Blueberry Pancakes

Time flies: summer is almost behind us, we’re already in August! One good thing though is that we’re in the middle of blueberry season! Theses little berries are as good as they’ll get: plump, fresh and juicy! I ate so much of them lately that I’m starting to see life in blue.. Well.. in a good way! Anyways!

As I told you before, I just love breakfasts… especially when they include fresh seasonal fruits. It isn’t something we can enjoy all year long in this beautiful North America, so we should indulge while it’s time! Recently, I made these gorgeous blueberry pancakes. The pancakes are delicious by themselves, and you get a surprise when the blueberries explose under your teeth, letting all their juices burst out!

Tomorrow is Saturday… Hopefully you’ll have plenty of time to cook yourself and your loved ones a nice breakfast! Have a nice weekend!

Recipe (Adapted from Ricardo)


 2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
 1/4 cup sugar
 2 eggs
 2 cups of milk
 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
 1 ¼ cup of fresh blueberries (or frozen blueberries, thawed)

In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the blueberries. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.

If the blueberries are fresh, fold them gently into the batter. If they are thawed, add them to the pan when you cook the pancakes.

In a nonstick skillet, melt a little butter. Pour about 60 ml (1/4 cup) of batter and spread it, stirring the pan to get a pancake of about 15-cm (6-inch) in diameter. Place about 15 ml (1 tablespoon) of thawed blueberries on each pancake, if applicable.

Cook the pancakes for about 2 minutes per side. Pile them up in a warm oven.

At service, drizzle with maple syrup. Bon appétit!


Homemade Ricotta Cheese

As easy as 1, 2, 3… and better than any ricotta you’d had before. That’s how I’d describe this new discovery. Actually, I’d even say it’s been a revelation to me. First, I love ricotta. I like to have it in my pancakes, in my pasta, with chicken… I also love all ricotta-based Italian pastries (I recently made a point in trying all the ones offered at an Italian pastry shop near my place… They’re all favourites!). So when I found out it was that easy to make my own ricotta at home, I couldn't wait to give it a try.

Then, I wondered if there’s anything that could be done with all the whey I ended up with after the draining process. To push the experience to the next level, I decided to make my own bread using the whey and a mix of white and rye flours. This fresh homemade bread and the ricotta ended up being a heavenly match! I almost couldn’t stop myself from wolfing down the whole thing…

This ricotta cheese, accompanied with fresh bread, is the perfect item to serve as an apéro with a glass of wine and nice olives. It’s also divine for breakfast on toast, with honey drizzled on top…

Yield: 2 cups

8 cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup distilled white vinegar (or lemon juice)

Line a large fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Place over a bowl and set aside.

Pour milk, cream and salt in a large saucepan. Set over medium heat until mixture reaches 175oF to 180oF, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and drizzle in vinegar (or lemon juice) while stirring gently. Stop stirring when all vinegar (or lemon juice) is in, and let mixture rest until the milk solids coagulate and float to the surface, leaving the whey underneath, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Gently ladle the solids in the strainer, leaving as much whey as possible in the saucepan. Let the ricotta drain (without pressing on in) until most of the liquids have drained, about an hour. If you want to have a firmer ricotta, just have in drain a little longer.

Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth and store in the fridge in an airtight container.


Key Lime Pie

The weather was amazing the last couple of days, plus we had a long week-end, so it was the perfect occasion to throw a small barbecue party! I invited some friends over and immediately went back to my pie cookbook to find a dessert idea! It actually didn’t take long, since I remembered I had loads of limes waiting in the fridge (which I originally bought to make awesome margaritas). Also, with such a hot weather, lime sounded more refreshing and light than, let say chocolate.

The verdict: everyone enjoyed the pie, and some even went for seconds, which is always a good sign! Also, a pregnant woman was among the group and I made her a special individual pie topped with whipped cream instead of meringue, since I wasn’t sure if the egg whites in this type of meringue were considered cooked or raw… Apparently, it also ended up to be a great combination! Thanks Martha for another great dessert!

Graham Cracker Crust

1 ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375oF. Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate. In a bowl, combine crumbs, butter, sugar and salt. Press mixture firmly and evenly into bottom and sides of pie plate. Bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.



1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large eggs, separated
¾ cup fresh key lime juice
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
Finely grated lime zest


Preheat oven to 325oF. In a bowl, whisk to combine condensed milk, yolks and lime juice. Pour mixture into baked and cooled crust. Bake pie until center is just set, about 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Bear sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a standing electric mixer. Place bowl over a bain-marie, and stir until warm to touch and the sugar is dissolved. Attach bowl to mixer; beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and meringue is glossy, about 5 minutes.

Top pie with meringue* and garnish with lime zest if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!

* alternatively, the pie can be topped with whipped cream instead of meringue


Banana Cream Pie

It’s been a couple of weeks now that I’ve been craving for pies. It’s funny because I consider myself more of a cake person than a pie person. I must confess that I’m even usually a little disappointed when invited over for dinner and learn that we’ll be served pie for dessert (ok, maybe not that disappointed, because after all, I’m definitely a sweets person).

A little while ago, I bought Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts book, enticed by the picture on the cover (curiously, the same thing happened with her Cupcakes and Cookies books). I looked at the pictures over and over, drooling, and the book finally ended up sitting on my shelf since (once again, the same happened with its other fellows). But, enough! Today I decided it was time to start to make these books cost-effective: I made a banana cream pie! I don’t think I ever had that type of pie before, and let me tell you it is rich, but so delicious! The banana cream was so fragrant, and it might have been a little too banana-ey by itself, but the cream balanced it out perfectly.

I can’t wait to try another pie recipe from this book. In fact, I might as well make one this weekend. So many of them seem so good, how am I to chose, though? Should I just flip the book open at any page and just bake the featured pie? That could be an idea…

Recipe (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
Yield: 1x9 inch pie

Your favourite pâte brisée
½ cup sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ripe bananas, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 ½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate curls, for garnish

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough and fit in a 9-inch plate. Pierce the bottom of the shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425oF. Line shell with parchment and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake until the hedges turn gold, 15 to 18 minutes. Reduce heat to 375oF. Remove weights and parchment, and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 7 minutes (2 minutes after it comes to a boil).

Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Add milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour milk mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add butter, and stir until melted. Fold in bananas. Pour into crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 4 hours.

In a chilled bowl, beat together cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over filling. Shape topping into peaks using a spatula or a spoon. Sprinkle chocolate curls on top, and serve immediately.


Vietnamese Imperial Rolls

When I was young, on Friday nights, my mom and my sister often went out at the Vietnamese restaurant. Somehow, at that age, I wasn’t much of an adventurous eater and I preferred to stay at home and eat, let say, lasagna. I don’t remember if I had actually tried Vietnamese food before, or if I just thought I wouldn’t like it (the same goes with Indian food, and nowadays, I’m simply addicted). At some point though, maybe when I got tired of being left out, I decided to accompany them and give it a try and, surprise, I totally fell in love with imperial rolls! I even began craving them (and other Vietnamese typical fare, such as pho, meat/shrimp skewers, etc.) and I had to get them regularly. It’s funny how tastes evolve over time. Or the way psychological barriers can be overcome!

It turns out that it is very easy to make these rolls yourself at home. Most of the ingredients can be found at your regular grocery store, except maybe for the black fungus (available at any Asian grocery store). Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, you just mix them and then roll them! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! They are very popular at family or friends gatherings: you’ll see how quickly they vanish! Also, everyone can help rolling, to speed things up! Another good thing is that the rolls can be frozen (if there are any left), which is very convenient!

1 pack of wheat sheets or rice sheets
5 dried black fungus
2 oz of translucent vermicelli
1.5 lbs of ground pork (or chicken or tofu)
2 onions, diced
3 carrots
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely cracked pepper
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce (nuoc mam)

Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons of fish sauce (nuoc mam)
2 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of white vinegar
1/3 cup of boiling water
Finely chopped garlic
Pequin peppers (bird peppers), finely chopped (make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after manipulating those peppers!)
Lime wedges


·         Soak the fungus and the vermicelli in warm water for 30 minutes. Strain thoroughly and chop in small pieces (1/4 inch).
·         In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and seasonings.

·         If using rice sheets: Bring water to a boil in a saucepan, and add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (optional). Dip the rice sheets in the water, one at a time, and place them on a tea towel (prepare max. 4 rolls at a time).
·         If using wheat sheets: follow indications on wrapping.
·         Put 3 teaspoons of the mixture at the centre of the lower third of the [wheat or rice] sheet.
Fold the lower end of the sheet on the mixture. Roll tightly (on ply) to make sure the mixture is well enclosed. Then flip the sides of the sheet towards the inner part, rounding the ends to avoid sharp hedges that could later break. Continue rolling tightly to obtain a nice roll. [If using a wheat roll, brush the extremity of the sheet with water or egg wash before making the last fold in order to seal the roll.] Make sure you deep-fry the rolls soon after they have been rolled, otherwise, they will get soggy and it might not work out so well.
·         In a deep-fryer, preheat the oil at 350°F.
Deep-fry the rolls for about 6-8 minutes, 2 or 3 at a time depending on the size of your deep-fryer, making sure the rolls don’t stick to one another. The rolls are cooked through when they are golden brown and they float to the surface. Place them vertically and let the excess oil drip.
·         In a bowl, mix all the dipping sauce ingredients, and pour in individual ramequins.

Serve immediately with a ramequin of sauce. Just dunk and enjoy!

Note: The rolls made using the rice noodles cannot be frozen. If you plan to freeze the rolls, use the wheat sheets. Deep-fry the rolls before freezing them. For optimal results, partially thaw the rolls and deep-fry them to reheat them. Another option is to reheat the partially thawed rolls in a hot oven (425oF) on a wire rack, turning the rolls a couple of times. Do not completely thaw the rolls before reheating them or they will become soggy.


Dutch Baby

I love breakfast. Actually, it might be my favourite meal of the day. It’s too bad though that during the week, it’s hard for me to have a proper breakfast since I’m always such in a hurry. Okay, you could tell me that I should wake up a little earlier, which would leave me plenty of time to have a healthy breakfast. I would totally agree, but you know, who doesn’t need some extra sleep? In short, I only get the chance to grab a quick bite during the week, which might explain why to me, weekend is synonymous to decadent breakfast.

One of my favourite breakfast items are pancakes. It could be thin Brittany crepes, slightly thicker French-Canadian crepes, thick curly pancakes cooked in fat, American pancakes, you name it. Last weekend, I decided to try something new: a dutch baby. For those who are not familiar with it, it’s sort of in between a pancake and a Yorkshire pudding. It is sometimes served in individual portions, sometimes family-style and it is usually dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied with lemon wedges.

A little history about the dutch baby… According to the article available on Wikipedia, this dish that is so famous is America isn’t dutch at all. In fact, it apparently originated from Germany, and people twisted the word “deutsch” in a way that it became “dutch”. It’s that simple!

I’m really happy with this discovery, which adds to my pancake repertoire! I sprinkled the dutch baby with powdered sugar, squeezed some lemon on it, and ate it with fresh berries. It was very good this way but I couldn’t help myself and drowned it in maple syrup… Delicious!!!

Recipe (Adapted from Alton Brown)


40 g of butter, melted
½ cup of flour
3 tbsps of powdered sugar, plus extra for serving
½ tsp of salt
½ cup of milk, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place 2 tbsps of the melted butter into a 25 cm cast iron skillet and place in the oven. Wait about 10 minutes before assembling the other ingredients: the skillet must be very hot when adding the mixture, just like when you make a Yorkshire pudding.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, milk, eggs and remaining butter into the bowl of a food processor and process for 30 seconds. Carefully pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges are puffed and brown.

Sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and serve with lemon wedges. Bon appétit!


Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Whenever there are ripe bananas at home, I use them to bake delicious muffins. When I was younger and still living at my parents’, I used to bake them so often that my sister soon got fed up and couldn’t even stand the sight of them anymore! Too bad for her, I continued to make them, using various recipes, this way they’re always somewhat different. To this day, I never grew tired of them (okay, I don’t always bake banana muffins, I also alternate with other flavours!) and you can always find some hidden somewhere in my freezer, this way they’re handy to grab and have them as a snack at the office.
This time, instead of the usual muffins, I decided to go for a banana and nuts cake for a change and, oh heaven, top it with a chocolate frosting. It was decadent! I even had it for breakfast… I got this recipe from my uncle years ago and it had been a very long time since I last used it. It was as good as I recalled! However, I switched his chocolate frosting recipe for a less sweet recipe since the cake already calls for a lot of sugar.

Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups of flour
1¼ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
⅔ cup of chopped walnuts
1⅔ cups of sugar
⅔ cup of butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1¼ cup of mashed ripe bananas (about 2-3 medium sized bananas)
⅔ cup of milk
Preheat oven at 350o. Butter and flour a bundt pan or 2 x 8’’ cake tins.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and walnuts.
In a second bowl, cream butter and sugar using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one). Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly then add the ripe bananas. Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk. Mix until combined.
Pour the batter in the tin and bake for about 30 minute on the middle rack, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Ingredients for the frosting:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate (chocolate chips would do)
1½ cup of light sour cream (you could also opt for full fat!)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. When melted, transfer the chocolate in a bowl. Add sour cream and mix using a hand mixer. Add the vanilla, then continue mixing until light and fluffly, about 2 minutes.

I suggest you make the frosting only once the cake has cooled down because you need to use it right away before it gets too stiff. (You can wait, but it just won’t do a neat job afterwards). Then, just spread the love and enjoy!


First, let me tell you how thrilled I am to launch this new blog! I had this idea in mind for a while, but somehow I never took the time to realize it... and now, ta-dah!!! Here it is! I plan to post pictures of my brilliant (and sometimes not-so-brilliant) food-related realizations. I'll also post the recipes I used and some personal comments. Hopefully you'll like it. Hopefully you'll comment. Hopefully you'll come back for more... Here's to a long and magnificent journey in foodieland! :)