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Sweet on Cityline

Mark your calendars, oh you fans of stone fruits: I spent this morning in air-conditioned bliss taping an episode of Cityline (do you call it an episode if it’s a magazine show?). They tape the show live, and this one will air Monday, July 12, at 9:00 am EST. I did two segments, both recipes from the book: Rustic Apricot Galette, and Peaches Baked with Frangelico and Hazelnut Frangipane with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. We had variations ready to show as well: a galette made from gorgeous ruby plums, and a dish of pears baked with Amaretto and Almond Frangipane. Lovely, fresh and summery.

The show was just as peachy as the sweets – I have to say, it was the most fun I’ve had during a publicity gig since being on Proud FM, the gay radio station here in TO.  But it was as smooth and enjoyable as I’ve ever done TV, and that’s a huge testament to the crew and producers, not to mention Tracy Moore, all fab 7-plus months pregnant and all. Seriously, I think she’s bionic. She was wearing these killer platform heels, about three ounces of Spandex and she changed a tire, people. I couldn’t do that now, and I’m not even a little bit pregnant. Plus she’s all cheerful and relaxed and actually looks you in the eye when she’s talking, and you know she’s actually listening, rather than just thinking about how she looks talking to you. Which, incidentally, is pretty great.

Basically I’m totally ready to run away with her. I could bake, she could change tires in stilletos. So hot.

The only mishap of the morning was, naturally, mine. I was making a hazelnut frangipane, and though I had a pre-made one already to go to actually fill the peaches, I wanted to demo how easy it is to make frangipane. ‘Cause really, it’s THAT easy. You basically toss a bunch of nice ingredients in the Cuisinart and pulse away. Chill, use, ta-da. Sounds fancy, tastes fancy, and monkeys could do it. So I had all these cute little glass dishes with perfectly measured out ingredients: my toasted and skinned hazelnuts, icing sugar, flour, soft butter, an egg, yummy hazelnutty Frangelico liqueur, and my all-important food processor.

I knew the food processor was going to be a tough thing to remember. I knew this because I’m the girl who frequently forgets her bathing suit when going swimming.  So I left myself all these notes all over the house this weekend, saying things like, “CLEAN FOOD PROCESSOR”, and “PACK PROCESSOR SUNDAY NIGHT”, and  “REALLY. DON’T FORGET FOOD PROCESSOR” and stuff. And it worked: I cleaned it to within an inch of its life, and nestled it prominently in one of the bins I use to transport gear. Then I left it with the other bins to go to the show in the middle of my kitchen, so I wouldn’t forget it.

And I didn’t! No way, not me. I know you thought you knew where I was going with this but, no! I am a professional, and also, I am awesome. So this morning, I hoist my shiny processor onto the counter on set, set up for the apricot galette, put everything I need for the peaches and frangipane demo on the back counter, and do the first segment with Tracy.

The segment ends, and I have about 15 minutes to clear the galette stuff and set up for the peaches while Tracy does another interview. I lift the lid on the processor to tip in the hazelnuts so I’m all ready to start the segment (keener that I am) and I realize I’ve left THE BLADE AT HOME.

H-o-m-e.

B-l-a-d-e. Choppy thing that makes things be smaller and mush together to make FRANGIPANE. So I spend a few seconds just looking at the empty bowl of the machine and imagining the segment, with me dumping all the ingredients in, one by one like you’re supposed to, and pretending to process them.  Should I make the Brrr-Brrr-Brrr noise, or  just talk through it?  How would one make a food procesor-y noise, exactly? Damn. I should have practiced…. This is actually going on inside my head as I’m standing there surrounded by a live audience. It could work, right? Only, the cameras, and, well, the people…  seeing… Ok, I think, Plan B. Which is, well, nothing.

So I psst a really quite compassionate producer and ask if she has a food processor, and she looks at me kinda funny and for a bit too long, but she (God bless her) doesn’t actually laugh out loud, and she whispers into her lapel so the whole control booth can know that Yes, The baking lady is ever-so-slightly crazy, and would any of them like to be the one to tell me that the one segment will be enough for today, thank you? But they’re all too nice to say anything, so they mumble to each other and manage to look genuinely apologetic as they shrug silently at me from across the set, like, ” Oh… man, if you’d just asked for a yogurt maker, we TOTALLY could have helped you out, but a food processor, ouch… Soooo sorry (YOU CRAZY WOMAN).”

Meanwhile, I’ve sort of come to my senses, and decided to just go with it. Mention the ingredients, point to them even, describe the food processor’s involvement, but skip right to the peaches. Right. That will be just fine. I can fill in any time at the end of the segment by talking about seasonal fruit.

And then just as I’m clearing away the old processor, two women show up beside me with a huge box. Inside are, unmistakably, the bits and pieces of a rather fancy food processor. “It was a demo one day!” one of them whispers. “Will this work?”

Are you kidding? Of course! Ok! Let’s build this thing! But three minutes before the peaches segment is supposed to start, the three of us are still trying to figure out how to get the blade to even fit onto the motor in the bowl. It becomes abundantly clear that a crucial piece is missing. Of course. There is, however, a blender attachment. Well, bring it on, sister-friends! Blender frangipane it is.

In the end, it went swimmingly. Besides, I’m improving – last time I was in that studio, a month ago filming Breakfast Television, I arrived and set up, and then realized I’d forgotten an entire flat of prep in my fridge. The good news was that I live nearby, and my intrepid publicist Josh offered to send a cab to collect the stuff. The bad news was that it was 6:15 in the morning,  and we only have one phone, and it’s on the main floor, and before I left the house I closed everyone’s doors and put on their fans so they wouldn’t wake up when I left. So there was me, being all nonchalant on set, pressing redial for 40 minutes and wondering how long it would take before the aggressive twitch in my right eye became obvious to the producers and they gently asked me to go on home. It all worked out in the end: Liam woke Rob up just before 7 (“Daddy, the phone won’ t stop ringing and it’s driving me CRAZY.” Duh.), Rob popped the stuff in a cab, and BT went fine.

But seriously, if this continues, I’m going to need a full time handler.

3 comments to Sweet on Cityline

  • I WILL BE you handler…although I will also need a handler as I have a terrible memory, and am often late…but I can make good fake food processor sounds!

  • Tanya

    bahahahahaha! I’m sure that it wasn’t nearly as funny at the time but thank you for the hilarious backstory. I have set my PVR. xoxo TT

  • I saw the episode and you seemed really cool and collected during that segment. When the mixture didn’t seem to be coming together as well as you were describing it, I did think – wouldn’t that all be easier to whiz together in a food processor? Ah – that explains it! Everything looked super yummy and I’m about to go make pastry to see if my try at apricot tart looks as good as yours.

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