I will never forget the first time I tasted home made marmalade.   I was visiting relatives in Scotland.  They lived on a sweet farm just outside Dumfries.        A behemoth, ancient  Aga stove  dominated their kitchen.  Several large pots simmered away and filled the air with the perfume of oranges.   Knives flashed and turned the knobbly peel of Seville oranges into fine, slender  slices.   Batches of the most perfect of preserves, homemade marmalade, cooled in small jars.

The season for these sour oranges is short.  Just a few weeks in late January and February.    Sometimes you can still find them in stores as late as March.  Every marmalade aficionado know the best marmalade uses Seville oranges.  Their thick, bitter peel holds the secret to this most heavenly concoction.   It is this peel and pits that supply the necessary  pectin.    One can buy marmalade but it never tastes quite as delicious or gives us the same satisfaction of making it ourselves .

Making Seville orange marmalade is a two day process.   However, it is not difficult.   You juice the oranges and thinly slice or finely chop the rind the first day and have it  sit quietly over night.  The next day you add the sugar and cook the marmalade.  You do need a good size pot and a candy thermometer.   Absolutely no pectin is added.

One does not refer to marmalade as jam.  Jam is made with fruit and even vegetables, but marmalade is always and only made with citrus fruits.  The name is Portuguese in origin and refers to a preserve made with quince.


seville orange marmalade
: preserves
Cuisine: British
: 8 cups (2 kg)
A classic recipe for a popular spread. Seville orange marmalade requires no added pectin. Lavish its rich citrus flavour on toast or biscuits. This recipe takes two days.
  • 6 Seville oranges or other sour oranges (2 pounds /1 kg total weight) preferably organic
  • 1 navel orange, preferably organic
  • 10 cups (2.5 liters) water
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 8 cups (l.6 kg) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cognac, whiskey or Grand Marnier (optional)
  1. Sterilize jars (see chef''s note)
  2. On day one halve the oranges and squeeze out the juice and seeds from each half into a mesh strainer set over a medium sized bowl.
  3. After all the oranges have been squeezed place the seeds on to a generous piece of double layer cheesecloth. Gather up the sides and tie securely with kitchen string.
  4. Cut each rind in half and then slice as thinly as possible. If you are having problems slicing the orange peel thinly try using a very sharp serrated knife.
  5. Put the oranges slices into a large pot or a large Dutch oven. Add the orange juice, water, the bag of seeds and salt.
  6. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat then decrease the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Be sure to maintain this medium heat and not let the temperature drop to low.
  7. Remove from the heat and cover. Let stand overnight at room temperature.
  8. The next day stir in the sugar and set the pot over high heat.
  9. Bring the mixture to a boil then decrease the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer.
  10. Cook stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture is not burning on the bottom until the marmalade reaches the jelling point. Depending on your like your marmalade your candy thermometer should register 217F (110C) for a thick spread, or if you want a runny marmalade take it to slightly before those temperatures.
  11. If white sum occasionally rise to the top, skim it off with a large spoon.
  12. Stir in the spirits if using and remove the bag of seeds squeezing it with a pair of tons to extract as much marmalade from it as possible.
  13. Ladle the marmalade into the sterilized jars and cover tightly. Let cool and refrigerate.
  14. The marmalade will keep for at least 6 months in the refrigerator or 1 year in the freezer.
  15. Chef's note:
  16. You can sterilize your jars in the dish washer or your oven but I prefer to to boil my jars for 5 minutes. I also sterilize my tongs and spoons. It is important when doing any type of preserving or caning that you do no cross-contaminate your product.


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Foxley’s Restaurant on Ossington in Toronto is one of our favorite  neighborhood restaurant.  We love their ribs and this inspired me to create this recipe.   This is a two step recipe.  You make the glaze first (you can do this … Continue reading

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January was always  the cruelest month when one grew up in Northern Saskatchewan. The excitement of Christmas still a warm memory, but  January was a biting,  bitter, angry cold that left you weeping.  Freezing eye lashes together.  Turning feet into numbing blocks of ice.    A January  cold that groaned and complained.  A cold that split the ice on our outdoor rink  into  large cracks   catching the blades of our skates and sending us tumbling into snowbanks.  We loved it.

Night come early in the Far North.   Darkness by four o’clock.  Snow crunched with   every step.  The evening sky dazzled with a light show  of a million  stars.   Scarf wrapped, double layers of hand knit mittens and socks,  we waited.  The  Northern Lights  lite up the sky with breath taking brilliant colours. They flashed, soared, danced filling our world with a  show we never took for granted.    Mittens were discarded.  Hands clapped.  We were absolutely certain we had the ability to make  The  Northern Lights dance to our applause.   Then chilled to the bone hunger drove us home for supper.

Remembrances of things past.    The crackle and smell of a wood burning wood stove.  The small, warm kitchen filled with  the comforting aroma of baked beans.  Fresh bread lavished with butter.   A childhood recollection of home.    Marcel Proust wrote of the joys of madelines.  For me it will always be  baked beans.     Fragrant beans simmering all day  until the pork dissolved into a rich sauce and beans become  tender bursts of flavour.  This is the baked beans of my childhood.   The remembrances of things past.  This is not an exotic recipe.  The ingredients are those of more than seventy years ago.  Most important is –  what is not in this  Northern Saskatchewan recipe.    No molasses.   Ginger gives the beans a  counter balance to the sweetness of the sugar.

Quoting Proust  wrote “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;  they are the charming gardeners who make our souls bloom.”   May you be happy with this simple recipe.  May your January skies be filled with Northern Lights, and may you enjoy  the simple pleasure of skating on an outdoor rink in the mysterious darkness of the night.

The preparation for OLD FASHIONED CANADIAN BAKED BEANS starts about 24 hours before you plan to serve it.    You spend  just a few minutes assembling the ingredients, and the rest of the times requires the beans to spend overnight soaking in water, and then most of the day quietly simmering away unattended in a slow oven.  (275F)

Serving beans with grains like wheat, rice or corn makes it a completely protein.  When you leave out the pork it makes a delicious vegetarian supper.

: one pot dinner comfort food
Cuisine: Canadian
: 6 - 8
Home baked beans is the ultimate comfort food. This dish simmers and sings to itself all the live long day. It's no fuss. No bother. Make it vegetarian by leaving out the pork.
  • 2½ cups (625 ml) dried navy or kidney beans, soaked overnight AND DRAINED.
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (70 ml) maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) powdered ginger
  • 2 tsp. (10 ml) fine sea salt
  • Several good grinds of black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 medium-sized onions stuck with 3-4 whole cloves
  • 6 oz (175 g) fat salt pork, cut into 3-4 pieces
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • A splash of red wine vinegar if desired.
  1. Preheat oven to 275F (140C).
  2. Put the soaked beans in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover them. Bring to boil and immediately drain them, saving the water.
  3. Transfer the beans to a 6 cup (1½ liter) bean pot or deep dish casserole.Stir in the brown sugar, maple syrup, mustard, ginger, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Peel the outer skin from the onion leaving the onion intact. Stick several cloves into the onion.
  5. Poke the onion down into the center of the beans.
  6. Push the pork down on top of the beans.
  7. Add enough of the reserved water to completely cover the beans.
  8. Cover the bean pot and bake all day, usually seven to eight hours at 275F.
  9. Lift the lid occasionally to be sure the beans are still moist, adding more of the reserved water if necessary.
  10. Uncover the pot for the last hour of cooking so the sauce thickens and the beans brown a little.
  11. Remove the onion and the bay leaves before serving the beans.
  12. A splash of red wine vinegar adds another delicious layer of flavour and complements the sweetness of the baked beans.


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Procrastinating fruitcake loves.  All is not lost.  Whip this quick fruitcake loaf up and slice  and serve it the same day.

: quick bread
Cuisine: desserts
: 12
An easy to make to glazed fruitcake loaf that slices beautiful. Enjoy it the same day you bake it.
  • 1 generous cup halved red or green glace cherries
  • 1½ cups of a mixture of candied mixed peel, dried currants and golden or dark raisins. Your choice.
  • ⅔ cup dried apricots, chopped (about 6-8)
  • ½ cup brandy or sherry
  • ⅔ cups (6.10 oz) soft, unsalted butter
  • ½ cup each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda and salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each ground allspice, ground cloves and freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or a combination of pecans and slivered almonds your choice
  • Brandy or Sherry Glaze
  • l cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 7-8 tsp tsp brandy or sherry (approx)
  1. Two hours before you plan on baking this loaf combine glace cherries, mixed peel, currants, raisins, apricots and brandy (or sherry) in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F. Generously butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on the longest sides.
  3. In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in Vanilla.
  5. In separate bowel whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg until combined.
  6. Stir into the butter mixture just until combined.
  7. Stir the nuts into the fruit mixture and mix well.
  8. Stir the nuts/fruit mixture into the butter mixture in two additions - JUST UNTIL COMBINED.
  9. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  10. Bake until cake tested inserted in centre comes out clean, about 1½ hours. Start checking your cake about 15 minutes or so before the end of baking time.
  12. In a small bowl whisk icing sugar with brandy or sherry. Add additional brandy ¼ tsp at a time, if needed, until consistency of molasses.
  13. Brush half of the icing over hot loaf and let cool completely in pan.
  14. Brush remaining glaze over cooled loaf. This helps even out the loafs rather bubbly surface.


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KATE’S CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE … quick, easy and so delicious

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Away way back in time coffee cake was a simple treat.    It was an uncomplicated cake.  The ingredients were always at hand.  It went together quickly .  The delicious aroma of the baking cake filled your kitchen.  It was warm … Continue reading

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In late summer plums in a rainbow of colours fill my baskets.  I carefully sort them.  Choosing the not quite ripe plums to make this pie.  Some we eat out of hand.  Plum juice staining our fingers.  The rest are popped in the freezer  to be used straight from the freezer and into the pie shells, without thawing.

This pâte brisée  recipe is one you’ll use over and over again.  It showcases any fresh fruit – from berries to apples – beautifully.    A scoop of ice cream or  a drift of whipped cream takes it to divine decadence.


: Dessert pies
Cuisine: French
: 8
Sugar-studded caramelized pastry filled with seasonal fruit: berries, figs, cherries, stone fruits, apples, and pears.
  • TART PASTRY (pate brisee)
  • 7 oz (200 g) (about 1½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling
  • 3.5 oz . (100g) (7 tbs.) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 large egg
  • Ice-cold water - just in case.
  • 2 tsp (10 g) unsalted soft butter
  • ¼ cup sugar(or a combination of granulated sugar and pearl sugar)
  • 1¾ pounds (800 g) just-ripe small plums. (Do not use overly ripe plums or fruit. They will release too much juice)
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) apricot jam
  1. In a food processor combine flour, salt and butter and process for 5-10 seconds, until you get a bread crumb-like consistency. There should still be a scattering of larger pieces of butter.
  2. Add the egg and process for a few more seconds JUST UNTIL THE EGG is combined.
  3. Turn the flour mixture out onto your work surface and see if you're able to father the dough into a ball. If the dough seems a little dry sprinkle with one or two teaspoons of water and mix with a fork.
  4. Knead lightly for a few seconds.
  5. Now put the tart together
  6. Grease a 10 inch (25 cm) metal tart pan with a removable bottom with butter and sprinkle the bottom and sides generously and evenly with the sugar.
  7. Roll out the pastry and line the pan with it, trimming the excess for a roll of the pin.
  8. Tuck it into the refrigerator and let rest for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 425F (220c) . If your oven heat comes from the bottom heating element position your oven rack in the one third of the oven.. It will create a deeper, rich caramelized crust.
  11. Halve and pit the plums. If your fruit is large cut them into quarters or sixths/ Arrange the plums skin side down on the dough in a circular pattern, starting from the outside, overlapping slightly; the plums will shrink slightly as they bake.
  12. Place the tart on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet (just in case!) and bake 20 minutes or so until the plums are tender.
  13. When the tart is baking in a small sauce pan, heat the apricot jam over low heat.
  14. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  15. Remove the tart from the oven BUT LEAVE THE OVEN ON. Using a pastry brush generously glaze the sides of the tart, outside and in, and the top of the fruit.
  16. Return your tart to the oven and bake until darkly caramelized - 5 to 10 minutes.
  17. Transfer to a rack to cool completely


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  This is a deliciously tangy and colourful relish.   It is the go-to condiment for hot dogs, burgers and any cold or cured meat that could do with a little relish.   It is simple to make.  You simply chop your … Continue reading

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  The dog days of August.  Hot, gritty,  rift with boring burgers.   Chicken masquerading as burnt offering.      Over-done steaks.  Our heart and soul cries out for something different.  A little exotic.     A culinary creation that has your taste … Continue reading

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One has a rather small window to make this classic French dessert.     It’s a bit of a waiting game.  First you wait patiently for the first of the dark, sweet cherries to make their grand appearance.    I shop almost daily … Continue reading

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If dreams were make of cake it would be this stunning  LEMON BUNDT CAKE.   I love any dessert made with lemon  – tarts, bars, loaves, cookies.   This cake is at the very top of my list of favorite lemon … Continue reading

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