Monthly Archives: July 2011

Muffin Monday: Coffee Cake Muffins

Muffins. Frequent readers of this blog will know about my obsession with these baked goods and my constant search for killer recipes to add to my collection. So when I discovered Baker Street had started an initiative where a group of talented and just plain ol’ lovely foodies whip up a different muffin recipe each week and share the results, I was a little excited. Finally – I had found my people!

This week’s recipe comes from Martha Stewart, and is a real treat that combines the flavour profile of coffee cake in the form of a muffin making it perfect for special occasion brunches. The recipe itself is straightforward and comes together quickly, resulting in an incredibly moist cake-like batter with a cinnamon spiced streusel topping.

Both my five year-old and myself had a blast whipping up these muffins! We used half the batter to create large muffins (with a secret layer of streusel in the middle) as well as mini muffins that were the perfect size for an important afternoon tea party.

To be honest, I preferred the mini versions of these muffins. They were the perfect snack size bite that reminded me of those famous mini doughnuts. Seriously – what’s not to love?!

For a copy of the recipe for Coffee Cake Muffins, please click here

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.



Food & Wine Magazine: April Cover Recipe

Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

Rating: 4 out of 5 (classic combination of flavours that works well)

Initial Thoughts: Looks fancy pants but seems fairly easy…talk about my kind of dish!

The Test: Now some of you may have noticed that I’m a wee bit behind in this year’s magazine cover recipe challenge. What can I say? Life happens. Perhaps on a subconscious level there is a sick and twisted part of my personality that wanted to intensify the challenge of this project, but I thought it would be best to not allow myself to get to the point where I would be forced to make all 12 cover recipes at the end of the year. So this is me – trying to get back on track and hoping you’ll forgive my tardiness!

On to the recipe…

Here’s what I love the most about this dish: it is so easy to prepare you almost feel guilty about how quickly and effortlessly it comes together. Basically you chop garlic, rosemary and olive oil in a food processor and rub over a rack of lamb. Yup – that’s all folks. Easy peasy.

The recipe calls for rubbing the lamb with the herb mixture and letting it stand for an hour. This is a great way for all of those lovely, herbaceous flavours to seep into the meat for maximum flavour. Also allows the lamb to reach room temperature for nice, even cooking.

NOTE: Because the lamb is cooked at such a high temperature (450 F) be careful of splattering fat in the oven. Let’s just say we got numerous opportunities to test our smoke detectors during the cooking process. Come to think of it, this would have worked out great on the BBQ.

The Results: I ended up serving the rack of lamb with the Pickled Beet Salad, a recipe included in the same issue of the magazine. It was the perfect side dish to serve with this meal, as the acidic citrusy nature of the salad provided a nice bite that cut through the richness of the lamb.

This cover recipe fully utilized classic flavour combinations most often used with lamb. Rosemary, garlic and olive oil are frequently paired with lamb because they work well together, enhancing each other with no one ingredient overwhelming the others. While it may be said that there was nothing particularly exciting about this dish that rendered it memorable, it is a solid recipe that tasted great and was easy to prepare.

Garlic-Crusted Rack of Lamb
Pickled Beet Salad

As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magaine.

NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to

The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit

Interview – Trish Magwood

Trish Magwood lives in Toronto (ON) and is a successful Canadian food entrepreneur, teacher, chef and cookbook author. Over the years she has earned a solid reputation for creating recipes that are simple, reliable, and pretty gosh darn tasty. Preferring to let her food speak for itself, Trish does not feel the need to overcompensate with flamboyant and unnecessary frills. Her first book –Dish Entertains – won a prestigious James Beard Foundation award, and her second cookbook is already creating quite a buzz amongst foodies. Some of you may recognize her from the television series Party Dish, a spin off from her successful catering and cooking school.

While enjoying some downtime at her family’s cottage, Trish talked to me about her new book, how she manages to juggle a young family and a high profile career in the food industry, and the importance of making the time to gather around the table.

To read my entire interview with Trish Magwood, please click here


REVIEW: Babycakes Covers the Classics

By Erin McKenna

Cookbook review courtesy of contributing writer
Andrea Savard

Babycakes Covers the Classics is available for purchase through our online store or at your local bookstore

Erin McKenna’s cookbook Babycakes Covers the Classics (published by Clarkson Potter, $25.00 USD) is filled with delightful gluten-free and vegan alternatives to everyday favourite treats, including an entire chapter that focuses on doughnuts.

This book has been thoughtfully crafted with lovely photographs and beautiful descriptions, aptly showcasing the love that the author has for her bakeries (locations include New York, Los Angeles and Orlando). Erin has included a friendly and personal introduction to the book, pages of good tips that include rules for substitutions, informative ingredient descriptions, and a list of must have baking and utility tools. She has also included a few pictures of herself and her family which is a nice personal touch. In short, this book has restored my faith in the gluten-free publishing world. After reading through the recipes and devouring the photos I couldn’t wait to start baking!

As this was my first foray into the world of vegan baking I had to expand upon my usual supplies. Coconut oil and applesauce instead of eggs and butter, arrowroot powder and soymilk powder in place of dairy. For the most part these were the only specialty ingredients that I needed to purchase, an expense I found worthwhile considering the entire book utilizes the same basic ingredients for each recipe.

The only ingredient stumbling block for me was when some recipes called for specific pre-packaged flour mixes and other selected branded ingredients such as Suzanne’s Specialties Ricemellow Crème (for the Whoopie Pie filling), which would be a challenge to find if you don’t live in an urban centre. In fact, I couldn’t find them even though I live in a major city and have access to a variety of suppliers.

This book was a pleasure to work with and I am glad to find the pairing of animal-free and gluten-free ingredients makes for such a fantastic partnership in the oven. This book has already become a personal favourite and I can’t wait to try each one of the recipes!

For a couple of sample recipe from this cookbook, please click here (Chips Ahoy!) and here (Plain Cake Donut)


REVIEW: In My Mother’s Kitchen

By Trish Magwood


Cookbook review written by

In My Mother’s Kitchen is available for purchase through or at local bookstores

Quick – name as many Canadian chefs as you can in the next ten seconds. Did Trish Magwood’s name come up? Probably not. That’s because like her recipes, Trish does not feel the need to overcompensate with flamboyant and unnecessary frills. She has nothing to prove. And with a reputation for creating recipes that are simple, reliable, and not to mention pretty gosh darn tasty, she lets her food speak for itself. Now isn’t that refreshing?!

Trish Magwood lives in Toronto (ON) and is a successful Canadian food entrepreneur, teacher, chef and cookbook author. Her first book – Dish Entertains – won a prestigious James Beard Foundation award, and her second cookbook is already creating quite a buzz amongst foodies. Some of you may recognize her from the television series Party Dish, a spin off from her successful catering and cooking school.

The newest release from Trish is a culmination of family favourite recipes that span three generations. In My Mother’s Kitchen (published by HarperCollins Publishers, $39.99 CDN) celebrates family through food, and includes childhood favourite recipes that have been tweaked and modernized for today’s cook. The design is littered with family pictures and beautifully photographed food, giving the book a light and airy feel while clever design elements such as the antique appearance of the paper compliment the fact that these recipes have been passed down through generations.

I truly enjoy Trish Magwood’s recipes, and this book definitely lived up to my expectations. The recipes are reliable, simple, and a true celebration of food. Beyond the three recipes tests I have since whipped up a number of other dishes that have quickly become favourites in my household (such as the Wild Rice Salad). I love the overall look and design of the book and would recommend it to anyone wanting to add to their cookbook collection.

The mantra of this book? “Keep it simple and fresh, and focus on the gathering, even if the broccoli is left on the plate.” Enough said.


Interview – Mairlyn Smith

Born in Vancouver (BC), Mairlyn Smith wears a variety of hats that include home economist, teacher, cookbook author, actor and comedian. Her cookbooks are renowned for highlighting her signature comedic flair, an approach that allows readers to feel both entertained and educated.

Mairlyn’s latest book (released April 2011) is titled Healthy Starts Here! It includes over 140 recipes to help guide you through adopting a healthy lifestyle that is meant to be more of a long term commitment rather than just another diet fad.

A firm believer in eating seasonal and locally grown foods, Mairlyn is also a strong supporter of educating youth and helping them to establish healthy eating habits and good nutritional choices from a young age. In fact, it is her hope that home economics will one day be mandatory in all Canadian high schools.

While on tour promoting her book, Mairlyn took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about her new cookbook and all things healthy!

To read my entire interview with Mairlyn Smith, click here