Category: Summer Recipes

Blackberry Cheesecake Pots

There are few joys in life as pure as a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed blackberry, plucked from its bramble and eaten whilst squinting in the August sun. I have waxed poetic about blackberries before and praised their versatility and I just can’t get enough of them. These cute little Blackberry Cheesecake Pots combine my beloved blackberries with peppery ginger snap crumbs and a mascarpone cheesecake mousse that is light as air and freckled with vanilla beans. If this doesn’t taste like summer to you then you haven’t had enough rosé.

A local restaurant that I love does a strawberry cheesecake pot and this is a bit of a riff on that. Fruit on the bottom, lots of cookie crumbs and light, light, light cheesecake-ish mousse that, to my palate, eclipses the sturdy silken curd of a baked cheesecake. And honestly, it’s late August, who wants to put on the oven? Not me.

I started these little Blackberry Cheesecake Pots with homemade wild blackberry jam but you could just mash up and sweeten fresh berries if you didn’t have the convenience of jam, either one will be great, just don’t go too heavy with the sugar, you want to taste the summer-fresh flavor of the fruit, not cloying sweetness. But let me clarify, it’s also just fine to buy blackberry jam for these. I won’t tell.


Apple Blueberry Pie

I was born in a small town in rural southern British Columbia. We had 10 acres of land and to a small child, it was enormous; a wondrous, magical place full of nature and adventure. The property sported a small orchard of beautifully twisted and gnarled apple trees and if you have seen an apple tree you may understand how magical they appear.

They have a particular grayish bark that makes them look ancient and wise and during the spring they burst with soft pink blossoms that later in the summer and fall become perfect fruit. Many a sunny summer day was spent amongst those ancient beauties, climbing, conversing with bees and picking apples, then watching my mother’s hands peel them, slice and spice them, and bake them into perfect pies in our farmhouse’s wood burning oven.

Now I live a long way away from that pastoral life, I’m decades beyond those hazy summer apple-picking days. I can easily stop by a grocery store or bakery and buy a pie, and it would be good, it might even be great. It might remind me vaguely that I once upon a time plucked sun-warmed apples in the shade of hundred year old trees. Or maybe not. Despite time and distance, nostalgia is a potent force and despite it being a seemingly insignificant goal to pick apples and make a pie from them, the action, for me, was soul satisfying. Sometimes simple things can transport us, take us back in time and place and let us re-live a moment, or re-connect with someplace or some one we have lost or moved on from.


Creamy Cucumber Dill Salad

This little salad couldn’t be simpler and is as good on its own as it is counter-balancing another dish. It pairs well with meats (grilled in the summer time or braised in the wintertime) and provides a cool, crunchy tartness that offsets more robust foods very well. It’s a breeze to make and can be tweaked to suit your tastes or what you have on hand. I like it alongside the cabbage rolls that I’ll be posting about this week.

2 English cucumbers, finely sliced into rounds (using a mandolin makes very short work of this, if you have one)

For the dressing:

1/2 cup sour cream or plain yoghurt (low fat/no fat is fine)

the juice of a lemon

1 clove of garlic, finely grated

1 generous pinch of dried dill

4 tablespoons of olive oil

salt and pepper to tase

finely chopped parsley for garnish

Mix the dressing ingredients well, whisking quickly to incorporate and emulsify the olive oil. Drizzle over the sliced cucumbers. If you pre mix the dressing with the cucumbers they will sort of marinate and the whole thing will have a deeper flavour. That said, globbing it on at the last minute is fine too.

Spinach Strawberry Salad

Spinach Strawberry Salad

This salad is a re-creation of a restaurant classic, often called “California Spinach Salad”. It’s a gorgeous combo of fresh spinach, strawberries, goat cheese, candied nuts and a balsamic poppyseed dressing. Serves 4

Arrange spinach in a shallow serving bowl (about 2 handfulls per person).


1 cup goat cheese (crumbled)

2 C sliced strawberries

1 C candied almonds – recipe below

Top with Balsamic Poppyseed Dressing just before serving.


For the Candied Almonds

In a medium frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add 1 Cup of blanched almonds. Cook until the almonds begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove from heat, stirring as they cool. Allow to cool fully before using in salad.

For the Balsamic Poppyseed Dressing

¼ C balsamic vinegar

¼ C olive oil

½ tsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp poppy seeds

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a tight sealing jar and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 1 minute.