February 10, 2012

Lemon Curd

Last Saturday, Ryan and his friends spent the day exercising their thumbs by holding a NHL 2012 video game tournament. This could only mean one thing… The girlfriends spent the day gorging themselves, drinking wine, and doing moderate exercise. My contribution to this event, was holding a waffle breakfast. What better to put on waffles than silky smooth, sweet, tart, lemon curd?

This recipe is adapted from Chatelaine and not only is it the easiest lemon curd recipe I’ve seen, it is pretty much fool proof! Do yourself a favour, and whip some up. Waffles, scones, ice cream, toast and your spoon, will never be the same.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated lemon zest
Method:
  1. Beat sugar with butter, eggs, yolks and salt in a medium saucepan, with an electric mixer on high, until creamy, about 1 min. Beat in lemon juice. (Mixture may curdle but will smooth out during cooking.)
  2. Set saucepan over medium-high. Cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened and smooth and coats the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 min. Stir in lemon zest. Serve warm or store in jars. Refrigerate up to 5 days.



 

January 18, 2012

The Neustadt Kunsthofpassage – The Singing Building

Dresden, Germany may first and foremost be known for a 1945 WWII bombing that left the city in complete ruins and killed up to 100,000 civilians but this artsy neighborhood has a new claim to fame now. This building in Neustadt Kunsthofpassage provides passerby with ocular beauty every day and aural splendor every time the sky opens. Funnels and gutters are designed to play beautiful music on rainy days (Vancouver take note). Over 800 years old, Dresden is rumored to be a visual and cultural feast chock-full of eye-catching architecture, a hopping nightlife and world class museums.

January 17, 2012

Mushroom and Poblano Tacos

After a VERY indulgent Christmas, Ryan and I decided to cut meat out of our meals for a week. I failed the first day with a sandwich stuffed full of meatballs from Meat and Bread. It can be tricky to come up with inspiring veg meal ideas that leave you feeling full and satisfied.  The good news, however, is that I found a recipe that is definitely going to be added to my regular recipe rotation and I’m pretty sure that you will feel the same way if you try it. I served these Mushroom and Poblano tacos with a cilantro sauce that I made by pulsing cilantro, garlic, olive oil, a pinch of cumin, some white wine vinegar and water in a food processor.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh poblano chiles (3 large or 4 medium)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium or large white onion, halved and thinly sliced across the grain

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 pounds mushrooms, sliced (about 6 cups)

Salt to taste

3 to 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

12 corn tortillas

2 ounces crumbled Mexican Queso Fresco (or feta)

1. Roast the chiles. Light a gas burner, and place the pepper directly over the flame. As soon as one section has blackened, turn the chiles with tongs to expose another section to the flame. Continue to turn until peppers are blackened all over. Alternatively, roast under a broiler. Preheat the broiler. Cover a baking sheet with foil, and place the peppers on top. Place under the broiler until charred on one side, about three to four minutes. Turn and continue to grill, turning every three minutes or so, until uniformly charred. Place in a bowl, and cover tightly. Allow to sit until cool, then remove the charred skin. You may need to run the pepper briefly under the faucet to rinse off the final bits of charred skin. If so, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the pepper in half, remove the seeds and membranes and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Set aside.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. Add a generous pinch of salt and the garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add the mushrooms, and turn the heat up to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, then season with salt. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are tender and moist, about eight minutes. Sir in the poblanos and epazote or cilantro, and cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

3. Wrap the tortillas in a heavy kitchen towel and place in a steamer basket over 1/2 inch of water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot and steam one minute. Turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 15 minutes without uncovering. Pass the tortillas, top with the mushroom mixture, sprinkle with a little cheese, fold the tortillas over the filling and enjoy.

Yields twelve tacos, serving four to six.

January 10, 2012

Daily Spark.January 10 11

Every morning, at 9 am you wheel your bike through the doors of your office and lean it against the wall with the 30 others that belong to your co-workers. You are greeted by a brightly coloured mural topped with a huge wooden beam that leads you into an open concept space.  Providing employees with office eye candy is a growing trend for a reason. Not only will your employees want to spend more time there, but your surroundings have so much to do with your mood. Feeling creative anyone?

Vancouver’s HootSuite. Photo courtesy of sandkat on Flickr.

December 21, 2011

Apollo Drive – My Dream Home

It has happened. I’ve fallen more deeply and madly in love than I ever thought was possible. With a home that is. My preferred style of architecture and decor changes so often that sometimes I worry I’ll never be satisfied when it comes to owning a home of my own. Downtown heritage loft? Ocean side beach home? Alpine cabin full of Canadiana? Yes, they have all topped my list at some point. Finally though, I have come across a home so livable, so stylish and so me (at least I want it to be me), that I could never stray.

Everything about this Salt Lake City abode is perfect to me. What I like best is that it feels attainable in a way, the first thing that I noticed in these photos is that it actually looks like people LIVE there. The palette – neutral and natural. The wood looks like wood, the stone looks like stone and every last modern, rustic detail is curated to add all of the personality. I can only hope that one day I can live in a home this beautiful and this well thought out.

Please check out Salt Lake City’s Cityhome Collective for more details about Apollo Drive and about a million other inspiring photographs, properties and ideas.

 

December 21, 2011

Daily Spark.Dec 20 11

By working your Christmas decor into the already established colour palette in your home, you can celebrate the season but protect your style cred. Pale golds and silvers pop against snowy white and deep bronze accents. Think beyond plastic Santas and choose decorations that will take you through all the seasons, like glass and ceramic vases.

December 21, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things – Cashmere Water Bottle


Restoration Hardware’s Cashmere Hot Water Bottle

Because hot water bottles deserve sweaters too!

December 19, 2011

Daily Spark.December 19 11

Using colours, textures and height, this bedroom is as comfortable and welcoming as they come. Putting a bed in the corner, not only frees up floor space and gives you a place to store your glass of water but also gives the impression of a cozy retreat. Muted dusty greens, blues and violets are easy on the eyes and provide a perfect palette for this serene sanctuary. There is nowhere in the world that I would rather be than cuddled up in my bed and this is a bedroom I could get used to.

December 19, 2011

Gingerbread House Round Up

After many years of trial and error, I’ve learned that my talent when it comes to gingerbread construction is definitely in the decor and not the architecture. Making the house from scratch is more difficult and takes more time than I am willing to invest so thank goodness for the store bought shortcut, the Gingerbread House Kit. Pick up one of those babies, alongside with all of your favourite candy and you are set for a gingerbread extravaganza!

As for some real talent, take a look at some of my favourite gingerbread houses from around the internets. (Links below each photo).

 The iconic Farnsworth House in Gingerbread form from The New York Times.

The Art of Dessert shows us what a steady hand can accomplish.

Who wouldn’t want to live in this Gingerbread Mansion for Luxist?

Hand painted owl houses from Amelies House.

Not Martha makes a Gingerbread House small enough to be enjoyed every morning until Santa arrives.

You won’t find any coloured candies on this house by Brown Sugar Bee.

December 19, 2011

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things – Keyboard Stickers

Keyboard Stickers by Christopher Delorenzo

“I” us for Ice Cream and “B” is for Bowie!