Feed-a-Crowd Perfect Chocolate Layer Cake || Simple Bites

Feed-a-Crowd Perfect Chocolate Cake

We’ve just come through our birthday season, celebrating both Clara and Mateo with two different events and enough cake from both parties to feed a small army. Honestly, with the size of our extended family, there’s no such thing as too much cake.

I wasn’t planning to share this recipe here, because, well, it’s full of sugar and you, dear reader, tend to enjoy naturally sweetened recipes like the beloved Dark Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake, a Apple Spice Cake or this Banana Layer Cake.

But the practical side of me won out because this slab cake feeds a crowd with ease, and keeps them very, very happy. This is a recipe you only come across once in a lifetime, after far too many ho-hum chocolate cakes. This one makes you stop talking and pay attention to the slice on the plate in front of you. It makes your guests exclaim aloud – and when the party has dwindled, make a request for a piece to take home.

In short, it’s perfect for your Easter long weekend entertaining [Read more…]

Sweet Potato Red Lentil Biscuits || Simple Bites #lovepulses

Tender Sweet Potato Red Lentil Biscuits

If you haven’t experienced the arrival of spring through the eyes of a four-year-old, then you’ve missed out on a contagious excitement that is one hundred percent genuine.

For example, every puddle is enthusiastically tromped through – repeatedly. Each patch of earth is pointed out and tufts of new grass are greeted with shrieks of delight. Who needs an Easter egg hunt when the discovery of a simple green plant is heralded with so much joy?

It was only a few short months ago, just before Christmas, when Clara stood at the window and lamented the absence of snow. Of course it came in deep drifts soon after, much to her delight, but when you are that young, each season seems to last forever. Now she’s thrilled for spring and I’m aching to feel a warm breeze on my face every bit as much as she is.

For now, however, I’m happy that we’ve arrived at sugaring off season, which means our annual outing to the family sugar bush this weekend.

[Read more…]

Strawberry and Preserved Lemon Lassi with Honey and Cardamom || Simple Bites

Eat Seasonal: Strawberry and Preserved Lemon Lassi

These early March days have been bitterly cold, but brilliantly sunny. Spring still feels like a long way off, even though we are already making plans for Easter in a few short weeks.

The sunshine is a promise of good things to come: the sweetest season of all, where we boil our own maple syrup. The sap won’t run until the weather warms up though, so in the meantime we are hunkering down and eating the stores from the preserves pantry and the freezer.

Barbara Kingsolver called March “the hungry month” in her inspiring memoir, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life and it certainly is the least exciting month as far as produce goes. We must wait patiently for the ramps, rhubarb and asparagus, while trying to content ourselves with wrinkly apples, more winter squash and kale.

March is when I most frequently pop the lid off of a can of peaches or reach for a jar of pesto from the freezer. My palate needs an awakening and I am so grateful to my former self for making time to preserve the harvest.

Today’s simple recipe is a result of such planning; small Quebec strawberries, frozen in their prime, along with tangy preserved lemons marry in a sweet and salty lassi. It’s just the ticket to get me through the beginning of March.

[Read more…]

Financiers_Header-Image_820x380px

Elegant but Easy: Pistachio and Raspberry Financiers

I’m delighted to introduce my friend Marie from Food Nouveau! Today she’s bringing us a delightful recipe to bake with the kids. Make these simple financiers over spring break or bookmark the versatile recipe for your Easter weekend. I think I’ll be making a batch for my Downton Abbey closing party next Sunday….

I love to bake, and usually, the more ambitious the project, the more I love carrying it off. But I love surprises too, such as when you discover that one of your favourite treats from the bakery is actually really easy to make at home.

I first tasted financiers as part of a mignardises plate at the end of a tasting meal at one of Quebec City’s finest restaurants. Mignardises are tiny treats that are usually served after the main dessert, and they are meant to leave you with a sweet note—and maybe make you swallow the hefty check that follows more easily.

They can be fine chocolates, candies, macarons, or small cakes, such as madeleines and financiers. I loved the moist, nutty taste and crispy, sweet edges of financiers, and following that first encounter, I indulged whenever I spotted them in a bakery display.

[Read more…]

Lemon Arugula Pasta

Weekend Links & Photos

I‘ve been thinking about silver linings a lot. Usually I can spot one easily, but this week has me temporarily stumped.

We’ve been battling a severe stomach bug for a solid seven days, each of us succumbing one after another to the chills, shakes, nausea – and worse. I leave out the gruesome details, but sufficient to say, there’s been a lot of ginger tea and saltine crackers. It’s been rough; it’s never easy to watch your children suffer.

As you can imagine, there’s been very little eating, no cooking, and certainly no blogging. But we’ve survived so far, and after reading my friend Amy’s story this week, I’m grateful this bout of gastro is only a temporary trial. Perhaps that is the silver lining I’ve been missing all this time.

So, being laid up, I’ve had a bit more time to read and reflect; here’s what I’m loving and bookmarking from around the web in February. I can’t wait to try these recipes just as soon as I’m back on my feet:

[Read more…]