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.

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04 May
Reality Check for Food Writers
Spend enough time doing something and it will change the way you think, mess with your assumptions, and skew your expectations. When I studied fiction writing everyone who walked into the cafe was a potential character. Their clothes, their order, their gait held clues to their inner thoughts and beliefs. Woah! Everyone noticed the dude in the just-out-of-the-box, neon green shoelaces and dirty, frayed red high tops. Right? Okay, you were busy reading the menu. But the guy who ordered the double chai latte? Come on. Was he doing a bad Brando impersonation or did he just come from the dentist. Didn't notice him either? Hmmm. Seems it's just me. Being immersed in the world of food, I thought I was safe from outing myself yet again as an oddball.
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02 May
Recipe: Fried Avocado with Lime-Cilantro Dipping Sauce

Wanting to redeem myself from the monumental failure of my salted caramel candy apples -- which devolved into sliced apples and a dip -- I accepted the task of creating an avocado recipe for MissAvaCado's Cinco de Mayo Blogger Challenge. The results have me wondering...

Raspberry Peach Tart - TheMessyBaker.com
28 Apr
Raspberry Peach Pie with Frangipane
Raspberry Peach Pie about to go into the oven - TheMessyBaker.com While the daffodils have finally poked their heads through the earth, my freezer remains packed with containers of frozen fruit squirrelled away from last year's harvest. They're so precious to me, I save them for special occasions. Very special occasions. As along as the sooty, deathless snowdrifts maintain a Narnia-like hold on the Earth, nothing seems special enough. (Unless you are celebrating your 85th birthday. And then, I will bake you a raspberry pie upon request.) Of course, the weather eventually breaks and my fear of endless winter melts into a different form of  panic. How can use my frozen treasure before a) it goes bad or b) I need the freezer space for this year's bounty? So, with company coming -- very special company, I may add-- I put a dent in the inventory and got creative. The ginger-peach carrots were okay, but no worth writing about. I won't waste your time with the recipe. And I apologize to the peaches. They deserved better. The dessert? I redeemed myself with Raspberry Peach Pie.
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26 Apr
Recipe: Apple and Ginger Truffles
As a child, whenever my table manners were less than stellar, my mother would fix me with a gaze that could freeze time. With a mixture of horror and regret, she would inform me that I was not yet ready to have tea with the Queen. Her tone implied an invitation had been winging its way to our humble home, but had been yanked from the queue the instant my elbows hit the table. Four decades later, while my table manners have improved vastly, Tea with The Queen eludes me. I have also failed to receive an invitation to the upcoming Royal nuptials. I'm sure they mailed it, but like the invitations of my childhood, it vaporized en route due to my behaviour. I blame the truffles.
Potato Latkes, stacked -- TheMessyBaker.com
19 Apr
Recipe: Potato Latkes
Potato Latkes, draining - TheMessyBaker.com I was going to make you guess what's in the photo above, but the post's headline gives it away. Darn you, Google, and your search engine demands. If you hover your cursor over the image, you will know, these golden fritters are potato latkes. I made a big batch after the recent potato-fueled food fight. I'd like to tell you this was culinary revenge, a well-thought out, two-pronged political move to advocate potato farmers while sticking it to the makers of Fake Food in a Canister. But to be honest, it was simply a quick way to satisfy my stomach. Thinking about potatoes all day left me  hungry -- for  potatoes. So, with little more than four medium spuds and an onion on hand, I cooked the only thing I could think of that used these ingredients. Latkes -- and lots of them -- was the result.
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18 Apr
Potatoes: This Spud’s for YOU
With dozens of product pitches landing in my inbox daily, it takes a lot for one to stand out. Yesterday, one jumped off the monitor and poked me in the eyeball. Their selling point. "[It] takes just 2 minutes to prepare in the microwave  -- no extra pots or dishes to wash." Oh, they had me at "microwave". But not in the way they intended. What left me rubbing my eyes in disbelief? Their approach. Was it to promote their product? Not so much. The aim of this campaign is: "To create humorous posts about how potatoes are a boring alternative to Fake Food In a Canister." (Note: I have changed the name of the product in question to protect The Shameless.) Too dumb to insult a root vegetable all on your own? Maybe one of these suggestions will get the creative juices flowing:
  • An image and story of talk show host potato that has put its guests to sleep
  • An image and story of a potato totally underdressed in it's (sic) plain old skin for an event
  • Showcase kids talking about how boring potatoes are and how they love Fake Food In a Canister
  • Showcase how potatoes don't cut it - they're so worthless to eat - doorstoppers, brick-fixes (spoof on home entertainment show sponsored by Fake Food in a Canister)
Apparently, it's even funnier if you drag children into it. Nothing like teaching them how to run a smear campaign early. As a proponent of real food -- and a potato lover -- I'm not taking this sitting down.
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12 Apr
5 Things I Never Thought I’d Have in My Pantry
KeepSecret Can you keep a secret? After going on and on about Homemade This and From-Scratch That, I've come to realize there is a spot for convenience foods in my life and in my cupboard. While I prefer fresh to tinned, homemade to reconstituted, the food snob in me has learned to make concessions. I just don't usually broadcast them for fear that fessing up will get me banned from the culinary section of the Internet -- or at least pelted with organic heirloom tomatoes. While the following items are to food what K-Mart is to fashion, they do the trick -- under specific circumstances. So here is my culinary confession. My pantry contains the following non-artisan, non-organic, far-from-fresh items. And I'm not about to give them up.
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11 Apr
Recipe: Crumpets
In this age of pre-made artisanal everything, some foods remain defiant. While you can buy decent heat-and-eat naan in the grocery store, flaky croissants at any good bakery and to-die-for bagels at delis, crumpets remain elusive. The store-bought versions are rubbery and taste like they're sprinkled with vinegar. The real ones? Slightly chewy but light, with only a hint of a sourness. The trademark holes harness a sea of  melted butter on which honey or homemade jam buoy with delight. Yup, I wrote that sentence high  --  on the memory of my homemade crumpets. Although crumpets can be mass produced, their prime is too short to make them mass marketable. Within a couple of hours they morph from golden brown butter sponges into wan, pockmarked hockey pucks. And because crumpets are best only fresh-from-the-griddle, I'm breaking several of my unwritten culinary rules to share this recipe. To make these I:
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08 Apr
Surreal Winners
[caption id="attachment_4899" align="alignnone" width="427" caption="Bob Blumer, the Surreal Gourmet at The Drake."][/caption]   Normally, I sit back and let technology do the dirty work for me. I rely on Random.org because it's neutral, easy to use and absolves me of any bias. But this time, I asked you to sway me with your words, and you did. I gotta say, you are a good-natured bunch. I was expecting horror stories of water balloon bombings or tacks on chairs. The worst gag was a toothpaste tube stuffed with mayo -- but it must have been effective. After I stopped laughing, I spent hours wondering how the heck he'd managed to do it. And Melissa? She dropped by to share a lovely story about Bob Blumer's graciousness. She already owns the book I'm giving away, so wasn't even entering the contest . So, here I am left smiling at your stories and acts of kindness, and kicking myself for volunteering to sit in the judge's chair. But I've no one else to blame, so here goes. The winners of  Glutton for Pleasure: Signature Recipes, Epic Stories and Surreal Etiquette by Bob Blumer are:
Forty Creek Pecan Pie
04 Apr
Forty Creek Whisky Pecan Pie
Forty Creek Whisky Pecan Pie by TheMessyBaker.com In our home, birthdays are about dessert. It doesn't matter if the ingredients send me to six specialty shops, or if the results require a small team of architecture students to assemble. If you can dream it, I will make it. Providing you're a family member. Two-recipes-in-one, Frozen Lemon Pavlova? Of course, Mom. Hazelnut Mocha Tort with fancy chocolate topping? My pleasure, Allison. Non-Jammy Raspberry Pie? Anything for you, my only Father-in-Law. So this year, when Andrew asked for Pecan Pie I couldn't say no.

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