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

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Microwave Rosemary and Black Pepper Chips

These are so easy and very yummy.  Much easier than the deep fryer.  From Food and Drink Winter 2012.

1 medium potato
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
Salt and black pepper

  1. Preferably using a mandoline (I don't have one so I just sliced very thinly with a knife) with the slicing blade set at 1/8 inch, cut potato keeping the round shape.
  2. Lay a large double layer of paper towels in microwave.  In 2 batches, place potato slices on top in a single layer.  Lightly brush with half the olive oil.  Microwave uncovered on high for 6 minutes.  Potatoes should have brown spots and look crisp.  If not, microwave in 30 second increments (this could take up to 2 more minutes).  They will crisp up even more as they cool.  Remove from paper towel.  If they stick, wait 1 minute or so.  Place in a bowl and toss with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Repeat with remaining potato slices and oil, then add to bowl.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Noodle Salad

This goes with the previous recipe, or eat it on its own.  If you can't find soba noodles, use ramen noodles  - I tried it with Udon Noodles and it was great. From Food and Drink Winter 2012.

2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper
175 g Soba noodles

1 cup julienned cucumbers
1 cup julienned green onions
2 tsp black sesame seeds

  1. Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, vegetable oil, grated ginger and sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.  REserve.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add noodles and boil for 4 to 5 minutes or until al dente.  Refresh with cold water and place in a bowl.
  3. Add dressing to noodles and toss to coat.  Add cucumber, green onions and sesame seeds and toss until just combined.  SEason with salt and pepper to taste.

Steamed Grouper Japanese Style

I actually substituted Tilapia for the Grouper…but use your fish of choice.  From Food and Drink Winter 2012.

2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp finely chopped pickled ginger
1 tbsp wasabi paste
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups baby spinach
4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
4 grouper fillets each 175 g, skin on
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Combine rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, pickled ginger, wasabi paste and vegetable oil.  
  2. Place spinach in a dish that fits inside a steamer basket.  Top with mushrooms and grouper.  SEason with salt and pepper and pour over vinegar marinade.
  3. Place dish inside steamer basket, cover and place basket over boiling water in a wok.  Make sure the steamer does not touch the water.  Steam for 12 to 15 minutes or until fish is just cooked, spinach is wilted and mushrooms are softened.
  4. Place fillets in 4 shallow bowls and divide sauce and vegetables among them.  Serve with Noodle Salad.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Spicy Chilean Shrimp

These were wonderful, lots of flavour and very easy to make.  Serve over rice or quinoa.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 tbsp chopped green chili
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk
3 slices whole grain bread, crusts removed, about 3 cups torn
1 tbsp lime juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
500 g large shrimp cleaned and deveined
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped coriander

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat olive oil in an ovenproof skillet or saute pan over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for 3 minutes or until softened.  Add green chili and garlic and saute 1 more minute.  Stir in chili flakes and powder and cumin and saute for 30 seconds to bring out flavours.  Add tomatoes and stock and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.
  3. Tear up bread and add to milk and let soak for about 5 minutes.  Add bread mixture to diced tomatoes and puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor until the bread has disappeared.
  4. Return sauce in pan to stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer.  Add lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.  SEason shrimp with salt and pepper and add to sauce.  Sprinkle cheese over shrimp and sauce.  Bake for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and shrimps are cooked.  Sprinkle with chopped coriander.
Serves 4

Monday, 15 July 2013

Spicy Mango Slaw

A fun take on coleslaw, this one has a bit of heat to it! From Food and Drink Winter 2012

4 cups slivered Napa cabbage
1 large mango, peeled and julienned
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup mint leaves, slivered

2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tsp finely chopped, seeded green chili (or to taste)
2 tbsp chopped coriander
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp golden brown sugar

  1. Combine Napa cabbage, mango, onion and mint in bowl or on platter.
  2. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss with slaw just before serving.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Fried Fish

An English classic, and a kid favourite.

1 kg Haddock, cod or halibut
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 cup cold water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Cut fish into approximately 2 x  3 inch pieces
  2. Heat about 2 inch of oil in a wok or deep pot to 375F or until a cube of bread turns brown in 15 seconds.
  3. Combine cold water, oil and salt in a mixing bowl.  Gradually whisk in 1 cup flour.  Stir in baking powder immediately before using, making sure that it is evenly blended.
  4. Season remaining 1/2 cup flour with salt and pepper and place on a plate.  Dredge fillets in seasoned flour and dip them 1 at a time in the batter.
  5. Drop fillets into hot oil, cooking for 5 to 7 minutes, or until puffed and brown and fish is cooked. Drain fillets on paper towels.  Season with salt to taste.  

Friday, 12 July 2013

Pork Chops Braised with Cinnamon and Honey

The original recipe called for lamb shanks but I switched it up for pork chops…we aren't big fans of lamb in my house.

4 large pork chops
3/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup low sodium beef or chicken stock
1/4 cup liquid honey
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Finely chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels, then sprinkle on both sides with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Cook pork chops for 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides.  Remove to a large plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add onion to fat remaining in pot.  Cook stirring often for 4 to 6 minutes, until onion is golden brown.  Add cinnamon and cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  4. Stir in stock, honey, garlic and Worcestershire sauce.  Bring to a boil over high heat stirring to scrape any brown bits from bottom of pot.
  5. Return pork chops to pot, cover tightly and transfer to oven.  Cook for about 1/2 hour or until pork is very tender. 
  6. Remove pork chops to a warm plate, cover and keep warm.  With a slotted spoon, remove garlic and set aside.  When garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins and mash smoothly.  Whisk garlic into cooking juices and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until juices have reduced and thickened slightly.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Place Pork Chops on warm plates.  Spoon cooking juices over chops and sprinkle with parsley.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Umami Burger

This is a great burger to try, I don't know about you but I love the BBQ!

1 onion, finely diced
500 g Ground Beef - lean
2 slices thick sliced bacon - preferably maple
1/4 cup quick oats
3 tbsp Umami paste

  1. Preheat barbecue to medium high heat.  Cook onions in frying pan over grill with a small amount of oil until soft and golden, stirring often, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
  2. In large bowl, combine onions, beef, bacon, oats and paste.  Form into four equal patties.
  3. Place patties on greased grill.  Cook with lid up for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Serve with your favourite toppings.  Try the following Sundried Tomato Mayo for a change.

Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 2 tbsp Umami Paste and 2 tbsp finely chopped dry pack sundried tomatoes.  Spread over cooked Umami burgers.

Monday, 8 July 2013

All Dressed Shoestring Chips

These are excellent just on their own or on a side!  From Food and Drink Winter 2012.

2 large potatoes, peeled if desired
1/4 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 cups canola oil

  1. For best shoestring chips, use a mandoline fitted with the julienne blade.  Slice potatoes, then place in a bowl of ice cold water for about 30 minutes.  Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Stir spices together.
  2. Place oil in a large deep pan such as a Dutch oven or follow instructions on deep fryer.  It should not come more than a third up sides of pan and needs to be 1 1/2 inches deep.  Set over medium. Heat oil to 350 to 360 F. using a deep fry thermometer or drop a cupe of bread into the oil - it should turn brown in about 1 minute.
  3. Drain potatoes very well and pat dry really well.  Using large tongs, add about a third of potatoes to oil.  Fry, stirring occasionally until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.  Using a large slotted spoon or tongs, remove potatoes and place on paper towel lined baking sheet.  Pat any excess oil.  Place chips while hot in large bowl.  Toss with a third of the spice mixture.  Repeat with remaining potatoes.  Best eaten right away.
Makes 3 to 4 cups

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Deep Fried Potato Chips and Caramelized Onion Dip

I enjoy trying my own chips…but they are a lot of work.  If you don't want to try the chips…just get your favourite brand and make up this is worth it.  From Food and Drink Winter 2012.

1 1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 garlic clove minced
Generous grinding black pepper
Pinch Salt

3 medium potatoes, peeled if desired
8 cups canola oil
Fine sea salt

  1. To make dip:  in a large frying pan over medium heat, melt butter with oil.  When it begins to bubble, add onion, sugar and salt.  Stir. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking, stirring more frequently near the end of cooking until onions turn a deep golden, 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool then chop and stir into sour cream along with mayonnaise, garlic, pepper and salt.  Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. For chips:  for the best slices use a mandoline fitted with the slicing blade set at 1/8 inch.  Slice potatoes keeping their round shape.  Place in a bowl of ice cold water for about 30m minutes.
  3. Place oil in a large deep pan such as a Dutch oven or follow instructions on deep fryer.  It should not come more than a third up sides of pan and needs to be about 1 1/2 inches deep.  Set over medium.  Heat oil to 350 to 360 F using a deep fry thermometer or drop a cube of bread into the oil-it should turn brown in about 1 minute.
  4. Drain potatoes very well and pat dry really well.  Using tongs, place about a quarter of the potatoes in the oil at a time.  Fry, stirring occasionally until a deep golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon or tongs, remove and place on a prepared paper towel lined baking sheet.  Pat any excess oil, then place chips while still hot in a large bowl. Toss with generous pinches of salt.  Repeat with remaining potatoes.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Risotto with Pine Nuts and Roasted Mushrooms

Love those sweet potatoes and nuts.  I actually mixed cashew and pine nuts, doubled the pancetta and switched the shallots for 1 onion.  I also did not mash any sweet potato but roasted both of them.  It came out beautifully.  Here is the original recipe…from Food and Drink Winter 2012.

2 medium sweet potatoes
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
500 g cremini mushrooms, 6 cups sliced
6 tbsp pine nuts
4 1/2 cups chicken stock (approx.) divided
60 g pancetta, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
2 shallots, diced, about 1 cup
1 3/4 cups arborio rice
3 whole sprigs fresh thyme plus 1/4 cup chopped leaves, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
60 g finely grated Pecorino Romano, 1/2 cup

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Prick 1 sweet potato and place into small pan; peel other sweet potato and cut into 1/2 inch dice.  Toss the diced sweet potato pieces with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread on a sheet pan.
  3. Clean mushrooms and cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Toss with 2 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread on another sheet pan, spreading the mushrooms around giving them generous space and diced potato for 50 to 60 minutes.  Check mushrooms 40 minutes into baking time and remove from oven if they have a nicely caramelized crust but are still juicy on the inside.  Switch sheet pans from high rack to lower rack 25 minutes into baking time to ensure even roasting.  Once sweet potatoes are crisp and golden, remove from oven.  Peel and mash whole potato once cooled.
  4. Spread pine nuts on a sheet pan and bake 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, heat stock in a saucepan over medium heat until it is just simmering.  In a second large saucepan, heat remaining 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add pancetta and cook until crisp and fat has rendered.  Add shallots and saute until translucent but not browned.  Add rice stirring to coat in oil cooking until rice no longer looks chalky, about 2 minutes.
  6. Add in 3 cups of stock and thyme sprigs; stirring regularly, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a lightly bubbling simmer, stirring occasionally until stock has been absorbed, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Bottom of saucepan will look dry before more liquid is needed.
  7. Add wine and stir until it has been absorbed.  Stir in mashed potato.  Continue to add 1/2 cup of stock at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of liquid is absorbed before adding the nest, about 12 to 15 minutes in total.  Rice should still have a firm centre (all stock may not be required.)
  8. Pick out thyme sprigs and add diced roasted sweet potato, mushrooms, thyme leaves and cheese; stir gently to combine.  Serve and sprinkle 1 tbsp pine nuts on each serving.
Serves 6

Friday, 5 July 2013

Hash with Chorizo and Fried Eggs

This is a fabulous comfort food.  I am a big fan of sweet potatoes and love that regular potatoes were switched for them.  If you are not a fan..just use regular baking potatoes.  If you are not a fan of Chorizo sausage, a nice Italian sausage would be just fine. From Food and Drink Winter 2012.

2 medium sweet potatoes, about 500g
1 tbsp olive oil
4 fresh chorizo sausages, casings removed, about 425 g
1 small red onion, thinly sliced, about 1 cup
1 small zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
2/3 cup thinly sliced roasted red pepper
1 cup rinsed and drained canned chickpeas
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp unsalted butter
4 to 6 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Prick sweet potato and bake for 40 minutes or until sweet potato is still firm to the touch but a knife can glide through when tested.  Let cool; peel and dice.
  3. Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat.  Crumble in sausage and fry about 7 minutes or until sausage is getting crispy and no longer pink.
  4. Add onion, zucchini, roasted red peppers, chickpeas and sweet potato; cook for 3 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper and stir in parsley.  Press mixture into pan with spatula and cook for a further 5 minutes, without stirring, until crisp and golden on the bottom.  Adjust heat if browning too quickly.
  5. Serve out each portion of hash, wipe out pan, and then return pan to heat.  Add butter, and when it has stopped foaming, fry eggs sunny-side up until whites are set and crisp around the edges, about 3 minutes.  Season eggs with salt and pepper and serve on top of hash.
Serves 4 to 6

Monday, 1 July 2013

Sweet Potato Muffins

This is one of my sons favourite recipes!

1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup milk
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato
1/4 cup melted butter
Cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.  Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and mix well.  Add sugar and walnuts.  In a separate bowl combine egg, milk, sweet potato and butter.  Combine liquid and dry ingredients with a few swift strokes.  Fill well greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake until golden brown, about 25 min.  Remove from oven and sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar wile still warm.  Makes 12 muffins.