Enormous Second day of the week

Mardi Gras and New Orleans are synonymous with gastronomy. Below are some links for food you can expect to have at any decent Mardi Gras party.




Mardi Gras translated means Fat Tuesday



Around the World in 80 Bites – Bite 13

Bite 13
Baked Beans

It’s Saturday night and I’m making baked beans!

Saturday nights were always baked beans night in my household growing up. The beans were soaked overnight then cooked in a crock pot on low heat for several hours, ready to be served Saturday night. Molasses and brown sugar sweetened the mix of navy beans and water while dry mustard and a pork product lent a savoury balance. Later on, I discovered Heinz beans (both the Canadian and British version) and later Watties beans from New Zealand, in which tomato sauce dominates. Now I bake my own beans using molasses, maple syrup,mustard and ketchup as flavourings, along with a little apple cider vinegar and ginger for help with digestion.

Navy beans are an economical source of vegetarian protein and provide fiber and nutrients (folate, manganese, vitamin B1 and iron amongst others). For a full profile on the benefits of navy beans, check out the following link:

Navy Beans – World’s Healthiest Foods

For a primer of molasses, check out our previous post:

Meatless Monday – Vegging Out on Viola Desmond Day

And yes, Boston Baked Beans bears an uncanny resemblance to Nova Scotia Baked Beans.
Nova Scotia-style Baked Beans – The Worldwide Gourmet

Taming the Yeast Beast

Kids aren’t the only ones out of control when fed lots of sugar. Yeast, an organism used to leaven bread, also gets a little wild when left too long feeding on sugar. I half expected this to happen but when I decided to replace all the flour in my hot cross bun recipe with spelt I thought the earthiness of this ancient grain would tame it. Apparently not.

Bread making by hand is a long process. It requires handling, then resting and rising time. This sequence usually happens at least twice and can turn homemade bread making into an all-day activity. While satisfying to have created something from scratch, not everyone has the time to do so, hence the invention of bread machines which do it all for you.

Fresh from my bread making course I decided to put my newly learned techniques into action and spent Good Friday making hot cross buns.

Hot cross buns are spiced buns with dried fruit and candied peel. They are like the spring version of Christmas cake sans alcohol. Traditionally served on Good Friday these buns have a characteristic cross design on  top said to represent the cross of Jesus. Despite the widely believed religious significance of this design, it is actually tradition to mark one’s buns with a design, be it cross or other. This was done for two reasons: to prevent bread from over expanding and then exploding in the oven and to distinguish an individual’s bread when bread from several people was baked in a communal oven. Below are the (dried) fruits of my labour:

Tightly knit and baked as one: pull-apart hot cross buns.
Tightly knit and baked as one: pull-apart hot cross buns.
Sugar cookies made with spelt flour and topped with chocolate, dried blueberries and coconut.
Sugar cookies made with spelt flour and topped with chocolate, dried blueberries and coconut.
Buns and bunnies...
Buns and bunnies…