Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy holidays and a trip to the Christmas market

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   We had heard about this Christmas market and were pretty crazy excited to check it out. I mean come on its an outdoor market in an already beautiful place adorned with holiday festiveness, cedar log roaring fire pits to keep hands toasty warm, mulled wine, apple cider and hot chocolate to warm the innards, fresh baked pretzels, cute little snack huts, homemade christmas gift huts and even Santa himself.  We then stopped at the Brick Street Bakery for a 'boxing day' sandwich. A sandwich loaded with what would be all the left over goodness of a christmas day feast.  Which we need to get again. Real soon.

Wishing everyone a very merry holiday and 
                 a happy new year! 








Sunday, December 22, 2013

Milk chocolate cream

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       This has to be one of the easiest desserts I've made and if anyone is looking for a quick Christmas treat that looks amazing and is easy to put together this would be it. Just think you could even switch up the chocolate milk for eggnog for a more festive twist.

Natrel milk chocolate cream
This milk chocolate cream is a versatile dessert. Serve it in cups or in miniature tart shells for a classier treat. The berries’ slightly acidic taste complements the cream’s sweetness perfectly. 

Quantity : 4 custard cups ou 15 miniature tarts
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
Cream :
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups Natrel Chocolate milk or Natrel Dark Chocolate milk
Presentation :
  • 4 custard cups or 15 prebaked miniature tart shells
  • Berries (raspberries, strawberries, ground cherries, etc.)
  • Place a strainer over a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a metal bowl, beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar. Add the flour and cornstarch and beat until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a saucepan, mix the chocolate milk and the rest of the sugar. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
  • Pour half of the warm milk mixture over the egg yolks and whisk. Pour into the saucepan.
  • Put the saucepan back on the stovetop and bring the mixture to a boil. Let boil for a minute, stirring constantly. Make sure not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Immediately strain the mixture into the large bowl.
  • To avoid the formation of a skin on the top of the cream, lay plastic wrap over the warm cream. Refrigerate for three hours or until cool. 
  • Right before serving, whisk the cream vigorously. Pour into custard cups or prebaked miniature tart shells and top with berries.
Recipe by Natrel
Photography and styling by Ashley Colbourne


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

honey and oat pancakes

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      Who doesn't love a good pancake?  Pancakes are one of those morning breakfast foods conserved for special days... lazy Sundays, cheering up days, kids treat days, Christmas morning or just days you plainly feel like good ol' pancakes.  This day though is Christmas day.  I enjoy doing special breakfasts on that very day.  Considering I know there is a big meal a head of us later that evening, lunch will probably be skipped due to the Christmas day busyness so a good breakfast is key.  Add some bacon or slow cooked scrambled eggs and this morning meal is more then complete.

I have been a collaborator with Natrel coming up with recipes using their milk products.  So I bring you a little healthier lactose-free version of the pancake that might just be perfect for any of your special days.


honey oat pancakes(lactose-free)
1⁄2 cup oat flour
1⁄2 unbleached white flour
3⁄4 cup Natrel lactose free milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp honey
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tbsp coconut oil for greasing pan

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until batter is well combined. Let rest for a few minutes.
Heat a frying pan to medium heat and coat pan with coconut oil or non-stick cooking spray. Pour spoonfuls of batter into the pan in circles then turn the heat to medium-low. Cook until the topside of the pancake starts showing tiny bubbles, then flip and cook for another minute.

banana-nut topping
1 cup dried banana chips
1⁄2 cup chopped nuts, toasted (I choose pecan) maple syrup
In a frying pan on medium heat toast the nuts until they are fragrant and golden. In a mortar and pestle combine banana chips and nuts and bash until you get a good mix of broken up chips and crumbled nuts. Sprinkle over pancakes and top with good quality maple syrup.
Serves 2-3 

Photography and styling by Ashley Colbourne

Saturday, October 19, 2013

kale and sweet potato clam chowder

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     I've only had chowder two other times before this and it was the creamy, loads of bacon and carbs kind. All the delicious stuff right?  Well this time using milk instead of cream and more sweet potatoes then the mighty white to make a much more lighter healthier version. One that doesn't sacrifice flavor or all the things that make chowder, chowder. 

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CLAM CHOWDER WITH KALE AND SWEET POTATO 
(LACTOSE FREE)

2 pounds small hard-shelled clams, scrubbed
2 slices smoked bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped

1 cup corn kernels, from 2 cobs or 1 cup frozen
1 large handful of kale, rinsed and chopped
1 celery stock, chopped
2
1⁄2 cups vegetable or seafood stock, low or no-sodium 

2 1⁄2 cups Natrel lactose free milk
1 1⁄2 cups sweet potato, chopped into 1inch chunks 
1 cup mini-red potatoes, quartered
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper

juice of one lemon
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
1⁄4 bunch scallions, sliced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley or dill
1 tbsp fresh chopped chives
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


Preparation:

In a small saucepan over high heat boil the sweet potato and red potato until cooked half way.
Preheat a large stockpot over medium high heat, add the bacon and cook until almost crispy. Add the garlic, onion, corn, celery and kale. Continue to cook for several minutes. Add the flour to the milk and combine. Add the broth, milk-flour mixture both potatoes, herbs and spices. Bring ingredients to a simmer then add the clams. Continue to cook until the clams start to open. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the clams have opened all the way, the chowder is ready to serve. 

Serves 4-6 

PS. My man loved it. I was lucky if I was even able to get a second helping!

Happy Weekend everyone! 

Photography and styling by Ashley Colbourne


Monday, September 2, 2013

picnic in the park

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     In the middle of last month my man and I decided to celebrate two years of togetherness with a picnic in the park.  We loaded up the picnic basket with all sorts of goodies, strapped it to the back of our bikes and headed to the park.  We played cards, splashed our feet in the stream and ate till our bellies were full. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

Monday, August 5, 2013

organic mac & cheese with butternut squash & bacon

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         I have been thinking a lot about comfort food lately or maybe it’s more a craving? Either way with the chilly nights we've been having, it fits. So when I was approached to do another recipe for Natrel using their organic milk I immediately thought it had to be a comfort dish and what better then mac and cheese.  
Mac and cheese has to be my go-to comfort food next to Shepherds pie and a really good lemony garlic pasta with spicy sausage and cherry tomatoes… mmm.  It’s one of those things that just seems to make everything right at that moment, even the hard ones.

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ORGANIC MAC & CHEESE WITH
 BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND BACON


450g organic butternut squash (cut into 1inch chunks) 
6-8 slices organic bacon
350g organic macaroni
2
1⁄2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp flour
3 cups of Natrel’s Organic milk
1⁄4 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, & chipotle powder 1 egg (beaten)
1
1⁄2 cups organic shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded jalapeno havarti cheese
1⁄2 cup of brie, rind removed (cut into chunks)
sea salt & cracked black pepper


TOPPING
11⁄2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1⁄2 cup of crispy fried onions*
1⁄4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese 11⁄2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 d

Place butternut squash on a baking pan with a little olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes or until brown and tender. On a separate baking pan lined with tin foil place bacon strips and cook on the lower rack of the oven for 10 minutes or until crispy. Drain on a paper towel and cut into half inch pieces.

Grate your cheeses and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water generously and boil pasta until al denteh, 8-10 minutes. Drain and toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

While the water is boiling, in a large pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter then sprinkle in flour. Whisking constantly cook the mixture for 3-5 minutes or until the mix has turned light brown.

Add the milk and spices to a small bowl and slowly add to the butter flour mixture whisking continuously until the mixture become thick. Reduce the heat to low.

Add the beaten egg to the mixture making sure to whisk as you pour in the egg to avoid scrambled egg bits. Once combined add the cheeses in two batches until melted and creamy.
Add salt and pepper to taste.


Combine the breadcrumbs, crispy onions, parmesan and thyme with the olive oil, set aside.
In a deep baking dish add the macaroni, butternut squash and bacon. Cover with the cheese sauce, stir to combine and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Place in the oven under a low broiler until the top has turned golden brown.

*Crispy onions can be found pre-packed in most local grocery stores.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

sweet corn and blueberry ice cream

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     I am not fortunate enough to be remotely close to any of Jeni's ice cream shops but I am pretty grateful that I purchased her book.  I bought it about a year ago and never really got around to making anything from it, plus there is the fact that I thought up until now my kitchen aid ice cream attachment was a piece of crap which was really just me not quite following the instructions properly.  Anyway her  interesting flavor combinations had me ready to try my ice cream maker again.    With total success I made her The Buckeye State flavor, which was amazing and tasted similar to a reeses peanut butter cup.
     Now you see I was hooked. I had to make more.  Next I made her enticing sweet corn ice cream.  I wasn't really sure how that was going to taste... maybe a little weird?  I wasn't sure. But I had all the ingredients on hand only adapting it with blueberries instead of blackberries.  It was unbelievable.
 This recipe was not in her book but I did find it here while watching some of the cute videos they post with what goes into making their ice cream flavors.