February Mincemeat Tarts?

It’s a cold winter day here in Vancouver. The rain is ready to start and my very significant other is home ill for the day. Given it is still winter here I thought I would finally get around to making the mincemeat tarts that I did not get to at Christmas.

Mincemeat Tarts

For 24 tarts I used:

2 1/2 Cups of Flour plus more for rolling the pastry out
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Sugar
8 Ounces of Unsalted Butter – cut into pieces and well chilled
1/4 Cup ice cold Water
1/4 Cup of Vodka
1 Jar – 700 ml of Mincemeat

Don’t judge me but mincemeat is one of the few pre-made things I ever buy for baking. At under $4.00 ( 2020 – now $5 if it can be found) for a jar I figure it’s a steal!

I measured out the flour, salt & sugar into a bowl and added the cut up butter.

Mincemeat Tarts – Pastry Ingredients

After using a pastry cutter to work in the butter I added the water an vodka and mixed everything with a fork.

Mincemeat Tarts – Cut-In Butter
Mincemeat Tarts – Liquids Added

I gathered the mixture and split it into two and wrapped each piece in plastic wrap and chilled it in the fridge for an hour.

Mincemeat Tarts – Pastry Chilled

After the hour I rolled out each piece of dough until it was between 1/4″ and 1/8″ inch thick.

I used a 3 1/4″ fluted biscuit cutter to cut out 24 discs of dough. I lined 2 – 12 portion tart pans with the cut pieces and divided out the mincemeat evenly between the pans.

Mincemeat Tarts – Pastry Rolled Out
Mincemeat Tarts – Filled

I popped the pans into a 400˚ oven for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes I swapped the pans and cooked the tarts for another 20 minutes.

I removed the pans from the oven and let them sit on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Using an off set spatula I carefully removed the tarts from the pans and let them cool on a rack for another 15 minutes.

Mincemeat Tarts – Cooling

They were a great treat on a cold Tuesday afternoon!

My Valentines

After wandering the neighbourhood yesterday, for Valentines day this year a Chocolate Cake was in order. Mine was inspired by the buttermilk chocolate cake recipe in the book – In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs. I have made this cake many times before but decided to change it up with the addition of Kirsch and a chocolate whipped cream frosting.

Valentines Day

What did you do for your sweetie?

Next time I make this recipe I would use double the vanilla and add 1 teaspoon of espresso powder.

More after the jump……

Chocolate Cake – In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs
Chocolate Cake – In Julia’s Kitchen With Master Chefs – Page 39
Chocolate Cake – The Ingredients

For this recipe I used:
1/2 Cup of Water
2 Tablespoons of Buttermilk Powder
4 Ounces of Unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup of Cocoa Powder
1 Cup of Whey Low Granular (sugar replacement)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
5 Large Eggs – separated
1 Cup of Cake Flour

1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
8 Ounces Melted Milk Chocolate

1/4 Cup Kirsch

Chocolate Cake – The Ingredients Ready To Go

The oven was heated to 325 and 4 – 6 inch cake pans were buttered and floured and set aside.

Chocolate Cake – Pans Buttered and Floured

In a small pan water and butter were melted and slightly cooled.

Chocolate Cake – Water and Butter Melting

In a small bowl I combined the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, vanilla, and the buttermilk powder. I mixed in the slightly cooled butter/water mixture and set the bowl aside.

Chocolate Cake – Vanilla, Sugar, Baking Soda, Cocoa
Chocolate Cake – Adding the Buttermilk Powder

With my hand mixer In a medium bowl, the egg whites were whipped until frothy and the Whey Low was gradually added until peaked formed.

Chocolate Cake – Starting the Egg Whites
Chocolate Cake – After adding the sugar slowly and 5 minutes

I whisked the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture. I sifted the flour over the chocolate mixture and gently folded it in. Next the egg whites were added and folded in until just mixed.

Chocolate Cake – Adding the Egg Yolks
Chocolate Cake – Sifted Flour
Chocolate Cake – Adding the Egg Whites
Chocolate Cake – Mostly Mixed
Chocolate Cake – Just Mixed

I split the final mixture between the 4 pans and tapped them gently to spread the batter out in the pans.

Chocolate Cake – Splitting the Batter
Chocolate Cake – Smoothed Out

Into the oven for 20 minutes and the cakes were baked!

I let the cakes cool on a rack for 5 minutes and turned them out to cool fully.

Chocolate Cake – Cooling the Chocolate Cake

Once cool I wrapped 2 of the cakes and froze them for a future event.

In a bowl over a pan of simmering water I melted 2 bars of milk chocolate. After cooling for 10 minutes I made a couple of decorations from the milk chocolate, to decorate the cake later, and let them chill in the fridge.

Chocolate Cake – Melting Chocolate

After further cooling of the chocolate I whipped the cream then added the melted chocolate and vanilla. I chilled the bowl for 15 minutes then whipped the mixture again.

Chocolate Cake – Chocolate Whipped Cream

After splitting both cakes in half, I brushed on some kirsch on each layer followed with the chocolate cream frosting. Once everything was coated I added the decorations and chilled the cake completely.

Chocolate Cake – Soaking the Cake

Then Served.

Chocolate Cake – Frosted

Happy Valentines Day!!

Valentines Day Around Vancouver

Chocolate Mousse Kitchenware

While gathering my last bits for a great Valentines dinner I was able to talk a walk around the neighbourhood to see what was on offer.

Way to go Whole Foods & Cupcakes!

Urban Fare

Urban Fare
Urban Fare – Be Mine Cookies

More after the jump……

South Van Produce Vancouver
South Van Produce Flowers – Now Closed
Denman Market  Vancouver
Denman Market Flowers
Windsor Market Vancouver
Windsor Market Flowers


Chocolate Mousse Kitchenware Etc.


Chocolate Mousse Window
JJ Market Vancouver
JJ Market Flowers


Daniel Chocolate Belge


Daniel Chocolate Belge – Window


Whole Foods
Whole Foods –  Vancouver Cherry Pie


Whole Foods – Rose Petals
Whole Foods – Valentines Quiz
Whole Foods Expert Help
Cup Cakes
 Cup Cakes – Mobbed
Cafe Thierry
Cafe Thierry – Busy front and Back Inside

December 2020, Sadly Chocolate Mousse in Vancouver has closed.

Dinner Party Birthday Cake

I was very fortunate to be invited to a friends for a dinner party, a non-celebration of an impending birthday. With 8 courses and 6 wines it was quite the evening! Everything ,with the exception of the sorbet and the candied violets, was expertly home made.Featuring 2 dessert courses: Birthday Cake & Poached Pears

Birthday Cake – Almond-Orange with Swiss Butter Cream

By 11:30 we staggered home slightly tipsy and overly stuffed.

Happy Non-birthday…Birthday Boy!

More after the jump….

The Menu
Poached Pears with Candied Violets
The Birthday Cake

Kamuela Provision Company – Hilton Waikoloa Big Island of Hawaii

On Saturday night we found ourselves at the Hilton Waikoloa around dinner time. We though we might check out the food offerings.While wandering we ended up in a tower lobby and asked a concierge to book us a table at one of the restaurants. She tried to get us into the Kamuela Provision Company. Her system showed they were completely full

We made our way to the restaurant anyway. Once there we checked at the hostess desk and were advised they were indeed completely full. They did offer us a spot on the small deck that was serviced by the lounge. Perfect we thought.

The deck had 6 tables and looked out over the bay. We were sat just as the sun was setting. We couldn’t have planned it better.

Dessert was pretty great. We ended up ordering a baked Mauna Kea and a Coconut Creme Brulee.

Hilton KPC – Baked Mauna Kea
Hilton KPC – Coconut Creme Brulee – in a coconut shell

More pictures form the rest of dinner after the jump…..

Hilton KPC
Hilton KPC – Shrimp Cocktail
Hilton KPC – Kalbi Short Rib
Hilton KPC – Steak with Spinach
Hilton KPC – Dessert Menu
Hilton KPC – Sunset with a whale show.

Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai – Big Island of Hawaii

We had the good fortune to eat at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai in Keahou last night. A Friday night dinner out with an awesome view was on the list. Sam Choy’s provided it. Dessert was the “Award winning Kai Lanai Chocolate Cake” – a flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.

Sam Choy Kai Lanai

More of the dinner after the jump……

Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Sunset
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Sunset
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Lighting the torches
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Let there be fire
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Greens with Asian dressing and Maui Onion Soup
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Char Soey Rib appetizer – apologies for the mis-spelling
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Fish Trio
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Short Rib
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – Dessert menu
Sam Choy Kai Lanai – The buzz….

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