Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Chocolate Chunk Drops

Shortbread and chocolate, doesn't get much better than this!

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped milk or semi sweet chocolate
Icing sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer on medium high speed until sugar is completely combined, about 2 - 3 minutes.
  3. Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl.  Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.  Add chocolate chunks.
  4. Place dough by 1 heaping tbsp 2" apart on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake in preheated oven, 25-30 minutes.  Cool on wire cooling rack.
  6. Dust cooled cookies with icing sugar.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Salted Caramel Apple Pie with Ice Cream

A different take on the regular apple pie.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening, cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
4 - 8 tbsp ice cold water

2 tbsp butter
8 apples, peeled,cored, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 can Dulce de Leche Caramel flavoured sauce (300ml)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt

  1. CRUST:  Blend flour and salt in a large bowl.  Work shortening into mixture using a pastry blender or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea sized pieces.  Sprinkle half the water over mixture, distributing moisture evenly into flour.  Add water by the tbsp until dough holds together when pressed.  Shape in two, one ball slightly larger than the other.  Flatten balls into 1/2" thick round disks.  Chill, 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  2. FILLING:  Cook butter and apples in a large deep skillet for 10 minutes.  Cool.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan.  Add flour and cook over low heat for 1 minute, stirring frequently.  Add caramel flavoured sauce, cinnamon and salt.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Combine appleas and sauce in a medium bowl.
  4. Preheat oven to 375F.  Roll larger ball of dough on a lightly floured work surface into a circle 2" wider than pie plate.  Roll out remaining dough and set aside.
  5. Fill with apple mixture and top with remaining pastry.  Brush edges with egg and press to seal.  Flute edge.  Cut slits on top of pastry.  Brush top of pie with egg, sprinkle with sugar and salt.  Bake in preheated oven, 55-60 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown.  Cool on wire cooling rack.  Serve with your favourite ice cream.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Candy Cane Shortbread Bars

Festive and easy to make.  A really nice shortbread that is dressed up with candy canes and chocolate.

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch

2 cups semi sweet, milk or white chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped candy canes or peppermint candies

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.  Grease a 10" x 15" baking pan and line with parchment paper, overlapping two sides for easy removal.
  2. SHORTBREAD:  Cream butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer on medium high speed until very light in texture, about 5 minutes.  Add sugar and continue beating until sugar is completely combined, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Combine flour and cornstarch in a separate large bowl.  Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.
  4. Press dough evenly into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven, 45 to 50 minutes.
  5. TOPPING:  As soon as shortbread is removed from oven, immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over hot crust.  Wait 10 minutes for chocolate to melt and spread evenly over curst.  Sprinkle with chopped candies.
  6. Refrigerate until chocolate has set.  Cut into 1" x 2" bars.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Orchard and Berry Fruit Crisp

Who doesn't love fruit crisp??  This is simple and delicious, switch up the fruit for something seasonal or slip in your favourite. I halved this recipe and put it in an 8" square pan.

2 cups oats
3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup Turbinado sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 kg ripe pears, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 " cubes (about 3 cups)
1 kg apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2 " cups (about 3 cups)
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Place 8, 1 cup oven proof ramekins on a baking sheet.
  2. TOPPING: combine topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Reserve.
  3. FILLING: Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.  Add pears, apples and blueberries to sugar mixture.  Toss well to coat fruit.  Divide fruit mixture into prepared baking dishes.  Sprinkle with reserved topping mixture.
  4. Bake in preheated oven, 40 to 45 minutes or until topping is golden brown and fruit mixture is bubbling.  Serve warm or at room temperature.
  5. **If using frozen blueberries, simply add them directly from the freezer.
  6. **To make one large crisp, use a 9"x3" baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 50-55 minutes.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Arugula, Mint and Watermelon Salad

The wind is howling and the snow is blowing, but this salad will make you think it is summer.  Lots of flavour here and combinations I have never tried before.  I loved it!  From Food & Drink Summer 2011

6 cups arugula
2 cups diced seedless watermelon
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup mint leaves

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Combine arugula, watermelon, feta and mint leaves in a bowl.  Whisk together balsamic, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss with salad.  Lay on a platter and garnish with almonds.

Serves 4

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Chicken Hurry

A quick dinner that everyone will love!  From Company's Coming Casseroles.

Chicken breast, skinless   1.5 kg
Ketchup 1/2 cup
water 1/4 cup
Brown sugar, packed 1/4 cup
Onion soup mix (envelope) 42.5 g

Arrange chicken in a small roaster or casserole.  In small bowl, combine ketchup, water, sugar and soup mix.  Mix well.  Spoon over chicken making sure some is on every piece.   Bake covered in 350F oven for at least 1 hour until very tender.  Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Spiced Chicken with Curry Coconut Sauce

Spice up your boring chicken!  This chicken is spiced with typical Jamaican spices but is not as hot like the traditional jerk chicken.  The creamy coconut sauce adds another flavour dimension.  From Food and Drink Winter 2000.

6 boneless chicken breasts with skin on

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or mint

  1. Trim the chicken breasts of any excess skin or fat.  In a food processor or by hand combine 3 bsp oil, lime juice, thyme, garlic, paprika, allspice, cayenne, cloves, salt and pepper.  Spread over chicken breasts and under skin.  Marinate 2 hours or overnight in refrigerator.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.  In a non stick skillet, on medium high heat, add remaining oil.  Brown chicken, skin side down, for 3 minutes.  Turn over and cook another 2 minutes.  Remove to a baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken juices are clear.
  3. To make sauce, drain fat from skillet and add oil.  On medium heat, saute onion until softened, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger and curry powder and cook another 3 minutes or until well incorporated.  Mix in chutney and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add lemon juice and coconut milk, season with salt and pepper and bring to aboil. Reduce until slightly thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Strain sauce, return to skillet and stir in coriander or mint.  
  4. Place chicken on serving and drizzle with sauce.
Serves 6

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Choco-Banana Bread Bites

My son loved these, my daughter thought they were ok…for my family of picky eaters that is pretty good.  These are a nice moist cookie that really does taste like a banana bread.

3/4 cup Evaporated Milk
2 tbsp vinegar
1 cup ripe mashed bananas (2-3 medium)
1 banana, sliced 1/4" and quartered (about 2/3 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
36 banana chips, optional

  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine evaporated milk and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Stir well.  Mixture will thicken.  Add mashed bananas, sliced bananas and baking soda.
  • Whisk egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a separate large bowl.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Add banana mixture and stir until mixture is well combined.  Add chocolate chips.
  • Drop 2 tbsp of dough on prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Place a banana chip on top of each cookie.
  • Bake in preheated oven, 13 to 15 minutes until the edges are lightly golden.  Let cool, 5 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack.
**Add some crunch with 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Friday, 29 November 2013

Spicy Collards and Kale

I wasn't able to find collards at my little grocery store but I did find Swiss Chard and substituted it.  It worked out really well.  I haven't had a chance to try collards but will give it a try when I get a chance.  This is a great spicy dish with lots of flavour and texture.  I also didn't have Nando's Peri-Peri sauce but used good old Tabasco sauce instead.  From Fresh Juice Magazine 2013.

3 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 bunch kale, washed and centre stems removed
1 bunch collard greens, washed and centre stems removed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 medium red pepper, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 tsp Nando's Peri-Peri Sauce

  1. On chopping board using back of knife or with mortar and pestle, mash garlic and salt until coarse paste; set aside.
  2. Stack kale and collards in bunches, roll tightly lengthwise, like a cigar, and slice thinly crosswise; set aside.
  3. In large skillet over medium, heat oil.  Add onion and garlic paste; stir until soft and starting to become golden, about 2 minutes.  Add red pepper; stir for about 45 seconds. Add kale and collards; cook for about 1 minute, using tongs to separate ribbons of greens and fold in with onion mixture.  Add hot sauce; toss to combine.  Cook until greens are slightly wilted and vibrant green, 3 minutes.  Remove from and adjust seasoning to taste, if desired.  Serve warm.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This is super easy and delicious!  The recipe is for chicken but it works on fish and pork as well.  Use real Parmesan and grate it yourself - you will never buy cheese product again!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
4 chicken breast halves
4 tsp italian seasoned bread crumbs

Combine mayonnaise with cheese.  Arrange chicken on baking sheet lined with foil and top with mayonnaise mixture.  Sprinkle with bread crumbs.  If you want to change it up add some chopped fresh herbs or your favourite spice sprinkled on top.

Bake 20 minutes at 425F or until cooked through.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Pasta and Edamame Salad

Thanks to this recipe I am now a big fan of Edamame!  If you haven't tried them give this a shot.  This is a simple and healthy salad.

3 cups frozen edamame or green peas, defrosted
3 cups cooked pasta (your choice but a smaller shell pasta works well)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white balsamic or white wine vinegar
zest of one lemon, finely grated
2 stalks of celery, diced finely
200g cherry tomatoes, quartered
150 g Harvarti or medium Cheddar cheese, diced finely (I used Balderson 5 year white cheddar - I get this from Costco and love it!)
1/3 cup fresh basil, sliced finely on the diagonal
Chili powder to taste (optional)

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together gently and season to taste.

Makes 6 servings

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Love the streusel crumble on the top of these.  A nice breakfast or snack.

1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup Oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk (I just add about 2 tbsp white vinegar to 1 cup milk)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.   Grease a 12 cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.
  2. TOPPING:  Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl.  Reserve
  3. MUFFIN:  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  In a separate large bowl, whisk buttermilk, brown sugar, oil and egg.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Stir in blueberries.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan.  Sprinkle with reserved topping.
  5. Bakin in preheated oven, 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre of muffin comes out clean.  Cool on wire cooling rack.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Classic Carrot Cake

I brought this cake into work and got very good comments on it.  It is simple to make and has everything a carrot cake should have, a little spice, moist cake and a light but tasty icing.

1 cup canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour (I always use unbleached)
2 tsp each; cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups carrots finely grated (approx 454 g)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup regular or low fat cream cheese, softened
4 cups icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk, if necessary

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease two 9" cake pans
  2. CAKE: Beat oil and sugars together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Combine flour cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate large bowl.  Add flour mixture to egg mixture.  Mix just until combined.  Fold in carrots.  Divide batter evenly into prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven, 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
  4. Cool in pans, 20 minutes.  Remove and cool completely on wire cooling rack.
  5. ICING: cream butter and cream cheese in a large bowl of an electric mixer.  Add icing sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat well after each addition.  Add vanilla.  Continue beating until fluffy.  Add 1 tbsp milk at a time to thin out icing if necessary.
  6. ASSEMBLY:  Place one cake on serving dish.  Spread with icing. Top with remaining cake layer.  Spread top with remaining icing.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Potato Sourdough Bread

This is an old fashioned hearty bread.  It uses a sourdough starter so it takes some time to make.  The flavour is wonderful and it goes well as an accompaniment to soup or stew or on its own in the toaster.  From Food & Drink Winter 2012

(enough for 2 large loaves)
1 medium baking potato such as Idaho, about 175g
1 1/2 cups cold water, divided
1 1/2 tsp instant or traditional yeast
1 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups water, just warm to the touch
1/2 48 hour starter mixture, about 1 cup
2 tsp salt
3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour.

  1. To make starter, peel and dice potato; add to small pot with 1 cup cold water.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until potatoes are very soft.  Pour in 1/2 cup cold tap water.  Whirl in a blender or food processor until a thick liquid; cool to lukewarm.
  2. Turn potato liquid into a large steel or glass bowl; stir in 1 1/2 tsp yeast ( no need to proof this starter yeast) and flour.  Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and a tea towel.  Let stand at room temperature for 48 hours.  Stir occasionally; starter is ready when it smells slightly sour and looks curdled.  Starter amount is enough to make 2 large loaves.  When ready, cover starter with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, stirring occasionally, or divide into 2 portions, 1 to use now and another for the freezer.
  3. To make loaf, proof 1 tbsp yeast by stirring sugar into water and sprinkling yeast overtop, then setting aside for 5 minutes.  Then stir to dissolve yeast completely.
  4. Meanwhile stir about 1 cup starter (half of the original mixture) with salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached.  Stir in 1 cup of flour; then proofed yeast mixture.  Continue adding flour until dough is becoming hard to stir.  Then turn out onto a well floured work surface.  Or continue using stand mixer to knead dough.
  5. Begin to knead dough, adding flour slowly as needed to have soft yet well formed dough, from 5 to 10 minutes.  All flour may not be needed.  Turn into a large, generously oiled bowl; turn dough ball in bowl so all is coated with oil.  Loosely cover with a piece of plastic wrap; let rise for 50 to 60 minutes or until doubled.  (If making to bake later, cover well and chill for up to a day.  While in the refrigerator, dough rises slowly; punch down occasionally.)
  6. Preheat oven to 375 F
  7. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.  Lift outer edges into middle while pressing down to burst large bubbles.  Shape into a round ball.  Place smooth side up on parchment lined baking sheet.  Evenly press down until about 2 inches thick.  Or for 2 medium loaves divide dough in half and shape to fit 2 greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.
  8. Generously coat top with flour; loosely cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes or until dough has doubled.  (Refrigerated dough takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to rise.)
  9. Remove plastic wrap.  Using a serrated knife gently placed on top of loaf, draw knife at an angle along top to shallowly slice a pattern of 3 or 4 slashes.
  10. Bake round or loaf pans in centre of preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until quite golden and smell of baking bread is very evident (love this smell). A tap on loaf bottom sounds hollow.  Cool on a rack without pan.  Bread is best on the day it is made.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Spicy Sausage Puffs

These are easy and fun to make, I used a regular sausage..cooked and crumbled..instead of the Chorizo.  I put them on top of some baked beans for the family and they were devoured.  Really they are supposed to be appetizers though..from Food and Drink Holiday 2000.

2 fresh chorizo sausages (about 300 g)
1 cup water
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup chopped parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Lightly grease two baking sheets.  Remove sausage meat from its casings.  Place in skillet over medium high heat and brown.  Stir to break up into small pieces.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add water, butter and salt.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  The butter should melt before the water boils.  Remove from heat and add all the flour at once.  Return to heat, stirring until mixture forms a smooth ball and comes away from the sides of the pan.  This should take 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Place mixture in food processor with plastic blade.  Process 15 seconds.  Add eggs and process 40 seconds.  Scrape down sides, add sausage and parsley and process another 5 seconds or until mixed.
  4. Using a wet spoon, drop spoonfuls onto baking sheets.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and cooked inside - they should be moist but not wet inside.  Serve warm.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Pie with Cheddar Pastry

Lots of veggies and fantastic flavour.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.

8 cups 1/2 inch cubes butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
1 large banana shallot, finely chopped (I could not find a banana shallot so I just used two regular ones)
4 whole cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pkg (14g) dried porcini mushrooms
250 g sliced brown mushrooms
1/2 cup homemade or low sodium vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
2/3 cup crumbled soft goat cheese

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 cup each cold unsalted butter and lard, cubed
1 1/3 cups shredded extra old cheddar cheese
1/3 cup ice water
1 tbsp white vinegar or fresh lemon juice

1 egg
1 tbsp cold water

  1. For filling, preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss squash, shallot and garlic cloves with 2 tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.  Roast, uncovered, for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool.
  3. When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze cloves out of skins and mash smoothly.  Add garlic to squash and toss well.
  4. Combine porcini mushrooms and 1 cup water in a 2 cup glass measure.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and pierce plastic wrap in several places with the point of a knife.  Microwave on high for 30 seconds.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Remove mushrooms, squeezing out and discarding soaking liquid.  Rinse and drain mushrooms, then chop finely.
  5. IN a medium nonstick skillet, heat remaining oil over medium high heat.  Add brown and porcini mushrooms and remaining salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until tender.  Add stock and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Boil stock until it has almost completely evaporated.
  6. Scrape mushroom mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in squash mixture and sage and let cool completely.  Stir in goat cheese.  Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.  If you're not completing the pie immediately, cover and refrigerate the filling until ready to proceed, removing it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before assembling the pie.
  7. For cheddar pastry, pulse flour, paprika and salt in a food processor until combined.  Add butter and lard and pulse 3 or 4 times just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add cheese and pulse just until combines.  (I just do this by hand with a pastry cutter)
  8. In a small bowl, stir together water and vinegar.  With motor running, add to food processor through feed tube and process just until dough holds together, adding a little more ice water if necessary.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until it forms a ball.  Cut dough in half and pat out each piece to a disc.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  10. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of pastry to a 12 inch round.  Carefully roll pastry around rolling pin and transfer to a large lightly greased baking sheet.  Spoon butternut squash mixture onto pastry, leaving a 1 1/2 inch border around edge.
  11. In a small bowl, beat together egg and water to make egg wash.  Brush edges of pastry on baking sheet with egg wash.  Roll out second piece of pastry to 12 inch round.  Carefully roll pastry around rolling pin and transfer to top of pie.  Seal edges well and trim them, reserving trimmings. Crimp edges decoratively.  Cut 2 or 3 holes in top of pie for steam to escape.  Cut decorative shapes from reserved trimmings and use to decorate top of pie, using egg wash to make them adhere.  Brush top of pie with egg wash.
  12. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.
Serves 6 to 8

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Sour Cream Fudge Layer Cake with Chocolate Rum Frosting

This is a delightful, rich, moist cake.  Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or on its own.  From Food and Drink Winter 2001.  I made mine with rum but the Kahlua or even an amaretto would be nice.

2/3 cup strong coffee
4 squares, 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup dark rum or Kahlua
1 cup regular sour cream
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp dark rum or Kahlua
1 to 2 tbsp sour cream or milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper.  Butter pans well and dust with cocoa power, shaking out excess.
  2. Combine coffee and chopped chocolate in a large glass bowl and microwave at High for 1 to 2 minutes or until piping hot and chocolate is melted.  Whisk in rum until smooth.  Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Place sour cream in a bowl and stir in baking soda and salt.
  4. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.  Beat in chocolate mixture until smooth.  Beat in half the flour alternately with half the sour cream mixture, beat in remaining flour and sour cream mixture to make a smooth batter.  Spread evenly in prepared pans.
  5. Bake on rack in middle of oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake feels firm in the centre and edges begin to pull away from sides.  Leave in pans for 5 minutes then turn out onto wire racks to cool.  Cake layers can be wrapped well in plastic wrap, then foil and frozen for up to 1 month.
  6. For frosting, sift icing sugar and cocoa powder together through a fine sieve into a large bowl.  Beat in butter and rum using an electric mixer, starting at a slow speed, until smooth.  Beat in enough sour cream to make a smooth spreadable frosting.
  7. Arrange one cake layer on a large plate and spread with some of the frosting.  Top with second cake and spread tops and sides with remaining frosting.
Serves 8

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Grilled Beef with Red Curry Coulis

I really enjoyed the flavour in the sauce and glaze.  Make sure you buy a good quality steak.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003
One 14 oz (398 ml) can coconut milk
1 tsp Thai red curry paste
1 tbsp grated lime rind
2 tbsp finely chopped lemon grass (or rosemary if you can't find lemon grass)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup chopped mint
1/4 cup chopped coriander

1/2 tsp red curry paste
Pinch sugar
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 - 175g fillet steaks

1 tbsp ginger in syrup
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce

  1. Without shaking the can, pour out thin coconut milk and set aside, leaving the creamy thick milk.   Add thick milk to skillet and cook over medium heat until it reduces by half, about 3 minutes.  Add curry paste, lime rind, lemon grass, fish sauce, sugar and tomato paste.  Cook together until milk nearly evaporates, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add remaining (thin) coconut milk and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce coats the back of a spoon.  Stir in lime juice and chopped herbs.  Reserve until needed.
  3. For marinade, combine curry paste, sugar and 2 tbsp oil and brush onto steaks.  Marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. To make glaze, add ginger, vinegar and soy sauce to a small pot.  Bring to a boil on medium high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened.  Reserve.
  5. Preheat oven to 400F.
  6. Brush an ovenproof skillet with remaining oil.  Heat over medium high heat.  Add fillets and fry 2 minutes per side to sear.  As an alternative to baking fillets you may also grill them about 5 minutes per side.  (this is what I did)
  7. Place in oven and bake 5 minutes longer for medium rare.  Place steaks on carving board and brush with glaze.  Slice into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Serve surrounded by sauce.
Serves 4

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Potato, Spinach and Chive Frittata

A frittata is a flat omelette.  I like to eat it warm, but you can serve it cold.  Vary the fillings with bacon, smoked salmon, sausage or your favourite.  The method stays the same.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch spinach
10 eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (smoked if you like)
1/2 cup chopped chives

  1. In a 10 inch skillet on medium high heat, heat oil and 1 tbsp butter. Add potatoes and saute until brown and tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with rosemary, season with salt and pepper and reserve.  Wipe out skillet.
  2. Wash and stem spinach.  Place in saucepan on medium high heat.  Cover and steam until spinach is tender, about 2 minutes.  Place spinach in colander, cool slightly then squeeze out all excess water.  Chop.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, cream, cheese, chives, salt and pepper.  Add potatoes and spinach.
  4. Preheat broiler to high.  Place skillet on medium low heat and add remaining butter.  When melted, add egg mixture.  Cool slowly until bottom is set, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.  The top will be slightly liquid.
  5. Place skillet under broiler and broil until top is just set.  Turn out onto serving platter and cut in wedges.  Garnish with a chive flower, if available.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Lentil Salad

A healthy salad with tastes from the Mediterranean.    This is a great side for grilled chicken.  Use green lentils in this recipe as they hold their shape when cooked, red lentils do not.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chili flakes
1 1/2 cups green lentils
Water to cover
1 bay leaf
2 slices lemon about 1/2 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper

3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

175 g feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
1/2 red pepper, finely diced
1/2 green pepper, finely diced
1/2 yellow pepper, finely diced

  1. In a pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute, stirring for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.  Stir in chili flakes.
  2. Add lentils and cook, stirring, until lentils are coated with the seasoning mixture.
  3. Add water to cover lentils, add bay leaf and lemon slices, squeezing them gently.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.  SEason well with salt and pepper.  Drain off any excess water and remove the lemon slices and bay leaf.
  4. Mix together dressing and toss with warm lentils.  Cool and then sprinkle with feta cheese, black olives, oregano and peppers.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Serve on platter.
Serves 8

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Veal Saute with Apples

A hearty dish that works well this time of year.  I couldn't find stewing veal so I just used pork tenderloin and it worked quite well.  For the apple choose a tart variety.  From Food and Drink Autumn 1999.

2 tbsp olive oil
500 g stewing veal, cut in 1 inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Pinch cayenne
1/3 cup alcoholic cider
1 cup chicken or veal stock
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp chopped parsley

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large skillet on medium high heat.  Add veal in batches, season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides, about 2 - 3 minutes per batch.  Remove veal.  Add more oil if needed.  Reduce heat to medium low and add carrots, celery and onions.  SAute, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute until vegetables are very soft, about 2 minutes longer.
  2. Stir in cinnamon, ginger and cayenne.  Add cider and stock and bring to boil.  Return meat to skillet, cover and simmer on low heat for 40 minutes or until veal is tender.  Remove meat and strain sauce back into skillet.  Add apples and cream and simmer until sauce has thickened slightly and apples are tender, about 5 minutes.  Return veal and adjust seasonings.  Sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Asian Salmon Noodle Salad

Great for some left over salmon.  From Food and Drink Autumn 1999.

250 g Spaghetti, broken in half
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 cup shredded carrot
2 cups matchstick size cucumber pieces
300g grilled salmon, cut into small chunks
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

  1. Cook spaghetti in boiling water until cooked al dente.  Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar.  In a large bowl, toss together spaghetti, carrots, cucumber, salmon and coriander.  Pour in dressing and toss to coat salad.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Chicken Olive and Arugula Sandwiches

Simple if you have some leftover roast chicken.

10 kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
4 crusty whole grain rolls, split in half
4 grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bunch arugula, washed and trimmed

  1. Blend together olives, light mayonnaise, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  2. Spread 1 tbsp of the olive mixture on one half of each roll
  3. Add chicken and arugula.  Top with second half of the roll.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Lemon Balm Shortbread

This is another recipe that I almost didn't do.  I just wasn't sure about herbs in my shortbread.  I could not find lemon balm in my little town so I had to go with Rosemary, which worked out beautifully! I did not dip in the coarse sugar. From Food and Drink Summer 2011.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour (spooned in and levelled off)
2 tbsp minced lemon balm or rosemary
Coarse sugar for decorating

  1. Cream butter, sugar and salt together with an electric mixer.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.  Add flour and lemon balm and beat until just incorporated.  Knead lightly to bring into a ball.  Chill until firm enough to work with, about 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 300F.
  3. Roll out dough onto a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.  Using a ruler and the point of a knife, cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet; prick each cookie with a fork.  Chill again until cookies are firm.
  4. Bake cookies for 20 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges.  While cookies are still warm, dip half of the cookie into coarse sugar to coat.  Let cool completely.
Makes about 30 cookies

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Apple Almond Tart

The is a really easy tart to make and has great flavour.  I really liked the almond base on this, almost like having some marzipan on the bottom, but not as sweet.  This would be a great dessert for upcoming Thanksgiving!  From Food and Drink winter 2013.  Pastries with flaky crusts such as pies and tarts, tend to be laden with fat and calories.  While phyllo can also supply a wallop of fat (due to each sheet being well buttered) using egg whites instead can trim hundreds of calories from the dessert.  Use the same technique with phyllo for savoury pastries as well.

1/2 cup natural almonds
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tbsp butter
Pinch salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp amaretto or almond liqueur
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
Vegetable oil cooking spray
4 phyllo pastry sheets, thawed overnight in refrigerator
1 egg white
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch slices tossed with 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp apricot jam

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Pulse almonds with 2 tbsp sugar in a food processor until finely ground.  Add butter, remaining sugar and salt to almond mixture and process until well mixed.  Whisk together egg, egg yolk, liqueur and extract in a small bowl and add to almond mixture, processing until combined well.
  3. Prepare a 10 or 11 inch tart pan with removable bottom by spraying with nonstick vegetable oil spray.  Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough in the tart pan and press into sides of the pan.  Tuck edges down towards bottom so that they will not burn during baking.  Keep remainder covered with a damp towel to prevent drying.  Brush sheet with egg white.  Repeat with each of phyllo, criss-crossing to give length to all sides and covering any holes in phyllo.  Brush each layer with egg white.
  4. Spread almond mixture over prepared phyllo, making sure that filling is evenly spread.  Place apple slices in concentric circles (may be slightly overlapping).  Using scissor, trim excess phyllo so that the phyllo is even with the top of the tart pan.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden.  Just before removing tart from the oven, melt jam in small sacuepan over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes; strain.  Brush tart, both top and crush with apricot jam.
Serves 8

Per serving
Calories 203
Carb 23 g
Fibre 2 g
Protein 4 g
Total fat 10 g
Saturated fat 3 g
Sodium 90 mg

Friday, 4 October 2013

Spinach and Shrimp Soup

I almost didn't make this one… it just doesn't sound appetizing does it.  I got this recipe from Food and Drink Winter 2000…wow that is already 13 years ago..I really need to get rid of these magazines.  So while considering not making the recipe I looked and the ingredient list and it intrigued me, also my husband and I went to Jamaica a year ago and I love the food and of course the people, so I thought I would give this one a try.  This is a Jamaican recipe and in Jamaican cooking the whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper is often used to add a more subtle heat.  Jalapeno peppers may be substituted.  I loved the flavour of this recipe.  You must try it!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch spinach, cleaned and sliced
1/2 cup coconut milk
250 g peeled shrimp
1 tbsp lime juice or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Heat vegetable oil in a large soup pot on medium high heat.  Add onions.  Saute for 3 miutes or until onions soften slightly.
  • Add green onions, garlic, thme, allspice, and Scotch bonnet pepper.  Saute for 1 more minute.  Add broth and bring to boil.  Add spinach and coconut milk.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until spinach is limp.  Remove pepper and discard.
  • Add shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes or until pink and curled.  Add lime juice season well with salt and pepper.
Serves 6

Monday, 30 September 2013

No Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are so easy to do.  I rolled mine in ground almonds instead of the coconut due to my coconut hater in the house.  These taste much better the second day.

1 can sweetened condensed milk 300ml
36 graham wafer squares or 2 1/2 cups crumbs
1 pkg chocolate chops 350 g

If using squares, crush until fairly fine.  Mix the sweetened condensed milk, crumbs and chocolate chips.  Form into balls.  Roll the balls in coconut and place on wax paper until set.  Store in sealed containers. No cooking required.  Makes 48 balls

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fresh Orange Chicken Salad

I love Chicken Salad and this is a great version.  Quite often I find it isn't worth my time to make a salad dressing but this is an exception.  Make sure you try the salad dressing, it is light but with lots of flavour.  Use a good quality whole grain or multigrain bread for the croutons.  From Canadian Living Magazine.

1 1/2 cup cubed multigrain bread
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 orange
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch each salt and pepper
3 cups romaine lettuce
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and chopped
225 g boneless skinless chicken breast, grilled and sliced

On baking sheet, toss bread with 2 tsp of the oil.  Bake in 375F oven, turning once, until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut top and bottom off orange; slice away peel and white pith.  Working over bowl, cut between fruit and membranes to release segments into bowl; set aside.

Squeeze 2 tbsp juice from remaining membranes into separate small bowl; whisk in remaining oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.

In salad bowl, layer lettuce, onion, olives, reserved orange segments and chicken.

To serve, add dressing and croutons.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Potato Gnocchi

I have tried gnocchi from the grocery store and liked them so I wondered if making them from scratch would be worth the effort.  It definitely was!  These are not difficult and tasted so much better than what I could buy commercially.  Do not cook too many gnocchi at once.  They should have plenty of room to bob about in the boiling water.  From Food and Drink Magazine Spring 2001.

3 medium baking potatoes
1 egg
2 tbsp butter at room temperature
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
Salt and freshly round pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped chives

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Prick potatoes and bake one hour or until very tender.  Halve and scoop out flesh while hot.  Pass through ricer or mash.  Add egg, butter and mix well.  Add cheese and enough flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.  Season.
  2. Let cool slightly.  Take half the dough and roll on well floured surface into a 1 inch rope.   Cut into 1 inch pieces and place onfloured baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough.  They may be cooked immediately or kept refrigerated for several hours.  Once cooked they must be eaten immediately.
  3. To cook, bring a large pot of water ot boil.  Add salt and reduce to simmer.  Add about 20 gnocchi and stir.  Once they rise to top cook for another minute.  Remove with slotted spoon and place in warmed serving dish.  Toss gently with olive oil.  Repeat with remaining gnocchi.  Top with chives.
Serves 6

Friday, 27 September 2013

The Ultimate Lasagna

Got this recipe from Canadian Living Magazine…a really yummy family friendly recipe.  Like any lasagna it takes some time to prepare…but it is worth it.  I like that this recipe doesn't just use a commercially made tomato sauce but prepares one from tomato paste and diced tomatoes.  Fresh garden tomatoes could be used instead of the canned if you have them available.

12 lasagna noodles
1 tub (475 g) extra smooth ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
4 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic minced
2 cans each (156 ml) tomato paste
675 g lean ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes (each 796 ml)
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper

  • In Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan, heat oil over medium heat; cook onions, celery, carrot and garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste.  Add beef; cook, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, wine, bay leaves oregano, salt and pepper; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 40 minutes.  Discard bay leaves.  (Make ahead; let cool for 30 minutes.  Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days.)
  • Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles for 2 minutes less than package directions for al dente.  Drain; lay noodles, without touching, in single layer on tea towel. ** I always make a couple extra…mostly because I usually end up breaking or destroying one or two of them.
  • Stir together ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  **make sure you use the extra smooth ricotta for this and don't buy the pretend Parmesan..I know it is cheaper but it doesn't work as well as the real stuff.
  • Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the meat sauce.  In 13 x 9 inch baking dish, spread one third of the remaining meat sauce.  Arrange 3 noodles over top; sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of the mozzarella cheese.  Top with half of the remaining meat sauce, 3 noodles, ricotta mixture, 3 noodles, remaining meat sauce, then 3 noodles.  Top with reserved meat sauce, then remaining mozzarella cheese. (Make ahead; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Unwrap before baking.)
  • Cover with foil.  Bake in 375F oven for 45 minutes.  Uncover and bake until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes.  Loosely cover with foil; let stand for 30 minutes before serving.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Smoked Salmon Roll-ups

Delightful and so easy!

4 oz cream cheese
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
4 green - spinach flavoured tortillas
6 oz smoked salmon, thinly sliced

  1. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, onions and dill.  Spread mixture evenly over tortillas.
  2. Layer salmon over cream cheese.  Roll up tortillas.  Cut each tortilla into 4 pieces.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

No Knead Cranberry Focaccia

From Food and Drink Winger 2012.  This worked really well and is a relatively simple bread.  I like the cranberries but they could be switched with dried sweet cherries or a dry fruit of your choice.

True focaccia is not just flatbread, but a light loaf with an airy network of bubbles.  The trick to developing this texture is to ignore traditional bread making techniques.  This slow rise dough requires no kneading, has reduced yeast and is quite moist; the salt is added at an unusual time.  Mix by hand since a machine such as a stand mixer with a dough hook or a food processor is not suitable.  Machines cause gluten to develop, something not desirable for the texture of this mildly sweet bread that is perfect for brunch or sweet snacking.

1 tsp instant or traditional yeast
1 1/2 cups water, just warm to the touch
2 3/4 to 3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup dried currants or raisins or finely diced dried apricots
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp coarse sugar such as organic

  1. Proof yeast by sprinkling it over water in a large mixing bowl and setting it aside for 5 minutes.  Then stir to dissolve yeast.  Meanwhile, line a 9 inch round or square cake pan with aluminum foil, extending up and slightly over side.
  2. Add 2 3/4 cups flour all at once to proofed yeast; stir with a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon until flour is absorbed.  Dough should be sticky, but not wet.  Stir in additional flour if needed.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let rest for 1 hour or until doubled.
  3. When dough has doubled, sprinkle salt evenly overtop; stir in thoroughly let rest 10 minutes.  Then add cranberries and currants; mix well into dough.
  4. Brush some melted butter over pan bottom and sides.  Scrape dough into pan.  Using buttered fingers, pat out to cover pan bottom completely; top is rough in appearance. Brush with remaining butter.
  5. Adjust rack below oven centre; preheat oven to 375F.  Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 30 minutes in warm spot on top of or near warm stove (not over oven vent!) or until focaccia top is about 1/2 inch above pan sides.  Then uncover; sprinkle top evenly with coarse sugar.
  6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until richly golden.  Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.  Using foil edges, lift loaf from pan.  Remove foil and continue cooling bread on rack.  Cut warm loaf into wedges or slices to serve.  

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Spanish Hot Tenderloin

The family really enjoyed this one.

2 large pork tenderloins
Salt and cayenne papper
2 onions
1/4 lb mushrooms
1 lb potatoes, peeled and grated
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 to 5 tbsp grated medium to sharp cheese
1 to 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley

Cut each tenderloin into fairly thick slices and flatten with a heavy spoon or mallett. Sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper; brown them on each side in butter or olive oil.  Arrange slices closely together in a greased ovenproof dish.  Finely dice onions and mushrooms; fry them for a few minutes.  Add grated potatoes; stir for about 4 minutes.  Add more salt and cayenne to taste and then add the cream.  Toss until blended; arrange on top of meat.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and parsley; drizzle generously with melted butter.  Bake at 400F for 20 to 25 minutes.  Serve with a green salad.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Pork Tenderloin Casserole

Simple and very tasty.

3 pork tenderloins (if you can't find any just use pork chops)
397 g sliced mushrooms
12 slices bacon
4 good size tomatoes
Paprika, salt and pepper to taste
250 ml whipping cream

Brown pork tenderloin whole; cut into 5 cm pieces.  Add paprika, salt and pepper.  Crisp in pan the bacon and mushrooms.  Add whipping cream and tomatoes and place all ingredients in casserole dish.  Cook in 350F oven for 45 minutes.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Stuffed Zucchini

Love sauteed onions with anything!  A simple recipe that you can mix up with different herbs or switch the rice for quinoa.

8 zucchini
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked rice
Fresh basil, thyme and summer savory
1 cup bread crumbs mixed with 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup tomato/pasta sauce

Slice zucchini in 1/2 lengthwise.  Scoop out flesh.  Place flesh in colander.  Sprinkle salt on shells and flesh.  Let stand for 15 minutes.  Rinse zucchini.  Place shells in greased baking pan.  Squeeze water out of flesh.

Saute onion, zucchini and garlic in oil or butter.  Add fresh herbs.  Mix with rice and place back into shells.  Top with bread crumb/cheese mixture.  Dot with butter.  Bake for 40 minutes at 350F.  Serve with your favourite tomato sauce.

Thursday, 12 September 2013


A healthy, hearty salad.

1 can chickpeas, drained, reserve liquid
1 large onion chopped fine
1 inch cube ginger, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garam masala
4 tbsp crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp oil
Chopped green coriander for garnish

In a wok or skillet, heat oil on medium high.  Saute onion, ginger and garlic until golden.  Add spices; stir.  Add crushed tomatoes and salt; stir.  Add chickpeas and stir.  Reduce heat.  Add reserved liquid.  Turn to low heat; cook, covered for 15 minutes.  Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.  SErves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Hot Chicken Dip

An easy dip for crackers or veggies.

2 (5 oz) cans flaked chicken, drained
8 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Mix chicken and cream cheese.  add remaining ingredients.  Sprinkle with slivered almonds.  Bake 20 minutes at 350F in oven proof serving dish.  Serve with crackers or vegetables.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Scallop Skewers

So easy and very tasty!  From Food and Drink Holiday 2000.

36 thin slices prosciutto
36 fresh scallops
36 cherry tomatoes
36 wooden skewers

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup freshly chopped marjoram
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Thread each skewer with a slice of prosciutto, a scallop and a cherry tomato (or double up).  Whisk together ingredients for dressing.  Pour over skewers and refrigerate up to one hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F.  Place skewers in single layers on baking sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes, turning half way through.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Chocolate and Orange Trifle

This is based on a recipe from Food and Drink 2000.  A delicious and elegant dessert.

1 chocolate cake
2 oranges
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
8 oz white chocolate

  1. Slice cake 3/4 inch thick.  Line a bowl (glass preferably) with the cake.  Peel oranges and remove pith.  Place orange sections over cake.  Pour Grand Marnier over cake and oranges.  Cover and leave to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Bring cream to boil.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted.  Transfer to a bowl and leave to set in refrigerator for 3 hours or until it holds its shape.  Remove from refrigerator and whisk until thick and the whisk holds a soft peak.  Spoon onto oranges, completely covering them.  

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Orchard Chicken and Bacon Pie with Scalloped Potato Crust

This was flavour fabulous!  Everything I love including some extra wine to drink!  From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.

1 tbsp olive oil
4 slices thick cut double smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
1 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced diagonally
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup late harvest Riesling or other fruity white wine
1 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 large Northern Spy or Gala apple, peeled, cored and cut into 16 wedges
2 tbsp each cornstarch and cold water
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard

1 kg Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 cup homemade or low sodium chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

  1. For filling, heat oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat.  Add bacon and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Pour off and reserve all but 1 tbsp fat from skillet.  Season chicken thighs well with salt and pepper.  Cook thighs, in batches, for about 5 minutes, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.  Remove thighs from skillet, cut into 2 inch pieces and set aside on a second plate (separate from bacon).
  3. Add an additional 1 tbsp fat to skillet if necessary and reduce heat to medium.  Add onion and carrot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft but not brown.  Add garlic and bay leaf and cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Add wine to skillet and bring to a boil.  Stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.  Boil for about 2 minutes or until wine has reduced by about half.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium high heat.  Return chicken to skillet, along with any juices that have accumulated on plate.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.  Add apple to skillet and simmer, covered for 10 minutes or until chicken thighs are no longer pink inside and carrot and apple are tender.
  5. IN a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water.  Add to skillet and bring to a  boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and is smooth.  Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.  Stir in bacon, tarragon and mustard.  Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.  Spoon chicken mixture into a shallow 8 cup baking dish.  If you're not completing the pie immediately, cover and refrigerate it until ready to proceed, removing it from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before adding the scalloped potato crust.
  6. For scalloped potato crust, preheat the oven to 425F.
  7. Slice potatoes very thinly.  In a large saucepan, combine stock, cream, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat and add potatoes.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes.  Rearranging potatoes gently once or twice until potatoes are tender but not broken up.
  8. With a slotted spoon, carefully remove potatoes from saucepan and arrange more or less in an even layer on top of chicken mixture,  discarding bay leaf.   Put dish on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until potatoes are golden brown and chicken mixture is bubbling.  Let stand 10 minutes, then sprinkle evenly with parsley before serving.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Chocolate Snowballs

Super easy and really tasty.  I didn't roll them in the icing sugar so they really didn't resemble snowballs, but you could roll in sprinkles, nuts, or whatever your favourite is.

1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1/2 cup icing sugar

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together.  Mix in flour, cocoa and nuts if desired.  Shape into 1 inch balls.  Put on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes.  Alow to cool and roll them in icing sugar.

Saturday, 31 August 2013


A really nice ginger cookie!

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
2 tsp ginger

Cream shortening, sugar, egg and molasses.  Add slightly less than 2 cups flour (dough should be tacky).  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix thoroughly.  Form into balls and roll in sugar.  Bake at 375F for 10 to 12 minutes.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Boterkoek (butter cake)

A nice moist cake that can stand on its own or have icing.

2 eggs
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 300F.  Gradually mix all ingredients except sliced almonds.  Pour into a greased baking tin and sprinkle with almonds.  Bake at 300F. for at least 30 minutes.  Serves about 8.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Brownie Cupcakes

Fun to make and fun to eat.  They really don't need icing, but I have included a recipe if you like.  The one in the picture was made with a store bought chocolate icing.  The kids will love this one!

4 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

4 tbsp butter
2 cups icing sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  In top of double boiler melt chocolate, butter and salt over simmering water.  In a mixing bowl combine sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla.  Stir in chocolate mixture.  Place paper liners in cupcake or muffin tins.  Fill 2/3 full with batter.  Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes for small cupcakes and 25 minutes for larger ones.  Cupcakes will fall a little in the centre after they have been removed from the oven.
  2. In a small bowl cream butter and icing sugar.  Add milk a few drops at a time until icing is of a spreading consistency.  While cupcakes are still warm, fill the centre of each with a little icing.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Streamlined Creme Caramel

I love custard based desserts but they are usually very fussy to make.  This is delicious and so simple!  From Food and Drink Winter 2001.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3 eggs
2 egg whites
1 2/3 cups evaporated low fat milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

1 mango, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp lime juice

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.  In a heavy pot over high heat, stir together 1/2 cup sugar with water.  Bring to boil and cook until a medium brown colour, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and pour about 1 tbsp into each of 4 large custard cups.  Discard remaining caramel.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, whites, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and salt.  Strain into the custard cups.  
  3. Set cups in roasting pan.  Pour in enough hot water to come halfway up sides of cups.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted near edge comes out clean and custard wiggles slightly in centre.  Cool and refrigerate until needed. 
  5. To unmould, run knife around cup edge.  Invert onto serving plate.  If any caramel remains in the cup, place in microwave for 10 seconds to loosen and pour over custard.  Surround with sliced mangoes tossed with lime juice.
Serves 4

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Apricot Salsa

I wasn't sure about apricots in my salsa, but so happy I tried it!  This went perfectly with the empanadas.

1 1/2 cups fresh apricot, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup plum tomato, finely diced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil

In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients and serve alongside empanadas.

Makes 2 cups

Beef Empanadas

These take some time but are truly lovely.  The original recipe called for pine nuts but I have switched them with toasted almonds.  Don't skip the Apricot Salsa with this, it really makes the Empanadas come together.  Based on Food and Drink Summer 2011.

3 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp table salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup ice water, plus more as needed

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion finely chopped
2 tbsp garlic finely chopped
1 tbsp jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt
385 g lean ground beef
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup almonds toasted
1/3 cup mozzarella, grated
1 tbsp milk
1 egg

  1. Place flour and salt in bowl and using a pastry cutter blend.
  2. Add shortening and butter and cut in until mixture resembles a coarse meal and the butter is still in pea size pieces
  3. Add the water, along with additional 1 or 2 tbsp as needed.  
  4. Empty flour mixture onto floured surface and divide in half; gently roll into 2 balls.  Flatten each ball into a 5 inch disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and jalapeno and saute for 4 minutes.  Add cinnamon, cumin and tomato paste and cook for another minute.  Add salt, beef and water, cover and cook until meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Take lid off and continue to cook until browned, about 3 minutes.  Set mixture aside in medium bowl; when slightly cooled, stir in almonds and cheese.
  6. Heat oven to 400F.
  7. With a fork beat milk and egg together.  On a floured surface, roll out 1 disc of dough very thinly.  With a 4 inch cookie cutter, cut as many circles as possible from the dough.  Using a pastry brush or fingertip, brush the edges of all the circles with the egg mixture.  Place a heaping tbsp of beef mixture in the middle of each circle and fold circles in half to enclose the mixture.  Crimp edges with a fork or fingertips to seal, place on parchment lined baking sheet and brush with additional egg mixture.
  8. Layer trimmings from circles on top of each other and roll out again to allow for more circles (do not work the dough too much as it will make for tough pastry).  Each disc should allow for 12 to 14 circles.
  9. Repeat process with second disc and remaining beef mixture.  Once all empanadas are filled and brushed with egg mixture, place in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.  Serve with Apricot Salsa.
Makes about 2 dozen

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Sausage and Caramelized Onion Pizza

This recipe call for dates…yuk!  I skipped the dates and all of the family liked it ….. even the kids.  From Food and Drink Summer 2011

1 pkg store bought pizza dough (about 700g) at room temperature
2 tbsp olive oil
400 g spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cups red onion very finely sliced
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup steak sauce
1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup fontina cheese, grated

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. On a floured surface, roll dough into a rectangle to fit a 12 x 17 inch lightly greased baking sheet.  Spread dough evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat, add sausage and break into bite size pieces with a fork or wooden spoon.  Saute sausage until browned and cooked through, about 7 minutes.
  4. Remove sausage from pan and set aside.  Drain all but 1 tbsp oil from pan, add onions and water.  Cover and cook onions over medium low heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Remove cover and cook on medium high until all liquid has reduced and onions begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
  5. Cover dough evenly with steak sauce, top with sausage, onions and sprinkle with cheeses.
  6. Bake in lower third of oven until the dough is golden on the bottom and the cheese is golden on top, about 22 minutes.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then slice into 24 small snack size slices.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Fritters

These are delicious!  Crispy on the outside, smooth and rich on the inside…..and i love anything that has sweet potato in it :)  From Food and Drink Summer 2011.

4 cups orange fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup raw shrimp, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 10 medium shrimp)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
2 tbsp fresh ginger peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
3 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes (I left these out)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tsp baking powder
4 cups vegetable oil for frying

  1. In a large pot of unsalted water, boil potatoes over high heat.  Once they are tender, drain well, allowing them to sit in colander for 10 minutes for water to drain off.  Return to pot and mash.
  2. Measure 2 cups of the mashed potatoes into a large bowl.  Add shrimp, salt, hot sauce, ginger, green onion, coconut, cilantro, egg, flour, bread crumbs and baking powder.  Gently fold together all the ingredients until well blended.  Allow mixture to rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before frying.
  3. IN large pot or deep fryer heat oil to 350F.  Carefully drop fritter batter by heaping tablespoons into the oil using 2 spoons, 1 to scoop and the other to help push the batter into the oil.   Place 5 or 6 fritters into oil at a time and fry until golden on both sides, place fritters on paper towel to drain, and repeat with remaining batter until all are fried.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Mixed Vegetable Saute

I love recipes like this, so simple and if there is something in it you don't like - just change it.  Try peppers, mushrooms, sweet potatoes or even pineapple.  From Food and Drink Summer 2011.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped oregano
2 heads garlic, top quarter cut off
2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 Japanese eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground pepper
375 g cherry tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp chopped herbs such as parsley, mint, basil or lemon balm

  1. Combine olive oil, vinegar, basil and oregano.  Place garlic, zucchini and eggplant in a bowl and toss with 3 tbsp herb oil mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Remove garlic, brush with marinade and wrap each head in foil.
  3. In a separate bowl, toss cherry tomatoes with remaining herb oil mixture.  Wrap cherry tomatoes in a foil package.  Season with salt and pepper.  
  4. Place garlic on rack above grill and grill for 35 to 45 minutes or until garlic is very soft.
  5. Add zucchini and eggplant and grill for 3 to 4 minutes a side or until tender but not mushy.  The eggplant may take longer depending on thickness.  Add the foil encased cherry tomatoes and grill about 6 to 7 minutes turning once or until bursting.
  6. Slice zucchini and eggplant on the bias and place on a serving platter.  Add cherry tomatoes and juices.  Peel garlic and toss with vegetables.  Season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and herbs.  Serve with any main course as a side dish.
Serves 6

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Roasted Salmon with Tomato and Roasted Garlic Farro

Ok, I couldn't find Farro…so I used Quinoa, which I am guessing I would like better anyway.  Any grain would work here really just adjust cooking time accordingly.  Other than that I stuck to the recipe and it was quite nice.  From Food and Drink Winter 2013

500g Plum Tomatoes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups water
3/4 cup farro
1/4 tsp salt
4 salmon fillets each 175 g
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  
  3. Cut tomatoes into wedges (quarters for small tomatoes and sixths for larger ones) and place on the baking sheet.  Skin side down.  Drizzle 2 tsp olive oil over tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until tomatoes are dried slightly but still soft to touch.  Be careful not to overdry.  Allow to cool and then dice into 1 inch pieces; set aside.
  5. To prepare garlic, cut off 1/4 inch from the top of the cloves.  Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil and wrap in double thickness aluminum foil.  Place in oven alongside tomatoes and bake for about 45 minutes or until garlic is golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Squeeze roasted garlic into a small bowl and mash using a fork.  Toss with tomatoes, being sure to coat them evenly.  These steps can be done a few hours ahead and the mixture refrigerated.
  6. Combine water, farro and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir and reduce the heat to a simmer; cook, uncovered, until the farro is tender, 25 to 30 minutes.  
  7. Preheat oven to 450F.
  8. Place salmon in a shallow bowl and coat with 1 tbsp each extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar; season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Allow to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.  Prepare baking sheet by spraying with nonstick vegetable oil spray.  Set aside.
  9. Place salmon skin side down on baking sheet and roast in oven for about 12 minutes or for 10 minutes per inch thickness.
  10. While salmon is roasting toss tomato garlic mixture and farro together and keep warm.  Before serving add chopped basil; toss and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve salmon over farro, garnished with reserved basil leaves.
Makes 4 servings

Calories 435
Carb 31g
Fibre 5 g
Protein 39 g
Total fat 18 g
Saturated fat 3 g
Sodium 255 mg

Friday, 16 August 2013

Chocolate Madeleines

I had to make these as mini cupcakes - just can't find a madeleine pan!  At any rate they were fabulous! For the best result serve warm with a nice quality ice cream.  From Food and Drink Winter 2013

Ganache Filling
2 oz semi sweet chocolate
1/4 cup whipping cream
Melted butter and sifted cocoa powder, for preparing the pan

2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sifted cake flour
3 tbsp sifted cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Icing sugar or cocoa powder for dusting

  1. For the ganache, cut chocolate into small chunks and place in a bowl.  Heat cream in a heavy small pan over medium low heat until ver hot and just starting to simmer around the edges.  Pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Chill until firm about 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Brush the inside of madeleine pan with a thin layer of melted butter.  Dust with sifted cocoa, invert pan and tap out excess cocoa.
  3. Beat eggs and sugar together in an electric mixer using the whisk attachment.  Continue beating 2 to 3 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and lightened in colour.  Beat in the vanilla extract.  
  4. Combine flour, cocoa and baking powder and with the mixer on low speed, add to the egg mixture.  Mix just until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  5. Add the melted butter and mix just until the butter is incorporated.  Chill the batter 2 to 3 hours.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. Spoon the chilled batter into a piping bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip.  Pipe batter into the centre of each indentation in madeleine pan, filling about half full.  Spoon about 1/2 tsp of ganach into the centre of each mound of batter.  Pipe remaining batter over top of the ganache, covering it completely.  Don't worry if the batter doesn't completely fill the mould; it will spread as it bakes.
  8. Place pan in oven and bake 10 minutes or until set.  Remove pan from oven, invert over a wire cooling rack, and tap lightly to release madeleines.  Dust lightly with icing sugar or cocoa powder, if desired, and serve immediately.  If made ahead the madeleines can be reheated in a microwave oven for 10 seconds on high.
Makes about 15 madeleines.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Fudgy Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

These are sinfully good.  I don't bother with the icing or icing sugar…they really don't need it.  Serve with fresh fruit or a raspberry sauce for an elegant dessert.

1 cup packed raspberries (fresh or thawed)
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp icing sugar (optional)

  1. In food processor or blender, puree raspberries; pass through fine sieve to remove seeds.  Set aside.
  2. In top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate with butter; let cool slightly.
  3. In bowl, beat eggs with sugar for about 5 minutes or until pale and thickened.  On low speed, beat in vanilla and chocolate mixture; beat in raspberry puree.  With wooden spoon, stir in flour.
  4. Scrape batter into greased 9 inch square cake pan.  Bake in 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre still has moist crumbs clinging to it.  Let cool completely in pan on rack.  Sprinkle with icing sugar.  Cut into squares.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Tart Lemon Squares with Walnut Crust

Love the walnut crust here, you could switch it up with toasted almonds or hazelnuts too.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup icing sugar
pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp icing sugar

  1. In food processor or bowl, blend together flour, icing sugar and salt.  Add butter; pulse or cut in with pastry blender or 2 knives until in fine crumbs.  Stir in walnuts.  Gently press handfuls of dough together; pat into lightly greased 8 inch square cake pan.  Bake in 350 F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.  Let cool slightly on rack.
  2. Topping:  meanwhile, in bowl, beat eggs with sugar until pale and thickened; beat in lemon rind and juice, flour and baking powder.  Pour over base; bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer or until set in centre and golden brown.  Let cool completely on rack.  Dust with icing sugar.  Cut into squares.  
Squares can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.  Makes 20 squares.  About 125 calories per square, 2 g protein, 7 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cappuccino Nanaimo Bars

These are absolutely delightful!  A grown up version of Nanaimo bars you and your friends will love.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup shredded coconut (I have a coconut hater in my house so I use chopped almonds)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 tbsp milk
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp instant espresso powder or coffee granules
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups icing sugar

4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

  1. in heavy saucepan, combine butter, cocoa, sugar and egg; cook over low heat, stirring until butter has melted.  Remove from heat; stir in graham cracker crumbs, coconut and walnuts.  Pat evenly into greased 9 inch square cake pan.  Bake in 350F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until just firm.  Let cool completely on rack.
  2. Filling:  in small saucepan, heat milk, butter, espresso powder and vanilla over low heat until butter has melted and espresso powder has dissolved.  Transfer to mixing bowl; let cool.  Beat in sugar until thickened and smooth; spread evenly over cooled base.  Refrigerate for about 45 minutes or until firm.
  3. Topping:  Meanwhile, in top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt toether chocolate, butter and espresso powder; spread over filling.  With sharp knife, score topping only into bars.  Refrigerate until topping is set.  Cut into bars.
Bars can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen in airtight container for up to 1 month.  Makes 24 bars, about 190 calories, 2 g protein, 12 g fat, 22 g carbohydrate.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fudgy Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Sinfully rich and delightful.  You needn't bother icing these as they really don't need it.  Serve with a raspberry sauce and raspberries for an elegant dessert.  From Canadian Living April 1995.

1 cup packed raspberries, fresh or thawed
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp all purpose flour
1 tsp icing sugar

  1. In food processor or blender, puree raspberries; pass through fine sieve to remove seeds.  Set aside.  
  2. In top of double boiler over hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate with butter; let cool slightly.
  3. In bowl, beat eggs with sugar for about 5 minutes or until pale and thickened.  On low speed, beat in vanilla and chocolate mixture; beat in raspberry puree.  With wooden spoon, stir in flour.
  4. Scrape batter into greased 9 inch square cake pan.  Bake in 350F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre still completely in pan on rack.  Sprinkle with icing sugar.  Cut into squares.
(Squares can be covered and stored in refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen in airtight container for up to 1 month).  Makes 16 squares - about 190 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Leek Tart

The bacon in this recipe really adds a nice flavour to the leeks.  A simple and delicious recipe.

Pastry for 11 inch tart or quiche shell
2 tbsp butter
4 cups chopped leeks (about 5)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 eggs
1/2 cup whipping cream (or milk)
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch salt

  1. On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry and fit into 11 inch tart or quiche pan; refrigerate for 20 minutes.  Prick pastry bottom with fork; line with foil and fill with pie weights.  Bake in 375F oven for 10 minutes.  Remove pie weights and foil; bake for 15 minutes longer or just until lightly golden.  Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, melt butter over medium low heat; cook leeks, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until softened.  Let cool.
  3. Brush cooled pastry shell with mustard; spread leeks over top.  Sprinkle with bacon.  Whisk together eggs, whipping and light creams, pepper and salt; pour over bacon.  Bake in 350 F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden.  Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Milk Chocolate Ice Cream with Toasted Almonds

Ok the original recipe called for Macadamia nuts, but I prefer almonds….put in whatever you like!  You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe.  This is one of the nicest ice creams I made,  very creamy with a wonderful flavour.  Based on a recipe from Food and Drink Autumn 2003.

1 1/2 cup whipping
1 cup 1% milk
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
8 oz (250g) finely chopped milk chocolate (use a good quality)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup toasted almonds

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and milk to a boil.  Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and slat.  Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, then place the mixture in a clean saucepan over a low heat.
  2. Cook, stirring, until slightly thickened or the mixture reaches 80 c.  Strain the mixture immediately into a bowl containing the finely chopped chocolate and vanilla.  Stir to melt the chocolate, then set the bowl over ice and stir until cool.  Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Next day, freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions.  Once it is thick stir in almonds.
Makes 4 cups (1L)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Ginger Flan

A simple dessert that will be enjoyed by everyone.  It can be made in individual dishes, a pie dish or a flan ring.  You decide!  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003

1 1/3 cups ginger cookie crumbs (12 to 14 cookies)
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I omitted this…I don't like things too sweet)

1 - 475 to 500 g container mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup ginger marmalade (I omitted this)
2 tsp ground ginger (the recipe called for 1 tsp)

2 mangoes or 2 cups raspberries
1 tbsp diced candied ginger (I omitted this)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Mix together crust ingredients and press into 9 inch flan ring with removable base.  Bake for 10 minutes then cool completely.
  3. Blend filling ingredients well then spoon into cold crust.  Chill for at least 2 hours.
  4. Just before serving, peel and slice mangoes or wash raspberries.  Top the flan with chosen fruit and garnish with diced ginger if desired.
Serves 8 to 10

Sunday, 28 July 2013

No Fail Pastry

Lots of flavour and very easy to make.  Turn the dough into a sweet pastry by adding 1 tbsp sugar to the recipe.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut in 8 pieces
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut in 8 pieces
1/3 cup cold water
2 tbsp white vinegar

  1. Ina bowl, combine flour and salt.  With a pastry blender or fingers, cut in butter and vegetable shortening until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  2. Combine water and vinegar and sprinkle over flour mixture a little at a time tossing together with a fork until the pastry is moist enough to hold its shape when a little piece is pressed between the fingers.
  3. Gather pastry into a ball - it should not feel sticky.
  4. Flour the counter or pastry board lightly.  With a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out into a rectangle approximately 8 x 12 inches.  Fold the pastry into thirds like a letter.  Turn the dough so the open edges face you and roll out into a rectangle again.  Repeat this procedure again.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill one hour.
  5. For smaller pies, use half the dough, larger ones need two thirds or all of it.  Freeze any remaining dough for another occasion.  Dough should bee rolled 1/4 inch thick.

Chicken, Leek and Lemon Pie

A really nice combination of flavours that really hit home with a comfort food.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2003.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
750 g boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground pepper

12 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
3 leeks
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dry
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup whipping cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup green peas, defrosted if frozen

1 No Fail Pastry (recipe follows)
1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt

  1. Combine oil and lemon juice.  Toss with chicken breasts.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat broiler or use grill pan.  Broil breasts 5 minutes per side or until still slightly pink in centre.  Cool.  Cut into 1 1/2 inch dice and reserve.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  4. Place garlic in cold water, bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Drain and peel garlic.  Reserve.
  5. Cut dark green leaves from leeks and discard.  Wash leeks well and slice into 1/2 inch sections.
  6. Heat butter in skillet on medium heat.  Add leeks and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes or until leeks soften.  Stir in flour and cook until pale gold about 4 minutes, adding more butter if needed.  Stir in chicken stock, tarragon, lemon juice and rind.  Bring to boil.  Add cream, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until thick and glossy.  Season well with salt and pepper. 
  7. Stir in green peas and chicken.  Place in a 6 cup baking dish or individual baking dishes.  Roll out pastry 1/4 inch thick to cover top of dish.  Cut a 1 inch strip from edges of pastry.  Brush edges of dish with water and lay strip around edges.  Brush with egg.  Lay remaining pastry on top.  sealing edges.  Cut a steam hole, decorate with any extra pastry cut in shapes, if desired.  Brush with egg.
  8. Bake pie on middle shelf of oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden and mixture bubbles.
Serves 4