I started this blog so my daughters could find all of our family favourite recipes in one place. It has actually grown into more than just the family favourites but also other recipes we've tried out in our kitchen. I don't like to fill up the post with alot of chatter. Sometimes there's a little story to tell, but usually I like to get right to the point. So this is for them, but hope you find some recipes that you like as well. I'll be sharing a lot of recipes, and along the way you'll find some crafty things and maybe some helpful hints too!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Double Coconut Cream Pie

So creamy, so coconutty (that's a word, isn't it?)

Here's what you need for the crust

2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup butter

Just combine the coconut and butter in a food processor and press into an ungreased 9" pie plate using the back of a spoon. You can use it as is or for a toasted coconut bake at 350 F 5-7 minutes.

For the filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 tbsp butter
1  1/2 tsps coconut extract (vanilla or almond)

For the meringue:

1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsps granulated sugar
2 tbsps icing sugar
1/4 cup flaked coconut

Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Add the milk using a whisk and cook on medium heat until thickened. Continue cooking and whisking 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir a couple of tablespoons of the milk mixture into the beaten egg yolks to warm them, then add them to the saucepan. Bring the filling to a gentle bubble and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Again remove from heat and stir in the coconut, butter and extract.  Pour into prepared crust.

(You can prepare to this point and refrigerate until the next day before topping with meringue if you want to get a head start but want your meringue fresh.)

In a mixer bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, on high until a stiffer peak forms. 

Gently pile the meringue on top of the pie filling, making sure to seal it to the edges of the pie crust.

Sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 F for 17-20 minutes.

Cool one hour on the counter, then cool completely in fridge at least 3 hours before cutting. Here you can see how the back edge of the pie crust stayed together perfectly.

I served it at Easter topped with this little Coconut Pretzel Chickie!

Coconut Pretzel Chickies

Aren't these little chickies cute?

All you need is:

18 mini pretzels
1 cup melting chips (white or yellow)
18 mini chocolate chips
a couple of soft orange candies (jujubes, wine gums)
1/4 cup shredded or flaked coconut
2-3 drops yellow food colouring

Start by colouring your coconut. Put it in a small plastic bag, add the yellow food colouring and shake.

Once it's coloured to your liking spread the coconut out on a paper towel to dry.

Now take your pretzels and put them on a parchment lined tray. Melt the white or yellow chips and set aside while you cut the orange candies into little beak-shaped pieces.

Put the melted chips into a ziplok bag and snip a corner. Use this to fill the pretzels.

Add the coconut, the orange little beak and a chocolate chip eye and presto! you've got fluffy little chickies!

Two Ingredient Coconut Pie Crust

2 cups shredded coconut
1/4 cup butter

Yep, that's it!  

Just combine the coconut and butter in a food processor and press into an ungreased 9" pie plate using the back of a spoon. You can use it as is or for a toasted coconut bake at 350 F 5-7 minutes.

Cool and fill. I made Double Coconut Cream Pie here.

Chocolate would be good. Come to think of it....pineapple would be good too! I'm sure you can think of your own flavour combinations.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Tabbouleh Batter Bread

Deceivingly easy to make. The original recipe was from Jacques Pepin.

Then it was adapted by http://www.parsleysagesweet.com/2012/05/14/one-pot-tabbouleh-bread-and-part-11/ 

I made a couple more changes in my version. Hope you like it. Oh and start it the day before you want it.

1/3 cup medium bulgur
2/3 cup water
Large handful fresh parsley, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2  1/4 cups tepid water
1 tsp sugar
2 tsps yeast
4 cups flour
3-4 tsps salt
A few basil leaves, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsps sesame seeds
Garnishes - sesame seeds, grape tomatoes, parsley, fennel, green onion

Bring water to a boil. Add bulgur and simmer 5 minutes. Turn off heat and cover for 20 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel to dry.

Stir sugar and tepid water together in a large mixer bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top and leave to bloom about 15-20 minutes.

Using the dough hook on your mixer, add the flour and salt to the yeast mixture in  3-4 additions.

Add the bulgur, parsley, garlic, basil, green onions, zest and 2 tbsps sesame seeds. Dust the top of the dough with a little flour, cover with a piece of wax paper and a tea towel. Preheat the oven to 170 F for just 1 minute, then turn the heat off. Place your covered mixing bowl in the warmed oven for 90 minutes.

The original recipe called for a 3 quart non-stick pan in which you would mix up the batter, rise the dough and bake it.  I didn't have one so once the 90 minute proof was up I used my heavy 3 qt Guardian Service pot. Just grease and flour, (or use Baker's Joy like I did) then cover the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. 

Once your dough has risen gently punch down if using a non-stick pan. Or as I had to do, gently pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl and turn into the prepared baking pan or pot of choice. Now lay a piece of wax paper over top of pan then over wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

REFRIGERATE 10-14 hours.

Preheat oven to 450 F 
Top your bread with any or all of these garnishes....
sesame seeds, fennel fronds, parsley on stems, basil leaves, green onions and grape tomatoes (which become lovely roasted tomatoes once the bread is baked!)

Bake for 40 minutes. Cool on rack 10-15 minutes before turning out onto the rack to cool completely. The sides came away easily, as you can see here, and you just have to peel off the parchment paper (which I forgot to remove before taking this picture, oops!)

It's always exciting when the finished product looks the same as the picture in the recipe : )

To store: wrap in a clean tea towel and put in a paper bag for a few days on the counter. For longer storage freeze in a plastic bag.

This is a dense bread which slices very well. A little heavy for a dinner bread but..
was great as a grilled sandwich the next day!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Quick Tomato Sauce

Basic simple tomato sauce that can be used with spaghetti and meatballs, veal parmigiana or even used as pizza sauce. An old friend, who just happens to be Italian, gave my this tip...add a carrot or two to the sauce. You'll know the sauce has simmered long enough when the carrot is cooked. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cheesy British Toad in the Hole

No actual toads were hurt in the making of this meal!

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 eggs
1 cup milk
2 tsps bacon fat and/or olive oil (in the batter)
2 tbsps bacon fat and/or olive oil (in the pan)
5 pork sausages (I used cheddar and bacon sausages)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (gouda, cheddar)
2 green onions, sliced

Lightly brown the sausages, cooking on medium 12-15 minutes. Set aside.

Combine flour, salt and pepper. Beat eggs, milk and 2 tsps bacon fat together, make a well in the flour and add in the milk mixture. Beat on high using electric mixer, about 2 minutes.  Then fold in the cheese and sliced green onions.

Place 2 tbsps bacon fat in a heavy 8" skillet like my good old Guardian service. Preheat oven to 450 F and place the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes until fat is almost smoking.

Remove from oven and CAREFULLY pour the batter in.
Lay the sausages on top. You can sprinkle a little more green onion too if you like.

Return to the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F for 10-15 minutes. Then turn oven off and leave it to dry for 10 minutes.

Serve with mustard, relish or chutney.
See the ooey gooey cheese!

Friday, March 18, 2016


Yesterday was St Patrick's Day and I made colcannon for the first time. Curious about the name, I looked it up and discovered that it means "white-headed" cabbage. Traditionally it is made with either cabbage or kale.
Oh, and I won't be waiting until next St Patrick's Day to make it again.

4 cups 1-inch cubed potatoes
1  1/2 cups chopped cabbage
salt and pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsps butter/marg
5 green onions, sliced

Cook the cubed potatoes in a pot of salted water, drain.
Mash them with the milk and marg and add more salt and pepper to taste.

In a small saucepan bring salted water to a boil and add the cabbage and the white part of the sliced green onions. You don't have to boil the onion, but I prefer the milder taste to raw. Reduce heat and simmer 4-5 minutes. Drain.

Add to the mashed potatoes along with the rest of the green onions and serve.

Makes enough for 4 servings.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hint of Orange Impossible Brownies

You can make this recipe in pie form like the usual "impossible" pies but this works well cut into squares. They are light brownies so be careful. You might be tempted to eat the whole pan!

4 semi-sweet chocolate squares, melted
4 eggs
1/2 cup baking mix (like Bisquick)
2-3 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup margarine

Start by melting the chocolate. About 1 minute on high in the microwave should do it. 

You can use ready made baking mix, but if you don't have any on hand here's a good homemade recipe.

Then simply dump everything into a blender and blend for 2 minutes.

Grease a 9" square or 9" round baking pan and pour the batter in.

Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.

Easy, but not impossible!

Adapted from Food.com

Homemade Bisquick Baking Mix

Blend the ingredients together and store in the fridge.
Use as you would store bought baking mix. Another good idea is to make it up, put it in jars and give it as a gift.

You can make tea biscuits or the well-known Bisquick impossible pies with this mix. You can even make these Hint of Orange Impossible Brownies!


The full recipe for the mix makes a big batch so I included the measurements for smaller batches below.

Full recipe:

1/2 cup baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
9 cups flour
1  1/4 cups canola oil

1/4 recipe:

1/8 cup baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
2  1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup + 3 tsp canola oil

Or even smaller recipe:

1 tbsp baking powder
1  1/2 tsp sugar
1  1/2 cups flour
2 tbsps + 1  1/2 tsp canola oil

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins

Need a mid-morning snack?

1  1/2 cups oats
1 cup flour
1/2 cup all-bran 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsps vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Mix the first eight ingredients together in a large bowl. 
In a smaller bowl mix the remaining wet ingredients together.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until mixed. Don't over mix or you could end up with "tough" muffins!

Pour into paper lined muffin tins.
Bake at 400 F for 18-20 minutes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Osso Buco with a Citrus Twist

Got rave reviews from the family on this one!

4 osso buco (veal or pork shank slice)
2 tbsps olive oil
2-3 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon pepper
dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup turnip, cut in sticks
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 cup quartered mushrooms
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves
few pieces orange peel
1/2 cup red wine
1 oz drambuie (yep I went there!)
2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsps sundried tomato in oil, chopped
kitchen twine and a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth

Start by tying kitchen twine around each shank to keep it's shape and not fall off the bone. Dredge the shanks in flour, salt and lemon pepper, then brown on all sides in olive oil.

Add onion and brown.  De-glaze the pan with wine, drambuie, broth and sundried tomatoes on medium heat.

Put the bay leaves, cloves and a few pieces of orange peel in a coffee filter or cheesecloth and tie up with twine to form your bouquet garni. Sit it in the pan and add all the vegetables except the mushrooms. Sprinkle with thyme.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1  1/2 hours.

Add mushrooms, raise heat to medium, uncover and cook another 20 minutes.
Gorgeous if I do say so myself !

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Florentine Bone-In Chicken Breast

Lovely served over rice

4 bone-in chicken breasts
2 tbsps olive oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsps balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsps cornstarch
1 tbsp water
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1 tbsp lemon juice
6-8 oz fresh spinach, chopped
salt, pepper and paprika
a handful of your favourite shredded cheese

Take the skin off the breasts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large skillet add the olive oil and heat to medium temperature. Brown the chicken 4-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

De-glaze the skillet with broth, wine, balsamic and add garlic. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and water together. Add a spoonful of the warmed broth to the cornstarch mixture, then whisk it into the skillet. Heat until smooth.

On low heat add the cream cheese and lemon juice stirring until cheese is melted. 

Grease a large skillet and add the spinach, top with the chicken breasts and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with a little paprika.

Bake in a 375 F oven for 30 - 40 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle the shredded cheese on top then return to oven until cheese melts.