Greek Quinoa Salad

One of our all-time favourite ways to cook and serve quinoa!  

1 cup quinoa 
4 handfuls of baby spinach 
1 cucumber, diced 
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, diced 
1 stalk celery, diced 
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 

Dressing: 

1 clove garlic
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup red wine vinegar 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup oil: can be a combination grapeseed & olive or one or the other

 

  1. Cook Quinoa:  bring a large pot of water to the boil.   Add a generous amount of salt, then add quinoa.  Boil for 12 minutes or until plump & tender. 
  2. Drain through a fine mesh strainer, give a little rinse with cold water, and allow to cool completely on a baking sheet.  
  3. Make dressing: in a blender place garlic, Dijon, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, kosher salt and pepper. Blend on high for 30 seconds. Reduce speed and blend in oil. Scrape out and set aside.
  4. Toss spinach with vegetables, quinoa, and about 1/3 of the dressing (or to taste).  
  5. Serve topped with crumbled feta cheese

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Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Cheddar-Scallion Crumble

The perfect family meal to cozy up to!   Quickly brining the chicken breasts brings allows you to bring the soup together quickly, with juicy pieces of chicken.  For a spectacular presentation we've added a cheesy crumble! 

2 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ Tbsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups cold water.

¼ cup butter
1 large cooking onion, small dice
1 large carrot, small dice
2 ribs celery, small dice
¼ cup flour 
2-3  bay leaves
5-6 sprig thyme (optional)
4 cup good quality chicken stock
1 cup panko
3 green onion
½ cup old cheddar
2 Tbsp melted butter

1-450g broad egg noodles, cooked

 

  1. To make crumble: Melt butter in a small pan or microwave, stir in panko until well combined. Once cool, stir in grated cheese and chopped green onion. Set aside until ready to use. 
  2. Whisk salt into cold water until dissolved. Add chicken pieces and place in the refrigerator. Allow to brine for 45 minutes up to 1 hour. Remove from brine to a paper towel-lined tray/plate. Heat a heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook the brined chicken in batches until golden brown (the chicken does not need to be cooked all the way through, it will finish cooking in the soup during the final simmer. Set cooked chicken aside. *For extra flavour: add 1 cup of water/stock to the pan to deglaze and pick up all the flavourful browned bits on the bottom of the pan. You can add this flavour stock/water when you add the chicken. 
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter. Add onions along with a pinch of salt and sweat until soft but not browned.
  4. Stir in carrots and celery along with a pinch of salt and sweat, stirring often, until soft but not browned.
  5. Shake the ¼ cup of flour over softened vegetables and stir to combine. Stir continuously for about 1-2 minutes.
  6. Slowly pour in stock ½- ¾ cup at a time, whisking to combine and ensure there are no lumps. 
  7. Once all stock is combined, simmer for 1-2 minutes, add cooked chicken and simmer 1-2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked pepper. 
  8. In an oven-safe bowl (maybe you have some french onion soup bowls lying around:) add soup, and cooked noodles, and top with crumble. Broil until bubbling and golden brown. 

 

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Crab Cakes

We love this recipe as it is not mayonnaise-based as so many crab cake recipes are. This lets the crab flavour shine!

For fresh bread crumbs blitz up soft white, crustless bread in a blender or food processor.  Alternatively you can use Panko breadcrumbs.   

They are super delicate, tender and delicious.  Serve with lemon wedges, or with our homemade tartar sauce!  

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer 

1 lb crab meat (we like this brand
¾ cup 35% cream
½ red pepper, finely diced
3 green onions, finely diced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs, divided 
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp. paprika

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
clarified butter, as needed
1 egg, slightly beaten

 

  1. Bring cream to a boil in a small pot.  Reduce by ½ and then chill well.  
  2. Lightly sauté the pepper and green onion in a little clarified butter until soft but not brown
  3. Combine the crab meat, chilled reduced cream, peppers and onion, half of the breadcrumbs, mustard, parmesan cheese, cayenne, paprika, egg and kosher salt and pepper.  Mix well, but try to keep larger pieces of crab intact. 
  4. Divide into equal size portions and press into cakes.
  5. Press cakes into remaining ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  6. Fry in clarified butter until golden on both sides.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges & tartar sauce!  

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'Ras El Hanout' Roasted Chicken

Immerse yourself in the world of spices and make your own 'top of the shop' blend of spices!  Delicious with roasted chicken as we've done here, but keep this blend nearby for everything from roasted vegetables, grilled shrimp or a nutty rice pilaf.   

This spice blend will make more than you need for our recipe below for 4 chicken thighs.  

Serve this with the fastest side dish around: couscous!  Add equal parts boiling water to couscous in a heat proof bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork, and season with salt and butter before serving.   

4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or leg quarters
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt, liberal amount for seasoning the chicken
2 tbsp. Ras El Hanout (see below)

Ras el Hanout:  “Head of the Shop” Moroccan Spice Blend for Tagine, Stews etc.

2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp ground black pepper
1 ¼ tsp ground nutmeg 
1 ½ tsp ground turmeric
1 ¼ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves

  • Blend all spices together and use as required

Chicken:

  1. Season chicken well all over with lemon juice, salt and ras el hanout spice mixture—this can be done 24 hours in advance
  2. Pre-heat oven to 425°F
  3. Place chicken pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet or roasting dish.   
  4. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until skin is dark and crisp.   
  5. Serve Chicken with couscous or rice and with any collected juices.   We like to serve with extra lemon, green olives, chopped fresh parsley and a fresh green salad.  

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Zabaglione

Zabaglione is a frothy egg yolk mixture of Italian origin flavoured with champagne, wine or a spirit such a fortified wine such as Marsala

Whips up very quick, Zabaglione can be the star of the show or serve alongside ladyfinger biscuits or even a digestive cookie!   Also great with a bottom of fruit macerated in a little sugar (or try a liqueur such as Grand Marnier!).  

We love a dessert that doesn't require turning on the oven and uses readily available ingredients.  

A frothy egg yolk mixture of Italian origin flavoured with champagne, wine or a spirit such a fortified wine such as Marsala

 

4 egg yolks
½ cup sweet, dry Marsala
1/2 cup white sugar 
Drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional) 

  1. Whisk to blend the yolks, Marsala, and sugar in the stainless-steel bowl. Rest the bowl in the saucepan over hot water.
  2. Whisk constantly for 4 to 5 minutes or more to cook the sauce, until it has the consistency of lightly whipped cream. Clear the bottom of the bowl constantly with the whisk so that the eggs do not scramble, and adjust the heat as needed.
  3. Taste the sauce — the zabaglione should never get so hot that you can't stick your  finger in it — and whisk drops of lemon juice or more sugar if you want. When thick, foamy, and tripled in volume, remove from heat. It can be served hot as is, tepid, or cool.
  4. If serving cool, place in another bowl filled with ice. 
  5. Serve with biscuits, fruit or on its own!  

Looking for more Dessert ideas?  Click HERE for our Pies & Butter tarts Class!

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Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Buttery Mustard Stuffing & Mushroom Pan Sauce

Pork chops have always been an economical way to entertain, with absolutely no sacrifice on flavour, juiciness or gourmet goodness!  Ask your butcher for a 1 1/2"  thick center-cut pork chop (bone in if you like, this would require a longer cooking time but very delicious).   

We make a stuffing that packs on top of the chop as it bakes, made with leftover bread simply crumbled with your hands or in a food processor.  Whole grain mustard is the star here.  

Finally, a pan sauce made with mushrooms and cream brings it all together.  You can substitute a few tablespoons of butter in place of the cream, but ensure that you turn the heat OFF before adding in the butter!   We served these chops with roasted Brussels Sprouts.  Mashed potatoes would be fabulous or buttered noodles!  

2 Tbsp Triple Crunch (whole grain) mustard
5-6 sprigs flat leaf parsley, finely chopped 
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped  
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped 
2 cups fresh, coarse bread crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
Olive oil, as needed 
4 thick cut boneless pork chops 
1 heaping Tbsp Dijon
300g cremini mushrooms 
¼ cup white wine 
1 cup chicken stock 
¼ cup cream 
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste 

  1. Preheat oven to 375℉ 
  2. In a bowl mix together the whole grain mustard, the parsley, thyme, minced garlic & shallot and the soft, fresh breadcrumbs.  
  3. Melt butter and stir in, adding a little olive oil if necessary for the mixture to come together.   
  4. Preheat a frying pan over medium heat.   Season pork chops with salt and drizzle with oil.   Sear in the frying pan until lightly browned on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove from the pan and place on a baking sheet (do not clean the pan!) 
  5. Spread the Dijon mustard on one side of each chop.   Top each chop with stuffing mixture and bake for 10-12 minutes.  
  6. Meanwhile, make pan sauce:  turn the pork chop pan back on medium heat and ensuring there is enough fat in the pan, add all of the mushrooms.  Sprinkle lightly with salt, then drizzle in about ¼ cup of water.  Allow mushrooms to caramelize, undisturbed, for about 5 minutes.  
  7. Add in white wine, allow to reduce over high heat.   Add in chicken stock, allow to reduce over high heat.  
  8. Lower heat, add in cream and let simmer for about 1 minute.  
  9. Serve pork chops with mushroom cream sauce.  

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'Paella'

Traditionally made the expensive imported 'bomba' rice, we make it with arborio rice, typically used for Risotto.  The big difference here?  Don't stir it!   Enjoy the chew of the rice, and even a slight crust that may form at the bottom of your pan by leaving the rice to cook without stirring.  

We build flavour in our paella by starting with a 'sofrito'.  A delicious umami-packed blend of olive oil, caramelized onions, garlic (sometimes peppers) and tomato paste.   You can make a big batch of this if you like and store it for future recipes.  

If we could have one spice in our spice drawer, it would be Spanish Smoked Paprika, or pimenton.  Adds boldness, colour & so much flavour.  Use it as a bbq rub, in soups & stews, and especially with fish & seafood.  

Chicken thighs and loose chorizo sausage give a lot of flavour to the rice, even if you don't have chicken stock!  You can finish with shrimp, or better yet (and more budget friendly!), a pound of mussels added in for the last few minutes of cooking.  

We love a fresh herb 'Mojo Verde' topper: finely chop cilantro, parsley, garlic & mix with lemon zest and a splash of olive oil.   

Serves 2 very generously, or 4 with appetizers.  

Sofrito

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow cooking onions,finely diced
3-4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup good quality tomato paste

Paella

4 oz fresh Chorizo, crumbled
2-3 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, cut into pieces
1 ¼ cup short grain rice (arborio or bomba
¼ cup good drinking white wine
1/2 tsp.  Smoked Spanish Paprika 
¼ cup sofrito
8 large shrimp
2-3 piquillo or roasted red peppers, cut into ¼ inch julienne
Salt, as needed

  1. First make Sofrito: Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan. 
  2. Add the onions, turn down the heat to low, and cook slowly until they are thoroughly caramelized, about 45 minutes. (dark caramel colour, taste sweet and candy like).  
  3. Add the garlic, cook for 5 minutes, then stir in tomato paste. Cook a further 5 minutes.
  4. Leftovers keep well, refrigerated for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.  
  5. Pat-dry chicken and season well with salt.  
  6. Heat paella pan (or sauté pan) over medium-high heat.
  7. Add chorizo and chicken with a little olive oil and brown well.
  8. Add rice and stir to coat grains evenly in all the fat.
  9. Stir in sofrito and evenly coat rice.
  10. Spread the rice evenly on the bottom of the pan. Pour the wine over the rice. DO NO STIR, and allow the wine to evaporate.  Sprinkle in Smoked Spanish Paprika 
  11. Pour liquid over the rice. DO NOT STIR. Bring to a simmer and cook on medium-low for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Nestle in shrimp (or mussels, if using) and cook until pink.
  13. Sprinkle piquillo peppers on top and keep covered for 5 more minutes. 
  14. Serve with 'mojo verde' if you like.  

 

Looking for more Spanish Influence?  Click HERE for our Spanish Supper class!  

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Mujadara (Middle Eastern Rice with Fried Onions)

What is Mujadara? A dish of lentils and rice garnished with onions. Take the time to transform the humble onion into a crowning glory on this lentil-rice dish.   Delicious even just with rice, but the super combo of lentils & rice give us a complete protein.   Warm spices with the rice are highly addictive.   Give it the gourmet feel with a drizzle of good quality tahini blended with a little warm water and crushed garlic, or a good scoop of plain yogurt.   

Ingredients for Mujadara

1 cup green or brown lentils, cooked until al dente, or 1 can of lentils 
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp flour
oil for frying

1 tsp. each cumin seeds and coriander seeds
¾ cup basmati rice (we love this Tilda brand) 
½ tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Yogurt for drizzling (or Tahini Sauce), optional 

 How to make Mujadara

  1. In a large frying pan with a lid, heat enough olive to cover the bottom of the pan
  2. Toss onions with flour and then fry in the oil, in batches, until golden brown and crisp;  remove to a paper-towel lined plate and lightly salt.  
  3. In the same pan, add cumin and coriander seeds; fry briefly before adding basmati rice, turmeric, allspice and cinnamon.  Fry for one minute and then add 1 ¼ cup water.  Stir in lentils. 
  4. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, cover, and turn heat to lowest setting
  5. Cook 15 minutes, then turn heat off and allow to sit for five minutes.  Serve with onions on top, garnished with yogurt or tahini!  

 Looking for more Middle Eastern Influence?  Click HERE for our Shawarma At Home class!  

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African Spiced Peanut & Black-Eyed Pea Stew

 

This African-Spiced bean dish is extremely tasty, filling, nutritious and surprisingly easy to bring together with items you may already have in your pantry!   Black-eyed peas have a mild, nutty flavor and are amongst the creamiest of beans when cooked, making them one of our favourite cans of beans in the pantry!   They absorb the flavors of the surrounding ingredients, making them a versatile and delicious base for stews.   

 If you don't have black-eye peas, the next in line would be white kidney beans or pinto beans. Serve these beans with white or basmati rice for comfort food at it's finest!  And with the anti-inflammatory properties that come with the turmeric-black pepper combo, this is feel-good food too.   Ladle up bowls on top of basmati rice, and garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lemon or lime if you have it!   

 

1⁄4 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts (or 3 tbsp. natural peanut butter)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. tomato paste (we love this tube of double concentrated paste for more umami!) or 1 cup of chopped canned tomatoes 
1 large can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can coconut milk
Water, as needed
Oil, as needed
Kosher Salt, as needed

Chopped cilantro and lime wedges, for garnish 

1. Preheat a medium pot over medium heat.
2. Add in peanuts and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
3. Remove to a bowl to cool. Blend in blender or food processor.
4. Add oil to the same pot, followed by onions and a good pinch of salt. Fry until golden.
5. Stir in spices, followed by tomato paste or chopped tomatoes,  black-eyed peas, coconut milk and 1/2 can of water, or as needed. Stir in ground peanuts.
6. Cook over a low simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt as necessary. Thin with water if necessary.
7.  Serve with hot cooked rice, garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime.   

 Looking for more African Influence?  Click HERE for the class!  

Try one of our Live Online cooking classes. 
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Turkey Schnitzel

Crispy Turkey Schnitzel with Parsley Lemon Sauce

This turkey schnitzel is so juicy and delicious!  Perfect for a smaller gathering, or even a quick weeknight supper!  We've paired it with a quick creamy sauce with capers, a red cabbage salad and buttered egg noodles for a perfect German-inspired supper!  

4 x 6 oz cutlets of turkey breast
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, as needed
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
canola oil, as needed 

Sauce: 

Zest & Juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp. Capers with a little brine
2 heaping tbsp. Mayonnaise
4-5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of salt 

 

  1. Place turkey on cutting board, and top with a zip-top back or plastic wrap
  2. Using a meat pounder or other heavy object, pound turkey to 1/4-1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Season both sides with salt.
  4. Place flour, eggs and crumbs each in their own shallow bowl; season, flour, eggs and crumbs with salt and pepper.  
  5. Using one hand, dredge the turkey into flour. Using that same hand, place it into egg mixture; using the other hand, take from egg and place into crumbs. Use your ‘flour’ hand again in the crumb mixture to adhere crumbs to turkey. Repeat until all turkey is breaded.
  6. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat for a minute or two; add a moderate amount of neutral oil oil and then carefully add the turkey, not crowding the pan
  7. Cook for about 3-4 minutes before turning over and cooking for a further 2-3 minutes, lowering the heat if the pan begins to smoke.  
  8. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate, sprinkle immediately with salt and serve with Parsley Lemon Sauce 

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