These crescent shaped pastries are one of my favourite holiday treats. The dough comes together beautifully, they’re fun to make and absolutely addictive. With a ratio of one part butter, one part cream cheese, it’s no wonder Rugulach are habit-forming. The trick to working with buttery dough is to keep it well chilled. Once it [...]Read More
If you enjoy the delicate crunch of meringue and the creamy texture of a chocolate ganache, you’ll love these sweet bite-sized morsels. The meringue is made by warming egg whites and sugar before they are whipped. This technique, called Swiss meringue, offers better stability than a standard cold whipped meringue. The addition of coco powder [...]Read More
The first time I made toffee, it turned out beautifully: a crisp sheet of caramel-coloured ice that snapped into shards of buttery bliss. The second time I made toffee, it crumbled in my hands. The third time, it turned a grainy mess; the forth, it wouldn’t firm …. I’ve had my issues with toffee. Fortunately, [...]Read More
Nothing says holiday like a sugar-dusted cookie filled with jam. Unlike some Christmas cookies that are far too sweet, Linzer Torte cookies are scrumptious and gorgeous in equal measures. Made of toasted ground almonds, sweet butter and a whisper of lemon zest, these dainty cookies sandwich a filling of raspberry preserves. An adaptation of Austria’s [...]Read More
Crème brûlée and crème caramel — the two are easily confused. Especially if you take the best part of crème caramel, the caramel, and infuse it in your crème brûlée. Just to set the record straight, crème caramel is the light custard that’s served inverted onto a plate, caramel base up, with the golden syrup pooling dramatically [...]Read More
If you like your cakes boozy and moist, this yeast cake is sure to become a favourite. Once the cake is baked, it is saturated with warm cherry brandy (Kirsch) or rum-spiked syrup. The cake soaks up the booze like a drunken sponge and swells in a happy stupor. You can, of course, omit the [...]Read More
I rediscovered these delicious pies when a kindly neighbor, someone I barely knew, knocked on my door and presented me with a wooden tray of still-warm chicken pot pies. I had just returned from the hospital and answered the door balancing a wailing infant in each arm. Every time I tuck into a chicken pot [...]Read More
A message to the reluctant cook,
Sometimes you’ll scorch the rice, burn the sugar or overwork the dough. You might under-cook, over-salt or overcrowd the pan.
I’ve made all these mistakes and plenty more.
But with every blunder, a new lesson unfolds. Knowing what NOT to do is as important as knowing what to do. If your cooking history is, um, colourful, consider yourself ahead of the curve.
With practice, you’ll learn to trust your senses:
Touch your food. You’ll feel when the dough is ready or when the meat is perfectly cooked.
Smell your food. Your nose knows if the fish is fresh or funky — or when the garlic’s about to burn.
Listen to the sizzle and the sputter. It’s telling you if your pan’s the right (or wrong) temperature.
Watch your food. It’s always perfect — just before it burns.
Taste as you cook. You’ll know if the soup needs a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon.
Most importantly, relax and enjoy the pleasures of the kitchen. And have a glass of wine while you’re at it.
Just don’t toss in the apron!