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Recipe: Persimmons: Scones & Sorbets and more

11 Jan

I love persimmons. I love scones. So why not put them together? Brilliant! While we’re at it, why not poach them, make them into frozen treats or toss ’em in a salad?

Persimmon Scones

Courtesy of Happyolks – With guidance from Tartine

  • 3 cups persimmons, chopped – use the firm ones, not squishy soft. Chop into bite sized pieces.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • 4 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk or dairy-free alternative
  • (optional glaze or reduction, see footnotes)

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a medium saucepan over high heat, melt 2 teaspoons of butter with vanilla and sugar, add chopped persimmons. Reduce heat and stir for 5-10 minutes until softened. Set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Add sugar, salt, and stir together. Cut or shave the butter into dry ingredients. Use a fork or whisk to break up the butter into small chunks throughout the mixture.

Add the buttermilk, then the persimmons. Mix lightly with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together, adding buttermilk or the reserved persimmon liquid to the dough as needed.

Dust a piece of parchment paper with flour and turn out the dough. Pat the dough into a rectangle (if making round scones, er, hockey pucks like mine) or into two circles, about 1-2″ thick. Using a round cutter, press out scones and lay on a baking sheet with parchment paper making sure to leave at least 1″ of space between each scone. Sprinkle raw sugar over the tops, generously, and bake for 25-35 minutes until just slightly browned.

*I think this Maple Nut Cream from Adrienneats, or a Maple Glaze from The Healthy Green Kitchen would make winning toppers to these guys. They’re more on the biscuit end, so a hit of sweet frosting or glaze would really make these a treat.

***

Hachiya Persimmon Scones

Adapted from a-gitate.blogspot.com

INGREDIENTS
1 Hachiya Persimmon (about 1 cup persimmon pulp)
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 stick (4 tablespoon) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 large egg (or 1 small egg)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries (optional)

PREPARATION

  • Wash persimmon, discard stem, puree in food processor until smooth (with or without skin – your preference.)
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Sift flour, soda, spices together.
  • In a larger bowl, with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until well mixed (about 2 minutes.)
  • Beat in egg, then fold in persimmon pulp.
  • Stir in flour mixture, making a soft dough.
  • Mix in walnuts and cranberries if using.
  • Drop heaping tablespoons of dough 1–2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet/parchment paper.
  • Bake 15–20 minutes or until lightly brown, rotating baking sheet halfway through.

Cook’s note: Make sure the Hachiya persimmon is ripe before using it in this recipe. Wait until it is custard-soft, with a jelly-like consistency.

***

Persimmon Scones

2 cup self rising flour
2 T brown sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) cold European-style butter (such as Plugra), cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup hachiya persimmon pulp
1/4 cup creme fraiche or buttermilk
Extra flour for rolling out the dough


Food processor
Rolling pin
Biscuit or scone cutter (or a knife)
Buttered baking pan


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).

Place the self-rising flour in a food processor that has been fitted with the blade attachment in the bottom. Add the brown sugar. With the food processor on the pulse setting, start adding the cold butter, one piece at a time. Pulse about 10 times after each addition of butter. Continue to add the butter until it has all been incorporated, pulsing after adding each piece. Add the persimmon pulp and the creme fraiche or buttermilk slowly on the pulse setting (you may not need all of it) until the mixture starts to come together in clumps. Stop the processor and carefully check just the top of the dough (the blade is still inside!) to see if the mixture is moist. If so, remove the blade. Then gather up the dough into a ball form with your hands. If the dough is still too dry, then continue to add creme fraiche or buttermilk until the mixture starts to get moist.

Spread some flour on the countertop and place the ball of dough there. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 1 inch thick. You can then cut out shapes using your biscuit or scone cutter. Or you can roll the dough into a circle and cut it into wedges using your knife.

Place the scones into the buttered baking dish, sides not touching. Bake for 15-18 minutes until slightly browned.

Eat right away. These are great with honey, jam, creme fraiche, Devonshire creme, etc.

***

Persimmon Scones

2 cups self-rising flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold, unsalted butter
½ cup persimmon pulp
¼ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place unripened persimmons in a freezer overnight. In the morning, peel, remove the papery leaves and mash the pulp. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425°.

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, and mix well. Work in the butter and mix until the mixture has small pea-sized bits of butter.

In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, persimmon pulp and vanilla, then pour into the dry ingredients.

Blend until the mixture just comes together. With extra flour, shape the mixture into one large round circle 1-inch thick, then score the dough into 8 even-size triangular wedges.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet at the upper half of the oven and bake 15–18 minutes, until golden brown. (Serves 8.)

***

BONUS:

Spiced Wine Poached Persimmon

From GourmetFury

Ingredients

  • 2 persimmons (peeled and scored from top to bottom)
  • 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • handful of cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • peel of 1 lemon
  • 1 slice of ginger
  • Mint leaves

Directions

  • Score the persimmon all the way around and stud it with some cloves.
  • In a small saucepan, bring all the other ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat down to simmer, then gently poach the persimmon for 15 minutes. If there isn’t enough liquid to cover the fruit entirely, then turn it upside down midway through.
  • Remove the persimmon, drain, and place onto the serving plate.
  • Turn the heat to high, remove the spices, and reduce the poaching liquid to a thick syrup. This will take around 10 minutes.
  • Drizzle the syrup around the persimmon, garnish with mint leaves, and serve with ice cream or yogurt.
  • Warn your guests not to eat the cloves 🙂

***

Raspberry-Persimmon Sorbet (About 4 Cups)

  • 1 ¾ cup Raspberry Purée
  • 2 ¼ cup Persimmon Purée
  • 1 tbs Lemon Juice
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 5 tbs Agave Nectar, plus more if needed
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients except for the agave. Taste and add the agave a tablespoon at a time until the mixture tastes just a little bit too sweet. You may need more or less than five tablespoons.
  2. Strain the mixture through a medium mesh strainer (what you would use to sift flour). Mix with a spoon to get the mixture to move through the strainer. When done, you should have a thick jam-like substance left in the strainer which will be mostly raspberry seeds; discard this.
  3. Put the mixture in a covered container and let chill in the back of the refrigerator for several hours.
  4. Once chilled, freeze according ice cream maker directions. Transfer sorbet to a container, cover and freeze. You should be able to scoop it straight out of the freezer, but it’s always a bit easier if you let it sit out on the counter for a bit before serving.

Note: experiment with other complementary fruits such as pineapple

***

Persimmon Sorbet with Sautéed Honey Persimmon (adapted from The Food and Cooking of Korea)

Ingredients:

For the Sorbet

  • 4 ripe persimmons
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier

For the Sauteed Honey Persimmon

  • 1 ripe persimmon
  • A little less than 1 tbsp honey

Recipe:

For the Sorbet

  1. Peel and cut persimmon into small chunks and finely puree.
  2. Add persimmon puree and sugar in a pot over low heat, stirring all the while.
  3. When the mixture begins to boil, immediately take it off the heat and let cool.
  4. While it is cooling, stir in lemon juice and OPTIONAL Grand Marnier (note, the alcohol is there to make your sorbet easier to scoop once it has been frozen. You can leave it out, but will probably have to defrost the sorbet for about 15 minutes before serving).
  5. Place mixture into refrigerator to cool 6-10 hours.
  6. Follow instructions for ice cream machine.

For the Sautéed Honey Persimmon

  1. Peel and cut persimmon into chunks.
  2. Sauté persimmon chunks with honey on medium heat until heated through.
  3. Let cool (refrigerate if you prefer) then serve over sorbet.

***

Persimmon and Cardamom Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar $
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups ripe Hachiya persimmon puree (about 4; see
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice $
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt $
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom

Preparation

  1. Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add persimmon puree and remaining ingredients, stirring well. Cool completely.
  2. Pour persimmon mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Spoon sorbet into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Remove sorbet from freezer 10 minutes before serving.
  3. Persimmon Puree Pointers. Ripe Hachiya puree is easy to make by following these tips:
  4. To speed the ripening process, freeze the fruit overnight or until solid. Thaw the persimmon; when soft, it will be sweeter and less astringent.
  5. Cut the ripe fruit in half. Scoop the pulp out with a spoon.
  6. To achieve an even consistency, place the flesh in a mini-chopper and process until smooth. This ensures the persimmon puree will incorporate evenly into batters.

***

Persimmon sorbet with spices (Sorbet de kakis aux épices)

Ingredients:

For 1 quart:

3-4 dead ripe Japanese persimmons (to make 3 c. puree)
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 3″ piece of cinnamon bark
3 cloves
3 allspice berries
1 head of star anise
A 1″ piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into 1/8″ slices
5″ piece fresh lime peel
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 T. dark rum

Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Drop in the spices, ginger, and lime peel, bring to a boil, and boil gently 5 minutes. Cool and strain into a bowl.

Cut the Japanese persimmons in half crosswise and scoop the fruit into the bowl of your food processor with a tablespoon. Squeeze the empty shell to extract remaining juice. Measure out three cups and bring to a gentle boil in a saucepan. Cook 5 minutes. Add to the syrup. Chill thoroughly.

Just before freezing, add the lime juice and rum. Freeze in your ice cream freezer according to manufacturer’s directions.

Note: This exotic sorbet is light and refreshing yet rich in complex flavors. You can use more star anise and omit the other spices if you love the flavor of this oriental spice (called badiane in French). I served this after a supper of pork roasted with whole garlic and sage leaves and eggplant gratin for a delicious fall supper.

***

Persimmon Sorbet w/Sherry

250g/8oz caster sugar
600ml/1 pint water
6 very ripe persimmons (otherwise known as cachi or sharon fruit)
150ml/5fl oz double cream
100ml/31/2fl oz sherry, preferably a very dry fino such as Tio Pepe

Put the sugar and water into a sauce pan over a low heat. When the sugar has fully dissolved, bring to the boil, lower the heat slightly and simmer for five minutes until the sugar syrup has a slightly viscous consistency.

Peel the persimmons and whizz them in a blender adding the sugar syrup, a little at a time, then the double cream and the finally the sherry.

Persimmons are best when they are very ripe, nearly “bruised”, and they’re also very sweet. If you find them too sweet, the sorbet will be the same, so add some lemon peel to the sugar syrup.

Finally, pour the sorbet mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until thickened (approximately 20 minutes), according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove and preserve in the freezer. Alternatively, put in a freezer-proof container and freeze, stirring every 20 minutes until set.

***

Persimmion Marmalade

Directions:

Blend enough persimmons to make 2 quarts. Cook for 15 minutes, add 1 C. pure orange juice and 1 C crushed pineapple. To each cup of mixture, add 3/4 C sugar. Boil, stirring often, until thick. Pour into jars, seal, do not put in hot water bath.

***

Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 fuyu persimmons, peeled, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces), seeds (if any) discarded
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 Granny Smith or Fuji apple, peeled, cored, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 7-10 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced crosswise (stack then, then roll them up like a cigar and take slices from the end)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Method

Gently toss all of the ingredients together.

Keeps for at least a couple of days in the refrigerator, but best eaten same day it is made.

Yield: Serves 4.

The Ultimate Chocolate Ice Cream for the Most Discerning Chocoholic (w/Brandied Cherries)

20 Jun

I’m not a huge Chocoholic, but when I want to eat chocolate it’d better be damn good. I like my ice cream rich in flavour, all natural and delicious. I love any recipe by the ice cream guru himself, David Leibovitz, and this will surely win over any discerning Chocoholic or will convert non-believers. Not too sugary sweet, very rich… A crowd pleaser.

As for the brandied cherries, first time I had them was at the now closed The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe. I used the recipe below, and kept them in the fridge to marinate for a year. I was initially going to chop them up, but was afraid that the syrup would change the flavour of the ice cream. However, if you freeze the cherries, chop them up and add them that would probably work, but then again alcohol doesn’t freeze well.

I’m trying a new method here, not just photos, but tips and tricks before the actual recipe.

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I bought a chunk of Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, mostly because most chocolate recipes require bittersweet and not semisweet and so the chocolate can be used for other purposes. 5oz of chocolate doesn’t seem like much (0.142kg) but that’s all you need. I tried to be cool by shaving chocolate which took a lot of effort, so take a shortcut by using chocolate chips or bars. Then again, it probably won’t melt as fast.

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When cooking the egg mixture, be sure to work fast and be vigilant or else you’ll end up with scrambled eggs. There will always be a little, hence the straining, but it only takes a few seconds for the whole thing to turn into a wet egg mess. When pouring the milk into the egg yolk, whisk fast and furious. When cooking the egg mixture, watch it carefully – once it coats the back of the wooden spoon, remove it from heat, and immediately strain into the chocolate, because the eggs will keep cooking.

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I tend to like to adjust the flavour as it freezes – if it’s too bitter, add tablespoons of condensed milk till it’s just right. If it’s not creamy enough, I like to add coffee cream The ice cream is so rich and dense, once it hardens it’s like a fudgesicle. For frozen treats, pour and freeze in a popsicle mold. Add almonds or chunks of skor bars to up it, or keep it pure.

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Chocolate Ice Cream
from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Coffee cream, condensed milk

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

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A cherry pitter from Ming Wo is your best friend – makes the pitting fast, easy and mess free. Always boil the jar and lid you’re going to use.

Lu’s Brandied Cherries
Homemade brandied cherries are a simple and delicious way to dress up your cocktails.

1 lb. sweet cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
1 stick cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brandy
Tools: cherry pitter, saucepan, ladle, jars with lids

Wash and pit the cherries. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate, uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

I <3 Niçoise

26 May

The Nicoise Salad is a fave of mine – I can eat it for days on end because not only is it delicious, filling without the guilt and colourful, but it adheres to the Mediterranean diet that is low-fat (or of healthy fat), a source of high quality, lean protein, and even supplies Omega-3 fatty acids. A bit of background here, it’s a specialty of the Côte d’Azur and named for the city of Nice.

Best place in Vancouver (I welcome your suggestions) and where I got hooked on it: Les Faux Bourgeois

This is my staple recipe, but feel free to sub tuna in olive oil with seared Ahi, or grilled chicken,  or cherry tomatoes for the larger variety. Haricot verts can be found in the frozen section at the Gourmet Warehouse and maybe Whole Foods.  There’s also a pasta version, if you want to serve it potluck style.

Bon Appétit!

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Kitchen Gadgets on my Must Have List

6 May

You can never have enough kitchen gadgets. From grape peelers and grapefruit serrated spoons, to milk frothers and large-capacity food processors. One thing I will never use are those slicers — I’m a traditional knife kinda girl. Williams Sonoma is probably THE best place to find all your gadgets – from the mainstream to specialty, they have it all or will. Some are useful, some are fun gifts, some are purely indulgent. Oh BTW, they have great recipes that actually work – worth a try =)

Monogrammed Forged Steak Brand 

Now this is what I’m talking about! A perfect gift for the dad, husband, brother or man in your life who takes pride in the steaks that he grills and wants to tell everyone. Secretly, I want one of these too! Custom order only – 1, 2 or 3 initials for $$39.95.

Nordic Ware Egg Waffle Pan

This is another MUST BUY for me – I’ve been an egg waffle fan from very the first bite into the crunchy yet warm and soft goodness that is a HK snack staple. You can find it in Richmond at the Asian malls or night market for $4 a waffle. Psh. Now I can make it at home. Looks like you do need a gas stove for the best crunchy on the outside effect. I know there’s an electric version of this out there somewhere. $49.95

Nordic Ware Rolled Omelette Pan

Because I’m Asian and all I own is a wok, it’s hard to “roll the omelette” when what you’re working with is circular. Ok fine – it’s not one of those necessary things like the 2 above, but wouldn’t hurt to add to your collection if you have a lot of cupboard space. $39.95

Breville Electric Milk Frother

This is an indulgence, and yet some swear they can’t live without it – me included. $160.00

Breville Pie Maker

Mini chicken pot pie, mini apple pie, mini blueberry pie, mini strawberry rhubarb pie and the list goes on. It’s the “mini” part that’s appealing. Admit it =) $150.00

Also, Williams Sonoma had these adorable mini madeline pans but alas they’re not on the site anymore. Look for it in the stores.

Creamy Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream

8 Apr

Ever since I got my Cuisinart ice cream maker last year (actual model: Cuisinart Pure Indulgence™ 2 Qt. Frozen Yogurt-Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker) I’ve been making frozen goodness non stop just for the fun of making it and to give it away (sharing is caring, always remember that). I have to say through tests, trials and tribulations, the most popular and requested flavour is the Creamy Earl Grey. I’ll definitely be making it again this year (requests are already coming in), and I hope you like the recipe too.

I took the basic Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from David Lebovitz‘s The Perfect Scoop (a must buy for any ice cream lover) and adapted it. The tricky thing about working with tea is the flavour infusion – of course the longer you infuse the more flavourful it is, but when working with tea, the longer you steep the more bitter it becomes. So this is not one of those “leave it in the ice cream maker until it becomes ice cream” kind of recipes, but you must sit by, watch it churn, taste and keep adding (you can’t subtract when it comes to food) till you get it right. Enjoy!

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Madeleines

26 Dec

The origin of the madeleine, the shell-shaped sponge cake eaten as a cookie, is disputed, although most food scholars believe it originated in the Lorraine city of Commercy. It traveled first to the court of Louis XV at Versailles and then on to Paris, gaining converts at each stop. Today, the pâtissiers of Commercy are still considered Frances premier makers of madeleines, and boxes of madeleines de Commercy are sold throughout the country. You will need a madeleine pan, made of tinned steel and with a dozen molds, to bake these little cakes.

These little sponge cakes, immortalized by Marcel Proust in Remembrance of Things Past, are at their most memorable when eaten as Proust himself liked them, fresh from the oven, still warm and a little crisp on the outside. As madeleines tend to dry out quickly, home-baked ones are best.

If you use a black nonstick madeleine pan, decrease the oven temperature by 25°F or shorten the baking time by a few minutes.

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A VERY Late Xmas Wishlist & Gift Ideas pt. 1

23 Dec

The older I get, the less I buy for myself and the more I buy for others. I’ll buy you what I think you’ll like or need, or I won’t buy you anything at all. If I see something I think you’ll like, I probably won’t be able to wait till your birthday/anniversary/Christmas – it’ll just show up at your door. I’ve bought stuff for everyone else but myself this year, but think I’ll start my wishlist around Xmas and hopefully acquire it throughout the year.

Here are a few things I’m lemming, and hoping that if you’re stuck for some last minute Xmas gifts, my list will give you a few ideas.

  1) CHOCOLATE – you can NEVER go wrong with chocolate, unless it’s Black Magic or Ferrero Rocher (not that I’m a chocolate snob, but these are GIFTS, you see). I always go local (no Godiva) because the local stuff are more artisan and tend to be fresher (there IS a difference). My go-to places for impressive, unique, local artisan chocolates are Thomas Haas (they also have the most buttery pastries) and Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France (new on the chocolate scene). Like last year, order a day or 2 ahead at Thomas Haas (they’re closed on Sundays and Mondays, unfortunately), but I spotted their gift boxes at Whole Foods on West 8th and Cambie Street. If you want to impress someone, the Earl Grey chocolate at Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France is to die for.  

2) LOLLIA WISH PARFUM – I’ve always loved the Lollia line, especially their Shea Butter handcremes (the perfect hostess gift) and their candles. I was in a store the other day and overheard 3 different people inquire and rave about the Wish parfum (which were conveniently sold out, by the way) and they were added to the waitlist. I have the Wish handcreme, and it dawned on me how dreamy it would be in a parfum (a sweet bouquet of sugarcane, vanilla bean and jasmine). Now on the hunt for it. Get on the list at Beautybar, U Life and Nikaido Gifts. Or online at Anthropologie.

3) URBAN DECAY NAKED PALETTE – This gorgeous neutral palette has sparked a lemming and buying frenzy almost as crazy as Chanel Vamp (’94)and Black Satin (’06) which went international. No, it’s more of an underground lemming craze a la Bobbi Brown’s Shimmering Nudes Palette (’08) that’s not based on the current fashion craze or fad but because it’s timeless. This palette was released at the end of summer and is completely SOLD OUT.

I have to admit I’ve lapsed on this beauty thing, but when I saw Jen from FrmHeadToToe.com use it (I’ll write a post on her later – she’s my newest makeup guru), I just HAD to have it, only to add myself to the waitlist of 300 at Sephora at Pacific Centre. Want to know how many people want it? I posted on Twitter that I was going to look for it and 4 girls joined in on the conversation – everyone wants it! I stood in the UD section just looking over the collection when the salesperson approached me and said “let me guess, you’re looking for the Naked palette too. Let me add you to the list, we should have some coming in after Christmas.” The proof is in the pudding. If I ever get my hands on it I’m buying 2. I can’t review it because I’ve never held it in me hands (there wasn’t even a tester at Sephora! Guess someone pried it out of the case and swiped it!) but Temptalia, Makeupgeek, MusingsOfAMuse and many other beauty sites gave it full marks, no cons and pretty much a must have in everyone’s collection!

Biscotti

19 Dec

Pistachio-Orange Biscotti

Recipes are not all the same — no, not to state the obvious, but some work, and some don’t. For example, I can quote a ton of people who can testify that the majority of Martha Stewart’s recipes don’t turn out right. If you want recipes that turn out most of the time, try Epicurean, Saveur or my go-to (especially for baking) Williams Sonoma.  The last time I made Orange Almond Biscotti – it was so hard it chipped the tooth of the person eating it. But armed with the right recipe, you’ll never have to make sure your loved ones have dental insurance in advance again.

What I love about these biscotti recipes from Williams Sonoma that they’re soft and crumbly enough that you don’t need to dip them in milk/tea/coffee and adapt as you will… enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Recipes: Part 2 – Veggies

10 Oct

Thanksgiving seems to be one of the few occasions where veggies are tolerated or even welcomed as a reprieve from all the meat and starch. Glazed veggie or brussel sprouts are traditional, but it seems like not everyone likes brussel sprouts, probably because they’re boiled or steamed (oh so bland) or overcooked and emit that sulphurous stink.

The key to perfect brussel sprouts is to watch them closely while cooking. To prepare for steaming/boiling, remove outer old and wilted leaves, trim the stem and score an X in the stem.Boil or steam for 4-7 minutes until they turn a vibrant green, then quickly remove from heat and drain. Pick the smaller, tightly packed sprouts, and purchase as close to the use date as possible.

I hope you heart sprouts as much as I do after trying one of my favourite recipes below – Brussel Sprouts, Chestnut and Bacon Sauté. As for something sweet, a take on the traditional honey/brown sugar glazed carrots – Mirin Glazed Carrots

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Thanksgiving aka Turkey Fest Recipes: Part 1 – Starch

5 Oct

Thanksgiving is next Monday – Canadian Thanksgiving that is. Unfortunately since most of the food mags and sites are American, the recipes for all the ‘what’s new’ and trendy ideas for Thanksgiving come out in November. I’m not fretting too much though – as long as there’s all the essentials like turkey, veggies, starch and pumpkin pie on the menu, I’m good. Over the next few days leading up to the turkey/binge fest, I’ll be posting up recipes I’ll be trying or want to try, and hope you are inspired to do so too.

I can only eat so much turkey, but I can never get enough starch. Whether it’s mashed potatoes, candied yams, roasted sweet potatoes or any starchy gratin, it’s always a crowd pleaser. Here are some of my favourites, from savoury to sweet…

p.s. and no, I will not be putting the nutritional values up for these =)

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