{Quick Cookbook Review}: Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light Berry Slice

June 25th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Cookbooks, Custards, Recipes, Reviews, Tarts

 
donna hay berry slice side
Donna Hay's Berry Slice with lemon verbena

Happy Summer! Here's a quick review of one of my latest cookbooks and a summer-ready recipe to get your weekend started:

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My Favorite Baking Books for 2013

December 20th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Cookbooks, Reviews

cookbooks

Hi readers,

It’s been a tough month. I have to admit it, this hasn’t been my best holiday season. Our first trip with baby Isabelle was a 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. And while I’m not going to complain about two weeks in glamorous Hong Kong or sunny Singapore, coming home was like falling headfirst into a hurricane: house to clean and decorate for the holidays. Jetlagged baby who temporarily forgot how to put herself to sleep. Presents to wrap and cards to write. Overflowing inbox at work. Christmas travel looming just weeks away (why are Thanksgiving and Christmas so close together??). Oh yes, and did I mention my book manuscript was due the week before Christmas?

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How to Bake with Craft Chocolate (Plus Bar & Bean Giveaway!)

October 29th, 2013 · 57 Comments · Chocolate, Chocolate, Cookbooks, Giveaways, Recipes, Reviews, Sweet Spots

intensely bittersweet chocolate souffle

Happy (day after) National Chocolate Day! I've been getting plenty of intriguing new chocolate to keep me occupied - perhaps it's a good thing I have a baby to prevent me from eating it all at once!

I was recently contacted by Bar & Bean, a new online shop for small-batch craft chocolate from around the world. Bar & Bean is dedicated to educating people about the qualities and nuances of craft chocolate, and they helpfully include tasting notes for the bars on their site, as well as detailed information about the chocolate makers.

I got the chance to meet Jasdeep, the creator of Bar & Bean, who is passionate about introducing people to the world of craft chocolate. He's brought an impressive roster of chocolate makers onto Bar & Bean, many of whom I haven't heard of or had the opportunity to try yet. Jas recognized that many people are either unaware of all the craft chocolate out there, or intimidated by the plethora of choices. By organizing his site with cocoa percentage and flavor profile searches, and adding tasting notes, he's hoping to demystify the process. Jas has also developed some detailed personal notes on how to taste chocolate, which he shares in his tasting classes in San Francisco; check the Bar & Bean website for details.

As a introduction to Bar & Bean, I received a baker's set consisting of five bars from Poco Dolce, Ritual, Escazu, and Dick Taylor. An early Halloween haul, indeed!

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Banana Cake with Passionfruit Caramel and Coconut Meringue

September 20th, 2013 · 8 Comments · Cakes, Cookbooks, Recipes

Banana Cake with Passionfruit Caramel

I'm all about soft, mushy foods these days; funny how a baby starting to eat solids will change your grocery shopping habits. Isabelle is a little foodie-in-the-making: although at eight months she's still got no teeth (I'm sure the moment I write this there will be one popping out) it hasn't stopped her from taking to solids with gusto. There hasn't been anything she's turned down so far - we're steadily making our way through pears and papayas, to apples and avocados.

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An Easter Egg Cake for Easter

March 30th, 2013 · 11 Comments · Cakes, Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews

Chocolate Easter Egg Cake

Ok, this post is going up a little later than I wanted but at least I made it before Easter – why is it when you *have* to get a post up on time that things invariably go wonky? I wanted to share this cake that I picked out from Martha Stewart Living’s special Cakes and Cupcakes edition, as it’s so apropos for the holiday.

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{Cookbook Review} Souvenirs and the Making of Memories

March 18th, 2013 · 9 Comments · Cookbooks, Recipes, Reviews, Tarts

Pineapple Carpaccio with Lemon Sorbet on dessertfirstgirl.com
Pineapple carpaccio with lemon sorbet, cilantro granité, pineapple chips, and crystallized cilantro from Souvenirs.

Isabelle is two months old! I can’t believe how much she has changed in eight short weeks. It’s like the saying, “The days are long, but the years are short.” I’ve always been a nostalgic person. Even though I know there are years and years of joy ahead in discovering my daughter, I’m already feeling the passage of days. She can do so many things now she didn’t do before: the little coos she makes when she’s curious. Her smiles at me (she’s smiling!). The mini push-ups she does when she’s on her tummy and trying to lift her head. The way she looks around for me and focuses right on my face – who would have thought that being recognized would evoke such a palpable sense of joy?

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