Saturday, October 19, 2019

german sunken plum cake

For the past three years, Classic German Baking has been my favourite cookbook.

By my latest count, I've made 31 of the recipes in the book. Everything from marble cake to choclate-dipped almond crescents to apple-marzipan cake to South German leek tart. And it's all very, very good. It is my dearest wish that Luisa would follow up this book with a classic German cooking book. Just putting that out there.

Anyway. This is the cake we have made the most often because it is endlessly adaptable, according to the fruit you have on hand.

When we lived on the Prairies, we often made it with sour cherries or chopped rhubarb that had been tossed with a handful of brown sugar.

Now that we're in Montreal, I've been finding some nice prune plums that have been crying out to be added to cakes. I happily oblige.

The cake takes only a few minutes to throw together and has such a good buttery flavour with pockets of sweet slumped fruit ... I expect I'll be baking it every couple of months for the rest of my life.

one year ago: overnight oats with raspberries
two years ago:
dutch koek
three years ago:
salted butter crackers

german sunken plum cake
adapted from luisa weiss's sunken lemon-cherry cake in classic german baking

130 g. (9 tbsp. + 1 tsp.) butter, at room temperature
180 g. (1 c. minus 1.5 tbsp.) sugar
3 eggs
grated peel of one lemon
180 g. wheat flour
     or gluten-free:
     70 g. millet flour
     55 g. sweet rice flour
     55 g. potato starch
     1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
300 — 400 g. (about 1.5 cups) quartered plums, pitted sour cherries, other stone fruit
icing sugar to dust (optional)

Turn the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use parchment paper to line the bottom of a 9-inch/23 cm springform pan.

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the grated lemon peel.

In another bowl, stir the flour(s), baking powder and salt together. Stir into the butter mixture until just combined. Make sure you've scraped the sides down to mix everything. If you are putting fruit in the batter (you may just put it on top), fold it in now.

Put the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top. If you're putting fruit on top, do it now.

Bake for 50 — 60 minutes until it's golden brown and starting to pull away from the side of the pan.

Cool on a rack for 20 minutes before taking off the springform ring. You may dust with icing sugar before serving.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

oat-date slice

A few things have happened since I last wrote here.

The husband wrote his PhD thesis and successfully defended it.

We moved across the country (again) and now live in Montréal.

I can now say with confidence: "I have my own bag" and "have a good day" in French when I'm shopping.

La belle province is a land of milk and honey. Literally. We are eating excellent local cheese and the honey from the Atwater Market is so full of flavour that I feel like I can actually taste the wildflowers.

And even though it isn't French, this old Scottish favourite has become one of our favourite snacks.

It's called oat-date slice, and it's rather like matrimonial squares — but much simpler. The squares are soft but sturdy, and full of gooey dates. In other words, the perfect snack with your afternoon tea. (It's possible I've said that about other recipes here. It's all true.)

I adapted the recipe from The Scottish Farmers' Market Cookbook. We picked up this little gem on our honeymoon, way back in 2007.

one year ago: overnight oats with raspberries
two years ago: amazing overnight waffles
three years ago: sriracha tofu and broccolini with coconut rice

oat-date slice
The Scottish Farmers' Market Cookbook by Nick Paul

175 g. quick-cooking oats
130 g. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
125 g. wheat flour
     or gluten-free:
     50 g. millet flour
     35 g. sweet rice flour
     40 g. potato starch
     1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
90 g. coconut flakes
135 g. butter
1/4 c. water
37 g. / 2 tbsp. golden syrup*
1 tsp. baking soda
200 g. dates, chopped roughly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper.

Stir oats, brown sugar, sea salt, flours and coconut together in a large bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, melt the butter. Add the golden syrup and baking soda and whisk well. Stir into the oat mix. Mix well. Spread into the baking dish and use your fingers to pat it down evenly.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and somewhat set. Let cool completely before cutting.

*You could probably use honey or corn syrup in a pinch.


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

overnight oats with raspberries

OK, I'm back.

I have a cool breakfast for you on this hot and hazy summer's day.

And by cool, I do mean cold. Which is nice when you wake up and the house is already too hot to do anything but walk around very slowly as you wake up and consider whether you actually want that hot cup of tea.

And by cool, I mean: the work is already done. You can make it up the night before and pop it in the fridge. Total prep time is a cool five minutes.

How did I come across this cool recipe, you ask?

Well, I was doing a breakfast survey of what y'all eat for breakfast and my friend Chira suggested this. I was intrigued. She shared the recipe. The rest is history, and overnight oats are now a firm favourite at the breakfast table chez Mitchell Campbell.

It's a very forgiving recipe. Scale it up or down as you please. I'm giving you enough to feed two people for three days. Or three people for two days. And so on. Do feel free to use other frozen or fresh fruit, too. Of course, you can also use flavoured yogurt and remove the honey and vanilla. See what I mean about it being a forgiving recipe?

one year ago: scotland
two years ago: eating out from amsterdam to vienna
three years ago: chicken coconut curry soup


overnight oats with raspberries
feeds 6 

2 c. quick oats*
1 c. milk
1 c. plain yogurt
1 — 2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 — 3 tbsp. honey
few grinds of salt
2 c. frozen raspberries

The night before breakfast, stir everything together but the raspberries. Taste and see if you'd like more honey or salt. Stir in the frozen raspberries. Cover and store in the fridge. Eat.

*Make sure those oats are certified gluten-free if you're feeding a Celiac.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

cock-a-leekie soup

Just a few months of radio silence there.

But now — now!

Now, it is 2018 and it appears to be the Year of the Flu at our house, so I have a great many chicken soup recipes in store for you.

Let's start with this one. Unless you're Scottish, you might not have heard of it before.

I will tell you all about it. First and foremost, it is very tasty and just the thing you want to eat in the winter, whether you are sickly or healthy. It is also quick, which is handy when you're frail or come home from work and want to eat quickly on a dark winter's night.

It is basically a chicken soup with leeks and rice ... but, oh, it is so much more than that.

The leeks and rice are like silky soulmates — you'll know what I mean when you take your first bite. And the lemon rind! Somehow, when you add a bay leaf and a piece of lemon rind to this soup, you get a soup that tastes much more complex than it actually is. The original recipe doesn't call for carrots but I like the way the orange flecks brighten up the soup.

Apparently, the first recipe was printed in 1598, although its very fun name wasn't popular until the 1700s. Also, the original version had prunes. Prunes! I could actually see them working here but I haven't tried them yet. I'll let you know.

Now, in terms of how you do the chicken, you have two options. You may start with a couple of chicken breasts and poach them in the broth while the soup cooks. Then you pull them out, cut them up, and throw them back in.

Or, you may start with the best invention in the grocery story: the rotisserie chicken. In that case, cut out little chunks and add them near the end. Either way, this is easy. And very, very comforting.

one year ago: old-fashioned scottish shortbread
two years ago: kimchi soup
three years ago: cheesecake in a jar with passion fruit sauce


cock-a-leekie soup
adapted from canadian living
serves 4 — 5

2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. butter
3 c. leeks, sliced
1 1/2 c. carrots, chopped
9 c. chicken stock
1 c. long-grain white rice, like jasmine or basmati
3 strips of lemon rind
2 bay leaves
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (raw or cooked)
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Warm a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the oil and butter, then stir in the leeks and carrots. Throw in a bit of salt. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until leeks are soft.

Add stock, rice, lemon rind and bay leaf. If using raw chicken breast, throw in now. Bring to a boil. Simmer for about 18 to 20 minutes until rice is tender.

Remove the lemon rind and bay leaf. If you poached the chicken breast, remove it now and cut into small chunks. Add chicken chunks to the soup and heat up again.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in parsley. Serve.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


As far as I understand, it's pronounced like "kook."

The word is Dutch, and so is this lovely little loaf.

You might not be surprised when I tell you it has a slight black-licorice flavour, because of the anise powder. It has other warming spices, too — cinnamon, allspice and cloves — but the anise comes through the most.

If you don't love licorice, you might not love this loaf.

But if you do — oh, you're in for a treat.

It bakes up to be satisfyingly chewy and is absolutely the perfect thing slathered with butter right around mid-afternoon. With a cup of tea, of course.

This is another recipe from my friend Sheri's late mom, who was a wonderful home baker. If you'd like to try another recipe of hers, here's her Dutch marzipan cookies.

one year ago: eating out from amsterdam to vienna
two years ago: summer: germany
three years ago: mt. harris trail mix


original recipe from Mrs. Brink

2 c. wheat flour
     or gluten-free:
     70 g. millet flour
     70 g. oat flour
     70 g. sweet rice flour
     70 g. potato starch
     1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 c. brown sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. anise
1/8 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/2 c. molasses
1 c. milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a loaf pan.

Get out a big bowl and mix the dry ingredients. Stir in the molasses and milk. Pour into loaf pans.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until set and a toothpick comes out clean.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


My dear readers — where did I go?

Well, as you can see here, Scotland.

But that was just for two weeks. Otherwise, I've been sticking close to home in Edmonton and Calgary. My writing coaching business is growing, which means less time to come and dollop around over here.

However. I continue to cook and bake, so surely I can work myself up to posting about it more than once every three months? I certainly hope so. In fact, I've been making a lot of Scottish food lately.

So, Scotland! Let me show you some pictures ...


Rhodos in full bloom in Kelvingrove Park, next to Kelvingrove Art Gallery
The River Kelvin (AKA our running route)
Twilight stroll in the Glasgow Botanical Garden to
celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary

Isle of Bute:


Isle of Mull:

Isle of Skye:


Oh, and you were wondering about the food? 

We loved it — thank you for asking. The local creamy cheese, the cockles meat, the smoked fish, the perfect soups for lunch ... You see why I've been inspired to make more Scottish food at home.

one year ago: walnut pesto

Thursday, March 30, 2017

amazing overnight waffles

Let's carry on with the breakfast theme, shall we?

I have been meaning to tell you about these waffles for quite a while now.

I started thinking about yeasted waffles seven years ago, when I ate one for breakfast at Macrina Bakery in Seattle. It was light but substantial and had that homey flavour of freshly-baked bread. I was hooked.

But I didn't perfect my own gluten-free yeasted waffle recipe until last winter.

Enter Mollie Katzen's Amazing Overnight Waffles in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Besides tasting exactly the way I want my waffle to taste, they have a genius technique. The night before — or even a day or two before! — you stir together the dry ingredients and whisk in some milk. Then you cover it and let it sit out on the counter overnight to do its thing.

Let me tell you, it doesn't sleep overnight (but I do). Instead, it bubbles and develops a faint taste of sourdough and hangs out happily until I rub the sleep out of my eyes and go check on it.

At that point, I plug in the waffle iron to heat because all I have to do is whisk an egg and a bit of melted butter into the batter.

All of a sudden, we're sitting down at the breakfast table taking in the wonder of a weekend morning and eating hot yeasted waffles.

It is heaven. A very achievable heaven.

one year ago: sriracha broccolini and tofu with coconut rice
two years ago: peanut sesame noodles
three years ago: brigadeiros and spicy salmon broth


amazing overnight waffles
By Mollie Katzen in The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
Adapted for gluten-free flours

265 g. flour (2 c.) all-purpose wheat flour
     Or gluten-free:
     55 g. oat flour
     50 g. millet flour
     80 g. potato starch
     80 g. sweet rice flour
     2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
heaping 1/2 tsp. table salt or heaping 1 tsp. kosher salt
490 g. (2 c.) milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
64 g. (6 tbsp.) butter, melted + butter for the waffle iron

Stir the flour(s), yeast, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk in the milk. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plastic hat (my favourite). Let stand overnight at room temperature. (If your kitchen will be warmer than 21 degrees, put it in the fridge. Likewise, if you'd like to make this more than 15 hours ahead, put it in the fridge.)

Have a good sleep.

In the morning, heat up the waffle iron. Whisk the egg and melted butter into the batter, which will be somewhat thin. Mix a little neutral oil and melted butter together and brush it over the waffle iron. Dollop spoonfuls of batter onto the iron and use a metal spoon to spread it out a bit. You are looking for just enough batter to cover much of the waffle iron.

Cook until crisp and brown but not too dark, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot. If you're making them for a crowd, you can keep them warm on a rack in a low oven. Don't pile them on a plate because they'll release steam and get quite soft.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

lemon curd

As a teenager, I used to make lemon curd all the time.

I remember pulling out the double-boiler and setting the bottom pot on to boil while I measured out the lemon, sugar, eggs and butter for the top pot.

I'm not sure where I got the recipe — maybe the church cookbook?

In any case, I was smitten. I spooned it thickly between layers of cake and dolloped it on vanilla ice cream. Sometimes, I just spread it over buttered toast.

All that to say: why did I forget about it for 20 years?

As I have just re-realized, there's something about transforming the lemon into a wobbly, rich curd that makes it taste even more intensely of lemon. And it is wonderful.

I got fully back on the lemon curd bandwagon last weekend when I tried Regina Schrambling's lemon-almond butter cake. In it, you make lemon curd, then plop great spoonfuls onto the almond dough. The cake rises up around the curd and it all mingles together to create a homely cake with surprising pockets of lemon flavour. It is very good.

Then on Shrove Tuesday, Scott and I were invited to a pancake dinner. I, of course, offered to bring a pancake topping. Because — really — I'm always up to the challenge of making a new pancake topping.

Lemon curd it was. We had it again yesterday morning on our leftover pancakes. It might be just be our new favourite pancake topping.

At this rate, I'll be making lemon curd every three days. I think we'd both be OK with that.

one year ago: roasted rhubarb with wine and vanilla
two years ago: buttermilk pancakes with apple-pear tops
three years ago: salted butter break-up cookies


lemon curd
very slightly adapted from Regina Schrambling*
makes a scant cup

grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
7 tbsp. sugar
2 extra-large eggs**
3 tbsp. butter, cubed

If you have a double boiler, put water in the bottom pot and get it started boiling. If you don't, start a regular pot. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside for later.

In the top pot of the double boiler or a heatproof bowl, beat the zest, juice, sugar and eggs well. Add the butter. Set it over the boiling water pot. Stir constantly with a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon until it thickens into curd, about 5 to 8 minutes. I found mine was ready when the spatula would leave a trail on the bottom of the pot that wouldn't completely fill in with curd.

Strain into the bowl you already prepared. Press plastic wrap over the curd to keep it from forming a skin and cool in the fridge. Put in a clean jar or another container with a lid. Some recipes say lemon curd keeps for weeks in the fridge. Enjoy!

*I halved the recipe. Also, the original recipe (halved) calls for 6 tablespoons sugar. I mistakenly used 7 the first time I made it and I've kept using 7. I find it's just the right amount of sweet —any less and it would be too puckery.

**I do tend to have extra-large eggs on hand because they're a good price at the Italian Centre. However, I'm pretty sure this would work with large eggs, as the difference in weight is usually very small. Try it and let me know?