Bacon Cheddar & Chives Scones // Waking Up Early

Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones
Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones

As Bermuda dips further into fall, the days are getting much shorter and the evenings cooler. What used to be a bright and early rise at 6:00 AM is now dark and quiet, even the feral chicken that roams our property is still fast asleep.  I’m generally a morning person. I’m the type that will get up at the crack of dawn, run 3 miles, check all emails and cook an entire breakfast spread before 9am. But now that little Ollie is around, he pretty much dictates when I’m awake with a loving paw in the face at about quarter to 6. I used to welcome his panting cute head in front of my face, but lately it’s been a real drag to get me out of bed. Sometimes my eyes will open slightly and I’ll see him still snoring away peacefully in the crate. I’ll shut them quickly hoping he didn’t hear me stir, but it’s as if he has a sixth sense! In the next blinking second, there he is pawing at my face to wake up!

Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones
Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones
Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones

So for the days that I’m not so chipper in the morning, making a batch of scones and freezing them for later is a great time saver. I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of scones until I tried a savory one from a bakery near my old apartment in Vancouver. The ones I’ve had in the past have been overly sweet, dry and crumbly, but the cheese & green onion scone from Beaucoup Bakery is just divine, moist and full of flavour. And what early meal isn’t complete without some bacon? So here is my go-to recipe for scones: an easy bacon, cheddar and chives recipe that is the perfect pastry for a quick breakfast and those days when you’ve hit the snooze button one too many times.

Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones
Bacon, Cheddar and Chives Scones

Bacon Cheddar and Chives Scones
adapted from King Arthur Flour 

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1 egg
4 ounces of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 pound of cooked bacon chopped
1/4 cup of chopped chives
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
pinch of pepper

Whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, and sugar.

Work the butter into the flour until the mixture is unevenly crumbly, with some of the butter remaining in larger pieces.

Mix in the cheese, chives, and bacon until evenly distributed.

beat the egg and milk together in a small bowl and then add to the dry mixture. Squeeze and knead dough until it comes together, adding more flour if too tacky or cream if too dry. Transfer the shaggy dough to a well-floured work surface.

Pat the dough into a 7″ disk about ¾” thick. Transfer the disk to the prepared baking sheet.

Use a knife to cut the disk into 8 wedges, spreading the wedges apart a bit on the pan.

Brush the scones with a bit of cream to help brown the crust.

Bake the scones for 22 to 24 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and cool right on the pan before serving warm.

After scones are cool, freeze them in a zip lock bag. To serve, remove and defrost in microwave before slicing and toasting.

 

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew // Hurricane Season in Bermuda

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

A lot has happened here in the last 2 weeks. I apologize to all, because I skipped out a week on posts! It’s just one of those weeks you know? The main thing that happened was that Bermuda experienced their first hurricane of the year. Hurricane Joaquim (a category 3 hurricane) stormed past just shy of Bermuda on October 4th. Many would think that if a hurricane was making it’s way towards a tiny tropical island, everyone would be panicking; however, Bermuda is always extremely well prepared in dire weather situations like this. Just last year the island survived not one, but two hurricanes in one week!

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

Thankfully this time around there was no damage to the property we live on. We were the lucky ones and didn’t lose our power and had our Internet running smooth the entire night! It ended up being a lovely night in of pizza and Netflix, even little Ollie barely even noticed the wind blowing outside the door.

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew
Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

Besides the hurricane, Dan and I both celebrated our birthdays and my dear friend Desiree also got hitched! It was a packed two weeks of cake and a lot of champagne to say the least. I have to admit that I’ve been indulging more than normal lately (I partially blame Dan for his constant need for waffle cones and ice cream after dinner). As Bermuda is dipping into the end of hurricane season, the nights here have considerable cooled down. We can finally wear jeans at night! One of my favourite fall recipes that I always have friends asking for is a curried red lentil and kale stew. It’s my go-to recipe that I make a big batch of when I’m feeling like I need to eat clean for a few days. It’s a perfect meal to start off the week healthy with the protein packed lentils and super food kale. I like to eat it with a big dollop of yogurt on top and a dash of Valentina hot sauce. And if there happens to be a storm brewing outside your door, this soup will definitely keep you warm and cozy.

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew

Curried Red Lentil and Kale Stew
a bunch of Kale tough stems removed and roughly chopped
1 cup of dried red lentils rinsed and drained
2 medium carrots diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 28oz can of whole or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
4 cups chicken or veg stock or more to taste
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (if you like some extra heat)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the garlic and onions in olive oil until translucent about 5 minutes and then add the carrots and celery and continue to cook for a few minutes more.

Add the bay leaf and spices and cook until fragrant.

Stir in the can of tomatoes and break them up with a spoon if whole. Add the chicken stock, lentils, and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until the lentils are cooked and fluffy about 20-25 min.

Add in the kale and continue to simmer until the kale is cooked. Add more stock or spices to taste. If you wish to have the soup a bit more of a soup consistency, use a hand blender to blend until your liking. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola // My Path to Health and Fitness

Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola
Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola

A few years ago I wasn’t happy with the way my body looked and how unfit I felt. I barely exercised and I ate whatever I wanted. And like many others on New Year’s Eve, I made my resolution the ever so popular, ‘get fit and be healthy’. I really wanted to stick to this goal, knowing that it takes time to see results and I definitely didn’t want to fall off the New Years resolution bandwagon. I knew that this wasn’t a quick fix; I had to completely adjust my lifestyle if I wanted to feel healthy and strong. So one morning in 2013, with brand new runners on my feet, I stepped out the door of my tiny Vancouver apartment and went for a jog on the False Creek seawall and since then, have never looked back.

Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola
Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola

Nowadays, I’m happy, healthy and am in the best shape that I’ve ever been in. It might be hard to believe that I’m a serious advocator for fitness and health when I write a food blog that is full of sugary sweets! Everyone has an opinion on what to eat to stay healthy, and I truly believe in life balance. Sometimes it’s perfectly fine if you want to eat that cookie or cake slice! I think that as long as you try to incorporate whole and fresh ingredients into your meals and keep active you can feel great and still stay sane.

Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola
Vanilla Almond Buckwheat GranolaVanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola

As much as I would love to have sausage with a side of bacon every single day for breakfast, I don’t think it’s the best idea if I’d like to continue to fit into tiny swimsuits for the beach. My favourite go-to breakfast that is both delicious and healthy is my homemade granola. Sprinkled onto of some Greek yogurt with a few slices of fresh peaches reminds me of Saturday mornings in Vancouver after a long run around the Seawall. It’s sweetened with honey and made with buckwheat for an extra crunch; I can’t help but grab a handful for a quick snack whenever I walk into my kitchen.

Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola

Vanilla Almond Buckwheat Granola 
2.5 cups large flake oats
3/4 cup buckwheat groats
2/3 cup almonds whole or sliced
1/2 cup unseated coconut flakes
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup of coconut or olive oil
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°C

Combine all dry ingredients including spices in a large bowl. Mix together the honey, water, oil and vanilla extract in a small bowl and add to the dry mix, making sure it’s combined well.

Spread granola mixture flat on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking and flipping granola every 10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to fully cool before storing away in an airtight container.

Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream // Wedding Bells

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photo by Simply Sweet Photography

Last weekend I was honoured to be a part of my big brother’s wedding as a first time bridesmaid. The first in our family to tie the knot, Jasper and Bonnie’s nuptials was the event of the year, it was a lavish wedding of an astounding 470 guests! And I felt so lucky to be able to share the big day with them. The whole day went according to plan without even the slightest hiccup, which is absolutely amazing considering the size of the party.

Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Jasper proposed to Bonnie last year in June while visiting Dan and I. What could be more perfect than Bermuda’s blue water and pink sand as a backdrop while popping the big question? Besides, Bermuda Tourism’s slogan is after all, “Feel the Love”!

Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream

I couldn’t be happier that Bonnie was officially going to be my sister-in-law. I asked her earlier this month what was her favourite type of cake and she promptly replied, “anything Earl grey”! I wanted to bake a little layer cake in honour of their day and I had the perfect 4-inch cake rings for the job. I had actually bought the moulds from a 100‎¥ store in Tokyo while on vacation with the pair. I knew Bonnie was going to be the perfect sister-in-law to be when she gleefully agreed to join my quest on eating ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner the entire time we were there! No one else in the world can understand my craving for noodle carbs like she does! So here we have it, a little earl grey cake in celebration of the newly wed couple!

Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon ButtercreamEarl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream

Earl Grey Layer Cake with Lemon Buttercream
Adapted from Sift and Whisk

1 Cup milk
4 bags of Earl Grey Tea
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Cups of All Purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon finely ground earl grey tealeaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs

Heat milk up in a small saucepan until a bare simmer. Remove from heat and place the bags of earl grey to seep for 20 minutes. Remove the bags and squeeze out as much liquid back into the milk. Add the vanilla extract. Pour into a measuring cup and add more milk if less than a cup is remaining.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of 2 8-inch cake pans (in my case I used 2-4 inch cake pans a few times!)

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground tealeaves, and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl of a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one egg at a time, scraping down the sides until fully incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the tea infused milk and ending with the flour. Mix until everything is combined and no dry bits are left.

Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out dry. Cool layers in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes and carefully turn the cakes out to cool completely before icing.

Lemon Buttercream
1 cup of softened butter
zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
4 cups of icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of milk

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter with the lemon zest on medium-high until pale. Sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar and add the lemon juice, milk, and vanilla extra. Add the remaining powdered sugar and whip mixture until fluffy, adding more milk if needed until desired consistency.

 

 

Dark n’ Stormy Ice Cream

 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream

I remember the summer before I started high school I pretty much ate ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Like all teenagers I happily consumed the frozen treat without a guilty thought in my mind. I ate it straight out of a giant family sized tub and my flavour of choice would always be Neapolitan (why choose when you can have all three?). And to this day, ice cream is by far my favourite sweet. My eyes would light up like a Christmas tree at the mention of a trip to Yo Cherry, Bermuda’s answer to a Pink Berry.

 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream

For my birthday a couple of years ago Dan gifted me the ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid. He admittedly said it was a selfish gift, hoping that my new toy would transform our kitchen into a gelato joint. If I wasn’t so concerned about our waistlines growing, I’m sure we would’ve been on board with the idea!

 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream
 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream

Vanilla was the fist recipe I decided to test first, it’s classic and simple. So I cracked open my new copy of Bi Rite Creamery’s Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones to guide me through my first churn. Multiple yolks and a ton of heavy cream? I had no idea homemade ice cream was just a delicious rich custard! I had been fooling myself with Breyer’s “iced dessert” for years! The only con about the ice cream maker (if you can even believe it) is that you have to pre-freeze the bowl for at least 15 hours. So I can’t make ice cream at a moment’s notice; however, the outcome sure is worth the wait.

 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream
 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream

Gosling’s makes another appearance on the blog this week for this ice cream experiment in the form of a Dark n’ Stormy sundae. I’ve never really been a huge fan of caramel type toppings on ice cream, but in this case, the spicy ginger pairs really well with the butterscotch notes of the Gosling’s rum sauce. An extra special treat to make for dessert, this ice cream is a little more prep than a shake and a stir of the famed Bermuda drink. So put your glasses away for now and instead churn up this ice cream and you’ll have everyone requesting for a second round.

 Dark N' Stormy Ice Cream

Dark N’ Stormy Ice Cream
Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones
5 inch knob of ginger
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks

Peel the ginger and slice very thinly. Place the ginger in a non-reactive saucepan and add just enough water to cover. Heat to medium high and bring to a boil for 1 min. Remove from heat and strain and put ginger slices back into the pan. Add the cream, milk, pinch of salt and 1/4 of the sugar. Return the pan to medium-high heat. When just barely a simmer, remove from heat, cover and let the mixture steep for 45 min.

In a heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks to break them up and then add the remaining sugar. Set aside.

Remove the ginger slices and return the saucepan of cream to a bare simmer. Carefully scoop out about 1/2 of the hot cream mixture and add it to the eggs and sugar while whisking constantly. Repeat adding another 1/2 cup of the hot cream. Using a spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly add the egg/cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.

Cook the mixture over medium heat stirring constantly until it’s thickened and coats the back of the spatula for about 1-2 minutes longer. Strain the base through a fine mesh sieve into a container and set the container into an ice bath. Continue to stir the case until it is cool and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Freeze your ice cream machine according to the manufacture’s instructions (for a Kitchenaid mixer it’s about 15 hours). Pour the base into the mixer and watch it transform into delicious soft serve! Fold into a container and freeze if a firmer texture is desired.

Gosling’s Rum Sauce
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 cup of cream or milk
1/2 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of goslings black rum
pinch of salt

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk sugar and cornstarch together and add into the melted butter. Pour in milk and cook stirring frequently until the mixture begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat and add Gosling’s black rum. Cool before serving over ice cream.