07 November, 2013


I had thought to follow Chocolate & Zuchini and release a monthly post with a list of things I love to reduce my guilt for not writing weekly. Blogging. Blah blah blogging.

Too harsh?

But I can't figure out what to do with this space. Is it a food blog? A DIY blog? What I want it to be is a smashingly successful online space that satisfies my need for beautiful design, curating and collecting (and sharing) where new ideas come to life with terrific writing that makes me and other people laugh.  

So there. Now you know.

I'm just going to wait for Martha's Circle to call me while I brew my second cup of coffee. 

When I come back I might create something like this or something from here. No I probably won't. I'll take my shower and get dressed and go out to meet my sister Jessy who owns this amazing store and then I'll go meet my friend who likes to sew and will probably make something like this in the next sewing group and later I'll meet my other friend who would be a star at making any of this stuff.  My other sister made me a hat a while ago and it's the perfect amount of slouchy.  

I don't DIY that well, and I especially don't sew well.  I have been known to, but it's not my forte. What is then? I'd like to know how to write a punchline like Sedaris, if not my Aunt Kathy's eye for dessert detail.  (I bet the New Yorker calls him before ten a.m. with assignments that break his emotional bank. Again?! They pay shit. I bet he wants more out of life too.  Once something is old it's old - doesn't matter how you perceive it, it's not literature.  It's just your life stories. Actually, I take it back.  According to Wikipedia literature is the art of written work.)

How do you become an artist? I think that's what I want to be today.  A DIY artist!

Seriously though - I've always felt I couldn't survive without making stuff. Getting Messy. Creating something.  Meals are easiest because you have to finish them within reason.  And I suppose they are essential.  All the other stuff not so much...  Do I care if I ever learn how to DIY well?  Is all that matters that I 'D' something, sometime, somewhere in the world? To state my place? Show I was here?  I'm stepping back for a longer look for the next little while.  I'm going to stop pressuring myself to 'do' something.  

20 October, 2013

My Life as Salad & Pie

Two outstanding recipes that I made recently include simple ingredients with minimal prep.  The food represents what I love about life: deliciousness.  I named the recipes for two people very close to me - I cannot separate the person from the dish in my mind.  Jessy's salad is vibrant with a special sweetness and perfectly composed; Rebecca's dessert is elegant, decadent and undeniably a good friend.  In other news, I started watching Masterchef Junior.  The kids are inspiring and ridiculously confident young cooks - and the judges are obviously having a lot of fun with them. I wish I was 12 years old and on this show.

Jessy's Salade Nicoise

Serves 4

8-10 new potatoes, cut in half or quarters and boiled

a large handful of green beans, steamed
4 eggs, hard boiled and served at room temperature
enough mixed greens for four people
8-10 black olives, sliced (Kalamata are good)
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
fresh herbs such as basil or dill (optional)
sea salt and pepper
2 seared fresh tuna steaks, sliced, or 20 seared scallops (optional)

For the dressing, use this one from River Cottage Veg cookbook:

1/2 small garlic clove, crushed with a little salt

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
A squirt/pinch of sweet (agave, sugar etc)

Gently toss the greens with a little of the dressing.  Compose all of the ingredients on a large platter or individual plates starting with the greens in the center and the other ingredients in groups around the outside. 

This was dessert from my first visit to enVie Vegan Kitchen.  It tastes very similar to the recipe below and was so lovingly plated I was smitten with their kitchen immediately.

Rebecca's Chocolate Pie

First make the salty-sweet pecan oat crust:

1 cup oat four or processed oats
2 cups pecans
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp ground flax
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or honey
1 tbsp earth balance, melted

Combine all the ingredients and press/shape into large pie plate.  Score the crust by poking holes with a fork and bake until lightly browned, ten mins approximately.  Le cool before filling.

Next make the filling:

300 grams dark chocolate 
300 gram package of silken tofu (Rebecca says: "accept no tofu substitutes! it must be the softest kind")
vanilla and / or liqueur to tast (1tsp - 1 tbsp)

Melt the chocolate and then blend along with tofu and vanilla / liqueur in a food processor until silky smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust and let set for several hours in the fridge.

Serve with unsweetened whipped cream.  

20 September, 2013

daRk cHocolAte aLmoNd iCe crEam

Summer has left us. Red leaves on one small tree on Edinburgh Street are already thinking of leaving too. My body wakes up in the middle of the night, not quite sure what to do with itself.  Make tea, sit down to write, share this recipe by Merida for a year round summer treat...

Disclaimer: You need to dedicate two nights and a few daylight hours to produce this ice cream.

Below is my mini review of a vegan cookbook I think you should look at one day.

Vegan Secret Supper: 
Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen 
by Merida Anderson (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013)
This cookbook is a guide through the delectable waters of vegan cooking, or as the author describes "slow food at its best." A nicely designed paperback, it was discovered by accident thanks to my local librarian's weekly curatorial skills - somedays you just need to dash in, grab a few books near the front door and dash out the building.   
With plenty of colour photographs for inspiration to make interesting meals for your loved ones, I recommend it for your collection. I will keep close several recipes for an upcoming dinner party, including Apple Beet Salad with Lemon Tamari Vinaigrette, Baked Hazelnut Cheese & Sesame Mustard; Butternut Squash & Almond Gnocchi Sautéed with Sage Garlic Butter - and of course, Dark Chocolate Almond Ice Cream.  Merida's desserts include nine different ice cream types ranging from the one just mentioned to the odd sounding Balsamic Marbled Coconut... She rounds out her book with a few Brunch menu items (Peanut Butter Oat Waffles with White Chocolate Mousse & Vanilla Plum Compote), Teas and Sodas, and Pantry Items a good cook should not go without (Pine Nut Parmesan, Coconut Sour Cream, or Fresh Peach Chutney).
Have I mentioned I now live near Almon Street? (Or is that Almond...)  A quickie search for a photo to accompany this post led me to learn there used to be the Halifax Municipal Airport circa 1934 about one block from where I live.  Here's a happy trio I could have served ice cream to...

Photo: Halifaxhistory.ca
Dark Chocolate Almond Ice Cream 
Makes 2 cups - 500 ML.

3/4 cup almonds, soaked in 1/2 cup water overnight and drained (Note: you will be reserving 1/4 cup of the almonds, chopped up for added crunch)
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate, melted
1 vanilla bean, scraped, or 1tsp vanilla extract

Soak almonds overnight.

Drain almonds. Chop 1/4 cup of the nuts and set aside.  Melt the coconut oil.  Chop and melt the dark chocolate.  In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth, except final 1/4 chopped almonds.  Stir in chopped almonds.  Chill in a covered bowl in refrigerator overnight.

Follow manufacturer's instructions for your ice cream maker and whip that good stuff up!

21 July, 2013

Hello, Goodbye Toronto


I tried to fit it all in. I built a "menu" of places to go, starting with Kensington Market Monday for Cafe Pamenar and back on Augusta Avenue Saturday morning for wood-fired bagels.  For my last week in Toronto I wanted to indulge in snacks, drinks and of course bike rides on streets that I love in my neighbourhood:  Queen, College, Crawford, Ossington, Dundas...

I also built a list of goodbyes, discovering my Toronto friends and family really know their food:
- five o'clock hugs with Janey accompanied by oysters and white wine at 416 Snack Bar
- artisanal drinks in vintage glasses at the Northwood with Leah
- French pastries at Nadege with Helena
- homemade lobster rolls followed by Leah's dessert with local strawberries
- quinoa and seared scallops and an unbaked local cherry cheesecake by Bojan and Angela  
- "Pie Thursday" at House of Cool with a champagne toast
- sampling the new pastry known as a "cronut" at a cupcake cafe on Dundas (I didn't like it) 
- Friday night steak and asparagus BBQ at Jacob and Jessica's 
- a rustic brunch with our beloved supper club group at Zocalo Restaurant 
- a second brunch at The Saint with the Toronto crew of Sheriden grads mixed with wives, new boyfriends and beautiful children (Maggie and Chloe)

The build up to our leaving Toronto was intense and the drive to the airport a bit stressful with two freaked out felines singing all the way to Pearson.  Then just like that (cue finger snap) we are back in Halifax, driving on a smooth highway flanked by thousands of trees and summer ocean air.

At the airport I was told my luggage was 20 pounds overweight. 
Must have been all the good food I ate. 

05 July, 2013

Bittersweet Summer Days

When life gives you lemons... 

Lawrencetown beach, Nova Scotia
We're leaving Toronto in a week - back to Halifax and the ocean stones and sand, maybe a lake or two for refreshing dips. I'm definitely sad to be leaving my amazing foodie city of Toronto, in particular my corner greenmarkets with six lemons for $2 or organic avocados 2/$3.  Those are not Halifax prices.

This morning I couldn't sleep so there I was prepping fruit salads and an eggwhite omelette for when Nick wakes up in a couple hours.  I even considered baking brioche (see why below) but I used all the eggs in a lemon bar recipe, something I'm bringing to a family BBQ in Niagra Saturday.

I'm crossing tastebuds and provinces already, preparing a special lobster roll backyard picnic for three tonight. All lobster rolls are not created equal and I haven't found a recipe that I like yet so I will come up with my own (I will share after the reviews are in!).  I'm going to bike down the street to Harbord Bakery after breakfast and pick up sweet challah rolls instead of using brioche or a foolishly inferior white bread product.

The lemon bars were spontaneous craving for curd and I found a decent recipe on Pinterest but I'm told by a master home chef in my neighbourhood that Martha Stewart's recipe is all you need.  I screwed up the sugar component - I had a bag of coconut sugar from the health food store, claiming to replace 1:1 for sugar in baking. That's fine except when color is important... my carefully tended lemony & zesty curd immediately turned a caramel brown.  I finished it off with drizzles of coconut flakes to disguise the ugly shade of brown.  They have been in the fridge for two days now and taste amazing - small mercies.

Here's the video about making lemonade with all those life lemonades...from the good people at Food52.

Also, I'm still hunting for interesting popsicle molds to add to my collection.  I already have plastic fourtop so I think I'll look for mini baking cups and do a little DIY on the next batch... cute, no?

29 June, 2013

Jessy's Wrap

Jessy knows how to make simple, delicious food. Here's a quick guide to a late morning or afternoon snack inspired from the young master of taste...  

Jessy's Wrap

Shredded carrot
Pea shoots, baby lettuce, etc.
Grated cheese (or crumbled feta)
Optional: add a fried or scrambled egg
Pita bread

Strawberry Popsicles!

The birds woke me at 5am.  Eight hours later I'm looking at the sun and wanting to rest on a low slung chair with a cold treat.

Sliced fruit, twirled in honey, pureed until smooth...piece of kiwi too...

life is good when made by scratch.

Do you have your popsicle molds ready yet? Mine are sort of boring, might scope out something more interesting for next batch. Something like these (Pinterest)

09 June, 2013

Banh Mi a sandwich already!

It's true. I like what the Banh Mi Boys do.  A lot a lot.

from blogTO
from thegridTO
They're my non-existent Asian grandmother's BBQ secrets carefully written down and translated by my fictional Asian hipster cousins, presented to an adoring public in a club-like atmosphere to throngs in downtown Toronto. The food is killer so you wait. People do that here.  (You know the space is loud when you step outside after eating one of their high flavour, inventive sandwiches into one of Canada's largest city's noisiest corners and it seems quiet.)

I think about their sandwiches and cannot get them out of my mind. Off I go on my bike to Spadina and Queen.  I've turned Nick onto them and proudly introduced another friend to the taste that is BBB. Even Fresh has their version of the Banh Mi sandwich (not served in their restaurants, but in their latest cookbook).

I read a quote from Calvin Trillin in a New Yorker magazine inherited from a family friend with a subscription:  "The only good argument for colonialism is the banh mi sandwich."  Ah, colonialism  jokes, so precious. 

Here's a recipe you can follow and get inspired by.  Easily replace tofu with chicken, beef, pork, squid or grilled fish.  The bread must not be regular sliced bread. That would be borrring...

Banh Mi
(c) 2011 from "Fresh: New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from Fresh Restaurants"
serves 4

the slaw
2 cups julienned daikon
2 cups julienned carrots
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup agave

the protein
4 Tbsp canola oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tamari
2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 block tofu slices 

the sandwich
small bunch of cilantro sprigs
slathering of good mayonnaise (or Veganaise is quite good)
16 slices cucumber
4 large crusty whole wheat buns or a baguette 

Marinate the tofu in the oil-tamari-garlic mixture for at least 30 minutes. In a separate bowl marinate the daikon and carrots in the vinegar mixture for at least 20 minutes.

You can either grill the tofu or eat it as is.   Pour the carrot mixture through a strainer to rid excess liquid.

Warm the bread and spread on as much mayo suits you.  Layer on the tofu, slaw mixture, cucumber and cilantro and press the bread halves together.

Serve with a side of sweet potatoes fries or green salad, if desired.  

01 June, 2013

Cafe Constant, Paris

What a trip to Paris does for the delightful soul... We ate, walked until we collapsed and saw almost everything on our list.  On day three we wandered in Champs de Mars until we found Cafe Constant.  I chose it for its consistent reviews to be "the best meal of the trip."  

We happily jostled alongside Japanese stylistas and British expats meeting their Parisienne girlfriend on a lunchbreak, eventually seated upstairs without too much wait.

Our lunch was elegant, modern French cuisine without arrogant service.  We both enjoyed the lingering qualities of a multi-course meal followed by cafe creme.  Arriving at the tail end of service at 230pm we were the last couple sitting in the dining room which felt both romantic and easy going. 

Find your way there sometime, you won't be disappointed...

11 May, 2013

Vegetarian Summer

There is no photo of the recipe I cooked in this post. I can't do it all, and besides this dish tastes a thousand fold better than I could make it look last night. Don't let my visual omission deter you.

I've been focusing on vegetables - rightly so - so should you,  and am coveting a new book from the River Cottage series.  It's been getting phenomenal reviews across the interweb.  Renowned carnivore spends his entire summer as a vegetarian. And he looks like he's a goofball while doing it.
Photo by KEO Films
Again, don't let that photo deter you from trying this high boost, flavourful vegetarian comfort food.  This recipe serves two with leftovers or four people, or one person with lots of leftovers...you get the idea.

The tangy feta offsets any bitterness of the greens, the dried fruit and nuts give a pleasing sweetness and crunch.  Then there is the pilaf.  Cooked with fennel and onion, using a good organic broth, a simple grain is made genius flavourful. The roasted squash is a beautiful color that melts in your mouth.

Acorn Squash with Quinoa Pilaf, Swiss Chard, Raisins & Feta
(this recipe is not Hugh's but inspired by another book entirely. I am placing my veg delight onto a book I haven't even cooked from yet!)

1 acorn squash
allspice, cinnamon, ground ginger
salt and pepper
olive oil

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 medium fennel, diced
1 medium onion, diced

3-4 cups chopped organic swiss chard or kale
a large handful of dried raisins or cranberries
a large handful of pepitas or sliced almonds (optional)
1 large garlic clove, minced
olive oil
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Create a tasty olive oil mixture for the squash.  Combine cinnamon, allspice, and ginger with salt and pepper and the oil, brush it over the squash (after you've sliced it in half).  Place the two halves down on parchment paper (this saves clean up). Roast for 20-25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. You know it's cooked well when a bit of pressure on the hard rind gives way.

2. Cook the pilaf. Sautee the onion and fennel until translucent. Add the quinoa and broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until the water is absorbed - about 20 minutes.

3. Cook the greens.  Heat the garlic in oil for a minute or two, add the dried fuit and toss in the pan for another minute or two.  Add the greens and cook, stirring, for three minutes (longer if you have stems).

4. Assemble the dish.  Quinoa on the plate first, topped with squash (removed from rind), sprinkle the feta over the squash before placing the greens on top. Sprinkle the nuts on if using.

So, put down the chop, tenderloin and ribs, and pick up the veg! It's worth it in the end.

03 May, 2013

I heart The List

See what else I do on Instagram (@jnnzmm)
I believe I have good taste - for example, it's easy for me to pick out things that are expensive or well made. I also cherish elegant DIY crafts, shocking paint colours from the mistint bin, and a funny book from the library.

Once I wanted to be a book designer. I interned at MoMA's publications department and had a great conversation over lunch with the book designer. She told me I would need to go back to school. Shame. Writers: do they need school?

I'm in love with my current city (Toronto) and miss my original city (Halifax). I take bike rides in the sun to large urban parks and fantasize about buying organic produce at the weekly farmer's market. Bring on the loose leaf lettuce - I'm sorry, but that's a sexy phrase. Cucumber and carrots are on my list for a container vegetable garden for my partially shaded back yard. I will find (free?) little plants and move them around to find the sun for as long as possible each day.

I dream about things. Places to go and things to try. A constant array of things to do is always with me. They are my biggest comfort. I get giddy when I think about them. Unlike my husband, I love The List. Things to do around the house, people to send a card to, plans for vacation, all the pretty details of my life.

Also, I try to not get obsessed with looking at real estate listings, imagining a future landscaping project to enhance the privacy of a front yard. Does it have room for a small vegetable garden in the back? Does it have a mint condition extra long claw foot tub that I can place a little yellow plant next to and a window above the kitchen sink? Who will my neighbours be?

Thursday we wandered through a community garden that was inspiring in its state of affairs.  It was carefully unattended, if there is such a thing. A couple plots recently had the dirt turned over. Some were without borders and overgrown but you could identify a plant here and there that could be salvaged (see: strawberries and brussel sprouts).  One day a short kid will walk the same path I did as a dare by his short friends, one of which will be holding a basketball like a weapon. The others will be pointing take it!, standing arms crossed and laughing. Stupid! Get the strawberries! Ha ha ha.

I aspire to be a good neighbour and non procrastinating writer.  I like to write. I'm reading Steve King's psuedo memoir On Writing.  He says art should support life not the other way around. Leave your desk in the corner and put your family front and centre. (What does he know? His he really learned anything from writing over fifty world #bestsellingnnovels? That's #success folks!)

As a snapshot of my brain today I present The List - it's not complete of course, I am constantly adding and subtracting, but it's verified nonetheless.  (I stole this idea for a list of links that are so intriguing you must click them from Clotilde D. - a non procrastinating writer with fantastic cooking abilities on display here - to get her monthly lists you need to subscribe to an e-newsletter, it's worth typing in your email)
Photo of Sheila Heti & friends from The Paris Review
Toronto author (and world influencer) Sheila Heti's latest book, How Should a Person Be?

An app that let's you stream songs all day with a concierge to assist you

My sister's store which I adore

World class photographs on display all month at this amazing festival

This online food community

A lovely smelling, natural skin care line made in my neighbourhood - the lemon deodorant cream is a minor revelation for me

This song and performance video - watch out it's sweaty

A Nova Scotia real estate site with a fun, map based search system

Alec Baldwin's podcast

Giving back to the animals

A great place to see what is happening to other people who live in this world

29 April, 2013

A recipe for flowers

Stumbling upon things can be the best form of discovery. I read about a flower recipe book and tracked it down in the tall fields at Bloor and Bay. It is oh-so-pretty, informative, and very well-designed.  Like many of you when you want to make something, I read a few recipes but then get distracted by a truly inspiring fresh ingredient at the market: artichoke, lemongrass or rununculus...!

The 'poor woman's peony' (compare seven to fourteen clams), the rununculus has layers of petals that enchant me.  Using the book as a guide, I looked for a base flower and some more visual interest beyond the main flower.  What pleased me most was that the scratch I spent went far - two large arrangements plus two smaller ones.

Canada Blooms was an event several weeks ago at a dreary convention centre near the lake.  My dad and I inspected some (questionably) winning arrangements - I sort of felt like we were back in the eighties.  But, a few florists incorporated edible ingredients! Ginger root, limes, and peppers...

12 April, 2013

Baking Inspiration: Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes

It's cold and rainy. There's also some ice pellets. Small piles of snow linger on the ground.  Must be... April in Toronto.

So I want to try my hand at living more frugally.  We have a trip to Paris to save for!  You know, goals like preparing baked goods at home instead of donating to my local hipster cafe's pension fund, or accumulating recipes with ingredients that freeze well, or trying the envelope system instead of the debit/credit card system for daily purchases. Whaaat? Where'd all the cash go?

Also on the list: exclusively using the library for reading urges (but I just signed up for Indigo's Plum Rewards card!), using a budget (that sounds really familiar), and reviving the piggy bank for toonies and loonies.  There's other lists too...

Make my own clothing/make my current clothing feel new by adding fun embellishments that may or may not be good ideas, or remembering to be thankful for literally pounds of personal belongings we house in our very cozy flat when others in the world go without both homes and belongings.  Really people, this last trick reminds me of how blessed-by-the-universe my life is each day.  Suddenly I feel very rich.

Back in the kitchen, I figured I had an hour and a half to pump out something baked and good before an appointment downtown.  I knew I wanted to use ripe bananas and dark chocolate.  To the archive of  Deb's blog I went first, cross-referenced with my treasured Joy cookbook just because.  What did I come up with?

May I present the concoction Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes.  Yogurt cakes are common in Paris, need I say more?  I rejigged the recipe to make it my own - I like things only the tiniest bit sweet, I added banana and omitted almond extract.

These little cakes are the perfect purse companion for a lady on the go.

I couldn't find a muffin tin so I had to use my mini-loaf pan (which I bought a few years ago to make a version of Leslie Stowe's incredible savoury crackers). Could I be a proper lady with cake in her purse that resembled a small loaf of chocolate bread?  Why yes!  But perhaps mini-muffins would be ideal so you don't feel like you're stuffing your face in public like I did on the streetcar. Whatever size you make these you will still stuff your face, so stop thinking about it and just bake.

Chocolate Yogurt Snack Cakes
(based on this recipe from SK)

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt (room temp) - alternates: sour cream, creme fraiche, ricotta
3 eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract - alternate: almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
2 ripe bananas - alternate: applesauce
a few tbsp cane sugar - alternate: up to 1 cup if you want them sweeter
pinch of coarse salt

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease the tins. Melt the chocolate with half the oil in a heat proof bowl over simmering water.

In a medium bowl mash the bananas, add the eggs, half the oil, vanilla, and sugar.

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Make a well and add the banana mixture.  Stir until just mixed.  Now add the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.  Pour into the tins and place in the hot oven for about 25 minutes, or until a chopstick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack.  Store half the batch in the freezer for up to 3 weeks - eat the rest today, tomorrow, and the next day.

09 April, 2013

SOMA chocolatemaker Designs

Raspberry Rakia truffle (Photo by SOMA) 
Welcome to SOMA chocolatemaker.  I consider this place to be my favourite chocolate-scented retreat (don't you have one of these?).  Entering the King West cafe - a place to "eat, drink and worship chocolate"- brace yourself to not melt from the aromas and complex cacao inventory on the floor-to-ceiling shelves. Their fair trade products include delicate truffles, elixirs, gelato, bars, and plenty of gift-able and special order items. Not visited as often but equally inspiring is their micro-factory in the Distillery District. These chocolatemakers focus on experimentation and the products prove their dedication to creativity.

At the back of the cafe you can imagine yourself the baker as you stare down stacks of chocolate molds or freshly baked Sweet Cherry Focaccia in Blackbird Baking Co.'s space.  I snacked on a focaccia with caramelized onion, asparagus and feta with a side of single origin Madagascar (70%) dark chocolate truffle.

The interior design of the cafe is worthy of the Design District location - I popped into Design Within Reach to look at all the beautiful furniture beyond my reach - then grabbed the latest edition of Design Lines magazine to rifle through the listings for the city's umpteenth design accessory store I want to visit.
SOMA , King West (Photo by Design Lines)
MADE Design on Dundas West is my latest find.  A showroom/gallery/shop with dozens of Canadian product designers represented, several creators captured my imagination. The Gemstone Carpet by Bev Hisey (scroll down), the Meridian Pendant Light by Propellor Design, and a petite Ceramic Pentakis Vessel by Kristen Lim-Tung.
Photo by kristenlimtung.com
Photos by Propellor Design
Bev Hisey's Everydayhousewife studio-retail outlet is my next stop! You can get a sneak peek into her home on favorite design-DIY blog Design Sponge.

Bev Hisey's home & Gemstone Carpet (Photos by Design Sponge)

05 April, 2013

New York Cheesecake

The Philadelphia Cream Cheese foil package is sentimental for me (never mind the contents). It represented quality branding to my childhood brain and the product maintains a richness of flavour and excellent package design unchallenged by generic competitors. Sometimes you must go for the good stuff. Nick's birthday - plus my procrastination levels this week - required a classic and simple cake to prepare. Knowing there will be a traditional birthday cake in the near future at the in laws, I opted for one of my personal favourites - a light, creamy crustless cheesecake that sits tall on the plate. Trust me, you won't miss any graham crumbs.  We both consider this cake to be irresistible. It's just perfect and rather addictive. I briefly cooked some frozen raspberries with a dollop of agave syrup for a topping (a "rustic" and less sugary version of Martha's raspberry coulis).   Enjoy! (best cheesecake recipe here)

27 March, 2013

Dinner with Amy

Would you be intimidated by a dozen young, beautiful women piling into a five star hotel elevator on a Saturday night on their way to a $$$ restaurant on Avenue Road?  Didn't think so.  Strangely, our waiter at said restaurant seemed to be terrified of our table.  There could be no other explanation for his spotty service and general disregard to, well, service us.

13 March, 2013


I don't always enjoy straight up H2O, but I do enjoy natural flavours and fresh ideas about hydrating my lovely little body.

Take slices of cucumber & honeydew melon or lemon & lime and throw them in a pretty glass pitcher and you will have something other than boring water to guzzle.

10 March, 2013

Donna Hay loves lamb

A new post!  My sister visited this weekend and we wanted to make a few freezer meals.  Donna Hay's No time to cook has plenty of the foodie's stylized photos of presumably irresistible dishes, and one section called "some now some later."  We landed on a two page spread that had her versions of shepard's pie, veal osso bucco, and a coriander chicken curry.  Okay. Definitely won't be making the second, I recognize the first from university cafeteria days, and will undoubtedly love the third.