Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I first had these cinnamon flavoured butter cookies in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, where I spent a few nights during my honeymoon. There is a fantastic little bakery there that I highly recommend if you ever get to Baddeck (it's not the one listed on the web site, though). I found a recipe in a friend's cookbook and I make these very regularly here at work, but I usually double the batch to make about 70 cookies.


1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp cinnamon plus 2 tbsp sugar, combined

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg & vanilla and cream until smooth. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix well, but don't over mix.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls on greased or parchment-lined baking sheet and press down to flatten, either with a fork or a wet hand. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top. Bake until golden brown.

The original recipe says you should form the dough into balls and roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar, then press the dough down to form the cookie. I can't be bothered and usually don't have the time. The ones I had in Baddeck didn't have this, they just had the cinnamon in the cookie dough. I kinda prefer it this way.

So, enjoy with a large glass of milk or a cup of cocoa!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

If you love chocolate, and if you love moist, delicious cakes, you'll love this recipe. I got it originally from a friend in Ottawa and it has never failed me.

Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa, sifted
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
2 tsp vanilla

1. Grease & flour a 9x13" oblong cake pan, or line it with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350F.
2. Sift together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Beat eggs and milk in a separate bowl, adding the vanilla. Add the oil. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine well with an electric hand mixer. Don't overmix! Add 1 cup of boiling water and mix until just combined.
3. Pour into prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes, or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean.

This is the best chocolate cake I've ever had. I have also done the following variations:

- I substituted the milk for 2/3 cup Bailey's Irish Cream and 1/3 cup milk; I iced this cake with a buttercream icing that was make with Bailey's instead of milk or cream - this was the best cake ever!
- I have added a couple of teaspoons of instant coffee granules when adding the boiling water
- I have also added Khalua, about 1/4 cup, with the hot water (and only 3/4 cups hot water in that case)


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Chicken Noodle Soup

I haven't posted anything savoury in quite some time, but fall is upon us and soup is called for now during the chilly weather. I can't remember where I got this recipe from, but it's a very good one. If you have homemade chicken stock, all the better.

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 grated carrot
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
4 cups chicken stock
2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 oz. spaghettini, broken up (about 1 cup)
2 cups sliced celery
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste

1. Brown chicken is a large saucepan with oil. Remove to a bowl. Add onion & carrot and saute until onion is softened.
2. Add stock and mustard; bring to boil. Stir in celery and pasta and return to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer until noodles are almost tender. Add chicken with accumulated juices and cook for 5 minutes longer.
3. Whisk flour into milk and gradually whisk this into the soup. Simmer, stirring, for about 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve and enjoy!

Just make sure the chicken is cooked through, eh? I tend to cook it pretty much completely in step one just to be safe.

If you have leftovers, this thickens up quite a bit upon cooling. When you got to reheat it, you'll probably need to add some liquid to it just to make it soupy again.

Pumpkin Pie

This is a little late for my Canadian readers, but my American friends may appreciate this. I just made six of these for the Thanksgiving dinner here last weekend, and this recipe has been a favourite amongst my friends at previous Thanksgivings. It's simple and delicious. I'll admit, however, that I got the recipe from the label of a Carnation evaporated milk can.

Pumpkin Pie

1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling from E.D. Smith or similar!)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each ground ginger, cloves, nutmeg
1 tin (385mL) evaporated milk (2% is fine, whole is better, DON'T use skim whatever you do)
1 9" unbaked pie shell

In a large bowl combine pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, & spices. Gradually stir in the evaporated milk, mixing well. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 350F for 50 - 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool completely.

I serve this with a sweetened whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon over the top. I have also been known to make decorative pastry cutouts to put on top of the pie as a garnish.

See how easy this is? I tend to be more liberal with my spices than this recipe indicates, so do everything to your own taste, and be sure to taste the mixture before you put it in the oven, just so you know that it's seasoned properly. And that you haven't forgotten anything, like, say, the sugar. If you've been to Wandering Coyote lately, you might have read about my rather enormous booboo on Sunday. I am over it.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Dinner Tonight: Roast Pig

Originally uploaded by wanderingcoyote.

So, this weekend is a big one here at The Centre. Not only is it Thanksgiving up here in Canada, but we host a big to-do for the friends of the centre, who come here for a weekend of working and studying. They volunteer for various jobs, pray, etc., and we feed 'em copious amounts of food. The staff here look forward to this because it's got a real family feel to it.

One of the big traditions is the pig roast on Saturday night. The pig was purchased in town earlier on in the week and spent a few days on a low shelf in my walk-in fridge. I had someone put a bag over its head because I couldn't stand going in there and seeing it's little face poking out of the butcher's paper. It almost looked as if it was smiling at me.

We got this thing trussed and on the spit just before 11 this morning. Supper is supposed to be at 6, but I don't know if this'll be ready on time. At about 3, as I was coming off shift, you could see and hear the fat boiling inside the skin. At one point, it burst and the drippings caught fire and we had a big spurt of flame and black smoke. Luckily, there was a hose nearby.

I am planning on having a left over egg salad sandwich. Sorry, I just can't do this one.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Honey Cake

I made this for lunch today and it was a big hit. I got the recipe from an old Canadian Living from 1993. This is apparently a Jewish cake, containing no dairy and traditionally consumed at Rosh Hashana.

Honey Cake

1 1/3 cups liquid honey
1 cup strong coffee
1 tbsp grated orange rind
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp each cloves and ground ginger
pinch of salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
4 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
icing sugar to sprinkle over the top, if desired

1. In a small saucepan, bring honey just to the boil. Remove from heat and stir in coffee & orange rind. Let cool slightly.

2. Stir together flour, soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Add walnuts and toss together.

3. In a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat eggs until lemon-coloured. Beat in the oil. Add sugar gradually, beating until pale & thickened, about 3 minutes.

4. Using a whisk, alternately fold dry ingredients and liquid mixture into the eggs, making 3 additions of dry and 2 of liquid.

5. Pour the batter into a 10" or 3L bundt pan (or you can use two 9"x5" loaf pans) that is either non-stick or has been well buttered/floured. Bake at 325F for 60 - 65 minutes, or until tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

6. Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely. Sift icing sugar over the top.


- I found this took longer to cook than the recipe stated by about half an hour. Keep an eye on it and you should be fine.
- Like many cake recipes, you add the flour and liquid in in stages. This is mainly so you don't overwork your flour and get a denser cake, or a cake that flops. Don't skip this step!
- The recipe mentions some variations. One is that you can substitute the walnuts for candied citron (citrus peel), raisins, or walnuts. The other thing you can do is substitute 3 tbsp of cognac for 3 tbsp of the coffee.

Let me know how it goes and enjoy!


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