24 June 2014

Tiramisu Ice Cream Recipe

Summer is here! Rejoice! And what is better in Summer than some delicious home made ice cream? But let's be real; it's always a good time for ice cream.

I've been making this recipe for years ever since I found it on a can of Nestle condensed milk. I'll often take this to dinner parties and it's always a big hit. Even better, it's so easy to make!

tiramisu ice cream

2 tbsp instant coffee
1/3 cup boiling water
2 tbsp coffee liqueur, e.g. Tia Maria or Kahlua (optional)
400g/300ml can sweetened condensed milk
600ml cream
¼ cup milk

12 sponge finger biscuits

1. Combine coffee, water and coffee liqueuer, if using, and set aside until cool.
2. Combine sweetened condensed milk and cream in large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thick. Beat in ½ of the coffee mixture.
3. Combine remaining coffee mixture with milk and brush well over both sides of sponge biscuit.
4. Line a 20cm square cake pan with aluminium foil. Spoon ½ of the cream mixture into the pan and top with biscuits. Top with remaining cream mixture, cover with cling film and freeze until set. Alternatively, you can fill ramekins in the same manner for individual portions. If I'm making it to keep at home, I'll just put it in a plastic container and pick away at it.

08 May 2014

Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon & Caramalised Onions

Bacon. Caramalised onions. Cream. Carbs. I love them all. I love them all even more when they're combined. This recipe makes a perfect side dish for a roast or even a meal in its own right.

1kg yellow potatoes
1 large (preferably red) onion, thinly sliced
5 rashers of bacon, diced
1 tablespoon of salted butter
350ml cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Fry the bacon in a pan deep enough to hold the cream.
2. When the bacon is crispy, remove from the pan and place on a paper towel. Leave any remaining bacon fat in the pan.
3. In the same pan, melt one tablespoon (give or take, depending on the amount of residual bacon fat) of butter on medium heat until it starts to foam.
4. Add onion to the pan and gently mix so that all pieces are coated in butter.
5. Cook until the onion pieces are caramalised. Cooking time will vary, but it should be around 20-40 minutes.
6. While the onions are cooking, peel and thinly slice the potatoes; around 2-3 mm thick.
7. When the onions have finished cooking, turn off the heat and add cooked bacon and cream to the pan, along with the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently to combine.
8. In an 8" x 8" / 10cm x 10cm ovenproof dish, arrange one layer of potatoes to cover the base. Top with the cream mixture, making sure to evenly distribute the onion and bacon. Repeat layers.
9. Tightly cover dish in foil and place in preheated 200C / 390F oven for 30 minutes.
10. Remove foil and cook for another 30 minutes.

As with most of my cooking, I freestyle it to suit my taste, mood, time and pantry offerings. Here are a few ideas for you:
- If you're short on time, you don't have to caramalise the onions. You can just cook them until soft.
- Bacon strips, bacon strips, bacon strips. If you want to add more bacon, go ahead! If you want to leave them out, it's still delicious. I think salami would be great in this dish.
- Cheese, please. Add some cheese in the layering process for extra rich goodness. I'd probably cut down on the cream, otherwise it would get too oily.

04 May 2014

Dirty Dogs - Not What They Once Were

Last week, Dirty Dogs finally opened up their own store, located on Avenue du Mont-Royal. My boyfriend and I had been eagerly awaiting the opening since the Summer, when we had gone to visit their pop-up shop at Mad Hatters. We went a couple of times and fell in love. The dogs back then contained plump, meaty sausages and overflowed with toppings. Plus they came with a small serving of duck fat fried fries. We thought we had found the place to indulge (I do love to indulge) and we sang their praises to all we know. On one visit, I ordered the infamously excessive Maurice Richard - a "pork sausage topped with foie gras, bacon 3-year aged cheddar, caramelised onions and drizzled with maple syrup." Sounds delicious? It was. It really, really was. I can honestly say it was one of the best things I have ever eaten.

With this previous experience still embedded in my mind, we visited Dirty Dogs on their opening day at the end of April. There are 10 different dogs currently on the menu. I ordered The Bernie Mac ("cheddar bacon sausage topped with home made mac & cheese, green onions and crispy bacon") while my boyfriend ordered The Ron Swanson ("Bavarian beer sausage, topped with steak, bacon, garlic aioli and a fried egg"). We were ready to reexperience the mouthgasms from Summer. Instead, we were left so disappointed.

The buns were below room temperature and overwhelmingly sweet. The sausage size had shrunken down to almost nothing and the toppings were scant and tasteless. Honestly, all I could taste of my dog was the sweet bread and a bit of salt from the small sausage. If the sausage was cheddar bacon flavoured (perhaps the menu changed the sausage flavour post opening day), I really couldn't tell. If you had fed it to me blind folded, I would never have guessed there was any mac and cheese on top.

dirty dogs montreal
Who let the dogs out? Needs moar everything!
This was such a dramatic change from their Mad Hatter offerings, where the price was the same (actually, a bit less since tax was included) and had some free fries. The lack of fries and the tax is understandable, since they now have bricks and mortar to pay for, but as for the dogs themselves, I just don't know what happened. Yes, it was opening day, but it's not as if it was their first time cooking.

Since the opening, they've stated on their FB page that the sausage size has increased. That's definitely a step in the right direction. That picture actually makes the original size look bigger than it really was. I would love to think they're heading towards their former glory. Will I go back? I don't know if I want to take the risk of handing over $10 and being disappointed again. So I guess I will patiently wait to see other people's reviews over the next few months before I consider a revisit.

Dirty Dogs is located at 25 Avenue du Mont-Royal Est, Montreal H2T, near the corner of Boul St-Laurent.

If you've visited more recently, I'd be interested to know your opinions.

20 April 2014

Shoppers Drug Mart / Pharmaprix Optimum Points Tips & Tricks

I love Shoppers Drug Mart points. I honestly think Optimum is the best rewards program around. Buy everyday things and get free stuff? Heck, yeah!

A Bit About the Program
The Optimum Rewards Program runs at Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Quebec).
For every $1 you spend on most items, you earn 10 points (base points).
The minimum redemption level is 8,000 points for $10. $800 to earn $10 seems pretty crazy, but earning big points is easy. Just read on!

Optimum Tip and Tricks
  • Buy a store gift card to pay for your purchases. You earn base points when you buy SDM gift cards. When you use the gift cards to make purchases, you'll earn the base points again. That's an easy doubling of your base points.
  • Buy non-point earning items with the gift card, such as transit passes, lotto tickets and medicines. I use a gift card to purchase my monthly transit pass, so that's 800 points for something that I need to buy. I've read that some stores don't allow this, but I've never had a problem at any of the stores I go to.

14 April 2014

Easy Croissant Pudding

easy croissant pudding

Weekends for me mean lazy days in and indulgent breakfasts. This recipe is both ridiculously easy to make and, depending on your variations, wonderfully decadent. Just assemble the night before and bake it the next morning.


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