Posts Tagged ‘food’

I was feeling particularly hungry this morning so I decided to make kasha for breakfast. Kasha has been a part of Eastern European cuisine for many centuries, although in Slavic languages it refers to a porridge made not only from the buckwheat groats used here, but a whole family of porridges made from wheat, buckwheat, oats, millet, rice, potatoes, etc.
This is another recipe rom my mom’s cookbook and it reminds me of her.

Breakfast Kasha

Breakfast of the giants on the Russian steppes. A very complex carb!

1 C kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 C boiling water
1 C raisins (opt.)
2 bananas, sliced (opt.)

1. Mix dry measured kasha with beaten egg in a saucepan. Bring water to a boil in kettle and add to pot. Add fruit if using.

2. Bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 20 minutes. If it is too hot use a diffuser or waffle to keep it from boiling over.

This is enough for 2 breakfasts. Refrigerate half (well-covered) for the day after tomorrow or find someone to share it with.

Cover with milk and brown sugar or maple syrup or honey, etc.


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This is a seriously easy cake. I think it took me almost as long to lick the bowl out afterwards as it did to make the cake. For anyone who thinks they can’t make a cake, give this one a try. Don’t be put off by the vinegar, it really does work in this cake.

From my mom’s cookbook:
Another recipe hurriedly recorded over the phone and made right away to an appreciative group. That Melissa, what a resource!

Melissa’s Easy Chocolate CakeChocolate Cake decorated for Liv

Makes two eight inch rounds or one large rectangular.

Melt 1/2 C butter and/or margarine

Add 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease pans.

Sift into a bowl:
3 C flour
2 C sugar
6 TB cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 small tsp salt

Add 2 C cold water to butter mixture. Pour this into dry ingredients and stir well.

Pour into 2 greased layer pans or 1 greased large pan (10″x14″).

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Icing #1:
This takes less time to make then going to the store and buying commercial goop.Cream together 4 TB butter and 1/2 C honey. Add 1 tsp vanilla or 1/4 C cocoa and 2-3 TB milk. To thin, add a little milk; to thicken, add powdered milk. Make it any colour you like.

Icing #2:
Cream well 1/2 C brown sugar and 2 TB butter. Add 2 TB warmed milk and beat. Add icing sugar until right consistency (up to 1 1/2 C). Add vanilla or other flavouring.

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Except for my dad’s crepes, this yummy pancake from my mom’s cookbook is my favourite weekend breakfast.

Swedish Puffed Pancake

Serves 4 (or 2 hungry).

Mix this up in a few minutes. While it is baking, go and have a long hot shower or go for a quick run.

Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.

Fresh out of the oven

Sift together:

1 1/2 C flour
3 TB sugar
1 tsp salt

Beat together:

5 eggs
3 cups milk

Stir wet into dry. Beat until smooth.

Heat 2 TB olive oil in a large glass or other oven-proof pan by putting it in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes. Take hot pan out of oven and quickly pour batter in and return it to oven. Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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This is another great recipe from delicious magazine (July 2007). I have made it four times and it is always a crowd pleaser. Usually I stick to the recipe below, but when I was staying at my dad’s we didn’t have Thai fish sauce, baby spinach or a red chilli that was big enough. For the fish sauce I substituted anchovy paste and we used salad greens in place of the spinach. I think the fish sauce tasted better than the anchovy paste, but it will do in a pinch. We only had a small bit of red chilli so I cut up some jalapeno peppers as well. They weren’t overly hot but they added a bit of crunch and I thought they were a nice addition. If you don’t want chilli on your hands for days, use a glove or small plastic bag to hold the chilli while you cut it up.

Since there are not many calories or carbs in this dish, I serve it with brown rice on the side so people who aren’t watching their carb intake can make it a larger meal.

Make sure you buy good steak and don’t overcook it. If it is juicy and tender it will melt in the mouth.

Thai-style Beef with Spinach

Serves 4.
Ready in 20 minutes.

Thai-style Beef with Spinach

400g fillet or sirloin steak, sinew and excess fat removed
4 tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce
1 tsp groundnut or vegetable oil
100g beansprouts
1 large shallot or 3 spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced
175g baby leaf spinach
Handful fresh coriander leaves

For the dressing:

1 small red chili, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
juice of 2 limes
1 tsp caster sugar

1. Cut the steak into 2 long strips and put into a bowl. Add the soy sauce, season with freshly ground pepper, toss to coat evenly and set aside for 5 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until charred and and cooked medium-rare (cook for longer if you like). Transfer to a plate to rest for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.

4. Add the beansprouts, shallot or spring onions, spinach and coriander leaves. Thinly slice the beef, add to the salad and gently toss together.

Serve immediately.

Per Serving: 222 kcals, 11.2g fat(3.8g saturated), 24.7g protein, 8.1g carbs, 7.2g sugar, 1.7g salt.

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Nicki’s Inn Chester

26 Pleasant Street
Chester, Nova Scotia
(902) 275-4342

Nicki’s Inn Chester is a fresh and vibrant addition to the Chester dining scene. Nicki Butler, who previously ran The Captain’s House in Chester, has built a new inn and restaurant in the centre of the village with tables indoors and out on the deck. Last Sunday night, we went to Nicki’s for the Sunday Carvery. There was a choice of four roasts: chicken, pork, beef or lamb (in fact, you could choose two!) that were served with roasted potatoes, parsnips, carrots, onions, horseradish and mint jelly. Between us we ordered the beef and the lamb and were very satisfied. Rob even proclaimed it was the best roast he had ever eaten, which is a big compliment coming from a Brit!

The servings were a bit on the large side, and the meal was definitely far from the low fat category, but the meat was very tender and the vegetables were roasted to perfection. The Sunday carvery also includes your choice of dessert, which was also yummy and huge, and was priced very reasonably.

We have yet to try Nicki’s Wednesday to Saturday menu (she’s closed Monday and Tuesday), but if the carvery is any indication, I’m sure it will not disappoint.

Reservations recommended.

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The Innlet Cafe Restaurant

249 Edgewater Street
Kedy’s Landing
Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
(902) 624-6363

This evening I went to The Innlet Cafe in Mahone Bay for supper with my dad and my brother. I have been several times before with my parents and it is always delicious. I have tried a few things on the menu, but the Vegetable Stir-fry with Tofu is my favourite and I often don’t even look at at anything else. Served with brown rice, toasted almonds and a deliciously light sauce that has just the right sweetness, this stir-fry is worth coming back for again and again. I’ll even admit that it is better than I can make at home, which is rare for a restaurant on the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

The desserts are also great and if you like desserts as much as my brother and I do, you’ll select your dessert before ordering a main course. Dad and I had the apple crisp with ice cream and my brother had the Creme Brulée, which I also sampled. Yum yum on both accounts.

This evening’s meal at The Innlet has restored my faith in dining after a few recent restaurant meals that were less than stellar. Since The Innlet is one of the few restaurants that are open year round on the South Shore, I can rest assured that my dad will not starve in the winter because he can always come for the Vegetable Stir-fry with Tofu. If you are in the neighbourhood, be sure to check this place out.

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This recipe is from a very thick cookbook called Culina Mundi that my dad found at a surplus liquidation store. Culina Mundi is a culinary adventure with more than 500 recipes from 60 famous chefs, which are all documented with fabulous photographs. This is one of those cookbooks that lives on the kitchen counter and you can’t resist flipping through it every time you are in the kitchen.

We made this Macedonian recipe by Konstantinos and Chrysanti Stamkopoulos for a small gathering of good friends last night and we all loved it. We served it as the appetizer before a light main course and after delicious oysters on the half shell from Carr’s Lobster Pound in Stanley Bridge, PEI.


Eggplants are also known as aubergines in some places. I used crumbled Melba toast instead of breadcrumbs which seemed to work fine. I also added the parsley to the feta and garlic mixture because I misread the directions. I found they didn’t brown much in the oven, which could have been because I used Melba toast, but you might want to broil (grill) them a bit at the end.

Eggplant au Gratin with Feta

Preparation time 15 minutes.
Cooking time 15 minutes.
Serves 6.

3 large eggplants
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
6 tbsp breadcrumbs
300g/11 oz feta
7 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp vinegar

1. Prick the eggplant skins with a fork. Put them on a broiling pan and broil or grill for 15 minutes. Chop the parsley. Peel the garlic and chop it.

2. Put the bread crumbs, crumbled feta and chopped garlic into a bowl. Using your hands, toss until everything is finely crumbled.

3. When the eggplants are cooked, cut each in half. Break the flesh into pieces using the tip of a knife.

4. If desired, add salt and pepper to the eggplant. Sprinkle each eggplant half liberally with several dashes of olive oil, moving the bottle so as to distribute the oil evenly.

5. Place the eggplant halves on a flat baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and fill them with the feta mixture.

6. Bake the eggplant haves in the oven at 200°C/390°F for 10 minutes. When they are browned, remove from the oven and pour the vinegar and 3 tsp olive oil over the top.

Serve hot.

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The Rope Loft

The Rope Loft

Water Street
Chester, Nova Scotia
(902) 275-3430

Just off the plane from England where summer has been almost non-existent, I was keen to take advantage of Canadian summer weather, so my dad and I went to The Rope Loft, a dockside restaurant on the waterfront in Chester. Their website claims “Deck chair dining at its best” and the deck chair part is definitely correct. With plenty of beer on tap and great views across their marina to the Tancook Islands and Chester, The Rope Loft is a great place enjoy a hot, sunny day. If you sit along the edge of the deck you can watch the sea life and the tide come in. I like to order the rack of lamb or chicken wings and toss a few bones over the railing and watch for the crabs fight over them. Not many other places you can do that!

The dining however, could be better. My dad and I have both been here on other occasions and while the food and service remain consistent they both lack flair and attention to detail. The service is typically Maritime, friendly but not quite polished, and the china is rugged and institutional. But don’t get me wrong, if you are looking for a laid-back lunch on a sunny day or just want to enjoy a beer or two, The Rope Loft is the place to go in Chester for seaside atmosphere.

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Broccoli, sultana and chilli penneI found this recipe in the August 2007 issue of delicious magazine. Always in search of my creative and healthy ways to eat pasta, I was intrigued by this low-fat and low-salt recipe. Like a few other recipes I’ve seen recently, it uses chilli and lemon to add fat-free flavour. I went for the meaty variation and added some bacon as extra protein (and fat unfortunately). I used multi grain bread instead of ciabatta for the crumbs because I had some that needed using up. I had lots of extra Parmesan crumbs, which kept I kept in a sealed container. When I made this recipe for a second time the next week (for a different crowd of course!), I used up the leftover Parmesan crumbs, but they would also go well on a salad on top of other pasta dishes.

Broccoli, Sultana and Chilli Penne with Parmesan Crumbs

Serves 4.
Ready in 20 minutes.

350g penne
50g ciabatta bread, roughly torn
2 tbsp olive oil
20g vegetarian Parmesan, finely grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
250g tendersterm broccoli, cut into bite-size chunks
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped
25g sultanas
2 tbsp chopped fresh curly parsley
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

1. Cook the penne according to the packet instructions, until al dente.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to medium and line the grill pan with foil. Mix the torn bread with half the oil in a bowl and season with black pepper. Spread out on the grill pan and grill for 2-3 minutes, turning frequently, until crisp and golden. Cool slightly, transfer to a blender and whizz to coarse crumbs. Stir in the Parmesan.

3. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the broccoli, garlic, chilli and sultanas, until the broccoli is tender – add a splash of water to prevent it catching.

4. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the parsley and lemon zest and juice. Season, toss, then divide between 4 bowls. Top with the toasted Parmesan crumbs to serve.

Per serving: 457 kcals, 9.8 fat (2.2g saturated), 17.2 protein, 80.1g carbs, 8.9 sugar, 0.3g salt

Variation: For a meaty version, fry some chopped bacon or chorizo along with the onion.

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When I was growing up we raised free-range organic chickens, which meant we usually had a good supply of chicken in the freezer. These days you can buy free-range organic chickens and chicken pieces in supermarkets but it’s still not the same as chicken you’ve raised yourself.

From my mom’s cookbook, this is one of my dad’s favourites. I made this tonight for Tim who thought he only needed one piece but then he tasted it.. and soon returned to the kitchen to get another.

Chicken Farmer’s Chicken

Serves 4.

Usually entails finding a small chicken 4-6 lbs which is then cut up into pieces. The carcass is kept to make chicken soup or stew. Be wary of any situation that provides you with chicken fingers. “Cut-up” chicken pieces from a supermarket are also suitable.

1. Chicken pieces are washed and dried with paper towel.

2. In a medium sized bowl, mix enough wholewheat flour, herbs*, salt, and pepper to coat the chicken pieces – all guess work! (about 1 cup).

3. Coat the chicken by rolling pieces in bowl or sprinkle both sides lightly with coating. Then place these pieces on a rack in a broiler pan (lined with aluminum foil or greaseproof paper to facilitate clean up).

4. Melt some 20/80 or butter to lightly baste or dribble over the pieces (baste once or twice during roasting). Sprinkle with paprika and more herbs and place in oven at 325 degrees F for about 1 hour or until crispy.

Sprinkle with juice of a lemon before serving.

*Suggested herbs:
oregano or Greek oregano
summer savoury

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