Blog Post List

This blog post list contains the most recent blog posts from The Messy Baker in reverse chronological order. You can also browse by recipe category or use the search function.

Jade Soup
08 Oct
Jade Soup
Jade Soup is bursting with leafy greens and herbs - TheMessyBaker.com I'm feeling rather ornery. It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend but the weather is downright balmy and I can't face the thought of autumn, let alone winter. I don't care that the leaves are turning glorious colours or the nights are perfect sleeping-weather-cool. I don't want to make the obligatory pumpkin pie -- even if it's damned good. I don't want to slurp delicious squash soup or gobble succulent stuffed turkey. And if you're just a tad like me, you don't want to either. At least not this weekend. Not this early.
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05 Oct
Nine years and counting

October 5th is a very important day. On this day: Monty Python made its debut on BBC (1969) Harry Chapin released Cat's in the Cradle (1975) Bob Geldof was born (1951) Rodney Dangerfield died (2004) But most importantly, on October 5, 2002 Andrew and I got married. I'm sure there's a...

Tonka bean crisp
04 Oct
Apple and Tonka Bean Crisp
No peaking. Just answer the question. What are tonka beans? Are they: a) a line of kids' toys b) an ancient Polynesian percussion instrument c) urban slang for "I don't care"
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03 Oct
Recipe: Basil Cheddar Scones
Last week I was in Banff, Alberta, surrounded by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. It was unseasonably warm and the cloudless sky was the shade of cerulean blue you find only in a paint box. It was mid-afternoon and I'd had nothing but airplane coffee and a packet of the biscuits you can only get at 35,000 feet. A local suggested my friend and I grab a bite at a nearby café. Being obedient tourists, we did as we were told. Hungry, but not wanting to spoil dinner, I went for soup. I expected to be taken by the homemade tomato and acho pepper soup and ordered the basil and cheddar scone merely to fill my stomach. I usually find bakery scones disappointing. They've sat on the counter too long. They're too dry, too bland, too expensive. I'm not bragging, but no bakery scone stands a chance against my fresh-from-the-oven ones. The ones I'm making in the photo on my about page. The ones I make every Christmas morning. The ones I want served at my wake.
Brunch with Julie Van Rosendaal - The Messy Baker
30 Sep
Brunch with Julie Van Rosendaal and friends
Brunch with Julie Van Rosendaal - The Messy Baker If you told me that I'd end my brunch at Julie Van Rosendaal's by stomping across her breakfast bench in my dress boots and spraying her windows with canola oil, I'd have dismissed your prediction as crazy. Sane or not, you'd have been right. My table manners are usually more refined, but we were trying to kill some wasps. Julie assured me that if you spray them with cooking oil, they'll immediately drop to the ground where you can finish them off. So, with Julie wielding a tea towel and me armed with a can of canola, we defended her home against winged intruders. Only my aim isn't that good and more ended up on Julie's lovely windows than on the wasps. The next time I visit, I'll bring a hostess gift of  Windex.
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22 Sep
Three Farmers Camelina Oil Winners

You commented. You tweeted. You came up with some innovative and hunger-inducing ways to use Camelina oil. Me? Turned to Random.Org and selected three winners, totally without bias. It took three whole button clicks. I'm exhausted! So a big congratulations and a bottle of Three Farmers Camelina...

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20 Sep
Recipe: Baco Noir Wine Jelly
Homemade Red Wine Jelly - TheMessyBaker.com Get smug while making preserves and you'll smart for it. Think you're too coordinated to need a funnel? Well, let me tell you, one blob of 220°F  jelly straight to the thumb will change your mind in a heck of a hurry. It certainly made me rethink saving a few bucks. After a couple of years eyeballing it with a ladle, I'm now the contrite owner of a stainless steel canning funnel from Lee Valley. And no, they didn't pay me for the mention. I'm just trying to save you some grief. Of course, to make the trek worthwhile, I left with an herb infuser and jelly bag. I was determined the next batch wouldn't beat me. And it didn't.
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19 Sep
Recipe: Watermelon & Raspberry Soup

When I signed up for the watermelon carving challenge I figured inspiration would arrive by the time I received my personal-sized watermelon and its accompanying dual-ended melon baller. It didn't. So, I scoured The National Watermelon Promotion Board's website to see if anything sparked an idea. One look at the fun and fanciful watermelon rabbits, sharks and hedgehogs and my brain seized. I got the sculpting equivalent of writer's block. I went blank. Totally and completely blank. To kickstart my creativity, I looked through books, surfed the net and flipped through magazines. I meditated on the issue. I rolled the watermelon about the kitchen floor. I even went to bed envisioning the word "watermelon" in bright pink letters in hopes the answer might come to me in a dream. It didn't. After days of lackluster watermelon inspiration I resigned myself to failure. While I sulked on the back steps and contemplated leaving the adorable little watermelon in the refrigerator until it dissolved into something unrecognizable, a Japanese anemone caught the breeze and bobbed about in the garden. This soft pink flower is one of my favourites. Its simple and elegant petals are a final splash of light summer pink before deep autumn tones take over. Gently curved anemones speak to me more than over-stuffed double roses, ruffled hybrid lilies or busy asters. And then it hit me. I was making things too hard. The answer to my watermelon dilemma was waving at me. So, here is my watermelon carving challenge entry:
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16 Sep
Recipe: Butter Rum Pound Cake
I was going to post this on Monday, September 19th, official Talk Like a Pirate Day. But I used up all my lame pirate jokes back in 2006 when I needed a tie-in for my rumball recipe. Despite getting so tipsy spliced t'mainbrace sampling the rum-laced glaze that I came this close to bellowing out a sea shanty, this will be a straight up, pirate-free pound cake post -- which is only fitting since Camilla V. Saulsbury shouldn't share the lime light with anyone, let alone a scurvy, one-eyed bilge rat. What makes Camilla so special? Not only did she create 750 muffin recipes a while back, her new book, Piece of Cakehas 176 tasty and easy-to-make variations. Carrying the one, that's 926 recipes she's come up with in one year. I'm chuffed when I come up with three variations on galette. How's she do it? Spin a flavour wheel? Pull herbs out of a hat? No, According to Camilla, it's a "savant thing" she's done all her life. In college, her classmates thought she was a meticulous notetaker, but in reality she was scribbling down flavour ideas during lectures. Higher education has never been put to such good use.
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15 Sep
Three Farmers Camelina Oil and a Give Away
Update: Since The Three Farmers won their bid on Dragon's Den, I have been getting a lot of questions about this oil. If you are interested in buying some, there is a list of retail outlets on the Three Farmers' site. Click here to see the list.
Is bright yellow the new olive green? These tiny mustard-coloured seeds are from the Camelina plant. Although popular in Europe since the 1940s, Camelina oil has been commercially available in Canada only since December 2010. I'm no trend spotter, but if I'm right, Camelina might be Canada's answer to imported extra virgin olive oil. 

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