Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ham and Vegetable Quiche

Perfect with your favourite vegetables or add a bit of meat. I always have puff pastry on hand and this makes a nice lunch or dinner. Add a fresh salad and you are done.

You will need:

  • 6 mushrooms - sliced
  • 3 small carrots - shreds and fine dice
  • 1 small onion - diced fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic- chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander
  • 2 spring onions/scallions - chopped fine
  • 2-3 slices of ham - chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbsp mascarpone 
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp red pepper/chili jam
  • 1 sheet of rolled all butter puff pastry
  • 1/4 cup aged cheddar - grated
375 degrees F oven temperature  - bake 30 minutes

Step 1: gather all your ingredients. You can make this entirely vegetarian or add a bit of meat.

Step 2: slice mushrooms, peel carrots and then continue to make large shavings with your peeler until you reach the core and then turn and repeat. I then take the core and chop it into tiny dice. I have used some pretty coloured carrots but, you can use any kind. Chop onions. Set aside.

Step 3: chop garlic, parsley, cilantro, spring onions and ham. 

Step 4: in a bowl add ham, chopped parsley, cilantro, eggs, mascarpone (or milk) and Dijon mustard. Whisk until combined well. (the mascarpone is like a cream cheese)

Step 5: in a large pan on medium/high heat add a few tbsp of good extra virgin olive oil and your vegetables. Add salt and pepper and cook until almost completely cooked. Approximately 10 minutes. They will just start to brown. Once cooked remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before adding to egg mix.

Step 6: roll out a sheet of puff pastry. I like to bake mine on the parchment paper it comes rolled in. Place on a sheet pan. 

Step 7: spread a few tbsps of red pepper jelly on the puff pastry. This is sweet and slightly spicy.

Step 8: add your egg mix to the parchment. I have created a bit of a lip all around the pastry to contain the egg mix however, it is fairly dense and the mascarpone keeps it thicker as well so you just need to contain the mix within the crust. I use the edge of the pan and I pinch the corners. Add your grated cheddar cheese to the top and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Step 9: Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the crust and top is nicely browned.

Serve with a simple cool salad and finish with a bit of great quality extra virgin olive oil.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Chicken Mango Salad

This is a perfect lunch or dinner. Warm chicken is served on top of tender greens and fresh fruit. 

You will need: (for two people)
  • 2 small chicken breasts - chopped into small cubes or slices 
  • 1 small onion - grated or chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic - chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger (I always freeze a chunk and grate it frozen - lasts forever!)
  • 1/2 jalapeno chili grated (I always fresh chilies too! -grate from frozen - lasts forever!)
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning 
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon - juiced
  • 5 oz pkg of your favourite tender salad greens/mix
  • 1 mango - peeled and  cubed in small chunks and then leaving one half to be sliced
  • 1 tomato cut into chunks or slices
  • handful of blackberries or blueberries
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp pear or apple vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp soy sauce

Step 1: slice and then cut chicken into small cubes. Place in a small bowl.

Step 2: I grate the onion and if you have any little chunks left just chop fine. Chop garlic.

Step 3: grate fresh or frozen ginger, grate jalapeno pepper, add Italian seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Let marinate up to a few hours or cook immediately.

Step 4: chop tomatoes and mango and prepare your dressing in a small jar. I add all the dressing ingredients and shake. Put the dressing on the salad at the last minute before serving. 

Step 5: just before cooking chicken add lemon juice and mix.

Step 6: add a few tbsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil to a hot saute pan and cook chicken until all the water evaporates and the chicken starts to brown. This may take 10-15 minutes.

Step 7: once chicken is cooked add mango chunks and cook a few more minutes just to heat mango. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary

Step 8: add mixed salad greens to tomatoes and toss (you could also add some white or spring onions) with some of your salad dressing (you may not use it all- keeps in the fridge for a few days)
Toss with your fingers and plate. I then add a few blackberries and the slices of mango to make it all look pretty!

Note: you could top with some sesame seeds or a drizzle more of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Pad Thai

Pad Thai is a great meal which you can make vegetarian, with chicken, shrimp or pork. It is packed full yummy things like rice noodles, tofu and eggs served with lime wedges and toasted peanuts or cashews. You can make it in a traditional wok however, if you don't have one just use a large pan and do it in a few stages. Once all the prep work is done the cooking is done quickly.

You will need:

  • 100 grams of pork, chicken or shrimp - sliced into thin strips/pieces (or make it vegetarian)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed or chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate or chutney
  • 1/2 tsp sambal olek
  • rice noodles 
  • boiling water to cover noodles and soak
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 150 gram extra firm tofu - cut into strips (I used 1/2 a pkg of tofu)
  • 2 scallions/spring onions- sliced fine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
  • coconut oil or peanut oil for cooking
  • cilantro. lime wedges and sweet Thai chili sauce for serving

Step 1: chop and prepare all your ingredients in the order you like. Chop tofu, slice pork, chicken or shrimp if using. Chop scallions and peanuts.

Step 2: Pour boiling water over rice stick noodles and leave according to directions. Mine re-hydrated within a few minutes. Once soaked I like to drain and lightly dress the noodles with a bit of oil to keep them from sticking while you prep the rest of the dish. 

Step 3: In a small dish add the meat - in my case I used pork tenderloin because it cooks quickly and is very tender. Add 1 tsp of sugar and 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, stir and set aside.
 It is a small amount of meat however if you prefer more then you can double the amount but, remember to double the amount of your sauce as well. I typically go very light on the sauce however,  you can double it if you like it more saucy. I will show you in Step 5. 

Step 4: in a small dish or measuring cup whisk your eggs. 

Step 5: in another small dish prepare sauce. Add 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp tamarind concentrate or tamarind chutney and 1/2 tsp sambal olek (double or even triple this sauce if you prefer your Pad Thai to be more saucy)

Step 6: in a very hot non stick pan or wok add 2 tbsp coconut oil and meat, shrimp or chicken. Quickly saute and once cooked remove from pan. This should take 2-3 minutes.

Step 7: add a bit more coconut oil and saute the tofu for a few minutes until lightly browned. Remove and set aside.

Step 8: add a bit more oil and eggs along with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook almost like a crepe, flip over and once cooked remove from heat and roll up and slice into ribbons. Set aside.

Step 9: If you need a larger pan then heat to very hot and a bit of oil, your meat, tofu, egg ribbons, rice noodles, bean sprouts and sauce. Mix with tongs or two wooden spoons to quickly coat everything and reheat.

Serve with chopped cilantro/coriander, lime wedges, chopped peanuts and sweet Thai chili sauce. 
Eat right away. 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Spicy Chicken Soup

This is a slightly spicy chicken noodle soup. Quick to prepare and perfect when you need something nourishing.  This recipe is perfect for two big steaming bowls.

You will need:

  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 onion - chopped into large chunks
  • 1 carrot - washed and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk - washed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic - large rough chopped pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3-4 dried mushrooms (any kind you prefer - I used porcini)
  • 2 lime leaves (mine were dried)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery
  • 1 garlic
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 nests of thin egg noodles
  • 1 tsp sambal olek
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • serve with cilantro more spring onions

Step 1: chop your onion carrot celery and garlic. You are using these vegetables to make a great tasting broth and you will throw them away.

Step 2: add broth to a large pot. You can of course use homemade but, I always have some on hand in my pantry.

Step 3: add your chicken breast, chopped vegetables, a small handful of dried mushrooms and a couple of bay leaves. Add water and salt and pepper.

Step 4: Toss in a few lime leaves if you have them. Cook 20 on medium heat (don't let it boil vigorously just a nice steady simmer) and then strain out vegetables. Shred or chop chicken breast.

Step 5: add strained broth back to the pot, shredded chicken and add nicely chopped vegetables. You can add other vegetables if you have some on hand. I added carrot, celery, garlic and some spring onions/scallions. Let cook on medium heat for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Add a bit of sambal oleck which is rather salty and spicy (always add a bit and taste then add more to your liking) Add a bit of sesame oil and a few nests of thin egg noddles. You can also add a bit of chopped cilantro (you can add more leaves at serving)

The noodles will cook in a few minutes. Once done serve.

Add a few more cilantro leaves or scallions and serve hot.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Carrot - Coconut Soup from Clayburn Village Store and Tea Shop

This soup is simple to make with few ingredients, but the flavour is complex and just a bit spicy.

 The recipe comes from the November issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It is a reader favourite from The Clayburn Village Store & Tea Shop in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. I was there recently and enjoyed a wonderful lunch.

 It is located just 1 hour outside of Vancouver on Clayburn Rd. and is definitely worth the drive. An old fashioned Tea Shop with exceptional soups and sandwiches. It is the perfect place for a delicious lunch or great dessert. I make a special trip there for their warm current scones and the perfect pot of tea. The store also has a tremendous selection of candy and at the back there is a little section with a wonderful array of olive oils, vinegars, mustards and  loads of special pastas and food products. 

The place is quite special! Follow past this recipe for more pictures.

You will need:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (a bit more to thin out later if you like)
  • 1 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Thai-style chili sauce, plus more for serving
  • Fresh cilantro/coriander leaves (for serving)

Thai Sweet Chili Sauce is similar to a plum sauce, but with a bit of heat (not much) and can be found in most Asian sections of any grocery store.

Step 1: gather all ingredients. Peel and chop carrots. My bag is a 2 lb. bag so I used half which was 7 small carrots. Chop onion.

Step 2: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until carrots are softened, 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Stir in broth, coconut milk, and 2 tbsp chili sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and liquid is slightly reduced, 40-45 minutes.

Step 4: Let soup cool slightly, then puree in a blender until smooth. Reheat in a clean saucepan, thinning with water or broth to desired consistency; season with salt and pepper.

Divide soup among bowls (serves 4) and drizzle with a bit more chili sauce and some fresh cilantro leaves. Soup can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool: cover and chill.

The perfect cup of English Tea which you can buy in the back along with their best selling item a fantastic dill mustard from San Francisco.

They have the best warm scones served with double cream and jam!! heaven.

They also serve excellent pies and desserts like this Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Don't you want to sit buy the fire and have a nice pot of tea and something delicious to eat?? I wish I was there right now.

Take a bag and fill it up with your favourite candy.

This is my favourite section of the store. I spoke with the owner for a good solid hour about his passion, balsamic vinegar. He shared his knowledge and memories from wonderful trips to Italy. He explained the various differences to the good quality vinegars and olive oils they sold. He then took out a small wooden box and shared a few precious drops of his personal bottle of best balsamic vinegar. A tiny bottle, extremely aged to perfection and worth over 300 Euros. This vinegar was simply glorious, sweet and thick like magnificent syrup!

The shop is closed each Jan, May and Sept so they can travel to places like Spain and Italy discovering wonderful oils, vinegars and speciality products to sell back in Abbotsford.

 Good food and magical experiences can happen in the most unlikely places! 

Thank you Trish and Bryan for a wonderful lunch and fascinating conversations about balsamic vinegars and your travels. Keep up the good work, I will be back soon!

If you are near Abbotsford you must stop by.