Saturday, 30 July 2011

Sourdough Rye with Raisins and Walnuts

This is an interesting combo - the tang and earthiness of sourdough rye with the sweetness of raisins and walnuts. Some fellow Mellows found the sweetness disconcerting when their palates would normally expect caraway with rye or something equally as savoury. But I loved the Waldorf-ish addition to the loaf. The bread goes great with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and either tuna or chicken salad. Also makes great toasting bread, slathered with salted butter. Mmm, salted butter...

Sourdough Rye with Raisins and Walnuts
adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
for the Mellow Bakers

The night before:

Medium rye flour - 9.6 oz
Room temperature water - 7.7 oz
Mature sourdough starter - 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp

Mix sourdough ingredients together and let ripen on counter, covered, overnight - 14-16 hours.

The next day:

Final dough
High gluten flour - 1 lb, 4.8 oz
Medium rye flour - 1.6 oz
Room temperature water - 14.1 oz
Salt - 1 Tbsp
Instant, dry yeast - 1½ tsp
Sourdough - all

Raisins - 1 cup
Walnuts - 1 cup

Add all final dough ingredients, except raisins and walnuts, into your stand mixer bowl.
Mix on low for 3 minutes to combine.
Add raisins and walnuts, mix 3 more minutes on second speed.
Dump dough out onto floured board and knead gently until you have a nice, smooth ball.
Place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Let rise 1 hour.

Divide dough into two pieces.
Shape each piece into a loaf and let rise (seam side up) in well floured bannetons or brotforms.
Rise 1 hour.
Preheat oven, with stone, to 460°F.
Bake loaves for 15 minutes at the high temperature, then reduce it to 430°F and bake another 20-25 minutes.
Let cool on wire racks.
This bread has been Yeastspotted!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

There's Always Room for Jello!

Too hot to bake and you've had ice cream for dessert 234323 times in a row? (Not that there's anything wrong with that)

These summer fruit jellies are delicious and fun to make and you don't even have to turn on your oven. You do have to pop the cork on some sparking wine, but I'm sure you have a handle on that by now. Just sayin'.

You can set the wine-soaked jellies in small shallow dishes for unmoulding, or do as I did - set them up in champagne flutes for delicious drama.

Now you can have your wine and eat it too. With berries. Or cherries. What can be better than that?

Summer Fruit Jellies
Jamie Oliver
for IHCC - We be chillin'


• a few handfuls each of blueberries and raspberries (add in some wild strawberries, if you can find them!)
• 4 beef gelatine leaves
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar
• 400ml Prosecco sparkling wine or Champagne
• fresh mint leaves, to serve

Make these in individual moulds, little tea cups or coffee cups, which are a great way of transporting them to your picnic.

Fill whatever moulds you are using (egg cups, cappuccino or espresso cups or tea cups or dariole moulds) three-quarters full of berries. Put them in the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes until soft. Pick them out of the water and shake any excess water off. Place them in a bowl and cover with 150ml hot (but not boiling) water and the sugar. Stir to dissolve.

When the gelatine water has cooled to room temperature, add the Prosecco or Champagne, stir well and pour over the fruits in the chilled moulds. Return to the fridge to set.

When the jellies are ready, dip the bottom of each one in a little hot water to melt it very slightly and then turn out on to a plate. Scatter with a few mint leaves before serving.

My changes: I used fresh cherries, because I had some on hand and I am all about using what you've got! Same goes for the sparkling rosé.

What I learned: Fizzy wine fizzes up even more when you add sugar. Use a fairly large container and stir when you add it.

Gelatine: I have never seen sheets here, I use the powder. Bloom it on ¼ cup of wine, add ¼ cup hot water, stir. If very hot, let cool a bit. Add to the sugared wine and stir. Pour over berries.
I always feel like a bit of an oaf using gelatine, but it always works out anyway. Apparently it's very forgiving.

Tricky: I decided how much wine I would need by filling up one of the cherry-filled glasses with water. Then I emptied the water out into a measuring glass. Then I multiplied by 4 for the 4 glasses, bumping the amount up slightly to account for any discrepancy in the glasses/fruit ratio. I got 2 cups. The sachet of Knox powder sets two cups, so all was well.

Lush: An open bottle of sparkling wine, half used, means that the chef gets to drink the rest.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it!

And Other Kitchen Projects
by Karen Solomon
Hardcover, 160 pages
also available as an e-book

It's no secret that I am a big fan of do-it-yourself, especially in the kitchen. Homemade condiments, breads, snacks and desserts are not only healthier (none of those pesky fourteen-letter ingredients that were made in a lab), but infinitely tastier and imbued with the joy of having made them in your own little kitchen.

Karen Solomon has followed up her immensely popular Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It with Can it, Bottle it, Smoke it - 75 recipes to get you into the kitchen and whipping up your own DIY kitchen projects. Karen includes a little bit of everything in her books, a real panorama to whet your appetite and open the doors to homemade goodness. Once you get going, you'll be hooked!

With this book you'll be able to make:

1 Jam It
Carrot Almond Jam, Apricot Orange Jam, Quince Paste, Plum Catsup, Apple Cranberry Fruit Cheese, Apple Pectin 

2 Spoon It
Cornflakes, Puffed Rice, Insanely Healthy Nuggets, Sesame Rosemary Granola, Apple–Candied Fennel, Seed Granola, PLUS: Dried Apples, Energy Balls!     

3 Stock It
Canned Tomatoes, Preserved Lemons, Vanilla Extract, Worcestershire Sauce, Vinegar, PLUS: Infused Vinegar, Basic Barbecue Sauce, Smoke and Chocolate Spice Rub, Curry Powder, PLUS: Chicken Curry, Miso
4 Pickle It
Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish, Ploughman’s Pickle, Miso Pickles, Pickled Grapes    

5 Bake It
Bagels, English Muffins, Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Buns, Pizza Dough, PLUS: Pizza, Cakes in a Jar    

6 Stalk It
Masa, Corn Tortillas (Two Ways), Tortilla Chips and Tostadas, PLUS: Simple Salsa, Tamales (Two Ways),  PLUS: Fillings for Tamales  

7 Roast It
Coffee Beans, Sweet and Spicy Nuts, Cacao Nibs, PLUS: Cacao Nib Brittle, Roasted Chestnuts

8 Hunt It
Corned Beef, Pastrami, Hot Dogs, Corn Dogs   

9 Smoke It
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, Smoked Almonds, Smoked Apples and Pears, Smoked Cheese

10 Munch It
Soft Pretzels, Cheese Weasels, Fried Pork Rinds, Crunchy Lentil Snacks, Caramel Popcorn 

11 Sweeten It
Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, Caramel, PLUS: Caramel Apples, Dulce de Leche, Candied Citrus Peel, Crystallized Ginger   

12 Milk It
Almond Milk, Rice Milk, PLUS: Horchata, Coconut Milk (Two Ways), Soy Milk, PLUS: Sweetened, Flavored Soy Milks, Tofu     

13 Slurp It
Strawberry Black Pepper Syrup, PLUS: Strawberry Black Pepper Soda (Two Ways), Pineapple Mint Syrup, PLUS: Pineapple Mint Soda (Two Ways), Blueberry Lemon Syrup, PLUS: Blueberry Lemon Soda (Two Ways), British-Style Ginger Beer, Tepache, Apple Cider

14 Freeze It
Orange Vanilla Cream Pops, Salted Margarita Cream Pops, Berry Cabernet Pops, Strawberry Ice Cream (Without an Ice Cream Maker), PLUS: Chocolate and Vanilla (and Other) Ice Creams, Ice Cream Cones, Ice Cream Sandwiches    

In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we went straight for a bread! I love English Muffins and Karen Solomon proves that they are easier to make at home than to drive somewhere to pick them up. Tastier too! We served ours with poached eggs and cheese sauce. I'm getting hungry for more just writing about them.

We've all made these before, right? Grape juice in the popsicle forms. Okay, that was fine for when we were kids, but Karen has us making Berry Cabernet Pops. Yep, there's wine in them there popsicles! Perfect treat for this weather. Or any weather. Wine goes with everything. ;-)

Plum Catsup anyone? I had to make this as: #1, I am a condiment fiend, #2 plums are on sale and I have lots. Deliciously sweet and savoury at the same time, it's perfect for chicken or pork.

And below is the beautiful Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish. Capture these favourites while they are at the peak of season and you have a delicious condiment to brighten up your colder months. Like sunshine in a bottle. Why don't you try it yourself?

sweet pepper and corn relish
by Karen Soloman author of Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It
Makes about 6 cups (3 pints)
Time commitment about 1 day

I drink the brine on this one. I kid you not. This is a super old-fashioned pickle so self-consciously retro that it’s modern again—ready for its place on your Aunt Bitty’s relish tray alongside the three-bean salad and the pickled beets. Just FYI, I actually prefer frozen corn to fresh here because—well, forgive my shallowness, but frozen corn is just prettier than anything I’ve ever been able to cut off the cob, and the strong flavors in this mix don’t merit the extra effort. (Oh, and thanks to my intern, Sam, who showed me how awesome this is baked with salami on a pizza.) Note that it’s natural for the brine to get cloudy as the corn releases its starch.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3¾ cups diced red bell pepper (3 or 4 peppers)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
1¾ cups diced red onion (1 very large onion)
1½ cups apple cider vinegar
1½ cups sugar
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

Instructions Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and salt and sauté for approximately 12 minutes, stirring often, until the peppers soften and begin to caramelize. Add the corn, stirring to combine, and cook the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until the corn is hot. Turn off the heat and add the onion to the pan; stir well.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, and turmeric and stir just until the sugar
dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Pack the vegetables tightly into 3 clean pint jars, and pour the warm brine over the vegetables to cover completely, discarding any unused brine. To can the relish for  longer storage, process the jars according to the instructions below. Otherwise, cover tightly, and let the relish sit at room temperature for 1 day before moving it to the refrigerator.

How to Store It: Refrigerated, this will keep for up to 6 months. Canned, it will keep for up to 1 year.

How to Can It: Place an empty canning pot or stockpot on the stovetop (don’t turn on the heat yet). Place as many jars in the pot as will fit without touching one another (you may have to process the jars in multiple batches). Fill the pot with cold water to cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Put the lid on the pot and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil and let the jars boil for 15 minutes.

Put a kitchen towel on your counter. Turn the heat off and carefully remove the jars from the hot water
bath with tongs or canning tongs and place them on the towel (don’t let the jars touch). You will likely hear some of the jar lids pop, indicating that they have been properly sealed (they can still be properly sealed even if you don’t hear the pop). After the jars have cooled for about 10 minutes, check the seals: press down on the center of each lid; it should not bounce back. If it does, move the jar to the refrigerator once it’s cool and eat within a week.

Excerpted from Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It by Karen Solomon Copyright © 2011 by Karen Solomon. Excerpted by permission of Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Browse the book here:

Monday, 25 July 2011


It's thunderstorming here this morning and I am trying to type with a nervous shih tzu on my lap. This means that I have already accidentally posted this article with only the photos, but I'm sure all parents of nervous little doggies will understand.

Before we retreat to the relative calm of the basement, I wanted to share the dreaded Vollkornbrot with you.

Dreaded, maybe only by me, as the first time I tried this bread three years ago it was a serious failure. Tooth-cracking failure, to be specific. I know, the shame of it all.

But I have been redeemed in the land of vollkornbrot, by Jeffrey Hamelman's recipe. And if I can do it, you know you can do it. Below is the recipe, beautifully simplified by master bread baker Jude of Apple Pie, Patis, and Paté. It takes several days. It's worth it.

If you love those deep, dark, dense ryes with lots of chew, this is the bread for you. Plus, it keeps a good long time in the fridge. If you can stop yourself from munching on it. Great for canapés, sliced thin and loaded with flavourful toppings.

If you need us, we'll be in the basement. The lights are starting to flicker, Jedi is not pleased.

Happy baking!
German 100% Whole Grain Rye Bread

adapted from Jeffrey Hamelman's Bread
by Jude of Apple Pie Patis and Paté

makes one 13- x 4-inch loaf, about 4.5 pounds before baking

For the Rye Sourdough:
pumpernickel flour    3 2/3 cups  
water    2 cups   
sourdough starter    2½ tbsp   

For the Rye Chop Soaker:
rye chops or cracked rye    2 2/3 cups  
water    1½ cups   

Rye Sourdough and Rye Chop Soaker Directions:

Make the rye sourdough. Pour the water over the sourdough starter and stir to dissolve. Add the pumpernickel flour and mix until thoroughly hydrated.

Make the rye chop soaker. In a separate bowl, stir together the rye chops and water.
Cover the bowls and let stand at room temperature for 14 to 16 hours.

For the Final Vollkornbrot Dough:
pumpernickel flour    2 1/2 cups  
water, warm    1/2 cup   
salt    1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp 
instant yeast    2 tsp   
sunflower seeds    1/2 cup 
all of the rye sourdough, minus 2 1/2 tbsp           
all of the rye chop soaker           

Vollkornbrot Directions:

Mix. In a large bowl, mix together all of the final dough ingredients, just until thoroughly hydrated and a shaggy ball of dough is formed.

Continue mixing in the bowl for about 10 minutes, either by hand or using the first speed of your stand mixer. The dough will have weak gluten development and will be very sticky.

Desired Dough Temperature. 85ºF / 29ºF (slightly warm to the touch)

Bulk Ferment. 10 to 20 minutes at 82ºF / 28ºF (slightly warmer than room temperature)

Prepare a Pullman loaf pan by oiling and dusting with rye meal or pumpernickel flour.

Shape into 13- x 4-inch logs. Heavily dust your hands and work surface with whole rye flour for easier handling. Gently place the log in the oiled Pullman loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap.

Final Proof. 50 to 60 minutes at 82ºF / 28ºF.

Preheat Oven. 470ºF / 245ºC

Steam. 1 cup of boiling water poured into a heavy steam pan, preferably cast iron.

Bake for 15 minutes at 470ºF / 245ºC. Open the oven doors to let the steam out, lower the heat to 380ºF / 195ºC, and bake for another 60 minutes. Towards the end of the 60 minute baking time, prepare a sheet pan.

Remove the bread from the pan and immediately place on the sheet pan. Return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

Cool. Let the loaves cool completely on a wire rack at room temperature. Wrap the vollkornbrot in linen and store in a cool draft-free place. Let rest for about 48 to 72 hours before slicing.

Storage. Vollkornbrot will keep for several weeks wrapped in plastic and refrigerated.

This bread has been Yeastspotted!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Plum and Cardamom Conserve

I hate to sound like the gal who always complains about the weather... But seriously, wake me up when it's September.

Outside seems distinctly inhospitable and my natural instincts to nest are in full swing. Preferably in the basement, where it's cool.

But I do still get drawn to the kitchen, and have even been known to, gasp, boil things in this heat. Like big things. Like steaming kettles. I have a problem, I realize.

I also know I'm not alone in this. Funny how canning season is always in the hottest months. Remind me to can some winter stuff this year. Wait, what grows in Canada in the winter? Pickled icicles might not cut it.

But if I can what's in season now, I can enjoy it in the winter. While I look out the window from the comfort home. And wait for summer.

This is a delicious plum conserve that you can try at home if you have a good bounty of plums.
They call for Italian prune plums, I have no idea what they are and used regular dark plums. My changes: I upped the lemon juice a bit, used the zest as well, used amaretto instead of brandy and used little cardamom seeds (from the inside of the pods), about 1 tsp, which I put in right at the beginning. I think my changes really added to the dish, and balanced the sweetness nicely.

Italian Prune & Cardamom Conserve

From The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders

The term conserve typically refers to a jam involving both fresh and dried fruit, often with the addition of liquor, spices, and nuts. These preserves are traditionally served alongside savory dishes or with cheeses, as well as for breakfast. In this delicious fall conserve, Italian prune plums are accentuated by dried currants and a generous splash of plum brandy.

4 pounds pitted and halved Italian prune plums
1 1/2 pounds white cane sugar
3 ounces strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces slivovitz or other dry plum brandy
2 ounces dried currants
1/2 teaspoon white cardamom seeds

Day 1
Place the prune plums, sugar, lemon juice, slivovitz, and currants into a glass or hard plastic storage container. Stir well to combine, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 48 to 72 hours, stirring once each day.

2 to 3 Days Later
Place a saucer with five metal teaspoons in a flat place in your freezer for testing the jam later.

Transfer the plum mixture to an 11- or 12-quart copper preserving pan or wide nonreactive kettle. Place the cardamom seeds into a fine-mesh stainless steel tea infuser with a firm latch and add it to the mixture.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently with a large heatproof rubber spatula. Continue to cook, monitoring the heat closely, until the conserve thickens, 35 to 45 minutes. Skim off any surface foam with a large stainless steel spoon. Scrape the bottom of the pan often with a heatproof rubber spatula, and decrease the heat gradually as more and more moisture cooks out of your conserve. For the final 10 to 15 minutes of cooking, stir the conserve nearly constantly to prevent burning.

To test the conserve for doneness, carefully transfer a small representative half-spoonful of conserve to one of your frozen spoons. Replace the spoon in the freezer for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove and carefully feel the underside of the spoon. It should be neither warm nor cold; if still warm, return it to the freezer for a moment.

Nudge the conserve gently with your finger; if it seems thickened and gloppy when you nudge it, it is either done or nearly done. Tilt the spoon vertically to see how quickly the conserve runs; if it runs very slowly, and if it has thickened to a gloppy consistency, it is done. If it runs very quickly or appears watery, cook it for another few minutes, stirring, and test again as needed.

 When the conserve is ready, remove the tea infuser, then skim any remaining foam and discard. Pour the conserve into sterilized jars and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions or as directed on page 52. (Or this page from Simply Canning)

Approximate Yield: five to six 8-ounce jars
Shelf Life: 18 months


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Armchair Book Review: I've Never Met an Idiot on the River

I've Never Met an Idiot on the River 
Reflections on Family, Fishing, and Photography
by Henry Winkler
Hardcover, 144 pages

There's something about the stars we grew up with, that makes them seem almost like friends. Maybe even a little more so in this case, as my husband bears some resemblance to the (recent) Henry Winkler. Indeed there is a certain Asian cashier in Home Depot who is convinced they are one and the same. 

But, beyond the Fonz, Winkler has had an interesting and varied career. Acting, producing and directing, of course, but did you know that he also has a long series of children's books? His novels' hero has learning disabilities, something he suffered with as well- before they identified such barriers in schools. 

I've Never Met an Idiot on the River gives intimate glimpses into Henry Winkler the husband, father, celebrity, fly-fisher and, most importantly, human being. Personal anecdotes and heartfelt confessions, wisdom that he has picked up along the way, and even his own photography, grace the pages of this book. 

I'd say it is a perfect gift for a special dad or husband, but really there is something for everyone.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Plum Gorgeous! Ham Panini with Fig Relish; Cherry Clafoutis!

We Canadians know full well to appreciate fruiting season. Not just appreciate but long for, relish in, and grieve when over. Oh sure, we rely on global neighbours for an off-season fix here and there, but there is something magical about fresh in-season fruit. Beyond primal feasting on juicy fruit flesh, there are many different ways to enjoy nature's bounty, and even preserve some for the leaner months.

Romney Steele grew up in her family's world famous Nepenthe restaurant in California, and her previous book My Nepenthe was part memoir, part cookbook, and wildly popular. Plum Gorgeous is the fruit-laden follow-up and is, as advertised, a gorgeous book.

Filled with full-page colour photographs and poetic asides, Plum Gorgeous is a delight for the senses. Romney Steel offers up 60 recipes, both savoury and sweet, that raise orchard fruits to a whole new level.

A love affair with nature's sweetness. 

In our KitchenPuppy test kitchen, we whipped up the Fig Relish and Ham Sandwiches and Cherry Clafoutis for dessert. The panini were delightfully complex and balanced sweet and savoury wonderfully. We used the leftover fig relish for crostini with cheese during the week. Absolutely delicious. And the Cherry Clafoutis is a cakey/custardy French dish in which the batter souffles up around tons of gorgeous fresh cherries. What could be better than that?

Plum Gorgeous
Recipes and Memories from the Orchard

by Romney Steele
Hardcover, 192 pages

Fig Relish and Ham Sandwiches (panini)
From Plum Gorgeous

A comforting grilled ham and cheese sandwich turns divine with a figgy relish and other quality ingredients. You can interpret this sandwich any way you like, but I am fond of it with thin slices of prosciutto and buttery Toma cheese, a semi-hard cow’s milk cheese from the Aosta region of Italy. Sprinkle with a dusting of Parmesan just before serving. The relish can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator, and makes more than you will need. Reserve any extra to enjoy with cheese and wine in the afternoon. It will keep for several months in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 sandwiches, serving 2 to 4

2 artisanal rolls, or 4 slices ciabatta bread
Sweet butter
Toma cheese, sliced or grated
Several thin slices prosciutto
Basil leaves
Fig Relish (recipe follows)
Olive oil or butter
Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Fig Relish
Makes about 1 cup

1 basket Kadota or Mission figs (about ½ pound), stemmed and peeled
½ cup sugar
½ cup apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seed
Pinch salt
About 1 teaspoon dry mustard (optional)

Slice the rolls lengthwise and spread a little sweet butter on the bottom halves. Layer each with some cheese, a few slices of prosciutto, and a couple basil leaves along with a tussle of arugula. Spread a generous amount of fig relish on the top half of each roll, then place on top of the layered half. Gently press down to adhere.

Heat a cast-iron pan over medium-low heat and lightly brush with olive oil or a little butter. Add one or two sandwiches at a time and cook until lightly browned on one side. Brush the tops with a little more oil and turn over. Place a pot lid or heavy plate on top and gently press down as they cook. Cook until the cheese is melted and the roll is nicely browned and crusty. To serve, slice each sandwich in half on the diagonal and dust with a small amount of Parmesan cheese.

Coarsely chop the figs and place in a small pot with the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, salt, and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer, stirring on occasion, for 20 minutes, until it resembles a loose jam. Stir in the dry mustard to taste, if using. Transfer to a glass bowl or jar. Refrigerate once cool.

Cherry Clafoutis
From Plum Gorgeous

Sweet black cherries baked in custard is a specialty of the Limousin region of France; it’s a popular no-fuss dessert served warm or cold, dusted with a little sugar. Traditionally the cherries are left whole so the pits imbue a little of their almond flavor. This is how I’ve always done it too, though you can surely pit them (and my daughter thinks I should); in fact most people do. Try making the clafoutis with other stone fruit like plums and peaches or, in the fall, fresh figs or dried prunes soaked first in brandy for a twist.

Serves 6 to 8

4 cups sweet cherries
½ cup turbinado or Demerara sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons kirsch
6 eggs
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup crème fraîche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons flour
Pinch salt
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Wash and stem the cherries and pit if you prefer; pat dry. In a bowl, toss the cherries with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the kirsch, more or less as you like to taste. Set aside at room temperature for at least 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Generously butter a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or earthenware dish. Scatter the cherries in the bottom of the dish.

Combine the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, the eggs, milk, crème fraîche, vanilla, flour, and salt in a blender. Blend to combine thoroughly; strain if necessary to remove any lumps of flour, then whisk back in by hand.

Pour the custard over the cherries. Bake the clafoutis for 35 to 40 minutes, until puffy and golden and just set in the middle. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, before serving.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Moosewood Mondays: Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon

Got zucchini?

Whether you grow it, buy it, or steal it from your neighbour's garden. (Or, more likely, find baskets of it on your doorstep) Zucchini is the summer gift that keeps on giving. Ripening with such profusion to make even the darkest of thumbs feel triumphant, its generosity knows no end. Okay, winter would be considered an end, but for now it's zucchini season! Let's make pasta.

This is a simple and delicious way to serve your zucchini. For extra thin slices, use a food processor or mandolin.

Spaghetti with Zucchini and Lemon
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home


1 lb spaghetti or linguini

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the pasta
6 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 small, tender zucchini, sliced thin (about 4+ cups)
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
juice of two lemons, divided
zest of one lemon
6 large fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
2 cups Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, shredded on a Microplane, divided

Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling well-salted water.
Meanwhile, heat up the oil in a large frying pan on med/high. Toss in your zucchini and garlic and let get a little colour, a little softened. Season with salt and pepper.
Add half the lemon juice and all the zest, as well as the basil. Adjust seasoning to taste and let rest for a moment while you strain your pasta.
Strain pasta and toss in a big bowl with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil, the other half of the lemon juice, and one cup of the grated cheese.
Serve: Twirl some pasta onto a plate or bowl, top generously with glorious medallions of zucchini and cheese.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

Jamie's Barbecued Chicken

I don't know if you remember me sharing last year that I finally got over my fear of the grill. This makes me immensely proud. I don't know what it was that made me afraid of it, maybe electric stoves have dulled our natural desires for fire. Maybe I'm just a weenie. We'll never know.

Now I don't have to wait for my husband to come home and grill. Seriously, in this day and age, how many women wait for the man to fire up the Q? Far too many. It's our turn to stand outside and survey the land, beer in hand, while we tend to the flames and the morsels crisping up within them. Unless it's cold or raining, in which case the men can have the grill back. My desire to grill dissipates in snow.

And barbecue sauce? Pfft. We don't need to buy it, we can make it! Check out Jamie Oliver's sauce for chicken, below. The smoked paprika is the key. If you don't have any, go buy some. You won't be sorry.
And when you make this sauce? Make lots. I'm a saucy gal and I at least doubled it.

Also, don't get bogged down by exact measurements. This is the kind of recipe that you can eyeball. And adjust to taste. Now get grilling!

Barbecued Chicken
for IHCC Potluck
servings 4


• 1 orange
• 1 dried chile
• 1 ½ heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
• 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon or English mustard
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 3 tablespoons ketchup
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1/16 teaspoon sea salt and
• freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 4 x 5-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts

Equipment list
• Barbecue or grill pan
• Microplane or grater
• Measuring spoons
• Shallow bowl
• Small bowl
• Plastic wrap
• Tongs
• Spoon
• Plate

Everyone loves barbecued chicken. It’s a feature of pretty much every barbecue all over the country. Here’s how to make it crisp on the outside and cooked in the middle, just the way it should be.

Jamie’s top tips
• This marinade can be used on other lean proteins such as shrimp, pork tenderloin or flank steak. If the outside of the meat or fish looks a dry, brush a little of the marinade over it whilst cooking.
• When zesting citrus fruit, use a Microplane or similar zester so you only remove the colored zest without digging into the bitter white pith underneath.
• When grilling, you need to keep control the heat really carefully so the food cooks through properly before it starts burning on the outside. If your meat starts to char soon after putting it on the grill or in the pan, move it to a cooler part of the grill or turn the heat right down.
• If you’re doing this on the stovetop, it will work best in a well-seasoned cast-iron or non-stick grill pan.
• It’s good to have one side of the barbecue with fewer coals so it’s cooler. The coals are ready when the flames have died down.

To prepare your chicken
1. If barbecuing, light the grill now so the flames have died down and it’s ready when you’re ready to cook.

2. Finely grate the orange zest into a shallow bowl. Crumble in the dried chile. Add the paprika, mustard, honey, ketchup and a splash of olive oil. Season with a small pinch each of the salt and pepper and mix well. Spoon out a few tablespoons of the marinade and set it aside.

3. Add the chicken breasts to the bowl with the remaining marinade. Turn them over in the marinade so they’re well coated, cover with plastic wrap and leave to sit for 5 to 10 minutes or until the grill is ready. (I marinated a couple of hours)

To cook and serve your chicken
4. If using a grill pan, put it over high heat now to get it screaming hot.

5. Use tongs to transfer your chicken breasts onto the grill or grill pan. For chicken breasts about 1 inch thick, cook for about 5 minutes on each side, turning every minute and basting as you go, or until golden and cooked through. Spoon a little of the reserved sauce over each breast.

Serving suggestions:
Lovely served with the evolution potato salad and a fresh green salad, or delicious sliced in sandwiches in some good-quality bread. Add some leafy lettuce and sliced tomato to give it a good crunch.

Tips from the dietitian:
• Citrus zest, including orange, lemon, and lime gives a dish loads of flavor without adding many calories. Chile also does the same job. Make your marinades ahead of time and store it in a jar so you don’t get tempted to use bottled sauces.
• Skinless chicken breasts are a lean protein - cook up some extras to use in sandwiches and salads for lunch.