Readers' Favorite

July 3, 2016

Culinary Cozy Capers - Recipes Included

by Elisa Hordon

I love food. No, seriously I have a huge love for food and cooking. Once upon a time, a long long time ago, I loved food so much I went to school to learn more than what My Nan and Mum had taught me. Then I spent many years working in restaurants, cafes, resorts, even a bakery or two and a nursing home, so I got to cook a wide variety of food for many people. Now I cook for love and for my family which they greatly appreciate, so much so my daughter swears she is never leaving home because she knows she won't get food as good as mine anywhere

So that leads me to my topic of choice this week: cozy mysteries that also have a love of food. Some of these books even include recipes and yes I have cooked a lot of these recipes myself. I just couldn't help myself, when I'm reading a book and the author not only writes about food but describes it in such a way that I'm drooling I just know I need to try that recipe. So I am ever grateful for the recipes included with my mystery fix and if recipes are not included that's ok too because then I get to come up with my own versions of the food they describe so well in their books.

I know there are a lot of great books out there that add a love of food, these are my top 5 picks. They are my top 5 not just for the great mysteries but also for the amazing recipes.

Here are a few of my favourite recipes and an overview of each series.

Halloween Hijinks
Zoe Donovan Mysteries by Kathi Daley

Zoe starts her adventures with Halloween Hijinks and she is still going strong with her 20th mystery Kitten Kaboodle, which released May 2016. My favourite recipe from Halloween Hijinks is Apple Cranberry Crisp. Zoe runs the local animal shelter so there are a lot of awesome pets in these books too and who doesn't love great animal characters? They add so much love to the story. Zoe's best friend Ellie and her now husband Zac both love to cook so a lot of the recipes are food they make for gatherings during their mystery solving.

I loved this recipes because apples, cranberries and pecans just go so well together with cinnamon my all-time favourite spice.

Buy Halloween Hijinks at Amazon

Recipe Apple Cranberry CrispApple Cranberry Crrisp
4 cups apples peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 cup cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
2Tbsp cinnamon
2tsp nutmeg
1/2c oats
1/2c flour
1/2c brown sugar
1/2c butter but into pieces
1 cup chopped pecans
1 jar caramel sauce (I used Hershey's)

In a large bowl mix apples, cranberries, white sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, place in a buttered baking dish.

Combine oats, flour and brown sugar withe butter until crumbly I use a fork you can use your fingers, stir in the pecans and spread over apple mixture top with drizzles of caramel sauce.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C  for 40-50min, best served with vanilla ice cream.

Murder al Dente
Southern Pasta Mysteries by Jennifer L Hart

Andy Buckland always dreamed of becoming a Chef, but when a food poisoning incident during her debut cooking show happens Andy's dreams come crashing down. Andy heads home to her overly loving Italian family and the family's Southern Pasta Shop, but what Andy wasn't expecting was to stumbled across a murder as a welcome home.

I love cauliflower so picking this recipe to try from The Southern Pasta Shop mysteries was an easy choice and it was delicious I make it often.

Buy Murder al Dente at Amazon

Baked Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, cut into equal florets
recipe baked cauliflower1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1tsp dried oregano
pinch of chilli flakes
salt and pepper
3 eggs beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and baste a foil lined baking sheet with olive oil.

In a shallow bowl, toss together the crumbs, cheese, oregano, chilli, salt and pepper.
place eggs in another bowl and dip florets in egg then crumb until well coated.
place florets on baking sheet, spray with olive oil then bake in oven for 40min or until golden brown and tender crisp.

Kelly's Koffee Shop
Cedar Bay Cozy Mysteries by Dianne Harman

The Cedar Bay cozies are great mysteries Kelly Conner owner of Kelly's Koffee Shop stars in these books along with Sheriff Mike and Rebel, Kelly's gorgeously protective Boxer, I really love cozies that mix great food, awesome pets, wonderful mysteries with brilliant characters you just love reading more about.

Kelly loves solving mysteries and owning the local coffee shop is a great place for over hearing snipets of Sheriff Mike loves Kelly; he also loves Kelly's cooking. What Mike doesn't love is Kelly interfering in his cases. This makes for a great relationship between Book 1 Kelly's Koffee Shop has my all time favourite cookie recipe, I make these cookies a lot because, well, they are awesome and addictive, Decadent Bacon Chocolate-chip cookies, I know who would have thought combining bacon and chocolate in a cookie they are happiness in every mouthful.

Buy Kelly's Koffee Shop at Amazon

Decadent Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe Decadent Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1tsp baking soda
1/4tsp baking powder
3/4tsp salt
1 cup soften butter
3/4 cup sugar white
3/4 cup brown sugar
1tsp vanilla
12 ounce chocolate chips
12 ounces bacon

preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Fry the bacon and drain it on paper towel. When bacon is cool, break into small pieces.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix the butter, sugars and vanilla until well combined then add eggs one at a time beating well after each one. Gradually mix in flour, when well combined stir through chocolate chips and bacon pieces. Drop round spoonfuls onto a lined cookie sheet bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown, let cool before removing from cookie sheet.
Try to stop at

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder
Hanna Swensen Mysteries by Joanne Fluke

Hanna Swensen's first book was The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder and I must say I was hooked from the first book. Now Hanna's adventures have taken us through 19 books, the latest being The Wedding Cake Murder. Each book in between has also been a great mystery. I may not have loved each and every story but I have enjoyed most of them. I have loved Hanna through the series and her off siders Mike and Ross, Hanna's mother and sisters are always great side characters as is Lisa, Hanna's business partner but more than anything I have loved the recipes from these books and yes I have tried most of them so here are a couple of my all time favourites that I make regularly for my family and friends.

Buy Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder at Amazon

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
Recipt Old Fashion Sugar Cookies2 C melted butter
2 C powdered sugar
1 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
2tsp vanilla essence
1tsp baking soda
1tsp cream of tartar
1tsp salt
4 1/4 c plain flour

Melt butter, add sugar and mix, cool to room temperature.

Mix in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt, mix well the sir in flour a cup at a time mixing well after each addition. Chill dough for at least and hour I generally chill mine overnight.

Preheat oven to 325F/180C roll dough into balls place onto cookie sheet and flatten with the back of a spoon. Bake for 10-15min or until golden brown cool on cookie sheet for 2min before transferring to a cooling rack.

These cookies can be decorated for the holidays, you can also roll out the dough and use cookie cutters instead of rolling into balls and you can change the recipe by adding chopped up caramels and pretzels or m&m's or rolling the dough in sesame seeds, there are a lot of options to change this recipe. Have fun with it.

Blueberry muffins
Preheat oven to 375F/180C
Recipe Blueberry Muffins
3/4 C melted butter
1 C white sugar
2 eggs beaten lightly
2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 C blueberry pie filling or Blueberry Jam
2 C plain flour
1/2 cup milk

Crumb Topping
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C plain flour
1/4 C softened butter

For the muffins grab a 12 Cup muffin tin and spray with cooking spray then set aside.
Melt the butter, mix in the sugar then the beaten eggs, baking powder and salt mix well. toss a spoonful of flour through the blueberries until coated this stops them from sinking to the bottom of the muffin.

Add the rest of the flour to the mix and stir through add the milk and stir then the coated blueberries mix well lastly add in the blueberry pie filling or jam your mixture will turn blue.

Fill the muffin tin 3/4 full allowing room for the muffins to rise, mix up the crumb and top each muffin before baking, then bake for 25-30 min let cool before eating.

Grilled and Seasoned with Murder
Josie Rizzo Mysteries by JR Pearson

Josie Rizzo is a fairly new to me series. JR Pearson has 4 great cozy mysteries in this series and I fell in love from the first page. Josie Rizzo is a woman after my own heart. Her passion for food is amazing and her food blog 'Good Eatin' For the Curvy Soul' just grabbed me straight off. The fact she is also great at solving mysteries dosn't hurt

The first 3 books didn't have recipes but Josie's descriptions of food throughout the stories had me scouring the Internet for recipes and then in book 4 there were recipes included. Yay! This made me extra happy.

I was inspired in Buttered and Scrambled with Murder, book 4 in the Josie Rizzo Mysteries, to make breakfast for dinner one night this week. Josie's parents own a diner in her home town of Jewel Cove where they serve breakfast all day and seeing as breakfast is my favourite meal of the day it just seems fitting to post my favourite breakfast for dinner meal.

Buy Grilled and Seasoned with Murder at Amazon

recipe breakfast for dinner
Breakfast for Dinner (this recipe is for 1)
2 eggs whipped with 1Tblsp cream and 1tblsp melted butter
2 rasher bacon
2 slices toast
1 cup mushrooms
2 pieces Haloumi cheese optional

Cook bacon, set aside to drain on paper towel
Fry haloumi with bacon.
Add mushrooms to pan with a bit of mutter and fry until cooked about 5min put on plate
Pour egg mix into pan and scramble as eggs cook
Cook toast while everything else is cooking plate it all up and enjoy.

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