Turn Your Holidays Upside Down with Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple-upside-down-cake-plated_PMP3699

I love the holiday season!

I love the magical feeling when you see holiday lights wrapped carefully around trees, lighting up the night  with a sparkling sea of colour. I love going downtown to see the special window displays created for children with moving puppets and animals. I love going to see the Nutcracker performed by the National Ballet Company. The splendor of the costumes and the grace of the dancers sweeping across the stage make me feel like a child again.

I spent the afternoon on Sunday watching the Santa Claus Parade and reminiscing about watching it with my daughters when they were young. We would all cuddle up in front of the TV and wait patiently for Santa to arrive. We had a tradition of watching the parade together while munching on home baked cookies and sipping hot chocolate. Those were moments that I will always remember.

I also love to entertain. This is a wonderful time of year for spending time with friends and family over special meals. I was looking for an additional dessert for those who do not like traditional pie with their holiday meal and I came across this recipe. The cake is spiced with rum and cardamom making it have richer and more complex flavours than the traditional white cake version.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients:

For the Topping:

½ medium pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced to 3/8 inch thick rounds
¾ stick unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar

For the Batter:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¾ stick unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. dark rum
½ cup orange juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make Topping:

Choose a nice pineapple slice for your center, set aside. Slice the remaining circles into 4 quarters.

Melt butter in a skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over medium heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Add the pineapple sliced and stir until slightly softened, 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Pour sugar mixture into a parchment lined, greased 9 inch spring form pan. Arrange pineapple on top of the sugar mixture in circles working from the center to the edges, overlapping rows slightly.

Make Batter:

Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar while mixing. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in orange juice; add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended.

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly.

Bake cake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until golden and tester comes out clean.

Let cake stand 5 minutes and then remove outer sides of pan and invert on to a cake plate.

Serve cake warm with a dollop of whipped cream (optional).

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

pineapple-upside-down-cake_PMP3417

Advertisements

Marinated Raspberries with Lychees and Greek Yogurt

marinated-raspberries

Someone very close to me said that I spend too much time trying not to fail, instead of trying to win. I had to stop and think about it. If I don’t fail; then am I not succeeding? Then I realized that if you spend your time trying not to fail, you never become a winner.

I never played competitive sports as a child. I was always drawn to the arts and dance so I was much more interested in creating something special rather than winning. Now that I am trying to succeed in business and trying change my lifestyle I know that winning can be a good thing. I find myself trying to reprogram my brain.

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”-Rabindranath Tagore

Sometimes I feel as though my goal of being physically fit is a long way off. I get so overwhelmed by the effort that I need to put in to get there; I end up being stuck.  It is very much like staring at the sea and wishing I was at the other side.

I need to take action. I am not going to let the distance get to me. I am going to get there.  So I here am, pushing off from shore. I am going to reach my goal and feel great about it.

As I travel on this journey I will keep you posted about how I am doing. I will share my successes and my disappointments. I hope you enjoy the ride. I will be featuring some healthy food options and as well as some good home cooking recipes. I believe that eating well is part of living well.

It is hard to keep on track during the holiday season, but I am determined. After eating so much heavy food over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday I decided to make a nice light dessert of Marinated Raspberries, Lychees and Greek yogurt. We can still have treats while eating healthy and light fruity options are my favourite. I have also developed a passion for yogurt.

It is easy to eat well if you can make your food taste good and look delicious.

Marinated Raspberries with Greek Yogurt

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

22 oz. (650g) container Greek yogurt
1/3 cup (75g) castors sugar
1 cup (250ml) water
20 fresh or tinned lychees, peeled and seeds removed.
2 lb. (500g) fresh raspberries
1 tbsp. lime juice
Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
Peanut or cashew brittle or granola bars, broken into pieces

Directions:
Place the castor sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to boil for one minute. Remove from the heat, add the lychees and set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the raspberries and lime juice.
Place the raspberry mixture in a bowl and add mint leaves. Serve with Greek yogurt and granola bars or nut brittle.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine-Issue 66

Fresh from the Market Strawberry Cheesecake

Market-shot-5

Market-shot-1

Markrt-shot-3

Market-shot-6

market-shot-2

I went on an adventure this week.

There was a special fair held at Toronto’s Queen’s Park to build awareness of Ontario growers and producers. They had set up tents on the lawn of the Ontario Legislature to showcase the local foods and to offer free samples.

The local producers included a local dairy that was handing out free ice cream cones and an apple orchard that provided free apple bumbles. There were also mushroom, strawberry and asparagus growers as well as representatives from Ontario Pork and the Ontario Beekeepers Associations. There was even a flower farmer who handed out free blooms to the guests.

We spend too much time in the winter months running from store to store to find the freshest produce. In the summer we are so lucky to have local markets popping up all over the city allowing us to taste the food fresh from the farms. Many of those markets offer organically grown produce.

I enjoyed seeing the fair and chatting with some of the participants. I learned a few things about Ontario farming and discovered a few gems. Did you know that there is a beekeeping operation on the roof of Toronto’s historic Royal York hotel that makes award-winning honey? I didn’t.

No matter where you live it is important to buy local and support your local farmers and food producers. I made this luscious Strawberry Cheesecake recipe to celebrate the local farmers and taste of the season.

Strawberry-Cheesecake-Edit

Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:

2 pounds (four 8 oz. boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two

For the topping:

4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced to 1/8 inch\

Directions

To make the crust:

Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.

Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.

Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.

Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the cheesecake:

Put a kettle of water on to boil.

Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.

Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roasting pan.

Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the spring form pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

When the cake is cool, top with strawberries and chill the cake for at least 4 hours.

Recipe from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

A Little Taste of Paris and Warm Apple Quinoa Crepes

Elora Mill

Elora reflections

A few weeks ago we were in an area north of Toronto for a family wedding. On the way home that Sunday we decided that since we were already in the area, why not go exploring some of the places that we never get to see. One place that came to mind was Elora, Ontario.

Elora is a historic village  1 1/2 hours north-west of Toronto that is nestled along the Grand River. It is well-known for the Elora Gorge Park and Quarrie, The Elora Festival and The Elora Mill Country Inn and Restaurant.  The village has become home to numerous artisans and performers and is a favourite spot for a weekend getaway.

The Elora Mill, at the head of the Elora Gorge, was constructed in 1833. It is considered one of Ontario’s finest historic mills and was made famous in the 1930s by a painting by Canadian Group of Seven artist A.J. Casson. When the mill ceased operating in 1974 it was turned into a lovely country inn and fine dining establishment.

Our original intent was to have lunch at the Inn while looking out over the river, but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. Still hungry, we started to wander along the shops that back onto the Grand River on Mills St. and came upon a quaint little spot called Cafe Creperie.

After choosing a cozy window seat we were greeted by a charming French gentleman who inquired as to whether we had tried their crepes before. We said that we had not and he just smiled and told us we were in for treat. As we waited I glanced around the room at the warm, rustic decor and small intimate tables. There was a collection of photographic portraits on the walls that showcased Elora’s talented artistic community.

The menu offered a variety of sweet and savoury crepes with wonderful fillings like goat cheese, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken, etc. I ended up choosing the Provencal and my friend ordered the Tuscan crepe. Minutes later we were served the most delightful lunch. Let me start by saying I am a crepe lover from way back and I have tasted crepes in Canada and France many times. The crepes that we had this day were the best I have ever had!

The batter was exactly the right consistency and each crepe was topped with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper. It was light and flavourful and so very French. It was a little taste of Paris in Elora, Ontario.

As it turns out; our charming server was actually the chef, Jacques Dion. His warm demeanor, delightful smile and culinary prowess are a treasure to find in this little village. The restaurant often hosts artists works and musical events and contributes regularly to other village events. It is worth the drive next time you are in the area.

Crepe chef Elora

cafe-creperie

Although I was not able to get the recipe from Jacques for his wonderful crepes, I was able to find this one from one of my favourite cookbooks. These Quinoa Crepes with Warm Apples are a healthy option served with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and are vegetarian and gluten-free.

Quinoa-Crepes-with-apples

Warm Apple Quinoa Crepes

Apple Topping

Makes 6 crepes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. (30 ml) non hydrogenated margarine

4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar, packed

½ tsp. (2 ml) ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. (1 ml) ground nutmeg

1 ½ cups (125 ml) low-fat vanilla yogurt

Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Prepare Quinoa Crepes (see recipe below).

Add the margarine to a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté for 2-3 minutes until they are translucent.

Add the brown sugar, stirring to coat the fruit, and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble.

Add the spices and continue to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the apple slices are tender but not mushy. (Recipe can be made in advance to this point. Cool, refrigerate and then reheat before serving.)

To serve, fold the crepes in quarters and place on a plate. Add a few tablespoons of the apple mixture and a dollop of yogurt on each. Sprinkle with cinnamon and add a sprig of mint to each plate.

Serve.

Basic Quinoa Crepes

Makes 6 crepes

Ingredients:

¾ cup (185 ml) quinoa flour

3 large eggs

¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil

1 cup (250 ml) organic vanilla soy beverage

Directions:

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the flour, eggs, oil and soy beverage for 10-15 seconds, until smooth and lump free. Refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes before cooking.

Lightly grease a small 7-8 inch crepe pan with canola oil. Spoon 3 tbsp. of the batter into the pan and rotate the pan around so that there is an even coating on the bottom of the pan.

Turn the crepe after 30 seconds. Crepe will be lightly browned and will be flexible for folding.

Place cooled crepes on a plate lined with parchment pepper to cool. They can either be used in crepe recipes or frozen for later use. Freeze in small amounts, placing a small piece of parchment paper between the crepes and wrapping them in clear plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 1 month.

 

Recipe from The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook edited by Marilyn Smith, PHEc from the Ontario Home Economics Association.

 

 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot-Cake-on-a-pedastal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have mentioned things that make me smile throughout my posts but today I thought I would share a list of some of my favourites. These are some things or places that I enjoy. I hope you enjoy some of them too.

Listening to this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2VCwBzGdPM

Wonderful cake props

http://www.allantiqueglass.com/pedestal-cake-stands/

A photographer whose work I admire

http://www.clarebarboza.com/index2.php#/home/

The pot that I cannot live without

http://www.epicureshop.ca/store/pc/Le-Creuset-Brasier-10p421.htm

Toronto’s best little pie shop

http://www.wandaspieinthesky.com/about_wanda.html

Another blog that I enjoy

http://backroadjournal.wordpress.com/

Where to find the best market in Provence

http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/vaucluse/lourmari/lourmari.htm

A great reference book for cooking like a chef

http://books.google.ca/books/about/Complete_Techniques.html?id=HOKJA21UVxIC&redir_esc=y

A great family movie for a long weekend

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicentennial_Man_(film)

Algonquin park

Algonquin Park

Wonderful carrot cake

Carrot-Cake-Plated

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large ripe banana, mashed
½ cup low-fat yogurt
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup raisins
½ cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup light cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp. low-fat milk or water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch Bundt pan with cooking oil.

For the cake, beat the oil and granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating the mixture well (it may look curdled). Add the banana, carrots, raisins, pineapple and yogurt. Stir until everything is well combined.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a separate bowl, mixing well. Add to the carrot mixture and stir just until everything `is combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a rack and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese, icing sugar and milk in a bowl or food processor until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Make Ahead: Keep for up to 3 days well wrapped, or freeze for up to 2 weeks.
Serves 16

 

Recipe from The Complete Light Kitchen by Rose Reisman

Quick and Easy Holiday Baking with Rugelach

christamas-bulbs-for-web

I can well imagine how busy everyone has been these past few weeks and how much you have yet to do.  Everyone is running around doing their last-minute shopping while attending holiday parties and preparing meals.The thought of holiday baking seems daunting with all of your other commitments. Well I am going to help you with this recipe. These cookies are fast and easy to make without skimping on flavour. The addition of sugar and cinnamon adds enough spice and sweetness to make them impossible to resist.

I hope you enjoy the cookies.

Wishing you and your families a Holiday Season be filled with peace, love and happiness and a Happy New Year!

Rugelach
Makes 16 cookies

Ingredients:
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 package frozen pie shells
½ cup apricot jam
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup golden raisins
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking liners.

Thaw pie shells for 30 minutes at room temperature. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Rugalech-on-cutting-board

Remove each pie shell from the pie sheet and lie flat on a cutting board. Spread half of the jam on each shell. Sprinkle with ½ cup walnuts and ¼ cup raisins and 1 tbsp. sugar and cinnamon mixture on each. Make sure that the toppings are spread all the way to the edge.

Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, evenly cut each round into 8 wedges. Starting at the wide edge roll each wedge toward the narrow edge and bend slightly into a crescent shape.

Space cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheets with the pointed edge underneath.

Brush melted butter on each crescent and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar on top.

rugalech-on-a-cookie-sheet

Bake until pale golden brown and slightly puffy, about 25 minutes. Make sure you rotate the sheets halfway through the baking time.

Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool for about an hour.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week.

rugalech-on-a-plate

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Christmas Cookies

Wonderful Fall Fig Cake

I stayed in last night and watched Julie and Julia on TV for the eighth time. I know that sounds sad and pathetic but that movie is so entertaining. Every time I see Meryl Streep as Julia Child I have to smile. I think she brings an honesty to her role that many actors would not have dared to try. Her acting ability is amazing and I have enjoyed her in any of her various roles.

I can really relate to the Julie Powell’s character played by Amy Adams. I understand her love of cooking, her passion for blogging and her willingness to push herself to become a better cook and a better writer. I also understand doing all of that while working full-time, running a business part-time and trying to keep relationships balanced.

Life is a journey and sometimes a juggling act. I am convinced that it is all worth it if you bring your best efforts to everything that you do.

Fall is passing quickly and I wanted to get some great harvest recipes out to you before it ends. Since I have discovered the great taste of fresh figs I am constantly looking for new and interesting recipes that highlight their unique flavour.

This fig cake is rich and dense and is best served warm.

Enjoy!

Fig Cake

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:

¾ cup ruby port
1 cup honey
2 thin slices lemon
16-20 fresh figs, stemmed and halved
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup sugar
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Stir the port and ½ cup honey together in a small saucepan. Toss in the lemon slices and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat, add the figs, cover the pan and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the figs are soft but not falling apart. Using a slotted spoon, transfer figs to a bowl. Raise the heart just a little and cook the poaching liquid for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened; the syrup should coat a metal spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and set the sauce aside.

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper and dust inside of the pan with flour, tapping out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Put the sugar and grated zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or another large bowl, rub them together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist, grainy and aromatic. Toss in the butter. With the paddle or whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Pour in the remaining ½ cup honey, add the vanilla extract and beat for another 2 minutes. The mixture may look curdled and not so pretty-keep mixing. It will get better soon. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. The batter will be fairly thick.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a few times to even the batter, then scatter poached figs over the top.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and golden brown and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before running a blunt knife around the edges and releasing the sides of the pan.

Cool the cake slightly warm or to room temperature before serving it with the sauce. Cake slices can be topped with whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe from Baking by Dorie Greenspan

 

Black Plum Yogurt Loaf with Ice Wine

Autumn is my favourite time of year. In spite of the impending cold weather this season is filled with a pallet of warm rich colour, crisp blue skies and warm cozy dinners. The cooler weather has its advantages; you can run or cycle for an hour and still not get too hot. You can walk outside with a light jacket and feel the cool fall breeze on your face.

Farmers are busy harvesting their crops and filling the markets with apples, pumpkins, tomatoes, plums and dozens of other seasonal treats. The vineyards of Niagara and Prince Edward County are harvesting grapes for their annual wine production. Fall fairs are popping up all around the city and dinner plans are taking shape for the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday next weekend.

This recipe makes a great dessert loaf topped with a layer of fresh black plums soaked in Niagara Ice Wine. It is great served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream or served room temperature on its own.

Black Plum Yogurt Loaf with Ice Wine

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. (30 ml) ice wine
1 ½ cups (375 ml) black plums, pitted and diced
6 tbsp. (90 ml) butter, room temperature
¾ cup (180 ml) sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
¾ cup (180 ml) plain creamy yogurt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (180 degrees C). In a medium bowl pour the ice wine over the plums. Mix well and set aside to marinate.

In an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each one. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the yogurt until both are incorporated; careful not to over mix.

Meanwhile drain the plums. Pour the batter into a loaf pan and smooth top. Press the plums into the batter and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe adapted from The Ontario Table by Lynn Ogryzlo

Life is like a Bowl Full of Cherry Clafoutis

Well here we are on the last long weekend of summer.

In Toronto, Labour Day weekend holds an air of excitement and anticipation of the new school year. Families are scurrying about, trying to get the children ready to go back to school by shopping for school supplies and fall clothes. The college and university students are moving back into their dorms and everyone is trying to fit in a little fun while they rush about.

The Canadian National Exhibition ends its season for another year with a large air show and thousands of people braving the roller coasters and dare devil rides. The attractions are endless and the food fair is a junk food oasis featuring such delicacies as deep fried butter. I could feel my cholesterol rising as I typed that one.

Since my children have finished school and are too old for the Exhibition, I can relax and enjoy the weather. I have one week to go until my 32km walk in the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers and 4 weeks left to train for my first 5km run. Training is going well and I am still loving the feeling of being outdoors and getting fit and healthy.

I have really enjoyed cooking and baking with the local fruits and vegetables this season. For this recipe I picked up some sweet red cherries and some sour white cherries to give it some flavour balance. If you don’t have both varieties available, the red cherries would be best. This Cherry Clafoutis make a great summer dessert and can be packed into a picnic quite easily if baked in ramekins.

Cherry Clafoutis

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp. ground almonds
½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups whipping (35%) cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 lb. sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted

Directions

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, almonds and salt, pulse to combine. Add eggs, cream, vanilla, orange zest and lemon zest; pulse to combine, scraping down the sides of bowl. Pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange cherries in six ½ cup ramekins or one 3 cup baking dish. Stir chilled batter, then pour evenly over cherries. Bake until golden brown, and puffed, about 40 minutes for ramekins and 1 hour for baking dish. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Earth to Table by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann