The holidays are busy, prior to this pandemic I would be entertaining hand over fist. Sure entertaining has slowed down, but you should always have elegant, quick and easy appetizers in your kitchen repertoire. Here is one that looks elegant but start to finish takes 15 minutes.
12 slices of prosciutto but you can use Serrano ham too
1 ball of cranberry and pepper Boursin
24 pecan halves (toasted in a fry pan)
1 cup of arugula
1/2 cup of balsamic (I used a white cranberry balsamic) put it in a pan and reduce it until it turns into a thick syrup- takes about 5 to 8 minutes on low. – you should have 2 tablespoons once it is reduced
2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
Now it’s time to put it together. Lay the slices of prosciutto out on a cutting board. Section the Boursin into 12 each portions ~ 3/4 tbls. Put the cheese on one end, top with 2 pecans and a generous pinch of arugula. Roll them up and slice in half. Then drizzle the top with the reduced balsamic glaze and a few dried cranberries.
Mixing up the usual … these are gloriously delish 🤤
The slight crunch of the cornmeal make a perfect backdrop for blueberries, which burst as they bake, creating pockets of juice that keep the muffins tender. Serve warm with a pat of butter 💥
Ingredients: 3/4 cup milk 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal 3/4 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 2 large eggs 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 stick or 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
Set oven to 350, 325 for convection bake.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Place the blueberries in a small bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon of the flour mixture. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Stir until just blended; and then stir in the blueberries. Do not overmix. The batter comes together in about 5 minutes.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup very full and please use liners as the blueberries will make everything very sticky. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are set and golden around the edges. Cool the muffins for a few minutes in the pan, then serve warm with butter or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
I was watching a TV show called Nadia Bakes on Netflix this weekend and in one of the episodes she spotlighted a baker named Richard Bertinet. He was born in France but has lived in the UK for more than 30 years now and he is the godfather of breads. I watched his segment and rewatched it 5 times. I was inspired to try them. These are an adaptation of his famous cinnamon buns.
Braided sticky cinnamon buns
These are sweet, sticky and oh-soo delicious little cinnamon buns twisted in beautiful knots. Perfect to enjoy with your favourite cup of tea or coffee.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Proving Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Servings 12 buns
You need a scale to make these!
For the dough:
250 ml milk any type
60 g salted butter cubed
500 g AP flour
15 g fast-action dried yeast
100 g granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 large egg
For the filling:
150 g salted butter softened
200 g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Place the milk in a small saucepan and heat it up until it is lukewarm. Add cubed butter to the lukewarm milk, swirling the saucepan every now and then to encourage the butter to melt. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a hook attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add milk and butter mixture followed by the egg. Mix on low speed until dough comes together, about couple of minutes, then increase the speed to medium and and mix for 8-10 minutes until you have a smooth and elastic dough that no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and using your hands, roll it into a ball. Place it in a clean, large bowl, lightly greased with some oil. Cover the bowl with clingfilm or reusable kitchen wrap (clean shower cup works great here!) and leave somewhere warm for an hour or until it doubled in size (depending on the temperature in your kitchen, this may take more, or less than 1 hour).
In a meantime, prepare the filling. Place softened butter and brown sugar in a bowl of a freestanding mixer and beat together on medium speed until pale, fluffy and well combined. Reduce speed to low and add ground cinnamon. Mix until combined and set aside.
Remove the dough from the bowl into a lightly floured surface. Gently knock out the air from it, then stretch it into rough rectangle shape. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into larger rectangle, roughly about 15 by 19 inches with the longer edge facing you.
Spread the filling over ⅔ of the top of the dough, leaving ⅓ of the dough clean. Fold the clean part of the rectangle towards the middle, then fold the other end of the dough on top of that. Use a rolling pin, roll it over the rectangle to flatten it out and stretch a bit.
Using a sharp knife trim off the edges of the rectangle. Divide the rectangle into 12 equal pieces, widthways, each strip roughly about 1.5 ish inches across. Next, use a knife or pizza cutter to cut twice down the length of each strip to make three strands. Braid the three strands together, then roll it up along its length to create a knot. Repeat with remaining strips.
Lightly grease 12-hole muffin tin, then transfer the knots into it. Cover and allow to prove for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until they have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 or 325 for convection bake and bake in the middle shelf of the oven for roughly 18 minutes or until golden brown.
Don’t worry if some of the filling has leaked. Mine did. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool only for a minute or so, then transfer the buns onto a cooling rack. Do not leave them to cool in the tin, as it will be hard to remove them later. Enjoy them while still a bit warm!
Chloe ate hers in under 2 minutes and Holly and Joel thought they were delish.
Do not go overboard with the filling! Thin, but even layer is what you are aiming for.
Don’t worry if some of the filling comes out and spill from the sides while the buns bake. This is normal.
Once baked, allow the buns to cool in the tin for only a minute or so. Transfer them to cooling rack while they are still hot, before the leaked sugar and butter sets and becomes hard.
HOLY THESE ARE DELISH!!! They are the perfect blend between a very sticky bun and a cinnamon bun.
This homemade version of vanilla bean scones is so easy to make. Great for kids and quick snacks.
Prep Time 30 minutes – Cook Time 16 minutes
Makes 16 mini scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated white sugar or vanilla bean sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, grated into pieces
1/2 to 2/3 cup cold heavy whipping cream (depends on the moisture in your flour and house)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (I swear by this stuff!)
1½ tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (I did 350 degrees for convection bake) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add the grated butter and rub butter and flour together with your hands. Continue until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Then mix in the cream and the vanilla extract.
When the dough has gathered itself into a ball and divide the dough into 2 equal portions. I had to add more cream to make this happen… keep that in mind. Flatten each portion of dough into a disc shape, about 1 1/2-inches thick. Score each disc into 8 triangles with a knife, and pull the triangles slightly away from one another (allowing about 1/2-inch in between).
Brush with cream on top and bake the scones for 16 to 20 minutes, until set in the centers and slightly golden on the bottoms.
ADD THE GLAZE:
In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and milk together until smooth. Spread a small amount of glaze on top of each scone.
These are delish, you can’t eat just one. The recipe makes 16 mini scones, 2 hours after baking I have 8 left. They got a 12/10 for taste. 🙌
These are a staple in our house! The kids eat them for snacks after school, on the way to the gym, Joel grabs them for a snack. I make a batch weekly and they are always eaten. If you have 10 minutes you can whip up a batch.
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup milled flax seed
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup chocolate chips (I use mini)…save for the end
1 1/2 cups nut butter (I usually use 1/2 almond and 1/2 peanut butter)
1 tsp pure vanilla
1 tbls coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt (this is key!)
Place wet mix in microwave for ~45 seconds until melted- stir and add into dry mix. Once mixed add in 1 cup chocolate chips and roll into balls.
Makes 32 keep in fridge and enjoy! These are delish!
This meal is start to finish on the table in 30 minutes!
Who doesn’t like Taco Night? I know tacos are always a dinner favourite in this house, so I think you’re really going to love this Mexican-inspired dish. Flautas are rolled-up tortillas (hence the name, which means ‘flute’ in Spanish) that are baked or fried to golden perfection. I filled my flour tortillas with spiced black beans, ground chicken, poblano peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro. Served on the side is a homemade salsa and spicy crema! Buen Provecho!
Here is what you need!
1 Onion – minced very finely
1 Bunch of cilantro – dice up stems finely and reserve leaves
2 cloves of garlic – minced or rasped
1 Lime sliced in half
2 Tomatoes diced
1 Poblano pepper seeded and diced
1 can / 540ml Black beans
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream thinned out with 1 Tbls of water
1 cup Monterey Jack shredded
8 flour tortillas (medium sized)
1 pkg of Old El Paso chicken taco seasoning OR do what I do and just toss a bunch of seasonings into the mix like garlic, salt, cumin, oregano, onion, paprika, dried ancho, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, chili, Cayenne pepper etc…
Preheat your oven to 450 or 425 if using convection bake. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drizzle with some oil (this will make the flautas crunchy, I used garlic oil)
1. In a medium fry pan add 1 tsp of oil and then the ground chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add in 1 garlic clove minced and 1/2 of the onion cook until translucent and season with S&P.
2. In a separate bowl add drained and rinsed black beans, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 of the onion, cilantro stems, cheese, 3/4 of the diced poblano pepper and seasoning mix. Once cooked chicken is cool enough to touch add it to this mixture and mush together with your hands. My favourite part! 😉 Taste and check for seasonings… make this your own. Add more garlic or salt, cumin, chili powder anything! This is your dinner… a recipe is just a guideline remember!
3. Now it’s flauta time! Lay out of the eight tortillas on your counter divide the chicken and black bean mixture evenly on the eight tortillas. I put the mixture about a third of the way down onto the tortilla and then I rolled them up like giant cigars. Once rolled up put them on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper brush the tops with oil this will make them crispy and pop these bad boys into your preheated oven for 15 minutes.
4. Now that these flautas are in the oven getting bubbly and crispy now it’s time to make your sides, so take your diced tomato, the rest of the onion the rest of the poblano and put it in a bowl season with salt and pepper and squeeze in half of the lime. Add in cilantro leaves and voila salsa done. The Crema is just as easy. Either use Mexican crema or take your sour cream put it in a bowl add a tablespoon of water use the rest of the lime juice from the other half of the lime and add a squeeze of Sriracha. Done.
5. Pour a glass of wine, or make a margarita and relish in the fact that your dinner is almost ready.
6. Take the flautas out of the oven and slice in half… they will be crispy on the outside and melty and delicious on the inside 🤤 serve with your homemade salsa, crema and I served mine with a side salad.
I have always dreamed of having a backyard with a huge stone pizza oven. But I’m afraid it’s going to be baby steps for me to get to my dream, so I started my journey on Mother’s Day when I treated myself to an Ooni Koda gas pizza oven from Capital BBQ.
This pizza oven has changed my life. It is portable, meaning I can pack it up and bring it to a friends house for dinner. It weighs 12 pounds, the design is sleek, I can store it in the off-season in my kitchen. It is powered by a propane tank and it only takes 15 minutes for it to come up to 930° and it cooks delicious Neapolitan style pizzas in 60 seconds.
The high temperatures help pizza dough quickly transform to a perfectly chewy-but-crispy crust, all while drawing any excess moisture out of any sauce, cheeses & toppings you have on your pizza. The result? Crispy crust, with no sogginess. A pizza lover’s dream!
I do have a couple of tips I have learned in the 5 times I have used my pizza oven.
Use only quality ingredients – I make my own dough and sauce and boy does it make a difference!
Use a wood pizza peel to put the pizza in the oven and the metal one to pull it out
Do not multi task when you are making the pizzas, they take 60 seconds and every 20 seconds you turn the pie in the oven
The less toppings the better. Since this cooks quickly you need you keep the toppings light
Try new things! I created a Flammkuchen style pizza that is the 💣
It is not just for pizza! With a cast iron pan you can look steaks and chicken in it too!
The cost. My Ooni koda cost me 499$ CDN plus tax. I would say it was the best money I ever spent.
This rich and buttery pound cake is simple to make but so elegant to eat while wearing jammies and watching “90 day Fiancé” or “My 600 Pound Life.”
Number of Servings: 1, perhaps 8, or even 12 depending how one is feeling that day 😉 This blog is a judgement free zone.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes of drooling in front of the oven
3 tablespoons milk (skim, low fat, or whole)
3 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste or a vanilla bean
1-1/3 cups cake flour … but seriously any flour you can find during this pandemic (I used AP), spooned into a measuring cup and leveled with a straight edge aka knife.
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons salted butter, softened (no need to cut it in pieces) 16 tbls is a cup so y’all need to do some math or buy the butter in the sticks. Yes Salted … to be honest I only bake with salted butter. I remember saying it to my French instructor at Le Cordon Bleu and he almost fainted 👀 I’m too old to care anymore.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly grease an 8-in x 4-in x 2½-inch loaf pan with butter like you are in an episode of Mad Men. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess. (Alternatively, use a nonstick cooking spray with flour in it, since we are 6 weeks into a pandemic the 1950s way suited me just fine.)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until just combined.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine. Do not over-mix. (The batter may have a slightly curdled or grainy appearance — that’s okay.)
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store in a large sealable plastic bag.
The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days (it will never last the long) at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.
I don’t know about you but I love a good cheese ball as part of a charcuterie board. I know it sounds bit retro but I don’t care.
They are creamy, and tasty and SO easy to make. You can whip this up in 10 minutes. I prefer letting it set overnight so the flavours come together but I have also been known to eat this straight out of the bowl… this is a judgement free zone 😉
Here is what you need:
1cupwhite sharp cheddar cheeseshredded / of old white cheddar
1cupdried cranberrieschopped and divided
1cuppecanschopped and toasted
1/4cupchives or green onionschopped (Iprefer chives)
½tsp garlic powder
½tsp of seasoning salt
To Toast Pecans: Pre-heat oven to 375F. Place chopped pecans on a baking tray and bake for 5 minutes or until aromatic. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, ½ toasted pecans, ½ cup dried cranberries, chive or green onion, seasoning salt and garlic powder until well combined.
Place mixture in the center of a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and cover completely with wrap while forming it into a ball shape. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
Just before serving, combine remaining ½ cup pecans, ½ dried cranberries, and 2 tablespoon chives on a flat surface or cutting board. Unwrap the ball and roll in cranberry-pecan mixture.
Continuing my pandemic weigh gain I deciding to dabble in bagel making. They are crazy easy to make and even easier to eat. Make these today!
NEW YORK-STYLE BAGEL RECIPE Makes: 8 medium-sized bagels Total Time: ~2 hours
Optional Toppings: Everything seasoning, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds. (Everyone in my house prefers plain bagels, so I went with 3 Everything and 5 plain) 😉
Preparation:1. In ½ cup /120ml of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water.
Ingredients: 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 ½ tablespoons (4 ½ teaspoons) granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups / 300ml warm water 3 ½ cups (500g) bread flour or AP flour what I used (you will need extra for kneading) 1 ½ teaspoons salt
2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture.
3. Pour 1/2 cup / 90ml of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup/60ml of water. You want a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it. I had to use all the water.
4. On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough.
5. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
6. Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (I did not have a scale so I made a ball and cut it in half and half again and again until I had 8 pieces). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
7. Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough.
8. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet or granite or wooden board, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF.
9. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute.
10. If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water. I didn’t brush them with egg wash I just sprinkled on and voila!
11. Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet or in my case I oiled the parchment paper on my baking sheet.
12. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. I rotated the pan 1/2 way through.
13. Cool on a wire rack… or if you are my kids tear one open slather it with butter orschmear it with cheese cream and devour it.