Radishes on Buttered Baguette

Radish and Butter Baguette, Kiku Corner

How can I include a recipe for radishes without talking about Rapunzel? I was an avid reader of Grimm’s Fairy Tales when I was a kid (and I mean the morbid Grimm versions, where Cinderella’s stepsisters cut off parts of their feet). In the Rapunzel story, a pregnant woman was craving radishes (or rampion, in some versions) from the next-door witch’s garden (why would they live next to a witch in the first place?). Her husband, in an effort to please his pregnant wife, scaled the garden wall and stole the radishes. This happened three times, until he was caught by the witch. He begged for mercy, and in desperation he promised the witch his unborn child. When the baby was finally born, the witch arrived and spirited the infant girl away, naming her Rapunzel.

Radishes are peppery little root veggies that I love to eat simply, sliced on buttered baguette with a sprinkle of coarse salt. I imagine Rapunzel’s mother ate them like this!

They are also quick to grow from seed, so they make a great introduction to gardening for kids (or other impatient folks) – no witchcraft needed.

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Brooklyn Eats: Vinnie’s Pizzeria

Brooklyn Eats: Vinnie's Pizzeria, Kiku Corner

On our recent trip to New York, Rafael’s to-do list included eating excellent pizza. While we had a great pizza at Patsy’s Pizzeria in Manhattan, the slices at Vinnie’s were really amazing!

We took the L train from Manhattan to Brooklyn to tour some flea markets. Around lunch time we started to feel hungry, and we luckily stumbled upon Vinnie’s Pizzeria. The restaurant was tiny with just four or five tables, and a bunch of teenagers were having their lunch there as well. I think we were the only tourists!

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Canadian Design: Umbra

Umbra products are now sold all over – from museum shops to international malls, even now at Martha’s Vineyard – and I recently found out that it is a Canadian company. Not just any Canadian company…it’s from Toronto! Umbra products are generally smartly designed, beautiful and functional. I’ve got a few Umbra items in my apartment, and it’s always fun to check out their flagship store downtown to see what’s new.

Umbra Cage Wall Clock, Kiku Corner

The Cage Wall Clock is just lovely, and the wire cage looks like it would fit in in any school gym!

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Dishes at Fish’s Eddy

Fish's Eddy New York City, Kiku Corner

Fish’s Eddy is a kitchenware store near Gramercy Park in Manhattan. Founded in 1986, the store was named after a tiny hamlet in upstate New York. The store sells basic white dishes, designer dishes, and a collection of unique vintage dishes. I actually bought my polka dotted salt and pepper shakers from Fish’s Eddy last summer. More specialty items are also available, such as wooden bowls and platters, glove molds, tea towels and flatware. One day I will get myself a deviled egg platter, so I don’t need to worry about my deviled eggs slipping and sliding all over the serving dish I currently have!

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White Chocolate Raspberry Birthday Cake

White Chocolate Raspberry Birthday Cake, Kiku Corner  White Chocolate Raspberry Birthday Cake, Kiku Corner  White Chocolate Raspberry Birthday Cake, Kiku Corner

Tomiko’s birthday is in early July, and since the whole family was working and busy on the actual day, we put off having the cake until the following weekend. I have made my own birthday cakes since I was 13, and I love making my family’s birthday cakes as well! They don’t seem to mind, apart from Karlos, who likes getting cakes from Dufflet Pastries.

As it now full-on summer, Tomiko decided to have a more delicate, fruity cake (apart from the dense, chocolaty, nutty cakes that I make in the fall or winter). Why not pair fantastic Ontario raspberries with creamy and sweet white chocolate? And frost with my favourite…whipped cream. Only this whipped cream has been infused with vanilla and is enriched with melted white chocolate.

Our aunt in Germany would make fabulous Torten for Tomiko’s and Karlos’ birthdays when we would spend the summer there. She always frosted her cakes with whipped cream, and this is actually her method for making flavoured whipped cream. It took me ages to understand, via our Mama who acted as interpreter, how the process of adding the chocolate to the cream actually worked. I’m glad to say, though, it is a raging success!

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