the birth of a new website.

I've moved!

Do you love it when websites say that? I don't. I like my habitual blog reading, and it is quite bothersome to have them moved on me.

However, my poor blogger website just cannot sustain me anymore, so I have moved on to Wordpress.

Please come visit me at

blueberry lemon poppy seed coffee cake: blue berries for breakfast and blue skies for lunch.

 I had an urge to create muffins last week. Small parcels of breakfast that could easily be carried up a mountain. Unfortunately, muffin tins are scarce in Whistler evidently, so I made do with what I could find in the cupboard. Blueberry lemon poppy seed muffins became blueberry lemon poppy seed coffee cake. A mouthful either way.

 Slices from the cake became our transportable mouthfuls, providing us with nutrition and energy for the morning.

 The weather was perfect. The powder was perfect. The cake was perfect. 

 I attribute this trick to poppy seeds.

 And this happiness to lemons.
 Blueberry Lemon Poppy Seed Coffee Cake
(adapted from Joy of Baking)

3 tablespoons buttermilk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter
1 lemon, finely grated peel, plus juice
4 tbsp. poppy seeds
1 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a loaf pan or round pan.

2. In medium bowl combine the wet ingredients, creaming the sugar and butter together first for five minutes before adding the rest. In large mixing bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Mix the two together thoroughly, but careful not to over mix. Lightly mix in the blueberries.

3. Pour into the pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

blueberry buttermilk pancakes: supping for snowmobiling.

Buttermilk blueberry pancakes. The epitome of a comforting breakfast for cold weather.
We ate blueberry buttermilk pancakes for the comfort, and meat and eggs for the protein.
We used that protein and comfort on the mountain as we went up and sledded through white, crisp powder. 
We had two friends with us. They had plenty of fun on the top of the mountain. I don't even think they really needed a snowmobile - Aaron could have carried Janelle the entire way. But the smiles on their faces epitomized the beauty of the day.
 The perfect snow day.
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
(Adapted from the Food Network)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1. Mix the dry ingredients together.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients, without the blueberries.

3. Mix wet and dry together until the batter is lumpy -- be careful not to overmix!!

4. Heat oil or butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in 1/3 cup batter and sprinkle in a handful of blueberries. Cook until the bubbles on the top stay and the bottom is browned. Flip and cook until the other side is brown - about 2-3 minutes.

5. Pray. Eat. Enjoy powdery snow and the smiles that accompany it.

prosciutto and herb rump roast: to gather all the wanderers around.

Beef roast. I don't think there is anything that could tie both Aussies and Canadians together more, except for perhaps lamb.
Though the climate is evidently cold in Whistler, Australians come in droves. As I walk through the village I feel as if I am in an icy version of my dad's town of Bundaberg, Queensland. Going through the checkout at the supermarket is like walking through another dimension, where Aussies actually enjoy the cold. Odd.
But while a friend of mine was away visiting family, I was fortunate enough to bring mine up for Christmas and utilize their place. My Godmother and I set up our inch high tree and set about bringing Christmas cheer to our small celebration.
I caramelized a grain-fed free-run chicken in a lemon sauce and we enjoyed simple fare that cold winter's night.
But, then the holiday was over and it was time for her to go. However, I remained, rapidly moving down the slopes on my two thin pieces of wood at a my own pace, not hindered by any one or any thing.
The village itself hindered me. Bringing the city to the slopes with the thousands of people that flocked to embark on a new year from a snowy town.
I also was able to start a new year. With friends. In a snowy town. With good food. And not once venture in to the village. Lovely.
I was also able to use my brand new baby -- my knife -- to cook the meal (promptly after this photo was taken I cut my thumb -- I'm really only used to dull knives).
I called out at one point - how does everyone like their roast? And since no one answered, I inflicted my own preference -- rare/medium-rare. Always remember, however, that the longer you let the roast sit (although it should rest 20 minutes before carving), the longer it will continue to cook. So my roast that was rare verging on medium-rare when I removed it from the oven became full fledged medium-rare by the time I could gather my troops to eat.
T'was a feast through the house and all the creatures were stirring, even a mouse.
Prosciutto and Herb Rump Roast

1 3 lb. rump roast, room temp. (always go for the one with lots of even marbling)
2 large onions, roughly diced
8 cloves garlic, roughly diced
100 grams prosciutto, thickly sliced
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried sage
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbs. olive oil
1 lb. red potatoes
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tbs. flour

1. Preheat the stove to 350 F.  Make an X incision through the meat from top to bottom, straight through the meat, and widen it with your fingers.

2. Stuff the incision with as much procutto, onions and garlic as you can fit.

3. Place a frying pan on the stove and drizzle the olive oil on medium-high heat until it is sizzling.

4. Brown the roast in the olive oil for 5 minutes, constantly turning it until the meat has been seared throughout.

5. Place the roast in a large baking pan and surround it with the remaining prosciutto, garlic and onion, as well as the potatoes.  Cover the veggies evenly with the beef broth. Cover the pan with tinfoil and insert the it in to the oven.

6. Roast for 2 hours, covered with tinfoil, or until a meat thermometer inserted reads 130 F -- medium-rare.

7. Remove the pan and tent the meat with tinfoil for 20 minutes before serving.

8. Pray. Eat. Enjoy your alone time, your relaxation, and realize that your soul needs to breathe once in a while, preferably crisp mountain air.

moroccan chickpea soup: spicy preparation for the holidays

For a while here, I'm going to be backtracking my posts. I took a month hiatus from blogging, but that does not mean I did not cook! Baking or basting or braising for me is like crack to an addict -- I just cannot get enough.
Have steam and smells fill my apartment while I create presents for others is a balm to my soul.
The soup simmers. I create. Christmas carols sound. The world is perfect.
The resounding comforting accompaniment -- white buns.
Moroccan Chickpea Soup

2 tbs. cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. harissa paste
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, drained 
4 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 large head cauliflower, cubed
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a large soup pot. Let simmer for 45 minutes.

2. Serve with fresh buns or naan bread.

3. Pray. Eat. Enjoy a little spice in your life to keep you going for the holidays.

california roll sushi: a westcoast holiday welcome back.

I know, I know. I've been off the grid for the past month, cooking yet not blogging. However, there was so much to do!
I had to make a cookbook for Christmas presents (the one for everyone will be available soon!).
I sold an art piece and had to ship it.
And we had to go to Ziptrek before the Christmas holiday. 
T'was delightful.
Then, exhausted from all our adventuring, we came back and made sushi.
It was delicious. 

Though many think that the word 'sushi' means 'raw fish', it actually is translated as 'seasoned rice' -- less gross than many perceive. Traditionally, only the sashimi sushi is eaten with chopsticks, but in our North American culture, we have begun to eat each dish with two sticks of wood. For those who do not know sushi etiquette, the filling or topping should be the only thing placed in the accompanying soy sauce. Wasabi should not be used at all, or the chefs making the sushi will have added the appropriate amount for flavor when preparing them. However, ettiquette was not followed this night, not even social proprieties (as show by me trying to eat Stel's sushi).
California Rolls

1 package, sushi seaweed
Sushi rice, prepared according to the package and vinegar
Artificial crab, grated
Japanese mayonnaise
1 english cucumber, sliced
1 avocado, sliced 
1 red pepper, sliced
Sesame seeds

1. Place 1/4 cup (or more or less, depends how you like your sushi) on the piece of seaweed, which is placed on a rolling mat. Spread it about the seaweed, dipping your hands in water occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to it.

2. Set as much ingredients as you like down on the lower half, closer to you, of seaweed (the rolling mat should be set so the bamboo sticks are horizontal in front of you).

3. Roll over the ingredients, using the mat, and press down firmly when the have been completely covered with the seaweed. 

4. Unwrap the bamboo rolling mat and pull the half-rolled sushi to the edge of the mat. Roll it the rest of the way, pressing firmly. 

5. Cut with a very, very sharp knife, kept wet with rice vinegar.   

** These are my usual ingredients, but play around with others - great sushi is easily made with unusual ingredients. 

Eat. Pray. Enjoy the snow, and the holidays. 

white chocolate cranberry almond biscotti: another year, another round of joyous giving.

If you haven't been able to tell already, I love Christmas. I love the smells associated with it (mellow nutmeg, sweet cinnamon, spicy cloves), the music (Carol of the Bells - reminds me of singing in the Christmas choral show of my youth), the joy (when someone's eyes light up and crinkle into unending smiles when they recieve a thoughtful gift, or see a long lost friend or family member - another reason to also adore airports, especially the arrivals gate), and the food (cooking, to me, is a medium for bringing those around me closer, and sharing cheer).
Every year, I make Christmas gifts. My standard for the past few holidays has been truffles in little hand made boxes, either with snowflakes drawn on the outside, or a texture of paper mache. However, this year, I thought I would try something different. A throwback to the 70s - Ephram's Bottle Cutter.
Since I have been entertaining so much this past little while, I gained a growing (still!) collection of wine bottles on top of my shelves. I have always been a proponent of Buy-Nothing Christmas (well, as little as you can), and so attempt to do so every year while making spectacular gifts for friends and family. This year - individualized cups, frosted of course, with cute sayings such as 'brush your teeth' or 'drink me', filled with as many biscotti as I can fit (I attempted three, but had to narrow it down to two each - they were huge pieces!!).
This is the first set of biscotti that I made for presents. Almonds and cranberries remind me of this lovely season, as well as compliment each other oh-so-well.
White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Biscotti(adapted from Joy of Baking)

2/3 c. white sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. almonds, chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries

1 c. white chocolate, coarsely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Whip white sugar and eggs with a hand held blender for five minutes, until when you pull out the beaters the eggs fall in slow ribbons. Blend in vanilla extract until incorporated.

2. Combine flour, and salt. Combine egg mix and flour mix until fully incorporated. Add in almonds and cranberries and mix them in fully.

3. Place the biscotti dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, and make it into a long shape, about 12 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove it and let it cool until you are able to touch it. Cut it into 3/4 inch slices, on a diagonal to make the slices longer. Reduce the heat in the oven to 325 F.
5. Place the biscotti, with the sliced side down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip all the pieces over and bake for another 10. Remove and let cool.

6. Melt the chocolate with a double boiler. Drizzle over the pieces, or dip one side in.

7. Pray. Eat. Enjoy making presents for those you love.