potato & cheddar danishes

potato cheddar danish
potato cheddar danish
potato cheddar danish

This dreadful idea came to me a few years ago while I was preparing for a university club bakesale: a danish filled with thin layers of potato and cheese. And, even worse, in the form of a neat square-shaped danish which necessitates a neatly cut square-shaped filling.

What a horrendous idea. Each time I make these, I survey a work surface covered in bechamel and swear I will never make them again. Though, given that I’ve made these finicky danishes four times, perhaps they are worth it.

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rhubarb, cardamom & lavender danishes

rhubarb lavender cardamom danish
rhubarb lavender cardamom danish
rhubarb lavender cardamom danish

Earlier in the spring during the pandemic I made a series of posts on bakes inspired by local businesses. Food industry profit margins are notoriously slim (for instance, this article cites an average of 3% over the whole industry) – and the current situation has certainly not helped. It reminds me to appreciate food businesses who work with these slim margins and few guarantees to bring their favourite flavours, creativity and skill to life. Here is one most post about one of my favourite bakeries (and luckily, one so thoroughly beloved in the city that we likely don’t need to worry too much about them) – and another reminder that if we have the means, to look into safe ways to support our local businesses.

Blackbird Baking Co. is tucked in the middle of Kensington Market. A wall of crusty breads, each loaf scored and oven-bloomed, sits along one wall – the multigrain batard is a favourite. The display case in front is where things get most exciting on the dessert and butter front – there are always a couple scone flavours next to dense chocolate corks, beside which are the croissants and danishes with such thin and clearly defined layers, they look like the splayed pages of a book.

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yuzu kosho pissaladière danishes (& on body-worn cameras for the police)

yuzu kosho pissaladiere danishes yuzu kosho pissaladiere danishes

Certainly advocates are not a monolith, but some of the key advocacy organizations leading the current movement such as Black Lives Matter TO, have not recommended body cameras as a measure to reduce police violence. On the other hand, body cameras seem to be a popular proposal by governments, and a frequent recommendation in police service use of force reviews I’ve read. As I’ve explained before, I think it is best to follow the lead of advocates.

A recent discussion I had about body cameras has prompted me to write up my impressions on the debate in order to formalize my thoughts for any future discussions. In sum, I would characterize body cameras 1) a reform with a small potential benefit likely outweighed by a large cost, and 2) furthermore a measure that maintains/increases the scope of policing, which is the opposite of what the defund movement is pushing for.

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persimmon, pistachio & mascarpone danishes

persimmon pistachio danishespersimmon pistachio mascarpone danish

Lately, my reading list has been dominated by non-fiction – Eating Right in America by Charlotte Biltekoff Maynard, Unsetting Canada by Arthur Manuel, and Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini to name a few. This list rarely gets shorter; half of them have are annotated with what page I’ve left off on, started but never finished. I read a bit and get distracted, or life gets in the way as it always does (or as I always let it) and then they’re due back at the library so I have to return them and place another hold…

They are all books I very much want to read, but I suppose what I’ve actually been craving is fiction! Immersive fiction! Thorough engrossment with no cracks in concentration for life (i.e. news articles and texts and instagram and oh yeah – responsibilities) to get in the way. Or rather, more so than fiction specifically, it’s character-driven stories.

My most recent complete read was one of those books you sit down and find yourself devouring as smoothly as a croissant or a slice of cake (like – they’re there in front of you and then somehow they’re gone), the memoir We Have Always Been Here by Samra Habib.

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pumpkin pasties (sort of)

some sort-of pumpkin pasties – maybe more accurately pumpkin turnovers – and thinking back to the Harry Potter days

pumpking turnoverspumpking turnovers

I felt like I grew up alongside Harry Potter. Upon reflection I was wondering about the literal accuracy of that statement, so I mapped out my and Harry’s ages using the book publishing dates. There is a bit of truth to it, albeit perhaps less than I had imagined: he was quite a bit older, with the series concluding when I was still quite young (my entry into the fandom only coincided with the publishing of the last few books), though given that sometimes it would take a few years for him to age one year, I caught up a couple years.

The reason I was still able engage with the series at the time was because my older sister read the books to me (she more properly grew up alongside the books!). Despite that, I still remember very well what a longitudinal presence an ongoing book series can take – aching, after you finish the latest book, dulling over a year or few of waiting, and the beating return of anticipation as the next release date approaches. It felt like a special time, and something that I’m not sure I’ll see again: not just the anticipation about a new book coming out, but also the camaraderie that accompanied it as so many others were waiting with you.

My impression that I had grown up alongside Harry Potter throughout my childhood speaks to the enormity of the series’ presence. Finishing each successive book (irregardless of publishing date) felt like a milestone in my own life – and it’s easy to start correlating my own growth and development to his when the books map along Harry’s life for seven years.

I’ve since read the series over several times and they are just as good as the first time through, when the reading was a rushed flipping of pages, while also unabashedly savoured in the way that reading aloud facilitates.

Every time I noticed something new and charming in what she’s written – and of course, the mentions of food always pop out, including one of the exchanges to open up the first book:

“Go on, have a pasty,” said Harry, who had never had anything to share before or, indeed, anyone to share it with. It was a nice feeling, sitting there with Ron, eating their way through all Harry’s pasties, cakes, and sweets (the sandwiches lay forgotten).

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large rhubarb and cream cheese danish


Structurally, this danish is based on a blueberry cream cheese bread I remember being very fond of making in elementary school. But now that I’m older I’ve obviously decided it would be much improved with five times the butter … which entails a danish pastry instead of enriched bread!

I ended up loving the simplicity of this pastry enough to make it twice. The second time was for a potluck, where, predictably, the desserts kept on piling up. We ended up sharing the remaining desserts over the course of the following week.

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orange cardamom eccles cakes

I was so happy when Lina of Lin’s Recipes, and commenced her return to blogging with a recipe challenge. Her previous challenges have been plenty of fun, a chance to learn, and an exciting way to bring other food bloggers together. This challenge is being hosted by Freda of Aromatic Essence!

For this challenge I made Eccles cakes, little pastries stuffed with currants, excitingly something I had wanted to try making for a while.

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strawberry, elderflower and vanilla millefeuille


It sounds as though I’m talking about a novel or a movie when I say that it captured my imagination; rather, I’m actually talking about a pavlova. A layered pavlova with elderflower cream and rhubarb-macerated strawberries from A Pug in the Kitchen.

I took a bit of a millefeuille reinterpretation: vanilla pastry cream, and strawberries macerated in elderflower tonic.

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