Monday, August 29, 2016

Blackberry Lemon Thyme Muffins #MuffinMonday

Blackberry Lemon Thyme Muffins marry a trio of flavors that go so well together in a syrup or in a muffin. First make the syrup then use the leftover blackberry puree to make these fluffy delectable muffins.

Just yesterday, over on the Sunday Supper Movement website, I posted a recipe for blackberry lemon thyme syrup from the new cookbook, Not Your Mama’s Canning Book* by Rebecca Lindamood. I divided the ingredients list by three which made two almost full 8 oz jars of the most delightful ruby syrup, full of flavor and sweetness. But after draining the puree of the syrup, I couldn’t just throw the sweet mashed blackberries away. With Muffin Monday coming up – always the last Monday of the month – I knew just what to do with them!

If you’d like to learn how to can or are already a avid fan of canning, you’ll want to check out my post. Thanks to the Page Street Publishing, Sunday Supper is giving away one copy of Rebecca’s book.

For the blackberry lemon thyme puree and syrup
10 3/4 oz or 300g fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups or 300g granulated sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 sprig fresh thyme

For the muffins
2 cups or 250g all purpose flour
3/4 cup or 170g sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 240ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml canola oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup or 160g blackberry puree
Optional – 12 fresh blackberries for decoration

Follow these instructions to make the blackberry syrup but with the amounts indicated above. Discard the thyme sprig but save the strained blackberry puree to make these muffins. Trust me. That syrup is worth the time and effort.

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C. Generously grease cups and top of 12-cup muffin pan or line them with paper liners

In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, thyme leaves and salt together. In another bowl, whisk together milk, oil, lemon juice, vanilla and eggs.

Add all the milk mixture to flour mixture.

Gently fold just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Drop dollops of the blackberry puree on the batter then use a spatula to swirl them in, leaving streaks of color.

Divide your batter relatively evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Top each with a blackberry, if desired.

Bake 20-25 minutes or until muffins are golden.

Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 before removing muffins from pan.


Check out all the other muffins 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.

*Amazon affiliate link

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Nectarine Kumquat Habanero Chutney

Nectarine Kumquat Habanero Chutney has the perfect blend of sweet and sharp and spicy. The tart kumquats add an extra bite to the sweet nectarines and the heat of the habaneros complements the dried spices, giving this chutney a distinctly Indian flair.

Food Lust People Love: Nectarine Kumquat Habanero Chutney has the perfect blend of sweet and sharp and spicy. The tart kumquats add an extra bite to the sweet nectarines and the heat of the habaneros complements the dried spices, giving this chutney a distinctly Indian flair.

This week my Sunday Supper group is sharing recipes that save the summer harvest. I love adding peppers, especially habaneros, to sweet condiments. There’s something special about that hit of heat and sweet that goes so perfectly with pork or chicken. I just can’t resist. One day soon I’ll share the recipe for my confit pork belly, shown here, because it’s my favorite thing to eat with nectarine kumquat habanero chutney. But meanwhile, serve it along side grilled chicken breasts or pan-fried pork chops.

12 1/3 oz or 350g kumquats
3 cups or 710ml apple cider vinegar
3 lbs 12 oz or 1700g nectarines
2 tablespoon canola or other light oil
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
12 fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon kalonji
4 in or 9cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 cup or 240ml fresh orange juice
2 large, thick thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger
6 cups or 1200g sugar
3-4 habanero peppers – about 38g

Wash your kumquats and remove any stems.  Finely slice them, removing any large green seeds.

Pile them in a bowl and cover them with the vinegar. Push them down into a little if necessary. Cover the bowl with cling film and let marinate for at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to proceed, chop your ginger finely. Mince your fresh habaneros. You can discard the seeds but know that even doing that, this is going to be pretty spicy. Be very careful with the habaneros. I recommend you use gloves. Do not, I repeat, do not touch anything – face, eyes, nose, etc. – before washing your hands very thoroughly with full strength soap, or better yet, an abrasive scouring powder, just in case.

Measure out your spices, putting the mustard seeds in one bowl and the rest of the spices in another.

Seed and thinly slice your nectarines. No need to peel them.

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add in the other spices and give the whole thing a quick stir.

Now add in the chopped ginger and stir again. Pour in the orange juice.

Now add in the kumquats and the vinegar they marinated in. Bring to a low boil and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add in the nectarines, habaneros, the stick of cinnamon and sugar.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the fire down.  Be careful at the beginning because the sugar really makes it bubble up.  You do not want this to boil over!

Cook until the chutney thickens to your desired consistency. Remember that once it cools, it will thicken even more so stop before you can stand a spoon in it or it will be too thick cold. I cooked mine for almost one hour over a low heat. If you are a thermometer using type, I find that jam or chutney will set when cooled if heated to just under 220°F or 105°C.

Turn off the fire and remove the cinnamon stick.

Transfer the boiling chutney to sterilized jars, popping in clean teaspoons to make sure the jars don’t break. Screw the sterilized lids on tightly.  I use the inversion method to seal my jars but experts like Rebecca Lindamood, author of Not Your Mama’s Canning Book does not recommend this. She advocates processing the jars in a boiling water bath or pressure canner.

Enjoy! If you like kumquats, you might also like my spicy tangy sticky kumquat chutney.

Food Lust People Love: Nectarine Kumquat Habanero Chutney has the perfect blend of sweet and sharp and spicy. The tart kumquats add an extra bite to the sweet nectarines and the heat of the habaneros complements the dried spices, giving this chutney a distinctly Indian flair.

Check out all the fabulous recipes our Sunday Supper tastemakers are sharing this week to save the summer harvest. Many thanks to today's host Caroline of Caroline's Cooking and our event manager Renee of Renee's Kitchen Adventures.


Main dishes





Pin this Nectarine Kumquat Habanero Chutney!

Food Lust People Love: Nectarine Kumquat Habanero Chutney has the perfect blend of sweet and sharp and spicy. The tart kumquats add an extra bite to the sweet nectarines and the heat of the habaneros complements the dried spices, giving this chutney a distinctly Indian flair.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Spicy Salmon Shrimp Burgers #FishFridayFoodies

Spicy salmon shrimp burgers are just about all seafood, with very little filler. These orange-hued burgers are bright and flavorful! Add a little spicy pink sauce for extra oomph. 

It’s a funny thing but I know from experience that unappetizing grey shrimp turn a lovely orange color when cooked, but it still amazes me when it happens. What looks like magic, turns out to be science. It’s a little more complicated that this but, simply put, shrimp have carotenoid pigments in their shells and flesh which are released by heat. In fact, they are also released by stomach acid and fat inside of the flamingos that eat them, which is why those birds are various shades of pink in the wild. If you see bright pink flamingos, like in some zoos, someone is probably feeding them a carotenoid-enriched diet. Salmon farmers do the same to create the orange flesh that is naturally found in wild salmon. The great news is that carotenoids offer a lot of health benefits so it's all good.

Isn’t food a kick? I am also amazed by how much I still have to learn about the world around me, even about ingredients I’ve been eating for years.

This month Fish Friday Foodies is being hosted by the very talented Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. She challenged us to create burgers, proper solid "meaty" patties, with the seafood of our choice. My younger daughter is here with us for a long visit and she voted for salmon burgers. I was all for that since salmon has natural oils that would keep a burger from drying out, but I wanted to boost the flavor with the addition of some shrimp.

I’m telling you, these were wonderful. Moist, tender, almost all salmon and shrimp with just one slice of bread and some seasonings. The secret is to process one quarter of your salmon and shrimp till you make a paste. That paste is the “glue” that holds the patties together so you don't need an egg or other binders.

When I was growing up my stepmother used to make something she called salsa rosada or pink sauce for us to dip hardboiled quails’ eggs in. She considered that beach picnic food. Why? I have no idea, but I loved it. Basically salsa rosada is mayo and ketchup with some hot sauce. It goes well with quails’ eggs, boiled shrimp and, of course, spicy salmon shrimp burgers.

For four spicy salmon shrimp burgers:
1 lb or 450g salmon fillet – weight after skinned and bones removed
9 3/4 oz or 275g shrimp – weight after peeling and cleaning
1 slice fresh whole wheat sandwich bread
1/2 medium onion, chopped (about 60g)
1 small red chili pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Fine sea salt
Black pepper
3-4 green onion tops, minced

For the salsa rosada or spicy mayo
4 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon hot sauce – or more to your taste

To cook and assemble the burgers:
1 tablespoon canola or other light oil for pan-frying
Lettuce leaves
Tomatoes slices
Onion slices
4 hamburger buns
Salsa rosada

Lay your salmon and shrimp out on a cutting board and season them with salt and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper.

Put the slice of bread into your food processor and process until it is large fluffy crumbs.

Add in the onion, chili pepper, mustard powder, cayenne and a few good grinds of fresh black pepper.

Pulse until all is well combined.

Cut salmon into two equal pieces. Cut 1/4 of the salmon in small pieces. Cut 1/4 of the shrimp into small pieces.

Add the salmon and shrimp pieces into the food processor. Pulse until you have a thick paste. Tip the mixture from the food processor out into a bowl.

Cut the balance of your salmon and shrimp into small cubes.

Add them to the paste bowl along with the green onions.

Mix well with a wooden spoon.

Cover a plate or platter with cling film. Form four patties by shaping them with wet hands and place them on the covered plate. The cling film makes it easy to remove the patties from the plate because you can lift one side and tip the patty into your hand. My mix weighed almost 800g or 1lb 12oz so each patty was just shy of 200g or 7oz.

Drizzle the oil into your non-stick skillet and cook the patties over a medium hight heat for about seven minutes on one side.

Turn and cook on the other side for another seven minutes or until they are cooked through.

Serve on toasted buns with salsa rosada, lettuce, tomato and onion. The radishes are just for nibbling.


Don't you want to see what everyone else has made today? I do!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Apple Bundt #BundtBakers

Light yet full of fruit, this easy peasy lemon squeezy apple Bundt reminds me that bright summer sunshine always fades into sweet cooler autumn. Eventually.

Go ahead, laugh with me. Or at me. I deserve it. I made this cake batter twice in two days because the first time, I completely forgot to add the apples in at the end. Yes, they were all peeled and sliced and chopped and just waiting, ready, but I was so taken by the lovely golden yellow batter that I spooned it right in my prepared baking pan – this Duet Bundt* from Nordic Ware – and popped it in the oven. The timer was 10 minutes down before I realized that the apples and lemon juice were still just sitting there. And I temporarily lost my will to live.

So here’s what I can tell you: If you want a simple vanilla lemon cake that doesn’t need a machine to mix and that would bake up beautifully in a Duet pan, just skip the apple steps.

Today, however, there need to be apples. Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting Bundt Bakers this month and she chose apples as our theme. How could I have forgotten to add the one ingredient I have to use? Yeah, I don’t know either.

Once the apples are added, the batter of this delicious easy peasy lemon squeezy apple Bundt is fluffy from the interaction of the baking soda, sour cream and lemon juice so spoon it carefully into your baking pan. We don’t want to lose any of the air inside.

Ingredients for 5- or 6-cup Bundt
1 1/2 cups or 190g flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-2 apples, depending on size about 170g each (I ended up using 1 1/2 apples)
1/4 cup or 60ml lemon juice
zest 1 lemon
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
3/4 cup or 150g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 115g full fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Optional: confectioner’s sugar for decoration

Preheat the oven to 325°F or 163°C. Prepare your 5 or 6 cup Bundt pan by greasing it with butter and coating that with flour.

Zest your lemon and then squeeze the juice into a small mixing bowl, being careful to remove all of the seeds.

Cut the apples in half, core and peel them. Slice them as thinly as you can, then give the whole pile of slices a couple of rough chops. The point here is that we don’t mind some larger pieces, but they should all be thin so they cook faster.  Make sense?

Put the cut apples into the lemon juice bowl and stir well. The acid in the lemon juice will help stop the apples from turning brown as you get on with the rest of the recipe.

Measure your flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add in the butter, eggs, sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla.

Beat well with a whisk, until the batter is smooth and creamy. Resist the urge to eat it. (It’s so good!)

Fold in the chopped apples along with the lemon juice.

Spoon the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven. Check it occasionally and if the top begins to brown too quickly, you can cover it with some foil.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before attempting to remove the cakes from the pan.

Once completely cool, you can add a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, if desired.


Do you love to bake with apples? You are sure to add to your list of favorites when you see what my fellow Bundt Bakers have created this month!


BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Pin Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy Apple Bundt!

   *Amazon affiliate link.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pecan Sandies #CreativeCookieExchange

Buttery and rich with a delicious crunch of toasted pecans, these pecan sandies almost melt in your mouth as they leave a trail of sandy crumbs down your chin.

Buttery and rich with a delicious crunch of toasted pecans, these pecan sandies almost melt in your mouth as they leave a trail of sandy crumbs down your chin.

I have a notebook that I keep nearby at all times where I keep track of my upcoming obligations for different blogger group posts. I try very hard to write all the themes in it next to the publish date. Occasionally, if the theme is too long, I’ll shorten it so it fits but so I can still remember the whole thing. Or so I thought. This month’s whole theme for Creative Cookie Exchange is Cookies to Celebrate the End of Summer Vacation. That does not fit in my editorial calendar notebook. So I wrote, End of Summer.

End of summer, end of summer, I thought weeks later as I checked the notebook, the deadline looming. I’m such a Beach Boys fan that Endless Summer naturally popped into my mind. Hmmmm, interesting. And what goes with the Beach Boys but beaches? Now you see how I ended up making pecan sandies, right?

Pecan sandies are classic buttery cookies that are sometimes coated in or sprinkled with powdered sugar after they are baked. As far as I’m concerned, they don’t need the extra sugar at all and, for my purposes this month, the snow white shower would take away from their sandy color.

Going the other direction, I chose to sprinkle mine with the leftover crumbs of the toasted pecans for added color. But you do you, honey boo-boo.

2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup or 100g granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 1/4 cups chopped pecans (about 5 ozs or 142g)
Optional: powdered sugar to decorate

Toast your pecan pieces in a dry skillet on the stovetop. Stir or toss often so they don’t scorch but become a lovely toasted color all over. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 325°F or 163°C and line two cookie sheets with parchment or silicone baking liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour, salt and baking soda.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric beaters or your stand mixer until they are a pale yellow and fluffy – about three minutes. Scrape down the sides of your bowl with a rubber spatula.

Beat in the egg, vanilla and water until fully incorporated. Do not be alarmed when these look curdled. Adding the flour always takes care of that.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and continue beating, adding about a third of the flour at a time and beating until fully mixed and all the flour has been added.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooled toasted pecan pieces into the mixing bowl, leaving behind the smaller crumbs of pecan.

Mix until the pecans are incorporated into the dough.

Use a tablespoon or cookie scoop to measure out the cookie dough into about 25-27 cookies. I separated them nicely in the first baking pan but discovered when they came out that they can be much closer together. They don't spread much.

Roll the dough into balls with your hands and then flatten them with the bottom of a glass.

Check the crumbs left behind in the pecan toasting pan to make sure that none of them are little pieces of pecan shell. This can happen in the shelling process with disastrous results when someone bites on shell.

Sprinkle the pecan crumbs on top of the cookies and press down again lightly to make them stick into the dough. This, as you can see, is pan two.

Bake each pan for about 10 minutes then rotate it to make sure the cookies bake evenly. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the pecan sandies are slightly brown around the edges. If you bake both pans at once, you might want to rotate them from top shelf to bottom shelf as well as front to back.

Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool.


How do you celebrate the end of summer? Might I suggest baking some cookies?

Creative Cookie Exchange is hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life. We get together once a month to bake cookies with a common theme or ingredient so Creative Cookie Exchange is a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts at The Spiced Life. We post the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Pin Pecan Sandies!

Buttery and rich with a delicious crunch of toasted pecans, these pecan sandies almost melt in your mouth as they leave a trail of sandy crumbs down your chin.