“Black Gold” Jamaican Rum Cake Tips

Posted on: November 15th, 2015 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

The glorious, festive, food and treat-filled festive season is coming up and rum cake is going to be at a lot of gatherings. Mmm….rum cake. Soft, sweet, moist cake punched up with rum-soaked fruit. Oh, so delicious.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Start with my friend Adam’s phenomenal “Black Gold” Jamaican Rum Cake recipe and use these videos to help guide your baking. The first video does a good job of showing you the texture of the cake at each step in the process and the second video is how to make browning, the dark sauce that you add depending on how dark you want to make your cake.

All fruits ripe!


Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


Watermelon Fresca Mojito

Posted on: July 11th, 2015 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Many wagon-loads of enormous water-melons were brought to market every day, and I was sure to see groups of men, women, and children seated on the pavement round the spot where they were sold, sucking in prodigious quantities of this water fruit.  Their manner of devouring them is extremely unpleasant; the huge fruit is cut into half a dozen sections, of about a foot long, and then, dripping as it is with water, applied to the mouth, from either side of which pour copious streams of the fluid, while, ever and anon, a mouthful of the hard black seeds are shot out in all directions, to the great annoyance of all within reach.  When I first tasted this fruit I thought it very vile stuff indeed, but before the end of the season we all learned to like it.  When taken with claret and sugar it makes a delicious wine and water.” ~ Frances Trollope (1780-1865) ‘Domestic Manners of the Americans’ (1832)

The last several years have seen the virtual disappearance of the watermelon with seeds and I am going to stand up and declare I miss them. I enjoyed spitting the black little slippery things out on the lawn at picnics. It was fun competing in  target practise with my friends. It is an art, you know, to propel a seed with accuracy and speed. And it is a celebrated skill that kids these days are missing out on.

And while I am sounding like an old has-been, I am going to declare that seeded watermelon tasted better. Mind you, I have not been able to compare and have no proof, but I am certain that seedless watermelon is blander and drier. It is less colourful and less flavourful. Or maybe I’m just wishing for the “good ol’ days” when the grass was greener and the watermelon sweeter. And I am wishing I could teach my daughter how to spit a watermelon seed without it dripping down her chin like mine always did. :)

This fun video below, on how to make a watermelon keg, popped up on social media recently and I love it. But I also knew we could do better than just serve plain watermelon aqua fresca from it. A little bit of “sin” makes it a lot better.

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Watermelon Fresca Mojito

  • 3 cups seedless watermelon
  • 1  fresh lime, cut into sections
  • ¼ cup rum
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Fresh mint
  • Club soda (optional)

1. Mix the watermelon in a blender until smooth.

2. Muddle the lime, rum, sugar and mint in a pitcher.

3. Stir watermelon into the muddled mix in the pitcher. Serve individual glasses and top each with club soda. Garnish with a slice of watermelon or mint sprig.

“The nature of watermelons is generally rather chilling and contains a great deal of moisture... Their cleansing action you can discover for yourself; just rub them on dirty skin. Watermelons will remove the following: freckles, facial moles, or epidemic leprosy, if anyone should have these conditions.”
Galen (129-216 A.D.), Marcus Aurelius’s personal physician

Watermelon Fresca Mojito Cooking With Sin 2

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“Real Rum” Caramel Popcorn

Posted on: December 30th, 2014 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Drinking rum before 10 a.m. makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic.” ~ Earl Dibbles Jr.

When my sister-in-law arrived at work this week, someone had brought in caramel popcorn to share with the office. She loved it. Who doesn’t love caramel popcorn! And she thought, “How brilliant someone had added rum.” Turns out it was only rum flavouring. Cue the communal “Boo!”

Knowing the real thing had to be out there, she found this great recipe, so I am sharing images of it here. If anyone tries this and wants to send me photos and recipe tweaks, I would love it. :)

Cooking With Sin author Carla Johnson

“Real Rum” Caramel Popcorn


Cooking With Sin author Carla Johnson rum caramel popcocrn

Photo Credit:

69 rum caramel popcorn recipe Cooking With Sin author Carla Johnson

Recipe & Photo Credit:

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


Tipsy Goddess Ambrosia Salad

Posted on: October 6th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Rum, n. Generically, fiery liquors that produce madness in total abstainers.”
~ Ambrose Bierce

For almost 20 years, Julie Broad’s parents ran a bed & breakfast on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada. They loved hosting travelers who came from all over the world to explore the stunning landscape of the island. Breakfast was the only meal they offered, so they made sure to serve dishes that were fresh and especially memorable.

Julie’s parents both grew up in homes that nurtured a love of excellent food. Her dad’s grandfather was a master baker and her mother’s mom was a home economics teacher. Together, they raised their family with beautiful, healthy food in their home. A few years ago, Julie collected all of her parents’ Bed & Breakfast recipes and wrote a cook book called “Breakfast with the Broads.”

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Julie and her dad

Julie’s mom has a knack for playing with traditional recipes and classing them up a little. She is also lactose intolerant, so her recipes tend to avoid creams. As a result, her dishes are often focused on fresh ingredients and natural flavours.

While the traditional Ambrosia Salad is based on cream, Julie’s mom also did not include the marshmallows. Her recipe makes fruit the focus and it elevates it to a whole new level of deliciousness.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

I recently shared this recipe at the Waterloo Food & Drink Expo and modified it for the event. I ended up using all canned fruit and I threw in a can of leechee fruit as a visual substitute for the traditional marshmallows. I also heated mine just slightly in a pan. Plus, her original recipe called for rum extract, but I added the real thing – of course!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla’s “Tipsy Goddess Ambrosia Salad”

Serves 6

½ cup coconut
1 large can tropical fruit, drained
1 small can mandarin oranges, drained
1 can leechee fruit, drained
1 lime, juiced and half the rind grated
½ cup white rum

1. In the bottom of a large pan, over medium heat, lightly toast the coconut by swirling it around until it is light brown on the edges.

2. Add the drained canned fruit to the pan.

3. Add the lime rind, fresh lime juice and rum. Stir gently for 3 to 5 minutes to allow the fruit to absorb the rum and lime. Warm it just slightly so it is closer to body temperature. Enjoy the lime and rum aroma.

4. Serve in bowls. It also stores well in the fridge and can be served chilled.

Here are two more pages from “Breakfast with the Broads.”

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

While Julie and I have never met face-to-face, we feel like we know each other as we both have many shared connections in real estate investment circles in Canada. She recently published a book sharing her investing expertise called “More Than Cashflow.” Learn more about her ventures at – Like the play on words? 😉

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

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Rhonda’s Been Screeched!

Posted on: November 4th, 2012 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments
We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true NewfoundlandersCooking With Sin Carla Johnson
We’ll rant and we’ll roar on deck and below
Until we see bottom inside the two sunkers
When straight through the Channel to Toslow we’ll go.
~ Traditional Newfoundland folksong

When some people travel they remain aloof and distant tourists, but when Rhonda went to Newfoundland on a research trip with her husband John, remaining aloof was the last thing on her mind. Becoming an honourary Newfoundlander was on the top of her to-do list – 2nd only to watching her husband attach a tracking beacon to an iceberg with a robotic helicopter! Ya, pretty cool, eh?

Rhonda's husband John watching the iceberg at sunset

Newfoundland is a very special island that became our 10th province, somewhat reluctantly, in 1949. A rocky, windy province rich in culture and traditions, Newfoundland was once a great exporter of cod fish. The supply was enormously abundant. The island economy relied almost solely on it, but in the early 1990’s the cod disappeared, probably never to return. Newfoundlanders have always lived with harsh Atlantic winds, but learning to live with the devastating winds of greedy over-fishing and vision-less politicians has been extremely challenging.

Becoming an honourary Newfoundlander doesn’t take long and it isn’t a difficult process either, it’s just a bit gross. You become a Royal Order of Newfoundland Screechers by participating in a Screech-In ceremony. If you are on the island, you will find many pubs that hold Screeching ceremonies.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

Pucker up Rhonda! Love your yellow southwesterner!

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

Rhonda and John shooting Screech


The Screech-In ceremony steps are simple and quick.

#1. A Newfoundlander must be present.

#2. Pour a shot of screech and have it ready.

#3. Sing some Newfoundland folk songs or recite the Screecher’s Creed:

“From the waters of the Avalon, to the shores of Labrador,
We’ve always stuck together, with a Rant and with a Roar.
To those who’ve never been, soon they’ll understand,
From coast to coast, we raise a toast, We love thee Newfoundland!”

#4. You must kiss a cod fish. Really. On the lips! This was an old traditional bon voyage to sailors heading to the Caribbean to return with the rum.

#5. You must answer the question, “Is ye a screecher?” with “Deed I is my old cock and long may your big jib draw.” (Translation: Yes indeed my old buddy [old Cockney term] and may there always be wind in your sails.” )

#6. Bottom’s up! Toss back the shooter of screech/rum.

#7. You may even receive a certificate commemorating the illustrious event! Hopefully it is all captured on camera.

A few hundred years ago, barrels that carried both rum and molasses were rarely cleaned, so the sediment would be boiled and distilled with grain to produce a strong alcohol. While each batch had its own unique flavour and was more of a moonshine, it was called “Screech.” Today Newfoundland Screech is a branch of rum.

Sometimes life can get so rough
Along our rocky shore
We say we’ll just pack up and leave
And won’t come back no more
But something just keeps pulling us
As though it had us by the hand
And every road we travel on
Leads back to Newfoundland.

~ Gord Payne

Rhonda is a great friend of mine and a wonderful supporter of Cooking With Sin. You will love the two recipes she has shared here on the site: Bread Pudding & Hard Caramel Sauce and A Little Leftover Red Wine Jelly.

Carla Johnson

Rhonda in Newfoundland

Here’s a great clip about Newfoundland from “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” one of our favourite, brilliant Canadian comedies.

Carla Johnson "Cooking With Sin"

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