I just want to start off by saying - SO delicious! and so more-ish. I could have eaten a dozen of these babies to myself.
I didn't think I would like a stuffed jalapeno. I don't know why, I don't like spicy foods that cause pain. I like spice in foods with a little heat, but have you ever eaten something so hot and spicy that it makes you feel ill. That's what I don't like.
A friend handed me a recipe card she had found in a grocery store and said I should try to make these. My husband loves spicy foods, so I thought, why not. I would give them a try. The recipe card said to halve the jalapenos, stuff with cream cheese, wrap in bacon (only 1/2 a slice) and cook them on the BBQ. Nice, but I wanted better. My jalapenos were wrapped in a full slice of bacon and baked until crisp on the outside, and gooey in the middles.
One word of caution - make sure you remove ALL the seeds. One seed left inside will make you wish you did a better job. And, if you don't wear gloves while cleaning out the insides of the peppers - don't touch any sensitive areas, and I mean your mouth, lips or eyes, before scrubbing your hands well.
Makes 6 (perfect appetizer for 2)
6 large green jalapeno peppers
100g cream cheese, at room temperature
30g cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon red hot sauce (like Frank's)
6 slices bacon
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a medium sized bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well. Set aside.
Halve jalapeno peppers, remove stems, membranes and all seeds. Divide cream cheese mixture between jalapeno halves, then match and stick jalapeno halves back together. Wrap in one piece of bacon to keep secure.
Place jalapenos onto a baking sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and filling is hot.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm.
I have a confession to make...a client ordered a dozen chocolate muffins the other day and I didn't have time to test a recipe, so I had to send out something I wasn't happy with. I never send out anything unless I am 100% satisfied with the product, but the other day, I was in such a rush to get a breakfast order out the door, that my little heavy lumps of muffin had to do. They were edible, and tasty. Just not something I was proud of. I want people to be talking about my food for months, and how it was the best they had ever had. That's what keeps people coming back, right. After my embarrassing delivery, I sat down and vowed to find / create the perfect recipe. I need a recipe that is quick to put together, always works, and is chocolatey rich and delicious. DELICIOUS, I say. Chocolate Muffins Makes 12 regular sized muffins Recipe from King Arthur Flour
2/3 cup dutch-process cocoa
1 & 3/4 cups flour
1 & 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large bowl, mix together the sifted cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips.
In a large measuring cup, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar. Add wet ingredients, along with the butter, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend. Just make sure everything is combined well.
Scoop into 12 muffin cups, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and leave for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
PS - the muffins I sell are based on this recipe, just a bit more decadent!
I was shopping the other day, and came across leeks. I love leek. There is something to be said for the sweet mild onion flavour that comes from a leek. I like them roasted, I love them braised, I like them in soup, I even like them fried. I guess I am a leek fan.
So, what started out as simple potato and leek, turned into a silky fragrant corn soup. When I got home and started putting the soup together, I found corn in my fridge and thought I would make a kind of chowder. And, when I looked over at my windowsill and saw my basil plant leaning dangerously close to death, I picked off the leaves and added them too. I am a habitual plant killer. I buy plants like cut flowers because in the back of my mind, I know I am going to have to throw them into the compost.
Back to the soup. My thought process was that potatoes and leek go well together, corn and potatoes are delicious together and I really like corn and basil together. So, with corn tying all ingredients together, what could go wrong? And I was right - it works to create a warming and hearty soup. It warmed and filled up our bellies last night.
Potato Leek Soup with Sweet Corn & Basil
Makes 6-8 serves
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
3 leeks, tough green part removed, white parts rinsed well and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon flour
2lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup corn kernels (from about 2 cobs of corn)
2 liters chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 cup corn kernels, extra (from about 2 cobs of corn)
2 tablespoons (about 8 large leaves) chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon salt, extra
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Heat butter in large saucepan. Add onion, leek, garlic and salt, and cook gently until leek is softened, but not browned. Add thyme and flour and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, 1 cup corn kernels and stock. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are softened and cooked through. Remove from heat and puree. Stir in cream, remaining 1 cup corn kernels and season well with salt and pepper.
It's "Off to School" in my house. That's right, it's my 4 year old son's first year in JK. We have spent an hour at the school with him, and he has been for one morning session with a few kids from his class. On Tuesday, he is fully immersed with the whole class of 22 other 4 year olds. I wish him luck.
I am really looking forward to him being in school full time (well, full time mornings), I hope he will love it too.
In celebration of him going to school, we baked up a batch of cookies for him to take as his snack. No ordinary chocolate chip cookies here, these are chocolate chip smartie cookies - and he got to pick what went into the dough. Super simple, nut free, and on the healthy side of a chocolate chip cookie - at least I know that everything that went into them is good wholesome food (well, aside form the smarties).
The original recipe contains only chocolate chips, and that was out only adaption.
Back to School Cookies
Makes 2.5 dozen
Adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour
180g butter, at room temperature
150g brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 & 1/4 cups flour
1 cup smarties
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375F.
Beat the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup together until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, baking powder, salt and baking soda, and then mix in the egg. Beat well.
Beat in the flour, then stir in the smarties and chocolate chips.
Scoop (I used a 3/4 oz ice cream scoop) cookie dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes, just until lightly browned at the edges. Do not overbake.
Cool cookies for 5 minutes on baking sheets before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
This is one of my mum's recipes, from her hand written cookbook that I now have. I have no idea where this recipe originally came from, but even so, I adapted it a little. Her recipe added 1/3 cup oil, but I think it's fine without it. There is enough fat from the bacon, cheese and eggs. If you feel the need, add it.
It's quite surprising how simple this recipe is, yet so tasty - you can taste everything. Bacon. Onion. Egg. Cheese. You can kind of taste the zucchini, but it's not too much. Zucchini barely tastes of anything on it's own anyway, it's one of those vegetables that loves to absorb the flavours of everything around it.
Maybe this is one of those dishes I can feed to my kids, and sneak in some vegetables...
I love to eat this (yes, almost the whole pan) for breakfast, then some for brunch, a slice for lunch and then whatever is left warmed up for dinner. It is super simple and quick to put together, yet you will have everyone raving. Serve it with a crisp salad, some crusty fresh bread and you have a meal.
Makes one 8 x 8 pan
4 green zucchini, shredded
1 onion, minced
3 slices bacon, rind removed, sliced and cooked
1 & 1/2 cups cheddar cheese (I used 2 YO cheddar)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 eggs, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and line an 8x8 pan.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Pour / spread into prepared pan, bake for 45 - 50 minutes, until top is golden and middle has set.
A fabulous recipe for a salad the first day, and then warmed up as leftovers the next day. You could actually eat this salad hot anytime. I am surprised at how delicious and more-ish this dish is. I was a little sceptical because of the maple syrup in the dressing, but it actually worked out quite nicely. You couldn't taste maple at all, so you could sub in honey if you didn't have maple syrup on hand.
It's super quick to put together - the longest task is boiling the noodles, and yes, before anyone says anything, I used spaghetti....shock, I know, but I like spaghetti or spaghettini in place of Asian-style noodles. I prefer the texture, and I definitely prefer the way they hold overnight. It means I can make this dish for my family today to enjoy tomorrow, and no one would know.
Of course, you could use any Asian noodle you like, just follow the cooking directions. I personally prefer the fatter chewier styles to the rice sticks. Just as in Italian cooking, every Asian noodle has it's specialty dish. I use the ones I like.
I also used matchstick carrots, you know those pre-shredded ones near the baby carrots in the produce section at the grocery store? I buy them because I like the shape and texture. You can add them to dishes and they don't break down, as shredded carrots do. They stay crunchy for a long time.
To add to this salad, I sliced up some chicken breast and gave it about 15 minutes in a combo of soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and canola oil. I stirred in about 1/2 clove minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, and then quickly stir fried. Okay, I sauteed it until the sugars had caramelized and the outsides of the chicken were dark and sticky. Yum, yum, yum!
Recipe adapted from here
Makes 6 serves
1/2 lb dry spaghetti noodles, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
1 cup matchstick carrots (you could shred your own)
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly on the diagonal
3 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
Basically, after the noodles are cooked, rinse them under cold water, until they are no longer warm. Drain well and mix with the vegetables.
Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Mix well - keep mixing even though the peanut butter looks horrible, it will smooth itself out as you keep mixing. Pour dressing over noodles and vegetables and mix well. Season with salt, if necessary.
OK, I admit it. I used to really like Hamburger Helper. Kind of gross now, when I really think about it. But, back in the day, I loved it. Just like Kraft Dinner and 2 minute noodles, it had it's place in my pantry. But, I have grown up and moved on from the processed box dinner, and crafted my own hamburger helper recipe.
I remember I loved it so much, that I bought a box of every variety Betty Crocker made and took it home to my sister in Australia. We laughed so much, we also ate so much of it too.
It was cool the other night, and I needed comfort. I needed pasta in a meaty sauce and something that would fill me right up. Without a box of HH in my pantry, I devised this ingenious recipe. It's a one pot recipe - so not much cleaning, and it freezes well, perfect for lunches or quick dinners over the next little while.
All you need is some garlic bread and a big glass of wine. Well, maybe the wine after the kids are in bed.
Homemade Hamburger Helper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
750ml passata (pureed tomatoes in a bottle)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup beef stock
2.5 cups dry pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup whipping cream
Heat oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic, ground beef and salt, and cook until ground beef is browned. Stir in passata, ketchup, basil, oregano, pepper, beef stock and pasta. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer gently until pasta is cooked through, 15-20 minutes depending on the type of pasta you use. The pasta should absorb most of the liquid and leave you with a rich and thick sauce.
When pasta is cooked, remove from heat, mix in frozen peas, cheddar and whipping cream. Check seasoning and serve!
From time to time we buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store for dinner. It's relatively cheap, it's quick and everyone in our house likes to eat it. Sometimes, when I am sick of making chicken salad the next day, I turn to the quesadilla for a change. With a tiny bit of prep work, you can enjoy some leftover chicken in a whole different way.
I also wanted to try Dempster's new Corn Tortillas. They are soft and yellow and perfect for quesadillas. You can use them right out of the package too. Comes in handy on a weeknight!
Quesadillas are like a sandwich, you can put whatever you like inside, and it's pretty much guaranteed to taste good. Add some shredded cheese and it holds everything together like glue when melted.
I like to serve them hot, either straight off the grill or out of the pan, with some sour cream on the side, and a crisp salad.
Quick Chicken Quesadillas
6 tortilla wraps
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 chipotle pepper, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cups sliced or shredded boneless cooked chicken, from rostisserie chicken
150g shredded cheese (I used mozzarella because I like the melt factor)
Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add onion and peppers and cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. You want to peppers and onions to soften but also get a little charred. Add garlic, chipotle, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir for 1 more minute. Remove from heat, stir through chicken meat.
Place 6 tortillas on counter and divide chicken mixture between tortillas. Divide cheese mixture between tortillas, fold over and press closed.
In a clean non-stick pan (or grill plate), heat with a little oil. Cook quesadillas until lightly browned and crisp. Serve hot.
A quick post today - these are the turtle cake pops I made for a customer (actually, if you remember my pig cake pops from last year - it's the same customer). Her girls wanted turtle cake pops for their birthday, and this is what I came up with.
Inside, the cake is chocolate bound together with chocolate frosting. Then I picked through a bunch of Skittles to find enough green ones for the feet and heads. I flattened the cake pop before dipping into green candy coating, stuck on the feet and the head before they set. After about two hours, so I knew they had fully set), I piped extra green candy coating on the tops and sprinkled with green sugar. I used royal icing for the eyes and then used an edible marker to draw on the eye balls and the smiles.
Apologies for the lighting, I think I had to take these outside at 5am to get enough light before they were packaged up.
An abundance of olives, a bush of rosemary and a little bit of time is what I had today, so naturally, I made olive rosemary bread. I used to go to a restaurant in Sydney, Australia called Bayswater Brasserie and they served the most amazing olive bread I have ever had. It looked like a really good bread dough, shaped into a flat log and stuffed with olives. It was so good and salty, I still remember it.
From a quick internet search, it looks like the restaurant has been closed for some time - it's been 12 years since I lived in Australia - which is a shame, because it really was a great restaurant in a prime location. Part of me wonders what is in it's place. I am sure Kings Cross is not the Kings Cross I remember, but hopefully some of the good places to eat are still going strong.
On a side note, one of my other favourite places to go was Roy's Famous on Victoria Street. But, another internet search, and it too has closed. There was that place, too, that made you wear a crazy hat every time you ate there. Oh, I am having some good flashbacks to some great nights out with friends. Makes me a little homesick.
Anyway, back to the bread. It's not the same as the Bayswater Brasserie (btw, if anyone has the recipe and wants to share it with me, I would be much obliged), actually, it's not even close to the olive bread I ate there, but this is still a delicious bread. We ate it fresh, we ate it smothered in butter and we even ate it grilled with a little olive oil and then smothered in Boursin cheese...yum!
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
160ml warm water
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
Gently cook onion in oil, with salt, until softened - it looks like a lot of oil, but it is the fat you need in the bread. Remove from heat and stir through minced garlic and rosemary, and leave to cool slightly. You want the mix to be warm, but not hot or it may kill the yeast.
When oil is warm, combine all ingredients into bowl of stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and mix until a smooth dough forms. You may need to add a little more water or flour to get a nice dough. Knead for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof in a warm place for 1 hour.
Remove from bowl, shape into a round loaf, and place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave for another hour.
Preheat oven to 400F. Place bread into oven on middle shelf and bake for approximately 40 minutes. The bread will be well browned all over. Remove from oven and cool before slicing.
*Note, the easiest way to pit olives is to squash them gently with a knife and then basically peel off the flesh. Or, use an olive pitter, or, but them pitted.
I know it's an odd thing to say, but ever since last summer when fresh corn was in abundance, I have had a hankering for some good creamed corn. By the time I got around to it last summer, the local corn was all gone and I didn't think it appropriate to use frozen kernels. So, a whole 12 months later, here I am gorging on creamy and sweet and absolutely delectable creamed corn. The corn kernels are so tender (I used local Ontario (Canadian) corn ) they just pop in your mouth. And, I would have to mention this recipe is designed to serve 8-10 people, but my husband and I managed to eat half of it last night. We just kept going back for one more scoop. Kind of like ice cream.
I came across a million recipes while looking for the perfect one, and I basically used this recipe from the Food Network, and added some red pepper and parsley. You could definitely leave out those two ingredients and still end up with a wonderful dish. For some reason, I thought a bowl of "yellow" might not look so great in a picture.
I also thought, that some red pepper, minced jalapeno, coriander and maybe some cheese in here and you would have another wonderful take. Might have to try that one later in the week and see how it turns out.
In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter and salt until translucent.
On a large rimmed baking sheet, resting the cob on the sheet in a vertical position, remove the kernels with a knife, using long downward strokes and rotating the cob as you go. After the cob has been stripped, use the dull back side of the knife to scrape any remaining pulp and milk off the cob.
Add the corn and pulp mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium high until the juice from the corn has thickened. Add the rosemary. Sprinkle the corn with the sugar and turmeric. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the cornmeal onto the corn, and stir to combine well. Add the heavy cream and cook until the corn has softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the rosemary. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
The time is ripe for tomatoes - perfectly hot weather for the whole month of July, lovely and dry so the tomatoes get extra sweet, this is a stunning way to serve a salad at your next entertaining opportunity. They can even be assembled a day ahead, so no last minute running around. Love it!
I find I am leaning toward more prep-friendly meals. With my three crazy kids, one crazy wiener dog with a short-dog syndrome, a part-time job and a husband that travels for work, life gets kinda busy, and easy is what I crave. Easy but delicious. Delicious and sometimes even on the healthy side. Only sometimes :)
These really are a big serving for one person. You could search for those Campari tomatoes, I bet they would look adorable on a buffet, filled with orzo, feta and basil.
8 tomatoes (I used hot house because they are always perfect in colour and shape), tops cut off and middles scraped out
1/2 cup dry orzo, cooked in salted boiling water until al dente, and drained
1 green onion, chopped
4 large basil leaves, chopped
50g feta cheese crumbled (keep a little left for garnishing the tops)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (optional)
1/4 red pepper, chopped fine
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste
When your tomatoes are scooped out, sprinkle the insides with a little salt and turn them upside down on a paper towel lined baking sheet so the juices drain right out. Leave them there until your salad is ready.
Place cooked and cooled orzo in a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Season well.
Divide salad between tomatoes, top with a little crumbled feta cheese and a small fresh sprig of basil.
I tried the Rachael Ray waffle method of putting brownie batter into my waffle iron - no luck! The entire mess completely stuck to my non-stick waffle iron. Yes, I know, nothing is meant to stick to a non-stick surface, but I guarantee you, I was scraping that muck off my waffle iron for hours. Never again, as delicious as that sounded.
When I came across this recipe from Bon Appetit (in the March 2012 edition), I literally could not wait to to try it. Perfect for brunch, perfect for lunch and even perfect for dinner. Perfect for breakfast too! They are so delicious, they will be making their way onto my plate sometime soon...and yes, I am still using up that leftover ham from my last post.
These waffles are surprisingly light and crisp and the ham and the cheddar is baked right in the batter, so every bite is filled with the sharp and salty flavours of cheddar and ham. Of course, I added more cheese and more ham to mine.
Ham & Cheese Waffles
Makes 6 (their recipe says 12, but I must have a bigger iron)
1 3/4cupsflour 1tablespoonsugar 2teaspoonsbaking powder 1teaspoonbaking soda 1teaspoonkosher salt 3large egg whites 3large egg yolks 1cup(2 sticks) melted butter 1cupbuttermilk 3/4cupsoda water Non-stick vegetable oil spray 1cupthinly-cut strips of ham 3/4cupshredded sharp white cheddar Maple syrup Preheat oven to 300°. Heat waffle iron until very hot. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until medium-soft peaks form. Whisk egg yolks, melted butter, buttermilk, and soda water in a medium bowl; gradually whisk into dry ingredients. Fold in egg whites. Coat waffle iron with non-stick vegetable oil spray. Pour batter onto iron, spreading it into corners (amount of batter needed will vary according to machine). Scatter 1 rounded Tbsp. ham and 1 Tbsp. white cheddar over each waffle. Cook until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a baking sheet; keep waffles warm in oven between batches. Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.
It's kind of weather for pot pie, but verging on not. Part of me wishes it was cold enough to enjoy a steaming hot pot pie, but the other part is longing for the warm sunny days of Summer to continue. Actually, all of me is waiting (not very patiently) for the sunny days of Summer to return.
Cauliflowers are in all the grocery stores right now, albeit not locally grown yet, they are all beautiful and large and white. I also saw leeks today as well so they hit my basket rather quickly too. Ham, I already had, yes, in my freezer left over from a baked ham dinner earlier in the year. I hate leftovers, I don't know why. Maybe it's because I grew up on lots of them, and this is my way of rebelling - HA to you, mum and dad! But, my husband has challenged me to clear out the freezer, instead of just buying more food. So, this is one way. Plus, I absolutely hate throwing away good food. There's no reason for it, if you buy it (or grow it) you should not waste it - simple.
That being said, I throw out my fair share of food. I try so hard not to, I shop every other day so I am not stockpiling, but inevitably something finds it's way to the back of the fridge and I miss it. Right now there's some suspicious looking apple juice I saw today. Not sure how long it lasts once it's opened, and then I am not even sure what to do with it....let me think about it and I will see what I come up with.
I made my pastry (rough puff dotted with pink peppercorns) and made a basic white roux with chicken stock and cream to bind the filling. It's rather simple, but so delicious all together.
It's my kind of comfort food - belly filling and heartwarming.
I do warn you, if you make your own puff pastry, this recipe will take some time. I did make my own "rough puff", but you can use the pre-rolled sheets that are sold in the freezer section at the grocery store.
Cauliflower Leek and Ham Pot Pie
Makes 4-6 serves (depending on the size of your ramekins)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
150g ham, roughly chopped (I used leg ham)
1 cup (125g) shredded cheddar cheese (I used 2 year old cheddar)
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4-6 rounds puff pastry, cut to fit your ramekins
1 egg, lightly beaten (add 1/4 teaspoon salt if using store-bought)
Preheat oven to 375F. Combine oil, cauliflower and salt in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Place cauliflower, in a single layer, on a baking sheet and roast 15-20 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
To make filling: melt butter in a large saucepan. When melted, add leeks with salt and cook gently until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Slowly stir in stock, being careful to stir out any lumps.
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook gently for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add cream, and stir through ham, cheddar, parsley and pepper. Remove from heat, and stir through cauliflower. Cool for 30 minutes.
Divide pie filling evenly between your oven-safe ramekins. Top with puff pastry and brush with egg wash. Bake at 375F until pastry is golden brown and you can see the filling bubbling below. Remove carefully from the oven and serve. Remember to warn your guests - the ramekins are HOT!
Note: You can make this a day ahead. Portion the pie filling and chill. On day of baking, preheat oven to 375F. Top ramekins with puff pastry, brush with egg wash and bake as above.
I opened up the mail box the other day, and inside was a parcel from my Dad in Australia. He hadn't mentioned posting anything, so I was intrigued as to what could be inside. I was so surprised to find my Grandma's cookbook - all her handwritten and hand-snipped recipes, gathered from so long ago.
My Grandma is the person who taught me to cook, and a favourite of ours was poached eggs. Whenerver I stayed over, we always used to make them in the mornings for breakfast. If my Grandpa remembered he would go out and try to find double yolk eggs - always a special treat.
Anyway, I just love to cook now, and cooking reminds me of so many afternoons in her kitchen. They are good memories and I am happy to remember them.
I'm looking over these recipes though, and there are some interesting ones. Did you see the one for Steak Paste? As delicious as that sounds (not), who would ever have thought to make it - steak into a paste, so gross. I will not be making that - ever....
And, just in case you need help with stubborn bathroom grime...all while you are cooking :)
Zucchini Pickles sounds good, might have to try it this summer when zucchini are plentiful.
And, check out the frosting job on that Teddy Cake. Nice......
Can you see the date on the Good Housekeeping Cake Recipes booklet? I know, this must be an antique, well, almost anyway.
So, over the summer, if I can find some time, I will be trying out some of these heirloom recipes, I will post my results...good, bad and plain ugly. Although, I am sure today's recipes originated from recipes like this. As with anything good, things transform and evolve into what we consider acceptable today.
Happy summer, hope you had some good laughs and hopefully, this is a welcome back to blogging for me. I will find the time, I will find the time, I will find the time.........
Today is day one of the Spring Wedding Show here in Ottawa, and these are the cupcakes I have on display with Jo-Ann Pullen. If you are looking for invitations, you might like to chat with Jo-Ann at Studio No 8, where she designs the most exquisite wedding and business logos and stationery (watch for change on my website, courtesy of the talented Jo-Ann shortly). She is one talented and creative lady and I am glad I know her. Here's hoping some of her talent rubs off on me!
I only made 100 cupcakes for today, so fingers crossed, if you were there, you got to sample some! These babies are vanilla cake, topped with vanilla buttercream and I made each daisy by hand with gum paste. I love tone-on-tone colour schemes - so chic. And, what's a cupcake without a little bling?
As much as this blog is about what I am creating and working on in the food arena, if you are looking for cupcakes for your wedding or special event, give me a call - weekends are filling up fast!
One of my favourite pasta dishes of all times. I had completely forgotten about it since moving to Canada over 12 years ago, until I came across a reference to it on a menu search I was doing for inspiring ideas. I used to order this every time I went to our favourite Italian restaurant in Syndey, and I don't even really like mushrooms, but I love them in this dish. I had never even thought the recipe could be so simple, just a handful of ingredients which I generally have on hand. We always have bacon, cream, garlic and reggiano in the fridge, and spaghetti, or some type of pasta is in the pantry. And, well, wine is just a given in our house. Easy enough to put together, delicious flavours with some cracked black pepper and wonderfully quick for a weeknight dinner. Serve with a crisp green salad and some garlic bread.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter 6 slices bacon, chopped fine (remove most of the fat) 8 mushrooms, sliced thin 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup dry white wine 2 cups whipping cream 1/2 cup reggiano parmigiano, shredded 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley Salt & pepper, to taste Spaghetti, or linguine, your choice
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook spaghetti according to directions, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, melt butter in large pan until foaming, add bacon and cook until beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, but not coloured. Deglaze with white wine, scraping caramelised bits off bottom of pan. Add cream and reggiano and continue cooking until sauce has thickened slightly. Stir through parsley and check seasoning. Add spaghetti to pan, and stir through to coat with sauce. Serve immediately.
It's been a very busy couple of weeks - my brother and his girlfriend arrived from Australia on March 1st for a week, then we took the whole family down to Punta Cana for a week over March break. On March 15th, I returned to work full time - a shock to the system after being a stay-at-home mom for the past 16 months. Seriously, having to get up and be somewhere, on time, is really tough, after days where I would be still in my pyjamas at 2pm, and then decide it was too late to get dressed. I miss those days....
But, getting back into a solid routine has been good for me. I am exhausted at the end of the day, but a good exhausted, the feeling you get after you feel like you have achieved something.
So, my apologies for the lack of exciting posts in the last little while. It's April 1st today, so the beginning of a new month, and the beginning of Spring - such an amazing time to be cooking and eating.
This recipe was made with everything I already had on hand - pantry staples. It makes a wonderfully moist bread with a crisp crust, a touch of sweet from the corn and a touch of heat from the chipotles. Apart from enjoying it with chili, I think it would make a delicious wrapper to a smoked turkey salad - give it a try.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 9 x 5 x 2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan. Mix first 6
ingredients in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs and melted butter in medium bowl. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients; stir
until blended. Add corn kernels, green onions and chipotle chilies. Mix well. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake bread until tester inserted
into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 15 minutes.
Turn bread out onto rack; cool completely.
Trying to please little boys with super hero themed food is fabulous. I am not a theme cake maker, nor do I profess to be one, Actually, if you call me and say "can you make a cake that looks like a shoe?", I will say no. It's not my strength, I don't enjoy doing it, so with both those combined, the cakes never turn out well. I mean, they are delicious, they are just not as perfect-looking as I would like them to be.
I like little cakes, and little hors d'oeuvres, and cute food, and hundreds of little food all looking exactly the same. I find pleasure in the details, ALL the tiny details.
So, my Spiderman themed cupcakes turned out great - chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and then a white chocolate web placed right on top. All of those little "soldiers" (as my mum used to say), all looked exactly the same. I was in heaven.
You can order custom cupcakes right from my website at Take Another Bite. Just email me or give me a call - as long as it's not too themed, I am very happy to help out with the most delicious cupcakes you have ever tasted. I promise!
It was a busy weekend, I had these cake pops go out on order, as well as cupcakes. At the same time, I am entertaining my brother and his girlfriend from Australia. I feel a bit wiped out, to be honest.
The favourite colours of the recipient were purple & black, so I dipped chocolate cake balls in dark chocolate and then used the purple candy coating to make stripes, purple sugar and purple sprinkles.
I used to really dislike making cake pops, but recently they seem to have been on the top of everyone's order list, and now, after lots of practice, they seem to have grown on me. I don't mind them now that I have figured out the quirks!
Anyway, you can order these from me (in the Ottawa area) by visiting my website Take Another Bite and getting in touch with me.
I am a bit obsessed with breakfast and brunch. It's my favourite meal of the day - any day. And, if my family allowed me, there would be pancakes for dinner more often! When I saw this recipe in the current issue (March 2012) of Bon Apetit I knew I had to try it out. I mean, Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes....just screams YUM! I like Pineapple Upside Down Cake too, so pancakes and caramelised pineapple combined in one dish - what could go wrong? The recipe worked pretty well, the only thing I had to do was to make more syrup - there wasn't enough for me. I also topped my warm pancakes with ice cream. Delish!
Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes Makes 8 - 4" pancakes adapted only so slightly from Bon Apetit Magazine, March 2012 edition
Pineapple: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 large pineapple, peeled and cut into eight 1/4" rounds (you might not use the whole pineapple), cored - use a round cookie cutter to cut out the core in the middle 3/4 cup dark rum 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
To prepare pineapple: Melt butter with cinnamon in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add pineapple slices and cook until light golden brown, 4-5 minutes per side. Add rum and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until juices are thick and syrupy. Transfer pineapple to a plate; let cool. Reserve syrup.
To make pancakes: Whisk first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add buttermilk and next 3 ingredients and mix until smooth. Heat non-stick pan over medium heat and coat lightly with non-stick spray. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup measures into pan. Top each pancake with a pineapple slice and cook until golden brown underneath and bubbles form on top. Flip and cook pancake is golden brown. The BA recipe says to finish cooking the pancakes in the oven on a wire rack, but I found by cooking the pancake fromt he beginning with the pineapple ring on top, and over a medium heat, I could cook the pancakes all the way through in the pan, However, if you find your pancakes are not fully cooked in the middle - place them on a wire rack over a baking sheet, and finish cooking them at 325F for about 5 minutes. Rewarm the pineapple syrup, divide pancakes among plates and drizzle (or drench, like me) with pineapple syrup. Pure heaven if topped with ice cream :)
This recipe is a definite throwback to my childhood. This is a treat that was made, in my family, for bake sales and maybe the odd thing at school where you had to bring a treat to share. I love these, and to proove it I ate four as soon as they were cool enough. Yes, I know I am crazy - that's a lot of sugar, but they are just so delicious. Make them and you will see what I mean, I bet you won't be able to stop at one!
The original recipes says it makes 24 - yikes, 24, and I doubled the recipe, so I shold have got 48.....instead I made 12 super-sized honey joys. I do feel better saying I ate only 4 (instead of 16).
Honey Joys Recipe says it makes 24, but really, I used 2 1/2" cupcake liners and it made 7 super piled-high. Taken exactly from here at bestrecipes.com (and doubled)
180g butter 2/3 cup white sugar 2 tablespoons honey 8 cups corn flakes
Preheat oven to 300F and line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers. Melt butter, sugar and honey together in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat about 3 minutes until mixture is frothy. Pour oven cornflakes in a bowl and mix well. Working quickly, spoon generaously into cupcake papers. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
How could I resist a name like that? What I was really after was kind of a tea-cakey thing, but with fresh raspberries. I wanted a square that was more like a cake, and this is what I found. I baked one recipe in two long and skinny loaf pans (Bakers Secret pan measures 10" x 3"), which turned out perfectly. I just split the batter and the raspberries between the two, and once it was baked, I split the glaze. Super simple, super easy and super delicious. When you need something sweet really quickly, this is it!
Royal Raspberry Cake makes 2
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups fresh raspberries
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, whisk together the first three ingredients; set aside. In a bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk mixture, beating well after each addition. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish (this is where I split mine into 2 pans, each measuring 10" x 3" at the base). Sprinkle berries over top.
Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until center of cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool 5 minutes. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over cake, leaving berries exposed. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.
This is the bread I make all the time. When I was on maternity leave in 2008, I decided that I would start to bake all our own bread. It worked fine until the twins arrived, and then I was just too tired to do anything extra, except look after the twins, the toddler and myself - so we bought bread. Now that the twins are sleeping through the night (from 9pm - 6am-ish) I have my energy back, and have started making it again. In my last post for Vegetable Herb Bread, I said there was nothing like the smell of freshly baking bread wafting through the house, and it's true. There is no smell I love more - it even tops the smell of freshly baked chocolate anything. This recipe for white bread is a recipe I have adapted from King Arthur Flour. They have wonderful recipes and I am lucky to own two of their cookbooks. There is also a fabulous selection of baking recipes on their website, so if ever you are lacking for ideas, check out their site. You can buy baking ingredients online too - specialty baking products, flour blends, and many things exclusive to King Arthur Flour.
Basic White Bread adapted from a recipe by King Arthur Flour (from the book The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook) makes 1 loaf
3 cups flour 1 & 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast 1 & 1/4 teaspoons salt 1 & 1/2 tablespoons sugar 1/4 cup canola oil 1/3 cup potato flakes (instant mashed potato) 1/2 cup milk, warmed 1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons warm water
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix slowly to combine, then increase speed to #3 and knead for 8 minutes, until dough is smooth. You may need to add a little more water - the dough should be soft and a little tacky (not enough to stick to the sides of the bowl, but enough to stay in a lump). After 8 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place until risen (not necessarily doubled), about 1 hour. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and shape it into an 8" log. Transfer the log to a lightly greased 8.5" x 4.5" loaf pan, cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the bread rise for another hour. Preheat oven to 350F. Uncover the pan and bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil for the final 10-15 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly. Remove the bread from the oven, take it out of the pan, and place on a wire rack to col completely. After 15 minutes, brush it with butter, if desired. This will give it a soft crust.
Did you ever think you could make a tasty lasagna in a slow cooker? No, neither did I. It turns out you can. My good friend, Maggie, makes this all the time, and after begging her for the recipe, she finally relented and passed it on. The original recipe is a Kraft Canada recipe, and you can find it here. I made a couple of alterations, just to boost flavour, and I will admit, if you follow the Kraft recipe, you will end up with way over cooked noodles. It's very tasty, I just prefer my noodles more on the al dente side. I don't know that you will ever be able to get your noodles al dente in the slow cooker, but we can keep trying. My one year-old twins love this lasagna, most likely because it is soft and tasty, and from the middle there are no crunchy parts. My slow cooker is huge, so I doubled the original recipe - we do have oodles of lasagna leftover, but it freezes perfectly well, for meals down the road.
Slow Cooker Lasagna adapted from a recipe by Kraft Foods 1 tablespoon canola oil 1lb lean ground beef 1lb mild Italian sausage, casings removed 2 jars prepared pasta sauce (650ml ea) 2 containers ricotta cheese (400g ea) 400g shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided 2 eggs 2 teaspoons dried parsley 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 12 lasagna noodles, uncooked Heat oil in a large saucepan, add beef and sausage meat and brown. Stir in pasta sauce. Mix well. Combine ricotta, half mozzarella, half Parmesan cheese, eggs, parsley, salt & pepper in a large bowl. Mix well Scoop 2 cups meat sauce onto bottom of slow cooker. Top with 4 lasagna noodles, breaking to fit slow cooker insert. Top noodles with 1/3 cheese mixture and 1/3 meat sauce. Repeat two more times. Cover with lid. Cook on low heat for 3 1/2 hours or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese. Let stand, covered for another 10 minutes, or until melted. Serve hot.
I had the honour of baking a 4" four-layer cake for a one year old today. The theme was Winter and the colours were white and purple. How cute is that? My twins turn one year old in about 10 days and I think I might do something just as fun. Please let me remember to take plenty of photos. My three-year old's birthdays have so far gone un-documented, as I am always too busy running around doing a million other things. This is the year it stops and I begin to record milestones.
My dad even gave us a video camera when our son was born, have I ever used it, nope! I much prefer my still camera and I really really really hate seeing myself, or hearing my own voice on a video. I just don't think I look or sound like that :)
I also made co-ordinating cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate with the same purple and white butter cream and white chocolate snowflakes. Fingers crossed the party girl loved it!
Are they really BC's best known dessert? Who knows? I have to admit that before today, and before half the pan was eaten, I didn't particularly like Nanaimo bars. I guess I had only eaten mass-produced, previously-frozen varieties, and I couldn't understand the hype around them.
Today though, I finally understand the love. These are good. These are so good I have eaten half the pan and now feel a bit ill. Here's the wierd thing - I want more. I want another square. I will probably go to the refrigerator, cut one in half to eat right now, and then in 5 minutes, go back and sneak the other half.
I even cut some squares to take to our neighbour, who gave me the coconut to make these squares, but the cut Nanaimo bars haven't even made it off the counter - and I cut them hours ago. I am reluctant to part with them.
Make these this morning, and I promise you, there won't be any left for tomorrow. Oh my goodness, these are good.
Slight changes that I made were to use an 8"x 8" pan, which I sprayed with PAM and then lined with a foil sling. I don't like cutting in the pan as I don't like scratches inside the pan, but the perfectionist in me also likes perfectly cut squares, and I find it easier to do that if I remove the entire batch from the pan and cut the squares on a big board. I also added a little cream to the chocolate topping, the original is too hard to cut through nicely, and if you leave it to warm up slightly, the middle layer gets too soft and squishes out.
Whichever way you make them, always make them (it's a no-bake recipe too) and you will eat every last one of them!
adapted only slightly from here at the Joy of Baking
makes one 8x8 pan (16-20 squares, depending on how you cut)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups (200g) graham cracker crumbs (I had crackers, so gave them a whiz in my food processor)
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons whipping cream (I ended up using 6 tablespoons to get a spreadable consistency)
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder (Bird's)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
4oz semi sweet chocolate
1 tablespoon whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Spray and 8x8 square pan with cooking spray and line with a foil sling.
Bottom Layer: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in beaten egg. Return the saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens (1-2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, graham cracker crumbs, coconut and chopped nuts. Press the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about an hour).
Middle Layer: With a hand mixer beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick to spread, add a little more cream. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).
Top Layer: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Then, in a heatproof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate, cream and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the filling and refrigerate for about 10 minutes or just until chocolate has set. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares.
Happy World Nutella Day! It's one of my favourite days of the year, and this year I decided to create a recipe that uses Nutella, rather than just eat it straight from the jar (OK, I still ate some, but just a little bit. Well, maybe more than a llittle bit). I tried to make a wholewheat Nutella swirl bread - that was my original idea, but there must be too much water in an ingredient in Nutella that turned to steam in the oven, and my swirl bread swirled, it just didn't stick together. I could literally unwind the bread. In the heat too, something happens to Nutella. It looks like it splits, the solids cook and the liquids soak into the bread. Tasted good, looked horrible. Then I remembered a candy called Jaffas that I grew up with in Australia, and they are chocolate balls coated with a candy orange coating. Very delicious, and I thought that would make an excellent combination in a cake. I switched up a lemon bread quite a bit to make it an orange loaf, and then marbled Nutella through the middle. Then topped it with a quick fresh orange glaze - the result is so delicious, the cake is moist and orangey with a hint of chocolate. Perfect for that afternoon cup of coffee.
Nutella Orange Cake Makes one loaf (10" x 3", or 9" x 5")
Cake: 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup canola oil zest from 1 & 1/2 oranges 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 1/2 cup sour cream 1/2 cup milk 2 eggs 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 2 & 1/2 cups flour 1/3 cup Nutella Glaze: 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 1/2 cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 350F and grease pan. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, orange zest and juice. Beat well until thoroughly combined. Add the sour cream, milk and eggs and mix well. Stir in the dry ingredients and mix well, scraping sides. Pour half the batter into prepared pan, spoon over the Nutella and then top with remaining cake batter. Using a skewer, swirl the layers so the Nutella marbles through the cake. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack. To make glaze: combine juice and icing sugar in a small bowl. Drizzle over top of warm cake. Allow cake to cool before slicing.
Welcome to my love of food blog! I am a stay-at-home mom right now (staying home and going crazy should be the correct term) so I started this blog to share with you my love of food. I try to make everything myself, but occasionally, I will find something interesting in the stores or at the market that I will feel compelled to share.
I love to experiment, but most of all I love to make delicious and beautiful food. I hope you will be inspired.