Thursday, January 27, 2011

Locavore Survival Feast

It feels like this winter is never ending. Just after we managed to survive two solids days of frigid, freezing weather, we get walloped by another weather bomb. It was the kind of snow that started early and just kept getting worse, as the wind howled and the drifts grew bigger.

The perfect day to stay inside, stay warm and dream of a survival feast and conjure up the best way to reward ourselves for shovelling during Honey Bear's nap. The morning was lazily enjoying some pancakes, a steaming mug of coffee, pyjamas and episodes of My So Called Life. Oh snow days...

Lunch was some leftover Turkey Fiesta Soup and dinner was this fantastic explosion of flavours: Spicy Curried Mussels, fresh baked French baguettes and Winter Spice Cake with Caramelized Apples.

Spicy Curried Mussels

I used this recipe from Gourmet magazine via Epicurious and I can't believe it's taken us 26 days for us to finally eat some local seafood and it doesn't get better than PEI mussels. Sopping up the curry cream broth was even better with some French baguettes.

French Baguettes
I followed this recipe here at All Recipes and used my Kitchen Aid dough hook for ease and convenience in this fast bread recipe. Baguette's are totally the way to go when you're in a pinch for time. Start to finish was about 2 hours and I didn't once knead it by hand. It was great that the bread was fast because the Winter Spice cake I adapted from a Bon Appetit was fiddly and took *forever*. Definitely a special occasion cake.

Honey Caramel Sauce
I started by making a Honey Caramel sauce of 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup 10% cream. Combine ingredients and bring to a boil on medium heat for 8-10 minutes and until the mixture thickens and turns a caramel colour. It will thicken up once cooled, so be careful not to over reduce. 

The second step was peeling, coring and chunking up 2 1/4 lbs of Golden Delicious apples and sauteeing them with 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp honey for about 6 minutes on medium. Increase heat to medium high and add another tablespoon of honey until browned, about 2 minutes.

In a 9" cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the whole thing. I ran out of parchment paper, so I went the butter/flour route (with mixed results, so follow the recipe!). In the cake pan, spread 3 tbsp caramel sauce on the bottom of your 9" cake and arrange your softened apples. 

Next, mix up your dry ingredients: 

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Honey Caramel sauce
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup honey

Cream honey and sugar until smooth. Add in caramel sauce, vanilla and sour cream and stir. Add in half of the dry ingredients and stir. Stir in the 2 eggs and finish with the last of the dry ingredients. Pour the cake batter over top the arranged apples and bake at 350 for 45 minutes until tester comes out clean.

I'm hoping with the parchment paper you won't have the same trouble I did. All the apples stayed on the bottom of the pan and we had to rearrange them, so it wasn't as pretty as we hoped. 

With your leftover Caramel Honey sauce, it's perfect to drizzle on your cake and makes a great dip for apple slices later. Enjoy!


  1. This certainly does look like a feast! And, a delicious one at that. MMmmmm...mussels...Mmmm...homemade pie!

  2. Ahh! Both of these look so good!


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