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My Mother’s Hands | Lemon Curd Recipe
My Mother - TheMessyBaker.com These hands turn 80 this summer. These hands have picked strawberries, made jam, kneaded bread, rolled pastry. They have decorated birthday cakes, anniversary cakes and wedding cakes. They have changed diapers, washed clothes, sewn dresses, mended seams, darned socks, stitched buttons, ironed pleats. They have tied shoelaces, braided hair and wrapped presents. They have stroked sweaty hair from fevered foreheads, wiped away tears, plucked thorns from fingers, applied bandages, massaged aching muscles and held the hands of the dying. Despite arthritis, they carry on.
paella
Recipe: Paella
Making and enjoying paella - TheMessyBaker.com One of these days I'll learn how to take notes, shoot pictures and eat, all at once. This sort of multi-tasking would have come in very handy last week when I attended a paella class at Pimenton in Toronto. Greeted by a table full of tapas, fellow bloggers chopping vegetables and a warm and welcoming Chef José Arato, my anxiety over arriving late due to the rush hour drive melted. It took at couple of Tortilla & Chorizo Tarts to calm me down, but they did the trick. Until the class, most of my knowledge about paella came from Posh Nosh, a British cooking show spoof. Unlike the TV version, Chef José's paella was cooked on the stove top — not in the ancestral Aga — and uses bomba rice, not Italian arborio. Who knew you can't trust the BBC for cooking advice?
clotted-cream
Homemade Clotted Cream

Shrove Tuesday doesn't have to include pancakes. Today is really about gorging on rich foods before the 40-day fast of Lent. Pancakes just happen to be cooked in grease, filled with eggs and topped with more decadence.  It's okay to think beyond the griddle. Any...

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Recipe: Preserved Lemons
Making preserved lemons - TheMessyBaker.com It's time to strike another item off my Culinary Bucket List. In an uncharacteristic display of patience, I tackled preserved lemons. They require endurance, not because they are hard to make, but because they take 4 weeks to cure. In the meantime, to scratch my immediate-gratification itch, I started a Tumblr — a place to stuff all those little items I can't clutter up the blog with. It'll be a home for stray thoughts, non-food shots (which don't necessarily translate to cats), and food shots that aren't good enough for Foodgawker but tell a story I want to share. I'm still figuring it out, but if you care to pop by I have added a link to the far right of the menu bar. Go on. Click it. I dare you. Anyway, I started researching preserved lemons
Homemade Eggnog and Eggnog Ice Cream
Recipe: Homemade Eggnog
Homemade eggnog and eggnog ice cream. One recipe. Two results -- The Messy Baker.com I’m trying not to be resentful but a certain celebrity llama has more Twitter followers than I do. And his first name isn't Dali. To be fair, the llama is a talented goat herder, so I can see the appeal. Why all the fuss over a shaggy camelid? Polka Spot belongs to the Fabulous Beekman Boys — along with a polydactyl barn cat, 160 goats, two sheep and a cheese cave. They all reside on a 60-acre farm with a 210-year-old mansion. I’d be insanely jealous if I didn’t know how much work 60-acres and 640 goat hooves require. The only low-maintenance item on that list is the cheese cave, and I'm sure there's more to that than simply maintaining a thermostat.
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Recipe: Plum Lavender Jam

Plums and nectarines

I always thought I had a pretty good childhood. Each winter, my father would make a skating rink in the back yard, which we and our friends would use for noisy hours on end. And when we came in bright pink and shivering, Mom defrosted us with mugs full of homemade hot chocolate. I had a grandmother who let me eat dessert first and an aunt who invited us to her cottage each summer for long weeks spent doing absolutely nothing in a way only a pre-Space-Invaders child could do. If there was one thing missing from my youth, it was a dog. I now know the missing element was actually an orchard.
Jade Soup
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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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.
Peach Mango Soup
Peach Mango Soup Shooters

Peach Mango Soup Shooters

I don't think of soup when it comes to pairing wine. And I don't think of peaches when it comes to soup. And I don't think of tart when it comes to sweet, sweet peaches. So a cayenne-kissed, very tangy-yet-sweet peach-mango soup designed to go with Gewurztraminer is exactly the kind of shake-me-up dish I needed to save me from the stupor of Peach Rut. Yes, Peach Rut. It's not often talked about in public, but it is a professionally recognized condition that frequently afflicts food bloggers. Victims find their immunity severely depleted from the stress of creating increasingly complex variations on salsa, ice cream, jam, pie, galettes and upside down cakes. Once grilling and salad options have been exhausted, so is the blogger. New strains of the virus emerge each season, frequently taking the form of Tomato Fatigue, Apple LetDown or the dreaded Dear-God-Not-Another-Zucchini Panic Attack.
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Recipe: Roasted Radishes
  Radishes at the Farmers' Market - TheMessyBaker To observe my mother eating radishes is to understand that over-used phrase "living in the moment." They are not munched like baby carrots or popped into her mouth like grapes. They are consumed with quiet, focused deliberation. To begin, she sets a small bowl of radishes on the table beside her. They are scrubbed and trimmed, with just enough stem to form a handle. She then carefully pours a modest pool of salt on her plate before plucking a radish from the pile. Once she has selected a radish, she nibbles a tiny piece from the tip and dips the freshly exposed end into the salt. She then proceeds to eat the radish, crunching away with a look of peaceful concentration on her face. She doesn't talk. She doesn't touch the other meal items in front of her. She devotes herself fully to the radish. She repeats these steps until her allotment of radishes is gone. The rest of her meal them resumes.

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