Showing posts with label Arthur Ellis winner. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arthur Ellis winner. Show all posts

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A honey cake to die for…

A honey cake to die for…

Please welcome our guest today, my good friend,  Barbara Fradkin. Barbara is the author of the award-winning Inspector Michael Green series and has won back to back best novel awards from the Crime Writers of Canada.  Today, she's offering a wonderful dessert for a very special occasion, in her case Rosh Hashanah, but it will make a fabulous end for any meal.  I know from happy experience that Barbara is an excellent cook,  Lucky us!

And now over to Barbara.
It has taken Inspector Green (and his creator) many years to learn to like honey cake. Honey cake is the traditional dessert served at Rosh Hashanah dinner, to welcome in a sweet New Year. The honey cake Mike Green’s mother made using the traditional Eastern European recipe given to her by her neighbours in the immigrant area where they lived, was so sweet and heavy that it plummeted to the nether regions of the intestines where it took a week to digest. It was made with walnuts, raisins, spices, and a strong, bitter honey that permeated everything.

After much cajoling, his wife Sharon persuaded him it didn’t have to be this way. The secret to a light, moist honey cake is threefold; reduce the spices by half, beat the batter continually to incorporate air, and forget the walnuts and raisins.  This is the recipe she, and her creator, came up with after much experimentation. It produces a great cake without too much fiddling.


1 cup white sugar
½ cup oil
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup white or pale honey (“summer” honey)
2 ½ cups white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly, finely grated orange rind
1 cup orange juice
icing sugar for garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour an angel food or bundt cake pan. The key to preparation is to have all ingredients measured and ready to add, so that they can be mixed in without losing the air from the previous mixing. Measure and combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, then set the bowl aside. Measure the orange juice and grate the rind. Measure the honey into a cup with a spout for easy pouring.

Beat oil and sugar together at medium speed, and add the eggs one at a time, beating until frothy. Continue beating while adding the honey gradually until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in orange rind. Alternate dry ingredients and orange juice in thirds, blending between each addition, until the batter is smooth and fluffy. Do not overbeat at this last stage. It will be very soupy. Pour it immediately into the pan, ensuring it’s not more than 2/3 full, as it will rise.  Excess batter can be poured into a loaf pan – a special treat!

Bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on what pan is used. To ensure the insides are cooked, the top should be deep golden to amber. When cool, invert on a plate and sprinkle lightly with icing sugar for effect. The cake is already very sweet, so frosting is not needed.

Here’s to a sweet and happy New Year. Best of all – you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy!

Barbara Fradkin is a retired psychologist and multiple award-winning mystery author whose work with children and families provides much of the insight and inspiration for her stories. She has an affinity for the dark side. She has many short stories including in all the Ladies Killing Circle anthologies, but she's best known for her Inspector Green novels which have twice won the Arthur Ellis award for best novel from The Crime Writers of Canada. She recently embarked on a series of easy read mysteries for reluctant readers, featuring handyman, Cedric O'Toole.

 Learn more about Barbara HERE!

 Barbara's latest book is The Whisper of Legends, the ninth Inspector Green novel. 

Good news: You can look for None so Blind, the tenth Inspector Green novel on October 18th!  or



Sunday, September 15, 2013

Inspector Green’s Foolproof Rosh Hashanah Chicken

Barbara Fradkin is a retired psychologist and the author of the terrific Inspector Green series, featuring a quixotic, exasperating Ottawa Police inspector with a passion for justice and a love of the hunt. Her novels have twice won the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis award for Best Novel. Please join us in welcoming Barbara back to Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen with one of Inspector Green’s recipes for a warm family celebration. 

 Rosh Hashanah with Inspector Green

On top of all the back-to-work and school activities, September is a busy month for Jewish holidays. Some are solemn, others lively, but food is always centre stage.  Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, starts the ten-day period of penitence and self-appraisal with a feast of sweet festive foods reflecting the wish for abundance, good health, and a sweet year to come.

Because crime doesn’t take time off, Inspector Michael Green, head of Major Case Investigations for the Ottawa Police, faces a constant fight to juggle work and family life, holidays and obligations. But now that he finds himself the unlikely father of two (soon to be three), he is trying to foster family traditions and values that will carry them into the future. As the only child of fearful Holocaust survivors, he had very little heritage to build on, but he has taken the traditional foods – roast chicken, honey, raisins and almonds – to create his own version of the sweet festive dish. His busy wife Sharon is happy that it makes minimal mess, is almost impossible to ruin, and can be mastered by a husband with little culinary talent or time.

The recipe below feeds his family of four, but can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled… You get the idea. Like any good hand-me-down recipe, the amounts are approximate; you can substitute a “pinch” or “handful” if you prefer!

Inspector Green’s more-or-less foolproof Honey Orange Chicken

Four to six chicken breasts, bone and skin on
1 to 1 ½ cups orange juice
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. oil
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. ginger
½ cup raisins
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup thin slices of orange or mandarin orange
garlic clove
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts skin side up on a flat cooking sheet or shallow pan. Lining it with aluminum foil will save clean-up aggravation. Rub the skin with raw garlic, half the ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a glass bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, honey, cornstarch and 1 tsp. ginger (plus salt and pepper if desired). Microwave until mixture just thickens, stirring frequently.

Remove chicken, baste with drippings, and sprinkle with raisins, almonds, and orange slices. Pour the sauce evenly over top and return to oven for about 30 – 40 minutes, or until golden brown. 

To maintain the traditional touch, serve this with potato or noodle kugel, carrot tsimmis, and greens


 Enjoy!   But make sure you save some time to read.

Barbara’s latest (and ninth) book, The Whisper of Legends, finds the very urban detective searching the northern wilderness for his missing daughter.  

The tenth in the series, None So Blind, is in the works. Find out more about Barbara and her terrific books at  You can order The Whisper of Legends through your favorite bookstore or by clicking here.

Check out the whole series!