Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding with Pineapple Sauce

Sweet potatoes and pineapple won September's Crazy Ingredient Challenge poll. Two relatively sweet ingredients and I, the dessert queen, almost made a savoury dish. Oh the horror. I pictured sweet potato cupcakes with a pineapple frosting, piped all perfectly like a sunflower. Perfect piping? Quite a dream. So why no cupcakes? Simple reason. Jamaican sweet potatoes are a bit different from American sweet potatoes. On the outside, the skin is a reddish colour. On the inside, they are white, yellow, or orange. It's not easy to find the orange ones in my area. The water content is also different. American sweet potatoes are WET compared to ours. With that in mind, I didn't want to try them in cupcakes. I couldn't think of another dessert so I decided to go savoury


But then I remembered that there is one way that we do use sweet potatoes in dessert. And that's in a sweet potato pudding. The sweet potato is grated - a good a workout for the arm - and then combined with spices, coconut milk and a little flour. Some add rum, cornmeal, and other tubers too. Traditionally, this would be baked over coals and with coals piled on top too. "Hell at the top and hell at the bottom."

This was my second time making sweet potato pudding. The first time, I used American sweet potatoes and that pudding probably took as long as the Thanksgiving turkey to bake. Silly me forgot that the American sweet potatoes had a higher water content and did not compensate. It still tasted good though - just not as firm. If you do try with American sweet potatoes, I honestly cannot tell you how much liquid to use. I'd have to get some and try again. You can find the variety of sweet potatoes that we have here in an international supermarket. In the Cuban supermarkets in Miami, they are labelled "boniato". Other places call them to "batata" and Trudy says she finds them labelled as "Japanese sweet potatoes".

Remember to look at the other sweet potato and pineapple creations below.

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding with Pineapple Sauce

900 grams sweet potato
200 grams brown sugar
120 grams flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
700 ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon browning (optional)
1 20 ounce can pineapple pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Maraschino cherries, chopped
splash of rum


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" pan and line it with parchment paper.

Grate or process the sweet potatoes and set them aside. In another bowl, mix together sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss in the sweet potatoes until they are coated. Pour in the coconut milk, vanilla, and browning (if using). Stir until combined.

Bake 45 minutes or until the pudding is set.

For the pineapple sauce, drain the pineapple and reserve 3/4 cup of liquid. Whisk together the liquid with the cornstarch until well dissolved. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then ad the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring! Let the mixture boil for one minute and then add the pineapple pieces and cherries. Keep stirring until the fruit is warm then remove from the heat and stir in a splash or three of rum.

Serve over pudding.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Ackee and Saltfish Muffin - #MuffinMonday

Once again, I am recreating a favourite breakfast in muffin form. Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish. The ackee is a fruit that can be toxic if eaten when unripe while saltfish typically refers to salted cod. When I wasn't in Jamaica, I could only find salted Alaskan Pollock and that worked well too. The dish isn't the most complex - you boil the ackee, prepare the saltfish (by rinsing several times and then boiling or soaking in hot water for a while) and then you sauté the two together with onion, garlic, tomatoes and any other seasonings that you fancy. Some think that the prepared dish looks a bit like scrambled eggs. I guess if you allow the ackees to break down during the cooking process, it might. I think keeping the pieces as whole as possible looks a lot more attractive. My mother won't eat it if the ackee is crushed while I have friends who won't eat it if it is not crushed. If you cook it, I will eat it, but I'd prefer it you didn't crush it.

Ackee at various stages. The closed fruit is toxic. The open one is ready to be cooked and eaten

Ackee and Saltfish. Source: Food Network

When I first thought of this muffin, I had intended on adding each component separately to the muffin batter - some ackee, some saltfish, tomatoes, onions, etc. But on the day that I was ready to make these, I needed to wait for my ackee to thaw (I had parboiled it beforehand). While waiting, it occurred to me that I had already prepared some ackee and saltfish for breakfast. Why not just use that? So now this muffin becomes a way to use up leftovers. I'll use the other ackee in a quiche, fritters, or in some future muffins. The ackee is quite mild tasting and I saw a sweet muffin that I'd like to try with it.

Be sure to visit all the other Muffin Monday bakers! Their links are below.

Ackee and Saltfish Muffins 
Yield: 12 muffins

240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a few dashes of black pepper
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
200 grams prepared ackee and saltfish


Preheat the oven to 350 F and prep your muffin pan. Use liners or grease the cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. In a separate container, whisk milk, egg, and oil. If the ackee is in larger pieces, dice into small pieces.

Gently stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until almost combined and there are still streaks of flour remaining. Fold in the ackee and saltfish.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

#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.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream - #CIC

I'm late! I'm late! Sorry to my fellow Crazy Ingredient Challenge members. It's the end of the day on the 20th and I'm just typing this. It was bad planning on my part coupled with my electricity company hating me. I woke up early this morning intending on getting this done. I'd be a little late but not too late. I woke up to a message from my cousin - "There'll be no electricity today between 7:30 and 5." It was 6:41 am. Welp. That changes things. My phone wasn't charged and there were a ton of other little things that I needed to get done in 49 minutes. CIC would have to wait.

I don't know why there was a scheduled power outage - maintenance, perhaps - but I am back in the land of the living. Life without internet is rough! The lack of electricity, in general, sucks too. But one can make do during the day. No internet, however? That's no way to live. I finished a novel that I've been reading for a few months and fully intended on getting a bunch of other things done. But I napped instead.

Let's soothe our souls with cupcakes. The winning ingredients were chili powder and honey. Easy. But the easy ones always stump me. Luckily, I have people who think for me so it was JJ who suggested chili chocolate cupcakes with a honey buttercream. I'm supposed to share a cupcake with her. Uhm. Well.. Maybe if I pretended that I didn't make them then I don't have to share them? The chili powder isn't particularly strong. It's an underlying flavour. I think next time I'll skip the cinnamon so the the chili powder and cayenne can really shine. Experiment with the cayenne. I doubled the amount called for in the original recipe and I think I could definitely kick it up another notch. But someone else who is sensitive to pepper might not feel the same way.

Scroll down to see the other chili powder and honey recipes this month!

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes
(slightly adapted from Good Food; yield: 12)

115 grams of flour
60 grams cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
115 grams butter
200 grams sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
120 millilitres milk

Honey Buttercream 
300 grams butter
120 grams confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time at beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add a third of the flour mixture and half the milk - mix until just incorporated. Add another third then the rest of the milk. Mix again until just incorporated and then mix in the remaining flour.
Scoop about a quarter cup into each cupcake wrapper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream.
Beat the butter until creamy and then slowly incorporate the confectioner's sugar. Beat until well combined and then add in the honey, vanilla, and salt. If the buttercream is too stiff, add a bit of milk. If it's too thin, add in some more powdered sugar.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vegetable Steamed Buns - #BreadBakers

The Bread Bakers are turning off their ovens in favour of steaming this month with a steamed buns theme. It's perfect for me since I have not been able to use my oven since March 31. My stove has decided to be extra efficient and have the cooking gas last almost twice as long. Wonderful, really. It just that there isn't enough gas remaining to get the oven to the desired temperature. We can only cook on the stove top. Normally a tank of gas lasts about 7 months. This one was bought almost 13 months ago. Clearly, there's some kinda sorcery involved too.

Onto the steamed buns!

I've been obsessed with these little steamed buns for years now.  I first saw a cheeseburger filled version over on Willow Bird Baking. I didn't own a steamer so I just lusted. Three years later, baozi was the theme for Sourdough Surprises and I just had to try. Still no steamer but I rigged one with a plate. Not perfect but good enough for me. They tasted great but my shaping was horrible. It's a couple years later and my shaping is still horrible. They look good after the I've just shaped them but once they rest and then go into that steamer, they take on a shape of their own. I don't own one of those special bamboo steamers but I used a metal steamer basket that I had hanging around.

Scroll down to see what everyone else steamed this month!

Vegetable Steamed Buns
Yield: 12 buns
Dough adapted from Yi Reservation

230 grams all purpose flour
25 grams sugar
20 grams cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
120 ml water
1 1/2 cup steamed vegetables.
(I used callaloo, a Jamaican green leafy vegetable)


Whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, yeast, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and then stream in the water. Knead for 10-15 minutes until you have a soft, smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky nor should it be dry. If it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour. If it feels dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it is soft and smooth.

Allow the dough to ferment at room temperature for 45-60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

When the dough has doubled, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out each ball into a 4 inch wide circle. If the dough resists, let it rest for a bit. Each circle should be thicker in the centre.

Add approximately 2 tablespoons of filling to each circle leaving about an inch uncovered around the edges. If you're great at pleating, pleat away! If not, seal as best as you can, it will still taste great.

Place the buns on squares of parchment and let proof for 30 minutes. You may have to seal them a bit more after proofing.

Steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Do not open lid while steaming. Enjoy warm.


#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.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Corned Beef Stuffed Muffins - #MuffinMonday

I've mentioned before (and by before, I mean a million times) that a typical Jamaican breakfast is savoury.  Some of my favourite sides include fried breadfruit, fried plantains, and fried dumplings.  Fried, fried, and more fried. Twice fried plantains are a huge favourite but when my mother would make fried dumplings, I would be in heaven!! For years, I resisted kneading dough and so I never made dumplings. Now that I do knead, the frying aspect gets in the way. Oil is always too hot or not hot enough. Breadfruit and plantains require much less finesse since they're ready to eat before frying.

Some days there would be a surprise inside the dumplings. My mother would take a piece of dough and wrap it around some corned beef, and then fry it. BEST dumplings ever. I decided to recreate that for Muffin Monday this month. Now the dough for a fried dumpling is very simple. Flour, baking powder, and salt are standard. You can then add water or milk or both. You can also add a splash of oil or some butter too. Some add a little bit of sugar. I decided to add onion, garlic, and pepper to my muffin. For the stuffed fried dumplings, you can sauté the corned beef in onion, garlic, and whatever you choose before stuffing it but that's extra work that I don't believe in.

But let me back up for a bit. I'm sure that you're reading "corned beef" and not picturing the corned beef that I used. When you say corned beef in Jamaica, you are referring to a strange looking thing that comes in a can. But the strange looking meat is delicious! I love sautéing it with various seasonings and adding mixed vegetables. That's the typical way to serve it. Corned beef sandwiches are popular too.

Now whenever I'm craving corned beef stuffed dumplings and not in the mood to fight with hot oil, I can just whip up some easy muffins. Want more muffin inspiration this Monday? Scroll down to see what the other muffin bakers made for you today.

Corned Beef Stuffed Muffins
(Yield ~ 10 muffins)

240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a dash or three of black pepper
40 grams onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
240 millilitres milk
60 millilitres oil
1 egg
1/2 - 1 tablespoon of corned beef per muffin


Preheat the oven to 400F and prep a muffin pan - grease or line it with cupcake liners.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Stir in the onion and garlic.
In a separate container mix together the milk, oil, and the egg.

Slowly combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just mixed.

Fill each cup about a quarter full with muffin batter and then top with some corned beef. Cover each with additional muffin batter.

Bake approximately 15 minutes or until the muffin is golden and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Best eaten warm!

Muffin Monday

#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.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Savoury Avocado Muffins - #CIC

It's almost 2 am and I was getting ready for bed when an email popped up on my phone. It was  Pinterest notifying me that someone had posted to the Bundt Bakers board. (Side note, it's been way too long since I've participated in Bundt Bakers. Out of my control. Held hostage by a strange oven.) So I thought, "It's Bundt Bakers time already? What's today's date?" It's the 20th! And my post for CIC has not been written. Why oh why does the date always sneak up on me in some way? At least I'd already made these muffins.

So bedtime is delayed while I talk about these muffins. The winning combination for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge was avocado and cumin. Another non-crazy one but for some reason, I just could not think of anything to make. Salads aren't my thing.I thought of doing some sort of wrap but couldn't decide on a filling. Funny story - right after I made these muffins, I made some breakfast. I fried some breadfruit (my breakfast staple), tossed some cumin into an omelette and topped said omelette with avocado. Where was that idea when I was trying to think of things to make?!! The next day I tossed some cumin into a mock guacamole. Too easy, but again, that idea would have helped to jump start my thinking. I could have made burgers!

Avocado is usually suggested as a way to replace fat in baked goods. I'd never tried it before and it did work here. I want to try again with some other recipes but the truth is, during avocado season, we eat so many per day that it's hard to set aside one or two to bake with. I had to hide the one I used here. Yes, I hid it from myself. Hid it in the crisper with all the vegetables. I only open that drawer on Sundays. I don't dislike vegetables, I just don't eat them often. Don't judge me too harshly.

Remember to check out the links to the other CIC creations below!

Savoury Avocado Muffins 
Yield: ~ 10-12

240 grams flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
300 millilitres milk
100 grams avocado
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line or grease a muffin pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, cumin, salt, basil, and cayenne. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado and whisk in the milk and egg.
Gently stir the avocado mixture into the dry ingredients. Don't over mix - just stir until it has just come together. Alton Brown recommends ten strokes.
Scoop the mixture into the muffin pan.
Bake 15- 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Enjoy warm with a little butter!

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Mango Muffins - #MuffinMonday

Last month I mentioned that I tried to make mango muffins but they were horrible. Mango season only lasts so long so I thought I'd try again this month before all the mangoes were gone. And this time it worked perfectly! No more dense muffins. I started with the recipe that I used for plantain muffins and that is actually modified from Alton Brown's banana bread. Can't go wrong with Alton Brown. Once again I used Julie mangoes. Julie mangoes are a beautiful bright orange and are less fibrous than other varieties. Hayden or Bombay would have been great too.

Remember to scroll down for more Muffin Monday recipes!

Mango Muffins 
Yield: 12 muffins 

4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons butter
360 grams mango pulp
200 grams brown sugar
120 millilitres oil
2 eggs
250 grams flour
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt


Grease or line a cupcake pan. Preheat oven to 350 F.

Topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, and ginger. Cut in the butter and set aside.

Muffins: Blend together the mango and sugar until the mango is pureed. In a separate container, whisk the oil and eggs together and then add to the mango mixture. Whisk together.

Whisk the flour, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

Slowly combine the flour mixture and the mango mixture. Stir only until just combined being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter among the cups and sprinkle each with scant two teaspoons of the topping mixture.

Bake for approximately 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

#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.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Zucchini Nut Mini Bundts- Crazy Ingredient Challenge

The winning ingredients for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge were peanuts and zucchini. Simple enough. I thought of making some sort of salad since I told a friend that I'd try to have a raw meal one day soon. But eating cake always sounds better than eating a salad so I baked a cake instead.

There are people out there who will add zucchini to your desserts and then say, "You would never be able to tell that there's zucchini in here!" Those people are not telling the truth. Now I'll admit that I was not trying to hide the zucchini so I didn't grate it particularly fine. So you will definitely see lots of green in my cake. Even then, when you bite in, you can immediately tell that there's a little something green in there. It's not an overwhelming vegetable taste and you would not immediately go, "Is this zucchini? I taste zucchini!" But you would definitely say, "There's something in here. It tastes...hmm.... What is it?" It's far from unpleasant and since this is, at its base, a spice cake, there are lots of other flavours to tease out. Maybe if tiny shreds of zucchini are hidden in chocolate cake, those people might be telling the truth.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned Picky Nephew in a CIC post. Summary: Picky Nephew only willingly eats eggs and bread.  Everything else is a fight. And don't you dare try to get him to eat while he's watching TV or playing a game. He walked into the kitchen when I was baking, asked a few questions, and complained that I was baking with the peanuts instead of giving him them to eat. I guess he likes peanuts? One can never tell. When the cakes were finished, I offered cake to everyone except him. I hadn't frosted them yet and he will tell you that he likes cake but he will only eat the frosting. I wasn't going to waste my time. He actually looked up from his game and insisted on tasting it too. He knew about the zucchini and didn't mind.

Zucchini isn't easy to find here in Jamaica. It was quite the treasure hunt to find the one man in the market who grows zucchini. I can't wait to get my hands on some more so that I can jump on the zucchini bandwagon that rolls around every summer.

Zucchini Mini Bundt Cakes
Yield: 6 mini Bundt cakes or 12 cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart

180 grams flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
56 grams chopped peanuts
200 grams light brown sugar
88 millilitres oil
1 egg
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
280 grams grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 6 one cup capacity mini Bundt pans or line a cupcake pan with liners.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in the chopped peanuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, egg, and almond extract until thoroughly combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until almost combined. Next, stir in the grated zucchini.

Divide into prepared pans. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Coconut Raisin Muffins - #MuffinMonday

I've been meaning to make these coconut raisin muffins for a few months now but something would always happen. The stars all aligned for May's Muffin Monday. But when I went to the kitchen to start baking, I found myself making mango muffins instead. Two Julie mangoes were sacrificed for those muffins. The flavour was amazing, the texture was horrible. They were heavy, dense, doughy - not good at all. Unfortunately, I was out of mangoes so I had to revert to the original plan.

These coconut raisin muffins involved a tad more work than I like to do in the kitchen. First, I decided to make fresh coconut milk. Making coconut milk is a labour of love and not something I do very often. Getting the coconuts out of the husk is hard enough. I used to happily wield a machete or chopper when I was in my teens but now, I keep picturing me chopping a finger off. My brain is weird. After you get it out the husk, it's time to get the coconut meat out the shell. I still have not perfected that step. After cutting into an eye and draining the coconut water, I typically wrap the coconut in a some paper, place it in a bag, and then hurl it at a concrete surface until it's broken up enough for me. Next, I grab a table knife and try to pry the meat out. A knife with a sharp tip would definitely make the work easier but I have stabbed myself enough times to stick exclusively to the butter knife. The edges of the coconut shell are also extremely sharp. I've read tips about freezing and baking the coconut to make prying it from the shell easier. I've tried freezing. Didn't work. After you've applied bandages to all your cuts, the next step is to blend the coconut with hot water to get your coconut milk. Blend, strain, squeeze, enjoy. I also grated some of the coconut for the muffins.

All of that for really great muffins. I ate one, snapped some pics and walked away to go take care of something. When I returned, all the muffins were gone. There was just a solitary raisin left. I had packed away some for a friend and I really wished that I hadn't told him about them because I had none left for myself. I still have some coconut milk and meat left so I think I will make another batch later today. The process will be much faster since I won't be starting with coconuts still in the husk.

I'm not the only one sharing muffins this Monday. Scroll down for links to more!

Coconut Raisin Muffins
(Yield: 12 muffins)

100 grams raisins, soaked in liquid of choice (rum, water, rum, coconut water, rum)
240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
100 grams brown sugar
100 grams fresh coconut, grated (or processed)
180 millilitres coconut milk, room temperature
80 millilitres oil (I used melted coconut oil)
1 egg, room temperature


Strain the raisins and leave to drain while you prepare everything else.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line a muffin tin.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger powder, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and the grated coconut.
In a separate container, mix together the coconut milk, oil, and the egg. Your coconut oil will solidify if your ingredients are below 76 degrees.

Stir the wet ingredients gently into the dry ingredients. Stop before it is completely mixed - just after about 5 or so stirs. There should still be lots of flour still showing. Add the raisins and stir gently until everything is just combined.

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Hide a couple for yourself to enjoy.

#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.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spicy Potato Chips Crusted Chicken Strips - CIC

The moment that I saw that potato chips and soy sauce were the winners for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge, I made myself a promise. I would NOT make chicken with a dip. No way. Yeah. So what happened? As usual, the 20th snuck up on me. I already had the ingredients for my other dish - onion rings - but I honestly didn't know what date it was all week until I checked and realised it was the night of the 17th. How on earth did that happen?

It was a bit of a crazy week here. We had really heavy rains starting last Saturday night and spent the next few days waiting to be flooded out. It did not happen! Yaay! While we waited for the flood, our internet decided it didn't want to wait with us. Our ISP said they'd send someone out but the roads were impassable and much of the island was on standstill on Tuesday. I had an important meeting that Tuesday morning but since I don't own a boat, going was not an option. We were lucky but several persons weren't. The river closest to us rose approximately 30 feet and washed away a bridge or two. Sigh. It's not even hurricane season yet and this was the second instance of severe flooding in 3 weeks. And it's still raining right now. Oh and with this bad weather comes power cuts. I've lost count of the number of times we lost power yesterday.

So that's the story all about how it was CIC time again and I almost hadn't made anything. But not to worry! I knew that I wanted onion rings. I made them Thursday morning. They were absolutely delicious. And I ate all but 3 before I remembered to take a picture. I could have made more rings but why tempt fate? So I decided to batter and bake some chicken instead.

Look what the other bloggers made this month!

Spicy Potato Chips Crusted Chicken Strips

8 - 10 oz chicken breast, cut into strips
salt & pepper
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
pinch of salt
4 oz barbecue flavoured potato chips
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
cayenne pepper and salt to taste


Preheat oven to 375F.
Season the chicken strips with salt and pepper.
Mix the batter ingredients until just combined. Don't overmix.
Process the potato chips into crumbs and place in a shallow dish along with the cayenne pepper.
Dip the chicken strips in the batter, shake off excess and then dredge in the potato chips. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and cooked through.

While the chicken is baking, heat the sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and water over medium heat stirring occasionally. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Mix the cornstarch in the 2 tablespoons of water and then add to the mixture on the stove. Cook until thickened. Taste and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Carrot Cake Truffles - Crazy Ingredient Challenge

You'd think that having two "sweet" ingredients would make this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge really easy for me. Not even a little bit. Carrots plus graham crackers scream carrot cake. And not only have I made such a carrot cake before, right before the winning ingredients were announced, I had made a carrot cake. There was no way I was making another one. A possible carrot-banana-graham cracker loaf seemed like the way to go for a bit. Or perhaps some bars?  All variations on that carrot cake.

In the end, I decided to stop fighting the carrot cake. This was definitely helped by Cupcake Project posting her Carrot Cake Truffles. They have mashed potatoes! It sounded weird and hence, right up my alley. I modified her recipe and produced my own little bites. You can't taste the potatoes - potatoes, after all, are a pretty blank canvas. These are not particularly sweet so you could definitely increase the sugar, a little. Or add in another sweet ingredient. Easily modified. Try them and see.

Carrot Cake Truffles
(Yield: ~14)

100 grams carrots
50 grams fresh coconut
50 grams graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
37 grams sugar
1/4 cup prepared mash potatoes (with only butter, salt, and milk)
toppings: crushed nuts, cinnamon sugar


Pulse the carrots and the coconut in a food processor until finely diced. Pulse in the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, ginger, and sugar. Stir in the mashed potatoes. Taste and adjust the spices and sugar, if necessary. Take tablespoon amounts of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll the balls into your desired toppings. Chill before serving.

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Dirty Banana Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers

Tomorrow marks 7 years since my brain surgery. This is huge for a number of reasons. I don't think about surgery as much as I used to - it's almost like it never happened. Almost. I don't have flashbacks of painful moments when I try to brush my teeth.  I hardly think about the minor deficits (mainly only visible to me). Occasionally, something will pop up. A couple weeks ago, I had to make some phone calls. In each call I would ask about a "kerb machine". After a dozen or so calls, I realised that I do occasionally still have trouble saying the letter "b". Minor matters. I honestly did not remember that bs were a problem until then. The major success here is that I am two years past the point where many persons experience regrowth and a resurgence of symptoms. I still don't know if there's regrowth - don't tell anyone that I am still avoiding MRIs. But let's shout this from the rooftop - STILL SYMPTOM FREE!

Each year I make myself a cake. I had plans for a simple hummingbird cake this year but I just couldn't swing it. Three weeks ago, I baked two birthday cakes for my brother and lost interest in all things sugary. Then the Easter holidays hit. Right now my nephews are still on holiday and kept me busy all of yesterday. Very little time for baking large cakes.

So we shall start the brainiversary celebration with these Dirty Banana Mini Bundts. This month the Bundt Bakers are all about the cocktails. I chose the dirty banana cocktail - partly because of the flavours but mainly because of the name. The dirty banana has banana, coffee, and rum. All deliciousness. Whoa - just realised that I am eating coffee rum ice cream while I type this - total coincidence.

Thanks for hosting Patricia and Cristina! See all our cocktail Bundts below!

Dirty Banana Mini Bundts
(Yield: 4 mini Bundts)

125 grams flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
118 ml buttermilk
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
56 grams butter, room temperature
67 grams granulated sugar
33 grams brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
95 grams (~1/2 cup) mashed banana
Coffee-Rum Syrup
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons strong coffee
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons rum


Grease and flour 4 one-cup capacity mini Bundt tins. Preheat oven to 350 F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together. In a measuring cup, dissolve the instant coffee in the buttermilk.
Cream butter and the two sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. When bought have been incorporated, stir in the banana. Scrape down the batter as often as needed.
Alternate adding the flour and the coffee-milk mixture into the butter mixture. Start and end with flour, add the flour in three parts and the coffee-milk in two parts. Mix until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the mini Bundt tins. Bake 15- 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

While the Bundts are baking, microwave the sugar, coffee, and butter together until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Do this is short bursts - mixing in between. Be sure to use at least a 2 cup capacity container. The mixture could bubble over. When the sugar has dissolved, stir in the rum.
When the Bundts are cooked, immediately pour about a third of the coffee-rum syrup over the Bundts. Allow to cool, remove from tins and slowly pour over the remaining syrup.


Bundt Bakers Cocktail Bundts

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.  You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page. And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Piadina - #BreadBakers

I know that you're looking at these and thinking, "Piadina? She made tortillas!" And you're certainly not wrong. Depending on where you look, the recipe for a piadina, this Italian flatbread, is almost identical to that of a tortilla. The piadina is popular in the Romagna region of Italy and uses lard and/or olive oil. It's typically filled with cured meats and cheeses but a sweet version with Nutella is also popular.

Thank you Anshie for hosting our Italian themed Bread Bakers this month! See all the other Italian breads below. 

Yield: 5


225g flour
1t baking powder
1t salt
1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
112 grams water


Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add oil then enough water to make a soft but non-sticky dough.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

After the dough has rested, divide into 5 balls. Roll each ball out to an approximately 7 inch circle.

Heat a flat bottomed skillet over medium heat. Brush lightly with oil and cook each piadina a minute or two on each side. Serve immediately. 

 #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.

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

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Cheese & Thyme Muffins #MuffinMonday

My friend suggested that I make cheese and thyme muffins many months ago but I kept forgetting to buy cheese. When I did buy cheese, another type of muffin would sound more appealing. But here they are, finally. Perhaps my favourite part of making these was how the house smelled while they baked. They made me crave pizza and if I can get my act together this week, I think I'll definitely make some pizza on Friday. Maybe there will be thyme on my pizza? No. In the crust would be better.  These don't have as much pepper as my onion and garlic muffins and I definitely missed the cayenne. I had to nix it though because I wanted to share them with someone who can't handle the heat.  But next time, dear cheese and thyme muffins, next time.  Also, The next time I make these, I want to use a sharp cheddar or a mix of cheeses.

Cheese and Thyme Muffins
Yield: 10 muffins

240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
60 grams white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg


Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease the cups of a muffin tin or line with cupcake liners. You'll need 10 cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir in the cheese and thyme. In a separate container, mix together milk, oil, and the egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Gently mix together until just combined.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Best served warm.

Muffin Monday

Thanks for hosting Wendy!

#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.
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Monday, March 20, 2017

Pear and Pepper Scones - Crazy Ingredient Challenge

Our winning ingredients for this month of the Crazy Ingredient Challenge is something sweet - pear - and something spicy - red pepper flakes. I've used the pear + pepper combination before so I knew that I would love this.

Two teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes does not make these extra spicy but there are some bites that will have more of a kick than others. Please note that I love spicy food so my tolerance is high.

Pear and Pepper Scones

1 1//2 cups grams flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8T butter
1 pear, chopped
6 T milk

Preheat oven to 375F.
Mix together flour, sugar, red pepper flakes, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture so that the mixture appears crumbly. Stir in the chopped pear. Add the milk and stir until just combined.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Pat into a 6 inch circle. Cut into 6 wedges and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake 25 minutes.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Coconut Spice Mini Yeasted Bundts - #BundtBakers

I had this post planned for weeks! I was going to tell you why I stopped baking cakes. I was going to talk about how I wanted to hoard these bundts because they were DELICIOUS. I wanted to tell you about making fresh coconut milk for the first time. (I probably shouldn't admit that to my  Jamaican friends. Everyone makes coconut milk!) But things happened. I procrastinated. And suddenly it was a few hours before the post needed to be up and BAM! Powercut.  I should have been in bed 2 hours ago so let's make this quick.

Cake delicious. Must bake every week.
The end.

Lots of yeasted bunts to view below! Thanks to our hosts Felice and Wendy!

Coconut Spice Mini Yeasted Bundts
(Yield: 8 mini Bundts )

240 grams flour
190 grams sugar (white or light brown)
70 grams grated coconut
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
177 ml coconut milk
118 ml oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs


Whisk together the flour, sugar, coconut, instant yeast, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir in coconut milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Pour into greased mini Bundt pans. My Bundt pans hold 1 cup of liquid.

Leave at room temperature for two hours. The batter will rise but not double.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Bake 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.


#BundtBakers is a group of bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. Co-Host: Felice; Host blog: All That’s Left Are The Crumbs ( Co-Host: Wendy; Host blog: A Day in the Life on the Farm (

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page. And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Irish Freckle Bread - #BreadBakers

This month's bread baker's theme became a history lesson for me. Wendy chose Irish breads and as I searched for one that grabbed my attention, I delved deep into the Great Famine, Corn Laws, potatoes, and migration. I had heard about the famine in passing but never read much about it. One fact that stood out was that while millions starved, Ireland was still exporting food. In a prior famine, there was an export ban but they did not ban exports this time. This means that there was probably more than enough food in Ireland - it was just too expensive. What they did import, was also poorly distributed.

This Irish Freckle bread has potatoes, a staple food before and after the famine, along with raisins for freckles. I'm a huge fan of potato breads and this one did not disappoint. Unbelievably soft. I felt guilty about eating an entire bun (they're HUGE - about three times the size of a standard dinner roll) on a day when I did not exercise. But there's always tomorrow. I should note that most of the freckle breads that I saw were in loaf form. Taste of Home shaped them into these large buns and I loved the look so I went with this instead.

Thanks, Wendy, for an educational (and delicious) theme this month. I almost didn't participate but I am so glad that I did. Be sure to scroll down to see what the other bakers are serving up from Ireland.

P.S.: Check out this link from Cook's Illustrated about checking the temperature of your bread. Spoiler: Your bread can reach optimal temperature before it's baked.

Irish Freckle Bread
(adapted from Taste of Home)


390 - 480 grams flour (divided)
177 millilitres water (reserved from cooking the potato)
118 millilitres oil
90 grams sugar
53 grams potato, mashed
2 eggs
7 g instant yeast
140 grams raisins


Beat 240 grams of flour with the water, oil, sugar, potato, eggs and, yeast. Keep beating until smooth then add all the raisins and enough of the remaining flour to form a soft, tacky dough. Knead until cohesive.

Cover and let rise overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature until doubled.

After the dough has risen, grease a 10" springform pan. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball and place in the pan. Cover and let rise until doubled (~ 30-45 minutes).

Before the dough has doubled, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden and the internal temperature has reached 200 F.

  • Mashed potatoes can have varying water content; Pay attention to this so you don't end up with an extremely sticky loaf. If it is rather sticky, doing a cold rise will be helpful. Also, oil your hands when shaping the dough.


#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.

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

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