midnight macarons

dark chocolate macarons with a vanilla vodka buttercream filling

I have something extra special for you.

They’re my midnight macarons. Dark chocolate macaron shells, filled with a creamy vanilla vodka buttercream. As an extra special touch, I dusted them with luster-dust so that they’d resemble the stars in a moonless sky.

It wasn’t easy getting here though. Two failed attempts & a lot of frustration took place before I reached these miraculous little gems.

I learnt a bunch along the way too. For example, I learnt that I’d really wished someone had told me that chocolate macaron shells were the hardest macarons to make. Or that cocoa is very absorbent & if you take too long, your shells will crack during baking.

No one told me that luster-dust is an incredibly addictive substance. All that glitter. All that sparkle!

The most important lesson that I learned, is that I have a very long way to go before I can consider myself a master of the macaron.

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banana, chocolate & meringue pie

gluten-free banana, chocolate meringue pie

All I can think about is Montreal.

When my sisters & I were little, our grandfather had this beautiful farm in Montreal that was our little slice of heaven. We used to go every summer & spend the entire time outside & dirty. If we weren’t in a riding lesson, or competing at a competition, we were in the fields hunting for wild blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, climbing up trees, exploring in the woods looking for abandoned tree-houses built by hunters, or swimming.

Our bedroom was located in the barn directly above our horses. We originally used to sleep in the main house, but eventually everyone caught on that we wanted to be as close to our four legged friends as possible, & my grandfather had the attic in the barn converted into one large room. Andy, our resident handy man & grounds keeper (also the sweetest, kindest man one could ever meet) had even build us a balcony overlooking the fields. On a clear night, we had the best view anyone could ask for.

This is a painting someone once did of the farm, just so you get a sense of the magic:
Pope's Hill Farm, Montreal, QuebecI tell you all this because my sister Amyra & I were once again reminiscing about the magic & missing it terribly.

More often than not, when I miss a time or place, I remember the food & the smells that were associated with it. For the farm, chocolate & meringue pie is always the first thing that comes to mind. Rich, creamy, & delicious.

I told you, pie for me embodies love. If you don’t feel overwhelmed by love when you’re making it, it wont be amazing. Good, but not amazing.

So, feeling completely nostalgic & romanticizing the past, I decided it was time I posted up my very own recipe. I made a small adjustment by adding in bananas, but the rest of the pie is as close to the original as I could make it. Every single bit is bliss. Every single mouthful makes me feel all warm & fussy inside.

I miss my sisters. & I miss our paradise.

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Champagne Thursday: green tea cocktail

I’ve had a DIY overload.

I mean there has been the painting of our new chicken coop (yes, we did it blue & white to resemble the traditional way of painting island houses). There has been the cutting down of old dead trees with our brand new chainsaw. Slicing, sanding & painting of the wood from the trunks of the fallen trees. Beginning the work for an up coming designed cake for the son of one of my kindred spirits, she wants the cake topper to be an elephant. Baking, always more baking. And last but not least, packing for my trip to Boulder, Colorado. All of that has happened today.

ALL THAT DIY in ONE DAY!

Yes, I’m tired & I want a drink.

Thank goodness it’s Thursday, that’s all I have to say.

Say it with me now… “Thursday”.

I’ve got an interesting one for you today. I was trying to combine the relaxing effect of a warm cup of tea, with the cooling effect of adding a little lemon & ice to really help me unwind from all that hard work.

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Champagne Thursdays: chili, peach & brown sugar martini

Did you notice it was Thursday? More importantly, did you notice that we’re finally back up & running?

This is a very big moment. You see, being as it’s Thursday & we’re back, that also means that Champagne Thursdays are officially reinstated.

Ooooooh YEAH!

I did it again though, I’ve made a combination that needs time for the flavors to meld. It’s not that I want to torture you, it’s just I prefer infusing my vodkas (or any other booze) with the flavor rather than making a sugary syrup like most cocktails use. Personally it’s because you end up using half the sugar & get double the flavor. But that’s just my two cents worth.

You see, right about the time that Whatever’s Left went offline, I started looking for things around the house that I could make to keep myself occupied. This is what happens when Lauren gets bored…. a shelf full of flavored vodkas. I’ve even got a lavender one up there.

Here’s what I suggest, seeing as it’s Thursday & we’re supposed to be having a drink together, I think it’s time you strain the zest out of your limoncello that we made a little while back because it ought to be good & ready by now. Pour it over some ice & put your feet up with me.

I know, I make things so complicated. I’m sorry. Really though, I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t worth the wait. & if you really just don’t feel like waiting, stick a whole chili & a tablespoon of brown sugar in the blender along with your peaches & vodka & you should get the same effect. Well, not the same exactly, but it will do whilst your chili infusion is taking its time to become marvelous.

Marvelous, what a lovely word.

Cheers!

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Champagne Thursday: Love a lot a lemons… limoncello

Oh yeah, Champagne Thursdays are back!

See, I told you they would be. This is going to be a trend. A boozy, giggly, trend.

I think the problem is, I just want you to join me in sneaking rum into your smoothies, or baileys in your coffee, or limoncello over your raspberry sorbet. It’s nice to do it with other people, then you’re not the weird girl.

I know this one isn’t going to be ready in minutes. There’s no instant gratification here & for that I’m sorry. I was trying to make a desperate attempt to capture what was left of summer before Autumn sneaks up & overcomes us before we even know what’s happened.

Do this now, & come mid October as the leaves are turning & the afternoon breeze still has a hint of warmth, pour yourself a glass & have it with friends. You’ll remember the last grasps of summer & smile.

Mmmmm, home-made limoncello. It would even make a nice Christmas gift you know… now there’s a thought.

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