Spicy Indian Soup- using my preserved lemons in a recipe


I received salt  preserved lemons in olive oil for Christmas from my dil Willow.


They are really beautiful- and they smell divine.  I chopped up the peel and then

minced it fine to go into the lentil soup I made.


Here’s the Recipe.


1/3 cup olive oil

onions, chopped small

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 cups brown or green lentils

8-10 cups water

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped

2 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp paprika

6-8 tsp lemon juice

3 tsp minced lemon peel ( or grated fresh peel if you don’t have any salt preserved lemons)

salt and pepper to taste


Heat up the oil in a large soup pot and add the onions, garlic and lentils.  Sautee gently for about 10 minutes, stirring

constantly-make sure that onion and garlic don’t stick to bottom of pan.  Pour water over mixture, stir and then raise

heat to medium and bring soup to a boil.  Add carrots and celery ( I chop my vegetables to about the size of the lentils

so that they cook uniformly and look suited to each other).  Boil for about 3o minutes and then lower the hear to low/medium.

Add the rest of the ingredients, as well as the salt and pepper.  Stir well and cover the pot, letting the soup simmer gently for

about 45 minutes.  Taste to check the seasonings- add a little extra if you think it needs it and serve hot.


Serve bread  alongside, I added some feta cheese to my bowlful-


Frank had his with a hot Hungarian sausage sandwich, boiled egg and cruditees.


This is my new favorite soup!

In My Kitchen-Feb 2013


In my kitchen… I have some cardamom sourdough rolls.


They are quite good- I love cardamom !

In my kitchen…


Are some coffee mugs I’ve been painting.


And some glass stones.

010I am working on some ornaments and making the

mugs for a rental property on the east coast- and my work place is – well- in my kitchen!

In my kitchen…


are cakes…


and cookies for my husband’s insatiable sweet tooth.

top left- Preacher’s cake (pineapple and walnut with cream cheese frosting)

top right-Chocolate Crazy cake( made without eggs- but plenty of cocoa!)

bottom- Chocolate chip cookies with walnuts and white choc pieces, as well as choc chips.

In my kitchen…


is a primrose – to remind me that Spring is coming. 

In my kitchen…


is a crocheted shopping bag a friend made me for Christmas.  I love it- I can knit,

but crocheting is hard for me- and this bag is so sturdy and strong- I’m looking

forward to using it at my next shopping trip!

I don’t have much more to show you- we ate most of the bread before I could take

a picture of it-I haven’t done anything else too exciting that I haven’t already blogged

about- and I’m still trying to banish the winter doldrums.

Take a look at Celia’s blog to see a list of IMK posts!

And add one of your own if you’d like to share a peek into your kitchen!

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?)

Next to the last minute goodies!


Chocolate marshmallow reindeer with pretzel antlers and a cinnamon candy nose!



Really quick and easy to make- I made 30+ in less than 45 minutes!



Caramel corn.

Pop about 7 quarts of popcorn- I used an air popper and ran it twice.  Make sure the kernels are all popped

-discard the old maids.

In a small pot mix together the following:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine or butter

Bring to boil on moderate heat.  Once you have a boil

stir constantly  for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add:

* 1/2 tsp baking soda

* 1 tsp vanilla extract

Stir over your popcorn ( have popcorn in large roasting pan)

and then pour on top of popcorn.  Don’t worry about coating it all at this point,

put the popcorn in the oven preheated to 250 F or 120C and bake for 1 hour,

stirring every 15 minutes.

Cool – then break up into smaller pieces and enjoy!


I put mine in plastic decorating cone bags and added a popcorn heart to dress it up!


,a nice and easy way to give bread is to shape it into stars.  Just use your favorite

dough and shape it into five long rolls- place them together into a star shape- make sure

the inside points are touching and then use an egg wash and sesame seeds to add a little

sparkle and flavor.


I’m almost ready for Christmas!

How about you?

A bread shaping tutorial–bread bears- for Celia and all my bread friends!

Honey whole wheat dough in bowl
Honey whole wheat dough in bowl
This is a batch of bread- it makes 4 large /bread bears, 15 small bears, or 2 very large loaves! YUM!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread ( for bears and otherwise)
5 cups whole wheat flour
2-2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup milk (scalded)
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup honey
1/2 -3/4 cup hot water (105-115 degrees F)
2 TBSP yeast
2 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP salt
Mix yeast and hot water with about 1 tsp of the sugar and proof.(proofing is the MOST important step in making bread.  It activates the yeast and makes sure that your bread will raise.  After mixing , you give them time to work- wait about 5 minutes and watch for the yeast to grow.  It will form a foam on top and grow in volume.)
Stir flours, salt, and remaining sugar together in large bowl.
Melt margarine into scalded milk (scald in microwave- 90 seconds on HIGH), then stir in honey until everything is melted and melded.
Make a well in flour mixture and add milky mixture- stir lightly into flour so that the hot mixture is lumpy in flour and then add yeast mixture.  At this point you might need to add a little more water. I rinse the measuring cups out with hot water and pour the rinse water into the dough.  You want the dough to be soft and flexible- not hard and doughy.  Stir well- dough should be sticky- and dump contents of bowl onto floured surface.  Add flour to your hands, and knead dough adding flour as needed.  Knead dough for about 12 minutes- you can feel when the gluten starts to form- it will feel smooth and be cohesive.  (Kneading  is done with the palms of the hands – you push the dough towards the center of your ball,  fold dough over and push, making a quarter turn with each push.  You are forming a ball with the kneading movements.)
When your dough is smooth and feel satiny, place in a greased bowl – turn dough over so that the top of ball is buttered and cover and allow the dough to raise in a warm spot  away from drafts.  Allow to raise for about an hour- dough will be ready when it leaves an indent when you poke it with your forefinger.
I measure the dough out for bears:  8 oz. for the tummy…4 oz. for the head….about 1 oz. for each appendage, and about 2 oz to use for ears and snout. (see following pictures.)  I shape each piece into a tight ball by gently stretching the dough into a ball and pinching the back tightly.  Then I do it again, pulling it as tightly as I can without breaking the cloak or skin of the dough. Then place each piece next to the other in the shape of a teddy bear and grab a bamboo skewer and using the sharp pointy end press the balls together at the seams.  Form small balls for ears, place behind head and seam it with the skewer,  Then make a small oblong ball and put it in the lower center of face and seam it into place with skewer.  Make small indentations with skewer for eyes and nose and push currants or raisins in with the dull end of the skewer.  I always give my bears a belly button with the skewer. Just poke them in the tummy and twist/pull the skewer out.  Then let them raise for at least 45 minutes- up to an hour and 15 minutes – Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes- until teddy bear brown.
Cool on wire racks.  Tummies should give a slightly hollow sound when you thump it  to see if they are done.  Thump gently!

Creating a gluten cloak
Creating a gluten cloak
Scientific term for shaping the dough into cohesive balls that will form the base of each bear. Without the gluten cloak the dough sags and raises into a formless mass- not a bear!

Still forming the cloak
Still forming the cloak
It takes a while to get the cloak to form – you have to pull tight and pinch at least 3 times.

Final stretch
Final stretch
This is the last step to the cloak- pushing the entire ball through the index finger and thumb, you create the tension that holds the dough in place. Now just pinch the back together tightly and you have created a bear belly. Do the same for the head and arms and legs- add tiny balls for ears and snout and. use the skewer to attach them by pressing them together with the edge and sliding across the attachment spot.

Voila- bread bears ready to bake
Voila- bread bears ready to bake
These have been shaped and are ready to raise.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!
They need to raise about 45 minutes- to an hour- then they puff up and are ready to bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Scenes on the Porch-close-up
Scenes on the Porch-close-up
bears and more bears

In My Kitchen- 2012 September

I’ve been kind of between kitchens this month- 2 weeks here

in Ohio and 2 weeks in Eastern Virginia- but lots of wonderful

things in both places! 

( A friend recently told us,” I thought my husband and I were foodies

until I met you guys!”  And I DON’T consider myself a foodie- just a VERY

sincere lover of good foods!)

In my kitchen…


Blackberry cardamom Pavlova!  So very good.

In my kitchen…


Pork ribs, jalapeno poppers and bruschetta!


I rubbed the ribs with Alderwood smoked salt, espresso , cinnabar and hickory

smoked rubs- allowed them to marinate for several hours and then baked them

low heat in a dutch oven and then grilled them.

In my kitchen…


I have some wonderful rubs, salts and spice mixes that we picked up in Anapolis,

Maryland.  They are all so marvelous and full of flavor and aroma- I’ll be sharing more

of these later.

In my kitchen…


I have some new books- I am so looking forward to reading and trying out the recipes!

Especially the olive oil book- we also picked up some great olive oils and balsamic vinegars

that I am anxious to try!

In my kitchen…


I have the most delicious cinnamon swirl bread to use for toast!


I used a Ceylon cinnamon (instead of the cassis we often get in the USA masquerading

as cinnamon)- and the flavor and fragrance is magnificent- really magnificent.

In my kitchen…



is a loaf of seeded Italian bread- crusty on the outside and yet with a yeasty pull on the

inside- perfect for tasting oils and vinegars.

In my kitchen…


are some perfect oils and vinegars to delight the taste buds!

And- In my kitchen(aka- Meredith’s kitchen in Virginia)…


is a new sink to replace the old rusting country sink circa 1928 that we were using.  Great and

wonderful improvement!

Well- that is what is and has been in my kitchen(s)- what’s in your kitchen?

Come and join us at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial- where Celia has a listing of many IMK posts!

In My Kitchen…August 2012

In my kitchen…


is this marvelous jar of roasted nuts in honey.

(It is down by half right now-  so very good!)

In my kitchen…


is a loaf of sourdough rye with caraway seeds.

In my kitchen…


are cabbage rolls from fresh cabbage and wonderful minced meats.

In my kitchen…



are tea cozies and my new Hall tea pot- filled with hot Darjeeling tea!

In my kitchen…



is maple syrup- Canadian- from my husband’s sister-

(have I mentioned that my husband is Canadian?)

In my kitchen…


are two bottle of homemade vanilla-  I like Grey Goose vodka

for this purpose!

In my kitchen…


are blue Mason jars ready to be filled.

041 042

With spicy grapes.

Wash and fill jar with rinsed seedless red grapes.

Heat up 2 cups white vinegar- add spices- I used

cinnamon sticks, allspice, star anise , pink pepper,

dried orange peels,and a small vanilla bean.

Stir over heat until sugar dissolves and allow to

simmer for about 10 minutes.  Cool- then pour over

grapes in jar and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

In my kitchen…


are Pampered Chef spices with sugar additives- great for on top

of cookies, rolls or toast.

That’s what is in my kitchen right now- What’s in your kitchen?

This is a series of blog posts from all around the world, sponsored by

Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Go there to see other posts- it’s great


Sourdough flapjacks with Blue berry syrup


I made breakfast this morning.

Usually my husband makes the coffee, tea and toast that we have each morning.


But yesterday, when I was feeding my sourdough starter, I realized

I had too much starter to fit into my container jar.

Much too much- and so I poured two cups into a

cup and determined to make sourdough pancakes this morning.

The recipe is quite simple.

Feed two cups of starter with one cup of bread or AP flour and one cup of water the night

before and cover.  The next morning add the following ingredients.

1 beaten egg

2 TBS oil

2 TBS sugar

1/2 tsp salt

And enough flour to make a batter

(I used about 3/4 cup)

Mix well together – until smooth- heat griddle until quite hot

(so that water sizzles when spattered into pan)

And at the last minute, mix 1/2 tsp baking soda with 1 TBS warm water

and stir into batter.  Do not stir again.  Pour batter onto griddle


and turn when many bubbles form on top.


The flapjacks are very light and delicious-


especially when you top them with homemade blueberry syrup and butter.


Taking good care of sourdough starter means that sometimes you have to sacrifice

and throw away some of the starter- OR- have sourdough flapjacks in the morning

instead of toast.  YUM- I like the second option!

Baking bread- always baking bread


I have been baking bread consistently for the past 40 years.  Every month for the last 40

years I have baked bread.  I should be pretty good at it by now.  I hardly follow a recipe any

more- when people ask me for one- I give it from memory- although I no longer measure out

cups and liquids.  I pour a half bag of flour, fill the well in the center with hot water, add a good

slosh of sourdough starter, a sprinkle of yeast, a palmful or two of salt and I’m ready to start

mixing.  I can’t imagine going without fresh bread.  I am always made happier just in the making

of it- and the eating is still pure bliss.  I make bread when I am down and depressed and it gives

me a stable place of joy.  I make bread when I am happy and my world just sings.  I make bread

when I am bored and I tremble as I add new ingredients and change up the shaping of the loaves.

Bread is not just a food- it is a barometer. 


If I am NOT making bread I am grumpy.  And you can tell how depressed I am by the amount

of bread in my kitchen.  Bread making is the road to recovery from the depths of depression

in my life.

So- I am presently doing fairly well.


My bread basket is full- I have extra loaves in the freezer.

And I have great beauty and bounty on my counter tops!




I baked this piece in a parchment pouch- it was perfect!


And the crumb was exactly what I was looking for.


I also made a sourdough marbled rye which turned out very toothsome and lovely.

My recipe for contentment?  BAKE BREAD!!!

April- In my kitchen…

April in my kitchen is actually tomorrow.

But I’m putting this up today because I’m tired from baking

all morning and want to sit down and yet feel productive.


In my kitchen is a marvelous branch of orchids that my

sister brought me from her house (she accidently broke it off!)

In my kitchen…


are these delicious brownie bars I made last week from my mother’s old recipe.

In my kitchen…


is this versatile bowl/pan cover (silicon lid) that sticks fast to smooth surfaces-

003forming a tight bond to keep out oxygen AND

can go in the oven, fridge and freezer.  Plus it is really pretty!

In my kitchen…


is a pot of broth cooking up a couple of beef soup bones and all the veggie

parings and peels that  I generally toss when I am in a hurry.  I’m planning on making

some French onion soup with this broth!

In my kitchen…



are these coconut lime skewers. I love to thread chicken

breast onto these and grill them- the taste is like a marinade

from the inside out!

In my kitchen…


is my lap top- I was Skyping with my grandsons last night and

Aidan said,”Take my picture, Grandma!  I’ll make a real good face!”

I used it there to remind me of a recipe earlier,too, so it is rather floury right now!

In my kitchen…


is fresh bread for toasting next week and


fresh made bread wraps for lunches for Jordan.

Also in my kitchen is a sinkful of  bowls and pots that I need to go and wash.

If you are interested in seeing what is in kitchens all around the world- go to

Celia’s blog Fig jam and Lime cordial and check out all the other blogs, as well

as hers!   What’s in your kitchen today?