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Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes

I have not been healthy lately. Like, not even a little bit. It’s been parties, and stagettes, and friends visiting from out of town, and dinners out with said friends, and far too much wine and too many gin and tonics with the same friends. It’s been a great summer so far, but it’s not so good for my health. So I had one of those days when I was thinking that I would be super healthy, and work out, and eat vegetables , and all those other things you’re supposed to do when you’ve been eating too much cake. But then instead I thought about blueberry pancakes and healthiness went out the window. Tomorrow guys. Tomorrow I’ll be better. Today, there are pancakes, and that is good enough my friends.

And their gluten free, so it’s like healthfood right? Yep. Totally.

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Radish and Watercress Tartines with Goats Cheese

 

And… it’s wedding season.

Officially. Two weeks ago I went to the first of 4 weddings that I’m attending this year. Last year there were only 2, but the year before that there were six.  Being in your late twenties guys, you go to a lot of weddings.

The difference this year is that all of the weddings are for people who I am super close to. I’m in two bridal parties, I’m making the cakes for all of them, because they are some of my best friends. And when that happens it’s not really just the wedding, but the showers, and the engagement parties, and the stagettes.

I’m throwing a shower for my bestie next month, and she’s vegetarian, so I’ve been trying to think of cute simple tea sandwiches that will look gorgeous, be a bit different and are meat free. My local market had these beautiful little French radishes, and some lovely watercress, and with a bit of goats cheese it seemed like just the ticket.

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Sriracha +Maple Roasted Pecans

Here’s the thing: I have not been blogging enough lately. This little part of the internet has been in my thoughts so much these days, but I haven’t actually been writing and photographing and putting up here. It’s gotten a bit lost.

I’ve been writing and photographing for other people. People like Edible Vancouver and the Vancouver Observer and HelloGiggles. But not here.

And I’ve been baking a lot too, for Merchants Oyster Bar, which just got a great review in the Globe and Mail, and even if the woman reviewing it made it sound like the chef was making the pastries, it was me, and she said nice things.

But mostly I’ve been baking for Livia Sweets the company. The super-exciting-can’t-contain-my-smile-when-I talk-about-it company that I own. That I make pastries for and sell. That people buy, and say nice things about on the internet. That fills me with so much joy I can barely handle it.

I’ve also been working hard with a design team to get this website spick and span with a new look, updated pages, lots more pictures of myself (which I’m a bit self conscious of truthfully) and that’s much more user friendly. You can leave comments again now! I can update the recipe index! I can add pages about my exciting new projects! It’s a lot of big improvements.

It’s been a very busy couple of months, the kind that knock you over sideways a bit and make you so exhausted that you end up getting strep throat that makes you cough so hard you have to take all sorts of herbs, and watch an entire season of Nashville in one week just get better.

But now I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling pretty on top of things. And I’m going to ease you into a recipe with this one because it’s so painfully easy it feels like a cheat to give it to you, except you would all hate me if I didn’t because it’s so darn good. It’s crunchy and salty and spicy, but also earthy and sweet and exactly what I want in a bowl of pecans on my table. And also on my friends table because I’ve already been enlisted to bring her some after she saw my instagram picture of them only a few minutes ago. They are wonderful. And so are all of you, thank you for your patience these last few weeks.

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Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes, Smoked Mackerel and Arugula

Lately I’ve been doing that totally pathetic thing that nearly all women do in Spring, The terrible season that forces us to realize that everything we’ve eaten from Thanksgiving turkey to Valentines soufflé has taken it’s toll. And now that we’re expected to go to beaches and lie around half naked, we’re getting a little panicky.
So I’m being super boring, and eating salads and working out and pretending it’s all to make myself feel better, and that it’s for my health, instead of just being honest with myself, and admitting that it’s totally just for my ego. Don’t get me wrong, I like being active, and I love vegetables, it’s just that this whole bikini season is getting a bit on my nerves this year. I mean, I have a nice body, and it does remarkable things, like let me stand up for 16 hours a day without complaining too heavily, and let’s me go for long bike rides, and play tennis and hike up mountains. Maybe I’ve got it all right.
And as I was thinking this, I also thought about that fabulous line from Sofia Loren. The one she said after she, one of the most beautiful women to ever live, was trashed apart in magazines for having cellulite. And her response, which she was shocked to have to give, was “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.”
So today, let’s eat spaghetti, and not feel guilty. Let’s just enjoy it for what it is.
This one is especially good I think, it’s filled with roasted tomatoes and smoked mackeral and loads of fresh basil. It’s the sort of thing that feels like the perfect Spring dinner, it’s hearty but also fresh and so packed with flavour I didn’t find myself eating quite as much as normal. Small miracles, curtesy of Sofia Loren.

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Roibbos Tea Iced Latte with Almond Milk and Cinnamon

Do you ever just fall so in love with a company? You know, when you go into a shop and just love everything in it so much you wish you owned the place? And then you meet the owner and they are so lovely and you just are so thrilled to have found them?
There are only a handful of places like this for me. This great little shop on Main St., the izakaya down the street from me, the sadly closed Little Nest. The kind of places that immediately just feel perfect. Well, I’ve got a new one for the list, and I have to talk about it because I’m so royally obsessed.
A friend of mine posted something about this nut milk company on facebook, and on a whim I ordered some. And then something amazing happened, this lovely woman who makes almond milk, and hazelnut milk, and hazelnut-cocoa milk, delivered it, in a mason jar, to my door on her bicycle.
Seriously.
Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever heard of? And, like you would imagine a bicycle riding nut milk making woman to be, she is this bubbly, bright sunshine-y person.
Not only is she lovely, but her milks are amazing. They are made from organic nuts (from California except the hazelnuts which she picks herself about an hour outside of Vancouver), and are just wildly more flavourful than the chemical laden stuff at the grocery store.
As, despite my greatest attempts to ignore it, my body doesn’t really like dairy, this is pretty wonderful for me. You can probably tell I’m excited.
So I’ve been trying out new ways to play around with her products, and what I keep finding is just how brilliant almond milk is with roibos tea. It’s the perfect match for me, hot or cold.
This is just a simple recipe, so simple I almost didn’t post it, but it’s too good I had too. Also, I had to talk about how great Nuez milks are, because I’m a little obsessed.
Roibos Almost Milk Latte with Cinnamon and Honey
Per Drink
1 tsp Roibos Tea
1 tsp Honey
½ cup Almond Milk
1 Cinnamon Stick (or a pinch of ground cinnamon)*
Ice
*if you are doubling (or tripling!) the recipe you do not need to add more cinnamon.
Boil cup of water.
Put the tea into a tea strainer and put into a teapot. Add the cinnamon stick and pour the water on top.
Let this steep for at least 5 minutes if not longer.
Pour the tea into a large cup.
Add the honey and stir until it is combined.
Add in a few ice cubes and stir until the tea is cooled completely. Add the almond milk.
Drink!

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Hot Cross Biscuits

Apparently my Grammy made much more than just biscuits and pies and “Frenched” green beans. She also only served broccoli with hollandaise, always made her own bread and tended a beautiful garden that yielded an enormous bounty of fresh veggies. In the words of my mom, her adoring daughter

“  My Mom grew up in poverty – emotional and financial – and her childhood home was chaotic.  No-one cooked or cleaned and there was never enough food.  So her home had to be perfect.  She was remarkable.”

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Sunday Salads- Roasted Butternut Squash with Pomegranate and Za’atar

The Italian in me just wants to make the simplest food. It doesn’t want to be fussy. It doesn’t want spend hours cutting things just so or mixing 25 ingredients into a salad dressing. My Italian side also pretty much just wants to make gnocchi and tomato sauce all day, which, though delicious, would not make for the most interesting blog.

Fortunately, I have fallen deeply in love with Middle Eastern food. The rich flavors, the complex spice mixes, the vegetable forward way of eating.  The more I cook like this, the more I realize that the Italian way of eating simple food, not doing too much to it, that totally unfussy way of cooking seems to fit right in.

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Poached Eggs with Seared Trout and Minty Pesto

My Mom grew up with what she calls “Depression Era” food. The sort of get-as-much-fat-in-you-while-you-can-because-you-don’t-know-when-food-will-be-around-next. The sort of food inspired by the hardships her parents faced when they were young. She had never had a green bean not cooked in cream sauce until her twenties.

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Tuesday Tutorials- The Mighty Macaron!

Oh le macaron.

Those perfect jewel toned cookies that take you entirely out of where you are standing and promptly in front of Pierre Herme in Paris.

They are a glorious little things aren’t they?

Except when they’re not. And sometimes they really, really aren’t.

Sometimes they are dry little meringues with a sad dollop of filling that makes the whole thing downright miserable.

Macarons done right are magnificent. Done poorly, are no good at all.

So today, I’m going to show you how to make macarons, the proper way. Continue reading…