The Perfect Cigar -Cuba’s Gift to the World

Woman with cigar in white - The Perfect Cigar

One of Havana’s famous cigar women poses for me. She is dressed in the traditional white of Santeria devotees.

There are several ways to finish the phrase: Cuban _  _ _.       Revolution!  Music!  Rum! But I’ll bet most people end with ‘Cigar’. Cuban cigars are considered, among afficianados, as among the very best in the world.  Continue reading

Bikes and Brews – Victoria, BC

waterfront at Victoria with Empress Hotel Bikes and Brews in Victoria, BC

The venerable Empress Hotel dominates the waterfront in Victoria.

Delicious sunshine makes this the perfect day to explore this beautiful city on two wheels. I set out to see if Victoria, British Columbia lives up to its moniker of most bike friendly city in Canada. Just a short block from the harbour with its iconic views of the provincial parliament buildings and the Empress Hotel, Shawn, one of the owners of The Pedaler, fits us out with comfortable bikes and mandatory helmets. And we’re off on our tour. Continue reading

Fresh Fruit Tart

fresh fruit arranged in a tart - Use your food processor to make this in a matter of minutes.

Fresh fruit tart is an attractive dessert and it tastes as food as it looks.

One of my favourite recipes, this fresh fruit tart is easy to make, looks spectacular and tastes delicious. As far as I’m concerned those are the three criteria for a perfect recipe. This was the first recipe I ever learned to make in my very first food processor – a Cuisinart that I spent an unconscionable amount of money to buy back in 1977. It was well worth every penny. Use your food processor to make this in a matter of minutes.

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold, cut in pieces
  • 1 tbsp. white vinegar

Preheat over to 400 F.

Add the dry ingredients and the butter to the bowl of the food processor. Process until the butter is cut into the flour….about 10 seconds. Keep the machine going and pour the vinegar through the feed tube. Keep processing until the dough forms a ball. (It will form a ball, just keep it going)  Don’t over-process.

Note: You can do this by hand as well. Just cut the butter into the flour and rub until it forms crumbs. Add the vinegar and blend with a fork to form a ball.

hands pressing dough into the edges. Fresh fruit tart

Press the dough along the edges to form the pretty fluting.

Press the dough into the bottom of a 9 inch flan pan with removeable bottom. (For an 11-inch pan, use 1 1/2 times the ingredients.

pastry in oven Fresh fruit tartBake at 400 F for about 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Cool on a rack. Lift the removable bottom from sides. Place on pretty plate and fill.

Fruit Filling:

Choose contrasting colours of fruit – blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, strawberries, are all pretty. You can use apples if you slice them thinly (with skin on) and overlap them prettily around the circle. Wash fruit and set out to dry thoroughly. If using strawberries or grapes, choose smaller ones or cut them in half.

Brushing glaze on fruit

Brush on the glaze

When you’ve arranged fruit, brush with the glaze to prevent the fruit going brown and give it a pretty glow. Mash about a dozen berries with about 1/4 cup water. Bring to a gentle boil and strain out the liquid. Sprinkle with 1/2 packet of gelatin – about 3 gms. And stir until completely dissolved. Use a pastry brush to brush this over the fruit.