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My first year! A review

Wow! I can’t believe that I have been blogging for a little over a year now!  I decided to start blogging because I wanted to share with people.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading, and I promise to post more in my second year, now that I have gotten the hang of it 🙂

I just want to do an overview of the past year, thematically.  So here is the round-up of Food, Travel and Fun!




Did I miss anything? Can’t believe I did all this!


Cake Decorating Class: Week 3

This week we were asked to bring 6 cupcakes.  Umm, not enough to share with my office 🙂  I brought 12 normal and 12 mini.  I also used a Gluten-Free Betty Crocker mix for the first time so that all of my colleagues can partake in this adventure.

This class started wrong right from the start.  I was not paying attention and drove past the turn, making us late.  This meant we had to sit separated from the class at the back.  Then, the practice sheet we needed, I seemed to be missing, so I shared with Jill.  I could not seem to get my flowers to come out right (there are no pictures) or my shells. My leaves were not bad, but I had learned them at Le Dolci.  Also my icing seemed to not be the right consistency either.  A very frustrating night overall for me.

Again, we did not get around to actually decorating until 20 minutes left in the class.  The teacher seems to be overwhelmed by the number of students in the class and we skip over items in the lesson book. Like how to make the toppings for the cupcakes. Maybe next week, we are told…

Here are my finished cupcakes.  We used the filling tip, so mine have Nutella in them.  We were practicing the swirl as a base for decorations, but did not really get to the learning what to put on top.  I did leaves (we practiced these during class) and then used the rest of the blue icing to do randomness.

As an aside, I found the gluten-free mix to work well, not very different in consistency and they baked up nicely.  The taste is a little grainy, but good!

Daring Baker Challenge: Florentines and a Failed Panna Cotta

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This was my first Daring Baker Challenge and it was for two things I am not sure I had ever eaten let alone baked before.  The theme for me this past year keeps coming back to Tuscany and this challenge was no exception: florentine cookies and panna cotta.

I made my florentines on Family Day and got both my mom and WineGuyTO involved in helping.  After talking to Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write, I found out that the recipe that had been provided to us was not that authentic.  The Internet hunt was on!  I decided on a Food Network.Com recipe.  It seemed simple and we had all the ingredients, so away we went.

First we had to blanch the almonds.  Though time consuming it was a must, since we only had raw almonds.

Mixing wet with dry


Scooped out ready for the oven

I liked how the recipe was set up for setting time, though I would have extended it past the 30 minutes recommended.  The dough was much easier to work with an hour later, than at the 30 minute mark.

Singles before the chocolate spread.

I made them into sandwiches the next day when they were completely cool.  I will admit to cheating by using a chocolate Nutella-like spread.  The consistency gave them a little more structure.

Here is the finished product:

They didn’t last long at work 🙂

The second part of the challenge was panna cotta.  I thought that Food & Drink from the LCBO had had a lavender flavoured version at one time, but it was lemongrass.  By the time I found the recipe, I had already procured the dried lavender, so recipe hunting I went again.  I chose this one from The Kitchn.  Unfortunately I did something wrong, because they smelt great but didn’t quite set 😦 I will try again, maybe in the summer.

France, Kir and the crêpe

I think that I somewhat started blogging (in a very non-digital way) when I lived in France.  I was 16 and on exchange to beautiful Brittany.  In order to get my French and Spanish credits, my teachers asked me to keep a daily journal of my life in France.  This practice continues now every time I take a trip.

So as an ode to my living in France, here is a post.

I spent 3 months in Brest, Brittany and they were amazing!  My host family were great about taking me out, exploring litKir Royaletle towns and above all getting me to drink wine nightly 🙂  Now at 16 this was huge! I mean I was lucky to get a sip when my parents were being generous in front of guests, but to drink every evening and discuss it was great.  We drank mostly reds, and unfortunately I don’t remember what kinds, but most were local to Brittany and Normandy.  I also discovered my favourite drink of all: Kir Royale. *swoon*  This became the apéritif of choice when out and still is.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered Batifole, a Brittany/French restaurant here in Toronto that made them! But more on this great restaurant in a different post.


Food and France are synonymous.   I indulged in cheeses I had never tasted, I ate seafood (even though I hated it previously) and daily, I ate crêpes.  With Nutella.  Daily.  Sometimes twice.  Hopefully you get that I love them 🙂yum!

What I love about crêpes is that you could buy them like bread, prepackaged in the supermarket in a multitude of varieties.  We usually had a basic variety.  My breakfast became a crêpe (or two!) prefolded in half, smeared with Nutella (and/or jam) and then rolled up.  After school, we would do the same, but heat them in the microwave to make them gooey.

Just as good was a trip to a crêperie.  I have yet to find a good crêperie here in Canada (*note there is one on Queen West that is Breton that I have yet to try).  But I must explain why.  In Brittany, a crepe is folded into a square with the ingredients inside.  In  Canada, they roll them up; not as good!  I was allowed two that evening, so I started with ham and swiss cheese and then bananas and chocolate for dessert.  H.E.A.V.E.N.

I haven’t been back to France since, but will soon!

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