New this week

June 16, 2012

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

Cookie lovers come in two camps: those who love their cookies crisp and those who love them chewy and soft (I belong to the latter), but the melt-in-you-mouth cookies are universally liked.  These is what these cookies are about and I think they may please both camps. They are meltingly soft yet have some crispness to the texture. Who said you cannot please EVERYONE? These cookies hold their shape and don’t spread much during baking... View Article

June 16, 2012

Chickpea Dip (Hummus) and Olives Crostinis

A Mediterranean staple, hummus makes a lovey appetizer, snack or part of a salad selction anytime. You can make it from scratch by soaking dried chickpeas and then cooking them until soft, or you can use this quick version using canned organic chickpeas. If you cook the chickpeas from scratch be sure to add a teaspoon of baking soda to the soaking liquid. The chickpeas have a tough outer layer and the soda helps soften... View Article

June 15, 2012

Vanilla Cheesecake

I worked at baking cheesecakes for quite a while before I finally achieved the kind of cake that I like. A lot of cream cheese and eggs went in and out of my kitchen without leaving a mark. I finally came up with a method that works for me and hopefully for you as well. This cake is made with cream cheese and sour cream  and produces a lovely cake that holds it shape and... View Article

June 13, 2012

Beluga Lentils with Spinach and Feta

Beluga lentils have middle east origin and have been an integral part of mediterranean cuisine for centuries. When cooked, the small black legumes become glossy and resemble the black caviar of the Beluga whales, hence their name. They cook perfectly, holding their shape and retaining a nice texture, not becoming a mush like their brown relatives. For this reason they work particularly well in salads, when you want to retain the texture. In terms of... View Article

June 12, 2012

Rice and Noodles with Pistachios

You would usually think of rice and noodles as an Asian dish but not this time. Here is a mediterranean version of combining these two ingredients for the starch component of your dinner. There is something about this dish that is very satisfying (probably the starch factor). I use the thin soup noodles that are sold rolled up in little “nests”, broken up for the occasion, and cook them in olive oil until nice and... View Article

June 10, 2012

Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese and Thyme

Love goat cheese? Here is a simple and quick sauce to make with the subtle but distinct flavour of goat cheese. A few toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top add buttery flavour and a bit of texture. Thyme goes nicely with this flavour palette. Serve with a glass of white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. Their crisp acidity will balance the creamy sauce. Ingredients 1/2 lb pasta (spaghetti, linguine, spaghettini etc.) 1 ... View Article

June 9, 2012

Spicy Carrots with Harissa

Have you ever used harissa in your cooking? It’s a Northern African (Tunisia, Morocco) spicy condiment or spice blend that migrated to neighbouring middle east countries and has become an integral part of middle east cuisine. There are various ways of making it and the basic ingredients are chili peppers, garlic, coriander, cumin, carraway, sometimes cinnamon and maybe even fennel and lemon. You would need to add olive oil to make it into a paste.... View Article

June 7, 2012

Fudgy Cream Cheese Brownies with Baileys

For adults only, these creamy, fudgy, chocolaty cream cheese brownies are so good and so easy to make I am sure you will add them to your favourite brownies collection. I have been experimenting with brownies for a few days with different results in textures. Some were cake-like with a crackly top layer, some were  light, others heavier. A lot of chocolate came and went through my kitchen this week. This one seems to have... View Article

June 6, 2012

Silky Puree of Asparagus Soup with Baby Potatoes

I made this soup a while ago, early in the asparagus season, but I thought I’d post it now. It’s a simple soup to make and requires only cooking the asparagus in boiling stock and then puréeing it in a blender. The cooked potato blended with the soup adds body and natural creaminess without adding any cream. You can however  enhance it with cream for a creamed soup version or just add a dollop of... View Article

June 5, 2012

Peasant Pasta with Herbed Crumbs

What can be more satisfying and comforting than a bowl of pasta? okay, maybe there are a couple of things but a bowl of pasta is certainly among them. Here is a simple pasta to make when you are low on ingredients or just feel like something good and quick. The herbed bread crumbs are one of the things I usually have in the freezer, ready to be incorporated into many different dishes. Of course... View Article

June 5, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Apricots, Ginger and cumin

Acorn squash along with other squashes are fall and winter vegetables and I cook with them often as soon as summer is over. I do however like to use squash as a “container” and stuff it with various grains and vegetables and I can do that any time of the year. Being the starch lover that I am, I can never have too much starch (read The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall). Acorn squash... View Article

June 4, 2012

About Cheese

I think of cheese as one of the most exquisite culinary pleasures.  Whether served with fruit after a meal, paired with a glass of wine, enjoyed on its own with a chunk of crusty bread or included in the process of preparing a dish, cheese is a captivating flavour and texture element in culinary experience. Wine and cheese have a lot in common. Both in a way are living organisms, created by their own Terroir... View Article