Friday, 16 March 2018

Dinner Rolls

These rolls get brushed with some olive oil at the end giving them a wonderful light crispy texture.

2 cups hot water
1/2 cup light olive oil, plus 2 tbsp for brushing
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold water
2 pkgs active dry yeast
6 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs

  • In large bowl, stir 1/2 cup olive oil in hot water. Stir in sugar and salt.   Add cold water and yeast.  Stir to dissolve yeast.
  • Add 3 cups of flour, and mix.  Beat in eggs one at a time and remaining flour.  Mix, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm location until dough doubles in size, around 1 hour.
  • Punch down; with greased hands, make 60 walnut size balls of dough and place 30 in each of 2 greased 9 x 13 inch baking dishes.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size, around 30 minutes
  • Bake in a preheated 325 F oven for 30 minutes, or until fluffy, cooked through and pale golden on bottom.  brush tops of rolls with remaining olive oil while hot.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Strawberry Swirl Angel Food Cake

A light and sweet dessert.  A great recipe from Food and Drink Magazine Winter 2017.

1 cup (250 mL) diced strawberries
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) lemon juice

½ cup (125 mL) sifted cake flour
½ cup (125 mL) sugar, divided
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp (1 mL) cream of tartar
Pinch salt
½ tsp (2 mL) vanilla
⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) almond extract

3½ tbsp (52 mL) sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) icing sugar plus more for dusting
2 egg whites, at room temperature
Fresh edible flower petals
1. For the strawberry filling, place the diced strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan and place over low-medium heat. Cook the strawberries until they are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice and purée the mixture with an immersion blender or in a small food processor. Cool to room temperature. (The purée can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before using.) 

2. For the cakes, place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Have ready a mould for individual angel food cakes, or place six 6-oz (175-mL) ramekins on a baking sheet. 

3. Whisk together the flour and ¼ cup (60 mL) of the sugar; set aside. 

4. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites at medium speed just until broken up and beginning to froth. Add the cream of tartar and salt and continue beating at medium speed until the whites form soft mounds. In a slow, steady stream, gradually beat in the remaining ¼ cup (60 mL) sugar. Continue beating just until the whites form soft, shiny peaks. The peak should fall over when the whisk is lifted and turned upside down. Add the vanilla and almond extract and beat just until blended. 

5. Sift one-third of the flour-and-sugar mixture into the whites, gently folding together using a large rubber spatula. Repeat with the remaining flour and sugar in 2 additions. 

6. Transfer the batter to a large piping bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) round tip. Fill the cake tins, or ramekins, half full, making sure the batter is covering the bottom and is right up against the sides (This will prevent air pockets). Top with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the strawberry purée, and using a knife, swirl the purée into the batter. Pipe the remaining batter, filling each mould or ramekin almost to the top. 

7. Bake the cakes until golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed, about 20 to 22 minutes. 

8. Remove from oven and invert immediately over a cake rack, allowing the cakes to cool upside down. 

9. To remove the cakes from the ramekins, run a knife around the edges. (If using angel food cake moulds, use a toothpick to loosen the cake from the centre of the mould.) Place the cakes bottom-side up. The cakes should be baked the day of serving. 

10. For the meringue garnish, place the oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 175°F (80°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

11. Combine 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the granulated sugar with the 3 tbsp (45 mL) of icing sugar; set aside. 

12. Place 1 egg white in a medium bowl and, using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the remaining 2½ tbsp (37 mL) sugar gradually and continue beating to stiff, glossy peaks, and until the meringue no longer feels grainy to the touch. Using a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold in the icing sugar mixture. Transfer the meringue to the parchment-lined baking sheet and, using an off-set metal spatula, spread it very thinly into a rough rectangle about 9 x 12-inches (23 x 30-cm). 

13. Bake the meringue for 1 hour until dry. Remove from oven and cool. 

14. Whisk the second egg white just to break it up. Using a small brush or your fingertip, coat the back of edible flower petals with a thin layer of egg white and place them on the baked meringue. Return the meringue to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, break into large pieces, and store in an airtight container until serving. (The meringue can be stored at room temperature for 1 week.) 

15. To serve, dust the top of the cakes lightly with icing sugar. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream (or vanilla or strawberry ice cream) and shards of baked meringue.
Makes 4 to 6 cakes depending on the type of pan used

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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

Strawberry or raspberry jam

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.