Canadian Maple Cookies

Celebrate Canada 150 with this simple yet yummy maple-rich cookie recipe. Your house will smell wonderful while baking these cookies.

  • 1cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1egg
  • 1cup real maple syrup
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease several cookie sheets.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar; add egg, maple syrup and vanilla, mixing until well blended.
  4. Sift or whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; add this mixture to creamed mixture and stir until well blended.
  5. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.
  6. Place balls on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes; remove and let cool on a wire rack.


Banana Bread

 
One of our all time favourite recipes – Banana Bread – perfect comfort food best accompanied with a big cup of tea.
 
225g (8oz) plain flour
1 teasp. salt
1 heaped teasp. baking powder
1 teasp. ground cinnamon
110g (4oz) caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
75g (3oz) butter, melted
a few drops of vanilla essence
65g (2½ oz) pecan nuts, chopped
4 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed
Makes 1 loaf
 
Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and stir in the sugar. Mix in the egg, butter and vanilla essence, but do not beat. Fold in the pecans and mashed bananas, using a fork. Again do not beat. Spoon into a lined 9x20cm (3½ inch x 8 inch) loaf tin and bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for 50-60 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and springs back when prodded gently with your finger. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.


Linguine With Roasted Butternut Squash & Crispy Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian streaky bacon rolled into a cylinder. Pancetta is cured, but not smoked, and comes sweet or hot, much like Italian sausage. Autumn squash has a deep orange interior and butternut squash is especially delicious when roasted.

1/2 medium butternut squash or 12 oz. (375 g) peeled squash
6 cloves garlic
6 to 8 oz (175 to 250 g) thinly slice pancetta, preferably not paper thin
1 lemon
1/2 cup (80 ml) olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
1/2 tsp (2 ml) hot red chilli flakes
several grindings of black pepper
 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
1 lb (500 g) dry linguine or fettuccine
4 cups (1 L) lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1 cup (250 ml) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 

1. Cut off narrow neck of squash just where it joins bulbous lower half; set lower half aside for another use. Cut off stem; standing up-right, thinly cut away peel. 

2.  Cut squash crosswise into 3/4 inch-thick (2-cm) rounds. Cut each round into irregular pieces about 1 to 1 1/2 inches (2.5 – 4 cm ) long. Peel garlic cloves; leave whole but thinly cut off rough end. Set Squash and garlic aside. 

3. Arrange oven rack just above oven centre. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 c).

4. Line a large, rimmed baking tray with aluminium foil. Lay pancetta, overlapping as needed, in a single layer. Bake above oven centre for 10 minutes; remove from oven. Pancetta has shrunk, arrange so slices are not overlapping. Continue baking, checking every 3 to 5 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove pancetta to drain on paper towels; leave fat on tray.

5. Place squash pieces on tray; so they are coated in fat. Arrange in a doughnut fashion. Place garlic cloves in centre; stir garlic so coated with fat. Roast 10 minutes; turn squash and stir garlic. Continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes or until squash is golden and tender. Leave squash on tray to keep warm. Remove garlic to a plate; mash with a fork.

6. Meanwhile, zest lemon; set half aside for garnish. Squeeze 2 tbsp (30 ml) juice. Stir mashed garlic cloves into oil along with lemon juice, sugar, chill flakes, pepper and half of lemon zest.

7. Bring a pasta pot half-filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. Add linguine; boil according to package directions, usually about 8 minutes, or just until al dente. Scoop out about 1/2 cup (125 ml) of pasta water; then drain pasta.

8. Turn linguine into a large warm bowl; toss with olive oil mixture until coated. Leaving 12 pieces of pancetta whole, crumble the rest over the pasta. Add spinach. Toss, adding some reserved pasta water, if needed, for extra moisture.

9. Serve right away in warmed bowls garnished with roasted squash, pinches of lemon zest, a sprinkling of Parmesan and reserved pancetta pieces as garnish. Pass remaining Parmesan and a shaker of hot chilli flakes at tables.

Serves 6



Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Some classic dishes never change and Shepherd’s pie is one of them. Simplicity is the key to success with this dish.

1 onion peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
900 g/2lb minced beef
1 tablespoon of bovril, dissolved in a little hot water
3 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
2 sprigs of thyme 
 1 teaspoon tomato puree
3 carrots, peeled and diced
400 ml /14fl oz chicken stock
chopped fresh parsley, to garnish
For the topping
1.3 kg/3lb potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
200 ml / 7fl oz single cream
1 20g/4oz butter
1 egg yolk 

In a large pan, gently saute the onion in the vegetable oil for about 10 minutes, until soft but not brown. Add the mince a little at a time and cook until browned. Then add the Bovril water, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, tomato puree, carrots, stock and some salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 50 minutes, then transfer to a pie dish ready for the mashed potato.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well, then return to the pan and add the cream, butter, egg yolk and a seasoning of salt and pepper. mash well, then taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Cover the mince mixture with the potato and run a fork over the top for decoration. Place in an oven preheated to 350F for 20 minutes or until the potato is nicely browned.

Garnish with chopped parsley and serve. You can prep this dish in advance, leave to cool and then reheat later, although will need more time in the oven – about 40 minutes.



West Indies Chicken with Mango Salsa

This dish is a fresh rendition of Jamaican jerk chicken. Traditionally ‘jerk’ means to dry rub, marinate and grill meat with a combination of scotch bonnet chilli and fragrant spices. The quick curry powder marinade stains the chicken a vibrant gold. Serve it with the mango salsa for a fresh summer meal, but it’s so good any time of the year.

prep time 10 mins / marinating time 1 hour / cooking time 10 mins / serves 6

12 skinless chicken thigh fillets, vegetable oil for brushing, coriander (cilantro) leaves, for garnish. Tabasco or hot pepper sauce, to serve.

Jerk Marinade
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 French shallots, chopped
1 long green chilli, seeds removed and chopped
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lime 
80 ml (1/3 cup) olive oil
 

Fresh Mango Salsa
2 firm ripe mangoes, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 large handful coriander (cilantro) leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco or hot pepper sauce
juice of 1 lime 

Jerk Marinade: Place the ingredients in a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Place the chicken in a shallow dish, season with salt and pepper, pour over the marinade and coat well. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Fresh Mango Salsa: Place the ingredients in a non metallic bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Preheat a barbecue to high and lightly brush with oil. Place the chicken over direct heat and cook for about 5 minutes each side or until cooked through. Scatter over coriander leaves and serve with mango salsa and Tabasco Sauce.

 



Mini Meatloaves with Roasted Tomato Thyme Sauce

This stylish meatloaf had a little makeover by baking it in individual ramekins. A topping of sweet tomato and thyme keeps the meat moist. Make this for a casual winter get-together or when ever your craving comfort food.

prep time 20 min / cooking time 1 hour / makes 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
300 g (10 1/2oz) minced beef
300 g (10 1/2oz) minced pork
60 g (2 1/4 oz / 3/4cup) fresh breadcrumbs  
170 ml ( 5 1/2 fl oz / 2/3 cup) tomato passata (pureed tomato)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
200 g (7 oz) mini roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
3 teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar, for sprinkling 

Preheat oven to 170 c (325 f). Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot, season with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until softened. Remove and transfer to a large bowl. Add the beef, pork, breadcrumbs, half of the passata, Worcestershire sauce, egg and half the thyme to the bowl, season with salt and pepper and gently mix with your hands until well combined. Divide among six 10 x 5 cm (4 x 2 inch), 300 ml (10 1/2 fl oz) capacity ramekins and spoon over the remaining passata. They’ll seem very full but will shrink during baking. Top each with a handful of (plum) tomato, 1/2  teaspoon sugar and season with salt, pepper and remaining thyme. Bake for 50 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Top with thyme springs to serve.

Pairs great with chive mash potatoes and a side salad. You can also serve the meatloaves in the ramekins on a plate with a small napkin folded underneath.



Valentine’s Chocolate Fondue

Enjoy a delicious flirty and fun Chocolate fondue. It’s hip to dip so share with a group of friends or surprise your sweet heart this Valentine’s.

Ingredients:
12oz bag of your favourite good quality chocolate chips (You can use milk chocolate or semisweet)
1/2 cup up to 2/3 cup half and half cream
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Dipping ideas:  Fruit (strawberries are a must), other fruits work too like pineapple…yummy or graham crackers, red velvet cake pieces…

Directions:

 Over a double boiler melt the chocolate and half and half together.  Once the chocolate melts, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.  Place in a fondue pot to keep warm.  Serve with dipping ingredients. 

Enjoy. 



Grilled Vegetables

Feel free to use what ever vegetables are available. Grilled vegetables not only look great and taste great but are also a healthy choice. You can serve them at any temperature and can prepare them ahead of time to be used as your side dish, on top of sandwiches or in salads. 

(serves 6)

3 red bell peppers seeded and quartered
3 yellow squash (1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 zucchini (12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
3 Japanese eggplants (12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
12 cremini mushrooms or button mushrooms
1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed
 12 green onions trimmed
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil 
1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill for medium high heat, or preheat a ridged grill pan over a medium flame. Brush all of the vegetables with a 1/4 cup of oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill all the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 12 minutes for the bell peppers, 7 minutes for the squash, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter.

In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil and rosemary, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to blend. Drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and serve warm or at room temperature. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

If you want to try something different, sprinkle some goat cheese over the grilled vegetables…yummy!

 

Enjoy! 



Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Double Smoked Bacon

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes  Servings: 4

Brussels sprouts that are sliced, tossed with garlic and oil, roasted until slightly caramelized, covered in melted parmesan cheese and tossed with double smoked bacon; brussels sprouts never had it so good! 

ingredients
  • 2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced or quartered
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices double smoked bacon (omit for vegetarian)
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
directions
  1. Toss the brussels sprouts in the oil along with the garlic, salt and pepper, place in in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 400F/200C oven until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes, mixing them up half way through.
  2. Meanwhile cook the bacon until crispy and drain on paper towels before crumbling.
  3. Sprinkle on the parmesan and return to the oven until it melts, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Toss the brussels sprouts with the bacon and lemon zest, and lemon juice and enjoy!


Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas

This versatile Italian dish isn’t as difficult as you may think, there are endless variations of this creamy comfort food, but this Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas is a favourite that your friends and family will enjoy.

5 3/4 cups canned low sodium chicken broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped onion
10 ounces white mushrooms, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or medium-grain white rice
2/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

BRING THE BROTH to a simmer in a heavy, medium-size saucepan. Add the porcini mushrooms. Cover and set aside until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms and finely chop. Cover the broth and keep warm over very low heat.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the white mushrooms, porcini mushrooms and garlic; saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice, add the wine; cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of hot broth; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and the mixture is creamy, adding more broth by cupfuls and stirring often, about 28 minutes. Stir in the peas. Mix in the Parmesan cheese, Season with salt and pepper to taste.

** In order to use dried porcini mushrooms – or any dried mushrooms for that matter, you have to reconstitute them by allowing them to sit in hot water for a few minutes, absorbing that water and plumping up. Then the mushrooms are ready to cook with, and you have all this flavourful liquid as a by-product.**