Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Embarrassingly easy beef dip

This is one of my personal favourites as it takes next to no preparation allows you to have dinner on the table almost immediately and mostly because it is delicious in a very simple back to the basics way. If you want to have this when you come home from work, or a day out then you will need a crock pot, though you could cook in an oven in a closed pot.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bramley apple pie

Bramley apples are a traditional English cooking apple, that are very hard to find here in Canada.  Two years ago I bought a small Bramley apple tree and was assured that in three years I would get my first apple.  A long time to wait especially when you are as impatient as I, but I have discovered a vendor at Coquitlam farmers market, that if you get there early enough has this wonderful tart cooking apple.

If you are not lucky enough to get your hands on these (though your really should try) then use some other kind, or even a mixture of different ones.  there are so many around at this time of year it is hard not to make apple pie

Bramley apples
These are large apples and only 3 or 4 will make a decent sized pie.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Comfort food Beef carbonnade

Beef carbonnade is practically the national dish of Belgium (after fries and waffles) it is a Delicious and simple warming beef stew. I made this on Sunday night as a thank you to some friends who had hosted a wonderful music party on Saturday night and another couple who have had their house flooded and have been living with out a kitchen for over a month and were in need of some good home cooking.

2 lbs of stewing beef or a pot roast cut up.
1/4 cup of flour mixed with salt and pepper
2 large or 3 medium onions thinly sliced
1 bottle of beer (almost any beer will do but it will effect the end result)
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
A handful of fresh thyme or a tablespoon of dried.

Toss the cut up beef with the seasoned flour.

beef tossed in seasoned flour
Heat a large non stick frying pan and add olive oil, brown the beef in batches adding some more oil if necessary as it is browned put in to large heavy bottomed pot.  I used my Le creuset, pot it is as old as me and I inherited from my mother, it is no thing of beauty but it works like a charm.

Beef browning

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Comfort food Chicken Paprika

It was the second day of fall yesterday, a cool dull rainy day here in Vancouver, The Cottager and his wife were coming for dinner, comfort food was called for.  Nobody does comfort food quite like the middle Europeans, it must be something to do with their long cold winters. Anyway the only thing to cook was chicken paprika, you can only cook it at this time of year when the Hungarian peppers are plentiful.

To Cook this  for 6 you will need:-

10 Hungarian peppers
1 onion
3 tablespoons of Hungarian paprika
12 chicken thighs

Make sure you get sweet Hungarian peppers or the round "apple peppers" I used both
Hungarian and apple peppers
Chop the peppers in to fairly small cubes

Thursday, September 23, 2010

fridge dinner - fried rice (lo fun style)

Thursday night running out of ideas and fresh food, (I usually do my big grocery shop on the weekend) a fridge dinner is called for. This is my name for a meal that you can pull together from what you find in the fridge.  This is what I found in my fridge today

Fridge findings
two small pork chops
one head of broccoli
1/2 an onion
2" of ginger
a clove of garlic
1 yellow pepper
and 3 very small carrots.

Since it was just me and husband for dinner tonight I decided to make fried rice as this is one of his favourites.  I call it lo fun style as it is not very authentic and my Chinese friends call me lo fun (Cantonese for white ghost), I am sure this is a very affectionate term.

I cooked 1 cup of rice in my very authentic Chinese rice cooker and while that was cooking I sweated off the onion ginger and garlic in a little olive oil then added the pork and cooked that until it was golden and cooked through.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Everyone likes cheesy potatoes

That is what I was told this evening as I produced cheesy potatoes to two sons who apparently were not that hungry, then decided they had to eat any way.

Hard to really call this a recipe but here goes.

2 large potatoes sliced 1/4"(the thinner you cut them the quicker they cook)
2 cups of grated cheddar (or any other cheese you happen to have in the fridge)

Preheat the oven to 400
line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, this is not essential but sure makes clean up easier, and I am all about making clean up easier. Put the sliced potatoes on the parchment paper and top each slice with grated cheese, using up about 1/2 of the cheese

waiting to go into the oven

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick easy Caeser Salad

Arrive home from Work at 5:30, dinner on the table at 6:00 before people head out on their evening activities, this is the story of my and many other peoples lives.  A family favourite for a weeknight dinner is Pasta and Cesar salad and that was what was on the menu tonight.  Pasta was spaghetti tossed with with some Italian sausage and tomatoes keep it simple, quick and good, served with the only salad my rather fussy boys will eat. My eldest was a vegetarian until he was about 7 only he did not eat any vegetables! Then he turned into a carnivore (still no vegetables) for many years and finally is starting to become quite a foodie (genes will out in the end) My home made Cesar salad is still the only salad he really likes.

All you need is:-

Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove grated
1 large romaine lettuce washed and pulled into large pieces
The ingredients for Cesar salad
Mix first 5 ingredients together with a fork in a bowl
Add the lettuce then toss well and top with a little more grated Parmesan.

Finished salad
How easy is that 5 minutes at most and a great tasty salad. Though due to the garlic best if everyone in the family eats a least a little of it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Farmers market recipe

  Yesterday My son and I went to the  Coquitlam farmers market which happens every Sunday from May until the end of October, we were looking for good local produce and found lots of it, including some heirloom tomatoes. One of the best things at the Farmers market at this time of year is the tomatoes and all the wonderful different varieties apples fresh from the orchard.

Heirloom Tomatoes

When you have good ingredients I think it is important prepare them as simply as possible and the following is my favourite way of preparing good fresh tomatoes.  I got this from a Jacques Pepin cooking show years ago and have been making ever since.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Brix - Wedding reception

Yesterday we attended my Niece's wedding which took place at the Celebration Pavilion in Queen Elizabeth Park. This was the Brides chosen location as when she was a child she would see all the beautiful brides up there having their pictures taken and she wanted to be one of them.  The day started out with pouring rain with it forecast to continue all day (and much of the next week).  But fortunately they were wrong and by the time the wedding started the sun had come out and she did indeed join all the beautiful brides having their pictures taken in the park.

Family friends of the new groom own the restaurant down in Yale town called Brix and so after the pictures were taken we all headed down to take over the whole place.  I had eaten here about a year ago and though unfortunately I do not remember what I had, I do remember really enjoying it.

We were handed a glass of champagne and then several servers circulated with plates of wonderful appetizers. My favourite was small cubes of poached pear served on a piece of brie on a small round of melba toast.  Simple but absolutely delicious.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Orleans - Cafe Du Monde,

I usually avoid tourist trap restaurants though occasionally succumb due to great location or encouragement from others.  So when I told people that we were headed down to New Orleans for Easter this year, and those that had been said "you have to have beignets at Cafe Du Monde" I smiled indulgently and nodded, having no intentions of falling in to the biggest tourist trap in New Orleans.

When we arrived in Jackson Square in the french quarter and looked towards the river there was this large outdoor cafe with a line up a mile long, Oh look at those silly tourists I'm not waiting in line for an hour for a doughnut! I smugly thought.
Jackson Square looking away from the river and Cafe Du Monde

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tandoori Palace

Finding ourselves on Commercial Drive after work we decided to get a quick bite to eat and headed over to the Tandoori Palace 1439 Commercial Drive .  Having been here before we knew that the food is good and very reasonable. Previously we had been two of the only customers early on Friday night, but today the place was packed.  Undeterred we put in our order, butter chicken with rice and Chicken tikka with Naan.  We grabbed one of the two tables outside and watched the drive go by.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hello world

This is my first blog and therefore I expect no one will read it, but any way here I go.  I intend to write about food I have cooked, this will help me remember as I often cook something I love and then forget all about it which is probably a sign of my advancing years.  Though as the lyrics of a song a heard today said I'm getting older but I'm not old yet.