Archive | December, 2012

Montreal, Day 2

31 Dec


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


We had a nice brunch at Le Gros Jambon.


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.


Montreal, Day 1

30 Dec


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


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)


  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


  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. 1 tbsp water


  • 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 🙂


  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 


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


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


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.


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

%d bloggers like this: