Lemon Berry Stripe Cake for a Royal Wedding

I‘ve been deep diving into my British heritage lately, staying up late on those ancestry websites, and tracing the Wimbush name back for centuries.

The names of my paternal grandmother ‘greats’ fascinate me – Bridget, Mary, Clara, Edith – so very proper and lovely. I’ve also come across a few very interesting last names in my expanded family tree; names like ‘Middleton’ and ‘Townsend’, which, if you follow the Royal family or watch The Crown, may ring a bell.

With half of my heritage so firmly rooted in Great Britain, it’s no surprise that I am closely following the details for Prince Harry and Meghan’s upcoming wedding. Today’s recipe is a mini wedding cake in honour of their union. It’s a light-as-a-feather lemon sponge cake, layered (vertically!) with a decadent berry buttercream and adorned with the first spring wildflowers.

Read on for the recipe, the inspiration, the occasion and loads of photos.

[Read more…]

Sage-Scented Barbecued Chicken with Grilled Lemon

Enjoying an abundance of fresh herbs is one of the perks of fall gardening. The green beans have finished and the tomatoes are tapering off, but most of the herbs seem to thrive until the snow falls.

When I dedicated one of my raised garden beds completely to herbs this spring, I didn’t realize how they would take off and how much the plants would actually produce. I really need to share a recent photo, because everything ended up about two-and-a-half feet tall.

The basil flourished and provided more than enough for my winter pesto stash and the lemon balm was always in ample supply for infusing lemonade. As for the sage, it grew into a knee-high bush and provided more than I knew what to do with in the kitchen. So I naturally started experimenting with recipes.

[Read more…]

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…]

Christmas Stollen Madeleines with Preserved Lemon

Here’s a buttery, soft-spiced cake, studded with currants, slivers of almonds and a hint of candied orange peel, that makes a perfectly elegant holiday treat for breakfast, afternoon tea or dessert. Chopped preserved lemon adds a wonderfully tart touch to these stollen-inspired madeleines.

For me, Christmas preparations begin in the aisles of a gourmet bulk foods store with a wire basket slung over my arm studying arrays of tantalizing baking supplies.

I might be shopping for rolled oats and walnut halves so that we can make granola to gift to the school teachers. Other times my basket could hold a colourful assortment of candy for our after-school gingerbread project. There are always dried apricots and hazelnuts for my essential holiday fruit and nut crisps and loads of whole cloves so we can spend a snowy afternoon making orange pomander balls.

This year, I found myself stopping in front of a bin of beautiful candied orange peel that was sandwiched between the slightly more garish fruitcake mixed peel and the much-too-sweet candied pineapple chunks. My thoughts traveled back to a December afternoon long ago when Danny and I had worked side-by-side to produce a dozen stollen loaves straight out of the Joy of Cooking. We coated those beauties in powdered sugar, wrapped them in cellophane, and delivered them on Christmas Eve to loved ones. The German fruitcake makes a delicious breakfast, sliced and lightly toasted, with coffee, of course.

On an impulse, I scooped out a small bag of the perfectly cubed orange peel and added it my basket. I sought out dried currants and slivered almonds, too. Perhaps this would be the year I’d revisit a once-beloved holiday loaf.

[Read more…]

Sunday Dinner: Beef Stroganoff with Roasted Mushrooms & Meyer Lemons

I think my Monday may have gotten the upper hand, had it not been for my Sunday dinner leftovers.

Soft egg noodles, bits of buttery beef in gravy, roasted mushrooms and slivers of Meyer lemon to cut the richness. I ate them from a bowl with a kid’s fork, standing in my kitchen looking out at the bare trees brushing a blue sky. It was a moment of quiet; a reset in a day that was rowdy, hectic and loud.

The beef stroganoff had graced our table for Sunday dinner, our main meal of the day, and everyone had murmured their approval between bites. Fortunately, I had the big camera handy before we ate, and through its lens, this dish is now conveyed to you. I think you’re going to like it.

[Read more…]