Your Tender-est Twosomes (WBW and SHF)

I am so very sorry it took me until today to get this round-up posted for WBW #66 and SHF #63. While I did have time to read through everyone’s fantastic pairings on Friday evening, by the time I was finished I felt a little tipsy from the wine and bit shaky from all the sugar. I then spent the rest of the weekend in bed; not sure what to attribute that to. But, now, without further ado, here are some of the tender-est twosomes possible. Continue reading “Your Tender-est Twosomes (WBW and SHF)”

My Tender-est Twosome

When Lenn and I finally decided to do a combined Wine Blogging WednesdaySugar High Friday event, I couldn’t resist the lure of chocolate for my entry. I knew that even if I had to sip a dozen different kinds of wine I would eventually come across one that went with chocolate. And even if I had to swelter through baking baker’s dozen chocolate cakes, I would make one that went well with the wine.

Continue reading “My Tender-est Twosome”

Your Tender-est Twosome (WBW # 66 & SHF # 63)

February is the month for perfect dinners – and even more perfect desserts. Everyone wants to make that quintessential meal for their loved one(s); and not only on Valentine’s Day. Here, in the ice-covered northern hemisphere, we are starting to feel the dog days of winter upon us and beginning to wonder if spring will ever arrive. I think it’s time to step it up a notch and make dessert a serious priority.

Most meals end with dessert and coffee or a glass of liqueur. The focus on the meal is long since gone, as is the wine. Guests are getting sleepy, hosts are getting antsy about the clean-up ahead of them and no one is paying attention to what they’re eating or drinking anymore. I think this is shameful. Every once in a while, dessert deserves the attention given to a main course; and a wine to match. That chocolate torte needs a nice glass of Bordeaux. That lemon tart is calling out for a few sips of Vidal. Your signature coffee cake demands a swig (or two) of a good ice wine.

The proper pairing of a sugary confection with a good wine is a difficult thing to maneuver. I have seen it done a few times in restaurants, once or twice at dinner parties and maybe done it once myself – and I almost certainly managed it by accident. Do you go sweeter with the wine than the dessert or match it? Do you go red or white or ice? Do you try to harmonize regions or go completely off the map (so to speak) with your choice…?

You have the chance to decide all this and more for yourself this month with the first ever joint SHF-WBW Dessert-Wine Pairing Event! All bloggers (food, wine or otherwise) are welcome to participate. Post your entry on Wednesday, February 24, complete with tasting notes, comments and a picture of the wine and dessert. Email me with a link to your entry, your name, your blog name and a 100 x 100 jpg titled with the name of your blog. I will post a roundup in the following days.

I am looking forward to seeing what sort of Tender Twosomes you come up with.

If you are interested in hosting SHF in 2010 please get in touch with me as soon as possible. I have slots available but they are filling up fast!


I did not find myself in the Holiday mood this year at all. I’m not sure where my "spirit" went, but I think it decided to hibernate in the beginning of November and simply forgot to wake up in the end of December. Probably a good thing too, since it more likely than not would have awoken a bristling, grumpy tired bear of emotion that no one needs to encounter this time of year.

Work has been crazy-busy, home has been crazy-busy and life in general has been…you guessed it, crazy-busy. By the time I have tucked Leith into bed, read him a story, brought him water, rearranged his pillows, tucked him in again, gotten him books to read in bed, taken him to the bathroom, tucked him in again and finally said good-night to him (not that I won’t see him again that night, as he has been migrating to my bed in the middle of the night lately), I’m too tired to venture into the kitchen to bake sweet treats. I think that is probably why it never felt like Holiday-time to me this year; not nearly enough sweet-treat-making going on in this Goddess’s kitchen.

On one of those busy nights after all the tucking and good-nighting was completed, I just couldn’t bring myself to go to bed. I wasn’t tired and I didn’t want to watch television. There were no good books waiting for me on my nightstand (not sure where they went, since I never did finish any of them) and for the first night in weeks I hadn’t brought any work home with me. I was alone and in need of comfort…I ventured into the kitchen.

Looking into my cupboards I instantly knew what I wanted to make. I had been thinking about this recipe for a few weeks – every time I went to Starbucks they were staring me in the face, begging to be bought. I had split one with a co-worker the week before and was determined to make a tray of them at home. The Cranberry Bliss Bar is now one of my favourites. Sweet, tart, delicious; a hybrid of a cookie and a cake, with scrumptious cream cheese frosting – the perfect Holiday treat. And by the way, so super simple to make you’ll never spend your life savings buying them from Starbucks again.

If you like these babies, don’t forget to check out Cherrapeno’s SHF Round-up (coming soon) for more Holiday Desserts!

And…by the way, all of a sudden, I have no host for SHF, January 2010. If anyone wants to host, please let me know!!

Mmm… Canada – The Sugar High Edition

Jasmine and I have spent the last month receiving and reading emails about what Canada tastes like to our fellow Canadian (and honourary Canadian!) bloggers. I asked for sweet recipes and Jasmine solicited savoury ones. I think that between the two of us we have officially taken Canada to new gustatory heights. And now it’s your turn to read about these fabulous Canadian sweet (andsavoury!) treats.

I am going to do this round up geographically. I’ll start on the east coast, head west and then go south to our American friends who begged to be honourary Canadians for this celebration. After that I’ll head over to Europe for a few more honourary Canucks and a few Canadians living abroad.

Ready? I want everyone to say it with me: Mmm… Canada!

Ruth of Once Upon a Feast used to live in Toronto but moved out east to Nova Scotia recently. Loving everything the beautiful east coast province has to offer she has written an entry mentioning many of the amazing foodie-oriented benefits that come with living there. From cheeses to wines to herbs and vegetables to vinegars and oils, they are there for the consumption! For her Mmm… Canada Sweet Edition recipe Ruth has graciously submitted her very own Super Strawberry Tart, made with gorgeous local strawberries.

Wandering west we stop in Quebec and are tempted by Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction and her Maple Syrup stories and mentions of Maple Sugar Ragga Muffins. She has also baked up a delectable Maple Syrup Pecan Bundt Cake (that has 2 whole cups of Canada’s delicious “liquid gold” in it!).

Jenny of All Things Edible from Ottawa teases us with tales of Beaver Tails. She then goes on to make something even more delicious with an ingredient that many people consider a rich part of Canadian food culture: Rhubarb. Jenny made a scrumptious batch of Rhubarb ice cream to top a yummy Rhubarb Cobbler. I’m headed out now to scour the neighborhood yards for rhubarb!

Traveling west (probably battling long-weekend traffic on the 401) we stop off in for a pit-stop in lovely Oshawa to see What Smells So Good?. Sarah is baking up a storm, adding the extremely Canadian Crispy Crunch bars, to a batch of brownies to create what might be my new favourite breakfast(!).

Heading a bit further west we hit the ‘big smoke’…Toronto(!) for a couple of bloggers in my area. First up, Candace of Mmm, Tasty! prepares a Maritime sweet treat – Blueberry Grunt (a wild blueberry sauce topped with a sweet biscuit dough, and the dough is steamed until puffed up and cooked through.)

Elizabeth (who was born in Manitoba, grew up in Alberta and now lives in Toronto) of Blog from OUR Kitchen is revisiting memories of her youth and rhubarb with her fabulous Rhubarb Pie recipe. I only wish my own backyard sprouted the delicious Ontario “weed”!

Next up, Monica of Nervous Chef brings us her rendition of the Butter Tart with a glorious crown of caramel drizzle to tempt your sweet tooth even more (if that is indeed possible).

My own creation for this warm Canada Day is Maple Ice Cream with fresh Ontario Blueberries and Strawberries. I think S. and I will be eating it right out of the tub while sitting in the backyard this evening while the fireworks peek through the trees.

Heading about an hour and a quarter west of Toronto, we stop off in picturesque Paris (Paris, Ontario that is!) to see that MsC of My Sweet Cupcakes has been baking up a storm, making batch upon batch of Butter Tarts. Although these little sugar tarts are very much a Canadian confection and there are a million and one recipes for them, Msc wanted to rely on a slightly more “original” version. Her recipe is from a cookbook produced by the Royal Victoria Hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary in Barrie, Ontario in 1900. Obviously this recipe stood the test of time because her tarts look delicious!

Expanding into the province of Ontario we find another group of bloggers who joined in on Mmm… Canada.

The first person we pop in to see is none other than Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict. I figured she would be too busy with her own savoury side of Mmm… Canada to concoct a sweet dish but of course she came through. And what a deliciously tempting dish it is: her very own Spiced Blueberry-Maple Syrup. I am dying for some of this syrup right now…perhaps she and I can do some sort of an Mmm… Canada amalgamation. My ice cream smothered in her syrup? (And of course her Savoury Ramp Rolls would go great alongside my Maple Mustard Moose Wings).

After that we head on over to Kaitlin’s (of Kait’s Plate) in beautiful Essex County and indulge in yet another sweet treat. Her Strawberry-Rhubarb French Toast both looks and sounds like the perfect sweet-tooth breakfast for any patriotic Canadian.

Next up, Marika of Madcap Cupcake schools us on the history of the Nanaimo Bar and then “veganizes” a recipe. Her bars look fantastic and I’ll bet they taste as good – if not better than – they look.

Another fellow Ontarian, Natashaya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, comes through with her mouth-watering recipe for Mini Maple Cakes. Go and check out the picture she took – it’s an especially “sweet” version of the Canadian flag!

Ricki of Diet, Dessert and Dogs also hails from Ontario and has brought us another delectable version of Butter Tarts (hers are “Glorious and Free” [of Eggs and Dairy]) and look surprisingly close to the real thing.

And our last Ontario-based blogger, Shari of Whisk: a food blog, is giving me cavities with her delicious individual serving-sized Sugar Pies (cooked in a jar!) but I want to eat them all anyway. She even added maple syrup to her recipe to make it even more Canadian…and because (lucky girl that she is) she lives 45 minutes from a maple syrup manufacturer (I think she should send me some, don’t you?).

Skipping across the country we wind up in Alberta with Jackie of Gasterea’s Table who has made a delicious Queen Elizabeth Cake. This is a date and walnut cake, covered in a wonderfully sticky caramel sauce. I’ve had it once I loved it – and never have I seen it since.

Moving a little further west across the country we end up in beautiful British Columbia with a former Ontario resident, Deb of anm8rchick: the miss underpants project who talks of her memories of Sugar Bush trips. She has made a fine-looking batch of Maple Cookies, filled with a delectable maple cream icing.

Another BC’er, Joanna of Salute to Sanity has my taste buds going crazy for her Maple Bacon Pound Cake with Sweet Maple Glaze. Don’t you just love the salty-sweet combination in this?

Next up, Liz of Bits ‘n Bites who lives in BC but was ‘born and bred’ in Quebec, offers up her recipe for Sugar Pie. She also provides us with a great recipe for Nanaimo Bars to represent her present geographical location.

From the Okanagan Valley (in BC) comes Val of More than Burnt Toast. She has made Strawberry Shortcakes Val says: “In Canada, as a general rule, we are given a British based short-“cake” and in the States they make a biscuit out of “short”-ening. Is it “short” or is it “cake”…who cares…both versions are delicious.”

And the last of our west-coast entries is from Vera of Baking Obsession who gives us another version of Canadian Butter Tarts. Her presentation is a bit different than I’m used to but I think I like them better this way!

Now let’s visit our neighbors to the south and a bunch of honourary Canadians.

First up is AS of Life’s too Short for Mediocre Chocolate. She has definitely earned herself the title of Canadian-for-a-day with a genuine love of ice hockey and her two versions of Nanaimo Bars: Nanaimo Pie and Nanaimo Cheesecake Bars.

Moving right along we have Heather of Diary of a Fanatic Foodie who introduces us to her tasty Cherry Maple Cupkins. Oh, and just so you know Heather, we also grow Cherries in Canada (mainly in Ontario and British Columbia)!

Another Canadian “wannabe” is Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats from Ventura, California. Judy has made another delicious version of Butter Tarts, apparently the most famous of Canadian desserts.

Next up is JZ of Tasty Treats who has made another new very interesting and I’m sure, scrumptious version of an old Canadian stand-by, Cappuccino Nanaimo Bars.

Moving right along we head up to New York City, where Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives has stolen my heart with her Polka Dot White-Maple Mousse Nanaimo Bars. Her inspiration was a Canadian-produced television show of my own childhood, The Polka Dot Door.

Now we head to Chicago to see what a former resident of Toronto makes as an honourary Canadian. Janine of Rustic Kitchen has made a taste bud-tempting Apricot almond tart to celebrate her Canadian friends and all the joy — and delicious tastes – they’ve brought her through the years.

Next we shoot on over to the west coast of the United States and head north of Seattle, Washington where Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody makes our teeth ache (in a good way) with her recipe for Maple Syrup Pie.

After that particularly sweet concoction let’s see what Rachel of Vampituity has in store for us. She has used a semi-savoury ingredient to create a new version of an old favourite: Gingerbread Cake. Except that this cake is aptly named The Cake of the Damned, because it is made with Maudite, a Canadian Beer.

Remaining in the US for just a bit longer we stop in at Foodblogga where Susan has made a luscious looking Blackberry Oatmeal Cake. Her memories of rainy days in Vancouver, sipping lattes and eating this cake have me longing for a few lazy, rainy mornings myself.

Next up, Texas! Where The Apron Queen (of Confessions of an Apron Queen) has us drooling over a batch of Maple Walnut Fudge. She also has this great Canada-themed apron with the changing of the guard on it that I love!

The last American who wanted to be Canadian-for-a-day is Zilla of Climbin’ the walls who wows us with her Tantalizing Berry Tarts. The recipe comes from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook (written by L. M. Montgomery, a Canadian).

And now we head overseas to England, where we have two wannabe-Canadians and one Canadian-living-abroad…

First up we have George of Culinary Travels Of A Kitchen Goddess who treats us with a gorgeous Rhubarb and Maple Bundt Cake with Maple Icing. She has also suggested a wine pairing of an Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine.

Next is Jessica of RD-2B who has made only the second very delicious-looking version of Strawberry Shortcake in this entire list (and she thought there would be many, many more!).

Our last British entrant is someone who used to live in Toronto. Sands of All Things Dolce is the only person who managed to concoct a both a savoury and a sweet recipe all in one! She made her childhood favourite: a Strawberry Sandwich. This is exactly what I will be making my son for breakfast tomorrow – he LOVES strawberries!

Our next stop is in Northern Germany where see that Ulrike of Kuchenlatein has made a truly delicious-looking batch of Nanaimo Bars, which were “love at first taste”. And I love the European flair the lady fingers add to the crust!

Our second-to-last Mmm… Canada participant comes to us from Milan, Italy (also originally from Toronto). Joanne of Frutto della Passione made her favourite Canadian dessert, Butter Tarts. Apparently, whenever she comes back to Canada she eats one everyday for breakfast and another one just before going to bed…now that’s a true Canadian!

The last stop we make is all the way over in Australia where we see what Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen is cooking up. For someone who has never been to Canada, she has hit the nail on the head with her very Canadian-esque Oat S’mores.

Thank you so much for joining in on Mmm… Canada, the Sugar High Edition. I don’t think Canada Day has ever been quite so sweet. If you have an entry that has been over looked or you are so inspired by the above list that you want to make something now, please let me know and I will add you to the list.

And be sure to check out Jasmine’s savoury Mmm… Canada round-up…I can hardly wait to see what everyone has come up with on that side of the table!

Maple Madness

My Canadian roots stretch back further than I know. I have great, great grandparents who were born here, so though I always say I’m of British/Irish/Scottish descent, that is only from the males in the family. My grandmothers parents were born here I believe (on both sides)…so I’m a Canadian girl, through and through.

Until very recently I would have scoffed at any thought of good "Canadian" food (as would I’m sure, most people). But think about it. Canada produces lots of gorgeously delicious fruits and vegetables. There are farms that produce free-range chickens, milk-fed veal and some of the best grain-fed cattle in the world. We have road-side stands that sell corn and berries and pumpkins and tomatoes. We have farmer’s markets dotting every green space in the city of Toronto that will support a few trailers and their owners (there is even one outside of The Hospital for Sick Children every Tuesday morning now!).

When I think about what flavour best encompasses the country for me it has always been Maple. We proudly display the tree’s leaf on our flag, one of our favourite hockey teams (that we love and also love to hate) wears it with honour on their jerseys and it is the symbol of our country. Right next to the beaver. But beaver meat, while apparently sweet and tender – like corned beef – is not readily available (and no, I have never eaten it myself).

So Maple is my choice for both my savoury dish – Maple Mustard Moose Wings and my sweet one – Maple Ice Cream with Berries.

Mmm… Canada

How Sweet is Canada?

Our lives revolve around it, our dreams are punctuated by it and our families are pulled together by way of it. Food is the essence of everyday life, the thing that we can’t live without and the reason we get up in the morning and why we sit down at the table every night (even if it is sometimes in front of the television!).

Even though it unites us all, it also marks, almost like no other part of life, our varieties and distinctions. I have wondered on more than one occasion what food in Canada tastes like to someone who isn’t me. What does Canada taste like to someone who perhaps didn’t grow up here from childhood, or someone who left here and then returned having experienced other places and other cultures? Or what would it taste like to someone who grew up in the Prairies or the East or West coast of Canada rather than in Ontario as I did…? There are so many diverse food cultures in this country that it seems almost impossible to experience even a fraction of them in a lifetime.

That is where food bloggers are essential. I can visit a web site any time of any day and see what someone in Vancouver meticulously made for dinner, what vineyard someone in Niagara frequents or what bakery someone in Ottawa prefers over all others. I can learn about Middle Eastern-Canadians, Irish-Canadians, Asian-Canadians and Aboriginal Canadians (and the list certainly doesn’t stop there!) and what they prefer to eat and what they love specifically about Canada’s food culture. I am no longer limited to what is available in my own neighborhood, city or province – I can experience the entire country, with a click of my mouse, via all the amazing Canadian food blogs out there.

That is what Taste Canada was all about. In 2005 we asked Canadian food (and non-food) bloggers, ex-pat Canadian bloggers and even a few "wish-they-were-Canadian" bloggers to share what Canada tastes like to them. To make and write about their favourite Canadian meal, the meal that most said "Canada" to them. We had dozens of eager participants who shared their favourite Canadian foods, meals, markets and restaurants. It was amazing to see the diversity and yet also the similarity between so many different people across such a huge country.

This year let’s make our proverbial pot a little bigger; a little sweeter, if you will. Let’s get together as many bloggers as we can to share their favourite Canadian confection, indulgence, dessert, sweet…anything really! As long as says Canada to you and you can get some sort of Sugar High from it, we want to know about it.

What do Canada’s Confections taste like to you? From the butter tart recipe your mother handed down to you through generations to the recipe for Beaver Tails you came up with after visiting Ottawa last winter and skating the canal, we want to know! If you have found the ultimate way to showcase Maple Syrup or the greatest Donut recipe or the best accompaniment to a great Ice Wine or even the most delicious way to make strawberry shortcake with the juiciest, most enormous Ontario strawberries, we want to round them up in one big post. Or perhaps you have a favourite dessert that just screams Oh Canada! to you and you alone. Well then make it and write about it so we can all indulge in it along with you.

Write and post your Mmm… Canada entry between June 23rd and 28th. Then send me an email at jennifer[at]domesticgoddess[dot]ca with the following information:

– Your name
– Your blog name and URL
– Your post’s title and URL
– One photo (if applicable), sized to 150 pixels wide, with your blog name as the filename
– If you are a Canadian blogger, which province or territory you are living in
– If you are an ex-pat Canadian blogger, which province you are from and what country you are living in now
– If you want to be an honorary Canadian for this event, what country you are living in
– If you aren’t a blogger and would like to participate, please post your contribution (along with the above info) in my comments on the day I post the round-up (July 1st of course!)

For those of you who want to use the Mmm…Canada, The Sweet Edition image, feel free to steal away!

And if sweets aren’t your thing (or you want to make something sweet and something salty or spicy, head on over to Jasmine’s site to participate in the savory version of Mmm… Canada. She is asking bloggers to contribute a regional savory dish, a meal their family brought to the country or something they think of when they think of Canadian cuisine. It can be any course (starters, soups, breakfast etc), a reminiscence or a photo essay or a recipe.

Let’s take this Canada Day to new gustatory heights! I want everyone to say it with me: Mmm…Canada!

My Favourite Mistake

I have been posting a lot less frequently than I would like to lately. So many things have been keeping me away from my wee MacBook laptop in the past few weeks. Nothing exciting unfortunately, it’s just that I haven’t had the opportunities I would like to have to sit and write, or stand and cook and then sit and write, as it were.

With the weather warming up (finally!) I have been craving fresh, light citrus desserts. I thought for a nice treat I would make some gorgeous teeny tiny lemon tarts with meringue tops. Yes. Those would be perfect for a warm spring evening.

Only they weren’t. To start, they weren’t very lemony. The crust, while delicious, unfortunately did not work well with the not-so-lemony filling. And don’t get me started on the meringue — it looked haphazard at best and down right horrible at its worst. They did smell good however and I appreciated their (the tarts’ that is) effort, even if they did look as though they had been drawn by an extremely un-artistic 3 year-old (no offense to 3 year-olds or their talent!). And, strangest of strange, there was a huge amount of filling left over from the original recipe. I used maybe 1/10 of it making the tarts, and I figured I’d put the remainder in the fridge thinking I might make more tarts the next day.

The next day, after I’d finished making the horrible, deformed-looking tarts I was not sure what to do with the left over filling. Then I thought about a cheesecake recipe I had made once that was quite similar and decided that I would mix the left over filling with some mascarpone and cream cheese and make a cheesecake with it. Hmmm. So that is how I came up with this lemon cloud cheesecake recipe. It still might need a bit of tweaking, but it was good. Good the day I made it after coming out of the oven and cooling for about an hour or so, but much better the next day after being in the fridge over night.

I love it when mistakes in the kitchen turn out so deliciously!

For more citri-fied desserts, be sure to check out Helen’s blog for this month’s SHF round-up on Friday!