Trying Something New

Not every recipe is a success. Sounds simple enough. I have been struggling for quite some time to find a plum jam recipe I like. A few summers ago, when I first started making jams, I cobbled together a recipe. It was wonderful: sweet, tart, beautifully red. The jam quickly disappeared and I promptly forgot the recipe.

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Filed under Jams & Sauces

Sweet Home Alabama

“Spoiled’s in the eye of the beholder … like these plums here. Some people might call them “spoiled” but I think that these almost-ruined ones, sometimes make the sweetest jam.”

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September 1, 2014 · 8:00 am

Indian Summer


The end of summer is so bittersweet. The beautiful warmth and sunshine may be fading away but the excitement of a new school year and crisp leaves awaits. It also marks one year until Fictional Kitchen has a Mr. and Mrs. A lot of work still to do on that front…

In sweeping up the last of the summer, I offer to you a simple panzanella. I think that there is no wrong way to make a panzanella, though I’m sure I will be harshly reprimanded. It is intended as a use for leftovers, for stale bread and overly abundant tomatoes and whatever else is in the fridge.

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Filed under Italian, Salads, Vegetable

Preparing for Change

Rhubarb Berry Jam

Every summer I spend a few days making jams and canning fruits. It is incredibly satisfying to pop open a few lids in the middle of winter. Now that I am moving (yey!) and starting a new job (yey!), there is extra pressure to get things done right now. So between laundry, stuffing boxes, trying to decide what books I need right now, and signing paperwork, I am taking a little time to make some jam.

Last summer was very difficult for the rhubarb plants at my parents’ house. It was very wet and the tree nearly grew a lot, creating a huge shady patch.

Fortunately, this year my mother rescued the rhubarb. While only 3 of the 4 plants survived, there has been enough for me to make some jam.

When I was young and we had first moved into this house,I remember my mom putting up jar after jar of rhubarb jam. Sometimes it was strawberry rhubarb, but more likely just rhubarb. I hated it. It was a strange color, a brown-green-pink thing. And it wasn’t as good like plain ol’ strawberry jam. It was my father’s domain.

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Filed under Jams & Sauces

Adding a Little Spice

Moroccan Chicken with Olives

This recipe is the Best Stew with Olives winner according to Food52, and I certainly agree it is delicious. The next few weeks are going to bring about many changes: moving in with my fiance, moving to a new state, starting a new job, still trying to plan a wedding from another state.

Naturally, this has brought about a need for comfort food. I often to turn British food when I want comforting. Mashed potatoes and onion gravy. Crispy-skinned sausages. Toad in a hole. Chicken tikka masala.

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Filed under Meat & Fish, Moroccan, Soups & Stews

Baked Rice Pudding

Rice overhead

There are fewer things that I love more than rice pudding. It makes a wonderful breakfast, a heavenly snack, and delightful dessert. You can swirl it with jam or add a little coconut milk to make it more exotic.

So naturally when we had a gallon of milk that was about to expire, I suggested we sacrifice it to make rice pudding. Despite liking to eat it a whole lot, I normally buy rice pudding. In a can. It’s embarrassing but delicious. Whenever I make it at home, it doesn’t seem to ever thicken up properly.

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Filed under Puddings, Rice & Grains

Toast by Nigel Slater

One of my favorite foods, natch. Now, one of my favorite books/films. I saw the movie on Netflix some time ago and really enjoyed it. I made several lemon meringue pies.

Now I picked up the book at a used bookstore. It is even better than the movie, which I wasn’t sure if it could be. There is some overlap in the memories described. However, it still feels completely fresh. I now have an overwhelming desire for British candies, lamb chops, pommes dauphinoise, sponge pudding, steak Diane…

…mmmm, food.

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Filed under Book Review, Thoughts