Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Observations

Hope you've had a lovely weekend! It continues for some of us, here in Canada...yeah!

This is what went on around here today. Once again, niece Annika was in our care. Poor child. I had to get heaps ready to go on a little camping trip, hence all the taffy (coming up). Anything to keep her entertained.

That's about that. Have to get back to making camp food. What did you get up to today?

Back soon!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Croquet on a Friday

This is what we did while waiting for the sun to get a little lower, for our shoot today. Ah, fun.

Have a great weekend, and a long one if you're here in BC!  Back soon.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Concrete and Orange

Ah, mid-week and a long weekend ahead. Hope your week is going smoothly so far!

Just wanted to share a few pics of a house I shot for Evoke International Design (my husband and brother's company). My love of concrete continues...

The landscaping was designed by the talented duo at Considered Design

That's it for today! I've got to head out to shoot a garden, for Style At Home, while we have some perky light. Tried this morning, but had to abort the mission. Please don't rain, please don't rain. 

Back soon.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Hope you're all having a lovely Monday! Did you have a nice weekend? For all my fellow Vancouverites, wasn't that sun, well, summery? So nice.

I tried out a recipe that is based on one that I saw in Alive magazine, this weekend. The recipe called for pineapple, but I thought I'd try cherries and pecans.  The cake itself is really moist, and I love the cherries!

Upside Down Cherry & Pecan Quinoa Cake - makes one 8x8 inch cake

Topping: (I just made this up, not the original recipe)
1 lb of cherries, pitted and halved
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup cooked white quinoa
2 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup plain, low fat yogurt
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

To make topping: Place pitted and halved cherries in a baking dish, with pecans, maple syrup and lemon. Mix together and roast for about 15 minutes in a 375F oven. Watch that the mixture doesn't burn. Place cherry mixture in an 8x8 inch pan (spray pan with a little oil), and set aside.

To make cake: In a food processor, process cooked quinoa, egg yolks, sugar, yogurt, apple sauce, and vanilla until very smooth. About 2 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Add quinoa mixture to flour mixture and stir until no flour streaks remain. With a spatula, gently fold egg whites into quinoa batter until just incorporated. Gently spoon batter over cherries.

Bake in centre of oven for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan, for about 10 minutes, before running a thin knife around edges and inverting cake onto a plate. Top with a little maple syrup whipped cream if you like.

This cake is actually pretty good for you (minus the whipped cream that I added!), so I hope you give it a whirl. There are so many options with this one!

Back soon!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Observations

What a fantastic weekend. It's been sunny, and I became an auntie for the 10th time! How was your weekend? What did you get up to?

The day started off with an early morning shoot at Granville Island with my husband. We're working on a project for a hotel so it was pretty fun, though a tad early. ;)

I finally found a new bag for my 17" macbook pro. I have to haul it around to my shoots, so it had to be roomy and sturdy.  A little better than the actual computer's box that I've been toting. Love the stripes!

We were hanging out with one of our nieces today, so we thought a game of Toss Across was in order. It's a vintage game, so it's missing some bean bags. We created some new split pea bags.

That's it for today. I'm now sipping a refreshing Main Street Pilsner. Yum. If you live in the Vancouver area, have you had one?

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Back soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Does anyone say T.G.I.F. anymore?

Just preparing some small jars, wrapped in fabric and string, for a bit of a family celebration. Looking forward to just relaxing. It's been a crazy week, so allow me to say T.G.I.F. Have a great weekend!

Back soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Road Side Find

How's your week so far? Hope it's moving along smoothly!

I know so many people that just find stuff on the side of the road, or in an alley. I can tell you that has never happened to me, until just the other day. I came across this rusty, and slightly bent, vintage plant stand that had been kicked to the curb. I've always had a soft spot for these, so I brought it home. A little sanding, some gentle persuading it back to more of a circle shape, and a lick of some leftover gray paint, done. It now sits up in my office, but I'm thinking about finding another one to make a pair of bedside tables.

What do you think? Are you one of those people that always seem to find freebies lying around? Any tips?

Have a great day! Back on Friday.

Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm happy to see Monday, as it seems to have brought some sunshine with it! Hope you all had a great weekend.

I made these roasted peaches this weekend, and they are really good. Super simple too. The recipe calls for amaretti (Italian cookies), so I made a quick batch of those. Again, really simple to make. All together it took about 75 minutes to make (including baking time).

Roasted Peaches with Amaretti & Almond Crumble - serves 6 (or a couple of greedy adults)
(I think I got this recipe, originally, from Bon Appetit magazine)

5 amaretti cookies (about 3/4 oz) (you can buy these or make your own. If making your own, make cookies first)
3 tablespoons whole raw almonds
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 firm, but ripe, large peaches, rinsed, wiped clean of fuzz and halved

Preheat oven to 350f. Lightly butter an 11x7x2 inch glass baking dish. Combine cookies, almonds, flour, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped. Add cold butter to processor and pulse until moist clumps form.

Place peach halves, cut side up, in prepared dish. Spread topping over surface of peach half (about a tablespoon for each), pressing lightly to adhere leaving a bit of a border around peach.

Bake peaches for about 35 minutes, until tender and topping is golden brown. Cool slightly. Serve warm!

Amaretti Cookies - makes about 24 

2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups finely ground almonds (almond meal)
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 300f. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff glossy peaks form (about 5 minutes). Beat in almond extract, then fold in ground almonds.

Drop tablespoons of batter on parchment paper lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar over cookies. Bake for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch, and light golden. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Well that's it! Really simple, not to heinous for you, and delicious. What more can you ask for?
Have a great day!

Back soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Observations

Hope you've all had a nice weekend! It's been another wet weekend here in Vancouver. I think summer will start soon. Just around the corner. ;)

What did you get up to? Hope it was fun!

Back soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday, I'm happy to see you

I shot with a fantastic new designer, Sami Wall, today, and she was offering up watermelon as a snack. Now I can't stop thinking about it. So refreshing. This weekend, I may make some kind of a boozy watermelon slurpy this weekend ;) 

I may also have to make some kind of pastry this weekend with my new, pretty, pastry cutter from the talented dad and daughter duo of Herriott Grace. If you haven't heard of them, you have to check out their shop. I absolutely love all of their pieces. 

Have a lovely summery weekend! Back soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A "Pure" Designer

Hope you're all having a good week so far. It's gone by so fast, or is it just me?

Thought I'd share a recent shoot with you. I shot the lovely Ami Mckay, of Pure Design, for Chatelaine Magazine  in this month's issue. I've had the pleasure of working with her a number of times, and it's always heaps of fun. Ami's a talented furniture designer and interior designer, and she's just about to launch her organic bedding line for Bed Bath and Beyond. Exciting times! Read more about her here.

A little look into what inspires her. She's a nature girl all the way. 

A sample of some of her new soft furnishings. 

The beautiful view from her studio. Lucky girl. 

If you recognize Ami, she was on an HGTV show with the lovely Erin Cebula, of ET Canada, a few years back. Multi-talented girl.

On a final note for today, I did a post over at one of my favourite blogs, Poppytalk, about a couple more very talented women. Girls clearly rule this week. ;) Here's a peek...

Back soon!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Happy Monday! Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

I've only made Pavlova a couple of times, and I don't know why I haven't made it more. It's the national dessert of Australia, and my sister-in-law (Australian) makes a fabulous one, so I think maybe I'm nervous! It's fairly easy, but if you try to rush things, it will only end in disappointment and, possibly, tears. ;)
It should end up with a crunchy "crust" and a marshallowy (new word?) centre. Mmmm.

Pavlova with Lemon Custard and Berries - makes 6

3/4 cup berry/caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites, room temperature
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Lemon Custard:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
small pinch of salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 cup whipping cream
4 cups of berries (I used blackberries and blueberries)

To make meringue:
Preheat oven to 300f with rack in middle. If you like, you can trace six 3" circles, with a biscuit cutter, on a piece of parchment paper, and place on baking sheet. You can be more loose with your meringue and omit the traced circles if that's your style. ;)
Whisk the berry/caster sugar and cornstarch together, in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites, at medium speed, until soft peaks form. Add water and beat again until soft peaks form.
Beat in sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, at medium high speed. After all sugar has been incorporated, beat for another 2 minutes.
Add vinegar and beat at high speed for about 6 minutes, until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form.
Carefully spread meringue inside circles, or go freeform, making edges slightly higher so it can hold the custard and berries. Bake until the meringue is a light golden colour, and a crust has formed, about 45 minutes. Turn oven off, prop door open a little, and let meringue sit in oven for one hour.

To make lemon custard:
While meringue is baking, make the custard. Mix together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium size saucepan, then add lemon and butter. Bring mixture to a low simmer, over medium high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer whisking constantly for one minute. Lightly beat egg yolks in a small bowl then mix in 1/4 cup of the lemon mixture, then add to the saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until custard has thickened. This should take about 2 minutes. Do not let mixture boil. Transfer custard to a small bowl and stir in lemon zest. Cover surface with parchment paper, and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours.

To assemble:
Beat whipping cream until still peaks form. Fold in about 1/4 cup to lemon custard. Spoon custard into the "crater" of the meringue and top with berries. Voila. Eat and enjoy!

This dessert is certainly not "heart healthy", but it's sooo good.

Back on Wednesday!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Observations

I hope you've all had nice weekends, where ever you may be!  We had a lovely day, and I wish it was Sunday again tomorrow. Here are a few things I observed today...

This happy tin camper of happiness, happens to be sitting beside our house right now. I read about "Tin Can Studio" in issue 6 of Uppercase magazine (a fabulous Canadian publication). Recently Tin Can hosted a fantastic dinner, serving local organic foods harvested just hours before. Must check it out next time! Such a great idea. For more info click here

Pronto is a new restaurant located in my neighbourhood, near city hall. If you find yourself in the area, you should definitely check it out. One of those places that I could live in! Love the wood panelling, mosaic tile, and the soft green paint colours. Food is great, staff is lovely, and they're licensed too. ;) While you're on Cambie Street, be sure to check out Walrus, Shop Cocoon and Benton Brothers Fine Cheese as well!

I picked up a perfect prop from Land, here in Vancouver. Looking forward to using it, along with the tablecloth/blanket, from Birch and Bird, for a shoot with Gallant & Jones tomorrow!

That's what I got up to today. What did you do? I always love to know!

Back soon.