Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cooking - week of Feb 1

Baked today as we had run out of goods in the freezer. Made a lemon blueberry bread and 4 small loaves of lemon cranberry bread - both recipes from

Not really sure what is on the menu for this week. Lots of leftovers for lunch. I also made a lamb barley soup and a curry chicken soup.

I know on Thursday I will have take out Chinese food as BH will be hitting golf balls and will bring something home for me. Last week it was duck, cabbage and rice, very nummy.

Lots of stuff in freezer so will let you know as I get inspired.

For today, Sunday, it is prime rib as it has been in freezer and is last of the ones BH bought on special.

Saturday January 30 dinner

Looked through the new Chinese cookbook I bought on impulse as it had awesome pictures of China.
Decided to try the scallion cakes. These were good but a little too heavy, they should be more flaky, tracked down some other recipes on blogs and will try those next time.
Also made beef with broccoli and a side dish of braised cabbage served over rice.
BH flipping scallion cakesMeat in marinadeOOPS almost forgot to take a photo!

My Recipe Box - Red Lobster Cheese Biscuits

One of the best things at Red Lobster are the cheese biscuits. These are so easy to make.

These are so good I'm going to have to triple my batches and keep some frozen. Served this week with ham and cauliflower cheese.


•2 cups buttermilk baking mix, Bisquick

•2/3 cup milk

•1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

•1/4 cup butter, melted

•1/4 tsp garlic powder


In mixing bowl, mix together baking mix, milk and cheese until a soft dough forms, then beat vigorously 30 seconds. Drop from spoon onto ungreased baking sheet and bake at 450° until golden brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Mix together butter and garlic powder. Brush over hot biscuits and serve hot. Makes 10 - 12.

Cauliflower with Cheese - British style

Cauliflower cheese is such quintessentially traditional British food. It appears throughout British food in various guises; an essential side dish at Sunday lunch, a delicious filling for a baked potato and sometimes, even encased in pastry as a pasty or quiche.

Making Cauliflower Cheese is so quick and and makes the most of British cauliflowers which are not only cheap, are available almost year round.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


•1 medium cauliflower (approx 1lb/450g)

•2 oz/ 55g butter

•2 oz/ 55g all purpose/plain flour

•1 level tsp mustard powder (optional)

•Large pinch salt

•1 pint / 460 ml milk

•50g cheddar cheese or similar, grated plus extra for sprinkling on top

•Freshly ground pepper


Serves 6 as a side dish

•Heat the oven to 395F/200C/Gas 7

•Remove the green outer leaves from the cauliflower and steam whole over a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the heat and leave to cool.

•Place the butter and flour into a large saucepan. Over a low heat stir the butter and flour until the butter has melted and the flour is incorporated. Add the salt and mustard powder and continue stirring for 2 minutes.

•Turn the heat up to medium and add the milk in one go and whisk furiously until all a smooth sauce is formed. Continue stirring until the sauce is thickened and glossy (about 5 minutes) If the sauce is very thick add a little more milk, the sauce should be thick but still runny. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.

•Break the cauliflower florets from the thick, central stalk taking care not to break it into tiny pieces. Place the florets in a baking dish large enough to hold all the florets in one layer.

•Pour the thickened cheeee sauce over the cauliflower ensuring all the florets are covered. Sprinkle with grated cheese and a good twist of black pepper.

•Bake in the hot oven until the sauce is bubbling and golden brown on the top, approx 30 minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday January 24 Culinary Adventures

I cleaned out the fridge this morning. More stuff thrown out, must make a better effort to use up rather than tossing.

Soup is on the stove, chicken stock from last weekend's chicken with celery and rice. It's just a small pot, was a small chicken!

Lemon Cranberry Scones - Take 2

This is the same recipe I used a few weeks ago from the blog above. I will use less sugar however, and have since bought a pastry blender. There is still a portion of pumpkin bread left so I will freeze the scones when they are made. This works really well and we just grab one out the night before for work the following day.

Then it's on to Lamb Shanks with Guinness and garlic mashed clocannon (to use the spinach in the fridge). Colcannon is an Irish dish of mashed potatoes, chopped onions and spinach (or kale). I first tried the lamb shank recipe from the LCBO Food and Drink magazine in 2006 and it has become a staple in the winter. I don't bother with the parchment presentation, too much trouble. And the orange is optional depending if there is one in the house. You can, if you have to, substitute a dark beer for the Guinness. I will save the bones in my lamb stock baggie in the freezer for future lamb stock making.

3½ hours

30 min prep


4 (12 ounce) lamb shanks, frenched

kosher salt

black pepper, freshly ground

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 medium onions, sliced

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

4 large rosemary sprigs

330 ml beer, One bottle Guinness draft, not stout

1/3 cup brown sugar, well packed measure

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

4 garlic cloves, halved

1 orange

Preheat Oven 300F (150C).

Pat the lamb shanks dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the lamb shanks on all sides. Transfer shanks to a plate. Add onions to the pan, stirring well to coat in the fat, then cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring 2 or 3 times while scraping the bottom of the pan each time.

Add the carrots, celery and rosemary; cook uncovered for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan from time to time. Pour in the beer and bring to a boil, deglazing the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Add the sugar, mustard and garlic and continue to boil, stirring from time to time, for 10 minutes, or until the beer becomes thick and syrupy.

Meanwhile, remove 4 large strips of zest from the orange with a vegetable peeler and squeeze 1/4 cup (50 mL) juice from the orange. Add the zest and juice to the pan. Continue to cook until the liquid just glazes the onions. Remove from the heat and let it cool. You will have 3 to 4 cups (750 mL to 1 L) onion mixture.

Cut four, 15 inch (38-cm) squares of parchment paper. Divide the onion mixture among the squares of parchment paper, placing it in the middle of each square. Make sure that each square has a rosemary sprig, an orange zest strip and 2 garlic halves. Stand a lamb shank on top of each (it will lean to one side); pull up the corners of the parchment paper to form a package, tying it with string, around the exposed bone.

Stand the packages in a Dutch oven or baking dish and bake for 3 hours.

Remove from the oven and place the packages on warmed plates. Cut the strings but allow each diner to open his or her own package.

Week of Jan 25 - Menu Planning UPDATE

The plan for this week is - using stuff already in the house:

Ham steak, cauliflower au gratin and cheese biscuits - Monday. See picture under Red Lobster Biscuits post.

Chciken curry with naan bread - Tuesday. Using the thighs, onions, cauliflower and green peppers. The naan is in the freezer. TURNED OUT REALLY WELL.
Shepherd's pie - with ground lamb - Friday

Now what to have the remaining 2 days? HMMM maybe quiche with the leftover ham and spinach again?? It was really good last week and I didn't get any photos. YES, MADE THE QUICHE.

Picture was taken in Santa Fe NM by me.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Found this over at and we made them this morning. I thought that they turned out very well, fluffy and they retained their colour. I used 4 eggs for 2 people, I suggest you follow the recipe recommendation of 6 for 2 people.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

By Mr Breakfast

No cheese. No overt flavorings. Just eggs and what it takes to make them taste and look like great eggs.

The truth is that scrambled eggs are easy to make. Unfortunately, they are also the easy to make WRONG. At a root level, scrambled eggs are simply beaten eggs which are fried and - for lack of a better word - scrambled. But like most things that are simple (take love and martinis as examples), people have found ways to make them needlessly complex.
The Art of Scrambling - Proper Technique
The Best Way To Beat Your Eggs
One of the most important ingredients in scrambled eggs is hardly ever mentioned... air. It would be nice if we could just dollop a Tablespoon of air into the mixing bowl, but for the time-being, incorporating air into beaten eggs requires good old-fashioned elbow grease (or the electric equivalent).

The more you whisk -- the more air bubbles become trapped in the shaken and unraveling protein of the eggs. As the eggs cook, protein molecules firm-up around the air bubbles resulting in a spongy texture and hopefully full and fluffy scrambled eggs.

The American Egg Board describes well-beaten eggs as "frothy and evenly colored". When your eggs match that description (generally after about 2 minutes) you should stop beating.

Over-beating will completely unravel the protein molecules and destabilize their ability to form a microscopic casing around the air.

In terms of whisking motion, a tilted wheel motion works far better than a vertical stirring motion. A fork works as well as a whisk but requires a slight bit more time and energy.

Electric Mixers and Blenders - There's no need to shy away from these time-saving devices if they are used correctly. Electric mixers should be set to a moderate speed that approximates hand-whisking. The same rules of over-mixing apply.

Eggs mixed in a blender should be "blended" for 20 to 25 seconds. Set the mixture aside for a couple minutes before cooking to let the foam settle.

The Best Way To Scramble In The Pan

The actions you take once the eggs hit the fry pan will dictate the size of the scrambled egg pieces (curds). Some recipes suggest stirring the eggs with a wooden spoon immediately as the eggs hit the heated surface. Others direct you to let the eggs start to set before stirring/scrambling. Of the two, the second method results in larger fluffier pieces.

When the first hint of setting appears you should begin to push the eggs around with a spatula. There are opposing schools of thought on how to handle the eggs at this point. tells us to "push the curds to one side and let the uncooked eggs spread over the surface of the pan."

Martha Stewart suggests: "Using a spatula or a flat wooden spoon, push eggs toward center while tilting skillet to distribute runny parts."

For scrambled eggs that might be described as light and fluffy, Martha Stewart's push-to-the-center technique narrowly edges out the competition.

Getting Hungry?

Before we scramble our brains contemplating the best plate to eat scrambled eggs off of, the texture differentials of eating with a spoon and the ideal temperature of the chair you sit in as you eat... let's get back to the reason we're here. For your breakfast pleasure (and to review)... Mr Breakfast Presents...

This recipe serves 2 hungry people.

6 large eggs

6 teaspoons (1 teaspoon for each egg) low-fat milk

3 dashes of salt (1 dash for every two eggs)

1 Tablespoon butter for frying

Heat a large non-stick frying pan to a setting just above medium. A 12-inch pan works well for 6 eggs. Do not add butter yet. We just want get the pan ready.

In large metal or glass mixing bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk and salt. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

Alternatively, you can place the eggs, milk and salt in a blender and blend for 20 to 25 seconds. Allow the mixture to set for a couple minutes to let the foam settle.

Melt the butter in the frying pan. As the very last of the butter is liquefying, add the egg mixture.

Do not stir immediately. Wait until the first hint of setting begins. Start the Martha Stewart scrambling technique ("Using a spatula or a flat wooden spoon, push eggs toward center while tilting skillet to distribute runny parts.")

Continue this motion as the eggs continue to set. Break apart large pieces as they form with your spoon or spatula. You will come to a point where the push-to-center technique is no longer cooking runny parts of the egg. Flip over all the eggs. Allow the eggs to cook 15 to 25 seconds longer. Transfer eggs to serving plates. Add salt and pepper to taste.

A note about milk and water: Soy milk works effectively in the recipe. Whole milk lends an overly milky taste to the eggs. No-fat milk and water can both be used in place of the low-fat milk but the creamy texture of the finished product is reduced.

Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Week of January 18 in review

On Sunday I made a roast chicken from this recipe at la recette du jour blog:
It was very good and I would use it again. The turnips were delicious in the sweet orange sauce. I roasted potatoes in another pan as I wasn't sure if they would be good in the orange sauce. Not in the recipe, but I added an onion to the inside of the chicken as I usually do. He turned out to be a perfect looking chicken as well.

Monday the chicken made it into the soup pot and simmered there.

We had ham with Brussel sprouts on Monday. The remaining ham became quiche on Wedesday and leftovers on Thursday. I normally use broccoli in my quiche (made with Bisquik so no need to make pastry). Instead I wanted to use the spinach we had in the fridge and we both declared it superior to the broccoli.

I had made spagetti sauce on Sunday with a new recipe which called for whole Italian tomatoes. BH picked a can up. It was the worse, most bland sauce I have ever made. I am going back to my old stand by recipe.

Today will be Chciken a la Orange, a truely old family recipe used by all of us since the 70s. Damn, forgot a picture again! The recipe calls for a whole chicken which you then cut up. This is too much work and then you end up with some really boney pieces. I decided to us chicken thighs (had asked BH to buy for something else and he had got a huge pack for $10). I took half of the pack 5 pieces for this meal. I haven't really used chicken thighs in the past and they worked perfectly in this recipe. We don't have chili sauce in the house so I always use ketchup and add Seiracha Hot Chili sauce which you can buy most places. Here is the original recipe, handwritten by me in the 70s, photocopied in the 80s, scanned in 2005.

Friday, January 15, 2010


Wednesday went to head office because we had a town hall in the afternoon. It was actually one of the best I've ever gone to. Entered the Living Arts Centre to the sound of drums. A team building group called the Drum Cafe was on stage drumming and there was an African Drum on every chair!! The SVP spoke for a few minutes and then we spent and hour learning to play the drums.
Other musical instruments were handed out randomly and people were encouraged to use them. Quite good fun and that's coming from someone who has no rhythm!! Then it was wine/beer and finger food. Very nice!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mission to reduce/use pantry/freezer contents

Part of my mission this year is to reduce, use and not waste food.
So far and it is only week 2 of the year and this is based on contents that were there on January 1:

Freezer contents:
Used up the 2 packages of frozen cream cheese, several frozen bananas (still more), frozen cooked ground beef, frozen blueberries (still more), some shredded cheese, made some beef stock from various freezer contents, frozen rice, 2 frozen baguettes, and still working on the loaf of stale bread, it has been used as toast and I have just come across an awesome use for stale white bread at
which I am going to try out this afternoon.

Alas, the opened carton of cream found at the back of the fridge had to be thrown out!

most of the head of cabbage, more of the cranberries, opened box of beef and chicken stock from NYE, can of pumpkin, 1 box of pastry mix can of kidney beans, can of spaghetti sauce, 2 lemons.

Made croutons from sourdough bread going stale.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Eat from the Pantry Challenge

I've been working on this since the new year.

Saturday January 9 dinner

Very simple but satisfying meal of lamb chops, homemade frites and carrots. We had considered also making curried gravy (a la English) for the frites but were lazy. BH bbq'd the lamb chops to perfection. The carrots were mixed with brown sugar and ginger.

Today's cooking agenda

It is cold so a chicken pie is what I have in mind. The chicken is simmering with vegetables to make the stock for tomorrow's chicken soup. I'll take the chicken out, let it cool, take it off the bones and put in oven dish with fresh cut potatoes, vegetables (cooked in stock while waiting for cooling chicken meat)and some thickened stock. Make pastry for it and bake until done.
Carcass of chicken goes back into stock to continue cooking to a really robust stock.

Also have cranberry lemon scones baking in the oven.

On my kick of not wasting food - made sour dough croutons with olive oil, garlic and pepper. They're now in the freezer.

Just a Thought...

Family Trees may contain nuts!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Soup time

Today's concoction will be beef stock (homemade including last week's prime rib bone), kidney beans (stockpiled in basement), ground beef (was frozen in freezer from previous) and cabbage. Added hot chili paste, bay leave, basil, salt and pepper.
Always remember to drain and rinse the icky, cloudy liquid off the beans in the can.

Some Recipes to try...Continues to be updated as I find more!! UPDATE Made these on Feb 28 - good but not overly exciting.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup at

Pate (English style)

Maple Dijon Roasted Brussel Sprouts from

Tuscan barley and chickpea soup over at

Cheddar cheese biscuits, oxtail soup and rosemary parmesan potato wedges at

Mini trifles from

Lancashire hot pot

From the Foodie Bride:
Cranberry cheese cake
Mongolian Beef
Goat cheese muffins
Bacon Cheddar scones

From Kitchen Wench:
Lemon slices
Oven fried chicken

 Potato and Yellow Turnip Gratin with Lemongrass from

Smokey Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Biscuit Dumplings

Braised red and green cabbage

Sliders! recipe over at or the lamb sliders
Bombay Sliders with Garlic Curry Sauce

Homemade bouillon - great idea recipe over at

Must find recipe for pineapple coleslaw like we had in Royal Kona Hotel in Hawaii\ UPDATE made this on Jan 17 for Sunday dinner and it was very good. Turnips turned out nice and sweet. Would do it again. Will post pictures separately.

Some of the goodies at  - BONUS use up the frozen blueberries in freezer AND bananas!  Chicken Piccata UPDATE - MADE ON FEB 14- was good.

Week 1 2010 in Review - Cooking

I did have good intentions of posting daily but work got in the way. I hate that!
Last Sunday did prime rib, roast potatoes, carrots, with homemade gravy (is there any other?) and yorkshire pudding. I did take a picture of the roast before cooking but forgot to take a photo of the finished product. I'll get better at this.
The leftover beef became Monday's dinner cut up with rice, sauce. onions and green peppers. Was ok but the sauce could have been tastier. Will have to find some Chinese recipes.
The rest became lunch.
Tuesday was chips and eggs. such comfort food! Wednesday was pasta with pancetta, but the pancetta smelled so strange to both of us when it was cooking that we decided not to take a chance and threw it out. I must confess I ate bits of it when cleaning up and it tasted fine!
Thursday was lazy as BH was going to be late so we had the remaining tourtiere with homemade gravy and beans.
Tonight we'll order in.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Brit-Style Curry - for Tanya

First, you need to sweat some chopped onions, celery and garlic in oil. In the meantime, season some de-boned chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts, or lamb chunks, with salt and pepper, and dust them with some flour. Add these to the pan. Cook for several minutes, until the meat begins to brown. Next add some vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, cauliflower etc. Stir in a tablespoon of curry paste or a little more (or use one of those Patak jars you can buy), and some turmeric. Cook this for a few minutes ensuring it is mixed well with everything. Now add some chicken stock or lamb stock(preferably home made, otherwise Marigold reduced-salt bouillon is just the ticket. In England you can also get OXO lamb cubes!), and simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes. Next, pour in some coconut milk if you wish, I don't always.. Simmer for about half an hour until the meat is cooked. You should end up with a thickish sauce. Serve over rice with store-bought naan bread.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Simple Ham Dinner

I've decided to give food blogging a try here. Figure it will improve my cooking, photography and writing skills.

We were supposed to eat with friends last night but something came up so we came home. I used what we had and cooked a simple ham steak in the frying pan. Went a little further with the brussel sprouts and the potatoes. Decided to cook the sprouts with bacon and mashed potatoes with roasted garlic. Was all very good.

Some Organization Ideas - Linen or Bathroom Closet

Put medication on a Lazy Susan. Use the back of the closet door to hang freshly pressed bed linens from rods. Put your sheet sets on stackable sweater shelves. (I’m getting some of those.) Organize products in individual baskets for different family members. This makes them portable and easier to access than in drawers.

Battery-operated peel-and-stick light fixtures. Ten dollars! (