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Baking

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

I love love love cornbread, and this Cheddar Jalapeno Corn Bread has it all! This corn bread is going to take any meal up a notch A-list of ingredients: corn kernels, buttermilk, loads of cheddar cheese and a few nice spoonfuls of pickled jalapeno peppers.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but for some dinners, I just love having bread on the table. I don’t really have time to make yeasted breads everyday, and I don’t necessarily need that kind of bread every meal. Quick breads are amazing, because not only are they quick, but they are often fill with amazing flavours! For us, this quick bread really hits the spot. You can have it ready for dinner in about one hour. And it’s just so darn good.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

Let the cornbread cool on a rack until it’s just slightly warm…but without the parchment paper!

Cheddar Jalapeno CornbreadAll ready for slicing up!

 

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

This cornbread has a nice amount of cheddar cheese and just the right hit of jalapeno peppers. It has a bit of brown sugar in it, but it’s just enough to give this cornbread a nice mellow flavour.

You can also bake this cornbread in a square 8 inch pan, if you like. I personally like using loaf tins, especially glass ones. The outside of the cornbread browns up really nice in a glass pan.

This cornbread is delicious on its own, or you can spread it with butter if that’s what you prefer. Also, if you have a favourite flavoured butter recipe, now would be a god time to pull that out and whip some up. Not that this cornbread needs anymore flavour, but there are some great flavoured butter recipes that could take this up a notch.

Cheddar Jalapeno Corn Bread can accompany so many dishes: soups, chili, ribs or stews. Easy to make, and so nice to enjoy.

Let me know how yours turns out!

Enjoy!

Cheddar jalapeno Corn Bread

Print Recipe
Serves: 12-16 Cooking Time: 25-35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3 pickled jalapeno peppers, finely minced

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.

2

Line two bread loaf pans with parchment paper.

3

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne pepper and 1 cup of grated cheese.

4

In a food processor, add the brown sugar, corn, and buttermilk and blitz for about 5 seconds. Add eggs and blitz another 5 seconds.

5

Stir the jalapeno peppers into this mixture after it has been processed.

6

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry in a big bowl.

7

Fold the ingredients together, until just combined.

8

Add the melted butter and fold some more until the mixture looks moistened.

9

Pour the batter equally into the two lined bread pans.

10

Sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese on top of each loaf.

11

Bake until the cornbread is a nice deep golden colour which should be about 25-30 minutes.

12

Let the loafs cool in the pans on a rack for about 10 minutes.

13

Then remove from pans and let the loaves cool for about 10 minutes.

14

Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes

These loaves freeze up beautifully. Wrap the loaves well, pop in the freezer and use within one month.

slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Baking book

Baking

Salted Caramel Blackberry Cake

salted caramel blackberry cake with yogurt

I love blackberries,they have just the right sweetness and are a delicious combination of raspberry and blueberry flavours – two of my favourite berries. But, they have always been hard to buy as well as super expensive here in Ottawa. So, I was super excited to to find them frozen in my local grocery store. So exciting! Fresh blackberries also don’t last very long, so having access to frozen berries is fantastic.

This Salted Caramel Blackberry Cake is a delicious rich cake overflowing with jammy blackberries and rich caramel notes from the brown sugar and salted caramel chips. As it’s also made with ricotta cheese, it’s an excellent snack cake to be served with either your favourite hot beverage or layered in a glass with yogurt and more blackberries.

Blackberries are also super healthy. They are high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C.

salted caramel blackberry cake

This cake bakes up really well and quickly, and smells divine in the oven.

salted caramel blackberry cake with yogurt

Cake, yogurt, berries…triple yum!!!

salted caramel blackberry cake

Add extra berries on top if you like. It makes for a beautiful presentation.

salted caramel blackberry cake

It’s so rich with ricotta cheese and jammy blackberries – it would be good enough for breakfast with yogurt and more berries! Or pack it up for lunch…pack an extra slice for a friend, make someone’s day extra special!

salted caramel blackberry cake

This cake slices up very well, has a good crumb, lots of berry flavour and a few nice hits of salted caramel sweetness!

salted caramel blackberry cake with yogurt

So so so good! Try cutting up some cubes of cake and pile on some delicious yogurt and extra berries. Yum!

Salted Caramel Blackberry Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: 10-12 Cooking Time: 50-60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel chips
  • 1 1/4 cup blackberries

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2

Line the bottom of a 9" round cake tin.

3

Lightly grease the sides of the cake pan.

4

Whisk flour, brown sugar and baking powder together.

5

Mix together the eggs, ricotta cheese, vanilla and melted butter.

6

Add dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients.

7

Lightly stir in about 3/4 cup of blackberries.

8

Pour the batter into the cake pan.

9

Sprinkle the remaining blackberries on top of the cake.

10

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes.

slightly adapted from epicurious.com

 

Baking

Orange Nutella Alfajores

raw dough for orange nutella alfajores

I have been wanting to make alfajores cookies for a very long time. Their common description of being a melt-in-the-mouth cookie sandwiched together with dulce de leche just seemed heavenly. And they are.

Alfajores Cookies are one of the simplest cookies to make. They are made from just a handful of ingredients; flour, cornstarch, butter, sugar and egg. And they are ready in a jiffy.

The first batch I made was a regular cookie with dulce de leche inbetween. But with Valentine’s Day coming up, I wanted a chocolate filling. I added orange zest to the cookie dough, sandwiched them together with Nutella, and Orange Nutella Alfajores were born. And I must say it is a heavenly match.

You can use store-bought Nutella. Or if you have time, make your own. It’s divine.

Alfajores cookies have been popular in Uruguay, Peru and Argentina since the mid 1800’s. Common fillings in alfajores are dulce de leche, chocolate mousse, fruit or cream. Toppings include meringue coating, milk chocolate, coconut or a sugar glaze.

The word alfajor comes from the arabic al-hasu, which means filled or stuffed. Culinary experts have traced Alfajores to Andalusia, Spain during the occupation by the Moors. There is a strong similarity between alfajores and mamoul, a buttery confection filled with date paste that is popular in the Middle East and North Africa.

orange nutella alfajores

Alfajores are so popular in Peru and Argentina, that there are chain restaurants that only sell alfajores. Casa del alfajor is one such chain in Peru. And Havanna, in Argentina, which has been around since 1947.

Try making a batch. You will love them!

Orange Nutella Alfajores

Print Recipe
Serves: 18

Ingredients

  • 200 gram flour
  • 300 gram corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 250 grams softened butter
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 3 3gg yolks
  • 1 T brandy
  • zest from one orange
  • nutella (store bought or my own - see above)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

3

Mix together flour, corn starch and baking powder and soda.

4

Cream together butter, sugar and orange zest for 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.

5

Add the egg yolks and brandy to the butter mixture.

6

Add in the flour mixture.

7

Mix briefly until well incorporated.

8

Roll out dough until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies with cutter about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

9

You can place them relatively close together, as they will not spread.

10

Bake for about 10 minutes, only until slightly golden around the edges.

11

Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes, then place them on a cookie rack to cool.

12

Sandwich them together, when they are cold, with nutella.

 

Baking

Orange Coconut Anzac Cookies

orange coconut anzac cookies on cookie rack

Anzac Cookies are a delicious mixture of oats, flour, coconut, dark brown sugar, golden syrup plus a few more things. I have added orange extract to really brighten up the nutty flavours. In the middle of winter I just love a burst of orange! These cookies have a nice sweet, nutty taste. I make them small, only about 1.5 inches after baking, so they are a perfect treat when you’re in the mood for something sweet.

Anzac cookies originated in Australia and New Zealand and were made popular during World War I. I had read for years that women would bake these cookies and send them to soldiers fighting on the front lines and that’s how they came by that name. However, this appears to be a myth. They were, however, baked for fundraisers back home to raise funds for the war effort. A connection was made between these cookies and soldiers fighting during the war, so they became known as Anzac Cookies.

Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is protected under Australian law. Anzac cannot be used in Australia without permission from the Minister of Veterans Affairs, especially for commercial purposes.

These Orange Coconut Anzac cookies are made without eggs, and therefore keep quite well. You can make them chewy or crisp, but this recipe makes quite chewy cookies.

If you want to make vegan Orange Coconut Anzac cookies, swap up the butter for vegetable oil. Super simple.

raw dough of orange coconut anzac cookies

I made these cookies quite small. I used a very small cookie/ice cream scoop to get nice, evenly shaped dough.

orange coconut anzac cookies stacked One or two or these cookies goes very well with a hot beverage on a cold wintery day.

Orange Coconut Anzac Cookies

Print Recipe
Serves: 36 Cooking Time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 2/3 dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp orange extract

Instructions

1

Stir together the dry ingredients.

2

Melt the butter, golden syrup together in a small pot or in the microwave.

3

Add the orange extract after the butter and golden syrup are combined.

4

In a large bowl, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

5

Drop by teaspoon (or very small ice cream scoop) onto baking sheets.

6

Leave 1.5" inches between cookies, as they will spread.

7

Flatten slightly.

8

Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden.

Notes

To make this recipe vegan or dairy-free, replace the melted butter with a liquid oil of your choice.

Cooking

Easy Chicken Thighs in Peanut Sauce and Cookbook Review

chicken thighs in peanut sauce with green beans

The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook – Book Review

I recently had Julia Konovalova’s cookbook, The Ultimate One-Pan Oven, sent to me to review from Food Bloggers of Canada. I prepared one dish from the book for my review: Easy Chicken Thighs in Peanut Sauce with Green Beans. It was soooo good. I’ve tried a lot of homemade peanut sauces over the years, with most recipes being duds, but this one was tasty and full of flavour. If you’re interested in family-friendly, easy and delicious recipes, read on.

The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook was written by blogger Julia Konovalova, creator of Imagelicious. I have to admit, this is my first cookbook review. I have been reading cookbooks since I was a little girl, and somehow thought this would be a fun and easy activity. Well, of course, browsing through any cookbook is fun, but reviewing one is not as easy as I thought.

I realized as I was going through this book, that there is a lot more to a good cookbook than just the recipes. Everything about the book has to make you want to use it: the photos, the names of the recipes, the layout of the book, the style of writing, the categories of recipes and of course, the recipe instructions.

I will break my review down into the categories mentioned above.

The Photos

Every recipe in this book is complimented with an eye-popping, mouth-watering photograph. I love that the photographs are light and bright and really expose the natural look of each dish and are not over edited. The dishes look just the way they would on your kitchen table at suppertime. And that’s nice.

Recipe Names

While browsing through the cookbook, I was drooling over the food adjective-heavy names. She includes recipes such as Cocoa-Rubbed Pork Back Ribs with Chocolate BBQ Sauce, or Roasted Berries with Orange Mascarpone. The names, ingredients, accoutrements – so simple, so delicous-sounding.

Layout

I really like the layout of this book. The book starts out with a short two-page intro of how Julia got interested in cooking, as well as what she likes and doesn’t like. This helps the reader decide quite early on if they’re on the same page as the author. Julia doesn’t like stress in the kitchen. She likes healthy family-friendly recipes with minimal effort and washing up. Also, the abundance of photos really entices the reader to use the book.

Writing Style

Julia’s experience as a food blogger is evident in the personal anecdotes she includes at the beginning of every recipe. She always has a nice paragraph at the beginning of every recipe explaining what she loves about a particular ingredient in the recipe on the page. Her comments and dialogue are very insightful and help us get to know her and learn what is important to her: her family, fresh produce and a no-muss no-fuss style of cooking. This book is so perfect for people that love home cooked meals, but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing and cooking dinner.

Categories

I love the categories in this book. Because this book is primarily savoury dishes, with ten sweet dishes at the end, all baked in a pan in the oven, it could be challenging to divide the recipes into interesting and different groups. But her categories are brilliant: Oven-Made Breakfasts, Complete One-Pan Oven Meals; Hands-Off Main Dishes, Simple Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Easy Sides, One Pan, Many Nibbles and ending with Delicious and Unique Desserts.

Recipe Instructions

The instructions are clear and precise. I like how she uses metric and imperial measurements, as we Canadians still use a mix of both.

She also has many helpful Notes at the bottom of the recipe.

 

chicken thighs in peanut sauce with green beans

If you’re looking for a cookbook as a gift this Christmas, definitely have a browse through this book. It is full of imagination, creativity and some very delicious meals anyone would be happy to prepare for suppertime.

Here’s a link to her cookbook on Amazon.ca The Ultimate One-Pan Oven Cookbook by Julia Konovalova.

Easy Chicken Thighs in Peanut Sauce with Green Beans

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 30

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup 45g smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp (60 ml) orange juice
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) Sriracha (I used Sambal Olek)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 lb (340 g) green beans
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C). While the oven is preheating, mix 1 tbsp (15 ml) of the olive oil with the peanut butter, lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha in a bowl. (Julia mentions that she likes to use a small glass jug for this. She recommends heating the sauce ingredients, as it's much easier to mix when the peanut butter is warm).

2

Place the chicken thighs in the middle of a 11 X 17 inch or 28 X 43 cm nonstick baking pan. You need room for all the ingredients to spread out. Make sure that the chicken thighs are fully flattened. Pour half the sauce over the thighs, then flip and pour the rest of the sauce, making sure that it fully covers the chicken. Alternately, you could mix the thighs in a bowl with the sauce. However, that would add one extra dish to your washing up.

3

Spread the green beans around the chicken thighs in one layer. Pour the remaining 1 tbsp (30 ml) of olive oil over the green beans, season with salt and pepper to taste and lightly mix with your hands or tongs to cover them with oil and seasoning.

4

Roast for 30 minutes, or until the chicken thighs are cooked to 165 degrees F (74 C) and the sauce is thickened.

5

Serve with rice, if desired, or double the amount of green beans and cook on a separate pan.

Cooking

Totally Awesome Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables

turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables

I love turkey but it seems that major holidays are the only times that I think of serving it for dinner. And yet there are plenty of ways to cook turkey without having to roast a whole bird.

I really like using ground turkey (ground chicken would also work if you can’t find turkey) as an alternative to ground beef.  Turkey is very versatile and has a delicate flavour complimented by many other flavours,

turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables

This Totally Awesome Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables is an easy healthy one-pan dish that you will want to make again and again.

All of the ingredients are cooked all together in one pan: potatoes, autumn vegetables and turkey meatballs. I love dishes like this. While everything is baking in the oven, I can set the table and get drinks ready or sit for 30 minutes and read another chapter in one of my on-going reads.

turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables

The vegetables caramelize slightly in the pan while the turkey meatballs bake to a nice golden brown. Halfway through baking, pour over a tin of cherry tomatoes to create a scrumptious thick tomato sauce.

turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables

This dish is also tasty without the tinned cherry tomatoes…just turkey, veg and potatoes!

With or without the tinned tomatoes, this one-pan dish comes together in a flash and is just SOOOO yummy!

You could also make this dish with either chicken, pork or beef or a mixture if you like.

turkey meatballs with roasted vegetables

This dish is best with a glass of your favourite wine, some baguette and jazz music in the background.

Enjoy!

Totally Awesome Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 450 g ground turkey
  • 75 g dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced thickly on diagonal
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 medium potatoes, cut into 1" cubes
  • olive oil
  • 1 14 ounce can of cherry tomatoes (optional, but we preferred this dish with the extra tomatoes)

Instructions

1

Oil two 9 X 13 inch trays.

2

Mix together meatball ingredients. Form into 12-16 meatballs.

3

Place meatballs on trays.

4

Place prepared vegetables around meatballs.

5

Drizzle everything with olive oil (about 2 Tbsp)

6

Season with salt and pepper.

7

Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes. If you want, pour one 14 ounce can of cherry tomatoes over all of the vegetables and meatballs.

8

Continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Meatballs and vegetables will be golden brown.

Cooking

Quick and Spicy Chicken Wings Recipe

spicy chicken wings

Chicken Wings are one of the easiest and quickest meals anyone can make. You can buy chicken wings all year round from your local supermarket, which is great. Also, they’re inexpensive and quick to prepare and cook: no chopping, marinating or deboning.  And they’re finger foods. Who doesn’t love that!

Normally I bake them slathered in barbeque sauce, but I wanted to try and get crispier chicken wings. This Quick and Spicy Chicken Wings recipe works a charm.

spicy chicken wings

My Quick and Spicy Chicken Wings are super quick to prepare. They are seasoned with a balanced combination of spices and herbs including chili powder, chipotle chili pepper, oregano and a few others. The cayenne pepper is adjustable. I used 1/2 a teaspoon, but if you are making these for wee ones, just leave it out. It’s not super hot, just a nice warm flavour, but too much heat for small ones.

spicy chicken wings

This recipe makes about 1/4 cup of spice mixture. You could also multiply the recipe by 3 or 4 and keep it in a jar and just measure out 1/4 cup every time you make wings. You could also sprinkle a bit of this spicy mixture on chicken breasts to use in wraps or fajitas.

For a fantastic finger food dinner, serve these up with some veggies, pita bread and hummous or one of your favourite dips. Then you could eat the whole dinner with your fingers! Less dishes, more time for fun!

 

 

spicy chicken wings

Enjoy!

Quick'nSpicy Chicken Wings

Print Recipe
Serves: 3-4 Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken wings (rinsed and patted dry)
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 tsp chipotle chili pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 T dark brown sugar

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

2

Mix spices together.

3

In a large bowl, sprinkle spices over chicken wings.

4

Coat the wings with the spice mixture with your hands.

5

Place the seasoned chicken wings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

6

Bake for 45 minutes, turning once after about 20 minutes.

7

Bake until a deep golden colour.

8

Serve hot or room temperature.

Notes

Chicken wings give off a bit of oil when cooking. When you're turning them over, just place them on a clean portion of the parchment paper.

Preserves

Summery Strawberry Freezer Jam Recipe

strawberry freezer jam on toast

I made a few batches of freezer jam recently and I have to say, I am really loving the stuff! Before I tried freezer jam,  I made regular jam: I would boil up fruit and sugar and other flavourings on the stove in a big huge pot. Quite often I had to boil the mixture hard, and the mixture would bubble up until it almost overflowed all over my stove. After skimming off the foamy bits, I would pour the jam very carefully into many sterilized jars. wipe the rim, put the sterilized lids on the jars and wait for them to pop when they cooled down and sealed up tight. It was fun, but a lot of work.

 

strawberry freezer jam in a jar

Freezer jam is a whole different ball game. It took about 20 minutes for me to make 3 jars. Done. And the jam tastes so fresh, just like local berries. I put the jam in special plastic jam jars (the glass jar photographed better) and after the jam sits for 24 hours, in the freezer they go! And oh my goodness! The fresh strawberry taste! So good!

The jam tastes amazing right now, but the real treat is eating Summery Strawberry Freezer Jam on toast in February when it’s snowing outside and the temperature is -25. Just the aroma alone from the strawberries brings back summery memories in an instant and will warm you to your toes.

 

strawberries for strawberry lime elderflower granita

Up until a couple of years ago, I was only able to make Strawberry Jam in June. Our strawberry season used to only last about 3 weeks, then they were done. But our local fruit stand has started growing and selling Day Neutral Strawberries. Day Neutral Strawberries are ever-bearing plants that continue to produce fruit until the frost, so well into October.

strawberry freezer jam on toast

So, now I can make strawberry jam in the cooler weather. It’s hard to wrap my head around seeing baskets of strawberries next to peaches, corn on the cob and tomatoes. But, I think it’s something I can get used to.

Enjoy!

Hey! What’s your favourite jam? Send me a message. I love homemade jam.

 

Summery Strawberry Freezer Jam

Print Recipe
Serves: 3 jars Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 box certo
  • 2 litres strawberries (to make 3 cups of crushed strawberries)
  • 4 cups sugar

Instructions

1

You will need two pots to make this jam.

2

Wash and hull the strawberries. Slice them and place in a bowl or if you have an 8 cup measuring cup, that works great!

3

When you have one layer of strawberries, crush them with a pastry blender, or a fork.

4

Continue crushing the strawberries, until you have 3 cups of crushed berries.

5

Pour the berries into a large pot. Add the sugar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved.

6

Meanwhile, place 3/4 cup of water and one pouch of powdered certo in a small pot.

7

Bring to a boil, and boil for 3 minutes.

8

Pour certo mixture into warm strawberries and sugar.

9

Stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.

10

Pour into plastic jam jars.

11

Let the jars sit on your counter for 24 hours. Then place in refrigerator or freezer.

12

Don't forget to label the jars with the name and the date.

Notes

These instructions are different than on the certo box, but they work the best for me.

Preserves

Strawberry Lime Elderflower Granita Recipe

strawberry lime elderflower granita

Wow! I’m not sure what the weather is like where you’re living, but the forecast for tomorrow in Ottawa is 40 degrees C.  That’s hot, hot, hot! And the best way for me to stay cool in hot, humid weather is by eating fruity frozen desserts.

This Strawberry Lime Elderflower Granita is so perfect for cooling down in the heat. Granita is a frozen mixture of fruit, sugar, water. It is the simplest frozen dessert you can make. And it’s a great dessert to make with your kids.

Granita is similar to sorbet but is made without an ice cream machine. The ice crystals that form are large and coarse and will be crunchy when you take a bite, but seconds later the granita will just melt away in your mouth. Divine.

To make granita, simply puree some fruit, water, sugar and any extra flavouring you may want to use, in a blender. Pour it into a shallow tray and place in the freezer. Check on it after an hour, and if it has begun to freeze, start breaking up the crystals with a fork. Place it back in the freezer for another 30-45 minutes. Repeat this process until it is all frozen and flaky.

There are many ways to enjoy granita. Of course, you can eat it plain in a bowl. You could also have it layered with whipped cream in a parfait glass. Some people also enjoy it spooned overtop of yogurt.

 

strawberries for strawberry lime elderflower granita

Strawberries have always been very symbolic of summer and a perfect fruit to use in granitas. But now with day-neutral strawberries, we can buy local strawberries until the frost hits! Yay!

 

strawberies and limes for strawberry lime elderflower granita

Strawberries and limes go amazingly well together.

strawberies and limes and elderflower liqueur for strawberry lime elderflower granita

And when you add a few drops of Elderflower Liqueur…the flavour is heavenly.

There are so many fruits you could use in granita: blueberry, melon, watermelon, raspberry, blackberry, mango, or espresso coffee…. or mix them up and come up with your own flavour. The possibilities are endless.

Strawberry Lime Elderflower Granita

Print Recipe
Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

  • 1 kg strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 150 grams icing sugar
  • 1/2 lime juice and zest
  • 1 ounce of elderflower liqueur (optional)
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

1

Mix strawberries and icing sugar. Let sit one hour.

2

Place strawberry sugar mixture into a blender. Add lime juice, lime zest, water and elderflower liqueur (if using). Blitz on high until a smooth puree is formed.

3

Strain mixture through one layer of cheesecloth to remove seeds.

4

Pour mixture into a rectangular shallow container and cover with lid. Place in freezer.

5

After one hour, check mixture. If ice crystals have started to form, rake a fork through the crystals to break them up somewhat. You don't want the tray to freeze into a giant ice cube. Keep checking every 30 to 45 minutes and continue to break up the frozen parts with a fork.

6

When it's ready, the tray will be filled with fluffy ice crystals.

7

Enjoy on it's own, or layered with whipped cream, or overtop of yogurt.

Cooking

Orange Soy Honey Tofu Marinade for BBQ

cubes of tofu marinating in orange soy honey tofu marinade

 

Like most families, we love to barbecue on the weekends. But sometimes I get tired of eating so much meat. My husband suggested we try marinating and grilling tofu on the barbecue. So, I came up with this Orange Soy Honey Tofu Marinade for the Barbecue. It’s really good – I think you’ll like it. It has sweetness from the orange juice and honey, saltiness from the soy and lots of extra flavour bits like ginger, garlic. Yum!

Tofu, for those of you who are not familiar is made from coagulated soy milk. It has been made for thousands of years beginning in China. The story goes that a cook once accidentally curdled some soy milk and … tofu was born.

Tofu is fantastic for soaking up flavours of sauces and marinades. Which is why this marinade works so well with tofu. All the flavours of orange, soy, honey, ginger, and sesame oil soak right into the porous soy cubes. This marinade also works in stir-fries as a sauce with chicken or tofu if you do not barbecue, or it’s raining or it’s wintertime. Just use with your favourite stir-fry combination. Or keep checking my website, and I’ll try and post a recipe soon!

Tofu is a super healthy meat alternative. In a 100 gram serving (about 1/2 a cup) there are 70 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 8.2 grams of protein and about 350 mg of calcium, which is about 20% of our daily needs. When compared with chicken or steak, it is much lower in calories and much higher in calcium. It is lower in protein than chicken or steak, but one serving is ample enough.

grilled tofu with orange soy honey marinade

The tofu caramelizes to a lovely golden brown on the barbeque. It’s very difficult to cook it this way on the stovetop, which makes barbequing that much more exciting!

Before you begin making this dish, you should press the tofu to remove any extra liquid. When pressed, the tofu is less apt to fall apart on the barbeque. Place the tofu in a shallow bowl and cover by a small plate. Place a weight on top of the plate. You could use a can of tomatoes, a small bag of sugar, anything that weighs about 1 kg. Leave the tofu like that for about 60 minutes. Drain away the liquid, then place the pressed tofu in a container with the Orange Soy Honey Tofu Marinade to soak up all those yummy flavours.

Barbecue on a medium heat until golden brown all over, turning often. Brush on additional marinade as it cooks.

Enjoy!

Orange Soy Honey Tofu Marinade for BBQ

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 15-20

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice concentrate
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 450 g container of tofu

Instructions

1

Press tofu to remove extra liquid. Place tofu in a shallow bowl. Place a small plate on top. On top of the plate, place an object that weighs about 1 kg (large can of tomatoes, small bag of sugar etc.). Leave for about 60 minutes.

2

Drain away extra liquid.

3

Chop the garlic and ginger finely.

4

Add all other ingredients into microwavable bowl.

5

Place in microwave for about 30 seconds, until the honey and orange juice concentrate are melted.

6

Stir all ingredients together.

7

Pour over tofu.

8

Place in refrigerator for about 2-3 hours.

9

Grill on medium heat on barbeque. Baste with extra marinade.

10

Turn tofu a few times until each cube is a nice golden brown.

Baking

Focaccia Bread with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Focaccia Bread with sea salt and black pepper on a plate with butter and knife and drink

The first time that I had focaccia bread was at a little sandwich shop in downtown Toronto. It was so delicious:  chewy, warm, fragrant with olive oil drizzled on top and crunchy with salt and rosemary.

Years later Ifinally learned to bake it myself, after I had bought Antonio Carlucci’s Italian Feast cookbook.The back cover of his cookbook shows four variations of focaccia bread, each one as delectable ss the next.

I don’t know why I waited so long to bake sme, as Focaccia bread is very simple to make. It only has one rise so there is minimal kneading, and it is baked flat  on a cookie tray – so no shaping! And in the summertime, we bake ours on a pizza stone on the barbeque, so you don’t even need to turn on the oven.

Focaccia Bread with sea salt and black pepper on a plate with butter knife and drink

Focaccia bread is delicious eaten plain at dinnertime, or you can use it for sandwiches.  You can also make killer breakfast sandwiches with a simple omelette nestled inbetween two soft warm slices of focaccia.

This bread is delicious at room temperature, but I love it when it’s soft and warm. To warm the focaccia, simply wrap some slices in tin foil and put in the oven on low for about ten minutes, or inside the barbeque for 3-5 minutes.

Focaccia is an excellent starter bread for beginners. This bread bakes up very fast and when baked on the barbecue has a lovely smokiness to it. Baking bread on the barbecue means you can bake anytime of the year.  And the crust is simply amazing; crunchy, hot, smoky. Yum!

Focaccia makes great picnic food. It pairs well with sliced meats, cheese, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and other pickled vegetables. And makes fantastic picnic food.

Sometimes on a hot summer night, we’ll just pack up all our picnic foods and lay them out in the backyard. A picnic in your backyard: nothing could be simpler.

Focaccia Bread with Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Dough
  • 500 g (1 1/4 lb) strong white plain flour
  • 15 grams fresh yeast or 7 grams dry
  • 300 ml lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 g sea salt
  • For the Topping
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper (or chopped onions rosemary or other herbs)

Instructions

1

Preheat oven to 475 deg F (with pizza stone) or preheat BBQ with pizza stone

2

Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Once yeast has bubbled up, add to flour along with the rest of the water, oil and salt. Mix everything together and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. You can do this in your kitchen mixer with the dough hook.

3

Put the dough in a bowl that has been slightly oiled with olive oil. Place a damp cloth over top and leave it for one hour until double in size.

4

Knead the dough again after an hour to knock out any bubbles. Flatten the dough until it is an oval shape and about 1" thick. To create indentations, press your knuckles into the dough several times, keeping the indentations about 1 inch apart. Spread about half the olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle on the toppings. Leave to rise again for about 30 minutes, then pop in the hot oven or BBQ for about 15 minutes until the base sounds hollow when tapped, or when the bottom and top are a nice golden colour.

Adapted from Antonio Carlucci’s cookbook, Italian Feasts.