Monday, 29 May 2017

Japanese Squash Curry

The original recipe called for Kuri squash which is not available in my location.  I used a butternut squash which worked well.  This is a nice veg dish if served over some Jasmine rice.  Based on Food and Drink Holiday 2016.

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cutes
6 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp Japanese Curry powder
1 cup diced onion
1 cup unpeeled coarsely grated apple
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cups vegetable stock
4 cups chopped kale or baby spinach
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro

  • Preheat oven to 450F.
  • Toss cubed squash with 4 tbsp oil.  Season with salt, pepper and 1 tbsp Japanese curry powder.  Placed on oiled baking sheet and roast for 15 to 18 minutes, turning once or until squash is fork tender and tinged with gold.
  • Heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion to skillet and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened.  Add half the grated apple, remaining curry powder, ginger and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until fragrant.  If mixture is too dry, add 1 to 2 tbsp more oil.
  • Stir in stock a little at a time until well combined.  Bring to boil, stirring.  Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes to thicken.  Add remaining apple and cook 1 minute more.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Add squash to skillet and cook in sauce for 5 minutes or until squash has absorbed flavour.  Stir in kale and cook for 1 minute or until wilted.  Garnish with cilantro just before serving.  Serve with rice.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Green Beans with Sun Dried Tomatoes

The combination of sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and white wine make this an elegant side dish.

500 g green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and 1 inch green, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp dried
Salt and Pepper
4 oz soft goat cheese, crumbled

  • Cook green beans in lightly salted boiling water in a large saucepan until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain and cool.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add leeks and cook 5 minutes, until softened; add garlic and cook 1 minute more.  Add wine, tomatoes, and thyme.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Boil 2 minutes, until most of the wine evaporates.
  • Mix in green beans.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a bowl; gently stir in goat cheese.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Coconut Cream Puffs

Crispy creaminess defines these fancy French-style cream puffs. The craquelin layer adds sweetness, texture and, best of all, ensures that the puffs rise with a perfect dome shape. The coconut cream filling and craquelin can be made a few days in advance, but the choux pastry should be made, baked and filled the day of serving.  From Food and Drink Spring 2016.

6 tbsp (90 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 tbsp (75 mL) packed light brown sugar
⅔ cup (150 mL) all-purpose flour

½ cup (125 mL) milk
½ cup (125 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
1 tsp (5 mL) sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (250 plus 30 mL) all-purpose flour
4 to 5 eggs

½ cup (125 mL) sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) flour
6 egg yolks
2¼ cups (560 mL) milk
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter
1½ cups (375 mL) sweetened shredded coconut

1½ cups (375 mL) whipping cream
¾ tsp (4 mL) vanilla extract

1 In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Add the flour and continue to mix until the dough is smooth.

2 Place the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it to be as thin as possible. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and freeze until firm.

3 Place oven racks in the top and middle positions and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4 In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt. Place over low-medium heat until the butter is fully melted. Raise the heat and bring the mixture to a full boil. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon until the flour is fully incorporated. Place the pan back on medium heat and cook, stirring all the while, for 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture is ready when it congeals in a lump and begins to stick to the bottom of the pan.

5 Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough on medium speed for about 30 seconds to release some of the steam. Add the eggs one a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated. After adding 4 eggs, check the consistency of the dough. Stop the mixer and pull up the paddle. The dough is ready if it is smooth and shiny, and hangs down in a “V” shape. If the dough is too stiff, whisk the remaining egg to break it up and beat it into the dough bit by bit until the proper consistency is achieved.

6 Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch (1-cm) round tip. Fill the bag about halfway and pipe mounds of dough about 1½ inches (4 cm) in diameter, spacing them about 1½ inches (4 cm) apart. You should have 20 to 24 in all.

7 Remove the craquelin dough from the freezer and let it stand a minute or 2 until it is just soft enough to cut. Using a round cookie cutter, about the same diameter of the puffs, cut out circles of the dough and set them on top of the puffs, pushing down very gently.

8 Place in the oven and bake until the puffs rise and begin to brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F (160°C) and continue baking until the puffs are completely dry and golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

9 For extra crispness, cut the cooled puffs with a serrated knife, just below the craquelin line. Place cut-side up on the baking sheets and return to the 325°F (160°C) oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before filling.

10 For the coconut cream, combine the sugar and flour in a medium bowl and whisk in the egg yolks, making sure the mixture is smooth. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Stir half the milk into the egg mixture then pour the whole mixture back into the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until the mixture boils and thickens. Continue cooking and whisking for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, followed by the shredded coconut. Pour the coconut cream into a bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap and chill completely.

11 Just before assembling the cream puffs, whip the cream and vanilla to stiff peaks and place into a piping bag fitted with a decorative star tip. Place 1 heaping tbsp (15 mL plus) of coconut cream into the bottom of each pastry puff. Pipe a layer of whipped cream over top and finish with the craquelin-covered lid. The puffs can be filled and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Hazelnut Torte

A wonderful coffee cake with only three ingredients!  This is a Danish recipe.

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
200 g hazelnuts, ground in blender

Beat eggs and sugar well at hight speed until light and fluffy.  Add ground nuts.  Mix well; pour into greased and floured springform pan.  Bake in middle oven rack at 400F for 30 minutes.  Serve with freshly whipped cream and berries in season.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Cranberry. Asiago and Walnut Galette

This is a simple pie with big bold flavours.  The Asiago and the Cranberry flavours are very complimentary and your friends and family will love this after dinner treat.  From Food and Drink Autumn 2016

2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) cold unsalted butter
3 tbsp (45 mL) ice-cold water

¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
⅓ cup (80 mL) all-purpose flour
½ tsp (2 mL) each ground nutmeg and cinnamon
2 cups (500 mL) frozen cranberries, thawed in refrigerator
2 cups (500 mL) grated Asiago cheese, about 5 oz (150 g)
1 cup (250 mL) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 egg plus 2 tbsp (30 mL) water (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

2 For pastry, whirl flour with sugar and salt in a food processor until blended. Cut butter into small pieces and scatter over flour mixture. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. With motor running, slowly pour cold water through the feed tube. Whirl just until dough starts to come together. Gather into a ball. Flatten into a thick round. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 30 minutes.

3 Roll dough or refrigerated pie crust into a 12-inch (30-cm) round. It will be thick. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. In a bowl, stir sugar with flour and seasonings. Add cranberries and toss until coated. Add cheese and nuts and toss with your hands to evenly mix.

4 Tumble onto the pastry round, leaving a 2½‑inch (6-cm) uncovered border of pastry. Move some cranberries to the top so they will be visible when pie is baked. Gently press cranberries into the filling. Fold uncovered pastry up over filling, overlapping edges as needed. Gently press where they overlap. About 5 inches (12 cm) of cranberry mixture will remain uncovered. Cut out a piece of parchment paper that will approximately cover the exposed filling.

5 For a shiny crust, whisk egg with 2 tbsp (30 mL) water and brush over crust. Lay parchment cut-out over filling, but don’t press onto the crust.

6 Immediately reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).

7 Bake until crust is deep golden, about 1 hour. Let rest about a half hour before serving. Pie will keep well at room temperature for at least a day.

Serves 6 to 8