Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bellini Kitchen Master
Thermal Blender

Get ready Canada the Bellini is here!
When I was having espresso with different family member's in Italy this summer, I noticed several of the younger generation had these
" modern gadgets"
propped up on their counters.
all about cooking and the kitchen...
my inquisitive mind wanted to know what it was.
I had never seen anything like this and I shop in kitchen stores like most women shop for shoes as an obsession,
so I asked
"cosa e quello?"
What is that?
Well to my utter shock
they told me it was a machine that did everything!
They literally meant everything it:
and fry's too!
Because electricity is costly in Europe they have developed Thermal Blenders that make cooking meals fun, fast and more economical!
It's a huge time saver and is more cost effective.
I didn't see any in action but,
they swore that it was amazing~
Well if I get chosen to sample this Bellini I will finally get to see for myself what this little
whirlwind wonder machine
can do!
What would you like to see me create?
I would love to see it chop and cook a stew since the weather is now getting cooler topped with fluffy rice or quinoa.
Chicken broth should be a breeze.
I would love to see it knead bread or pizza dough.
I'm sure when my daughter finds out about this machine she definitely will want to try to whip up some frozen yogourt! over 200 recipes in this Bellini Addicts Recipe Book
Well the Bellini Thermal Blender
is from Australia and it's the first of it's kind in
North America.
I have seen others in stores and they are the height of a blender.
Quite frankly I am not sure about the height of those. They become difficult to stir the ingredients all the way down to the bottom. Some can splash dangerous hot liquids when you are stirring.
I really like the casserole dish shape of this and shorter wider bowl.

The width of the bowl would most likely have better heating because the depth is not so high. Scraping with a spatula would be easier for the length of my arm, since I am short and you can steam food while the bottom bowl cooks the other part of your meal!
What other small appliance does that?
Think of the small amount of space you would need to prepare a meal with less fuss and easy to clean!
I don't know, I would have to try it!
Hope I get the opportunity to test this
Bellini Kitchen Master
for myself....
It definitely would free up time spent in the kitchen so I can get to important things like driving the kids around :D 
and making lunches for the next school day
Below are more features that the
Bellini Kitchen Master by Cedarlane Culinary offers:
The Bellini Kitchen Master ships complete with:
  • External Kitchen Scale
  • Mixing Tool
  • Heat Resistant Spatula
  • Steaming Set
  • 2 Litre Stainless Steel Bowl
  • Cooking Basket
  • Stainless steel chopping blade
  • Stainless steel stirring blade
  • Lid with built in measuring cup
  • Motor Based Housing


Why Bellini Intelli Kitchen Master - Product Features:

  • High powered motor allows you to chop, mince, whip, knead, blend stir and crush ice
  • Precise heating element enables you to simultaneously cook, fry and steam
  • 1000W Heating Power
  • 800W Power Motor
  • Variable 10 speed rotary control
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • LCD display with blue background
  • Bilingual recipe booklet with over 60 recipes
  • Beautiful external scale
If you are as excited as I am about this new product into Canada
click on the link below
for more information.
Happy Exploring!

Get the complete information by clicking here:,

This article is for a product review from:

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Peanut Butter
Well Autumn is around the corner and soon we will be turning the oven on again and filling our homes with the sweet scent of baked cookies.
Peanut Butter Blossoms are so easy to make and changing the top gives the cookie a special  look and taste.
These can easily be dressed up or down.
With striped flavoured "kisses"
they become festive enough for the Holidays!
This dough can be made ahead.
Shaped into rolls and sliced when needed.
These thumbprint cookies store and freeze well covered in freezer containers and defrosted when needed.
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Hershey's Kisses
(chocolate, peppermint or striped Chocolate)
Caramel Topping
Preheat the oven to 350F
Stir together the dry ingredients.
In a large mixer bowl, whip the peanut butter and sugars together.
Add the egg, margarine and vanilla.
Continue beating.
Add dry mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed.
Shape into 1" balls and place on a silpat/parchment lined baking sheet, 1" apart.
Press down centers with your thumb, making a deep imprint.
I used the bottom of a wrapped "kiss" dredged in flour to avoid sticking to make my imprint before baking.
Bake for 15-17 minutes.
Before the cookie cools, press an unwrapped chocolate into the center of the cookie.
For Jam or Caramel
Stir to loosen.
Press the cookie down with your thumb or chocolate imprint again, gently.
Fill the center with jam or caramel mixture.
Allow to cool completely.
Store in air tight containers with parchment/wax paper between layers.
Makes approx. 40-60 cookies depending on size.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Trail Mix Oatmeal Cookies
A classic with a twist;
Who doesn't welcome the scent
of baking oatmeal cookies?
This cookie was one of the simplest cookies for me to make any time of the week.
When my children were small, I would prop them up on the counter and ask them to help.
I would ask them to help me find the specific measuring cups like: 1 slash 2:
1/2 cup
This simple task helped teach them fractions!
Stirring became a game watching the ingredients mix together in a LARGE mixing bowl;
to catch any irregular stirring from little hands.
This type of participation led my children, now teens and adults, to love creating in the kitchen.
I can't tell you how wonderful it is for them to bake and cook for me now!
Win Win
This recipe is courtesy of my daughter! 
Easy to prepare,
simple ingredients
These yummy cookies have a colourful twist with the addition of cranberries;
festive, chewy and inviting
These are chockfull of nutritious ingredients with a touch of sweetness needed to satisfy even the pickiest person of the bunch.
You can whip these up any time of the week.

1/2 butter

2 tbsp. molasses

1 eggs
1 1/2cup rolled oats
tiny pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom 
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup each toasted chopped almonds and walnuts (walnuts toast for less time than almonds)
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/8 cup each dried cranberries & golden raisins
3/4 cup flour

Cream butter in a large mixer bowl. Add sugar. Continue creaming to a fluffy texture.
Lower speed and mix in egg, vanilla, salt and cinnamon
Remove from mixer stand and using a spatula or wooden spoon fold/stir in the flour.
When almost no white shows, drop in chips, dried fruit, nuts and blend well.
Refrigerate mixture for 1-2 hrs. Using a 1oz large cookie scoop. Scoop batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake at 375F until golden for approx. 10min, but soft to the touch. They will crisp and harden when cooled.
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Roasted Honey Thyme
Summer time fun for me includes using the
You can virtually make everything on it with no fuss and no heating up the kitchen.
Yams are usually used in the winter, but
this easy dish adds so much flavor to your next BBQ
You'll have everyone begging for seconds and the recipe...
1 large peeled yam, sliced
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Cajun spice
drizzle of oil
pinch of salt
aluminum foil
Place the cut yam on the foil.
Drizzle with honey
Sprinkle with seasonings and oil
Place on cold BBQ and turn it on to low!
Roast turning after 20min. as it takes the BBQ time to warm up.
Then continue to turn over 2 more times at 20min. intervals for a total of 40-50min.
Place the rest of your BBQ foods between these times to save time.
Remove pkg. from the BBQ and serve.
It's that easy
Enjoy with love!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cassata Ravioli Cookies

Cassata Ravioli Cookies

This is a delicate cookie rich in flavours and they have a delicate crunch.
Served warm they ooze a creamy filling with the same ingredients of an old classic Italian dessert.
is a filling from Southern Italy
used between delicate sponge cake layers to
form a wonderful dessert.
I used the filling ingredients and used
Yes pasta,
fried in a ravioli shape
These are perfect for any special occasion or Holiday
1 cup  ricotta
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp  orange zest
2 tbsp toffee bits
3 tbsp toasted , chopped almonds or hazelnuts (opt)
4 oz dark chocolate, chopped into large chunks
10 sheets, fresh lasagna
1pkg fresh raspberries, washed drained
1 egg for egg wash, beaten lightly
oil for frying
1/4 cup icing sugar for dusting
Mix first 3 ingredients together. Gently stir in chocolate, nuts and toffee bits. Set aside.

On a flat surface (see picture) place 3 large dollops of cheese mixture near the bottom edge of pasta, place raspberry on top, leave 1/2"-1" rim around all sides.  Brush pasta with egg wash around all edges and in between dollops.  fold pasta over and using the sides of your hand press down to seal all edges.  Cut using pizza wheel or decorative wheel Continue until all sheets and filling are finished.
Fry for 5 sec on each side until lightly golden (no longer or it may burn ) and drain on paper towels.  Dust with icing sugar
Enjoy with Love!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes

Pancakes are such a North American tradition. Classic flavours using our fresh in season
hit the spot on a lazy weekend morning or brunch!
This recipe adds a light fluffiness using my European background additional ingredient of
 Not only does it add rich flavor but it makes the pancake fluffy and it's full of protein and calcium.
Think outside the box and add any nuts, dried fruits or natural flavourings you like.

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1 cup wheat flour

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt


Wet Ingredients:

2 lg. eggs

2 cups milk or non dairy milk

1/4 cup ricotta

1 tsp  vanilla extract

1 tsp grated lemon rind

 1 cup blueberries (or a mixture of your favourite berry)


Mix wet ingredients together with a fork, whisking until smooth.

Pour into mixed dry ingredients. Stir only until no flour shows. Set aside to rest.

Preheat a large skillet on #6 or #7. Grease with a small pat of butter or oil.

Drop batter onto skillet with a ladle.  Allow to cook for approx. 5 min until bubbles which form on batter burst and the top of the pancake looses it's shine.

Using a spatula, flip pancake and continue to cook through another 3 minutes.

Place on a warm plate for stacking or eat immediately while hot~
Enjoy with love!


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

From Italy with Love
Pesto alla Genovese
My 5th and last installment from my wonderful trip to
I couldn't have picked a better dish to represent my family and background.
I was able to make this dish with the help of two uncles.
One had large plants of fresh basil already growing hardy in his garden.
The other has old pine trees which supply him with pine nuts!
Look at the height of the pines, you have to wait until the cones drop!
I had to pick each and every pine nut from the pine cone, a sticky and difficult job because the pines are sturdy and tight. Then I had to crack the shell of the nut with a hammer!
Now I know why they cost so much...
The aroma of fresh pine is unmistakable and I knew that bringing them across the ocean would probably cost me that distinct wonderful scent...
so I made the dish in Italy
and savored this classic dish.

Even my Italian sister in law has a mini chopper so, I whizzed the ingredients together instead of using a mortar and pestle...
easy easy
1lb pasta, your choice
10 large basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil
Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil.
Tip in the pasta.
Stir to prevent the pasta from sticking.
Meanwhile in a small skillet toast the pine nuts on medium high heat, sliding it back and forth across the burner to toss the nuts.
Set aside.
In a mini food processor add the basil, garlic and nuts.
Turn the machine on to blend the ingredients, drizzle olive oil into the feeding tube.
Enough to loosen the mixture, making a thick sauce.
Drain the pasta, reserve a 1/4 cup to loosen the sauce.
Add 1/2 of the pesto, toss in the cheese.
Adjust the sauce if you want a thicker paste.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

From Italy with Love:
4th Installment Italy Series
Penne al Scamorza
(Smoked Cheese with Penne)
The Italian way of life is quite slow paced compared to big City Life where everything is fast and frantic.
As my vacation time in Italy continued, my eating scheduled got pushed further back daily.
Sometimes we ate as late as 10pm!
One reason I gained some extra weight, that one member cheerfully calls "a souvenir" from
Well, that's one way to put it :D
So when the evening carried on late, a quick and easy meal is to make pasta; ready in 10 min
and another masterpiece is made.
This dish is courtesy of my nephews girlfriend. It is so simple; using garden fresh herbs and vegetables with a wonderful added twist;
A wonderful smoked cheese grated, it melts into the steamy pasta leaving a wonderful taste and aroma to this simple summer dish.
1 zucchini, washed, ends cut and sliced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 pkg smoked scamorza cheese, grated on large holes
(look for this cheese in your refrigerated dairy section)
4-5 large basil leafs, torn
3-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
500g pkg penne pasta
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Drop in pasta, stir to prevent sticking.
Continue cooking and stirring until al dente. for approximately 10 min.
In a preheated large skillet add 3 tbsp. oil. When heated, but not smoking add the zucchini.
Cook on medium heat until slightly softened, tossing to cook.
Add cut tomatoes and continue cooking for 5-10 min.
Season with salt and pepper.
Drain the pasta, reserving some of the hot liquid.
Toss the sauce into the pasta, add the remaining oil, basil leaves and toss with the grated cheese.
Serve immediately
Serves: 6
Enjoy with love from Italy!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

From Italy with Love:
Homemade Ricotta
 When I was a child, weekly I would wait in anticipation for the "cheese" man to drive by and ring his bell alerting the street that he was selling fresh ricotta.
A sweet, smooth fresh cheese made from cows milk.

Originally my grandfather used to make it from sheep's milk, pungent and salty.

As sheep's milk was not easily available to the new immigrants in the early '60's, they adapted and made this creamy spreadable cheese from cows milk.
 My mother bought it and I would watch the "cheese" man slide it out of it's long cylindrical container onto my mother's dish.
Aah those were wonderful memories as they no longer are made in that type of form and are now sold in cold plastic containers in the dairy section.

While in Italy, so as not to let the milk go to waste my sister in law would make her own ricotta!

I know some of you have made it and I didn't believe it could be done with lemon juice as my grandfather used rennet to make his cheese, but I am a converted believer.

It's so simple anyone can do it!

1lt of  full fat milk
1/2 lemon juiced  
(zest can be used if you want a lemon flavour)

On medium high heat bring the milk almost to a boil.
You should see a foam develop on top.


Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Allow to sit for a few minutes until you see a curdling of the milk.

Skim off this curdled milk with a slotted spoon, until the cheese is all gathered.
Place in a clean and dried empty strawberry container.
You know, the one that is green and has holes.

Place on a flat plate to catch drippings.
Allow to cool to room temperature.

Use immediately or place in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

My lovely snack is topped with my sister in laws
backyard berries and homemade jam.
Her sister's homemade bread holds this wonderful
dish together!
Ya ya, I know they are too much!  

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

From Italy with Love:

Porcini Linguini

Mushrooms or 'shrooms
are one of my favourite loves.
Fragrant with a chewy texture, high in fiber, low in fat; a forest fungi, a fave of mine since I was a child!
Fresh Porcini mushrooms here in Toronto I have yet to see.
Generally we have to buy them dry.
They must sit in hot water to reconstitute and although the fragrance is unmistakeable the texture is never quite the same as fresh.

My uncle used to forage for them after heavy rains when I was a child and I would eat a plateful of them, knowing I had to have my fill since I couldn't get them fresh at home.
In Italy you have to have a license to be able to "hunt" for mushrooms as the wrong one can be fatal!

Weekly and sometimes daily during my trip in Italy, I had fresh porcini mushrooms on my pasta, pizza, risotto and sometimes just a plate by themselves.

On my pizza I had shaved truffles with Porcini!


My last week in Italy I had them daily!
The Linguini above was my sister in law homemade egg pasta. 
Should I mention they grind their own wheat? 

The 'shrooms are courtesy of my nephews future father in law who forages for them when it rains.
Although he promised to take me, it rained shortly before I came home and they need days before they grow and are ready to be picked.
Sadly, I didn't get a chance to forage through the forest.

Forestry laws only allow licensed individuals to pick certain foods al bosco (from the forest) on certain days and they can only pick so many by weight to allow for a proper ecosystem.

So, if you know what to look for you can literally live and eat from mother earth!

This recipe is so simple and can be easily replicated using your favourite mushroom.
If you can afford dried Porcini, reconstitute them in a cup of hot water, then squeeze the water out and chop.

This basket of Porcini mushrooms were out at the front of a restaurant as we walked by through the streets of Ancient Rome.
I couldn't resist and grabbed one to smell the fragrance. 
The waiter was soon right beside me in case I made off with them.

At 50-70 euros a kilo, I can see why he was concerned tee hee

This restaurant was right near the Pinocchio shop!

 1 cup of porcini mushrooms, sliced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1lb of fresh pasta


fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile in a small skillet add oil and turn the heat on to medium.
Tip in the mushrooms and saute for 5-10 min until
golden and crisp.

When the water boils drop the pasta in carefully.
Stir immediately with tongs so as not to allow the pasta to stick.
When the pasta rises to the top allow to cook for a minute longer.
Cook until al your bite.

Drain leaving a 1/4 cup of water in the pot.
Toss pasta with the mushrooms.
Add basil leaves and a handful of parmigiano cheese

Enjoy with love from Italy!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

From Italy with Love:

Pasta Frolla
I have just come back from a wonderful trip to my parents homeland.
Frosinone, Italy
A large region, 1 1/2hrs from Rome.
La Campagnia, rural farmland where you have everything needed, grown and raised from the earth.
Rich soil produces wonderful berries and vegetables  fragrant and full of bursting flavor.
Fruit growing abundantly on their trees, you could pick them off the trees and bushes ripe everyday.
So much abundance that it can easily be made into jam and used in desserts.
This dessert come from my Sister in law who utilizes everything from the garden, including scraps which feed their chickens and roosters!
She is so tiny, I often wondered how she managed to bring hay to the goats daily using a heavy wheel barrow!
This recipe is low in fat. A soft dough, not quite a cookie and not fluffy like a sponge cake. It is fragrant, using wholesome lemons from my Godmothers trees. It is without fuss, as so many Italian dishes are, and it so delicious.
The jam in this recipe, is made with her fathers vine grown grapes!
2 eggs
8 tbsp. sugar
6 tbsp. oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 envelope Pane del Angeli (leavening)
320kg flour + extra for rolling
1/2 jar your favourite jam
Confectioner's sugar: for sprinkling
In a medium size bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, oil and lemon zest and juice, until well blended and thick.
Stir in flour and leavening powder (can be found in specialty isle).
Dough will be ragged and in pieces. Scrape it out of the bowl onto a floured surface and begin to knead gently together to form a ball.

Continue to fold one end over another, it will be slightly sticky. Rub off hands using some flour and continue mixing to a soft dough.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll out 2/3 of the dough onto a 9"x9" piece of parchment paper.

This will be the bottom part of the crostata and will enable you to lift it onto the 8"x8" baking pan.

Place the rolled out dough into the baking sheet, with 1" edges up the side of the pan
Spread a 1/4" layer of jam over the crust.

Roll out the remaining 1/3 of dough to approx.
8" x 8". Cut 1" vertical strips of dough using a decorative pie wheel. 

Place one strip down the centre of the crostata, then one strip on either side. Turn the sheet and continue the steps to make a crossing pattern, cutting the dough off at the edges.

Place four strips around the edges of the tart to seal in the dough.

Bake at 350F until golden brown, approximately 35- 40 min.

Allow to cool completely at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.
Enjoy from Italy!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A. Vogel
Bio Snacky Sprouter
Day 4
Ready to Eat and Enjoy!

This whole journey has been so exciting.
As an avid gardener, I actually watch my plants grow daily.
You can imagine how fun it was to watch these next to my sink in the kitchen as they changed.
Here is what they looked like on day 4.
The mung beans were the largest and easiest to see. These would be great in a salad and sturdy enough for stir fry.

Now I can distinguish that these are radishes because they are the 2nd largest.
Just in case I couldn't figure it out....
I tasted them!
Wow did they ever taste like a radish with the hot kick too!
The tiniest seed are the alfalfa sprouts.
These are the ones we see in the grocery store packaged.
I must admit these are not as earthy as the store bought ones. That's a good thing.
This is a fabulous revelation for anyone (child) that is picky and apprehensive to try new foods.
I made two recipes you might want to give a try.
Wrap N' Roll
My kids love wraps this needs no recipe.
Just use any leftover chicken, slice or shredded.
Toast a tortilla wrap
Slather with Tzatziki
Layer carrot ribbons
Sliced peppers
Chicken or any deli meats
Fresh herbs or chives
Top with Alfalfa sprouts
Wrap and Roll
Chow down
Sprouty Spring Salad
This colourful hearty side dish or salad can be made up to 3 days ahead and enjoyed.
1 roasted yam, peeled
1/2 green or red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 peeled carrot, diced
1 cup bean sprouts (mung, radish, alfalfa)
1 can black beans, drained
3 tbsp. walnut oil
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic minced
3 tbsp. chopped chives
1 tbsp. chopped oregano fresh
(1 tsp dried can be substituted)
Mix together toss with salad ingredients.


Monday, 24 June 2013

A. Vogel
Bio Snacky Sprouter

Day 3
It is so exciting to watch mother nature
take its course and bring plants to life.
In just a short time we will have nutritious delicious sprouts to our meals

The mung bean have fully opened and should be ready for a stir fry, salad or wrap.
This size if very hardy.

 The radish sprouts, seem to be a little bigger than the alfalfa and sturdier, making them slower to sprout.

As they have to have water added daily to refresh the sprouts, I have to check daily before I pour the water to see if anything is blocking the siphon.