Apr 14

Lemon Blueberry Cake from Sally’s Baking Addiction –

Lemon blueberry cake

This cake is perfect for a spring day. The layers are very flat but do not worry, it will be wonderful!!


1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature1
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour, careful not to overmeasure 2
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk3
zest + juice of 3 medium lemons4
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh (258g) or non-thawed frozen (275g)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
8 ounces (224g) full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature5
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar
1 – 2 Tablespoons (15-30ml) heavy cream6
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray three 9×2 inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside.
Make the cake: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high until creamy – about 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Set aside.
In a large sized bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Beat on low speed for 5 seconds, then add the milk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Remove from the mixer and stir lightly until everything is just combined. Toss the blueberries in 1 Tablespoon of flour and fold into the batter. Batter is extremely thick. Do not overmix at any point. Overmixing will lend a tough, dense textured crumb.
Spoon batter evenly into 3 prepared cake pans. If only using 2 cake pans, your bake time will be longer. Bake the three layers for about 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 21 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until no lumps remain, about 3 full minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tablespoon cream, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add 1 more Tablespoon of cream to thin out, if desired.
Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, trim the tops off the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place 1 layer on your cake stand. Evenly cover the top with cream cheese frosting. Top with 2nd layer, more frosting, then the third layer. Top with frosting and spread around the sides. The recipe doesn’t make a ton of frosting, just enough for a light frost. Top with blueberries or lemon garnish if desired. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before cutting or else the cake may fall apart as you cut.
Make ahead tip: Prepare cakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cakes at room temperature, covered tightly. Refrigerate prepared frosting in an airtight container until ready to use. Frosted or unfrosted cakes may be frozen up to 2 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature if desired before serving.

Feb 15

(No title)



2 32 oz containers low-sodium beef, chicken or vegetable broth
1 tbsp Tamari sauce
*1-2 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, left whole but seeded
*1 red Serrano pepper, left whole and seeded
*1 finger-long hot green pepper, halved and seeded
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
½ onion, left whole
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 piece of ginger, peeled and left whole, size dependent on how much ginger you like
1 lime, halved
(Optional: 1 portabella or several mixed mushrooms, left whole)

1 lb stir-fry beef, chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu (if using pork, I suggest using all chicken broth)

6 oz dried soba noodle (If unable to find Soba noodles, Lo-Mein noodles work. If in a pinch, fettucini -broken in half, also works.)
(Am now using quinoa spaghetti in place of soba or buckwheat noodles or rice noodles sticks)

1/2 c. scallions (all parts) slivered
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
4 lime wedges
**Thinly sliced peppers of the same type used to make the broth
**1/2 c. shredded carrot
**Sliced or slivered mushrooms
**Fresh bean sprouts
**Julienned celery
**Toasted sesame seeds


In a large stockpot, combine all broth ingredients. Squeeze the lime before adding to the broth. Simmer for 45-min to an hour. About half-way through remove the lime halves to avoid bitterness from the rind.

Remove all of the flavoring ingredients and add beef. Simmer until beef is tender – ½ to 1 hr. This broth is best if flavors are allowed to meld overnight after cooling. This also tenderizes cheaper cuts of meat more.

When ready to serve, cook noodles according to package directions.

Portion cooked noodles into individual bowls. Top with protein and broth. Squeeze lime into broth and then top with scallions and cilantro.

**Other toppings are optional and based upon personal taste. A nice garnish is toasted sesame seeds.

*Pepper choices are made based on my personal taste of hot. These are three of the hottest peppers you can use. Milder choices are available based on your taste buds and gastronomy!

This looks labor intensive, but it is not – it’s truly one of the easiest and most flavorful dishes you can make! I have made this with chicken, pork, beef and shrimp. This recipe is really easy to play and have fun with.

Jun 24

The Adventures of Colin McKnight – The Belfry Inne and Bistro

Belfry Inn
Food and Lodging Review

Belfry Inne and Bistro
6 Jarves Street
Sandwich, Massachusetts

Can you say Ahhhhhhh, boys and girls? At least once in your life, I hope you have the chance to enjoy a bed and breakfast that is fun, spirited and at the same time totally relaxing. Such is the Belfry Inne, in the Village of Sandwich on Cape Cod. This review is about both the lodging experience, and the dining experience.

For starters, the Belfry Inne is in a church. Yes, a church. The former Corpus Christi Church was built in 1901 and has been very creatively reworked into a new life as a restaurant on the ground floor, with 6 rooms upstairs. The property also contains 2 additional lodging facilities- the Painted Lady, a Victorian house on the north side of the church, and the Village Inn, a federal period house located to the south. Companion and I had the unique experience of being able to try out 2 of the rooms in the Abbey, as the church building is now known, during the same weekend. The rooms have vaulted ceilings, with exposed trusses and skylights. Each room is different, and most have balconies that are carved out of the roofline. Access to the balconies is from your bathroom. Yes, you read that correctly. Our first room of our stay featured the most elaborate shower that I’ve ever seen. The second room featured a whirlpool tub. However, in that room the treat was not in the bathroom, but the rose window overlooking the bed. There is also a fireplace in that bedroom. Each of these rooms has a king-sized bed, and I’ve never slept better. So, if you go, book a room in the Abbey if you can. The rooms in the other houses look nice from the pictures. The rooms in the Abbey are truly special, though, and perfect if you are celebrating a unique occasion. Rooms in all the buildings include a wonderful breakfast in the Bistro restaurant.

Dinner in the Bistro is another special experience. We were seated adjacent to the terrace entrance, which gave us a view of the entire dining room, the lushly planted patio, and the piano player. Companion ordered the jumbo shrimp cocktail and I had the chef salad. In response to the waitress’ query, of course I wanted anchovy on that. This salad is a huge portion to accompany your meal, and the anchovy was white and not overly salty. Companion’s shrimp cocktail included the biggest shrimp I’ve ever seen. Amazing…. He ordered the stuffed chicken breast, which is stuffed with prosciutto, goat cheese, and sun dried tomato. No complaints there.

I ordered the traditional baked cod. In the seafood hierarchy, I always had it in my head that cod was pedestrian, scrod was what you received in finer restaurants. This preparation put that myth to rest. The panko-crusted cod was served on a bed of mashed potatoes, along with fingerling carrots and the most delightful asparagus. And surprise, surprise! Baby turnips. I’ve spent a lifetime hating turnips and avoiding them completely. I didn’t realize that I was eating turnips when I took my first few bites. Then it dawned on me that the chef wouldn’t include whole potatoes on the same plate as the mashed potatoes I was already enjoying. So the earth has shifted on its axis.

During the meal I nursed a glass of Dreaming Tree Crush, a red wine on the owners list of recommendations, and a bargain at $8 per glass. It was light, not too sweet, and totally enjoyable. Companion finished the meal with a dish of caramel ice cream, while I had the rhubarb, finely diced and served in a reduction of rhubarb juices over a ginger panne cotta. Life is good.

The restaurant also has a very pretty patio for dining, should you choose to eat outside. We didn’t see anyone do that during our visit, because it was a very rainy weekend, but as we were checking out at the end of our stay a wedding ceremony was being set up on the patio, harp and all. It really is that pretty.

The Belfry Inne is in a great location, right off of scenic Route 6A (the Old Kings Highway). There are interesting shops close by on Sandwich’s picturesque Main Street, and the Sandwich Glass Museum is a short walk away. The Heritage Museum and Gardens are about 5 minutes by car. The Boardwalk to Town Neck beach is within walking distance (about 20 minutes or so by foot). Sandy Neck beach in Barnstable is a 15 minute drive.

Apr 30

Samphire – well this would start a conversation at a dinner party

samphireIf you’re wondering what that strange-looking cross between asparagus and cactus is doing in your salad, don’t fret—it’s probably just samphire. Also known as salicornia, sea asparagus or sea beans, samphire is available in two varieties: rock and marsh. Though it grows easily in the wild, it can also be cultivated in saltwater farms. A dazzling shade of green with a salty flavour, marsh samphire is a crunchy veg can be eaten raw or steamed, depending on your taste. Check for them at your local farmers’ market and specialty food store

Apr 28

YUMMMMM! Strawberry Salad inspired by Trisha Yearwood!

IngredientsStrawberry Salad

Great for a crowd! No complaints from even the picky eaters. Easy but different. Go Ahead and try! May the ChowChow force be with you!

1 package ramen noodles, crushed, flavor packet discarded
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried
One 5-ounce bag baby spinach
1 pint strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

For the salad: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix the ramen noodles, almonds, sunflower seeds and melted butter. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Tear the lettuce and combine with the spinach, strawberries and cheese in a large salad bowl.

For the dressing: Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar. Combine the oil, paprika, salt and garlic and then add to the sugar-vinegar mixture. Mix well and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Just before serving, sprinkle the crunchy topping over the salad green and toss the salad with enough dressing to coat the greens.

Apr 26

Durian – stinky but tasty


Stinky! but loved. The durian, native to Southeast Asia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The nineteenth-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as “a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds”. The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked. Can be found at the local Asian market

Apr 22

Romanesco – have you seen this at your local farmers market?


Romanesco, also known as Romanesque cauliflower or Romanesco broccoli, is an edible flower bud of the species Brassica oleracea. First documented in Italy, it is light green in color. Romanesco has a striking appearance because its form is a natural approximation of a fractal. When compared to a traditional cauliflower, as a vegetable its texture is far more crunchy, and its flavor is not as assertive, being delicate and nutty.

Apr 18

Kiwano melon

Kiwano melonIt may look like something from outer space (and, in fact, it once made an appearance on Star Trek), but the Kiwano melon is actually grown in Southern Africa, California and New Zealand. Nicknamed the “horned melon,” its yellow, stubby exterior encases a bright green, jelly-like fruit with edible seeds. The fruit has a citrusy flavour that some liken to a mix of cucumber, lime and banana.

Apr 14

Pummelo – something new to try

PummeloThe pummelo is also known as the pomelo, the shaddock, the country of French as chadec, the Malayan limau besar, the Bali lemon, and the Chinese grapefruit have they characteristic of being the largest citrus fruit. The pummelo is, essentially, a kindler, gentler, giant cousin of the grapefruit with great sweet taste. It is related in flavor but milder, and is actually supposed to be a forebear of the modern grapefruit.  No need to add sugar – a very sweet watered down grapefruit.

Apr 10

Have you had a Cherimoya?

Mark Twain called it  “the most delicious fruit known to man.”. It is grown in South America and referred to as the fruit of the Incas. Split in half and eat with a spoon.  A perfectly ripe cherimoya is an intoxicating combination of tropical flavors like bananas, coconut, strawberries, and mangoes.


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