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You want easy?

By May 18, 2017 Recipes

Slippers and my grandmother’s afghan saved me this week while I recuperated from an unfriendly spring chest cold. Hacking doesn’t work for a spring jam, but the birds were tolerant enough. Great reading material works well too. I’ll tell you who kept my company this week in this space tomorrow.

Sooner or later, you’re better enough.  Your kid makes dinner and there’s a spirit about, calling for action.

Two words: ice cream…with three ingredients. Read More

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Your mom deserves this

By May 11, 2017 Recipes

A cake. Made with love.

Not many things have as much impact in the gift department.

Come Sunday, I promise smiles with this heavenly number. This is a once-in-a-year cake due to the amounts of white chocolate, but so is Mother’s Day.

The Apricot Queen

You can switch up the fruit in this cake. Use berries and matching preserves if you want. Key to this recipe is a good quality white chocolate. And time. This one is for the special people who deserve the extra flourishes.

What you need:

for cake:
• 8 ounces good white chocolate, chopped
• 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 ¼ cups whole milk

for buttercream:
• 16 ounces ( 1 lb) good white chocolate, chopped
• 1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups sifted icing sugar

for assembly:
• ½ cup water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 ½ lbs apricots, pitted and thinly sliced
• 1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
• 1/4 cup apricot jam, melted

What you do:

To make cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Butter two 9-inch parchment paper rounds and place in pans, buttered side up.
2. Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.
3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
4. Beat butter and sugar with mixer until well blended.
5. Add eggs, one a time, blending well after each, then beat in vanilla.
6. Add dry ingredients and milk in 3 additions, alternating and blending well after each.
7. Add the melted white chocolate and beat just until blended.
8. Divide batter between pans and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. A tester inserted into the middle should come out clean. Cool in pan on racks for 2o minutes then flip over and remove from pans to fully cool on racks.

To make buttercream: 

Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove and let cool for 15 minutes.Beat soft butter in mixer with melted white chocolate and vanilla. Beat in icing sugar.
Cover and refrigerate until thick enough to spread about 45 minutes.

To assemble cake:

1. Boil water and sugar in small pot over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cool syrup.
2. Cut each cake layer in half with a serrated knife. Place 1 layer on cake platter. Brush with 2 tablespoons of syrup.

3. Spread 6 tablespoons of buttercream over cake. Then cover buttercream with a single layer of sliced apricots.

4. Spread another 3 tablespoons of buttercream over apricots and top with a second cake layer. Repeat layers of syrup, buttercream, sliced apricots, more buttercream, cake.

5.  On the top, spread thinly 1 cup buttercream over top and sides for a crumb coating. Chill for an hour then spread remaining buttercream over for another coat.

6. Press chopped walnuts onto sides of cake. Cover top with remaining sliced apricots. Brush with apricot preserves. Chill cake 1 hour to set.
To serve:
Remove cake from fridge at few hours before serving to allow icing to soften before cutting.

Notes:  This cake should be made as close to the day of serving as possible. If you do make it ahead, keep it chilled while remembering to bring it to room temperature before serving. And don’t skimp on the fruit or the walnuts. They help keep the flavours balanced and smooth out the sweetness of the buttercream.


My food memoir, with love and sugar, comes out tomorrow with a special seasonal cover. This most decadent offering is included in the spring recipes inside my book, along with a bunch of other yummy cakes you might consider for Mom’s Day and any other celebration. Order your copy soon as this is very limited release for spring. Those in the Toronto area looking for a gift for Sunday, email me promptly:

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Mango Crisp

By March 27, 2017 Recipes, Urban gadfly

I love weekend brunch. It’s my favourite meal to host, but so too is sitting down to a latte bowl made by someone else at a tiny gem in your own city. Hitting the Toronto brunch scene used to be a rare thing for us. You try hauling teenagers out of bed on a weekend morning, let alone waiting for them to get dressed and ready for a family outing. Now the Friendly Greek and I play tourist in our own town and smile as we ask “table for two, please.” Read More

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Mango Mama

By March 23, 2017 Recipes, Travel

Screw you spring. So you want to take your time? That’s okay. I’ll make do with hot blooms*, and well…there’s always mangoes.

Living in a big city like Toronto means finding these fruits will not require a trip to the Caribbean.  Mango lovers can find a fantastic variety of this juicy stone fruit at most grocers, and they’re in season now. I found these beauties, the Palmer variety from Brazil, at Longos this week and cranked the music up. Grab your sarongs. Yeah baby. It’s a mango party.

Showing off in the Tropical Treats chapter in my food memoir is a very dangerous cake.  I usually make it with four small Ataulfo mangoes, but if you’re able to get your hands on one of the Palmer mangoes, one mango will do the trick.

You’ll need rum too. Sip it slowly as you make the easy peasy caramel that coats the bottom of the pan. Thanks Mom, for this tiny perfect copper pot: my new go-to for wee cooking matters like the caramel syrup in this recipe.

The amount of rum that actually goes into the cake is tiny and no, you can’t taste any alcohol, just a gooey rich mango-banana flavour that is (almost) as good as a trip to the beach. If you want the recipe, I’ll happily send it, along with my buzz sheet that goes out to subscribers. Sign up is easy on the top right of this site. Or order my book and you can have all the recipes to yourself.

Throwback Thursdays (colour therapy after all) in the long slow thaw are a little easier with a crisper full of the tropics!

For more mango (yes please!), try this smooth and very sexy gelato recipe or a zesty mango salad, 

Coming up soon…Coconut mango crisp. Mmmmmmmmmm…..

Can’t find mangoes? Hop down to the Shrangri-La Hotel where this incredible virgin cocktail is on the bar menu. Hong Kong Lemonade, a sheer shot of adrenaline sunshine,  is a blend of juices including ginger, yuzu,orange, cranberry, and lemonade.

 *blooms courtesy of Kindness Queen Stephanie Black, who popped into Anne’s kitchen with Junior Star Baker Chloe for this week’s edition of with love and sugar bakes. Who will be our guest next time? 


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March Break Staycation looks good on you

By March 10, 2017 Recipes

Clocks move forward this Sunday. These decadent doughnuts might help your groggy group of weekend guests. If they’re still grumpy with the lost hour of sleep, give them something to read (see below for some awesome weekend reading). Don’t say I don’t take care of you. Read More

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Mmm-mmm Maple

By March 5, 2017 Recipes


Subscribers to my buzz sheet will be getting this scone recipe today. I’d love you to join us. Sign up on right to join my circle and receive a monthly wrap of all posts and a special recipe just for you.

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Cookie love

By February 13, 2017 Recipes

Today marks the beginning of Random Act of Kindness Week. I hope all my readers find ways to drop wee gestures of kindness around their circles and workplaces.

Me? I’m sticking to the basics for my favourite Kindness Ambassador Stephanie Black, who asked if I could bake up some sweetness for her work in the field. These are the easiest cookie around. You’ll find all the ingredients in your pantry. Grab a rolling pin and your favourite sparkles (I’m partial to disco dust myself).

Valentine Hearts

What you need:

  • 3 sticks (¾ lb) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

What you do:

  1. Cream softened butter and sugar in mixer just until blended. Add in vanilla.
  2. Sift together flour and salt. Add to butter mix and blend gently until it begins to come together.
  3. Gather into two discs, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for 3o minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. Roll out dough to about ½ inch thick.  Cut out heart shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets.
  6. Set trays in fridge for ten minutes.
  7. Bake each tray for approximately 15 minutes until edges begin to brown.
  8. Let cool and then decorate with royal icing. Or leave them plain and sprinkle some sugar only.

These cookies keep well if wrapped tightly in plastic. You can also have fun adding flavours like chocolate chips or ginger.

Get baking. Full hearts abound. If you need more prompts, you know where you can find them. My book, with love and sugar, is full of baking ideas. Order it here in the link above.

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Greens & bon mots

By February 3, 2017 Headlines, Recipes

So you can’t change the world. You can whip up a colourful winter menu and that, my friends, is where the love is. Right in your kitchens, in your alcoves, your hubs wherever you find them. Remember the threads that connect you (I’m still waiting for your stories!

And eat your greens. Some oranges on the side. It’s a good start.

Read More

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Shove a pie in his face*

By October 20, 2016 Recipes

Who is this Donald freak who speaks like the kids who once wandered into my kitchen and told me of some teacher they detested, or test coming up,

It’s really big league!

I’d suggest a drinking game for every time he said it, but drinking games won’t drown him out, however great the exertion. In times like these, those of us who live elsewhere without a vote—those of us cringing in horror— I suggest making up some pastry dough. Roll over that ugly mug. Imagination is free.

Here’s a simple and very big league pie, a recipe from my food memoir, with love and sugar (two words clearly unknown to The Donald).

*Kidding: This is too tasty a pie for wasting on acrimony.  A pie is peace on a plate.


Big League Apple Pie

What you need:

For pastry:

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 1½ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes

  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water

for apple filling:

  • 8 cups tart apples, peeled, cored, cut into chunks

  • 3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

For pastry glaze:

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

What you do

To make pastry:
1.Put diced butter in freezer for 15 minutes.

2. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times to blend. Add frozen butter and pulse a few times

3. Sprinkle ice water over flour mixture and pulse a few times until dough begins to come together: pinch between your fingers to see if it holds. Don’t add too much water or your dough will be tough.

4. Dump dough out onto floured surface and gently bring it together into a disc. Divide into 2 and dust each lightly with flour before wrapping in plastic. Keep chilled for up to 2 days, or at least an hour before rolling. Let it sit out about 10 minutes before rolling if it has chilled overnight.
To make pie filling:
1. While crust is ready to be rolled, cut up apples into medium size chunks. Don’t slice too thinly or you will end up with applesauce. Toss apples with lemon juice in large bowl.
2. Sprinkle with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Fold mixture together with spatula.

To assemble:


1.Preheat oven to 425 F. Remove one ball of dough from fridge and roll out with floured rolling pin onto clean surface. I like to use my silicone pastry mat for this. When it is a large enough circle to fit around 9-inch pie plate, gently fold it in half and place in the pie plate, gently opening it up to fit other half in place. Don’t stretch the dough but carefully press into place.

2. Dump in the apple mixture-it should make a nice mound in the centre. Remove other ball of dough and roll out as the first, making it a slightly larger circle. Carefully lift over apples and pinch together the sides with your fingers to lock in the juice sure to bubble over in one big excited mess. You can try different sealing methods for scalloped edges if you’re into fancy trimming. I just pinch it together.

3. Whisk together egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water and brush sides and top of pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle generously with sugar. Cut vents in the centre of top of pastry for steam to escape.

4. Bake for 15 minutes in bottom third of oven. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 40 minutes until filling is bubbling up and pastry is golden. If you’re worried about crust burning, use a pie crust guard or wrap foil around edges.

Always let a fruit pie cool on a baking rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. This requires hiding it from pie thieves.

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Hump Day Chili bowl (GO JAYS GO)

By October 5, 2016 Recipes

There was a time in a writer’s life that called for some distraction. That’s all she wrote. Read More

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