Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Banoffee Pie Flop

Ah, the spring-form pan. Such an innovative idea, in theory. But in reality, a culinary disaster waiting to happen. Or maybe I'm the disaster... My friends and family may be more inclined to say it's all me, as I do have a little bit of a history as the resident klutz.

So recently I've been getting into Chuck's Day Off, a Montreal based Food Network show about this trendy, urban tattooed guy and what he cooks in his restaurant on his day off. And actually last week, they featured this amazing (and simple) recipe for Banoffee Pie. It had ingredients that could only be good together. And here's what it looked like:

All weekend I thought of not much other than how I would go about making this dish, how easy it was, how it would be interesting to finally make my own caramel with condensed milk, and above all, how amazing I thought this would be. Here's the recipe:
  • 20 Oreo cookies
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 300 ml can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 sliced bananas
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strong coffee 
  1. Place the sealed can of condensed milk into a large pot, fill with water to about two inches above the can, and cook in a preheated oven on 350 degrees for 3 1/2 hours. 
  2. In the meantime, whiz up the Oreos in a food processor, and then add in 1/4 cup of melted butter. This recipe tells you to portion the crumbs right onto the plate using a circular mold or cookie cutter. I, of course, made one big one (actually I doubled the recipe too) in my lovely spring form pan. Set aside in the fridge.
  3. When the caramel is done, set aside to cool.
  4. Slice bananas and add a little lemon juice so they don't turn brown. Layer them onto the Oreo mixture, then add a layer of the caramel. Repeat once. 
  5. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the icing sugar and coffee, and whip just a little more. 
  6. Serve each slice/mold with a good dollop of the coffee whipped cream, and a sprinkle of extra oreo crumbs. 
So this was all fine and good. I made it all, and it looked great. I picked up the pan with one hand, and sadly, this is the picture that one of my brother-in-laws snapped a picture of, later to be posted on facebook by another brother-in-law. 

SIGH........ Lesson learned: Use two hands with a spring form pan. Or maybe, don't freakin' use them at all.... My sister-in-law did get some on her arm while helping me clean it up, though, and said it tasted good. Something to try again another day.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Shout Out!

Thanks so much to Keli over at Feeding Four for featuring my Chicken Korma Wrap recipe on her awesome blog! Go check them out!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Mormon Rye Bread Recipe

So as I've mentioned in the past, I am a little bit of a bread machine maniac. So this week, my dad came over and we had lunch that is starting to be somewhat of a tradition for us. A couple of times every year, we pick up, from different places, the best chopped liver from Chenoy's, the best smoked meat (up for debate depending who you talk to) from Smoke Meat Pete's, and usually pick up a rye bread, coleslaw and potato salad. Well, now it turns out that the best rye bread comes from me.... Not that I feel I created something miraculous, it's just that I've found a recipe that kicks the butt of store bought rye bread, mainly because it's just so fresh. By day 2, it tastes like a very good store bought rye bread.

The recipe comes from a a book called Easy Bread Machine Recipes by Rob Wanless, and it was lent to me by my friend K. who you can check out here.

So here it is, this is for a 2 pound loaf:

Load into your bread machine according to machine directions:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dry milk
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
I chose to run this recipe on the dough cycle. Then I molded it into the normal sort of shape of a loaf of rye bread, put it on a baking sheet sprinked with corn meal.

Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, brush the dough lightly with a beaten egg.

Bake in a preheated oven at 360 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Sadly I didn't take pics.... I may be making another loaf for DH to take the left over chopped liver to work, so updates to follow! Enjoy!

    Friday, 18 March 2011

    Chicken Korma Wrap

    This is my first entry since transferring over my blog to blogger. No post last week, as I was working hard to try and update this new one. I decided to switch because there are a couple of features I really wanted on blogger. Still more to go, but I'm working at it and learning a lot. So here we go!

    Leftover night! Tonight I came up with one of those meals that doesn't necessarily make any cultural sense, but ended up being really good anyway, so I thought I'd share. I must admit, I didn't make the Korma sauce myself. I feel as though generally speaking, Indian sauces require a lot of ingredients, and that I very much like the pre-made stuff just about as much as I do what I've had in local restaurants.


    • Fry up about chicken breast, cut into a 1 inch dice and seasoned with salt and pepper over a medium-high heat (I had cooked 2 lbs of it, which would explain why I had so many leftovers to use up tonight!).
    • Add 1 jar Korma or Butter Chicken sauce. I used President's Choice Blue Menu Korma Sauce and had to add a little milk to thin it out somewhat. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes on low to medium low heat.
    Throw together:
    • about 1 cup shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix
    • 1/4 onion finely sliced or chopped on a mandolin
    • 1/4 cup crumbled goat feta, or Greek feta
    • 1/4 of a tomato, finely diced
    • 2 sliced baby dills
    • 2 thinly sliced pepperoncinis, or other pickled hot peppers
    • 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
    Whisk together in a small bowl:
    • 2 tbsp mayo (I like light olive oil mayo)
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp granular old fashioned mustard
    • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
    • A good amount of pepper
    Add the dressing to the slaw.

    Then just pile the chicken mix onto your favourite wrap, maybe a nice thick pita or a whole wheat tortilla, and top with the slaw. Wrap and serve! 

    Sunday, 6 March 2011

    A Simple Greek Salmon Salad Sandwich

    Say that three times fast....

    So this week, I had one of my very favourite things to eat. Broiled salmon covered in dill, s & p, and lemon juice, along with Greek Salad, rice, tzatziki and bread... As often does happen with this meal, I had a good piece of salmon left over.

    Now typically what happens is that I stick the leftover salmon into a nice little container, and send it off to the fridge to die, only to be discovered in the back of the fridge a couple of weeks later. However, being that it was Spring Break this week, some spring cleaning did get done, including a good emptying out of my fridge, so I made sure that my salmon stayed at the front of the fridge, and was inspired to make a quick, easy Friday night dinner that took all of ten minutes and was made using things already sitting in my fridge, always a plus.

    This is more of an add-as-much-as-you-want kind of recipe, and you can add as much or as little as you want. It's really easy, and maybe nothing genius, but sometimes it's the simple things that people don't think to put together.

    So here it is, made for 2, so multiply as you wish:

    Have Ready:

    Mix together:
    • About 2/3 cup chunks leftover or canned salmon
    • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (I like goat feta)
    • 2 -3 Tbsp finely chopped red onion or shallots /green onions/scallions (whatever you call them in your house!)
    • 5 Kalamata Olives, chopped **
    • 1/2 a tomato, finely chopped
    • 1 Tbsp or so of fresh parsley (if you have it)
    • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4- 1/2 tsp dried dill, depending if you cooked your salmon with dill or not (or a couple tsp fresh, even better if you have it)
    • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
    • s & p to taste

    The Assembly Line
    • Have bread ready for as many people as you're serving, toasted if you wish*
    • Portion out salmon salad mixture onto bread.
    • Add FINELY (important!) chopped lettuce onto salmon - Iceberg or Romaine
    • Top with a GENEROUS dollop of store bought tzatziki (I could go swimming in the stuff...) ***

    You're ready to eat! Great with a glass (or two) or red wine or a  Caesar, and some baked french fries.

    * I happened to only have sesame-seed hamburger buns, but I would have equally used something like those great Costco triangular multi-grain buns or a nice fresh baguette (although I wouldn't have toasted that), especially one that came out of the bread-maker - but this was a last minute meal decision!

    ** I recently discovered that it's SO much easier to take the pits out of olives by using the side of your chopping knife to squish your olives, sort of like you would do when smashing a garlic clove before chopping it, and then you can really just pull the olives in half and take the pits out.. Truthfully, I feel a little foolish for not figuring that one out a long time ago. Ah, the time I spent trying to cut each olive in half to take the pit out like a peach. Oh well. You live, you learn...

    *** Now, I'm all for doing things yourself. But these days, I do find that the store bought tzatziki, like Arahova, Skotidakis, or anything that comes from your local Mediterranean grocery store, is pretty much as good as I've personally ever had. Even my Greek in-laws often buy it ready-made these days...

    Monday, 28 February 2011

    5 Reasons Why I think YOU need a Bread-Maker!

    Last summer, some of my best buds got together and bought me a bread-maker. It took me a total of two minutes to realize that my life, as I knew it, had changed forever and that I had been willingly transformed into a bread-making convert.

    By far, my favourite-ever kitchen gadget. Now YOU need one. Here are my top five reasons why:

    1. They save you big $$$...

    Bread-makers require a minimal investment (about $80 and up, in Canada, if you think of the long-rewards (or they come FREE if you're smart and ask for one for your birthday... That's if you have awesome friends like I do.. who would be equally awesome without the great gifts).

    The price of making bread, cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, and all of the other great things you can make in a bread-maker will literally cost you a small fraction of the cost of buying it. I don't know about you, but I end up spending about $3-4 on a loaf of bread at the grocery store. A basic loaf  in the machine will cost you between 50 cents to a dollar.

    2. Nothin' like it!

    There is nothing like the smell, taste or texture of freshly baked bread. It's just better. 'Nuff said.

    3. You'll look like you have mad bread-making skills.

    This is a loaf I made for to bring to my grandmother's house. Not that I think this is the best pic ever (actually it was the only one that I had), but it just goes to show that with minimal effort, you can have a really nice looking, but more importantly amazingly tasty product for very little effort. In this case, set it on the dough cycle, braided it, let it rise, and then baked it in the oven with some egg wash. Le voila! Fresh Challah bread.

    Try bringing a couple of loaves of bread to a potluck, along with maybe a few cheeses and some pâté, and just see if you don't have a whole crowd of people crowded around your section of the table and chowing down. And then give yourself a pat on the back for all 10 minutes you spend making it.

    4. A little comparison... I'll let you decide.

    Ingredients in Pom Ultrasoft  Superclub Sandwich Bread

    Enriched wheat flour, water, glucose-fructose/ sugar, vegetable oil (canola or soybean), yeast, salt, soybean flour, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, mono and diglycerides, acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides, calcium propionate, ammonium chloride, calcium iodate.

    Ingredients in my favourite white bread recipe:

    Flour, water, salt, yeast

    Um... so yeah... there's something to be said for real food. I know what I'd rather feed my family.

    5. Mmmm.... Pizza

    Pizza dough in the stores have a disgusting mark up. Almost everyone loves pizza, and it can be much cheaper to make at home. With a bread-maker,  dough is maybe 50 cents. It can be frozen, and used for pizza, calzones,  panzerottis, you name it. Not to mentioned it is ridiculous barbequed and made into sandwiches.. more to come on that in the recipe section for sure.

    Scroll to the bottom of this dessert calzone recipe I posted for my current pizza dough recipe.

    My Bread-Maker

    I have a Sunbeam, and I really have no complaints on it. It has tonnes of features and settings, like a time delay so you can set it in the morning and come home to freshly baked bread, settings for darkness, types of bread, and even an Expressbake feature. Needless to say, I am a fan...

    But, if you don't believe me, you can check out what the pros think.


    Saturday, 26 February 2011

    Nutella Mascarpone Calzone

    I'm choosing this as a first recipe partially because it proves how far the idea of a sandwich can be stretched , and partially because it's just so damned good and easy. Oh, and I must give credit to David Rocco for the general idea. He's so awesome...


    • Make or buy your favourite pizza dough (see below for recipe)
    • Roll out dough to be maybe 1/4 inch thick (it will puff up in the oven!)
    • Spread a good amount of Nutella on one half of the dough and mascarpone cheese on the other half.
    • Optional: a few handfuls of chopped hazelnuts or other nuts
    • Fold over the pizza dough and pinch edges together


    • Brush with olive oil and a few pinches of salt (very interesting)


    • Brush with melted butter and a tbsp or two of sugar
    • Bake on pizza stone or cookie sheet in a preheated oven at 400°F for about 15 minutes

    Pretty excellent with good vanilla ice cream...

    Here's my favourite pizza dough recipe for bread machines:

    Add ingredients into basket according to your bread machine's directions. Usually the process is: wet ingredients first, followed by dry. Make a small well with your finger in the flour and carefully add yeast to the well.
    • 1 1/8 cups water
    • 1 1/2 tbsp olive or canola oil
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

    Lock and Load!
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