Friday, April 22, 2011


Well what can I say.....I can come up with lots of reasons as to why I have ignored my blog but mainly the fact that we have moved our whole live further north has taken quite a lot of our time up. We have spent the last three months organising the house, buying new furniture, settling into our new jobs, forming new friendships and now that Spring is starting to emerge we have been tidying the garden. The list of jobs seem endless but we are both thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

I have not forgotten my blog on may occasion I have thought about taking the odd photo of what we have had for dinner but too be honest it would have been a slap dash post. We have eaten many roasts, devoured many slow cooked meals (Butter Chicken, Beef Stew, BBQ Ribs) scoffed our way through untold hearty cooked brunches and nibbled on continental breakfasts (pan au chocolates, fruit salads). The amount of food is astronomical!!! I sort of lost my excitement with my cooking but it is slowly creeping back in.

This Easter weekend is probably the second meal where lots of preparation has been required. We have some friends staying with us for the Easter weekend from Vancouver. My excitement for cooking has come back and I am planning and cooking meals for the fun weekend to be had. Our friends should be arriving this evening and after a long 8 hour drive I though a simple spaghetti bolognaise and caeser salad would go down nicely (Yes I know we should be eating fish but spag bol rules). The big meal of the weekend is Easter Sunday. I thought a buffet style meal would be nice, baked ham, potato gratin, veggie dips and curried coleslaw followed by a blueberry pie saturated in thick whipping cream. Mmm roll on Sunday. I promise I will post pictures. 

Happy Easter

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Banoffee Pie

This has to be the most easiest pudding ever to make. The pictures unfortunatley do not do it justice. You can't beat bananas, cream, caramel. They are a match made in heaven and the taste is oh so worth it. Ian and I devoured the whole pie in one evening. The best thing of all there is really no cooking involved at all.

Banoffee Pie
2 Bananas
1 Cup Whipping Cream
1 Small tin Condensed Milk
Store bought Graham Cracker base

Firstly bring a large pan of water to a gently simmer. Add the tin of condensed milk (do not open the tin) to the pan ensuring the water covers the whole tin and continue to simmer for 4 hours (Don't worry it won't would if we were boiling the tine hard).The tin has to be submerged in the water for the full four hours. After four hours remove the tin from the pan and allow to cool slightly. Slice the bananas and layer one of them onto the graham cracker base and then pour the condensed milk (which will now be caramel) over top. Layer the second banana over top of the caramel layer. Whip the cream until you get soft peaks and spread over the top of the caramel and banana. Allow pie to sit in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to allow everything to firm up. Then get a huge spoon and tuck in!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

German Meatballs with Beer Gravy

I saw this recipe on the Food Channel and had to have a go at it myself.  It was the beer gravy that got my attention first followed by the juicy meatball served inside a soft delicate whole onion. Yum yum!!!
I am so glad that I tried this recipe. It was a hearty flavorsome meal that Ian and I devoured in approximately 10 minutes flat. It has also given me another recipe that I can add to my repertoire.

German Meatballs
500g Ground Beef
1 Medium Red Onion finely diced
Handful Chopped Parsley
1/2-3/4 Cup Wholemeal Bread Crumbs
5 Rashers Crispy Bacon
1 Egg
Salt & Pepper
6 Medum White Onions

1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Cup Beer
1/2 Cup Beef Stock
Combine the first six ingredients together and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and allow to sit whilst you prepare the white onions. Peal each of the six white onions and scoop out the middle layers of the onion leaving enough onion to support the meatball. Keep the root intact but trim it so the onion will sit straight. Stuff each onion with the meatball mixture allowing extra for the top (see picture!!!). Place all onion meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes in a preheated oven at 350 degrees or until golden brown.

To make the gravy melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour to make a rue. Add the beer and stock. Continuously stir the gravy until it becomes thick Season with pepper to your taste.

Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes and top off with the gravy.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pea & Ham Soup

A couple of weekends ago we had friends round for dinner and I had cooked a huge joint of ham which to be honest could have fed an army. I saved the bone and the remaining ham knowing that I would be making a pea and ham soup at a later date. And that date was yesterday. I had come of nights and I really did not want to face a full on meal. We enjoyed our soup with huge slices of posh cheese n toast (recipe here).

Pea & Ham Soup
Ham Hock ( with remaining meat intact)
Small Bag of Frozen Peas (500mg)
1 Medium Onion diced.
1 Medium Carrot diced
1 Stick Celery diced
500 ml Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
Salt & Pepper

Add a drizzle of oil to a large dutch oven and saute the onion, carrot and celery until softened. Add the chicken stock and the ham hock and simmer for approx 20-25 minutes. Then remove the ham hock and pour in the bag of peas and parsley. Continue to simmer. Meanwhile cut of the remaining meat from the ham bone and dice. Puree the soup with a blender until desired thickness and then add the ham pieces. Season with salt and pepper and serve in huge bowls.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

My first thought of this morning was Advanced Cardiac Life Support Revision versus Baking a Pineapple upside down cake. And you can all guess what one won. Instead of thinking adrenalin intravenous injections I was wanting a hit of sugar for a boost....and boy did I get one. This recipe has enough sugar to rot anyone's teeth!!!

I never really grew up eating this cake so I don't really know why I thought of it. It may have been because I had bought a huge can of pineapple rings but only really needed two rings to make the Hawaiian pizza we were having tonight.

I think I have missed out. This cake had a buttery sponge and was topped of with a gorgeous caramel flavored fruity topping. Yum. Perfect with a huge mug of tea whilst watching Emmerdale.
Some people use cherries as well as pineapple. I decided not too

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Brown Sugar
6 Pineapple Rings
1 Cup Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs seperated
5 Tbsp Pineapple Juice
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the butter to a nine inch baking pan and put in oven until it melts (approx 5 minutes). Once melted sprinkle the brown sugar over evenly and place the pineapple rings on top. Leave to one side whilst you prepare the other ingredients.. In a medium bowl sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Then in another bowl whisk the egg whites until they become fluffy. In a third bowl whisk the granulated sugar and egg yolks together until they become creamy. Add the vanilla extract and pineapple juice to this and combine. Mix in the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture until incorporated, then fold in the egg whites. Pour this over the top of the pineapples and bake on the middle shelve for approx 30-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack. Serve warm or at room temperature with a blob of cream or a dollop of creme fraiche.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pork Wellington with a Red wine and Balsamic Reduction

My foodie nerdness is coming back!!! (Is 'nerdness' a word? Well I'm going to use it anyway). I always seem to get my inspiration for cooking after working a night shift. Maybe it is the long hours that give me time to think or maybe my stomach is just craving a proper cooked meal.

I originally bought some pork tenderloin to fillet and fill with an apple an herb stuffing, but to be honest I wasn't really in the mood for that. I was racking my brain as to what to make then my thoughts then turned toward a pork wellington. I  knew that beef was the most popular choice when making wellington but why wouldn't pork work? I seared the pork on each side and encased each piece of tenderloin in a mustard spread pastry casing.  A brushing of egg yolk made for a lovely golden topping once baked.

I served the tenderloin with roasted root vegetables, wilted spinach and a a red wine and balsamic reduction. I was very impressed with my creation (and the photos that we took). It was a crispy shell with the most succulent meat within. Perfect for a dinner party. I made individual wellingtons as I'm into that but for sure you could make a large wellington. My only advise would be to let the wellington sit for 5-10 minutes otherwise the pastry will crumble away and it won't look as esthetically pleasing. (How snobby am I!!!!)

Pork Wellington (Serves 2)
1 Medium Pork Tenderloin
Whole Grain Mustard
Pastry (Recipe found here but divided by half)
Salt & Pepper

Remove any fat and sinew from the tenderloin and cut in half. Season on all sides with salt and pepper and sear all sides in a hot frying pan. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Meanwhile make the pastry and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes minimum.

Cut the pastry in half and roll each piece out into a rectangle, large enough to wrap around each of the  tenderloins. Spread a generous amount of wholegrain mustard on the pastry and place the tenderloin on top. Wrap each tenderloin up in one rectangle of pastry and fold in the sides. Place the Wellington on to a baking sheet approx 10 cm apart  with the seam side facing down, Brush the tops of the Wellington with a beaten egg and bake in the oven at 350 degrees until the pastry turns golden brown approx 30-40 minutes.To serve cut wellington in half and serve with the red wine and balsamic reduction.

Red Wine and Balsamic reduction
I did this recipe by taste so this recipe is an approximation
1/2 Cup Red wine
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1-2 Tbsp Sugar
Salt and Pepper

Place all ingredients into a pan and simmer hard until a thicken sauce develops. Season with extra sugar, salt and pepper as needed. Drizzle over Wellington.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baked Onions

We've only done and gone it. We moved to our new home and are now living the dream. We left Vancouver December 22nd and arrived in Quesnel December 23rd. The journey was long yet exciting.

Our new home was freshly painted and waiting for our arrival. We drove up the drive and ran through the door like two hyperactive teenagers. The U-Haul was quickly unpacked. The Christmas tree was the first thing to go up followed by the bed and the positioning of the sofas. We finished the evening off with white zinfandel and a plateful of bacon sandwiches.

The following two days were spent organizing and turning our house into a home. My kitchen was perfect, there was more room than I had ever been used too and I was finding it hard as to how to organize it (so many cupboards). It soon became easier and my domain was set for the forthcoming Christmas dinner. We had planned to have a good Christmas dinner as we wanted to celebrate our moving in with a bang. We didn't go for the usual turkey as we had had a traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas eve round at our new friends house. We settled for Roast beef with all the trimmimgs.
Merry Christmas everyone. May 2011 be a fantastic year for us all

I had had my eye on a recipe by Nigel Slater... Baked Onions. I thought this would go perfectly with the medium rare roast. And it sure did. I was slightly put of by the fact that you have to boil the onions first. I thought the smell would be horrendous but to be honest they gave of very little aroma. After preparing them, in they went into the oven with a good splash of cream and a twist of salt and pepper and out came this dreamy silky vegetable....Yum.

Our Christmas dinner I have to say was one of the best I have ever cooked. It was a perfect meal to celebrate our moving in.

Baked Onions (Makes 2 portions)
2 Onions skinned
Salt & Pepper
Freshly Grated Parmesan (Optional)

Boil the onions until tender Then remove from pan and allow to cool slightly. Cut the onions in half from root to tip. Place in an oven proof dish flat side down. Pour over cream until well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over Parmesan and bake for 25-30 mins in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees until golden and bubbly.