Recipes

Tonka bean crisp
Apple and Tonka Bean Crisp
No peaking. Just answer the question. What are tonka beans? Are they: a) a line of kids' toys b) an ancient Polynesian percussion instrument c) urban slang for "I don't care"
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Recipe: Basil Cheddar Scones
Last week I was in Banff, Alberta, surrounded by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains. It was unseasonably warm and the cloudless sky was the shade of cerulean blue you find only in a paint box. It was mid-afternoon and I'd had nothing but airplane coffee and a packet of the biscuits you can only get at 35,000 feet. A local suggested my friend and I grab a bite at a nearby café. Being obedient tourists, we did as we were told. Hungry, but not wanting to spoil dinner, I went for soup. I expected to be taken by the homemade tomato and acho pepper soup and ordered the basil and cheddar scone merely to fill my stomach. I usually find bakery scones disappointing. They've sat on the counter too long. They're too dry, too bland, too expensive. I'm not bragging, but no bakery scone stands a chance against my fresh-from-the-oven ones. The ones I'm making in the photo on my about page. The ones I make every Christmas morning. The ones I want served at my wake.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
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.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Recipe: Watermelon & Raspberry Soup

When I signed up for the watermelon carving challenge I figured inspiration would arrive by the time I received my personal-sized watermelon and its accompanying dual-ended melon baller. It didn't. So, I scoured The National Watermelon Promotion Board's website to see if anything sparked an idea. One look at the fun and fanciful watermelon rabbits, sharks and hedgehogs and my brain seized. I got the sculpting equivalent of writer's block. I went blank. Totally and completely blank. To kickstart my creativity, I looked through books, surfed the net and flipped through magazines. I meditated on the issue. I rolled the watermelon about the kitchen floor. I even went to bed envisioning the word "watermelon" in bright pink letters in hopes the answer might come to me in a dream. It didn't. After days of lackluster watermelon inspiration I resigned myself to failure. While I sulked on the back steps and contemplated leaving the adorable little watermelon in the refrigerator until it dissolved into something unrecognizable, a Japanese anemone caught the breeze and bobbed about in the garden. This soft pink flower is one of my favourites. Its simple and elegant petals are a final splash of light summer pink before deep autumn tones take over. Gently curved anemones speak to me more than over-stuffed double roses, ruffled hybrid lilies or busy asters. And then it hit me. I was making things too hard. The answer to my watermelon dilemma was waving at me. So, here is my watermelon carving challenge entry:
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Recipe: Butter Rum Pound Cake
I was going to post this on Monday, September 19th, official Talk Like a Pirate Day. But I used up all my lame pirate jokes back in 2006 when I needed a tie-in for my rumball recipe. Despite getting so tipsy spliced t'mainbrace sampling the rum-laced glaze that I came this close to bellowing out a sea shanty, this will be a straight up, pirate-free pound cake post -- which is only fitting since Camilla V. Saulsbury shouldn't share the lime light with anyone, let alone a scurvy, one-eyed bilge rat. What makes Camilla so special? Not only did she create 750 muffin recipes a while back, her new book, Piece of Cakehas 176 tasty and easy-to-make variations. Carrying the one, that's 926 recipes she's come up with in one year. I'm chuffed when I come up with three variations on galette. How's she do it? Spin a flavour wheel? Pull herbs out of a hat? No, According to Camilla, it's a "savant thing" she's done all her life. In college, her classmates thought she was a meticulous notetaker, but in reality she was scribbling down flavour ideas during lectures. Higher education has never been put to such good use.
Charmian-Logo-New-transparent
Three Farmers Camelina Oil and a Give Away
Update: Since The Three Farmers won their bid on Dragon's Den, I have been getting a lot of questions about this oil. If you are interested in buying some, there is a list of retail outlets on the Three Farmers' site. Click here to see the list.
Is bright yellow the new olive green? These tiny mustard-coloured seeds are from the Camelina plant. Although popular in Europe since the 1940s, Camelina oil has been commercially available in Canada only since December 2010. I'm no trend spotter, but if I'm right, Camelina might be Canada's answer to imported extra virgin olive oil. 
Black Cherry Raspberry Galetter by The Messy Baker
Black Cherry and Raspberry Galette with Walnut Frangipane and Ginger
Black Cherry Raspberry Galetter by The Messy Baker Do you really need me to write out the instructions with a recipe title like that? Clearly I didn't name the dish with Twitter in mind. Instead, I created this for my parents' anniversary. When asked what he wanted for dessert, Dad requested a "red galette." After a bit of probing, I learned this was code for "use raspberries." When I asked what he wanted to go with the raspberries his response was blunt. "No peaches!" Turns out Dad likes his peaches in their natural state, not cooked. So much for the peach galette I made him when I thought he didn't like pavlova. Perhaps I should start issuing surveys before planning a menu for family events. So, with walnuts in the pantry and a batch of this season's black cherries in the freezer, I riffed on the ruby red rhubarb and raspberry galette my father liked so much. I even made an oil-based pastry so my newly dairy-free sister could enjoy dessert. It was a bit brittle and needed the support of a pie plate, but I got bonus points for the attempt. Despite springing a few leaks, the results were deemed Breakfast Worthy, which in our house, is the ultimate compliment.
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.
RoastedRadishes-parchment
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.

Subscribe to my newsletter.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s informative.

 

Receive weekly tips, recipes and advanced notice of upcoming events.

Yes, please!