March 10, 2013

Sunday Morning Mandarin Muffins

I don't want to just eat. I don't want to just sate the physiological hunger. I want to savour. I want my food to fill me beyond my rumbling stomach. Sunday morning breakfasts should be lovely, warm, gentle, and slow. That is precisely what this morning was. In the low-angle morning light that filled my still quiet kitchen, I mixed and stirred and peeked in the oven, watching the crumbly tops of these luscious muffins turn golden. While the muffins baked and filled my home with the smell of warm cinnamon, I poured iced pink grapefruit juice and dished up mango greek yoghurt topped fresh blackberries. Then we sat, looking out at the fresh, thick blanket of snow covering the trees, ate warm muffins, and laughed at the Sunday comics. It was how all Sunday mornings should be.

Sunday morning sustenance.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 11oz tin of mandarin oranges, drained

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg; beat well. Add the milk and vanilla; mix well.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Mix only until moist.
  4. Gently stir the mandarin oranges into the batter.
  5. Fill large greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with topping (listed below).
  6. Bake for 22 minutes on middle rack in oven set at 400F. (If you use regular size muffin cup tin, bake for 20 minutes.

Blend together:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons oatmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Enjoy! :D

September 11, 2012

Lobster and seared sea scallops with coconut curry sauce

Every now and then a day like this seemingly unremarkable Tuesday, which upon cursory inspection wrongly appears to be like the preceding Monday, begs for lobster and seared sea scallops. So you look down at your uniform of recent weeks and decide that yoga pants are, perhaps, not appropriate for every occasion. You haul your exercise exhausted body up the stairs on your Zumba/running/cycling fatigued legs to put on some real clothes. After digging into the dark corners of your closet you find the jeans you wore when you had some self-esteem. You pull them on over those sore legs that make you think positively about amputation, then pause long enough in front of the mirror to inspect your newly clothed self and realise the hard work is paying off. Then you wander back downstairs in the sweet air that fills your home and sear some scallops and bake a lobster tail and make a nectarine salsa. And while your food cooks, you pop the cork on a bottle of sauvignon blanc bought for an occasion that never came to be but you don't remember that while you pour, only after the fact. And while you sit, with the love that is coconut milk curry sauce drenched lobster filling your mouth, and a cool glass of wine in your hand, and a mental list enumerating all the good things in the world (you are one) you smile. Because you is still good.

Look after yourself. Love yourself. Life is too short to spend living in yoga pants. And make yourself some lobster on a Tuesday.

You know how to sear sea scallops, so I won't bore you with the details. You probably also know how to bake a lobster tail and chop up a bit of mango or nectarine along with a bit of shallot and parsley. So, what I will tell you is this - after you sear those scallops in a very hot pan, make the sauce by deglazing the pan with a bit of coconut milk. Add a bit of salt a tiny bit of sweet curry. Brilliance.


Om nom nom.

May 18, 2012


It is on nights like this, when lightning cracks and thunder shakes my windows that I feel intensely introspective. Tonight, as I sat in the small pool of light cast by my desk lamp, I typed and searched, alternating between writing the recipe and flicking between tabs of The Theory of Everything, YouTube (Milo Greene, ftw), and writer's resources, I realised that I am not terribly good at expressing myself. Well, perhaps just not good enough to say what I want to say in this post. I took my fingers off the keys, sat back in my chair, stared at the laptop screen, and realised that what I want to say, what I want you to know likely will not be adequately conveyed here, on this little blog. What I wish to tell you, what I want you to feel is that life is good. I think most of us keep waiting for tomorrow, for something to happen that will make life amazing. But, the truth of it is, tomorrow will likely be much like today. We will wake, and do the things that need to be done, but amongst those mundane moments are the little gems that make life beautiful. We just have to take notice.

While I made the soup and listened to music, I thought about the people I care about and love, how fantastic it is that I can turn on the tap and fresh water comes out, and the miracle of gas stoves. Seriously, I love my stove. When I was finished, I thoroughly enjoyed, not just ate, a bowl of this tomatoey goodness. And it was a good day. So make some soup, listen to some good music that moves you, and think about all the good things in life.

Life - it is a beautiful thing. I hope you enjoy your soup...and maybe go for a bike ride and let the wind blow in your hair. :)

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes (fire roasted if available)
  • 1 8-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrot (~1 very large)
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery(~2-3 stalks)
  • 1 tbsp beef bouillon (1 large cube)
  • 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans) or great northern beans
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
  • 1 small zuchinni (courgette in the UK!), halved lengthwise then sliced
  • 4 ounces dried pasta (I used shells)
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. In a large stock pot heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Saute onion and celery just until barely tender (~2-3 minutes).
  2. Add to the stock pot the water, undrained tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrot, beef bouillon, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil; cover, then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add cannellini, lima beans, zuchinni, and dry pasta. Bring to a boil again and simmer for an additiional 15 minutes.
  4. If desired, serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Nom nom nom!! :D


Nutrition Info (based on recipe divided into 8 servings)
176 calories; 37g carbs; 7g fiber; 10g protein.

April 30, 2012

Pecan Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberries (n): little red packages of plump joy that miraculously spring from the earth.

I have always been fascinated by growth. That a plant emerges from a discrete package of instructions that is a seed, and then that plant pulls through its roots and vasculature the elements needed to assemble something as lovely and complex as a strawberry - that is a marvel and a beautiful thing. This year's marvels are destined for shortcake, and maybe jam if I get out to the u-pick farm.

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 6 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, chopped pecans, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg, then add milk, orange peel, and vanilla.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Stir gently just until moistened.
  4. Form six cakes by dropping batter by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a 450F oven for 13 minutes, or until the cakes are golden. Remove from the baking sheet immediately and cool on a wire rack.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and 1/4 cup of sugar. Let stand for at least 20 minutes to allow strawberry juice to seep from the berries.
  7. In a medium bowl, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.
  8. To assemble, cut the shortcakes in half horizontally. Layer each shortcake as shown in the photo. Makes 6.

Om nom nom! :D

March 11, 2012

The Burrito Unrecipe

I worked most of the afternoon carefully beating egg whites until they were perfectly glossy and fluffy, then forming the glossy foam into flawless little single-serving sized nests. Then, I slowly baked them at precisely the correct temperature in my calibrated oven, and let them cool in the oven, as is required. When I gingerly removed them from the oven, they were immaculate. In fact, I am quite certain I heard a chorus of angels singing with glee. They were that nice. Then, I attempted to assemble the pavlovas. After wrestling with the sticky, collapsing nests from hell, and losing badly, the end product was less than attractive. "Hideous" and "atrocious" might be better descriptive words.

This, my dear blog reader, is why you are getting a nice photo of my dinner. A burrito. Now, I know I don't need to give you a recipe to make a burrito because none is required, so let this just serve as a reminder that burritos are good (and can be healthful!)...and pavlova is evil...and difficult to get out of your hair.

Burritos - good. Pavlova - bad.

Tips for making healthful burritos:
  • Use 95% lean ground beef (or grind your own lean sirloin if you can).
  • Use a paper towel to carefully sop up the hot fat as it melts out of the beef. You want the protein, not the fat.
  • Use only a bit of olive oil in the pan to fry the onion before adding the ground beef.
  • Add a can of whole garbonzo beans to the cooked meat mixture - it is a great way to add fiber and slow-burning carbs, which can help you feel full longer.
  • Use a low-sodium taco seasoning.
  • Go really easy on the cheese and fat-free sour cream; load up on fresh tomatoes, green pepper, and lettuce.
  • Use a small, low-carb wrap. I buy La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious tortillas - at only 3 net carbs, 7g fiber, and 50 calories, they are a good choice.

Nom nom nom!


P.S.: If one of you makes a pretty pavlova, leave a comment on this post when you do. I will not only give you a large non-existent medal, I will also post a link to your blog, and will even post a photo of my disastrous attempt. LOL