Category Archives: Uncategorized

sweet treats for special ladies…

What better way to celebrate the women in your life than with baked goods… so for this special day, a classic British dessert… the Bakewell Tart. A buttery shell encased the lovely sweet frangipane filling and raspberry jam slathered base, while the flaked almonds offered a slightly extra nutty crunch. It is, and always will be my favorite of puddings so why not share it with the ones you love! Wrapped tenderly in a sheet of parchment these sliced gems were tucked gently into a precious pink bag and secured with a colorful ribbon…

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let the festivities begin…

Excuses mean squat… Therefore rather than apologies for being absent here I’ve decided to start off with a bang…Cinco de mayo lit a fire under my… or perhaps those were the jalapeños in the quesadillas we consumed???

Anyway you slice it, dinner was simple, classic fare that satisfied the hungriest bellies… and to wash it all down… mango margaritas!

So if you’ll excuse me I have some more drinks that require some tending to and a quesadilla that needs some loving…

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love in every bite…

With Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday this year, it was perfect to do something a bit different from years past… This meant making the entire experience a dual effort!
The day started by preparing our chocolatey dessert. Chocolate bowls were made, a chocolate sponge cake baked off, black cherries steeped in a sugary sauce and a creamy whipped topping all ready to be consumed later in the evening by the fireplace!
Our dinner was simple yet delicious; filet of beef wellingtons! It began by seasoning and searing the filets. Then red onions were sautéed in some luxurious European butter and cognac. This was then puréed into a slightly chunky ‘paste’. Each filet was then given a spread of dijon mustard, a nice dollop of the red onion paste, placed onto puff pastry and then covered over with a top layer of pastry. A brush of egg wash, tiny slit in the top and it was off to the oven for twenty-five minutes… When the wellingtons finally emerged, they were golden, puffy and full of lush flavors!
The day, as well as cooking/baking went off without a hitch… a day of romance, wonderful eats, champagne, snow and a fireplace! What more could we have wished for?

-R

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spicy dinner for a chilly night!

With a recently found liking for sockeye salmon, I thought about mixing up our weeknight dinner and preparing a refreshing recipe that my cousin mentioned to me…
I rubbed some extra virgin and then seasoned one and a half pounds of sockeye with a mixture of kosher salt, cumin, paprika, chipotle chili powder, freshly ground pepper and onion [or garlic] powder [1 teaspoon of each, except 1/4 teaspoon of the chili powder]…
The fish was set in the fridge for a bit to soak up the lovely spicy flavors, while I prepared some steamed haricots verts to enjoy as a side. These were nothing fancy, steamed and then tossed lightly with some olive oil and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes.
To cook the salmon, I heated a grill pan on high and once smoking, in went the fish [skin-side down] and cooked for roughly 8 minutes [cooking time varies depending on heat, as well as your likeness for doneness]… Once finished cooking a squeeze of fresh lime juice elevated this dish nicely! It was then onto our plates and then into our bellies…
I have been converted and think anyone who tries this will be too so I say… give it a go!

-R

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a good roasting!

With today being quite the dreary Sunday [both because it’s the day before the beginning of the week and also because it was gray outside], I decided to do as much cozying up as possible… couch, wine and movie]. To accomplish this feat, a simple roast chicken dinner seemed the easiest thing to come out of the kitchen!
Seasoned with some olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and herbs de provence… this meaty bird was nestled into the oven for an hour and half to get its tan. During the last thirty minutes of cooking, our fragrant meal was treated to a splash of white wine to elevate the already flavorful treat! Once finished cooking, the chicken rested for a few minutes before getting plated and filling our bellies with satisfying warmth…
Till our next dining experience!

-R

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Reaching for the ‘clouds’ for the New Year!

Well hello to everyone… yes I realize it has been quite a while since my last posting, but there were many obstacles that prevented me from having the time to focus. Hopefully this will be a new blogging beginning for the New Year!
With 2015 finally upon us and an annual Holiday get-together with our friends approaching tonight, I felt this would be the best time to kickstart everything into motion.
Starting with ‘what can I bring’ to our amazing hostess, the words ‘how about dessert’ was music to my ears! After thinking about something out of the norm, I settled on a triple layered hazelnut mocha pavlova, with a hazelnut liquor cream filling…
It all started yesterday by roasting hazelnuts [the amount is your choice, but I went with six ounces] in the oven and also melting milk and dark chocolates [another six ounces] over simmering water. Both were set aside to cool…
While the nuts and melted chocolates cooled, six egg whites were whipped with a pinch of kosher salt until soft peaks formed, from there the sugar began to slowly get added until the whites became glossy and stiff. Once stiff peaks were evident, vanilla and almond extracts were added and the mixer then turned off. The chopped hazelnuts and a cup of chocolate chips were gently folded into the shiny pillowy mixture, as well as the cooled, melted chocolate to create a lovely marbled wonder.
Poured onto three parchment drawn discs and spread out, it was then into the 225*F oven for two and a half hours. Once cooked, the door was opened and the pavlova’s left to cool completely.
For the whipped filling, I beat cream and some hazelnut liquor until firm. This boozy filling was spread on each layer and stacked. The pavlova tier was popped into the refrigerator to ‘set-up’ overnight and then this edible beauty was dressed with some shaved dark chocolate on top before packing up and heading to the party!
The end result… crisp exterior with a slightly chewy center and a creamy delight to hold everything together… a total favorite!
What will I bake next???

-R

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Sunday never tasted so good!

It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper Sunday supper… With snow on the ground and the perfect winter chill in the air, I thought something braised was the key!
Everything started by generously salting a bone-in pork butt and then browning it in some extra virgin. As soon as the pork was browned on all sides, I set it aside and in went sliced onions and celery until softened and fragrant. Once close to transparent, in went a good handful of minced garlic, bay leaves, fresh thyme, along with a big drink of Saba and homemade stock to let the pork swim in.
The lid to my cast iron pot went on and it was off to bake in the oven at 375 for two hours, which felt like days, as the scent of sweet, acidic goodness wafted throughout the entire.
To serve, slices of the pork were dazzled by the grape-like, onion syrup. Each bite was like cutting through butter and made it terribly difficult to not sop every morsel with some crusty bread! The few leftovers remaining are going to make a killer lunch sandwich tomorrow.

at a low simmer…
-R

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this kind of flakey is acceptable!!

As a cold front approached and garnered the potential for some flurries in the night sky, I took it upon myself to make sure flakes showed up! My flakes, however were in the form of buttery golden topped buttermilk scones.
With a recipe consisting of pantry and crisper staples… flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, butter and shortening, soon some gorgeous scones would be pulled from my oven… After sifting all of my dry ingredients, it was time to cut in the chunks of butter and shortening. As soon as my mixture began to gain a crumbly existence, it was dampened with some tangy buttermilk, stirred lightly until combined [not overworked] and then turned out onto my workspace to be brought together into a wobbly [nobody’s judging], lengthened ‘disk’. From this disk the scones were gently plucked out one by one, layered on a baking sheet, brushed with an egg wash and baked off…
Once puffed and bronzed, it was off to cool and then be slathered later with some scarlet-colored rhubarb jam and enjoyed with a hot cup of tea.

at a low simmer…
-R

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keep calm and c[u]rry on…

With a serious want for a wonderful Indian dish, but a lack of desire to go out for dinner on a Monday night… I decided to browse through some cookbooks and with what I had in the house, whip up a quick pork curry dish served with a coconut rice.
Green curry paste, sliced scallions and olive oil were the building blocks to what would soon be a delicious meal. After a quick sauté of the above, thinly sliced pork was tossed in and stirred around. Once the pork was no longer pink, in went some coconut milk, some shredded coconut, and water.
As soon as the whole lot was boiling, it all went down a notch, soybeans and sugar snap peas were added and it was time for a slow simmer to let everyone get to know each other.
After roughly twenty minutes, it was time to plate and surrender to this luxurious and flavor-laden dinner!

at a low simmer…
-R

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one [roasting pan] wonder…

After a long day of running errands and battling the cold weather, it was home to prep up something for a scrumptious dinner! I needed something satisfying and filling, while not taking hours and hours to prepare. Simple enough was one of my fave dishes, from one of my fave home-cooks… Nigella Lawson. It was a chicken, chorizo and potato ‘bake’. This dish is literally a ‘one pot’, rather ‘one pan’ meal! Simple ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen pantry and can be put together in mere minutes.
Into a deep roasting pan went some good extra virgin which coated both sides of a healthy portion of chicken thighs, chopped up fresh chorizo, large diced red onion and cubed yukon gold potatoes! A sprinkling of dried oregano, a scatter of salt, a grating of the zest of a clementine and it was into the oven on 425 for one hour. As the ‘bake’ cooked in the russet beauty from the oil and chorizo, the scent of oregano, citrus and spices wafted throughout.
After the cooking time was up, out appeared a bronzed, crisp chicken, seductively aromatic chorizo, browned potatoes and wilted red onion. No sooner did I take this breathtaking beauty out of the oven, that we were plated up and diving in!
This is one of my go-to recipes, and chances are if you try this it will become one of yours as well!

at a low simmer…
-R

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