Hello . . . May I have a moment of your time, please?

As you may know, as of July 1st Google Reader will
no longer be available.

Meaning that if you subscribe to Once Upon a Plate
via RSS feed, and view it in Google reader, you 
will no longer see my updates (or any of your other
favorite blogs.)

To continue to get my RSS feed updates,
sign up for BlogLovin'  or Feedly as an
alternative feed reader. They are both
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I'll miss you otherwise!

Thank you everyone.

~Mari xo

P.S. The sandwich buns have nothing to do with
this post . . . except I got them yesterday at the 
Farmer's Market, because we're having
burgers from the grill for dinner tonight. :o)

They are whole wheat, baked locally ~
and I didn't feel like baking in this HEAT.

Have a great remainder of your weekend, friends!


"The Circle of Kindness" by Jana Kolpen & Mary Tiegreen


Welcome in once again as The Novel Bakers
play with the third book in Jana Kolpen's and Mary Tiegreen's
Trilogy; "The Circle of Kindness".

Whew ~ Please excuse me as I'm late to the party 
(computer got cranky...)

Here we go! 

We find that our main character Mlle. J. has been invited
from The Villa della Luna in Italy, to Ireland:

This could well be my favorite of the three books. :)

The story is enchanting ~ the
other Novel Bakers are such wonderful
story tellers, so if you have visited them, I'm sure
you've gotten the gist of The Circle of Kindness. 

I love the story and the message of the book,
however, I got side-tracked by the food, as well.
(what's new??) *grin*

Lots of bits of wisdom in this sweet little book . . .

"Through her experiences she had come to understand 
the power we hold in our hands and in our hearts."

We learn that Mlle. J is invited to stay with Shannon, 
in her little thatched-roof cottage, framed with roses.

"It was here in this land of many
greens that Mademoiselle J. would find the generosity
of spirit and compassion that turns the world."


The first morning Mlle. awoke to Shannon baking bread.

Shannon teaches Mlle. J.  how to bake delicious,
bread . . . all the while promoting kindness,
compassion and friendship . . .

So I made some, too . . .

It's not a yeast bread, it's a soda bread ~ 
goes together very quickly and it's delicious!
If you don't have the book, here is another
excellent recipe for brown bread.

I ground red wheat berries very coarsely,
the texture was perfect.

(If you don't have a grinder you can probably
find coarse-ground at your healthy food store.) 

After some good tea and bread,
a little later we're off for an outing into town . . .

One of the stops? To visit a shop ~

 And also "The Inn Between" !

Called the "Inn Between", because it is located
between the barber shop and the bakery
(and it holds very odd hours.)

Fascinated by the names of the item menu,
I had to make a few!

The first one:

Bubble and Squeak Cakes . . .

Traditionally made with mashed potatoes, mixed with
some kind of leftovers; cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts,
etc. And made into one large cake, then shallow 
fried until crispy and brown.

No recipe in the book for this one, so I followed
Gordon Ramsay's version, with Brussels sprouts.

Very good! Thumbs up at our house.

Such an adorable format!

The next item from the menu that I made was
Irish Toasties.

There are many, many versions
of Toasties, limited only by your imagination.
Basically it's a toasted/baked cheese sandwich, with other things . . .

Again, no recipe in the book ~ but I followed this one
and used the Brown Bread I had made earlier.

It is very good, especially if you like the sweet and savory
flavor play.  You build it on a good, sturdy brown or
multi-grain bread, toasted. Smear with Fig jam, then
pile a mixture of grated white cheddar cheese (mixed
with, minced shallots, whole grain mustard, and beaten egg.)

Another really good recipe.



I made Mrs. Monahan's RaggaMuffins.

No recipe in the book, but used this one, for Maple Sugar
RaggaMuffins, I added some cinnamon to the filling. 
(You could substitute brown sugar for the Maple Sugar.)
Some like to ice them with Maple icing, but we thought
they were sweet enough. 

The texture is similar to a biscuit, rather than
traditional cinnamon roll.  Again, because no
yeast is involved, they go together quickly
and are really good with a cup of tea or coffee.

I would make them again, but would increase the amount
of cinnamon to maybe 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons.


Happy messages, and words of wisdom about
kindness are sprinkled throughout the book:

And the good changes that even the smallest kind gesture can make.


Ice cream really doesn't have anything to do with the
book ~ but it is an act of kindness to share some, yes?

This is real, honest to goodness homemade
Mint ice cream, no artificial colors.

I used David Lebovitz's recipe ~ you steep the
fresh mint leaves in warm milk, cool, then
combine with the egg custard mixture and chill before freezing.

His recipe goes a step further and he adds chocolate
to make Mint Chip ice cream. mmmmm.

It goes really well with a little slice of Shortbread, 
made with Irish butter, of course. ;-)

(My violets didn't produce many blossoms this year
so I made sugared violas instead, the color is not
as vibrant, but they are deliciously in mild flavor.)

If you grow mint, you know how out of control it 
can become unless you contain it. 

This recipe is a great way to use up quite
a bit of mint. The flavor doesn't scream
mint, it is more delicate.  You could add a
little pure mint extract and food color if you want it to taste
and look more like the commercial product.

Thank you for stopping by today friends!
I love when you leave me comments, I 
cherish each one. 

I'll close with this lovely and touching sentiment
from "Circle of Kindness" . . .

I'll have the recipe for the gluten-free/fat-free Amaretti cookies
(from Wednesday's post) over on my recipe blog a little later today.


Please stop by to see the magical goodness
my Novel Baker friends have in store for you!

--  Home is Where the Boat Is

--  A Quiet Life

--  Rattlebridge Farm

Have a good weekend everyone, 
and spread the kindness.  xoxo


"The Legend of The Villa della Luna" ~ by Jana Kolpen

Hello and welcome!
Today I am joining the Novel Bakers as
we take a look at the charming book "The Legend of The Villa della Luna",
written and designed by Jana Kolpen and Mary Tiegreen.

(This is the second in the series, following "The Secrets of Pistoulet"
which we visited two days ago.)

(Click the image to learn more)

Mlle. J has been invited from Paris to visit Italy ...

To give you a little background; from the back cover:

"Welcome to The Villa della Luna where the past embraces the future.
Within our gates are doors to be opened, tastes to be savored,
old legends to be traced, and new ones to be created."

"When Mademoiselle J. arrives at The Villa della Luna, she is
searching for a way to open her heart. As she wanders through
The Villa's ancient gardens and strolls along the rugged Italian
coastline, she comes to learn the legend of the rose garden that
blooms throughout the year, a memorial to a tragic accident
that took one lover and left the other afraid to love again.
Should Mlle J. approach this grieving man? Helping her to
decide are three wise teachers and the fortitude of such recipes
as Pasta Vivante, for those are are afraid of the passion of life,
ant the Focaccia of Forgiveness and Release, for those who need to
let go of an emotional burden."


The books are adult fairy tales, but with words and
lessons of wisdom woven throughout.

"Before climbing into the oversized bed with many down pillows, 
Mademoiselle filled the inviting claw-footed tub with warm
water.  Attracted by a slender bottle of gardenia
bath oil sitting on a glass shelf, she put several drops in her bath."


Of course, I am particularly drawn to the recipes of the books,
so that is what I'll be focusing on in this post!

Very little verbiage needed as everything is fairly self explanatory ~
I hope you enjoy!

I had planned on having a small outdoor picnic, but the
weather did not cooperate, so we're indoors for the day:

"Afternoons were spent in the cucina with Rita ..."

"One one such afternoon, Rita was preparing a pasta sauce she calls 'Vivante'. 
The aroma of tomatoes, [along with Pancetta, garlic and Porcini mushrooms]
strong and exciting filled the air with joy."

We truly enjoyed this pasta sauce!

In fact, it was my favorite recipe in the book.

I'm sure you could surmise this as I shared so many pictures of it !  


I apologize, I couldn't help myself.  :o)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My second favorite recipe was for the Amaretti Cookies. 

They are so EASY to make, just ground almonds, sugar, egg whites,
and almond extract.  (They are Fat-free and Gluten-free.)

Roll the dough into balls approximately "three fingers wide" balls*,  
(instructed the recipe), 
sift powdered sugar over the raw cookies, and
let them rest for one hour before baking in a preheated 300º(F) oven 
for about 25 minutes.

Note: My fingers are of average size; I hoped for average sized 
Amaretti cookies so I made the balls about two-fingers wide,
rather than three as the recipe suggests.
Hmmm, they spread more that I would have liked, 
making larger cookies than I had hoped. 
It could be that my hen eggs (the whites) were larger than those in the recipe.
That is one negative about the baked recipes in these books, they are
entertaining, but rather vague, and if you're a baker you know that accurate 
measurements are important. 

Not so important when it comes to cooking, but baked recipes
require accuracy.  (My 2 cents.)  ;)
Next time I would make the dough even thicker with more ground almonds, 
or fewer egg whites, and form balls about the size of
a small cherry tomato. The recipe is very good though, and if 
anyone wants it, you can find it on my recipe blog.

Click here for Amaretti Cookie recipe.

* * *

After baking, cool them thoroughly and wrap in tissue
paper . . .

 . . .  and put them on a pretty platter.

Preferably an Italian one. :-)

I've had this one for years and years . . . I'm not so much
into acquiring new serving pieces at this stage of my
life.  I know... BORING. 


My cookies spread out to about 2 1/4-inches, a bit larger than I was aiming for ~
but no matter, they go very well with: 


(just a few roses left blooming, not many more until Autumn here...)

And a few hours later, after our feast, at bedtime, 
 it would be extra nice to place one of these:

Under your pillow for a calming and restful night.



Thank you very much for coming to visit today, friends!

Please stop by to visit the other Novel Bakers today
to see their gorgeous photos and interpretations
of "The Legend of The Villa della Luna":

A Quiet Life

Home is Where the Boat Is

Rattlebridge Farm

Please check back Friday, when we'll
meet up in Ireland with "Circle of Kindness",
the third book in the series.

Have a wonderful day.


A Sampling of my food . . .


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