Happy holidays and a trip to the Christmas market

   We had heard about this Christmas market and were pretty crazy excited to check it out. I mean come on its an outdoor market in an already beautiful place adorned with holiday festiveness, cedar log roaring fire pits to keep hands toasty warm, mulled wine, apple cider and hot chocolate to warm the innards, fresh baked pretzels, cute little snack huts, homemade christmas gift huts and even Santa himself.  We then stopped at the Brick Street Bakery for a 'boxing day' sandwich. A sandwich loaded with what would be all the left over goodness of a christmas day feast.  Which we need to get again. Real soon.

Wishing everyone a very merry holiday and 
                 a happy new year! 

Milk chocolate cream

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       This has to be one of the easiest desserts I've made and if anyone is looking for a quick Christmas treat that looks amazing and is easy to put together this would be it. Just think you could even switch up the chocolate milk for eggnog for a more festive twist.

Natrel milk chocolate cream
This milk chocolate cream is a versatile dessert. Serve it in cups or in miniature tart shells for a classier treat. The berries’ slightly acidic taste complements the cream’s sweetness perfectly. 

Quantity : 4 custard cups ou 15 miniature tarts
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Cream :
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups Natrel Chocolate milk or Natrel Dark Chocolate milk
Presentation :
  • 4 custard cups or 15 prebaked miniature tart shells
  • Berries (raspberries, strawberries, ground cherries, etc.)
  • Place a strainer over a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a metal bowl, beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar. Add the flour and cornstarch and beat until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, mix the chocolate milk and the rest of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
  • Pour half of the warm milk mixture over the egg yolks and whisk. Pour into the saucepan.
  • Put the saucepan back on the stovetop and bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil for a minute, stirring constantly. Make sure not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Immediately strain the mixture into the large bowl.
  • To avoid the formation of a skin on the top of the cream, lay plastic wrap over the warm cream. Refrigerate for three hours or until cool. 
  • Right before serving, whisk the cream vigorously. Pour into custard cups or prebaked miniature tart shells and top with berries.
Recipe by Natrel
Photography and styling by Ashley Colbourne

honey and oat pancakes


      Who doesn't love a good pancake?  Pancakes are one of those morning breakfast foods conserved for special days... lazy Sundays, cheering up days, kids treat days, Christmas morning or just days you plainly feel like good ol' pancakes.  This day though is Christmas day.  I enjoy doing special breakfasts on that very day.  Considering I know there is a big meal a head of us later that evening, lunch will probably be skipped due to the Christmas day busyness so a good breakfast is key.  Add some bacon or slow cooked scrambled eggs and this morning meal is more then complete.

I have been a collaborator with Natrel coming up with recipes using their milk products.  So I bring you a little healthier lactose-free version of the pancake that might just be perfect for any of your special days.

honey oat pancakes(lactose-free)
1⁄2 cup oat flour
1⁄2 unbleached white flour
3⁄4 cup Natrel lactose free milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp honey
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp coconut oil for greasing pan

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until batter is well combined. Let rest for a few minutes.
Heat a frying pan to medium heat and coat pan with coconut oil or non-stick cooking spray. Pour spoonfuls of batter into the pan in circles then turn the heat to medium-low. Cook until the topside of the pancake starts showing tiny bubbles, then flip and cook for another minute.

banana-nut topping
1 cup dried banana chips
1⁄2 cup chopped nuts, toasted (I choose pecan) maple syrup
In a frying pan on medium heat toast the nuts until they are fragrant and golden. In a mortar and pestle combine banana chips and nuts and bash until you get a good mix of broken up chips and crumbled nuts. Sprinkle over pancakes and top with good quality maple syrup.
Serves 2-3 

Photography and styling by Ashley Colbourne