Category: Recipes

Raspberry & White Chocolate Macarons

Last week I was channeling Louise, the pastry chef in Home for Christmas as I made a ridiculously fancy but really quite easy to make batch of Raspberry and White Chocolate Macarons. People often ask if my characters are like me, or me them, and I always say no but, the truth is, there is a bit of me in most of them.

My editor Stephanie Webb is hosting a tea the next day (she’s a Brit) to celebrate the birthday of a mutual friend. “A good excuse to air out the linen,” she said. She’s done it before and it’s lots of fun. She made fancy party sandwiches and little cakes – scones last time if I remember correctly. But when I saw her last week I heard myself say, “I’ll bring a plate of fancy cookies.”

Fancy, because anything she made for this event was bound to be fancy, but any one who knows me well knows that Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, or Children’s Delight is my normal baking style. Something hearty with a little food value. I  used to cut the amount of sugar in half and until my kids refused to eat my cookies. Now I rarely make cookies at all, but these macarons caught my eye in a flier in the paper and strangely, I had just cleaned out the baking cupboard and knew I had all the ingredients: white chocolate, ground almonds, raspberry freezer jam (the best!).

The macarons were much easier than I anticipated. Not really  a trick at all. I made the macarons the day before while watching the World Figure Skating Championships on TV (Yay Canada!) and made the filling Sunday morning before the party.

They were such a hit, I thought I’d put the recipe here to give you time to make them for a special Easter dinner treat.

Louise would be proud.

Get the recipe HERE

Let me know how they turn out.

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Best Christmas Fruitcake Ever

First, I want to thank everyone who came to the facebook launch of Home for Christmas, the last of this first batch of Fortune Bay books. (Don’t worry, there should be another one coming out next summer, 2017. Join my mailing list for news of new books.)

It was great to hang out with some readers who are quickly becoming friends, and to meet so many new potential readers from as far away as  South Africa, Holland, New Zealand and Australia!

I promised to put up my recipe for fruit cake – guaranteed to turn skeptics into fans. So here it is.

The secret is the strawberry jam, kirsch brandy, pineapple step.
It still tastes like fruit cake, just moist and fruity and good.

I got this recipe from my mother-in-law, who originally found it in the Toronto Star many years ago. Apparently it was sent in by a reader from Winchester Ontario which, coincidentally is where my sister lives. I love when synchronicity happens!

There are quite a few steps, but worth the trouble. It doesn’t really take that long and you end up with fruitcake to eat and give away.

My recipe says “make in late October”, so I better get at it!

Judy

Santa’s Dark Secret

It’s never too early for chocolate!

It’s not Christmas yet – and I certainly don’t have my decorations up or my shopping done – but Santa’s Dark Secret cookies (the ones Louise makes for Blue in Home for Christmas – launching today! ) are good anytime, despite their name. 

HFC COVER MED outln

Home for Christmas is available today on

Amazon, B&N nook, kobo and the iTunes store

Judy

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From Mint to Mojito

Today we’re harvesting mint. 🙂 Let’s just call it that because of course we’re not having Mojitos after work on a week night. Oh no. We’re just getting our supplies in order for the weekend.

Mint spreads like a weed so be careful where you plant it, but I love having a patch in my garden. (You can tell it’s mint by the square stems.)

MINTI make cold mint tea all summer from the mix of spearmint and the darker chocolate mint that grows beneath the blueberries, by pouring boiling water over a stalk of mint with leaves in a heat proof jug. Very refreshing.

Also refreshing are Mojitos, that wonderful combination of mint and lime and rum. I tried to order on the other night at a South Asian/ Indian restaurant (hey, they were on the menu) but our young server looked quite terrified and said, “I’ve never made one before.” In the end I didn’t order it, but I have been thinking about it ever since.

So I bought some white rum, picked some mint, got out a lime and got started.

Instructions:

Put a spoonful of sugar in a glass, squeeze the juice of a lime wedge into the sugar then drop in the rind. Add half a dozen mint leaves and muddle, or mush around, in the bottom of the glass to release the flavours.
Fill the glass half full of ice, add white rum to your liking and fill the glass with soda water and stir.
Garnish with a lime slice. It looks as refreshing as it tastes. I tried it last night and did tend to get mint leaves in my mouth, which explains the instructions I’ve seen to serve with a straw, or one picture of a Mojito strained and served in a martini glass. Not traditional perhaps but kind of classy nonetheless.

Find yourself a lovely spot outside this weekend, put your feet up and sip this sparkling summer drink while reading a good book. (Lake of Dreams ebook is still free online through the long weekend. Had to get that in.)

Join me in raising a glass to the harvest. Cheers.

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When your Zucchini get out of hand.

To celebrate the launch of The Good Neighbor, Book Two in the Fortune Bay Series, I’m continuing my week of late summer recipes with

Zucchini Bread, or

“what to do when your garden becomes the Little Shop of Horrors.”

The other day, my mother tried a piece of my Zucchini Bread.

“What is that flavor?” she said. “Mine has never been this nice.”

“Cloves,” I told her.

“I don’t like cloves,” she said. “But I love that.”

I have to admit it was particularly good batch. I usually grind whole cloves and if you are not diligent with the mortar and pestle, the flavour of the chunks of clove can over power the loaf.

This time I hadn’t been able to find whole cloves at the store, so I used ground and found it was better for this bread.

20150901_5057 Also, I wrung out the grated zucchini just the right amount and the moisture level was perfect. Last time I was showing someone how to wring out the excess moisture in a tea towel, was over zealous and the bread was a touch dry. But do wring it out to prevent a soggy loaf.

Nobody likes a soggy loaf!

It’s a great way to use that excess zucchini at this time of year, or get a nice size one at the farmer’s market and knock yourself out!

In The Good Neighbor, (yes! out this week!) Stephanie goes out to her garden and finds:

The Good Neighbor

The stump end of a mammoth zucchini peeked out at her from under a leaf. Not good. Zucchini were the jesters of the garden, growing to ridiculous, bulbous proportions when your back was turned…

Hefting a giant zucchini in one hand, she measured its weight, reminded of a childhood summer day spent grating the big ones for zucchini bread, the smell of cloves and cinnamon filling the air. She put the offender under one arm, the basket over the other, and started down the shoreline path to the cabin.

Cloves and spice, Aunt Augusta’s trademark. Stephanie must have the same recipe I have.

Enjoy!

Judy sig

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