A Royal Tea Party and Vanilla Cream Scones

We never need a reason to throw a tea party, but if you are looking for an excuse, next week offers two prime occasions: Mother’s Day on Sunday and the Royal Wedding the following Saturday.

In a May Day celebration, and in anticipation of the upcoming Royal nuptials, a few friends and I collaborated on a splendid outdoor tea party last week. Local food photographer Alison was there to capture it all on camera, which meant I could sit down, pour tea and serve cake.

If that sounds ideal, it rather was; and I hope these images inspire you to invite a troop of tea drinkers over and bake a batch of vanilla cream scones for the party.

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Asparagus and Bacon Quiche: a tutorial

Practical. Versatile. Classic. These are all words I have scribbled in the margins of my handwritten quiche recipe.

I grew up on this savoury tart, and I am determined to sell you on the wonderful simplicity of a well-made quiche. It’s practical because it can be enjoyed at any temperature and it holds up well (even in the freezer). The adaptable fillings make it a versatile dinner option – just use up bits of leftover cooked vegetables and scraps of cheese.

And you already know this part – the quiche is a classic, beloved dish. It can make an appearance at an elegant brunch or show up in the basket of a rustic spring picnic. No matter where or when quiche is served, it’s always a welcome addition to a meal and home cooks should have a solid recipe in their repertoire. That’s where I come in today!

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Cinnamon Swirl Spelt Loaf

There was an ice storm raging outside the house yesterday morning, but I went ahead and pulled out the ingredients to bake bread anyway.

The schools were closed; all three kids and Danny were home. Traffic and weather authorities had cautioned us not to leave the house, and we had no desire to venture out. I had no groceries, but figured that if I could get a couple of loaves of bread baked off, at least we could have toast and eggs or sandwiches for supper.

I just didn’t count on the power going out. Twice.

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Mini Citrus Pavlovas

A quick check of the weather before I sat down to write this post informed me that another snowstorm was on the way.

We may be all dreaming of spring, with its rhubarb galettes and strawberry pie, but the reality is that we’ll be embracing citrus fruits for a while still here in Montreal. That’s fine with me, because a friend’s new book, Simply Citrus, is inspiring me to stock up on grapefruit and tangerines, limes and lemons.

Around here, blustery winds and fresh snowdrifts are totally normal for March, and today’s mini pavlovas match the elements.  Crisp white meringues are reminiscent of the frosty snowbanks that blanket our homestead from end to end, while soft peaks of whipped cream cover them like the freshly fallen snow.

I think winter desserts are every bit as elegant as summer, and pavlovas are at the absolute top of the list. Read on for the mini citrus pavlova recipe, plus a giveaway of Simply Citrus.

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How to make a Chocolate Icebox Number Cake

It’s no secret that I like to play around in the kitchen, and today’s birthday cake is a perfect example of such amusement.

My leap year baby hits double digits this year, and since there is no 29th this month, we celebrated with friends and family last weekend. In the past he’s had a chess cake, an ice cream cake, and various other confections, but this year he specifically wanted an icebox cake.

The icebox cake is also know as a chocolate wafer cake or a Zebra cake, and consists simply of Nabisco chocolate wafters and sweetened whipped cream. In Canada, people use Mr. Christie chocolate wafers, and the ‘recipe’ is everywhere. My kids discovered this dessert one Christmas, when we made Joy the Baker’s icebox Yule log, and have loved it ever since.

When Mateo requested an icebox cake for his birthday, I decided to raise the bar and have some fun in the process.

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