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.

31 Aug
The Custom Pantry
Look past my freshly harvested garlic and the stone fruit hogging the counter. See all those boxes lurking in the background? They were expropriating my dining table under the pretence of helping me organize the pantry. Or The Prototype, as I now call it. From last year's renovation and until last month, we shoved tinned goods and baking supplies onto a lopsided IKEA storage shelf in the dining area and a big steel rack in the living room. Like most temporary solutions, they were ugly, marginally serviceable and far more permanent than anyone imagined.
02 Jul
Happy Canada Day (belated) and 4th of July (early)

Yesterday, I'd meant to wish everyone a Happy Canada Day (or Dominion Day, in the case of my husband). But that didn't happen. I blame the carbs. The day started with pancakes and waffles on the patio -- with just enough protein to keep us level. Add...

28 Jun
Recipe: Island Steamers with Fennel, Tomato and Lime
Dear Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge, According to numerous news reports, you are coming to Canada and making Prince Edward Island one of your destinations. An excellent choice. While I haven't been to the smallest province in our Dominion since I was a teenager, I assure you, it's charming. Red sand beaches, red-haired heroines and red-skinned potatoes. What more could you want from a country with a bright red maple leaf slapped smack dab in the middle of its flag? We're nothing if not colour coordinated. I know I'm not going to meet you on this occasion either,  which is a shame, because I, too, was an Anne of Green Gables fan as a child. I'm sure we have lots more in common, but judging from your whirlwind itinerary, we wouldn't have much time to mine the depths of our shared experiences even if we did meet up. I realize it's customary to give visiting royalty gifts that reflect the location toured. Since this is just a cyber meeting, and one-sided at that, I'm going to talk about the gift I would have given you had our paths crossed. Unlike the Apple Ginger Truffles I made in honour of your wedding, this is something that won't mess your lovely outfit. As an added bonus, it can fit in your carry-on so you don't have to worry about paying extra luggage fees. If our paths were to cross, I would give you a copy of Flavours of Prince Edward Island: A Culinary Journey by Jeff McCourt, Allan Williams & Austin Clement. Portable, informative, and with evocative photos that cover most aspects of island life, this is the perfect gift for you. When your friends ask you what Prince Edward Island was like, just hand them the book. When you hanker for Crab-Stuffed Mushroom Caps, Cranberry Chutney or Chocolate Potato Cake with Red Raspberry Mud Puddles, call in the kitchen staff and just hand them the book. But be sure to ask for it back. They might want to keep it. This gift even holds the potential for controversy, which I am lead to believe is imperative for a successful Royal Tour.
15 Jun

This is where I am. In a remote stretch of wilderness, ankle deep in murky swamp water with Yodi-knows-what nibbling at my ankles. Only when I say "swamp water" I actually mean "projects" and those pesky ankle biters are really just the "little things" that...

08 Jun
Sustainable Seafood No Matter Where You Are
As today is World Oceans Day, I thought I'd tip my virtual hat to all the finned, tentacled, shelled, non-land animals out there. I know. I know. One look at my recipe index and you'll see I don't cook a lot of fish. While I'd like to blame the lack of a reliable fishmonger, the real reason is my husband doesn't like anything that comes out of the water. Not even mermaids. That, and the fact I'm a little bit scared of ruining expensive ingredients. Steak is forgiving. You can claim culinary triumph on anything from blue to well-done. But fish and seafood? They slip from perfection to inedible in no time. So, in honour of World Oceans Day, I have four solutions for those who love seafood and the planet. Don't like fish? Have some galette with Andrew. Everyone else, enjoy what the lakes, oceans and waterways have to offer. Guilt-free. No matter where you are.
06 Jun
Recipe: Rhubarb and Raspberry Galette
Technically this is an original recipe. But like all dishes, its initial creative spark came from a patchwork of ideas. The pivotal concept, pairing rhubarb with raspberry, came via David Lebovitz, who posted a link to Lottie and Doof, who got it from Bon Appetit. With rhubarb on hand and some of last year's raspberries hogging precious freezer space, I took a peek at the recipe. The ingredients were simple enough, but the instructions called for cooking and cooling the filling before baking. I'm lazy. This was not about to happen on a Sunday afternoon. So, I turned to a simple Raspberry Pie recipe, thinking I'd just substitute minced rhubarb for a good portion of the berries. Meanwhile, a bottle of Mexican vanilla called from the cupboard and an orange on the counter begged for attention. I'm not sure how the almonds nosed their way into the dish, but they did. And I'm glad.
02 Jun
My Birthday Wishes

It's my birthday. And since you are all lovely people, I just know you want to get me something. Something nice. Something special. Something I've been dying to get for myself but won't because I'm not a materialistic person. Because I'm so thoughtful (and already have...

01 Jun
Cookbooks You Should Buy Just for the Photos
I recently recommended Helene Dujardin's book Plate to Pixel. Not only is it extremely informative, it's full of gorgeous photos -- photos that make you feel like stopping what you're doing and sitting down to eat. Not in an "I'm starving. What's for dinner?" kind of way. But in a "It's summer holidays and I've got all the time in the world to relax and have a bite with you" manner.  Her photos have a voice and they're singing, "Summertime and the living is easy." And voice is one of the hardest things for an artist to develop -- whether your'e a writer, painter, sculptor, filmmaker or photographer. Other than practice, practice, practice, the best way to develop your voice is to expose yourself to different styles. The following cookbooks all have impressive photography, each with its own distinct feel. While the photos might not always make you feel hungry, they will make you feel something -- young, happy, serene, curious, nostalgic or inspired.
30 May
Review: Plate to Pixel
Hang onto your harddrive, this is going to get a wee bit technical. I'm about to talk photography. If you're here for a recipe and don't know an f-stop from an f-bomb, grab a cookie from the TARDIS and poke about the archives. If you are a food blogger who struggles with photography, top up your coffee and sit down. In a rush? Here's the short version. If you have a digital SLR and struggle with food photography for your blog, buy Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling by Helene Dujardin. Now. Got five minutes and a full mug ? Here's the long answer. I have read books on food photography. I have taken online photography lessons. I have even taken the time to read my camera manual. And still photography remains my single biggest frustration. It's hit or miss and until now I couldn't tell you why. While I understood the individual concepts, I struggled to bring them together. Having read Plate to Pixel, the pieces are finally coming together.
27 May
Five Years In
I was poking about the archives, looking for inspiration and to my shock realized that Christie's Corner recently turned 5. Five? Five! How'd that happen? As a classic ENFP, I don't stick with anything that long. Okay, I've been married for almost 9 years, but to keep things fresh I rearrange the furniture every six months. And yet, this blog has been quietly chugging along in one form or another for half a decade. What gives? To be honest, there are times I have considered throwing in the dish towel. I've often asked myself, Does the world really need another recipe for butternut squash soup? After all, other than an embarrassing amount of cat hair wafting about my kitchen and a natty TARDIS cookie jar, what sets me apart from the others? But just when I am ready to pack up my camera and wipe the virtual counter clean, a book, a person or an idea comes along that says, "Keep going." And you know me. I always do as I'm told.

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