Showing posts with label Canadian author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canadian author. 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



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Welcome our guest, Vicki Delany

We're very happy to have our good friend, the highly entertaining Vicki Delany visiting at Mystery Lovers Kitchen. Vicki is a prolific author and a well-known whiz in the kitchen. Today she offers a wonderful alternative to all that holiday food.  Today, she is celebrating the release of Gold Web, her latest book.  Check out the gorgeous cover after the recipe.

Pork Hocks with Navy Beans

It’s the week after Christmas. You’re sick of turkey and vast amounts of rich, expensive foods. Time for something plain and hearty. Good peasant comfort food for a cold dark winter’s night.
Depending on the size of the hocks, this will serve three – four people.
2 hefty pork hocks, scored
3 tablespoons olive oil
One onion, chopped
One red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup navy beans, rinsed, picked over, soaked overnight and drained

4 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt


In a large, heavy stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork hocks, onions, bell pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme and bay leaves, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.


Add the navy beans and stir. Continue simmering over medium-low heat for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the beans are almost cooked and hocks are very tender. Season with salt and continue cooking 15 to 30 minutes, until beans are done and hocks are beginning to fall apart.

Meat will be very tender and can easily be removed from the bone for serving.  


Nice served with a strong sautéed vegetable 
such as kale or Brussels sprouts. 

Were you the lucky recipient of a gift certificate for the holidays? Why not treat yourself to Gold Web, the fourth in Vicki’s Klondike Gold Rush series, released this week by Dundurn Press.

Vicki Delany is the author of the Constable Molly Smith Series, the Klondike Gold Rush series, and standalone gothic thrillers. Visit Vicki at ,, and twitter: @vickidelany. She blogs about the writing life at One Woman Crime Wave (

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Welcome guest Vicki Delany!

Please welcome our guest, Vicki Delany!  Vicki is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers.   A Cold White Sun, the sixth book in the popular Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press, will be released in August. She is also the author of standalone novels of psychological suspense, and the light-hearted Klondike Gold Rush books from Canada’s Dundurn Press.  Her Rapid Reads book, A Winter Kill, was shortlisted for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for best novella.

Take it away, Vicki!

Cheese Please!

There is very little cooking done in my forthcoming book, A Cold White Sun (Poisoned Pen Press, Aug 6, 2013).  I’m afraid my protagonist, a young policewoman by the name of Molly Smith, isn’t much of a cook.  Her mom, known to everyone as Lucky, is, but she doesn’t get much of a chance to work in the kitchen in this, the sixth book in the series.

I also am quite an accomplished cook, if I do say so myself, but early summer in Ontario just isn’t conducive to spending time in the kitchen. Not when there are lounge chairs and umbrellas and swimming pools tantalizing close. Oh, and weeds popping up in the perennial bed and that dratted grass that won’t stop growing.

Bringing the cheese home
So, when I was asked to bring the appetizer for a weekend get together at the cottage of my good friend Barbara Fradkin (Mary Jane Maffini, AKA one half of Victoria Abbot will also be there. I hope she brings Lily and Daisy. Are you jealous yet?) I wanted something easy to transport, but that didn’t have me suck in the hot kitchen ahead of time.

A cheese tray is the perfect choice.

First, you want good cheese. Please don’t go to the local supermarket and see what they have on sale. If cheese is to be the focus of the course, then you want to get the best you can afford.

Unable to pop into Avery Aames’ Cheese Shop, I went to Agrarian in Bloomfield, Ontario.  Local, artesian cheese, made from the milk of free range goats and cows, isn’t cheap, but it’s so good, the tastes so powerful, you don’t need a great deal of it.

I purchased a soft ripe goat cheese with a line of ash through the middle from a local cheese-maker, a Royal Blue Stilton (can’t remember where that’s from), and a Cheddar from Maple Dale, located about a half an hour up the road my house.   A soft goat cheese, a blue cheese, and a strong hard cheese.  The minimum you need for a good cheese tray.  At the cheese shop, I also bought a jar of wine jelly from Keint-Ha winery. The prefect accent.

Humboldt Fog

The selection
The Stilton

I next popped into the bakery for a loaf of crusty baguette, and then the supermarket for crackers and a selection of olives.  A selection of coloured vegetables or scattering of nuts looks attractive on the tray.

Use an attractive tray or platter, and add small knives for cutting and spreading

Of course, you need the right wine to go with your cheese tray, and I selected a 2008, dry Riesling from The Grange of Prince Edward.

All ready!

As I stopped off for a couple of hours while en route to Barbara’s I was sure to pack the cheese in an ice pack for the trip.

Happy summer and happy eating!

Vicki is proud to have been chosen as Canadian guest of honour for Bloody Words, the Canadian mystery conference, in 2014.

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki enjoys the rural life in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. 

Visit Vicki at,, and twitter: @vickidelany. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

And then there was the time she put sugar in her salt shaker ...

Please welcome our good friend and guest blogger, Janet Bolin, whose very entertaining first mystery, Dire Threads, will debut on June 7th. Janet's trademark sense of humor shows in the story behind this unusual but delicious recipe! Have fun reading and cooking and discovering her family secrets.
Thanks for letting me appear on one of my favorite blogs!
My mother liked salt. When she cooked, I could taste very little except salt. She added salt to fruit and to cakes and cookies, and she strongly objected to sweetness if she thought something should taste salty.
To her, tomatoes were supposed to be salty, never sweet. She canned tomato juice from tomatoes my father grew. My aunts—my father had four sisters, none of them married, who lived together—canned tomato juice from tomatoes they grew, too.
In the canning process, my mother salted her tomato juice . My aunts sugared theirs.
Thanksgiving dinner was always at my aunts’ house.
As we milled around in the living room before the meal, my aunts proudly handed us each a small glass of their lovely, slightly sweet tomato juice.
My outspoken mother didn’t want to hurt my aunts’ feelings, so she made faces that she thought they might not notice. Before her horrified grimaces became really, really obvious, one of us kids would sidle up to her, chug our own glass of tomato juice, trade glasses with her, and talk to her about something, anything, else until her I-just-might-gag-right-this-very-minute expression finally subsided.
I can just imagine the faces she would have made about the dessert that another friend’s mother fed to her kids. This mother cubed cheddar cheese, poured maple syrup over it, and served it in bowls to be eaten with spoons. I was leery—cheddar is a bit salty, after all, and maple syrup is sweet, but I liked it.
All that cheese and syrup seemed a little decadent, though. I like cheese crêpes and I like pancakes with syrup, so I created a compromise—adding grated cheese to pancakes. First, I tried medium cheddar. Although nice in crêpes, the cheddar was too salty (!) with the syrup. Next, I tried grated part-skimmed mozzarella, you know, the kind sold in bags at the grocery store (grating mozzarella isn’t exactly easy or fun.)
The pancakes came out with a creamy yet slightly nutty (not surprising, since I also added walnuts) tang. And of course, I poured gobs of maple syrup over them.
They’re almost a dessert, but since they’re chock full of eggs and cheese, I call them lunch. Or brunch.

Makes about a dozen saucer-sized pancakes.
1. Beat lightly in a largish bowl:
2 cups skimmed milk
4 tablespoons walnut oil
3 large eggs
2. In a separate bowl, put:
2 cups pastry flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Stir with a fork to sift (or use a sifter if you really must)
3. Stir into flour mixture:
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups grated part-skimmed mozzarella cheese
4. Pour flour mixture into liquids and stir until flour is damp.
5. Cook by large spoonfuls on hot griddle or frying pan. When bubbles form on top, turn and brown the other side.
6. Don’t forget the maple syrup. And maybe a pat or two of butter.
7. Warning: if you eat many of these pancakes, allow time for an afternoon snooze. But that’s always true with pancakes, right?

Janet Bolin writes the Threadville mystery series, about a sleuth who teaches machine embroidery and helps catch murderers in a village of textile shops (and suspects!)

DIRE THREADS, Berkley Prime Crime, June 7, 2011

Visit Janet at