Cooking & Living in Small Spaces with Style


Spicy Chunky Apple Chutney

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A confession: this very spicy chunky apple chutney is so yummy, I found it difficult to stop tasting it before I could store it into the glass storage container. This apple chutney was created to serve with pork, such as a pork loin roast and pork chops. Flavors include a wonderful mix of spices normally found in an apple spice, fresh gala apples and dried raisins, and ginger. The spicy heat comes from a red hot pepper.

Creamy Lemon Sauce Base

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For the longest time, I have made various lemon sauce based upon what I was cooking. This of course gave me different flavors, as well as different consistencies in the thicknesses. And the approach was not always satisfying, until I decided to make a lemon sauce base to which I would add spices and herbs based upon what I was cooking. I also wanted a lemon sauce base that I coud use as is.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice!

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Frankly, making your own pumpin spice is so easy. You more than likely already have the ingredients on your kitchen cabinet shelf. Another reason to make your own pumpkin spice is that you can control the flavors, increase or decrease the spice(s) you most prefer.

Homemade Lemon Curd

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Ever wanted to enjoy the refreshing tart taste of lemon curd right out of the jar?  You are not alone.  You can buy in the grocery store or just make it yourself.  It's easy to make.  Most important is that you can add to so many foods.

Creamy Swiss Cheese Sauce

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This creamy Swiss cheese sauce is a great way to layer flavor on any vegetable dish.  I love it because it's easy and so quick to make.

How To Roast Garlic Bulbs

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This recipe post is about how to roast garlic bulbs and just some of the myriad of ways to enjoy roasted garlic in your favorite cuisines. 

Never tried roasted garlic?  It is a treat.  Roasted garlic is sweet and mild, unlike its raw version that can be pungent.  And if you are not careful when using raw garlic, you may find yourself alone due to broadcasting bad breath.

Butter Rum Dessert Sauce

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Spices enjoyed in a traditional hot buttered rum drink are translated to this butter rum dessert sauce.  Make no mistake, this sauce does come with a bit of rum kick.  Serve it hot, warm or just at room temperature.  It goes well over a variety of desserts and fruits.

Hazelnut Ice Cream Topping

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Simple yet wonderfully delicious flavors of brown sugar, hazelnut extract (or vanilla extract) are brightened with fresh lemon juice, yielding a yummy rich hazelnut ice cream topping.  

Chipotle Pepper Compound Butter

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One of the loveliest things about compound butter or what is also referred to as finishing butter is its versatilty, embrasing whatever flavor your heart desires and for a wide variety of cuisines that your palate desires!  

Here, I chose chipotle pepper for its smoky hot flavor.  It's ideal not only for Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes but also for cuisines from vegetabels to meats to stews and more.

To inspire you, here are a few other suggested flavors:

  • Grated parmesan cheese--especially for garlic bread and popcorn

  • a medley of herbs such as basil, thyme, dill, tarragon, oregano, chives and of course parsley--all great for vegetables and meats

  • cinnamon and brown sugar--add to baked breads, pastries, baked fruits (pears, peaches, etc.)

chipotle pepper compound butter

chipotle pepper compound butter


Not familiar with chipotle pepper?

043 MSL Chipotle Butter-Crushed-Whole-1295.jpg

About Chipotle Peppers

Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeno peppers. There are two types. Chipotle "Morita" is picked when green and is then smoked. It's most commonly found in the U.S. Chipotle "Meca" or Tipico is allowed to ripen to a bright red and then smoked for a longer period than "Morita." Chipotle "Meca" (see image with the whole tan pepper) is more intense, more expensive but unfortunately, more difficult to fnd. Both come in the whole and crushed forms.

Whole chipotle peppers are not attractive but the fragrance and hot smokey flavor more than make up for its unattractive appearance. Many Mexican and Tex-Mex crusines include chipotle peppers but it can be enjoyed in many other dishes.

The Recipe (Yields 8 ounces)

Tools:  A small blender or just a bowl and a fork


  • 8 ounces of butter (unsalted if you wish to control salt content)

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped flat leaf Italian parsley

  • 1 garlic clove, medium size and minced

  • 1 Teaspoon crushed dried chipotle pepper

  • 1/2 Teaspoon paprika

  • Salt and pepper (preferably fresh cracked) to taste


Add all of the ingredients into a blender.  Blend for at least one minute.

Place the mixture in a small bowl with a cover.  Or roll the mixture like a sausage using parchment paper, aluminum foil or clear wrap.  Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze the butter.

Watch just how easy it is to make chipotle pepper compound butter:


Serve it up with a decorative flare:

Chipotle Pepper Compound Butter

Chipotle Pepper Compound Butter


chipotle pepper compound butter

chipotle pepper compound butter


Related Posts:

Hey!  If you like this idea for a compound butter, why let me know.  
Just click on the like button below.  Better yet, leave me a message, please.
Thank so much!

How To Easily De-seed A Pomegranate, Really!

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Okay, I'll be the first to admit I use to be intimidated with de-seeding a pomegranate.  And I'd happily pay a premium price for just the seeds which often meant I only bought a small amount.  But not any more.  As Darth Vader said to Obi-Wan Kenobi, "Once I was just the learner, now I'm the master."  Well, something like that!  So too can you be the master.  In this image, here's a summary in 4 easy steps.  

Details follow below.  

First, de-seeding a pomegranate can be really messy, unless you just love be splattered in red.  Use newspaper or tear up brown shopping bags to cover you table or counter top.  Plastic gloves will keep your hands clean.  You're going to need a bowl, of course and a wooden spoon.

Step 1.  Using a sharp knife, cut a cap off the top of the pomegranate.  Don't cut too deep or you'll cut into the seeds.  See the image above.

Step 2.  With your knife and following the white membranes, cut into or score down the sides of the pomegranate.

Step 3.  Use your hands to gently break pomegranate into halves and smaller parts.

Step 4.  Turn the part(s) over with the seeds facing your bowl and gently tap the back of the pomegranate.  If seeds resist, you can remove the seeds by hand but doing so very gently.

Another option is to cut the pomegranate in half just enough to cut into the outer skin.  Then pull the fruit apart into two halves.  Proceed with tapping the back of each half to shake out the seeds.  Looks easy.  But frankly, I had found the above method easier for me.  Perhaps you will too.

Seasonal Fruit (Pomegranate) Salad With Creamy Honey and Ginger Dressing

Seasonal Fruit (Pomegranate) Salad With Creamy Honey and Ginger Dressing

You may also be interested in these recipes:

Raspberry Compote With Grand Marnier

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Easy to make.  Wonderful to enjoy.  This raspberry compote layers the flavors of sweet, tart, Grand Marnier plus additional orange flavor from an orange peel.

It was made especially for a New York style cheese cake (Recipe not included.).  Still, it's versatile and can be served on many fabulous dishes such as crêpes Suzette, regular pancakes, vanilla ice cream and more.  

Need a hostess or holiday gift?  What better way to show your love than with a homemade raspberry compote with Grand Marnier in a lovely jar!  Yields 1 cup.

The Recipe:

I had intentionally made this is a very thick raspberry compote using the reduction method. If you want a thinner compote, there are other options and I note that in the instructions below.

Ingredients for Raspberry Compote with Grand Marnier:

  • 1/3 cup of water (75 ml)

  • 1/2 cup of sugar (110 g)

  • 2 - orange peels, each about 1" x 2" (25.4 mm x 50.8 mm)

  • 12 oz of fresh raspberries (reserve 6 oz) (340 g, reserve 170 g)

  • 2-3 tsp of Grand Marnier (10 ml - 15 ml)



Combine water, sugar, orange peel, and 6 oz of the raspberries in a non-reactive heavy sauce pan.  Over a high heat, bring ingredients to a boil. Stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, mash the raspberries in with the water and sugar.  (About a minute) Then lower the heat to medium and allow ingredients to simmer for about 8 minutes until desired thickness.  (For a thinner compote, simmer for about 6 minutes.  Or add a little more water near the end.)    

Remove pan from heat.  Gently fold in 3 oz (or half ) of the reserved fresh raspberries and 2-3 tsp of Grand Marnier.  Immediately pour the raspberry compote into a bowl or a sterilized canning or decorative jar.

(Note:  Kept in a tight lid jar in the refrigerator, the compote should last about 2 weeks.  For canning, very special procedures must be followed to avoid botulism.  Thus, I do not address how to can the compote in this post.)

Serve warm or room temperature.  Use the remaining reserved fresh raspberries as a wonderful edible garnish.

For gift givers, here's a little inspiration:  




More Similar Recipes:

Spicy Persimmon Chutney

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Chutney is such a wonderfully versatile condiment.  There are just so many fruits that lend themselves to chutney, and just as many dishes and ways to eat it.  The down side to homemade chutney is that it's even better if aged for 3 months.  Who can wait that long!!

This recipe takes advantage of the deliciously sweet persimmons that arrive in the grocery stores in the fall.  My goal this year was to produce a chunky light-color permission chutney.  Also in this recipe are a Bartlett pear and a garam masala* spice blend.  

The Recipe
Yields 2 cups

Ingredients for this spicy persimmon chutney:

  • 3 Fuyu persimmons, peeled and chopped

  • 1 Bartlett pear, peeled and chopped

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

  • 1 small onion, minced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1" raw ginger, peeled and grated

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar, 5% acidity

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 1/4 cup white wine (optional)

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about half a lemon)

  • 1/2 to 1 red chili pepper, seeded and minced

  • 1 tsp garam masala (see spice mixture below)

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest (optional)

Preparation for persimmon chutney:

Use a heavy bottom preserving pan, a stainless steel or enamel lined pan.  (Copper, aluminum or a cast iron pan can react to the acidic vinegar and produce a metallic taste.  source: Allotment

In the pan, combine all ingredients - except the persimmons, sugar and white wine.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring frequently.  Add sugar about 15 minutes into the cooking.   (Note:  over cooking the sugar may make the chutney darker.)   Continue to cook the mixture about 5 to 10 minutes more.  If mixture appears too dry, add 1/4 cup of white wine.     

Add persimmons and simmer until the persimmons are tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Then remove to a clean container.  I don't discuss canning in this recipe but here a couple of tips  also from Allotment Garden:  Make sure jars are sterilized and "[with] ordinary jars, the covers are most important.  Vinegar corrodes metal, so use plastic screw or snap-on types or the metal ones coated inside with a plastic preserving skin." 

Garam masala spice blend:

If you are unfamiliar with garam masala spice blend, it is a "hot" mixture of ground spices frequently found in Indian, Pakistani and South Asian cuisines.  According to Wikipedia, a typical India garam masala mixture includes black and white peppercorns; cloves; cinnamon or cassia bark; mace (nutmeg); black and green cardamon pods; bay leaf and cumin.  

Western garam masala mixtures will include most of these spices but may add other spices such as ginger.

One method for blending the spices is to use whole seeds, pan-dry roast, then grind.  A second method is to use the ready-made ground spices and mix it yourself.  And finally, you can just purchase the spice blend already made.  I actually tried the first two methods.  While it's a little more work, I prefer blending the spices using pan-dried whole seeds and then grind to a powder.  The spice flavor is more pronounced and the chutney more clear.  The pre-ground spice blend tends to make the chutney dark. 


For making your own garam masala spice blend, please see my post on Garam Masala - Use Whole Or Pre-Grounded Spices.

Looking for ways to enjoy chutneys?

  • Serve on grilled or barbecued chicken parts or pork

  • Serve with ham

  • As a dressing for a fruit salad

  • Make a chutney butter (just add to softened butter) I smell toast with chutney butter and coffee!

  • Pair with any soft cheese, such as brie or mozzarella


Persimmon chutney on Brie cheese and grain cracker.

Persimmon chutney on Brie cheese and grain cracker.

What's you favorite fruit for a chutney and how do you serve it?

You may also be interested in these recipes:

Garam Masala - Use Whole Or Pre-Grounded Spices?

Food Talk, Compotes-Sauces-Spicesshirley byrd2 Comments

So you looked at several recipes on how to make garam masala, that wonderfully rich Indian spice blend often used in chutneys.  Some recipes state that you use whole seeds, dry-pan roast and than grind.  Other recipes instruct you to use pre-ground spices or the ready-made garam masala spice blend purchased from the grocery store.  Is there a difference?  Indeed, yes.  

Recently, I made two batches of spicy persimmon chutney.  In the first batch, a pre-ground spice mix was used to make the garam masala. The spicy flavor was subdued almost to a hint of its presence.  And the chutney was dark.

In the second batch, I used whole spices, pan-roasted and then grounded the mix between parchment paper, pounding it with a wooden rolling pin to a medium-find powder.  Why?  I don't have a grinder.  (Needless to say, a grinder is on my kitchen wish list!)  The flavor was unmistakably pronounced and richer.  It balanced with the sweetness and tartness of the chutney, bringing out these flavors even more.  Roasting the spices intensifies their flavors.  And yes, chutney improves with age and is said to taste better when stored for three months.  I can't testify for that because home made chutney barely remains in my household for  six weeks, especially during winter holidays! 

In some parts of India, garam masala spice blend is used raw; that is, it is not dry-pan roasted.  I've never tried this but perhaps it would be an interesting cooking project.  Whichever method you choose, here are the measurements for mixing your own garam masala. 



Using pre-ground spices: 

Making garam masala with pre-ground spices is quicker and easier to make.  You may already have some of the spices in your cabinet. From Allrecipes, here are measurements to make gara masala using pre-ground spices.  Then just thoroughly mix the spices. 

  • 1 Tbsp cumin

  • 1-1/2 tsp coriander

  • 1-1/2 tsp cardamon

  • 1-1/2 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp cloves

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Using Whole Spices:

Measurements to blend whole spices, inspired by

  • 1 Tbsp cumin

  • 1 Tbsp coriander

  • 1 Tbsp cardamon

  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper corn

  • 1/2 Tbsp white pepper corn

  • 2 sticks cinnamon

  • 1 tsp whole cloves

  • 1 tsp nutmeg grated (about 1 whole nutmeg)

  • 1/2 tsp ground saffron (optional)

Instructions for making garam masala using whole spices:

In a heavy bottom skillet on medium-high heat, cook all ingredients, except the nutmeg, for about 2 minutes or until very aromatic.  Stir while cooking. Grate the nutmeg. Grind all ingredients in coffee or spice grinder.  Note: Cardamon shells can be removed before or after the roasting. Prior to dry-pan roasting, I had cut a tip of the pod and was able to easily split it open and remove the soft seeds.

Which method is best? 

Well, sometimes we're just faced with what is convenient and that has to suffice.  So using pre-ground spices or just purchasing a ready-made mix may be preferred.  On the other hand, an exciting trip to a spice shop and roasting the spices is a fun project that will reward your taste buds with absolute pleasure.  You can share the experience or just keep the fun all to yourself.

I now of course prefer using whole spices for making garam masala.  
Do you have a preferred mix for garam masala or is this just news to you?