Sunday, May 31, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Savoury- Voting Now Open!

Nacho Cupcake-1

You can now head over to No One Puts Cupcake in a Corner to vote for your favourite Iron Cupcake: Savoury Cupcake!  Just browse the entries and then look to the right sidebar, pick up to 3 favourites, and then hit the vote button at the bottom!  Every vote counts as a ballot which a winner will be randomly drawn. Voting is open through Friday, June 5 at 12 noon central.  The winner will be posted the night of June 6, before 11:59 p.m.

   My entry is the Nacho Sabroso Cupcake,  just in case of course you would like to vote for me!

Nacho Cupcake split1

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sugar High Fridays – Sweet without the Wheat


When I read that this month’s Sugar High Friday was to be desserts without any wheat, I knew I would be making something frozen using my much loved ice cream maker(I think I’ve become a little obsessed).   I came to love tea with honey and lemon as a child when my Czech next-door neighbour, who I visited often, would freshly brew it using a coffee maker.  I was curious how it would translate into a sorbet, and have been experimenting in balancing the sourness and tang of the lemon with just enough sweetness.

Sorbets have the added benefit for those with food allergies and sensitivities that not only are they gluten-free, they are also egg and dairy-free.  It came at a good time too, as I came down with a nasty bout of laryngitis right at the beginning of the Canadian Victoria day weekend (of course!).  Honey-lemon tea is known to soothe a raw and sore throat, and I discovered it works even better when frozen! 


Honey-Lemon Tea Sorbet

A true “iced” tea


  • 4                            Tea bags (I used Orange Pekoe)
  • 1/2 Cup               Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp                  Honey
  • 2 Cups                  Water
  • 2  1/2 Cups         Cold water
  • Juice from one lemon (approx. 1/4 cup)


  1. Boil 2 cups of the water and sugar together until sugar dissolves.  Take off heat.
  2. Add tea bags.  Steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove tea bags and add honey, stirring to dissolve.
  4. Mix in 2 cups cold water and lemon juice.
  5. Put in fridge to chill until thoroughly cold, at least 2 hours.
  6. Freeze in ice cream machine according to manufacture’s instructions.
  7. Keep in airtight container in freezer.  Will tend to freeze rock hard after a few hours, let thaw in fridge at least 10-15 minutes until softened. (If frozen in a microwaveable container, I have found putting it on 30 second bursts and checking works too, works well especially for the impatient like me).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May Dinner and a Movie: Shirley Valentine (Loukoumathes)


This month’s  Dinner and a Movie, hosted by Marc of No Recipes and Susan of Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy, is the 1989 film “Shirley Valentine”.


Before this month’s D&M I had never heard of the movie, and when reading the summary about it on Wiki, I admit I was sceptical.   Its about a 40 something English woman who is treated like a door mat by most the people in her life, especially her brutish husband.  She basically lives to serve everyone else, so lonely and beaten down she talks to the wall in her kitchen.  When a friend wins two tickets to a resort in Greece, she makes a last minute decision to realize her dream of travelling, and takes off for new parts.  After her friend promptly ditches her for a man she meets on the plane she has to discover the island on her own.  She then begins to find out what she wants and what she actually needs.

Although I felt iffy about the ending, I was surprised how much the movie actually touched me.  It actually gave  me the push I needed to make a major change in my life that I had been avoiding for a very long time.

This is what brought me to my choice of recipe, Loukoumathes. 


In Greek these are λουκουμάδες, pronounced loo-koo-MAH-thes.  These little yeasted balls of dough are deep fried until puffed and golden and then drizzled with lots of honey and sprinkled with cinnamon.  A New years eve tradition in parts of Greece, I thought they were perfect for a movie based on change and getting a new start.  They are light and airy, and despite being covered in honey, they are not overwhelmingly sweet.  Adjust the amount of cinnamon you sprinkle to your taste, Mr. BotC liked it very liberally covered.  These must be serve immediately as they are fried, and will become soggy if left to sit.



  • 1 pk -Active dry yeast or 30 grams compressed yeast
  • 1 c Milk; lukewarm (110 F)
  • 1 tb granulated white sugar
  • 1 Egg; beaten
  • 1/4 c Butter; melted
  • 2 Cups All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Honey; warmed
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Oil (of your choice) for frying
  1. In small bowl stir yeast into 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm milk.  Let sit 2 to 5 minutes until yeast is mostly dissolved.
  2. In large bowl mix together remaining milk, sugar, egg and lukewarm melted butter. Add dissolved yeast.
  3. Sift flour and salt and gradually stir in mixed liquids. Beat until smooth and continue beating for 1 minute.
  4. Cover bowl with warm damp cloth and leave in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours until batter doubles in bulk with bubbles on the surface. I like to put the bowl into a cold oven, and place a pan full of boiling water at the other end, and then shut the oven door. This gives me a beautiful rise every time.
  5. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, and then with a layer of paper towel
  6. In small pot over very low (minimum) heat, set honey to warm while frying the dough, until nice and fluid.
  7. Remove cloth from bowl of dough, stir dough well then drop teaspoonfuls into pot of deep, hot oil (375F) 4 to 5 at a time. Do not crowd puffs or they tend to stick together. 
  8.   Turn puffs to brown evenly and remove with a slotted spoon to drain on lined baking sheet.  Watch very closely as each puff only takes about a minute to cook.
  9. When all are drained, arrange on serving plate. Drizzle each with the warmed honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve hot.

Adapted from The Greek Cookbook by Tess Mallos


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Iron Cupcake: Earth - Battle Savoury!

This will be my first Iron Cupcake: Earth challenge, and I’m so excited!  Faced with the challenge of making a savoury cupcake;  that is, something you would have for dinner instead of for dessert, I tried to break down favourite dishes that might translate in cupcake form.  After lots of brainstorming, where I learned the internet is not teeming with ideas for savoury cupcakes, it came to me – Nachos.

Nacho Cupcake-1

Everyone has their own way of doing them; some like grated cheese, some the ooey-gooey processed cheese sauce.  The garnish possibilities run the gamut, from sweet (tomatoes) to salty (olives) to a little bit of heat (jalapenos).  This is my interpretation of nachos, in easy to eat cupcake form.  A cheese cupcake in a crispy tortilla cup, spiced with taco seasoning, dotted with green onions and filled with a thick salsa  and frosted with a swirl of sour cream.  Frosting is garnished with a sprinkling of finely diced tomatoes and sliced green onions and finally topped with a homemade tortilla chip.

Nachos Sabroso Cupcakes

Tortilla cups

  • 4 Large tomato tortillas
  • cooking spray or vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C)  for the cupcakes.
  2. Lightly grease 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or vegetable oil.  Set aside.
  3. Using a 4 inch cookie or biscuit cutter, cut out 12 rounds from tortillas.
  4. In large pan over medium-low heat, warm tortillas, one or two at a time, until pliable.
  5. As you remove tortillas from heat, gently fit into muffin cups, pleating if necessary.  Careful as the tortillas may be hot!
  6. Set aside and proceed to making cupcake batter.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded old cheddar cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted


  1. If you haven’t done so yet, preheat oven to 400F (200C).
  2. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda and taco seasoning;  stir in cheddar cheese and green onions.
  3. In small bowl, lightly beat eggs; stir in sour cream and butter.  Add to dry ingredients, all at once, stirring just until moistened.  Divide batter evenly among the 12 tortilla lined muffin cups.
  4. Bake 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in cups on wire rack.  Remove and let cool completely.  If making tortilla chips, leave oven on.

Tortilla chips (for garnish)

  • 1 flour torilla
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400F unless oven is still on from making the cupcakes.
  2. Slice tortilla into 12 wedges and place on lined baking sheet.
  3. Brush top side of tortilla wedges lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate baking sheet and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until tortillas start to crisp but do not turn brown.

Topping and Assembly

cupcake with well

  • 1/2 cup thick salsa
  • 1 500 ml container sour cream (2 cups)
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 12 tortilla chips (homemade or store-bought)
    1. Using sharp knife, cut out small circles into the middle of the cupcake, careful to not go through to the bottom (picture above).  Reserve caps.  Fill each cupcake with a 2 tsp of salsa, and gently replace cap.  If necessary, cut bottom of the cap to make room for the filling.
    2. Using a spoon,  swirl sour cream on each cupcake.
    3. Garnish with finely chopped tomato, green onion slices and a tortilla chip and serve immediately.

    Nacho Cupcake split2

    This month’s winner will receive the following fabulous prizes:


    Last and certainly not least, don’t forget the corporate prize providers: HEAD CHEFS by FIESTA PRODUCTS,, HELLO CUPCAKE by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson,, JESSIE STEELE APRONS; TASTE OF HOME books,; a t-shirt from UPWITHCUPCAKES.COM Iron Cupcake:Earth is sponsored in part by 1-800-Flowers,

    I will let you know when the voting opens, and I encourage you to vote for your favourites, even if its not mine! (of course that would be awesome too!)

  • Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Oatmeal Cookies


    Oatmeal Raisin stacked3

    Have you ever made a recipe, for the sole reason of using a certain ingredient that you have in abundance in your kitchen?  This was the case with raisins in my kitchen this week, especially for the fact that Mr. BotC does not like to eat them in anything (but on their own is fine…to each their own!).

    Oatmeal cookies were never my favourite, I found them boring and more often than not, dry and rather tasteless.  Having so many raisins on hand though, oatmeal raisin cookies kept coming to mind since I just plain couldn’t think of anything else creative to use them in except raisin bread, and I haven’t had the time to devote to yeast bread this week.

    Oatmeal raisin split open2

    These cookies really surprised me, in a really good way.  The aroma from the spices when they are baking wafts through the house, and they come out of the oven a lovely golden brown.  I tried one while still (very) warm and I thought I was in heaven.  I was so happy they were still just as delicious today.  They raisin variety is soft and chewy, with a spice flavour that doesn’t take over the cookie. 

    Oatmeal Raisin stacked1

    Since Mr.BotC does not like raisins in anything, I made half raisin, and half chocolate chip.  I found when adding chocolate chips instead of raisins to this recipe they were not as soft and chewy(without the added moisture of the raisins) but my husband and his co-workers weren’t complaining.  I sent at least half the batch (both raisin and chocolate chip) with him to work, and they were devoured.  I’m so glad his work loves home baking, or I would really be in trouble!  (Since I’ll eat them all myself…The lack of will power when it comes to baked goods is almost embarrassing, I can’t be the only one right?).

    Oatmeal chocolate chip3

    I’ve included a note at the bottom of the recipe for the chocolate chip or if you too would like to do half of each. 

    Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    Makes approximately 36 cookies

    • 1 cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 cups rolled oats
    • 1 cup raisins (or chocolate chips*)
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    2. Place raisins in bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.
    3. In a mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. In large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.
    4. Drain raisins.  Stir the raisins and oats into the rest of the cookie dough.  Mixture may be very thick.  Resist the urge to add more liquid! 
    5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased parchment-lined cookie sheets.
    6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until light and golden. Do not overbake.  Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

    *If adding chocolate chips, you may wish to omit the spices.  I added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon just for a bit of flavour.  This of course is up to you.

    For half chocolate chip/half raisin:  Follow recipe as directed until step 3, except do not add cinnamon and cloves to flour mixture. Mix in oats.  Divide dough in half, adding 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to one half, add raisins.  In other half, add chocolate chips and 1/4 of cinnamon.  As dough is very stiff, make sure to mix spices in very well, using a strong spoon or your clean hands.  Bake as directed. 

    Recipe adapted from Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies submitted by Beth Sigworth to

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Love Muffin(s)

    Chocolate chip muffin2

    My favourite kind of recipes are those that can be reinvented over and over, with just a quick change up of ingredients.  This is what I have done with great results with my blueberry muffin recipe, prompted by a lack of fresh blueberries and an abundance of chocolate chips one day.  Its so fast to whip up, using just one bowl –who doesn’t love less mess?!  You don’t even need to turn on a mixer, just a spoon or spatula will do, as the less you work the dry ingredients, the less likely you will end up with tough, dense muffins.  These are great for breakfast or for filling that late night hunger (I can’t be the only one that stays up so late they get too hungry to go to sleep right?).  I especially love them a bit warm, with the chocolate still gooey, but were still good two days later stored in an airtight container.  I think these would be great with mini chocolate chips too, but for some reason seem to be tricky to find in a grocery store lately.

    Chocolate chip muffin1

    Chocolate Chip Muffins

    Using an ice cream scoop is fast and gives you perfectly proportioned muffins with a nice rounded top

    Makes 8 muffins

    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 cup chocolate chips


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
    2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture.  Mix in vanilla. Fold in chocolate chips.  Using ice cream scoop, place one full scoop in each cup or liner (if not using a scoop, just put large spoonfuls).
    3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.



    Adapted from "To Die for Blueberry Muffins" submitted by Colleen to

    Saturday, May 2, 2009

    Butter Tarts

    Butter tarts2
    If you’ve ever been North of the border, you may have come across these little tarts, with their syrupy sweet filling, most likely with raisins,  in tender pastry.  Butter tarts are one of few foods that are uniquely Canadian, and beloved much like our Tim Hortons.  Growing up my father used to buy them and you had better be sure you didn’t take your sweet time getting your share, or you were out of luck!  I have had an incredible craving for one of these the last two weeks, and finally got around to making them.  I think I realize why I haven’t made them more than once or twice before, because I’ve eaten half a batch myself in just two days…so I should warn they may be slightly addictive!
    My first batch I sent along with my Mr. BotC to work, and he said he left them at the front desk for whoever wanted one.  When he walked by the desk at 9:30am they had vanished (he got there at 8:30am).
    butter tarts3
    It seems many of my American friends have never had the opportunity to try these, but they are actually rather simple to make, and oh so delicious.
    The following recipe is reprinted and adapted with permission from Lennie Locken of Eat Write Create and Alphabet Soup Studio, who was kind enough to share the original recipe at RecipeZaar.

    Award Winning Butter Tarts
    Back in the 1970’s there was a national contest held in Canada to determine who had the best buttertarts, this recipe is the winner, originating from Wilkie’s Bakery in Orilla, Ontario.
    • pie pastry (enough to fill 16 muffin cups – I used a double recipe of  this Pâte Brisée from Simply Recipes, which I highly recommend *)
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1/4 cup soft butter
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1/2 cup corn syrup
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1. Prepare muffin pans by rolling out pie dough and cutting 4-inch (approx) circles, I used a fluted cutter for the scalloped edges; ease dough circles into ungreased muffin cups; set aside in fridge until ready to fill.
    2. In a small bowl, place raisins and cover with hot tap water; let stand on the counter for 30 minutes.
    3. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, mix together the soft butter, brown sugar, salt and corn syrup; stir well until sugar is dissolved and butter is creamed.
    4. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
    5. Drain raisins.
    6. Retrieve tart shells and divide raisins equally into all shells; then divide butter mixture into all tarts.  Don’t fill tarts all the way to the very top, as the filling does bubble up quite a bit, and will get everywhere!
    7. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes; filling will be lightly browned but still bubbling.
    8. I like mine runny, enough that it oozes out a bit when you bite into it, only firm enough so much that it runs down your chin and hands.  If you prefer a firmer filling, baked for the full 20 minutes.
    9. Let cooked butter tarts cool in pans for 10 minutes after removing from oven; then carefully remove and place on racks until completely cool.
    *If making your own pastry, make sure to not overwork the dough.  The pastry should be tender and light, just enough to contain the filling within.  The second batch, shown here,  I overworked in my haste to finish them so they were a bit tough, but still are every bit as tasty(and didn’t stop them from ending up in my mouth!.

    Thank you again so much Lennie for allowing me to share this wonderful recipe!

    It has come to my attention that people have been stealing photos from this blog post and using it to post with other butter tart recipes on their blogs, or in some cases to actually sell their own butter tarts.  All the photos on this blog are mine and from the recipe listed unless otherwise credited.  If you would like to use my photo, PLEASE ask first, and only use it if you are using the actual recipe with it (which is not my own, and I asked permission to post, so you should too).  If you see these photos anywhere else, and not posted by me, or linked back to me, they have been stolen from this page.