Archive | December, 2012

Montreal, Day 2

31 Dec

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The weather was much tolerable today and we were able to walk around old Montreal.

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We had a nice brunch at Le Gros Jambon.

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The guys went to do some last minute clothes shopping for the party and the girl hit the spa for mani-pedi. My nail technician was a nice Armenian lady. We both speak Russian and had a nice chat about life. She finished off my manicure with a top coat containing18K real gold speckles.  She didn’t charge extra for it and told me it’s for good luck.

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Montreal, Day 1

30 Dec

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It took us over 9 hours to get to Montreal. There is so much snow everywhere.
We only had enough time to check into our hotel, quickly change and go to a friend’s house party. We joked that it was a pre-pre-party as all of us danced Salsa, Bachata, Zouk & Kizomba non-stop until 4am.
We had high hopes of exploring Montreal but it’s -19C and  none of us is dressed for the weather. We were brave enough to venture outside to grab a meal and spent our afternoon in the hot tub back at the hotel.

En Route to Montreal!

29 Dec

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Road trip with friends to SalsaGlam, the ultimate New Year’s celebration! It’s snowing non-stop, hope we won’t be sitting in traffic.

Everybody Loves Challah

28 Dec

Homemade Challah Bread

I have a lot of Jewish friends.  One of the best things about Friday night dinner at their houses is the opportunity to enjoy the freshly baked special bread, Challah.  I was invited for a potluck dinner and decided to make this delicious bread.

It would have been easier to visit a neighbourhood bakery but I own a breadmaker which helps me to have the old-fashioned goodness of homemade breads with half the effort.

Challah is wonderful in sandwiches with roast beef or corned beef and you make make a scrumptious French Toast the following day if you have any leftovers.

Homemade Challah Bread (Breadmakers Recipe)

Ingredients:

  1. ¾ cup water
  2. 1 egg, beaten
  3. 3 tbsp canola oil
  4. 3 tbsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 2 ½ cup white flour
  7. 1 ¼ tsp yeast

Glaze:

  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. 1 tbsp water

Directions:

  • Measure first 7 ingredients in the order listed into a baking pan in your breadmaker.
  • When cycle is complete, remove dough from the machine to a lightly floured surface. 
  • Divide dough into 3 equal portions and roll by hand into long smooth strips.
  • Braid the 3 dough strips and place it on lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Cover and let rise for 30 minutes or until double in volume.
  • Beat egg yolk with 1 tbsp of water and brush over challah.
  • Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.

 

Russian Cake “Fairy Tale”

26 Dec

The cake is really fabulous.The thing about this cake that you can experiment by adding new dried or candied fruit or a different type of nuts.   I am not much of a baker but  this cake is extremely easy to make and it’s always delicious.

I’ve seen similar cakes in the internet with the name “Lady’s Caprice” , “Three Meetings”, “Cleopatra.”  Whatever the name, the cake is soooo tasty.   A real fairy tale 🙂

Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup flour x 3 
  2. 1/2 cup sugar x 3 
  3. 1 tsp baking powder x 3 
  4. 1 egg – x 3
  5. 1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yoghurt x 3 
  6. 3-4 drops of brandy x 3 

Fillers:

  • 1/2 cup  poppy seeds 
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Filling:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup condensed milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F.  Grease 8.5 inch round springform pan.  Bake each layer for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.

  • 1st layer – mix all the ingredients and stir in poppy seeds.
  • 2nd layer – mix all the ingredients and stir in raisins.
  • 3rd layer – mix all the ingredients and stir in walnuts.

Beat softened butter with condensed milk, set aside.

Place the walnut layer on a cake plate.  Evenly spread 1/3 of the filling over.  Top with the poppy seed layer and repeat.  Finally, top with the raisin layer and cover the top and the sides with the remaining filling.

 I “decorated” the top with a mixture of crushed walnuts and cocoa powder.  Keep it in the fridge overnight.

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Merry Christmas From Dina!

24 Dec

Slices Of Quince

22 Dec

Raw quince

I saw some ripe golden quinces at my local Asian store.  Their fragrant aroma persuaded me to buy them 🙂

The raw quince is not enjoyable to eat.  The fruit is hard, sharp-tasting and somewhat bitter; it has to be cooked.  Try baking it, I promise  you won’t be disappointed!  Baked quince has a velvety texture that tastes like a cross between an apple and a pear.  Oh, and the smell… just like a bowl of ripe tropical fruit.

Baked Quince with Cinnamon

  • 1 cup water
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 quinces
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ cup raw organic sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. Add the water, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon sticks into a large baking dish
  3. Peeled the quinces, cut them into quarters, and remove the core.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour, until fork-tender.

We had these baked quinces with my Flat Belly Diet pancakes (click here for a recipe) and Greek yoghurt.  Don’t let the syrup that is left in the baking pan go to waste 🙂

You can also serve them on their own, hot or cold; whipped cream is optional.

The Owl and the Pussy Cat dined ” which they ate with a runcible spoon.”  You won’t need a runcible spoon this time 🙂

Pancakes with Baked Quince

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