Friendly Food Snobs

blackberry almond cake

It’s early June and the summer lays out full of possibilities. I love this time of year. I have been playing around with the idea of this cake for a few weeks. I finally wrangled all the ingredients including some gorgeous organic blackberries (I ate the extra pint while I baked). Is there anything better than baking with summer fruit?

The blackberries get sort of jammy and even sweeter as they are baked right into this cake. This cake is moist and lower in carbs thanks to the almond flour. It’s perfect all on its own. If you want to dress it up for dessert sift some icing sugar over each slice or add a dollop of whipped cream. I love it with a strong cup of tea in the morning as a treat. Raspberries or blueberries would be lovely too if you don’t have blackberries.

You’ll see in the recipe I used salted butter, and didn’t add any extra salt. Probably a baking purist would critique me for this one – but I always have salted butter in my fridge as my kids love it on good bread as a weekend treat. So if I can do a shortcut – I will. If you do have unsalted butter and prefer to bake with it, I would add 1/2 tsp salt to the recipe. Oh and don’t over mix this batter, stir until just combined. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup superfine almond flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (salted) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 2% dairy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter to grease the pan
  • approx. 15 blackberries (rinsed)
  • small handful slivered almonds

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your baking pan generously with the 1 tbsp butter. I used a 9-inch glass pie plate, however you can also use a round metal cake pan.

Mix the dry ingredients and stir well. Cream the sugar and room temperature butter. Then add in the milk, eggs and vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and pour into the greased pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter into the pan. Sprinkled the almonds over the top. Nestle the berries in between the almonds. Be generous with the berries, really cannot have too many. Push them down a tiny bit into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely (at least an hour or two) before cutting in with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

If you like this recipe you might also enjoy blueberry buckle.

honey dijon dill salmon

I woke up today to sunshine and birds chirping. After the longest winter ever, spring’s finally here!

This salmon is fresh, light and so yummy. It’s a weeknight favourite in my house. (I try to serve fish to the kids at least once a week.) You can make the rice the day before so when the salmon bakes just saute the veggies and dinner is done in 15 minutes.

The warmer weather has me decluttering (putting away the winter coats in Toronto is the best feeling) and peeling back layers. A season change feels like a good time to think about habits and emotional reactions. And get a little curious about what is maybe not serving me anymore or what could I let go of or shift. I’ve been reading lots of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Eckhart Tolle and Gabrielle Bernstein. These books sit on my bedside table and I pick them up and read a few pages when I feel the call. I always feel a bit more peaceful and balanced afterwards. Meditation helps me with this too.

Back in my university days (100% not peaceful and balanced days!) I worked in a French Swiss restaurant bartending and serving. This salmon reminds me of the spring menu the chef would write. Dill and fish are the freshest flavours together. Hope you enjoy it! Recipe serves four.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 4 salmon fillets

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Wisk the mustard, honey and dill together in a small bowl using a fork. If it is very thick add a touch of olive oil. My honey is runny so I usually don’t have to do this.

Place salmon skin side down on the parchment lined sheet and pour 1/4 of the honey mustard mixture over each piece. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just cooked. (Be wary of over cooking – dry salmon is the worst.) My oven takes just 11 minutes. Remember the salmon will keep cooking when it comes out of the oven and sits on the sheet.

Need a side? Serve with brown or basmati rice, mushrooms sauteed in butter or baby spinach quickly wilted in a pan with olive oil and salt and pepper. This kale salad or this arugula salad would also be perfect beside the salmon. Happy spring, friends! xo

almond and citrus green salad

It’s a rainy April day here in Toronto. My tulips are peaking out from the soil by our front porch. Dash just turned one (!) Oscar is four years old in June. Life’s full and busy. Gosh I am tired most days and struggling to find just a moment or two for myself.

I am finding that eating well is sort of my superpowers. Lots of veggies/fruit, good protein and fats like nuts and avocados.I am finding my mood is directly linked to my diet. I feel calmer, sleep better and tummy feels better eating this way. I did a ten day Whole30, so um I guess that is a Whole10? And since then I have been feeling good with no white carby food or processed sugar.

My last remaining vices? Do you have any? Mine are cheese and dark chocolate. My love for them will never die. Always the best quality I can afford and just occassionally.

Okay back to this salad. I love to change up my salads to keep it interesting. The citrus and almond flavours are perfect together. I used mâche mixed greens, toasted slivered almonds and sliced kumquats. If you don’t have kumquats you can easily sub in clementine segments or pieces of a peeled and chopped fresh orange. Fun fact about kumquats – their skin is sweet and insides are that citrus-y sour flavour.

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the salad:

  • four handfus baby mixed greens (OR baby spinach)
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 5-6 kumquats thinly sliced (OR 2 clementines peeled and segmented OR 1 orange peeled and segmented)

To toast the nuts (which is a must, so flavourful) heat a non stick pan to low-medium heat and toasted for five minutes or until fragrant. Be sure to give the pan a shake every minute or so. Let the nuts cool in a bowl. (They will continue browning if you leave them in the pan.)

Grab your favourite salad bowl and toss all the salad ingredients in there. I like to use a glass measuring cup to make my salad dressing and whisk it well to combine it with a fork.

Pour as much dressing as you like over the salad, toss and serve. Extra salad dressing will keep well in the fridge for three days. Happy spring, friends!

Cauliflower tacos

These Mexican spiced cauliflower tacos are SO delicious. I love them for a weeknight meatless meal. Spring is just about to arrive here in Toronto and I’m craving a little more yoga, sunshine and vegetables.

I roast the cauliflower and stuff it into soft corn tacos and top with avocado, feta cheese, fresh salsa, lime and cilantro. But the cauliflower is amazing on its own too as a side dish, or on a grain bowl. Hope you love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the oil and spices with the salt and pepper in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and chop the cauliflower. I remove the core and then break apart the florets.

Throw the cauliflower pieces on the baking sheet and drizzle with the spice and oil mixture. Roast for 25 minutes. Flip the cauliflower pieces over and stir it around halfway through the cooking time to get all the pieces equally crispy.

Topping ideas:

  • lime
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • pico do gallo (fresh salsa)
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • avocado
  • lettuce or shredded cabbage
  • spicy mayo (mix ratio of 1/2 mayo to 1/2 siracha)

sheet pan grilled cheese

Dunking a grilled cheese into a warm bowl of soup is my comfort food and reminds me of my childhood. (Tomato soup 100%!) I love making grilled cheese over March Break or a winter weekend. But I have growing boys and I cannot stand at the stove flipping for an hour. Enter the sheet pan grilled cheese! Hot oven for ten minutes and perfect grilled cheese every time.

I used Premiere Moisson bread available at Metro grocery stores and a combination of asiago, cheddar and mozzarella. But you can use any cheese combination you like. This Premiere Moisson bread is becoming a staple in my house because it’s natually fermented, made using slower traditional methods, and has no sugar or preservatives. I always keep a loaf in the freezer for toast or grilled cheese cravings. The whole wheat and country-style loaf are our faves. Try the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments or on Instagram! Makes four grilled cheese sandwiches.
Another tweak I love to do is layer roasted red peppers and zucchini inside with the cheese – a way to get more veggies and also tastes delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp salted butter room temperature
  • 2 cups of grated cheese (like an old cheddar + asiago + mozzarella combo)
  • 8 slices of good bread

Heat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment. Butter every slice of bread and place four slices (butter side down) on the baking sheet. Top bread with cheese mixture and place another slice of bread on top (butter side up). Place grilled cheese in oven for 10 minutes, flipping halfway. I use my kitchen timer and stay in the kitchen. The high heat makes the sandwich melted inside and crispy outside. Slice and eat while the cheese is still gooey. I love to change it up from ketchup and instead dip in hummus or sun-dried tomato pesto – yum! Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Thank you to Metro for supporting this post! I sometimes work with companies and sponsors, but only those I actually enjoy eating in my own kitchen, promise.

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