I didn’t think hot cross buns were in the stars for me this weekend, but -almost without thinking about it- I warmed some milk and butter and proofed some yeast as I made coffee this morning, and then suddenly they were in the works. I still had currants left over from Christmas fruitcake-baking, after all – it would be a shame not to bake a batch. Right? Hot cross buns are essentially cinnamon-spiked dough dappled with currants or raisins and candied peel – although I usually skip the bits of peel and add grated orange zest instead. When I think about it, I have no idea why these are limited to once a year. It’s like raisin bread in soft bun form – if you have some aged cheddar or Gouda in the house, tuck some into a warm buttered bun to win friends and influence people. The dough is easy to mix – if they’re for breakfast, you can shape the buns, cover and refrigerateContinue reading

3
Share
, ,

Have you ever had a banavalanche? A mass of frozen bananas unloading from your freezer each time you open the door? Fortunately I have a drawer freezer at the bottom of my fridge now – which means the bananas overflow into the ice cube tray, making all our ice taste like banana. Which is a sign it’s time to bake something. I toss a few whole (solid) bananas in a bowl of warm water to thaw, then squeeze them out one end (like milking a cow) until their super soft innards slither out into the mixing bowl. But I feel as if I’ve finally hit my banana bread quota, and the two of us have to take a break for awhile – and so I dug out a recipe for muffins sweetened with honey that I made out in Tofino one time, and (possibly because we’re typically out there at this time and my subconscious self is homesick for the place) made a batch.

4
Share
, ,

Forever ago, when I was at art college, the school cafeteria sold thick slabs of cheese toast for a dollar. It was about all I could afford, which was convenient because it was also what I loved the most. Open faced grilled cheese. It reminded me of my mom’s tuna melts, minus the tuna, and my grandma’s hot dog melts on hamburger buns that would go all crackly in the oven. Cheese toast is perhaps as comforting as it’s possible to get. It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing you need a recipe for – and yet it’s so much more than just cheese on toast.

6
Share
, ,

These don’t have to be sprinkle doughnuts, but since the cousins were over this weekend, I thought there ought to be sprinkles. I figured their young minds were at their memory-storing prime, and if I was to instill fond memories of making doughnuts from scratch at their aunt’s house, who let them cook the holes and scraps and douse them in cinnamon sugar to eat while the doughnuts were cooking, I’d better get on it. Doughnuts aren’t difficult; the yeast-raised kind (these) are made with a simple dough enriched with butter and eggs, then patted and cut (I can’t resist doughnut cutters when I see them) and cooked in a shallow pot of oil – no need for more than an inch or so. Some grandmothers cook theirs in lard or shortening; I’ve never done this, but someday I’ll give it a go just to say I did. For now, I find canola works perfectly.

0
Share

Everyone seems to need some comfort this week. I can think of few better delivery vehicles than a warm biscuit, especially on grey days when the snow falls in big, wet flakes and there are too many cases of the sniffles and the sads. I turned on the oven almost absentmindedly this afternoon, not having a clue what I was going to make, but sure that whatever came out of it, including the warmth and good smells, would make us all feel a bit better.

1
Share
,

You probably won’t be shocked to hear that I tend to use this space as my own personal recipe file, and it always surprises me when I look up something I make with some frequency and find it’s not here. Case in point: these nubbly, crunchy-edged scones, which are made with oats and – red lentils! Which turn a pale yellow as they’re cooked and mimic oats, blending right in as if they were meant to be there. If you don’t tell anyone they won’t even know – I promise. I brought some in to CBC this morning, and even though the topic was pulses, no one guessed they had lentils in them. Of course lentils are nutritional superheroes, bumping up protein and fibre like crazy – far more than whole grains do. And isn’t that what everyone wants for breakfast? A good dose of protein and fibre, but also something delicious you can nibble with your coffee?

4
Share
,

Happy New Year, friends! I’m back, still trying to fix this place up, but it’s an improvement, no? I hear the search functionality is not operating as it should, so I appreciate any feedback you can give as I try to complete this overhaul and get everything in working order. If I could just call a time-out, that would be awesome. But we still have to eat. The week between Christmas and the New Year we traditionally live on leftovers – chunks of cheese and crackers from Christmas parties, chunks of cake and tins of cookies that take up the countertop for the entire month of December, ham and turkey and mincemeat in the fridge. And eggnog – every year I buy it thinking we should have some, and every year no one drinks it. So I use it up in waffles and scones, and it’s perfect for baking with, being essentially sweetened, spiced milk. But here it is January 1 and I still haveContinue reading

7
Share
,

If you’re the type to devour a sleeve of salted crackers with cold butter, pull up a chair – these pre-buttered crackers are for you. To eat by the stack. I’ve always been a fan of homemade crackers – although most of us have made a batch or two of cookies in our lifetimes, we don’t tend to run toward crackers. And yet the dough is just as easy – often more so; and the results just as delicious compared to the store-bought boxed kind as homemade cookies are, gooey and warm from the oven, in comparison to the carboardy ones that often taste of their own packaging. Homemade is better – and cheaper still – and perfect for piling on cheese boards (party season coming up!) or nibbling in bed or crumbling into soup. I confess I ate the majority of these straight from the cookie sheet, and didn’t bother with dinner.

3
Share
,

Today seemed like a good day to make pumpkin scones – not only because it’s Sunday, it was a late night (Halloween) and an extra-long morning (daylight savings), but because there was a half a can of pumpkin puree in the fridge, and I will go to great lengths to keep food from winding up in the compost bin. Also, on mornings that require some recovery from the night before, I don’t go running to plates of greasy bacon and eggs, but to soft-centred carbs with craggly edges that I can nibble with copious amounts of coffee. I was not neat when I brushed these with cream and sprinkled them with coarse sugar (I use Turbinado – sugar in the raw) before sliding them into the oven, thus the dark sugary polka-dots. Also, I like splattering things. It’s my attempt at being artistic and Jackson Pollok-y in the kitchen.

1
Share