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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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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24 Dec
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing you, your friends, your family, your neighbours (even the ones who put giant inflatable snowmen on their front lawn), your pets and your coworkers a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and prosperous New Year. I'll be off from December 24th to January 3rd....

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23 Dec
12 Cookbooks Picks of 2010
I know what you're thinking. "It's only 2 days to Christmas and you're posting this now?" Yup. I figure, since I'm going to be making a mad dash for gifts later today, you might be a last-minute shopper, too. So, in no particular order other than this is the way the books were piled on my office floor, here are some of the best food books I encountered in the past year. I've streamlined the review so you can narrow your search quickly and hit the road. I've even included a section about the photographs in case you're as easily swayed by pretty pictures as I am.
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22 Dec
Food Apps for iPhone and iPad

I have turned into one of those hand-held-gadget people I used to mock. Once blissfully free of anything more technically advanced than a pen and notepad, I now find myself tethered to a library of tunes, a six-tiered calendar, five email accounts and a nest...

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20 Dec
Scattered

I used to be a master multi-tasker. As a Gemini, it came naturally. I'll admit there were times I did it just to show off. When friends and family dropped in I'd be sure they'd catch me cooking a five-course meal, answering email and writing...

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24 Nov
How to prevent cheesecake cracking

[caption id="attachment_4376" align="alignnone" width="500"] This is what happens when you bake cheesecakes without a hot water bath.[/caption] Growing up, cheesecake was a graham crust pressed into a 9 X 9  pan, slathered in a mixture of cream cheese and Dream Whip, and crowned with a can...

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