Sunday, March 23, 2014

Pears poached in red wine

When shopping on the weekend we found these beautiful little pears.  They were about half the size of a normal pear, and we thought it would be a good idea to poach them for dinner. This was really easy and spectacularly good.

1 pear per person, we cooked 7 for 5 people as they were small
Equal quantaties of red wine and water I used 2 cups of each
1 cup of sugar for 4 cups of liquid
1 cinimin stick
5 cardamon pods
1/4 cup of toasted almonds to serve

Peal the pears leaving whole and the stalk on the top. I sliced a little off the bottom of some of the pears so that they would stand upright for serving.

Mix all the ingredients in a deep sided pot and bring to a boil.  Add the pears and turn down to a simmer, there should be enough liquid to cover the pears, though they do tend to float.

Cook until a sharp knife slides easily into the pears, they should be cooked through and soft but not falling apart.

The pears will now have taken on a beatiful red purple colour as well as absorbing the flavours form the poaching liquid.

Take out the pears and place on the serving dish, to cool down.

Crank up the heat under the poaching liquid and simmer down to about 1/2 cup of syrup.  You really need to watch at the end as it can go too thick very quickly. Pour the syrup over the pears.

Just before serving sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds these not only look good, but add a crunchy texture to a soft desert.

This would be delicous with vanilla icecream, but as we did not have any we served it will vanilla greek yogurt and actually that was very good too.

Mexican turkey meatball soup

I often make a large batch of soup on the weekends, so that I have a tasty healthy lunch every day at work.  This was a soup that I made last week and enjoyed for 4 lunches.  Luckily I am quite happy to eat the same thing several days in a row, but it would freeze well if you had problems with that. Though warming and comforting as all soups are, it has the tastes of Mexico so invokes a little taste of summer at the end of winter.

Turkey meatballs

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of ground coriander
  • salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients together

Form in to small meatballs, about the size of a large marble, and place on a lined cookie sheet.

Cook in a preheated 350 oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until cooked and turning golden.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Easy roast chicken with carrots and potatoes

I guess it is no secret I love roast chicken, I love the smell of it cooking, I love crispy chicken skin and I love the versatility of it.  Chicken goes with so many flavours and is a staple in just about every culture in the world. Sunday night I was feeling like roast chicken and decided to do another riff on the chicken legs cooked on a bed of vegetables.

I kept this very simple letting the taste of the wonderful free range chicken shine through. There was 4 for dinner that evening, so I used four whole chicken legs cut in half and a whole de boned breast.  I was hoping to have a couple of pieces left over for lunch, but I was sadly disappointed.

To feed 4

2 pieces of cut up chicken per person (maybe extra if they are hungry)
1 medium potato per person cut into chunks
1 carrot per person sliced thickly
1/2 small onion per person or 2 green onions per person chopped
2 cloves of garlic sliced for 4 people
Sprig of rosemary
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Place the potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic in the bottom of a roasting tin. Drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper and toss together.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Roasted butternut squash soup

A very good friend of mine injured herself skiing, and during the first few days of recuperation, the only thing I could think to do was make soup for her.  Soup is always comforting, and some how when you are not feeling well or hurt soup is what appeals.  I had some good home made chicken stock in the freezer, so I spent Sunday afternoon making soups.  I had bought a butternut squash in my fridge also and decided to convert this to soup.

This made enough for 4 big servings

1 whole butternut squash
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 clove of garlic sliced
6 cups of chicken stock
2 whole star anise
1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg (if at all possible fresh)
1/4 cup of cream (optional)

Cut the squash in to quarters take out the seeds and lay on a foil lined cookie sheet, then drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper.

Roast in a 350 oven for about 3/4 of an hour or until the flesh is cooked through and starting to go golden. This concentrates the flavour and adds sweetness.

While you are waiting for the squash to cool down enough to handle, sweat off the onions and garlic in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until they are translucent.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Roasted chicken with fennel and pasta

This is a dish that I made while up at Whistler to feed the returning skiers. I wanted to make something that did not require me do a lot of cooking near serving time, using few dishes and I was presented with a lovely free range chicken as my main ingredient. For the most part I was trying to use what I found in the fridge, which was fairly well stocked.

To feed 4

1 whole chicken cut up or equivalent in pieces
1 fennel bulb sliced
1 onion chopped
4 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced
2 cups of grape tomatoes or you could use large ones sliced
1 cup of pitted olives.
3 table spoons of olive oil
4 cups of dried penne pasta
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 bucket of baby arugula
juice of 1 lemon

Put the fennel onion and garlic in large shallow roasting tin.  Place the chicken pieces on top and scatter over the tomatoes and olives, then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive and salt and pepper.

Place in a 400 oven for about 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and crispy golden.