Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!

Couldn't resist...they were too cute!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

O Canada!!!

In honour of writing my Canadian citizenship test tomorrow, I thought I'd share a quiz from the CBC. This quiz is based on information in the study guide.

So if you're Canadian, take the test and see how well you know your country. If you're not Canadian, see if you'd qualify?

I have studied and scored 10/10 (of course), post your results in the comments. What do you love about Canada or what do you associate with Canada??


CBC Citizenship Test

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gingery Bread Pudding with Orange

This dessert is made in a slowcooker and comes from Judith Finlayson's book Delicious & Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes.

A link to the recipe is here.

I chose this recipe because I have an abundance of bread in my house and it must be used up. I liked this particular recipe because the ginger and orange marmalade is an interesting alternative to the apricot/peach jam and raisin version that is most common.

Hubby is away on business, so I will be snuggling on my couch, having dessert and watching TV tonight. It was 12 grain bread, so not too figure unfriendly, so I will be allowed to eat it with whipped cream to balance things out ;)

Note: I'll try as far as possible to provide the actual recipes I use, but will not reprint recipes from books as I believe this is a copyright violation. If I find the recipe on another site, I'll provide the link.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm in LOVE...but can I do it??

This is the object of my undying affection......

It is the Minimissimi Sweater Coat, scroll down on the link's page to get some more views. I found this last week and have been drooling over it ever since.

Now I have never knitted anything this complicated before and have never used a chart when knitting, I love to knit but am absolutely no expert. So I might be fooling myself, but I think I want to try this.
How should I go about it? I think I should try little steps and practice the cables with yarn in my stash and see how it goes first.

The good thing is that I'm visiting my mom in December and I know she'd be able to knit this, so I should aim to start it while I'm there and she can give me pointers while I go. I should also join a knitting group once I get back home so that I could get tips & help from more experienced knitters.

The other excuse to start it in South Africa, is that there's this little wool farm snuggled into the mountains in the winelands and I've always loved to visit it and buy their wool. I sure hope it still exists, because this sweater coat is screaming for their wool.

So a challenge it is!! But what a reward!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

South African Milk Tart

I promised to make some of my South African favourites and here is my first. It is a lovely creamy tart ideal for dessert or tea time.

Melktert as it is known in Afrikaans, my 2nd language, has many variations. This version is my favourite and is the one my mom gave me. Beware of some recipes on the internet, if it doesn't say traditional South African or at least written by a South African, I've found they're too sweet and sometimes don't set properly. My mom uses a cookie crumb base, but I had a frozen pie shell so I used that instead.

I had a South African food evening with some girlfriends earlier this year and it was a hit, so enjoy.

Milk Tart recipe

1 prepared pie crust or crush cookies and mix with melted butter.
30 ml corn flour/starch
1 egg
30 ml flour
500 ml milk (2 cups)
Pinch salt
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Line a serving dish with cookies crumbs mixed with melted butter or prepare a pie crust according to its directions.
Beat egg, sugar, flour, corn flour, salt and vanilla. Boil milk. Pour boiling milk over egg mixture and stir. Return to pan. Bring to Boil, stirring all the time. Mixture must thicken. Pour into prepared pie dish and refrigerate until set. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

From the Sea

This last week I made two meals with seafood. Firstly clams on the weekend and steamed fish last night.

Clam Pilaf

An easy one pot meal, using the ingredients I had in stock.

2 cans clams
1 medium onion
Tomatoes, I used 3 plum tomatoes, so 1 1/2 cups
1 cup raw rice
2 tbsp butter (or marg)
2 tbsp olive (or other) oil
about 1/2 tsp dried oreganum

1. Melt the butter and add oil and heat.
2. Add onion and saute until golden.
3. Add the clams, clam liquid/water, rice, chopped tomatoes and oreganum and simmer, covered, until rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Season to taste and serve. (Note I didn't add salt as the clam juice is already salty)

Steamed Fish

I went to the market and picked up fresh haddock and a bunch of lemons and limes, so this was what I came up with:

fish fillets
lemons & limes
bay leaves
olive oil

I lined a baking dish in aluminum foil and placed sliced limes, lemons, a few bay leaves and sliced red chilli as a "cushion" for the fish. I laid the fish on top and added a dash of salt and olive oil. I then placed more lemon and limes slices on top with some more chilli and a sprinkling of fresh parsley (from my garden).

I made two fillets and and didn't add the chiili to the one, so it was kid-friendly.

I then made an aluminum foil tent over the fish and pinched the sides to keep the steam inside. I then put the fish in the oven (I used the Broil/grill setting) and cooked it until the fish was opaque white and flaky. The steam method keeps the fish nice and moist and infuses it with flavour.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Muffins & Bread

I've been busy baking this week after a weekend of sewing.

I made Apple Bran Muffins for a nice breakfast treat and Irish Soda Bread with a triticale twist.

The muffin recipe can be found here.

They were so yummy that they were gone in one day. I thought I'd get an extra day out of them, but my family had other ideas. I have two packages of wheat bran, so I needed to use some up and with apples being in season here, it was a logical choice. The muffins were really moist, not dry and chewy like bran products can sometimes be. The molasses is something I don't use often, so I'll have to make more or find another recipe to use up the rest.

As you can see in the photo, the outside is slightly burnt, I needed to go out and hubby didn't hear the oven beep in time. But it actually gave the outside a lovely crispy texture and the inside was still really moist.

The next recipe is one I make often, but I mix it up a little every time. Soda Bread is an easy bread using baking soda instead of yeast for leavening. I find recipes for this bread everywhere and have incorporated various ingredients like caraway seed, different flours, raisins and in this case oats and wheat germ.
I also used triticale flour. Triticale is a hybrid of wheat and rye. I read about this grain in a health food book and ordered the flour to try it out.
I've made a casserole bread, which was good and homemade pasta, which was not so good, from this flour. There are more recipes at the Bob's Red Mill website.

An interesting fact I picked up is that the cross was traditionally made on the bread as a means to ward away the devil. So with that here is the recipe.

Irish Soda Bread

1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1 cup triticale (or wholewheat or other flour)
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C)
2. Combine dry ingedients.
3. Using a pastry cutter, cut butter into dry ingredients until and a coarse meal forms.
4. Add buttermilk, stir quickly and turn out onto a floured surface. Knead gently and form into a round. Place loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
5. Dust surface with flour and cut a shallow X into the centre. Bake for 30 minutes.

Makes 1 round loaf.