Bread Baking Day #40 - Bread with Curd

I've had a hard time getting myself organized enough to participate in the monthly Bread Baking Day for the last couple of months, but I promised myself I would actually participate this month! I was pleasantly surprised that this month's challenge, hosted by Zorra Kochtopf of the blog kochtopf.twoday.net , was to bake bread with curd. Zorra noted that any curd could be used in making this bread and it could be homemade or store bought.

I chose to make mine with dry curd cottage cheese. I made this recipe for Dill Cottage Cheese Batter Bread. It was very easy and called for very basic ingredients. This was a great challenge, so thank you to Zorra for hosting!

I thought the bread dough looked a little yucky to start with and before it was baked, but the change that took place while baking was incredible. The bread is light and airy in texture with considerable flavour from the dill and the onions and the curds of cottage cheese browned up so nicely to add beautiful colour to the loaf of bread.

Do try out this recipe if you get a chance! And if you don't get a chance to try this recipe out, at least take a minute to check out the roundup of recipes the week after June 1st on Zorra's website. You will be amazed at all of the creativity of the members of this great group. And maybe, just maybe, you will be inspired to participate next month!!

Happy Baking my Friends!

And happy bread baking day #40 to all my bread baking day friends too!! :)


Go Canucks Go!!!!!

I work in an office full of people who LOVE hockey! There is always a lot of talk about our local hockey team the Vancouver Canucks and that talk has definitely increased since they have been doing so well in the playoffs this year. My friend D & I made these cupcakes in celebration of our team making it into the 3rd round of the playoffs. I am not going to post recipes because these are just easy and basic recipes, but I really wanted to share pictures with all of you because we are so proud of how great these cupcakes turned out!

Lots of chocolate cupcakes... and just as many white cupcakes too!! Maybe a little overkill?? I think not!!

D's handy piping skills: White chocolate hockey sticks & Go Canucks Go lettering. Looked great on top of the cupcakes!!

Icing so blue it matched D's blue bowl!! Hellooooooo food colouring.

Iced cupcakes ready to finish off with edible glitter & hockey sticks and little puck candies.

Cupcakes in their cupcake carriers before we put the finishing touches on them.

All decorated up and ready to go!

At the office, arranged all pretty in the lunchroom.

Can you believe how many cupcakes we made?! They were pretty delicious if I do say so myself!! :)

Now I guess we'll have to come up with something even better to celebrate our team making it to the Stanley Cup Finals!!!


p.s. Happy Baking my Friends!


The Daring Bakers Challenge - May 2011 - Marquise on Meringue

Is it just me or do these months seem to fly by faster and faster? Things here are busy... so busy I almost forgot to post about my DB challenge until my friend reminded me yesterday!! Its so weird that I almost forgot because I am super duper excited about how this challenge turned out. It was so perfect and looked really pretty plated too.

The May 2011 Daring Bakers Challenge was hosted by Emma of CookCraftGrow and Jenny of Purple House Dirt. They chose to challenge everyone to make a Chocolate Marquise. The inspiration for this dessert comes from a dessert they prepared at a restaurant in Seattle.

What a challenge! Some of the components were familiar, but the marquise was not. For those of you wondering what chocolate marquise is, it is pretty much the best thing ever. For those of you who would like more of a description than the best thing ever, it is cube of spicy, creamy chocolate that you serve up on a beautiful pillow of sweet meringue. Then drizzle with salted caramel sauce and crisp candied pecans (with a hint of spice). Its absolutely lovely! It is a bit of work - there are many components, but all can be made up separately so you don't feel like you're going crazy trying to do 50 things in your kitchen at once!!!

You can find the recipes here. I would recommend using the 1/2 or 1/4 batches because this makes a huge portion of Marquise that I would not recommend consuming in one sitting. ;)

Please note that I didn't enjoy the tequila caramel sauce at all. I used a recipe for salted caramel sauce from a blog I have mentioned a time or two - Tracey's Culinary Adventures. She used the caramel sauce to fill brownies with and also to make salted caramel cheesecake bars. Both recipes looked super delicious! If you have a chance, do drop by her blog to check out the never-ending stream of deliciousness that she tends to post!

I would definitely recommend taking on this dessert one weekend when you need something exciting to do! Thats what I do when I need some excitement - I try out a recipe that will dirty every dish in my kitchen and that will really challenge my culinary skills. My hubby's verdict on the dessert was that it was delicious and I was "allowed" to make it again (despite the dirty dishes he had to clean up the next day on his day off!!!)!

So thank you Emma & Jenny for a fantastic challenge this month! It was great to have some fresh and new ideas come to the DB challenges, particularly a dessert that so many members had never heard of, let alone attempted. I learned a lot this month and had a great time doing it!

Stay tuned for some great posts this weekend!

Happy Baking my Friends!


Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk & Ginger

I am pretty much positive that Anna Olson is queen of delicious soup! Every soup recipe of hers that I've tried has turned out soooo great. And her recipes are pretty straight forward and use basic, easy to find ingredients. I made this soup forever ago and am finally getting around to posting about it (pretty much the story of my life!).

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut Milk & Ginger
Recipe from Anna Olson's cookbook Fresh


  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion

  • 6 cups peeled and diced sweet potato

  • 3-4 cups chicken stock

  • 1 - 398 ml can coconut milk

  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • dash cayenne pepper or hot sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

  • 1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepot over medium heat and cook the onion for 3-4 minutes to soften, but not brown. Add the sweet potato, 3 cups of the stock, the coconut milk, and the ginger. Simmer for 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Puree the soup with a handheld blender until smooth, adding the remaining stock if too thick, then stir in the lime juice, and strain through a sieve to make it more smooth. Return to the heat and season to taste, including the cayenne or hot sauce, if using.

  2. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves and a swirl of yogurt.

And thats it! Nice and simple so you can make dinner in a snap and then go back to enjoying your long weekend!! I absolutely loved this soup and I hope you do too. Hope you've got lots of exciting (or relaxing) things planned for the weekend. I have a few culinary tasks to accomplish this weekend and hopefully some relaxation time too. :) :)

Happy Cooking my Friends!


Not Just Any Old Garlic Bread

Let me just start this post off by saying this recipe is a secret... I was not supposed to share it with anyone. I learned this recipe from a friend of my husband's family a couple of years ago when we stopped by his place on our vacation. Every time I make it when guests come to our house I always get asked for the recipe... but I was sworn to secrecy. But I feel so bad because this recipe is SO worth sharing, so here I am, breaking my "vow" of secrecy so get the best ever recipe for garlic bread out there to you people who will love it!!

Its super easy. You will need a baguette, garlic butter (store bought will do, but homemade is better), mozzarella cheese (or whatever you have in your fridge), Club House Garlic Plus seasoning, and honey. If you want to try making your own garlic butter I would strongly encourage you to follow the guidelines below. You'll notice there are no measurements and that's because garlic butter is definitely a personal thing - just add ingredients until you like the taste.

To make the garlic butter: take some butter, add some finely grated garlic, finely chopped fresh basil & oregano, coarse salt, and some olive oil. Mix together and taste. Add more seasoning if necessary.

Now to make the bread:

  1. Slice the bread in half horizontally. Butter liberally with the garlic butter. Sprinkle with the mozzarella then sprinkle with the garlic plus seasoning mix. Now drizzle lightly with honey.

  2. Broil in oven until cheese is melted and edges of the bread are lightly toasted.

  3. Slice and enjoy. Prepare to make a few loaves because this stuff goes fast!!

I hope you enjoy this "secret" garlic bread recipe. The key is the honey! The little bit of sweetness really makes this garlic bread special.

Happy Cooking my Friends!


Lemon Lime filled Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Icing

Excuse me while I try to stop drooling over these cupcakes long enough to finish this post! These cupcakes were super delicious. Probably the best cupcakes I've ever made! The inspiration came from a friend's blog, Lizardbreath Creations , a month or so ago. She made lemon-lime curd and homemade coconut bread and served the two together! How brilliant! So I made the coconut bread recipe and instead of baking it in a loaf pan as directed, I baked it in cupcake pans. I filled the cupcakes with the lemon-lime curd and topped with a simple buttercream flavoured with coconut. You honestly can't go wrong with this one!

Make the lemon-lime curd first. You will have to cook it and let it cool and set before using it to fill the cupcakes. You can find the recipe here - I followed the recipe exactly using the smaller quantity of sugar. You don't want the curd to be too sweet because the cupcakes + the icing are sweet enough already. You want something a little bit tart to balance out the sweetness.

Next up bake the cupcakes. Let them cool completely before attempting to pipe the curd into the middle of them though. It will be tough to wait that long; trust me, I speak from experience.

Coconut Bread (in cupcake form)

Recipe adapted from Lizardbreath Creations


  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

  • 1 tbsp baking powder

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tins by lining with paper liners.

  2. Sprinkle a little of the shredded coconut in the bottom of each cupcake liner.

  3. Mix the coconut, flour, sugars, and baking powder in a large bowl.

  4. In another bowl add the oil, coconut milk, egg and vanilla. Mix together well.

  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Pour into the prepared muffin tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (start with about 12-15 minutes).

  6. Cool cupcakes for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack until cooled completely.

  7. Once cooled completely, with a sharp knife cut a small tunnel into each cupcake and then pipe full with lemon curd. Pipe coconut icing liberally onto each cupcake in order to cover the hole where the curd was piped in.

For the icing I just dumped ingredients into my mixer bowl without measuring (bad me) and tasted until it was yummy. If you are one of those measuring types, feel free to use this vanilla icing and instead of the vanilla extract, add coconut extract.

Happy Baking my Friends! Hope you're ready for another busy week.


Baked Macaroni & Beef Casserole

Okay, okay, I know I've been very neglectful of my blog the last couple of weeks... its a vicious cycle and I'm not even going to start making excuses! Yesterday was my birthday and it was a fantastic day (other than having to work all day annnnddd having to finish up an assignment that was due at midnight last night)! My sister surprised me with a wonderful birthday present and my husband ordered takeout from my favorite indian restaurant. Tonight hubby and I are going out for a nice romantic dinner on the beautiful White Rock strip. Not sure where he's taking me, but its bound to be somewhere good!

The recipe I'm posting about today has absolutely nothing to do with my birthday! I just felt like sharing the recipe with you. Its a really homey, easy recipe that is perfect for when you're craving comfort food. Serve this casserole with some fresh garlic bread and some ceasar salad and you've got a great meal that your whole family is bound to love. This recipe is quick and easy enough to make on a weeknight and you will likely have most of the ingredients on hand too!

Baked Macaroni & Beef
Recipe adapted from Canadian Living's Everyday Favorites


  • 1 lb lean ground eef

  • 1 onion chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

  • 1- 700ml jar of your favorite pasta sauce

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 cups macaroni

  • 1 cup 2% cottage cheese

  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone or part-skim mozzarella cheese


  1. In a large nontick skillet, fry beef over medium-high heat, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Drain off any fat. Add onion, garlic and oregano; fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add pasta sauce and tomato paste; bring to boil. Reduce heat to meium low; simmer stirring occasionally, until thick enough to mound on a spoon (anywhere from 10-20 minutes).

  3. Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni until tender but firm, about 8 minutes. Drain well.

  4. Spread half of the macaroni in 8-inch square glass baking dish. Cover with half the meat sauce. Repeat layers. Spoon cottage cheese over top, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with provalone cheese.

  5. Bake in 375F oven until bubbly and golden, about 30 minutes.

Now you're probably wondering about the next picture in this blog post (see below)... I just had to share this with you. That sandwich is my hubby's version of gourmet breakfast. He made it all by himself. The obvious ingredients are bread (toasted and buttered), about a pound of bacon, about a pound of cheddar cheese thickly sliced, and about half a dozen eggs scrambled. Yep, typical male!! Hope you get a good laugh out of that picture like I do every time a look at it.

Happy Cooking my Friends!


A Long Overdue Wine Suggestion

I tried this wine about a month ago and haven't had a chance to post about it yet. I figured since it has been so long since I last suggested some wine that this would be a great opportunity. White wine is a great spring drink because its so refreshing. This wine is a 2006 Chardonnay called What cha ma call it. This is a California wine that is really easy to drink and also very affordable to buy.

According to the Wine Diva this wine has "caramel, pineapple and pear aromas with mineral, oak spice and citrus notes. Toasty flavours, light spice citrus, and tropical flavours vanillin oak, crisp yet rounded on the palate with a fresh finish..."

All formal tasting notes aside, this is a great wine that will provide an excellent bang for the buck at $12-13 CAD per bottle. Give it a try and be sure to serve it well chilled. You won't be disappointed.

I hope you've all had a wonderful Mothers' Day weekend. :) I wish my Mom could have stayed long enough so we could have celebrated with her, but she will be back next month for another visit, so perhaps we can have a belated celebration then.

Have a great week! Cheers!


Another Restaurant Review - Beecher Street Cafe, Crescent Beach

Check out my second restaurant review on Trip Advisor! Be forewarned though, its a long one. :)

Here is a summary of the review in case you don't have time to read the whole thing:

1. Restaurant: Beecher Street Cafe
2. Location: Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada
3. Food: AMAZING!!!
4. Service: Okay - could be improved
5. Atmosphere: Eclectic, cozy and fun
6. Price: Entrees range from 22-30 CAD per person

If you ever get a chance and are in the area, definitely try out the food at this restaurant.


Smoked Salmon Canapes

So, I just have to say - dry smoked salmon is where its at! So delicious. If you haven't tried it, now is the time. I can't stop eating it whenever we buy it, so you can imagine how excited I was to find this recipe by chef Michael Smith in his Chef at Home cookbook. I changed the recipe quite a bit, but his was my inspiration.

Try this recipe out this weekend if you're having company over. You can whip it up in no time so you can spend more time with your guests rather than in the kitchen. Unless of course they're not your favorite guests, in which case, find a more time consuming appetizer to make!! ;)

Smoked Salmon Canapes

Recipe adapted from Chef at Home


  • a couple pieces of dry smoked pepper salmon (or whatever flavour you can find)

  • 1/2 cup softened cream cheese

  • 1 tbsp mustard

  • some chives finely chopped

  • fresh dill, finely chopped

  • crackers


  1. Mix together cream cheese, mustard, chives, dill. Place mixture into a piping bag. Pipe blobs onto your crackers and top with a small slice of the smoked salmon. Garnish with more dill or chives if desired.

  2. Be prepared to make a lot of these because your guests will eagerly gobble them up.

Pretty easy huh? I told you so! I hope you enjoy this recipe and get to give it a try this weekend.

Happy Cooking my Friends!