Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A twist on a chocolate chip cookie...

Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ with a twist...

My favorite chocolate chip cookies are soft and gooey inside...  The twist with these cookies is that there are less chocolate chip in them and a little fruit.  I feel better sending them to school with the kids :)  Just enough chocolate though that they don't complain too much...

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups + 4 tbsp cake & pastry flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup raisins/cransberries/sultanas (a little of each or whatever takes your fancy)
 Bake on parchment sheets @ 350 degrees

According to Caleb.... "they rock!"

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Spring is here!

I feel it in my bones...  Spring is here.  Today was the first day I felt 'warm'.  I am breathing a HUGE sigh of relief :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Gore Bay Minor Hockey Walk-A-Thon

Gore Bay Minor Hockey


 Gore Bay Minor Hockey players…
Help us raise money and Celebrate Earth Day!
Spring clean your town!
Sunday May 26th 2013
Meeting point – Gore Bay Town Office.

Garbage bags provided start collecting pledges today!
All proceeds to The Gore Bay Minor Hockey Association.
For more information call Maria McLaughlin 282-8410 or Leeann Bell 282-0007

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sunday afternoon bread project...

I love cooking projects with the kids... This particular Sunday afternoon I decided to attempt bread. I really think it is a science, as to me it is impossibly hard to master. I have tried a number of times and failed... miserably. I was watching the cooking channel and the 'Barefoot Contessa' whipped up this 'Honey White Bread' like it was nothing! It looked so easy!!

Here are my little helpers (who are quite experienced 'making bread' as they have done it before with Uncle Perry - the bread master) .....

It was a very east bread recipe.. not that much fussing as making bread goes... I love the smell of bread cooking in the oven... fresh and warm with butter I could eat a whole loaf!

And the best way to eat bread? According to the boys with breakfast... so breakfast for supper it was!! Here is the recipe below.. try it out!

Honey White Bread - Barefoot Contessa

½ cup warm water (110 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1½ cups warm whole milk (110 degrees)
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ tablespoons honey
2 extra-large egg yolks
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Place the water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. If the bowl is cold, be sure the water temperature doesn’t drop below 110 degrees. Add the yeast and sugar; stir and allow them to dissolve for 5 minutes.

Add the milk, butter, and honey. Mix on medium speed until blended. Add the egg yolks, 3 cups of the flour, and the salt. Mix on low speed for about 5 minutes. With the mixer still on low speed, add 2 more cups of flour. Raise the speed to medium and slowly add just enough of the remaining flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the bowl. Add the flour slowly; you can always add more but you can’t take it out. Knead on medium speed for about 8 minutes, adding flour as necessary.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand for a minute, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a bowl with butter, put the dough in the bowl, then turn it over so the top is lightly buttered. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow it to rise for one hour, until doubled in volume.

Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with butter. Divide the dough in half, roll each half into a loaf shape and place each in a prepared pan. Cover again with the damp towel, and allow to rise again for an hour, until doubled in volume.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the dough is ready, brush the tops with the egg white and bake the breads for 40 to 45 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. Turn them out of the pans and cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

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'. ( 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 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!


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