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.
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.
My husband and I are usually pretty good to each other, but we sure can be bad influences on each other when it comes to food. He loves salty, fatty. I love sweet, chocolatey. He taught me to love potato chips and I taught him to love handfuls of chocolate – preferably dark chocolate.
Funny thing is, when he goes away I eat very healthfully. A few weeks ago he was gone for several days and I found this quiche recipe. It grabbed my attention because I had zucchini in the fridge needing to be eaten. It had an Italian lean to it so I wanted to mix in some grappa, but I went a delicate white rye distilled right here in Ontario. I added it to the onions while they were browning, along with some balsamic vinegar. I thought the red onions were a nice contrast to the green zucc. Plus, who doesn’t love to caramelize their onions!
The further Canadianize this recipe, I fried bacon instead of pancetta and used ready-made pie pastry. Plus I used Parmigiano-Reggiano instead of the grana Padano cheese and baked it at 400°C for 40 minutes.
“Sometimes when you cook with “sin,” it brings you a little closer to heaven.” ~ Carla Johnson
Note: All photos in this post are credit of Carissa Idsinga
Inspired by a recipe she found on The Endless Meal blog, my cousin-in-law Carissa made a batch of popcorn that blew everyone’s mind. When she shared her pics on social media, she said, “This is what they serve you when you get to heaven.”
A passionate, thoughtful foodie, Carissa cares deeply about eating healthful and beautiful food. She grows most of her own vegetables and has her own chickens for eggs. She enjoys foraging for food and loves time in her kitchen creating the most exquisitely delicious meals for family and friends. Plus, she shares a love of food with her sister Sophie who dishes out inspirational eats on her blog Soph n’ Stuff.
Whenever Carissa cooks or shares recipes, we all pay attention. She knows food and she inspires us with her culinary ventures. This batch of popcorn especially grabbed everyone’s attention. Hello, bacon! Plus, you make the popcorn the old-skool way. It is the way I remember making it as a child – in a pot on the stove! This is one fun recipe. Carissa may have just found a most heavenly way to embrace your inner child.
“Heaven’s Cuisine” Bourbon Bacon Popcorn
1 1/2 cup bacon, diced
1 cup quality popcorn kernels (22 cups when popped)
Butter, softened – up to 1 cup, depending on how much bacon fat you use
2 cups brown sugar
4 tbsp & 2 tbsp bourbon
½ teaspoon salt
1 tsp baking soda
Dash of liquid smoke
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp paprika
Fry bacon in pan over medium high heat until crispy. Remove bacon from pan reserving the fat.
Pop the popcorn in a pot – old skool!
2 tbsps of bacon fat into a large pot. Heat and test with 2 or 3 popcorn kernels, cover on. Once they pop, add the rest of the kernels.
Gently shake the pot until the popping slows. Remove from heat.
Transfer popcorn into a large bowl. Remove any un-popped kernels.
Make the bourbon caramel.
Top reserved bacon fat with butter to fill a 1 cup measuring cup. Scoop into a medium pot.
Add sugar, 4 tbsp of bourbon & salt. Bring to a boil (approx. 4-5 minutes) until candy thermometer reads 275° F.
Remove immediately from heat and carefully stir in baking soda, liquid smoke, vanilla, paprika & 2 tbsp bourbon.
Pour caramel over the popcorn right away, tossing the mix. Then stir in bacon.
Preheat the oven to 275° F. On baking tray (0r 2) lined with parchment paper, spread popcorn evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Cool and serve.
Note: All photos in this post are credit of Carissa Idsinga
“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.
Watermelon Fresca Mojito
3 cups seedless watermelon
1 fresh lime, cut into sections
¼ cup rum
Sugar, to taste
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
“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.