Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Spiced Beer Battered Onion Rings

A tempura like batter with a little extra spice really makes this onion ring, and hey - who doesn't love cooking with beer??  Serve these with grilled steak or chicken.

1 cup lager
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large spanish onions, peeled
Oil for deep frying

  1. Whisk together lager, flour paprika, cumin, cayenne, salt and vegetable oil in a large bowl.
  2. Cut onions into 1/4 inch rounds, separate into rings.
  3. Heat oil in wok or deep fryer until thermometer reaches 350F.  Stir rings into batter and fry a few at a time until golden, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.
Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


My kitchen is rarely without onions and the smell of cooking onions is one of the most inviting aromas that I know.  Even my flower garden has a version of an onion in my Purple Allium.  Onions in my kitchen typically range from the basic cooking onion and green onion to the Red Onion, Spanish Onion, chives, garlic and shallots.  There is a wide variety of onions available and most meals will benefit from this versatile root.

Here is some information I found that may help you decide which onion to use.

These have a strong flavour and can be a bit dry….and they definitely make me cry.  They store well, are relatively inexpensive and excel in stews, soups and any dish where you want them for flavouring.  Add the skins to a stock to make the broth more golden in colour.

Spanish Onions are large, round and contain more water than a cooking onion.  These onions are also much sweeter.  They have a shorter shelf life and a much milder flavour.  These are great for roasting…and make a great onion ring.

These onions are round with flattened tops.  They are sweet and have a high water content.  They are great in salads and caramelize well because of their high sugar content.

These have great colour and flavour in a salad, but be careful because they can sometimes have a strong sharp taste.  I use these on the grill as well - but be careful not to overcook as they can lose their flavour.

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Something for a celebration!

4 parts gin or vodka
2 parts Cranberry juice
1 part cointreau
1 splash fresh lime juice
Garnish with a lemon or orange twist

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Roast Capon with Mushroom Onion Stuffing

A typical Seder chicken with a slight sweetness to it.  Serve with a green vegetable.  From Food and Drink Spring 2000.   I liked the addition of citrus juices to this and a bit of honey.  I was not able to find Matzo Meal around my home but did buy some Matzo crackers and just ground them up.  I did not buy the Kosher red wine but just used a very nice Italian red - which of course was served with dinner :)

1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2.2 kg capon or roasting chicken
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic chopped
375 g white mushrooms, sliced
125 g shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 cup matzo meal
1 cup chicken stock
1 egg
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup dry Kosher red wine
1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
3 cups chicken stock

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Combine tarragon, honey, lemon juice, orange juice and olive oil.  Brush on to chicken.  Leave to marinate for 4 hours, refrigerated or overnight.  Season with salt and pepper.
  3. For stuffing; add olive oil to a large skillet on medium heat.  Add onion and saute for 3 minutes.  Add garlic and mushrooms and saute until about 2 minutes.  Stir in matzo meal, chicken stock and egg.  Season with tarragon, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Place stuffing in casserole dish and cover with foil.  Bake alongside chicken for 1 hour.
  4. Place chicken on rack over roasting pan.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours, depending on the size of chicken, or until chicken skin is crisp and juices are clear.
  5. Place chicken on serving platter and cover lightly with a tea towel while finishing sauce.
  6. Pour out any fat from roasting pan, leaving any juice.  Add wine, orange juice, vinegar and honey.  Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes or until reduced by half.  Add stock and boil for another 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  7. Carve chicken and serve with stuffing and sauce.
Serves 8

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Baked Ham with Bourbon Citrus Glaze

Love this glaze, from Food And Drink 2000.

4 kg bone-in smoked ham
2 tbsp coarsely grated orange zest
2 tbsp coarsely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup bourbon whisky, rye whiskey or amber rum
1/2 cup 3 fruit marmalade (I used a mango chutney)
2 tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Remove skin and trim fat from ham leaving a 1/4 inch thick layer.  Score the fat to make a diamond pattern.  Place ham in a shallow roasting pan and bake, uncovered for 1 hour.  Drain off fat.
  3. Meanwhile, blanch orange and lemon zest in a small saucepan of boiling water for 1 min to remove bitterness.  Drain and reserve.
  4. Puree bourbon, marmalade, honey and mustard in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Generously brush ham with bourbon glaze and sprinkle zests over top.  Bake, basting with glaze every 15 minutes for 1 hour or until nicely glazed and meat thermometer registers 140F (60C).  Add a small amount of water to bottom of pan if glaze begins to burn.  Transfer ham to a warm platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minuter before carving.
Serves 8 to 10 with generous leftovers

Monday, 18 February 2013

Baked Ham with Cassis and Ginger Baste

I wasn't sure about this one but very glad I tried it!  I switched the Cassis for Chambord.  From Food and Drink Spring 2000

4kg bone in smoked ham, shank end
Whole cloves
1 cup Cassis (or Chambord)
1/3 cup minced candied ginger
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp cornstarch

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Remove skin and trim fat from ham leaving a 1/4 inch thick layer.  Score fat in a diamond pattern, about 1 inch in size, and insert a clove in each diamond.  Place ham in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the ham.  Bake uncovered, for 1 hour.  Drain off any fat in pan.
  3. Combine Cassis, candied ginger and vinegar in a food processor and puree until very smooth (I used a blender).  Pour over ham and bake, basting often, for 1 hour or until nicely glazed and meat thermometer register 140F (60C).
  4. Remove ham to a warm platter, cover loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Add chicken stock to roasting pan and bring to a boil, stirring, over medium heat.  Blend cornstarch with 1 tbsp cold water and add to pan, stirring, until sauce thickens and is smooth.  Cut ham into slices and serve accompanied with sauce.
Serves 8 to 10 with generous leftovers.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Dutch Pancake with Spiced Apples

For breakfast, brunch or dinner!  From Food and Drink 2000

4 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp butter, softened

2 large apples, peeled and cored
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, flour, salt and sugar until just mixed.
  3. Place butter in a 10 inch skillet.  Heat on the stove until butter is sizzling, about 2 minutes.  Pour the batter into the skillet and place in oven.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.
  5. While pancake is baking, slice apples into 12 sections.
  6. Melt butter over medium low heat.  Add sugar, cinnamon and ginger and stir together.  Add apples and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.
  7. Remove pancake from oven and serve immediately with warm spiced apples, the pancake will not stay puffed for more than a few minutes.
**Tip - when making pancake batter, don't overmix the wet and dry ingredients, it makes a rubbery pancake.  When frying pancakes, wait until the edges are bubbly and the bubbles start to burst, then turn over.  The first side takes about 2 minutes, the second side about 1 minute.

Pancakes don't have to be made and eaten immediately.   The batter will stand overnight in the refrigerator and cooked pancakes can be reheated successfully in a 350F oven for 3 to 5 minutes

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Asparagus and Prosciutto Crepes with Goat Cheese Sauce

A divine dinner or brunch centrepiece.  From Food and Drink Spring 2000.

12 crepes
36 stalks asparagus, trimmed

Goat Cheese Sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
2 cups goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 thin slices prosciutto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Trim tough ends from asparagus and blanch in boiling for 2 minutes.  Drain and refresh with cold water.  It is important that you do not over cook the asparagus.
  2. Heat butter in pot over medium heat.
  3. Stir in flour until incorporated.  Cook 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in milk.  Bring to boil whisking constantly.  Reduce heat to low, add goat cheese and salt and pepper.  Cook until goat cheese is melted.  Remove from heat and reserve.
  4. Lay crepes on counter.  Spread with 2 tbsp sauce, a slice of prosciutto and 3 stalks of asparagus.  Roll up.  Place in buttered ovenproof gratin dish.
  5. Pour remaining goat cheese sauce over crepes.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is bubbling.

Shortbread Lemon Cream Cheese Tart with Blueberry Sauce

You can't go wrong with lemon and blueberries, they just seem to go together well.  You don't need the blueberry sauce, I actually just served with fresh blueberries. A tip - sift your icing sugar to avoid lumps. From Food and Drink 2000

Shortbread Crust
2/3 cups unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

Cream Cheese Filling
750 g cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp grated lemon peel

Blueberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

  1. Prepare a 9 inch diameter flan tin by lining the bottom with parchment paper, and greasing and flouring the sides.
  2. In a food processor, combine butter and icing sugar until blended.  Pulse in flour until just combined (I only have a hand mixer and it worked just fine, just be careful you don't overdo it). Press dough, about 1/4 inch thick along bottom and sides of prepared flan tin.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Prick holes in bottom of unbaked crust to allow steam to escape.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until slightly coloured.  Check for air bubbles and prick as necessary.  Let cool completely before filling.
  4. In a food processor or by hand, beat cream cheese until softened.  Add remaining ingredients and continue beating until smooth and the consistency of thick whipped cream.  Spoon into prepared shell and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Mix cornstarch, sugar and water.  Set aside.  Add blueberries along with any juice into a pot.  Bring to a boil on medium high heat.  Stir cornstarch mixture into blueberry mixture.  Reduce heat and continue cooking, stirring until thickened.  Cool before serving.
  6. Serve wedges of tart with blueberry sauce drizzled over top.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Oven Roasted Chicken Breasts with Wild Rice

From the Food and Drink Spring 2000

4 - 6 oz boneless chicken breasts, skin on

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white wine
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp coarsely ground peppercorns
1 tbsp soy sauce

Wild Rice
2 tbsp currants
1 1/2 cups wild rice
3 tbsp butter, unsalted
3 tbsp carrots, diced 1/4 inch
3 tbsp celery, diced 1/4 inch
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch thyme

  1. Trim chicken breasts.  Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss chicken with marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.  **I usually put the whole thing in a freezer ziploc bag as I find they marinate more evenly.
  2. Plump up currants by covering with hot water.  Leave for 15 minutes.  Drain and reserve fruit.
  3. In a pot with a tight fitting lid, heat butter over medium heat.  Add carrots, onion and celery and saute until tender not brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Add rice, stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes.  Add stock, bay leaf, seasonings and thyme.  Bring to a boil.  Cover pan, reduce heat and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until rice is tender.  Fluff rice, correct seasoning, and then stir in currants.  Reserve until needed. 
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. Drain chicken.  Heat non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken, skin side down and saute until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes.  Turn over and place in an oven proof baking dish.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until juices are clear.
  6. Serve over wild rice.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Squash with Topping

I love squash and normally just roast it.  But for something different give this a try.

Squash (I like Acorn)
brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup cracker crumbs
1 small chopped onion
1 egg white, beaten

Cook squash.  Mash with butter and brown sugar.  Mix topping ingredients; cover mashed squash.  Heat at 350F for 1/2 hour.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

A delicious and easy recipe, true comfort food!

Approx 1 kg small red potatoes per 6 people
Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking pan with olive oil.  Add potatoes and stir them around until coated with oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary leaves, salt and pepper.  Bake until done, approx 1 hour.

**other fresh herbs such as sage, fennel, bay leaves, parsely and basil can be added or used according to taste.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Nova Scotia Seafood Chowder

An outstanding chowder!

2 tbsp butter
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup chopped celery
3 carrots, chopped
1 tsp salt
Freshly Ground Pepper
1 lb Haddock fillets
2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup all purpose flour
5 o can clams, undrained
1/4 lb cooked small shrimp or lobster meat

In large saucepan, melt butter; add onions and cook over low heat until softened.  Stir in chicken stock, celery, carrots, salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.  Add fillets.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes longer.  The chowder may be prepared ahead to this point and frozen.

Stir about 1/2 the milk into the flour to make a smooth mixture.  Gradually stir mixture into soup; stir in remaining milk.  Simmer until soup thickens slightly.  Just before serving, stir in clams and shrimp; heat through.  Makes 6 servings.  Great as a main course with crusty rolls and a green salad.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Danish Pork Soup

2 lb fresh pork (I use pork loin)
1 leek
2 carrots
1 parsnip
1/2 cup barley
2 potatoes
Salt to taste

Cut meat into cubes; add to 2 quarts boiling water.  Bring to a boil; skim soup.  Add barley and vegetables cut in cubes.  Cook about 1 1/2 hours.  Serve hot with chopped parsley.

My Favourite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I got this recipe from a college professor….that was a long time ago!  This is an excellent recipe that my family loves.  If you want a softer rounder cookie..just add about 1/4 cup flour.

2/3 cups shortening
2/3 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
2 packages (6 oz) chocolate chips

Mix shortening, butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla thoroughly.
Blend in remaining ingredients.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 F

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Simple Onion Soup

I love this simple and wonderful soup.  It has a strong satisfying flavour.  Have on its own for a healthier version or indulge with some toasted bread and cheese.

1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 large onions, sliced
1 1/2 tbsp flour
2 (10 oz) cans beef bouillon (stock)
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
Cubes of toasted bread
Mozzarella cheese

Lightly brown onions in butter; add flour.  Add soup, water, salt and pepper.  Simmer 10 minutes.  Put in onion soup bowls.  Place bread on top; cover with shredded cheese.  Place in 450F oven until cheese melts.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Danish Chicken Soup

A great meal this time of the year!

1 1/2 kg soup hen
2 L cold water
3 carrots
1 bunch green onions
2 beef soup bones
10ml (1tbsp) salt
1 celery stalk

Meatballs for soup:
250g ground lean beef
75 ml (5tbsp) flour
2 tsp salt
1 onion, finely grated
250g ground lean pork
2 eggs
2 tsp pepper
200ml water

250 ml butter
1 tsp salt
7 eggs
400 ml flour
500 ml boiling water

Place hen and soup bones in a large pot of cold water; bring to a boil and skim off foam.  Add salt and vegetables.  Let boil about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Remove hen and bones; strain soup.  To serve, add cooked, diced carrots and celery, meatballs and dumplings.  Add salt to taste.

Meatballs for Soup:  Grind meat 3 or 4 times with onion.  In large mixing bowl, combine meat, flour, eggs, salt, pepper and water.  Drop by teaspoon into lightly salted boiling water.  Boil gently for 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove and strain.  Serve in soup.

Dumplings:  Melt butter; add flour.  Add boiling water, a little at a time, to make a very thick paste.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Add salt and eggs, one at a time.  Using a teaspoon drop into lightly salted very hot water, not boiling.  After 5 minutes, remove to a bowl of cold water; drain.  Remember do not let the dumplings boil.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Layered Chicken Salad

Prepare this one the night before so the flavours can mix.

4 to 5 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
1/4 lb bean sprouts
8 oz can water chestnuts, sliced
1 medium sized cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 - 8oz pkg pea pods
4 cups cooked chicken, cut into strips
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp sugar
10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

Spread lettuce as evenly as possible in a 4 quart glass bowl.  Top with 1 layer each of sprouts, water chestnuts, cucumber, onions, pea pods and chicken (make sure pea pods are dry).  Stir together, in a bowl, the mayonnaise, curry, ginger and sugar.  Spread evenly over salad.  Decorate with halved cherry tomatoes.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  You may want extra mayonnaise mixture to serve on the side.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Japanese Cabbage Salad

A nice variety of veggies in this one.

1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 medium cabbage, shredded
12 oz fresh bean sprouts
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
2 or 3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Water chestnuts
1 1/2 cup chow mein noodles

1 pkg seasoning from instant noodles (chicken flavour)
1/2 cup Olive oil
2 to 4 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp pepper

Pour dressing over just before serving.