Monday, October 31, 2016

Orange and Plum Muffins #MuffinMonday

Shiny deep purple plums and bright oranges vie for my attention in my local grocery store these days. How could I resist baking them both into orange and plum muffins?

I briefly considered making sugar plums with orange zest and putting those into muffins. But, you know what, I am just too lazy for that. After all, once they are all cut up and mixed with muffin batter, who would know they had ever started life as sugar plums?

I brought these muffins round as a welcome for a new neighbor who moved in across the street while I was away last month. Shortly after, I got an iMessage: “Thank you so much for the muffins. My daughter doesn’t usually like muffins but she’s on her second one now!”  As you can imagine, that made my day! May they get as good a reception in your house.

2 cups or 250g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest 1 orange plus juice
4 small ripe, yet firm, plums (Mine weighed about 8 3/4 oz or 250g total, whole)
1 egg
Enough milk to orange juice to make 3/4 cup or 175ml
1/3 cup or 75g butter, melted then cooled

Optional: Pearl sugar for decoration

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Put liners in a 12-cup muffin pan or grease it well with butter or non-stick spray.

Cut the pits out and chop the plums in small pieces.

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

Zest your orange into the dry ingredients and stir gently with a fork to combine and separate the zest strands from each other.

Add in your chopped plums and stir till they are well coated with the flour mixture.

In another smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, and the 3/4 cup or 175ml orange juice/milk mixture.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle on some pearl sugar, if desired.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.


We are so glad that you’ve stopped by for Muffin Monday! We've got some beauties 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.

Pin it! 


Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sangrita - Mexican Tomato Juice - The Chile Pepper Bible #Giveaway

My friends know that I am a chile head from way back. In fact, my "party trick" as a child was to eat jalapeños without flinching. I love those things, fresh or pickled. I feel the same about my new favorite libation, Sangrita or Mexican tomato juice. It's spicy, a little salty and perfectly refreshing on a warm day.

Each morning when I wake up lately, I poke my head outside and declare the air cooler than the day before. Am I kidding myself? Perhaps. But it's almost November and things HAVE to be cooling off soon, right? Even in Dubai.

Meanwhile, I'm flipping through my new favorite cookbook and reference guide to all things chile pepper, The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson. With more than 250 recipes to choose from, it is super hard to decide what to make first but when I was asked if I wanted to participate in a cookbook blog tour to promote this book, we had a shorter list of recipes we could choose from to share with our readers. So that seemed like the best place to start.

You can see from the varied titles that this book has a worldwide reach of deliciousness. Having just tried the muharrama or spicy walnut dip recently, that one caught my eye first. But maybe I should try something new, right? Perhaps the Castilian Garlic Soup or the Cape Verde Sausage Stew? So hard to decide. Which would you make first?

  • Muharrama or Middle Eastern Walnut Dip (Middle East)
  • Castilian Garlic Soup (Spain)
  • Chinese Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup  (China)
  • Paella (Spain)
  • Tagine of Chicken with Apricots (N. Africa)
  • Cuban style hash (Cuba)
  • Original San Antonio Chili (USA)
  • Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (SE Asia)
  • Cape Verde Sausage Stew (Africa)
  • Spinach and Tomato Dal (India)
  • Calabrese-Style Fried Potatoes with Peppers (Italy)
  • Thai-Style Grilled Chile Salsa (Thailand/SE Asia)
  • Kimchi (Korea)
  • Sangrita or Mexican-Style Tomato Juice - (Mexico)
  • Chile-Spiked Chocolate Pots - (France)

Finally, my warm weather combined with the availability of the most gorgeous red tomatoes in the local market won out.

As the head note says: Whip up this Mexican-inspired spicy tomato-citrus juice during the dog days of summer, when tomatoes are abundant and in season. It’s a delicious nonalcoholic refreshment, but if you want to liven up the experience, add a dash of vodka or (as they often do in Mexico) a splash of tequila. This recipe is both vegan and gluten-free friendly.

Tools you'll need:

  • Large fine-mesh sieve
  • Cheesecloth
  • Blender

Ingredients - Makes about 6 cups (1.5 L)
3 lbs Roma or plum tomatoes (15 to 20), cut into chunks
1⁄2 to 1 jalapeño pepper (see Tips, below)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice    
1⁄2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and stems
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1⁄3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice    
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste
Agave nectar (optional)

Place sieve over a large bowl and line with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth.
In blender, in batches, purée tomatoes, jalapeño pepper to taste, orange juice, cilantro, lime juice and lemon juice until smooth.

If necessary, add water, 1 tbsp (15 mL) at a time, to facilitate puréeing. Strain through sieve as completed and stir gently.

When most of the liquid has passed through, lift the 4 corners of the cheesecloth and twist around tomato mixture to form a tight ball. Using your hands, squeeze remaining liquid into bowl. Discard solids.

Transfer liquid to a large pitcher. Season to taste with salt. (I didn't add any more.)
Refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
Taste the mixture; if it is not sweet enough for you, add agave nectar (if using) to taste. Serve very cold, over ice if desired.


Use a whole jalapeño pepper only if you are a true heat seeker. It creates a very spicy result.
You can substitute another fresh Mexican pepper, such as serrano or habanero, for the jalapeño. If you are using a habanero, use only about one-quarter of a pepper.

This recipe is been reprinted courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold. I received one copy compliments of the publisher. No other compensation was received. Links to the book are affiliate links. 

When I suggest to my daughters that they might enjoy one cookbook or another, they explain that they can find anything they need to know on the internet. And, indeed, I am sure that is true. But the beauty of a comprehensive book like The Chile Pepper Bible, is that it's all right here, in one place. What Judith Finlayson has not written about chile peppers is not worth knowing. I can't imagine ever having to consult the internet on the subject of chile peppers ever again. Their history, the varieties, the health benefits, even the geography of chile growing and, of course, the scientific measurement of their spiciness are explored in depth.

Not only that, but the tasty recipes are written with easy to follow instructions by a best-selling cookbook author who knows what she's doing. You can trust that the recipes will turn out as promised. If you'd like to win a copy The Chile Pepper Bible of your own, make sure to enter the lucky draw below.

Many thanks to the publishers Robert Rose for providing one copy for the giveaway. US and Canadian residents alike are eligible to enter. Please read all of the terms and conditions before entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pin it! 


Monday, October 24, 2016

Cottage Pie Stuffed Baked Potatoes #HappyBirthdayDrPotato

Just to clarify one thing up front, cottage pie is made with beef. Shepherd’s pie is made with lamb, you know, those animals shepherds watch over. So these cottage pie stuffed baked potatoes are filled with seasoned beef, carrot, onion and peas. They make a fabulous full meal!

When I was growing up in Houston, Texas, there was a fast food restaurant where I loved to eat in the upscale mall called The Galleria. The Galleria is still there. In fact, it’s expanded to include three or four different phases. But, at the time, there was only just the main building in that area, and a Joske’s department store across the street. My favorite eatery served immense baked potatoes, filled with all manner of deliciousness. Two of my favorites were Beef Stroganoff and Broccoli and Cheese but, of course, one could also get a more traditional spud with cheese/bacon/green onion/sour cream fixings.

The potatoes were baked to perfection, fluffy on the inside with a lovely crunchy thick outside, seasoned with just the right amount of salt. As much as I loved the inside and the fillings, I’m not sure I didn’t love the outside more. Truly, is there anything better than an Idaho® Russet for a baked potato?

Ever since, I've looked for delightful ways to fill baked potatoes and make them into whole meals. Today I share this favorite recipe in honor of a special man I have had the privilege to work with over the last year and meet personally in May at Food Wine Conference 2016 in Orlando. You might know him as Dr. Potato but his real name is Don Odiorne, and he's the smart, charming top potato head at the Idaho® Potato Commission.

It’s Don’s 70th birthday today so Sunday Supper is organizing a surprise party! Joining us in sending Happy Birthday greetings to Don on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #HappyBirthdayDrPotato from 8-10 a.m. ET. 

And, if you feel so inclined, please share one of your favorite potato recipes as well.

4 large russet potatoes
1 beef stock cube
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 lbs or 560g ground beef - not too lean!
1 medium onion
1 medium carrot
1/2 cup or 70g frozen peas - we like the young, tender petits pois
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish - optional

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Scrub your baking potatoes clean, poke them a few times with a fork and put them in the oven to bake for 1 hour.

In a 2-cup or 480ml (or larger) measuring cup, dissolve the stock cube in 1/2 cup or 120ml boiling water. Leave to cool.

Peel and chop your onion. Peel and cube your carrot. Remove the peas from the freezer and leave to thaw.

Meanwhile, drizzle the olive oil in a frying pan and start browning the beef.

When the beef has a lot of lovely browned crispy edges, add the chopped onion. Cook over medium fire until the onion turns translucent. Drain oil if necessary.

Add in chopped carrots with 1/4 cup or 60ml water. Cover and cook till tender.

Once the stock cube water is cool, whisk in the cornstarch. Add another cup of cool water to the measuring cup and stir well.

Pour the stock cube/corn starch mixture into the beef pot. Yes, it is an alarming white color. Just stay with me. All the browned bits on the meat turn it into a lovely brown gravy. Cook over a slow fire until it thickens.

Add the peas and cook for a few more minutes.

Finally, add the Worcestershire sauce and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut the hot baked potatoes down the middle and use a napkin or towel to hold them while you push them open from the ends.

Fluff up the insides with a fork, stretching the sides open to hold more filling.

Spoon the filling into the potatoes. Serve with extra Worcestershire sauce on the side. If you want to make shepherd's pie stuffed baked potatoes, substitute ground lamb.

And since this is a special occasion, go ahead and add a little parsley to garnish.

Happy birthday, Don! I wish you many happy returns of the day!

What's your favorite filling for baked potatoes? Are you a traditionalist or do you play outside the box? 

Pin it! 


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Grilled Pepperoni and Sausage Pizza Wraps

If you love fresh, hot homemade pizza, full of melty cheese and tasty toppings, but time is short, make these grilled pepperoni and sausage pizza wraps instead!

Seriously, these have all the flavor of pepperoni and sausage pizza in a fraction of the time real pizza takes to make. They are ideal for a weeknight supper or game night and would be great for a party as well. Let each person fill her own wrap, choosing from a selection of fillings. The ones below just happen to be my favorites but you do you.

Two important things to remember when filling 1. Do not overfill and 2. Start and end with cheese – this helps seal the wrap when grilling.

Ingredients to feed one
1 large wrap
1/2 cup or 55g grated mozzarella
Jalapeño slices
Onion slices
1/4 cup or 60ml pizza sauce
7-8 small cooked Italian sausage meatballs
6-7 pepperoni slices
3-4 fresh basil leaves

Sprinkle half the cheese in the middle of the wrap. Top with a few slices of jalapeño and onion.

Add the sausage and spoon on half of the sauce.

Next comes the pepperoni, basil leaves and the rest of the sauce.

Finally, sprinkle on the rest of the mozzarella.

Fold in the top and bottom of the wrap.

Then fold in one long side and roll to close the wrap.

Grill the wrap, over a medium low heat, overlapping side down for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Place something heavy on top. I use my kettle filled with a cup or two of water.

Turn the wrap over and grill the other side for another 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, weight still in place.


Did you know that October is National Pizza Month? Yeah, I missed that memo too. But it really is and has been since 1984 when late entrepreneur Gerry Durnell launched the first trade publication about pizza called Pizza Today. His first issue came out that October, so he designated it National Pizza Month as well.

Sunday Supper cannot resist the opportunity to celebrate such a great occasion so we've got close 60 pizza or pizza-inspired recipes to share today. Many thanks to Coleen of The Redhead Baker who is hosting the event and our event manager Cricket of Cricket's Confections for all of their hard work.






Pin it! 


Friday, October 21, 2016

Coconut Curry Shrimp Noodles #FishFridayFoodies

When you have a craving for curry laksa noodles but don’t have the time, this quick spicy coconut curry shrimp pasta hits the perfect spot.

Last year around this time, my husband and I took off for a long weekend in the Seychelles. We booked a place online that looked idyllic, and indeed it proved to be. Set on a lush green hillside overlooking a gorgeous blue-green bay of the Indian Ocean, it was a one-bedroom chalet with a huge porch and a small, but well-equipped kitchen.

One of my favorite adventures in a new place is to explore the local markets and cook with local ingredients. To save from needing to buy essentials in a place where much is imported, I had done a little research to discover what we could bring safely and packed a cooler and a small suitcase with things like pasta and coffee.  The Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands so I felt fairly certain seafood would be abundantly available. I had in mind a fish curry for dinner one of our nights, so I brought Thai red curry paste and a packet of coconut milk powder.

The view from our porch

We found local markets without a problem, even a couple that were roadside stands attached to farms, where we bought produce and fresh eggs mere steps from where they were produced. Score! Despite the Indian Ocean all the way around the island of Mahé where we were staying, fish and seafood were hard to find! We didn't know if they were exporting it all or if no one could be bothered to fish for a living but we eventually found a bag of frozen shrimp in a little supermarket to make the seafood curry. You’ll never guess where it came from. Yep, the United Arab Emirates. I should have just brought it from home in my cooler. It would have been way cheaper.

We did manage, finally, to eat local seafood at a seaside restaurant one evening so perhaps they know some fishermen personally. Also, we arrived at the central market in Victoria late one afternoon and there seemed to be a fish counter there, although it was empty, save a few leftover fish from that morning, clearly past their best. I can only hope it's better stocked first thing in the morning.

The mostly-missing seafood mystery aside, I can highly recommend the Seychelles for a holiday. The beaches are gorgeous, colorful fragrant flowers fill the roadsides and forests, the local dishes are tasty, the beer is great and the people are very friendly. We rented a car and explored the island, finding gorgeous little coves to swim in where we felt like we were the only people on the island. Idyllic indeed.

Anyhoo, that’s a long story for a dish that takes mere minutes to make. Since that night in the Seychelles when we dined on UAE shrimp and sipped on chilled Seybrew lager, I’ve made this dish many times, most recently just two nights ago. It’s become a firm family favorite.

3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons red curry paste (I use 3 heaped spoons – we like things spicy.)
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 1/2 lb or 675g shrimp, already peeled and cleaned
8 oz or 225g thin noodles
Fine sea salt
1 14 oz or 400ml can coconut cream
Good handful cilantro, chopped

Sauté the onion with olive oil and curry paste in a pan that’s going to be big enough to hold all of the ingredients later.

Once the onion has softened, add 1 1/2 cup or 360ml water with a teaspoon of salt and the noodles. Cook over a low flame with lid on for five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the shrimp with another sprinkle of salt.

Cover again and cook until shrimp are pink and the noodles are done. Give the whole thing a stir.

Pour in the coconut cream and stir to combine.

Cook at little longer, until the dish is heated through again. Try not to let it come to a boil though.

Stir and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Stir some of the cilantro into the dish then garnish with the rest.


As the nights turn chillier in many places, my Fish Friday Foodie friends are sharing seafood pasta dishes that should help you warm up. Many thanks to our host this month, Caroline of Caroline’s Cooking! Check out all our creative pasta dishes.

Pin it! 


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sticky Pecan Pie Bundt #BundtBakers

Pecan pie filling mixed in cake batter makes the best Sticky Pecan Pie Bundt, perfect for any family celebration.

This month’s Bundt Baker theme is Happy Fall, Ya’ll so I could have baked with apples or pumpkin or other fall produce but while I was in Houston recently, I was reminded that it’s pecan season as well. There’s a farmer’s market near our house where you can either buy fresh Texas pecans or bring the harvest from your own trees and pay 40 cents a pound to have them crack the pecans in their noisy electric machines.

Years ago, I remember my grandparents sitting at their kitchen table cracking and picking the shells off of Louisiana pecans and it was a long and challenging job. Forty cents seems a fair price to pay not to have to do the cracking part by hand!

My favorite thing to make with fresh pecans is my aunt’s pecan pie. It’s a must at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you are feeding a crowd, make a party-sized version. But for any other occasion, do try this sticky pecan pie Bundt!

2 1/2 cups or 315g flour
1 1/2 cups or 300g sugar
1 cup or 240ml light corn syrup, plus a little extra to drizzle on - optional
1/2 cup, firmly packed, or 100g dark brown sugar
1/2 cup or 113g butter, melted and cooled
4 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups or 175g chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325°F or 163°C and prepare your 10-cup Bundt pan by brushing it with butter and dusting it with flour. Scatter a good handful of the chopped pecans in the bottom of the pan. Set it aside.

Put all of your ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use your stand mixer or electric beaters to mix the ingredients until completely combined.

Turn the beaters to high and mix well for 1 minute.

Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan.

Bake in your preheat oven for 55-60 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Run a wooden skewer around the edges of the pan and the flute in the middle to loosen the Bundt, then invert it onto the wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

If desired, drizzle a little more corn syrup on the Bundt as glaze.


Many thanks to our Bundt Bakers host this month, Teri from The Freshman Cook! Check out all the other fall bakes we have for you today!


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 it!