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« November 2008 | Main | January 2009 »

December 2008

29 December 2008

Parmesan Crisps


With New Year celebrations upon us I thought I'd share a great party appetizer recipe from my recent cooking class at Quince cooking school in Vancouver -- Parmesan crisps with fresh goat's cheese, figs and quince jelly. The jelly is made from quinces picked from chef-owner, Andrea Jefferson's, backyard. 

The lattice crisps are simple to make and can also be used as impressive edible decoration for soups and risottos

I hope you are all enjoying the holidays. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and a tonnes of great food in 2009!

Quince - www.quince.ca
1780 W3rd Ave Vancouver
Tel: 604.731.4645

Continue reading "Parmesan Crisps" »

22 December 2008

Currant Melting Moment Shortbread Cookies


I've stumbled upon what I believe to be the world's greatest cookie recipe. Melting moment shortbread peppered with Grand Marnier soaked currants and infused with orange zest. How can anything be this good?

Butter. And loads of it. One and a half cups to be exact. Each time I pop one in my mouth, my subliminal cholesterol counter sends a little zap to my brain. The melt-in-your-mouth texture of the cookies is also due to the use of not only flour but also of cornstarch, sometimes known as 'cornflour'.

The cookies are incredibly easy to make and store for up to two weeks in an airtight container. If any cookies make it through the first week then you're more restrained then I am.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the cookies to work and give them away. There is nothing generous in this gesture at all. It's just the only way I can stop myself from eating all forty of them.

I want to wish all my readers a happy and safe holiday season. Thank you so much for all your comments and encouragement in 2008. See you in the New Year.

Continue reading "Currant Melting Moment Shortbread Cookies" »

15 December 2008

Lamby's Lamb Kofta Salad


I'm sorry for my lack of posting over the last two weeks. It's a busy time. Life is flying past in a blur. I often think about why it seems that each year goes faster than the last. Is it because most of us are doing the same thing day in day out? Because life is not as new and unfamiliar as it was growing up?

I had a conversation with a friend a few months ago about this topic and he said to slow his life down, he did one new thing a week, even if it was as mundane as walking a different way to work. Sometimes he'd go to the symphony, go for a run in the park instead of the gym, or eat somewhere new for breakfast. Doing something different, no matter how small, gave him a kind of placeholder in his mind so he could distinguish each week from another.

My friend's name is 'Lamby' and I'm dedicating this recipe, a Lebanese lamb kofta salad, to him. I hope this week stands out in his recollections as a special week.


The lamb kofta salad is a dish I ate during my recent detox diet. I have a real weakness for Lebanese food, especially a garlic sauce often eaten with barbecued meats. I first tasted it in a small Lebanese restaurant called Fatimas in Sydney. I've tried on many occasion to replicate the creamy concoction but I never get it just right. I do come pretty close though.

The sauce is a combination of TWO garlic bulbs (yes, I do smell of garlic for the next two days), olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. It's fantastic smeared over lamb, chicken, beef, white fish and in salads. Just don't kiss anyone.

Continue reading "Lamby's Lamb Kofta Salad" »

03 December 2008

Making Madeleines


There is much debate over the origin of the little French sponge cake, the Madeleine, however there are two things that are certain; that the small French town of Commercy in the Lorraine region, proudly stake their claim over the shell-shaped cakes; and, that Madeleines have earned their timeless place in literature in Marcel Proust’s The Remembrance of Things. In the beginning of his autobiography, Proust is overwhelmed by a stream of childhood memories after he tastes the citrus-infused Madeleine with a drop of tea.

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the [Madeleine] crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me...But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection.

Today the Madeleine remains loved for its simplicity and delicate citrus flavour as if kissed by a lemon tree.


This is my second attempt at making Madeleines. The first time was miserable. What should have been an airy, soft cake with a slightly crisp exterior was dense and dry. After my first attempt I shied away from trying again and hid my Madeleine tin in the back of the cupboard. This was about a year ago.

It wasn't until recently that I was browsing on the Quince Handcrafted Cuisine website in Vancouver when I saw a Saturday afternoon class promising to teach students how to make the best hot chocolate and Madeleines ever. I enrolled immediately and headed off for an hour of tasteful education.

From Quince owner and chef, Andrea Jefferson, I learned how to make perfect Madeleines. It's all about finding the right balance between the whisking and folding of the batter while keeping it aerated with millions of tiny bubbles. Chef Andrea has a straight forward, no-nonsense approach to cooking. She is only particular about those things which require precision; baking measurements is one of those things.

On her recommendation during the class, I have only included the ingredient measurements in grams. While 130 grams of eggs was approximately 3 medium eggs, the size of eggs may vary from country to country, so my advice? Buy some scales and they don't have to be expensive. Mine were $16.

I've put together 10 step-by-step instructions to Madeleines you'd be mad to miss. Enjoy!

For more inspirational cooking classes check out Quince at:

Quince - www.quince.ca
1780 W3rd Ave Vancouver
Tel: 604.731.4645

Continue reading "Making Madeleines" »

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