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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nanaimo Bars

For serious sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) only :). This is a very easy, non-bake recipe, but it requires time (a total of about 3 hours) for the different layers to set. Recipe from my favorite Joy of Baking website.


For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup (8 oz, 113 g) butter at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/3 cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (200 g) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (65 g) coconut flakes
1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the filling:
1/4 cup (4 oz, 56 g) butter at room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) powdered (confectioners, icing) sugar

For the topping:
4 oz (115 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter


For the bottom layer:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts.
Right away (otherwise it sticks to the pan) press the mixture evenly into a 9"x9" square pan.
Cover and refrigerate until firm.

For the filling:

Cream the butter.
Beat in sugar, pudding and vanilla.
Add the milk tablespoon by tablespoon until the mixture is thick, but spreadable. Be careful, as it is easy to make it too liquid.
Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and once again refrigerate until firm.

For the top layer:

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler if you have one or in a saucepan dipped into another saucepan filled with simmering water.
Spread over the filling and refrigerate.

To serve:
Recipe says to bring the squares to room temperature before cutting. I like to run a knife under hot water and carefully cut the squares straight from the fridge. You can skip both, but the chocolate will crack :).

* I didn't have any pudding powder this time, so I made my own pastry cream. And, of course, I misjudged the quantity, so there is much more cream in my version than there should be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daal Curry

This is, of course, vegetarian though my husband adds sausage on the side. Recipe from my favorite Indian recipe book.

Ingredients (for about 4 servings):

250 g (about 1 1/2 cups) red lentils
3 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 chilli pepper
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander (cilantro)
1 teaspoon salt
25 g (~ 3 tablespoons) coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice


In a saucepan heat ghee and sautee onion, garlic, chilli pepper, bay leaf, cumin, coriander for 30-40 seconds, stirring continuously.
Add lentils, rest of spices.
Add enough water to cover the lentils and cook until lentils are done (about 15-20 min).
Remove from heat and discard bay leaf and chilli pepper.
Stir in coconut milk (you can skip it, it makes the spices milder).
Before serving, stir in lemon juice.

Not that you haven't seen cooked lentils, but here's a pic:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Those are chocolate cupcakes with a cream cheese middle - what's not to love about them :D. Recipe from the Joy of Baking website.

Ingredients (for 12):

For the cream cheese filling:
8 oz (227 g) cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup (65 g) white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

For the chocolate cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (210 g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (30 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed, and definitely not one of those hot cocoa mixes!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/3 cup (80 ml) unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

For cream cheese filling:
Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth.
Set aside.

For chocolate batter:
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl mix the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until smooth.

Divide the chocolate batter evenly among 12 oiled muffin cups.
Spoon a few tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cream cheese filling is a little brown and a toothpick inserted into the chocolate part of the cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boeuf Bourguignon

Or beef Burgundy style. I am going to write the original recipe, jacked from somewhere and my slow cooker version.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

3 lb (750 g) beef chuck, cut into large pieces
3.5 oz (100 g) bacon, cut into strips
2 medium onions
4 medium carrots
9 oz (250 g) mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper, parsley to taste
~ 700 ml (1 bottle) full-bodied red wine, or enough to cover the beef*

* Or substitute half of the wine with beef broth


Regular version:
In a saucepan brown the bacon.
Remove bacon strips, and use drippings to brown the beef.
When beef is browned, add enough wine to cover the meat.
Add garlic clove, onions and carrots.
Add tomato paste and all seasonings.
Stir flour into ~ 2 tablespoons of water and add it.
Return the bacon to the pan.
Bring everything to a boil (so any acidity of the wine evaporates), then lower the heat.
Cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.
Sautee mushrooms and add them to the beef just before serving.

Slow-cooker version ('cuz that's the only way I cook beef):
In a saucepan brown the beef and the bacon.
Layer carrots in slow cooker.
Add onions on top.
Add meat.
Stir tomato paste, wine (broth), flour and seasonings together.
Pour over meat.
Drop garlic clove in liquid.
Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours/high for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

In both versions sautee mushrooms and add them to the beef just before serving.
In both versions when the meat is done you can thicken the sauce with some more flour.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tatiana Cake

That's how the recipe is called - I am not sure why Tatiana exactly. But it's light and fluffy and incredibly easy. And delicious too :).


For the cake:
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

For the icing:
1 lb (450 g) sour cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar (or according to taste)

Whisk all ingredients for the cake together. Whisk *by hand*, no mixer!
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
* There is science that explains how the eggs, honey and the baking soda act together to create fluffiness, but I'll spare you that.

Pour 1/3 of the batter in a 9-inch buttered baking dish (or 1/2 of the batter for a 12-inch baking dish).
Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.

And repeat with rest of the batter. You should get 3 9-inch or 2 12-inch layers of cake.

Stir sour cream and confectioners' sugar together (I use about 1 cup sugar, but adjust sugar suit your taste).
Ice cooled cake layers with icing.
Decorate with chocolate shavings (or however else you wish :P)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


This is yet another dish I use for cleaning my fridge because there are very few things that can't be put into a quiche. If you want to stick to the authentic quiches, check the Wiki article for the ingredients that go into each type.

Ingredients for one 9-inch quiche (6 servings):

For the crust:
200 g flour
100 g soft (not melted) butter
3-4 tablespoons icy cold water
A pinch of salt

For the filling:
3 eggs
200 g sour cream
100 g grated hard yellow cheese like gruyere or emental
+ whatever else you feel like - more cheeses, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, tuna, chicken breast, etc. Even Roquefort and pears :).


Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).

For the crust:
With a fork or in a food processor mix butter and flour until they form a mix of buttery crumbs.
If mix is too dry, add water, tablespoon by tablespoon until it gets to the desired consistency.
Pour the mix into a 9-inch pie pan and press it to the bottom and sides with your palm.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until crust turns golden brown.

For the filling:
Beat eggs, sour cream and grated cheese together.
Add whatever other fillings you are using (cook all meat beforehand).
Pour into baked crust and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serve hot or cold, but cold is better!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Smoked Salmon Pasta

This is a light, tasty, Weight Watchers friendly meal I threw together on impulse yesterday, and it turned out rather nice. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo!


This amount serves one person.




100g (3.5 oz) uncooked pasta (I used spaghetti, anything would work)

100g (3.5 oz) thinly sliced smoked salmon, sliced into strips

~8 grape tomatos or cherry tomatos, halved

1 whole spring onion (green onion / eschalot), chopped

1 metric (20mL) tablespoon light sour cream (I used the Weight Watchers branded sour cream)



1. Cook pasta according to instructions on packet.

2. While the pasta is cooking: in a non-stick frypan (or an ordinary frypan with a spray of cooking oil) fry the tomatos and the spring onion until the spring onion begins to brown and the skin is coming off the tomatos.

3. Add the smoked salmon and fry until the salmon turns opaque and separates into small bits. Remove from heat.

4. When the pasta is cooked, strain and discard water before returning cooked pasta to the saucepan.

5. Add the salmon fried mixture to the pasta in the saucepan and stir thoroughly until the pasta is coated with the salmon mixture.

6. Add a tablespoon of sour cream and stir until it forms a sauce with the salmon.

7. Garnish with a bit of fresh spring onion if you're feeling creative; otherwise, serve and enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lemon Bars

Or, in my case, lemon wedges, as I don't have a square baking pan. Either way, they are good :). Recipe from I don't remember where :P.


For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
113 g (4 oz, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar

For the filling:
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
the juice and zest of two large lemons (~ 3/4 cup juice, 2 tablespoons finely grated zest)


For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
Cut butter into slices.
In a food processor, or with a mixer on low speed, mix together flour, butter and sugar until they form a mix of buttery crumbs.
Pour mix in a 20 cm x 20 cm (8"x8") baking pan and flatten with your palm.
Bake for 8-9 min or until light brown.
Take out of the oven and let it cool.

For the filling:
Beat all ingredients together.
Pour on the cooled crust.
Put everything back in the oven and bake on 350 F/180 C for 20-25 min. Check doneness like with cheesecake - when you gently shake the pan, the middle should still wobble a little bit*.
Cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, refrigerate for 2 hours. (Don't take it out of the baking pan yet, put the whole thing, pan and everything in the fridge).
Once it's chilled, take out of pan, cut into bars, triangles or squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.

*If you take them out on time, the squares have a light, creamy texture. If you overcook them, they become less creamy and more dense, but are still good.