Showing posts with label orange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label orange. Show all posts

Friday, March 18, 2016

Fennel Orange Cod en Papillote #FishFridayFoodies

A filet of cod atop sliced fennel and covered in slices of blood orange is cooked in a parchment parcel - en papillote - which makes the most delicate of broths, the perfect accompaniment to the tender fish. 

Here’s the thing about cod, like all white fish, it doesn’t have the oil of its darker brethren so there is a real danger of overcooking it and drying it out. Cooking any kind of fish or seafood en papillote, or wrapped in a foil or parchment pouch minimizes that risk, by essentially steaming the fish and keeping the juices locked in. This month our Fish Friday Foodie event is hosted by Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories and she’s got us all cooking en papillote. As you will see by the wonderful recipes at the bottom of this post, the variations are myriad, but they are all delicious.

Ingredients per person
1 piece cod – about 7 oz or 200g
Black pepper
2-3 slices fennel bulb plus a few fronds
Minced red chili pepper
2 slices orange – I used a variety of blood orange
2 teaspoons butter, plus more to grease parchment paper
1 tablespoon extra dry vermouth

Note: One fennel bulb and one orange, both sliced thinly, and one small red chili pepper are sufficient for three cod en papillote.

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C. Fold your parchment paper in half and cut it into the shape of a heart. Butter it on both sides of the fold on the inside.

Lay the fennel slices on one side of the fold, leaving a gap between the fold and the fennel.

Note: I have mine too close to the fold in these photos and had to scoot the whole thing over about half an inch or one centimeter to the right to close the parchment heart.

Lay the cod filet on top of the fennel and season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle on a few bits of minced red chili pepper.

Top with two slices of orange. Add one teaspoon of butter to the top of each orange and then a sprinkle of fennel fronds.

Fold the heart over to close. Starting at the top of the heart, fold and crimp the parchment to seal it around the edges.

When you get to the very bottom, pour in the vermouth and twist the point of the heart. Tuck it under.

Place parchment packet on a baking pan and bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes before opening.

Choose a plate with a rim or shallow bowl to serve because you don’t want to lose any of the lovely fragrant broth that is created by cooking the cod in parchment.

Garnish with a few more fennel fronds.


Check out all the other lovely seafood dishes cooked en papillote.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Morning Muffins #BreadBakers

With just a little preparation the day before, your family can enjoy freshly baked cranberry orange muffins on Christmas morning, with the bonus of filling your house with Christmasy baking aromas. What a joy to wake up to these!

The Christmas Day rule of my family growing up was that no presents could be opened before breakfast. I remember being happy with a bowl of cereal - and let’s get this show on the road! - but frustrated by the grownups who wanted eggs or pancakes or, most likely, freshly baked biscuits. Clearly they had their priorities askew! But don’t you know, when I became a mother, I kept the same rule. Turns out that it’s always a good plan to serve a decent breakfast when Christmas dinner won’t be on the table until three or four o’clock in the afternoon.

With just a little preparation, a hot, freshly baked breakfast is a cinch and you can get to the important part: Opening the gifts! This month our Bread Bakers host is Holly from A Baker’s House and she has challenged us to bake breads – quick or yeasty – which can be started one day and baked the next, giving you lots of lovely ideas for a perfectly easy holiday breakfast.

(And don’t forget my friend Donna’s great cookbook, Make Ahead Breads <Amazon affiliate link* which is also a wonderful source of recipes and inspiration for this theme and would make a fabulous Christmas gift for a baker in your life.)

This post is not technically part of Christmas Week but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you to check out my coconut praline post from yesterday, with details on how to enter to win one of three ($500, $250 and $50) Amazon gift cards up for grabs!

These muffins are adapted from this recipe by Nigella Lawson.

2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml whole milk
1/3 cup or 75ml canola or other oil
1 large egg
2 clementines (for zest and 1/3 cup or 80ml juice)
1 cup or 140g dried cranberries, plus 12 more for decoration, if desired.

Prepare your muffin pan by greasing it with butter or nonstick spray or lining it with paper muffin cups. I usually line it with the paper cups and give the whole pan a quick spray. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Add in the dried cranberries, mixing well, and cover the bowl with cling film and set it aside with the baking pan.

Measure your milk and oil into a large measuring jug. Add the egg and beat until well combined.

Zest the two clementines with a fine grater or microplane straight into the measuring jug.

Juice the clementines and add 1/3 cup or 80ml of the juice into the measuring jug as well. If you don’t get quite enough juice, top up with more milk to reach your required measurement. Cover the jug with cling film and pop it in the refrigerator.

The next morning, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Give your liquid ingredients a good mix with a fork and pour them into the dry ingredient bowl.

Fold to combine, being careful not to over mix. If a little flour still shows here and there, that’s a good thing.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Add one more dried cranberry to each muffin, if desired. I like to see a little of what's inside on top of my muffins.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful these smell while baking! The aroma will get the laggards out of bed and running to the kitchen.

Leave the muffins to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove them to a wire rack. Serve them warm with a hot cup of coffee or a glass of Champagne, if you are so inclined, in front of the sparkling Christmas tree.


Check out all the other great recipes for Overnight Bread! Which one will you make first this holiday season?

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

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

*Items purchased through an Amazon affiliate link cost no extra to the buyer but earn me a few pennies to buy more bacon. Thanks for the support.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cream Cheese Filled Orange Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Sweetened cream cheese, spiked with Grand Marnier, makes the perfect filling for a fresh orange pecan cookie sandwich, topped with orange glaze and sprinkled with more pecans. This cookie has three components but all are easy to make and easy to assemble, making a showpiece cookie you’d be pleased to serve, even at a fancy luncheon.

This month’s Creative Cookie Exchange challenge is sandwich cookies, which leaves the flavors and fillings wide open to a combination of ingredients. This is the sort of challenge I love. I considered all kinds of crazy combinations before coming back to one I knew would work. Cream cheese and fresh oranges. I wanted a cookie that crumbled rather than smooshed like cake when bitten into, and a filling that was sweet but with a bite to complement the crunchy cookie. And the pecans? Well, if you’ve been reading along here a while, you know I love to add pecans whenever possible. These cookies are sweet, without being too sweet, if you know what I mean.

Many thanks to Laura of The Spiced Life who is in charge of this great group. Make sure you scroll on down past the recipe to see how my fellow Creative Cookie Exchange members navigated this cookie sandwich challenge.

Ingredients for 12-18 sandwich cookies (depending on how thin you slice them before baking)
For the cookies:
1/2 cup or 115g butter, softened
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
1/4 cup, firmly packed, or 50g brown sugar
1 egg
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice (Save the rest for the glaze.)
1 1/4 cup or 190g flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans, or 160g divided
(1/4 cup or 35g in dough, rest for rolling dough in.)

For the filling:
4 oz or 115g cream cheese, slightly oftened
1/4 cup or 60g butter, slightly softened
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1 1/4 cups or 160g powdered sugar

For the orange glaze:
½ cup or 60g confectioners’ sugar
3-4 teaspoons fresh orange juice

Cream butter and sugars together, beating until light and fluffy. Add the egg, orange zest and juice and beat well.

Add in the flour, salt and baking soda and beat till fully combined.

Now add in 1/4 cup or 35g of the chopped pecans and beat again till incorporated.

Cover your work space with a large piece of cling film and sprinkle on the remaining chopped pecans.

Use a scoop or spoon to make one line of dough along the beginning of the pecans.

Use the cling film to roll the dough in the pecans and smooth the dough into a round log.

Once the dough log is covered, roll it to one side of the cling film and gather the remaining pecan pieces into a bowl and set aside. We’ll use some of them for decorating the cookies later.

Roll the log up as tightly as you can manage in the cling film and transfer it to a pan or cutting board and put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours, until it is firm.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your baking trays by lining them with parchment or silicone baking mats.

Remove half the dough log at a time from the refrigerator, slice it into circles and place them on your prepared cookies sheets.

I cut mine a bit thick and ended up with about 26 slices, which seemed like a goodly number until I remembered that I was making sandwich cookies. Cut them a little thinner for more cookies.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Make the filling and the glaze
To make the filling, beat all the ingredients together until smooth.

For the orange glaze, add fresh orange juice to the powdered sugar just a teaspoon at a time, until you reach a good consistency that runs a little but won’t pour off the cookies. You may not need all the orange juice.

Once the cookies are completely cool, turn them golden bottom up and spoon or pipe on enough filling on half of them to cover, about the same thickness as the cookies.

Top with the remaining cookies.

Spoon a little glaze on the top of each cookie and sprinkle with some of the leftover chopped pecans.

If your home is cool, these shouldn’t need chilling to set up. If you are in a warm climate, you will want to store the filled cookies in the refrigerator. This will make them less crunchy, but still delicious.


Are you a sandwich cookie fan? Have a look at all of the wonderful cookies we have for you today!

If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. 

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes - be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). We post all together on the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mennonite Paska #BreadBakers

Peel and blend a whole orange and a whole lemon to create this slightly sweet yeast bread traditionally served for Easter in the Mennonite community. The buttery sugar glaze is not optional. Neither are the sprinkles. 

This month’s Bread Bakers challenge, chosen by our creative host, Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is to bake a traditional Easter, Passover or springtime bread, perhaps venturing into another culture or country to expand our horizons. I was determined to make homemade matzo because it’s impossible to find here and I thought with a homemade version at my disposal, I could try all the matzo-based recipes I’ve been seeing on the web like chicken soup with matzo balls, Chocolate Peanut Butter Matzo S’mores, Northern Fried Chicken and Chocolate Toffee Matzo, just to name a few. But the more I researched what it would take to make matzo at home, the more I realized that my sad, sad oven which can barely be coaxed up to 425°F or 218°C on a good day, was just not up to the task. So I started scouring the internet for something new, something different, something tasty.

According to Lovella, one of the authors of Mennonite Girls Can Cook and the sharer of this paska bread, she inherited the recipe from her husband’s grandmother and it’s one of the most viewed pages on their site. I was intrigued by the whole orange and lemon that are pureed then added to the dough. Lovella also declares, and I can confirm, leftovers make fabulous French toast or eggy bread.

Adapted from Lovella’s Paska Bread – I baked two in bread pans and one in a Nordic Ware 12-cup Anniversary Bundt pan but this could easily be stretched to fill four pans. Lovella made five to seven so they must have been smaller!

For the bread:
2 packets active dry yeast (1/4 oz or 7g each)
1 cup or 240ml warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium lemon
1 medium orange
1 1/4 cup or 295ml milk
1/2 cup or 115g butter, plus extra for buttering the mixing bowl before the first rise and the baking pans
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
About 7-8 cups or 875g-1kg flour, with a little extra for kneading

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Good pinch salt
2-3 tablespoons milk
2 cups or 250g icing sugar

For decorating: colored sprinkles

In the bowl of your stand mixer, put your yeast, the tablespoon of sugar and warm water and allow your yeast to proof. After 10 minutes, if you have a bunch of foam in the bowl, proceed. If not, throw it all out and start over with new yeast.

Meanwhile, zest your lemon and orange with a microplane or fine grater into the vessel of your blender.

Use a sharp knife to cut all the white pith and peel off of the citrus and then cut off and discard any hard membranes between the pegs. Remove any seeds and discard. Add the orange and lemon to the zest in the blender.

Put your milk and butter in a microwaveable measuring cup and heat them in the microwave on a low setting until the butter is just melted. Add them to the blender and blend for two to three minutes.

Add in the eggs, the rest of the sugar and the salt. Blend again for a minute or two.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer (where the yeast has been hanging out and, if all is going to plan, foaming) and mix well.

Start adding the flour, a cup at a time, mixing very thoroughly in between, until you have a nice soft dough. You may not need all the flour.

You can use the dough hook to knead the dough but it should be quite sticky still so I found it easier to take it out and knead it for several minutes on a lightly floured countertop.

Before kneading

After kneading
Wash out your large bowl and rub the insides with butter. I keep empty butter wrappers folded up in my freezer door for this purpose. One use only, but they work beautifully. Go ahead and prepare your baking pans in the same manner.

Return the kneaded dough to the buttered bowl and cover the bowl with a loose tea towel. Leave it in a warm place for about hour.

Before then after the rising. This dough soars.

When the dough has risen, divide it into three or four even pieces.

Press them out gently and fold them over in thirds lengthwise. Put them buttered pans, seam side down, and sprinkle on a little more flour.

Cover the pans loosely with tea cloths and put them back in the warm place for about 45 minutes. About 15 minutes before the second rising time is up, preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

When the oven is preheated, carefully remove the tea cloths and place the loaves in the oven to bake.

As you can see, I could probably have made one more loaf.

Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 200°F or about 134°C or the bottoms sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly in the pan. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make your glaze by whisking the butter, lemon juice and salt with one teaspoon of milk. Add in the sugar and stir well. Add additional milk a little at a time until you reach your desired pouring consistency.

When the loaves are completely cool, pour over the glaze and quickly decorate with colored sprinkles while the glaze is still sticky. It will harden after pouring, making the loaves easier to wrap and carry.


Do you have a traditional Easter, Passover or springtime bread you make each year? Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite in this great list from my fellow Bread Bakers:


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla has chosen breads from around the world that are traditional for Easter, Passover, or Springtime. Thank you for hosting, Camilla!

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to

Sliced up and ready to become French toast