Tetley Tea contest

I love tea. So much so that I have a whole shelf in my kitchen filled with different kinds of tea. Green tea, black teas, flavoured teas, herbal teas… you name it I probably have it or have at least tried it once.

The Tetley Tea company sent me a sample from their new Tetley Colour Therapy herbal tea line to try. Titled “dream,” my sample was chamomile lemon flavoured. The chamomile taste was dominant, while the lemon part was almost non-existent. I have to admit that chamomile isn’t my favourite kind of tea; I actually prefer Tetley’s honey lemon ginseng green tea. Some of the other flavours in the Colour Therapy line look more interesting to me, like the “soothe” (ginger mint) tea.

But don’t take my word on the quality of this tea; Tetley is offering my blog readers a chance to try it yourselves by winning a tea basket of your very own. The winner will receive two containers of tea, a canister/tea pot and 50 mood influencing greeting cards. To enter, simply reply below and tell me what kinds of moods you find yourself in when craving a cup of tea. This contest is only open to addresses within Canada only, excluding Quebec. One entry per person only, make sure to include your e-mail address so that I can contact you if you are the winner. Entries will be accepted until end of day January 19, 2011.

*This contest is now closed. Congratulations, Mary!*

Tetley Tea basket

photo courtesy of Tetley Tea


Duchess Bake Shop, Edmonton

Yesterday afternoon, when I saw this post on Chowhound and saw Crazy White Girl With a Kitchen’s post and photos, I knew I HAD to stop by the Duchess Bake Shop after work. It is a stylish little place and makes a welcome addition to the shops and restaurants on 124th Street. (For those who are address-challenged and need visual landmarks to find their way around, the bakery is across the street from Koutouki Taverna.)

Look at these pretties! Can you guess what I picked up?

Duchess Bake Shop goodies

Duchess Bake Shop goodies

Oh yeah baby. Macarons and madeleines! Say goodbye to the diet (at least for the day). Hellooooo yummy sugar.

Duchess Bake Shop - macarons and madeleines

Duchess Bake Shop - macarons and madeleines

The madeleines I chose were lavender flavoured. I quite liked the floral flavour of the little sponge cake. I think I would have preferred them to be a tiny bit less dense, but I gave the other one to someone else to try and that person commented that the madeleine was very light tasting. At the bakery they told me the lavender came from Salt Spring Island.

They had three flavours of macarons available so I had to try them all. A lemon (which was fabulously lemony), a pistachio (excellent but maybe a touch too sweet for my preference), and a lavender (just a very faint floral taste, mostly tasted of vanilla). I ate one each, and gave the remainder to the aforementioned other person, who promptly scarfed one like a glutton instead of slowly enjoying it. Yeah, that person got a dirty look from me. Humph.

I was so excited about seeing the macarons that I forgot to ask them what kinds of cakes were in the case. Covered in egg whites with toasty peaks, they looked like stylized cake-shaped baked Alaskas. If anyone knows what they are, please let me know.

They’ve been open for less than a week, so I was told that their hours weren’t absolutely set yet. However on their front door it says that they’re open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I am so fucking ecstatic that I can buy macarons in Edmonton now! Pardon my français. I’m so happy that I had to write this up right away instead of working on other delayed blog posts. I was starting to wonder if I would have to figure out how to make these things myself… or book another trip to Vegas so that I could raid the Bouchon Bakery. Too bad this means I have to do more exercise to work off all the calories… but I think they’re worth the pain for the yummy pleasure. And honestly, as long as you only eat one or two the calories aren’t too bad.

And while I was writing this I noticed that Only Here for the Food posted about the bakery as well. Looks like word is getting around fast.

Duchess Bake Shop
10720-124 Street, Edmonton

Duchess Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Urban Diner, Edmonton

A friend and I popped over to the Urban Diner for brunch on the weekend. The brunch menu isn’t large, but I’ve always found the food to be delicious.

I normally do not eat eggs benedict. Generally, I find hollandaise sauces to be too creamy and too rich. The first time I had brunch here, I had a craving for eggs benedict for some odd reason and fell in love with the Urban Diner’s version.

eggs benedict on French bread and diner potatoes

eggs benedict on French bread and diner potatoes

They give you just enough hollandaise to cover the eggs, but not so much that it drowns everything. The sauce itself is slightly tangy, which allows the taste to cut through some of the creaminess. The ham is sliced thinly enough that you can cut it with a butter knife, but thick enough so that there is plenty to chew. The eggs can be ordered soft, medium or hard; I prefer a soft or medium so that the yolk can soak into the bread. And instead of an English muffin, the eggs are served on a slice of French bread. This dish also comes with a very tasty side of diner potatoes fried with leeks.

My dining companion ordered two eggs with sourdough toast, jam (that I suspect is home-made but did not get a confirmation of this), sausages and diner potatoes.

eggs, sausauge and toasted sourdough bread

eggs, sausauge and toasted sourdough bread

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White beans in olive oil

White beans in olive oil

White beans in olive oil

While doing some searching on the internet, I found this recipe for white beans in olive oil. I thought this might make a nice salad to take to work. Unfortunately, I think the amount of olive oil called for in the original recipe is way too much. I will likely end up straining the beans when I dish them out. I also ended up adding lemon juice because the dish was crying out for more acid. As I didn’t have any radishes, I used beets instead. Once marinated, the garlic gives the dish a nice bite. I think, if I make this dish again, I would put less olive oil and maybe add in at least half of the juice from the can of beets. The vinegary liquid would taste great with the beans. Too bad I had drained most of the can prior to assembling the bean salad.

White beans in olive oil
Adapted from a recipe on Foodworthy

1 can of white kidney/cannellini beans (540 mL/19 oz)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (Original recipe calls for 1/2 cup.)
1 diced shallot
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 can beets, diced (398 mL/14 fl. oz) (I tossed in a bit of the beet liquid as well. Original recipe calls for 5 radishes.)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 minced cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Drain and wash the beans. Combine all the ingredients and marinate for at least an hour.

Lemony fresh lemonade

Today I went to the giant bulk store, Costco. I try to only buy what I need, as sometimes good prices on giant packages of food can be too tempting and it usually takes me a while to use them all. This is all well and fine for non-perishable items, but for bags of vegetables or fruits, it’s not a good thing.

Sometimes, I can’t resist buying something I know I probably shouldn’t.

That’s why I walked out with a giant bag of fantastic looking lemons. I know, it’s out of season and I’m not buying locally. But I live in the Alberta prairie, and all our citrus comes from somewhere else anyway.

What do you do when you have more lemons than you know what to do with? Make lemonade of course.

I used a recipe from the great site Simply Recipes, and the result was a wonderfully tart drink and a kitchen smelling of lemons. Half of the batch is already gone, so I’ll probably make more tomorrow. Heaven knows I still have enough lemons for probably 2-3 more batches.

Perfect lemonade
From Simply Recipes

1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
1 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)

Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.

While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4 to 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

Add the juice and the sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water, more or less to the desired strength. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes. If the lemonade is a little sweet for your taste, add a little more straight lemon juice to it.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons.
Serves 6.

I used the lesser sugar measurement as I prefer lemonade that isn’t too sweet. The comments on the Simply Recipe site has some great tips for variations on this recipe too, like raspberry lemonade or alcoholic versions. I think the Simply Recipes version of pink lemonade is a great idea to try too.

Edited to add: Frozen raspberries or strawberries make a great substitue for ice cubes, and give the lemonade a bit of extra flavour!