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.
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. 🙌
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.
Banoffee pie is an English dessert pie made from bananas, cream and toffee, combined either on a buttery biscuit base or one made from crumbled biscuits and butter.
In simple terms it is a pie that is freaking delicious!
1 and 1/2 cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheet graham crackers)
5 Tablespoons (72g) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1 and 1/4 cups dulce de leche**
2 large bananas, sliced
2 cups (480ml) cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar*
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
optional toppings: chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, or toffee bits for garnish
What is Dulce de Leche?
Dulce de leche is similar to caramel, but a little sweeter and creamier. It’s prepared by slowly heating sugar and milk until everything caramelizes. If we’re getting all scientific, I learned that a lot of the flavor comes from the Maillard reaction. Interesting! Dulce de lecheis Spanish for candy made/of milk. There are a few ways to prepare dulce de leche including:
The classic method of cooking down and constantly stirring milk and sugar
The shortcut method of cooking sweetened condensed milk
We’re using the shortcut method today, Both are delicious!
You need 1 can of sweetened condensed milk, a non stick frying pan, spatula and patience.
Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk into a non stick frying pan. Put heat on medium and stir with a spatula. You want the milk turn into a deep caramel colour that we will use for the banoffee pie. This whole process will take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Whatever you do don’t stop stiring it! You can also do it on medium low heat too. This is a marathon not a sprint.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
If you’re starting out with full-sheet graham crackers, you can use a food processor or blender to grind them up. Or crush them in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy. Press the mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Make sure it is tight and compact. Use the bottom of a flat measuring cup to press it down tightly. Bake the crust for 15-16 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes (and up to 2 days) before adding the layers. Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. (Next step.)
For the whipped cream: Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. Medium peaks are between soft/loose peaks and stiff peaks and are the perfect consistency for topping and piping on desserts.
Spread dulce de leche on top of the crust. Arrange banana slices in 1-2 layers on top of the dulce de leche, then spread whipped cream on top.
Refrigerate pie uncovered for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Garnish with toppings before serving, if desired.
Cover and store leftover pie in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It won’t last 5 days…. just sayin’.
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.
An easy vegetarian Indian vegetable korma recipe with tofu, cauliflower, peas, and warming spices.
This curry took me 45 mins to make. Will anyone else in the house eat it? Hello no.. but now I have 4 make-ahead meals I can devour. It’s a win for Me!
I feel like roasting the cauliflower gives it a better taste and adds body to the dish, so I highly recommend. I also tossed the tofu in cornstarch and salt after I pressed it to (google how to do this) add a bit of bite it to, but that is optional. I am a texture wh@re when it comes to food. I need crunch and a toothy feel, if everything is soft I am out!
Carrots and cream (or coconut milk) add body to the korma curry base, while puréed tomatoes and lemon add the punch you need for balance.
Serves 4 or 2 if you are REALLY HUNGRY
2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil or unsalted butter
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala and cinnamon and garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup roughly chopped carrots run through a food processor
1 onion, peeled and put in a food processor
3 cloves garlic, and again put in the FP
1 (28 oz) can pureed plum tomatoes
1/2 – 3/4 cup of heavy cream or canned coconut milk (add the entire can for a looser, soupier korma base, if desired)
Add a handful of frozen peas
1 (350g/12 oz) pkg extra firm tofu, (pressed if you have time) cut into 1/2-inch cubes as tossed with some corn starch and a generous pinch of salt
1 small cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (extra spices needed for this part see instructions)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint or cilantro, and toasted almonds and or cashews to serve (optional)
Cooked brown rice or basmati rice, hot, to serve (optional) or naan
1 Turn oven on to 425 and get ready to prep the cauliflower for roasting. Lay the florets in a baking sheet on parchment paper and spread them out. If they are too close put them on two different trays you do not want the cauliflower to steam you wanted to roast. Drizzle with oil, 1-2 pinches of salt, 2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Toss and into the oven it goes for 15-18 mins. Cooking is fun not an exact science if you are missing the turmeric no big deal it will still be delish. You want to roast the cauliflower so you will get the all the little dark tasty spots .. that is okay. You want it to have personality not be mushy. Mushy is BAD.
2 While the cauliflower is in the oven…In a large pot, heat oil or butter over medium heat; add spices, salt, and everything in food processor. Sauté for 10 minutes, until onions are translucent.
3 Add tomatoes and cream or coconut milk, bring to a simmer, reduce to medium, cover, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until vegetables are very tender.
4 In a frying pan toss the cut up tofu in 1-2 tablespoons of oil and get it crispy.
5 Then it’s magic time. Add everything into the sauce. The roasted cauliflower, the crispy tofu, hand full of peas and lemon juice. Toss gently and keep on low heat for 5-10 mins. Here is the trick. TASTE IT. Is it missing heat? I added 2 chili’s because I LOVE it spicy, missing sweetness? I added 1 tbls of honey to it, not enough salt? Add some, add more curry powder if you need it…it’s your dish adjust how you like it! Make this 24 hrs in advance so the flavours develop even more.
6 Top with nuts and fresh herbs (optional)
7 Serve hot with brown rice, basmati rice, or quinoa or naan or nothing!
They are the curled flower from the top of a garlic plant, are abundant at farmers markets (I just picked up a bundle at the https://carpfarmersmarket.ca/Carp Farmers Market). Available in the spring/early summer they make an easy, fragrant pesto that can be spread on bread or crackers, mixed with ricotta, put on pasta, used with fish, and as a substitute for garlic, onion, or scallions!
You can also slice them on the diagonal and sauté them with other vegetables as a side dish. They are wildly delicious.
Here is how I made my Garlic Scape Pesto that I will mix with ricotta for dinner one night and top sliced steak the next. Ready in less than 3 minutes 🙌
2 cups garlic scapes cut into pieces
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
4 green onions
1/2 lemon (juice and zest)
2 inch chunk of real Parmegiano Reggiano
Toss it all into your food processor and in 40 secs viola you have pesto!
What exactly are leftovers? Leftovers are the uneaten remains of a hot or cold meal after the meal is over and everyone has finished eating.
As a kid what did that mean? It meant a gross dinner was around the corner. 😬 My mom was an excellent cook but even leftover night was a food bust.
Today is Labour Day in Canada or (Holiday Monday) and all the stores are closed. So dinnertime rolled around and I had no idea what to make. So I opened my fridge and grab a ton of leftovers and made a wicked dinner.
Here is what I used:
2 cups cooked penne pasta
1 bunch of asparagus which I cooked in garlic and oil
1 clove garlic
1 smoked Serrano chili ( or a chipotle if that is what you have )
2 cobs of corn – kernels cut off
3 BBQed Italian sausages sliced
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chicken stock
Splash of whisky
Salt and pepper
What did I do?
Melt a bit of butter in a pan, add onion and asparagus after a few minutes add garlic and corn. After 1 minutes add chili, sausage and pasta. After 2 minutes add splash of whisky and stock and cream. Simmer 3 minutes and viola. Season with salt and pepper and top with Parmesan.