Sunday, 30 September 2012

Shrimp on the Barbie

These went so fast I didn't get a picture.  My husband does not like coconut, but I used the coconut milk anyway, he still enjoyed it.  So for all you coconut haters out there, don't miss this one!

1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp Thai green curry paste
2 tsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce (I used Hoisin sauce)
500g Jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
4 stalks lemon grass (not available in Midland - so I skipped it)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil

reserved marinade
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped mint

  1. Combine coconut milk, curry paste and garlic.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until coconut milk has thickened slightly.  Stir in lime juice and fish sauce.  Cool.  Toss with shrimp and marinate for 1 hour.
  2. Remove shrimp from marinade and thread shrimps onto lemon grass (or just skewers), spearing shrimps in 2 places so that they don't turn on the skewers.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reserve marinade.
  3. Preheat grill to high.  Brush shrimp with oil.  Grill about 2 minutes per side or until shrimps are cooked.  While shrimp is cooking, place reserved marinade in a small pot over high heat.  Bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes or until quite thick (like mayonnaise).  Remove from heat stir in lime juice and sugar.  Drizzle over grilled shrimp and sprinkle with mint.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Wild Salmon with Balsamic Glaze and Fennel Confit

The glaze for this salmon could be used for a multitude of dishes, including chicken and pork.  The recipe says it keeps for 3 months, but I doubt you will leave it alone that long!  From Food and Drink 2005

1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp butter
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, core removed and thinly sliced
1 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tbsp olive oil
Four 175 g pieces wild salmon fillets

  1. Combine balsamic, red wine, and sugar in a small pot.  Bring to boil, then boil for 12 minutes or until you just begin to see the bottom of the pan as you stir; glaze thickens considerably as it cools.  You will have about 1/2 cup.  Reserve.
  2. Make confit while glaze is cooking.  Heat butter in skillet on medium heat.  When butter sizzles add fennel, red onion, orange juice and sugar to pan and toss to distribute.  Bring to boil, and then reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until fennel is softened. 
  3. Remove cover, turn heat up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes longer or until fennel is caramelized.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a nonstick skillet until hot on high heat.  Add oil and add salmon flesh-side down.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes longer.  Cover skillet and cook 3 to 5 minutes longer or until fish is just cooked.
  5. Place on 4 plates.  Serve with fennel confit and drizzle with glaze. 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Red Rice Salad with Red Wine Vinegar

This is a favourite!  I had never tried red rice (Wehani) before and I really enjoyed it.  The rice is a little chewy, which makes it perfect for a salad.  Sprinkle some goat cheese on top for extra flavour.  From Food & Drink 2005.

3 cups water
2 cups red rice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/22 cup pitted, slivered black olives
1 cup chopped green onions
1 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I left this out - not a dill fan)
2 tbsp chopped parsley

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil.  Sprinkle in rice and bring back to boil.  Cover rice, reduce heat to low and steam for 35 to 45 minutes or until rice is tender but slightly chewy and water has been absorbed.  Remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes.
  2. Whisk together oil and red wine vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss half of the dressing with rice and let cool
  3. When rice has cooled, combine it with olives, green onions, cucumber, pine nuts, dill and parsley.  Toss with remaining dressing.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Mango Mini Cheesecakes

I like that these are individual.  It makes it so much more fun.  A simple recipe and the fruit toppings can be switched up according to your preference.  Try strawberries, raspberries, pineapple or manderin oranges! You can change the crust to a regular graham crust, but why would you?  The ginger crust makes this different and delicious.  From Food and Drink 2005.

2 cups crumbled gingersnaps
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup plain cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp grated lime rind

1 large mango, peeled and sliced
3 tbsp apricot jam (I left this out - I prefer just putting on the fresh fruit)

  1. Place gingersnaps and almonds in food processor (or blender) and process together until almonds are finely chopped.  Add butter and process briefly.
  2. Grease 6 wells of a muffin tin, and line each with plastic wrap.  Divide crumbs amongst wells; press into bottom and up sides to make 6 mini crusts.  Chill for 30 minutes
  3. Use a hand mixer to beat together mascarpone, cream cheese, sour cream, honey and lime rind.  Divide into 6 and spoon into chilled shells.  Chill at least 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Place mango on top of cheesecakes.  Melt jam until just liquid, strain and brush over mango.  Let set for 30 minutes.  Then remove cheesecake from muffin cups.  Serve with extra fruit if desired.
Serves 6.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Roasted Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Asparagus are one of the veggies that I have discovered as an adult.  I would never have eaten them when I was younger and certainly would not have thought they were delicious.  But wow, how the years have changed me.  I really enjoy them roasted, I find them much nicer than boiled or steamed.  The white asparagus are largely aesthetics here, if you can't find them, just substitute for regular green asparagus.

1/2 lb (250g) thick green asparagus, with tough ends snapped off
1/2 l (250g) white asparagus, with tough ends snapped off
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. (the recipe calls for peeling the asparagus stalks - I did not do this) toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet.  Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, turning once, or until stalks are crisp tender.
  3. Heat butter in small pot until foaming.  Place egg yolks and lemon juice in food processor (or blender) and process for 20 seconds.  With machine running, slowly pour melted butter down through feeder tube.  Season with salt and pepper.  To keep warm, place in a thermos or use for up to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Parmesan Cheese Cigarettes

These are WONDERFUL.  A great accent to any dinner and really not that hard.  You can bake them flat, but I decided to roll them.  You must shape them while they are still warm; so only bake a few at a time.  I used the handle from a wooden spoon but you could place in muffin cups, drape over a small cup or a rolling pin for different shapes.   From Food & Drink 2005

1 cup freshly, finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano (do not use the stuff that is cheese product)
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix the cheese, chives and cayenne pepper.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Using a 3 inch cookie cutter as a guide, sprinkle 1 tbsp cheese within the ring, spreading to edges, then carefully remove ring.  Repeat 3 times.
  4. Bake the Parmesan cookies for 4 to 5 minutes, or until cheese melts and begins to turn golden at edges.  Loosen each cookie with a spatula then quickly roll them up around the handle of a wooden spoon.  This must be done while they are hot.  Repeat process.  Store in airtight container.
Makes about 16

Monday, 24 September 2012

Chocolate Cake with Cocoa Icing

Another Food and Drink 2005 recipe.  This one is simple and can be quite elegant with some strawberries or raspberries added at the end.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup strong coffee
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch processed
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar, divided
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup cold strong coffee
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

  1.  To make cake, preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and line bottoms of two 9 inch cake pans with parchment or waxed paper.  Thoroughly cream butter with granulated sugar in a large bowl until lightened and fluffy.  Beat in eggs one at a time; continue beating until fluffy.  In a large measuring cup stir buttermilk with coffee and vanilla.  In a medium bowl, sift cocoa into flour; thoroughly stir in baking powder, soda and salt.
  3. Alternately stir in a third of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk combination into the butter mixture, repeating and ending with final third of flour mixture.  Stir until most lumps are gone.  Turn batter into prepared pans; smooth tops.  Bake in centre of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into layer centre comes out clean.  Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes; then turn cakes out onto rack to complete cooling.  Remove and discard paper lining.
  4. To make icing, cream butter with 1 cup icing sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in cocoa, coffee and vanilla until well blended.  Beat in remaining icing sugar until icing is smooth.  Place one cake layer on serving piece rounded side down.  Spread flat surface with about a third of the icing.  Top with remaining layer, flat side down.  Frost top and sides with remaining icing.  Lightly covered, cake keeps well for 2 days in a cool spot (do not refrigerate).

Friday, 21 September 2012

Almond Macaroons with Fresh Strawberries

Chewy and crisp macaroons go really well with the strawberries.  A combination I wouldn't have thought of.  This is from the Food & Drink 2005 magazine.

1 lime
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg white
1/4 tsp pure vanilla
2 cups sliced almonds
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 quart (1L) fresh strawberries

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Zest lime and squeeze 1 tbsp juice.  Stir sugar with flour and salt.  Add egg white, zest, juice and vanilla; stir until well mixed.  Stir in almonds.
  3. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls of almond mixture onto baking sheet about 1 inch apart.  Shape each into a 2 inch round.  Bake in oven centre for 18 to 20 minutes or until richly golden around edges.  Cool completely on baking sheet placed on cooling rack before removing from parchment.  Cookies can be stored for days in an airtight container with layers separated by waxed paper.  Lightly sieve icing sugar over cookies when serving.
  4. When ready for dessert, leave strawberry hulls intact and wash berries.  Drain and heap into a large serving bowl.  Pass a plate of macaroons to accompany.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Cheese Biscuits and Country Ham

Loved these, the recipe is for small hors d'oeuvres, but increase in size for a heartier bite :)

2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, preferably orange
1 to 2 green onions, very thinly sliced, or 1/4 cup snipped chives
1 cup buttermilk or sour cream
250 g thinly sliced virginia or other mild country ham
2 to 4 tbsp mustard or chutney

  1. Arrange rack just above centre of oven; preheat to 450F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray.  Stir flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until only small bits are visible.  Add cheddar and green onions, tossing until evenly distributed.  Pour in buttermilk; stir until dough forms.
  3. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; pat until 1/2 inch thick.  Cut with 1 1/2 inch round biscuit or cookie cutter.  Place about an inch apart on baking sheet.  Bake above oven centre for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.  Cool on a rack.
  4. Slice cooled biscuits in half.  Cut or fold ham to fit on bottom half.  Add a dab of mustard or chutney; replace top and serve.  Filled biscuits can be made ahead, covered and refrigerated;; then heated uncovered in a 350F oven for 5 minutes.

Shrimp and Asparagus Nibbles

A great party snack!  Simple and elegant! I really didn't change much here from the recipe in Food and Drink 2005

10 medium thick asparagus spears (250g approx.)
500g large raw zipper-back shrimp, fresh or frozen

1 lemon
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 to 3 grindings black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 tbsp finely snipped fresh chives or chopped shallot

  1. Discarding tough ends, bias cut asparagus spears into 2 inch lengths.  Half fill a large saucepan with water; bring to a boil.  Plunge asparagus spears into boiling water for 2 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  Rinse under cold running water; set aside.  Then drop fresh or frozen shrimp into the boiling water.  When water comes back to a boil and shrimp are bright pink, drain and rinse shrimp under cold water.
  2. Peel shrimp completely, including tails.  Tuck a piece of asparagus into the curve of the shrimp; secure together with a toothpick running between tail area through asparagus and into thick end.  Place in a single layer in a flat glass dish.
  3. Zest lemon onto a sheet of wax paper; cover and set aside.  Squeeze 3 tbsp juice; whisk in sugar, salt and pepper.   Whisk in olive oil, then herbs.  Drizzle over shrimp and asparagus.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour or 2, or up to half a day.  Drain well; arrange on a cool plate.  To garnish, lightly scatter with some of the reserved lemon zest and extra chopped dill and chives.  Pass small cocktail napkins to catch any drips.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Slow Barbecued Pork Ribs with Chilean Salad

This recipe had me at slow barbecued and ribs :)  I love using the BBQ this way,  It really brings the flavour out.  The recipe calls for back ribs and they are supposed to have the most flavour.  If your store doesn't have them just substitute for spare/side ribs.  This came out of the Food and Drink 2005 book.

1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp fresh oregano
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp honey
1 cup chopped red onion
1 tsp chopped chipotle pepper
1 tbsp adobo sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 lb (1.5 kg) pork back ribs

  1. Combine garlic, oregano, orange juice, lime juice, honey, red onion, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce and vegetable oil in a bowl.  Cut each rack in half.  Place ribs in baking dish and pour over marinade.  Marinate for 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator.  Turn ribs several times if possible.  
  2. Preheat oven to 300 F
  3. Season meat with salt and place meat and marinade in a roasting pan.  Bake, uncovered for one hour.
  4. Preheat grill to low and turn off 1 element.  Remove ribs from pan and place on turned off side.  Grill slowly, turning twice for 1 hour or until ribs are cooked through and glazed.
  5. Serve with Chilean Salad.

3 cups sliced tomatoes
1 cup finely sliced sweet or red onions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

  1. Mix tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper together on a platter.
  2. Combine oil and lemon juice and pour over salad.  Sprinkle coriander leaves on top.
Serves 6

Monday, 17 September 2012

Chicken Adobo

This is the national dish of the Philippines - which I have never gone to, and know nothing about :)  But eating this chicken makes me think I need to get there some day!  The recipe came out of Food and Drink 2005 Summer and it actually is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day.  So do a little extra cooking on Sunday and you have a fantastic dinner for Monday.

1.5 kg chicken, cut in 8 pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
salt to taste
2 tsp cracked peppercorns
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp Asian Chili Sauce
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cups baby spinach

  1. Marinate chicken with garlic, salt, peppercorns, vinegar, bay leaves, soy sauce and chili sauce for 30 minutes.
  2. Add to casserole or pot along with water arranging chicken so that it is mostly submerged in cooking liquid) and bring to boil.  Simmer uncovered until chicken is just tender, about 25 minutes.  Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.  Skim fat from cooking liquid.  Pat chicken with a paper towel to dry the skin.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat.  Add onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add chicken and brown each side (about 5 minutes).  Remove chicken and onions back to casserole.  Add cooking liquid to skillet, bring to a boil and boil 1 minute, scraping bottom of pan with a spoon to dissolve any brown its.  Stir in spinach.
  4. Pour contents of skillet over chicken and onions.  Cool and skim fat.  Refrigerate until needed.  Reheat on top of the stove for 10 to 15 minutes or until everything is hot.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Grilled Steak Fajita Salad

Simplicity and goodness, I love this one!  Once again I get to use my BBQ and the salad is a nice light twist!

1 cup Diana Sauce, original flavour (or your favourite BBQ Sauce)
2 tbsp each lime juice and chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
500 g Sirloin Steak
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
4 corn tortillas or small flour tortillas
1 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
1 avocado, sliced (love this addition!)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (use mozzarella or get creative with goat cheese)
1/2 cup sour cream ( I skipped this)

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high and grease lightly.  Stir the sauce with the lime juice, coriander, cumin and hot pepper sauce.  Brush 1/4 cup of the mixture over the steak and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper (I omitted the salt).  Brush the tortillas with the oil.
  2. Set the steak and the tortillas on the grate.  Grill the tortillas for 2 minutes, turning as needed or until well marked.  Remove from the grill, cool slightly and break or tear into strips.  Grill the steak for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.  Rest the steak for 5 minutes before slicing thinly.
  3. Layer the lettuce, red onion, peppers and avocado onto four serving plates.  Top with the steak and the tortilla strips.  Drizzle with the remaining sauce mixture and garnish with the cheese and the sour cream.  Makes 4 servings.

Creamy Grilled Potato and Mushroom Salad

A great accompaniment to any BBQ dinner!  I love baby spinach and it works wonderfully in this salad!

2 lb (1kg) baby potatoes, halved
500g button mushrooms, trimmed
1/2 cup Diana Sauce, Original Flavour (or your favourite BBQ sauce)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley
1 red pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cups baby spinach leaves

  1. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 minutes or just until fork tender.  Drain and rinse under cold, running water.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add the mushrooms.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium high.  Stir 2 tbsp of the sauce with the vegetable oil.  Gently toss the potatoes and mushrooms with the oil mixture, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a grilling basket or line the grate with perforated grilling foil.  Grill for 20 minutes, turning often until well marked.  Cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir the remaining sauce with the mayonnaise and coriander.  Toss the potatoes, mushrooms, red pepper, onions and spinach with the mayonnaise mixture.  Serve at room temperature or cool.   Makes 10 to 12 servings.  

Beer Can Chicken

I used beer (because it was the first time I had done this) but you could easily switch it up with Pineapple Juice or Apple Juice.  Obviously it needs to be in a can :)  This is easy and wonderful!!

1 whole chicken (1.5 kg)
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1/3 cup Marinade, Steak Spice Flavour
2 tbsp each finely chopped fresh parsley, green onion and basil
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 can lager style beer
1/2 cup Rib and Chicken BBQ sauce - the recipe called for Diana Sauce and that is what I used - but use your favourite.  I quite like the Diana Sauce products.

  1. Preheat the grill to medium high.  Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.  Blend the marinade with the parsley, green onion, basil and 1 tsp of the lemon zest.
  2. Rub the marinade mixture all over the chicken.  Stir 1/4 cup of the beer with the sauce and remaining lemon zest.  Reserve the remaining beer in the can.
  3. Set the opened beer can on two stacked foil pie pans (doubled for strength).  Stand the chicken over the beer can, on the pie pans and set on the grill.  Close the grill and cook, basting often with the sauce mixture and turning the foil pan occasionally for 55 to 65 min minutes or until the juices run clear.
  4. Use two pairs of chef's tongs to carefully lift the chicken off the beer can and transfer to a cutting board.  Discard the can and foil plates.  Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before carving.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Ole Burger

Who doesn't like burgers!!!  A meal that adults and kids will enjoy.  I barbecue as long as I can (I have been known to shovel out the BBQ in the winter).  Here is a recipe I got out of Food and Drink 2011 that has a nice twist on the usual burger.  I almost always make my own patties and this one spices it up with Chorizo Sausage - use Italian if you can't find uncured Chorizo.

4 thin slices serrano ham

SAFFRON MAYO (I didn't do this - just used regular Mayo)
1/4 tsp crumbled saffron threads
1 tbsp warm water
1/2 cup mayonnaise

3/4 lb (375 g) uncured (raw) chorizo sausage (use Italian if you don't have this available)
3/4 lb (375 g) ground pork (ground chicken works well too)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper
90 g Manchego cheese, thinly sliced (I couldn't find this so I used Havarti)
4 onion buns
washed and dried boston lettuce leaves
2/3 cup drained sliced roasted peppers

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Lay ham slices in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Place a second piece of parchment paper over ham and top with a second baking sheet.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until ham is crisp.  Let cool on a wire rack set over a plate.  (this is fussy, but totally worth doing)
  3. In a medium bowl, sprinkle saffron over warm water.  Let stand 15 minutes. Stir in mayonnaise until well combined.
  4. Slit sausage skins and crumble sausage meat into a large bowl.   Add ground pork, parsley, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper, and mix gently but thoroughly until well combined.  Form sausage mixture into 4 even size patties about 1/2 inch thick.  With the heel of your hand make an indentation in centre of each patty.  This helps burgers cook more evenly.
  5. Preheat barbecue to medium.
  6. Cook patties on well oiled grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until a meat thermometer inserted horizontally in centre of burgers registers 170F.  Just before burgers are ready, top each burger with one quarter of the cheese.  Split onion buns in half horizontally and toast, cut side down, until golden.
  7. Spread bottom halves of buns with saffron mayo.  Top with Boston lettuce leaves.  Add a burger to each bun, along with roasted peppers and a slice of serrano ham.  Replace tops of buns.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Lemony Bean and Pecorino Spread

I love dips and spreads.  I got the original recipe from Food and Drink Summer 2011, but it called for Fava Beans.  Well in my little neck of the woods I could not find them, and they looked a little fussy to work with.  I substituted Lima Beans from a can, rinsed well and I enjoyed the result.  I think Chick Peas would work well also.  Serve with crispy Pita chips or veggies.

1 1/2 cups Lima Beans
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp water
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all but the pepper in a food processor and blend until light, fluffy and almost smooth.  Add more water if required.  Season with a generous grinding of black pepper.

Serve with your favourite veggies, pitas or breads.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sweet and Sour Fish Barbecue Sauce

The original recipe came from Food & Drink Summer 2011 - but I tweaked it a bit.  It works great on fish (I used it on Salmon) but could also be used for chicken.

1 cup hoisin sauce (I used 3/4 cup hoisin and 1/4 cup garlic marinade)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar (I used 1/4 cup each)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (do not substitute powder unless you absolutely have to)
2 garlic cloves, minced

  1. Place ingredients in a small saucepan and stir to mix.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium.  Simmer, stirring occasionally until flavours infuse and sauce thickens slightly, from 15 to 20 minutes.  If making ahead, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Sauce will keep well for up to 1 week.
Makes 2 cups - enough for 8 to 12 fish fillets

Brush barbecue sauce over fish.  Barbecue over medium heat until knife inserted into thickest part of fish comes warm, about 12 minutes.  Carefully turn halfway through.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Steak Salad

The original recipe from this came from Food & Drink Summer 2011.  It is their version of Carpaccio using leftover grilled steak instead of raw beef.  Personally I don't think I would try a raw beef salad so this worked quite well.  If available to you try some heirloom tomatoes.  They vary in colour and texture and have a superior taste to the usual store bought ones.  I have found Romano Cheese an inexpensive substitute for the Parmesan Cheese.  Use the best steak you can.  I have excellent luck with Costco steaks myself - but there is a butcher nearby I might try if I can ever find the time to go there.  The run of the mill 1/2 inch steaks from the grocery store just don't cut it for this recipe as the steak is the main component.  This is really an adult only dinner - make the kids a hamburger :)

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped drained capers
1 garlic clove, minced (I increased to 2)
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (I leave out the salt)
2 medium tomatoes, preferably heirloom, sliced thinly
Thinly sliced leftover grilled steak, enough for 2
6 to 8 wide shaving Parmesan cheese (I used Romano - I think Goat Cheese or Feta would be good substitutes here)
1 small handful onion sprouts (OK I cannot find those anywhere - bean sprouts it is!)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk balsamic with oil, capers, garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. On 2 dinner plates, in a circle overlapping slightly, arrange tomato slices.
  3. Arrange steak slices on top of tomatoes, mounding slightly.  Follow with Parmesan shavings.  Arrange sprouts on top.  Drizzle with dressing.  Serve immediately.
Serves 2

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Pittsburgh Potatoes

I have no idea why these are called Pittsburgh Potatoes, but the recipe was fun!  I made some changes to reflect what I have available to me so I will give you the recipe and note what changes I made.

3/4 lb Muenster or other mild cheese, cut in chunks (I used Havarti and used about 400g)
1 can (13oz) evaporated milk
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, grated
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/8 tsp pepper
Dash of hot pepper sauce
1 egg
4 cups 1/2 inch cubed potatoes, cooked
1 jar pimentos cut in 1 inch strips (I used pickled peppers)

In medium saucepan combine cheese, milk, butter, onion, salt, mustard, pepper and pepper sauce.  Stir over medium heat until cheese melts, Remove from heat; briskly stir in egg.  Combine potatoes and pimentos in greased 1 1/2 quart casserole; pour on sauce.  Bake in 350 oven 25 minutes or until bubbly.  Garnish with pimento.  Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cornstarch Pudding (Blanc Mange)

Talk about comfort food - here is a definite fav!

2 cups hot milk
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 to 4 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp butter

Heat milk.  The use of a double boiler makes it easier to obtain a smooth product.

Mix well the sugar, cornstarch and salt; blend with a little of the cold milk to make a thin paste; be sure there is no unmixed cornstarch.

When milk is hot, stir in the smooth cornstarch mixture; continue to stir until there is no taste of raw starch and the mixture has thickened; cover and cook another 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter.

Cool by setting the pan in cold water and stirring occasionally, or by pouring the hot pudding into a bowl, covering tightly or placing a sheet of waxed paper on the surface of the pudding.  This will prevent skin forming as the pudding cools.

Chocolate Blanc Mange

Reduce cornstarch by 1/2 tbsp, increase sugar to 3/4 cup.  Mix 3 to 4 tbsp cocoa with sugar.


Melt one square unsweetened chocolate over hot water; add sugar;  add milk; reduce cornstarch by 1/2 tbsp, combine with salt and cold milk.  Finish as Cornstarch Pudding.


Continuing in the "Recipes I have had for 30 or more years" theme, here is a very simple brownie recipe.  Never fails and is a good base for something more elaborate if you choose.  Add nuts, smarties, or just top with fresh fruit and whipping cream.

In a medium saucepan melt together together over low heat
     1/2 cup butter
     2 squares unsweetened chocolate
Cool slightly then add
     2 eggs
     1 cup sugar
     1/2 cup presifted flour

Bake 20 to 30 minutes in 350F oven in a well greased 9 x 9 pan.

Monday, 3 September 2012


With kids in the house (big and small), I can't seem to keep cookies in stock.  One of our favourite things is to make these, they end up with too many sparkles and out of season shapes - but hey - we have fun.  This is a great basic recipe I picked up from my Home Economics teacher - that shows you just how old it is.  Perhaps I should just say classic.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifting is really important here for a light cookie)

  1. Beat butter until creamy
  2. Add sugar a little at a time and beat well
  3. Sift then measure flour.  Add a little at a time until dough is firm enough to roll out (unless one of your kids just dumps the whole thing in - which happens ALL the time - then just deal with it and mix).  Roll to 1/4" thickness and cut in desired shapes.  Decorate with cherries, dried fruit or candies.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet (I prefer stone).  
  4. Bake in 350 oven 10 minutes until golden in colour but not brown.
  5. Remove from pan and place on cooling rack.
These are also good for icing - in which case do not decorate prior to baking, let cool and ice and decorate.  I usually use a glaze - about 1 cup icing sugar with a little milk.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

French Omelet

A classic for Sunday Brunch, add your favourite fixings!

6 eggs
6 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
Dash Pepper
1 1/2 tbsp butter

  1. Beat eggs until light and fluffy.
  2. Add milk, salt and pepper.
  3. Melt butter in seasoned pan until melted.
  4. Cook eggs slowly over low heat lifting edges slightly with a spatula to let uncooked portion flow underneath and cook.
  5. As soon as mixture is set, fold and serve on heated platter.