Saturday, 25 October 2014

Life Lesson. . .

I am never going to use a silicone bunt baking pan again. I had been using one for a few years and I had also been having some trouble with my cakes not baking properly. Resulting in cakes which were overcooked and burnt on top and pretty much raw in the middle. Not pretty and I hate it when my baking fails.

So I thought about it and I realized that a bunt pan is a special pan because of the tube in the middle that will radiate heat through the middle of the cake, ensuring a more even baking for the entire cake. However with a silicone pan, there is no heat radiation like there is in a metal pan because Silicone is an insulating material. Also the heavier a pan is, the more evenly it radiates heat. Silicone is super lightweight which means it will react to heat fluctuations in the oven much more quickly. Which will affect how the cake bakes.

So don't bother getting a silicone bunt pan to bake with. You will regret it. Get a solid, heavy, non-stick metal pan instead.

However my six cup silicone muffin pan works great, and it is extra deep resulting in big fluffy muffins. I also enjoy the silicone baking mat I have for putting under cookies and things, and the bread pan also works well for me. The only one I have had consistent problems with is the bunt pan. Strange.


Miss Busy Bee

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Spiced White Chocolate Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Pumpkin Monkey Bread

The white chocolate is stuffed inside each pull-apart bite!

It's pretty easy to make, it just takes a bit of time.


Monkey Bread

4 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Egg
.25-.3 Ounces Active Yeast
3+ Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Cardamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves


2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Cardamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4-1/2 Cup Melted Butter

2 Cups White Chocolate Chips

Cooking Spray

Special Tools:

Bunt Pan


In a small sauce pan over low heat melt the butter, add the water and dissolve in the 1/4 cup of sugar. Check that the temperature is only warm and not hot, then add the yeast, stir to dissolve and allow to stand about 5-10 minutes, until the yeast starts to proof.

In a medium bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, egg, and cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cardamon, ground cloves and salt.

In a stand mixer measure out 2 cups of flour and fit the mixer with the blade attachment.

When yeast is proofed, add the pumpkin mixture and yeast mixture to the flour. Blend with the blade until a very very soft dough forms. Add in about 1 cup of flour gradually while you continue to mix until dough comes away from edges.

Switch to the dough hook and knead dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Trying to keep the dough as light as possible.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface, knead again until dough is no longer too sticky.

Grease a large bowl, place the dough in the greased bowl and cover and allow to rise until double in size. Roughly 60-90 minutes.

To prepare glaze, melt the butter in a small bowl, and stir together the sugar and spices in a separate bowl.

Once dough has risen cut dough into small ounce sized chunks. Place a few white chocolate chips in the middle of the dough and roll into a ball. Dip in melted butter and arrange in a well greased bunt pan. Repeat with all the dough.

Allow the assembled cake to rise an additional 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake risen cake for 30-50 minutes, until puffed, golden and each bite feels hollow when tapped.

Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a platter carefully.



So yummy, but it does take an awful long time to make it. Be careful to make sure that your bake the cake all the way through. Doughy bites are not very yummy.

Other Places:

Monday, 20 October 2014

Pumpkin Time!

Pumpkin Puree and Pumpkin Seeds!

A simple couple of recipes but I always forget the specifics because I literally only roast pumpkin once a year. You can spice the puree up and use it in pies, muffins, cakes, cookies, etc. Whatever you normally use pumpkin pie filling for. Also I choose to roast my pumpkin to cook it, because this method helps retain most of the nutrients, or at least does a better job than boiling. Also I would never use the microwave to cook pumpkin. . .Slowly roasting in the oven is the best way.

Also select a small brightly orange colored pumpkin for the best flavor.

Home Made Pumpkin Puree

1 Sweet Pumpkin or Pie Pumpkin

Special Tools:

Tin foil
Food processor
Fine Sieve


Wash the outside of the pumpkin and pat dry.

Slice the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and stringy pulpy bits, hold on the seeds in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Slice off the stem and root bits of the pumpkin from the top and bottom. Cover the pumkin halves with toil foil, and place cut side down on a roasting sheet.

Bake in heated oven for about 90 minutes. Or until pumpkin is tender.

Allow pumpkin to cool, and mash, puree, pulse in a food processor etc, until you have a smooth puree. You can pass the puree through a sieve to get it really smooth.


Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


Pumpkin Seeds
1-2 Teaspoons Oil or Melted Butter

Seasonings of your choice.


Bring a pot of well salted water to a boil.

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Wash any of the remaining pulp from the pumpkin seeds.

Boil pumpkin seeds in salted water for 10 minutes.

Drain through a colander, dry with paper towels, and toss with either the oil or butter. Spread evenly on a baking pan and bake for 10-35 minutes in heated oven. Bake for ten minutes, then check every five or ten minutes thereafter until the pumpkin seeds are as crunchy as you like them. Stir them around slightly, but always spread them out evenly on the pan.

Gently season with salt or a seasoning blend of your choice, serve warm and fresh for best results. They will also keep on the counter for a couple days in a sealed ziplock or container.



Happy Halloween!

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Friday, 17 October 2014

S'mores Cheesecake

Original Recipe from Yummly, from a blog called Cookies and Cups. It's pretty adorable.

However this recipe was not so adorable.

Followed it perfectly and had several problems. First the instructions say to prepare the crust and press it into the pan and arrange some marshmallows and chocolate sauce in the bottom. Then to prepare the filling/cheese cake base and fold in some more marshmallows. Not sure why but all my marshmallows floated to the top of the cheesecake batter. . . None were folded into the batter they all floated. Plus when I went to pour the cheesecake into the springform pan all the marshmallows and chocolate sauce I arranged nicely also floated to the top of everything! ARRG!

To top it off I followed all the baking instructions and had a lot of butter melt out of the bottom of the dessert while it melted. Bad enough to make a mess in my oven but to also waste butter? Dear goodness that is a travesty in my books.

Finally the damn thing never baked all the way through, never set even after chilling for two days.

Complete failure on ability to replicate this recipe, and to make me feel even worse, I re-read the whole blog post and turns out the bloggers husband made the perfect cake. . . I think he might have kept a few things secret because I sure as heck did not succeed with this one.

At least I have delightful friends who were kind enough to quickly eat the evidence of my failure and hide it forever. It tasted good, and the slightly under-set cheesecake filling did kind of enhance the melty-gooey-ness of a s'mores.

So let us play Bob the Builder, can we fix this? YES WE CAN.

S'mores Cheese Cake


Roughly 2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
3-5 Tablespoons Melted Butter

2 (8 Ounce) Packs of cream cheese
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract

2 Cups Mini Marshmallows (divided into 1/3 and 2/3 portions)
1/4 Cup Warm Chocolate Sauce
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

More Chocolate Sauce as Garnish

Optional Garnish:

Chocolate Shavings 
Cookie Crumbs

Special Tools:

10 inch Spring Form Pan


Preheat oven to 325°F. Allow cheesecake, sour cream, and eggs to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes on the counter should do it.

Combine Graham crumbs and about 3 Tablespoons of butter together, mix until fine and evenly blended. If mixture is too dry add more melted butter 1 tablespoon at a time

Grease the spring form pan. 

Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pan create a nice smooth even crust for the cheese cake.

Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

While the crusts are lightly baking, Prepare the cheese cake filling.

Cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer or stand mixer, until smooth. Add the sugar and cream well. Add the eggs one at a time and mix after each one. Add the flour and vanilla and blend. Slowly add the sour cream and blend together until smooth.

Once crusts have finished baking, raise oven temperature to 450°F.

Allow the crusts to cool for a few minutes before adding the filling. This also gives our oven a chance to preheat for round two.

Pour about 1/3 Cup of mini marshmallows into the bottom of the baked crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over top, and then drizzle about 1/4 Cup of chocolate sauce over everything on the bottom.

Fold about 2/3 cup mini marshmallows into the cheese cake filling.

Pour the filling into the crust slowly and carefully.

Bake the cheese cakes at 450°F for about 10 minutes. Then reduce oven temperature to 250°F, do not open the oven and continue to bake for about 1 hour or until the filling has set. Which means it doesn't jiggle when you touch the middle. Be gentle, you don't want to leave a mark in the top.

If your cheese cake is slightly under after an hour heat oven to 200°F, and bake in 10 minute intervals until done.

If top gets too dark during extra cooking time, cover with foil to protect it from excess heat.

Allow cake to chill in fridge over night.

Garnish top of cake with chocolate sauce and other toppings as desired.



Cheese cakes are my mother's specialty. . . It is really depressing when one doesn't turn out for me but I think the blogger just forgot a few ingredients in her cheese cake filling, I think it needed a little more starch to set properly.

Other Places:

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Queen Bee's Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala


1-2 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (About 4-6)


1/2 Cup Buttermilk
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (I used a lite coconut milk)
1/2 Lime, Juiced, and save the squeezed half
1/2 inch Ginger Root
3-4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Coriander
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 Tablespoons Sesame Seed Oil


1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Onion
5-6 Cloves Garlic
1 inch Ginger Root
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoons Garam Masala
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
1-3 Tablespoons Curry Powder
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Can Diced or Crushed Tomatoes
3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1/2 Lime, Juiced
Pepper to taste


Sliced Green Onion
Chopped Parsley or Coriander Leaves
Serve with White or Basmati Rice

Special Tools:

Large Skillet
Broiler Pan or a large sheet pan with a rack over top


Prepare the marinade by mixing the Buttermilk, Coconut Milk,Lime juice and the half squeezed lime half, the Ginger Root minced, the Cloves Garlic minced, Salt, Cumin, Coriander, Cayenne Pepper and the Sesame Seed Oil.

Thinly slice the chicken and mix the chicken slices with the marinade in a large bowl, turn the chicken to coat it all in the sauce. Allow to marinade about 30 minutes, or overnight.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and heat the olive oil.

Finely dice the onion and stir fry for about 8-10 minutes in heated skillet. Seasoning onion well with pepper.

Mince the garlic cloves and ginger root. Add minced garlic and ginger root to the skillet along with the tomato paste. Stir fry for about 3 more minutes.

Add the can of tomatoes, Coconut milk, sugar, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, the chili powder, garam masala, cumin and turmeric. Stir well and bring everything to a boil. Once boiling add the juice of 1 lime half.

Allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Now is a good time to start cooking some rice. . .

Turn oven to broil and allow to heat. Line your broiler pan or sheet pan with tin foil. Is using using a sheet pan, put the wire rack over top.

Strain the chicken from the marinade and arrange on the rack.

Broil chicken for 6-9 minutes, turn and broil an additional 6-9 minutes. Chicken should be cooked through and have a slight golden toasty color.

To serve, arrange rice on one side of the plate, chicken on the other and spoon a generous portion of sauce down the middle of the plate. Garnish with sliced green onion and either parsley or coriander leaves, chopped.



Home made curry! Not from a prepared spice blend! Always makes me feel pretty accomplished, but I seem to really love curry lately.

Other Places:

Goes well with:

Naan Bread

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Garlic-Miso Pork

Garlic-Miso Pork

Pictured with some Fried Rice


2-4 Pork Chops or 1 Pork Tenderloin
4 Tablespoons White Miso Paste
4-6 Cloves Garlic
2-3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1 small Onion
1-2 Cups Beef or Vegetable Stock

Special Tools:

Cast Iron Skillet, or Stainless Steel that is oven safe will make life a lot easier.

Also a mortar and pestle will be helpful to make the garlic paste.


Heat a large cast iron skillet or regular skillet over medium heat. Oil the skillet once heated.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Dice the onion, set aside.

Crush the garlic into a smooth paste, stir in the miso paste and rice vinegar. Stir until evenly blended and smooth.

Rub about 1/2-2/3 of the miso paste mixture over the entire surface of the pork chops or pork tenderloin. Cover the entire surface in a thin, even layer. Season well with pepper. Allow pork and miso to marinate together for between 5 and 10 minutes.

Add the onion to the heated skillet and stir fry gently until onions are translucent and beginning to soften. Move the onions to the edges of the pan.

Add the pork to the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, getting a nice sear on all sides of the pork.

Once the pork is seared on all sides, add the stock and the remaining miso-garlic mixture to the skillet and transfer the whole skillet to the oven to finish cooking the pork all the way through. Usually takes at least 25 minutes to finish cooking the pork through or upwards of 45-60 minutes. I recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure.

When pork is cooked through, transfer to a plate and tent with foil to rest for about 5 minutes. Serve with some of the remaining liquid from the skillet drizzled over the top of the pork.



Savagely good. I had even accidentally slightly over cooked the pork but I didn't even mind because the miso-garlic glaze is so good on it.

Also I plan to try this recipe on some chicken breasts soon, I will let you know how that turns out.

Other Places:

How about something seasonal/ What was cooking last year?

Apple Crisp

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Buttermilk Muffin Batter

Buttermilk Muffins


2 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/3 Cup Buttermilk
1 Egg

3/4 Cup Chocolate Chips or Blueberries, or your favorite muffin add in


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Line or grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, alt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and all spice. Make a well in the center and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small microwave safe bowl. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and vanilla.

Pour the buttermilk mixture and melted butter into the well of the dry ingredients. Mix well into a batter. If batter is too dry or thick add some extra buttermilk about 2-3 tablespoons at a time.

Stir in chocolate chips or blueberries.

Spoon batter into muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, until baked through and lightly golden on top.



Buttermilk might be quickly becoming one of my most favorite ingredients to cook with. Makes delightful baked goods, is excellent to use in a chicken brine, and savory biscuits. Buttermilk makes me happy!

Other Places:

What was cooking (roughly) one year ago?

Baked Veggie Dumplings

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Curried Beef and Vegetables

Not sure what kind of curry this is, but it was easy to make, easy to eat, and had  a nice mild spicy-savory taste to it. Similar to my recipe for Aaloo Keema, a traditional spicy Pakistani Curry. Now I don't know about you but I get bored of ground beef sometimes and this is a nice recipe to change things up a bit.

Curried Beef and Vegetables


2-4 Servings White Rice, Cooked
1 Pound Ground Beef
1 1/2 Tablespoons Mirin (or sugar or honey)
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2-4 Teaspoons Sriracha Sauce, or a Chili-Garlic Sauce
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Garam Masala
1-2 Tablespoons Corn Starch

1 Red Pepper, diced
3-5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
Cracked Black Pepper

1 Can diced Tomatoes, undrained
2 Cups Shredded Lettuce Leaves (Pack the leaves in your measuring cup. They will wilt and shrink a lot in size in the final dish)

Sesame Seeds, as Garnish (About a tablespoon will do)


Set a large cast iron skillet, or wok or frying pan to medium heat. Lightly oil the pan with about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

In a small bowl mix together 2-3 Cloves or minced Garlic, the Mirin, Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sriracha sauce, Curry Powder, Cumin, Garam Masala and Corn Starch. Whisk everything together well. Set aside, this is our curry sauce.

Dice the red pepper. Stir fry the red pepper in the heated pan for about 5-10 minutes. Add 3-5 cloves of minced garlic, season everything with cracked black pepper and stir fry an additional minute.

Add the ground beef and scramble-cook the beef until no longer pink and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Drain off any fat from the cooked beef.

Add the can of diced tomatoes, juice and all. Add the curry sauce and stir well to blend. Bring everything to boil stirring occasionally.

Reduce heat to a simmer and reduce sauce for 25-35 minutes, until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. More sour from lemon juice, more sweet from mirin, more salt from soy sauce or fish sauce,and more spice from either extra sriracha or cumin powder. If the curry feels too mild to you add an extra half tablespoon of curry powder. Allow sauce to simmer for a few additional minutes after adjusting seasonings and taste again. Repeat until you are happy with the sauce.

Fold the shredded lettuce leaves into the curry, until they are fully under the sauce. Cook until lettuce is just wilted and is a bright green color, only about 2-3 minutes.

To serve, ladle curry over top of rice in a bowl and sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top.



I am still not the biggest fan of super spicy food but I am trying to expand my palate a bit and try some new foods.  This is a sort of hybrid curry, it isn't quite Thai or Vietnamese or middle Eastern but more of a mash up of some elements from all over the place, but it is a mash up that works pretty darn well and best of all for me it isn't too spicy but has lots of flavor to back it up. Plus it uses up some ingredients I have had sitting in the fridge for a bit. Waste not want not!

Other Places:

Not the right kind of Curry? How about:

Aaloo Keema
Thai Fish Curry
Honey Curry Glazed Chicken
Coconut Curried Chicken

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Basque Piperade

Basque Piperade with Soft Poached Egg

A fancy stewed tomato dish best served with lots of toasted bread.


1 Can diced or crushed Tomatoes
1-2 Red Bell Peppers
6-8 Cloves Garlic
1 White or Yellow Onion

1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Chillies
3-4 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1/2-1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1-2 Teaspoons Pepper

2-4 Fresh Eggs (one per person ideally)

1 Baguette or Ciabatta loaf
Olive Oil

Fresh Chopped Parsley, for Garnish


Set oven to broil. Slice the bell pepper in half and brush all over both sides with olive oil. Broil in oven 3-4 minutes at a time until charred slightly all over. Remove from oven and set aside.

Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic cloves. Set aside

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium heat. Coat lightly with oil.

Stir fry the onions and garlic for about 7-10 minutes, until onions are beginning to soften.

Add the spices and stir well. Allow spices and onions to cook until fragrant.

Peel the outer skin off the charred bell pepper and chop into small pieces.

Add the chopped bell pepper and the undrained can of tomatoes to the skillet. Stir well to blend everything together.

Reduce heat to low and simmer 35-30 minutes.

Heat oven to 450°F.

Either transfer entire skillet to oven or ladle the tomato mixture into serving ramekins.

Crack the egg into a small bowl and arrange in the tomato stew, either around the skillet or the center or small ramekins.

Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are set and the yolk is still runny.

Toast the bread for the final 4-5 minutes of cook time.

Serve hot, with toast and a spoon. Garnish the top of the eggs with fresh chopped parsley.



This can be a side to a meal, an appetizer or a meatless main course. It is awesome, so warm and comforting. Pus in addition to being a yummy recipe, this is affordable, easy and pretty quick. And if you do it all in the one skillet, it is pretty much a one pot meal.

Other Places:

How about another French Classic? Weeping Roast and Potatoes, a cut of lamb or beef is roasted over top of onions and potatoes, so the roast juices seep down into the potatoes adding a lot of flavor. Throw a salad or some steamed veggies along side this recipe and you have a complete meal worthy of company.