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Cheddar + hot pepper scones

This is only my third time making scones. They seem to be some of the most finicky baked goods to make, at least for me, so I generally tend to avoid them. Having way too much cheese in my fridge, however, meant that I had to take action. Cheddar scone action.

Thankfully I found a simple recipe from one of my favourite blogs: smitten kitchen

Here’s what you’ll need: scones

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 tbs cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup cream (I used 18% table cream)
3 eggs
1 cup old cheddar, cubed
1+ hot pepper, minced

Directions

Check out the instructions on smitten kitchen. I followed them to a T, and cooked the scones for ~20 minutes. I also used a glass to make round scones, because I find the triangle ones don’t cook quite as evenly.

They turned out quite well. I’d definitely try the recipe again, definitely adding more hot pepper (only used one), and maybe adding basil and / or green onion.

Enjoy ❤

 

Apple pull-apart bread

This is the recipe story of the barrel of apples that never ended…

I was lucky enough a few weeks ago to get the chance to go apple picking. I don’t think I’ve even actually been before – I have some faint memories of it, but pretty sure it may have just been a dream •_•

For some reason, I thought that half a bushel wouldn’t be enough… Little did I know  they’d last for two solid weeks of baking. Apple sauce. Pie. Crisp. And a new favourite, apple pull-apart bread.

I adapted the recipe from this one on from Baked by Rachel. Wonderful recipe. Easy to follow. Turned out perfectly.

photo

Dough ingredients: 
3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp yeast
4 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cups warm water
2 eggs

Filling ingredients:
1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 cups apples, sliced thin

Make it happen:
For the dough, combine the dry ingredients.  In a measuring cup, combine the wet ingredients. Put the mixer on low, then slowly add the liquid ingredients. The dough will form into a ball as the ingredients mix. Add additional flour if the dough is too sticky.Cover the bowl and wait for the dough to double in size.

To prepare the filling, peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Roll out dough in a long rectangle. Cover with cinnamon filling, then layer with apples. Add layers. Cut chunks to layer into the loaf pan. All the dough to rise for another 30 minutes.

Bake at 350F for about 45-55 minutes.

Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy!

Lentil & wheat berry salad

I’ve been trying to think of ways to switch up some of my staple meals in an effort to be a bit more healthy and eat more veggies. This salad is one that my mother made over the holidays and it was a hit with everyone that tried it. As you may know, I love recipes that don’t really need to be followed precisely. Once I got a sense of the basic ingredients for the salad and dressing, I customized this recipe for what I had on hand and what I wanted to eat.

Berry-Lentil-Salad

In the salad:

  • 1 1/5 cups lentils 
  • 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries
  • 1/4 yellow pepper
  • 1/4 cup broccoli 
  • 1/2 zucchini 
  • 2 stalks green onion
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatoes

In the dressing: 

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon 

All of the above are pretty approximate, so definitely experiment and make the recipe suit your own tastes. As for the veggies, everything is finely chopped and the wheat berries are cooled before being mixed in. Once you get the contents all together, add the dressing, mix, and serve! 

On another note, I currently have a lovely loaf of whole wheat, seven grain, cranberry loaf rising and waiting for the oven. Another post will follow shortly!

Beef Wellington: A traditional English dish with a rather snooty-sounding name

[A guest post by my dear friend, Amit Ajwani]

Wellington shares its name with many famed things, one of them being a Duke. Adding to its snobby appeal, even its name is capitalized. This was a source of great segregation in the past.

“Mi lord, may’ive a bit more beef wellington please?”
“It is Beef Wellington, you fishwife. Make that mistake thrice and I shall have you killed.”

This sort of back and forth was common amongst the classes.

I typically shy away from costly and elaborate home-cooked meals for peasantry’s sake, so I never really knew what Beef Wellington was. I just knew that it was a classic and opulent English dish, and a likely candidate for one of the most sacred Christmas dinner traditions of all: oneupmanship.

In its essence, Beef Wellington is the finest cut of beef, the tenderloin, used for fillet mignon, seared in a hot pan and basted with English mustard, then wrapped in prosciutto (or foie gras, if you are an especially horrible person), a paste of tasty seasoned mushrooms called a duxelles, all rolled up in pastry, and baked as you would any baked thing.

Serving a Beef Wellington is nothing short of dramatic. You slice into what appears to be a dense loaf of bread, and it bleeds steamy pink meat juices. It’s magical, in an odd sort of way, like you’re a child again, experiencing wonder for the first time, combined with the feeling that something’s just been murdered.

“Mi lord, how’d the beef get in’ere?” an especially classless voice pipes up. “Issit witches agin? Mi lord, iffit’s witches, may be burns dem?” 

Read More…

A pizza pizza pizza roundup

While scrolling through my blog reader today I noticed several posts on pizza, one of my favourite homemade meals. The reason I love it so much is for both its simplicity and potential complexity. You can keep your pizza simple and traditional – sauce, cheese, maybe some tomato or pepperoni – but, really, the possibilities are endless. Over the past few years, I’ve really become a fan of experimenting when cooking/baking, and pizza is far from an exception to this rule. Some of my favourite toppings to use with my classic dough recipe include: bocconcini, spinach, ricotta, sundried tomatoes, broccoli, salami, sausage, bacon, artichoke, proscuitto, pesto, goat cheese… And on, and on, and on. Here are some great recipes from many of my favourite blogs that go beyond the traditional (I had trouble choosing, so apologies for the long list). 

What are your favourite toppings?

Prosciutto Kale and Butternut Squash Pizza | Blueberry Dessert Pizza
by Spoon Fork Bacon

Cajun Pizza by A Couple Cooks

Buffalo Mozzarella, Artichoke, and Lemon Pizza by Technicolor Kitchen

Pesto Pizza with Fresh Arugula and Parmesan by Cookie+Kate

Roasted Eggplant and Za’atar Pizza by Sprouted Kitchen

Blue Cheese Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, and Honeyed Pears
by Adventures in Cooking

Breakfast Pizza | Lemony Zucchini and Goat Cheese Pizza by Smitten Kitchen

Hundreds of perogies

Ok, not hundreds, the plural, but close enough. I first made these with my friend, Amy, a few months ago. Seriously, I was taken aback by how much easier perogies are to make then I originally thought. When I was told what ingredients I needed to pick up because we’d be making 150 perogies… well, I went a little over board. New 10kg bag of potatoes, huge block of cheese, several onions…

As you’ll see below, however, the recipe for 150 perogies is not so intimidating. I’ve changed some of the quantities from the original recipe, just to get a slightly more manageable batch and to try to get a perfect balance between dough and filling. I did, to my surprise and delight, actually reach that happy medium and didn’t have to waste any of my ingredients. This modified recipe will get you ~125 perogies.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Dough:
5 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cold, cubed butter
1 1/2 cup cold water
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3 tbs sour cream

Filling:
4 large potatoes
~ 300 grams sharp cheddar
1 large onion

Of course, you can get creative with the filling – garlic, chives, bacon, you name it!

Here’s how it’s done:

Mix together the flour and salt. Cut in the butter – a mixer is handy for this, but not essential. Mix together the water, egg, and sour cream. Make a well in the flour, pour in the water mixture, and mix into an elastic dough. Let sit, covered with a tea towel, for about 20 minutes or while you make the filling.

Peel and boil the potatoes. While the potatoes are cooking, chop and sauté the onion. Once the potatoes are cooked, mash them, then mash in the cheese and onion. Let cool to a handling temperature.

Take a potion of the dough, about a handful, and roll it out to at least 1/4 in. Cut out rounds using a circle cookie cutter or, as in my case, a wine glass. Pick up the round and even it/flatten it out a bit more with your hands. Take a 1 tsp amount of filling, place it in the middle of the round, and fold up the perogie. I usually pinch it closed, but some people use water to make a seal.

Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Lay flat to freeze, then they can be bagged up for a delicious meal another day. Do, of course, leave some aside for tonight. To cook, place in boiling water and cook until they float. For crispy perogies and some delicious sides, fry up the perogies with some onion, kielbasa, sauerkraut, you name it!

Homemade gnocchi

I’m so excited to share this recipe! I’ve come across lots of gnocchi recipes, but hadn’t ever made them before. Ever. Not sure why, because I’ve been eating gnocchi for years. Not only that, I’ve been missing experimenting with cooking lately. A switch to a new recipe, a successful recipe, always feels great.

When I came across this recipe by A Couple Cooks, I was determined to try it, or at least a variation of it. There are only five ingredients

2 lbs potatoes
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
1 egg
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt

While the original recipe uses sweet potatoes, I used yellow and the substitution worked just fine. The directions are quite straightforward…

Bake the potatoes
Poke the potatoes with a fork and bake at 450F for ~40 minutes, until cooked. Let them cool on a rack until they’re cool enough to touch. Scoop out the potato from the skins and put it in a bowl for mashing. Mash until it’s smooth.

Make the dough
Add the egg, parmesan, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of flour to the potato mash. I would recommend adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time and mixing in between additions. Add up to 1/2 cup of additional flour, enough to reduce the stickiness of the dough.

Make the gnocchi
On a lightly floured surface, roll out portions of the dough with your hands. Cut into 1/2 inch, or smaller, chunks. Roll the chunk of dough in your hands to get a round shape. To get the grooved-on-one-side/dimple-on-the-other-side effect, roll the dough down the prongs of a fork with your thumb, pushing lightly. As you reach the bottom the dough will roll over and make the indent.

The finished gnocchi can either be directly frozen or cooked. I stored mine in the fridge until I was ready to cook supper. To cook, add the gnocchi to boiling water and cook until the gnocchi floats to and stays on the surface. This only takes a few minutes. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce. I’m really very happy with how these turned out and it was quite fun to make, too. They tasted great and I have 3 portions in the freezer for later! This recipe has definitely made it into my regular menu.