Cherry Kirsch Crisp

IMG_2088

A large part of the joy of cooking is witnessing the perfection of nature.

I believe in respecting the integrity of foods– as Brooks Headley so eloquently put it, above. He also said, “the key to making great food is to get the best possible stuff and avoid fucking it up”. Okay Brooks, simple enough.

His cookbook Fancy Desserts is a real pleasure to read. It’s one of the quirkiest, unique, personal, thought-provoking, and creative-juice-stimulating ones I’ve ever read. (“I genuinely love holding a piece of fruit in its perfect state, barely able to contain its own fragile insides, a few hours away from rot. It is magic.”)

Although I haven’t gotten around to making anything from it yet (chocolate eggplant sounds a bit far fetched, even for me…), it just reminded me again how lucky I am to be spoiled by the bounty of local, fresh summer fruit.

For me, there’s a sort of default dessert they’ll be siphoned off to– a crisp. It always goes back to the crisp. It’s quick, easy, simple, versatile, and respectful. You’re fully in charge of how much or how little sugar to add, the combination of fruits, how “whole” you want to leave the fruit, the types of oats and nuts in the topping. Whether or not you want an element of surprise. Black pepper and strawberry, perhaps. A bit of herb in the topping, like thyme, perhaps. It’s easier to make than a pie, since there’s no waiting for the crust to chill, no need to dirty your counters rolling out the crust… it’s pretty much a mix-and-dump type deal. Plus, there’s the added bonus of being able to sneak in oats, your choice of nuts and seeds, and even almond flour into your crisp topping, so you can convince yourself it’s breakfast food. Serve it à la mode, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer dessert.  Continue reading →

Raspberry Financiers

IMG_2147

I don’t know where the time went, but July had been a complete blur, and now we’re almost halfway through August…

I finished Masterchef Australia at my own pace about a week ago, and man, I cried during that finale. I don’t usually cry when I watch things, so it was really good, okay?! Especially after binge-watching the entire season and bonding with the contestants.

The Australian version of Masterchef is by far my favourite out of the ones I’ve watched (ie. compared to American or Canadian). I find that they don’t try to create tension or drama between the contestants, but instead put the drama into the challenges they’ve created, or the complexity of the food, or the chef they have to cook against. It’s just very food focused, and the judges (George Calombaris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan) are absolutely keen on helping the contestants improve week after week. And the contestants themselves develop amazing friendships and there’s never any spiteful comments directed to each other; it’s all very positive. There are also some heavy-hitters like Marco Pierre White and Heston Blumenthal who make guest appearances and push them a little farther.

Continue reading →

the birds & the beets

IMG_2027-2

the birds & the beets. Fell immediately in love with their name, concept, design, space, website, everything about it. So I was really looking forward to visiting this newly opened cafe.

IMG_2028-2

The space is smaller than expected when you first walk in. I haven’t been there when it was the old sushi place, but the layout is sort of unique for a cafe, because there are two entrances; a narrow hallway opens up to a larger space in the back/alexander street side of the cafe.

IMG_2003-2

IMG_2007-2

It’s like they targeted my weakness for natural lighting, flowers, exposed brick walls… Continue reading →