Thursday, 29 November 2012

Lime and lentil soup

Lime and lentil soup a tad odd yes? It is, but surprisingly tasty! This is part of one of my recipes from the series: "Made from random stuff in my kitchen" and this one I must say turned out rather well! The rich earthy flavour of lentils and cumin is offset by the smooth sourness of the limes and the citrusy flavour of roasted coriander. These powerful flavours then go well with a whole mix of veggies and the slight tang provided by a touch of tomato! This is a good, out of the ordinary, easy and tasty soup, just the kind of thing you might want around for the snowy days that are just beginning, it even has the added benefit of clearing your sinuses!


-2 Yellow onions
-2 Bunches green onion 
-3 Cloves garlic 
-6 Carrots 
-1c Brown lentils
-½ tsp. Whole cumin seeds
-2 tsp Whole coriander seeds
-1 Lime zest and juice
-2 tbsp. tomato paste
-1 Large handful of spinach
-1 Cube vegetable broth
-~8 cups water
-1 tsp. Olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste

1) Let lentils soak at least 1 hour before cooking, once ready boil for 20 minutes in 2 of the cups of water
2) Slice yellow onions and carrots, crush garlic, heat olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot, and add these vegetables, cook until onions have softened
3) While the vegetables cook, heat whole coriander and cumin until browned and fragrant, grind in a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or with a glass bottle or rolling pin on a cutting board.
4) Add spices to vegetables alongside lime and mix thoroughly, add 4 cups of water to the mix as well as the tomato paste, salt, pepper and half the lime juice (Taste and add more if you like it, if you plan on serving it the day you prepare it, half a lime might be best, if it sits you can put the juice of the entire lime, it mellows overnight) as well as the broth cube.
5) Drain the lentils, reserving the liquid  in a bowl, add the lentils to the soup and lentil liquid to taste
5) Cook the soup to meld flavours at medium heat for at least 10 minutes before adding sliced green onions and spinach as well as the liquid the lentil's were boiled in and extra water to taste.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


This typical Middle Eastern dish makes for excellent, warming comfort food on a cold day. Spicy, warm and mindbogglingly full of flavour this dish seems to originate in Tunisia but is rather popular throughout swathes of the middle East going all the way to Israel where it has become pretty popular. The recipe was originally brought to my attention by my friend Sara who found it over on smittenkitchen, I toyed with quantities added some green peppers and changed the consistency and voila, my recipe was born! Keep in mind that the eggs are absolutely necessary to counter the acidity of the tomatoes, enjoy!

Serves 4
-1/4 c. olive oil
-3 Jalapeno peppers
- 2-3 Yellow onions
-1 Green Pepper
-4 cloves garlic, crushed
-2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (or to taste)
-1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
-1 Teaspoon coriander
-1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
-2 raw tomatoes, chopped, for texture (optional)
-Salt/pepper to taste
6 eggs
- feta cheese, crumbled to taste
-Fresh parsley or cilantro to taste ( Although not traditional, I rather like cilantro on it!)
Fresh bread or warm pitas for serving

1) Crush garlic, slice onions and chop pepper into large chunks, mince jalapenos (seed them if you would like to make it less spicey)
2) Heat oil until hot, add onions, garlic, pepper and jalapenos, cook until soft and fragrant
3)In a separate pan, toast whole cumin until fragrant, grind down with paprika and add to the vegetables
4) Add the tomatoes and their juice to the mix, simmer for about 20-30 minutes until reduced, thick and brown, season to taste and let simmer a few minutes
5) Break eggs into the vegetable mix and bury them in the tomato sauce being very careful not to break them (you can cheat by putting a lid over it as if making eggs sunny side up)
6) Serve accompanied by bread with a dusting of feta and parsley or coriander

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Roasted Radishes

Most often eaten raw, I would not even have thought of roasting this wee root vegetable had it not been for my brother Joe and his fiancée Sara so I owe them a big thanks! This recipe might surprise even the most dedicated radish hater, delighting them with the surprisingly subtle flavour of roasted radishes. Not only are they healthy and tasty but the bright colour of radishes also makes for an extremely festive looking side!

Serves 2
-8-10 Radishes
-1 tsp. Garlic infused olive oil (Or just olive oil)
-1/4 tsp. Parsley
-1/4 tsp. Rosemary
-1/8 tsp. Garlic powder
-Salt/Pepper to taste

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2) Trim and clean radishes
3) Coat radished is oil and shake them in all of the seasonings
4) Bake for 15-20 min. until tender, easy as that!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Mixed Fruit and Hazelnut Sabayon with Whipped Cream and Pound Cake

Sabayon has been around for a (very) long time. While wikipedia claims it to be an Italian dessert from the 60's, I've come across whispers that trace it to a far earlier period, that of Auguste Escoffier. Referred to by some as the father of French Haute Cuisine in the Modern Era, I have no trouble believing the rumours that this delicious confection is actually one of his creations. Anyway, enough with the history lesson, I'll blab about Escoffier another time! This recipe is a lovely little way to use up extra bits of...well everything! Normally served just as an alcoholic custard with some fruits I decided to push it a bit further with whipped cream, nuts and pieces of cake. Granted, some might consider manipulating this classic as some kind of mortal sin in the world of Haute Cuisine, I think you'll find it absolutely sinful in whole other ways. Enjoy!

Serves: 6

For the custard:
-8 egg yolks
-2 tbsp Frangelico (or other hazelnut liqueur)
-1/4 c. sugar
-2 tbsp. cream

For the Whipped Cream:
-250 ml. cream
-1 tsp. vanilla
-2-4 tbsp. sugar (to taste)

For the rest:
-~20 Roasted almonds or Hazelnuts
-4 substantial slices of pound cake (a lighter cake like an angel cake could work too for a lighter dessert, I just had pound cake on hand)
-About 3/4 lb fresh berries (I like the taste of raspberries and blueberries together but be creative!)

If you're feeling inclined to light your food on fire also consider:
-1/4 c. alcohol with over 40% alcohol content 

1) Prepare all your ingredients, roast almonds, wash berries, cut cake into cubes
2) Whip cream, vanilla and sugar on very high with a mixer until fluffy and solid, you want it to be rather solid
3) In a double boiler or on very low heat, make the Sabayon by incorporating room temperature eggs yolks with frangelico, sugar and cream, if too viscous feel free to add a bit of milk or water.
4) Whisk  the Sabayon mix constantly for approximately 6-8 minutes until doubled in size, make sure to cook on low heat so as not to coagulate the custard
5) Layer ingredients into a Martini glass, starting with fruit, followed by Sabayon, more fruit, some cake then whipped cream and topped with nuts and whatever cake and fruit was leftover.
6) Flambé (optional)


Flambé...because everything is better when it's on fire!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Pork Rosettes Cooked in Beurre Noisette with Buttermilk Portobello Coulis

Although I'm not the biggest meat eater, I do have a rather obsessive love of pork. Relatively quick to put together this meal looks suave and professional and is excellent if you have company coming in, tis' that time of year after all! The buttermilk used in the recipe is REAL buttermilk, not cultured buttermilk and is a natural by-product of butter, if you don't feel like making it, feel free to substitute for coffee cream, which is a bit richer and will lack some complexity, but can work if you're in a bit of a tiff. The dish itself is pretty rich and pairs well with simple vegetables and rice or baked potato, although the sauce isn't the most appetizing of colours, I guarantee that it's quite scrumptious!

-1 Pork Loin
-~340 g. Portobello mushrooms
-1/8 c. Cream
-1/8c.  Buttermilk
-1/2c. Pork or Chicken broth
-4 Tbsp. Butter

1) At least 1 hour before cooking, slice the pork loin into 1 inch slices, season each side of every shop liberally with salt and pepper, let sit, this will help tenderize the meat
2) Make beurre noisette with the butter, cooking the butter at medium heat until it just turns brown, foams and smells vaguely like hazelnuts.
3)Pour the butter into a glass gently and skim the foam on off the top, discard
4)Grease a cast iron or stainless steel pan with about 1/3 of the butter, quarter and saute the Mushrooms until softened, fragrant and flavourful
5) Remove mushrooms from pan, set aside in a warm place, wipe pan down
6) Grease the freshly wiped down pan with the rest of the butter, and heat to high heat, when hot, add the pork rosettes one by one.
7) Cook the rosettes for 2 min on high on one side, flip them slowly taking a 30 second break after flipping three to let the butter heat up again until all are flipped, cook on high for another 2 minutes before bringing the heat down to medium for 1 minute to finish the cooking.
8) Put pork on a plate and cover partially with a loose sheet of foil, this will continue the cooking of the meet without softening it
9) Heat the rest of the butter and the pork juices on medium-low until most of the liquids have evaporated, forming a crust on the pan.
10) Poor the broth onto the crust and rub it until you've successfully deglazed the pan, add the cream and half the mushrooms, reduce until thick and rich, season to taste with salt and pepper.
11) Pass the sauce with mushroom chunks through a blender or food processor at high speed for at least 30 seconds to achieve a smooth consistency
12) Serve 3 rosettes of pork per person with some cooked mushrooms and a generous dab of sauce on top the rosettes should be warm and tender with a rich creamy and woodsy flavour.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Smoked Oyster Chowder

This rich and wholesome chowder is perfect for the cold weather coming in. Inspired by my grandfather’s recipe, chowders like this one are a perfect greeting for guests who’ve just come in out of the cold. Salty and full of protein this chowder is an ideal warm up.  If you’re feeling particularly decadent, swap ¼ of the milk out for cream,should probably clarify here though that I'm not liable for any nasty health decisions you make...

-170g. Smoked Oysters (Canned)
-1 Clove of garlic
-2 Onions
-2 Sticks of celery
-4 c. Milk
- Salt and black pepper to taste
-8 Soda Crackers
-1/2 tsp. Butter

1) Melt butter in the bottom of a pot, cook sliced onions, celery and crushed garlic until fragrant
2) Add oysters and their oil mixing very lightly so as not to break up the oysters
3) Add milk and salt, cook on low heat for at least 10 minutes, it is very important that the mixture not boil
4) In last 5 minutes of cooking, crush soda crackers into small chunks and dust and add to the soup, these will thicken and give a whole different consistency to the chowder. It sounds odd but seriously, give it a try!
5) Serve and garnish with generous amounts of freshly crushed black pepper

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Cheese and Raspberry Squares

These tasty little treats are the brainchild of a late night epiphany. Combining the heart stopping goodness of a dense cake with the tang of lemon and raspberry these squares are a real heart stopper. Add some large lumps of fatty homemade cheese, which soak up the flavour of the fruits accentuating them, and you have the closest thing I can think of to a sin in culinary form. 

A big thanks to Alicia for making this image normal coloured, far more appetizing!

Makes a small  8x8 recipe
Prep. 20min.
Bake time: 40-45min

-3/4 cup  unsalted butter
-1 1/8 cups sugar
-3 eggs
-3/4 cup white flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1c. frozen raspberries
-1c. homemade cheese
-1 tsp. lemon zest

1)Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 dish
2) Cream butter and sugar together
3)Add eggs one at a time alongside vanilla and lemon zest
4)Mix flour and salt, add to liquids and mix until homogeneous
5) Cut cheese into rough cubes, fold into batter alongside raspberries being careful to not break the cheese and raspberries up
 6)Bake for 20-25 min. at 350

Monday, 12 November 2012

Thin Crust Pizza with Prosciutto, Spinach and Garlic

In compensation for not posting anything last week, I'll not only be posting MORE this week but also some extra delicious recipes. I served this pizza at a fundraising dinner last Tuesday and got some pretty great reviews! It's pretty light and healthy yet still manages to remain almost decadent in its tastyness. Wow guests with this relatively easy dinner that works great for feeding a crowd. With party season quickly approaching, also consider making mini pizzas or pizza squares as an hors d'oeuvre at parties!

Thank you again to Cody Walsh for his lovely photos!

Makes 2 pizzas


-1c. warm water
-3 1/2c. wholewheat flour (you can switch for white if you prefer but wholewheat works quite well!)
-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. olive oil
-2 1/4 tsp. dry active yeast

-Enough cheese to coat the top of both pizzas, I often use a base of mozzarella with a mix of provolone or feta, a few hundred grams should do
-2-3 large handfuls of spinach
-4 cloves of garlic
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-8 slices of prosciutto or other cured ham
-A small handful of fresh basil, enough to put a leaf or two per slice
-A tablespoon or two of sesame seeds or cornmeal (optional)
-salt and pepper to taste

1) Combine yeast and warm water, let it dissolve and grow for about 5 minutes
2) While yeast is breaking down, combine flour and salt thoroughly
3) Add yeast mixture to flour with oil, mix thoroughly
4) Knead dough on a well-floured surface by folding it like an envelope over and over and over (ad infinitum...almost) until homogeneous, firm and not sticky about 8 minutes
5) Leave to rise in a bowl covered by a damp cloth for 2 hours
6) In the last 30 minutes or so of the dough's rising period, heat garlic in oil over low heat until the garlic is fragrant and the oil is flavoured.
7) Grate, crumble or thinly slice cheese, prepare all ingredients washing and drying spinach.
8) Break dough into two balls, roll out each ball into rounds as thin as you can, until about 14 inches in diameter, fold edge inwards to form a crust (If it isn't very round, don't despair! It'll still be tasty!)
9) Brush dough with garlic and oil, sprinkle sesame seeds or cornmeal on crust now if you plan to do so.
10) Layer cheeses season with salt and pepper and then add prosciutto, spinach and basil in that order.
11) Bake at 450 degrees until cheese is golden, about 15 minutes.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bacon Onion Dip

This dip is far from healthy but it makes a mighty tasty party pleaser! Although it needs a bit of cooking, the prep is worth it and can be assembled reasonably quickly, serve with bread, veggies, crackers or chips.


-400ml sour cream
-1 clove garlic
-3 tsp garlic powder
-2 tbsp mayo
-1 dash worster
-1 tsp thyme
-80g bacon
-5 small onions
-3 tbsp parmesan
-Salt/pepper to taste

1) Cook bacon at high heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, remove from pan, pat dry and cut into bits.
2)Caramelize onions at low heat in bacon fat until they become a rich brown colour.
3) Combine all ingredients together, serve.