Saturday, 30 July 2011

Lamb Curry

With left over roast leg of lamb I thought I would convert it into a quick lamb curry.  

In a wok cook about a medium sized onion until it softens. Add spices.  I use what I have on hand and today that includes: grated fresh ginger, curry powder, mango powder, and masala gama. I didn't add garlic because the roast lamb had fresh garlic slices inserted into the meat that were still there.  

Cook onions and spices until they become fragrant. Add chopped red peppers.  

Cut into pieces and add the roast leg of lamb along with any left over roast potatoes and 1/2 cup of raisins. Add 1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek (Hot chili paste) and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut chutney. Toss, add 1/2 can of coconut milk.  

Heat throughly. Cook brown basmati rice and enjoy!   

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Chicken stock

Have you ever made your own homemade chicken stock? It is really simple, just ask Jamie Oliver. He has a great recipe and you can find it here.

I made it this afternoon and have to give it 2 thumbs up!

Make sure you use a large pot!  I used the large pot that I usually use when making soup and it was not large enough. I still needed to add another 2 L water.  So I transferred it to the big pot that I have for prepping canning jars.

I added a few more carrots and peppercorns than Oliver's recipe said to and I didn't spoil the brew. After four hours at a gentle simmer that house smelled wonderful and I was happy with how it cooked down.

After straining it...

Making the labels...

And ready for the freezer.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Pesto Sauce

The garden that I am able to raid in exchange of some labour (my Dad' pride and joy) is not doing so well this year. It was been hot and an unusually long dry spell that has been withering the plants away. But this morning to my surprise, there was about 4 cups basil leaves at my disposal.

So pesto was on the menu.

Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees F and slowly toast about 1 cup of pine nuts.

Meanwhile, clean and add the basil in the food processor with about six large cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

By the time you have the cheese grated and the basil washed the pine nuts should be ready.

Blend all the ingredients together while slowing pouring 1 cup of good olive oil into the food processor. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper.

And it is that simple!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Carrot Cake

The challenging part about eating a gluten-free diet is letting go of those cherished favourite recipes of the past.

My recipe for Carrot Cake would be the one that comes to mind. The recipe has been with me for a long time. It was graciously shared with me by a lovely lady I worked with in Toronto.

In the past I haven't had the best experience converting my favourite cake recipes into a gluten-free version using all-purpose flour mix. I really like the gluten-free flour at the Bulk Barn that has chickpea and fava bean flour. For the most part it is a nice all-purpose flour but a bit bulky for baking.

Bulk barn also carries an organic quinoa flour that I like and use for pancakes.  So I thought I would try to mix the two together and see if it works.

This is how I converted the recipe.

Carrot Cake

2 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 salt
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped walnuts
2 cups raisins
1/2 cup of oil
1 cup of milk
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  

Mix carrots, walnuts, raisins, oil, eggs, and milk in a bowl.  

Sift in another bowl, sift dry ingredients; flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, cinnamon.  

Add dry ingredients to carrot and liquid mixture and beat.  

Butter and flour baking pans and bake at 250 degrees F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until dry when checked with a toothpick or thin spaghetti noodle.  

Cool the cake on a cake rack while making the icing.  

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
250 grams packages cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar

Mix butter and cream cheese and vanilla.  Then sift icing sugar to batter.  Spread when cake is cool.  

Did it work out?  


Would I change anything?  

Yes, I think the next time I would like to adjust the portions of quinoa and gluten-free all-purpose flour to see if the cake has a lighter texture. Even though it turned out great, I wouldn't mind trying it out with the adjustment.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Raspberry Season is here...

Raspberry season is here and the plants are about to explode with berries with the recent heat that has hit us.

Well, I've been so far stashing them away in the freezer to use in smoothies over the winter months. I just use a simple recipe nothing too difficult, just be creative.

Fruit Smoothies

Frozen Yogurt
Frozen Raspberries
1/2 banana if it is a large one, or 1 small banana
Fresh fruit (depending what I have on hand: mango, pineapple)
Big Splash of juice (I typically use mango or orange juice)
Blend until smooth.

I also discovered that I like cooked rhubarb in fruit smoothies. Just play around with what you have on hand to come up with different flavours.

But I've been thinking about trying something different like a Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. One of my favourite recipes for chicken is done in a port wine sauce with black olives, capers and sundried tomatoes.  I was thinking about something along that line and this is what I came up with.

Chicken in Raspberry Port Chipotle Sauce

1 tablespoon Olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped chipotles
1/2 cup port
2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
dash of liquid smoke
2 teaspoons capers

Prepare the chicken by drenching it with flour (gluten-free all-purpose flour). You can find gluten-free all-purpose flour at the Bulk Barn and Quinao flour also works well.

Brown chicken in a pan and remove from heat.  Set aside.

Prepare the sauce: heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shallots and cook until soft and slightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Add the chipotle chiles and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.  Add the raspberries and cook until soft. Add the raspberry vinegar and port and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the brown sugar and a splash of liquid smoke and bring to a boil.  Taste and adjust seasoning if you like.  Return the chicken to the sauce. Add capers and let the chicken simmer to finish cooking and soak up all that raspberry and port goodness.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Adapting to a gluten-free diet has been difficult, extremely difficult when it came to breakfast.  What to eat?

Would I have to give up my old favourite bacon and egg breakfast stand-by because I couldn't find any good tasting gluten-free bread for my toast?  Thankfully, no.

Grocery stores has caught on to the fact that more and more people are adapting to a gluten-free diet. As a result they have been carrying products to reflect these changing dietary needs.

Let me make a plug for my favourite store.

If you are lucky enough to live in Winnipeg you likely know about Lorenzo's Speciality Foods. If you don't, let me introduce you to this gem. Lorenzo's Speciality Foods is not just a gluten-free grocery store it also a bakery.

They opened their St. Vital bakery and gluten-free grocery store in 2001. Their inspiration for this speciality store was Lorenz who was diagnosed with celiac disease and found it difficult to find gluten-free products and adapting to a gluten-free diet. For years they were selling their home-made gluten-free baking at St. Norbert Market until they opened their shop.

They have a loyal following of customers, you just have to drive by their store at 9:45 Saturday morning to see all the people lined up waiting for the doors to open.

You see, until I discovered Lorenzo's I didn't know what to eat for breakfast. Have you tasted the gluten-free selection of bread typically found in the freezer of the gluten-free selection of grocery stores. Nothing can turn you off from your once-favourite bacon and eggs breakfast. But thankfully nothing comes close to the freshness of Lorenzo's bread.

According to their website, Lorenzo's Speciality Foods added a staff member to their business, a trained baker from Germany and they have been adding more bakery products to their already delicious selection.

Try it out if you are in the neighbourhood or make the drive if you're not, you won't be disappointed. They are located at 1060 St. Mary's Road.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Watermelon Lemonade

This is one of my favourite summer-time recipes. It is so simple to make, and delicious on a hot summer day!

6 cups of diced watermelon
1 cup of water
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lemons.

Blend the watermelon and water until smooth.

Strain the liquid into a pitcher.

Add sugar and lemons.

Chill in the refrigerator or if you can't wait... add a few ice cubes to a glass, pour, and enjoy!

Now what to do with the watermelon pulp?

hmmm... add some freshly squeezed grapefruit and raspberry puree

Pour in the popsicle molds. Hide them in the freeze until the weekend to beat that +30 something temperatures heading our way.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Cozido a Portuguesa

Today's great eats is brought to you by Cozido a Portuguesa.

It is a Portuguese National dish and there are so many versions of it. Just google it and you'll see.

I was first introduced to this dish while on vacation in the Portuguese Island of Sao Miguel. Traditionally, it is a stew made with a cut of beef, chicken, homemade sausage, potatoes, cabbage, and whatever vegetables you would like to add. Basically, it is a stew of various meats and vegetables, so you can be as creative as you like.

In Sao Miguel, at Furnas Lake, this beautiful stew is cooked in the ground by natural boiling water heated by a volcano. Yes, a volcano! It is quite something to see, if you ever happen to be on the island.

But you can recreate it at home too. I think the secret to a good Cozido is the sausage. Luckily, I was born into a family that has the best pork sausage recipe in the word.

You'll need a high-tech smoker to make these. They're hard to come by so if you can't find one at the mall I guess you'll have to go to Safeway for one of those Spanish type chorizo type sausages.

Sorry, I can't give the recipe out, family secret and all.

But I will tell you that home-made pepper paste is one of the key ingredients if you like to make your own sausage.

The spiciness of the sausage is what give the absolutely delicious flavour to the Cozido.

Today's Cozido was quite simple: sausage, chicken breasts, roast beef, potatoes. And then some boiled peas done on the side using some of the liquid that the other ingredients were cooked in. I doubt you have had meat this tender and delicious. Make it anyway you like with your choice of vegetables but try it. I don't think you will be disappointed.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Gluten-Free Tiramisu

This afternoon I enjoyed three red jewels. Yes! The raspberries are almost ready to pick. And that started me thinking about my favourite dessert, Tiramisu.  Now you're probably thinking what do raspberries and Tiramisu have to do with each other. Well, let me explain.

First, you need to start with 6 eggs, separated and 6 tablespoons of sugar.

In a large bowl, beat the yolks and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in colour.

Beat the egg whites separately until stiff and gently fold into the egg yolk mixture.

 Stir 1 container mascarpone cheese, approximately 2 cups, with a fork or a spatula to soften and add to to egg mixture. Stir until the texture is smooth and consistent.

Set cream aside.
 Combine 1 1/2 cups brewed Free Trade Espresso with 1/2 cup of your favourite liqueurs in a bowl.

Dip the gluten-free lady fingers, one at a time, into the mixture and arrange as a layer in a 9-by-13-inch cake pan.

But drats!

Canada's Food Agency won't let these de-lish gluten-free ladyfinger cookies from Europe onto Canadian store shelves because the packaging is not in French.  Yeah, seriously.

So now we'll have to make some Gluten-Free Ladyfingers

3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons organic cane sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and grease with butter.  

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gradually add in sugar until glossy and smooth. Fold in lightly beaten egg yolks. Sift flour over mixture and gently fold in until all of the flour is incorporated. Using a pastry bag, pipe batter onto parchment paper in "fingers" about 5" long and 1" wide, leaving about an inch between each cookie. Sprinkle powdered sugar over piped batter, tapping the cookie sheet to remove any excess.

Let sit for a couple of minutes to let the sugar soak into the batter. Bake in a closed oven for 10 minutes, rotate cookie sheets and bake for 3 more minutes. Remove the sheets while still hot and cool on rack. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.   

 Now where were we...  

 Oh yes!  Layering.

Drip the gluten-free ladyfingers in your Free-trade espresso and liqueur mixture and layer into a 9-by-13-inch cake pan. Top with 1/2 of the cream, a layer of fresh raspberries.

Trust me, Raspberry Tiramisu is to die for!

And a layer of good quality Free-trade dark chocolate shavings.

Add a second layer of gluten-free ladyfingers.

Top with the remaining cream, another layer of fresh raspberries, if you like, and chocolate shavings.

 Chill overnight before serving.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Sweet Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

This is my favourite tomato sauce recipe when I have an abundance of sweet red peppers.

Start with a splash of olive oil and then add white onions and sweet red peppers. Cook until soft, depending on how much onions and red peppers it can take anywhere from five to ten minutes.

I had a lot to work with so this became a two-pot job. Add fresh garlic, I like a lot, when the onions and red peppers are starting to soften.

When the vegetables are soft add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and a wee bit of sugar to balance off the acidity of the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer. Simmer the sauce until thickened.

Fresh basil from the garden! But if you don't have fresh basil on hand, dried will do.

Season the sauce with fresh basil, freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with gluten-free organic corn pasta and enjoy!