Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This non alcoholic version of the festive drink got a huge two thumbs up from my kids and husband!. Gently cook to ensure no bacteria from the eggs, you will never drink the store bought again!


6 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 tbs sugar

ground nutmeg


Beat the egg yolks, add the sugar and continue to beat until they start to lighten in colour.In a large saucepan mix the egg yolks and milk until well incorporated. Heat in medium low heat and stir constantly. Allow this to heat slowly for approx 10 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon. Do not allow it to boil or simmer. Place the pan in a sink or bowl of ice water and stir for 2 minutes. Sitr in vanilla. Cover and chill in fridge for at least 4 or up to 24 hours.

When ready to serve whip cream in a mixing bowl and 1 tbsp sugar until peaks form. Transfer chilled egg mixture to a punch bowl. set aside a spoon of cream for each cup and then fold in the rest of the cream to the egg mixture.

Pour into cup and top with a dollop of cream and sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg on each serving.

Melting Moments Bickies

These small melt in your mouth sugar packed bickies, are the christmas tradition in my house. Making them at this time of year just seems to make them that much more special to my family and friends. Originally I kept this recipe a secret but gradually over the last couple of years I have learnt to share the joy! put them in a cute little box with a ribbon and you have the perfect christmas gift!
Note: this recipe takes patience and can be temperamental. Take the time to ensure you have exact ingredients, and that your butter is really well softened to room temperature. If you double the batch you run a much higher risk of it not turning out (it has worked about 50% for me when I double it). You are better off just making one batch at a time to ensure it will always be perfect.
1/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)--do not pack it down.
3/4 cup plain flour (just shy of this is perfect. I have learnt if you go over this at all it will not work)
1/4 cup custard powder ( this is available in the "gello"/pudding section of your supermarket. Should be in a little tub)
6 0z salted butter

Pre-heat oven to 355 F ( 180c)
Cream butter, slowly add the custard powder, constantly scraping down the sides of your mixer. Then gradually whip in the icing sugar. while mixing gradually spoon in the flour.
Using a freezer zip lock bag, cut off the tip to use for piping. spoon in the cookie mixture.
Lightly spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray and then lightly wipe it with a paper towel. You want the tray to be just barely oiled since the cookies are butter based!.
Pipe 1 or 2 on the tray and do a test run to see how long you will need to cook it. The cook time changes depending on different ovens I use. Time how long it takes for the edges to barely start turning brown and take your cook time as being 30 seconds less than that.

Pipe a small circle as shown in the picture.

Bake them for 9-15 minutes depending on your altitude and oven. Watch closely, when they are ready they will not be browned.

Allow them to sit on the tray for a minute and then while still warm slide the tip of a metal knife under them and transfer them to a cooking rack to cool completely.
Allow the cookie sheet to cool completely before piping more on.
Repeat until all the cookies are baked.
While they are baking prepare the frosting. (see directions below) Carefully put some frosting on a cookie and then with evenly distributed pressure slowly siggle the second on top. They are very fragile and at this point will break easily so be patient. It's SO worth it!.
Frosting Ingredients & Directions
125g Softened Salted butter (softened to room temperature)
1 1/4 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
2 tbsp whole milk
Beat butter and gradually whip in half the icing sugar, add in the milk 1 tbsp at a time. Then slowly whip in the rest of the sugar. Whualla. Easy!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Satay Chicken Wraps

Tender, and TASTY. Give these wraps a try. I used leftover satay chicken to make myself an asian salad the next day. I love a good meal that just keeps on giving.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pounded/flattened, cut into 1-inch strips (Approximately 4-6 thighs)
3 tablespoons peeled, roughly chopped ginger
3 tablespoons roughly chopped white onion
2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon fish sauce

To cook
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3/4 cup julienne red onion
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup julienne red bell pepper
1/2 cup julienne bok choy
3/4 cup mung bean sprouts
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Asian Mayonnaise, recipe follows
6 flat out wraps, (or naan bread)


Put the chicken into a resealable gallon-size plastic bag and pound with the flat side of a meat tenderizer to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Add the rest of the ingredients to a food processor, fitted with the bottom blade or a blender, and pulse 5 to 6 times for 2 seconds each or until well blended. Using a new resealable gallon-size plastic bag, add the chicken and the marinade, mix well and refrigerate for 1 hour at least. You can marinate this as long as you want overnight is fine, you can't over marinate it.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare the Asian Mayonnaise.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off the excess with a paper towel. Heat a large saute pan over high heat and add 3 tablespoons peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Once cooked through, remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. To the same pan add the red onions, carrots, red bell peppers, and bok choy and saute for 2 minutes longer. Add in the mung bean sprouts, ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Spread all of the naan with the Asian Mayonnaise and top with the chicken satay saute. Roll and serve immediately. The asian mayo is pretty strong tasting. Feel free to try it with or without the mayo.. the chicken flavor is fantastic either way.

Asian Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon
lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro(coriander) leaf
2 teaspoons finely chopped green onions

In a small, nonreactive bowl, combine all the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Mousse


6 Ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp Almond Essence
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream


Melt the chocolate over a double boiler setup.
While the chocolate is melting, in a large mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar and beat, with a hand-held mixer, until very pale and thick and have doubled in size. Whicsk in the Almond Essence. When the chocolate has melted, whisk it into the egg yolk mixture.
In a medium bowl, whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. Using 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time, fold the cream into the chocolate mixture. Repeat this process until all the cream is incorporated. Transfer the mousse to individual serving dishes and chill for at least 1 hour.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

Picture is coming!


1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted Ritter sports chocolate hazenut chocolate bar. Or Lindt Chocolate hazelnut chocolate bar (the ritter sports has whole hazelnuts.. the lindt has only pieces)


In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium low heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Do not let it get so hot it boils. Just hot enough to melt the sugar.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining (1/4 cup)sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add another 1/2 cup milk slowly. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, rubbing along the sides or you will have cooked egg, do this until the mixture becomes thick enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the melted chocolate, with a whisk gently incorporate and stir the chocolate until it is all combined with the milk mixture, this may take up to 10 minutes, sometimes letting it sit and then stir, sit then stir again helps. Add the vanilla. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Grilled Marinated Ginger, Lime and Garlic Pork Tenderloin

This recipe is everything it's name says it is. I should put in extremely miost and tasty as the title as well! Using only a few key ingredients this is a really tasty, zingy... and not too spicey meal. My kids and husband both loved it. Try it yourself and let me know what you think.


1 plain pork tenderloin roast, trim off any excess fat or rhind
5 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp freshly chopped garlic
1 heaped Tbsp finely chopped ginger
juice of 2 limes
peel of lime chopped finely
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp chilli paste


in a bowl mix all ingredients except pork and whisk together until all the sauces are well blended and incorporated together.
Slice pork roast ultra thin, then cut down into bite size strips.
In a zip lock bag put your sauce in first getting all the yummy little lime ginger and garlic pieces in. Then add your pork strips. Before sealing squish it around to get the sauce all through the pieces. Then seal and refridgerate for 4-5 hours.

Before cooking is a good time to start steaming your rice as it cooks in approx. 5 minutes.

To cook heat up 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan or lightly grease your BBQ, heat up to Medium high.
(If BBQ-ing leave strips long so they don't fall through grates on the grill)
Once oil (grill) is heated add pork in single layers to the heated cooking area ..., allow it to sear the sides well. With the remaining juices in the bag, place in a small sauce pan on medium high and simmer and reduce the marinade while the pork cooks.
When meat is done all the way through (it cooks EXTREMELY fast) remove it from the heat. Let it rest a minute and it will get very happy in your pan/plate!.
Serve over steamed rice and pour reduced marinade over the top.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

BBQ'd Bacon Wrapped Creamy Mustard Chicken

I pulled out a bunch of ingredients sitting in my fridge that needed to be used last night. All I knew was I felt like BBQ'ing and it had to be chicken. What was originally a throw it together meal turned into a creamy, moist and extremely satisfying winner of a meal.
My daughter gave it 100/10!

Note: This meal does not HAVE to be BBQ'd, it was the method I chose, I am sure it will turn out great if you cook it in a pan on low on your stove top.

4 chicken Breasts trimmed of fat
1 packet maple bacon (trimmed of fat) - it will work with normal bacon too but the maple bacon turns this flavor into honey mustard, if you use normal bacon you won't get that effect.
1/3 cup mayonaise
3 tbsps sour cream
4 tbspoons yellow mustard
pinch salt
pinch pepper
3 tbsp Spade L Seasoning (Beef)
approx 1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese or blend mix.


Place chick inen a zip lock bag or cover with plastic. Place on a chopping board and with a mallet (or anything heavy pound it flat and even. The thinner it is the quicker and more evenly it will cook)
Mix Sour cream, mayonaise, mustard, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Whip it together well until it looks creamy.
One piece of chicken at a time spread a generous amount of mustard mix on the inside of the breast, sprinkle cheese on top of the mustard (just enough to lightly cover it. Layout enough strips to cover the cheese (it doesn't have to be exact).
Starting at on end of the chicken breast firmly roll it up, keeping a good firm grip and tension on it without breaking it. Then use 4 or 5 strips of bacon to wrap around the outside and hold the roll shut by overlapping ends. Using toothpics pin the bacon and chicken in place, tucking in the open ends to keep as many juices in as possible. sprinkle the outside of the roll generously with Spade L Seasoning. Let it sit 5 minutes. The smear a littel more mustard mix over the outside of the chicken. So it looks like the picture while grilling.

Repeat with all chicken.
Heat BBQ up to medium low heat. In order to keep it moist while not burning the bacon cook around 310 for 30 minutes covered so the inside is cooked and not dry. Keep an eye on it and use your judgement. Lower and longer means a more succulent piece of meat.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hot Dog Tip

Why just cook up a plain hot dog? Suprise your kids and family by adding this tastey twist. While BBQ'ing your hot dog (it just isn't the same if you microwave it) sprinkle some garlic powder on your dogs.
Repeat it when you rotate them.They won't be able to tell what you have done but they will know there is something even yummier about their dog!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Grilled Chicken with Roasted Garlic-Oregano Vinaigrette and Grilled Potatoes

Nothing feels like summer more than grilling with fresh ingredients . This light and slightly sweet vinaigarette is the perfect compliment to simple simple ingredients.

Recipe from Bobby Flay

For the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette:

8 cloves roasted garlic
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional, add if you want a little spicey zing)
For the grilled chicken and potatoes:
8 small potatoes, scrubbed and large cubes (not so small they fall through grill holes)
Kosher salt
Olive oil
4 Single chicken breasts
Freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette:
Combine garlic, vinegar, oregano, parsley, honey and salt in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and process until emulsified. Stir in the red chile flakes if desired.
For the grilled chicken and potatoes:
Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until a paring knife inserted comes out with some resistance. Do not cook the potatoes all the way through because they will continue cooking on the grill. Drain well and when cool enough to handle, slice in half lengthwise.
Heat the grill to medium.
Brush the chicken and potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on the grill, skin-side down and grill until golden brown and slightly charred, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn the chicken over and continue grilling until just cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. A few minutes before the chicken has finished cooking, place the potatoes on the grill, cut-side down and cook until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes. Turn over and continue grilling about a minute longer. Remove the chicken and potatoes to a platter and immediately drizzle with the roasted garlic-oregano vinaigrette. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with oregano sprigs and parsley sprigs.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

El Torito Mexican Caesar Salad

This delicious Salad dressing is creamy, and packs a flavor! I made if for my dinner and so added some grilled chicken and drizzled extra dressing on top. It can also just be served by itself. If you like Roasted pumpkin seeds and cheese you will love this salad.
Serves 6


***Cilantro Pepita Dressing:***
2 medium Jalapeno chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces salad oil (I used olive oil)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5 tablespoons grated Cotija cheese (see note--I purchased this just at Walmart)
2 small bunches cilantro,stemmed
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup water

4 corn tortillas
Vegetable oil
1 large head romaine lettuce, rinsed and spun dry
1/3 cup finely grated Cotija cheese
1/2 cup pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds)
Optional - Roasted red bell pepper, peeled and cut into julienne strips


Place all dressing ingredients except cilantro, mayonnaise and water in a a blender of food processor.
Blend approximately 10 seconds, then add cilantro little by little until blended smooth. Depending on size of blender, it may be necessary to do in batches.
Place mayonnaise and water in a large stainless steel bowl, and mix with a wire whip until smooth. Add the blended ingredients to the mayonnaise mixture, and mix thoroughly. Place in an air-tight container and refrigerate. Will keep for three days. Yields 1 quart.

To assemble salad: Cut corn tortillas into matchstick-size strips. Heat oil in sauté pan; fry tortilla strips until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.
Set aside.
Tear romaine into bite-size pieces. Place greens on salad plates and ladle approximately 2 ounces of cilantro pepita dressing on each salad.
Sprinkle each dish with Cotija cheese and tortilla strips.
OptionalArrange four red pepper strips like spokes on the top of each salad, and garnish with whole pepitas.

***Note: Cotija cheese is a hard cheese, similar to Parmesan. It is available at some grocery stores and most Mexican markets.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Broiled Peaches and Cream

This is a favorite recipe that I have made since I was 12. Not sure where I got it but it became my responsibility at family dinners to grill the peaches.
A friend gave me some fresh peaches yesterday and I decided it was time to teach my own children this simple but delicious recipe. The best part it is has only 4 ingredients and it's really fast to make and eat!


Peaches ( firm but ripe. you don't want them mushy or blemished or they will fall to pieces as you broil them)
Shaved Palm Sugar (If you don't have that nearby brown sugar will substitute)
Heavy Whipping Cream
Vanilla Essence (just a dash)

Heat broiler on high (Australian - low grill temp) Line a tray with edges (not a cookie sheet) with Aluminium tin foil and spray with non stick spray. Wash peaches - approximately 1-2 per person, cut in half and remove seeds keeping the cavity intact. Whip cream and add vanilla essence.

Place Peaches on the tray with center facing up. Sprinkle with sugar so all edges and center are lightly covered.
Place under broiler/grill and watch closely. The sugar will melt and start to bubble. You want it to turn into a liquid. Pull out tray and quickly top peaches again with another light sprinkle of sugar. Remove from oven once the 2nd sprinkle of sugar is bubbling and liquified. Watch closely or the will burn.
While still hot top each peach center (they should be filled with the liquid sugar) with a dollop of the vanilla cream. This creates a wonderful sweet but creamy sauce for your hot peach.

Serve hot and creamy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Avocado Pico De Gallo

Either serve this as a side to your Mexican meals, with tortilla chips or simply top your salad with it to create a tasty and healthy addition to your meal.

1 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup diced white onion
2 tbsp minced jalapeno (remember the membrane and seeds will determine the heat)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 tbsp lime juice
2 ripe avocados peeled, pitted, and diced

Stir to combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl to blend. Carefully fold in avocado and season to taste with salt.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chocolate Zuchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from a recipe by Rachelle Hughes

Zucchini you say????? Try this recipe just once and you will see why on earth I made this cake. I tried a piece of zucchini cake with raised eyebrows years ago and was instantly converted. I was given giant zucchini's a week ago and instantly new where it was going... in the cake tin. Give this moist chocolate treat a try.



1/2 Cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 Cup oil
1 3/4 Cup sugar
2 Eggs
2 C grated zucchini
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 Cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup buttermilk or sour milk
4 Tbsp Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder.
1 Cup milk chocolate chips


Cream butter, oil and sugar until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla and milk. Add remaining ingredients, except chocolate chips. Mix well and stir in 1/2 of the chocolate chips.
Oil and flour a bundt pan ( you can use a regular spring form baking pan but it will be take longer to bake and not be as consistantly moist all the way through). I sprinkled the remaining choco chips on the bottom of the bundt pan. If using a normal cake pan sprinkle top with remaining choco chips.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan. Pour or spread on frosting. Recipe follows.

1 8oz packet cream cheese softened
1/4 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1 tsp vanilla essence
Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly combined

If you like you can add a spoonful of jam to this mixture, however I like the plain vanilla cream cheese combination with the chocolate cake.

Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a basic must know in my house. With so many long winter months it is the perfect comfort accompaniment to those winter meals.
Every one has their own idea of what the perfect consistancy of mashed potatoes is... sloppy... firm and chunky.. I say.. do whatever you like.. as long as the flavor is good. Here is a basic recipe to work from.
6 Small Potatoes or 4 large - peeled and cubed evenly into medium sized pieces
(keep all your pieces the same size so they cook through at the same time)
1/4 cup butter cubed into little pieces
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup grated cheese

Mix milk and cream together. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender all the way through.
Drain in a colander. Add the potatoes to a large bowl you can mix in. While potatoes are still hot mix in the butter pieces. Add about a tablespoon of your milk mixture and then with electric mixer start mashing potatoes. Gradually add in more of the milk/cream until reaching the consistency you desire. Every batch is different so feel free to add more or less milk. Mix in cheese while it is still warm enough to melt through and then taste and add salt as needed.
Serve steaming hot !!!!

Sour Cream-Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Based on recipe by Bon Appetit Nov 2006


2 pounds potatoes (I usually estimate 1 potato per person)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped chives
1/4 cup prepared horseradish
salt to season


Follow Perfet Mashed Potatoes recipe but do not add milk and cream from original recipe instead --- Whisk 1 cup sour cream, 1/3 cup chopped chives, and 1/4 cup prepared horseradish in medium bowl. Fold sour cream mixture into potatoes. Season with salt.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BBQ Shredded Beef

This is a fantastic recipe to make the night before or just let it cook all day while lyou're out. With a wonderful balance of sweet tangy and smokey the Leftovers are just as good if not better the next day.

Recipe Courtesy of Stephanie Hughes


4 1/2 pound boneless beef roast

2 beef boullion cubes

1 1/2 tsp Worcestshire Sauce

1 large onion chopped (white or yellow)

5-6 cloves of garlic chopped

Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cover with water.Cook for 8-12- plus hours on low ( My sister in law puts her on the night before- if you are in a time crunch it will shred in 8 hours.. remember though.. the longer it cooks the more tender it will be so i12 hours is ideal)
When roast is done, drain and pull apart into small pieces.

Sauce Ingredients
1 Tlb. chili powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt1 tsp. pepper
1 tbs. liquid smoke
1 tsp. vinegar
4 cups ketchup

Place chili powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper, liquid smoke, and vinegar in a bowl and mix well. Add ketchup and blend. Pour sauce into slow cooker over the shredded beef, cook on low for 2-3 more hours, serve alone or on a toasted roll with some yummy cheese to have as a sandwich.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

No Bake Chocolate Raspberry Cream Pie

Recipe courtesy Bon Appetit Test Kitchen

O.k. I have not tried this recipe yet.. BUT I am going to this week so I thought I would post it and if any of you make it feel free to let me know what "tweaks" you would or wouldn't make. It's a no bake berry cream pie with chocolate wafer crust... really wants not to like about that!

8 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes (includes chilling time)

7 oz chocolate wafer cookies (about 32), coarsely broken
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup
crème fraîche
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
2 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (two 6-ounce containers)
Place broken cookies in processor. Using on/off turns, process until finely ground. Place chocolate chips, butter, and sugar in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high at 15-second intervals until melted, stirring occasionally. Add chocolate mixture to processor and blend until combined. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch glass pie dish (do not pack firmly). Chill crust while preparing filling.
Whisk condensed milk, crème fraîche, lemon juice, and lemon peel in large bowl to blend. Add half of raspberries. Stir, pressing gently on some raspberries, until raspberries begin to break apart and filling turns pink. Transfer filling to crust. Chill until filling is set, about 2 hours.
Scatter remaining raspberries over pie. Cut into wedges and serve.
Kitchen Science
The filling firms as it chills, creating nice clean slices of pie—but it doesn't contain any thickeners. The secret? Lemon juice. When it reacts with the other ingredients, it helps thicken the filling.

Creme Fraiche Info

With a tangy flavor and thick consistency, crème fraîche is the natural result of letting cream skimmed off the top of milk ferment at a warm temperature-or at least it is in its native France. In America, we pasteurize milk, killing off the bacteria that would cause fermentation. To make crème fraïche with American cream, you have to add buttermilk or sour cream; they contain bacteria that thicken cream.
Similar to sour cream, crème fraîche makes a delicious topping for desserts and adds body and flavor to sauces and pasta dishes.
How to make your own crème fraîche:
Combine 2 tablespoons of buttermilk with 1 cup of whipping cream in a glass container. Cover and let it sit at room temperature (about 70ºF) for 8 to 24 hours. Don't despair if your cream doesn't thicken after 22 hours; sometimes it happens nearly all at once. When it has thickened, stir well and refrigerate up to 10 days.

Friday, July 10, 2009

5 minute Creamy Bean Dip

Recipe from Linda Hughes
This is my husband and childrens favorite bean dip. It takes 5 minute to make and only has 2 ingredients (well 3 if you want a garnish). Use this as an appetizer for any occasion or use it as a fun way to serve your children chili.


2 regular cans chili (the original recipe calls for chili with no beans but I personally like the added texture of beans)
1 80z package of cream cheese softened.

In a medium size bowl mix cream cheese through chili. Place in the microwave and heat until hot all the way through. I like to do it one minute at a time and stir in between to make sure it's evenly heated.

Serve hot. With tortilla chips. I like to use scoops, you can pre-scoop them if you like or give it to you kids in scoops. Or just serve it the good old fashioned way with a bowl of chips and a big bowl of the dip. For a bit of colour garnish with small pieces of cilantro.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fresh Salsa

This is my favorite salsa EVER. I like it chunky, and I guess if you are not a fan of that you could always put it in the food processor for a little bit, everyone has their little salsa preferences. It makes alot but watch out because you will snack on this until it's gone!

6 lbs Canned tomatoes (or fresh blanched - I love the big tin you can get from costco the quality is great - but hey use whatever you can get)
1 large white onion -chopped
4-6 jalepenos (Depending on heat of peppers and size)
1/2 bunch cilantro (coriander) - chopped
1 1/2 TBSP minced/finely chopped garlic
2 Lemons
3 tsp oregano (dried)
parsley (dried/flakes)

2 TBSP salt

Drain Tomatoes - set aside liquid in a bowl for later. Roughly chop the tomatoes so they are not whole but mouthful size chunks.
Place in a bowl.
Add onion cilantro, garlic, lemon juice. Mix together. Finely chop Jalapenos with seeds and veins removed (keep the seeds in case you decide after tasting it needs some heat) add one at a time tasting after each to get it to the desired heat and flavor. If it's too hot just add some more tomatoe juices back in. Letting it sit overnight in teh fridge will change the spice temperature. My last batch I only put in 1 pepper because it was hot and then the next day it had all but dissapeared. Sprinkle oregano on top and then sprinkle parsley over the top until it is covered evenly in flakes. Add enough juice to the consistency you like.. I like chunky, but my husband likes his runny... so you can even put it in the food processor if you prefer. Cover and let sit in fridge over night. When ready to eat mix all the parsley throughout the salsa.

Serve with Tortilla chips. (Corn chips)

White Chili

This recipe is from my friend Kristy and I do not know where she got it. It's perfect for those cold winter months, and while it's more of a comfort food sometimes we just get those cravings and make it up during the summer months as well. Serve with a toasted bun or eat it as a thick soup. It's up to you ... however you like your chili. I love this options to the other more commonly known red chili.
1 lb. Chicken, cubed(raw)

1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 TBSP. Butter or margarine .
2x15oz cans Great Northern Beans (Really just any good white bean will do if you can't find them)
1 14oz Can of Chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
2x4oz cans chopped green chilies (as a substitute if you can't find them try just chopping up 2 medium sized ones of your own.. remove seeds and veins for no heat)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Brown Chicken, Onion, Garlic powder and Butter/margarine together in a large pot.
Add beans, chicken broth, salt,oregano, cumin, green chilies. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
To finish up add in sour cream and pepper jack cheese and let simmer 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
Cuddle up by the heater and enjoy.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Strawberry Pecan Sticky Buns

Adapted from a Recipe by Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa). I added strawberries instead of raisins, I never have been a raisen fan (I blame early childhood trauma from my older brother telling me they were squished flies) and I think the strawberry flavor gives it such a lift from the caramelized sugar to another level.

SUPER easy, the simplicity, in fact the hardest part is watching them cook and bubble in the oven and wondering how much longer you have to wait. Let me know what you think.


12 tbsps (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature (make sure it is totally room temp)
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/ 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
For the filling
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cup strawberries chopped into 1 cm cubes (errr about 1/4 inch)

Pre-Heat oven to 400 degrees F (204.44 Celsius). Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (I used a teflon non stick muffin pan).
In the bowl of an electric mixer preferably fitted with a paddle, --I didn't have one.. so just make sure whatever you use whips and smooshes it together well. Combine the 12 tbsp butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Plop 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in the bottom of each muffin cup segment. Distribute pecans and spoon about 1 tsp of strawberries into each muffin cup on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or flat clean surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch (approx 2 1/2 cm) boarder on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and the remaining strawberries split between the 2 sheets. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling (firm but not tight) finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch (1 1/2 cms) and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces (it's easy to do if you cut in half and then divide the sections into 3 even rolls). Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups (very lightly press it down). Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful- they're hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes ONLY, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Crockpot Chicken Cordon Bleau

Recipe Courtesy Marcia Evans

YUM YUM YUM... and it's so easy.

6 large Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Halves
6 slices fully cooked ham (you can substitute bacon ifyou wish)
6 slices swiss cheese
1/4 cup Plain Flour
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp sage (dried herb)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 cup chicken broth
tooth picks or skewers

1.Combine: Flour, Parmesan cheese, Sage, Paprika and Pepper in a bowl.

2.Flatten Chicken to 1/8 inch thickness
3.Place ham and cheese on inside part of chicken. Roll up tightly and tuck in the end. Secure it with toothpicks (you don't want the cheesy goodness to ooze out!).
4. place chicken roll-ups in the bowl and coat them completely with the flour mixture. Pat it on to make sure it sticks all over.
5. Cover and refridgerate for an hour
6. Heat oil in a pan and and brown the chicken on all sides.. do not cook it all the way (get a nice crisp coat on the outside ... it will help it hold together while it cooks)
7. Transfer to slow-cooker.
8. Mix chicken soup and broth together and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Remove toothpicks and garnish with parsely if desired.
Serve with steamed rice.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Crockpot Chicken with an Italian Twist

While I was putting together my regular crockpot chicken for sunday dinner I decided to add some more ingredients and change it up a little. While it's always a great dinner of tender creamy chicken I was craving a little more flavor and I think I got it right first try. See what you think.

6 chicken breast halves (you can use frozen chicken as well. it cooks for so long it doesn't matter)
1 regular sized container of Sour Cream
1 small can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Small can of cream of Mushroom soup
1 packet of chicken maggi noodle (ramen) flavoring (or I guess just a teaspoon of powdered chicken bullion)
1 cup uncooked bacon with fat cut off chopped into small pieces
1 tsp italian seasonings (basil, oregano,thyme)
1 cup sundried tomatoes chopped
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste


Spray inside of crockpot with non stick spray.
Mix together sour cream, and soups, italian seasonings, bacon, place in crockpot.
Place chicken in the sauce and wiggle it around to fit, spoon over creamy mixture on top of the chicken, making sure each breast is covered in sauce. Sprinkle half the chicken flavoring on top.
Turn crockpot on low and cook for 8 hours. (Stir occasionally and halfway through add the rest of the chicken seasoning.. this isn't absolutely necessary though.. if you have to leave it cooking all day while you are at work just add the rest at the end)
Turn off crockpot and add sundried tomatoes.
Serve with Rice or pasta noodles, sprinkle parmesan cheese generously on top while it's hot.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Chocolate, Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies

2 cups plain all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup crisco butter (If you don't have crisco then just use regular salted butter like above)
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut (or more or less to your taste)

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 Cup chopped unsalted macadamia nuts ( Or more.. depends on how nutty you are)


On a cookie sheet spray with non stick spray, barely spread out the macadamias and sprinkle the 1 cup of brown sugar on top of it. BROIL or grill in a pan , watching closely to make sure they only get lightly toasted and do over cook and burn. If they go dark brown it's too much, they essentially will just get more crunchy and the sugar will create a sweet crunch on them. Remove from heat and allow them to cool and harden . take the nuts out of the surrounding leftover sugar and have them ready to add to the cookie batter. This really is just an extra step that I like to take. I have done it with just plain macadamias but I really like the added flavor from toasting and the sugar.

PREHEAT oven to 375 F (185 Celsius)
Combine flour baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time.. whipping well after each addition. Gradually sprinkle in flour mixture with mixer running. Add coconut, mix. Stir in by hand the macadamias and the chocolate chips, making sure it is evenly distributed through the batter.
Drop heaped spoonfuls of mixture onto a sprayed cookie sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes or until just starting to barely brown on outside edges.
Cool.. and EAT!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Greek-Style Turkey Burgers


  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup fine dry wheat bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 0.7-oz. envelope Italian salad dressing mix (5 teaspoons)
  • 1 lb. uncooked ground turkey or chicken
  • 4 100%whole wheat burger buns or pita bread rounds, toasted.
  • Olive-Tomato Relish
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese (1 oz.)..sliced or crumbled is fine.


1. In a medium bowl beat egg white with a whisk; stir in bread crumbs, milk, and half of the dry salad dressing mix. Add turkey; mix well. (Reserve the remaining half of the dry salad dressing mix for Olive-Tomato Relish.) Shape turkey mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.

2. Place patties on the grill rack directly over medium heat; grill for 14 to 18 minutes or until turkey is done (165 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.

3. Butter 100% whole wheat buns and grill until lightly crisp and browned. Place patty on and top with Olive-Tomato Relish and feta cheese. Makes 4 servings.

* Olive-Tomato Relish: In a small bowl stir together 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and the remaining half of the dry salad dressing mix. Stir in 1 cup finely chopped tomato, 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber, and 1/4 cup finely chopped pitted kalamata or ripe olives. Makes about 1-1/3 cups.

Olive-Tomato Relish

2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
half a pack dry italian seasoning mix
1 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

In a small bowl stir together white wine, olive oil, seasoning mix. whisk, add in remaining ingredients and refridgerate and chill.
Makes about 1-1/3 cups.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

S'mores Cheesecake with Summer Berries

Two American classics in one dessert: A rich milk chocolate cheesecake sandwiched between a buttery graham cracker crust and a fluffy marshmallow topping. The Berries sauced up will give this just the right balance. Set aside some time.. and it's worth it.

Recipe Courtesy Bon Appetit Magazine June 2008

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (made from 9 whole crackers finely ground in processor; 1 packet)
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
9 oz high-quality Dark chocolate (such as Lindt or Ghirardelli), chopped
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 large egg whites
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 large marshmallows, cut into quarters with wet kitchen scissors
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1-pint container fresh Strawberries
1 1-pint container fresh blackberries
For Crust :
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Mix crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. Add melted butter; stir until mixture is evenly moistened. Press onto bottom of 9-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides. Bake until set, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven; cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
For Filling :
Stir chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until smooth. Remove from over water and cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, and salt in processor and blend until smooth. With motor running, add whipping cream through feed tube and process just until blended. With motor running, add melted chocolate, then add eggs 1 at a time, blending and scraping down sides after each addition until mixture is smooth. Pour batter over crust in pan.
Bake cake until outer edge is slightly puffed and cake is barely set in center (center will look shiny and move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 55 minutes. Transfer cake to rack. Run small sharp knife around cake to loosen. Chill uncovered until cold, 8 hours or overnight. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
For Topping :
Whisk sugar, egg whites, 3 tablespoons water, cream of tartar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to blend in large metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens and is hot to touch, about 3 minutes. Remove bowl from over water and stir in marshmallows (keep water simmering in saucepan). Let stand until marshmallows soften, about 3 minutes. Set bowl with mixture over simmering water; using handheld electric mixer, beat until stiff shiny peaks form, about 4 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Scrape topping onto cheesecake. Using spatula, spread topping to edges of cake, swirling decoratively. Let stand until set, about 15 minutes.
Using kitchen torch, lightly brown topping in spots. (Or preheat broiler; place cake at least 4 inches from heat source and broil just until topping is lightly browned in spots, watching closely to avoid burning, about 2 minutes.) Chill cake until cold. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and keep chilled. Remove pan sides. Place cake on platter.
Mix berries in medium bowl with 1 cup water and 4 tbsp sugar, place in fridge and chill until ready to cut cake and serve. Cut cake into wedges. Serve berry mixture alongside.

Chimichurri Brine (with pork chops)

It's Official BRINE IS BEST... I will never cook pork without brine again. I've never been a huge fan of pork with too many times being served hard chops and lack lustre flavor, it sits like a brick in your tummy .... I went out on a limb and thought.. alright alright I'll give it one more chance, everyone keeps telling me about brine so will try it. So here it is folks.. I dare you to try it and love it too.
Recipe Adapted from BHG Grilling Spring 2009
Prep: 10 minutes
6 Cups of water
1 Small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup kosher salt
1 tbsp finely shredded lime peel
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fresh parsely, chopped
1 tbsp oregano , chopped
1/4 cup white sugar
4 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Desired Meat or Poulty (in this case Pork Loin Chops)
1. In a large bowl, combine the water, onion, salt, lime juice, parsley, oregano, sugar, garlic, black pepper. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.
2. Place desired meat in bowl and covering completely in the brine. For Pork Chops marinate 4-6 hours in the fridge turning occasionally. Drain chops; discard brine. Allow lime bits to stick if they want to.. it gives each bite an extra zing!
3. Prepare grill for indirect grilling with drip pan. Place chops on the grill rack over driop pan. Cover and gril for 35 minutes.. or until done (160F), turning once halfway through grilling.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Garlic-Smashed Potatoes

Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appetit Magazine
February 2009

The Garlic is infused into the potatoes while they are boiling... mmmm... then add your cream butter and chives... YUM

6 Servings

1 3/4 pounds small unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes (about 16), scrubbed
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


Generously butter glass pie dish. Cook potatoes and garlic in medium pot of boiling salted water until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; let stand 5 minutes. Discard garlic. Arrange potatoes close together in prepared dish. Using wooden spoon, smash potatoes coarsely until they split open. Drizzle with oil; dot with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Preheat broiler. Broil potatoes until crisp and golden, watching closely to avoid burning, 8 to 10 minutes. Top with dollops of sour cream; sprinkle with chives.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cherry and Chocolate Chip Cookies

From "Icing on the Cake" Bakery Los Gatos California
"Bon Appetit" Magazine

Makes about 30/feel free to mix things up by replacing the white choclate chips with bittesweet or milk chocolate chips. Either way, wash these cookies down with a big glass of cold milk.

1 cup tart cherries (about 5 1/2 Ounces)
1/3 cup cherry liquer (Such as cherry heering)
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (Packed) golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Bring cherries, cherry liqeur, and 2 tbsp water to boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat, and let soak 15 minutes. Drain cherries;pat dry.
Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs and both extracts and beat to blend. Add flour mixture and beat on low just to blend. Stir in cherries and all chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
Bake cookies until edges are light golden, turning baking sheets halfway through cooking, about 13 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool. DO AHEAD can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cafe Rio Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

Adapted from a recipe by Kalyns Kitchen

Café Rio Dressing
1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make with 3/4 recommended butter milk and 1/2 recommended milk and substitute amounts with sour cream instead)
2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)
½ bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 Char roasted Jalapeño (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green tobasco for the jalapeno.)

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Herb Aioli

Can you believe how easy and simple this is to make?

1 cup Mayonaise
2 tsp Finely Crushed Garlic
1/2 tsp chopped Fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp chopped fresh Oregano
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, when totally mixed allow it to sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Parmesan and Garlic Crusted chicken with Artichoke, Bacon, Roasted Capsicum. Harvarti Cheese and Herb Aioli Panini

If you think the name is a mouthful you should try eating it!!

2 Chicken Breast Halves
2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
1 tbsp Finely chopped and then smooshed Garlic
1 loaf "everything Italian" Bread (Walmart $1.50!)
1 Small Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts
1/4 cup thinly sliced Roasted Red Capsicum(Bell Peppers)
8 slices Harvarti Cheese
4 slices bacon cooked till crispy (broken up into chunks)

Herb Aioli Ingredients & Directions
1 cup Mayonaise
2 tsp Finely Crushed Garlic
1/2 tsp chopped Fresh Thyme
1/2 tsp chopped fresh Oregano
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor, when totally mixed allow it to sit in fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.

1, Season the chicken with Salt, Pepper, and the chopped and smooshed garlic. Place the chicken in a pan on low temp, cover and allow to slowly cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on the chicken when you turn it . Check the inside of the chicken to make sure it is not pink. Set aside and allow it to rest.

2. While chicken is cooking. slice loaf of bread into 4 equal sections, halve it to create tops and bottoms for the sandwhich. Butter both sides and grill in a pan to create a nice crust.

3. Slice chicken breast 1 cm thickness.

4. Generously spread Aioli on the bottom bread pieces. Place half the Harvarti cheese on the bottom of the paninis, layer on chicken, bacon, chopped artichoke hearts (as much as to your taste) sliced capsicum and top with remaining cheese.

5. Warm pan on medium heat, place sandwhich in pan and put a really heavy pan on top. Allow it to squish and crisp then quickly turn it to the other side and repeat. Repeat for all sandwhiches.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shrimp and Pancetta over Pasta

Practically perfect in every way. Moist, tastey and very satisfying. If you love Shrimp you will also love this recipe.

Adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse

Serves: 6

Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 pound torn fresh pasta sheets, or other wide noodles
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces pancetta, chopped (Or if you can't find it use the thickest sliced bacon you can find)
1 medium red onion, peeled, cut in 1/2, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 pounds large (21 to 25 count) shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied UNCOOKED
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest, garnish
Freshly grated parmesan cheese


1. In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain and return to the pot. Cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from pan.
3 To the oil in the pan, add the onions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. WATCH IT so that it does not burn. Add the wine, salt, lemon juice, pancetta/bacon and shrimp and cook, stirring, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the parsley and stir to combine.
4. Add the cooked pasta to the shrimp mixture and toss well to combine. Cook until the pasta is heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Sprinkle generously with parmesan. This dish looks great if you serve it on a large platter.

Cucumber Relish

I love this sauce to dip anything in. It keeps extremely well in the fridge and afterwards I spoon it over some lettuce, coriander and chicken to create a light scrumptious asian salad.
1 cup coconut vinegar or white vinegar
1 cup white sugar
1 good splash of fish sauce
1 large cucumber
4 small red chilis, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 of roasted, unsalted peanuts crushed or finely chopped. (you will probably have to buy unsalted peanuts and roast and crush them yourself)
1/3 cup chopped coriander (cilantro), including stems
Combine the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally, cook for one minute at a gentle boil. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
While sauce is cooling. Peel and slice cucumber in half lengthways. get a small spoon and scoop out the seeds. Slice very thinly so that you get "moon shaped" cucumber slices.
Place the cucumber, chilis, peanuts and coriander in bowl. Pour over cooled dressing and toss gently.
Place in fridge and chill until use.

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

There is nothing like a freshly home made dipping sauce!


2-4 Fresh red chilies, deseeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic
3 coriander roots (Cilantro. If you can't find any with teh roots just use teh stems and chop it extra fine).
1 tsp Salt
1 cup white sugar
half cup of coconut vinegar (or white vinegar)
half cup water
1 tbsp fish sauce
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish (cilantro)


1. Pound chilis, garlic, coriander root and salt in mortar (or do it in a small food processor or blender if you don't have one)
2. Transfer to saucepan, stir in sugar, vinegar and water, simmer five minutes.
3. Stir in fish sauce, remove from heat, transfer to bowl, sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves.

Stuffed Coconut Prawns

This is a huge favorite in my family. While my recipe is made to be an asian dish it can be turned into a southwestern meal simply by changing the dipping sauces you serve it with.

20 Large green king prawns (get the largest uncooked shrimp you can find if you aren't near fresh seafood)deviened and butterflied
125 grams (.27 lb) chicken breast, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp coriander (cilantro) stems finely chopped
half teaspoon white pepper
2 slices finely chopped ginger
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp coconut cream

2 tsp sambel olek
1 tbsp very finely chopped lemon grass, tender part only (If you can't get your hands on lemon grass substitute for half teaspoon lemon zest)
1 cup plain flour
1 cup corn flour
enough soda water to make a batter consistency of pouring cream
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

1. If you have a mortar use it .. if not grind up and pound as best you can the garlic, peppercorns, coriander root and ginger into a paste.
2. Place finely chopped chicken into food processor with coconut cream and process to a paste. Add garlic coriander paste and fish sauce.
3. Place in fridge to chill for 2 hours
4. Fill butterfly prawns down their butterflied backs with chicken mixture.

To Cook

1. Combine flours, lemon grass, sambel olek in bowl, add enough soda water to make thin batter. 2. Carefully roll prawns in some plain flour, dip into batter, then roll in coconut.(put only half of your coconut in a bowl at a time otherwise it will all get goopy and gross quickly)
3. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in wok (or use deep fryer), deep fry prawns in batches of six until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes. Cut open to one to make sure they are cooked all the way through. The chicken stuffing and shrimp should be a solid white colour.

Serve immediately with a dipping sauce. I love the Sweet and Sour or the cucumber relish

Coconut Rice

A Variation of stemaed jasmine rice, the rice is enriched with coconut milk, sugar and salt, resulting in a creamy texture, sweet and fragrant with coconut.
Recipe Courtesy "The Spirit House" Cooking School
For 4 Servings
1 1/2 cups jasmine rice
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup of water
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt
1. Rinse the rice.
2. Put the coconut milk, water sugar and salt in saucepan, stir until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is well blended.
3. Add the rice and bring to a boil. Cover tightly and reduce the heat to its lowest setting. Simmer for 18 minutes. Lift the lid to check that it is cooked, cook for 1 -2 minutes longer if necessary.
4. The rice is done when the grains are soft enough to crush between your thumb and forefinger. 5. Turn off the heat and let stand covered for 8-10 minutes before serving.

Lime and Chili Dressing

Recipe Courtesy "the Spirit House" Cooking School


4 red chilis
8 cloves garlic, chopped
one half of small red onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
8 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp palm sugar, to taste

Pound the chopped chillies and garlic together until forming a paste texture. Transfer to a bowl, add the chopped onion, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar to taste. Stir well to mix. Adjust the flavors so that the sauce is equally salty and sour with a light touch of sweetness.