Monday, May 30, 2016

Roasted Peach and Bacon Muffins #MuffinMonday

Roasted peach and bacon muffins are sort of sweet and sort of savory, really the best of both worlds. 

It’s Muffin Monday again! And also Memorial Day in the United States, which is the day we remember and honor those who have died in active service in any branch of the United States military. Many families take advantage of the three-day weekend to gather for reunions or to hold family celebrations. And, of course, this time of year is also all about graduations and graduation parties. So many opportunities to bake and share muffins with your friends and loved ones!

If you are a fan of sweet and salty treats, you are going to love these roasted peach and bacon muffins. Don’t forget to scroll down to see all the other bacon and peach wonderfulness that my fellow Muffin Monday bakers are sharing. We didn’t plan the theme but after everyone else had added their titles to our group, I was motivated to create a muffin that would fit in.

6 slices thick cut streaky bacon
2 peaches – just ripe but not soft
Pinch flakey sea salt
2 cups or 250g all purpose flour
1/3 cup or 66g brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 180 ml milk
1/3 cup or 80ml bacon fat (rendered from frying the bacon) plus extra for greasing pan (or use butter or oil)
2 large eggs

Fry the bacon slices until crispy and remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Leave the bacon fat in the pan to cool.

Preheat your oven to 425°F or 218°C.

Cut your peaches in half and remove the pits. Slice them in wedges.

Place the wedges on a baking pan. Use a spoon to drizzle some bacon fat over each peach wedge. Sprinkle them with a pinch of flakey sea salt.

Roast in your preheated oven for about 8-10 minutes and then turn the wedges over and roast for a further 5 minutes.

After turning them over.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. They are going to be pretty soft at this point. Use a metal spatula to scrape them up. Reduce heat of the oven to 350°F or 180°C.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together.

Chop the peaches and the bacon into pieces, setting aside 12 bits of each for topping the muffins before baking.

Add your chopped peaches to the flour and use a fork to mix them in and separate them from each other, coating them with flour.

In another bowl, whisk together milk, bacon fat and eggs.

Add all the milk mixture to flour mixture.

Gently fold just until dry ingredients are moistened. There should still be some flour showing. Then fold in your bigger pile of bacon.

Generously grease cups (I used bacon grease but you can use oil or butter) and top of 12-cup muffin pan.

Divide your batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.  Top each with a piece of the reserved bacon and roasted peaches.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until muffins are golden.

Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before removing muffins from pan.


If you are a fan of bacon or peaches, this is going to be your favorite Muffin Monday so far! Check out all the great combinations we have for you this month.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Coronation Chicken Deviled Eggs

These coronation chicken deviled eggs combine the British classic coronation chicken salad with the American classic deviled eggs for a cross-cultural potluck dish that is sure to please on both sides of the Atlantic.

Not familiar with Coronation Chicken? Read my post all about it here.

A number of weeks ago we were invited to a Champagne tasting at a friend’s home. He holds them about once a year, quite casual evenings with good food and good friends. We taste and rate the various Champagnes – the theme this time was rosé - first with appetizers and then we drink the balance of the many bottles with our meal. Of course, my first question is always, “What can I bring?” When the response came back “appetizers,” I knew I wanted to make deviled eggs but not plain Jane ones. Something unusual but still delicious. Where I come from we put eggs in both our chicken salad and tuna salad so adding eggs to coronation chicken seemed like a fine idea. And making it all into something handheld like deviled eggs was ideal for appetizers.

This week my Sunday Supper family are sharing our best recipes for a potluck so those coronation chicken deviled eggs came to mind. Like all deviled eggs, they are the perfect dish to bring along to share with friends and family. Make sure you scroll down to the bottom to see our wonderful link list of all of our best potluck recipes. Many thanks to our host today, T.R. of Gluten-free Crumbley!

For the deviled eggs:
10 eggs
1/2 cup or 70g chopped, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons curry powder, plus a little to sprinkle for garnish
3-4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2-3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon spicy chutney
1/2 tart apple
Good squeeze lemon juice (to keep the apple from browning)
2 tablespoons pomegranate arils, plus extra for garnish

For garnish:
Curry powder
A little chopped parsley
Extra pomegranate arils

In a pan where they can sit in in one layer, cover the eggs with cool water and bring to the boil over medium heat. Cover the pan, remove it from the stove and set a timer for 10 minutes.

Drain and cover the eggs with more cool water.

When they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs. Cut them in half and put the yolks in a mixing bowl. Cover the whites with cling film so they don’t dry out, and refrigerate them.

Use a fork to mash the egg yolks until they are a fine crumble.

Add the chicken, salt and curry powder to the egg yolks and mix well.

Add three tablespoons of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of Greek yogurt and one of spicy chutney to the egg mixture. Mix well again.

If the mixture seems dry, add the final tablespoons of mayo and yogurt. Mix again.

This looks about right!

Squeeze some lemon juice into a small bowl. Peel and dice your half apple, pushing the pieces off the cutting board and into the lemon juice as you cut so they don’t turn brown.

Add your apple and pomegranate to the mixture and, you guessed it, mix well.

Lay your egg whites out in a serving dish.

Spoon the egg mixture into the egg whites or put it into a Ziploc bag and cut off the corner so you can squeeze the filling into the whites.

Decorate them with a sprinkling more of curry powder, some pomegranate arils and some chopped parsley.


How many invitations do you have for potluck get-togethers this summer? I hope you didn't answer too many, because we've got you today covered with 47 recipes perfect for potlucks.

Sides and Salads
The Main


Friday, May 27, 2016

Pear and Preserves Tart #FridayPieDay

Freshly sliced pears and your favorite fruit preserves, mingle with browned butter in a puff pastry crust to create this tasty, easy pear and preserves tart. 

It’s Friday Pie Day once again! We celebrate on the last Friday of every month by baking. This week I’m doing my annual doctors' visits and trying to work from home. It’s been crazy busy so I sent my daughter out to the grocery store and said, “Check out the fruit and bring me something I can bake into a pie, please.” She returned with four beautiful fat pears, not quite enough for a full size pie but plenty for a puff pastry tart, and then some.

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry - Mine weighed 8.6 oz or 245g.
2 large pears, sliced thinly1/4 cup or 60g unsalted butter
About 1/4 cup or 120g preserves of your choice (I used my cherry lemon preserves.)

Thaw your puff pastry if it’s frozen and then lay it out flat on a piece of baking parchment or a silicone liner.

Preheat your oven to 425°F or 218°C.

Score your puff pastry with the tip of a sharp knife about 1 inch or 2.5 centimeters from the edge.

Slice the pears into thin wedges and then remove the seeds.

Start laying the pear slices inside the scored line on your pastry, overlapping as you go. Depending on the size of your puff pastry sheet (and pears) you might not need all of the slices. I used about 1 1/2 pears.

Heat the butter in a small pan until it starts to bubble and foam rises to the top. Skim the foam off as it forms. Continue to heat the butter until it starts to brown and then remove it immediately from the stove. We want browned butter, not burned butter and it will continue to darken from the heat of the pot.

N.B. It was too dark in my kitchen to take decent photos but I wasn't at all worried because whenever I use browned butter in a recipe, I like to send folks over to my friend, Kayle, the Cooking Actress. She's got a great how-to for browning butter.  She puts browned butter in All The Things, both sweet and savory.

Use a spoon to drizzle the browned butter all over the pear slices.

Spoon the sweet preserves of your choice over the pears.

Bake in your preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until the pastry is puffy and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes before serving, to allow the sweet runny juices to thicken up. My puff pastry somehow sprung a leak and some of the sticky juice ran out onto the silicone mat, which is why we use those things or parchment. They make clean up so much easier!


My friend and creator of Friday Pie Day, Heather, over at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen has made a gorgeous blushing apricot pie with fresh apricots and strawberries to share today. You need to go and see that beauty!

I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Grilled Shrimp Corn Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette

This beautiful grilled shrimp corn salad with avocado vinaigrette can be enjoyed as a main course for two or three or as an appetizer for more. 

This week my Sunday Supper group is sharing grilling recipes. Since weather is unpredictable, the powers that be are being flexible and allowing us to use grill pans too. Or share recipes associated with grilling like sauces, rubs and spices. You will find lots of inspiration and deliciousness in the link list below. Many thanks to our host this week, Sue from Palatable Pastime.

Use your grill pan or actual grill to roast the corn on the cob and cook the seasoned shrimp before adding them to a fresh salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and feta. The vinaigrette with avocado adds a subtle creaminess that is bright with flavor. Serve the whole shebang on top of some leafy greens.

For the salad:
2 ears corn
1 lb 13 3/4 oz or 860g cleaned, peeled shrimp (I leave the little tail on though because I like the way they look.)
Sea salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium cucumbers
4.4 oz or 125g grape tomatoes
1 shallot or purple onion
6 1/3 oz or 180g goat’s milk feta, crumbled
Good handful flat leaf parsley

For the avocado vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
Few grinds black pepper
Healthy pinch flakey sea salt
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium avocados

To serve: Clean mixed greens or arugula

Season your shrimp with a good sprinkle of fine sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and cayenne. Add in the two tablespoons of olive oil, mix well and set aside.

Heat your grill pan till it’s smoking hot and cook the corn on the cob, turning several times until it’s got charred marks all over. Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

Add shrimp to the hot grill pan and cook for just a few minutes on each side until they are cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Halve then quarter your cucumbers lengthwise. Use a sharp knife to remove the seeds from the middle. Then cut them into bite-sized pieces.

My helper is a huge fan of cucumber innards so he’s always poised waiting for this part of the job.

When the corn is cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to slice the kernels off.

Half your grape tomatoes, chop your purple onion and parsley. Pile them all in a big bowl with the cucumber, corn and crumbled feta. Toss to combine.

Add in the shrimp and toss again.

Add all of the dressing ingredients, except the avocado, to another glass bowl and whisk to combine.

When you are almost ready to serve the salad, scoop the avocado into the dressing bowl and stir well to coat the avocado pieces.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to mix it in.

Serve as is or on top of some fresh mixed greens.


Check out this great link list for grilling inspiration:

Patio Libations
Let’s Get This BBQ Started!
The Main Event
On a Side Note
Saucy Sentiments and Rebellious Rubs
Finishing Touches


Friday, May 20, 2016

Cajun Spiced Salmon #FishFridayFoodies

Cajun Spiced Salmon is easy to make and even easier to eat. Serve it as part of a plated dinner or atop a salad.

Both my mother and my mother-in-law are good cooks although both claim not to enjoy it. What even does that mean? What’s not to like? Anyway, my mother-in-law makes a lovely salmon dish where she covers a whole side of salmon with various spices and herbs and then cooks it in the oven under the broiler – or grill for my British readers – until it’s just done enough. The spicy herb-encrusted top gets a little bit crunchy and golden while the salmon beneath is tender and perfectly moist still.

I was chatting with her the other day and she remarked that someone had given her some homemade seafood gumbo. She wanted to share it with friends but it was only enough for everyone to have a small bowl as a starter. She was looking for advice about what would go with the gumbo for her main dish. I suggested that she make her salmon dish but with Cajun spices instead of her usual ones. As I hung up the call on Skype, it occurred to me that I had solved my own problem too.

We probably eat fresh salmon at least once a week, simply pan-fried with salt and pepper and no other adornments. It’s one of our favorites. This month our Fish Friday Foodies host, Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking wants us to put a little spice in our lives so just salt and pepper wouldn’t cut it.  So I changed out my usual spices for Cajun ones and carried on, just as I had advised my mother-in-law to do.

1 salmon fillet per person (About 5 2/3- 7 oz or 160-200g each)
Favorite Cajun spice mix
Olive oil for pan

To serve:
1/2 lemon
Few sprigs parsley

Rinse off your salmon steaks and pat them dry with paper towels. Lay them skin side down on a plate and sprinkle them well with your favorite Cajun spice mix. Since we’re putting it in kind of thick, you’d be better to use one with more spice and less salt.

Heat a skillet big enough for all of your salmon steaks to fit without being crowded over a medium high flame.

Drizzle in a little olive oil then add the salmon steak seasoned side down. Sprinkle a little of the seasoning on the skin side.

As salmon cooks, the color changes, starting near the heat source, from bright orange to a pale peach. Cook uncovered until you see the color change on the salmon reach midway up the steaks. Depending on the thickness of the salmon steaks, this could take from 3-5 minutes.

You can't really see it in this photo but you will in person, I promise.

Turn the salmon steaks over and cook with the skin side down until the skin is crispy and the sides are completely peach colored and opaque, perhaps another 2-3 minutes.

Remove the salmon steaks from the pan and allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

Slice your lemons and roughly chop a couple of sprigs of parsley. Scatter them over and around the salmon steaks.