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I apologize in advance for the photos, which don’t do justice to the deliciousness of this M & C. Thankfully, the winter solstice is coming, and then we’ll start to see more daylight after 4pm. So this mac & cheese. It came from a book I’ve had by my bedside for months, that I finally picked up the other night and read a story out of. It’s a compilation of the best food writing of 2006 (probably the year I put it beside my bed), and the story I read on this particular night was written by Julia Moskin for the New York Times. (I have to say – I like her photo better. More cheese?) The difference between this particular recipe and the bazillion of other macaroni and cheeses out there: you blend up the cheese and milk and then bake it with raw macaroni, rather than boil the noodles and mix up a white sauce with loads of grated cheese in it, whichContinue reading

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W has been asking to listen to the Johnny Depp Christmas song. I inquired as to which that might be. “You know, the one that says ‘let’s be Johnny Depp’!” I eventually deciphered it: “voices singing let’s be Johnny Depp! the halls with boughs of holly…” If this weekend had a flavour, it would have been gingerbread. On Saturday, one batch was enough for W and 6 friends/cousins to roll, cut, bake and decorate. The thing I love about working with gingerbread dough: as you reroll and cut the scraps, rather than get dry, tough and crumbly, the dough gets wonderfully smooth and leathery; I’m quite certain no kid has complained about the finished product. On Sunday, my sister made a whole neighbourhood of gingerbread houses – one for each family to decorate. The were connected and reinforced with molten sugar so as to structurally tolerate a maximum candy load. On Sunday night, baths were necessary to rid everyone of excess icing.

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You know it’s December when you find yourself eating shortbread for breakfast. This can’t last. We had our Upscale Bake Sale today as part of the CBC/Suncor Food Bank Drive, so it’s safe to say my baking frenzy has already begun – I’ve pulled out those recipes that only come out once a year, and am pondering what will keep and travel well, and what’s easy to make in large batches. I’m a mincemeat fan, and while there’s nothing wrong with making pastry to roll and fill and top and bake, it can be a bit much when you’re charged with making 11 dozen of the things. So if you’re going for ease and large batches, these crumbly squares are a streamlined alternative. Also? They’re completely fantastic – date squares without the sticky date filling, but a slightly tarter, more complex mincemeat instead. I like these even better than traditional date squares. I do. That’s not chocolate milk in the photo, by the way, it’sContinue reading

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I made these a couple years ago, but came across the photo the other day and forgot how pretty they were. I’m not much of a gingerbread fan, but I love these – the cream cheese frosting makes them, I think. This Christmas I want to make them with wee gingerbread men on top, instead of stars. I meant to do that two years ago, but never did. Once in awhile, when I make something really good, Mike says “but we’ll probably never have this again”, meaning that as a food writer I’m always testing new recipes, never building on a repertoire of really good stuff that I make all the time, like normal home cooks do. I told this to Rose Murray a couple weeks ago, and she agreed – her son always said “you never get the good stuff twice”. Although I do love trying new things, sometimes I forget to remember the good stuff. Here you go – short and sweet –Continue reading

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