Feature, Food

Custardy Raspberry Ricotta Pancakes

April 6, 2016

We’ve had so much going on lately that on the rare occasions we’ve been home on the weekend with time to make breakfast, it’s been hit or miss whether we have the makings in the house for anything at all. So, in the spirit of making lemons, I’ve been on a kick of scraping together leftovers from the fridge into something worthy of a weekend breakfast at home. You’d think the results would be a little spotty (especially if you saw what our fridge and pantry look like these days), but actually, it’s been the greatest thing. We love to eat and even when we’re busy, we prefer to whip something quick up at home than grab take out, so there are always leftover ingredients from something or other.  Even better than that, this little exercise has been forcing us to veer away from our usual poached egg on crusty bread weekend routine.

It started the morning after we threw an engagement party for my gorgeous friend Lauren. We’d been so preoccupied pulling together all the details of the party, that we forgot to pickup staples. But, we had the makings for a riff on shakshuka and it was awesome. On Sunday, we found ourselves in our new usual breakfast-less situation, so after Ricotta Pancakes - Stovetopevaluating the contents of our fridge, I figured we could whip up some mean ricotta pancakes. As an extra bonus, we had pavlova on Saturday night and had some leftover lemon curd in the fridge to top them with!

I pulled the recipe from The Kitchn and made a few small adjustments based on what we had on hand. I highly recommend this recipe, to be made on a relaxing Sunday morning with a little Aretha Franklin playing in the background.

You can find the recipe here. I added an extra egg yolk, a tablespoon of toasted shredded coconut and sliced almonds, a teaspoon of lemon zest and chopped raspberries to the batter with great results.

Feature, Food

Udon Soup – Cozy Fall Fares

November 8, 2015

A little while ago, we tried Cynthia from Two Red BowlsShanghainese Red-Cooked Pork Mini Pot Pies and wound up with a ton of pork bones… because we got bone-in pork ribs instead of the boneless pork ribs that the recipe calls for. Anyway, it was actually a stroke of luck, because, even though the recipe didn’t turn out for the pies (after deboning the pork, we had only half the required pork, but we still followed the full recipe. Oops!) we had enough bones to make a delicious pork bone broth.

We roasted the bones to pull out the flavour and then simmered them with some chopped carrots and onions for a few hours until weUdon Vegetables had a nice, rich broth. We figured that the broth was too good to cover up with other flavours like you would in a regular soup and so, after debating for a while what recipes were worthy of our broth, we decided that udon soup would be simple enough that we could really savour it, but filling enough for a meal.

Oh, it was so good–cozy, warm and healthy. Perfect for the chilly weather we’ve had here in Calgary lately.

Udon Soup For Two

500 ml broth
1 julienned carrot
1 head baby bok choy
1/4 pepper (red, yellow, green–doesn’t matter)
3 sliced mushrooms
3 green onions, sliced
1 hard boiled egg, sliced
1 package udon noodles
3 slices raw ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce

Boil broth with ginger and soy sauce for twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, fry carrot, bok choy whites and peppers. Add bok choy greens and mushrooms at the end to soften them.

Add udon noodles to broth and simmer for three minutes to soften.

To serve: remove ginger from broth. Divide soup into two bowls, place fried vegetables and egg on top. Top with green onions and enjoy!

Feature, Food

Grandma’s Lemonade – Best Sampled With Gin

August 6, 2015

I’ve mentioned my Grandmother before… she’s pretty awesome and knows what’s up. This recipe goes way back. I imagine her and her stylish friends drinking lemonade with gin while their little kids played in the pool in the sixties. She was way right about the gin, it goes down really well–especially on a sunny day.

This is one of those funny recipes that I have in my very first cookbook, given to me by my Grandmother 15 years ago. She wrote two recipe cards for me and the third, written in the very round block letters of the teenager that I was, is her lemonade recipe. I wrote it down during one of our visits, we drank a ton of lemonade that summer. It is SO good.

Lemonade Syrup – Old Fashioned

  • 6 cups sugarLemons
  • 1 oz. tartaric acid (optional, hard to find, I don’t use it)
  • 2 oz. citric acid
  • Juice & rind of four lemons
  • Juice & rind of three oranges

Add six cups boiling water to sugar, tartaric and citric acids. Let cool. Add oranges and lemons. Let sit covered overnight. Strain and bottle.

If you’re in the mood to mix things up, feel free to add other fruit to compliment the lemonade. In this batch, I had an abundance of fresh cherries, so I used those. While the recipe is delicious on its own, I’ve also used rhubarb and strawberries with success.Lemonade Syrup

The recipe itself is a lemonade syrup and should be diluted with water (still or sparkling). I usually use a jigger of syrup for each glass, but you can make it as weak or as strong as you like.


Feature, Travel

MILK & That Time We Went to NYC

July 21, 2015

We are pretty lucky that we have such amazing friends whose weddings are allowing us to see new corners of the world. Back in June, our friends Chris and Olivia had the most beautiful wedding in Liberty State Park overlooking the New YorkChris & OP City skyline. It was a gorgeous event and they were so very thoughtful with all the small details. We had such a blast catching up with our old friends from Perth (where we met!), exploring NYC, walking our feet off and eating our weight in amazing treats. It was my first time to New York City and it was everything I expected it to be and then some.

Having spent a little time in the city on various work trips, Doug took the lead in organizing our trip. He had us visit all the iconic New York City spots, like Central Park, MOMA, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Station and Rockefeller Centre, but booked us into some really uniquely big city New York places… wandering the shops in Chelsey and visiting some highly rated restaurants and cocktail bars (The Spotted Pig and Il Buco in particular). Food–right up our alley! He is so thoughtful, he had everything so carefully planned out, even the things that he thought we might want to experience a little more casually.

A few things were particularly memorable (aside from Chris and Olivia’s union!):

  • We were lucky to score a very tiny cozy room at the Hudson Hotel, which was a major hot spot–their roof deck was so dreamy, it had a hammock and they serve Pimms Cups!
  • We spent hours at MOMA and then a good solid chunk of time in their gift shop.
  • I could have spent all day wandering around Central Park, getting lost in the Ramble and hanging out at The Lake. We got caught in a rainstorm and hid out beneath old tree canopies to wait out the storm! The whole thing was very romantic.
  • We spent a dreamy evening walking the High Line – for such a massive city, NYC really does its limited green space well.

While the whole trip was amazing, one of the nerdiest things that I was way too excited about was our visit to Momofuku Milk Bar. I am constantly coming across blog posts and articles about how innovative Christina Tosi is and she has posted a couple of Christina Tosi's Carrot Cake - MILKgreat recipes on Food52, so I was pretty excited to visit the bakery in person and see what all the hype was about. We went, we tried cereal milk ice cream and crack pie, we bought a SIGNED copy of Christina’s first cookbook named after the bakery and both of us were in heaven. Next time, I want to join one of their baking classes, that would just be over the top! When we got back, Father’s Day rolled around and presented a perfect excuse to both spoil my dear old Dad and try out the carrot cake recipe from the book. It was not a casual baking project, but based on the reactions from my family, it was way worth it.

P.S. here is a little summer playlist I put together on 8tracks… Enjoy!

Agoraphobia from kellycself on 8tracks Radio.

Feature, Food


May 16, 2015

I’d been saving Yossy Arefi‘s daunting recipe for croissants for months. The recipe has many steps and seems so complicated that when I decided to go for it I actually had to map out my weekend to make sure I had a grip on the timing. But, the photos and comments on the recipe were too tempting to pass up on, so I went for it. Plus, it was a great challenge since I’d never made a laminated dough before.

I thought I had everything planned out and the steps were nicely synched up with our weekend plans, until I went to make the preferment and realized that we had run out of all purpose flour. Oops! Luckily, whole wheat flouCroissants -  Shapedr didn’t kill the croissants. I was able to run out and pick up some all purpose the next morning and in the end, I think the whole wheat preferment added a little extra flavour to the dough.

Despite my careful planning, I got tripped up on timing for the resting periods and wound up leaving the croissants to rise for longer than the recipe stated, (double in some cases) which had me searching Google for the life span of yeast in fear that I wouldn’t get a final rise out of my croissants! As it turns out yeast can live up to three days or maybe even longer.

I’m happy to report that once you dive into this recipe, the steps are quite simple and the timing isn’t quite as strict as it seems. My croissants turned out golden, flaky and delicious. Click through the recipe above and be sure to read through the comments, as well as Yossy’s super helpful photo tips for the lamination process. We don’t have a stand mixer, but I managed just fine by hand.  I took advice from one of the commenters and split the dough in four and having been storing some in the freezer. We’ve been enjoying freshly baked croissants all week!


Feature, Travel

Take Me Back to Sayulita

April 4, 2015

I have a confession: I always thought that Mexico was an artificial destination. It seemed to be a place that was largely about packaged all-inclusive destinations. I am the first to admit that I can be quick to judge and may be a little closed-minded about some things and man, was I ever wrong about Mexico.

Like so many people at our stage in life, most of our holidays this year are being spent travelling to attend weddings–luckily for us, our friends are awesome and so are the places they have chosen to get married. Earlier in March – Pi Day to be specific – we jetted down to Sayulita to be with Doug’s oldest friend, Danielle on her wedding day. Danielle and Reed chose the most quaint little jungle resort just outside the town of Sayulita to tie the knot.

Playa Escondida is a small beachside jungle resort with about thirty suites. Every suite is unique and ours was open air, with a thatched roof in a bird sanctuary. We were woken up by the sun and sweet bird sounds every day (and the occasional coati fight). To get to the beach, the little restaurant and most importantly the bar and infinity pool from our pad, there was a windy jungle path, passing one or two other quirky suites on the way. It was spectacular. The wedding took over the entire resort and we got to know their lovely staff very well. By the time we left (or, five minutes after meeting her, more likely), Playa Escondido’s event planner, Tony, had professed his love for my mother-in-law, Terry!

Just a short hilly walk, cab or golf cart ride away is the town of Sayulita. Before we left on the trip, we realized how popular Sayulita is in our part of the world, especially among our friends from Canmore. It is a completely laid-back Mexican surf town with great shopping, some fun little restaurants and great authentic bars. We went into Sayulita every day we were there to shop, eat, explore and surf. The afternoon that we surfed, there was a marching band playing on the beach while we were in the water! Sayulita is a very quirky place.

Danielle & ReedIt was such a memorable weekend, Danielle and Reed have an amazing group of friends and family. It was really special having a few days to get to know everyone before the big day. It reminded me a little of our wedding–our group took over a small resort and I think everyone left with a few new friends. It was fun seeing the connections that were made after it was all over. Danielle and Reed’s wedding itself was truly beautiful. They set up an altar, tables and a light-up dance floor right on the beach. The ceremony was very sweet and took place right at golden hour just before sunset.

Sayulita is such a special place and I’ve been dying to go back since the moment we left. It would be so dreamy to spend a month in that part of the world and take advantage of the slower pace that life seems to have down there.

Sayulita & Playa Escondida musts:

  • Start every day with Huevos Mexicanos and fresh orange juice
  • Fresh oysters if they have them–the night we arrived they served us oysters that were just an hour out of the sea!
  • Fresh tacos for lunch, piled high with grilled shrimp and salsa
  • Drink coconut water out of a coconut
  • “Chi chis” in the pool and sugar free mojitos the rest of the time (thanks for the tip Rose!)
  • Surf lessons in Sayulita followed by lunch and the world’s biggest margaritas on the playa
  • Buy a few cute bobbles at one of Sayulita’s jewellery shops
  • A little snorkel session on the beach
  • Spend a few quiet moments lounging in a jungle hammock
  • Wear a floppy straw hat everywhere
Feature, Home

Small Space Living

February 25, 2015

Anyone who knows Doug and I will tell you that we live in a small space and we talk about it a lot, usually because we are dreaming of moving to a grand, spacious palace. We live in a very central neighbourhood of Calgary, a city known for its sprawl. Our apartment is not much more than 500 square feet, but it affords us walking distance to the city’s best restaurants, cafés, bars and shopping–not to mention the Elbow River, which spoils us with a network of more than 800 kilometres of inter-connected paved pathways throughout the city. We think our neighbourhood is pretty charming and we love being a part of it.

With that said, our somewhat cramped living situation does come with its challenges. We are constantly editing everything that shares this space with us and have to be very thoughtful before we bring something new in. The constant edit is a lot of work, but it’s a pretty great exercise and I would actually recommend it. In order to squeeze all of our favourite sweaters and cooking tools into our limited storage, we often need to reorganize or purge things that we haven’t used in a while. It means that we live relatively minimally and that we are obsessed with organization. I laugh a little now, because when Doug moved into this place, things got a little cluttered and I had a total meltdown, much to his bewilderment. But, I know he’s on board now, because the same thing happened to him recently when a few of our things were out of place. It can feel totally encroaching! We also find ourselves shuffling furniture around to be more useful for different scenarios, lamps being haphazardly perched on couches to make space for more people around the dinner table, couches being moved to make a workout space… with a little creativity, you wouldn’t believe the opportunity in 500 square feet!

Skona Hem - via Apartment Therapy

Image via Skona Hem – via Apartment Therapy (who got it via a few others)

So, in the spirit of celebrating satisfyingly neat and organized tiny spaces, here are a few of my faves from Apartment Therapy and beyond:



Feature, Uncategorized

Weekend Sweep – Happy Birthday, Doug!

February 6, 2015

Happy Friday!! I’m enjoying another long weekend; we have a visitor (and two surprise visitors!) coming to celebrate Douglas’ 30th birthday. We’re headed out to the mountains to ring in his next decade with good food and fresh powder. It snowed a few inches overnight and we woke up to a blue sky Alberta winter wonderland. Cross your fingers for us that everyone’s flights are on time for us, it’s going to be a great weekend!Chocolate Hazelnut Birthday Cake

Here are a few noteworthy clips that I came across this week to launch you into the weekend. Enjoy!

    • I made this gorgeous chocolate hazelnut (birthday) cake with vanilla hazelnut buttercream for us to indulge in this evening. Doug loves everything chocolate, happy birthday, Doug!
    • Camille Styles interviewed 14 friends to share their favourite romantic gestures. It’s super sweet and perfect to get you in the mood for Valentines Day.
    • Cup of Jo features Frances McDormand celebrating aging (as we all should) and wondering how our society came to resent the “maps” of our faces as we grow older. I love that and couldn’t agree more.
    • This one’s been making the rounds and is really fun. High School Styles from 1969 from vintage LIFE Magazine.

Lastly, Miss Dior shot their latest short at one of our favourite places on earth, Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Natalie Portman makes a pretty whimsical runaway bride!

Feature, Home

So Hygge – Adopting Danish “Coziness”

February 4, 2015

If you can believe it, the Danish get even less sunlight during the winter than we do in Calgary. Being close to the sea, they don’t get quite as much snow, but they sure get a ton of rain—and that doesn’t even stop them from relying on bikes as their primary means of transportation! I checked their sunlight hours back in early January and it was going to be bright for only seven hours, the sun sets at 4:00 p.m!

When we were in Copenhagen last summer, we noticed that the Danes were really big on candles. There were candles in every home, shop and restaurant; they have the most beautiful candle holder selection I’ve ever seen! When I commented on the Danish obsession with candles, Sonya and Anders explained the brilliant concept of Danish hygge (“hue-ga”), or coziness.

In Denmark, to counteract the long, dark winter nights, Danes come together and keep each other company. They drink cocktails, tea or coffee in front of a fire or surrounded by a ton of candles. They may even play boardgames. Ultimately, hygge is a sense of cozy togetherness and it’s pretty perfect. NPR has a great article on how the Danes use hygge to keep happy on cold, dark days (and all year!).Kringel Bread

An inadvertent subscriber to hygge, my Mom has always been a candle fanatic. All winter, as soon as the sun starts to set, she lights all the candles in her kitchen and living room. She also keeps a roaring fire. Going home to sit by the fire and drink a glass of wine or enjoy a good meal with my family is one of my favourite things. I think I’ve inherited at least a little bit of that warm coziness and after adding some gorgeous Danish candlesticks to our collection and perfecting my mulled wine and kringel bread recipes, I think we have it dialed.

Have you ever heard of hygge? What do you do to make short winter days a little cozier?

P.S. here are some beautiful Danish candles to add a little more hygge to your life:

  • Georg Jensen (my favourite is the Cobra)
  • Glassybaby (I got one of these as a welcome to the Self family, the story behind them is neat)
  • Go right to the source of Danish hygge, with any and all the candles from Illums Bolighus
  • Modern candle holders from Danish brand, Hay