Putting on the dog with Lemon-Glazed Candied-Ginger Cookies

My life lately, has been going to the dogs….. and cats…and bunnies!

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I spent much of the fall launching my new pet photography business Pawsome Pix. www.pawsomepix.com

The interesting thing about shooting pet portraits is having fun with the pets and owners while you shoot. Sometime is feels like chaos while you are getting great shots in the field. In the studio it is much more controlled and calm.

My plan is to run the food and lifestyle photography and the pet photography as separate businesses. That way I can really focus on each and market each in a different way.

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No matter what I am shooting, it is a great way to spend a day. They say you should work at something you love so it never feels like work. I am so fortunate that I feel that way about photographing food, people and now, pets.

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I love getting to know each animal so I can help them to relax. This allows me to capture their unique personalities. That is the great thing about photographing pets and children; they all are so interesting and fun to hang out with.

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Now that my website and Facebook pages are launched I can get back to preparing for the coming holiday season.

I know the holidays are coming soon when I start to get that itch to bake holiday cookies. Each year, I pour over my cookbooks to find something new and interesting to bake for my family. I found this recipe in a Martha Stewart Cookies magazine that I bought in 2011.

The cookies have a nice blend of flavours with the sweetness of the honey and the freshness of the lemon. They are definitely worth trying.

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Lemon-Glazed Candied-Ginger Cookies

Makes 6 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 tsp. baking powder
Salt
6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger
1 large egg
2 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
1/3 cup water

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Directions:

Sift flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt into a bowl. Cream butter and brown sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add ginger, and beat for 2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. Add flour mixture, and then beat on medium-low speed until dough just comes together.

Shape dough into two 1-inch-thick disks. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 3 days).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface to inch thickness, and cut out 2-inch circles. Place the rounds 1/2 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll out and cut scraps. Refrigerate rounds for 10 minutes.

Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until cookies are set and edges are light gold, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer parchment with cookies to wire racks. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough. (Cookies can be stored for up to 3 days.)

Whisk confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and juice, honey, water, and a pinch of salt in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle glaze over the cooled cookies. Let stand until glaze is set, at least 20 minutes. (Glazed cookies can be stored overnight.)

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Recipe from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies- 2011

 

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Tomato, Ricotta and Lemon Tarts

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I walked home from work tonight. It is about 5 km from my office to my apartment so I frequently walk home to get exercise. I love the feeling of solitude that walking gives me. I have time to sort out my thoughts, to make plans and to work through creative ideas. I also have time to get in touch with nature as I walk through parks.

Tonight, as I walked I could not help but feel the splendor of the summer’s evening. There was a slight breeze blowing and the air smelled so sweet. Even though there was traffic and cyclists and runners passing by, I still felt a calmness in the air. I thought about how long we waited for this summer to come. I wanted to grab hold of that feeling and that moment and not let it go. But we cannot capture those precious moments in time. We can only try to record them in our memories and hope they will come again.

That is one of the reasons that I love photography. Every shot records a moment, a feeling, a person, a place, an event or even a sensation or taste. When I look back at photos of trips or events I remember what that day felt like. I recall what was happening and who was there and what we did. It is like the photo triggers the place in my memory where I stored that moment.

I hope that when we share our photographs with others, they are able to feel some of those moments with us.

I also hope that when we share recipes that we love, others will try them and enjoy the flavours that we enjoyed. I am a huge fan of tomatoes and ricotta cheese so when I saw this recipe in the Donna Hay Magazine, I had to make it. The recipe is quite simple and made a delicious lunch for my daughter and I. The ricotta and lemon filling offer a great balance to the fresh cherry tomatoes. The tarts are great served with a side salad or on their own.

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Tomato, Ricotta and Lemon Tarts

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

500 g ricotta cheese
1 tbsp. finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets filo (phyllo) pastry
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the ricotta, lemon, parsley, chive, 1/4 cup parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine.

Place 1 sheet of pastry on a board, brush with olive oil and top with a second sheet pf pastry. Repeat with remaining pastry sheets.

Lightly grease an 8 x 11 inch baking dish.

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Cut the stack of filo pastry in half lengthways and into thirds crossways to make 6 squares. Divide the ricotta mixture by spooning 1/6 into each of the pastry squares. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan cheese.

Place the tarts in the baking dish, lifting the edges to fit snugly. Brush the pastry with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Serve each tart with tomatoes and a sprig of parsley.

Recipe from Donna Hay Magazine- Issue 73 Feb/Mar 2014

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Broccolini with Pancetta, Walnuts and Lemon

I received an e-mail the other day to tell me that my blog has been nominated for a Ninjamatic 2012 Canadian Weblog Award. I want to extend my gratitude to the people who submitted the nomination. I am truly humbled to be nominated along with some of my favourite bloggers in the Food and Drink category.

Writing a blog is a lesson in dedication and perseverance. You are constantly looking for ideas and recipes and food events to feature. I have cooked, baked, photographed and tasted every recipe posted. For me it has been a labour of love. It is really touching to think that others are enjoying my work as much as I have enjoyed creating it.

Since I started Savoury Image I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone in the kitchen. I have to tried baking and more complicated recipes than I would probably have attempted otherwise. This has prompted me to sign up at Toronto’s George Brown College School of Culinary Arts to learn more about the classic techniques of professional cooking. This program is not the Chef’s program but rather the continuing education program for people who want to improve their culinary skills. I can almost relate to how Julia Child must have felt when she set out to better her culinary skills, while living in Paris. It is all about the love of the food! Classes start in January so stay tuned for some tips and tricks.

This recipe comes from a fellow blogger, Katie Quinn Davies who writes a popular blog called What Katie Ate. We had it as a side dish at a dinner and it was a huge hit.

Broccolini with Pancetta, Walnuts and Lemon

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 bunches broccolini, florets and stems separated and ends discarded
Sea Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 sliced pancetta, finely diced
1/3 c. walnuts chopped
1 lemon, juiced

Directions:

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the broccolini and cook for 3-4 minutes until tender. Drain and soak in ice water for 30 seconds, drain and pat dry.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add pancetta. Cook over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until crispy. Add the broccolini and walnuts to the skillet. Add the butter and lemon juice and toss all ingredients to coat well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Recipe from What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies

Poppy Seed Crêpes with Lemon Ricotta and Asparagus

A crêpe is a very thin, cooked pancake usually made from wheat flour. The word, like the pancake itself, is of French origin, deriving from the Latin crispa, meaning “curled.” Crêpes originate from the Brittany region in the northwest of France although crêperies can be found on many street corners in Paris. Whenever I am in Paris I enjoy a Crêpe Chantilly made with sugar and whipped cream.

I remember when they became popular in North America in the early 1970s. Julia Child had begun her quest to of teach American housewives to cook French food. When her books and TV shows came to Canada, Canadian housewives were very excited about trying out new and interesting recipes. At that time Crêpes Suzette was considered an elegant dessert to serve at a dinner party. I remember my mother making them for our guests. Since then we have tried numerous different fillings and flavours.

In Canada there are numerous crêperies, especially in the province of Quebec where the cuisine has been influenced by the French Canadian culture. We eat crêpes at any type of meal be it breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a dessert.

This recipe has a fresh, creamy taste with the lemon ricotta and would be perfect for a brunch or lunch dish.

Poppy Seed Crêpes with Lemon Ricotta and Asparagus

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup water
¼ cup melted butter
1 tbsp. sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. poppy seeds

Ricotta filling:

500g ricotta cheese
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. finely grated lemon rind
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed to 5 inch pieces
1 cup fresh basil leaves

Directions:

Crêpe Batter

In a blender, combine eggs, milk, warm butter, sugar and salt. blend until smooth.  Add flour and blend until smooth, scraping down side of blender if needed.

Once smooth, pour batter into a bowl and stir in poppy seed; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Ricotta Filling

In a bowl, stir together ricotta, olive oil, lemon rind, nutmeg, pepper and salt until combined, set aside.

Steam or boil asparagus for about 4 minutes or until tender. Immediately rinse in cold water until chilled; set aside.

To make crêpes, heat a lightly greased 6-inch non-stick pan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of the batter to pan and swirl pan to coat the base. Cook for about 1 minute or until edges are very lightly golden and surface of crêpe seams dry. Flip crêpe and cook second side for another 30 seconds. Repeat until all of the crêpes are cooked, lightly greasing the pan as needed.

To assemble crêpes, spread 1 tbsp. of the ricotta mixture on the bottom half of each crêpe. Place one piece of asparagus and 2 basil leaves in the middle of the top half of the crêpe with the top peeking out. Fold the crêpe up and over the asparagus then fold in half. Roll this piece in cigar style. Continue with remaining crêpes and serve at room temperature.

Recipe from Longos Experience Magazine