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Movin’ on up….

Ayh have moved dahlins! That’s right, FudgieBakes has shiny new digs, owned 100% by yours truly.

Come find me here: FudgieBakes.com.

Pretty fancy don’t ya think? 🙂

I wish I had time…

to make (bake?) these: Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. Who wouldn’t want them? Dark chocolate + almond butter = world peace.

I had lofty intentions to make these for my office’s Valentine’s Day pot luck lunch this Friday. Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way, and this week in order to keep myself sane I need to cut loftily-intended projects from my schedule.

They still look like the most amazingly delicious desert to me, and I’m determined to make them before the end of the month, but in the meantime I wanted to share, because I feel like eating these will make the world a better place.

So try them out and let me know how it goes! Thanks to PattyCake.ca for sharing the recipe!

Last week, I blogged about a contest I’m running to give away heart-shaped cake pans in celebration of Valentine’s Day, thanks to the generosity of Lucky Leaf. It’s still not too late to win your own heart-shaped cake pan either! Just email me your favorite Valentine’s Day recipe, or post a link to it below in the comments section along with your email address, and the cake pan will be yours!

I finally got around to making the recipe they had sent me, in my cute new heart-shaped tin, and I’ve got to say, I was surprised (in a good way!) by the result.

Sweetheart Cherry Cake!

At first I was a bit skeptical of the recipe, as it involved canned pie filling, and store-bought cake mix, two things which I usually prefer to make from scratch. Maybe I was just being a snob, because even though I don’t particularly love cherries, I thought this was one of the yummiest cakes I’ve made in a long time! The heart-shaped cake pan was easy to work with, was the perfect size for the recipe, and made decorating a fun new challenge. I used the buttercream frosting recipe they had suggested, but took liberties with the decorations, dying the icing pink, then adding white-chocolate chips and red sprinkles. The final result looked sort of like a 6-year old girl’s dream cake, but with a bit more finesse could also be the perfect desert for a Valentine’s Day treat.

Instead, I served mine at our Superbowl party. 😛

So, without further ado, here is the recipe: Sweetheart Cherry Cake

Ingredients

Cake:

-1 dry white cake mix

-2 large eggs

-1 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-1 can Lucky Leaf Cherry Premium Pie Filling

Buttercream Icing:

-1 cup butter, softened

-1 tsp vanilla extract

-4 cups icing sugar

2-4 tbsp milk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325, and grease heart-shaped pan.

2. Mix together dry cake mix (disregard the directions on the cake mix box), eggs, baking powder, vanilla extract, and half the can of cherry pie filling. Gradually fold in 2nd half of pie filling, until batter is very thick, but moist and well blended.

3. Pour cake mix into pan and bake for 65-70 min. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting

4. Prepare frosting: cream together butter and vanilla extract, then gradually mix in icing sugar. Add a few spoonfuls of milk if consistency is too thick, but be careful! I added too much milk (none was really necessary) and so my icing was too runny, and was not easy to use when frosting the cake.

5. Add other love-ly embellishments such as sprinkles, white chocolate chips, more pie filling on top, etc under your cake is appropriately festive. 🙂

I highly recommend you give this recipe a try, it’s really tasty and really easy to make. Don’t forget to email me your favorite Valentine’s Day recipes this week to win your own free heart shaped cake pan! Or, you can just post a link to the recipe in the comments section, and leave your email address to I can get in touch to send you the prize.

This is my first negative review of a restaurant, and I feel sort of bad about giving bad publicity to any company. However, J and I were so disappointed with our dinner tonight, I felt like it’s a fair reason to write this post.

After a long day of walking around downtown in the cold, we rented some great foreign movies from Boite Noire and deciding on ordering in pizza for dinner. I have a long-standing devotion to Pizza Hut but sadly they don’t deliver to our neighbourhood, even though they insist on taunting me by sending flyers to our address every week. We also tried to order from Il Focolaio Pizza, near Square Phillips which I’ve heard many people swear makes some of the best pizza in town, but their phone number wasn’t working. Dodgy!

We ended up chosing Tomato: La boite à pizza, because we’ve walked by their terrasse on St. Denis a few times during the summer and it looked good, plus we had received their take-out menu in our mailbox.

I ordered a small Parmesan Reggiano-Anchois pizza with mushrooms, and J had the Mozzarelle fraîche-Champignons with fresh garlic. I wish I had taken pictures, because as soon as we opened our boxes we felt left-down. The crust was very thin, dry, a bit burnt, and tasted like cardboard, or like cheap toasted pita bread. The toppings were fine but not particularly abundant, with a very thin layer of cheese, and bland, averge tasting sauce. The pizzas themselves were also pretty small, and so after we finished eating we really didn’t feel satisfied. I think the main problem was the crust – it can really make or break a pizza, and this one not only broke the pizza, but our hearts. (Too cheesy?)

So needless to say, I don’t recommend this place, ever. Instead try anywhere else! My personal faves include Pizza Hut, Dominoe’s, Altos, Il Focolaio, or any cheap neighbourhood place.

A while back, I posted a pretty good recipe for whole wheat banana bread. I’ve been feeling more adventurous with my baking lately, and have also been trying to eat even more nutritiously, so I decided it was time to give that recipe a revamp, and voila, a more decadent, sweet, satisfying and filling recipe was born.

Mmmm Banana Bread - this one is so decadent and tasty, but still somewhat healthy. 🙂

A few of my inspirations: I’ve been running a lot more (yay!) and drinking a lot less (booo! boring!) so I’m looking for more protein-rich, nutritious foods, and I’m not quite as concerned about fat/calories as I used to be (the upside of running 25 + km per week!). So I incorporated some hemp protein powder, other good things like flax seed and unsweetened applesauce, and a delicious honey-nut glaze topping, and the result is really fantastic. J and I enjoyed two thick slices each while still warm, although one would’ve prolly been enough. 🙂

Ingredients:

-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

-1/2 cup ground flaxseed

-2 tsp baking soda

-2 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp pure vanilla extract

-3/4 cup hemp protein powder

-1 cup brown sugar Splenda

-1/4 cup butter

-1/4 cup canola oil

-1 egg

-1 cup unsweetened apple sauce

-3 mashed bananas

-3 tbsp honey

-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

-1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions:

1. Mix all dry ingredients together (Flour, flaxseed, baking soda, baking powder, protein powder, cinnamon) and set aside

2. Cream butter, Splenda, oil and vanilla together, set aside

3. Mash banana and stir in apple sauce, add to dry mixture along with sugar/butter mixture.

4. Add in egg, stir together, and pour (although the consistency will be quite thick) into loaf pan.

5. Bake at 350. After about 10 minutes, remove from oven. Drizzle honey over top of loaf, then sprinkle chopped nuts and brown sugar on top. Place bake in oven and bake for another 50 minutes.

6. Make sure to cool before serving, loaf is very dense and moist.

Today is the first day of February, which means that there are still a good 2 full months of winter here left in Montreal, and good ‘ol Valentine’s Day is just 2 short weeks away. I like Valentine’s Day, especially the past few years since I’m lucky enough to be in love with a genuinely wonderful person, but I also like it for the holiday-themed baking opportunities it brings.

Goodies from Lucky Leaf!

This year I received a neat gift package from Lucky Leaf, including a heart-shaped cake pan, really cute heart-shaped measuring spoons, delicious-looking cherry pie filling, and the recipe for a yummy-sounding Valentine’s Day delight – Sweetheart Cherry Cake!

The Lucky Leaf site has a lot of tempting recipes (Crunchy Amaretto Peach Cobler, Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie, & Apple Coconut Crisp to name a few). I’m planning to give the recipe a try a bit later this week, and will be sure to post lots of pictures (can’t wait to make a heart-shaped cake!), but in the meantime, Lucky Leaf have also volunteered to offer a similiar giveaway for some of my readers!

Here’s the deal – send me your favorite Valentine’s Day baking recipes, and the top 10 entries will win their own heart-shaped cake pan, along with a recipe for Sweetheart Cherry Cake! Your can submit as many entries as you like, however you’ll only be eligible to win one prize. To submit your entry, email me at fudgiebakes@gmail.com.

I’m looking for anything Valentine’s Day related – cookies, pies, cakes, muffins, truffles, you name it!

Good luck to everyone and happy baking!

A frigid, -30 night (typical Montreal?) brought us to Bistro Cocagne on a recent Friday evening, in search of a warm atmosphere and delicious, nourishing food, and we were certainly not disappointed.

This intimate, attractive restaurant is located on St. Denis street, in the former location of renowned Montreal institution Toque. The space has been tranformed into a warm, elegant space with modern red walls, hard wood floors and accents, and soft lighting which creative an inviting mood, perfect for a romantic diner or an evening out with friends.

We chose the the $42 table d’hote menu which included an appetizer, main course and desert, all of which were delicious. As we often do, we both started with the same appetizer: Gnocchi de ricotta, escargots, purée de Sweet Mama, jus à la fleur d’ail. It was amazing – plenty of escargots, perfectly cooked gnocchi with just the right hint of cheese flavour, and a deliciously light sauce that was perfect for bread dipping.

For our entrees, I chose the special of the day which was seared scallops (6 medium sized ones, just the right amount for a satisfying portion), with bok choy, grilled mushrooms and a cauliflower mash. Outstanding. J ordered the Pièce d’agneau braisé, risotto de courge et épinard, jus de braisage, and it was equally good. The lamb was actually a very large portion (something I never complain about!) and extremely tender, while the risotto was cooked to perfection – not too mushy or heavy, and with a sauce that didn’t overpower the flavours.

For desert J had a dark chocolate creme brulee, and I had a daily special, which was a chocolate mousse with a light cake center and caramel sauce. Both were scrumptious.

The service was very friendly and attentive at the beginning of our meal, but became slow and ultimately a bit frustrating by the end of our evening, which was the only dark note in an otherwise perfect experience. Their sommelier suggested a fantastic white wine which we both enjoyed, and in general the staff was knowledgeable about the menu.

Overall I would highly recommend this restaurant. Fudgie likes a lot! 🙂

Healthy Baking Tip!

This week was been unpleasant to say the least, as I’m getting over exhaustion, a cold, a very busy week at work, and some important ‘get my life in order’ tasks that I’ve been putting off since before Christmas. So, I haven’t had much time to try new recipes, but I plan to catch up on some next week. 🙂

Gum + Smurfs seemed appropriate...

In the meantime, I wanted to share a really quick tip for people who are dieting or trying to eat heathily, but still love to bake. Personally, when baking I usually always taste things a few times, or snack on the ingredients (sneaking a handful of chocolate chips, tasting an extra spoonful of the peanut butter, everyone’s got their weakness!) so that by the time my lovely creation is ready to eat, I’ve already probably had enough extra sweets but of course that cannot stop me from amply sampling the final product. So, Ive come up with a solution that works perfectly:

Chew gum while you bake. 🙂

Unlike cooking, baking rarely requires you to sample the dough to make sure the flavor is right, or to add more seasoning. Nope, you pretty much just need to follow the recipe by the book, and maybe make a few alterations based on texture, rather than taste. So, if you’ve got gum in your mouth, you are a lot less likely to try and taste things along the way. Give it a try!

I think I’ve found one of my new favorite restaurants in Montreal (existing ones include Lemeac, Chez Leveque, L’Express, and Gibby’s): Cuisine Dependence.

Located on the cusp of Mile End, on St. Laurent just below St. Joseph, this fantastic French restaurant has a cozy and inviting yet modern and sophisticated atmosphere, with outstanding service and some of the best tasting food I’ve had at a Montreal restaurant in years.

My boyfriend started with the scallops in Bouillabase with Rouille sauce, and it was fantastic. The scallops were fresh and tender, and the sauce complimented the flavours well but was light enough to not overpower. I started with their salmon tartar garnished with a cabbage and spinach remoulade, and it was also delicious.

The main courses were what really shone. Again my boyfriend stuck with seafood, opting for the Cod. I ordered the veal cheeks which were served with root vegetables and potato mash, and it was honestly one of the best meat dishes I’ve tasted in years – the veal was so tender I didn’t need a knife at all.

For dessert we both ordered the terrine de chocolat – a slab of dense chocolate mousse, garnished with creme anglaise and rich caramel sauce – the perfect finish to our meal.

Service was exceptionally friendly and attentive – we were offered several wines to sample before ordering, and the food was served at a leisurely but not too slow pace, so we could take our time with each course and enjoy our conversation. The final bill was a bit high, starters run from $8-$12, main courses are in the $25-$30 range and dessert with coffee was $13 each, so combined with a bottle of wine and and extra cocktail and tip, we were above $200 but felt the meal and experience was well worth it.My only suggestion would be that they develop a table d’hote menu, so that diners could experience their cuisine at a more affordable price.

All in all I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for the ideal spot for a romantic dinner, a special celebration, or just a treat for your taste buds.

Just got back from Las Vegas, where I attended an affiliate marketing conference for work. I hate Vegas, or at least I hate Vegas when on business, but I love business, and am now still in hyper-networking mode. So, when I heard about another upcoming Montreal Geek Girl dinner next week, I decided I must attend.

Girl Geek Montreal

Girl Geek, according to Wikipedia, is defined as “Girl Geek (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_Geek): Someone who is female and has an interest in technology, particularly computing and new media. Not necessarily technically minded.”  I guess that applies to me, and the dinners organized in Montreal are (and this is copied directly from the Montreal Girl Geek Dinners website) monthly events are aimed at providing a welcoming atmosphere and a platform for learning in an informal environment. They are always held in pubs, bars or restos and there is usually a speaker (or several) who talk for a short while on a chosen subject for the evening.

The next edition is happening this Monday, January 25th from 6 to 8pm at McKibbin’s Irish Pub on Bishop Street. The guest speaker is Edith Dandenault, a professional organizer who will be talking about removing clutter from your life to be more effective with your time. I’m going mainly to see some friends and check out what’s happening in the MTL online marketing/job community. Plus, McKibbin’s has some yummy food, I plan on trying out one of their stews.

If you’re going, let me know!