Duchess potatoes from leftovers


I usually make potato soup or potato pancakes out of leftover potatoes.

But last night I was making a roasted pork tenderloin with thyme, honey and OJ

and I decided to make the meal a little royal- so I made Duchess potatoes.

I used about 1 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes,

Heated up 3/4 cup of cream,

melted 1/4 cup butter in the cream,

whisked one whole egg into the mix

and seasoned with nutmeg and s+p to taste.

Spooned mixture into an icing bag- added a star tip and squeezed onto baking pan.

Then I baked in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F-

They were delicious.


Add roasted vegetables and pork,


and a pineapple slice and blackberry fruit salad,


and you have a really great evening meal!

A preview of Spring- Island style

It is cold and blustery in NE Ohio today.

We left in the midst of a sleet storm on Monday morning.

And we came south and east and stopped on Chincoteague Island, Virginia.

To Spring.

Here are some pictures- I forgot to take pictures of all the pansies and daffodils


But here are:




tea and TimTams!


Ally and Aiden at the park in Pocomoke City, Maryland.



Ladybug on Aiden…


Aiden on ladybug.


Small blue wildflowers blooming in the grass-(Veronica?)


Aiden at the ocean


a new friend…


pictures taken of picture taking.


Boots gone- pants rolled up…


and soaking wet!


and rolling in wet sand!





Almond and fig bread.  There is always BREAD!

Old fashioned Molasses Cake- recipe


I’ve been asked for this recipe by several who have commented on the latest IMK post.

Here it is.


2 Tbsp 
butter, softened (this makes it taste more old-fashioned)

1/4 c


1/2 c
dark molasses–amount depends on type( if you use light use 3/4 cup)

1 c
all purpose flour

1 tsp
baking soda

1/4 tsp
ginger, ground

1/4 tsp
cinnamon, ground

1/8 tsp

1/2 c
hot water



In a small bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Beat in molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with water, mixing well after each addition.

Transfer to a 9-in. square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into squares; garnish with whipped topping.


This is really good- not too sweet, not too spicy, just a good molasses flavor coming through!

Cake break

I’ve been making so much bread- didn’t want you to think I’ve been

starving Frank’s sweet tooth!

I made an almond pound cake with almond glaze yesterday.


Here’s the recipe-

For the  pound cake:

2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 Package of Cream Cheese, Softened

½ cup Almond Cake & Pastry Filling

1  cup sugar

4 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

1 tsp Almond Extract

1 ½ cup AP Flour

½ cup Almond Meal

1 ½ tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

For the Almond Glaze:

2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar, Sifted

¼ cup Almond Cake & Pastry Filling

6 TBS Milk

1 tsp Almond Extract

½ tsp Vanilla


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a bundt pan with Pam, sprinkle flour and spread around pan by shaking it from crevice to crevice and then set aside.

2. In a mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese, and almond filling. Pour in the sugar and mix until fluffy and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each one until it is incorporated before adding the next egg. Then add in the almond extract and vanilla extract.

3. While ingredients are mixing, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Slowly add this flour mixture into the wet mixture. Mix until just incorporated.

4. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake the cake for roughly an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before pouring on the glaze.

I had a little trouble getting the cake OUT of the pan- finally ended up cutting into pieces and placing on a platter and then spooning the glaze over the slices.

5. To make the glaze: combine the confectioners’ sugar, almond filling, milk, almond extract, and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until it is completely combined and smooth. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake. Let the glaze harden for 15-20 minutes before you cut and serve.


Journeys in Bread making

When I was a teenager – growing up in the late “60’s and 70”s”  I had some ideas

of what I wanted my future life to look like.  I wanted to be a hermit- living somewhere

in the mountains with a cabin filled with books and I wanted to be self sufficient-

living off of my own small garden, keeping chickens and baking my own bread.

I decided to start right then and start making bread.

I was not an instant success.

But I was persistent and kept buying cookbooks and trying to make bread.

By the time I reached my 20’s I could bake a decent loaf of yeasted white bread.

And then I started using whole wheat, rye, graham, spelt, and oat flours.

Again- not great at first- but they kept getting better.

Until I reached my 30’s and I started selling my bread.   And then I started

teaching classes and I worked for a bakery.

I never reached the mountains- never became a hermit- my husband doesn’t want

chickens- and although I keep trying the garden is not verdant and prolific-

but I can bake bread.

And that is what I’ve been doing- ever since I got a new sourdough starter from

my friend, Celia – at fig jam and lime cordial , I’ve been baking and baking and baking!

I named my starter Thing Two- because I already had a Thing One- and once they get

into the mix things start popping!

Just this week, I’ve made-


sourdough waffles with maple syrup!




Sourdough rolls for bbq pulled pork!


This lovely loaf- don’t you just love this loaf pan?


The sides disengage from the bottom and leave you with a beautiful rounded loaf!


and a six  pointed star loaf for finger sandwiches!

There is for me a spiritual calling to the baking of bread.  I start praying and meditating

with the very start of putting the dough together- I put together flour, yeast, water and salt and I consider

it an act of creation.  There is a promise of growth and of fulfillment.

I have several philosophies of bread, one from an Irish prayer.

Since we are so close to St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll share it with you.

I’m still baking- the starter is fed- tomorrow may be bagels- or a fruit bread.

The journey continues- because  I have other sayings when it comes to bread-

I love to make it and I love to eat it.  And wherever I am there will be bread!


And more bread.




I made bagels today! Sesame and poppy seed with pretzel salt!

In My Kitchen- March 2013

In my kitchen…


Is  a reconstituted sourdough that traveled all the way from Australia!


Meet Thing Two,Priscilla’s American progeny!

Celia sent me some dried starter with two requests- that I named it and let you know

that Priscilla is the mother – and that I share some if anyone would like some.  So if you

would like some of Thing two, let me know.  In fact, if you want some of Thing one– which

is an all American starter and very sour- you are welcome to have some .

In My Kitchen…


is a beautiful loaf of bread made from Thing Two!

My husband, Frank,  really enjoyed this loaf.  It is so different from Thing One- the sour

taste is very mild, and it isn’t quite as chewy as my first starter.


I know this because I made a loaf out of Thing One– and it has the sour x8 and is very chewy!

They both are delicious – THANK YOU, CELIA!!!  I love the different flavor and texture.

In my kitchen…


are many different flavors of sugar!

I’ve had lot of salts from bacon to truffle, Hawaiian red to French grey, Lava Black to

Himalayan Pink- vanilla salt, hickory salt, all kinds of salt.

But I just noticed all the sugars I have.  Ginger, Lemon, Orange, Lime, Tangerine, Demerra, Vanilla,

coconut, Espresso, Dark Cocoa- I’m going to have to start using these- soon!

In my kitchen…


is a dwindling stash of TimTams.

In my kitchen…


Is a pile of crocheted cotton dishcloths made by my sister.

Thank you, Cynthia!

In my kitchen…


are dried herb wreaths and swags- Lemongrass, sage, bay leaf, and assorted soup herbs.

I’m making a big pot of soup this weekend and using up the herb wreath I made for


In my kitchen…


is a molasses cake with whipped cream.


Notice the little metal tab on the side of the pan?  You swing that all around the cake

once it is baked and it loosens the cake from the pan.  I found this at a thrift shop and

LOVE IT!  (The molasses cake was very good,as well!  Smile    )

In my kitchen…



are dragons,and leprechauns,and cats,and turtles and rabbits!

In my kitchen…


are red tulips- from the florist- everything outside is frozen. Sad smile

In my kitchen…


is a Steak salad with edamame and red onions.  YUM!

Well- that’s all I’m sharing right now- What’s in YOUR kitchen?

Join us at   Celia’s blog, for a list of kitchens around the world.

A rabbit bread tutorial- shaping bread- making fantasies in dough

My friend Celia, from the blog Fig jam and lime cordial, recently made a bear bread using

my last tutorial and she requested some other bread shapes.  Specifically a rabbit.

It is coming up Easter, soon, so I decided to add a couple of more animal shapes for

you to try if you are interested.

First of all, though- Celia was getting a little carried away, and said , “A Dragon!  Can you

make a dragon?”

Now I like dragons myself – and my grandson, Aidan is a little dragon crazy!

So I tried my hand and imagination for a dragon.


What do you think?

OH wait I forgot his flaming tongue!


Not bad for a first try- I’m going to work on this one just a bit!

Now on to the rabbit…

Go here for a recipe for honey whole wheat bread if you are looking for similar results.

There are also instructions for the basics of building a gluten cloak so that your bread will

keep his shape and not become all globby.


Here is a rabbit – all ready for an Easter Basket!

Make your dough and let it raise once.  Then portion out pieces to make the rabbit-


I used to weigh these out when I was selling them- so I knew exactly how many I

could get out of a batch of dough.  Now I dole out the pieces according to proportion.

the body is twice the size of the head-let’s say 3 ounces.  That makes the head  1 1/2 oz.

The legs are 1 ounce each about 1/3 the size of the body.  The arms are half the size of

the legs- 1/2 ounce each-  and the ears  – just a little smaller than the legs-3/4 oz.


Start off with the body and shape it into a long circle with a smaller top than bottom’


Pinch the bottom together between each shaping and tightening of the dough.


It should be oblong- wider at the bottom than the top- place on your sheet.

Now do the head the same way- only it can be round rather than oblong.

Place it on the sheet on top of the smaller part of the oblong.


Now start on the feet and think “Thumper” making the foot shaped like an exclamation point,

but flat on the edges so you can slide it just a little behind the hip part of the bunny.


Do it on both sides.


Now do the same thing with the arms and place them between the head and the body.



The ears come next- and you want to roll them into a small snakey little shape.


leave a little lip on the base of each ear so that you can place them slightly under

the head for support.

016Make his puffy cheeks – roll the balls as tightly as you can-


021place in the middle of the face and then using a bamboo skewer

start to tighten up and attach all the pieces.  Push the dough together at the edges and then into the

larger mass.  Do this with all the pieces, ears, legs, and arms and also between the head and body.


Now when working on the ears, shape the tips to be cute- and add definition.


Poke a hole for his bellybutton, and add dried currants for nose and eyes.



Bake at 350 to 375 degrees F for about 20 minutes- until golden brown.

Add a bow, a paper cut out carrot and a marshmallow or white chocolate tooth-

AND you have a bread rabbit.

I also made a few other animals while I was at it-


a dinner roll bunny, a ST. Patty’s guy,  a turtle


And a cat.

Baking bread in a fired (oven) place-

It has been very cold.


VERY cold.

Frank decided to have the fireplace heat the family room and kitchen and I decided to keep the

rest of the house between 60 and 62 degrees Farenheit.

Keeping a small fireplace like ours going all day is like babysitting- diligence and timing is all important.



The first day I spent watching the fire- running off to do some laundry- dishes- make meals-

etc.  and it seemed like a real burden.  But I kept a faithful watch and decided to do the

second day differently.  Because I had been keeping an eye on the ashes underneath the

grate and they were hot and substantial by mid day.


Look at all those hot coals!

So – yesterday I made a loaf of bread- a white bread with olive oil and high gluten flour and yeast.

Just a regular small loaf to experiment with, you know?


and around 3:30 PM I placed my baking stone into the hearth on the grate.


Placed my dough in a cast iron kettle with the lid on, closed the front windows of the

fireplace and left it in there for 25 minutes or so.


It baked it up – burned the bottom slightly and gave me a large loaf of slightly smoky bread.



Which went perfectly with my London Broil steak sandwich for lunch.

I should have gone sourdough with a more complex flour- but it was an experiment.

Which turned out very good.

(Although Frank said the house was too smoky and I let the fire go out so he had to start it up

again.  He isn’t a bread lover.  He likes store bought- so what does he know?)

Baking on the Internet- recipe for Chocolate Frangipane Tarts


My friend, Joanna, of zebbakes, made some fudge.  As we talked about it in her comments section-

we discovered that we both had some almond meal that we had purchased for Christmas baking but

hadn’t used.  So we decided to try baking up these tarts in tandem- me here in NE Ohio and her in

Bristol in the UK.  I’ve never made frangipane before- but she gave me this  link to a recipe that she

thought we could try.   I went there – to discover that the recipe was in metric and grams and celcius.

Which meant I needed to convert it ( or get out my digital scales) – so I did and made them yesterday.


They turned out beautifully- I garnished with raspberries and cream and some

blackberries I had it the refrigerator- and we have been enjoying them.

I had 5 tartlet pans with removeable bottoms- and some heart tins that I used- plus-

I froze up half of the pastry dough to make up later.

It was great fun, making these up with a friend- first of all- because I wouldn’t have

made then at all without her inspiration- and secondly, because it felt  so  friendly and

almost neighborly to be doing it together.


So- here is the recipe- if you’d like to give these a try.  It is a little fiddly to make the crust, bake it

and then make the frangipane and bake it again inside the tart- but the results are worth it.  AND-

the heart tarts that I baked alongside the larger tarts- I put the crust in the mold, added the frangipane

and baked them at the same time- and they tasted about the same.  So you could arguably omit the extra

bake of the crust.

Ingredients: (for pastry)

1 1/3 cups AP flour

1/4 cup icing sugar

2 tsp cocoa powder

5 1/2 TBS butter, soft, cubed

1/4 cup almond flour/meal

1 large egg

1/8 cup cold water


Sift together cocoa, flour and icing sugar, add butter with pastry blender or fingers, break down butter

into flour mixture until it resembles oatmeal in texture.  Stir in almond flour .  Beat egg and water together

and add to flour mixture, stir gently until it adheres into a ball and then refrigerate for an hour or so.


Take out of fridge and let warm for about 10 minutes, then divide into eight pieces and roll out each

piece separately to fit into tart pans.


Brush off extra flour and place into tart pan, scraping a knife on edges to make a sharp crust .


Make sure you fit the dough into the pan- along the bottom and sides or the dough

will slip down into the pan when you add parchment paper.

Place a round of parchment paper on top of dough and add a filler(I used black beans)

to keep the crust from bubbling and slipping down whilst baking.


Bake in preheated oven (350 degrees F) for about 15 minutes.  Take out of oven, cool and

take away the beans and parchment paper.

Ingredients: ( for frangipane)

1 stick butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

3/4 cup chocolate chips, melted

flaked/sliced almonds


Cream the sugar and butter together until the sugar is dissolved.

Add eggs and almond meal alternately until they are all creamy and smooth.

Pour in melted chocolate and stir until incorporated into mixture, then start spooning

mix into tart crust until 2/3 filled.  I didn’t bake the heart crusts, just fit into mold and then

added filling and baked them all together.

Sprinkle with almonds and bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.



When baked they will be puffy and start so show crackling.


Cool slightly and then carefully dislodge from tins.

Garnish with fruit or cream- Or fruit and cream,


and ENJOY!


We sure did!