Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Cola-Baked Ham with Cherry-Orange Glaze

1 fully cooked (4-5 pound) ham
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 regular bottle of regular cola
3/4 cup cherry preserves
juice squeezed from 2 largish oranges

  • Preheat oven to 325.
  • Trim rind and excess fat from the ham, leaving a 1/4 inch thick layer of fat.  
  • With a sharp knife, score the fat in a diamond pattern.
  • Place the ham in a roasting pan and sprinkle with the allspice.
  • Pour the cola into the pan and bake uncovered total time about an hour and 15 minutes.
  • Bast every 15 minutes with the pan juices.
  • Once the ham is in the oven, in a medium saucepan, combine the cherry jam, orange juice and cook over medium meat until everything is melted and combined.
  • Remove the ham from the oven and brush the top and sides with the cherry glaze.
  • Return the ham to the oven and bake, brushing with pan juices and glaze every 15 minutes.
  • Tent the ham with foil if browning too quickly.
  • Remove the ham from oven and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Christmas Tree Appetizer

1 or 2 sets of puff pastry, split in
   two (or use two depending on
   size of your pan) and then
   rolled to just an inch or two
   shorter than your largest
   cookie sheet
Sandwich meat cut in thin slices
   - Ham, turkey breast or what
   have you
Cream Cheese - room
   temperature so it will spread
1 cup of shredded cheddar
To decorate: cherry tomatoes,
   pesto, olives, yellow or red
   peppers, sesame and/or
   poppy seeds or what have
   you, but can
   be omitted or added as to

  • Cut the pastry into two equal parts or use two sets of pastry
  • Draw and cut out two triangles on your two sets of pastry.  Note:  I find it easiest to roll out bottom set of pastry on cooking paper, then move to pan after cutting into triangle shape
  • Spread cream cheese over the bottom set of pastry
  • Sprinkle 3/4 of your cheddar cheese onto the layered sandwich meat.
  • Cover with the other triangle and press a little (not too hard).
  • With a knife, cut strips (see diagram) leaving the middle uncut.

  • Take each strip of pastry and stretch it a little but also turning it at the same time.  This gives the pastry the appearance of tree branches.
  • With the unused pastry left after cutting the triangles, fashion a trunk for the tree, filling it with stuffing and then tightening and pat down everything a bit. 
  • Spread last of shredded cheese over the tree.
  • Spread pesto over the tree and then decorate with olives, peppers, cherry tomatoes, etc.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 180/350 until the pastry is golden brown and done.  

Chicken Dinner in a Pot

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 (12 ounce) jar turkey gravy*
   *In Ecuador there is no such thing.  We used a combination of 
   turkey baby food and chicken bullion cubes - turned out fine.  
2 cups of cream
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast or a combination of 
   chicken breasts & thighs - cubed
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 (16 ounce) can cranberry sauce - we used 1 can of jellied
   cranberry sauce plus 2 pkgs. of dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 onion chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups dry bread cubes *We make our own on a constant
   basis using stale bread and crusts and drying them
   in the oven
1 small package of sliced mushrooms
3 or 4 stalks chopped celery 

  1. Toss together dry bread cubes and spices.  Take 2-1/2 cups and place into the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Take the rest of the bread cubes and spices and mix with the mushrooms, onion, celery, olive oil, gravy, cream, and cranberry sauce in a large bowl.
  3. Add the chicken to the crock pot and top with the vegetable, bread, and gravy mixture. 
  4. Cover, and cook on high for 1-1/2 hours and then low for 4 to 5 hours. 

The above is a bit odd but really quite tasty!  
Makes tons and it freezes well.  
We always have a lovely large green salad with it.  

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Not Cream Cheese Chocolate Cheesecake

For the base:

1/2 cup of butter
1 cup wafers

For the filling:

2-1/2 cups of mascarpone cheese
1 cup sugar
1 cup natural yoghurt
2-1/4 cups of sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar to beat the sour cream
4 envelopes unflavoured gelatin

For the topping:

1 cup and a bit of black chocolate bar
1/2 cup and a bit of sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
Raspberries for garnish

For the base:

1. Grind the biscuits in a blender. Place the butter in a bowl and melt it in the microwave. Mix the butter with the biscuits and then place the mixture in the bottom of a springform pan. With the help of a cup, press the biscuit to stay with a flat and compact shape.

2. Place in the fridge.

For the filling:

3. Place the gelatin in a cup with just the tiniest bit of very warm water and mix until melted.

4. With a wire whisk mix the mascarpone cheese with the sugar and the yoghurt. Add the melted gelatin and mix well.

5. Beat the sour cream with 2 tablespoons sugar until well stiff. Mix carefully with a spoon into the mascarpone mixture.

6. Place the mixture over the base and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

For the topping:

7. In a bowl place the chocolate broken into pieces along with the butter. Place in microwave to melt. Remove from microwave and stir with a spoon. Add the sour cream and mix everything nicely. Allow to cool.

8. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and pour the chocolate sauce on top. Refrigerate for at least another hour.

9. Remove from the fridge, unmold carefully and garnish with raspberries.

Quino, Orange & Broccoli or Brussel Sprout Salad

Salad ingredients
10 1/2 oz. oven roasted brussels sprout
   or broccoli florets
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 large leaves kale, stems removed
1 orange
1 cup roasted walnuts or pecan nuts
1 handful pomegranate seeds or
   dried cranberries
Mustard dressing
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon type mustard
1 tbsp quality honey
2-3 tbsp lemon juice, to taste
a pinch sea salt and pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F.
  • Rinse the Brussels sprouts, remove the outer leaf, cut off the end and slice them in halves OR cut your broccoli into bite size florets.
  • Place your vegetable in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with olive oil and salt.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until soft and with golden and crispy edges.
  • Cook the quinoa according to the packaging.
  • Prepare the dressing by whisking all ingredients in a small bowl. 
  • Chop the kale coarsely and place in a salad bowl, pour over the dressing and use your hands to massage the leaves, making sure every single kale leaf is covered in dressing. 
  • Add the cooked quinoa and toss to combine. Then add cut up orange, walnuts, pomegranate seeds/dried cranberries and vegetable.
  • Mix.

Cherry Rolls

1 egg
¾ sour cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ baking soda
2½ teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 cups cherries cut in half or quarters
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cherry sauce:
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ cups cherry juice (or I used Mora
   here in Ecuador -- which is BlackBerry)
½ teaspoon almond extract
1½ tablespoons butter
For the almond glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon almond flavouring
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • In a bowl, beat the egg, then add the sour cream. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Stir well.
  • Toss the dough onto a slightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle ¼ inch thick. Spread it lightly with the butter. Cover it with the cherries, then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the cherries. Roll it up like a jelly roll and cut it into 9-12 pieces, as desired.
  • Prepare your rectangle baking pan, by spraying it with cooking spray. Place the rolls, cut side up, close together in the pan.
  • In a saucepan, combine the sugars, corn starch, juice, and colouring. Bring this mixture to a boil and stir constantly over medium heat. oil until the mixture thickens slightly (about 5-10 minutes).
  • Add the butter and mix well.
  • Pour this mixture over the rolls. Bake them at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until just lightly browned.
  • While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar, melted butter and flavouring. Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time until the glaze is drizzling consistency.
  • Drizzle the almond glaze over the cooled rolls.

Carrot ChickPea Burgers

For the pepper cheese:
1 pound sharp cheddar,
1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
1/2 cup pimiento peppers,
   finely chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped green onion
For the burgers:
2 regular cans of chickpeas,
2 medium to larger carrots
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
   or other seeds & nuts
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg (optional)

  • For the Pimiento cheese: Combine all ingredients (except shredded cheddar) together in a food processor and give them a couple of pulses.  
  • Add ingredients to the shredded cheddar in a medium sized bowl and mix well.  
  • Cover the bowl and place in the fridge until ready to use.
  • For the burgers:  Add the carrots to a food processor and pulse a few times until they are diced small. 
  • Next, add in the chickpeas and sunflower seeds (and egg, if using) and continue pulsing until everything is very finely chopped (and has almost turned into a paste). 
  • Transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
  • Sprinkle the flour on a clean surface and use that area to divide the dough into 6 balls (making sure each ball is coated with a little bit of flour). 
  • Wrap the balls in foil or plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge until chilled (about 30 minutes to an hour).
  • Once the dough is chilled, gently roll out each ball on a floured work surface and dab a tablespoon of pimento cheese in the center. 
  • Fold the outer edges into each other until the pimiento cheese center is completely sealed with the chickpea mixture. 
  • Wrap back up and transfer back to fridge. Repeat this process with the rest of the dough balls.
  • To cook: Cook patties in a high ridged fry pan, over medium heat, with a tablespoon of ghee or coconut oil for 5 minutes on each side (or until browned). 
  • Be careful (!)  as veggie burgers fall apart easily.
  • I usually do all the above a day or two ahead of time and then place patties in the fridge or freezer between paper towels until the day of consumption.  Then heat up any way you prefer.
  • To serve: As you would any other burger, with mayonnaise, more pickles, ketchup, greens, tomatoes, etc. etc. etc. 

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Alcohol Balls

12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons of white corn syrup
2/3 cup bourbon or rum or what-have-you(?)
   last time I used home-made coffee
5 cups crushed wafers (vanilla for most, but
   OK to use other flavours as well)
2 cups of chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
powdered sugar for coating

  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave, and remove from heat.
  • Crush wafers in a food processor — or you can smash them in a bag.
  • Stir sugar and corn syrup into the chocolate. 
  • Once combined, add the alcohol.
  • Add wafer crumbs and chopped nuts.
  • Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar, then let them sit in a cool, dark place for for 3 to 4 days to ripen.

Sweet Potato Pie with Oat-Pecan Streusel

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
Sleeve of honey graham crackers
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup evaporated milk or cream/milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 9" pie pan with cooking spray.
  • Poke the sweet potatoes with a fork in several places. Set on a baking sheet and roast until tender, 45 to 50 minutes. 
  • Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Halve and scoop out the potato with a spoon, discarding the skin. Transfer the potato to a bowl and mash until smooth.
  • Reduce the oven to 350°F. 
  • In the bowl of a food processor, place the graham crackers and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Process into coarse crumbs and transfer to a bowl. 
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and pour into the crumb mixture; mix until well combined. 
  • Pour into the prepared pie dish and press into the bottom and up the sides. 
  • Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the potatoes, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the milk, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the flour, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and ginger and whisk until smooth. Pour into the cooled crust and bake for 25 minutes.
  • While the pie bakes, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, oats, and pecan halves. 
  • Add the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture holds clumps when pressed. 
  • Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the top with the oat mixture. 
  • Return to the oven and bake until the filling is set and the top is browned, an additional 18 to 20 minutes. 
  • Cool for 30 minutes before slicing. 

Ground Beef Wellington

1 medium onion
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
1 potato
2 cloves of garlic, diced tiny
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 sprigs of rosemary
2 large egg, lightly beaten
500g minced beef
salt and pepper to taste
500g puff pastry
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Peel and chop the onion, carrots, celery and potatoes into small cubes.
  • Stir fry all vegetables together with the rosemary sprigs for 8 minutes 
  • Completely cool vegetable mixture.
  • Mix all vegetables, except rosemary, with minced meat. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Beat in half of the beaten eggs. Stir.
  • Roll out the dough. 
  • On one side of the rectangular dough rolled put the stuffing
  • Brush edges of the dough with some of the rest of the egg mixture and roll into a log.
  • Secure the edges and ends. 
  • Put roll on a baking sheet, brush the entire surface with the rest of the egg and bake for an hour until golden brown. 

Friday, 26 December 2008

Tomato Jam and Mozzarella Panini

Cherry tomato jam (yields about 1 cup)
4 cups cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes
   or Sungold tomatoes, halved crosswise
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Panini or Grilled Cheese (enough for 4 
   large sandwiches)
8 slices (your choice) of bread or 2 uncut
2 cups grated mozzarella (you might not
   need this much cheese, depending on the
   size of your bread)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Tomato jam
4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Olive oil or butter, for frying

  • To make the jam: In a medium-sized pot (around 2½ quarts) over medium-high heat, combine the halved tomatoes, honey, vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat as necessary to avoid scorching as the jam condenses.
  • Simmer until the mixture is completely broken down, reduced and thickened enough that you can scoop it on top of itself and it stays there, which will take somewhere between 30 to 50 minutes. Use the jam immediately or let it cool and store it, covered, for up to 1 month in the refrigerator.
  • To make the sandwiches: If you're making panini, brush olive oil or melted butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place the oiled sides down on a plate. Mix the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese together. Working in pairs, spread a generous layer of jam on one piece of bread and top the other with a generous handful of cheese, spread evenly down the bread (use a little more than you think you probably should). Top the cheese with a sprinkle of torn basil and press the other slice of bread, tomato jam-side down against the cheese to make a sandwich. Repeat for remaining sandwiches.
  • Grill the sandwich in a panini press, electric grill or in a pan on the stovetop until both sides are crispy and turning golden brown on the edges.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Peanut Butter Coconut Cherry Bombs

1 stick butter (softened)
1 1/3 c peanut butter (smooth
   or crunchy)
4 c powdered sugar
20+ maraschino cherries
2 c shredded coconut

Dipping Chocolate
6 oz chocolate chips (milk,
   semi-sweet or dark, your
3 Tbsp coconut oil

  • Using your hands, combine butter, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and coconut.
  • Roll into ball and then flatten
  • Place maraschino cherry inside flattened ball, and then re-create ball
  • Place each bomb on parchment paper, on top of a cookie sheet and put into the freezer for several hours or overnight
  • Melt chocolate and coconut oil in microwavable bowl - one minute at a time until fully melted
  • Dip frozen balls in chocolate mixture and pull out with toothpick and knife
  • Once again place on parchment paper to cool
  • Keep in refrigerator or freezer, but let thaw and then warm up a bit before consuming!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Cranberry-Hazelnut Chocolate Bark

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, semi-sweet or
2 teaspoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/3 cup toasted & crushed hazelnuts*
1/3 cup dried cranberries
and a few pinches of coarse sea salt

  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Melt chocolate chips together with coconut oil & maple syrup until smooth
  • Spread in a thin layer on the parchment paper, about 1/8 of an inch thick.
  • Sprinkle the chocolate evenly with hazelnuts and cranberries.
  • Grab a good pinch of course salt and sprinkle it evenly all over.
  • Place the baking sheet in the freezer until frozen solid.
  • Remove from freezer and peel the parchment paper away from the bark.
  • Break into pieces while still frozen.
  • Store in an airtight container or in the fridge

*   To toast hazelnuts, place on an ungreased pan, in a single layer, and then into a 350 F oven for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and then wrap nuts in towel for about 1 minute to allow them to steam. They'll still be quite hot, but rub the towel encased nuts a bit and that'll get off most of the hazelnut's covering.  Then separate the nuts from the covering -- don't worry about the bits of covering that are still left on the nuts.  You'll want to crush the hazelnuts somewhat before adding to the above recipe.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Winter Salad

2 cups raw walnuts,
1 cup dried cranberries
8 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 - 6 cups mixed greens
arils from one pomegranate

Balsamic Fig Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fig preserves or crush 5 figs as a substitute
salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Add walnuts to the baking sheet. 
  • Toss the walnuts with the maple syrup, cinnamon, crushed red pepper and salt. 
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes, stirring 2-3 time throughout cooking until the walnuts are toasted and golden. Allow to cool.
  • Add the greens to a large salad bowl. Add the pomegranate arils and the cranberries. Add the cooled walnuts and gently toss the salad. Add the goat cheese.
  • To make the dressing, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fig(s) [preserves] and salt until combined. 
  • Just before serving, drizzle the dressing over the salad and gently toss. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 - 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 - 1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp. garlic powder
4 - 8 slices of baked or honey ham
4 - 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 - 8 slices Swiss cheese
1 or 2 large tomato(s), thinly sliced

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Rub a medium-sized baking sheet with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil.
  • In a medium sized bowl combine the bread crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder and the remaining olive oil. Set aside.
  • Lay the slices of ham out on the baking sheet.
  • Take a chicken thigh and unroll it so that it is a flat single-layered piece. Put it on top of the slices of ham. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.
  • Top with a slices of cheese. Overlap tomato slices over the cheese and then top with the bread crumb mixture.
  • Bake until chicken is cooked through and bread crumbs are browned, about 30 - 50 minutes. Check after 30 minutes.  

Caper Relish

2 cups (packed) assorted herbs
   (such as Parsley, basil,
   mint, cilantro, chives)
1 clove garlic, smashed
3 scallions, white and green
   parts thinly sliced
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/3 cup capers, drained
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan

  • In the bowl of a food processor combine the herbs, garlic and scallions. 
  • Pulse until finely chopped. 
  • Add the lemon zest and juice, fish sauce, capers, olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper, and Parmesan then pulse to combine. 
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl then pulse a few more times for good measure. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. It should taste quite strong and pungent 

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Olive Cheese Straws

1 sheet puff pastry
1 large egg
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
1 cup finely chopped olives
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

  • Defrost the puff pastry according to the package directions. 
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/16 inch thick. The size of the pastry will depend on the brand you use, but you will likely have a rectangle about 12x30 inches.
  • Whisk together the egg with about 1 teaspoon of water and lightly brush onto the pastry.
  • On one half of the dough, working cross-wise, sprinkle the parmesan, cheddar, olives and thyme.
  • Gently fold over the other half of the dough and lightly press with the rolling pin. 
  • Using a floured pizza cutter or knife, cut the edges so you have an even rectangle. 
  • Cut even strips and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, twisting if you wish.
  • Refrigerate the dough while you preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes, then gently turn the straws over, and bake for 1-2 minutes more. 
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly. 
  • Enjoy warm or at room temperature. 
  • Once cooled, the straws may be stored in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.

Chocolate Chip Baklava

4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 pound of phyllo dough
1 cup butter, melted

Vanilla Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, spit in half and seeds removed
flaked sea salt, for sprinkling

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl on high speed until foamy. 
  • Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. 
  • Add the 1 1/2 cups of softened butter and vanilla extract, beat until smooth and creamy. 
  • Stir in chocolate chips, pecans and walnuts.
  • Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some of the melted butter. 
  • Layer 10 pieces of phyllo in the dish, brushing each piece with butter before adding the next (keep the remaining dough covered with a damp towel). 
  • Gently spread 1/2 of the cookie dough over the phyllo dough (the layer will be somewhat thin). 
  • Layer 10 pieces of phyllo on top, brushing each with butter before adding the next. 
  • Spread with the remaining half of the cookie dough. 
  • Now add the third and final layer of phyllo dough. Layer on 12 pieces of phyllo right on top, brushing each with butter before adding the next.
  • Cut into the baklava to make strips, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Then make diagonal slices, about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create a diamond pattern. 
  • Bake until golden, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, make the syrup. Add the water, brown sugar, vanilla, vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla bean pods to a medium sauce pot. 
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the vanilla bean pods.
  • Pour the syrup over the warm baklava and let soak, for at least 6 hours or overnight (I covered my pan after about 2 hours of cooling with plastic wrap). 
  • When ready to serve drizzle each piece with melted chocolate and sprinkle with sea salt.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Brown Sugar Meatloaf

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup finely crushed Ritz Cracker

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C
  • Lightly spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. 
  • Spread the brown sugar into the bottom of the pan evenly. Top the brown sugar with the BBQ sauce. Set the pan aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients and using your hands mix everything together evenly. Try not to over work the meat, which will result in a dense loaf.
  • Place the meat on top of the BBQ sauce and press evenly into the pan.
  • Bake the meatloaf for 60 - 70 minutes.
  • Allow the meat to rest for 15 minutes. 
  • Drain the excess fat and transfer the meat to a platter to serve.

Pork Spring Rolls

Make(s) a large batch.  Freeze some?

2 lbs ground pork
20 - 30 shrimp, peeled, de-veined
   and minced
1 small purple onion
1/2 cup finely minced celery
1/2 cup carrot, minced
6-7 tablespoons soy sauce
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Spring roll wrappers (not the
   translucent ones) and/or wonton
peanut oil for frying

For the Sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 cups + 6 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons graulated sugar
2 tablespoons ketchup
Pinch of salt
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
  • In a large bowl, mix the ground pork, minced shrimp, onion, celery, carrot, soy sauce, egg and a little salt and pepper by hand. If necessary, chop on a cutting board to ensure that it everything is fine and well incorporated.  
  • Heat a little peanut oil in a small frying pan, and cook a teaspoon of the filling to check for taste. Adjust seasoning as necessary. The filling can be prepared up to a day in advance and chilled in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container.
  • Take a wrapper and place on your work surface on a diagonal so one point is facing you. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling towards the bottom of the egg roll. Turn up the bottom corner and roll upwards. Fold in the left and right corners, making sure the filling is nicely packed, with no air pockets. Continue rolling. Dip you finger in water, pat it on the remaining corner and finish rolling, sealing the edge. The wrapper should be about 1/2 inch in diameter.  
  • If using wonton wrappers, place a small amount of the filling in the middle of the wrapper and then squeeze all edges and corners tightly together at the top.
  • Keep the rolled wrappers covered in a single layer in the refrigerator with a damp paper towel over top until ready to fry, or freeze in an air tight container for later.
  • Make the dipping sauce by combining the vinegar, water, sugar, ketchup and salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and stir. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook until it becomes thin and clear, about 5 minutes.  Take a few tablespoons of the liquid and create a slurry with the cornstarch, whisking until smooth. Stir in the slurry into the sauce, whisking constantly, to thicken the sauce. Set aside.
  • Fry the rolled wrappers in peanut oil in a deep fryer or deep sided skillet to 350 degrees. 
  • Working in batches, add about 4 - 6 at a time, and fry until golden brown. This should take about 4 minutes for freshly rolled, or about 6 minutes for frozen. Let drain on a rimmed platter lined with paper towels.
  • Serve immediately with the sauce

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Chicken Pie with Béchamel Sauce

3 boneless chicken breasts
2 medium ripe tomatoes
Olive oil as required
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
Oregano (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Nutmeg (to taste)
Béchamel* Sauce - See Below for Recipe
1 egg
A few drops of lemon juice
Salt (to taste)
1 cup shortcrust pastry
Grated cheese (to taste)

1. Cut the chicken breasts into pieces and chop in a blender. Season and stir well the minced chicken with a little salt, pepper, nutmeg, oregano and chopped garlic. 

2. In a frying pan, place olive oil, chopped onions and tomatoes.  Allow to saute over low heat until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the chicken with the seasonings, stir with a wooden spoon and cook about ten minutes. Stir once in a while.

3. With a wire whisk, mix well the Béchamel with the egg and a few drops of lemon juice. Set aside.

4. Line a pie pan with the shortcrust pastry. Drain the chicken. Place the chopped chicken on top of the pastry, cover with the Béchamel mixture and sprinkle with grated cheese.

5. Place in preheated oven at 180ºC about 20 to 25 minutes until golden on top. 

Béchamel Sauce

1/4 cup butter, chopped
1/3 cup plain flour
4 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
good pinch ground nutmeg 

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming. 
  • Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. 
  • Remove from heat. 
  • Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. 
  • Return to heat. 
  • Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce comes to the boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. 
  • Remove from heat. 
  • Stir in parmesan, salt and nutmeg.

Grilled Chicken With Spicy Cherry Sauce

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped pitted sweet
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red
1 tablespoon cherry preserves
4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless
   chicken breast halves

  • Prepare the grill. Then lightly spray the grill rack with cooking spray.
  • Lightly crush cherries in a small saucepan. Add the wine or water and next 6 ingredients (through preserves). Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.
  • Grill the chicken for 4 minutes on each side or until it is cooked through. 
  • Serve chicken topped with cherry sauce.


1 15oz. can of pitted black
   olives - drained
1/3 cup of olive oil*
Pepper to taste

All the following ingredients 
   are optional -- use any or 
3 large sun dried tomato halves
   with oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic - jar or
1 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs -
   including parsley, sage or
1 tbsp. capers - drained
1 whole anchovy from can
1 tbsp. of Dijon mustard

2 French rolls - 6 inch size or just 1/2 loaf - sliced.
2 - 4 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Combine all the ingredients you have on hand and blender, or food process, until finely chopped. 
  • You can prepare way ahead and store in the refrigerator. 
  • Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Drizzle bread slices with olive oil and salt and pepper. 
  • Toast in oven or toaster oven for about 7 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned.
  • Spread paste on Crostinis just prior to serving. 

*Ok to use less olive oil

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Roasted Garbanzo Bean & Squash Salad

small container of cherry tomatoes
2 cups chopped zucchini
2 cups chopped squash
1/2 medium red onion, sliced into strips
1 regular can of garbanzo beans, drained
   & rinsed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon white or red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
a few pinches of red pepper flakes
a few leaves of basil, sliced

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Arrange the tomatoes, zucchini, squash, onions and garbanzo beans on a baking sheet (it’s ok if it’s a little crowded). 
  • Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Toss to coat, then bake for 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove from oven. (Still on the baking sheet), drizzle the vinegar over the veggies and toss them with the minced garlic and a few pinches of red pepper flakes. 
  • Bake 5-10 minutes longer (or broil 1-2 minutes)… until the veggies are golden brown on the edges but still have somewhat of a bite (you don’t want them completely mushy).
  • Remove from the oven and toss with sliced basil. 
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. 
  • Drizzle with a little bit more olive oil, if you like. 

Monday, 15 December 2008

Roll Up Appies with Ham & Cheese

puff pastry wrap
ham (finely chopped)
small pkg cream cheese
shredded cheddar cheese
fresh herbs (dill and spinach)
salt, pepper, Hot Sauce

  • Roll out the dough as thinly as you can 
  • Layer cream cheese, dashes of hot sauce on top and then spread out the hot sauce and then add pepper and salt
  • Layer ham and cheddar cheese
  • Layer greens
  • Turn tightly and roll into long thin tube (or 3) into baking paper. 
  • Put in the freezer for 30 minutes. 
  • Take out and cut (without the paper) 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices
  • Spread out on baking paper and bake in a preheated 200 degree oven until golden brown. 
  • Cool

Spicy Tropical Chicken Salad

Chicken Marinade:
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 T fish sauce
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp molasses
2 T hot sauce (fruit flavour if
1 garlic clove, minced
juice from 1 lime
2 large chicken breasts,
   boneless and skinless
salt and pepper

For the Dressing:
2 tsp Spicy mustard
1 T hot sauce (fruit flavour if
1 tablespoon honey
zest and juice, 1 lime
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive

For The Salad:
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
several handfuls of baby spinach

  • Place marinade ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Coat chicken in marinade and let sit in fridge for at least one hour.
  • Heat up a pan to medium-high heat and cook with marinade on each side for 4-5 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Set aside to cool.
  • Once cool, cut chicken into chunks and build salad.

Turkey Panini with Apple, Cheddar & Greens

3 tsp plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
3 tsp stone ground mustard
1 large soft white loaf of bread
3 oz. turkey breast
1 oz. Cheddar cheese, thinly
   sliced or shredded
1 apple, pealed & sliced
½ cup greens (what-have-you?)
   lettuce, arugula, spinach, or
  • Heat a panini maker.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt and mustard.
  • Spread the yogurt sauce on both halves of split soft white loaf
  • Divide the turkey breast, cheese, apple and greens evenly over the loaf
  • Grill the sandwich on the panini maker until the cheese is melted and the bread is toasted. 

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Chicken Florentine Flatbread

1 Chicken Breast, grilled and
1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
1 bag Fresh Spinach, wilted and
   squeezed of excess liquid
1/2 Onion, caramelized
1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
1 cup Shredded White Cheddar
2 Naan Flatbreads or 1 pre-
   cooked pizza style crust
  • Top each flatbread with Ranch dressing and spread thinly over the flatbread. 
  • Top with shredded chicken, wilted spinach, onion, cherry tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
  • Bake the flatbreads for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and started to bubble. 
  • Remove and cut into pieces for serving.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

4 complete chicken breasts, deboned & skinless
200 gr. Mascarpone
1 small container fresh mushrooms
8 slices of ham
Olive Oil
1 or 2  cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
Freshly grated orange peel
1/2 cup, plus a splash of Brandy
Baby spinach

  • Open the chicken breasts, place in plastic bag and smash with a wooden hammer (or what-have-you?) until flatter.
  • Place each smashed breast on sheet of waxed paper (this is mostly to keep your counter cleaner).
  • Spread with salt & orange peel & other spices (what-have-you?).
  • Arrange 2 slices of ham on each smashed chicken breast.  
  • In a frying pan, brown crushed garlic and 3 tablespoons of oil. When it begins to fry, add the sliced mushrooms directly.
  • Heat the mascarpone cheese in the microwave for 1 minute.
  • Blend mushrooms with a splash of brandy and add the mascarpone cheese. 
  • Add salt and pepper, chopped parsley and mix.
  • Preheat oven to 210 °C. 
  • Spread a layer of mascarpone cream and mushrooms on each smashed chicken breast. 
  • Sprinkle with parsley.
  • Roll the breast to form a roll.
  • Tie with kitchen string and arrange on a platter with a little oil.
  • Add half a glass of brandy and juice from orange used for peel. 
  • Sprinkle with paprika.
  • Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. 
  • Wait ten minutes and let the whole thing rest.  Sprinkle with a bit more paprika if necessary for appearance. 
  • You may make a gravy with the sauce left from the chicken or discard.  
  • Prepare a bed of raw baby spinach.
  • Place each roll on bed.

Magic Mix

15 whole graham crackers
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans
7 oz sweetened condensed milk
cooking oil spray

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Break apart graham crackers into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  • Add chocolate chips, coconut, cranberries, and pecans.
  • Add sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine well.
  • Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray liberally with cooking oil spray.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until coconut is beginning to get toasted. 
  • Let cool on baking sheet. 
  • Break into pieces.
  • Store in a sealed container. 

Veggie & Spicy Sausage Stuffed Peppers

1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 spicy sausage without casings
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 leeks (white and light green
   parts only) or several green
   onions, cleaned and finely
15 asparagus spears, roughly
1/2 cup spring peas, roughly
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red chili
1/4 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
salt and black pepper
4 bell peppers, assorted colors

  • Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cook & crumble your spicy sausage, without casings, and remove from pan.  
  • Add olive oil in your saute pan if necessary.
  • Add the garlic and leeks/green onion to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.  
  • Next, add the asparagus, artichoke hearts and peas.  
  • Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. 
  • Continue to cook for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  • In a medium sized bowl, combine the cooked rice, cooked spicy sausage, and sauteed vegetables. Mix with a fork until the ingredients are well combined.  
  • Add the feta cheese and fresh parsley.  Taste the filling and adjust seasoning as necessary. 
  • Set aside.
  • Prepare the peppers by cutting them lengthwise and removing the stem, seeds, and ribs. Stuff the rice/sausage/veggie mixture into the peppers.  It may dome above the rim of the peppera. 
  • Bake them for 25 to 30 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately. 

Broccoli/Cauliflower Salad

1 Head Broccoli, chopped
1 Head Cauliflower, chopped
2 cups Peas
1 package of dried cranberries
snips from a bunch of chives
1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
2 Cloves Garlic, minced

  • Chop Broccoli & Cauliflower or run through a food processor.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add in all chopped vegetables, chives, and shredded cheddar cheese.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and garlic. 
  • Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and stir to combine.
  • Cover and place in the fridge and allow to chill until ready to serve.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Slow Cooker Cola Beef

1 1/2 pounds chuck roast
2 onions, sliced
¾ cup cola
¼ cup worcestershire sauce
¼ - ½ teaspoon hot red pepper
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons butter
  • Place roast in slow cooker and top with onions.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cola, worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, vinegar, garlic, mustard and chili powder. Pour mixture over roast, reserving ½ cup to create sauce.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours or on HIGH 4-6 hours.
  • In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together ketchup, butter and reserved liquid.
  • Serve roast topped with sauce and over mashed potatoes 

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Baked Parmesan Hash Brown Cups

About 5 medium sized white potatoes grated
   in a food processor and then squeezed by
   the handful to get rid of most of the
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Panko or homemade breadcrumbs
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper,
   or to taste
onion or garlic powder, optional and to taste
ketchup, sour cream, or your favourite
   condiments, for serving

  • Preheat oven to 350F. 
  • Spray/grease a Non-Stick 6-Large Cup Muffin Pan very well with cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  • To a large bowl, add all ingredients (other than ketchup or sour cream) and gently toss to combine.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes, or until edges are browned with lightly golden tops that are set. 
  • Allow hash browns to cool for about 10-15 minutes in muffin pan on top of a wire rack before gently rimming each cavity with a knife if necessary, dislodging, and serving with ketchup, sour cream, etc.

Cream Cheese & Red Wine Brownies

2 tablespoons butter
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate
1 egg
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
a pinch cinnamon optional
a pinch black pepper optional
a pinch cayenne pepper optional
1/3 cup red wine

  • Preheat oven to 370°F. 
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream 2 tablespoons of butter with cream cheese until fluffy.  
  • Beat in 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 teaspoon of vanilla;  set aside.  
  • Melt chocolate and 1/4 cup of butter in a microwave for about 45 seconds.
  • Mix chocolate and butter together. Heat for additional intervals of 10 to 15 seconds if chocolate is not completely melted. Make sure not to overheat or burn chocolate.
  • Add chocolate mixture to a bowl that already has 3/4 cup brown sugar in it, and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
  • Whisk in egg.
  • Add in cocoa powder, 1 tsp of vanilla, and baking powder together with salt and optional spices. 
  • Whisk until combined.
  • Pour in red wine and whisk until mixture is homogeneous. Batter should be thinner like a crepe batter.
  • Sprinkle in flour and fold into batter until flour is just combined. Avoid over mixing batter in this step.
  • Pour 1/2 of the batter into a greased 8 x 8 pan.
  • Pour the cream cheese mixture over this batter.
  • Then place tablespoons of the rest of the chocolate batter around the top of the mixture in the pan and spread slightly.
  • Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until brownies look set. 

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Turkey Croquettes

1 cup leftover stuffing
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1 cup diced leftover turkey
1 egg
salt and pepper
1/2 cup flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup panko
oil to deep fry (I like Coconut
cranberry sauce, to serve if

  • In a bowl, add the stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey and egg. 
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Scoop out about a golf ball size shape (smaller), compacting as you go and lay out on a piece of wax paper or pan. 
  • Set up a breading station with three shallow dishes. One with flour, one with a lightly beaten egg, and one with panko.
  • Working gently, with one egg at a time, dip the croquettes into flour, shaking off excess, then coat in egg wash. Roll in panko to coat.
  • In a deep sided, heavy bottomed pot, heat up 1-2 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 375°F.
  • Gently place the croquettes in the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd, flatten slightly with fork and turn occasionally until the breading is golden brown and crisp, 5–6 minutes. 
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer to paper towels to drain. 
  • Let cool slightly and enjoy hot with cranberry sauce.


2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup candied orange peel,
   homemade or store-bought,
   finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground
   black pepper
1 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons kirsch, dark rum,
   or brandy
For the glaze
1/2  cup confectioners' sugar,
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1  tablespoons kirsch, dark rum, or brandy

  • To make the cookies: Pour the honey and sugar into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Stay close—once the honey boils, it can easily bubble over. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the candied peel and lemon zest and scrape into a large bowl. 
  • Set aside to cool to lukewarm.
  • While the honey is cooling, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and spices. 
  • Using a sturdy flexible spatula or a wooden spoon, stir the almonds and the kirsch (or other alcohol) into the honey mixture, then gradually add the dry ingredients. You're going to end up with a very heavy dough, so be prepared to put some muscle into the mixing. 
  • Scrape the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour and shape it into a square. 
  • Dust the top with flour and then sandwich it with another piece of parchment, and roll it into a 12-inch square. Don't worry about precision, but do try to get the dough a scant 1/2 or less inch thick.
  • Slide the sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet, wrap the setup in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it overnight.  
  • Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. 
  • Peel the parchment away from the top and bottom of the dough and place the dough on the lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake the leckerli for 13 to 15 minutes, or until it is golden and puffy; it may crack, but that's fine. Press on the dough lightly, and it will be soft. 
  • Slide the leckerli, still on its parchment, onto a cooling rack. 
  • Make the glaze: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. 
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze evenly over the entire surface of the warm leckerli. If some drips down the sides, that's fine. 
  • Allow the leckerli to cool to room temperature. 
  • Carefully slide the leckerli off the parchment and onto a cutting board. 
  • Working with a chef's knife or other long knife, trim the edges and cut the leckerli into 3-inch-wide bands. 
  • Cut each band into 3/4-inch-wide cookies.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Frozen Tiramisu

    16 oz. heavy whipping cream
    1/2 lb. cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar (or more to taste)
    1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee

    2 tbsp Kahlua
    2 tsp vanilla
    24-30 ladyfinger cookies
    1/2 oz. dark chocolate

  • Pour the whipping cream into a bowl with 1/2 cup of sugar. 
  • Whip the cream with an electric mixer for 4-6 minutes till it thickens and forms soft peaks. 
  • Mix in the cream cheese on medium speed till the mixture is well blended and forms stiff peaks. Taste the mixture; add additional sugar, if desired (the ladyfinger layers in this tiramisu will be quite sweet, so you don't need to overdo the sugar in the cream layers)
  • In a mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of cold water with 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee. Whisk in Kahlua, vanilla, and 2 tbsp of sugar. Set aside.
  • Take your ladyfingers and your cold coffee mixture and place them nearby. Commercially made ladyfingers (the crunchy kind) work best for this dessert, since they tend to be very absorbent. In your large loaf pan, use a spatula to spread an even layer of cream across the bottom of the pan.
  • Dip the ladyfingers one by one into the coffee mixture for 2-5 seconds each. How long you will dip them depends on the consistency of your ladyfingers. You want them soft, but not overly mushy, so test one or two to get a feel for the ideal amount of soaking time. They will continue to soften even after you take them out of the coffee mixture. Let any excess coffee drip down off the ladyfingers after dipping.
  • Arrange them one by one in a horizontal layer on top of the cream. You should need 8-10 ladyfingers to cover the surface of the cream.
  • Cover the ladyfingers with another layer of cream.
  • Continue to layer the soaked ladyfingers and cream till you've made three layers of soaked ladyfingers. Finish with a final smooth layer of cream across the top of the loaf pan.
  • Use a grater to grate 1/2 ounce of dark chocolate shavings into a bowl.
  • Sprinkle the shavings onto the top of the assembled tiramisu.
  • Cover the tiramisu with plastic wrap, being sure not to let the wrap touch the surface of the cream. Place the tiramisu in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
  • Remove the tiramisu from the freezer about 10 minutes before you plan to serve it. Slice it straight from the freezer into the amount of servings you need using a knife dipped in hot water between slices to make cutting even and neat. Place pieces onto serving plates and let them defrost for 10 minutes before serving (they can be eaten frozen too, it will taste more like ice cream cake that way). 
  • Store tiramisu in the freezer covered with plastic wrap. 

Kaluha Cookies

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Kahlua
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa

  • Cream butter in a medium bowl; Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.Add kahlua and egg, beating well.
  • Combine flour and next 3 ingredients, stirring well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture, beating at low speed of an electric mixer until well blended.
  • Cover and chill dough for 15 minutes.
  • Combine powdered sugar and cocoa.
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls; Roll each ball in sugar mixture.
  • Place on cookie sheets coated with cooking spray.
  • Flatten each with a fork in a crisscross pattern.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 9 minutes.

Bacon Cheddar Beer Potatoes Au Gratin

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon  cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup chicken broth
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
24 ounces bacon, cooked, drained and chopped
3 pounds red potatoes, sliced thin (I use a food processor and the slicing blade)

  • Move rack to center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Add flour and whisk; allow flour to cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Add garlic, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Whisk to combine. 
  • Slowly add beer, chicken, and half and half.  Whisk until there are no lumps.  
  • Add cheese and whisk constantly until you have a smooth mixture.  
  • Add milk and Worcestershire.  Reduce heat to low.
  • Butter or Pam an 8 x 13 pan and then layer potatoes, topping each layer with 1/3 of the cheese sauce and 1/3 of the chopped bacon. 
  • Continue layering cheese sauce and potatoes ending with sauce on the top.  
  • Bake for 60 - 90 minutes, until potatoes are tender.  

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Fish & Mashed Potatoes Pie

7oz skinned cod fillets, chopped into bite-sized cubes
7oz skinned salmon fillets, chopped into bite-sized cubes
7oz skinned what-have-you fillets, chopped into bite-sized cubes
7oz large raw peeled prawns
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh or dried dill, chopped (optional)

For the sauce
3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup hot fish stock (make
   your own using skin and scrap
   fish, and a few veggies lying
   around, plus water [of course],
   then boil the crap out of it and
   strain) or use a stock cube
1/3 cup double cream (or whole
1 tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)
1 tbsp English mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp anchovy paste fish sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
salt, to taste

For the topping
2.2 lbs peeled potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp unsalted butter
splash milk
a little freshly grated nutmeg
a little grated Parmesan
salt, to taste

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat and gradually stir in the flour to make a roux.
  • Add the wine, stirring well, and then slowly add the fish stock until you have a smooth sauce. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  • Add the cream and stir in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste or fish sauce, lemon juice and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding salt to taste.
  • Gently fold the fish, prawns, parsley and dill into the sauce then let it cool while you prepare the mash.
  • Preheat the oven top 190C (360F). Boil the potatoes in plenty of water then drain and mash together with the butter and enough milk to have a smooth, soft, mash. Add the nutmeg and season with salt. Leave to cool slightly.
  • Either divide the fish between 2 or 4 small pie dishes or pour into one large ovenproof dish filling up 2/3 of the way up.
  • Spoon the mash potatoes over the pie and place on a large, heavy baking tray (there will be some overspill). 
  • Bake for 30 minutes and then add a sprinkling of parmesan cheese over the pies. 
  • Bake for another five minutes or until golden. 
  • Cool slightly before serving.   Freezes well.  

Pesto Pull Aparts

5 1/2 oz Milk
one sachet yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
10 1/2 oz flour
1 oz oil
1 tsp salt
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp+ pitted black olives
4 canned artichokes
2 tbsp basil pesto
1+ tsp olive oil
oregano to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 egg yolk

  • Mix the yeast with lukewarm milk and sugar in a large bowl until it has completely dissolved.  
  • Stir in flour, oil and salt.  
  • Knead to a smooth dough.  
  • Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a food processor add all the filling ingredients and process until you have a slightly chunky, spreadable mixture.
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 16 x 8 inches.
  • Spread the filling on top leaving a little space on all the edges.
  • Roll into long tube - somewhat like cinnamon rolls.
  • Cut your tube to fit on a parchment lined baking pan, putting pieces tightly beside each other.
  • Cut dough diagonally into 45 degree angles and gently pull the angles apart a bit.
  • Let rest again for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Brush top of the dough with yolk.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees in a preheated oven. 

Apple Pecan Cranberry Brussel Sprout Salad

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts cleaned and trimmed
2 crisp variety apples
1 ounce Parmesan cheese shaved
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 dried cranberries

Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Make the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette: Add the ingredients of the honey lemon vinaigrette to a small jar with a lid and shake vigorously to emulsify; set aside.
  • Run your brussel sprouts and cored apples through a food processor on a coleslaw blade.
  • Pour mixture into bowl and add Parmesan cheese, dried cranberries and chopped pecans.
  • Drizzle with the dressing, toss to coat. Let the salad stand at least minutes before serving to allow the flavours to blend together.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Shredded Chicken Sesame Noodle Bowls

Sesame Sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (can use paste)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup peanut butter
3-4 tablespoons water
2-3 tablespoons sesame seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Other Ingredients
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken
4 ounces flat Chinese noodles
1 cucumber
2 large carrots
Or what-have-you (?) for veggies

  • Sauce: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for the sesame sauce except the sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Pulse until mostly smooth; stir in sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.
  • Noodles: Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Chicken: Heat a large skillet with a little oil over medium heat. Cut the chicken pieces down if they are large. Add the chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until barely golden brown on the outside. 
  • Add about a third of the sesame sauce to the chicken with a little water to thin it out. It might splatter, so turn down the heat at this point and have a lid ready. Let the chicken finish cooking in the sauce for a few minutes. Remove the chicken from heat, let cool slightly, and shred.
  • Veggies: Chop the veggies super-finely or put them in a food processor or use a mandoline and get them all thinned up. Drain out any excess moisture.
  • Toss everything together and serve hot or cold.  
  • You can easily make this the day before, just don't mix until just before serving, and then zap in the microwave for 1.40 minutes or so.

Coconut Shrimp & Rice

3 cups chicken broth 
1 cup water 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 
3 shots of hot sauce
zest and juice of 2 limes (1/3 cup of juice) 
7 cloves minced garlic 
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 
1 medium onion chopped 
1 red bell pepper chopped 
1 carrot peeled and shredded 
1/4 cup flaked coconut 
1/2 cup raisins 
2 cups rice 
1 lb. peeled and deveined jumbo cooking
    shrimp (thawed if frozen) 
2 oz. fresh snow peas cut into strips 

  • In a 5 qt crock pot, combine chicken broth, water, hot sauce, salt, cayenne pepper, lime zest, lime juice, garlic and ginger. 
  • Stir in onion, pepper, carrot, coconut, raisins and rice. 
  • Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 hours, or until rice is tender. 
  • Check after 3 hours and if liquid is absorbed, but rice is not tender, add 1 more cup water. 
  • When rice is tender, stir in shrimp and snow peas. 
  • Cook 30 minutes longer. 

Monday, 1 December 2008

Grain Free Olive Garlic Crackers

2 cups almond flour*
1/2 cup green and/or black olives, diced
1 egg, whisked
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon or more sea salt
1/4 teaspoon or more garlic powder

  • Combine flour, salt and garlic in a large mixing bowl and add in the olives.
  • Pour the melted butter and egg over the mixture and stir until combined.
  • Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper with another piece of parchment placed over top.
  • Press the dough dough a bit and then roll it out with a rolling pin until it's about 1/4 inch thick.
  • Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the crackers into the desired size.
  • Bake at 350 ºF for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top.
  • Store in an airtight container.

*You can grind your own almond flour by placing whole almonds in a blender/food processor and blending until you get a fine meal.

Maple Pecan Sticky Buns.

Sticky Sauce

2/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
12 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup raw pecans, chopped


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or butter.
  • In a medium sauce pot, combine the maple syrup, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 12 tablespoons butter. Cook over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sauce bubbling, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  • Divide the pecans evenly among the bottom of 12 muffin cups. 
  • Now pour about 1-2 tablespoons of the sticky sauce over the pecans (reserve any remaining sauce for serving). The sticky sauce should come about 1/3 of the way up the muffin cup.
  • Add 6 tablespoons butter to saucepan. Allow the butter to brown lightly until it smells toasted, about 5 minutes. Stir often, butter will foam and then settle back down. Remove from the heat and let cool 10 minutes.
  • In a bowl, combine 2/3 cup brown sugar with the cinnamon.
  • Lightly flour a clean surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the sheet with half of the brown butter and then evenly sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining sheet of puff pastry.
  • Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up tightly like you would a cinnamon roll, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Slice each roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. This should make 12 rolls. Place each roll, spiral side up, in the prepared muffin cups (place the rolls snugly into the pecans/sticky sauce).
  • Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet with sides. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. 
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto a parchment paper lined serving plate (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon). Rewarm the remaining sticky sauce and drizzle it over the buns. Sprinkle the buns with salt and serve warm or room temperature.