Welcome to the ‘in between’ season; it’s not quite Spring weather but not really winter either. Nothing is growing here in Alberta and though I’m told things are greening up in BC (lol!) it’ll be a while before we see the first of the Spring edibles in our province. In the meantime a ray of sunshine landed in my mailbox…Simply Citrus is the new cookbook by Food Bloggers of Canada member Marie Asselin. She’s the creative force behind the award winning food blog Food Nouveau a Québec City based blog that has been around for 17 years! Her brilliant photography and drool-worthy recipes caught the eye of a publisher and as they say…the rest is history!
I’m going to grab a blanket, hot tea and enjoy this little piece of sunshine on an otherwise dreary day. Come and join me! Simply Citrus Cookbook by Marie Asselin
Simply Citrus is a bright and cheery single subject book featuring the common citrus types that we can buy here in North America. Eating seasonally is both healthful and delicious but no season is as meaningful to me as citrus season. When we begin to see fresh citrus in the dark grey days of winter, it’s comparable to feeling little rays of sunshine on your skin. Simply Citrus has over 60 great recipes that capture this same feeling…both savoury and sweet! Each chapter contains recipes from a single fruit so if you have an excess of oranges…just head on over to the ‘orange’ chapter and you’ll find orange themed recipes such as Orange and Ginger Pork Slides with Peanut Slaw and Orange, Date, and Walnut Cake with Orange Butterscotch Sauce. I couldn’t resist the latter recipe so I baked it for this review.
Marie has begun the book with some useful basics such as her method for candied peel (see photos above and below for the results!) and how to preserve lemons. Did you know you can make curd out of any kind of citrus? Aside from the more popular lemon and lime curds, Marie gives directions for grapefruit, key lime, yuzu, meyer lemon, and orange curds then uses them in other recipes such as her Sesame Thumbprint Cookies with Yuzu Curd. Don’t those sound delicious?A quick flip through the book revealed many eye catching recipes that I would love to try at a later date; such as the Curried Coconut, Lentil, and Shrimp Soup (Lime chapter), Blood Orange Frangipane Tart (Orange Chapter), and the lovely Caramelized Lemon and Fennel Risotto (Lemon Chapter). For the purposes of this review I chose two recipes from the recommended list: Orange, Date, and Walnut Cake with Orange Butterscotch Sauce (page 69) and Coconut Lemon Bars (page 32). The Orange Walnut Cake was relatively simple to make on it’s own but I found the extra steps…well, just extra. I made it as far as the candied orange peel and left out the Butterscotch Sauce. I felt like the cake had enough flavour without it and though I love a good butterscotch sauce I’m going to be honest and admit that I just ran out of time. This recipe is more of a weekend project I think, but still totally worth it! This was the first time I had candied citrus peel and Marie’s instructions were simple and easy to follow. I was very happy with the end result and the portion that didn’t end up on the cake was used on our toast in the morning as marmalade.
Coconut Lemon Bars from Simply Citrus Cookbook
The Coconut Lemon Bars were another story. Super simple to make and very satisfying in flavour in texture, I would recommend bringing these bars to a family get together or potluck because they look impressive and technical but are pretty much fool proof to make (check them out in the video below). Marie’s use of coconut oil in the base was really a genius idea, it really added that extra bit of coconut flavour to the bars.
Coconut Lemon Bars
Coconut Lemon Bars
- FOR THE CRUST:
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch of kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
- TO SERVE:
- powdered sugar
- Toasted unsweetened shredded coconut