Torta Della Nonna

There are many versions of this cake, as the meaning of Torta Della Nonna is grandmothers cake! Kate and I made the following for a dinner party and it turned out okay for non-italian beginners! It needed to be a touch sweeter so keep that in mind when baking 🙂

Pre baked

For the crema pasticcera

  • 1 litre milk
  • 350g caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt
  • 125g plain flour

For the cake

  • 500g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 50g raisins, blanched
  • 50ml rum
  • 500ml crema pasticcera (see above)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • vanilla sugar, to serve
    • For the crema pasticcera pour a small cup of milk from the litre and put the rest into a saucepan with half of the sugar, lemon zest and vanillia pod and heat slowly until boiling.

    • In the meantime, lightly whisk the egg yolks and the pinch of salt in a bowl to break them. Sift the flour into the bowl, whisking gently and making sure that no lumps form, then whisk in the remaining sugar, and finally the remaining small cup of milk. Whisk until smooth.

    • By this time the milk in the pan should almost have boiled. Remove the vanilla pod and lemon zest, and then pour the milk on to the egg mixture, whisking briskly whilst doing so. Return the mixture to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon all the time. As the mixture boils it will begin to get thicker and then suddenly go very thick. At this point it is ready and you need to remove the saucepan from the heat and cool the mixture as quickly as possible. A good way to do this is to place the base of the saucepan into cold or iced water and stir the mixture gently so a skin does not form as it cools.

    • Now for the cake, preheat the oven to 180C and roll out the pastry and cut out a disc with a diameter of about 25cm and transfer to a baking sheet. Mix the pine nuts, raisins and rum with the crema pasticcera. Spread the mixture over the shortcrust pastry to form a dome shape. Roll out the remaining pastry large enough to cover the dome. Press the edges together and cut it neatly. Brush with the egg and pierce a few times with a folk. Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour or until golden. Remove and let it cool. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar and serve.


Finished product



Basil Breadcrumbs

Great to add to homemade burgers, pasta’s, stuffings and more!

The process is super easy and fast. Make sure you have a blender and some ziploc’s for storage

In the blender place your bread and fresh basil. Don’t over blend the two items, you want the breadcrumbs to be able to separate easily.

I tried a new breadcrumb by making a separate batch of truffle salt and bread. Same goes for these, do not over blend.

Pretty easy?!?…i think so 😉

For storage place in the freezer or fridge, depending on when your using them.

truffle and basil breadcrumbs

Miso Marinated Flank Steak

This recipe was delicious. We marinated 2.5 lbs of flank steak & two nights later we marinated a pork shoulder using the same recipe. Both dishes were equally tasty.  Served with BBQ peppers, a fresh salad and baked sweet potato fries….Mmmmmm!!!!

The Marinade:image3

1 tablespoon Miso (white)

1 lb of skirt steak

1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons Sake

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cloves of chopped garlic

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover, refrigerate for a few hours or over night.

We decided to BBQ the steak as well as the pork.  If barbecuing ensure you remove as much of the marinade as possible before placing on the grill. You don’t want the outer surface of the meat to burn from the sugar. DO NOT WASTE THE MARINADE! Place the left over marinade in a small pot and boil it for 5-10 minutes.  The reduction sauce will serve well over the meat once plated!


Bon Appetite

Miso Marinated Flank Steak image2

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

For her birthday this year Kate did something a little different, she made her own cake, her own cupcakes to be exact!! Lemon filled Raspberry Iced CupcakesSometimes, when you know you can do it better, store bought just doesn’t cut it.


We decided to make a night out of it and invited our sisters over for some baking fun.  Kelly, Kate’s sister, served the white wine and antipasti platter while Krissy, Kate and I got busy with the baking. Alongside the lemon cupcakes we whipped up chocolate ones too, however I must say the lemon ones, hands down, were the favourite by far.


Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

For cupcakes:

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
zest and juice of three lemons
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup milk
Lemon Curd filling

For Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 stick butter, room temp
1 lb powdered sugar
4 tbsp raspberry preserve

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add lemon zest and lemon juice and sour cream.  In a bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk.  Mix until just combined.

Pour batter into lined cupcake pan.  Bake 17-20 minutes (depending on your oven).  Mine took 17 minutes.  Also accidentally wayyyy over baked the first 12 and had to throw them away.  Beware!  These might not look done on top but poke them with a toothpick after 16ish minutes to see when they’re ready!

Allow the cupcakes to cool completely, then cut holes in the top using a knife and scoop some out.  Then put some lemon curd in a ziploc bag, cut off an end and pipe some lemon curd into each cupcake.

Next make the frosting, throw all the ingredients in a bowl and let your hand/stand mixer do the work.  If it’s too stiff, add some liquid (or more raspberry preserve), if it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar.  Adjust accordingly.

Frost your cupcakes and serve them up.  They don’t have to be perfect or uniform.  They’ll be delicious either way.

Raspberry Icing! photo 2


















White on White, Black on Black – With Oreo Cupcakes Opposites Attract

With super moist cake and a thick creamy frosting, these cupcakes are fantastic for fancier functions! They definitely dress to impress, are easy to prepare and pretty to plate.

Since Kate has blogged these delicious cupcakes before, just click the link to find the recipe!



The Start of a Beautiful Thing

Post baked and topped with icing

The Biltmore Cupcake Workshop Oreo Cupcake

Sprinkled with crushed Oreo and toped with one too!

Toronto Ice Storm 2013 – We cooked enough for an army!

There’s a funny story behind this huge meal, and it wasn’t that Kate and I were famished.  We were hosting a holiday dinner party that Sunday evening, we woke up nice and early and dove straight into prep.  I made some homemade BBQ sauce, basted the ribs and popped them into the oven.  Kate started on the potato cheddar soup, caesar dressing, and some homemade egg nog. Sounds like a lot of food but in all fairness we had 12 people rsvp’d that night!

As the day went on we realized a bad ice storm had hit Toronto.  The news was chatting an awful lot about it, but we still had power so we carried on.   By noon our guests began to call one by one cancelling on the evening.  Some had no power and the roads were ‘apparently’ dangerous.  We didn’t see what they were talking about as we peered out our windowsbut little did we know the city was in mayhem.  People ended up without power for weeks to follow.  So there we were on the third floor, safe and sound, power intact, oven full and no guests to serve.  We ended up serving the egg nog to city workers clearing the ice filled streets, it was the least we could do considering the circumstances.

Needless to say we had a ton of left overs and enjoyed the fruits of our labour!

The night included: Kale Caesar Salad, 2 Racks of Ribs, Potato Cheddar Soup & Homemade Egg Nog!

Eggnog Supreme

In large punchbowl, combine:

12 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar

Beat until lemon coloured and thick.

Then slowly add:
13 oz. brandy
26 oz. rye or rum
2 cups light cream

Beat to blend well and chill one hour or overnight to allow egg to mellow. Then beat 12 egg whites until stiff. Beat 3 cups whipping cream in a large bowl. Fold in egg whites and then add to yolk mixture in punch bowl. Sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

ribsIce Storm Dinner Collage

Ice Storm Potato Cheddar Soup



Lobster Mac & Cheese

Its Sunday afternoon and we’ve decided to whip up Lobster Mac & Cheese….why not?!?!?! We spent the afternoon at Evergreen Brick Works walking the trails and working up a big appetite.  We had jars of lobster back at the ranch, which were brought straight from the east coast of New Found Land.  The combination of penne pasta, succulent lobster from the east coast, an array of cheeses and some hot chilli flakes put this dish over the top! Bake it, serve with a fresh Kale Salad and voila, comfort food for the soul. Substitution Tip: If you do not have lobster replace with any other seafood fave! (scallops, shrimp, crab etc.)

Creamy Lobster Mac & Cheese


Cooking Instructions:

In a medium sauce pan make béchamel sauce.

1. Heat butter over medium-low heat until melted. Add flour and stir until smooth.

5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2. Over medium heat, cook until the mixture turns a light, golden sandy colour, about 6 to 7 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat the milk (4 cups) in a separate pan until just about to boil.

4. Add the hot milk to the butter mixture of flour and butter (1 cup at a time, whisking continuously until very smooth).

5. Bring to a boil.

6. Cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, then remove from heat and add in desired cheeses. We grated four different cheese, some mild some strong. About 2 cups of grated cheese would be ideal. Stir until the cheese melts.

7. Season with salt and nutmeg (2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg).

8. Add lobster meat (or alternate choice of seafood) to the béchamel sauce and continue to stir.


Pasta: (pre heat oven to 375 degrees)

1. Boil a large pot of water with salt

2. Add penne pasta or macaroni style pasta to the boiling water (do not turn the water down after adding)

3. Drain when cooked to preference

4. Place pasta back into the pot – add half of the béchamel sauce and stir until all pasta is coated generously.pre bake

5. Transfer the pasta to a clear baking dish

6. Top with the remaining béchamel sauce and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese

7. Place in the oven uncovered for 35 minutes or until bubbling

8. After removing from the oven let stand for 10 minutes before serving

9. Add chill flakes if desired!