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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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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.

Eggplant

Notes:
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
salt
pepper
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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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
thyme
rosemary

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Grana PadanoThis recipe is from a supplement to my September delicious magazine called Modern Italian. A few of us were curious as to how Grana Padano was different from Parmesan, so my friend Denis made this for us tonight. We decided that although they seem to be quite similar, Grana Padano is milder and sweeter than Parmesan. I don’t always like chicken breasts because I find them too dry, but as the recipe says, they stayed juicy in their cheesy crust.


Pan-fried Chicken in a Grana Padano Crust

Serves 4.
Ready in 20 minutes.

Cooking chicken breasts quickly, and in a crust like this, guarantees they stay juicy and succulent. Any leftovers make a great sandwich filling with a bit of garlic mayonnaise.

Pinch of saffron threads
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp plain flour
1 large egg, beaten
4 tbsp olive oil
8 tbsp finely grated Grana Padano
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, plus extra sprigs to garnish
Herb mash and lemon wedges, to serve

1. Put the saffron in a bowl, add a tablespoon of boiling water and set aside for a few minutes to infuse.

2. Meanwhile, cut the chicken in half widthways to make 8 thin pieces and dust very lightly with flour.

3. Crack the egg into the bowl of saffron. Add a good grinding of black pepper and beat well.

4. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Mix the cheese and thyme together on a plate. Dip the chicken first in the egg mixture, then coat in the Grana Padano mixture. Fry in 2 batches, adding the remaining oil with the second batch, until crisp, golden and cooked through. It should take about 5 minutes each side, but don’t be tempted to lift of turn the chicken too soon or the crust might stick to the bottom of the pan.

5. Serve 2 chicken pieces each, with herb mash and lemon wedges to squeeze over. Garnish with thyme.

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I found this recipe in a delicious magazine (July 2007) that my friend Anika gave me when she moved away. I was reading the magazine in bed one night and oohhing and ahhing over lots of great looking recipes, but so far have only made this one. I even made it twice in one week.. partly because the first time I only made half a batch and had chicory leftover, but mostly because it was good!

The chicory used in the recipe is not the kind that has blue flowers and grows along roadsides that I remember from my childhood, but what I more commonly know as endive, or Belgian endive. According to Wikipedia, “Endive (Cichorium endivia) is a variation of the winter leaf vegetable chicory which can be cooked or used in salads, created by growing chicory (or certain similar breeds) until its foliage sprouts, then cutting off the leaves and placing the still-living stem and root in a dark place. They grow a second bud, but without the sunlight it is white and lacks the bitterness of the normal chicory bud.”

Although I found this recipe in a magazine, it is actually Angela Hartnett’s recipe from her new cookbook, Angela Hartnett’s Cucina: Three Generations of Italian Family Cooking.

Notes: I couldn’t find golden raisins in the shops, so I used sultanas instead. I also substituted curly parsley because that’s what I had on hand.


Chicory, Golden Raisin and Green Bean Salad

Serves 4 as a starter.
Ready in 25 minutes.

Adding nuts and dried fruit to salads makes them more interesting and, here, the sweetness of the raisins offsets the bitter chicory. Dress the beans while they’re warm so they take on the flavours of the dressing.

150g golden raisins
300g green beans
4 small chicory heads
Handful fresh flatleaf parsley leaves
120ml red wine vinagrette (see below)
1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1. Soak the raisins in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add the beans and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and plunge immediately into iced water. Drain and set aside.

3. Halve the chicory lengthways and separate the leaves. Toss in a bowl with the raisins, beans and parsley.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the vinagrette with the mustard. Add just enough to the salad to coat. Season and serve immediately as it won’t keep in the fridge.

Per Serving: 295 kcals, 19.3g fat(2.8g saturated), 2.8g protein, 30g carbs, 26.9g sugar, 0.2g salt.


Red Wine Vinagrette

Makes 120ml.

1. Put 20ml red wine vinegar in a bowl, season well with Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix until the sea salt has completely dissolved. Add 100ml extra-virgin olive oil and whisk together.

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This yummy sounding recipe was sent to me by Nathan Eng. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks so good I had to post it. Let me know if you try it.


Uncle Robert’s Easy Baileys Cheesecake

1 (9-inch) chocolate graham cracker crumb crust (or regular graham or shortbread crust)
1 (8-ounce/ ~226g) package of light cream cheese, soften, get all the lumps out
1 can of light sweetened condensed milk (300ml, 397 g)
¼- cup (4tbsp, 50ml) of lemon juice
1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
½ cup (125ml) of Baileys Irish Cream (or your favourite cream liqueur)

1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy and non-lumpy.

2. Add sweetened condensed milk; blend thoroughly.

3. Stir in lemon juice, vanilla and Baileys.

4. Pour into crust.

Chill about 2 hours so it holds its shape. Cut and serve. Enjoy.

Variants: If you don’t have the crumb crust, a thinly baked instant brownie will do. Also, served in wine glasses with crumbled chocolate chip cookies underneath and a square of quality chocolate on top makes it fancy and you don’t need to chill it as much.

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Tabouli

Another one of my favourites from my mom’s cookbook. I often put in more garlic and add about a third of an English cucumber. Great to take to a BBQ or picnic. I almost always get asked for the recipe when I bring it to a pot-luck. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

A salad with grain. Can be a meal in itself. Take your time. Chew slowly while reading a magazine if eating solo.


Tabouli

Serves 4.
Make at least 3 hours before serving.

Bulgur are wheat kernels that have been steamed, dried, and crushed. So, it is pre-cooked and easy to prepare, but also perishable. Store in fridge for months or freeze for up to a year.

1 C bulgur, medium grind
1 1/2 C boiling water
1 tsp salt
1/4 C fresh lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 tsp dried or 1 TB fresh mint, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 C fresh parsley, chopped (packed)
1/3 English cucumber, sliced and cut in half

1. Combine bulgur, water, and salt in a medium glass or pottery bowl. Cover and let stand 1/2 hour. Liquid should all be absorbed. If not, drain it and put it back in the bowl.

2. Add lemon juice, garlic, mint and oil. Mix thoroughly (even with your hands). Refrigerate 2 hours.

3. When serving, add vegetables. Toss together gently. Taste for seasoning. Fresh ground pepper and/or crumbled feta cheese can be sprinkled on top.

Keeps for a few days in the fridge.

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