Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Bean Salad

Summer sides can be as simple as this. Bean salad is quick and easy to make yet generous in texture, flavour, and nutrition. Leafy salads have their place however a delicious change such as this is welcoming.  

Bean Salad

1 - 14 ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1 - 14 oz can of kidney beans, drained
1 - 14 oz can of black beans, drained 
1 - 14 oz can of pinto beans, drained
1 - 14 oz can of lima beans, drained
or any combination of beans you like... I used a 540ml (19 fl oz) can of exotic bean mix which included: adzuki beans, urid beans, moong beans, and soya beans plus a can of chickpeas. 

1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped or diced
half can of corn, drained 

1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon za'atar (thyme herb mix) seasoning 

In a large serving bowl combine all the drained beans, chopped green pepper, diced red onion, and corn. Toss together. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the oil red wine vinegar, white sugar, salt and pepper, and za'atar seasoning until the sugar has dissolved. Spread over the bean and vegetable mixture and gently toss again. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. 

Notes: You may use honey or agave syrup to sweeten. Try adding other vegetables like, red, orange or yellow peppers. Try different oils, vinegars or seasoning.  

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend! - JD   

Friday, 16 June 2017

Royal No. 2

The Royal No. 2 is a very smooth cocktail that is both neat and crisp.   

Royal No. 2

1 ounce dry gin
1 ounce dry vermouth
1 ounce cherry brandy

Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass. Add 1 or 2 cocktail cherries, if you wish. 

Have a great weekend everyone! - JD 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Apple Rhubarb Crumble

Apple crumble... or apple crisp is a classic dessert and the addition of rhubarb gives it a tangy and tart zing amongst the sweetness.  

Apple Rhubarb Crumble

8 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 cups rhubarb, blanched
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pre heat oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and butter a 9x13 baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the apples, rhubarb, caster sugar, flour, and cinnamon until combined. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

In another bowl mix the quick oats, flour, and brown sugar together; cut butter into the oat mixture until crumbly. Spread the oat mixture evenly over the top of the fruit mixture. Mix the caster sugar and ground cinnamon together and sprinkle over the top, if you wish. You may also use a pre-made cinnamon sugar.

Bake in the pre-heated oven until fruit is bubbling and thick and the topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve warm. 

Hope everyone is having a good week. - JD 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Fine and Dandy Cocktail

The fine and dandy is just that... fine and dandy! We did make another version of this cocktail with lime juice rather than the recipes lemon. It offered a different taste; one that was less sharp and sour. It was hard to say which was our favourite... although I was leaning more towards the lime. 

Fine and Dandy 

1 oz English gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Lemon juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice and strain. Serve with a cherry... or two. 

Have a great weekend everyone! - JD 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

The Forest Feast ~ Gatherings

Entertaining family and friends should be attainable, fun, and simple however more often than not while contemplating, prepping and creating it may take the joy out of such. The Forest Feast, Gatherings cookbook is trying to help you achieve and enjoy the entertaining process and as well as the guests and food. 

The cookbook, itself, is colourful and inspiring with photographic recipe illustrations. The Forest Feast, Gatherings, is a gorgeous book. Artful in presentation, entertaining with ideas and style plus simple recipes. Perfect for those who entertain; although I believe many would enjoy this cookbook, entertaining or not. With these encouraging recipes one can feel confident and enjoy the entertaining. 

Recipes include the use of fresh local produce something the creator, Erin Gleeson enjoys immensely as it gives a sense of community and therefore making a connection with the food. Gatherings, is mostly vegetarian with fantastic recipes, like, Butternut Hummus, Vietnamese Lentil Tacos, Squash Lasagna, and Quinoa Crunch Salad to name a few. There are 12 chapters with a "menu lineup" to which the recipes and photographs follow. The 12 chapters are: Iced Tea Party, Summer Feast, Brunch, Picnic, Lunch Gatherings, Fall Feast, Cocktail Party, Vegan & Gluten Free Gathering, Winter Feast, Holiday Cocktail Party, Weeknight Gathering and Party Buffets. It flows with wonderful recipes whatever the occasion. 

Moroccan Carrot Salad

5 med carrots, (sliced into "coins" using a mandoline or knife)

1/2 cup (100g) cooked quinoa, about 1/4 cup dry, cooked according to package instructions

1/3 cup (50g) golden raisins

1/3 cup (45g) pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)

1/2 cup (75g) chickpeas (I used canned and drain them)

3 tablespoons each  - parsley, flat leaf, and mint - fresh and chopped


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons olive oil

Toss all ingredients. This can be made ahead but add pepitas, herbs and dressing just before serving. The quinoa can be made the day before. 

Hope everyone is having a good week so far! - JD 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Pasta Salad

Recreating those classic summer salads are a creative way to add your own culinary touches, try different ingredients and to keep any unwanted ingredients and saturated fats down.  

Pasta Salad

1 - 500g pkg rotini pasta

1 cup of light mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt or light sour cream
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon vegetable herb seasoning mix
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups chopped broccoli, raw or slightly steamed
1/2 cup peas, fresh or thawed frozen
1/2 cup chopped green pepper, optional
handful of sunflower seeds

Cook pasta according to package. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside and allow to drain again. Prepare the vegetables accordingly. 

In a large bowl, combine and stir the mayonnaise, Greek yoghurt, grainy mustard, white wine vinegar, smoked paprika, and the vegetable herb seasoning mix together. Then add the chopped red onion, steamed or raw broccoli, peas and chopped green peppers, if using any, to the dressing. Stir. 

Place the cooked drained pasta in a large serving bowl and pour the seasoned vegetable dressing over top. Gently toss to coat. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Chill before serving.

Notes: you may also add grated carrots and or chopped red pepper.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Plenty to do and think about this week. - JD 

Friday, 2 June 2017

Klondike Cooler

A rainy Friday usually leads to sunny weekend; and if it is sunny then why not try, the Klondike Cooler. My husband feels this should be called the Klondike Kiss. Regardless, if you agree with him or not this will keep you cool and refreshed. 

Klondike Cooler

1oz of whisky
juice of 1 orange 
rind of 1 orange, formed into long twirling strips
ginger ale

Place ice cubes and twirling strips of orange rind into a highball glass. Add orange juice and whisky. Stir. Fill with ginger ale.  

Have a great weekend everyone! - JD