This is what happens when I come home with leftover whipping cream in a can… I need to come up with a use for it to prevent myself from spraying it all directly into my mouth. Also: I have a container of the most brilliant raspberry-rhubarb compote in the fridge, which I love to eat cold with yogurt and granola, but lets face it – a crunchy-edged biscuit and whipped cream makes even better use of it. If dessert was a sandwich, this might be it.

Somehow, someone somewhere decided that shortcakes were the ultimate vehicle for strawberries… so much so that someone else invented those little yellow sweet sponges to sell alongside the berries in grocery stores during the summer. And yes, strawberry shortcake is a good thing… such a good thing that they named a cartoon character after it. But honestly, any juicy seasonal fruit does just as well – you need it to be juicy so that the shortcakes can absorb some of those juices, so cold stewed plums or thickly sliced peaches tossed in sugar are great contestants. But my personal favourite is raspberries + rhubarb – since I have no berries growing in my back yard, I use a bag of the frozen ones, which is perfectly fine – especially for cooking. You wind up with this sweet-tart intense red compote that’s just saucy enough for things like shortcakes and Eton mess – but that’s another story.
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Yesssss, I managed to get another podcast out and into the world! Food writer Claire Tansey was in town to promote her new cookbook, Uncomplicated, and since she has many years of experience running the Chatelaine test kitchen, we decided to sit down and answer a few common questions we get about cooking, ingredients and other culinary curiosities. We also talked about what makes a solid recipe, how you know it’s going to work, and ate some jelly doughnuts. Have a listen!


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Nanaimo Ice Cream Bars

There are few new ideas in the culinary world – most recipes out there are tweaks of existing things or creative new versions of same, and I suppose this is no different. But when someone on Twitter questioned why no ice cream version of the Nanaimo bar exists – beyond, yes, an ice cream pie (though I wonder about the vanilla ice cream filling with dry custard powder stirred in…) – in response to the conversation about the new Canadian dessert stamps and how the Nanaimo bar stamp looks more like an ice cream bar, ratio-wise, I leapt at the challenge. And so I give you Nanaimo ice cream bars with a Nanaimo bar base and frozen custard ice cream made with Bird’s custard powder. Oh yes.
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Turkey Parm Smashburgers 2

I love a good burger. It may be my desert island food, in no small part because there are so many different ways to make one, so it’s impossible to get bored. Which is a good thing, because as I’m now the parent of a 13 year old six foot tall eating machine who requests burgers and/or pizza for dinner every night by placing (begging) his order the night before, I’ve been coming up with variations on the most obvious burger formula. So when the Turkey Farmers of Canada asked if I’d come up with a recipe using Canadian turkey, it was an easy (and delicious) challenge, and of course I like to support our Canadian farmers whenever I can.
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Though my dad came to Canada from Belgium when he was a kid, I’m no expert on the Liège waffle, except to know what I like when I eat one. Liège waffles aren’t like other Belgian-style (thick? round?) waffles – they’re dense and chewy, yeast-raised, with a dough like brioche but studded with ultra-coarse pearl sugar that melts and caramelizes on the outside as they cook, creating a slightly crunchy exterior with plenty of crispy bits. (Depending on where you live, you can usually find it at gourmet shops and stores that carry more baking supplies than others. I got mine at Duchess Provisions in Edmonton, which is now closed, but it was only $3 – not pricey.)
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You guys, I adore baked Alaska, and I’m not sure why it’s not made more often, so I am here to take any scariness out of the process. It’s one of the most fun, and most delicious, and most celebratory – not only because you get to torch it, which is perhaps the most satisfying culinary endeavour there is, but because it has just the right ratio of ice cream to cake (at least double), is topped with Italian meringue, and you can do just about anything you want with it, flavour-wise. I’ve happily shared a couple wedges at restaurants this week, which reminded me that it really isn’t that tricky to make at home, and is what one might in magazine and internet lingo be described as a show-stopper. (But… who wants to stop a show??) Just imagine, if you will, this baked Alaska with sparklers stuck all over it for a birthday. It looks stunning, and yet there’s no pressure to decorate a cake! Bonus!

Baked AlaskaBaked Alaska

The folks at Chapman’s (who are based in Ontario) asked if I’d come up with a recipe using their products, and because a) mango sorbet is W’s favourite, b) I appreciate all support that helps offset the cost of keeping this website designed, hosted and mostly functioning, and c) it gives me a legit excuse to make a baked Alaska on a regular Thursday, I sent Mike out for sorbet immediately.

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Chicken Piccata
I know it’s sometimes uninspiring to cook for one, and cereal is the solo meal of choice for those who would rather not have dishes to do, but I get a lot of satisfaction from single skillet meals that take under ten minutes and don’t stick you with a ton of leftovers.

This chicken thigh piccata is almost as easy as cereal: douse a couple chicken thighs in a shallow dish of flour and cook them in butter with a slice or two of lemon in the pan until they’re crisp and golden. If there are any leftover cooked veggies or quick-cooking ones in the fridge – I had half a baked potato and a bunch of broccolini – they take just a few minutes to reheat alongside. When your chicken is cooked, you can squeeze the soft lemon overtop with tongs, then add a splash of stock or wine to the pan along with a dab of butter and forkful of capers, swirl it around to loosen any browned bits, and pour overtop. SO GOOD.
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I know, it seems particularly hardcore to make your own candied peel for things like fancy breads and buns, but when you realize how simple it is, and that every orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit literally comes with an almost-free batch of candied peel, you may be a convert. And beyond the simplicity and economy of it (good candied citron is expensive, man), the homemade version is leaps and bounds better than anything you’ll buy at the store, even the expensive stuff, even more so than just about any other product I can think of – consider homemade vs store bought chocolate chip cookies, and you’ll be in the right ballpark.

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