Cheesecake Squares

These can be made with your favourite jam….strawberry, blackberry, apricot….I prefer to use homemade jams but you can use whatever you wish.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • pinch of ground cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients until crumbly. Reserve 3/4 cup for topping. Press balance into a 13 x 9 inch cake pan sprayed with Pam. Bake at 350 degrees for about 14-15 minutes until edges are golden.


  • 2 x 8 oz. Packages softened cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp. Almond extract
  • 1 cup your favourite jam
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds

Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and extract until smooth. Spread evenly over the hot crust. Bake for 15 minutes longer. Stir jam until smooth and spread over the filling. Stir the sliced almonds into the reserved topping and sprinkle over the jam. Bake another 15 minutes.

Cool on a rack and then chill for 3-4 hours before serving. Add a touch of whipped cream if you wish to go over the top.

What a wonderful way to finish off a dinner.


Tuscany Biscotti

When we were at Hester Creek last week for the last of my birthday present(s), Chef Roger Gillespie made these to go with the dessert. Really a nice touch and the flavour is awesome as well. Thank you Chef Roger.


  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 tsp. orange zest
  • 2 1/4 cups flour (sifted)
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch pf salt
  • ½ cup toasted almond pieces

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs, vanilla, almond extract and zest. Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture until just blend. Mix in the almonds.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Form into long flat loaves about ½ inch high and 12 inches long. Place the loaves 2 inches apart on the prepared cooking sheet.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes.

With a serrated knife. Cut diagonally into slices about ½ inch thick. Lay the slices on their side and bake for a further 10-15 minutes. Turning over just once.

These could be sprinkled with icing sugar or dipped into some luscious melted chocolate and left to set before storing. HAHAHA….as if they will last that long. Enjoy!

Transfer to a rack to cool.

Fresh Nectarine Squares

  • The weather is a-changin’ and it’s time to think of good weather, lots of sunshine and lunch/dinner on the patio. This is a great make-ahead dessert that can be taken from the kitchen to the table on the deck, (or picnic in the park) sliced up and served. Yippee! Let’s do it.


  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. grated lime rind
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter with the lime rind until creamy. Stir in the sugar, and ground almonds until blended. Gradually add the flour. If getting too hard for the mixer, use your fingers to continue mixing when the dough becomes stiff.

Grease the sides of your 13 x 9 inch baking dish and press the mixture into the pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.


  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp. lime zest
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 4-5 cups evenly sliced nectarines

In a small bowl mix the butter and 1/4 cup each of the sugar and flour. Mix in the almonds and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and remaining sugar for about 5 minutes, until thickened and pale yellow. Stir in the lime zest. Combine the remaining ingredients and add to the egg mixture.

Arrange the nectarines evenly over the base, spread the egg mixture over the nectarines. Sprinkle the sliced almond mixture evenly over the top and bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is puffed and golden and the nectarines are tender when tested with a fork.

Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and cool on a rack (in the pan). Cut into squares and watch the smiles appear.

Did I tell you this was yummy? Yup, it is.

Chicken Pizza

Time to forget about the Christmas fare and New Years over-indulgence….take a night off and enjoy a wonderful pizza.


  • 1 x 12 inch Italian bread shell (Boboli)
  • 1 cup salsa (homemade is best)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cups chopped chicken
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries OR golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded Monteray Jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp. snipped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread shell on a baking sheet. In a small bowl combine the salsa, cinnamon and cumin. Spread this evenly over the bread shell.

Top with the chicken, cranberries (raisins) and almonds. Bake for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for another 6-7 minutes until the pizza is heated through and the cheese has melted. Sprinkle the cilantro over the pizza. This makes 6 servings.

This is easy, very tasty and a nice break from the heavy, fatty foods of the past 6-7 weeks of entertaining, being entertained or just eating all the goodies  you see.

It is yummy.

Waffles With Coconut Creme Anglaise

After being in Antwerp last month and devouring their waffles (ummmmm the best), here is a tasty one to put out on Sunday, or Monday, Wednesday….can you see where I am going with this? Any day is a good day.


Creme Anglaise

  • 1 x 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks

In a pot stir together the milk, cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Whisk together the eggs and remaining sugar in a bowl until it becomes thick and pale in colour. Now, while whisking constantly, SLOWLY pour the hot milk mixture into the whipped egg mixture until well incorporated.

Pour this all back into the pot and cook gently over a low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon.  Immediately take the pot off the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.

Allow to cool in the refrigerator, stirring once in awhile. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


Marinated Oranges

1/2 cup ribbons of fresh coconut or dried coconut ribbons

4 oranges, peeled and cut into segments

1 tbsp. Cointreau

Place the coconut on a parchment lined cookie sheet and baking, stirring only once until golden, 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool on the baking sheet.

Place orange segments in a bowl and stir in the Cointreau. Let marinate at room temperature while you now make your waffles.


Almond Waffles

  • 1 cup natural almonds, sliced
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup crisco oil
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place almonds on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and, stirring occasionally, bake until they turn a golden colour. Let them cool down before placing in your blender,( saving 1/2 cup before grinding  and set aside) and pulse of a fine powder. Do not over process.

Preheat waffle iron as you normally would.

In a large bowl whisk together the almond powder, remaining 1/2 cup of the toasted sliced almonds, flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. In another bowl whisk together the oil, egg yolks, buttermilk and vanilla. Add to the wet ingredients and stir together until just blended. Do not over-mix.

Beat egg whites in an electric mixer until soft peak form, about 2-3 minutes. Gently fold into the batter.

Cook waffles according to instructions of your machine.

To assemble, divide waffles among serving plates, top with the marinated oranges and sprinkle on the coconut ribbons. Serve the creme Anglais along side for your guests to help themselves.

Response: WOW and Yummy!



Ice Cream Sprinkles For The Kids

All kids love sprinkles on their ice cream. Here is a homemade one you will even enjoy. No preservatives and you know what is in it.


  • 1/3 almonds, with skins, finely chopped
  • 1 cup sweeted flaked coconut
  • 3 1/2 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) OR
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a bowl.

Toast the coconut on a baking sheet, stirring until it becomes golden (8-10 minutes) and remove from the oven.

Sprinkle the almonds, chocolate and a generous pinch of salt over the coconut and let alone for about 5 minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Now toss to coat everything. With a rubber spatula, transfer this out on a parchment lined tray and let cool for about 1 – 2 hours.

Loosen with a spatula and sprinkle this over the cones or bowl of ice cream. YUMMY


Pears with Everything Dessert

Pears are a very understated fruit and this one brings it to the forefront, for elegance, taste and presentation.


  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 firm, ripe red skinned pears, halved and cored
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 4 oz. white melting chocolate discs
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

Mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl. Place pear halves, cut side up in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Drizzle with the melted butter and now top with the sugar mixture.

Bake in a preheated oven of 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the pears are tender, all the while spooning the sugar mixture over the pears halfway through the baking. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

Bring the cream barely to the boil, add the chopped white chocolate and whisk until it has melted completely and is a smooth texture.

Place one pear half on each pretty serving plate, stir the sugar mixture in the baking dish and spoon over the pears. Sprinkle with the almonds and cranberries and while the chocolate is still very warm, drizzle over the pears and serve immediately.

After all the ooohs and aahhs, say calmly to yourself…damn I did this.

Suzanne’s Apple Tart

While visiting Suzanne and Victor in September, she made this dessert. It was a wow and I made it myself just a few weeks ago. Try it, it is easy and ever so yummy.


For the Crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter,

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer and beat this like I would my shortbread recipe. When it is “fluffy”, pat the dough on the bottom and up the sides about 1 inch in a 9 inch springform pan. (mine was 10″ and I added one-half of the measurements more and it worked out just fine. Cover and place in the refrigerator until you make the filling.

For the filling:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (1  1/2 blocks of cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

These are the actual measurements I used…In your mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, add the egg and vanilla and beat again until completely smooth. Remove the crust from the refrigerator and smooth this filling over the top of the crust. Now cover again and return to the refrigerator. You are almost done.

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4 inch size pieces.

Again, these are the actual measurements I used….

Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a medium size bowl and toss the apple slices to coat. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and pour the apples into the pan. Sort of level it out but keeping a rustic look to this tart and sprinkle the almonds over the top. Then place in a preheated oven of 450 degrees for about 25 minutes. Cover the edges of the crust and bake at least another 20 minutes, but be really careful not to burn the crust. I would lower the temperature to 400 degrees to continue the baking.

When cooled down (room temperature) sprinkle with icing sugar. If you really want to put on the dog, have a bowl of whipped cream on the table and a big spoon. Get the picture? Don’t say I told you….




Summer Coleslaw

I LOVE crisp, cold coleslaw but seeing as I don’t eat onions (unless totally dead ones), I am unable to eat ones served at most restaurants. I think Joey’s Only and the  White Spot are about the only two I can think of, but I digress.

 This is my favourite coleslaw recipe.

Serves 4

  •  1 green cabbage, thinly sliced, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (drained, save juice)
  • 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (Hellman’s)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Mix together all the ingredients except the mayo and sour cream. Mix the mayo and sour cream together until smooth. Mix a little pineapple juice in (to taste) and pour enough dressing over the salad to coat .  Add the dressing JUST before serving so it doesn’t let the coleslaw fall and become soggy.

 Serve this with just about anything,,,,hamburgers, ribs, pulled pork…let your imagination do the work.

Peaches and Cream French Toast

Sounds like I am on a kick with breakfasts, but it is the most important meal of the day and, after operating a Bed and Breakfast for 12 years, we have so many variations.  This allows you to do different versions and not depend just on the same old one you have always made.

We live in perfect area for fresh peaches (and every other fruit), it is a joy to use.


  • 1/3 cup peach preserves
  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. peach preserves
  • 3 tbsp. cream
  • 6 slices of french bread, 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 2 large peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • toasted almonds
  • pure maple syrup

For the peach butter, beat the peach preserves and butter together with a mixer until fluffy.  Cover and chill.

Whisk together the eggs and peach preserves in a small bowl until blended and  beat in the cream.  Place the bread slices in a single layer in a 13 x 9  inch baking dish.  Pour the mixture over the bread until all is covered. Cover and refrigerate overnight.  The liquid should be absorbed.

Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a frypan and add 3 bread slices and cook until lightly browned, turning once.  Remove from the pan and keep warm.  Repeat with the remaining butter and bread.

Serve with icing sugar and top with the sliced peaches, almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.

To make it really attractive, using a melon baller, scoop out the peach butter and serve along side the toast.


Plum Coffee Cake

This is a great coffee cake that is an alternative to banana bread….


  • 8 large purple plums
  • 1 cup butter (not margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond flavouring
  • 1  3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. each baking powder and grated lime zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1  1/2 cups whipping cream

A couple of hours before serving, slice the plums and set aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

In electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.  Reduce to low speed and add the flour, baking powder, lime zest, salt and eggs and beat until blended.  Scrape bowl occasionally.  Increase the speed back to medium and beat until smooth.

Spread the batter in the baking dish and top with the sliced plums. (make it look pretty).  Top with the topping below.



  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup quick Quaker oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Mix together until it resembles coarse crumbs and sprinkle evenly over the plums. Bake about 55 – 60 minutes until cake tests done.

Serve warm with almond flavoured whipped cream.

Lime Dacquoise

  • Candied lime rind (recipe follows)
  • 2 1/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 9 egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp clear vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • grated lime rind

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Draw eight inch circle on each one. Turn the paper over and put aside.

Spread almonds in oven on a flat pan and bake about seven minutes until a light golden colour. Let cool . Lower oven temperature to 275 degrees.

In a processor, grind the almonds, one half of the sugar and cornstarch until it becomes a powdery consistency.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and add the remaining sugar a tbsp at a time, beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle in one half of the ground almonds and fold in the egg whites. Now fold in the remaining almond mixture.

Divide this mixture between the two pans and spread evenly to fill. Bake in top and bottom third of the oven set to 275 degrees for about sixty five to seventy minutes. Rotate the baking pans in the oven halfway through.

While this is hot, take the cake pan (used to draw circles) and set over the meringue,  Cut around with a serrated knife so that both circles are the same size. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

To make the lime cream, whip the sugar, lime juice and cream, and stir in the grated lime rind.  Set aside two cups of this mixture for the icing segment.

Centre 1 meringue layer on a serving plate.  Make sure to put strips of waxed paper underneath the meringue to prevent sloppy spills on the plate. Spread with one third of the lime cream. Place the second meringue on top and repeat with the remaining cream and meringues. Spread the reserved cream on the sides first, then the top of the cake.  Press remaining almonds on the cake side. Refrigerate up to eight hours making sure to remove the wax paper strips.

To poach the rind, take a paring knife and cut strips of rind top to bottom and then be sure to slice into straight edges.  Take 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Add the rind and again, bring to the boil.  Cook for a few moments until it gets thick.  Remove the rind, drain off the liquid and toss in a plate covered with berry sugar, roll around and set on a rack to dry.

Set these out in a pretty fashion on top of your cake when ready to serve.