Monday, 30 April 2012

Cheesy Rice Bake

Cheesy Rice Bake

6 cup cooked rice

2 cup chunky tomato sauce

1cup black pitted sliced olives

400 gram tub ricotta

1 tub Philadelphia cream cheese, any flavour

2 lg. eggs

2 tbsp. of chopped basil


1/2cup grated parmesan

2c fine cracker crumbs, crumbled

Mix all ingredients together, place in a casserole dish or individual ramekins. Mix crumbs and parmesan and sprinkle over rice.

Bake at preheated 350F for 30min until golden top

Monday, 23 April 2012

Orange Java Pork Roast
with Veggie Chips

Orange Java Pork Roast

Orange Java Rub

  • 2tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder or coffee
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp pepper flakes
  • 1 orange rind pith removed
  • Grind all dry ingredients in a coffee grinder

1/2 cup white wine
2tsp cornstarch
1cup green seedless grapes

1 5lb  boneless pork sirloin roast, centre cut,
1 garlic bulb

Rub all over roast and place in a plastic bag with a zip lock, squeeze out all air and marinate min. 1 hr or up to 24 hrs.

Remove roast from refrigerator 1 hr before roasting.

Place Roast on rack in roasting pan pour wine over top and add 1-2 cups water to bottom of pan. Roast at 375F for 2-3 hrs, uncovered until temperature reaches 160F. If the liquid evaporates too quickly add more wine or water. Place garlic bulb onto a rack and bake. It should be soft to the touch in 30min, then remove to bring to room temp. Let roast rest for 15min before slicing thinly.

Gravy:  Strain juices through a small strainer into a small saucepot. Add 1tbsp water to cornstarch, stir to mix well and add to juices in pan.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly, reduce heat and continue cooking to desired consistency. Add grapes and cook 1 more min.
Veggie Chips

3 beets, washed and peeled
1 yam, peeled
3 potatoes, peeled, washed
vegetable oil for frying

Slice paper thin in processor or use a mandolin. Heat a heavy bottomed pot with 1" of oil to 365F, or drop a small piece of potato into oil, if it sizzles immediately it is ready.

Begin to fry potatoes, then yam and lastly beets to not transfer colour.  Drain, sprinkle with salt.

Garlic Aioli

1 roasted garlic bulb, at room temp.
1 cup mayonaise

In a small bowl squeeze out the garlic pulp and mash with a fork. Add the mayonaise to the bowl and blend well. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Bananas Foster Trifle
Don't know what to do with over ripe bananas?
Tired of banana bread? 
This is a great recipe that uses pantry items, to create a new dessert, fancy enough for guests and no one will be the wiser except you!
This delicious dessert uses day old sweet bread!
Full of flavour, sure to please everyone.  The "trifle dish" is one of my many vases that I use for fresh cut flowers. Well cleaned of course!

1/2 loaf day old Brioche bread, Panetone, Paska or any sweet bread, sliced  
4tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp each coffee liquor & dark rum
3 ripe bananas
1 box instant banana pudding mix
1 cup cool whip or whipping cream whipped
1/2 cup strawberries, washed, hulled & sliced
1 cup strong coffee or espresso

Slice sweet bread into slices that will fit your vessel. (Mine is a trendy square vase)
In a small saucepan or skillet begin to melt sugar on high, stirring.  Watch carefully so it does not burn.  When it starts to melt add alcohols, stir and simmer on medium for 1-2min, to burn off some alcohol.  Slice bananas crosswise and tip into pan.  Cook for 4-5min more to soften bananas. Remove from burner to cool slightly add coffee, and combine.
Make pudding mix according to directions and fold in whipped topping, set aside.

Begin dipping pieces into coffee mixture liberally and place closely together into your serving vessel.

Top the bread with the pudding, then layer some bananas and strawberries over the mixture.

Continue layering until all ingredients are finished or you have filled your vessel, ending with pudding and top with fruit.
Refrigerate for 4-6 hrs. and enjoy!!
If there are leftovers the bananas darken with refrigeration but are still edible and delicious.

Serves: 6

Enjoy with Love!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Bountiful Fruit Basket

I carved this beautiful and refreshing Sugar Baby watermelon basket in no time at all for Easter. This delightful presentation can be used for any Spring or Summer get together and is sure to get some oohs and ahhhs of appreciation as you bring the wow factor to any party. I don;t know anyone who doesn't enjoy fruit and it is delicious and nutritious on it's own without any accompaniments needed.

1 mini Sugar Baby watermelon
1 cantaloupe
1 pineapple
1 pint each of blueberries and blackberries
1 lb. strawberries, hulled
1 lb. grapes

Wash rind of watermelon and dry. Place on a cutting board, check which end of the melon stays flat.  If it does not, slice off some rind so you have stability. At the top, make 2 cuts to indicate the thickness of the handle.  This should be no less than 2" for sturdiness. Why? People may get curious and try to pick it up.  My son did this and thankfully it didn't break!

Cut the "handle" half way down the melon evenly on both sides.  You can poke holes into it with a sharp knife in order to visualise where to begin and end. Gently pull off the sides, cutting through the flesh, cut out the watermelon flesh into bite size chunks to be used around the platter. 

When you have reached desired length, evenly begin to cut diagonals to make the "basket" from one handle end to the next.

Using a melon baller, scoop out insides and place aside until finished. If you do not have one, gently pry out large chunks as best as you can.

Cut cantaloupe in half, scoop out seeds using a large spoon. Cut off peel of one half and slice into sections to place around platter.  Using a melon baller scoop out flesh from the remaining half and place aside.

Wash berries, drain on paper towels.  Arrange decoratively with melon balls into cavity of watermelon. Place remainder around platter.

Cut off top and end of pineapple and place on cutting board end down.  With a sharp knife begin to cut off rind following the shape of the pineapple.  Discard rind and cut fruit in half.  Cut out the core and slice pieces into chunks to place around platter.

Wash and drain grapes on paper towels. Snip stems of grapes into bite size bunches with scissors. Place decoratively around platter.

*Serving Suggestion: Supply decorative picks to pierce fruit for easy buffet like presentation.*

Serves 10-20 people

Thursday, 5 April 2012

"Fried" Chicken
Who doesn't like fried chicken? Although no one likes the calories and fat associated with this delicious fast food. My recipe is easy, low in fat and economical.  If you buy the whole leg, back attached, it is easy to remove the skin from the thigh and then cut the pieces at the joint.  It can save you up to half of the cost of buying the pieces seperately and skinned. I then remove the hip joint and use it to make chicken stock or use it in my tomato sauce. One of the key successes in the kitchen is to have sharp knives! I sharpen mine once a week and I have many sizes so I can use different knives for different applications. 

1 1/2cups seasoned bread crumbs

4-5 tbsp grated Parmesan  cheese

3 tbsp parsley, chopped

1 egg, whisked

grape seed or canola oil for "frying"

10 chicken legs, skinned and separated into thigh and leg pieces

In a large bowl whisk egg. Put all of the legs/thighs in a bowl, using hands coat all pieces. *This allows you to use only 1 egg.*

Place crumbs, cheese and parsley into a plastic bag.* Because the cheese is salty no other salt is needed. Excessive usage of salt contributes to abdominal bloating and weight gain.* Add 2-3 pieces of chicken and shake to coat.

Place on a lightly greased parchment paper lined baking sheet. 

Preheat oven to 375F

Bake for 45min or until golden, turning halfway through the time to crisp both sides.  To check for doneness, when no pink juices flow when cut.

*Usually all my cooking utilises EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), however it smokes at high temperatures, so I do not use it in the oven.*

Enjoy with love!

Monday, 2 April 2012

Pine Nut & Pesto Chicken Roulade

This dish would make an elegant meal for Easter. It's fresh ingredients signify that spring is here. It's presentation would impress your family and friends.

6 skinless chicken breast, pounded thin
6 slices ham or prosciutto
2-3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted lightly + extra
1/2cup pesto + extra
1/2 of a roasted red pepper, minced

1 cup breadcrumbs, seasoned
1 egg, beaten with 2tbsp water

2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1/2cup white wine
sea salt & pepper to taste
EVOO for cooking

Place one chicken breast on a clean plate or cutting board. Spread some pesto onto chicken top with deli meat, then a strip of pepper and a sprinkle of pine nuts. Starting from the pointy end begin to roll into a bundle and "pin" together with toothpicks to hold ingredients together. Continue until all chicken breasts are finished.

In a pie plate or wide dish whisk egg & water. Dip each breast into the mixture, turning to coat.

Roll into crumbs to coat and place into a casserole dish coated lightly with olive oil. Drizzle lightly on top or use a aerosol bottle to mist the top with oil.
Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 30-40 min.

Meanwhile, begin to make sauce by sauteing garlic in 1-2tbsp olive oil, when slightly golden add mushrooms and caramelize on med. high heat. When golden brown add wine, 1tbsp each pesto & pine nuts and cook for 5 min. more to cook off some of the alcohol.

Serving Suggestion:
Remove toothpicks from chicken and slice into 3-5 pinwheels on the diagonal. Drizzle with sauce. Enjoy with love!

Serves 6