Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’

“I Love NY” Sangria

Posted on: February 10th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Monica and her dad are very close and they have an annual tradition; they make wine together at a local wine makers. It is a special father-daughter venture and each year they choose a new red grape juice to work with. They have made Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet-Sauvignon and several others.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

While she teaches grade 5 students by day, on the holidays Monica might be your tour guide on a bus trip to Montreal or New York. She has been to New York enough times that she has several favourite places. It was at a little Italian restaurant in NYC where she fell in love with their sangria and she set out to make her own version at home in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Monica loves to entertain and invite people to her home. When it comes to party hostesses, she is one of the best. She is especially known for her delicious sangria. She has worked hard to find the right mix and at her last party I got a chance to have a few sips of it myself. I just loved it!

I find that sangrias can sometimes have a bit of a dry edge, but Monica’s is a smooth as silk. Her key ingredient cherry brandy. It works wonderfully.

“I Love NY” Sangria

1 750 ml bottle of Monica’s red wine
1/2 cup cherry brandy or cherry whiskey
1/2 cup triple sec
1/2 cup peach schnapps
1/2 cup lemonade
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup Sprite
Frozen berries

1. Mix the liquid ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl. Monica pours her sangria into large plastic pop bottles which are nice to pour from and make it easy to store.

2. Monica keeps a bowl of frozen berries nearby to spoon into each cup as it is served.

Note: You want to look for cherry brandy specifically, not Kirsch. Kirsch is a cherry brandy that is made with the whole cherry, including the pit. It works really well in my Flaming Cherries Jubilee, but is too bitter for Sangria.

“Family Favourite” Banana Flambé

Posted on: June 2nd, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

A few weeks ago, I stayed late at the dentist office. Most people want to get out as quickly as possible, but Michele, the administrative assistant and I got to talking and we didn’t want to stop.

For many years, Michele has been a warm, friendly voice on the answering machine reminding us about our appointments and her warm smile has always welcomed us like family at each appointment. Over the years I enjoyed hearing about the adventures of her 3 children as they have grown and are now off to college and Michele has watched our daughter grow up from a toddler playing with the train set in the waiting room, to the independent teenager she is now.

At my last appointment, we started talking about food. Michele’s real passion in life is creating and serving exquisite food. She comes by it naturally. Her great aunt was June Jacques, the matriarch to the Jacques family who owned the very popular Knotty Pine restaurants here in Cambridge and Waterloo, Ontario.

The Knotty Pine restaurants were famous for their Buttered Almond Cake. People came from all over the province to enjoy a slice. You can find recipes online that claim to be the original, but Michele reassures me that the original Buttered Almond Cake recipe, along with all their recipes, remains under lock and key. The family has never released any of their recipes to the public.

As Michele and I chatted that evening, she told me about her favourite recipes and all the foodies in her family. We were having so much fun that her husband who arrived to pick her up had no choice but to join us. We came up with great ideas for more restaurants and more cook books. It was great fun!

This is an old family favourite enjoyed at our family cottage for forty-some odd years. I watched my mom make it for friends while entertaining and I in turn made it for friends when I grew up. Everyone simply loves it!  ~ Michele

Family Favourite Banana Flambé

6 or 7 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  1. In a large sauté pan melt butter over med heat.
  2. Add sliced bananas, orange juice, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Quickly toss over medium to high heat until butter and sugar thickens (about 2-3 min).
  3. Turn burner to high, drizzle Grand Marnier over bananas and ignite with flame! A lighter with a long handle is the safest option to ignite it with.
  4. Quickly toss over high heat. The flame will go out within 30 seconds.
  5. Remove from stove and immediately serve over vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Tip: Michele uses amber rum when she doesn’t have Grand Marnier available.

Simply Delicious!

Excerpt from Wikipedia article on Flambe


Simply lighting food on fire is not flambéing in and of itself. Igniting a sauce with alcohol in the pan changes the chemistry of the food. Because alcohol boils at 78 °C (172 °F), water boils at 100 °C (212 °F) and sugar caramelizes at 170 °C (338 °F), ignition of all these ingredients combined results in a complex chemical reaction, especially as the surface of the burning alcohol exceeds 240 °C (500 °F).

Because of their high alcohol content, some recipes recommend flambéing with liquors such as Everclear or 151. However, these spirits are highly flammable and are considered much too dangerous by professional cooks. Wines and beers have too little alcohol and will not flambé. Rum, cognac, or other flavorful liqueurs that are about 40% alcohol (80 USA proof) are considered ideal. Cinnamon, which is ground from tree bark, is sometimes added not only for flavor, but for show as the powder ignites when added.

4 Women Holding Bananas. Really!

If you liked this recipe…  Mother-Daughter Butterscotch Bananas is a similar recipe. Bananas & ice cream seem to bring families together.

“Mother-Daughter” Butterscotch Bananas

Posted on: December 27th, 2011 by Carla Johnson No Comments

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  ~ Author Unknown

Joanne Papple Flanagan started making rum butterscotch bananas about ten years ago. She was hesitant to use it with the children as she didn’t know about the alcohol, but now they are all older her daughter Morgan has started to request it. She just loves it. It is easy to make, so now that Morgan makes it herself, they have it fairly often.

Joanne and her family

Recently Morgan requested it for her birthday supper. She is lactose intolerant so it goes well with lactose free ice-cream. Joanne’s other daughter must eat gluten free so butterscotch bananas was a really good choice.

Joanne and I met through a mutual friend and the first thing she asked me was if I knew just how much alcohol remained when you cooked with it. It is a range and there is a burn-off guide in the book to help you gauge. I’m a mom too and a lot of people ask the same question. I have learned it takes a lot longer to actually burn off the alcohol than we think, but a lot less remains than we think.

For example, with this recipe, if you let the rum simmer for 15 minutes, 40% of the alcohol remains. Rum starts of at 40% alc. and after15 minutes of cooking is down to 16% alc. If you look at the dish as a whole, the rum is probably only 5% of an entire serving, so the actual alcohol content, at 16%, is a minuscule amount.

A little math helps. Most rum is 40% alc. You boil it down to 16%. Once served, the rum is approx 5% of each dish. 16% of that 5% equals less than 1%, so the alcohol content of an entire serving of butterscotch bananas is less than 1%. (I hope that’s not too confusing!) To compare, cough syrup ranges between 5-14% alc.

Go ahead, enjoy butterscotch bananas guilt-free with your kids. If you want to have a little more fun and take a wee bit more off, you could flambé it with them too.

Morgan and their dog Honey at the beach


Mother-Daughter Butterscotch Bananas

Serves 4

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/8 cup dark rum
1/4 cup butter
2 large ripe, firm bananas

1. In 1 1/2-qt. casserole stir together brown sugar and rum. Add butter. Cover. Microwave at High 4 to 5 Minutes, stirring after 2 minutes, until sugar is dissolved.

2. Cut bananas lengthwise, then crosswise so there are 8 pieces. Add to syrup, stirring to coat each piece.

3. Microwave at High 1 to 2 Minutes, until hot. Serve over ice cream.

Options: chopped pecans or 1/4 tsp cinnamon

This summer, Joanne’s town of Goderich Ontario was hit by a horrible tornado. Many homes and other buildings were completely destroyed, This tree was right in front of Joanne’s place and fell onto the road. They were lucky it didn’t fall on the house! Goderich is a truly beautiful part of the world and the loss of homes, historic buildings and old trees has devastated everyone. With an estimated damage of $185 million, The people of Goderich will be rebuilding for a long time and would truly appreciate your support. Please go to

Here is Goderich before, during and after the storm.

Bread Pudding & Hard Caramel Sauce

Posted on: December 5th, 2011 by Carla Johnson 1 Comment

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

A few days ago, my friend Rhonda, who shared her Red Wine Jelly recipe a couple posts back, posed a question to her friends on Facebook. She asked for opinions on what dessert to serve a special guest that night. The responses were great.

Based on what Rhonda had in the kitchen, it was narrowed down to bread pudding, but everyone agreed it needed a better name. One friend said she called it “Warm Apple Dessert.” Someone else suggested “Not Enough Apples for Pie.” Rhonda kinda liked “Facebook Friends Dessert”

Call it what you want, but it is really simple, it is really delicious and Rhonda’s guests loved it!

Rhonda and her dog Ginger

Rhonda’s Bread Pudding with ‘Hard’ Caramel Sauce


4-6 slices of dry bread torn into pieces
2-4 apples, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 cups milk, scalded
2 eggs
cinnamon, to taste
walnuts and coconut, optional


1. Preheat over to 350°F. Butter a baking dish liberally.

2. Mix together the bread and apples in the baking dish and cover it with the milk. Let it soak.

3. Beat together the eggs and cinnamon and pour over the bread mixture.

4. Sprinkle walnuts and coconut on top if you wish.

5. Bake at 350°F for 45 mins.

6. Prepare the caramel sauce while the bread pudding is in the oven.

7. Serve with Hard Caramel Sauce, recipe below.

Hard Caramel Sauce

1 cup store-bought caramel sauce
1/4 cup rum – white, dark or spiced all work well

1. Warm up the caramel sauce in a small pot

2. Gently stir in the rum until it is blended.

3. Serve over the bread pudding.


Plant arrangement on Rhonda's deck

Looking for another bread recipe? You might like “Working Past Midnight” French Toast.

Speaking of Facebook, join us! Here is the link to the “Like” page.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson Facebook page

“Sisterhood” Maple Rum Crêpes

Posted on: August 25th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments

I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones. 

~ Lauren, 4 years old

Her story ~ The Sisterhood of the Crêpe

by Darcelle Runciman

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

Darcelle Runciman

Speaking of love… my husband Pat and I met 10 years ago and our love of the outdoors and of cooking is part of what brought us together. One of our first trips together outside Canada was to the Dominican and I remember we ate at a local café and enjoyed chocolate crêpes, which now having the recipe we carry on that tradition. We love the outdoors so much that we were married on a beautiful sand beach in Prince Edward County in Ontario. We love spending time in the kitchen creating good food for family and friends over the years. We were married 5 years ago and will be celebrating my sister’s wedding this year. So you can bet crêpes will be on our breakfast menu!

I remember one day just before lunch when I was visiting my sister and we both did not feel like cooking, we looked at each other and said so where should we go? Well to our local breakfast restaurant to have crêpes of course! I love that we can share laughs and food and create moments in time that we remember forever. Our family is very close and we love getting together and enjoying each other’s time and cooking and having fun in the kitchen. It is simply part of what we do, and something I believe that has been handed down by our grandmother who was always in the kitchen. My sister and I love baking and she now owns her own cupcake business Bake Sale Girl and has won awards for her unique displays of “sinful” treats.

As for myself and my wonderful family, we continue to make crêpes a staple in our home, and I continue to bake for my family from recipes that have been passed down for generations. Enjoying them each time as if it were the very first.

Having lived in Montreal for 21 of my years there are many French inspired dishes that were created by my sister and myself over time. The crêpe is one of my favourites.

The history of the crêpe came from France where “the pancake is known as a crêpe” and spelled with a character known as the circumflex or ˆ over the first “e.” The word comes from the Latin term crispus, which explains the flat, almost crisp texture. The crêpe actually originated in Brittany, in the northwest corner of France, where they still make sweet crêpes or galettes, which are filled with meats and cheeses.

In medieval times, peasants presented crêpes to their feudal lords as a demonstration of loyalty. In the Breton town of Quimper they actually have a museum celebrating the history of crêpes. It’s located (where else?) in Place au Beurre or Butter Square!” February 2 is considered National crêpe Day in France, and are served everywhere.

Source – Read more.

Though most crêpes are made with white flour you can also use a variation of buckwheat flour, which if used will make the crêpes gluten free.

Crêpes can be crisp created by using less mixture added or thicker and heavier with more than three scoops added. Our family enjoys it with 2 scoops of crêpes mixture which lends to a thin, softer crêpes and not too heavy. We have enjoyed them with breakfast with our home made maple syrup that we make on our land by tapping our own trees, and fruit. These “Sinful” treats are so good I once hosted a crêpes party where everyone brought a variety of fillings and with the crêpes let’s just say it was an evening never to forget of friendship, good food and fun! We had an egg & broccoli mixture, a main course meal that consisted of egg, bacon and ham, topped off with a dessert crêpe dusted with icing sugar. It was to die for! We used our own homemade maple syrup, chocolate, whipped cream and it was heaven! The ladies still talk about it to this day!

What was once considered a demonstration of loyalty has now become a demonstration of love for families around the world including ours which was created from a bond of two sisters, and the love for good food and great experiences. There are hundreds of recipes from around the world and you can find many on the source site above or any site that talks about Crêpes. The original base of the recipe can stay the same while the filler ingredients are what vary per household. Creating your own variation can be an adventure in the world of food. One that you will be glad you embarked on as our family has for over a century.

The love that goes into creating these masterpieces will tickle your taste buds and have you coming back for more. Enjoy!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“Sisterhood” Maple Rum Temptation Crêpes

Serves 4

Delicious Crêpes that can be used for dessert, breakfast or main course. This sinful treat comes with an impressive sauce.


3 eggs
1 1/3 cup (325 ml) of 2% milk
¾ cup (185 ml) of flour
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup (60 ml) butter melted
1 tsp vanilla


Mix 3 eggs with milk and 1 tsp of vanilla and set aside. Next mix in a large separate bowl, the flour & salt. Add egg mixture to the flour & salt and mix well with a whisk.

Once all ingredients are mixed without lumps, melt butter.

Add butter slowly to mixture beating continuously.

Grease pan (a pan the size of the crêpe you want) with oil or cooking spray.

Once heated use a large cooking spoon to put 2 scoops of crêpe mixture in pan so that crêpes are thin. Flip once and set aside. Best served warm.

Maple Rum Sauce:

½ cup Quality Maple Syrup
1/3 cup Whipping Cream
1/3 cup Butter
3 tablespoons Dark Rum

Combine first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan on medium. Heat and stir until butter is melted & mixture is boiling. Boil gently for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add rum and stir. Makes about 1 cup (250ml) of sauce.


Whipped Cream 
Fruit (see suggestions below)

Add fruit just prior to serving; bananas, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries to crêpes. Top with whipped cream and sauce.

Prep Time 20 Mins.


Darcelle Runciman is an internationally recognized Business Mentor, Facilitator, Speaker and co-author of the Canadian Best seller, The Power of Women United.

With over a decade as a successful entrepreneur running a multi-million dollar company, Darcelle’s expertise in business building & development, project management, real estate investment, corporate organization, marketing and teaming up with investors in joint venture partnerships, has allowed her to collaborate with high profile business coaches, government departments, and mentors.

She is now dedicated to coaching business owners to success though balancing their strengths, their spirit, and creating action, while increasing their profits. Find out more about Darcelle

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Update: I am proud to announce that Darcelle is launching Infinity Magazine, a new, exciting venture that I am very happy to be part of.

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