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)