Hot Polka Dot

Thick As Thieves.

Two of my very favourite things are in season right now. Cherries and lilacs. To celebrate I thought I'd combine the two.

I made you a Chocolate Hazelnut Cherry Tart and planted my very own lilac bush.

The latter was no easy task. Let me explain.

First you must know that you should consider me a frugal person. Not cheap. Frugal. If I can spend little to no money on anything I'll go for it. Who wouldn't, right? There are things I do not scrimp on. Cream cheese for one – why anyone would put anything other than Philadelphia in their mouths is beyond me. Eyeglasses – Gucci, Armani, Versace yes please. Laptops – sorry, but I'm not going to let an off brand hard drive anywhere near all my photos, videos and documents for fear they might spontaneously combust.

Pretty much everything else is up for grabs. All the clothes hanging in my closet were either very reasonably priced or very much on sale. I compare prices on flour. All the boxes in my pantry are generic brand or the next best thing.

So you can understand why I was not about to spend money on something like a lilac bush when they grow free and wild. I was also not about to be caught cloak and dagger in my neighbour's backyard absconding with their precious lilacs, pail and trowel in hand. So we took a drive. A long drive. And wouldn't you know, the further we got outside the city the less and less prevalent the tiny little flowers became. We drove down muddy roads, over potholes and through neighbourhoods we had no business being in. No luck and no lilacs.

So after all that we ended up spending less money on a lilac bush at the garden center than we spent on gas to fuel our little adventure. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a lilac thief.

Biting into this delicious tart makes me feel loads better though. At least I have that.


Made With Love.

Valentine's Day means either nothing or everything to an individual person. You're either a skeptic or a romantic. More and more the world is being peopled by skeptics. People who don't believe in anything they can't see or touch and make fun of those who dare to.

I was once one of them before I met Lee. I'm not going to tell you that rainbows and butterflies follow us, but we are ridiculously happy. The kind of happy that gives you cavities and your face hurts from smiling too much. He's my match, my better half, my sweetheart.

A note in a lunch bag. A heart shaped box of chocolates. A bouquet of roses. A romantic dinner on a rooftop. A picnic in the sun. A long distance phone call. A marriage in secret. A well composed email. Whatever love means to you it deserves celebration.

I thought I'd give you all a simple yet sweet recipe for your own sweetheart. Just ganache, raspberries and hazelnuts. These Chocolate Razelnut Truffles are decadent, rich and best enjoyed when made with love.


My New Favourite Thing.

I've just discovered browned butter.

Oh. My. God.

Why haven't I been browning butter all along? Seriously. I've been missing out. I think I'm a little ashamed of myself actually. I'm going to vow to make everything with browned butter from now on. It's my new favourite thing.

If you haven't grasped what I'm so subtly hinting at here, browned butter is freaking amazing! You must try this. And fast. For the good of mankind. Drink it, I don't care. I could live off the smell alone. Do you like caramel corn? Yeah it's like that. Just like that. Then mix that with the smell of toasted hazelnuts and try not to die of sensory rapture.

For those of you unsure about how to introduce this new incredible flavour to your mouth, here's a little suggestion: Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling and Chocolate Buttercream. Yes. That's the stuff.


Nothin’ Says Lovin’ Like Somethin’ from the Oven.

Some people give flowers. Others jewelry. And then there's sweets. Can you guess which one I like best? If you guessed sweets you would be correct. The giving and receiving of tasty treats has always been one of my favourite things.

This Valentine's Day I baked my honey something yummy. Chocolate hazelnut yummy to be precise. Such a good combination.

I found this mysterious recipe in my recipe box one day while browsing. I've never made them before and after a phone call to my mother I discovered neither had she. Only one way to find out how delicious they are and after making exactly four dozen and one of these cookies I've realized they are just that: delicious. They're like a thin hazelnut shortbread that seriously melts in your mouth. Since I've rediscovered this family recipe I reserve the right to rename them. Jitterbugs it is.


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