Individual Creme Brulee Cheesecakes

A few weeks ago I hosted a dinner party for a few people who had never been to my place for dinner. I usually try to make something a more impressive for new people because I want them to really enjoythe dinner I make. So for this dinner party I chose to make a more involved dessert. I made indvidual creme brulee cheesecakes with a homemade phyllo wafer "crust". I really enjoyed making them and definitely learned a few lessons. The finished result was far from perfect, but they tasted delicious and I know that next time I make them, they will be even better because of the things I learned!

So, lets get started! For my graduation from university, my mom kindly bought me some new dishes for my existing set. One of the things she bought for me were ramekins - this was the first time I used them (as you can see since they're still in the box). Dishes are by Sophie Conran - plain white and nice and simple. Love love love them!

First step was prepping the dishes - had to butter the dishes and cut parchment paper to fit in the bottom of each dish (this recipe makes 6 individual cheesecakes). I have to admit - I really didn't have enough patience to cut all of the circles out - I recruited hubby to cut the circles out for me! I just put them in the bottom of all of my dishes!

The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks by Anna Olson - Fresh.
  • 1 - 1lb (500g) tub good quality mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease six 5-oz ramekins and place a disk of parchment in the bottom of each. Place ramekins in baking dish with 2 inch lip.
  2. Stir mascarpone gently to soften it. Add the sugar and combine well. Stir in whipping cream and vanilla bean paste or seeds using a whisk to smooth the mixture. Whisk in eggs one at a time until blended. Ladle the mixture into prepared ramekins and pour hot tap water in the baking dish to halfway up the ramekins.
  3. Bake cheesecakes for 35 minutes (tops of theesecakes will be brown to golden), then remove them from the water bath to cool. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving.

To make the phyllo wafers:

  • 3 sheets phyllo pastry
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. Lay out one sheet of phyllo. Brush lightly with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Cover with second sheet of phyllo and brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar again. Repeat with third sheet, then fold phyllo layers in half.
  3. Cut 6 circles out of the party with 3 1/2 inch cookie cutter and place on prepared baking tray.
  4. Bake for 7 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.
  5. To serve place a phyllo wafer on a dessert plate. Run a spatula around the inside of each ramekin to loosen the cheesecake then turn it out onto each wafer. Peel away parchment disk and sprinkle sugar over top of cheesecake. Using a kitchen butane torch, carmelize the top of the cheesecake. Repeat with remaining cheesecakes.
The photo above is my finished individual creme brulee cheesecake. As you can see, I did not carmelize the cheesecake properly. I didn't get the "carmelized crunch" that is the sign of a properly carmelized creme brulee. I did some reading to find out why and learned that the carmelizing is supposed to be done in layers. Next time I make this recipe, I will sprinkle with sugar, carmelize with the torch and then sprinkle and carmelize again. I will repeat probably 2-4 times to get the crunchy topping like a good quality creme brulee!
Hope you enjoyed this post and it inspires you to try some new recipes at home! Let me know what you think and if you have ever made something similar.


Muffin Mania!

Over the past month I have been baking muffins so that my hubby and sister have something to eat for breakfast and snacks! I baked some plain banana muffins which were really nicely flavoured and very light and fluffy, but I found them to be a little boring. I think if I made them again I would add some ingredients to them to make them a little more exciting! Here is a picture of the finished product:
I'm not going to share the recipe for these muffins because I want to experiment with them a little bit more to get the recipe just right. If any of you would like the plain banana muffin recipe, let me know and I can email it to you.
The recipe that I am going to share with you is for mini lemon muffins. I found a recipe for lemon loaf in my cookbook The Girl Can't Cook by Cinda Chavich, which I'm sure by now you can tell is one of my favorite cookbooks!! I use it all the time. I adapted the recipe and made it in mini muffin tins which turned out really cute!

Mini Lemon Muffins (Adapted from Cinda Chavich's Classic Lemon Loaf)

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease mini muffin pan.In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Remove the lemon zest and add to the flour mixture. Juice the lemon and set aside for the drizzle.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with granulated sugar, yogurt and oil. Fold in flour mixture and mix until batter is smooth. Add any extras such as poppyseeds now.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared mini muffin tins. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until mini muffins are done and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Cool the muffins in the pan, on a rack. Whick reserved lemon juice with icing sugar to make the drizzle. Poke holes in each muffin and drizzle lemon mixture over the hot muffins. Let cool completely before removing from the pan.


Next time I make these I am going to use both lemon zest and lime zest and I am going to add poppyseeds too. I think this will add some nice colour as well as texture to the recipe. Let me know what your ideas are for this recipe!


Mongolian Beef!

Hi Everyone! Sorry I just disappeared for about a week - I had the opportunity to go to the Okanagan with a lovely friend and hang out at a resort for the week. Definitely couldn't pass up on that one! I'm back now and have so many things to share with you. This post is not impressive and the quality of the photos is definitely lacking, but I must share this recipe with you because it tasted so fantastic.

This recipe was adapted from Fresh Food Fast which was put out by the folks at Cooking Light. The one thing I LOVE about this cookbook is the fact that every single recipe has nutritional information, very few ingredients and takes very little time to prepare. The only downside is that some of the recipes tend to use a bit of packaged food. The packaged food part can definitely be overcome though by purchasing the raw ingredients and taking a little extra time to do the chopping and other prep work at home. This can also save you money too since packaged and pre-chopped items tend to cost a bit more!

Mongolian Beef (adapted from Fresh Food Fast)

  • 1 lb flank steak, trimmed and cut into thin slices
  • cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (you can use roasted garlic instead)
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 1 small package snow peas, trimmed and cut in half
  1. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Coat beef with cooking spray. Cook steak about 3 minutes or until browned and liquid has almost evaporated. Stir occasionally.
  2. While steak cooks, combine hoisin sauce and next five ingredients in a small bowl. Dice the onions and trim the snow peas. Add sauce, onions and snow peas to the pan. Stir well to coat everything in the sauce.
  3. Cook 2-3 minutes until the sauce is slightly reduced, everything is heated and coated with the sauce. Makes 4 half cup servings.

I hope you enjoy the recipe. Here is a photo of what my dish looked like when it was finished in the pan. Not exactly presented nicely, but the flavours are sooooo nice. Let me know what you think of the recipe!


The Italian Kitchen - Vancouver

This post is for the coworkers at the job I just finished on Wednesday! For one of my last days with the company they took me out for lunch to the Italian Kitchen! I had never been before, so it was a nice treat that they took me there! I took some photos of the food because it was really beautifully presented and the flavours were amazing! We sat in a section of the restaurant that was right near a big opening to the patio - thus we were almost half inside and half outside - the result was an awesome, bright and airy table! The servers were prompt for the most part and didn't bother us much, which is a nice change from the type of restaurants where your server interrupts conversation every five minutes to "see if everything is ok"... it was ok five minutes ago, what would have changed?! Any way, enjoy these photos of the food - it was great!

For a starter we had the Spicy Kobe Beef Meatballs - they were incredible! Topped with a sliver of parmesan cheese:

For the main course, everyone ordered a different dish... one co-worker ordered the wild salmon which came with a celery root puree and a sauteed spinach and prawn salad. It looked so good and it was beautifully presented:

I ordered the Quattro Fromaggio "Bianco" pizza which included caciocavallo, fontina, asiago and buffalo mozzarella (a lot of it). I don't think I would order this pizza again - they got a little carried away with the cheese and it ended up being quite greasy. I think with these types of cheeses, a little goes a long way and the pizza could have been flavourful without being incredibly greasy and loaded with cheese. But it did taste good nonetheless:

Two co-workers split the Pasta Platter which included the following menu items: spaghetti and spicy kobe meatballs with truffle cream, braised veal cannelloni with wild mushroom cream, pappardelle with lamb sausage, cabbage and potatoes, rigatoni pomodoro. It looked absolutely exquisite and everyone around the table enjoyed the tastes they took too:

Next up, one of my co-workers ordered a pasta bowl - I'm pretty sure this one was the Penne Arrabbiata (crispy pancetta, peperoncino, basil, and burrata cheese). It looked great:

Another one of the dishes we ordered was a pasta bowl as well and I also can't remember which one this is... I think it was the linguine with jumbo prawns and included oregano, capers, roasted tomato aglio olio:

Now that I'm laying out all these pictures, I'm realizing how much food we consumed at this lunch... wow, did we ever eat a lot! But it was so worth it. The co-workers who split the pasta platter also ordered the Proscuitto di parma pizza. As far as I'm concerned, this was the best dish I tasted at the lunch! It was great. Toppings included arugula, tomato sauce, and burrata cheese. I think burrata cheese is my new favorite kind of cheese! It was sooooo good and super creamy:

Last, but not least, we ordered the Chicken Saltimbocca. It included proscuitto, ricotta and panzanella salad. It looked delicious:

And since a lunch with this team would never be considered complete without dessert we ordered Zeppole ci Cioccolato. This dessert consisted of italian style doughnuts filled with chocolate ganache and served with creme anglaise for dipping. This dish was my favorite in terms of presentation, but I am not a huge fan of doughnuts, so it definitely wasn't my favorite dessert. Everyone else seemed to LOVE it though and it didn't last long on our table!

Thanks to a great team - I will miss working with all of you - thanks for treating me to such an awesome lunch and introducing me to a new restaurant!! :)


Almond Apricot Scones

The weekend is finally here and what better way to enjoy it than with freshly baked scones and steaming hot coffee sitting on the balcony? Yum! Here is a quick and easy scone recipe to start off your weekend morning.

Almond Apricot Scones
Recipe from The Guy Can't Cook by Cinda Chavich

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour (or wholegrain for a healthier option)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp diced cold butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sliced dried apricots
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp almond extract or amaretto liqueur
  • melted butter for brushing
  • sugar for dusting scones


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. In food processor combine flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda, and butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Transfer to large bowl and mix in almonds and apricots. Add buttermilk and almond extract and stir with a fork until dough just comes together.
  3. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and pat into 6x9 inch rectangle about 1 1/2 inches thick. Cut into 3-inch squares, then slice each square crosswise to make 12 triangular scones.
  4. Set scones on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush tops of scones with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden. Transfer to cooling rack.

Enjoy these scones as part of your relaxing weekend! A great option for a healthy breakfast -they don't have much sugar or fat in them which is a nice change from the usual scone recipes which are loaded with sugar and fat. This recipe gets its decadence from buttermilk or yogurt which makes for a lovely scone! Hope you get a chance to try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I did!


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I came home from work last week and decided I felt like baking... I wanted something sweet and I also wanted to bring some baking to work for my coworkers. I remembered one of my co-workers asking me for an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, so I figured I would test out one of the recipes I had and see if it was worthy of sharing with others. Boy was it ever!! The recipe came from The Best Bake Sale Ever and is definitely one I'll make again. It was so easy to mix together and the ingredients were simple and down to earth.

The recipe has been slightly adapted by me and the adapted version is as follows:


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

  • 3/4 cup butter, at room temperature

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1/3 cup milk

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats

  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sween chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease two cookie sheets.

  2. Combine flour, baking soda and cinnamon (if using) in medium bowl.

  3. In large blwl, beat butter and sugar until creamy (approx 2-4 minutes). Mix in egg, milk & vanilla. Blend in flour mixture. Stir in oats and chocolate chips with wooden spoon to form stiff dough.

  4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheets.

  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until cookies are firm to the touch and golden brown around the edges. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on tray, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did! Here is a picture of the finished product:


Similkameen Valley Wine Trip - Wine Details

I know some of you have been waiting for this post! I have been meaning to post some information on the wines we purchased while on our trip the other weekend. We tried some excellent wines so I'll tell you about the best ones!

First up was a Pinot Rose from the Seven Stones Winery. It was a beautiful winery and I think I thoroughly enjoyed all of the wines we tasted! The winemakers wife was there when we arrived and promptly greeted us outside and took us around back to show us the phenomenal view! What an incredible place. Here is a picture of the view - you have to see it! Back to the wine we bought though! The Pinot Rose lovely - crisp and dry and perfect for summer! The tasting notes at the winery said the following:

Defined by its room-filling aromas of grapefruit and strawberry, this Pinot Rosé
embodies the true essence of the classical Rosés found in the south of France. A
vivid mouth-feel reveals the delicate balance of citrus and exotic fruit
flavors, pleasing natural acidity and a crisp dry finish.
You could definitely detect the grapefruit and strawberry aromas after swirling your glass!

Next we headed over to Oliver, BC where we went to the Burrowing Owl Estate Winery. An absolutely lovely vineyard complete with a famous bistro (the Sonora Room) and guest house. I dropped some very "subtle" hints to hubby that I would love to return for a weekend and just stay here! I enjoyed a few of the wines we tried here - particularly the Pinot Noir and the Syrah. We purchased a bottle of the 2008 Pinot Noir (it sure didn't last long once we brought it home, in fact I didn't even get a chance to take a photo before consuming the wine and discarding the bottle!! A lovely wine with soft delicate flavours and very easy to drink.

The next day we headed over to the Crowsnest Vineyards winery. Though it was hard to choose, I think this vineyard was my favorite of the weekend. I LOVED every single wine we tasted at this place! The fellow who was serving us in the tasting room was knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. I couldn't decide between the Chardonnay and the Riesling so we ended up purchasing both! Also to note - this winery had the most reasonable prices of all of the wineries we visited. The two wines we purchased were - the 2007 Riesling Family Reserve & the 2008 Stahltank Chardonnay. Tasting notes on the winemakers website note that the Riesling has distinct notes of green apple and stone fruit with a crisp acidity. They also note that the Chardonnay is un-oaked with a very soft acidity, "creamy and fruit forward, refreshing yet not too crisp". I would recommend stopping in to purchase some of their wine - I personally can't wait to go back!

Overall I would say it was a pretty successful wine tasting weekend - I can't wait to spend some more time in this area in August! :)