Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rhubarb Adventures...

What to do with all the Rhubarb from my Gypsy Family Farm shares... Well Rhubarb pie would be the obvious answer except I have childhood nightmares of being forced to eat horrid Rhubarb pie in Primary school in the days of school dinners. I also am not a 'pie' fan... I hate pastry.. It is heavy and the last thing I want after a good meal! So I went searching online and found a recipe for a 'Ruffled Phyllo Tart with Spring Fruit'. (cooking.com is always a good place to search when you are stuck for ideas!) This seemed really appealing to me, I love the other fruit in it, it is phyllo pastry so not so heavy AND it looks so pretty! The finished pie reminds me of an Elizabethan collar...
So this is how much I disliked Rhubarb... I hated the smell of it cooking... I hated the smell of it cutting it up... and mixed in with the other fruit it just reminded me of snot. Eweee gross right??

I changed the recipe a bit from cooking.com... I used honey and ground almonds instead of breadcrumbs for between the layers.. I thought it may have more of a baklava taste to it.... I also cut the rhubarb into slightly bigger pieces... thus losing the snot texture :)

Before it is ready to go into the oven! Pretty right? It's super easy to make and quite impressive to present to dinner guests...

SO the final verdict?? The apricot was too sour with the sour Rhubarb... We didn't find the fruit combination a good one and my hubby not a big apricot fan... I attempted the tart a second time as I had plenty of Rhubarb to do so and this time omitted the Apricot but added blackberries and strawberries....

This was a much better combination and made the tart sweeter but without losing the tartness of the Rhubarb and without adding a ton of extra sugar to it....

Here is the recipe for my 'Rhubarb & Berry Tart':

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey plus extra for between the layers of phyllo

1lb fresh Rhubarb trimmed and cut into pieces no smaller than 1 inch

1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with cold water

1 cup strawberries

1 cup blackberries

Oil & butter melted together to brush on phyllo

Phyllo pastry thawed (Presidents Choice make it.. it comes in a box and you can find it in the grocery store, freezer where the pie crusts are)

Ground almonds Icing sugar for dusting

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a 9 inch pie dish place a piece of phyllo centered in dish... Lightly brush with butter & oil mixture, drizzle with ho
ney and sprinkle some of 1/2 teaspoon the ground almonds on... Repeat with 5 more sheets of phyllo, laying each at a 45° angle to the previous one and sprinkling each with ground almonds & drizzling with honey. Scrape the filling into the crust. Brush one of the remaining phyllo sheets with oil-butter mixture. Place another sheet on top at a 45° angle. Repeat with 2 more sheets. Place the stack on the filling. Fold the overhanging phyllo up around the tart, creating a ruffled border. Dab any remaining oil-butter mixture on top. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake until nicely browned and bubbling slightly, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature (about 1 1/2 hours). Dust with icing sugar.

So I have to say that I have acquired a taste for the Rhubarb that I disliked so much...!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lovage & Potato Soup

WHAT IS WITH THIS WEATHER?? Today was windy, cold & wet all day. I was planning to BBQ some pork, have it with a salad, but all day I just wanted soup to warm up! There is nothing better on a chilly day than home made soup to warm you up. I especially needed it tonight after swimming lessons with the kids.. man it was cold in that pool!!!

In my last blog post I was raving about all the great produce I got from Gypsy Family Farm. One of which was Lovage which I had no idea what to do with. Well I did some googling and read all about Lovage and found tons of recipes but the most common one to come up was 'Potato and Lovage Soup'. The perfect day for it... I picked this one because it has leeks in it... I LOVE leeks! I found it on a fabulous blog that I happened to come across called 'You are what you eat'. I have been reading back in the archives of this blog and found some really interesting posts, some of us really don't pay any attention to what we are putting in our bodies, I am guilty at times too... I encourage you to check it out!

When I was reading about Lovage I noticed that it is compared a lot to celery. It was my husband's first reaction to the soup as he hates celery... but as he ate more of it he said he liked it more. (I had to laugh as this was the same reaction of the writer's spouse on the 'you are what you eat' blog) I couldn't disagree more that it tasted like celery! To me celery is bland and has no taste without half a salt shaker on it. Lovage to me had a great flavour and almost tasted a little peppery. When I put it in the soup pot the smell was so fragrant and it made me think of a lamb and spinach curry I made a few weeks back. It would make a wonderful addition to a curry sauce.

Caleb waiting patiently for his soup to warm up after swimming!!

We had soup with cheese bread.. Kids favourite! I made a double batch to plenty for lunch the next couple of days!! Mason (my 4yr old in July) asked me what the green stuff was. So I replied 'Lovage'... He said 'what is that?'... I replied 'something I put in your soup to make you love Mummy more!'...... He wasn't terribly impressed by that answer (I got a look). And he wouldn't eat his soup!

OK I will stop talking about 'Lovage' now :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

First Farm Shares!!

This year we signed up for farm shares with a local farm Gypsy Family Farm. You basically pay for the season and every week you get a bin full of exciting, fresh produce! Every Friday I would go down to the Farmers Market in Gore Bay, so if I don't get down there because I am working then I won't miss out on all the good stuff!! Our first week we got Maple Syrup (Yum! - my kids already are asking for pancakes), Chives, Asparagus, Rhubarb, Rhubarb Jelly and Lovage.

Now the Rhubarb Jelly Caleb will love on toast in the morning. Rhubarb I always say I hate but I am not sure if I do... I have a childhood nightmare of being in school in England where you have cooked school dinners... I remember having to eat this sour, stringy, HORRIBLE, Rhubarb pie... I remember it to this day... I don't think I have had it since then so this will be a kitchen challenge for me.. and this is what I love about this... Take for instance Lovage. This had to be explained to me as by the look on my puzzled face it was clear I had no idea what it was!

It looks like large parsley leaves. The leaves can be used in salads, soups, sauces and stews as a natural thickener. I googled 'Lovage' in recipes and was amazed by what I found... Lovage soup, butter, vinaigrette, with Lobster, Shrimp, Gammon steaks.... So I will have to post what I end up doing with my Lovage... another culinary adventure!

Monday, March 28, 2011

You are what you eat?

So here we go again... It's almost April and I have not lived up to my yearly new years resolution of losing weight... AGAIN. Since doing meatless Mondays I have discovered new foods like Quinoa and Bulgar. I love to cook so have always cooked from scratch I just don't have an 'I'm full' meter.. there is no cut off point... I just keep eating... I thought if I ate healthier then I would get skinnier!!

My husband Sean is allergic to yeast. He has had allergy tests over the years but has only really started to notice (or paid attention as to) how it affects his body as of late. You'll laugh but one of the things he noticed was that when he drank Steam whistle Beer he had more allergy symptoms (stuffy nose, itchy eyes etc..) than when he drank other beers. It turns out that Steam Whistle is an all natural beer... other beers are not so natural killing off the yeast content. So we decided to try a yeast free diet and see how it affects him, if he feels less tired, less bloated etc...

So I get on the internet and try and find recipes that are yeast free... There are hardly any!! So I check out Amazon, Chapters etc... and the newest book I can find is published in 2000. There are so many other diet specific books out there but not that many for yeast apparently? then I stumbled across this website http://www.theyeastdiet.com/index.php and her facebook page. I ordered the book and got my questions answered by the author in less than an hour. So I am anxiously awaiting my cook books! I'll let you know how it goes....

In the meantime reading through her website I am shocked by the things you can't eat & drink... Beer, Wine, Spirits.. of course. Bread... mayo, pickles, coffee, any kind of sugar, dairy... What can we eat???!!! - Vegetables, beans, meat, eggs and grains.... My husband is going to hate me. So we may have to try a variation on this diet and try to cut yeast... I don't think he can live without mayo....

I also decided that I need to get 'You are what you eat' and the cook book.... It makes sense.. right? Something has got to make me skinny again.... Skinny & healthy is the goal so this seems like it is the book for me!

Monday, January 03, 2011

My favorite things for Christmas.....

Lets see... Uggs, Cozy Pj's......

But I got Two really cool things for Christmas that have to share with you....


I am dying to try some of these out! I have been a follower of her website for some time and often go there for recipes... but this is so cool! And you don't have to be a fancy cake maker to do them. Most of her recipes use a store bought cake mix and store bought tubs of icing. Watch this space.... Cake pops coming soon!!!


The Shoes of Salvation by Edward Monkton

The best book ever for your friend who is a shoe shopaholic. I can't even put it into words how great this book is... a lady who buys some shoes because the talk to her and make her realize that her life is not complete without them... I am sure I am not the only person who has had this happen to them.. right..??? So funny, cute, well written, illustrated.. is going next to the bible on my book shelf.

Last line of the book.... "...That sometimes, only GLORIOUS SHOES can SAVE you."

Need I say anymore???


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