Monday, 29 September 2014

Orange Passion Fruit Rice Pudding for Two


I always find people are reluctant to make a dessert if there is just two people in the house. This is the simplest sweet treat that can easily be doubled if you have a bigger crowd. I love it topped with some fresh fruit, a drizzle of honey and (yes!) a drizzle of buttery mild extra virgin olive oil. If you have ever tried a supreme mild olive oil it has a velvety, fruity taste that perfectly cuts the sweet pudding......Just try it!! I also pour some on my breakfast oatmeal. Leftovers can be made into sweet risotto balls rolled in graham cracker crumbs...like a sweet rice donut.

You will need: for 2 people

  • 1/2 cup of arborio, carnaroli or bomba (risotto rice- short grained)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used 1% fat)
  • 1/4 cup vanilla sugar (that's just sugar infused with vanilla beans or you can use regular sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • another 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 ripe peach - peeled and sliced
  • a few pistachios - chopped (unsalted)
  • a drizzle of honey
  • a drizzle of a mild fruity olive oil like a Lorenzo Biancolilla .....if you dare! (don't use cheap grocery store plain ol' olive oil here)



Step 1: in a large pot add rice, salt, cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups milk. Let the milk just come to a boil (don't walk away!) stir and then turn down to the lowest setting and cover. Leave for 10 minutes.


Step 2: remove lid and stir to loosen any rice from bottom of pot. It has to cook on very low to avoid burning. Add sugar, orange liqueur and another 1/2 cup of milk. Mix well to incorporate. Cover and continue to cook on very low for another 14 minutes until it looks like risotto. It should be creamy and thick and the rice should be tender.


Step 3: Place in individual bowls and serve this warm or room temp with some slices of peaches or mango and a scoop of a fresh passion fruit a drizzle of honey and a bit of some great olive oil.


Step 4:  if you have leftovers you can scoop into balls and roll in some graham cracker crumbs, dip in a whisked egg and another roll of crumbs, then fry in some mild fruity olive oil. They taste like a cinnamon rice donut ball.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Chicken Bahn Meatballs



This is my simple version of a Vietnamese favorite street food. My Bahn Mi (Meatball) sandwich is made with ground chicken and served on a soft roll. Make lots they will want seconds!

You will need:
  • 1 lb ground chicken - dark and white is best
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped white part of lemongrass
  • 3-4 cloves garlic - chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander
  • 1 small fresh chili - chopped finely (use 3/4 in the meatballs and 1/4 in carrot topping)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • enough good extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of pan while cooking the meatballs (you could use peanut or another oil but. I love olive oil so I use it for everything!)
  • a bit of ginger ale to deglaze the pan
  • 2-3 small carrots -sliced into fine matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1.4 of the chopped chilies
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 mini English cucumber - sliced into matchsticks
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh buns
  • more cilantro 
  • lime wedges 
  • sweet Thai chili sauce 


Start with a good quality ground chicken. I like a blend of dark and white meat for a more tender meatball.


Step 1: in a large bowl combine chicken, lemongrass, chopped garlic, cilantro, chili, brown sugar, salt, fish sauce, sesame oil and breadcrumbs. 


mix to combine


Step 2: form into balls and you can store in fridge for a few hours or heat oil and prepare right away.


I used a Planeta Olive oil from Sicily to cook on medium heat until browned and cooked through.


At the last minute I pour over a good glug of ginger ale to add a bit of sweetness and also to deglaze the pan.


Step 3: While the meatballs cook I prepare the vegetable/quick pickle


Chop carrots into think matchsticks


Chop chili, cilantro and cucumber. Add rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to taste.


Serve a few meatballs on a soft roll top with a squeeze of lime,  the vegetables, more cilantro and some Sweet Thai Chili sauce if you like or even a bit of sliced mango!!














Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Parmesan Olive Oil Popcorn


Ok, this is not really a recipe but, a different way to think about making popcorn. You don't need to buy microwave popcorn in those awful little pouches for it to be delicious and made in the microwave. First you need to buy some decent popcorn (which is not easy to find in your grocery store, most is tiny and poor quality) then you need some good extra virgin olive oil (not the stuff you buy in the grocery store for $8, bring out your good stuff!) and some Parmesan cheese. You need to grate it fresh but we are talking four ingredients total!! come on try it.

You will need:

  • a cup of best quality popcorn kernels (not always easy t find!)
  • a container to cook the popcorn in the microwave
  • a drizzle of your best quality extra virgin olive oil - I used Planeta which is a nice blend from Sicily.
  •  sea salt 
  • freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano

Note: I had to try 3 bags of popcorn before I found this one that was pretty good. Most grocery stores in my area carry this giant bag of popcorn but, it is poor quality with tiny popped corn and lots that remained un-popped. I found this one at Whole Foods.


Step 1: gather all your ingredients. Use a container that has a lid and can be microwaved. Add a single layer of kernels on the bottom of the container. No oil required, you pop it dry!! I put it on high for 3 minutes in my microwave but you will have to try it in yours because they are all different machines. I stand by the machine and listen for the popping noise to slow down and then stop the machine as soon as it does. You can also use the time you typically use on those bags you buy from the store as a guide. Don't let it go too far or that smell of burnt popcorn will stick around for ages!!


Step 2: drizzle on some buttery good quality extra virgin olive oil over your popcorn just like you would drizzle butter!! Honestly, it tastes great!! 


Step 3: sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt over the popcorn and grate some fresh Parmesano Reggiano cheese. Mix it in a big bowl with your hands and lick your fingers after.

 Divine! and much better for you than the stuff in the bag that is most times full of crap and preservatives or colouring.





Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chia Coconut Almond Pudding



Despite their tiny size Chia seeds are jammed packed full of good stuff. They are loaded with fibre, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, manganese and other anti-oxidants. This is a super easy pudding that I first tried in Hawaii a few months ago for breakfast. All you do is soak the seeds overnight in almond milk and in the morning top this jelly like caviar pudding with fruit and granola. I like adding blueberries because they pop in your mouth like the Chia seeds. Try it you might just find a new breakfast option.


You will need:
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups almond/coconut milk (in the fridge with the milk)
  • 1 tsp real vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut
  • fresh blueberries
  • a  handful of your favorite granola - I like the crunch of some nuts as well

This is all you need to create a neat breakfast food that requires no cooking at all.


Step 1: pour your measured seeds in a container with a lid. I used a plastic container but feel free to use a glass jar or whatever you like.


Step 2: add almond-coconut milk (or any milk you like!) a bit of vanilla, a splash of maple syrup and a bit of shredded coconut and mix well. Cover the container and leave in the fridge overnight. 


Step 3: in the morning the seeds will have absorbed much of the liquid and the mix will be gelatinous or similar to a tapioca pudding. Stir and place a few scoops in a bowl and top with your favorite fruit and some crunchy granola for a bit of crunch and texture


It is pretty neat and very delicious!!








Sunday, 7 September 2014

Fettucine with Orange Lemon Gremolata


This is a simple pasta dish prepared with a few fresh ingredients. It is a chopped herb compliment and I have made mine similar to a pesto however, it has orange and lemon zest and juices along with garlic and glorious olive oil. Chop a few things, mix and cook some pasta. You just toss over hot pasta and you are instantly enjoying a beautiful day in Sicily or the Amalfi coast! I have used a beautiful Sicilian oil made from Nocellara, Biancolilla and Cerasuola olives. It is fruity and bold with a nice little peppery finish.


You will need:

  • enough Fettucine pasta for your crowd of people - I have used an egg pasta
  • a big handful of flat Italian parsley
  • a big handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic - minced very finely
  • 1/2 lemon zested and juiced 
  • 1/2 orange zested and juiced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil - I used a beautiful Titone from Sicily (fruit and bold!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • more beautiful oil for serving.
Optional 
  • a few microgreens for garnish
  • fresh grated Parmesano Reggiano

Step 1: put the water on to boil and gather your ingredients.


Step 2: grate a bit of lemon and orange zest. 


Step 3: chop your fresh herbs and finely mince your garlic. Add to bowl.


Step 4: squeeze your juices.


Step 5: add your beautiful extra virgin oil. You can add less oil (which is typical) but, since I have more than I will use in one meal I like to add lots of oil for preserving it for a day or two. Add salt and pepper and taste it. If you want to readjust the seasonings or citrus, feel free.


Step 6: drain your pasta (but keep 1/4 cup of the starchy water) and immediately pour the drained pasta back into the hot pot. Spoon a few big scoops of your gremolata over the hot pasta and stir to incorporate well. Add a few tbsp of your pasta water and mix. The water helps to make a nice glossy light sauce. Don't add so much water that it is wet you just want a bit to bring it all together. Taste it and you can add more gremolata if you like. Make sure there is enough salt and pepper.



Add another drizzle of oil, perhaps a few microgreens or a shaving of fresh Parmesan cheese. It is lemony and sweet with a balance from the oil and the garlic.!!! Simple and delish!