Lavender Lemon Eclairs

For our
Secret Garden menu, I wanted to make a truly elegant dessert. Eclairs (one of my greatest weaknesses) immediately sprang to mind. Of course, they needed to fit the theme of the story, and what better way to tie in the garden than adding a little floral touch?  Thus, these lavender lemon eclairs were born! I’m not normally into flower-flavored things, but I found these to be light, sweet, and fragrant in all the right ways. The lavender-infused pastry cream perfectly complements the lemon glaze. I used a pate a choux (that’s pastry dough) recipe from Flavor the Moments and made a variation on a pastry cream recipe from Ricón Cocina. Enjoy!


Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Source: Raspberry Cordial Ice Cream | Alison’s Wonderland Recipes


The Mister and I differ greatly on what makes the perfect ice cream. He’s a plain vanilla purist, while I usually view ice cream as an excuse to combine 12 kinds of candy and cookies together (I’m slowly learning to pace myself). But when I found out that today is National Ice Cream Day, this Raspberry Cordial Ice Cream I posted last July immediately came to mind as a crowd pleaser.

It’s only got two flavors (vanilla and raspberry), and they combine so seamlessly that it’s a great ice cream for those who like it simple. At the same time, the raspberry cordial jam itself is so decadent that, when combined with ice cream, even a topping fanatic like myself can consider this a luxurious dessert. Yay for the best of both worlds!

And if you want to observe the holiday with a little geeky pride, I recommend our Hothsicles: Star Wars popsicles made from a super simple punch recipe!



In which Paper Fury sums up my reason for blogging better than I ever could :)

Source: Why Books Should Always (Copiously) Mention Food | Paper Fury

So there’s this book blog called Paper Fury that I follow religiously. The author (Cait) is hilarious, quirky, clever, and original…and she blogs about books, which automatically makes her awesome in my world. Anyway, she recently published a post entitled Why Books Should Always (Copiously) Mention Food, and I love it because she basically sums up my reasons for book-and-food blogging. She has this to say about the book/food relationship:

  •  It can make a book famous (i.e. The Hunger Games)
  • It makes a book gloriously realistic (Because what kind of character doesn’t eat?)
  • It can turn you into a full-blown nerd because you have to cook the food that’s mentioned in the books (Amen to that)

…and that’s just a few of her reasons! So go visit her site and read what should become the flagship post of all foodie book bloggers everywhere! And when you’re done, come back and make some of the foods she mentions in her post:

The Capitol’s Lamb Stew with Dried Plums (from The Hunger Games)

Turkish Delight (from The Chronicles of Narnia)

Butterbeer Trifle (from Harry Potter)

I’ve got grand plans to make lots of the other foods she lists too! Any guesses at which ones? :)

Hot Cross Buns: Mrs. Sowerby’s Currant Buns


Have you ever had one of those days: a day when you’re convinced that every power on earth has conspired to make everything go wrong? I had one of those days on Monday when I made these buns for our Secret Garden menu. My plan was to get up early to allow for the dough’s two long rising periods, so I started the day off right…by sleeping through my alarm. I also planned to make authentic British hot cross buns with golden syrup and flour paste crosses. Instead, the sugar for my syrup absolutely refused to caramelize (I tried 3 different ways), and the flour paste crosses spread into nothingness when baked. Long story short, I used an Americanized recipe instead. Add in the fact that I managed to lock myself out of my apartment halfway through taking pictures, and it’s really no surprise that 3 pm found me drinking a giant glass of wine.

Still, I have to admit, these guys are pretty darn delicious. 😉


Misselthwaite Manor’s Young Fowl with Bread Sauce


In The Secret Garden, the cook at Misselthwaite Manor creates some darn tasty dishes, but she admits to pulling out all the stops when she makes this young fowl with bread sauce. We recreated the dish here by pairing thyme-seasoned roasted chicken with traditional English bread sauce (adapted from this recipe). An entree fit for a true English manor!


This 4th of July…BE FREE: 8 Recipes to Shake Up Your Backyard BBQ

There are lots of culinary staples when it comes to the 4th of July (hot dogs, burgers, corn on the cob, etc.). But the whole point of the day is to celebrate freedom, right? So why not shake things up a little bit and make whatever you want? Make an elegant dessert that shines or awesome steaks instead of burgers. Go wild! We’ve got some recipes below to help you make whatever tickles your fancy this 4th. It’s Independence Day—let your foodie flag fly!


Miss Mary’s Porridge

 This time last year, we were just starting our Anne of Green Gables menu. In a way, we’ve come full circle. We’re greeting July with a the story of a displaced young orphan girl who breathes vibrancy and life into her new home: The Secret Garden! But this time the home (Misselthwaite Manor) is breathing life into the heroine too. While Anne Shirley was flighty and dreamy, Mary Lennox is serious and grim.


Here’s Comes July…and a New Book of the Month Hint!

Howdy, folks! I just got back from ringing in July in the best way possible: 5 days of cabin camping with old college buddies! It’s a summer tradition that started 5 years ago. Now that we’re scattered across 3 different states, it’s the most important way we keep in touch. Despite the mosquitoes and lack of cell reception, it’s the highlight of my summer. There’s just something magical about age old inside jokes, ice cream cone s’mores, and late-night discussions about how The Lego Movie is basically The Matrix.

On our way to get groceries for the cabin, we stopped at a Mickey D’s for wi-fi so I could post our final Tom Sawyer recipe: Tom’s Whitewashed Jelly Doughnuts. I brought the leftover doughnuts with me to share at the cabin, and my oh my were they popular, especially with blackberry jam (possibly more so than the original raspberry jam I used). If you’re looking for a drink to go along with your own jelly doughnuts, we just released our Tom Sawyer tea from Adagio: Becky’s Peach Tea! Click here or the image below to visit our tea gallery!


But you’re REALLY here for your Book of the Month photo hint, right? No worries, I’ve got it right here:


Any guesses?


Tom’s Whitewashed Jelly Doughnuts

 Oh, doughnuts. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. You give me that awesome sugar fix, reminding me that sweet things are of paramount importance.
  2. You’re so fluffy you make clouds jealous.
  3. You couldn’t be a better dessert for Tom Sawyer if you tried.


Missouri-Style Honey Cornbread with BACON!

Here in the Midwest, cornbread is a very serious business, and anyone who comes from a cornbread eating culture will tell you that regional recipe differences are important (i.e. in the south, cornbread is make with white cornmeal and no sugar). So when I set out to find a Missourian cornbread recipe for our Tom Sawyer menu, it had to be authentic. I rounded up a bunch of potential candidates and ran them past my native Missouri friends, who selected this honey cornbread recipe from a restaurant in Branson.