Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tomato and bocconcini salad with basil

This simple and fresh salad is constituted principally of the ingredients mentioned in its name. This is no original combination of mine, the harmony of flavours found in this dish have been used by thousands before me but I feel I should share it all the same. Delightfully delicious, don't doubt the quality of this dish because of it's simplicity, this is certainly a case where less is more!
Serves 3-4

-Around 200 g. sliced bocconcini
-600 g. tomatoes sliced
-large handful of fresh basil leaves
-3 tbsp. good quality olive oil (infused with lemon and rosemary for my little spin)
-1 large clove of garlic, crushed
-Coarse salt and pepper to taste

1) Bring all ingredients to room temperature, this is crucial for this salad
2)Layer slices of tomato with bocconcini distributing the basil evenly upon the salad
3)If using the garlic, crush the clove and let sit for 10 min to oxidize before dropping it with a the olive oil in the jar and give it a shake
4) Drizzle the garlic oil onto the salad and season generously with salt and pepper

Leftover Rice Pudding

I wasn't a huge fan of rice pudding until I learned the Danish way of eating it from my good friend Elias. This tradition involves lathering the finished pudding while steaming hot with good lashings of butter and a dusting of cinnamon and sugar, almonds and preserved cherries being optional. This decadent dessert is traditionally reserved for Christmas time and is made rich by milk fats, lots and lots of milk fat. In this original recipe the dry rice is hydrated entirely in a mixture of whole milk and cream until it becomes rich and luxurious, however I will keep this recipe for Christmas time (What you thought you were getting it now? Pfffft, patience) what I will do however, is offer you a summer substitute for when you have short cooked shortgrain rice leftover from making sushi or anything else! As the rice is already hydrated, it isn't as rich as it's winter counterpart, it can be served warm in a cool evening with butter and sugar or cold in the afternoon, lightly sweetened with fresh fruit, I enjoy it with mangoes or peaches preferably.

Finally, after all my blabbering, this is far from an exact recipe, mine is never the same and in this case the recipe is entirely from memory. However, this shouldn't prevent you from giving it a try! It's a great and easy dessert and a fantastic way to save leftover rice from a long, slow death in the back of your fridge.

-About 2c. cooked shortgrain rice (calrose, arborio, etc.)
-Coconut milk (I used the rest of a can leftover after making my eggplant dish) so maybe 1/2c-3/4c.
-2 tbsp. white sugar
-2 tbsp. of coffee cream, 10% fat content (optional)
-1/3 c. milk or soy milk
-1 tsp vanilla
-tsp. kirsch or other spirits
-Cinnamon and sugar for dusting

1)Heat the rice with the milk or soy milk, vanilla, coconut milk and cream with the sugar, boiling it down until it becomes thick, add the sugar melting it in.
2) Dish out into glasses or bowls and serve hot with butter waiting for it to melt before adding cinnamon and sugar dusting, feel free to add a dash of spirits or cold with some slice of fresh fruit rolled in sugar and cinnamon or sugar and nutmeg

Easy stuff! Enjoy! If you keep the cream out and go easy on the coconut milk (not to mention the butter and sugar), this dessert is almost healthy!

Thai inspired eggplant

Lightly spicy and fragrant with the two flavours that go so well, ginger and garlic, this eggplant dish is loosely inspired by thai flavours. I tend to serve it up with some nice simple peanut sauce however don't overdo it, eggplant has a subtle flavour! If you replace the fish sauce with a tad more soy

Sorry for the bad pic, will be dealt with accordingly! Eventually...
-1 large eggplant (weighing about a pound and a half)
-2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
-1 red pepper, cut into coarse chunks
-1 green pepper, cut into coarse chunks
-2 tbsp. peanut oil
-1 inch of ginger, grated
-Dried chiles to taste
-2 tbsp. lime juice
-1 tbsp. fish sauce
-1/2 tbsp soy
-1/2 tbsp. oyster sauce
-1/2 tbsp. white sugar
-1 bunch fresh coriander
-4 green onions chopped
-2 tbsp. peanuts, crushed

Peanut Sauce (Optional)

-1/2 c. raw, unsweetened peanut butter
-1/4c. water
-1/4 c.  coconut milk
-1-2 cloves garlic
-1-2 tsp. hoisin sauce

1) Mix 1/2 tablespoon lime juice with fish sauce, soy, oyster sauce and white sugar, set aside.
2) Dice the eggplant into rough cubes, coat in a bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice, steam for 4 minutes into slightly softened.
3)While steaming, heat peanut oil in a wok until well heated and liquidy (I refuse to use the common term ''almost steaming'' because it makes no sense), add garlic, ginger and chilis to oil, cooking until fragrant
4)Pat the eggplant dry and toss into the oil, cook at high heat adding the liquids put aside in step one and mix vigorously.
5)Add chopped peppers and continue to cook until eggplant is cooked throghout and pepper are slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes
6) Remove from heat, add peanut sauce and cover with chopped green onions, coriander and crushed peanuts

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Tagliatelle with Rosé Sauce

Hot days, blistering sun, the whole kit and caboodle. Although in most cases this kind of weather leads to lethargy on my part, a few weeks ago I was able to motivate myself into making fresh  inspired by Frances Mayes's famous fluff travel book: ''Under the Tuscan Sun''. Although the pasta was a tad heavy for hot weather, served with a freshly made rosé sauce it truly embodied the flavour of summer!

The recipe for the actual pasta was not my own creation, I found it here: I found the dough to be ver tough to work, being tough to stretch out but drying out if I refrigerated it to relax the gluten, either way it was lots of fun!

The pasta sauce however was entirely my invention, and is enough to serve about three, here it is:

-1 large yellow onion
-1 small red onion
-1tsbp. butter
-2 cloves of garlic
-1/2 c. tomato
-15-20 basil leaves
-1 sprig of oregano
-1 tsp. paprika
-2-3 tbsp. heavy cream
-6-8 quartered mushrooms pan fried

1)Chop onion and mince garlic
2)Melt butter over low heat before adding onions and garlic, cook for at least 15 minutes, coating the onions with butter and caramelizing them completely, fry the mushrooms in a separate pan during this time, add them to the onions when each step is done.
3)Throw in the paprika mixing it with the onion mix, mix for a bit
4)Add the tomato, basil and oregano, salt and pepper to taste let it simmer for 20 minutes to reduce it, add water if it starts to stick and add the cream in the last 5 minutes.

Serve on fresh pasta with some lemon infused olive oil and a hefty bit of aged cheddar or parmesan melted into the pasta.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

These warm, gooey lumps of old fashioned tastiness are prime candidates for introducing people to baking. Charming in their simplicity while being easy and fast, this recipe yields a tasty dessert with little effort required and even less time. My brother Matt and I often make these cookies when we're craving a sweet snack but are too lazy to make something more complicated! With that said, enjoy this recipe full of old-fashioned flavor!

1/2 c. Softened Butter
1/3 c. White Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
1/2 tsp. of Vanilla extract (or more, it's really to taste)
1 c. Wholewheat Flour
1 1/2c. Cooking Oats
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
A good shake of cinnamon (1/4 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon for you unimaginative types)
A pinch of freshly ground nutmeg 

1) Cream together the butter and sugars until soft, fluffed and homogenous
2)Add the egg to the wet mixture and mix it in alongside the vanilla, you want to give the wet ingredients a good whipping so continue a bit past when it looks fully mixed, a good beating will make for a chewy cookie
3) Mix the dry ingredients together
4) Combine everything and roll into wee balls which are no more than an inch in diameter, put them on a cookie sheet and squash them against it using the palm of your hand. (This step can be facilitated by cooling the dough for several minutes to prevent the butter from being super melty)
5) Bake at 350 for 8 minutes, remove from oven and place on a plate to cool when the bottom is browned, even if the top does not look quite cooked, the cookie will continue to cook as it cools

Optionally, after letting the cookies cool for 5 minutes or so you can cover them with a bowl to trap the steam rising off them to guarantee an extra moist cookie

Best enjoyed with a glass of milk!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Coconut Banana Bread

This semi-tropical themed dessert also doubles as a light and tasty breakfast when accompanied with a hot mug of tea. Made with brown flour and soy milk this loaf can even masquerade as healthy! This recipe is loosely based off a friend's recipe and a few others, enjoy!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a loaf pan


-2 mashed bananas (the brown ones are the best)
-2 eggs 
-1tsp. Vanilla
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 cup of softened butter
-3/4 cup of brown sugar
-1/3 cup soy milk (or milk)
-2 c. brown flour
(or white...if you must)
-1+1/4 tsp baking soda (mix soda in the flour before mixing the flour into the wet ingredients)
-3/4c. coconut
-1/2c. chocolate chips

1) Mix the mashed bananas, he butter and sugar until homogenous.
2)Mix the eggs with a fork and add to the banana mix alongside the soy milk and the vanilla.
3)Combine the dry ingredients ie.  the flour, coconut, salt and baking soda, mix into the wets
4)Add the chocolate chips to the mixture and pour it into the loaf pan, throw in oven

Bake for 35-40 minutes