Saturday, 31 December 2011

Summer Breeze

Perfect for a day like today with freezing rain and snow,  just pour, close your eyes and pretend you are at the cottage!

3/4 oz Vodka
1/4 oz Melon Liqueur
1/4 oz Peach Schnapps
1/3 Orange juice
1/3 Pineapple Juice
1/3 Perrier
Creme de Banane
Combine first 5 ingredients together on ice.  Shake well and pour into a Collins glass.  Fill with Perrier.  Add a float of Creme de Banane and garnish with a pineapple wedge or orange wheel.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Green Minestrone with Pesto

Not a beautiful looking soup, but delicious and healthy!

1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch hot red chili flakes
2 zucchini, diced
1 bunch swiss chard or kale, chopped
1 head broccoli, trimmed and chopped
1/2 lb green beans, cut into 1/2 in slices
8 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup macaroni or other small pasta (whole wheat if possible)
1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
cups chopped escarole or baby spinach leaves
3 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, 
2 oz (60g) shaved or grated Parmesan (preferably parmigiano reggiano)
  1. Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  Add onions, garlic and hot chili flakes.  Cook gently until tender.
  2. Add zucchini, Swiss chard, broccoli, green beans and stock. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes.  Add pasta and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Add chickpeas and escarole, salt, pepper and green onions.  Cook 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile make pesto by placing garlic, basil and salt in a food processor and chopping finely.  While the machine is running, add olive oil through the feed tube, until mixture is thin enough to drizzle.
  5. Serve soup, drizzled with pesto and topped with Parmesan.  Freeze any leftover pesto. 

Southern Perrier

Nothing is wrong when it has Amaretto in it!

1 part Amaretto
1 part Southern Comfort
1 part Perrier
Build all ingredients on ice in a Rocks glass.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Greek Shrimp with Tomato and Feta

Something a little different than turkey :)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
pinch hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine, chicken stock or water
1 - 28 oz tin plum tomatoes with juices or 2 lb fresh plum tomatoes peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt (I don’t add this)
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, butterflied but not split (750 g)
125 g Feta cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp pitted small black olives
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat oil in a large deep skillet.  Add onions and cook gently on medium heat until tender.  If onions start to stick add a few tablespoons water and continue cooking until water evaporates.  Add garlic and hot red pepper flakes and cook a minute longer.  Add wine and cook until it is almost completely evaporated.
  2. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Break tomatoes up with a spoon and cook, on medium heat, stirring often, until thick - 10 to 15 minutes.  Add shrimp and stir to cook well with tomatoes.  Transfer to a 3L baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle shrimp with feta and olives.  Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 10 to 15 minutes until shrimp are cooked through.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Perrier Melon Ball

A summery flavoured cocktail!

1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Melon Liqueur
Float of Grenadine
Pour Vodka and Melon Liqueur over ice in a rocks glass.  Top with perrier.  Float Grenadine.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Gourmet Potato Skins

Delicious any time of the year, switch up the cheese if you don't like Gruyere, or switch the ham for bacon!  Enjoy

6 russet potatoes
Kosher salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
7 oz (200g) Gruyere cheese, grated
3 1/2 oz (105 g) slice of ham
1/2 large red pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Rinse the potatoes and then prick them all over using a fork.  Make a bed of salt inthe bottom of a baking dish and place the potatoes on top.  Bake the potatoes for 1 hour or until tender, turning once.
  3. Let the potatoes cool slightly.  Cut them in half lengthwise and using a small spoon scoop out insides leaving 1/4 inch thickness of potato lining each half.  (Use the removed pulp to make mashed potatoes).
  4. Brush the potato halves inside and out with melted butter and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle the shells with half the grated cheese.  Cut the ham into 1 x 1/4 inch batons and dice the red pepper.  Fill the potatoes with the diced ham, red peppers and green onions and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Top the potatoes with the remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes or until hot and bubbling.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Perrier Classeau

Something to relax with after the holidays

1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Kaluha
Pour Vodka and Kaluha over ice in a rocks glass.  Add a splash of perrier.  Garnish with a cherry.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

German Chocolate Cake

Perfect for Christmas!!!!

1 - 4 ounce package German sweet cooking chocolate coarsely chopped
1/3 cup water
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 stiff beaten egg whites
Coconut Pecan Frosting
  1. Grease and lightly flour two 8 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pans; set aside.  In a small sauce pan combine chocolate and water; cook and stir till chocolate melts.  Cool.  Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a large mixer bowl beat butter on medium speed of electric mixer about 30 seconds.  Add sugar and vanilla; beat till fluffy.  Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Beat in chocolate mixture.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition.  Fold in beaten egg whites.  Turn cake batter into prepared pans.  Bake in a 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes or til cake tests done.  Place the cake layers on wire racks; cool for 10 minutes.  Remove from pans; cool thoroughly.  Fill and frost top with coconut pecan frosting.  Makes 12 servings.
  3. Coconut Pecan Frosting:  IN a medium saucepan beat 1 egg slightly.  Stir in 2/3 cup sugar, one 5 1/2 ounce can evaporated milk, and 1/4 cup butter.  Cook and stir over medium heat about 12 minutes or till mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Stir in one 3 1/2 ounce can (1 1/3 cups) flaked coconut and 1/2 cup chopped pecans; cool.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Perrier a Trois

This will make you feel you are somewhere tropical!

1 oz Rum
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Bar Lime Mix
1/2 oz Orange Juice
2 Floats of Malibu
Combine Rum, Triple Sec, Pineapple Juice, Lime Mix and Orange Juice.  Shake well.  Pour Malibu and top with Perrier.  Garnish with a slice of lime, orange or Pineapple.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Black Forest Cake

I have made this a few times, it is a little work to assemble but worth it!

Cherry filling
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
3 squares unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 slightly beaten egg
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup milk
Golden Butter Frosting
Maraschino cherries
Chocolate curls

Prepare Cherry Filling.  Grease and lightly flour two 9 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pans; set aside.  In a saucepan combine 2/3 cup sugar, the 1/2 cup milk, chocolate and 1 egg.  Cook and stir just till mixture boils; cool.  Meanwhile stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.  In a large mixer bowl beat shortening on medium speed of electric mixer about 30 seconds.  Add the 1 cup sugar and vanilla; beat till fluffy.  Add the 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well on medium speed.  Add dry ingredients and the 1 cup milk alternately to beaten mixture, beating after each addition.  Stir in chocolate mixture.  Turn into prepared pans.  Bake in a 350 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or till a wooden pick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on wire racks.  Remove from pans; cool thoroughly.

To assemble place 1 cake layer on a serving plate.  Us 1/2 cup of the golden butter frosting to make a solid circle about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 1 inch high, in centre of bottom cake layer.  Use 1 cup frosting to make a border, 1/2 inch wide and 1 inch high, around the edge of the layer.  Spoon chilled cherry filling between circle and border.  Place second cake layer on top.  Frost top and sides with remaining frosting.  Garnish with maraschino cherries and Chocolate curls.  Chill.  Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 12 servings.

Cherry Filling:  Drain one 16 ounce can pitted dark sweet cherries, reserving 1/2 cup syrup.  Coarsely chop cherries and place in a bowl.  Add 1/3 cup Kirsch or cherry liqueur; let stand 2 hours.  In a saucepan combine 4 tsp cornstarch and the reserved 1/2 cup cherry syrup; stir in chopped cherry mixture.  Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cool and stir 2 minutes more.  Cover surface with clear plastic wrap; chill.

Golden Butter Frosting:  Beat 1 cup butter till fluffy.  Beat in 2 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar till smooth.  Add 3 egg yolks, beating till mixture is fluffy.  Add 2 1/4 cups additional sifted powdered sugar; beat till smooth.

Brownie-Peanut Butter Ice Cream

This is a favourite of mine!  It has a rich flavour and the brownie and peanut butter is divine!  I had to make this in two batches as my ice cream maker is smaller than the one used in this recipe, but that didn't seem to make a difference.  Make sure you cool the mixture well before putting it in the ice cream maker or it won't freeze nicely.

2 cups sugar
2 cups light cream
2 cups whipping cream
6 well beaten eggs
4 cups milk
2 tbsp vanilla
2 cups crumbled brownies
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 cup peanut butter

In a heavy large saucepan combine the sugar, light cream, and whipping cream.  Cook and stir over medium heat till the sugar dissolves.  Stir about half the hot mixture into the beaten eggs.  Return all of the mixture to the saucepan.  Cook and stir about 5 minutes more or till the mixture is slightly thickened and coats a metal spoon.  Cool; stir in milk and vanilla.  Cover and chill (chilling the mixture speeds freezing). Pour the mixture into a 5 quart ice cream freezer.  Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  Remove the dasher; stir in the crumbled brownies, chopped peanuts, and peanut butter before ripening the ice cream.  Makes about 3 1/2 quarts.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Peppermint Perrier

Great for the winter season!

1 oz Creme de Menthe
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao
Build first two ingredients in a Rocks glass.  Top with Perrier.  Garnish with Mint leaves.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


As the name suggests, decadent - perfect for the season!

1 1/2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz creme de cacao
1/2 oz peppermint schnapps
1/2 oz vodka
2 1/2 oz half and half cream
Chocolate truffle
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add the ingredients and shake until chilled.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Serve with a chocolate truffle.
Makes 1 cocktail

Monday, 19 December 2011

Fresh Corn and Sage Bread

Fabulous with your holiday bird!

1/3 cup butter, melted
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp dried sage leaves
4 cobs of corn shucked
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
In a nonstick skillet, add 1 tbsp butter with onion, celery, jalapeno and sage over medium heat and cook for about 7 minutes or until softened.  Set aside to cool.
Using chefs knife, cut kernels off of corn cobs and set aside.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  In another bowl, whisk together milk, eggs and remaining melted butter.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture along with cooked onion mixture and stir to combine.  Stir in corn kernels until well-combined.  Pour into six 5 3/4 x 3 1/4 inch parchment paper lined loaf pans and smooth tops.  Bake in 375F oven for about 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean.
Cheese option:  Divide 3/4 cup shredded cheddar over top of cornbread before baking
Cornbread Muffins:  Divide batter among 12 greased muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Monkey Business

A sneaky cocktail!  Tastes like the banana popsicles of my youth - but watch out these creep up on you!

1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Banana Liqueur
Pour Vodka and Banana Liqueur over ice in a rocks glass.  Fill with Perrier.  Garnish with a Cherry

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Fresh and Light Antipasto Tuna Salad

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp dried
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 english cucumber, chopped
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups cubed mozzarella 
2 cans chunk tuna, drained
Salad greens and or whole grain toast
  1. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, mayonnaise, basil and pepper.  Add cucumber, tomatoes, yellow pepper and mozzarella and toss to coat.
  2. Using a fork, gently stir in tuna, breaking chunks slightly but leaving tuna in bite size pieces.  Serve on greens or place greens on toast and spoon salad on top

Mellow Malibu

1 1/2 oz Malibu Coconut Rum
Orange Juice
Float of Grenadine
Build over ice in a Poco Martini glass.  Add Malibu and Orange Juice until ice floats.  Top with Perrier and float of grenadine.  Garnish with a Pineapple wedge.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms

Marsala is a fortified wine - it is sweet but has a wonderful flavour for cooking!

750 g chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, cut into cubes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp oil

1 small onion, finely chopped
250 g Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup dry Marsala
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp parsley freshly chopped

  1. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper.  Dust with flour evenly coating chicken
  2. Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan and add chicken in small batches being careful not to overload the pan.  Cook about 2 minutes each side.  Remove to a platter.
  3. Return pan to heat and add oil if necessary.  Once hot add mushrooms and onion.  Cook until onion is soft and mushrooms slightly browned.  Add Marsala and bring to a boil.  Add stock and cook until reduced by about half.  
  4. Add chicken to pan and heat through.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Brown Cow

Too simple for a recipe really - but still a lovely drink!

  1. In a rocks glass with ice add 2 oz of Kahlua and top with milk.  Sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.

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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Banana Berry Crumble

A great dessert, I love crumbles.  The banana in this is a nice change to the usual crumble.  Switch up the berries to give it a different flavour.  This time I used frozen blueberries.  Based on a recipe found in Todays Parent May 2008.

4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2 in thick
2 cups mixed berries, any kind, fresh or frozen
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rolled oats - not instant
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shredded coconut (I left this out as I have a coconut hater in the house)

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Grease a 9 inch pie pan or round baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, toss together the bananas, berries and lemon juice until combined.  Add the granulated sugar and stir until well mixed.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  4. In another bowl, combine the oats, flour brown sugar, butter and coconut.  With a fork, mash everything together until it forms a crumbly mixture.  You actually might find it easier to mix this by hand, rubbing the ingredients with your fingers until it forms clumpy soft crumbs.  Sprinkle overtop the banana mixture in the dish.  Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is lightly browned.  Let cool slightly before serving with yogurt, cream or creme fraiche.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Fantastic Fish

This is so easy it is hardly a recipe.  The flavour is good and again something that picky eaters will enjoy. I have lots of critics here - mostly my youngest and this was enjoyed even by her.

1 1/2- 2 cups crushed pretzels
5 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp chili powder
mild flavoured fish

  1. Cut fish into nugget sized pieces and place on tray.
  2. Mix mayonnaise and chili powder in a bowl then spread on fish nuggets.
  3. Sprinkle crushed pretzels on top and bake in a 400 F oven until cooked - approximately 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sardinian Kebabs over Couscous

Loved this one, the couscous was fabulous!  First time I have ever tried it, of course the meat was great, loved the marinade and it worked really nicely with the couscous.  The couscous however was so flavourful - I could eat just that!

1 1/2 lb (750 g) boneless pork, chicken or lamb, cut into 1 in cubes
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
4 tbsp lemon juice, divided
2 tsp crumbled dried thyme
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets
1 tsp salt
2 cups (500ml) canned crushed tomatoes
1 cups (500 ml) chicken broth
1/4 tsp pepper
1 3/4 cups whole wheat couscous (340 g box)

  1. In a bowl, combine the cubed meat with 2 tbsp of the olive oil, 3 tbsp of the lemon juice and the thyme.  Mix well, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or as long as 2 hours).  Soak 6 bamboo skewers, each measuring 8 in in water.
  2. About 20 to 30 minutes before you want to eat, preheat a barbecue grill to medium heat.  Thread the cubes of meat onto the soaked skewers.
  3. Place the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring often, until lightly browned - about 5 minutes.  Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring until softened - 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, cauliflower and salt.  Cook stirring often, until the cauliflower begins to turn golden - 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, broth and pepper, and bring to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, remove from heat and let sit covered for about 10 minutes.
  5. While the couscous sits, grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until cooked to taste - 7 to 10 minutes.  Chicken and pork should be opaque in the middle; lamb can be served slightly pink.
  6. To serve, stir the remaining 1 tbsp lemon juice and the toasted pine nuts unto the couscous.  Spoon some couscous onto each plate and serve topped with a grilled kebab.

Chicken Parmesan Cutlets

This can be changed into chicken fingers or nuggets for the kids if you wish - just cut accordingly.  In my family anything that can be dipped is usually a favourite.  The Parmesan in these adds a little more flavour for the adults, but is still enjoyed by the kids.

1/3 cup plain dried bread crumbs
3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese (don't buy the stuff in the shaker - it has no flavour, get the brick and   grate it yourself - it is a bit more money but definitely worth it - Romano is another good choice and is a little cheaper)
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning, or dried basil, thyme or oregano leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2 tbsp water
4 chicken breast cutlets (or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally and pounded flat)
1 tbsp olive oil
lemon wedges (optional)

  1. In a shallow dish, stir bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, dried herbs and salt to mix.  In a separate shallow dish, whisk the egg together with the water.
  2. Dip 1 cutlet in the egg mixture.  Shake off excess then dip in bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat well.  Set aside on a tray.  Repeat with the remaining cutlets.
  3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, preferably non stick, over medium heat.  Once hot, add the prepared cutlets, cooking until golden, about 4 minutes a side.
  4. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing overtop or store bought tzatziki for dipping.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Family Night Chicken Nachos

Even the kids will eat these!  Never a complaint when Nachos hit the table..:)

2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups milk
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack, Cheddar or Tex Mex blend cheese, divided
8 0z (250 g) Baked corn tortilla chips or scoops
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, diced
1 cup corn kernels
light sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  Butter a large rimmed baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine flour, chili powder and oregano.  Whisk in milk and garlic, bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Reduce heat and boil gently, whisking for about 2 min or until thickened.  Remove from heat; whisk in tomato paste and 1 cup of the cheese.
  3. Spread tortilla chips on baking sheet.  Drizzle sauce over chips and top with chicken, tomatoes, red peppers and corn; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for about 10 min or until chicken is hot and cheese is melted.  Serve with sour cream on the side.

Black Russian

This is one of the first cocktails I ever had :) Simply and good.

  1. In an old fashioned glass with ice, pour 3/4 oz Tia Maria and 1 1/12 oz Banff Ice Vodka

Friday, 9 December 2011

Thai Beef Salad

Awesome salad with an Asian flavour - feel free to switch up the beef for chicken, fish or shrimp

2 tbsp each lime juice and vegetable oil
1 tbsp each dark sesame oil and fish sauce
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp finely minced ginger
1 to 2 tsp very finely minced hot red chili pepper such as a habanero
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups thinly sliced Savoy cabbage
1 mini cucumber thinly sliced diagonally
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1 cup bean sprouts
1/3 cup shredded mint leaves
1/4 cup diced red onion
Thinly sliced leftover grilled steak
2 tbsp salted roasted peanuts

  1. In a large bowl, whisk lime juice with vegetable oil, sesame oil, fish sauce and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in ginger, chili and salt.
  2. Add cabbage, cucumber, carrot, bean sprouts, mint, red onion and steak. Toss to combine.  Sprinkle with peanuts.

Spicy Espresso Steak Barbecue Sauce

Love the flavour of Espresso in this sauce.  Kick up the BBQ a notch and try this out on steak or chicken.

1 bottle (700 ml) strained tomatoes or passata
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp espresso powder
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 tbsp mustard powder

  1. Place ingredients in a small saucepan and stir to mix.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavours infuse and sauce thickens slightly, about 20 minutes.  
  2. If making ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  
Use for a marinade or to coat and bbq.  Also great on the side for dipping.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Autumn Zest

Simple and who doesn't love Amaretto.....:)

1 oz Amaretto
Crushed Ice
Build all ingredients over crushed ice in a Rocks glass.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce

Brunch, breakfast or dinner - you choose what you want to use this for!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp hot Asian chili sauce or hot sauce to taste
1 - 28 oz (796 ml)  tin plum tomatoes, pureed
1/2 tsp salt and pepper or to taste
1/2 cup water if necessary
4 eggs
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 slices focaccia
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
  1. Heat oil in large deep skillet.  Add onions and garlic and cook gently on medium low heat until fragrant, but do not brown.  Add hot sauce and cook a few minutes.  Add tomatoes, bring to a boil and cook gently on medium heat, until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add water if sauce becomes too thick.
  2. Add eggs to tomatoes and cook (poach) until whites are opaque but yolks still runny 5 to 7 minutes.  Cover partially while cooking.
  3. Meanwhile brush bread with olive oil and season lightly with salt. Grill bread until marked in a grill pan, panini maker or int the oven on a baking sheet for 10 minutes in a preheated 400F oven.  Bread should be crusty on the outside but chewy in the centre.
  4. Serve eggs and sauce on or with grilled bread.  Sprinkle eggs with parsley.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

After Eight Perrier Float

Okay girls here is one for you - a little holiday cheer!

1/3 oz Kahlua
1/3 oz Baileys
1/3 oz creme de menthe
Chocolate Ice Cream
Using a melon baller, scoop one scoop of ice cream into a champagne flute.  Combine first three ingredients and pour over ice cream.  Top with Perrier and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Black and White Cupcakes

These are a rich delicious cupcake.  The batter is thin and produces a very light cake like cupcake.  You won't be disappointed.

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup Cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
2 eggs
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Vanilla frosting
Chocolate frosting

  1. Heat oven to 350F.  Line muffin cups with paper bake cups.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Add buttermilk, eggs, water, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes (batter will be thin).  Fill cups 2/3 full with batter.
  3. Bake 15 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Remove cupcakes from pan.  Cool completely.  Frost with Vanilla Frosting or Chocolate Frosting.
** To sour milk use 1 tbsp white vinegar plus milk to equal 1 cup

Vanilla Frosting:  Beat 1/4 cup softened butter, 1/4 cup shortening and 2 tsp vanilla extract.  Add 1 cup powdered sugar; beat until creamy.  Add 3 cups powdered sugar alternately with 3 to 4 tbsp milk, beating to spreading consistency.  About 2 1/3 cups.

Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting:  Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter; stir in 2/3 cup cocoa.  Add 3 cups powdered sugar alternately with 1/3 cup milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract beating to spreading consistency.  About 2 cups frosting.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Chocolate Ginger Slices

A wonderful spicy cookie that everyone will love over the holidays!

1 lb unsalted butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch, sifted
pinch salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup dark chocolate chips, divided
½ cup white chocolate chips
In a large bowl, combine butter and icing sugar.  With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
In another bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, ginger and ½ cup of dark chocolate chips until well combined.  Add flour mixture to butter and blend until just combined.  Do not over mix or cookies will be tough.
Divide dough in half and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap.  Gently shape dough into rectangular logs approx. 2” width.  Refrigerate logs for 1 hour or overnight.  Dough should be firm.
After refrigeration preheat oven to 325F.
Unwrap one log at a time and cut into ¼” to ½” slices cross wise.  Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes or until cookies are light brown.  Cool completely.
Drizzle cookies alternately with white and dark chocolate.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Chocolate Caramel Cookie Bark baking!

1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp water
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 pkgs milk chocolate chips (3 cups)
1 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 17”x11” baking sheet and line with parchment paper, overlapping at the two ends for easy removal.
  2. Cookie:  Beat butter sugars, vanilla and water until smooth.  Add remaining 3 ingredients and beat until mixture is combined.
  3. Spread dough to cover prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes.
  5. Topping:  Meanwhile, over medium heat bring butter and brown sugar to a boil.  Stir to combine.  Spread mixture over partially baked cookie dough.  Return to oven and bake an additional 8 minutes until caramel is bubbling.
  6. Remove from oven, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over hot caramel.  Wait 5 minutes and spread melted chocolate over cookie.   If using nuts, sprinkle over chocolate.
  7. Cool in refrigerator until chocolate is set.  Once at room temperature, break or cut cookie slab into irregular pieces or into your favourite cookie cutter shapes.

Thai Meatballs in Peanut Sauce

I have tried lots of recipes that have a peanut sauce but this is the first one that I liked.  The lime juice brings a tang to an otherwise very sweet sauce.

1 1/4 lb (550 g) ground chicken, turkey or beef
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp minced or grated fresh ginger root
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.  Grease a cookie sheet or baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl combine the ground meat, bread crumbs, green onions, cilantro, egg, garlic, soy sauce, ginger and red pepper flakes.  Mix well until the ingredients are evenly combined.
  3. With wet hands *or with plastic gloves), roll the meat mixture into 1 in diameter balls.  Arrange on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving a little room between them so they brown evenly.  Place meatballs in the oven and bake, turning over once, for 30 to 35 minutes.  They should be cooked through and very lightly browned. 
  4. While the meatballs are baking, combine chicken broth, lime juice, soy sauce, peanut butter and cornstarch in a blender (or with a whisk or hand blender).  Transfer to a medium sized saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring until the sauce boils and begins to thicken.  Add the baked meatballs, reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring very gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until the meatballs are lightly glazed with sauce.  Serve immediately with plain steamed rice or noodles.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Eggplant with Goat Cheese and Fire-Roasted Tomato

A delicious starter.  I have never been a great fan of eggplant, but this changed my mind!

*Preheat oven to 350F

1 large eggplant, sliced into 8 rounds, about 1/2 inch thick
All purpose flour
1 cup olive oil
4 oz (125 g) goat cheese
2 tbsp finely diced roasted yellow bell pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 jar Fire Roasted Tomato and garlic pasta sauce
Additional chopped fresh parsley, optional

  • Lightly salt eggplant rounds and let stand for 30 minutes.  Pat dry and then lightly toss in flour.  Remove and set aside.
  • In a saucepan, heat 6 tbsp oil over medium high heat and fry 3 to 4 eggplant rounds at a time, cooking until both sides are golden, adding more oil when required.  Place cooked eggplant on paper towel-lined trays to absorb excess oil.
  • In a small bowl, combine goat cheese, roasted pepper and parsley.
  • Spread pasta sauce on baking dish.  Place 4 eggplant slices on sauce and evenly cover each with the goat cheese mixture.  Top with remaining eggplant slices.
  • Bake uncovered in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Serve eggplant rounds with sauce and top with a sprinkle of chopped parsley if desired.
**Eggplant can also be grilled

Potato Salad

Here is a different take on potato salad.  This recipe calls for sun-dried tomato pesto to change up the flavour from a traditional potato salad.  If you are not a fan of sun-dried tomato, I would use a basil pesto.

1 1/2 lbs (750 g) mini new red or white potatoes, cut in half
4 oz (125 g) green beans, cut in half
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
6 tbsp mayonnaise
1 to 2 tbsp Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large saucepan, cook unpeeled potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.  Add beans during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  Drain and reserve.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion and celery.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  Remove and cool slightly.
  3. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, pesto and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toss drained potatoes and green beans with pesto dressing and onion mixture until well combined.  Cover and let stand 30 minutes to blend flavours.
**store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Mocha Chocolate Brownie Bites

An easy delightful treat!

24 mini paper liners
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup chocolate chips, melted
¼ cup cocoa powder
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup flour
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line mini muffin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine first 7 ingredients in medium sized bowl.  Add remaining ingredients.  Stir until combined.  Fill each muffin cup ¾ full
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until set.  Serve warm or at room temperature