Thursday, December 31, 2015

Healthy living resolutions on CBC's Weekend Morning Show! Plus, locally sourced awesome braised Beef Short Ribs

On Saturday morning, I'll be presenting the following ideas and resources as well as a recipe, for CBC's Weekend Morning Show with guest host Laurie Hoogstraten.

 The lovely grass-fed beef short ribs are available at Wildfire Farms.  They will be at St. Norbert's Farmer's Market on Saturday, January 2nd, if you are interested in the following healthy living resolutions.  

1. Enjoy making food. For yourself or for others.  By yourself or with others. I love it, but so many do not.  By enjoying the planning and making of your meals, you are cooking with love and you will taste the difference.  For friends and families, it can be an important time together, learning and celebrating.

2. Try a new food at least twice a week.  Either in preparation or when dining out.  Look up recipes, use your cookbooks to try something new.  Go to our amazing restaurants that you hadn�t considered.  Try making different soups or pastas from around the world.

3. Buy local.  If you can�t afford a whole share of a CSA, buy a half share or go into a share with other people.  You will meet some great people who grow your food and other members buying the food.  Go to the Farmer�s markets.

4. Plant a garden/plant something.  If you can and have space, plant a garden.  Plant a tomato in a pot.  Grow some wonderful culinary herbs.  Join a community garden group or allotment gardens.

5. Cook together.  Food costs are rising.  A cooking club can bring down your food costs, get you out with great people, learn new skills, and can be made to your needs.

You will have your own resolutions.  These are part of healthy living in that it isn�t only about a diet.

Braised Beef Short Ribs (serves 2-4)

4 Beef Short Ribs
2 sprig fresh sage leaves (torn, with stems)
1 sprig fresh rosemary (torn)
2 bay leaves
~ 10 peppercorns
sea salt, to one�s tastes (sprinkle over meat)
1 � cups rustic red wine (I used a Bulgarian wine but ask a product consultant)
1 (+) cup beef or veal stock (to cover)
drizzle olive oil

Put all of the above ingredients in a container, cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or overnight.

For the braising:

4 shallots, thinly sliced
2-3 tbs good tomato paste (such as Tat, available at Millad�s Supermarket on Notre Dame)
sprig fresh thyme
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
2-3 slices (rashers) bacon, cut into lardons, aka, small rectangular pieces or matchstick pieces
1 cup veal or beefstock
salt and pepper, to your taste
optional:  carrots and other vegetables

Drain ribs, reserving liquid.

On medium heat, start to cook the shallots, bacon and thyme in a oven-proof pot.  Spread tomato paste over ribs.  When the shallots and bacon start to brown, push aside in pot and brown ribs on both sides.  When browned, add veal or beef stock and marinating liquid, and seasoning.

Place pot open in a 300�F oven and braise until ribs are starting to come off of the bone. Half way through braising, add vegetables, optional. 

For serving, remove ribs and vegetables from pot, strain liquid and reduce in a pan, adding seasoning and wine or butter.

Enjoy with potatoes, breads, or rice.
Happy New Year!
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Happy new year - resolutions for 2016


Happy new year, dear blog readers!

My 2015 has been a good year. No life-changing events for me, but unfortunately plenty of bad news for people close to me. I've tried to show them a lot of love and support and I hope everyone will have a better year in 2016.

I thought I'd try to make a few blog-related resolutions. Most importantly, I will try to blog at least once a week. More, ideally - I really miss doing this regularly - but at least once a week.

In order to do that, I really need to make more of an effort in cooking again. We get stuck in ruts as I'm sure most families do, and I need to feel inspired again and plan out weekly menus. So I'll definitely attempt to do this.

And related to that, I need to use my cookbooks more. I want to try at least a new recipe, from a book, every other week.

So, to sum it up:

1. Blog posts every week
2. Plan what we eat - maybe not every week, but most
3. Try new things from cookbooks at least every other week

Do you have any food-related resolutions? Let me know! And have a very, very happy new year!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Cod with mushrooms and bacon


I don't eat fish all that often, but I always feel like I should. Here's a fine dish to add into the fish rotation - it's rustic and almost meaty, in fact. Make sure you use the best quality cod you can afford, I prefer organic and from a sustainable source. It will make a difference.

We ate this with mashed potatoes.

Cod with mushrooms and bacon
Serves 4

600 g fillet of cod (or other white, firm fish)
2 tbsp butter
140 g bacon, chopped
300 g mushrooms, quartered
1/2 red onion, in thin wedges
1 tbsp balsamic wine vinegar
salt, pepper
handful of flat-leafed parsley, chopped

Salt the cod about ten minutes before you want to eat, and let it sit at room temperature.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan. Add a little butter to the pan and fry the mushrooms and onion until browned and soft. Add the bacon back to the pan, and add the vinegar. Let this cook for a few minutes and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, add the parsley.

For the fish, just heat the butter in a non-stick pan, and fry until lightly golden and cooked through. It's a delicate product, so treat it gently!

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Breakfast idea


I think I've posted this exact same thing before but oh well. It's just so good. You know McDonalds has an Egg Mc Muffin? Well, this is that. But at home. The only caveat is that you need english muffins which are generally not sold in Sweden (but occasionally they can be found at The English Shop). So you either need to bake them yourself, which is quite hard work (anyone has a failproof recipe?) or you need to find them somewhere else. I found these particular ones in my freezer, since I stocked up last summer. 

So. Grab your muffin. Split it. Toast it. Fry bacon. Add bacon and a slice of cheddar cheese, and a perfectly fried egg. For those I use oiled metal rings. I fry in butter and I break the yolk before briefly flipping the over. Perfection. 

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Saturday, December 12, 2015

CBC radio today - Gluten-Free Latkes!

I lost my voice but should be on the mend in a couple of days.  I had planned on presenting these dishes on CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show.  The Wild Rice Flour is available at Gimli Fish and is a great, local product for Gluten-Free options.

The final photo of the purple potato latkes was not possible as they were inhaled before the camera was brought out.


Update:  I featured these on yesterday's CBC Weekend Morning Show with host Terry MacLeod along with the Ginger Apple Sauce and Sliced grilled beef on Focaccia Crostini with Wasabi Sour Cream. 
The apple sauce is very simple to prepare. 

2 Granny Smith Apples, cored and diced
1 large knob of fresh ginger, grated
1 tbs sugar
splash of Mirin, Vermouth or apple juice

Cook all ingredients together in a small saucepan until soft, stirring regularly.  When the apples are soft, mash or pur�e.

The Wasabi Sour Cream is also very simple to prepare.

Sour Cream
Wasabi paste
pinch sugar

Combine all ingredients, to taste.  Use with shrimp, beef, vegetables, etc.


Gluten-Free Latkes!

4-6 purple potatoes, grated
1 bunch green onions, roughly chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
1/2 cup Wild Rice Flour
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs salt (potatoes and the Wild Rice flour can dull the seasonings)

Mix all ingredients together and adjust seasonings as needed.  Let mixture set for 30 minutes, so as to allow the Wild Rice Flour to absorb the moisture.  In a hot pan, drizzle olive and sesame oil and fill pan with a 2 cm thickness of the potato mixture.  Cook until crispy on one side on medium heat.  Flip and cook until crisp and done.  These can be prepared in advance.

Serve with sour cream, ginger Granny Smith apple sauce, soy or your favourite hot sauce.  Can also be served with Chermoula.


Chermoula with Eggplant

3-5 large cloves garlic
� tsp cayenne
1 heaping tbs cumin
pinch saffron
� bunch parsley
1 whole bunch cilantro
juice of one lemon
2 tbs vinegar
1 generous tbs olive oil
salt, to taste

1 Eggplant, sliced, then grilled or saut�ed.  Important to note, eggplant takes time to cook.  Do not undercook it or you may experience an unpleasant reaction, such as a burning on the tongue or an upset stomach.

Blend all of the first ingredients in a food processor and place in glass bowl. Set some chermoula aside for extra at the table.   Place cooked eggplant slices back in a saut� pan and cook with the Chermoula.  When cooked through, serve immediately.  

Can also use Chermoula with saut�ed carrots or marinate or in grilling fish.
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Dinner idea


Not a recipe as much as an idea - soft tortillas, filled with spiced pork tenderloin, softened peppers and onion, a wonderful guacamole, pickled red onion, grated cheese, and sour cream. 
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Pistachio Feta Coriander Dip


Rarely do I read through a list of ingredients where every single thing sounds great. It didn't happen this time either, but it was pretty darn close. I was leafing through Persiana, the cookbook by Sabrina Ghayour that's at the top of my christmas wish list, and I stumbled upon a creamy dip with pistachios, feta and coriander as the stars. It had dill as well, which I don't like at all, and I changed the quantities to go with what I had at home. The result was glorious! Mostly salty and lemony but with a lovely crunch from the nuts.. oh, I can't wait to make this again!

Pistachio Feta Coriander Dip
one small bowl 

50 g pistachios (unsalted) 
1 tbsp olive oil
140 g feta cheese
large handful of coriander leaves (or two handfuls, really. Lots!)
1/2 garlic clove 
1/2 tsp sambal oelek (feel free to use red chili instead, and as much as you'd like - I like things mild...) 
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon 
2-3 tbsp greek yogurt 

Use a food processor. Start with the nuts and the oil and process briefly until coarsely chopped. Add everything else, and pulse until lovely and creamy. Taste to see if you want to adjust the seasonings. Then serve. Eat. Enjoy. Lick from bowl. 
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Lamb meatballs


I've done so many variations on lamb meatballs, really. These were inspired by the lovely Persiana cookbook by Sabrina Ghayour, which I found at my local library a few days ago. Her version contained pine nuts and raisins as well, but as I was out of pine nuts I had to omit those, and I'm not the biggest fan of raisins so I skipped that as well. But feel free to add in both! I changed a bunch of other things too, but loved the idea of adding cinnamon. My kids LOVED these - they're both pretty fussy eaters so I was thrilled that we could actually enjoy something together for a change. I 

Lamb meatballs
serves 4 (at least 2 adults, and 2 kids - I'd do more for 4 adults) 

500 g lamb mince
1/2 yellow onion, very finely minced
large handful of coriander, stalks and leaves, very finely minced
1 egg
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin

Oil and butter for frying

Mix all the ingredients for the mince. Mix pretty well, it'll help the meatballs hold their shape and stay intact. Shape little meatballs, or any shape you like - I went for the fairly traditional oblong k�fte (kefta) but that's up to you. 

Heat the oven to 150�C. Fry the meatballs in butter and (or) oil, until well browned but then move them to the oven and let them cook through. (I check mine with a thermometer, and I want them to be at least 70�C.)

Serve, with anything - we ate tomato bulgur and pistachio-feta dip. 

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tomato Bulgur


One of my favorite fast food restaurants served different varieties of chicken, and side dishes. I always got the crispy chicken fingers, and for sides always a tomato bulgur salad and really good noodles. And a chilli aioli, too. Oh I loved that place. It's sadly no more, and I never did figure out exactly how they made their tomato bulgur salad. It was served cold, and a little bit like this one but with added raw red onion, tomatoes, red pepper and coriander.

This isn't that, exactly, but it's a really good base. We ate this with lamb meatballs - k�fte - and a yummy pistachio feta dip that I will soon tell you about.

Tomato Bulgur
serves 3-4

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, very finely minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp butter
250 ml bulgur wheat
500 ml water
salt, black pepper

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (that you have a lid for). Fry the onion on medium heat for two minutes - it should soften but not brown. Add the tomato paste and stir well, fry for a few more minutes. Be careful, you don't want this to burn. Add the butter and when it's melted, the bulgur. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Tagine cooking demo today at D.A.Niels! From 11-3PM

 I'll be presenting these dishes as a Tagine cooking demonstration today at D.A.Niels at 485 Berry St..
Regarding the very good tomato paste, listed in the Squash recipe, try Tat brand, available at Millad's Supermarket at 396 Notre Dame.

Moroccan Beef Tagine (can use lamb)

2 lb beef roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbs ras el hanout
1-2 tbs olive oil
1-2 tbs butter
good pinch saffron
2 large tomatoes, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 green peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 - 1 cup prunes
2-3 tbs honey
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red wine
salt, to taste

Slowly saut� onions on medium-low heat with olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Stir in Ras el Hanout spice blend. Turn up heat to medium-high and add butter and saffron. Brown meat well on all sides and add tomatoes and other vegetables. Add broth, prunes and honey. Add red wine and salt and let simmer for 1-2 hours, depending on using the tajine and toughness of the meat. Meat should melt in your mouth when done.

Serve with flat breads, rice, couscous or bulgur.


Moroccan Squash Tagine

1 small butternut, hubbard or winter squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 eggplant, cubed
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 medium onion, chopped
1 head garlic (loose cloves)
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs �tomato magic� or very good tomato paste (ask chef)
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.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Special pop-up banquet - and a chance to win tickets!

Titti Qvarnstr�m

Lidl is a grocery chain, present in several European countries. I mostly go there for their fun seasonal stuff, ice cream, and their really great fruit and veg department. I don't have a store very close to me, or I'd definitely shop there more often.

Last year, they partnered up with a famous chef to create a pop-up restaurant, to showcase their ingredients. This year, they have something even more special planned: a one night only pop-up banquet called Le Bon, on December 10. The chef is Titti Qvarnstr�m from restaurant Bloom in the Park, who was the first Swedish female chef to receive a Michelin star.

So - some facts. The banquet will be held at Globen Annexet, on December 10. Anyone can buy a ticket tomorrow, December 2, but you better hurry - they'll sell out fast. Titti will have 50 more chefs to help her serve everyone - 1300 guests! The proceeds from the banquet will go to cancer research, Barncancerfonden. The menu - and therefor the recipes - are secret until the big night, but after that I hope I can share them with you.


Careful readers might note that this is on the same night as the big Nobel banquet. If you're not invited to that - I know I'm not - this is your chance to go to another big, fun, spectacular party! I've been given the opportunity to give away two tickets to Le Bon. If you want to win, tell me your favorite party recipe in the comments. Two readers will win one ticket each. Last date to enter is Sunday December 6, and the winners will be contacted via e-mail shortly after that.

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