Sunday, July 8, 2012

Thai inspired Indian sweet rice Dessert

I was inspired by my mothers new favourite recipe for Thai Mango pudding, it's a dessert of steamed rice mixed with coconut milk and then served with a mango on top, there is also a coconuty sauce to go with it.

Mum was kind enough to buy me a bag of this rice and I tasted hers a few times but I wanted to make mine without coconut milk so here's my experiment and it turned out really good! I would put saffron next time and maybe nuts and raisins mixed in.

I love the indian sweet rice dessert that I often see at Indian and Pakistani weddings, it's one of my all time favourite desserts and this is kind of similar.

So here it goes:

1 1/2 cups sticky rice or thai sweet rice

Wash and soak rice in a bowl of water for 4-5 hours

To make the syrup. Bring to a boil right before the rice is done so it's still warm:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt

-You can add saffron by mixing a few threads in water and letting it sit for 5 hours or so then adding the vibrant red liquid into the sugar mixture.

1/8 cup melted butter
A drop of vanilla (optional)

Steam the strained rice by adding to a sieve (metal) lined with cheese cloth (or not! Like I did) and placed into a pot. Fill the bottom of the pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the rice inside the cheese cloth, flatten it out and fold the corners of the cloth over.
Place inside the pot and let it steam away as the water boils for 30 minutes, check on it 15 minutes through and gently flip the rice "patty" over so the top part is now on the bottom and it can steam evenly.. also ensure there is enough water in the bottom or add more if needed. The steamer (sieve/cheese cloth/rice) should not touch the water at all. Only the steam should rise and cook the rise slowly.

Be careful the steam is hot, so don't burn yourself.

At this point after 30 minutes the rice should be sticky and clear.

Transfer to a large bowl or a casserole dish with a fitting lid.

Pour the sugar/water mixture & the melted butter over the rice and place the towel under your casserole dish or bowl and place it back into the pot (turn of off) just so it's warm.... This will allow it to absorb the syrup for 30 minutes or so.

Decorate with Raisins, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, coconut, whatever you like for garnish.


For those interested in the coconut version check this youtube video from Show Me the Curry

Friday, July 6, 2012


My guacamole recipe:

It is the simplest thing to make, and so much big flavour.

I like a lot of tomatoes in mine so generally it's around equal ratios of tomato to avocado.

- 2 ripe avocados
- 2 medium tomatoes

For those of you who know how much I HATE tomato skins then you probably guessed right, I will peel the tomatoes.

Recently I've been doing it this way (there are peels in the picture because it was from last Halloween) but now I simply slice the top of the tomato off and make an X at the bottom with a knife, put it face down in a strainer in the sink and pour a full kettle of boiling water over.

Now simply drain and place back on the cutting board, the skin peels away easily and they can be diced finely.

Slice the avocados, remove pits and make into rough medium cubes by slicing inside the avocado with a small knife then using a small spoon to scoop it all out and into the bowl.

- 1 small onion, a slice of red onion or a shallot diced very finely.

-2 small or 1 medium large clove garlic, grated or mashed on the cutting board (use salt to help mash it or use a mortar and pestle)

- A few sprigs of fresh cilantro chopped up and some whole leaf for garnish

- Salt

- Lime juice

- a pinch of cumin

- Jalapeno (optional!)

- A drizzle of olive oil (optional, I do enjoy the oily texture to my guacamole, maybe because I'm middle eastern and it reminds me of hummus and other arabic style dips that are drizzled with olive oil)

Serve with a nice corn tortilla chip, here I have a chipotle salsa one.

Puff Pastry Pizza Pockets

Preheat oven to 375 F. Try to work quickly with puff pastry and in a cooler area of the kitchen.

If the oven is not preheated in time just pop the tray in the fridge and then insert in the oven when ready to bake.

- Puff pastry (the frozen kind, thawed according to instructions)
- Pizza Sauce
- Mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil

Roll out puff pastry, I used tenderflake and it looks like two squares in the pack, I rolled each into a larger rectangle and then cut down the middle for 2 pockets.

So in total the box made 4.

Add a little sauce in the middle, some grated mozarella, a few leaves of basil and fold over. Press and use a fork to secure the edges.

Egg wash using 1 egg, and bake on 375 F until golden and puffed.

Korean BBQ + Rice medley

A simple dinner of rice medley and korean bbq steak.

To make the steaks I used President's choice memories of korea, it's an asian pear based bbq sauce, really is my favourite from the line, it's versatile and I usually add a drop into any asian soup that requires some sweetness.

The rice medley you see as well was really quite delicious, I've always been against these blends because sometimes certain grains take longer than others to cook so you get a bit of a mushy consistency going on ... this was almost the case here when the lentils took the longest to cook but I lowered the temperature and added a bit more water.
Also it helps to add some oil or butter at the beginning and coat the grains well in it as the pan heats up, this will help avoid too much swelling and sticking.

Basic medley rice recipe:

Boil kettle (always do this before making rice)

In a pot or saucepan add 2 tbsp butter or oil.

- 1 1/2 cups rice blend
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 mushroom soup cube
- 2 1/2-3 cups boiled water (or half water half chicken/veg stock)
- 1/4 stalk of celery (for flavour) optional.

Heat the oil..

Wash the rice in a fine strainer, as not to break them, also this blend had smaller quinoa in it so I didn't want to lose anything through the seive. Drain and gently add to the warmed oil and stir the rice to coat with the oil.

Add salt/seasoning

Add water and stock. Lay the celery stalk inside whole for easy removal later.

Let it come to a boil.
Cover with lid and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes.

If the rice looks like it needs more liquid add some hot water from the kettle and close and allow it to absorb cooking on low.

Once it's done immediately use a wide spatula to turn rice from the bottom to the top and gently place in a larger serving plate to cool.


I love simple meals like this on hot summer evenings, if I had more ingredients on hand I would have perhaps sauteed some mushrooms and baby bok choy as a vegetable dish.

I had a salad earlier so it was a pretty rounded meal.

** Couldn't resist adding some shots of the lily garden, it just bloomed and is looking quite nice.

Avocado Fries

Avocado Fries

I've been seeing a few recipes for these avocado fries here and there, so finally when I was down to one last avocado from a whole sack of them that I picked up last week I figured it's worth a try.

The original recipe I wanted to use had a panko coating but just as I reached for some I realized we were all out.

Last summer I made these zucchini fries crusted with cornmeal and they were a hit so figured it could work.

The process is very easy.

- 1 avocado (cut in half, remove pit, flip over and slowly peel off the skin gently as not to damage the flesh)


-1 egg
-1/2 tsp worstershier sauce (optional)
- Seasoning salt

- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- Soup seasoning
- Salt
- Black pepper
- Paprika (optional)

-1 tbsp oil, sprinkle on the parchment lined tray.

To make it tasty always season the coating, season the egg mixture.

Then it's a dredging process of avocado slices that go into the egg and then the dry crumb mixture to coat.

The parchment lined pan was drizzled with some oil and then they were placed over to absorb some oil and flipped over gently by hand to ensure oil is on all sides.

Baked on 425 for 15-20 minutes flipping half way through.

Season with a sprinkling of salt and serve.

The sauce is from the new President's Choice line featured in Canadian Loblaws stores, it's a refrigerated (no preservative) condiments. This one is a Sofrito one and is quite good.

Whether or not I'll be making this again, I'm not sure, the coating was great but it was something about the flavour of the avocado, Perhaps it's an acquired taste but I love avocados in guacamole, it's just something about the cooking process that brings out a bitterness to me.

I should give it one last shot though.... next time I'll make it with a more firm avocado and maybe the panko just to give it another shot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Meat & Potato "Cupcakes"

Meatloaf and mashed potato "cupcakes"

For meatloaf part:

- 1 lb Ground beef
- Salt
- Black pepper
- Paprika (or favourite seasonings)
- Chopped parsley (or whatever herbs you prefer)
- Finely diced onion
- Finely diced garlic (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Bread crumbs
- 1/2 tbsp Oil or butter (if the meat is not so lean you can omit this incase they get too oily)
- Dash of Worcestershire sauce
- Half tsp dijon or english style mustard

Mix it all up and make little balls like a meatball, then flatten them into the cupcake paper that you lined your muffin tins with.

To make the "frosting"

- Potatoes
- Salt
- Food colouring
- Milk
- Butter

Peel, chop and boil potatoes until knife/fork tender.

In a bowl using a potato masher mash the hot potatoes up (if you over whip/mix potatoes they get gummy) Adding a bit of butter, salt, and enough milk to absorb and make a nice cream consistency.

Fit a nice fine sieve over another bowl and add the mashed potatoes, then using a spatula press it through so it's perfectly smooth. It should be totally lump free.

Add desired colours of food colouring, begin with a few drops and add more as needed.

It is better to pipe the potatoes out while it's still warm ..... make sure your meatloafs are cooled though and then using a piping bag and tip begin to pipe out the "frosting".

Now they're ready! They'll look so pretty and real, see if your loved ones can tell the difference.

For an extra touch place them in a golden or decorative cupcake liner, something thicker to mask the "meatloaf" part in case it shows through the original paper.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yellow Zucchini Chocolate Cake

- 1 & 1/2 Cups Shredded Zucchini (I used 2 yellow zucchinis)
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup high quality Unsweetened Cocoa Flour
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- Dash of salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon (I omitted)
- 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1/2 Cup packed Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (optional- I omitted)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl combine the oil and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla whisking.

Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl.

Whisk in the dry ingredients into the wet and blend.

Oil a loaf pan, muffin tins or a square glass or metal baking dish, I used a 6 X 8 X 2 glass baking dish.

Add a strip of parchment in the pan that hands over the edge for easy removal of cake later on.

Bake for 40ish minutes in a loaf/square pan and 15-25 in muffin or cupcake tins.


*** I actually forgot the white sugar, and only added the brown (just a reading error) so while it was baking I prepped the remaining sugar with equal parts water and brought it to a boil on the stove in a saucepan, added a squeeze of lemon to make a simple syrup.

Once the cake was out and still hot I drizzled the syrup over and let it absorb, this sweetened it up nicely, it was a close save.

Recipe adapted from this blog

Monday, July 2, 2012

Canada Day 2012 - Fort George Niagara on the lake.

Our Canada day!

A little history when we visited Fort George in Niagara on the lake for the ongoing War of 1812 200 year old anniversary .. food of course with a picnic amongst the beautiful wineries and vineyards throughout beautiful Niagara on the Lake and fireworks at th end of our lovely day.

Our menu was very simple, consisting of beef kebobs that were simply grilled up and hotdogs, with all the fixings and store bought pretzel buns as well as a poppy seed bun.

Then veggie kebobs and I skewered the same type of veggie/fruit on a few skewers for easy grilling.
To make things easier I used a store bought italian salad dressing to marinade these veggies while prepping the charcoal grill right on site, just drizzle a bit in each zip lock bag and swish around gently.

We then removed all the veggies from the skewers and made a lovely salad adding a bit of the balsamic homemade dressing I brought along in a mason jar.

To make a bread salad simply chop cubes of ciabatta bread and skewer then for easy grilling, pack 2 cloves of garlic and then slice in half and rub the bread after they are grilled. Toss in salad with some bruised fresh basil leaves (also packed along) and enjoy!