Saturday, 30 April 2011

The Garlic Buddies Waft In!

We'd like to thank all the Bread Baking Buddies for baking with us this month. Our adventurous lot baked up the delicious and addictive Dan Lepard's Garlic Bread for the April Challenge. Some of our favourite Buddies joined us and check out their results!

Natalia of Gatti fili e farina couldn't wait to make it, and found the bread to be the perfect way to use her special garlic confit.

Judy of Judy's Gross Eats spent her Easter holiday baking up these beautiful breads.

Heather of Girlichef found that these garlic breads had serious sex appeal.

Barbara from Barbara Bakes  found the bread to be definitely worth the time, and served it with extra olive oil and balsamic for dipping.

Michelle of The Beauty of Life deemed the bread heavenly!

Connie from My Discovery of Bread used fresh local garlic in her loaves.

Kelly from A Messy Kitchen delighted her husband with these breads.


Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen made the bread in honour of garlic day. (photos on her site)

Soepkipje from ipernity made a beautiful mosaic of her lovely garlic bread photos. (photos on her site)

Thanks so much to all the Bread Baking Buddies for getting their garlic on with us this month!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Jamie's South Indian Fish Curry

Well, that was some wind yesterday.
Did you have to batten down the hatches?
I'm not sure we even have hatches, but we did have all the neighbourhood's recycling and plastic lawn furniture scuttling down the streets at an alarming rate of speed.
Still, we got off relatively easy, nothing that I couldn't pick up or clean up.

April is a fickle month. There's a reason they say it is the cruelest month, it's never quite as nice as people expect it to be. More of a transition month for us Canadians.

But don't worry, we are almost in to May, which surely will be kinder to us.
For now, I have a comforting curry to fill your belly and calm your nerves.

Jamie makes his with crab, but I had lots of white fish in the freezer. Use what you like.
The spicing is mild and fragrant and soothing. Just what we needed.

And if all your plastic lawn furniture blew away?
Now you have an excuse to buy the good stuff. Hopefully it's heavier.

Southern Indian Crab Fish Curry

If you fancy a really different, quick and tasty treat, you must have a go at this curry. I’ve included a whole array of different spices, yet they’re so light and fragrant that you still get to appreciate the lovely sweet crab. And by using the brown meat in the base of the sauce and sprinkling the delicate white meat in at the end you’ll get a lovely depth of flavour and still be able to taste the crab because you won’t have cooked the life out of it. Best served with steamed rice.


• olive oil
• 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 2 heaped teaspoons black mustard seeds
• 5 green cardamom pods, crushed and husks removed
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
• 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
• 1 medium white onion, peeled and finely sliced
• 2–3 fresh red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
• 2 heaped teaspoons turmeric
• 20g butter
• 250g brown crabmeat**
• 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
• juice of 2 lemons
• 500g picked white crabmeat**
• a good bunch of fresh coriander, leaves picked
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan and add the fennel seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, ginger, garlic, onion and chilli. Fry on a medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly golden, then add the turmeric, butter and brown crabmeat. After a minute or so, pour in the coconut milk and a tinful of water. (I didn't need the water) Let it simmer away for 5 minutes so all the flavours develop. Then add the lemon juice and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce resembles double cream in consistency.

Just before you stir in the white crabmeat, check that all the shell has been picked out, then add half the coriander, simmer for 4 more minutes and taste. Season carefully with salt and pepper and a little more lemon juice if you think it needs it. Serve with some fluffy white rice, sprinkled with the rest of the coriander leaves.

** I made mine with 900 gr. pollok, and threw some baby spinach leaves in at the end. Served on brown basmati rice, which has become our house rice lately.

• from Cook With Jamie, online recipe sourced here


Thursday, 28 April 2011

April Forges: Lamb Sausage with Pickled Garlic, Tzatziki and Salad

This month's Forging challenge was to make lamb sausage and a host of other fun sides for a delicious and super-flavourful meal to wake up the taste  buds.

Fresh sausage is actually really easy to make and once you make it the first time you'll never want to buy grocery store sausage again. Seriously, what do they put in there? We probably don't want to know.

If you don't have a meat grinder, go get one. Just kidding. If you don't have a meat grinder and aren't in the market for one, you can buy some pre-ground lamb or just cut your meat up small and give it a couple of pulses in the food processor.

The seasonings added give the resulting lamb sausage a delicious complex flavour. You can certainly stuff some casings with the sausage, I prefer just to make small logs or patties with the meat. The choice is yours!

The pickled garlic, tzatziki sauce, and radish salad all complement the sausage beautifully for a Greek-inspired feast. I added in some brown basmati rice and some turnip kraut that I had made in March. Delicious!

Leftovers make awesome wraps.

Go on, make some sausage!

Lamb Sausage
adapted from Michael Symon, Live to Eat
Makes about 2 lbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup minced shallot
  • ½ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ lbs lamb shoulder, cubed
  • ½ lb pork fatback, cubed
  • 2 tsps smoked sweet paprika
  • ½ Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp sugar

Sweat garlic and shallots in the olive oil in a medium pan until translucent, about 2 minutes.
Let cool completely.
Combine all the ingredients, the chilled meat and fat with the seasonings, well. Cover and let chill 24 hours.
Grind (twice, if you like) in your meat grinder. If you don't have a meat grinder, pulse in small batches in a food processor, but a meat grinder will give you a better consistency.
Allow to chill half an hour after grinding,  before stirring to combine well.
Make into patties or logs.
Optionally: purchase hog casings and stuff with sausage stuffer.
Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week, or freeze.
Cook until you reach an internal temp of 150°F.

Pickled Garlic

    * Yield Makes 1 quart (make ahead for best results, at least 2 days ahead)

    * 6 heads garlic
    * 4 cups white-wine vinegar (I only needed 2 cups for this recipe)
    * 4 tablespoons sugar
    * 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
    * 4 whole cloves
    * 2 small dried chile peppers
    * 1 dried bay leaf
    * Rind of 1 lemon


   1. Trim garlic heads, leaving stem intact and peeling off all but one layer of papery skin. Set aside.
   2. Combine vinegar, sugar, peppercorns, cloves, peppers, bay leaf, and lemon rind in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 2 minutes more. Add garlic; boil 4 minutes. Remove from heat; cover, and let sit overnight in refrigerator. Garlic may be canned, placed in a sterilized jar, or stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container up to 1 month.

Tzatziki and Radish Salad
Recipes courtesy Michael Symon,
Show: Cook Like an Iron Chef  Episode: Secret Ingredient Lamb Chops


    * 1/2 English cucumber
    * 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
    * Kosher salt
    * 2 cups Greek yogurt
    * Juice of 1 lemon
    * Freshly ground black pepper
    * 1 small bunch mint, leaves picked and chiffonade (about 1 cup)


    * 1 shallot, minced
    * Kosher salt
    * 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
    * 8 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves picked and sliced (or more)
    * ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    * 2 bunches radishes with greens
    * 1 English cucumber

For the tzatziki:
Grate the cucumber over a wire mesh strainer placed over a bowl. Add the garlic and salt. Set aside to drain for 15 minutes.

To another bowl, combine 2 cups Greek yogurt, juice of 1 lemon, freshly ground black pepper, pinch salt, and mint. Set aside.

Squeeze out the excess moisture of the cucumbers and add to the Greek yogurt mixture. Stir to combine.

For the radish salad:
To another bowl, add the shallot and season with salt. Add the red wine vinegar, oregano, and whisk in about 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Taste and re-season, if needed.

Remove the greens from the radishes and wash the greens in salted iced water. Place into a salad spinner to dry. Set aside. Thinly slice the radishes and add to the dressing. Halve the cucumber lengthwise. Thinly slice the cucumber into half-moons.

Tear and then add the dry radish greens to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. (I served mine on a bed of baby spinach)


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Do You.... Brew?

photo credit
I know you. You are a DIY force to be reckoned with. You make your own meals, bake the odd loaf of bread. Heck, you even grow a few things in the garden. That lived!

But did you know you could make your own beer?

Intriguing, no?

Unlike wine, beer is best enjoyed fresh. And it isn't that complicated to make. In fact, once you get the basics down the variations are endless. Just think about it, you could have your own signature brew. How many of your friends have their own signature brew? That's what I thought. You'll be the envy of the neighbours and the most popular guy or gal on the block.

What do you need to get started?

The Complete Homebrew Beer Book
200 Easy Recipes, from Ales and Lagers to Extreme Beers and International Favorites

George Hummel
Paperback, 456 pages

The idea of brewing my own beer is fairly new to me. I was immediately excited about the prospects. So was my husband, as you can imagine. Since this was new territory for us, we decided to go on the road and interview a couple of people about making your own beer.

We found some home brewers who have the equipment at home. Not overly technical, just large. Other people go in to U-Brew types of places and do their brewing there. In the brewing facilities you have the choice of using kits or your own recipes. We found that seasoned brewers quickly outgrew the kits, and loved to experiment.

The Complete Homebrew Beer Book is the ultimate resource for home brewers. It has the 200 easy recipes, well laid-out and easy to understand, as well as a full education on brewing. You'll learn what tools you'll need, the steps involved, and how to brew your own healthful (yep, I said healthful, homemade beer is a living entity - some say the pyramids were built on beer!) beers, and even gluten-free beers, ciders, sodas and meads!

Part One introduces Homebrewing for Beginners.
Part Two is Taking Your Brewing Skills to the Next Level
Part Three is Weird and Extreme Beers and Other Fermentable Beverages.

excerpts from Homebrewing for Beginners, The Complete Homebrew Book:

This will be the summer I brew! How about you?

Are you ready to become your own brewmaster?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Armchair Novel Review - Crime Machine

Crime Machine
by Giles Blunt
Paperback, 304 pages
Also available as an eBook and in hardcover

Crime Machine is a Northern Ontario procedural/crime/mystery that takes place 340 kilometres north of Toronto.

Police detective John Cardinal, still mourning the loss of his late wife Catherine, has moved into a stuffy condo to escape the constant reminders of her troubled life. His work on old cold case files in a sleepy northern town is interrupted by a violent crime, unheard of in that area. Two visitors to the annual fur auction are found murdered and decapitated in a remote home. 

This initial brutal crime turns out to be just the beginning of a complex story of crime, an intense and fast-paced thriller guaranteed to keep you up at night, reading far past your bedtime.

Giles Blunt weaves a tight and riveting crime thriller in a uniquely Canadian terroir, with perfect pacing and suspense. He manages to infuse each character, including the bad guys, with depth, complexity, and humanity.

Blunt's writing career has taken him to the US as a screenwriter for television but his real passion and unique talent is for Canadian crime fiction. This is the first John Cardinal book I have read but I will definitely be looking out for more - Giles Blunt has jumped on to my top ten Canadian writers list.
Other novels in the John Cardinal series include:
Forty Words for Sorrow
The Delicate Storm
Blackfly Season
By the Time You Read This
If you love crime/mystery novels - Crime Machine a must-have for your library!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Moosewood Mondays: Creamy Garlic Dressing

"Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers"
documentary by Les Blank

I think I have well-outed myself as unrepentant garlic lover this month, so why stop now?

Today we have a gloriously creamy garlic dressing, that turns from pungent vinaigrette to creamy emulsion with the addition of milk. The transformation is nothing short of miraculous and the resulting dressing is thick enough to go on your salad or grilled veggies or even to be used as a dip.

It is easy to make your own salad dressings, and don't feel that you always have to rely on vinaigrettes. You can whip this up in five minutes and have it in the fridge for days for all your salady creations. Then - next week you can make something different! It really is that easy. Leave the Kraft on the shelf, you are a salad-dressing-maker and proud of it!

You also have garlic breath. But don't worry, all the cool kids do.

Creamy Garlic Dressing
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home
makes 1½ cups and is good in the fridge for 5 days

3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
¾ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
½ cup whole milk

Blend the first set of ingredients, everything except the milk, in a blender for a few seconds until thick and well blended. While running, add milk slowly. It will thicken up nicely. Pour into a serving container and bring to the table, or chill until needed.

*Add ½ tsp honey to sweeten
*Add 1 tsp fresh lemon juice to make extra tart
*Replace dried basil with 1 Tbsp minced fresh
*Add 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley for colour


Sunday, 24 April 2011

Fall-Off-The-Bone Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fresh Linguine in a Creamy Low-Fat Tomato Sauce from Big Bowl of Love

Stop what you are doing and take a close look at the burnished glaze on those chicken thighs. I am telling you right now, this is the best chicken I have ever had. Big words, for someone who tests recipes for a living.

They are from Big Bowl of Love, a new family cookbook from Cristina Ferrare. I have to admit, I hadn't heard of Cristina before, although she has a huge following in the U.S. as a regular on Oprah and with her own cooking show on Oprah's channel OWN. In fact Cristina has had decades long success in the media, starting out as a fashion model. All of this managed to escape me - I was lured in by the title. Who wouldn't be attracted to a Big Bowl of Love?

The hardcover book is bright and attractive and laid out simply - filled with 150 recipes that are elegant and really quite simple to make. Cristina's emphasis is on good quality but not break-the-bank ingredients, that can be transformed with a minimum of fuss into a delicious and loving offering for family and friends.

Cristina Ferrare's Big Bowl of Love
Delight Family and Friends with More than 150 Simple, Fabulous Recipes

Cristina Ferrare
Hardcover, 304 pages

Even if you are new to cooking, you will find that Big Bowl of Love is not intimidating at all. Cristina includes many cook-once-and-serve-twice meals for busy families, and a good little collection of Dressings, Sauces, and Salsas at the back of the book. She even includes a section on Pantry and Staple Items so that you will be prepared to cook up a big bowl of love for the ones that you love.

In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen we whipped up the Fall-Off-The-Bone Roasted Chicken Thighs and served them with the Fresh Linguine in a Creamy Low-Fat Tomato Sauce. I was surprised at how long the thighs cooked for, but the results were nothing short of miraculous. So tender, and they really did melt in your mouth. The fresh pasta with the low-fat tomato sauce was a beautiful accompaniment - fresh, light and delicious. I love how the veggies are pulsed in the food processor first. Made them very easy to slip past my son who is still doubtful about vegetables. 
Give these recipes a try!

Fall-Off-The-Bone Roasted Chicken Thighs
6 Servings

I’m a dark-meat lover, and I love chicken thighs. These are roasted until the meat falls off the bone.
I usually double this recipe because I like to have plenty of leftover thigh meat; it makes great sandwiches, tacos, and taco salads and is delicious shredded in soup.
A vegetable couscous is lovely with this dish.

3 cups chicken stock, homemade (page 64), or store-bought organic chicken broth
12 chicken thighs, washed and dried
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fines herbes
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Kosher salt
Cracked pepper

Make the chicken stock first.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place chicken thighs in a baking dish.

Combine Dijon mustard, lemon juice, soy sauce, and olive oil, and pour over the chicken. Turn the thighs to coat evenly.

Sprinkle on the fines herbes and the fennel seeds; then sprinkle on several pinches of kosher salt and plenty of cracked pepper.

Cover with aluminum foil, and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and baste. Add 2 cups of chicken stock and stir to turn up any of the bits that have formed at the bottom of the roasting pan. Baste again with a bulb baster.

Continue to roast for 60 minutes more, basting every 15 minutes to keep the chicken supermoist. The thighs will turn a beautiful caramel colour. If you find that the bottom of the roasting pan is dry, add the rest of the chicken stock.

Cook’s Note
I always try to use fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage in all my cooking, but I like using dried fines herbes for this. You can find them in the spice aisle of your market. I like the fact that the herbs are tiny and can be baked right on the skin, giving the chicken and the pan juices a more intense flavour.

Fresh Linguine in a Creamy Low-Fat Tomato Sauce
6 to 8 Servings

A note before we start: Imported prosciutto is available in all grocery stores and is not hard to find. Always use the imported prosciutto; it is better in quality and taste than domestic.

There’s nothing like homemade fresh pasta, but who has the time to crank it out? I use fresh pasta that I buy at the local market for this recipe. It comes out light and delicate, which provides a nice balance for the sauce’s creamy consistency. Most markets carry fresh pasta in the refrigerated section. If you can’t find it, you can used boxed linguine; just make sure it’s made with semolina flour.

1 large white onion, quartered
2 scallions, quartered
1 carrot, cut into four pieces
1 celery rib, cut into four pieces
3 slices prosciutto, chopped coarsely
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes in puree
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
¼ cup water
8 ounces fresh linguine
1 cup freshly cooked or frozen peas
1 cup low-fat milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for garnish
½ cup chopped fresh basil

In a food processor, combine onion and scallions, and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside in a bowl. Pulse the carrot, celery, and prosciutto until finely chopped. Add the onions to the bowl.

Heat a saucepan until hot. Pour in the olive oil and heat through for 30 seconds. Quickly add the chopped vegetables. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften and release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and reduce until the wine is almost evaporated and you can hear the vegetables start to sizzle. Add the chopped tomatoes, salt, sugar, and water. Mix well. Simmer on low heat, covered, with the lid slightly ajar, for 45 minutes.

Prepare 8 ounces of fresh linguine according to package directions. Five minutes before you are ready to drain the pastas, add the peas to the pasta water and cook with the pasta until the pasta is done.

Drain the pasta and peas and return them to the pot you boiled them in. Over medium heat, pour a couple of ladlefuls of sauce into the pasta and peas. Mix gently with tongs to coat the pasta. Add ½ cup of low-fat milk and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese, and mix. Add the remaining milk and cheese. Mix gently.

Pour into a warm serving bowl (or plate individually), add the remainder of the sauce on top, and spoon on any peas that have fallen to the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle with most cheese and fresh basil.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Red Prince Apple Gem Scones with Clotted Cream

Countdown to the Royal Wedding!
Are you feeling more British already? Me too.
This new generation of Royals is bringing energy and excitement back into the Monarchy.

On April 29th, 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton will wed 
at Westminster Abbey in London.

That's one week for us to get our English on! 

In honour of the impending nuptials, Red Prince Apple has offered up some lovely recipes to help get into the spirit.

We were fortunate enough to have sampled the delicious Apple Gem Scones - perfect for brunch and as a lunch box treat. Try them yourself this weekend!

Red Prince Apple Gem Scones with Clotted Cream

The Red Prince apples used in these scones make for a light and moist biscuit. Paired with clotted cream, a traditional English spread, these Red Prince Apple Gem Scones are the perfect treat to serve at a mid-day bridal shower or afternoon tea party.

2     Red Prince apples, cored and finely diced     2
2 tbsp     lemon juice     30 mL
2 tbsp     brown sugar     30 mL
1/4 tsp     cinnamon     1 mL
2 cups     all purpose flour     500 mL
2 tsp     baking powder     10 mL
1 cup     milk     250 mL
2 tbsp     apple cider vinegar     30 mL
1/2 cup     salted butter, frozen     125 mL
demerara sugar for sprinkling, optional    
clotted cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C).

In a medium-sized bowl, combine apples with lemon, sugar and cinnamon and let sit.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine milk and apple cider vinegar; let sit for a few minutes.

Grate frozen butter and add to flour mixture, stirring to combine.

Drain the Red Prince apples and mix into flour and butter to coat. Pour milk into dry ingredients mixing with a fork until just combined being careful not to overwork the dough.

Roll dough to 1-inch (2.5 cm) thickness and with a cookie cutter cut into 1 ½” (3.5 cm) rounds. Sprinkle with demerara sugar (if desired) and bake for 15 minutes or until bottoms are light golden brown.

Serve with clotted cream and good quality tea.

Makes 25 scones.

PER SERVING (1 scone):  79 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 53 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fibre, 1 g protein. % RDI: 1% calcium, 2% iron, 4% vitamin A, 2% vitamin C.


Friday, 22 April 2011

Thai Chicken Noodle not-so Soup

We love Thai flavours in our home. Love how they balance salt and sweet, hot and sour. And we love noodles. Really love them. Seriously.

So, with tons of stock and some chicken left over from a roast the night before, we decided to free-style a Thai chicken noodle soup recipe from Jamie Oliver for this week's Chicken and Egg theme at I ♥ Cooking Clubs.

Freestyle because the stock was already made. I heaped in the flavourings - a lot more heavy handed than Jamie - and cooked the noodles (I had Vietnamese vermicelli made with tapioca) right in the broth, and added some veggies for colour and a nod to healthy eating. (Specifically: frozen peas, julienned carrots, and sliced green onion on top)

And by the time I plated bowled the soup? The noodles had drunk up all the broth and we had Thai noodles, hold the soup, for dinner. Awesome. Actually, my husband is all for any soup that eats with a fork. And this soup noodle bowl is delicious as is.

I've left you Jamie's original recipe, in case you like your soup a little more... soupy. But feel free to have fun with it!

Thai Chicken Soup
Jamie Oliver,
Show: Oliver's Twist  Episode: Jamie's Soup Kitchen


    * 1 (4 pound/2 kilogram) free range or organic chicken
    * 7 ounces (200 grams) tamarind*, broken up
    * 1 piece ginger, sliced
    * 2 red chiles, seeds removed, 1 chopped and 1 finely sliced
    * 1 red onion, skin on, sliced
    * 2 sticks lemongrass, bashed, bruised and roughly chopped
    * 1 bulb garlic, cut in 1/2
    * 1 large bunch fresh coriander
    * 1 (400 ml) can coconut milk
    * 8 ounces (225 grams) rice noodles
    * Thai Fish Sauce *Found in Asian markets
    * Soy sauce
    * Drizzle olive oil

Place the chicken in a large heavy-based saucepan, and add the tamarind, ginger, chopped chiles, onion, lemongrass and garlic. Finely slice the coriander stalks and add to the pan, keeping the leaves until later.

Cover with water to the top and weight the chicken down with a heavy lid or a smaller pan that fits inside the cooking pan. Bring to the boil and slowly simmer for 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Once cooked, remove the chicken and pull off the meat using a fork.

Mash up the sauce and add the coconut milk and a lug of fish sauce. Put the rice noodles in a bowl, pour over boiling water and leave to stand for 3 minutes. Mix the coriander leaves with the finely sliced chile.

Drain the noodles, place some in the bottom of each serving bowl, and dress with soy sauce to season. Pile the chicken on top, then pour over the strained sauce. Pile the chile and coriander mix on top and drizzle with olive oil.