Zucchini Lemon Thyme Cheese Tart

At a visit to the local Saturday market, we were offered a taste of this delicious tart made by Hastings House pastry chef, Rosemary Harbrecht.  The pastry was a perfect compliment to the freshness of the cheese and zucchini.  Rosemary gave us a copy of this recipe and we made it for lunch that day and it was a family hit. Enjoy!


1 1/2 c. flour

5 oz. cold unsalted butter

kosher salt

1/2 tsp. vinegar

1 1/2 lbs. zuchinni cut into 1/8 inch slices

black pepper

2 tbsp. olive oil

8 oz. chèvre (original recipe called for 4 ounces each of chèvre and cream cheese)

1 tsp. parsley

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. lemon zest

By hand or in a food processor, mix flour, butter, 3/4 tsp. salt until crumbly.  Add the vinegar and 3-4 tbsp. cold water just until dough comes together.  Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic to chill for 20 minutes.

Roll out the dough to about 10 or 11 inches in diameter.  It should be about a 1/4 inch thick.  Place the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for at least another 15 minutes.

Toss the zucchini slices with a teaspoon of salt and let it drain for about 20 minutes.  Gently press out more moisture with paper towel.  Then toss the zucchini in a bowl with pepper and 1 tbsp. of the olive oil.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Mix the cheese with the herbs, zest, and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread this over the pastry leaving a small uncovered border.  Arrange the zucchini slices in overlapping circles.  Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and bake for 30-40 minutes until the zucchini is golden around the edges.


Beetroot Tarte Tatin with a Hazelnut Crust

This recipe is one I’ve been dying to try from Cannelle et Vanille.  I adapted it a bit: doubled the recipe to make a larger tart and used purple sweet potatoes as opposed to potatoes.  The result was a healthy, savoury tart with the perfect amount of caramelization to appeal to my sweet tooth. The process was a little time consuming but it made for a fun and tasty side to our dinner steaks.

Roasted Beet and Purple Potato Tarte Tatin with Caramelized Fennel and Gruyere Cheese

(makes a 9-inch tart)

Buckwheat and Hazelnut Tart Crust

1 c. brown rice flour
2/3 c. buckwheat flour
2/3 c. tapioca starch (the same as tapioca flour)
2/3 c. hazelnut flour (ground hazelnut)
4 tsp. ground chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 c. cold unsalted butter, diced
12 to 16 tbsp. ice water

Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the diced butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Add the water and pulse until dough comes together. It will not form a ball. Simply press it between your fingers to see if it holds.

Transfer dough to flat surface and knead a couple of times. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten it with your hands, and refrigerate for one hour.

Meanwhile…prepare the filling

8 assorted colors baby beets, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium purple sweet-potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 springs thyme
pinch salt
pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 oz. grated caprano cheese (the original recipe suggests gruyere) 

Preheat oven to 400F. Toss the slices beets and purple potatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pinch salt and black pepper. Bake the vegetables for 30 minutes until potatoes are done (they take less time than beets) and remove them. Continue to bake the beets for a few more minutes until tender, about 10 more minutes. Set aside and cool while making filling.

Reduce oven temperature to 375F.

Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator. Lightly dock it with a fork. Dust your cold surface with a bit of superfine brown rice flour. Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut a circle that is slightly bigger than your mold. The scraps can be saved for another time.

Transfer the tart base to a sheet lined with parchment and refrigerate the tart base for 30 minutes.

Heat a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the rest of the olive oil and cook the onions, fennel, garlic, and a pinch of salt until tender and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, stir, and remove from heat. Set aside and let cool slightly.

Remove the tart crust from the refrigerator. Lightly dock it with a fork.

Place the roasted vegetables inside the tart mold tightly packed. Spread the caramelized onion and fennel mixture on top and sprinkle the Gruyere on top of that. Place the tart dough on top and tuck it into the edges.

Bake the tart for 30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

This recipe was adapted from LDS Magazine.  I, of course, wanted it to be more lemony as I was baking them for one of my best friends who adores lemon and is off with her family for a 2-month summer escapade.  The cookies themselves are very lovely, go brilliantly with a nice cup of English Breakfast tea, and according to my 4 year old son are tied with chocolate chip cookies as his favourite (this is no small feat).


Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. baking powder
⅛ tsp. baking soda
1½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear off parchment paper the right size for your cookie sheets.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping spoon of dough into a ball (about an inch in diameter) and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny). Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake

This cake is a tasty balance of sweet streusel and sour fruit.  It makes quite a large treat and so is typically only served around here when company is expected.  My 4-year-old was severely disappointed (read: threw a not-so-charming tantrum) upon discovering that there were no chocolate chips involved, but I think this recipe is perfect nevertheless.


¾ c. lightly packed brown sugar

            ½ c. unbleached flour

            1 tsp. cinnamon

            ¼ c. butter


½ c. soft butter

            1 c. granulated sugar

            2 eggs

            1 tsp. vanilla

            2 c. flour

            1 tsp. baking powder

            1 tsp. baking soda

            ½ tsp. salt

            1 c. sour cream

            4 c. fresh cranberries (allow to thaw if using frozen)

Cream soft butter and granulated sugar.  Beat in eggs followed by vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.

Make streusel by cutting the ingredients together (or using fingers to blend the ingredients).

Spread half of batter in a greased and floured 10” springform pan by dropping dessert spoons of batter evenly across the bottom and joining them with a spoon or spatula to make a continuous surface.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture, then half of the cranberries.  Spread the remaining batter, using the spoon drop technique, then finish with remaining cranberries and then streusel.

Bake at 350F for 1 hour.

Salt Spring Island Cheese

So this is a cheat post…but a good one nonetheless.  As some of you will know, I consider Saltspring Island, BC home even though I don’t currently live there.  Now there are a million wonderful things about this bizarre little gulf island, but one of my favourites is the goat cheese from Salt Spring Island Cheese Company.

Having recently accepted that I am lactose-intollerant (I discovered this quite a while prior to admission), my love of chèvre has become a need.  I should mention that I am fortunate that goat milk works for me, as it doesn’t for everyone.

Salt Spring Island Cheese Company makes a wide variety of goat’s milk products from feta to ice cream (the vanilla and chocolate are my personal picks), and carry all sorts of lovely olives and preserves.  If you ever get the chance, it’s a wonderful place to visit as they have the farm set up so that you can see the animals, watch the process, and indulge in goat cheese heaven on their beautiful patio outside the shop.  If you can’t make it to Saltspring, your loss! But you can still buy many of their products at local grocers across the country.

The photo below is of their relatively new product “Ruckles” pictured with Lesley Stowe’s Original Raincoast Crisps.

So, as there is no recipe needed to enjoy this post, I hope you get the chance to try the cheese for yourself!


Joanne’s Simple Artichoke Dip

This dip is simple and divine…but (warning) not particularly healthy.  It got passed onto me by my mum who got it from one of her best friends, Joanne.  Of course it pairs perfectly with crackers or tortilla chips and is always a party hit!

Many thanks to the brilliant Peter of Joshua Lawrence Photography for the camera tutorial.  Hopefully my pictures will now better reflect the appetizing recipes I post.

12 oz. marinated artichoke hearts

1 c. mayonnaise

1/2 c. grated parmesan

3 cloves garlic

Pepper to taste

Chop the artichoke hearts and finely chop the garlic.  Mix all ingredients together and bake in a shallow pan at 350F for 20 minutes.  Broil for another 2 minutes to get a nice brown colour on top.