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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24 Jan
Cacao Barry Pistoles Winner

On Thursday, I asked why bother tempering chocolate and readers responded.  And a smart lot you are. In case you missed the answers, tempering chocolate not only removes the white film that develops when chocolate is exposed to humidity or temperature fluctuations,...

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21 Jan
How to Temper Chocolate in a Microwave & a Give Away
Shocked to learn you can put metal in a microwave to temper chocolate - The Messy Baker   This is me at chocolate class. While Elizabeth Baird looks mildly curious, I look like I'm about to have the "full bore lateral panic" my mother so often threatened. From my expression you'd think the macarons had started to dance about like extras in a scene from Fantasia. Or perhaps Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho was juggling knives blindfolded. But no. He's just showing us how to temper chocolate. This is me reacting as I see Derrick put a metal bowl in the microwave. Ever since my mom bought her first microwave in 1972  "Don't put metal in the microwave!" has been drilled into me. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from starting a small fire with a foil wrapper or showering the interior of the appliance with sparks from a gold-rimmed tea cup. But in all my years of melting butter and reheating cold beverages, I have never once zapped a piece of metal flatware or nuked a shiny silver mixing bowl. And there, in front of  half a dozen seasoned food writers, Derrik, who is also the Technical Consultant & Director of the Barry Callebaut Canada Chocolate Academy, put a big metal bowl of chocolate pistoles in the microwave and hit "Start." As you can see, it took all my self-control not to launch across the table and stop him.
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19 Jan
Wordless Wednesday: You Gotta Break A Few Eggs

Clearly I'm not to be trusted. One day I announce to the world that I'm not going to get all bent out of shape over photography any more and the next? While judging the 2010 Canadian Food Blog Awards I get so excited by the...

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17 Jan
Gadget Review: WafflePro Express
I'm not a breakfast person, but if I could eat waffles every morning, I am willing to change my position. It would indeed be the Most Important Meal of the day. While I adore waffles, waffles irons and The Christies haven't always gotten along. When I was a child my mom didn't cook waffles. She pried and chiseled them. Her fancy, family-sized, teflon-coated beast was supposed to produce giant square waffles perfect for re-toasting as snacks. No Christie waffle ever made it that far. Regardless of how she oiled or pre-heated the iron, the waffles clung to its surface like barnacles to a ship hull. At an early age, I decided waffles were something I'd be able to enjoy only in restaurants. Until now.
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13 Jan
Legume and Lentil Recipes to Get You Through the Winter
Legume Recipe Round Up I'm on CTV's News at Noon today talking about lentils and legumes. I'm not sure who be hosting since Kyle, my usual side kick, won't be there. Wonder if it's something I said? Or maybe he's afraid I'll make him stuff another pepper. After all, I did give him the tippy one. Whoever the host may be today, have no fear. No problematic peppers. Just some dried beans and a piece of wicked cool stainless steel kitchen equipment. I'll be discussing how to incorporate beans into your diet in ways that won't require you to book time off work -- to accommodate the supposedly long cooking time or that other reason people shy away from beans. With a reputation for hogging stove time only to make you socially unacceptable, beans are misunderstood. If you cook your own from dried (with a pre-soak done while you sleep) you:
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11 Jan
Knife Skills – Top 3 Mistakes and 3 Essentials Knives
You wouldn't know from my sleek bob cut, but I'm a rocker. A die-hard rocker, through and through. Don't get me wrong. I'm not the head-banging, metal-thrashing, ear-destroying kind. I'm the chop 'em, mince 'em, dice 'em kind. I know this because Jeffrey Elliot, coauthor of The Complete Book of Knife Skills, told me so. I interviewed him recently, and when I sheepishly confessed that I couldn't figure out how to use those ultra-popular, uber-chic Japanese knives, instead of telling me to just keep at it, he shrugged and said, "You're either a rocker or a chopper. Few people are both." Turns out Japanese knives are for choppers. Which I'm not. So my classic Western-style chef's knife can stay. Last month, I listed Complete Book of Knife Skills as one of my top picks for 2010, partially because it's the best book I've seen on this topic, but mostly because I actually use it. I keep it in the kitchen, next to the phone book, just inches from the butcher block island and my knife block. Why? Even though I have perfected my knife grip and keep the fingers of my guide hand well out of the way, I still make a lot of mistakes.
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07 Jan
All by Himself

Today a piece of our topsy-turvy life returned to normal. Andrew made coffee this morning. All by himself. That three-word sentence fragment is so important I'm giving it its own line and plenty of white space. In fact, it's so important I'm going to write it again. All...

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06 Jan
iSpice Winners and Monica Bhide’s Favourite Spice
Today I get to spread more joy. I think I could get used to this. It makes me feel a tiny bit like Oprah -- you win an iSpice, and YOU win an iSpice, and YOU win an iSpice!  The only difference? Everyone was expecting a mass giveaway. And the winners don't have to pay the taxes on their prize. Oh, and you can't drive away in your brand new iSpice. But you can drive with one in your pocket, so that's pretty neat (only don't scroll spices while driving!) Although, it took a few clicks of the button at Random.org,  we have our 10 winners. Are you ready? A big congratulations to:
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05 Jan
Chocolate Macarons
Macaron with chocolate ganache Remember my resolution to espouse joy, accept my weakness for sugary treats and let the professionals worry about the camera work? Well, today I share with you one of the highlights of my food writing career and a few less than stellar pictures. Recently, I spent an afternoon at Bonnie Gordon College with Master Chocolatier Derrick Tu Tan Pho. Not only did I learn a lot about one of my favourite edible culinary inspirations, I got to make impossibly shiny macarons and near-nebulous mousse alongside some of my favourite human culinary inspirations. Forgive me if I name drop or two but wouldn't you get a little excited if you sat beside the iconic Elizabeth Baird for two glorious uninterrupted hours, watched the talented Emily Richards drizzle her name in chocolate, piped batter alongside the all-knowing Susan Sampson and talked muffins with prolific author/editor Jennifer Mackenzie? In between mouthfuls of macarons and potentially addictive chocolate pearls, I scribbled enough notes to fill a small binder.  So I'm breaking my afternoon of chocolate nirvana into a few of posts, which I'll share with you over the next little while. After all, too much chocolate in one seating will spoil your dinner. Plus, I get to relive the joy a few more times. Did I mention I sat beside Elizabeth Baird?
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03 Jan
2011 Resolutions and 10 iSpice Giveaways

This is the time of year I look over last years' resolutions, publicly admit defeat and prove my optimistic tendencies by giving it yet another go. This year? For the first time ever, I actually met all my published goals. Admittedly, they weren't grandiose, like...

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