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Honey & Basil Strawberries with Lemony Vegan Ricotta & Simple Vegan Mock Ricotta Recipe


Bonjour my loverlies!

So, I was playing around with my vegan mock ricotta cheese recipe I made the other day and felt she needed perking up. 
I also decided to make a bit of extra effort in the food photography department to go along with the snazziness of this dessert.

It is not a mistake that Basil & strawberry are hanging out together. 
Yes, Basil is an herb that goes very well in savoury and in sweet applications. 
I know it sounds mad but trust me it's sooooooo good! 
You might be surprised to see how many culinary shows are doing this mix together. One of my favs is to pair them with avocado as a really palatte pleasing salad. 
That however, is another recipe for another day.

One of the coolest ways I have had this combo is a strawberry basil
macaron from this wonderful place I adore. 
It's called Pâtisserie de Nancy on Monkland Avenue in NDG here in Montréal. 
I could not stand macarons until I tried one of theirs.
Oh! So divine!
 I adore the cherry one's best but the mojito, vanilla, along with the strawberry basil & the passion fruit are just as delightful!
If you're ever in town you must stop there, I had a lovely convo with Nancy about her marvellous macarons-say that 3 times fast! 
I explained how surprised I was because every time I had had macarons before they had been so cloyingly sweet that my teeth hurt and I ended up throwing them away. She explained that her husband is the pastry Chef & he hails from France, he makes them the way he learned & perfected the recipe there and now I get to indulge in them here! This is the shop and some pics of her confections that I came across.
I am so eager to go there and get some scrumptious treats!
So, I suppose people would like the recipe. 
You will need the Vegan Mock Ricotta recipe on the bottom, after the Honey & Basil recipe post to make this simple & smashing dessert. Scroll down & you will see her.


Ingredients :
1 Cup Vegan Ricotta, chilled
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 Tbsp Organic honey(you may use Maple or Agave syrup to keep it vegan)
1 tsp Vanilla
4 Basil leaves sliced fine into a chiffonade
1 Cup Strawberries chopped small dice

-Chop strawberries, add Basil, vanilla, & honey. Stir gently & allow to macerate on the counter while prepping the vegan ricotta.
-Zest 1/2 the lemon into the ricotta, stir throughout.
-Serve by portioning out 1/4 cup of vegan ricotta into 4 pretty serving bowls.
-Evenly portion out the strawberry mixture.
-Zest a bit of lemon on top of the portions just before serving.
-Serve immediately.





When I went raw vegan a ways back, I had tried a recipe from another blog and was happy with the texture but found the flavour was lacking. I am no longer able to be vegan thanks to my health issues but I still like to incorporate healthy foods and I find my numerous allergies, which include dairy, have left a sad cheesy void in my life. 
So, we improvise. No, it's not real ricotta cheese but it's a good compromise & works beautifully in uncooked applications.
It's not a cheap item to make, as Macadamia nuts & pine nuts are at the base of this recipe, however, I made an effort to keep it from being too cost prohibitive by using small amounts with great success. 
Real ricotta cheese was always a splurge item for special occasion recipes anyways, in my home at least. 
It's so easy peasy & looks lovely when served, you will impress any vegetarians & non-vegetarians in your life.


Cost range: Medium - High
Prep time: 15 mins. (Does not include soaking nuts & chill time)
Difficulty: Super easy
Serves: 2-4 people
Freeze: Not recommended, keeps 3 days in fridge.


3/4 Cup Raw macadamia nuts
2 Tbsp Raw pine nuts
*In separate bowls for each nut, soak by covering with filtered water for 2-3 hours & then rinse thoroughly before using.

2 Tbsp Lemon juice
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Pink sea salt
1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 Cup Filtered water

*The reason the nuts must be soaked & rinsed is to soften them & remove any enzyme inhibitors that are naturally occurring on the nuts.


In a blender, add all ingredients and blend until slightly grainy in consistency. Add a Tbsp of water or more as needed but not too much.
Place in bowl, cover & chill for minimum 4-6 hours. Overnight is fine.

This recipe can be used in the sweet application as in the recipe above or you can use it in a savoury application, as the picture below demonstrates.

This last image is sliced Roma tomatoes with fresh basil leaves, mock ricotta nestled between, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with Crumesan, salt and pepper to taste. So pretty & yummy!

Remember to share with someone you love & leave your comments or questions below, I love to hear from you.

Take care, be well, love freely...

Chef Kiki

Happy Holidays Everone!

Le Marquis Pâtisserie Review

Pastries, pastries, glorious pastries, and they’re all gluten-free!

Hello loverlies,

I am re-visiting the reviews segment for this blog. It has been an awfully long time but today I am back and boy is it a great way to begin again!

I have been staying in town some weekends, since our pooch became very ill and we nearly lost him.
Turns out he has to be on anti-seizure meds, given twice a day, at the same time, without fault or it can be very dangerous indeed.
This means that someone must be with the cute fur nugget every day, to monitor his health, administer meds, and keep an eye on his blood sugar as it has dropped dangerously low on several occasions. As my son works 14-15 hour shifts Friday to Sunday, I get to hang in Montreal and spend time with the little punim.

I was well enough to go off gallivanting and decided to go on a gluten-free pastry adventure!

Where I work, there is a very traditional French pastry shop right across the street and people at work are always indulging. I have had to constantly refuse because they are gluten-filled. No touchie for moi. Unfortunately, this has led to serious viennoiserie cravings that have gone ignored as there was nothing that was available. Before you ask why I don’t just make my own, I am going to be brutally honest and confess a shame I claim.
I despise gluten-free baking when it comes to breads, specialty pastries, and particularly flaky, light, layered, croissants and their various tasty cousins.
When I was a Chef working in professional kitchens, gluten was easy as it followed the rules culinary students are taught.
It had respect dang it and it acted right! You could rely on it to do as the numerous folds, rolling out, and detremping with glorious butter, always did. That is to say, one would get a uniform, delectable, and beautiful end product.
Gluten-free? Not so much.
Truth be told, it’s a *#tch!!!!
It has an attitude, does not behave in the way you’re used to and does not play well with other ingredients.
I could cry over how many batches of expensive tries I had to toss in the garbage.
When I was younger, I had the drive and determination to find a way, bend it to my will (that did not work btw), try, try, try again.
 Now, I am older, recovering from illness and injury. That means, I am absolutely fine with some other wonderful person doing it all for me; and by Job, I have found that place!
It is called Le Marquis and there are 2 locations but as I was in Verdun, it was easiest for me to hop on the bus that took me to the Old Montreal Location, on Rue St Paul.
It was a simple 5-10 minute walk from the bus and let me tell you, it was sooooooo worth the trek and my 10+ years of waiting!
In typical Old Montreal fashion, the exterior was quaint, the area, as charming as can be-albeit a tad touristy but that’s what the old port is known for. I got a beautiful fall October day and was quite at my leisure, checking the various other store fronts before finally walking in.
This is what it looked like, along with a chalkboard sign that had me very excited:

Le Marquis is very elegant, with clean, simple lines and colours that are subdued; leaning to that dark grey and black that is rather trendy.
For the coolness in the colour scheme, I can honestly say, that it felt soothing and inviting.
As an introvert, that is saying a lot!
I got there for around just before 11am and was surprised to see quite a few people waiting to choose their treats, along with others enjoying a leisurely Saturday coffee and the ever French croissant.
I know this may seem silly but I had to do a double take, and made sure to double check the signs, make sure that everything really was gluten-free.
I will admit that I went a bit nutty, my son was at the table with eyes wide when I got home with my big box o' pastries, but was more than pleased to taste the delights with me. See below how we demolished these wonderous treats.

Those almond croissants are a big hit, I was lucky there were a few left.

I had to have a croissant and almondine which I washed down with a London Fog-almond milk based, tea, that was a nice touch. God I was so happy this day!

My son said his fav was the lemon tart but he adores all things lemony good. It was tasty but he snagged the rest.

This one up top was a mousse with coffee and rich chocolate on a sweet pastry crust-good for coffee lovers.

Eclair dough was on point and I swooned for the chocolate one the most. I did find blueberry a bit dull but raspberry was nice.

We warmed up our croissant and the layers were impressive.

Yes, that chocolate dream boat has hazelnuts and chocolate mousse with some light cake layers, perhaps dacquoise, not sure but he didn't make it to leftovers.

I also went to the Marquis original location this December, which is located on De Castelnau 
and once again went a little crazy heheh. It has more on offer in the pastry section along with some
amazing holiday celebration selections, such as Bûche de Noël in a nice variety of flavours
that are gluten-free and dairy-free! Bonus for those of us with multiple food allergies. 

I managed to snag a new item that I had not tasted at the St Paul location cuz they did not have any.
It is a delightful Ferrero Rocher log of deep chocolate and hazelnut wonder! 

Only two words describe this properly, Rich & Decadent!!!! So good, so, so good!
I also went back and got more of the chocolate eclairs which are filled with a dreamy, fluffy, chocolate, whipped ganache style sumptuousness. 

Next time I will try the lemon one as well, decided to chill on buying more as I bought several almondines pour moi, and a chocolate almondine for someone else. 
I was particularly excited about the freezer section that houses baguettes and ready to use puff pastry! Will definitely be giving that a whirl in the near future! So many food plans, I just can’t wait!
I had a lovely time speaking with the owners daughter who told me about how hard her father had worked to develop these recipes, that he had researched in Spain, Tunisia, and Switzerland, to really learn about the science behind gluten-free pastry making so he could perfect it. Absolutely amazed and fascinated by the dedication and passion this family has. Every effort has been put in to create the most delectable gluten-free and dairy-free French pastries I have had. They are the best here in Montreal, bar none! 
You need to check them out. 
Here is the link:

And below are addy's with store hours-do yourself and your loved one's a favour and go! Get a chocolate eclair and almondine for me, pleeeeease...

  • Le Marquis Old Port
    194 Saint-Paul St W
    Montreal QC
    • SUNDAY08:00 ― 19:00
    • MONDAY09:00 ― 19:00
    • TUESDAY09:00 ― 19:00
    • WEDNESDAY09:00 ― 19:00
    • THURSDAY09:00 ― 19:00
    • FRIDAY09:00 ― 19:00
    • SATURDAY08:00 ― 19:00
  • Le Marquis Boisbriand
    76 Grande-Côte Road
    Boisbriand QC
    J7G 1C3
    • SUNDAY08:00 ― 18:00
    • MONDAY08:00 ― 20:00
    • TUESDAY08:00 ― 20:00
    • WEDNESDAY08:00 ― 20:00
    • THURSDAY08:00 ― 20:00
    • FRIDAY08:00 ― 20:00
    • SATURDAY08:00 ― 20:00
  • Le Marquis Castelnau
    367 de Castelnau St E
    Montreal QC
    • SUNDAY09:00 ― 18:00
    • MONDAY09:00 ― 19:30
    • TUESDAY09:00 ― 19:30
    • WEDNESDAY09:00 ― 19:30
    • THURSDAY09:00 ― 19:30
    • FRIDAY09:00 ― 19:30
    • SATURDAY09:00 ― 18:00
Données cartographiques ©2019 Google
5 km 

What are you still doing here reading? Get out there to one of their locations and enjoy what the Boulangeries Le Marquis has in store for you!
I included loads of pics below of their fab holiday treat, Buche de Noel in large and mini sizes, along with loads of delectable flavour combos for eclairs-leaning towards maple next time.

Take care, be well, love freely,

Chef Kiki