Heavy Food. Happy Hearts.

“There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who love chocolate, and communists.”
Leslie Moak Murray in ‘Murray’s Law’ comic strip
The cool weather is coming and with it the return of heartier, heavier, comfort foods. Say goodbye to light berry desserts, grilled shrimp salad, and gazpacho. Say hello to braised ribs, roasted autumn vegetables…and Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake. It’s rich, dark and delicious. (I realize most of my posts have been rather dessert oriented and I promise this will change. There’s just been lots of events lately where a dessert is the best solution.) Last week we had a going away party for our friends, Amber and Zaak, who are returning to their home in Guatemala. Amber’s favorite food is cheesecake, so I brought one. ( We had a rather unique potluck with Guatemalan, Italian, American, and French cuisine all mixed together, which was interesting, but lots of fun. I made a mental note to blog sometime about the Art of the Potluck)
There’s no question, cheesecake is heavy, but it is deeply satisfying and I think this one was a hit! Sorry, I can’t give out the recipe for this one, it’s top secret; however, someday when my cookbook comes out, it will be available to you at a very affordable price. J/k, you will all get a free signed copy, ok?

Zaak showing me how to make Guatmalan “tayuyos”:a cornflour dough filled with beans and cheese and then deep fried. Served with chirmol salsa. Very tasty. Very filling

Danny about to fry “the mother tayuyo”. I didn’t have to cook for him for two days after this. I could delve into how Danny is a walking example of ‘biting off more than you can chew’, but I think some family secrets are meant to stay that way.

The leaves are changing color here in Quebec. Happy Autumn to all!!

Happy Birthday Noah!


It’s hard to believe that a year ago we brought home a tiny 7lb bundle from the hospital and he has grown into a big, blond,laughing boy. We’re so blessed to have him. He had a great birthday with lots of uncles around, oodles of balloons, presents and, of course, cake! Here he is enjoying some carrot cake with cream cheese icing and fresh raspberries.

We adults enjoyed our Lemon Lollipop Garden Cake. I had lots of fun making this one! Auntie Mira, I saved you a piece…

Find of the Month: The Gryphon Tea Room


Yesterday we surprised Kevin’s fiancée, Melanie, with a bridal shower at a little tea room on Monkland avenue. What surprised me was how delightful this tea room was! It was a charming and intimate setting, the tea was always piping hot, and the food all homemade right down to the raspberry jam. I’ll definitely be going back for ‘high tea’ and bringing some ladies with me. It the perfect place to go if you want to wear that new sundress and fancy hat you bought! Salon de the Gryphon 5968 Monkland Avenue, Montreal, Qc(514) 485-7377

Here’s a picture of Princess-for-the-day-Melanie (in blue) with her two MIL’s and SIL, Caroline. Some more wonderful sandwiches, too. Yum!

Hotdogs: Concordia’s cure-all for traumatized Dawson students


Yesterday, a gunman walked into one of Montreal’s colleges and started shooting students. One person was killed, about 20 injured, and hundreds of were terrified for their lives. It was a shocking, horrifying scene and our condolences go out to the families of those involved. We’re glad our good friend Dave made it out ok. Way to go, dude. This morning, in an 11 page special report, I found this to be one of the more disturbing Montreal Gazette headlines: Concordia shelters sobbing, shocked CEGEP students: Hotdogs, blankets and counseling help them deal with a harrowing experience. Recently been shot at? Watched your friend take a bullet in the leg? Here, have a steamie, you’ll feel much better. Sorry it took three hours before we cleared the building and let you all out, but how about those dogs! HOT DOGS? Hot dogs?
Talk about adding insult to injury. Now I am all about the necessity of food in times of crisis, staying fueled up for the journey, and comfort food when the going gets tough, but hot dogs??? Geez, Concordia, whoever had that bright idea should have remembered that heavy, nauseous, bloated feeling one gets into the pit of their stomach after eating wieners. These Dawson students were already reportedly feeling sick, nauseous, and uneasy from their traumatic afternoon; what a way to ensure they will be feeling ill well into the evening. I mean, the Faubourg is right there. Couldn’t they have sent for a few hundred fresh hot bagels? Now that’s comfort food! But, no, Montreal’s cure-all is a soggy hotdog or two….or three. Seriously, do people even eat hotdogs anymore? Hello, We’ve read Fast Food Nation. We know what goes into them. Dawson is about 80% girls and I don’t know many twenty-something girls who are very eager to rip into a hotdog anymore. Maybe I am wrong, but I just don’t think steamies were the way to go. (Yes, that is what they are called here in Quebec. No they are not cow pies, but buns and dogs that are steamed and then assembled.) Concordia, I give you an F.
What’s your take?

What’s for Dinner? Summer Risotto and Fruit Crumble

Risotto is a staple in this house. Now that good risotto rice is much easier to find and very affordable, we enjoy it often whether it is full of seasonal vegetables, chunks of seafood or just a simple Milanese. Tonight’s version was with basil, roasted chicken and fresh veg from my garden. Anyone can make a great risotto with the help of a good pot, good rice, good stock and good cheese! I never make the same risotto twice as I am always making variations with what I have on hand. If you don’t have a basic recipe, let me know, I’ll post one.Oh, and for the record, no risotto in Noah’s diaper. He hates it. Something about the creamy texture but then those darn al dente rice kernels that you have to chew.
It’s apple season!! The markets are laden with baskets of them and they are crisp, cheap and sweet. If you are wondering what to throw together for that potluck you have coming up or your mother-in-law’s weekly Sunday lunch, make a crumble. Do it. Everyone has their own recipe and version of what a crisp should taste like. Most of them are so full of sugar, you can’t taste the fruit. I made this one with honey, raspberries and wheat germ for something a little different and healthier. Here’s a recipe from Jamie Oliver that as little out of the ordinary, but delightful nevertheless.
Summer Crumble 3 apples, quartered, cored and finely chopped
2 pints blackberries or other berries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Small handful basil, chopped
5 heaping tablespoons sugar
4 heaping tablespoons flour
1/4 pound butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F Put the fruit into the bowl with the balsamic vinegar, basil, and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add a little more sugar if your blackberries are a bit sour. Mix and put aside to marinate. Using your fingers, rub together the flour, butter, and the rest of the sugar. I prefer to do this by hand as I like to end up with a nice rustic-looking crumble with some bits bigger than others. Put the fruit into an ovenproof serving dish or into individual dishes. Sprinkle the crumble mix over the fruit, making sure to pile more into the middle of the dish. Bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the middle of the crumble is evenly golden.