Saturday, 17 February 2018

Spinach Salad with Goat Cheese and Beets

Heart healthy and delicious!

625 g fresh beets
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (use the best you can buy)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups fresh baby spinach
60 g fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pistachios


  • Scrub beets and trim tops.  Place in pot and cover with water.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 to 60 minutes or until tender.
  • Remove beets from water and cool.  Peel beets and cut into small pieces.
  • In small bowl, whisk vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.  Slowly whisk in oil until blended.
  • Place spinach in salad bowl.  Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat.  Top with beets, coat cheese and pistachios.  Sprinkle with additional pepper if desired.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Milk Chocolate Tart

This recipe comes child approved!  But then who doesn’t love chocolate.  Be careful with the chocolate you pick as this will have an impact on the final product.  Milk chocolate works best for my family but you could change it to a dark chocolate and finish with some raspberries for a more adult version.  Adapted from Food and Drink Holiday 2015 recipe.

CHOCOLATE TART PASTRY
1¼ cups (310 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp (75 mL) cocoa powder
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (125 mL) sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp (30 mL) whipping cream

MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
10 oz (300 g) milk chocolate
4 oz (125 g) bittersweet chocolate
Scant 1⅓ cups (330 mL) whipping cream
½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream, plus sugar to taste, for garnish
1 For the chocolate pastry, sift together the flour and cocoa powder and set aside.

2 In a mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Separately combine the egg yolk and whipping cream and add to the butter mixture, beating to combine. On low speed, add the reserved flour mixture and mix just until the dough comes together. Form into a flat disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3 On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to fit a 9-inch (23-cm) fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Prick the bottom with a fork. Place the tart shell in the freezer for 20 minutes or until firm.

4 Centre the rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).

5 Line the whole interior of the pastry shell with foil and fill with baking beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges of the pastry are dry and set. Remove the beans and foil and continue baking another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely.

6 Chop the milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate finely; place in a medium bowl.

7 Pour the cream into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for 1 minute. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the mixture from the centre outwards until the mixture is smooth. Try not to incorporate any air bubbles.

8 Immediately pour the mixture through a fine sieve, into the cooled tart shell. Allow the tart to set at room temperature, about 4 hours. (For a faster setting time, the tart can be placed in the fridge but it will lose its sheen.)

9 Just before serving, beat ½ cup (125 mL) whipping cream with sugar to taste and pipe a border around the edge of the tart. Alternatively, mound cream in centre of tart or serve with a dollop of cream on the side.
Serves 10

Friday, 2 February 2018

Spiked Egg Nog

If you haven’t had enough egg nog here is a recipe now that it isn’t in the grocery store anymore.  I used PJ’s cream liquor for this but Baileys or Carolans works just as well


1 1/2 oz PJ’s Cream Liquor
1 full egg
3 oz milk
Pumpkin Pie Spice

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously.  Strain into glass and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Cool Cucumber Collins

This drink is definitely worth the work.  Refreshing and tart it is the perfect cool down for when the warmer days arrive.

Fill a highball glass three quarters full with ice.  Add 1 1/2 oz gin or vodka and 1 basil leaf, torn.  Top with 3 oz club soda.  Add 1/4 cup Cucumber Ice and a crack of black pepper.  Garnish with a basil leaf.

CUCUMBER ICE
Peel 1 cucumber and chop into pieces.  Put into a blender and puree.  Pour through a sieve to collect cucumber juice in a bowl, pressing down to extract as much juice as possible.  To the bowl, add 2 oz lime juice and 1 oz simple syrup.  Stir to mix.  Pour into a flat tray to freeze.  After 30 minutes remove the tray and use a fork to break up the mixture into a slush.  Place back in the freezer until ready to use.

SIMPLE SYRUP
Combine equal parts sugar and water in a pot.  Over medium high heat boil until sugar is dissolved.  Cool.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Almond Tarts

These turned out really well.  I love anything almond and these tarts fit the bill!

FILLING
8 tbsp butter
8 tbsp sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp almond flour
1 tsp almond flavouring

Strawberry or raspberry jam

PASTRY
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup shortening, cut into 1 inch pieces


  • Line tart tins with plain pastry.  Place small quantity of jam or jelly in the bottom of each.  Top with filling.  Fill to level, sealing each over jam or jelly in order that they will not boil over.  Bake at 375 F for 12 to 15 minutes.  
  • FILLING: Mix with electric beater in order given
  • PASTRY:  Mix flour and salt.  Blend in shortening with a pastry blender until consistency of crumbs.  Gradually add 4 tbsp ice water; mix thoroughly.  Divide in 2 halves.  Roll each separately on floured board with rolling pin.  Cut with round cookie cutter and work into tart tins.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Watermelon Sunshine

It might be winter outside, but crank up the heat, put on some summer tunes and make this summery cocktail.  From Food and Drink Magazine

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 1½ oz rum, ½ oz lime juice, ½ oz Simple Syrup (recipe follows), ½ cup (125 mL) diced fresh watermelon and 10 mint leaves, torn. Shake very hard and strain into a wine glass filled with ice. Top with 2 tbsp (30 mL) Strawberry Sorbet (recipe follows) and garnish with a strawberry and watermelon skewer.

Makes 1 drink





SIMPLE SYRUP

Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water; stir until sugar has dissolved. Store in fridge until chilled.


STRAWBERRY SORBET

In a saucepan, add ½ cup (125 mL) sugar and ½ cup (125 mL) water, bring to a boil, stirring, and then remove from heat. Allow to cool. To a blender, add 3 cups (750 mL) fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped, the sugar water mixture and 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 mL) lemon juice. Blend until puréed. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Pour into an ice cream machine and follow manufacturer’s directions.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Orange Flavoured Shortbreads

My daughter really enjoyed these delicately flavoured cookies.  She also enjoyed the decorating aspect :) Our decorating didn’t come out as nicely as I hoped, but she had a great time doing it and that is what matters.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Grated zest of one small orange
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup royal icing mix
2 tbsp orange juice
Decorative sugars


  • In a medium bowl combine butter and icing sugar.  Using an electric mixer, beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Mix in salt and orange zest.  Stir in flour.  Bring dough together and divide in 2; flatten slightly and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Working with 1 portion of dough at a time, roll out 1/4 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Using small to medium size cutters, cut into desired shapes, re-rolling and cutting scraps.  Place 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining portion of dough.  Chill for 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 325 F
  • Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden at edges, rotating halfway through if using 2 pans.  Cool on pans on racks until firm.  Transfer cookies to rack to cool completely.
  • To decorate, combine royal icing mix and orange juice in a small bowl and beat to combine (if find a hand mixer does this beautifully). Using a piping bag and small round tip, decorate as desired.  While icing is still wet, sprinkle with desired decorative sugar.  Let dry completely before handling or stacking.