Mother’s Day Russian Dolls

MatrioskaProgress
Ma Matrioshka in progress

Over the Mothers day weekend I took part in my first craft fair. This particular one, hosted by the Victoria chapter of Etsy Artisans and was part of a broader national series of craft fairs happening in May. So, during the month of April I worked through new card plans, doing a few more plant based images and updating my birthday cards.

I was getting stuck for ideas and doodling away when it hit me. I have a set of nesting dolls brought back from Russia by my uncle ages ago on a business trip. I had only just found them again in storage, not to mention my Russian husband though they were beautiful. So I took my inspiration and set it down trying to settle on how best to represent them without directly copying the ones I had. In my initial sketch I had tried to make each doll different, with a sense of personality to each of them. While I think it would have been interesting to do, I ultimately went more simple remember that they are printed to fit on a 4.25 x 5.5 card so most of those features would be lost. Maybe that’s something for a future larger project. So my dolls when through a few phases of design before finally coming to the one below. Although I didn’t sell too many of them at the craft fair they were certainly the one that garnered the most questions and had people stopping at my table to see.

Matrioshka


Shop Matrioshka Cards

 

A season for cookies

 

While it is apparently still fall, it feels wintry and time to bring out some favourites for the season. For most of my living memory Mrs. McKenzie’s ginger snaps have been a constant treat, best kept for dunking in milk and now in my coffee. I’ll admit, mine never turn out a lovely looking as my mom’s or Mrs. McKenzie’s, but they are still delicious. I haven’t made these in years, but we were recently given a Kitchenaid mixer so it seemed like the perfect reason (that an it already snowed once in the last two weeks).

Mr. & Mrs. McKenzie were family friends of my moms and although I don’t know all the details they seemed like a second set of parents when she was far away from home. All of our best family treat recipes seem to originate from their kitchen and for that I am grateful.

Ginger Snaps

Cream together:

  • ½ cups butter
  • ½ cups brown sugar        
  • 1 egg

Add & Mix:

  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger (* also add some candied ginger)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Roll in balls ( don’t squish). Bake 8-10 mins at 350 degrees.

 

Welcome Back Salty Coast

This, and the three previous entries come from a previous blog that I have since closed up. These are taken from my time in Montreal. Hope you enjoy!

Life has taken a new direction and I have moved a few thousand miles with my cat Sasha and my most prized possessions. We are embarking on a new adventure. I hope that this new place will open new doors and lead me closer to my dreams. I am trying to find some clever way of incorporating all my skills into one job, time will tell. For now, I cut to the chase. My parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this week, and I cooked one of the most decadent chocolate tarts I have ever made. It was a crowd pleasing velvety tart that was pretty easy to make. I will be enjoying the last piece tonight on my own with a nice glass of wine, while my parents enjoy their anniversary trip.

On the subject of desserts, I met Canada’s Gold Medal winning pastry chef Melinda Patrice Burke on the plane while setting off to my new adventure. I hope to see her again soon and possibly learn a few tricks about pastry and baking! I want to improve my baking skills, I almost always find something to be missing but this cake was a winner! This recipe comes from Gourmet Magazine September 2008.

 

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart

Ingredients

For crust:

9 (5- by 2 1/4-inch) chocolate graham crackers (not chocolate-covered), finely ground (1 cup)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

For filling:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not more than 65% cacao if marked), chopped
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

For glaze:

2 tablespoon heavy cream
1 3/4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon light corn syrup ( I omitted this as I prefer not to use corn syrup)
1 tablespoon warm water

Equipment:

a 9-inch round fluted tart pan (1 inch deep)
Preparation

Make crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Stir together all ingredients and press evenly onto bottom and 3/4 inch up side of tart pan. Bake until firm, about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack 15 to 20 minutes
Make filling:
Bring cream to a boil, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, and salt in another bowl, then stir into melted chocolate.
Pour filling into cooled crust. Bake until filling is set about 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly, 20 to 25 minutes. (Center will continue to set as tart cools.) Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 hour.
Make glaze:
Bring cream to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until smooth. Stir in corn syrup, then warm water
Pour glaze onto tart, then tilt and rotate tart so glaze coats top evenly. Let stand until glaze is set, about 1 hour.