Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Marzipan Log

Having grown up in a Danish Heritage household Marzipan holds a special place in my heart.  It is one of my favourite treats and this is an especially easy way to enjoy it.  If you can’t find chocolate covered bars substitute just marzipan which is available in most bulk barns.  I found this in Food and Drink Holiday 2015.  The logs did not last long in my house!

All Purpose flour for dusting
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
4 dark (semi sweet) chocolate covered marzipan bars 125 g each, best quality you can find
1 egg
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup sliced almonds

  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Lightly flour the counter and rolling pin; lay out the thawed pastry and lightly flour it too.  Roll out into a rectangle of roughly 11 x 13 inches.
  3. With the tip of a very sharp knife, cut in half, down the middle, lengthwise .  You should have 2 pieces about 5 x 13 inches.
  4. Lay the chocolate marzipan bars, end to end, 2 pars per log, onto the puff pastry - a little off centre, about 1 1/2 inches in from one edge.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk egg with water and brush all around the edges of the puff sheets - this is your glue.
  6. First, fold the corners of the ends of the pastry up and over the ends of the marzipan bars - just like gift wrapping a box; press down a little to make it stick.  Then, starting at the edge closest to the marzipan bars, begin rolling the pastry into a log with a marzipan centre.  Lay on the parchment, seam down.  Pop the cookie sheet into the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  7. Pre heat the oven to 425F.
  8. Brush the tops and sides of cold logs with the remaining egg wash.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds - the almonds will stick if you sprinkle them carefully.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes; pastry should be puffed and lightly golden.  Allow to cool completely before slicing, or it will just squish, not cut under the knife.
  10. To serve, bring to the coffee table - room temperature is best - on a platter or board with a bread knife and let folks help themselves.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Moroccan Cookies

I had these out at our Thanksgiving Dinner and they were well received.  The spices made them more of an adult treat which was fine because there was plenty of other treats for the younger guests.  I got this recipe out of Food and Drink Holiday 2015.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp each of ground coriander (I substituted Cumin) cardamom and salt
1/2 tsp each of curry powder and cinnamon
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup finely chopped skin on almonds
1 egg white
1 tbsp water
Chutney or apricot or pepper jam for filling

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Combine butter and icing sugar in bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until blended.  In a bowl, stir flour with coriander, cardamom, salt curry powder and cinnamon.  Add about half to the butter mixture in food processor bowl.  Pulse until blended.  Add all remaining flour mixture and pulse until even in texture.  Then with the machine running, slowly add milk through the feed tube just until the dough forms into a ball.   You may not need all the milk.  Use floured hands to form dough into a ball.
  • Place nuts in a small bowl.  In another bowl, whisk egg white with 1 tbsp water.  Using a round shaped (rather than oval shaped) tsp measuring spoon, scoop out a rounded amount, about 1/2 tbsp of dough.  Roll into 1 inch ball.  Coat ball with egg white wash, then roll in nuts until evenly coated.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies about 1 inch apart.
  • Using your pinky finger or the end of a wooden spoon, make a deep indent in centre of each cookie.
  • Bake until cookie fleets firm when pressed and the bottoms are lightly browned, from 17 to 22 minutes.  While still warm, dent centres again to assure room for the chutney.  Cool on pan 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely.  Serve right away or store in an airtight container at room temperature up to a week.
  • Just before serving, fill thumb print centres with chutney or jam.
Makes 48 cookies


  • Prepare cookie dough in balls as in Moroccan Cookies.  Do not coat with chopped nuts.  Place on parchment lined baking sheets and flatten cookies with your finger or tines of a fork to a 1/3 inch thickness.  Press a whole unblanched almond into the top of each.  Bake as above.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Oven Baked Pork Chops with Lemon Feta Potatoes

These potatoes are fabulous, top them with your protein of choice.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 kg pork chops
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/3 inch thick
125 g Feta Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup water

  • In a resealable plastic bag, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.  Insert pork chops, remove as much air as possible from bag and seal; massage marinade into pork and refrigerate at least 12 hours or overnight, turning over roughly midway through.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Heat a large heavy bottom skillet large enough to hold the pork, over medium heat on the stovetop.  Open bag containing pork and scrape off as much garlic as possible, returning garlic to the bag; reserve marinade.  Brown meat on all sides and remove to a plate.
  • Brush roasting pan with some of the reserved marinade.  Arrange half of the potato slices, overlapping in the bottom of the pan; brush with additional marinade and sprinkle feta evenly over.  Cover with remaining potatoes; pour water over.  Arrange meat over potatoes and drizzle all with remaining marinade.  Season with additional black pepper.
  • Roast for 1 hour or until a meat is cooked through.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Chocolate Biscuit Gateau

I remember my mother making something similar to this at Christmas.  This is a great treat to make with kids!

225 g (8 oz) plain chocolate
225 g (8 oz) butter
2 eggs, beaten
25 g 1 oz caster sugar
225 g (8 oz) digestive biscuits

To Decorate
75 ml (3 oz) whipping cream
Glace Cherries
Walnut Halves

  • Grease a 6 inch cake tin with a detachable base.  
  • Break up chocolate and put in a bowl over saucepan of simmering water to melt.
  • Melt butter gently in another pan.  
  • Beat eggs with sugar in a bowl. 
  • Pour in melted butter in a steady stream, beating continuously.  Now blend in melted chocolate.  
  • Break up digestive biscuits into small pieces; fold into chocolate.  
  • Turn mixture into cake tin; chill overnight in the refrigerator.
  • To serve stand cake tin on a canister at least 5 cm smaller than the base of the tin.  Push the tin carefully down onto the table, leaving the base with the cake on the canister. 
  • Slide it onto a serving plate and decorate with piped whipped cream, cherries and walnut halves.
**use unsalted butter and bitter sweet chocolate

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Omelettes with Goat Cheese and Tomato

Goat Cheese is one of my favourite cheeses.  It provides a wonderful texture and flavour to almost any dish.

4 eggs
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp butter
2 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped

  • In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Pour in egg mixture.  Let set 1 minute, push eggs to one side with a spatula, tilt pan, and let uncooked eggs slide onto skillet.
  • Sprinkle goat cheese and tomato along set side of eggs.  Fold eggs over filling; cook for 2 minutes more.  Slide onto a serving plate; cut in two.  Serve immediately

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Coriander-Almond-Crusted Halibut with Orange, Artichoke and Olive Salad

Halibut is a wonderful mild flavoured choice for this dish but if you aren’t able to find it use a Talapia or Cod.  I really liked the mixture of flavours in this dish.  From Food and Drink Summer 2015.

1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup raw untoasted almond slivers
1 tbsp fresh mint, coarsely torn
1 orange, peeled and cut into segments
1 jar artichoke quarters, drained
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4 pieces halibut fillet, skinless

  • In an electric grinder or small food processor, grind together the coriander, fennel and almonds to form fine crumbs (do not over grind or they will become a paste).  Place crumbs on a plate.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the mint, orange segments, artichokes, olives and 2 tbsp oil.  Season with salt to taste and set aside.
  • In a large nonstick skillet (I prefer my cast iron) heat remaining 2 tbsp oil over medium high heat.  Season halibut with salt and pepper and gently press each piece into crumbs to coat well.  Place crumb side down in oil and cook until golden and the almonds are toasted, about 2 minutes.  Turn over and brown the second side for 1 minute.  Place seared fish in preheated oven (on a baking sheet, or still in pan if it is oven proof) until fish is just cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes depending on thickness.
  • Divide the orange salad between 4 plates and top each with a piece of halibut.
Serves 4.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Skillet Dutch Baby Provencal

From Food and Drink Holiday 2015 this is a wonderful recipe that highlights the benefits of cast iron skillets.  I cook in my cast iron most days and while I found it initially tricky to get the heat right now that I have mastered it I would go back to another skillet.

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp herbs de Provence
2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped, divided
Scant 2 oz (60g) goat cheese
1 dry pint (550 g) roma grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Set sliced onions in a medium bowl and pour vinegar overtop to marinate while oven is preheating.
  • Melt butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Turn off heat once melted and frothy.
  • In a blender, combine eggs, milk, flour and salt until well blended and foamy.  Pour batter into hot skillet.  Sprinkle evenly with herbs de Provence, 1 tbsp parsley and knobs of goat cheese.  Bake until pancake is puffed and browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  • While pancake is baking, make tomato salad topper by pouring off 1/4 cup of vinegar from marinating onions, and adding remaining 1 tbsp parsley to the bowl, along with tomatoes, olives, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Mound some of the tomato salad on hot pancake, serving the remainder on the side.  Cut pancake into 4 wedges and serve at once.
Serves 4

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Minty Bells

If you miss your summertime patio drinks this will bring some summertime pleasure to your fall days.   From Food and Drink Holiday 2015

To a Highball glass, add 3 lime wedges, 1/2 oz agave syrup and 12 mint leaves, torn.   Muddle.  Fill the glass with ice and add 1 oz amber rum.  Stir to mix.  Top with 3 to 4 oz Cava and garnish with a mint sprig.

Makes 1 drink.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Zucchini, Tomatoes and Herbs

A quick, healthy and delicious side dish!  I don’t find you need to add the salt for this but I included it from the original recipe from Food and Drink Spring 2015.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion sliced
4 medium zucchini cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
24 cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup lightly packed chopped dill
1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, sliced

  • Heat oil in a large high sided skilled (love using my cast iron) over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until translucent.  Stir in zucchini, sea on generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes or until tender crisp.
  • Pour vinegar over, sprinkle with sugar, and cook, stirring until most of the liquid has evaporated about 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes to pan, toss to combine, cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until zucchini are tender and tomatoes have just burst.
  • Remove from heat, stir in dill and turn out onto a platter or shallow serving bowl; sprinkle with mint.
Serves 10

Friday, 11 November 2016

Grilled Chicken Satays and Peanut Sauce

This is a really nice peanut sauce that goes well with chicken or pork.  I grilled outdoors but you could broil the satays if you do not have a bbq.

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup warm water
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp Asian garlic chili paste or sauce

boneless, skinless chicken breast 750g
2 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 large clove garlic, grated

  • Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before using to reduce flare ups on the grill.
  • PEANUT SAUCE:  In a bowl, whisk together peanut butter, water and hoisin sauce until smooth.  Add ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili paste and whisk until combined.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Using a chef’s knife, cut chicken crosswise into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick and place into a large bowl.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and garlic; stir to coat well.  Let stand for 15 minutes or cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.
  • Thread chicken onto small soaked skewers.  Place on greased grill over medium high heat turning once for about 6 minutes or until no longer pink inside.  Serve with peanut sauce.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Wasabi Sesame Grilled Chicken

I absolutely love the flavour of Wasabi and the sesame flavoured chicken really accents it well.

3 tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp wasabi powder or paste
750 g boneless skinless chicken breast
1 cup sticky rice
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp wasabi powder or paste

  • Wasabi sauce:  in a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, garlic and wasabi powder.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • In a large resealable bag, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger and wasabi powder.  Add chicken, close bag and move around to coat evenly.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
  • Place chicken on greased grill over medium heat and grill for about 12 minutes turning once or until no longer pink inside and thermometer reads 77C.  Let stand 5 minutes before slicing
  • Meanwhile in a saucepan bring rice and broth to boil,  reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender and broth is absorbed.  Stir in cilantro.
  • Divide rice among 6 plates and top with sliced chicken.  Drizzle with wasabi sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Pistachio Crusted Chicken

I used Pistachio’s in this recipe but they could easily be replaced by toasted almonds or cashews.  It would be easy to switch them up.  Also adding a handful of dried cranberries will add a little zing to the chicken.

1 cup shelled raw pistachios
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp Greek plain yogurt
2 tbsp grainy mustard
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil

  • Preheat oven to 400F. Roughly grind nuts in processor or chop by hand.  Add breadcrumbs and blend, using on/off turns.  Transfer to shallow baking dish.
  • Mix basil, dill, rosemary, yogurt and mustard in medium bowl.  Spread mustard mixture over both sides of each chicken breast.  Dip chicken into nut mixture, coating completely.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about 7 minutes.
  • Serve with salad.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Teriyaki Turkey Burgers

I love a good burger and they are always best from home.  Lately I have been foregoing the bun as part of my desire to lower carbs…they are still delicious.  This is a nice change from the usual ground beef burger.  Don’t forget to grease your grill before barbecuing.

750 g ground turkey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 cup thick teriyaki sauce
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp wasabi paste

  • In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, garlic, ginger, teriyaki sauce, green onions, sesame seeds and bread crumbs.  Shape into 6 burger patties.  Broil or grill burgers 4 to 6 inches from the broiler or over medium high coals for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once.
  • Meanwhile mix together mayonnaise and wasabi paste; spread on 6 lightly toasted burger buns
  • Place cooked turkey burgers in buns.  Serve with sliced cucumber and watercress or arugula

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Lemon Chicken Kabobs

A nicely flavoured meal that is easy to prepare.  Switch up the pepper for your favourite grilled vegetable!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
450 g boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 sweet green pepper or 2 banana peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces

  • Mix together oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper; toss with chicken until coated.  Marinate for 15 minutes or covered and refrigerated up to 1 day.
  • Alternately thread chicken and green pepper onto skewers.  Grill, covered on greased grill over medium high heat, turning occasionally until chicken is browned and no longer pink inside about 12 minutes.
Makes 4 main course servings.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Chicken Teriyaki Skewers

Chicken thigh meat is tender and juicy, don’t tell the kids the other meat is liver…they will never know or omit them and double the chicken thighs.  Freeze left over teriyaki sauce for later use.

225 g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
225 g chicken livers


1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup mirin
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp sake
2 slices fresh ginger
1 tbsp cornstarch

Quick Teriyaki Sauce:  In saucepan; bring soy sauce, mirin, sugar, sake, ginger and 3/4 cup water to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to about 1 cup, about 10 minutes.  Whisk 2 tbsp cold water with cornstarch; add to pan and cook, stirring, until thickened.  Discard ginger.  Let cool

Alternately thread chicken and half the onions onto 4 skewers.  Repeat with livers and remaining onions.

Grill covered, on greased grill over medium high heat, turning halfway through and brushing with about half of the teriyaki sauce, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 8 minutes for thighs and 4 minutes for livers.  Brush with more teriyaki sauce, if desired.

Makes 4 main course servings.