Victoria Sponge Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

A light-as-a-feather vanilla-orange cake, layered with whipped cream and a tangy homemade jam. This simple dessert is a perfect teatime accompaniment.

The classic Victoria Sponge cake is a dessert for any season, however, after my last trip to London I tend to associate this layer cake with spring.

Ah, those were the days. Danny and I tripped around from Greenwich to Pimlico, pausing for tea and cake anytime it was necessary – and a few times when it was not.

So it made perfect sense to bake a Victoria Sponge cake with strawberry rhubarb jam to celebrate our anniversary last weekend.

[Read more…]

Sour Cream Panna Cotta with Strawberry Compote

My decision to serve panna cotta at our recent Canada Day party was influenced by a culinary lesson learned in London: the simple goodness of panna cotta should not be discounted in lieu of flashier desserts.

Creamy, light-as-air-panna cotta is scrumptious on its own and even better when served with a seasonal fruit compote. These days I have all the local strawberries I could wish for, both in my backyard garden and at the markets.

Hence a patriotic red and white dessert made the final menu on July 1, but on merits far worthier than colour alone.

[Read more…]

Blood Orange Panna Cotta

Here’s a dessert I’ve never written about but has been a favourite of mine since I first learned to make it in a small bistro kitchen: Panna Cotta. Ironically, it was a French chef who taught me this classic Italian dessert, during my short stint as a pastry chef in my twentes.

I’ve always loved the Panna Cotta for it simplicity. It was one of the items on my daily prep list that I could breeze through and let my mind drift out of the cramped kitchen in the process. I’d open carton after carton of heavy cream, warm it slowly with sugar and vanilla bean and then whisk the hot cream into bloomed gelatine. From there I would pour the vanilla-scented cream into dozens and dozens of martini glasses and set them on racks in the refrigerator to chill.

[Read more…]

Fresh Strawberry Pie

What do you do when a kind neighbour gives you a morning’s work with his trusty backhoe, helping out with your backyard landscaping mess project? You make him a fresh strawberry pie, of course.

We started prepping for this dessert back in March when we learned how to blind bake a pie crust. I knew June would bring small local strawberries that were red to the core and as sweet as can be, and when that time came, I wanted to be able to serve them up in a fresh strawberry pie. I wanted it to be uncomplicated – no gelatine or cornstarch – just our beloved strawberries in pie form.

And what is the fun of making a pie or two if you can’t share them? So I did with my neighbour; and again, here with you today.

[Read more…]

Lemon Pudding with Raspberry Sauce

It’s been snowing all day in my corner of the world. The sky is grey and the snow is so thick that you can’t see more than a few feet in front of you when you step outdoors.

With a grey, blustery, wintry day ahead of me, I turn to the kitchen for warmth and I find a bag of lemons waiting for me. Lemons are in season right now, one of the only bright things produced in winter, which tells me that Mother Nature understands comfort food.

Surely She knew that a warm bowl of Lemon Pudding could bring a little ray of sunshine on a cold winter’s day.

[Read more…]