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A lemon tart is a wonderful thing, and not as finicky as it seems. I made these with the kids’ cooking club earlier this year, and they turned out beautifully! Shallow tart pans with removable bottoms are traditional, but not necessary – the pâte brisée, a sweet, shortbread-like crust – is pressed in instead of rolling, so you can use any similar-sized baking pan or dish. If you have smaller ones, you can divide the pastry and filling between them and make smaller tarts.

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My friend Allison, who lives up the hill, has a few apple trees in her front yard that produce an astonishing number of apples. There are a few varieties – some larger eating apples, some medium – not quite crabapples, but not full-size either – and some tiny red crabapples that are perfect for jellies. She always lets me pick some, and they’re so great for baking with.

I love a good apple cake, and thought I had made them all until I started noticing people make Ruthie’s apple cake, from the cookbook Friday Night Dinners by Bonnie Stern, during Rosh Hashanah. It’s a spectacular cake, loaded with chunks of apples and walnuts. I instantly adored it – not only the taste of it, but its rugged good looks.


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I’ve noticed lately that I have a glut of jam on my pantry shelves – I keep making it, and not eating it fast enough. We’re also getting into mincemeat season, and when I came across these in my archives, I remembered not only how delicious they were, but considered how amazing they’d be with mincemeat. I love a substantial cookie, and these are baked in muffin tins, which allows them to bake up nice and thick. They’re like crumble in cookie form – reminiscent of date squares, but with your choice of jam, and crispy edges.

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Friends!! Here it is – the Nanaimo Bar Cake. I’ve been thinking about it ever since discovering Deirdre’s epic multi-tiered creation at Sweet Relief Bakery in Calgary (I put it on the 25 Best Things to Eat list in Avenue Magazine back in 2020!) and finally decided to attempt a more streamlined version at home. It turned out wonderfully-I love cakes this size, and recipes that make two, so you can give one away or tuck it into the freezer for another day. These will freeze beautifully. Enjoy!!

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I’ve been cooking out of Olia Hercules‘ cookbook, Mamushka, this past week. This warm kidney bean salad jumped out, and I made it (with the last of the dried red kidney beans in a jar on my shelf. (I simmered them straight from dry, no pre-soak, in salted water with a bay leaf. They took a little over an hour to tenderize.) I also roasted wedges of cabbage and onion to chop and stir in, and it was wonderful. Some feta crumbled in would be delicious too, I think.

Lobio means “beans” in the Caucasus region – Olia calls for a can of red kidney beans, which would certainly streamline the process. This salad was wonderful warm, but is equally delicious cold — and beans always benefit from some time in the fridge to allow them to marinate. As I was out of fennel seed, I used a small-batch Kadhai spice blend (that includes coriander and fennel) from chef Aman Dosanj — if you don’t have these, feel free to adjust the spices to use what you have.
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Last weekend, I came across a recipe in the Guardian for a banana cake made with just the banana peels – an intriguing way to address food waste. I’ve made a *lot* of banana bread in my lifetime, and generally my strategy is to toss overripe bananas into the freezer whole, and then pull them out to thaw in a bowl when it’s time to bake. (If I’m in a hurry, I cover them with warm water to help them thaw more quickly.)
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Oat milk has been gaining popularity in a big way, in part because so many formulations are made especially for baristas, with extra additions that help them foam and froth, and the slightly nutty, grainy flavour pairs well with coffee. We talked about the increasing number of options out there and tasted a few non-dairy milks on last week’s Eyeopener. But if you want to make your own oat milk, it’s easy: simply blend a 1:3 ratio of rolled (old-fashioned or quick) oats to cold water in a blender, add a pitted date (for a bit of sweetness that mimics the lactose in milk) and a pinch of salt if you like, blend for 20-30 seconds, and strain. Don’t let them soak, or your milk could get gummy — and the same thing can happen if you over-blend. Just put the oats and water in the blender and go. (Don’t try steel cut—they’re too hard to blend.) I like to double strain — pour it through a fine sieve to get rid of the bulk of the ground oats, then through a few layers of cheesecloth or a clean thin tea towel — or use an old shirt or the corner of an old pillowcase (well cleaned, of course) and there you go—you have oat milk! Keep it in the fridge for up to a week, and give it a shake before using.


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This was the trickiest of the lot, but perhaps the most satisfying to crack. The cheddar Mmmuffins had a slightly sweet, cakey texture, and were brilliant orange. My initial tests were tasty but missing the mark… it wasn’t until a CBC listener messaged me with a tip: back in the eighties, working at a different chain eatery, she used powdered cheddar when making the muffins. I added about half a pack of the cheese mix from a box of KD and voilà—extra cheesiness, but also that intense orange colour that acts as a visual cue, making them taste even cheesier. You could, of course, use extra-old white cheddar here—and you could omit the powdered cheese… just expect them to look a bit different.

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