Sunday, December 4, 2011


Pizelles are traditional Italian Christmas cookies.  Both my Grandmother and my mother have made them for years, and now it's my turn.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tsp Anise flavouring
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 5-1/2 cups flour (approx)

Mix all the ingredients together until well blended, using your hands at the end as it can be quite stiff.  If your dough is too wet, add a bit more flour.

Roll the dough into small half inch balls, place in the middle of the hot press and slowly close it tight.  It takes a couple of trial cookies to get your balls just the right size, not too small like the one below, but not so big that they leak out the sides and make a mess.

These cookies do requires a Pizzelle press. You can get an electric one, which my Grandmother used, but I found hers made the cookies too small and too thick.  I much prefer this one, though it does mean making the cookies one by one (most electric ones do two at a time)

Because there is so much oil in the dough, there is little need to oil the press before you use it.  Just make sure it's very hot to start.  The risk of these cookies is that you will likely set off the smoke detector at least once and will end up with all the windows open, even though it's December.  The oil also splatters and can cause small flare ups on the burner, so you must be very attentive to each cookie.  Once your press is hot enough it only takes about a minute per side to get them cooked just right.




Wednesday, November 30, 2011


from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk or water

Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. Pour liquid mixture into flour mixture and combine. The batter should be slightly elastic. Boil 6 cups of salted water in a large saucepan. Press batter through a large-holed colander or spaetzle maker. Don't try to use all the batter all at once. As the noodles rise to the top of the water, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain. The noodles should be light - if they're on the heavy side, add more milk to the batter before continuing with the next batch.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greek-Spiced Baked Shrimp

Serves 4
Active time: 15 min; Start to finish: 1 hr

  • 1 med onion, chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
  • ½ tsp hot red-pepper flakes 
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice 
  • 1 (28 oz) can chopped tomatoes 
  • Pinch of sugar 
  • 1 ¼ lb large peeled and deveined shrimp 
  • ¼ lb feta, crumbled (approx. 1/3 cup) 
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dill  

  • Preheat oven to 375, with rack in the middle 
  • Cook onion and garlic in oil in 4-qt heavy saucepan over medium heat, until softened – about 5 minutes
  • Stir in spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.
  • Add chopped tomatoes with juice and sugar – simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened – about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove from heat 
  • Add shrimp to sauce and stir well 
  • Transfer to oven proof dishes and top with feta 
  • Bake until just cooked through – about 18-20 minutes. 
  • Sprinkled with dill 
  • Serve – Have plenty of bread or naan on hand for sopping up the juice.

Source: Albin, Andrea – “Quick Kitchen.” Gourmet Magazine November 2008; 103.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who knew that gluten free stuffing could taste good?  Even though the loaf of "bread" we used had the consistency of Styrofoam when we cubbed it, by the time Hilary added in all the other great flavours and it cooked inside the turkey for several hours, it was delicious!

The only down side - it leaves some mysterious residue on the plates that does not come off in the dishwasher! In fact, all the dishwasher does is spread it to all the other dishes, so that you have to re-wash the whole load by hand.  

Roast vegetables

For Thanksgiving this year we roasted all the vegetables, including a whole head of cauliflower.  The brussle sprouts had a nice nutty flavour to them, but the cauliflower ended up browning too quickly, so it was slightly underdone.  I think if we were to do it again we would steam it first to get it partially cooked.  Overall though it had a great flavour.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Caesar Salad

  • Cook bacon until slightly crisp, but not over cooked.  Cool and chop into small pieces.
  • Wash and rip romain lettuce into bite size pieces.
  • Some people add croutons, but since I don't like them, I don't add them!
  • Sprinkle with fresh grated parmasean cheese.
  • Toss with dressing.  Serve immediately.

Caesar Salad Dressing (adapted from the Joy of Cooking)

  • Peel 4 cloves of garlic and mash using a fork with 1/2 tsp salt
  • Whisk in:
    • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • salt and ground pepper to taste
    • a generous dollop of anchovy paste
  • Add in a slow and steady stream, while whisking constantly 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Whisk continuously until you have a thick emulsion.

Soup Stock

Roast beef bones (on the right) and Oxtail bones (on the left) until fully cooked.  Drain off excess fat.

Add bones, carrots, celery, onions and garlic to stock pot.  Season with pepper, thyme and rosemary (or any flavours of choice).  Cover with COLD water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 3-4 hours.

Strain stock, discarding solids.

French Onion Soup

Peel LOTS  of onions.  Try not to cry to much!

Sauté the onions in some butter and olive oil on a medium heat.

Once the onions start to cook, lower the heat to very low and stir occasionally.  Continue to cook until the onions are caramelized.   Be prepared!  This can take several hours.

Place your onions to an oven proof bowl and add your hot soup stock.

Float a rusk on the soup and cover with grated cheese.  We like emmental.

Heat under the broiler until the cheese is melted.  

Monday, September 5, 2011

Plum Tart

Hilary made this lovely plum tart tonight.  While it was very good, if we were to make it again, we would not use cornmeal in the crust, but would go with a more traditional shortbread style crust.  The plums were simply cut in quarters and tossed with white sugar.  Once the crust had been proofed, she spread a half cup of pumpkin jam on the bottom, added the plums and baked it for another 15 minutes.

Overall is was a great quick desert and a good way to use up extra plums.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Peach Crostata

Adapted from my other favorite recipe book: Souper Suppers by Arthur Schwartz.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp butter
5-6 medium peaches, peeled and cut in half
cinnamon (optional)
1 cup sour cream (or you could use heavy cream or yogurt, or a combo)
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar and salt 
  3. Cut in the butter, using your fingers, until the mixture resemble course meal
  4. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9 or 10 inch pie plate (I used a rectangular dish).
  5. Arrange the peaches over the crust sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cups of sugar.  Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together the sour cream and eggs till well blended
  8. once the crostata has baked for the 15 minutes, remove from oven, pour over the egg and sour cream mixture and then return to oven for another 30 minutes
  9. Serve warm (not hot) or at room temp. It's best if it's never refrigerated, as the peaches will weep and make it too wet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Beet and Carrot Latkes

One of my favourite cook books is "Fifty Ways to Cook Most Everything" by Andrew Schloss.  We've had it for years and have yet to have a recipe that we've tried from it fail.  We had never tried the Beet and Carrot Latkes before but they sounded intriguing.  We've made potato latkes, zucchini pancakes and corn fritters before, all with similar recipes and yummy results.  The Beet and Carrot Latkes delivered.  Slightly sweet from the beets, they pair very nicely with sour cream.  They were also quick and easy, something you could start after work and still eat dinner at a reasonable time.  We had ours with a serving of sausage, but truth be told, I would have been happy just having latkes.

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 pound raw beets, peeled and shredded
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp finely chopped onions
salt and pepper to taste

  • Combine carrots and beets in bowl

  • Mix eggs, flour, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Mix into beets and carrots.
  • Heat 1/4 inch of oil in deep skillet.
  • Fry heaping soup spoonfuls of the batter, flattening mounds to form pancakes about 3 inches in diameter.

  • Brown well, 4-5 minutes per side.
  • Drain on paper towel and serve hot with sour cream.


I did not weigh my vegetables to start, but eye balled it based on what I thought we would need for dinner for 2 for 2 nights.  As a result, I felt that I needed more egg and flour to bind it together, so I added an extra egg and another tbsp of flour.  They held together nicely.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ratatouille and Polenta

I made a baked Polenta, using a Food Network recipe.  It was creamy and very cheesy.  I fried it in olive oil after it had set to warm it through before serving.

I served it with Ratatouille.  No real recipe here.  Start by sauteeing onions and garlic and keep adding in vegetables that have all been cut up in chunky pieces.  I used carrots (not traditionally found in Ratatouille), eggplant, green and yellow zucchini, green, red and orange bell peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.  Add in the hard vegetables first as they will take the longest to cook.  Let the whole thing simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes till everything is done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Our August Daring Cook Challange was to make Appams.  Be sure to check out my full post on my main blog.  The recipe was provided to us by Mary of Mary Mary Culinary.

Servings: Makes about 15. I find 3-4 are enough for a serving


  • 1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
  • ½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
  • About ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)


  • Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that.
  • Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
  • Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.
  • Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!
  • Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
  • Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
  • Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
  • Make another, and another.  

  • Serve with curries of your choice - I served mine with a lamb ishtew and a sambar vegetable curry

Sambar Curry

Sambar Recipe 
Adapted from South Indian
This Sambar recipe is one of the most loved dishes in South Indian cuisine. It accompanies most every meal. 
  • 1/2 lime sized ball Tamarind
  • 1 cup Toor Dal (or red lentils)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 5 small dry red chilies (or to taste)
  • 8 Curry Leaves (see note)
  • 1 medium onion (shallots are preferable)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (optional) (substitute garlic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tablespoons sambar powder (see note)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves (also known as coriander leaves)
  • 1 cup of a vegetable of your choice like green beans, chopped carrot

  • Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 20 minutes. Squeeze it out, adding water little by little to prepare 1 cup of juice.
  • Choose a heavy cooking pot. Wash and clean the dal.
  • Boil 2 cups of water and add the dal, turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon of oil.
  • As the dal boils, skim off the foam and discard.
  • Boil until the dal is soft and then mash it coarsely.
  • If needed, add more water as it is boiling but do not let it get too watery. If you use a pressure cooker it will take about 5 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, heat to medium and pour in the remaining oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the chilies, mustard seeds, fenugreek and curry leaves and sauté for 2 minutes.
  •  Add the onion and brown lightly. Add the tamarind extract and let boil lightly until the onions are cooked.
  • Add this mixture to the dal with asafoetida, tomato, vegetable of choice and sambar powder.
  • Allow this to boil for 5 to 10 minutes and remove from the heat. Garnish with cilantro.

Lamb Curry

Mutton Ishtew
Adapted from Indian

This delicious South Indian stew is delicately flavored with a mix of spices and coconut milk. It tastes great with rice, Dosas, Idlis or Appams.
  • 1 kg mutton/ lamb/ goat meat cut into small pieces (bones included if any)
  • 25 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
  • 2 large onions chopped fine
  • 2 green chillies slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1" stick of cinnamon
  • 8 cloves
  • Seeds from 5 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 10 baby potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon


  • Put the meat, vinegar, 15 curry leaves, freshly ground black pepper and 1 cup of water into a deep pan and set up to cook on a medium flame. Cook till meat is half done. Keep aside for later use.
  • Heat a flat pan on a medium flame and gently roast the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorns and fennel seeds on it till they begin to turn darker and release their aroma. Allow to cool and then grind into a coarse powder in a clean, dry coffee grinder.
  • Heat the cooking oil in another deep pan, on a medium flame and add the chopped onions, green chillies, chopped garlic and remaining curry leaves to it. Cook till the onions are soft.
  • Add the powdered ground spices to this and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the meat now and cook till browned.
  • Add the baby potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the previously cooked meat and stock to this and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk to this and cook till the meat is done.
  • Add salt to taste and the juice of 1/2 a lemon and turn off fire. Mix well.
  • Serve with hot rice, Idlis, Dosas or Appams.

If you are going to use a coffee grinder for your spices, be sure to have a 2nd one, since the flavours don't go well with coffee!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Home Made Pasta

The July Daring Kitchen Challenge was to make home made pasta.  Be sure to check out my full post on my main blog.

2 cups semolina flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
2 large eggs

  • Make a well of the flour and salt on your work surface

  • Add eggs and olive oil to the well, mix into flour until a stiff dough is formed

  • Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest in fridge for approx. 1 hour

  • Divide dough into small portions, flatten into a disk and feed through pasta roller at widest setting.  Fold the dough in 3 and feed through again.  Repeat this step 5-6 times.

  • Change the roller settings to a smaller width and continue to feed dough through.  Lower the setting with each pass.  You can cut the dough if it gets too long to work with.
  • Once the dough is the desired thickness, pass it through the cutting end of the pasta machine.

  • Hang pasta to dry.

Tomato, Basil, Brie and Fresh Pasta
Fresh Pasta
Cherry Tomatoes
Fresh Basil Leaves

  • Quarter tomatoes.
  • Remove stems from basil leaves, cut a Chiffonade
  • Remove rind from Brie, cube.
  • Cook Pasta - fresh pasta only takes 1-2 minutes. Drain.
  • Toss tomatoes, basil and Brie with hot pasta till Brie is melted.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mystery Box Challenge # 1 - Reveal

We had success!!  Dinner turned out to be very yummy and something that I would do again.

First I stewed the dry figs with port, water and sugar.  Once that had cooked down for about 20 minute I pureed it to make a jam like consistency.  I also carmalized the onions. 

I butterflied the pork tenderloin and spread the fig jam and onions on it before rolling it up and tying it closed.

For the Orzo dish, Hilary made me some anchovy butter, which I used to sautee the shiitake mushrooms and then wilted the beet greens with them.  I then added some coarsely chopped tomatoes at the end so they would be just warmed, but not cooked through.  I tossed in the cooked orzo and the rest of the anchovy butter.

The sweet of the filling from the pork and the sour from the anchovy butter and greens was a lovely flavour combination.