Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Coq au vin

Coq au vin is just the french way of saying chicken cooked in wine.  This is normally red wine, which gives a very dark rich casserole. It is not a difficult or complicated dish and should not be intimidating to make, but is well worth making for a warming winter or fall evening.

1 chicken cut up in to pieces or the equivelant in already cut up chicken
1/4 cup of salt pork or 4 rashers of bacon cut up ( I used pancetta)
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 a bottle of red wine (something that you would drink but it does not have to be a great wine)
1 sprig of fresh thyme or teaspoon dried
1 bay leaf
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of peeled pearl onions

Place the chicken in a frying pan skin side down and brown on both sides, there should be no need to add fat as the chicken skin will provide quite enough on its own.

Remove the chicken and place it in a large casserole dish, then in another frying pan or the cleaned out one already used fry the bacon pieces until crispy and drain on some kitchen paper. Reserve a little of the fat for later.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Updates on bread, freezing and pie

This is a couple of updates on recipes that I have previously posted, the first is nut bread which is the latest in experimentation of additions to my basic bread recipe.

Unfortunately I did not get a picture of the finished bread, but believe me when I tell you it was beautiful.  The picture above is what it looked like just before placing in the oven. I made my foccacia bread recipe let it raise for 1 hour then added 1 cup of roasted nuts.  I had on hand 1/4 cup pecans and the remainder was pumpkin seeds. I cooked this bread in the same way as the  no knead bread in order to give it a crusty exterior.

The nuts were a great addition, though in fact in this picture you can hardly see any, the flavour of the nuts permiated the whole loaf.  There were 4 couples for dinner and this bread was completely gone before dinner, eaten with some wonderful flavoured olive oil and balsamic vineger.

Update number 2 is Peach pie.  At the end of the day, I believe peach pie is my favourite pie, and as we had some good friends coming down from the Okanagan with some fresh peaches I had to make a pie.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Arrived in Ecuador safely after a very long day of travel. No computer so sadly no photographs, but the sun is shining and the altitude does not seem to be bothering me.

Looking forward to exploring both the food and the countryside.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

butterflied roast chicken with stuffing

It was Saturday night and 5:30 and Connie and I felt like roast chicken for dinner.  We did not want to eat too late and so I decided to butterfly the chicken before roasting to speed up the process.  This put us in mind of the time that at 5:00 we decided to make cassolet for dinner!  Traditionaly this is a dish that takes about 3 days, but undeterred we we made it and were eating cassolet before 8:00.  I am not really sure how, just put it down to the kitchen Gods and determination.

Butterflying a chicken is much easier than it sounds, but it does require a good pair of kitchen scissors see roast butterflied chicken and potatoes.

Apart from cooking quicker than an un-butterflied chicken, the other advantage is that if you lay the chicken on top of a suitable ingredient the juices from the chicken will be absorbed by it.  Last time I had roasted the chicken on top of potatoes.  This time I decided to make a quick stuffing from some bread that I had that was past it's best.

2 cups of bread roughly chopped
1/2 onion chopped
1 sprig of sage chopped
1 lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a bowl, I mixed together the cut up bread and onion chopped and a sprig of fresh sage finely chopped. I laid this in the roasting tin and topped it with half a lemon sliced.

Pot luck broccoli and grape salad

Another pot luck at work this week to celebrate the 50th birthday of someone who I have worked with for 28 years!  We were both in our 20's and before children, together we travelled to London, San Fransisco and Seattle, and spent far too much time shopping.  When we both grew middle aged is beyond me.  We had a spa themed pot luck to celebrate and honour our newest member to the 6th decade of life.

I brought a salad, as potlucks are always shy on healthy dishes and I really like broccoli salad, also this is a good salad for taking somewhere as it actually needs to sit in its dressing for a while.

  • 2 heads of broccoli broken in to small florets
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 cup of toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 cup of chopped green grapes


  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup of plain yogurt (or all mayonnaise)
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of milk (or enough to get the right consistency)
Combine the salad ingredients except the almonds in a salad bowl.

Toast the almonds and when cooled place them in a Ziploc bag.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Quick chicken and italian sausage dinner

I made this for dinner the other night because I needed dinner for two and had only one chicken breast.  Necessity being the mother of invention, I came up with this simple but actually delicious quick dish. This is not only a quick dish to make, but also a quick post as I do not have many pictures.

1 Teaspoon of olive oil
1 Chicken breast cut into bite size chunks
2 Italian sausages cut into bite size chunks
2 cups of roast tomato sauce (or any other tomato sauce you have on hand)
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs or enough to cover the top of the dish
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Roasted beet borscht

I love the taste of beets, but I hate how they stain your hands (and everything else) when you peel them. Maybe that is why they are mostly sold already cooked in England.  One way to avoid this is roast them and then the skins slip off easily, but it also really enhances the flavour. I bought some beautiful looking beets the other day and wanted to make a big pot of borscht, to take for lunches at work. More a beet stew than a soup really as I cut the beets in to large chunks.

This made enough for 4 lunches for one or one lunch for 4

  • 3 large beets
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons of dried dill ( or a sprig of fresh)
  • 1/2 white cabbage shredded
  • Yogurt or sour cream to serve

Bob likes Thai food

Across the road from work a couple of months ago the small restaurant Go Fish closed, and shortly thereafter a new restaurant opened up.  I checked the menu and it was a Thai restaurant called Bob Likes Thai Food.  So on Thursday night when Nancy my husband and I were going to the theatre and needed somewhere in the area for dinner I suggested this place as I was getting a good vibe about it.

The first thing that stuck out on the menu was Bob's poutine, Nancy and I decided we had to try it, so we ordered a portion to share.

These were amazing, tarot chips with a light fragarent thai sauce, hot peppers and a little fried tofu to emulate the cheese curds.  There was just enough sauce to make them flavourful, but not soggy and the chips were light and crispy with no hint of grease.  To say I loved them would be an understatement.

We each then ordered a dish to share, I ordered rather boringly beef coconut curry.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A salad for fall with pear dressing and pecans

Though the temperatures belie it, fall is well and truly in full swing, and even if it is still warm and sunny somehow I still feel like fall flavours and want to be wearing boots and wool skirts.  So when I was making a salad on Saturday night I was inspired by the beautiful pears sitting in the warm autumn sunshine on the counter.

Several years ago I saw Jamie Oliver make a salad dressing by grating pears and so I though I would give it a go.

Pear salad dressing

  • 1 Pear grated (with out the peel)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Avocado salad to pack for lunch

Starting September this year I have been taking my lunch to work every day. I am not really sure why the change,  previously I never took my lunch, I guess I am a bit of an all or nothing person.  Actually there are several factors, 1. to eat lighter to lose weight, 2. eat only food using natural ingredients, 3 spend less money and perhaps the most important, I got a little bag that is perfect for taking lunch.

Remember those shaken salads at Macdonalds?  It was a good idea and made with good ingredients it is a brilliant idea this is a take on that. I saw this idea on pinterest of making layered salad with the dressing on the bottom, they were made in canning jars, as are far too many things on pinterest.  I do not have any giant spare canning jars so a Rubbermaid container had to do.  Perhaps not quite so pretty, but very practical and available.  The idea is that you put the dressing on the bottom and then layer the ingredients making sure that anything that is going to get soggy by being in contact with the dressing is far above it.

1/4 red onion chopped
1 avocado chopped
Juice of one or one and half lemons
1 tablespoon of olive oil
small handful of fresh basil and mint chopped
1 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes (from my garden!)
1/2 cup of sprouted beans (optional)
lettuce to fill the container

I have listed the ingredients in the order that I put them in to the container.

I tossed the avocado  in the lemon juice and oil to stop it from discolouring. Then added the ingredients in order.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cabbage and apple salad

This weekend is thanksgiving in Canada, and there are many family recipes and traditions that surround this celebration.  For one of my best friends it would not be a turkey dinner with out this salad that her mother used to make, so I asked her to write it up to share.

Gillian has asked me to be a guest blogger to feature this family favourite so here goes.

We all have some tradition that we bring to our festive meals.  My signature dish known to all who shares my turkey dinner has been this salad, which has been passed down by mother, and I believe my grandmother.  The crisp texture and fresh taste an excellent complement to the comfort flavours and soft textures of a turkey dinner.  The other bonus is that this salad is equally good for at least the next day or two.

The salad is generous portion that is perfect for the extra meals the next day.  While proportions can vary I suggest the following ingredients.

  • 1 medium green cabbage, chopped 
  • 2 apples, firm varieties i.e.: granny smith, Spartan or 1 of each
  • 2 stocks celery, diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped, with some sprigs for garnish
  • Optional:  ¼ cup toasted almonds and/or ¼ cup dried cranberries

  • 1 lemon
  • Mayonnaise, ½ cup
  •         ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • Salt, 1 tsp.
  • ½ tsp. curry power
  • 1 tsp. sugar