Maple Multigrain Waffle Cake with Cinnamon Syrup Drizzle

I‘m only popping in for a minute to let you know about this maplelicious waffle cake I created recently for Food Network Canada.

I’m writing the occasional article for them as well as working on recipe development. It’s been fun! This Maple Multigrain Waffle Cake with Cinnamon Syrup Drizzle was a dream to create and photograph. I wanted it to feel spring-like, with a nod to sugaring off season, which just wrapped up here in Quebec.

This layer ‘cake’ would be most impressive for a Mother’s Day Brunch – and the good news is, most everything can be made in advance. Hit the jump for more images and a link to the recipe.

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Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Walnut-Bacon Crumble

The boys had a few well-rehearsed pranks for us on April First, such as glue on the toilet handle (!), but the worst prank by far was played by Mother Nature: yet another snowstorm.

Snow in April isn’t a big surprise, but was still disappointing; I’m really, really ready for the snowbanks to melt. Yesterday the sun shone brightly, daring us to escape outdoors and defy the snow. So we did.

The boys shovelled the snow off of the fire pit and Danny built a roaring campfire. I brought pots and pans out from the kitchen and simmered maple beans and a cider ham over the open flame. In the coals I roasted sweet potatoes, and we boiled maple syrup to pour in the snow for maple taffy.

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Easy Maple Mustard Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Radishes & Asparagus

If you make it past the little family table anecdote I am about to recount, then you will find a simple dinner recipe that needs to go on your week’s menu plan.

It’s inspired by maple season, of course, but combines classic French flavours – lemon, garlic, mustard and tarragon – into a sticky glaze for pan-roasted chicken drumsticks. Spring vegetables roast alongside the chicken and are tossed in the pan juices just before serving.

We’ve been loving it with roasted radishes, potatoes, asparagus and sweet potatoes; basically, whatever we can get our hands on this time of year.

On a side note, I had forgotten how much I enjoy chicken with tarragon and now I must remake an old favourite for entertaining, Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. The roasted garlic perfumes the whole house and marries with cream and tarragon for a sauce that garners your guests’ full attention.

But back to my story, and then the recipe. Read on!

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Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries

This past week offered the opportunity to actually get outside and tromp around the homestead a bit. Hello Spring!

Among my discoveries, I noticed that the snow melted from the raised beds and small scarlet nubs of rhubarb are pushing through the mulch. The oregano patch is starting to show some green underneath the tangle of brambles and the raspberry canes are finally free of ice. Life is returning.

We’ve ordered our pullet hens from the farm and next weekend we’ll make repairs on the coop. Small brown eggs are synonymous with spring around here and in a few weeks production will start.

Say, if you haven’t toured our homestead yet, why not take a peek? And of course, find the expanded version, with recipes, stories and urban homesteading tips in my recent cookbook.

I’m holding out for local berries and our homegrown raspberries and (so far) have not been tempted by the imports from Mexico. Thankfully I still have a stash of Quebec strawberries and blueberries in the freezer from last summer. Gently stewed with some of this-season’s maple syrup, they make a delicious topping for nutty oatmeal.

Speaking of oatmeal, my favourite variety just became a lot more easily available, thanks to a new do-ahead method that I have been playing with for weeks.
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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.

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