Sunday, 30 November 2014

Mini Maple Cheesecakes with Maple Glazed Hazelnuts

These are simply delicious and I like that they are in small portions.  The cheesecake came out nice and moist.

1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1 tbsp butter, melted

1 pkg (250g) brick cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
2 tbsp greek yogurt
1/2 tsp male extract
1 egg

Maple Glazed Hazelnuts
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 tbsp Maple Syrup

Base:  Place paper liners in 8 muffin cups.  In small bowl, combine crumbs and butter.  Divide and press into paper liners.

Filling:  In medium bowl and using electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, maple syrup, yogurt and maple extract until smooth.  Add egg; beat on low speed until combined.  Divide among muffin cups.  Bake in 350F oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until filling is set and slightly puffed.  Let cool on wire rack in pan.  When cool, refrigerate covered for at least 2 hours.

Maple Glazed Hazelnuts:  In small skillet over medium heat, stir chopped Hazelnuts until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.  Stir in maple syrup; increase heat to high and cook, stirring constantly until nuts are glazed and most of the syrup is absorbed, about 1 minute.  Transfer to parchment paper-lined plate; let cool completely.  Break any hazelnuts apart that stick together.  Break apart and use to garnish cheesecake.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Southern Style Pulled Pork Pies with Buttermilk-Chive Biscuits

This can be made in individual servings or in a large casserole.  I chose the casserole as I didn't have enough individual dishes.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2011.

1.25 kg boneless pork shoulder roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1 cup water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed and drained
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
3/4 cup buttermilk (or soured milk)
Additional buttermilk for glaze

  • For filling, preheat the oven to 325F and adjust oven rack to lower middle position. 
  • If pork is enclosed in a net bag, remove bag and tie pork with string to make a compact roast.  Pat pork dry and season generously all over with salt and pepper.  In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Add pork to pot and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning often until browned on all sides.  Remove pork from pot and set aside on a large plate.
  • Add more oil to pot if necessary and reduce heat to medium.  Add onion to pot and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until softened and golden brown.  Add garlic chili powder, paprika, cumin and cayenne and cook, stirring for 30 seconds or until fragrant.  Add tomatoes, water, vinegar, molasses and Worcestershire sauce to pot.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pot.  return pork to pot, along with any juices that have accumulated on plate.  Cover pot tightly and transfer to oven.  Cook for 30 minutes.
  • Reduce temperature to 300F and cook for 1 hour more.  Turn pork over and cook for a further 1 1/2 hours or until pork is very tender.
  • When pork is ready, remove from the pot and set aside on a large cutting board.  Tent loosely with foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
  • With a large spoon, skim any fat from sauce in pot.  Boil sauce over medium high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to about2 cups.  Remove from the heat.
  • Snip strings on pork and remove.  With 2 forks, shred pork finely, discarding any visible fat.  In a large bowl, stir together pork, corn, parsley and reduced sauce.  SEason with more salt and pepper if necessary.  Divide pork mixture among six 2 cup individual baking dishes or into large casserole.  
  • For buttermilk biscuits, preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Put flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor.  Pulse once or twice until combined.  Add butter and pulse about 10 times or until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  tip flour mixture into a medium bowl and stir in chives.  Add buttermilk and mix lightly with a fork just until dough holds together and no dry spots remain.
  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.  Divide dough into 6 even sized balls.  Flatten each ball to 1/2 inch thickness and put  1 on top of each pie or all 6 in the casserole.  Brush biscuits with additional buttermilk.  Put on large baking sheet.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until biscuits have risen well and are golden brown and pork mixture is bubbling.
Serves 6

Monday, 24 November 2014

Fragrant Chicken and Mushrooms

From Food and Drink 1999 here is a great fall dish.

1.5 kg chicken cut in 8 pieces
3 tbsp flour, season with salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 5ps dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 1-inch piece orange peel
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp brandy
12 small button mushrooms, sauteed in butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped parsley

  1. Trim fat from chicken and coat lightly with seasoned flour.  Heat oil in skillet on medium heat.  Add chicken in batches and fry 3 to 5  minutes each side or until golden.  Remove from skillet.  
  2. Add garlic cloves, onions and carrots and fry until onions begin to turn colour, about 3 minutes.  Stir in thyme, bay leaf and orange peel.  Pour off any fat.
  3. Add wine, stock, tomato paste and brandy to skillet.  Bring to boil, and cook 3 minutes.  Return chicken to skillet.  Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  Add mushrooms and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer, or until juices are clear.
  4. Remove chicken and vegetables and keep warm.   Raise heat to high and reduce stock for 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Season well with salt and pepper and pour over chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley.
Serves 4

Friday, 21 November 2014

Baked Sticky Wings with Asian BBQ Sauce

The original recipe called for deep frying but I prefer the oven baked.  These are mildly spicy and were enjoyed by the whole family.

2 tbsp Oyster Sauce
2 tbsp Thai Chili Sauce
1 tsp Curry paste
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp peeled and minced ginger
1 green onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp sesame oil

1 kg chicken wings, wing tip discarded, cut in half
1 cup rice flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pinch Cayenne powder
Vegetable oil

  • Combine all Sauce ingredients in a medium pot over high heat.  Bring to boil, remove from heat immediately and let cool.
  • Take 1/4 cup of mixture and toss with wings.  Reserve remaining sauce.  Marinate for 2 to 4 hours.  Remove wings from marinade.  Discard marinade.
  • Season rice flour with salt and pepper and cayenne.  Toss wings with flour mixture.
  • Place on parchment paper lined tray in oven at 400F for 20 -25 minutes.  Turning once.
  • Bring remaining sauce to a boil in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat and toss with wings.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Apricot Tart

I made this for my husband and I last week.  It is a fresh tasting flavourful cocktail, perfect for a brunch.  Use fresh lemon juice as the concentrate is not a good substitute.  From Food and Drink Summer 2011

To a cocktail shaker filled iwth ice, add the juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 tbsp apricot jam, 4 ton basil leaves and 1/2 oz simple syrup.  Shake vigorously and strain into a Champagne flute or coupe and top with a sparkling white wine.

Serves 1 (so double it!)

Simple Syrup
Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Salmon Fillets with Umami Relish

Another great Salmon recipe!  Simple and robust with flavour.  From Food and Drink Early Summer 2014.

4 salmon fillets (each 175 g)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp chopped anchovies
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil

  1. Brush all sides of salmon fillets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Whisk together Parmesan, tomato paste, anchovies, soy sauce and oil.
  3. Preheat grill to high.
  4. Place fillets skin side down on grill, close lid and grill for 7 to 9 minutes or until still slightly pink in the centre.  Grill a few minutes longer to completely cook through if desired.
  5. Place on 4 serving plates and brush over umami relish

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Bangkok Lemonade

From Food and Drink Summer 2011.  This is a refreshing lemonade with a tropical flavour.

Add 1 stalk chopped lemon grass, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 oz simple syrup (recipe follows) and 1 1/2  oz white rum to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake sharply and strain into a tall glass filled with ice.  Top with coconut water and garnish with an additional stalk of lemon grass and a wedge of lemon.

Serves 1

Pitcher size:
To a large pitcher filled with ice, add 3/4 cup lemon juice, 1 cup lemon grass syrup (recipe below) 5 cups coconut water and 1 cup white rum.  Garnish individual glasses with a stalk of lemon grass and a wedge of lemon.

Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water and stir until sugar has dissolved.  Once cooled, store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup simple syrup with 6 stalks of finely sliced lemon grass.  Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool.  Strain and reserve syrup.  Discard the lemon grass.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Garam Masala

This is a wonderful and versatile blend of spices.  Translated it means "hot spices" but this mixture is more fragrant than hot.  You can buy Garam Masala in your grocery store but fresh is always better!  From Food and Drink Holiday 2000.

2 tbsp cardamom seeds
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp whole cloves
3 tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 cup cumin seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds

* Place all spices in a dry skillet over medium heat.  Cook stirring frequently until they darken slightly and smell fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat immediately.

* Place in coffee grinder and grind until powdery.  Cool and store in an airtight jar for up to 6 months.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Colada Mojito

This is more suited to warmer weather…but if you crank up the heat and put on some summer music you can pretend you are on the beach.  From Food and Drink Summer 2014.

To a blender, add 1 cup ice, 1 1/2 oz spiced rum, 2 oz margarita mix, 2 oz pina colada mix and 5 mint leaves, torn.  Blend until slushy.  Pour into a Colada glass and garnish with a pineapple spear and a mint sprig.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Marinated Vegetables

This is nice as a side dish or included in a burger or sandwich…From Food and Drink Summer 2011.

6 cups bite size vegetables such as carrots, sweet red pepper, cauliflower and broccoli florets, quartered mushrooms and green beans
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

  • Cut vegetables in various shapes, keeping all pieces bite size.  Keep hard vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower and green beans separate.
  • Combine vinegar, water, shallot, sugar and slat in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Add carrot and cauliflower; cover and cook for a minute.  Add green beans; cover and cook for a minute more.  Take off heat.  Stir in black pepper.
  • Pour hot mixture, including liquid, over pepper, broccoli and mushrooms ina  large mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil; toss.  Salad keeps well at room temperature for a couple of hours.  Or cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 2 days.