Just the Tip
Have a request?
This form does not yet contain any fields.


    Entries in patience is key (6)


    Poppy Seed Mayhem!!

    When we started May-hem two years ago, we just assumed it was a one off thing.  I think we might have cursed ourselves, though, because when May rolls around, madness ensues.  Now, I don’t often have kitchen failures, but when you make up your own recipes, things are bound to go wrong occasionally.  This poppy seed bread, however, has been a complete kitchen calamity.

    Attempt #1:  Wow… just wow. 

    Attempt #2:  Seriously?

    So, after all that, I made even more adjustments, and finally created the perfect batter. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:    

    • 2 ½ cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¼ cups sugar
    • Zest of a lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
    • ¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
    • ¼ cup oil
    • ¾ cup buttermilk
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1-2 teaspoons almond extract
    • 1 ½ Tablespoons lemon juice
    • ¼ cup powdered sugar  

    The first thing you need to do is pull out all your ingredients so they can come to room temperature.  Measure out your buttermilk and add the poppy seeds. 

    Stir them in, and allow them to soak while everything warms up. 

    The other thing you can do while you’re waiting is make the lemon sugar.  Remove the zest of a lemon, making sure to get only the yellow part.

    You should end up with about 1 Tablespoon. In a container with a tight fitting lid, put the sugar and zest. 

    Pop the lid on and shake like crazy.  Not only does this distribute the zest throughout the sugar, but the friction releases the lemon oil.  (and OMG does it smell good!)

    When all of your ingredients are room temperature, go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°.  Also, butter and flour a large loaf pan. (2 quarts)  Then, into your mixing bowl go the butter, lemon sugar, and oil.

    Mix those until they’re nice and creamy. 

    Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.  Yes, I know poppy seed bread is usually lemon OR almond, not both.  But why?  Lemon and almond make a great combination. 

    Mix until the eggs are completely incorporated.  And you see what gives this bread the lovely yellow color?  It isn’t the lemon, it’s the egg yolks.  But don’t tell your brain.  To it, lemon = yellow.  Seriously, have you ever tried to figure out the flavor of something clear?

    Pour in the buttermilk and poppy seeds. 

    When that’s incorporated, sift in the flour, soda, powder, and salt. 

    Gently fold that in until it’s just combined.

    Scrape the batter into your prepared bread pan.  See?  I told you it was the perfect batter. 

    Even it out on top.  Hmm… that looks a bit full for a loaf pan.  Oh well, I’ll bake it on a sheet pan just in case, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.  Third time’s the charm, right? 

    Into the preheated oven for about 1 hour.  When you pull it out… Son of a beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.  May-hem!!! 

    Ok, so in doing a little research, most 9x5 loaf pans are 2 quarts.  Although mine measures 9x5, it has thick walls and is quite tapered, so it is only 1.5 quarts.  Check the volume of your loaf pan.  If it is more than 6 cups, you’re good to go.  If mine hadn’t overflowed, it would have been beautiful, but alas, it has a slightly fallen center.  Oh well, perhaps in a month other than May, I’ll make yet another attempt at perfection.  For now, this will have to do.   

    It’s not yet complete, though.  It needs to be glazed.  Allow it to cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes, then carefully turn it out onto a cooling rack.  Sift ¼ cup powdered sugar into 1 ½ Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice. 

    Stir until you have a nice, smooth glaze.

    Brush the glaze over the top of the bread. 

    Continue until you run out of glaze.  It’ll probably be at least 2 coats.  It will give the top of the bread a beautiful, shiny finish. 

    Allow it to cool completely before slicing.  To store it, wrap it tightly in plastic.  You can even wrap individual slices and freeze them if you’re not going to eat it all in 2 or 3 days.  But I doubt that will be necessary, because it's the best poppy seed bread you've ever had.   

    What recipe has been your undoing in the kitchen? 



    Cactus Sorbet

    Prickly pear fruit is amazingly magenta.


    The entire plant is edible, actually. Well, not the prickly parts, but the paddles are; they're called nopales. Those are more of a dinner thing though, and this is dessert.

    (and yes, I know this post is a little late, but my lab report was not)

    Prickly Pear and Coconut Sorbet

    • 4 prickly pear fruits (aka tunas)
    • 1 tin coconut milk or cream
    • juice of 1/2 lime
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 c sugar


    Yup, that's it. I know, I know ths sugar is missing. Five ingredients and I still couldn't get them all in the shot.

    First thing you have to do is wash the tunas. Wear gloves. Seriously.

    The spines have been removed, but there are tiny, hair-like fibres on them still, and those things are practically invisible and are an annoying pain in the thumb if you get one stuck in you.

    Keep the gloves on as you cut away the skin.

    You're left with red, juicy, flesh that tastes mildly berry-like. Sweeter though. There's none of the berry tartness to these.

    Chop them and toss them in the food processor to mash them.

    Next we have to get rid of all the seeds. I suppose you could cut the fruit and pick them out one by one, but they're small, round, slippery, and throughout the entire fruit.

    Better to sieve them out.

    A coarse sieve will work okay. A finer sieve will work better, but takes longer. If you've got the patience (I had all day, but ran out of patience) go for it.

    Combine the berry mash in a pot with the vanilla, lime juice, and sugar.

    Bring it to a boil then turn the heat down to medium and let it go until you get this sort of pink foam on top:

    Combine the sweetened, reduced berry mash into a bowl with the coconut milk.

    Now is when you should use the ice cream maker, if you have one. If you don't, and I don't, you can still do this, you'll just need to pay attention to it for a few minutes at a time for the next little while.

    Pour it into a pan and put it in the freezer. After about 45 minutes, take it out and give it a stir, then put it back in the freezer.

    After about 40 minutes, do it again. Then 35... then 30...

    What you're doing in the stir part is breaking up the ice crystals that are forming. That's what the paddles in ice cream makers do. At first, it takes a while to get the water in the sorbet to freeze (hence 45 mins) but once the crystals are there, they propagate quite nicely (hence the reduction in freezer duration each time).

    So, yes, it will take a bit of time, but if you've got a Sunday afternoon for puttering about the house, it's an easy thing to add to the putter.

    And you get a beautiful coco-berry sorbet out of the deal.

    And you can tell the kids they're eating tuna ice cream!

    Even better with chocolate sprinkles.

    What's your favourite pink food?