Tag Archives: baking

I remember red…

When I was younger no trip to, or through, London England was complete without a trip to Fortnum & Mason. There wasn’t a lot there we could afford I would imagine BUT they still, in the 1980s at least, sold red food colouring made from cochineal. And my mom loved it and prized it above all others. I wonder if they still make it?

from the fortnum & mason website

This all came back after I stumbled across this article from the BBC: The insect that painted Europe red. Yep, a cochineal is a bug and an acid in the female is used to make a dye. Originally it was used to colour fabrics, and then paints, and eventually a “natural” food colouring. Natural yes; but still a bug!

5 days of being deliberate

I mentioned earlier that I wanted to try and be more deliberate, or at least not so rudderless.

  • I’ll stop and think before I eat or drink anything.
  • I’ll focus on work at work and on home at home

I’ve been good with the big picture stuff this week: I may not always have eaten ‘well’ but when I did it was a conscious decision and not just mindless eating. And I’ve been far more productive at work this week, although it is a bit stressful right now.

  • Buy new LED lightbulbs and replace all the old outdoor light bulbs with the new LED ones; ✅
  • Send a note to someone;
  • One load of laundry – this is a never-ending chore but sometimes it gets away from me so I’m keeping it on the list for now; ✅
  • Practice piano every day;
  • Wednesday or Thursday I want to do some baking for work as a treat for a co-worker who is going on leave; ✅
  • Wednesday – take Q swimming! ✅

pool hair

  • Thursday – after-work drinks with co-workers. I am almost never able to go thanks to a busy family schedule so I am not bailing out on the one that I can get to!
  • Also a bigger goal is to declutter so – post at least 2 items for sale on facebook or kijiji (or both). Does anyone ever do well selling stuff on ebay anymore?

Mortgage renewals and leaving the baking for my co-worker to the last minute meant I couldn’t go out for after-work drinks on Thursday, so that’s a bit sad.

Kugelhopf (will be another post about this soon)

And while I did get the new LED light bulbs, I haven’t yet replaced them all. I got rid of a giant bin of duplo and some knickknacks I’ve had since highschool – think about that for a second. I’ve had those things for roughly 25 years years. Why am I holding on to things for 25 years!?!

And yea, practising just hasn’t seemed to happen this week. I really gotta get on that!

What’s gonna happen on the weekend?

I think I can stop writing out the big picture goals until either (a) they change or (b) I’ve started to ignore them.

More practical / everyday things:

  • send a note to someone
  • replace the light bulbs & figure out how to properly dispose of the old ones
  • clean 2 random things
  • pick Robin up from the airport
  • spend time with family on Sunday 🙂 this is a little out of the ordinary as we all get together at my grandmother’s house for mother’s day. It’s not a holiday our little family of three make a big deal out of but my mom loves it and her family like the tradition of getting together.

tulips at Osgoode Hall in Toronto




Easter baking – chocolate mousse

My parents host a big Easter lunch every year. It used to involve a big chocolate/candy hunt when they lived in a house with a large backyard and an even larger front yard. Now they’re in a condo it’s lunch with family and close friends. There’s usually quite a feast and Toby and I contribute a bit towards the desserts. This year I made chocolate mousse, so here’s a post about that.

This will be mousse. Oh, plus some rum.

This will be mousse. Oh, plus some rum.

I use a recipe from Cooks Illustrated. It’s a bit of a pain in the a$$ – I’m not sure if it really matters that you add each tablespoon of butter in one at a time or heat the egg whites for a minute or two before whipping them – but it seems to work out exactly the same each time.

First you melt the chocolate – I made a double batch (my co-workers will be happy) so 12 ounces or so of chocolate in a pot over a pot with simmering water.

melting chocolate

melting chocolate

Next I added in a stick of butter, a bit at a time. Then the pinches of salt, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and 4 teaspoons of rum. I think next time I’ll swap out the rum and instead use strong coffee, which is the other option for making this. After all of that, eight egg yolks are whisked in, again, one at a time.

glossy with butter

glossy with butter

I heated the egg whites for a bit and then whipped them up. Apparently also around here I stopped taking step-by-step pictures! After the egg whites were whipped, they were incorporated into the chocolate mixture a 1/3 to a 1/4 at a time.

heating egg whites

heating egg whites

Finally, I whipped two cups of cream with four tablespoons of sugar to soft peaks. Then that got folded all in with the chocolate and divided between two lovely glass bowls:



Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight. The recipe recommends at least 2 hours for the flavours to develop but no more than 24 or so before you eat it. We’ve pushed it to 2 days before but I really wouldn’t recommend any longer than that.

Feeling old – music through time….

Okay bear with me, this is worth it.

I’m making lemon scented blueberry cupcakes for a co-worker’s going-away lunch tomorrow. That was his request which is kinda sweet if you think about it.

This will be cupcakes...

This will be cupcakes…


naked cupcakes


with cream cheese icing and fresh blueberries

So, I’m in the kitchen listening to Q107 – I love classic rock. Ballroom Blitz comes on (right before that was Bohemian Rhapsody!) . Anyway, I’m singing away. I look over at Toby who’s come down to get a snack, and I say “maybe I should listen to something written in the last 20 years.”

Toby: When do you think this song is from?

Me: (speechless. Then cursing.)

Toby: Please, look it up…

Me: Okay, I’ll say mid-80s?

Toby: Look it up.

Me: *(&%& 1973 Ballroom Blitz is AS OLD AS I AM

Toby has this look on his face. I don’t like where this is probably going to go.

Toby: I was thinking of Q listening to the music you listen to and that you like and sing to him. So when you were five, if you were listening to someone about your age now, singing songs that came out the year they were born…. can you look up what the big songs were in 1936?

Me: WHAT?!?

For the record: Bing Crosby – Pennies from Heaven

The way you look tonight – the Fred Astaire version

But by far my favourite: Sweet Home Chicago. Toby tells me there’s a great story about Robert Johnson. You can read all about the legend of the man here – apparently he sold his soul to the devil to be able to play.

but the long and the short of it is – Toby should be nicer to me 😉