Sunday, November 13, 2011

Southern Flavours

I bought some green tomatoes yesterday for a green salsa recipe I picked up on line, but forgot to pick up the cilantro, lime and avocado. I have enough green tomatoes to experiment, so came up with this for brunch. 

- Dice one green tomato and mix in flour with some sort of a southern rub: cajun, southwestern, zydeco, etc. I used a custom zydeco rub from Galloways in New Westminster, BC.
- Fry the tomatoes in a pan with garlic, a crushed chipotle pepper and oil. 
- Cook hominy in a separate pan and mix with the tomatoes when browned.
- Cook two eggs and serve on top.

Not something to eat everyday or even every week, but once and a while... :D

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time to Meet Your Maki

One of the things I have always wanted to learn how to make is sushi. I have tried, but my rice never turns out and the rolls were uneven. Mind you I didn't have a proper mat either. None of this, however, stops me from coming up with ideas. Two rolls I would love to try and make are as follows:

The Fraser Valley Roll: Grilled trout of some sort (there are several species in the Lower Mainland) with shiitake mushroom, a tart cranberry paste and black sesame seeds inside. I picture this having the nori on the outside.

The Little Italy Roll: Salmon with prosciutto and mascarpone. It would be dipped in a tomato sauce. I see it being uramaki, that is non-traditional rolls with the rice on the outside.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

At Charlotte's request!!

These are one of my favourite muffins, adapted from my Mum's favourite muffin recipe that I've healthified a bit (swapped out 1/2c melted butter for 1/4c oil and 1/4c pumpkin). It's versatile: I've found you can swap out the pumpkin for banana and they're good too. You can add pumpkin seeds, diced apple or chocolate chips to these and it's all good, or add 1/2c applesauce instead of the pumpkin and then add peaches or diced apples with 1t of cinnamon for peach or apple oat muffins. Toss in chunks of cream cheese...add some grated carrots and raisins...or cut out the oats and add bran buds instead...OR (my husband's fave) cut the oats and add 1/2 c cornmeal and then add 1 c raspberries or blueberries...oh yes! (Note -If you cut out the oatmeal, also cut out 1/4 c milk). This recipe can be made awesome in every possible way - there a number of my muffin variations posted on this blog :)
One comment tho - don't bother to healthify them too much by cutting out all the oil and using applesauce or sour cream - I found that they aren't too dry but they just don't have that MMMMM...and then they MUST be eaten the day they're made or the texture goes all wierd and they don't keep...But enough of my babble. Here be the recipe:

In a large bowl mix:
1 1/4c milk (or buttermilk) & 1/2 c oatmeal: Place oatmeal and add 1/2 c of the milk to let the oats soak for a minute or two, then add the rest of the milk.

Stir in the rest and mix well:
3/4 c pureed pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 c oil
1 t pumpkin pie spice (heaping)
1 t vanilla
2/3c brown sugar (or swap out with 1/2 c maple syrup - I'm too cheap to do it often...! )
1 T Molasses (optional - I like)

In another bowl mix:
2 c flour
1 heaping T baking powder
1/2 t salt

Add dry to wet mixture and mix until JUST mixed - don't over mix or they'll be megachewy. Bake with muffin papers at 375 for about 20 minutes. Check doneness with a toothpick and try not to overbake.

Enjoy :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pumpkin scones, yo!

Made them.
They rock.
GO here to learn more - I am too lazy to repost...

Who named a pumpkin anyways? I'd like to know where it came from...

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Made falafel from here

After mourning my lack of tzatziki - I made homemade tzatziki from here.

Put both in a pita with a made in my head quinoa sort of tabbouleh salad and a few veg...

Yummy evening really :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Here's a delicious thing...have leftover chili? Put it on a pizza crust with extra oregano garlic and pepper, add a few chopped tomatoes and some cheese and bake that puppy up.

Deeeeeelicious leftovers :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

I pity the fool who takes my tea

funny food photos - I Pity the Meal
I want this :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011


There is a dish I am particularly fond of from various areas across Northern Europe which is just simply cabbage or kale mixed in with mashed potatoes and an onion. My Mum made it as "Bubble and Squeak" and the old Irish Heather in Vancouver served it up as Colcannon. Similar dishes have names like "rumbledethumps", pyttipanna, biksemad, champ, hash, stoemp and stamppot. All are variations on the same thing, including or excluding certain vegetables with potato as the core.

The Dutch variation is stamppot but most Dutch people I knew back home simply referred to it as boercole, their name for kale. Kale is exceptionally good for us and I love it, so I made boercole for dinner. Kale is very tough and typically harvested after the first frost, making it sweeter and more edible. I stick my kale in the freezer for at least 15 minutes (sometimes I just leave it in there) before taking it out and chopping it up, stripping it away from the thicker stalks. I use quite a bit of it and boil it in a pot. You may be able to find chopped kale in a tin or dried kale as well.
The Dutch use a smoked sausage called rookworst, but I can't find that here so I double smoked farmer sausage which tastes close enough. Slice up the sausage and cook it with the kale. If you are worried about the fat content, cook it separately, strain it and add it in latter. Make your mashed potatoes (sometimes they can be cooked in with the kale as well) how you like. My Dad barely adds butter, preferring his course, chunky and dry. (he enjoys suffering for some reason) I use milk and butter/margarine and add onion into the mix. Once the potatoes are ready, I add in my strained kale and sausage and eat.
The Dutch sometimes make a gravy for stamppot and Germans will make a white sauce with onion. I like the white sauce, but it is too much fat. I also added in wild mushrooms for my dish. Another variation I made for my Dad was to take his left over ham and cabbage and mix it into potatoes.
Anyhow, if it is still cold where you are try this dish. It makes for a good winter dish, warming, filling and nutritious.

Baked almond chicken fingers

My favourite way to make chicken is to sort of "schnitzelify" it, with my own twist...I cut a chicken breast into thin finger strips, dip in flour, egg wash and then a crunchy mix of roughly equal amounts of coarsely ground up roast salted almonds (done in food processor)and Panko flakes, with some spice added (pepper, cumin, Mrs.Dash, oregano). I used to fry them in a pan in about a cm of oil to golden brown, but I haven't made them in a while as they really aren't the healthiest. They are incredibly amazing tho - the almonds and Panko make for crunchy tasty chicken. So good.
Last night I had an idea - bake them.
So I prepped them the same as usual and then put them on a non-stick cookie sheet in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or so until the chicken was cooked and the coating started to brown up. They were amazing! Incredibly tasty and crunchy but not greasy. Score.

To go with them I served one of my favourite sides: I cooked up a spaghetti squash in the microwave and sauteed some garlic, green onion and red pepper (~1/8 c each) with some oregano and pepper in some olive oil. I took the cooked spaghetti squash and added the sauteed veggies with it, with just enough flavoury oil and herbs to sort of break up the spaghetti squash, tossing it up together and coating it a bit for flavour.
That with the chicken?
Divine :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pirate Bakery: Oat Spice Coconut Muffins

I've been diddling about a bit in search of a good oat spice muffin. I've come up with these. They're not overly spicy - you could add more if you like a lot of spice. I think they're delish...and full of healthy goodness.

In small bowl mix:
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 +1/3 c white flour
1 t b. powder
1 t b. soda
pinch salt

In another large bowl mix:
1 c sour milk (add 1 T vinegar to 1% milk, stir and let sit 5 minutes)
2 eggs
1/3 c unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 T oil
1/4 c shredded coconut (plus a bit more to sprinkle on top if you want them to look pretty)
1/2 t vanilla
1 heaping t pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 t cinnamon + 1/2 t ginger)
1/4 c sliced almonds
1 c oatmeal

Mix together wet until there is no lumps and stir in oats. Sift in dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. If you like sprinkle a bit of cinnamon and coconut on top of them.(ooh. pretty...)
Bake in a well greased muffin pan (or use papers) for 15-18 minutes at 400 until a toothpick comes out clean or the tops bounce back when you tap them. Don't overbake. They come out to ~145 calories each and I love them.

Healthy and could add fruit to them too. That's my next batch...I'm thinking peaches. Yum...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lasagna of Paradise!

Well, Geo may disagree, as she is the only one who has tried my lasagna, but I like themes. I have had a craving for lasagna for a while. But not just any lasagna, the lasagna Luigi served at The Mocha on Commercial Drive when I was a kid. Luigi was from Calabria and he had said that the Calabrese in his region used sliced hard boiled eggs. I see online that some people mix the eggs in with their ricotta, but did it Luigi's way. I was also lacking a pan, but then Geo gave me a Corning wear dish exactly like the one that went missing on me a few years ago. I had also bought ricotta that was more like the mascarpone I bought in texture than the slightly courser variety I am used to.

1. I sauteed onions and fennel seed in olive oil, unto the onions became translucent. I added garlic, oregano and black pepper before adding the ground beef. As that browned I added shredded basil and spinach.

2. Once the beef was finishing up, I cooked the noodles until they were very al dente. Basically, I the were too long and I needed to fold or cut the noodles to make them fit.

3. I laid down the first layer of noodles and then a layer of ricotta, a layer of beef and a layer of sauce - which was just from a can of crushed tomatoes. (I was a bit lazy that day) I laid more noodles over top and then a layer of mascarpone, beef, sauce, six sliced hardboiled eggs and topped it with mozzarella. I added the last layer of noodles, beef, sauce and mozzarella with dabs of ricotta on top.

4. I cooked at 325 until it was boiling through the top, removed the lid and set the oven to broil in order to brown the cheese.

Personally, I think it turned out well.

Chili of the gods

A few nights ago I threw together a pan of chili in a hurry that ended up as fantastic. I wanted to write it down before I forgot so I can make it again.

Start off with:
~1/2 Lb lean ground pork
1 small onion diced
1/4 red pepper diced
1 can mushrooms with the juice
1 stalk celery diced up fine
1T minced garlic
1 t oregano
1/2 t red pepper flakes
2-3T chili powder (to taste...I used at least 3 -I'm just guessing here)
~3/4 t cinnamon
1 veg bullion cube

Brown up the meat in a splash of olive oil and toss in the veg for a few minutes to saute. Add spices and stir a minute more and then add:
~1 c red wine (I used a cheap merlot) and continue to stir until liquid is nearly gone and veg are clear. At this point, stir in and 1 large T of molasses and ~1 t of good mustard powder (you could probably add a squirt of fresh stuff). Simmer a minute. Then add:

1 small can spicy pizza sauce
1 large can diced tomatoes with chili peppers
1/2 c salsa

Let simmer ~ 5 min to incorporate flavours. Adjust chili powder and add a bit more garlic or pepper if desired. Right before you eat, stir in:
large can black beans, drained and rinsed
large can chic peas, drained rinsed

Cook to warm through and serve with soft buns or some rice. It was enough for a few days of yummy bowls of chili. Chock full of good stuff :)

Monday, February 28, 2011


This is a Mexican pork and hominy soup or stew that I made around 6 years ago by accident. I was going to make a pork and bean soup and ended up making something close to pozole according to my Dad. It is one of his favourite things to have when he goes to Mexico - but I have never been to Mexico, nor have I seen it at any Mexican restaurant up here, Serendipity I guess?

The soup/stew has its origins in the old Aztec empire. It was ceremonial dish to be consumed after the ritual human sacrifice. Suffice it to say, that before being conquered and subjugated by the Spanish the Aztecs weren't using pork as their ceremonial meat of choice. *cough*
I don't have cannibalistic tendencies so I stuck to pork. I made a stock of parsley, cilantro (key, very key) onion, garlic, some chopped habanero chili and a whole chipotle pepper. After browning the pork hocks I added them in along with some white beans I had soaked over night. As the soup cooked I added the hominy and then when it finished off I added the squeezed lime and let it sit. I had intended to top it with some shredded iceberg lettuce in addition to some more cilantro, but I forgot the lettuce. I see from one pic that they used avocado to top it off, fitting actually.
Geo hates cilantro, but if you don't try it yourself.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Falafel Queen?

I have been craving falafel for a long time. I've never made it myself before, but have had it in restaurants the odd time, with salads or in a pita. I love it...the coriander, cumin and crunch to the chic peas? Mmmm. It is a perfectly yummy vegetarian food that I've never felt was trying to be something fake meatyish. Just it's own middle eastern yumminess.
I decided that tonight, since I got home at a normal human hour, I would attempt falafel myself for supper. I found a recipe a while back that mentioned baking falafel instead of deep frying them in oil and I hunted it up. Healthy AND yummy? I was in. Thankfully J will try anything I make once as long as there's no seafood involved, so I decided to have it in some pitas with tzatziki, diced tomato and cucumber, lettuce, and some feta.
I picked up some fresh parsley on the way home, and altho there were no pitas to be had, I found some good flat bread wraps that would work. I gathered the following and modifies things a bit to my taste to get the following recipe:

-1/4 c finely chopped onion
- a 540 mL can of chic peas, rinsed and drained
-1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
- 4 small cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1 generous t ground cumin
-1/4 t ground ground coriander (I ground up some seeds in my mortar and pestle. Smells. SO. good.)
-1/4 t salt
-1/4 t baking soda
- 1 rounded T flour (I would have used 2 T of bread crumbs too but hadn't any...sigh)
-1 egg, beaten
-pepper to taste (~8 grinds of the pepper mill)
(you could add some fresh cilantro too - I've seen it in some recipes -but I hate the none here. No soapy supper for me...)

~2 t olive oil, for frying
-1/2 a lemon of some lemon juice (optional) for flavour at the end

Turn on the oven to 400.
I sauteed the garlic and onion for a few minutes until they softened a bit. Then I put the drained chic peas in a bowl and mashed them with my hand mixer. You could use a food processor at this point, if you're not so into texture. The hand mixing left the odd bit of parsley and onion texture - I like it that way. Then I added the the rest of the ingredients and, because I wasn't using the food processor, I just mixed it up well with my hands. Then I formed the mush into 8 small patties (I'm too uncoordinated to try and deal with little balls of falafel) about 2 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch think and let them sit for 15 minutes - this helps keep them from falling apart.

After this I fried them about 4 minutes a side on medium heat in a bit of olive oil to brown and crisp them up on the outside. Then I transferred them to a cookie sheet and baked them another 12 minutes (6 minutes a side) in the oven to cook them through and crisp them up a bit. When I took them out I lightly drizzled them with bit of lemon juice and then we served them up warm, broken up into a few pieces wrapped up in the flat bread with some tzatziki, diced tomato and cucumber, lettuce, feta and a drop or two of greek dressing and a bit more pepper.

These were delicious. They didn't have the breadcrumby crunch I'm used to, but I think it could be remedied by adding a bit of breadcrumbs to the mix. They aren't deep fried so they aren't quite as crunchy, but the outsides were nice and brown and crispy and the flavour of them was AMAZING! Better than a lot I've had before. The recipe I modified says this should serve 2, but since we had lots with them, there are some leftovers for my lunch salad tomorrow.
If you swap out of the egg for a vegan friendly binding agent these would be a tasty vegan entre.

I must say: give falafel a try - they are bits of crispy, healthy vegetarian goodness. DEFINITELY in our regular meal rotation!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Curried Goat Stew

At the time of this posting, this is a work in progress. I have never had goat before, but given how much my father hates it would seem to be worth trying. I asked some Kenyan and Somali people at work what they would suggest for making a goat stew and took their advice to heart. Yesterday, I browned some goat meat in a pan with curry powder, black pepper, shallot and garlic. This morning I placed that meat in my slow cooker with water, onion, cabbage, carrots, beans and barley. The seasoning in the stew included a bay leaf, more curry powder, cumin, black and green cardamom, star anise, three cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. One half hour ago, I added a variety of mushrooms, a Hungarian pepper, and some butternut squash I cut up and browned in a pan.

Smells great, though I have no idea how any of this will taste. I am hoping it will have thickened up enough before I head to bed, but I may just let this stew until tomorrow morning.

- Magnus

Addendum: After writing this I was not that happy with the flavour of the stew. The Hungarian peppers added nothing to the flavour and the stew was lacking that certain something, it needed another dimension. More black pepper was my initial idea and I fought my temptation to add habanero. I ended up adding some cooking chocolate (60% cocoa) that my Mum sent home with me at Christmas time. I would say chocolate/cocoa added the dimension I was looking, without making the stew overly sweet. Still think it could have used some heat though.
I sent some home with Geo in a butternut squash "bowl" to try.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

MMMMMmmmmm...I love pancakes. Any and all pancakes.
I made these on sunday as my last hurrah of pancakes for the holidays. I was looking for something different and came across these. I've never made them before, but they are indeed now my new favourite pancake. Given that I have over 20 pancake recipes that is saying something...they even trump blueberry buttermilk cornmeal pancakes. I *know*. I thought that could not happen.

They are heavenly. You MUST try them. This makes enough pancakes for 2 ravenous people...or 4 normal if you toss in some bacon and show any kind of restraint. As for us, the gluttons that we are, there was not a crumb left after...

3/4 c milk
1 T vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 egg
2 T butter, melted
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c all-purpose flour
2 T white sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
~1 t poppy seeds (I added a bit more as I like them)
1 t lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon)

Stir the milk, vinegar, and lemon juice together in a small bowl and let stand 10 minutes to curdle. Then whisk an egg and add in the egg, butter, lemon zest and vanilla. In a separate larger bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds. Pour the wet into the dry and whisk a few times until the batter is free of lumps. Don't overmix. The batter will be nice and thick.
Bring the pan to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 c of batter per pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, and flip to brown the other side. Serve with syrup.