Our kitchen set up is really basic, so I didn’t make a crust or anything. It was literally just layers of ice cream, with homemade ganache, crushed Oreos and peanuts in the middle. It was the first ice cream cake I had ever made, and after some initial issues with the free form bottom layer on the plate melting before I could get it in the freezer it worked out super well! I’d even go so far and say it was a hit, but people might have just been nice since it was my birthday…but really, ice cream, chocolate, crumbled cookies and salty nuts? It seems like a winning combo no matter what!

Continue reading

No Oven? No Bake Chocolate Cake

When we moved in to our apartment in Huelva,, our bubbly and seemingly lovely landlady (who is an older Spanish lady from Sevilla) told us upfront that our oven was currently not working, but would be replaced “mañana”.  Well, three weeks have gone by, and that’s a lot of mañanas.  We’ve called our dueña several times, and she keeps reassuring us that a new oven is on the way, but we’re getting impatient over here! We will persist, por que no es vale!

To make things worse, our microwave broke last week (we’ve been told that it will be replaced mañana, too…), so when I said I would bring a dessert to a little “international” dinner I went to last week, I realized it would have to be a “no bake” recipe for sure. Cue this amazing No Bake Chocolate Cake from Heidi at 101cookbooks.  With only two key ingredients (I did manage to find all of the ingredients, though, in our little local grocery store!), it is a cinch to make, and can easily be done with super low key kitchen equipment.  (I used a plastic container lined with parchment paper as my “cake pan…it works!)

This cake is basically a decadent chocolate ganache or fudge in disguise. Make sure there are other people around to help you eat this, or you could end up eating it all yourself….not that that’s necessarily terrible.
I tried to make my cake a little more “Canadian” for this international shindig, so I decorated it with some maple candies and chocolate loonies that I brought from home (they are really for my students, but I figured I could sacrifice a few!).  It needed a little gussying up since I was lacking any cocoa powder or powdered sugar to make it look a bit more sophisticated.
This recipe was really easy to follow and the results were delicious — I’m really looking forward to making it again (maybe for (y)our birthday, Thomas!), but I’m also really looking forward to having an oven…fingers crossed.
Hasta luego!

Chocolate Ricotta Mousse

You know what’s awesome? A dessert that only takes 10 minutes to put together. Toss it in the fridge for an hour while you do something productive (or nap), and then it’s ready. It’s like it practically makes itself. Magical.


This is one of those desserts.  Minimal effort, but fabulous results. This is for chocolate lovers. It isn’t too sweet, so the intense chocolate flavour is the star of the show.  Serve it with a spoonful of whipped cream and seasonal fruit, and voilà!,  a deliciously pretty dessert.

Slightly less exciting is when you have a major brain fart and don’t realize that your lactose intolerant friend probably can’t eat ricotta cheese. Don’t bring this to lactose intolerant friends, even if they are incredibly nice about it and happen to have another dessert on hand anyway. You could make coconut macaroons instead, maybe?

Continue reading