Friday, February 27, 2015

Russian Lamb Shashlik and Georgian Eggplant with pomegranate Walnut paste on CBC's Weekend Morning Show

Today, on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod, you can bring March in like a lamb with this traditional Russian Lamb Shashlik dish served with Georgian eggplant with Pomegranate Walnuts.

The recipes are both quite versatile as the marinade or the paste can be used for a wide variety of dishes.  Making pastes with herbs and nuts is very typical of foods from Georgia, Caucasus and Black Sea regions.  In fact, I have often served the pomegranate walnut paste with lamb.

Beautiful Halal lamb can be purchased at Millad's Supermarket on Notre Dame.  Try with fresh baked bread.

 Russian Lamb Shashlik 

1/2 lamb shoulder (2 lbs) (boned out and cubed or sliced)
2 medium onions, blended
6 cloves garlic, blended
4 bay leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tsp)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp sea salt

Blend all but the lamb and place in a good seal-able bag.  Place cubed or sliced lamb and make sure that it is all incorporated around the meat.  Refrigerate for 1-3 days.

Skewer and grill, traditionally, over coals.  Grill as you can.  Let meat rest and serve with tomatoes, onions, flat bread, or Georgian pomegranate walnut eggplant.

Can also use marinade on chicken, beef or pork.

Georgian Eggplant Rolls with Garlic-Walnut Paste & Pomegranate (badrijani nigvzit)

2 large globe eggplants (or 6-8 medium-sized long eggplants)
2 cups walnut pieces (use almonds if allergies, tahini if nut allergies)
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground fenugreek
2 teaspoons ground coriander
pinch of ground turmeric
1/2 cup each packed cilantro and parsley leaves (optional)
dash of red chile powder to taste
seeds of 1 pomegranate
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
Optional:  Use Pomegranate molasses (aka, syrup, dressing, etc.)

*can use baby eggplants, Japanese long, globe, etc.

Wash the eggplants, cut off the ends and slice into thin strips with skin still on. If you�re using large globe eggplants, cut each in half lengthwise, then again. Each slice should be about 1/4 inch thick (too thick and they won�t roast properly). Sprinkle with salt and let sit for half an hour to draw out the moisture from the eggplants.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the eggplants, brush with oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast about 15-20 minutes, flip, coat with more oil if necessary and continue roasting until the strips are nicely browned, slightly crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, but not burnt. Be careful: the skins can burn easily and the eggplant can dry out. This step can also be done on a grill.

Meanwhile, grind the walnuts in a food processor. You want a coarse grind, but not mush. Then add remaining ingredients except pomegranate seeds and pur�e. Some recipes also call for a teaspoon of ground marigold, but I didn�t have any. Add more water if necessary. You want a thick but spreadable paste that holds together.

Let the eggplant strips cool. Then spread a hearty tablespoon of walnut mixture onto each strip and roll snugly so each strip holds together with the paste inside. Place on a platter and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carrot Ginger Lemongrass Soup


Carrot Soup with Cashews & Feta
serves 4

1 small onion, diced
1 tbsp neutral oil
700 g carrots, sliced
2 lemongrass stalks
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
75 ml cashew nuts, raw (a large handful)
75 ml red lentils
1,2 litre water

crumbled feta cheese
cashew nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
fresh coriander
crispy bacon

Fry the shalotts(or onion in the oil, on medium heat. When it looks transclucent, add carrots, cashews and lentils as well as ginger and lemongrass.  After a few minutes, add the water.

Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Then, cover with a lid, lower the heat and let it simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Check to make sure the carrots are soft. Add a little salt. Pur�e the soup until super smooth - I used my big Oster Versa blender, but a handheld one will do the job too.

Taste it to see what sort of spices you want - I just added salt, but feel free to go a lot spicier. And serve with lots of toppings.
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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Banana Ice Cream


Have you tried banana ice cream? You know, the kind with.. bananas. And just bananas? I'm sure you have, I feel very late to this particular party. I do freeze my over-ripe banana slices, but I often end up tossing them out at a later date. A few nights ago though, my kids asked - totally out of the blue - for banana ice cream. I looked at the giant super-strong Oster Versa blender, I remembered my banana slices, and said "sure!"

So basically you toss frozen bananas in a blender, and go. I added a spoonful of cream to facilitate the blending, because without it, I mostly had a frozen banana powder. But in the end, it came together beautifully and I thought it was delicious. The kids weren't that impressed - just with my mad skills and ability to whip up just what they asked for so quickly. I ate their portions. (With chocolate sauce, but don't tell them.)
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Friday, February 20, 2015



In the ongoing series, "weird Swedish fika"... no, let me start this over. Ok. Kladdkaka. That's essentially a brownie, and it's the first thing Swedish kids bake on their own. (At least I figure it is. It's easy enough.) Someone figured that this wasn't easy enough, or not cute enough, and then used muffin tins to make "kladdkakemuffins" which translates to "sticky cake muffins" and is essentially.. brownies in muffin tins.

Anyway. They're good.  Make some. Serve warm, with ice cream or whipped cream.

(brownie muffins) 
8 large-ish servings

100 g melted butter
2 eggs
220 g sugar
65 g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
120 g flour

Crack the eggs in a bowl. Add sugar and cocoa and stir until smooth. Add vanilla, baking powder and flour, and gradually the butter. You'll have a thick, dark, batter. Spoon this into muffin tins - mine were made of foil but paper is fine too. Don't fill them all the way to the top - no more than 2/3.

Bake at 200�. The exact time will depend on your muffin tin size, but I baked mine for about 12 minutes and they were perfect. They should not be too underbaked, but a little is fine. (But you're not making fondants.) Let them cool a little and they will fall in, creating a nice crater for your ice cream to sit in. Dust with a little powdered sugar if desired. And if you're feeling so inclined, a few berries are pretty on top.
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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day on CBC's Weekend Morning Show - Fair Trade Chocolate Creams and Lobster with Almond Tarator

This morning, after the 8:30AM news, I presented the following dishes for Valentine's Day treats on CBC's Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod

1. Nova Scotia Lobster Tails with Almond Tarator
4 small - medium Nova Scotia Lobster Tails
Prepare Almond Tarator in advance.  Recipe follows.
Cut defrosted Lobster tails down the middle and loosen meat.  Drizzle olive oil over tails.  Place over high heat of BBQ or under broiler and cook until the shell is red all over.  Open shell and spoon Almond Tarator over lobster meat.  Serve immediately.

Almond Tarator
9 oz Almonds
3 cloves garlic
sea salt
juice of one lemon
3 tbs champagne vinegar
1 tbs honey
4 egg yolks
2 1/4 cups good olive oil
3-5 oz lukewarm water
freshly ground black pepper

Pulse the almonds in a food processor.  Crush the garlic with salt and add to the almonds with lemon juice, vinegar, honey and egg yolk until smooth and creamy.  Drizzle in half of the oil, and alternate with the water.  Slowly drizzle in the remaining olive oil until a thick, creamy mayonnaise.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Use as a dip, mezze or cover a fish fillet and bake.

2. Chocolate Creams

6-7 oz dark Callebaut Chocolate
2 cups milk
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie (stainless steel bowl over pot of boiling water) with 1 tbs. Milk. Make the quantity of milk up to 2 cups and bring high heat. Beat 6 egg yolks with sugar until the mixture turns white. Slowly add the chocolate flavoured milk, beating it in quickly. Divide the mixture between at least 6 ramekins placed in a baking dish that will be filled with simmering water (another bain-marie). Bake at 375� F for about 25 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the bain-marie and leave to cool before putting them in the refrigerator to set.

Pavlova (optional to serve with creams)

4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180�F.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw a 9-inch circle on the
paper, using a 9-inch plate as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on
the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk
attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With
the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny
peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites,
add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the
meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it
within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven,
keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven,
about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Invert the meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with
sweetened whipped cream.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Some food news


I've tried out some new things lately and thought I'd show some of them to you! Biggest one first - the Oster Versa! It's a real powerblender, that can make anything from smoothies to soups - it even heats the soups! I've only tried a few fruit blends so far, but I will definitely experiment further. Size-wise, it's huge! Yet it's pretty light, at least compared to my KitchenAid blender - probably because the jug is plastic. Have you tried one? Do let me know any tips and tricks!



These two photos are from a press lunch event I went to at Viking Line - the ferry cruise company famous for their leisure cruises to Helsinki and Mariehamn. I rather like them for a quick mini-vacation - they're cheap, there's lots to do, tax-free shopping and surprisingly good food. At the moment, they're having a guest chef - Michael Bj�rnlund who normally runs Smakbyn on �land. He offers a really tasty three-course menu, and we got to taste all the options. Up top, the starter which is a  cold, cooked whitefish with pickled red onions, dill mayonnaise and a lovely Kastelholm cheese from �land. And then a butter-fried pike-perch with a deep-fried crawfish tail and an apple flavored clam sauce. This was just amazing. Not pictured but also really good was a crawfish soup, served as a small amuse bouche. Also an elk dish which wasn't my favorite, and a really tasty cr�me br�l�e. Highly recommended!


I got the opportunity to try the Loppi Blogbag, which arrived with various goodies. I'm especially fond of the rice cakes from Friggs, and the tea with blueberry and acai is also really tasty. I'm on the fence about the dried fruit sticks for the kids - they're really sweet even though they're all natural. But ok as a treat, I suppose.


Finally, I got a delivery with fabulous new juices from God Morgon. (sadly they don't look like the lovely photo...)  One has apple, raspberries, orange and blackcurrant - tastes mostly like raspberries. The other one was blueberry and ginger, with apple and grape. I liked both but thought the ginger was a bit too prominent. However, Titus loved that one, rather surprisingly. Both are pretty sweet and work really well for juice pops, which I sometimes make for the kids.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baked Chicken Curry


My friend Dagmar makes this awesome chicken curry frequently, and I've had it at her house. She has, however, moved across the country and our dinners will be less frequent, unfortunately. She does however make weekly menus and post to Instagram, and she gladly shares her recipes. So a few nights ago, we made her curry, and felt a little bit closer.

This recipe marinates over night which I feel makes it perfect and very convenient - but you have to prepare.

I made a few adaptions, feel free to make your own. Also feel free to ignore my hideous photo, I don't know what happened...

Baked Chicken Curry
serves 4-6

1 whole chicken, cut up into reasonable pieces
salt,  black pepper
1 lime, juiced
1 large piece of ginger, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
100 ml plain yogurt
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8 cardamom pods
oil, for basting
2 tbsp finely chopped red onions

Season the chicken pieces with plenty of salt and pepper, toss with the lime juice (original uses lemon) and leave for 20 minutes.

Stir together ginger, garlic, yogurt, and all the spices. (Not the oil or the onions.) Mix with the chicken and place in an oven-proof dish. Cover and refrigerate over night.

When ready to cook, bring it up to room temperature. Brush with oil and top with the onions. Bake at 200�C for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 30-40 minutes, basting with the juices as you go along.

Serve with rice, a salad of grated carrots with lime and coriander, and some more yogurt.
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Monday, February 9, 2015

Manitoba Hydro Bldg. Market! This Thursday, Feb. 12th

I'll be selling my Moroccan spice blend, Ras el Hanout and my Turkish spice blend, Turkish Baharat, at the Manitoba Hydro Building this Thursday from 10AM - 3PM!

New products each week!  Look for Tomato chutney, Tea Masala, and more throughout the market season.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken


Sweden is covered in snow right now, or at least Stockholm is. It's not super cold - just around the freezing point - and it's fairly wet and slushy. Needless to say, hot food is a necessity. Last week, I made this tasty and flavorful soupy-saucy dish, packed with veggies. At least mine was - the kids stuck to rice, chicken and broth, but that's ok too. You can make more broth, to make this a proper soup. Feel free to customize, and if you like a little heat, definitely add some chili. My oldest boy is really sensitive to spicy food, so I left that out this time.

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken

400 ml coconut milk
400 ml chicken stock
2 stalks lemongrass
Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger 
1 tsp brown sugar
Zest of one lime
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced 

To serve: 
Rice, cooked
Red pepper, sliced
Bean sprouts 
Sliced mushrooms
Snow peas
Tomatoes, diced
Red onion, very thinly sliced

Combine coconut milk and chicken stock in a large pot. Pound on the thick ends of the lemongrass stalks with the back of a knife or a small saucepan, and add to the pot. Grate the ginger  and add that as well, with the sugar and lime. Bring everything to a boil, and let it simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through.

Serve all the veggies on a big platter and let everyone pick what they want.  Add rice. Top with the warm broth and chicken. 
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