Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bread Baby!

Hi all, so this month for Healthy Bread in 5 min a day we were to make the whole wheat sandwich loaf, hamburger buns and apple strudel bread. I made the sandwich bread, all in all its a nice bread softer than the master recipe, but I will stick with the master recipe for everyday bread, no eggs and easy to make!
In fact when we got back from our trip late Saturday night with the snow storm I made up the dough, left it out to rise overnight and made fresh bread for breakfast with the preserves I got from Saint. Martin, delicious!
For the apple bread you roll out the dough and fill it with apples, sugar, raisins and cinnamon roll it up and bake. This was yummy and another great breakfast food, Jasmine and I gobbled this up.

and Bhavesh kindly gave me this award, he has a fun blog with amazing photography from India
Superior Scribbler Award

What's your favorite kind of Breakfast bread?

Have a wonderful week everyone


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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Saint Martin Eats and Awards

Cheese dip

So we had a great few days in Saint Martin (spelt this way on the French side) or Saint Maartin on the Dutch side. It is a beautiful little Island in the Caribbean. With amazing beaches and decent food. We rented a lovely cottage from a French couple on the French side. It was fun as we love French food and the local Grocery store is full of it!
The Island unfortunately doesn't grow anything or seem to have much fresh fish, hard to believe as its surrounded by Ocean!
All of the fruit sold by the roadside is imported from Santa Domingo or The Dominican Republic. Also we found out that most of the fish served in restuarants is frozen, quite disappointing really. I did stock up on British tea, French cookies and chocolates, and local preserves and spices. Also coffee from the Dominican Republic. Its a nice place but to be honest we much prefer Costa Rica, It has its own identify and more to offer with mountains and beaches and its own cuisine, but thats just us.

Anyways the first night we ate in Calmor Cafe in Grand Case a great place for drinks and on the beach but the food was so so and expensive.
Last night we managed to get fresh Fish our friend had tuna tartare which he enjoyed and we shared the red snapper, this was nice. The Chef, added Herbs De Provence and baked it, so will try this at home for sure.

This menu made me smile!
Red snapper
Tuna Tartare

I am also lucky to receive a couple of Awards one from Kathleen from the Geeky Gourmet, a witty and fun food blog

and one from Ruth from I love flavor me, I love her, she is an awesome Mum and teacher, now living in Milan and not to mention one heck of a cook, be sure to check out her blog.

All in all was fun, but so wished the Island had its own food and a more united cultural identity, coming home to possible snow aw well will cool my sunburn down!!

Love and Hugs

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Guest Post: Orrechiette al Forno

It is with great pleasure to introduce you all to Justyna from Love Lives in The Kitchen and so it does. She is delightful, She is Polish married to an Italian and lives in Milan. Her blog is filled with great food and family recipes long passed down and great pictures of life, its food for the soul.

A while back Lisa did a great guest post using Orrechiette pasta (little ears) and Italian Sausageand Justyna told me this pasta is made in her husbands home town. So of course I asked her for a recipe, what a treat to learn from her and her Husband about this wonderful pasta. I can't wait to make this and I know you will all be doing the same!!

Hello, this is love lives in the kitchen or Justyna, the editor of love lives in the kitchen. I’m honoured to post a recipe on one of my favourites food blogs – chow and chatter… just yummy and very inspiring J

I prepared for you something typical form the south of Italy, more precisely form Apulia. I’m not Italian (Polish) but married with an Italian (from Apulia) who doesn’t cook at all but loves (and always asks for) the Italian traditional food. For that reason when I came to Milan 4 years ago I just had to learn starting from scratch… and here I am to cook pasta everyday. Thanks heavens I love it too J

So, today’s recipe is “orecchiette al forno” (orecchiette from the oven) with tomato, mozzarella and grana padano (or parmigiano) cheese. You can also use gnocchi if you prefer: both are perfect for this recipe.

You will need (for 4 portions):

- 400g (14 oz.) of fresh orecchiette

- 500g (17,5 oz.) of fresh tomatoes or a tin of tomato sauce

- 200g (7 oz.) of fresh mozzarella

- 5 tablespoons of grated grana padano or parmigiano + some more at serving

- garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper

- few basil leafs

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). If you use fresh tomatoes immerse them for few seconds in the boiling water and take off the skin.
  2. Cut mozzarella in small cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil together with few garlic cloves. When the garlic becomes brown remove it from the pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes (fresh or tomato sauce) to the oil and cook under cover on a small fire for about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and few chopped basil leafs (if you wish). Cook orecchiette in salty water less than you would cook them usually (for fresh orecchiette 4 minutes will be enough, for the dry ones about 10-11 minutes).
  4. The orecchiette must be “al dente” (not too soft) as they will soften in the oven. Mix strained orecchiette with the tomato sauce and add mozzarella cubes.
  5. Put the pasta in the baking pan (I always use the ceramic one) and sprinkle generously with grana/parmigiano (I prefer grana, it’s sweeter and more delicate). Put in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. Serve very hot and sprinkled with grana/parmigiano.

Enjoy the orecchiette with a glass of good red wine. What are you waiting for? A tavola!

and the lovely Claudia of Journey of an Italian cook and Mimi of Mimi's Kitchen both gave me this award love to you both, Rebecca

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spicy Turkey Keema

This is another simple, lean and tasty Indian dish, my hubby normally makes it, but he was working nights so he told me what to do, and liked the outcome!


  • one park of Organic Turkey
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 green chilis' chopped
  • ginger/garlic paste
  • mustard seeds, coriander seeds and a few cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • curry leaves
  • 3 small cooked potatoes (I boil separately and then add them)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • one spoon garam masala
  • and one homemade masala (from India!) or any other multi purpose masala powder.
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 chopped tomatoes

  1. pop the mustard seeds in hot canola oil, add the curry leaves green chili, coriander seeds and cumin for 2 minutes
  2. add the onion, ginger/garlic paste and turkey and brown for 8 minutes
  3. then add tomatoes, turmeric and masala powders, salt to taste, cooked potatoes and peas and simmer slowly for 20 minutes.
We ate this with rice and broccoli, very tasty Jasmine had her own version with less spice, she's still not so keen on spicy foods her Indian genes are not kicked it he he .

and Scott from Fight the fat foodie gave me this award, thanks so so much. He has a great blog and has lost weight and keeping it of the right way, with a healthy lifestyle and tasty eats, check out his blog.

We are going to Saint Maartin for 3 days this week, can't wait to try the food in the area, 1/2 of the Island is French and 1/2 Dutch. Will take pictures, in fact we are rented a cottage from a French couple and she told me she is going to teach me how to make chocolate mousse I can't believe I have made another foodie friend before even arriving!!

Has anyone been there? any tips?

Love to you all

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Bisque

This is a guest post from Jean a Wine Enthusiast searching for great wine, food and entertainment in the Piedmont Triad of NC. She Love's experimenting with food and wine pairing.

She tweeted that she had made this Bisque it sounded wonderful, so she kindly emailed the recipe with a picture for us all to enjoy.

For more about Jean and NC wine visit -


  • 4 Cups Chopped Sweep Potatoes
  • 3 Cups Chopped Butternut Squash
  • 2 Cups Carrots
  • Chicken Stock or Broth
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Teaspoons Whole Allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Shot of Amaretto
  1. Chop the onion and crush the garlic. Brown in 2 tablespoons butter until onion is clear.
  2. Add all the vegetables and the chicken stock. Bring to a soft boil.
  3. Crush the allspice and add to the mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once the vegetables have softened, use an immersion blender and blend everything until smooth.
  5. Add a shot of Amaretto and continue to cook on low for another 15-20 minutes.
Pair this with a semi-dry white wine. I chose RayLen Vineyards Yadkin Gold, a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, and Riesling.

Serve and enjoy.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guest Post: From The Amateur Icelandic Chef

I am excited to Introduce Guðmundur to you I came across his blog by chance The Amateur Icelandic Chef, and there is nothing Amateur about it fabulous recipes and great pictures, he is also an artist. We don't often think of Iceland for food, but I remember when I first started blogging reading a great article in the Wall Street journal about how good Icelandic food is, with free range lamb, smoked puffin and great desserts and with the economy how it is now is the time to visit. Its on my list of places I really want to go, and these recipes reinforce how good the food must be, enjoy...... (be sure to visit his blog and follow, lets introduce our new foodie friend to the blogging community!)

My name is Guðmundur Birkir Pálmason and I live in Stockholm Sweden. I have been studying chiropractic DC for 3 years and will graduate in 2011.

My love for food began at an early age and my first memory in the kitchen is when I was 8 years old making pancakes for the whole family. I was a lucky boy growing up because I was surrounded by great cooks, like both my grandmothers and my mother who was a homemaker and I always consider myself very lucky having her at home with the dinner ready every day. My mom would always try new things in the kitchen and i think I got that from her because I rarely make the same dish twice.

When I was eighteen I began writing down all the recipes from my family and I decided then that I would one day publish a cookbook with all the classics from my family. As time went on I began making my own recipes and that's how this food blog started. I am still working on my cookbook which will be published in Iceland this year. The food blog is about easy recipes rich in flavor and passion. I have a lot of passion for good food and I hope that shows in my recipes. I believe that anyone can cook if they simply take the time.

Icelandic Oatmeal & Blueberry Pie

This is an old Icelandic classic called "Hjónabandssæla" which means "happy marriage". I do not know if this is the secret of a happy marriage but it sure is tasty...:)


  • 200g butter, room temperature
  • 170g oatmeal
  • 170g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1tsp bicarbonate
  • blueberry jam

  1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C (~400 F)
  2. Add the butter, oatmeal, flour, sugar and bicarbonate into a large bowl and work together with your hands…..or you can add all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you get a fine sandy textured dough.
  3. Take 2/3 of the dough and push into a buttered cake dish with your hands.
  4. Spread the blueberry jam over and then just sprinkle the rest of the dough over the jam.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes in the middle shelf.

Minced Beef Burgers in a Brown Sauce

This is a recipe my mom used to make and always takes me back to my childhood. Good and wholesome home cooking is the best.


  • 1 kg minced meat, (beef 10%)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 slices of bread
  • 1 egg
  • 2dl milk
  • 2 tsp all round spice
  • salt and pepper
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 1dl simple cream
  • flour to dust


  1. Put the bread in a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl and add the milk and egg. Mix well together.
  2. Add the minced meat and all round spice to the bowl and mix well with your hands. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make 9 – 10 burgers and set them aside. Add the sliced onion and a drizzle of olive oil to a hot pan and fry them until brown. Then remove the onion from the pan and set aside.
  4. Dust the beef burgers in some flour , the flour will thicken the sauce and give the burgers a nice texture. Fry them in a little butter on both sides on a hot pan.
  5. Add the onion back to the pan and then add the stock. Let simmer for 3 minutes. Add the cream to the sauce and stir.

Serve with some boiled potatoes.

Now you want to go to Iceland don't you!!

photo from travel advisor

and the sweet Gera of Sweet Foods gave me an award, you are to mention 10 things about yourself- 1. love coffee 2. love bread making 3. travel addict 4. adore my hubby and little daughter and family 5 . I am a Brit 6. Short! 7. hyper at times! 8. determined 9. love blogging 10. a good friend, feel free to ask away, I want to share it with you all Love Rebecca
Food Blog Award Happy 101: Interviewed and Awarded x 2 in Different Ways

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Italian Sausage with Sauteed Vegetables and Pasta

I love this meal, either over polenta or with pasta, its really easy and yummy, I even had the leftovers with homemade bread oh that was divine, great to mop up the sauce!

First get a good quality Italian sausage from a butcher, I got mine from The Fresh Market.

  • 3 big sweet Italian sausages - I used sweet or spicy are also good.
  • 2 leeks chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 4 tomatoes chopped
  • Italian herbs
  • some frozen peas and snap peas, or any veg in the fridge!
  • one celery chopped
  • 1/2 eggplant chopped
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  1. saute the leeks, onion, garlic, celery for 3 minutes then add the sliced sausage and stir well.
  2. add the herbs, eggplant, tomato and peas and simmer for 20-25 minutes until cooked and the tomatoes have reduced down into a lovely sauce.
  3. add the snap peas for a few minutes and serve over any desired pasta.
Stay tuned tomorrow I found an Icelandic blogger and he is sharing an Icelandic dessert recipe!


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guest Post: Iranian Eggplant and Tomato

It is with great pleasure to introduce the very talented Azita to you from Turmeric and Saffron I came across her on twitter went to her blog and fell in love with the cooking, she kindly agreed to share a dish from her homeland of Iran. When we were in Dubai a few years back we ate in an Iranian restaurant and loved it, so with her blog we can all learn about the wonderful dishes from this region.

I was born and raised in Iran. I left home many years ago to pursue a higher education here in the states.
I've been living in NY ever since. I'm a counselor, a Persian teacher on weekends, a mother of two and an enthusiastic food blogger.

Simmered Fried Eggplants & Tomatoes

This is a light and simple dish that my sister used to make when we both lived at home.
It's one thing to enjoy the home-cooked meals prepared by your mom but to experience the meals that your caring sister makes is truly something else!
She would move around the kitchen like a feather in the sky and in 20 minutes your dinner would be ready.Voila!
So, this is her recipe and I'm sure she wouldn't mind my sharing it with you all.


  • 2 large eggplants
  • 4 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Peel and slice eggplants in 1/2 inch circles. Place them in a deep bowl, add a tablespoon of salt and fill the container with water.
  2. Place a heavy object on top to keep the eggplants down for about 15 minutes. Drain and dry with paper towels.
  3. Fry eggplants in hot oil 5 minutes per side, until light brown.
  4. In a skillet pour a cup of water, bring to a gentle boil, add turmeric and garlic. Lower heat to medium-low and place the eggplant rounds in the skillet and cover with tomato slices.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the skillet and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm with yogurt, fresh herbs and warm bread.


me drinking tea in The Iranian Restaurant of course as a Brit I loved this!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Gnocchi with Spicy Shrimp and Spinach

I made this dish a while back I am getting a wee bit behind as I cook so much!, but this one is a great recipe to share. It was easy to make, healthy and scrumptious

  • one pack of small potato gnocchi
  • one pack or bunch of spinach
  • one small bowl of wild caught shrimp
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 red onion chopped finely
  • 4 tomatoes
  • some Italian herbs
  • a pinch of red chili flakes

  1. saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes
  2. then add the herbs, chili flakes and tomatoes and slowly simmer for 10 minutes until it reduces down to a paste.
  3. add the shrimp and spinach and simmer with a lid.
  4. in the meantime cook the gnocchi then mix, that's it a healthy meal in no time!
In fact I plan to make this again this week, we all enjoyed it.

What's on your dinner plans this week?


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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Guest Post: Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

It is with great pleasure to introduce you to sweet Divina Pe of Sense and Serendipity she is a wonderful cook and lovely person . She is from Manila,Philippines a professional cook, dancer, Violinist and an Aspiring food writer. Her blog is fabulous with healthy mouth watering recipes and great photography.

Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

This is my first guest post for 2010 and writing a post for Rebecca is wonderful and as I think of a recipe for her blog, I could imagine inviting Rebecca at my home for a quick yet relaxed lunch before she goes back to work (I work from home writing and taking care of Jasmine LOL). Just pretend that she’s in my neighborhood. And for her, I want something that would make her feel really at home and what could be better than Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice Soup. I could have prepared a fancier and more expensive meal but this soup is full of warmth, joy and comfort.

Roasted chicken is not only for special occasions anymore. They are undeniably a quintessential part of everyday meal. I consider them to be a staple in every household. I’m sure you have your own recipe so I’m not posting another roasted chicken recipe. I may avoid the skins in almost every chicken dish, even fried chicken but with roasted chicken, I do eat the skin (only when newly roasted).

They’re so full of flavor and they’re absolutely delicious. They are simple to make and they are truly versatile. If you have any leftover roasted chicken or other poultry, they are perfect for every kind of dish – soups, salads, pot pies, pasta, sandwiches and many others. Try to make roasted chicken every two months or even every month and see how many recipes you can come with it. You’ll be thankful that you have roasted chicken in the fridge to save the day.

Sometimes you would roast a whole bird just because you want to incorporate it into other dishes. That’s what I did here. I did roast some chicken but not as a dish but because I want to use it for something else like this soup.

I grew up with white rice my whole life and I still can’t live without it. But I also love the nuttiness and wholesomeness of brown rice, always soaking them first before cooking for full digestibility. And you can also use a rice blend for a more interesting texture which also provides a good source of nutrients. Whatever you add to this chicken and rice soup would be good but I love the addition of umami-rich and earthy mushrooms. This is really comfort food elevated to ultimate gorgeousness. Serve this with an antioxidant salad and a light dessert and you’re good to go. I hope you like it.

Roasted Chicken and Brown Rice Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

  • Rice
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice or wild rice blend (soaked in water overnight with 2 tsp of whey, yogurt of buttermilk)
  • 1 ¾ to 2 cups chicken stock
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Soup
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 leek, white part only
  • 2 cups shimeji mushrooms
  • ½ roasted chicken (or 3 cups hand-shredded chicken)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • unrefined sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 6-7 cups chicken stock
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon

To cook the rice, drain, rinse and place the soaked rice in a large pot with the chickens stock. Add ½ tsp of salt and bring to boil, then lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook the rice for 45 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. This can be prepared in advance.

To prepare your mise en place, peel and cut the onion, carrots, celery and leeks into medium dice. Then, cut the bottom of the shimeji mushrooms and hand shred the roasted chicken.

To cook the soup, melt butter and warm the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and season with salt. Sweat until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the carrot, celery and leeks and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the turmeric and cook for another 1 minute. Add 6 cups of the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Then add theshimeji mushrooms, the chicken and the rice. Cook until the mushrooms are cooked, and the rice and chicken are heated through. Check the soup if it needs more stock. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat.

To serve the soup, remove the tarragon leaves from the stem and add to the soup. Ladle the soup into individual soup bowls and serve immediately.


Another way to cook this soup is to bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the rice and reduce the heat to simmer. While the rice is cooking, sweat the other ingredients (onion, carrot, celery, leeks and turmeric) in another pan. When the rice is already cooked, add all the ingredients and simmer until everything is heated through. Season to taste and serve.

After removing the chicken from the bones, save the chicken bones to make chicken stock.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thai Basil Chicken

This is Rebecca's Version of Thai Basil Chicken quick and easy to make, full of flavor and great with rice and vegetables.


  • one pack of chicken
  • one large bunch of fresh Thai Basil (from an Asian store)
  • a few cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sliced shallots
  • a teaspoon of sugar
  • one teaspoon of peanut sauce
  • one teaspoon of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 chopped red pepper
  • 3 chopped spring onions
  • chopped garlic

  1. saute the garlic, shallots, red pepper, spring onion for 3 minutes in canola oil
  2. add the chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes
  3. then add the sauces and basil leaves for 3 minutes
I have some cool guest posts coming up, from Sense and Serendipity, an Iranian dish and an Icelandic dish, always on the lookout for great recipes and new blogs to share with you all and new recipes for me to make he he

Hope your all having a fab weekend, the weather was lovely today in NC Jasmine, her daddy and I enjoyed a long walk. I am also on my 4th loaf of bread!

What are you up to?

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