Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Painting: German S.

I say it every time, my brothers are amazing talented artists! Rene is working on his second video game, while German has just taken on painting as a new medium. Above is his self portrait.

::: Nathalie

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

i Heart Egg In a Basket

Diana, my not-so-savvy-in-the-kitchen bff, the same one who used an espresso spoon to scoop ice cream, made heart shaped egg in a basket for us. Aw. What a good bff.

To make this, simply use a cookie cutter, to cut out the centre. (Diana opted for the no egg yolk egg in a basket, which means the egg whites and white bread were very close in colour.) Regardless what bread you use, yolks or no yolks, this is a nice simple treat for anyone.

::: Nathalie

Friday, April 23, 2010


What's to come on the Lime Shop in the next days (pictured above).

Also working on a special apron for the raffle gift pack we're donating to Cupcake Camp next Sunday. (Proceeds go to the Daily Bread Food Bank.)

::: Nathalie

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Aprons as clothes?

The last couple of weeks, I've been working feverishly on expanding The Lime Shop to introduce a collection of handmade aprons. I bought a majority of the colourful fabrics at Ikea. I pre-washed and preshrunk each fabric before even cutting out the patterns.

Last week, I brought some of these to work to show the girls. One of my colleagues thought they were so cute, that she wants to wear them around the office as clothes. (Hopefully with something under so it doesn't turn into an HR issue...)

With some help from Geoff, my sometimes photographer and always husband, we were able to take pics and get some items loaded on our Etsy shop. I'll work on getting more up in the next few days.

::: Nathalie

Monday, April 12, 2010

Review: The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Since Hummingbird bakery is supposed to be all the rage in London, England, I was really excited to get my own copy of their cookbook in my last Amazon order.

I bought Nielsen-Massey's Finest Quality Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste from William Sonoma for $16 (CAD) to bake. Logically speaking, supreme vanilla should result in supreme vanilla cupcakes. Sounds like a safe bet.

Recipe Review: Hummingbird Bakery, Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting
  • When preparing the ingredients, I was surprised to see how little sugar, butter and vanilla this recipe used. (In fact, a lot of the recipes in this book use very little sugar and butter.)
  • I followed the directions carefully and added ingredients and mixed as per the book.
  • I prepared 12 cupcake liners in my tray and started scooping the cups two-thirds full as directed.
  • Hmm... Did a double take at the book since I only got 8 cups going. Weird. The recipe says "Makes 12".
  • Moving along, I popped them in the oven and waited. Took them out and was surprised to see how pale my cakes looked. Hmm....
  • As the cupcakes cooled, I prepared the icing.
  • Having sampled some batter and icing along the way, I knew they were on the bland side but I really thought all of the flavours would come together nicely when the cupcake was complete.
  • TASTE TEST VERDICT: Disappointing. Bland cake. Thick sponge consistency. Tasted very floury. Bland icing. Consensus: bland and boring. My worst cakes to date (yes, that includes my Duncan Hines Cake Fails).
My review on The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook:
  • Delicious looking, beautiful, inspirational pictures.
  • Beautifully laid out chapters.
  • Recipes: BORING. Terrible. Waste of time, money and good ingredients.
  • If the goodies in the actual Hummingbird Bakeries taste anything like what's in this book, I would be shocked.
  • Buy Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book instead. (Martha hasn't failed me once.)
And in case you're still a glutton for punishment and are curious about the above recipe, I'm going to take the time to type this out for you from the book.

UPDATE 3/14/2011: See reader comments regarding their experience with this cookbook here.

::: Nathalie


Makes 12


1 cup all purpose flour

a scant 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

3 tbsps of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup whole milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

8 tablespoons ice water


2 cups icing sugar, sifted

5 tbsps unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 tbsps whole milk

a couple drops of pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Line cupcake tray with paper cups.

2. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a bowl. Mix and beat at slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is well combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat well.

3. Whisk egg, vanilla and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into flour mixture and beat well, scraping bowl along the way. Do not over mix.

4. Spoon batter into cupcake tray, two-thirds full and bake for about 20 - 25 mins or until golden brown. Insert tooth pick in the middle of a cake and make sure it comes out clean before removing from oven. Place on a cooling rack.


1. While cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting. Beat icing sugar and butter together in mixer at low speed. Combine milk and vanilla in a separate bowl then add to butter mixture, a few spoons at a time. Mix well until light and fluffy, about 5 mins. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier it becomes. Frost completely-cooled cupcakes with frosting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Delicious Miss Dahl

Aside from Gossip Girl and Supernatural, I really don't watch a lot of television. So I was surprised to hear that Sophie Dahl has her own cooking show - The Delicious Miss Dahl! (For whatever reason, I've always liked her for. I even bought her book, The Man with The Dancing Eyes, years ago.)

I just finished watching the first episode. What a cute show! She's adorable and so excited about cooking. And I love her kitchen! It's so very english! I feel inspired just watching!

The full episode wouldn't embed properly, but you can watch it here. (Sorry, even the above video is too wide for the format of our blog...)

I'm going to go cook dinner now. I'm thinking breakfast foods, Whole Grain Pancakes and Spinach Quiche!

::: Nathalie

Old Fashioned Apple Pie

Since I had so many spare apples lying around, I thought I'd try Michael Smith's Old Fashioned Apple Pie. My mum and I both shared a hand in making this pie. The results were DELICIOUS. It's a simple pie recipe for a very homey OLD style of pie (hence the name). My brother commented that the crust could be a little more pastry-like, but I thought it was just perfect. Very unpretentious.

Tip: Use all 8 apples (I used 6). While some crusts can be thin, get soggy and crumble under pressure, this crust really holds it's own really well.

(PS - This recipe comes from Michael's book, The Best of Chef at Home. I've given this book as a gift for two individuals, but don't actually own it myself. The copy currently in my house belongs to the Oakville Public Library. Anyhow, love, love, love this book. It's packed with simple, healthy, non intimidating recipes that are perfect for weeknight dinners and most importantly, every recipe has a picture. I don't know about you, but I like to know what my dish should look like before I start cooking!)

::: Nathalie


Makes 8 slices


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 sticks (1 cup) of frozen butter

8 tablespoons ice water


6-8 Honey Crisp or 12 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons flour


1. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Using a standard box or potato grater, grate the frozen butter into the flour and toss lightly with your fingers until it is thoroughly combined. Sprinkle in ice water and mix with your fingers until the dough comes together in a ball. Divide it into two pieces, making sure one half is slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten and chill for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. Resting will help tenderize the pastry and make it easier to roll.

2. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and allow it to warm slightly, just until it is pliable. Lightly flour your hands, the rolling pin, your work surface and the dough. Roll out the larger pastry disc into a circle large enough to slightly overlap the edges of an 8-inch glass pie dish. Transfer the dough to the pie dish by folding it into quarters then unfolding it in the dish.

3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.


1. Toss the apples with the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add the apples to the bottom crust then roll out the remaining smaller disc and carefully place over the top of the pie. Roll and crimp the edges of the dough together, tightly sealing them. Poke a few vent holes into the top of the pie and place on the bottom rack of oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the crust is golden and juices are bubbling.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter Carrot Cupcakes!

A holiday and the fabulous spring weather meant I had to try a new cupcake recipe - Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. Everyone who was treated to these was very pleased and even took a second helping!

I left out the raisins in order to give it a fluffier cupcake consistency. I also substituted the regular cream cheese for the light variety seeing as it's generous on the vegetable oil.

Next time I make these, I'll opt for 1 cup of vegetable oil instead of the recommended 1 1/2 cup. It just felt like too much. If you're confident modifying recipes, give it a try with the 1 cup and let me know how they turn out.

Hope everyone had a fabulous Easter!

:::: Nathalie

Carrot Cupcake Ingredients

Makes 24 cupcakes

  • 1 pound carrots, finely grated
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Make cupcakes: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla-bean seeds, and raisins. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
  2. Divide batter among liners, filling 3/4 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 23 to 28 minutes, rotating tins halfway through. Transfer tins to racks to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from tins; let cool completely.
  3. Make frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar. Continue to beat while adding remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time. Add vanilla, and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
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