The Empire (Strikes) Biscuits October 23, 2009

Okay, so my peeps aren’t known for their dessert making skills, but if there is one thing sweet that the Brits do get right, it’s the Empire Biscuit.  It’s a far cry from all the entrails that end up in haggis – don’t even get me started on that – with buttery shortbreads sandwiched together with sweet jam and topped with a dab of white icing.  These remind me so much of Christmas and family, and are a perfect to treat to serve after dinner or with afternoon tea, or to wrap up as gifts for your favourite friends.  I can’t WAIT for December.




3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (must be all-purpose – I’ve tried whole wheat and it’s not nice)

1/2 cup cornstarch

1 tsp salt

2 cups unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam


1 cup icing sugar (approx)

1 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp

4 1/2 tsp milk

1/4 cup maraschino cherries, dried and cut into quarters (you could use candied ones too if you want)



1)  Preheat oven to 350°F, and in a bowl combine flour, cornstarch and salt.

2)  Combine butter and sugar in a separate large bowl, cream together until smooth, then increasingly beat in flour mixture.

3)  Roll 1 tbsp dough at a time into a small ball, then flatten with your fingers until about 1/4″ thick, and place 1/2″ apart onto buttered or lined baking sheets.

4)  Bake cookies for 12 min, or until firm to the touch (watch out not to overcook or burn!).

5)  Remove from oven once done and cool on wire racks.

6)  Once completely cooled, spread 1/2 tsp jam on half the cookies, then top with remaining cookies.

7) For the glaze, beat together icing sugar, butter and milk in a small bowl, adding a little more icing sugar if necessary to make a spreadable paste.

8] Spread icing over cookies, then top each with a small piece of cherry.

9) IMPORTANT: Let sit for 30 minutes before serving, so the biscuits can set.



Crunchy Corn Soup October 15, 2009

Summer may be over (or what was a bad substitute for summer as it was here) but that doesn’t mean that we have to say ‘see ya next year’ to lovely corn.  Corn is such a fall vegetable for me, more so than summer.  I do love driving back from up north in August and picking up a dozen fresh corn from a local farmer for next to nothing … but all the fall dishes with corn are where it’s at for me in the end.  Soups, breads, warm sauces … now you’re talking!  Give this super easy soup a try this fall – you will love the simplicity and savoriness of this velvety liquid gold.

Happy belated Canadian Thanksgiving!



1 small-medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound frozen corn (try not to use canned)
3 cups vegetable broth (or a wee bit more as required), heated
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper
2 TBSP corn flour or corn starch (give or take)
1/2 TBSP nutritional yeast (you can skip this if you don’t have any on hand)
2 corn tortillas
salt, chili powder, and ground pepper to taste

1) On medium heat (using a heavy saucepan), sauté onion until lightly browned, then add minced garlic and cook for another minute (don’t burn the garlic!).

2) Place sauted onions and garlic into a blender along with frozen corn, 2 cups only of vegetable broth (make sure it’s heated already), cumin, chipotle, corn flour, and yeast, and blend until very smooth.

3) Pour all blender contents back into saucepan, add remaining 1 cup of broth, and simmer on very low until soup is thick and bubbly (approx 10-15 min), stirring continuously to prevent any burning.
4) While the soup is simmering, preheat oven to 400F, and cut corn tortillas in half and then each half into strips (about 1/2-inch wide each).

5) Place strips onto a non-stick cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and chili powder, then bake until crunchy and a light brown colour (approx 5-10 min, as ovens may vary), ensuring to stir or flip at least once to prevent burning or sticking.

6) Ladle soup into bowls, then divide tortilla chips equally among the bowls, and enjoy!!!  You can also garnish with herbs (chives, parsley, etc) or cheese or sour cream or even a few corn kernels.