I've been really into succulents this year. They're unique and quirky, but most of all, easy to look after (they only need to be watered like once every three weeks). I've been having a hard time finding different varieties of succulents in the city, but am hoping to build a collection of these little plants. This arrangement was put together for me by Crown Flora Studio
This pointy guy is my favourite one.


almond brittle ice cream

When I bought Jeni's ice cream cookbook, one of the things that intrigued me the most was the lack of egg yolks in her recipes. Instead she uses cream cheese and thickeners (like tapioca starch). Now I'm not one for low-fat or no-fat (shudder) anything, and thought that egg yolks, even though high in fat, were what gave ice cream that rich, custard-y texture, so I was a bit worried (even though Jeni's ice cream doesn't boast to be low-fat at all).

First I had to decide on a flavour. Gooey butter cake? Salty caramel? Bangkok peanut? This was hard. I settled on the basic vanilla bean and added chunks of almond brittle (also from the book) for extra texture.

Holy crap this was some good ice cream! Like, really really good. Like this may be my new go-to ice cream base recipe. It's creamy and luscious even without the egg yolks. The texture was perfect and it softens up nicely for easy scooping.
You can find the vanilla bean ice cream recipe online here. I'll be trying another flavour later on this week, so watch for it soon.


bibim naengmyun

Toronto is going through a major heat wave and I'm hating it. Being outside is almost unbearable. When it's hot like this, I tend to make simpler dinners that don't involve having the oven on for extended periods of time. Last night I made this Korean bibim naengmyun, chewy cold noodles topped with cucumber, pickled daikon radish, sliced pear and topped with a spicy-sweet sauce. On the side: hobak jeon (pan-fried zucchini) and pajeon (green onion pancake).



Two new cookbooks somehow appeared on my bookshelf this week.
The Japanese Grill was a bit of an impulsive buy. I had just spent an hour or so looking up authentic tabletop yakitori grills (I don't even remember why) and came across this book. I wish there were more pictures, but most of all I wish I had a bbq that I could try some of the recipes on.
Check out those macaroon ice cream sandwiches! Jeni's ice creams are apparently delicious so I was super happy when I spotted this book a few weeks back. Now that it's sweltering outside I've been craving ice cream like a madwoman. I'll be giving my ice cream maker a good workout this weekend.


cottage life

My self-imposed long weekend was spent at a cottage swimming, fishing, getting too much sun and eating amazing food. Proof:
Breakfast (maple sausage + bacon + eggs + toast +tomatoes)
Pork ribs + kalbi ribs + fried rice made with leftover breakfast meats
Grilled corn and veggies + chicken wings + leftover ribs
Bonfire marshmallows for...


pizza at home

Years ago, I used to make homemade pizza on a weekly basis, but I just never found a dough recipe that I loved and stopped. This recipe, however, is awesome and produces the easiest dough I've ever worked with. There's no rolling involved and the crust turns out perfect: not too doughy, not to crisp. Pizza Mondays are back!
* salami, caramelized onions, basil
* olive oil, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms, basil
* caramelized onions, sauteed mushroom, salami, candied jalapenos

makes enough for 3 10-inch pizzas 
10 ounces Italian tipo "00" flour (you can also use all-purpose)
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
10 ounces water

1. Combine the flour salt, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook*. Mix. Slowly add the water until the mixture comes together (you may need more or less water). Let sit for 15 minutes.

2. Continue kneading in stand mixer for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and doesn't stick to the bowl (you may need to add a bit of flour of dough is sticky). Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours or up to 3 days.

3. Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces and place in 3 oiled bowls. Cover and let them sit in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, approximately 2-3 hours.

4. Heat a pizza stone in the oven at 475 degrees. Take a dough ball and stretch by hand until 10 inches wide (I like to make the edges a bit thicker than the rest of the crust). Add toppings and bake for 10-15 minutes.

*If you don't have a stand mixer, I'm sure you can make this in a food processor or even by hand.


antique hunting

Last summer Joe and I would go to the Aberfoyle Antique Market almost every weekend. It was so much fun to just walk around and look at all of the neat stuff for sale. This summer has been busy and we just went to the market for the first time since it opened for the season. Being an apartment-dweller is hard because most of the things I fall in love with are large (too large for our too small apartment).

A new tradition this year will be a mandatory stop at the canteen for grilled cheese (with processed cheese! yes!) and onion rings. 

And here's what I bought:
Vintage Crown mason jars with glass lids $2 each
A new honey tin to add to my collection (the yellow one on the bottom) $3
A book on cacti and succulents (mainly for the pictures that I'm planning on framing) $2


cherries + tacos

Over the weekend my friend Adam and I drove to Sun Valley Farms in Winona to pick the season's first cherries. I'd heard that cherries weren't going to be that great this year due to too much rain, but these were fantastic. They weren't as plump as in previous years, but they were sweet and weren't mushy.
On the way back to the city, we had some great authentic Mexican food in Hamilton at Mex-I-Can. I've been craving tacos like mad this summer and these were fresh and flavourful. 
* Mexican Coke (tastes so much better) + guacamole
* carnitas tacos (top) + chorizo tacos (bottom)

* Sun Valley Farms
1186 Highway 8
Winona, ON.

* Mex-I-Can
107 James St. North
Hamilton, ON.


b.a.h. mag #3

Issue #3 of
b.a.h. is out. Here are some behind-the-scenes images from a day of shooting. A lot of work goes into each issue, but it's also a lot of fun.


rhubarb vanilla bean jam

I usually try to limit myself to making only one kind of jam per year (I mean, how much jam can two people really eat in 12 months?). Last year it was blueberry and this year it was rhubarb. To make the jam a bit more aromatic and flavourful, I added a vanilla bean to the mix.
1.5 lbs rhubarb, washed & chopped
1/4 C water 
1.5 lbs sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 package liquid pectin
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped of seeds

1. Place rhubarb and water into a large pot. Bring to a boil, then add the sugar, vanilla bean pod and seeds, and lemon juice. Boil for about 10 minutes or until the rhubarb is soft.

2. Add the pectin and continue to boil for 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean pod.

3. Ladle into sterilized jars*, wipe the rims and screw on lids. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Remove and allow to cool completely before storing in a cool, dark place.

makes enough to fill four 250 ml jars

* I sterilize my mason jars and lids by placing them in a large pot of boiling water for 15-20 minutes.  


great food series

Recently, I've started reading Penguin's Great Food Series. A tribute to some of the most influential food writers of all time, the series spans the last 400 years and celebrates everything from recipes and entertaining to etiquette and social issues. I only have six of the 20 books, but am excited to add the rest to my ever-growing book collection. So far, I've found each volume to be relevant, amusing and most of all, inspiring. Also, take a look at those covers! They're a thing of beauty.

* images from Penguin


strawberry oreo ice cream

With all those strawberries I picked, I decided to bust out the ice cream maker. This cookie-studded, berry-laced ice cream is a copy cat of the Dairy Queen Strawberry Golden Oreo blizzard. A nice treat on a hot afternoon.
1 1/2 C sliced strawberries
3 tbsp sugar
juice of half a lemon
8 Golden Oreos, broken into chunks

ice cream  base:

6 egg yolks
3 C whipping cream
2/3 C sugar
half of a vanilla bean, scraped of seeds
pinch of salt

1. Mix berries, sugar and lemon juice. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour. Drain juices.

2. Combine 2 cups of the cream, sugar and pinch of salt in a pot and heat until warm and sugar has dissolved. Take off of the heat and add vanilla bean pod and seeds. Cover and let sit off of the heat for 30 minutes.

3. Place remaining 1 cup of cream in a bowl with a mesh strainer over top. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks. Slowly add the warm cream mixture, whisking constantly so that the yolks don't cook. After all of the cream mixture has been added, place the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture is thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

4. Pour the mixture through the strainer into the remaining cream. Mix to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the mixture to avoid a skin from forming. Chill until completely cold or overnight. Churn in an ice cream maker for about 30 minutes or until it looks like soft serve. Stir in strawberries and cookies. Place in a container and let the ice cream firm up in the freezer.


good pickins

Over the long weekend Joe and I went to Barrie Hill Farms to pick strawberries. I've bought several pints of Ontario strawberries over the last few weeks and they were all disappointing, so I was skeptical that the berries would be any good. Surprisingly, they were sweet and juicy! Maybe it was because we picked each one carefully. Or maybe it was because it was extra sunny out that day. Regardless, we picked over 10 pounds and have been enjoying them ever since.
While also grabbed some fresh sweet peas. They were like eating candy. 
Next up for picking: cherries, blueberries and peaches. Can't wait.

* Barrie Hill Farms
2935 Barrie Hill Rd.
Barrie, ON.