Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wild Thing Cookies

Got this recipe out of Todays Parent Magazine Oct 2009.  These chocolate cookies are simple to make and the kids will love decorating them.  They were an instant family favourite and did not hang around long enough to share them at work or daycare - that tells you something!  Cut them out in your favourite shapes.  I got some icing scribblers so it would be easier to decorate but you could use homemade icing as well.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
icing and candies to decorate

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy - about 3 to 4 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl as required.  Add egg and vanilla, beat well.

On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Divide dough in half, and form each into a disc.  Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill until firm - at least 1 hour or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough until it is 1/2 in thick.  Using 2 - 3 in cookie cutters, cut out shapes and transfer to a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, placing them 1 in apart.  Freeze for 10 minutes until firm.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.  Bake 12-15 minutes, until cookies look dry.  Cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.  Used coloured icing and candies to decorate.  Allow to dry for at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Sorry but don't have a picture of this one, it is simple and delicious and quick.  Make up a design with the strawberries to fancy it up or just pile them on for something more casual.  Actually any fruit will work.

6 cups fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 square semisweet chocolate
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 beaten egg
2/3 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar

  1. Select 4 strawberries - the most uniform you can find and set aside.  Slice the remaining berries.  Combine sliced berries and 1/4 cup sugar (I omit the sugar here); set aside.  Melt semisweet chocolate.  Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.  Spoon melted chocolate over the bottom half of each reserved strawberry.  Place on baking sheet; refrigerate till needed.
  2. For shortcake, in a mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Combine egg and milk; add all at once to dry ingredients and stir just to moisten.  Spread dough in a greased 8 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pan, building up edge slightly.  Bake in a 450 oven for 15 to 18 minutes or till done.
  3. Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Remove from pan; place on a serving plate.  Beat whipping cream and the 2 tablespoons sugar on medium speed of electric mixer till soft peaks form.  Arrange some sliced berries atop cake.  Spoon whipped cream over top.  Arrange chocolate coated strawberries atop whipped cream.   Serve shortcake warm.  Pass remaining sliced berries with cake.
Makes 8 servings

Creme de Menthe Cheesecake

Okay, so not the healthiest choice, but what is life without love, drink and now and again a little cheesecake?  This is decadent with chocolate and creme de menthe mixing it up.  So for a little while, forget about the treadmill and squats and pick up a fork and just enjoy....:)  Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Chocolate cookbook

2 cups finely crushed chocolate wafers (about 38 cookies)
1/2 cup butter melted
2 - 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup green creme de menthe
3 eggs
3 - 8 oz cartons dairy sour cream
4 squares semi sweet chocolate
1/2 cup dairy sour cream

  1. For the crust, combine the crushed chocolate wafers and melted butter.  Stir till well combined.  Press the chocolate crumb mixture onto the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan or 2 1/2 inches up the sides of an 8 inch spring form pan.
  2. For the filling, in a large mixer bowl beat together cream cheese, sugar and creme de menthe just till smooth.  Add eggs; beat on low speed of electric mixer just till combined.  Do not overbeat.  Stir in the 3 cartons sour cream.  Turn into prepared crust.  Bake in a 375 oven for 55 to 60 minutes for the 9 inch cheesecake, or about 65 minutes for the 8 inch cheesecake, or till a knife inserted near the centre comes out almost clean.  Cool on a wire rack.  While the cheesecake is cooling, melt chocolate; cool for 5 minutes.  Stir the 1/2 cup sour cream into melted chocolate.  Spread over warm cheesecake.  Chill for 4 to 5 hours.  Before serving, use a knife or narrow metal spatula to carefully loosen sides of cheesecake from springform pan.  Remove the sides of the springform pan.  Makes 12 servings.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Buttery Cinnamon Cake with Apple Compote

Cinnamon and apples just seem to go together.  This cake has it all and is a great treat with coffee.  I am trying to be good so I did not add either whipping cream or vanilla ice cream to it, but it would taste great if you did.  Serve this cake and compote warm to really enjoy the flavour.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon or ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

2 tbsp packed brown sugar
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 tbsp water

Apple Compote
4 large red skinned apples, diced (peeled if desired)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cardamom or ginger
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease the sides of a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, using electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla until blended.  Stir in flour mixture alternately with sour cream, making 3 additions of flour and 2 of sour cream.  Spread into prepared pan, smoothing top.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tester inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Let cool in pan on a rack for 30 minutes.  
  4. For the glaze, combine sugar, cinnamon and water in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Remove ring from cake.  Brush top and sides with glaze and serve warm or slide the cake off the pan onto a rack and let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the apple compote.  Combine apples, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and lemon juice in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer  over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until apples are tender but still keep their shape.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Serve warm with slices of cake.

Scalloped Potatoes with Porcini and Bacon

For all you healthy eaters out there, go to the salad recipe...:) this is definitely an indulgence.  Mushrooms, bacon, cheese and potatoes!  Yum!  This would be a great side dish for Thanksgiving if you are so inclined.  I did substitute the whipping cream for half and system just can't handle that much cream anymore.  I also couldn't find the dried Porcini Mushrooms - I am not saying they weren't at Foodland, I just couldn't find them with a screaming 3 year old in the cart (the HUGE car cart that won't turn corners very well) so I substituted brown mushrooms and put them in with the onions.  I used some beef broth to substitute the liquid reserved from the mushrooms.  All in all it turned out beautifully!

1 pkg (14g) dried porcini mushrooms
6 strips bacon, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs (1 kg) potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
2 cups milk
1 cup whipping cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter a casserole that measures about 9 inches square.  Place mushrooms in a small bowl.  Cover mushrooms with about 1/2 cup boiling water.  Let stand while preparing ingredients.
  3. In a large frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat until it starts to crisp, about 5 minutes.  Add onion and continue to cook until bacon is crisp and onion is tender, about 5 more minutes.  Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds, just until fragrant.  Strain mushrooms over a bowl but don't discard liquid.  Squeeze out any liquid from mushrooms into bowl.  Chop mushrooms and stir into bacon mixture.
  4. Peel potatoes and slice as thinly as possible, no thicker 1/4 inch.  Place milk, cream and nutmeg in a large wide pan.  Gradually add mushroom liquid, so that any grit at bottom of bowl doesn't get added.  Over medium heat, bring to a simmer.  Add potatoes to simmering milk mixture.  Stir.  Cook just until almost fork tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, remove and spread about half the potatoes into prepared casserole.  Top with half the bacon mixture.  Lightly season with salt and pepper.  Spoon remaining potatoes over top.  Repeat with bacon mixture and seasonings.  Carefully pour milk mixture over top, to evenly distribute.  Bake covered, 30 minutes.  Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue to bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 to 30 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Easy Lemon Tarts

Who doesn't love lemon?  These are simple and elegant desserts.  Make your own pastry if you like or simply use store-bought frozen shells to save on time.  Change them up according to what fruit is in season.  You can add whipping cream to the tops but they really don't need it.

12 frozen tart shells or homemade pastry
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
strawberries or seasonal fruit for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).  
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the lemon juice, eggs and granulated sugar with a whisk or electric mixer for at least 1 minute.  Add whipping cream and beat until combined.  Pour into tart shells, filling each one to just below the top edge.  Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 18 to 20 min, or until filling is just about set and the pastry is lightly browned.  Let cool completely.
  3. Just before serving, place fruit on the tops and enjoy!
Based on a recipe from Todays Parent May 2008

Summer Celebration Punch

Best punch I ever made!  Easy and delicious!  The grape and Chambord really work well together.  More of a summer drink (thereby the name) but I would have it anytime.

In a glass punch bowl, combine 8 oz gin, 4 oz Chambord, 4 oz cherry brandy, 2 cups grape juice, 2 cups cranberry juice and 2 cups lemonade.  Add 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup seedless grapes, halved, and 1 cup fresh blueberries.  Stir to mix.  Pour into glasses filled with ice and top with soda if desired.

Makes approximately 12 servings (or two really big ones)

Got this from Food & Drink Early Summer 2005

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Baby Spinach, Avocado and Endive Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

Another green side dish!  Got this one out of the same magazine - Food & Drink Early Summer 2011
Never did get a picture before it was eaten - but salads are pretty standard.

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp liquid honey
1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1 large Belgian endive
1/2 cup mint leaves
8 cups baby spinach (2 L)
1 large ripe but firm avocado, diced
4 oz (125 g) Feta, crumbled

  1. Whisk oil with lime juice, honey, Dijon, garlic, salt and pepper until blended.
  2. Slice endive in half lengthwise.  Cut out and discard core.  Then thinly slice.  Stack mint leaves, then thinly slice.  Place both in a salad bowl along with spinach.  Toss.  Add avocado and feta.
  3. Drizzle with as much dressing as you need to coat.  Toss gently.
Serves 4 to 6

Minted Avocado Dip with Tortilla Chips

 If you want something healthier choose veggies instead of the Tortilla Chips

I got this one out of the Food and Drink Early Summer 2011

1/3 to 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream (greek yogurt also works well)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/4 tsp salt (I left this out)
dashes of hot sauce to taste
2 large ripe avocados (I am digging the avocados lately)
1 bag tortilla chips

  1. In a medium bowl, stir 1/3 cup sour cream with juice, garlic, mint, salt and hot sauce.  (If making ahead, this mixture can be covered and refrigerated for up to a day.)
  2. Cut avocados in 2; remove stones.  Using a knife without a sharp point, score flesh into 1/4 inch dice right down to leathery skin.  Scoop flesh out into sour cream mixture.  Mix, breaking up avocado dice as little as possible.  Add more sour cream, tablespoonful by tablespoonful, as needed to achieve a thick yet creamy consistency.
  3. This keeps well for up to half a day if plastic wrap is pressed directly onto dip surface and refrigerated.  Pile mixture into a serving dish; garnish with sprigs of mint.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Fresh Rosemary Pork Roast With Vidalia Onions and Rose Wine Sauce

Posting this for you Kristin!

This recipe came from Food & Drink Early Summer 2011.  I changed the pork roast for two pork tenderloins and they were in the brine for about 4 hours longer than the recipe calls for (I didn't want to get up at 1 am to take them out).  It turned out beautifully!  Do not skimp on the fresh Rosemary with dried.  It just won't come out the same.  This is the second time I have used a brine and I have had success both times.  It is an easy way to make your roast/bird tender and juicy.

8 cups cold tap water, divided
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 to 3 lbs (1 to 1.5 kg) well trimmed boneless pork loin roast
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups diced Vidalia or other sweet onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 to 2 tbsp butter
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup rose wine
1 tsp finely minced fresh rosemary

  1. Heat 2 cups water mixed with salt and sugar until very warm; stir to dissolve salt and sugar.  Meanwhile, place loin in a large casserole dish big enough to hold it and water, such as a 13 x 9 inch dish; pour in remaining cold tap water.  Add warm sugar and salt water.  Cover; refrigerate 8 to 12 hours.  (If longer time is needed, refrigerate in brine for up to 12 hours; then drain.  Return to drained dish; refrigerate until needed, up to half a day.)
  2. Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat until hot.  Add onion; reduce heat to medium-low.  Saute, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until onion is lightly golden and much reduced in volume.  Stir in garlic.  Remove from heat; put a third of onions into a small dish.  Reserve these for sauce.  Mix parsley, rosemary, black pepper and salt into remaining onions.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Drain loin; discard brine.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Lay roast on cutting board.  Horizontally stab a boning knife into centre of 1 end, carefully working knife back and forth to form a slash that comes within 1 inch of either side.  Turn roast and do same from other side.  Work knife carefully so slash goes completely through length of loin.
  5. Switching ends back and forth as needed, stuff rosemary-onion mixture into loin slit.  (roast can be covered and refrigerated for up to half a day.)
  6. Heat a large heavy frying pan capable of going into the oven (cast iron is best) until hot, over medium-high heat.  Beginning fat-side down, brown pork about 2 minutes per side.  Place in oven, fat side up.
  7. Bake 50 minutes; if roast is browning too much, loosely cover with a piece of foil.  Check internal temperature with an instant read thermometer.  As needed, continue baking another 10 to 20 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 145 to 150 F (allow additional roasting time for made ahead chilled stuffed roast.)  Remove roast to cutting board; tent with foil while making sauce.
  8. Sprinkle flour over pan dripping; add butter as needed to mostly dissolve flour.  Place pan over medium heat; slowly stir in a mixture of broth and wine.   Mixture will be lumpy.  Bring to a boil; let bubble several minutes or until desired thickness.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.  Stir in any juices released by tented roast.
  9. Strain gravy, discarding solids; stir in reserved onions and final tsp of rosemary.  Taste and add seasonings as needed.  Slice roast a generous 1/4 inch thick, laying slices as cut onto warm serving plates.  Drizzle with a bit of sauce; pass remaining sauce at the table.
Generously serves 6 to 8.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Grilled Zucchini Pepper Wraps with Lemon Grass Aioli

These are great as appetizers or as a side dish.  For maximum flavour make the Aioli ahead of time.  If you have a hard time finding Lemon Grass, substitute for your favourite herb.  I used Basil and it came out just fine. This recipe came from the Food & Drink Summer 2011.

I absolutely love grilled vegetables and this is a nice switch to the usual that I make.


2 stalks lemon grass
2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


4 medium zucchini, each about 7 x 1 3/4 inches
3 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt (I left this out)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
36 thin strips each sweet orange and yellow pepper (2 peppers cut up)

  • For the aioli, cut lemon grass stalks in half lengthwise.  Trim out tender inner hearts and the tenderest inner layers.  Reserve remaining lemon grass for another use.  Finely mince hearts and enough of the tender layers to make about 2 tbsp.
  • In a small skillet, heat oil over medium low heat.  Saute minced lemon grass (if using fresh herbs instead add at the end) and garlic for about 3 minutes or until softened but not browned.  Transfer to a heat proof bowl and let cool.  Whisk in mayonnaise until blended.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to blend the flavours or for up to 2 days.
  • For the wraps, heat barbecue to medium.
  • Trim ends from zucchini.  Cut lengthwise into thin slices, about 1/3 inch thick, until you have 36 slices.  In a shallow dish, combine oil, coriander, salt and cayenne.  Add zucchini and rub or brush to coat evenly with spices.  Grill, turning once for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until grill marked and tender (do not let crisp).  Return to shallow dish and let cool to room temperature.
  • To assemble hold 1 strip orange pepper and 1 strip yellow pepper together.  Wrap 1 slice of zucchini horizontally around peppers, with peppers sticking above the top edge of zucchini.  Secure with a toothpick and place on a platter; gently separate pepper strips so they point inopposite directions.  Repeat to make about 36 wraps.  (Platter can be wrapped and refrigerated for up to 4 hours; let wraps warm to room temperature before serving).  
  • To serve, place bowl of aioli on platter along with a small spoon to dollop on top of wraps.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Practically Perfect Pound Cake

A simple recipe I got from Todays Parent magazine June 2008.  In my younger days I would have had this with whipping cream and seasonal berries, but sadly today I just eat it with seasonal berries.  It is still yummy.

2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour (do yourself a favour and only buy unbleached)
1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
pinch salt (I usually leave this out)
1 cup (250 ml) sugar
3/4 cup (175 ml) unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Grease a 9 x 5 in loaf pan.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside for the time being.

Then in a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until creamy and light.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg and scraping down the sides occasionally.  Continue beating the mixture for 2 or 3 minutes after all the eggs have been added.  Beat in the vanilla, then add the flour mixture in 2 or 3 additions, alternately with the milk, beating until the batter is just smooth.  Dump into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or until a toothpick poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack and let cool completely.

Makes 1 loaf

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sweet Potato Biscuits

A nice moist biscuit that goes with just about anything. I got the recipe from a Today's Parent magazine but changed it up with the Greek yogurt and Spelt flour

1 large sweet potato
2 tbsp (30 ml) raw, shelled sunflower seeds
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400F.  Prick sweet potato once with a fork and bake directly on the middle rack of your oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until collapsed and very soft inside.  (Slip a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below to catch gooey drips.) While the oven is on toast seeds on a small baking sheet for 5 minutes.  Or microwave sweet potato on high for about 7 minutes, then toast seeds by microwaving on a plate, in a single layer, for 1 minute, stirring a few times.

Increase oven temperature to 425 F.  In a large bowl, whisk together both types of flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter using a pastry blender, or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  In a small bowl, mash slightly cooled sweet potato until smooth; measure out 34 cup and stir into the flour mixture with the buttermilk, mixing until dough just comes together, add 1 egg.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface (I used the Spelt flour here too) and knead gently 6 times or until the dough is smooth and uniform.  Roll dough out into a 10 in. diameter circle about 1/2 inch thick.  Using a 3 inch cookie cutter, press out 10 to 12 biscuits and arrange on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with toasted seeds.  Bake on the middle rack for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.  Serve hot.

Makes 10 to 12 biscuits.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Cool Berry Mint Smoothie

Love this smoothie, lots of Berry Power!

2 whole ripe bananas, broken into large pieces
1 cup (250 ml) blueberries
1/2 cup (125 ml) raspberries
1 cup (250 ml) cranberry juice cocktail
2 tsp (10 ml) chopped fresh mint

Mint Sprigs

1.  Add all the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.  Chill mixture in fridge until cold and serve garnished with mint sprigs.

Serves 4

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Singapore Noodles with Burnished Barbecue Chicken

Vegetables, noodles and chicken you can't go wrong with this one!  The flavour will vary with the amount and type of curry you use.  I used a Japanese Curry powder that I had made for a previous recipe, but use what you enjoy.  Make sure you prep by chopping all vegetables prior to cooking.  This would also work well with a chow mein noodle.  Got this from the Food and Drink Summer 2011 book.

1/3 cup (80 ml) reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
2 tsp (10 ml) pureed ginger root
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each about 8 oz (250 g)
1/4 cup (60 ml) honey

12 oz (375 g) rice  vermicelli
hot water
3 tbsp (45 ml) vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
6 carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
4 stalks celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet red peppers, thinly sliced
2 tbsp (30 ml) minced ginger root
1/3 cup (80 ml) Indian yellow curry paste
2 tbsp (30 ml) reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 ml) Asian hot chili sauce
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

  1. For the chicken, combine soy sauce, oil and ginger in a shallow dish or sealable plastic bag.  Add chicken and turn to coat.  Cover or seal bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or for up to 1 day.
  2. Preheat barbecue to medium.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding any excess.  Grill, covered and turning once, 5 to 6 minutes per side or until no longer pink inside.  Brush 1 side with honey, turn and grill for 1 minute.  Brush remaining side with honey, turn and grill for 1 minute or until well glazed.  Transfer to a bowl or cutting board and let cool slightly. Shred chicken into large pieces or slice thinly.  Keep warm.
  4. Soak rice vermicelli in a large bowl of hot water for about 5 minutes until softened or according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the oil over high heat in a large wok and swirl to coat.  Pour in eggs and fry without stirring until almost set.  Stir to break up eggs slightly and fry until just set, then transfer to a plate.  Add half of remaining oil to wok.  In 2 batches, stir-fry carrots, celery and onions for 3 to 4 minutes or until onions are softened.  Transfer to a bowl.  Add remaining oil between batches.  Add garlic, red peppers, ginger and curry paste to wok and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until peppers are tender.
  6. Return carrot mixture to wok and add noodles, soy sauce and chili sauce.  Fry, stirring gently, but thoroughly, with 2 large spatulas, until noodles are well coated in spices and steaming hot.  Add eggs and stir just to combine.  Arrange noodles on a platter and add chicken.  Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.  Serve extra chili sauce on the side.
Serves 10 to 12

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Hearty Vegetable Soup

3 tbsp vegetable oil 45 ml
1 leek, white and light green part only, washed and cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 1/12 cups chopped cabbage, about 3 large cabbage leaves 375 ml
1 jar (700 ml) Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Sauce
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock 625 ml
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas 375 ml
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add leek, onion, carrot, celery and cabbage.  Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 12 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta sauce and stock. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add chickpeas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

3 tbsp vegetable oil 45 ml
1 leek, white and light green part only, washed and cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 1/12 cups chopped cabbage, about 3 large cabbage leaves 375 ml
1 jar (700 ml) Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Sauce
2 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock 625 ml
1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas 375 ml
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add leek, onion, carrot, celery and cabbage.  Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have softened, about 12 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta sauce and stock. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Add chickpeas and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Strawberry Parfaits

A fantastic summer dessert I found in Food and Drink Summer 2011.  For variety change up the fruit to whatever is in season.  The Lime Curd can be purchased but is fairly easy to make and definitely worth the effort.

5 to 6 cups (1.25 to 1.5 l) fresh strawberries
1 pkg (250 g) light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (125 ml) icing sugar
1 cup (250 ml) cold whipping cream
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups (250 to 375 ml ) lime curd
Zest of 1 lime

  1. Set 4 large perfect berries aside for garnish.  Hull and slice remaining berries into bite size pieces; cover and refrigerate up to half a day.
  2. Using an electric mixer; beat cheese with sugar until somewhat fluffy.  In another bowl, combine cream and vanilla; whip until stiff peaks form.  Fold 2 mixtures together; cover and refrigerate up to half a day.
  3. When ready to serve, use parfait glasses or large wine glasses capable of holding 1 cup (250 ml).  (I used a martini glass).  Put sliced strawberries in bottom, top with a dollop of cream and 1 tbsp of lime curd.  Add another layer of berries and dollop of cream.  Decoratively spoon a bit of lime curd on top.  Slice reserved berries, hull intact, in half lengthwise, garnish parfait with strawberry half and a pinch of lime zest.
Makes 8 servings.

Lime Curd

This freezes well and as per the Food and Drink suggestion can be scooped like ice cream.  I have also made this with lemon, but I think any citrus would work.

1 large lime
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) butter, softened
Juice of 4 limes, about 3/4 cup (175 ml)

1.  Finely zest 1 large lime; set aside
2.  In a medium saucepan, whisk eggs, sugar and butter.  Stir in juice and zest; mixture may be lumpy.  Whisk constantly over low heat until mixture starts to thicken and turns lighter in colour, from 15 to 18 minutes.  Do not boil.  Remove from heat and place a piece of plastic directly on the surface of the curd. Refrigerate until cold for up to a week or freeze.

Makes 1 1/2 cups (375 ml)