Thursday, December 25, 2014

Sticky Saffron Cake


A perfect winter-time dessert, or a nice treat to nibble with a cup of Gl�gg (mulled spiced wine). You can serve this on its own, or with a dollop of whipped cream, and perhaps some berries. It's very adaptable, like almost all of my recipes.

Sticky Saffron Cake

100 g butter
200 g white chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 gram saffron
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 eggs
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped out seeds
1/2 tsp salt
90 g flour

Melt the butter. Add the chocolate, and stir until smooth. Add the saffron and syrup and one egg at a time. Stir well between every addition. Finally stir in the dry ingredients - sugar, vanilla, salt and flour.

Butter a springform tin (mine is 24 cm) and sprinkle with coconut. Pour in the batter.

Bake at 175�C for about 15 minutes. Maybe a little bit longer - check and see. It should be a little bit wobbly in the middle, but mostly set. Chill completely before serving, over night is ideal.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays!

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Holiday cooking/baking on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

This morning on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host Laurie Hoogstraten, I am making the following dishes, plus a few extras.

This afternoon, I'll be at D.A. Niels, demonstrating the Gastrolux pan and making Tuna Tatatki (seared tuna) and Pomegranate Chicken with ras el hanout.

Spanikoptia Triangles

1 pkg filo dough
2 pkgs frozen spinach
1 white onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 c mushroom sliced
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika
3 1/2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 c feta cheese crumbled
1 egg
pepper to taste
1/3 c butter
Thaw pastry in package. In advance, prepare filling. Saut� onion and garlic
until translucent. Add mushrooms and saut�. Add thawed spinach and
spices. Cook on medium-high heat until some of the water has cooked off.
Add grated feta. Mix in one beaten egg. Remove from heat and cool.
To prepare pastries: Heat oven to 350F. Dampen tea towel. Cut rolled
pastry into four equal parts and lay out on cutting board. Cover with
dampened towel. Melt butter and set aside with pastry brush. Fill pastries in
desired shapes (triangles, pockets, in muffin or cupcake tins, etc). Brush
pastries with melted butter before filo turns papery. Bake until golden, about
15 minutes.

Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

3 medium potatoes, peeled and shredded
1 onion, shredded
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour or maztah meal
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)

Pickerel cheeks and vermouth or your favourite clear liquor.
Olive Oil
S & P
Cr�me Fraiche
Golden Caviar

Mix potato pancake ingredients together and fry in pancake size in a little olive oil until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and using cookie cutters, cut bite sized pieces from the pancake.
Saut� pickerel cheeks and deglaze with vermouth.

 Seared Ahi Tuna with 3 kinds of Sesame Seeds.
 Grilled Pomegranate Ras El Hanout Chicken.
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Friday, December 19, 2014

Lemon bars


Need a yummy dessert or a snack to bring to a party? Here's your new best friend - lemon bars. Much simpler to make than you'd expect - or at least than I expected. And delicious.

Lemon bars

Bottom layer:
220 g unsalted butter, cold 
90 g sugar
240 g flour
1 egg yolk

Top layer:
300 g sugar
30 g flour
150 ml lemon juice (I used three lemons)
4 eggs 

Cut the butter into small cubes. Run in a food processor or Kitchen-aid (or with your fingertips) with flour and sugar until crumbly. Add the yolk and work until the  dough just barely comes together. 

Press into a lined tin (mine is about 28*33 cm) and bake at 175 for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove and cool for five minutes. 

For the filling, just mix all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour on top of he cake and bake for another 20 minutes. The cake should NOT color. Remove and let cool completely before cutting into bars. Serve with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. 
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas shopping in Copenhagen


I had a great time last weekend - me and Lena went down to Malmo to visit Dagmar, who has recently moved. We went to Copenhagen, which is just a short trainride away. We enjoyed the christmas decorations, strolled along Stroget, shopped, talked, and had a champagne lunch at Huks Fluks. 


As always in Denmark, I picked up a few new mugs from Green Gate.


One fun find was Hotel Chocolat, which is a British chain of upscale chocolate boutiques. I've read about them before but never visited, I had no idea there was one in Copenhagen. I bought a bunch of these 100g chocolate bars - not all are pictured, because some are destined for christmas stockings.


We also shopped at Emporia, a huge shopping center just outside Malmo, and walking distance from Dagmar's new house. I found this super cute cookie jar at TGR, a fun store that has all sorts of knick-knacks.


And then there was Gr�ddbullerian - a small shop with just this specific sort of pastry. It's a thin wafer covered with - basically - marshmallow fluff, and dipped in chocolate. I bought the two seasonal varieties, gingerbread and saffron, as well as peppermint, and unflavored ones for the kids.


Dagmar treated us to all sorts of exotic candy - mostly from Japan and the US. I really enjoyed Brain Blasterz, which was a delicious super sour candy.

All in all, it was a fantastic weeekend. I really love hanging out with these girls and I'm looking forward to our next trip - New York City!
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Saturday on CBC's Weekend Morning Show - Brandied Farmer's Sausage with honeyed apples

 I will be presenting the following recipe tomorrow on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod.  This isn't your Dad's Farmer's Sausage.  It is, a take on a Spanish Tapa.  Great for holiday entertaining.


Brandied Farmer�s Sausage with apples

1-2 Farmer�s sausages, sliced on the bias ~ 1�  ( I used Pioneer sausage, low salt easy peel)
2-3 apples, cut into thin wedges  (I used Granny Smith)
2 tbs butter (Local Notre Dame butter!)
� cup honey
� tsp cinnamon
good pinch black pepper
Brandy, to deglaze (or your favourite non-cream liquor)  I used a Polish, Old Krupnik honey liquor

Heat skillet and add Farmer�s sausage and butter and brown.  Half way through cooking, add apples, honey and cinnamon.  Cook until meat is fully cooked.  Add Brandy or favourite liquor.

To serve, skewer or lay out on platter with toothpicks.

Later, I will be demonstrating Tajine cooking at D.A. Niels with the following recipes;

Moroccan Squash Tajine

1 small butternut, hubbard or winter squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 medium chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head garlic (loose cloves)
2 tbs olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1 tbs turmeric
1 heaping tablespoon Ras El Hanout *
Splash of Rosewater**
1/2 chopped pickled lemon (just the peel)***
Pinch of salt
Optional: eggplant, zucchini

Place all ingredients together in a casserole dish (traditional cooking vessel is a tajine). Cover and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes. If cooking on the stovetop, cook covered at medium heat for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender. Serve with rice or couscous or bulgur.


Osso Bucco
 1 cup all-purpose flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pieces Beef shank (call for fresh at Millad's Grocery Mart on Notre Dame)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1-3 tbs butter
1 onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 lemon, zest peeled off in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
1 head garlic, cut horizontally through the middle
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bottle dry red wine (use an Amarone related wine for fullest flavour)
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth (I had homemade chicken broth on hand instead)
1 (28-ounce) can whole San Marzano tomatoes, hand-crushed

Put the flour in a large shallow platter and season it with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour and then tap off the excess (extra flour will burn and make the dish off-tasting).

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and hit it with a 3-count drizzle of oil. Add the butter and swirl it around the pan to melt. Sear the meat, turning carefully with tongs, until all sides are a rich brown caramel color. Drizzle with a little more oil, if needed. (Do this in batches if the shanks are big and look crowded in the pot.) Remove the browned meat to a side plate. There will be a lot of flavor left over in the bottom of the pot. You're going to use that to create your sauce.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Using the same pot, saut� the onion, celery, carrots, lemon zest, garlic, bay leaves, and parsley over medium heat. Cook the vegetables down until they start to get some color and develop a deep, rich aroma. Season with salt and pepper; add a little oil if needed. Nestle the meat back in the pot. Pour in the wine and let it simmer down for 20 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half. Reducing is key for intense flavor. Add the beef broth and tomatoes and stir everything together. Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Braise for 1 and a 1/2 hours. Then remove the cover and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. The sauce should be thick and the meat tender and nearly falling off the bone.
Remove bay leaves.


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