Mother’s Day Desserts

What would a meal be without dessert?

You certainly wouldn’t have happy guests if you skipped out on this necessary component of the meal.

For mother’s special day, I opted to make a chocolate tart and mini carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘did she crack an egg on top of the cupcakes?’

NO, I most certainly did not. But now that I think about it, my little bit of creativity would have fared better during Easter.

Oh well. They still tasted good.

Here is the tart crust, the hardest part to make.

I spent about 30 minutes trying to even out the edges, then I decided, if it’s a little rough around the edges maybe people will want to eat it more?

The filling was pretty much just chocolate ganache. Heavy cream and chocolate — what could be better?

I had to take a photo of the drooping cupcake. See it? On the left?

Looks like there might be a couple on the right too.

Breakfast anyone?

And for the final touches…

I used this Martha Stewart recipe for the chocolate tart.

And I used my own recipe for the cupcakes.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 cup/package of regular Philadelphia cream cheese
  • ¼ cup (or half a stick) unsalted softened butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners in mini muffin tray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix white and brown sugar, oil, and eggs until they’re nice and smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, sift flour together with baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture and beat just until moistened—do not over mix.
  5. Add the carrots, coconut, and walnuts and fold into the batter until the ingredients are well-incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into cupcake liners until about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, combine all the ingredients for the icing in a food processor. Mix on low speed until the icing is smooth with no lumps. A hand blender also works well for this step.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before icing.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Mother’s Day Festivities

It’s been a hectic weekend, lots to make and lots to bake, but all for a great cause — mothers (and grandmothers).

We finally had some beautiful weather this past weekend, which only means one thing — bbq.

Smokey cedar plank salmon and greek chicken kabobs were a no-brainer.

When you’re using a cedar plank for bbqing salmon, just a little lemon and olive oil will do the trick — the salmon was so moist and delicious, and SO easy to make.

I prepared the greek chicken skewers like this:

Ingredients

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • bamboo skewers

Method

Combine herbs, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in bowl. Place cubed chicken in large bowl and pour marinade over chicken. Mix well. Keep covered in fridge for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Place chicken on skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer.

Grill on bbq about 5 minutes each side, medium high heat. Serve immediately. Delicious!

Now for some sides..

My bf offered to help me prepare the big meal, so I let him slice grape tomatoes (about 3kg) and juice some lemons — it was a huge help!

This here is the roasted tomatoes with white kidney beans.

I served this mixture over a bed of spaghetti squash, it turned out beautifully!

You can find the recipe here.

I also prepared a basic greek salad which paired well with the greek chicken skewers.

Finally, I baked Barefoot Contessa’s chive biscuits.

Here they are just before baking…and before I brushed them with egg wash.

And here they are after.

The meal was a great success.

By the way, pictures of dessert are on their way. Stay tuned!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Birthday Cake

What better thing is there to do on a rainy day then to a bake a cake.

This cake I made for two of my closest friends, who happen to be twins!

You’re probably thinking it would have been smart of me to make two cakes — well… I did! I just stacked them on top of each other 😉

So here are the two cakes, fresh out of the oven.

I cut the elevated parts off the cakes to make them even for stacking.

Then I began icing.

And done.

Before I began decorating, I needed to practise some piping.

My shells look decent, probably not up to GB standards… but good enough.

And sprinkles!

Let’s hope they like it…

This birthday cake recipe is the EXACT same as the Magnolia cupcakes recipe. So I guess it’s guaranteed to be good.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Lady Marmalade

The owners of Lady Marmalade serve colourful breakfast and lunch fare in the most satisfying and appetizing way. Presentation is a little sloppy and the kitchen is a bit of a mess, but damn their food tastes good.

I only tried two dishes, but this was more than enough to know that these chefs know what they’re cooking! The restaurant’s organic brunch gives you the type of dish that satisfies ALL day long.

When you’re seated in the restaurant, make sure to note the assortment of chairs — you’re bound to find a cute chair you’d love to take home with you.

I couldn’t order anything other than one of the signature dishes so I picked Huevos Rancheritos.

This traditional Mexican breakfast comes with cheesy scrambled eggs topped with chipotle salsa, a large side of guacomole, smashed beans, and a warm wholewheat tortilla.

The dish looked totally wild and was garnished with too much parsley, but it was the flavour that got me.

I ate the best bites when I rolled a bit of each: eggs, beans, guac in the warm tortilla.The combination was unbelievable.

My bf always opts for either the classic eggs, bacon, potato breakfast or a BLT. This time it was the BLT.

The not-so-classic BLT included a poached egg, bacon, roasted tomato, red onion, spinach, potatoes, side salad, and delicious chipotle mayo.

A meal with all four food groups complementing each other beautifully is bound to always hit the spot. The side salad was a little lame and unnecessary but the BLT was bangin’!

I’ll be seeing you again soon my lady 😉

Yours edibly,

Elana

Magnolia Cupcakes: Vanilla on Vanilla

When my friends Jodi and Ellie surprised me with a mother-load of magnolia cupcakes on my birthday, I couldn’t have been happier.

Then, Ellie gave me the Magnolia cookbook as a gift 🙂

So what did I do?

I made cupcakes.

After eating all the leftovers from my birthday, I made a new batch for my sister’s boyfriend’s sister’s wedding shower (a little confusing but you got it right?).

I decided to multiply the recipe ingredients by 1.5 to make 36 cupcakes.

It must have been my lucky day. Because I think my mini muffin trays are smaller than normal, I was able to make 48 mini cupcakes plus 5 regular cupcakes – woah.

The 5 big ones went to my boyfriend – it was his lucky day too. And all the rest, aside from a few that were eaten along the way, were sent to the shower.

Once again, these took me too long to make. I need to get more piping bags!

They were worth the wait though, and they were a huge hit – obviously.

One last picture.

By the way, these are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream.

You can find the recipe here.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

The Black Hoof

My friend Ellie and I visited the Black Hoof the other night…

The restaurant sort of feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, somewhere between The Junction and Chinatown. The place is also easy to miss because the restaurant name on the window is so tiny, so if you’re planning on going, just look out for the big striped awning that reads ‘charcuterie.’

When we walked into the restaurant, the first thing I noticed was the chalkboard displaying the menu — lots of crazy stuff going on here, except don’t expect detailed descriptions of any of the dishes.

We were greeted by the young, cool, hipsters who work in the restaurant — the servers, chefs, bartenders — they all look like people you want to be friends with.

Ellie and I couldn’t decide what to order — everything sounded so good! We knew we had to try the house cured meats platter so we went with that first. We decided to order as we went along — we were in no rush, we got there just after 6pm to avoid waiting in any lines.

I was not expecting the charcuterie platter to be like this…

From the bottom up: bison and blueberry, larzo, salami and fennel, horse mortadella, and spicy summer sausage.

When our server told us what was on the platter first time around we were too excited to really listen. After we started eating we asked her again.

“Horse!? That smooth, velvety stuff was horse? Wow.”

We were very happy.

After eating horse, there was nothing we couldn’t try on the menu.

Next up, duck liver mousse.

If you’re coming to the restaurant with an unadventurous eater, you can easily fool them into thinking this dish is anything other than duck liver mousse.

When you had a bite with the strawberry jam, it sort of tasted like strawberry mousse. And when you spread it on a piece of bread and added some bison and blueberry – it sort of tasted like a piece of heaven.

At this point, we couldn’t contain our excitement.

“What’s next? What’s next?”

We found ourselves debating between the love letters (can’t really remember what this was – maybe ravioli stuffed with sweetbreads?) and tongue on brioche. We knew the place was somewhat known for their tongue, so we went with that.

Holy moley – we had never been happier at that point.

Again, for the unadventurous eaters — this dish could have easily passed as the most tender and incredible corned beef sandwich you’d ever tasted.

The sandwich, which we split down the middle and ate open-faced, was served with a deep purple grainy mustard, pickles, pickled celery, and tarragon mayo.

You have never had tongue like this — my tongue couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Starting to feel a bit full at this point, but no, we couldn’t stop, there was too much to try.

We asked our server which should we try next, the cauliflower and truffle crostini or the dessert. Once she told us what the dessert was – a dark chocolate torte, served with hazelnut and bacon bits, and smoked ice cream – Ellie shrieked.

“We’ll get both!”

I’ll never forget that moment 🙂

We kept talking about how full we were yet we ate this crostini in probably under 30 seconds. The cauliflower puree was infused with more truffle, and the farm-fresh organic egg just oozed all over the crostini – nothing could be better.

And then the dessert…

We were slightly disappointed with the dessert. The maldon sea salt was unnecessary as it gave the dish an overwhelmingly salty and bacon flavour, when we were just dying for something sweet at that point. That smoked ice cream though couldn’t have been anything less than perfect.

Brace yourselves for a meal unlike any you’ve had before.

I know now that dreams filled with tongue and duck liver will only be reoccurring for me.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Almond Macarons with Vanilla Buttercream

I wish I had known before making these macarons that they would take me four hours to complete. 4 HOURS!

My day was totally shot – but, I think they turned out pretty well. So I am happy 🙂

I started off these macarons by whisking egg whites with granulated sugar until the mixture formed stiff peaks.

Not quite there yet…

That’s better.

Next, I folded the almond flour and icing sugar in with the mixture.

And then I had the batter – so easy!

You’re probably wondering why it took me so long to make these now that you realize there are only four ingredients in the batter.

Well it is mainly because of this next step…

The piping!

And the baking part. Due to some oven technicalities, I could only bake one tray at a time and I had three trays.

So after I finished all these macarons, I started making the vanilla butter cream – also pretty easy, just got sort of complicated when I decided to use four different coloured buttercreams with one piping bag.

Blue was my second favourite colour. Yellow was my third.

Green was my least fave because the buttercream curdled and I didn’t save it in time.

If you look closely you can tell the green buttercream curdled…

Hopefully everyone at my Passover seder will be too drunk to notice.

Pink was my fave colour. It also curdled but I saved it! Poor green, I just didn’t make it in time.

By the way, I made these lovely burgers for my Passover seder.

I will be serving them as an entrée.

My fave!

Things that went wrong:

  • Green and pink buttercream curdled – I saved the pink buttercream by heating it over a double boiler and whisking rapidly until it smoothed out – it turned out better than before!
  • I dropped my metal piping tip into the garburator – it’s okay, I fished it out.
  • I got buttercream on my camera – don’t know how.

Here is the recipe I used.

Try these out for Passover and let me know how they turn out.

Yours edibly,

Banana