Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Banana Bread

For this Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a day Braid we were to make berry bread and banana bread, I must confess with traveling and family here I have got out the loop with the bread making group. But I just had to try this bread. I liked it loved the banana flavor and great with a cup of tea. Again quite a dense bread and hubby didn't like it nor did his Mum. Its hard to make bread when I am the only one who likes it.

Do any of you awesome folks have links to an easy bread recipe with kneading involved so I can compare the two for my own piece of mind?

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thai Red Curry and Thai Cookbook Giveaway

I was tweeting with Thai Kitchen and talking Thai food as you do :-), when I got to thinking I love their products and Thai food why not ask if they would like to do a giveaway. They kindly agreed to send two of their Thai cookbooks to US readers.

I made this simple red curry the other day, curry pastes are very handy if you want to make a quick nutritious meal in 20 minutes.


  • one pack of chicken
  • some frozen veg
  • about 3-4 tablespoon of red curry paste to taste
  • one can of coconut milk
  • a dash of fish sauce
  • a little sugar
  • 1/2 a red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • one teaspoon ginger paste

  1. saute the chicken and onion with ginger and garlic for 10 minutes 
  2. then add the vegetables
  3. in a separate pan heat the coconut milk and slowly stir in the red curry paste, fish sauce and sugar till its warm and thoroughly mixed
  4. add this to the chicken and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  5. serve with rice

So for the giveaway just leave a comment and in a week I will pick a couple of winners at random. 

Good luck everyone

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Guest Post: Linguine with Clams by Chef Dennis

It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Chef Dennis of More Than A Mouthful, he is the sweetest person and a very talented Chef. I have a feeling his blog will be huge, so hop on over and follow you will really enjoy....

I’d like to start by saying hello to all of Rebecca’s followers on Chow and Chatter, for those of you that don’t know me, I am a former restaurant chef who made the leap into school foodservice five years ago.  When I made the change it was a quality of life decision, but what I didn’t know was how the change would so positively affect my life.  I love my job, I love my girls and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
So when my new friend Rebecca asked me to do a guest blog on her site, I was not only flattered but inspired. 
My classes at the Mount are limited to what can be successfully made in an hour, so I try to teach my girls how to make simple but incredible dishes that they can easily duplicate at home.  One of my favorites is Clams and Linguine. 

 My love of clams and linguine came from a trip to Italy, my wife and I were in Venice at the end of trip.  During one of our walks around that incredible ancient city, we found this out of the way restaurant that was full of locals simply enjoying life.  So later that night we came back for dinner….  We were served so many wonderful simple dishes that night, real food for real people, but what changed our lives for the better was seeing how clams should be made.
To say that those tender little morsels, in that sweet garlicky broth influenced my way of thinking would be an understatement……..clams with linguine would never be the same.

Upon returning home I found that most of the area supermarkets were carrying Mahogany clams, a thin shelled brown version of their cousin the littleneck.
I remembered Mahogany's as a throwaway clam, or a clam the clammers would eat at home, a cheap alternative for a home clam bake.  Not at all a bad clam and we enjoyed many a dinner using them, but then a new supermarket opened in our area that carried bags of farm raised little necks.  Things were definitely looking up, there shells were thicker and their flavor far superior and here’s the kicker, they were sustainable.  (For more information on sustainable seafood check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch).
So let’s get on with my recipe!!

Linguine with Clams
1 lb of good quality Linguine (De Cecco, Del Verde, or Barilla)
Little Neck Clams or small Mahogany Clams ( bag of 50, or at least 15 clams per person)
2 cloves of Garlic sliced 
1 Tablespoon of Pesto or Fresh chopped Basil
Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
Sprinkle of grated Romano Cheese
2-3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

esto Recipe
2 bunches of Basil
1/2 bunch of Italian Parsley
1/4 cup of grated Romano Cheese
2 cloves of Garlic
1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Toasted Pine nuts, or walnuts (optional)

Now timing is everything with this dish. First of all start your pot of water for the pasta heating up, while the water is coming to a boil get out your clams and wash them off in cold water. This is the time for you to inspect your clams, an open clam is a dead clam, (if you tap it and it closes its just trying to fool you) so discard any open clams.

 If a clam gets broken by miss handling it will die and it will smell.....this does not mean all the clams are bad but it will impart an odor to the rest of the clams....this will occur in supermarket clams from time to time. One very important thing to remember about clams is that they come in a mesh bag for a reason, so they can breathe. If you place them in a plastic bag to get them home, remove them from the bag immediately when you get home and place them in a bowl uncovered in the refrigerator. Cold will open clams, but they will close if they are not dead when you move them around. 

So while our water is getting ready and our clams are washing in cold running water, peel and slice your garlic into thin slices, and while I usually use fresh chopped basil in this dish, I had recently been given a box of fresh basil and rather then let it go bad I had made it all into pesto sauce, so for this recipe I used pesto instead of just plain chopped Basil (which is still my wife’s favorite).  I actually liked how the pasta came out with the pesto, but for an overall fresh simple dish I think I will stay with just chopped basil. (Although I may mix my pasta with pesto before serving the clams)

So by now y
our water is boiling and now you throw in a dash of sea salt, to help season the pasta...well actually you throw the salt in so that the water is like the Mediterranean. …sigh.....stir your pasta, set the timer for 11 minutes (or the recommended time for your brand), we want the pasta Al Dente, you have teeth, use them. Pasta should be chewed. Now get your large skillet or Sauté pan, and pour in the Olive oil, over a high heat place your garlic, clams, pesto or basil, and crushed red pepper into the pan and cover. 
As the clams cook they will steam open, as they open all the wonderful natural juices will mix with the olive oil and spices turning your kitchen into an aromatic wonderland. Keep an eye on your clams, they may be done opening a minute or two before the pasta and that's ok, just turn off the heat and let them sit covered in the pan. Drain your pasta, place into pasta bowls, divide up your clams and then the broth from the pan. Now sprinkle with some good grated Romano cheese ( don't ever ask for cheese for your clams in Italy, they will think you have no idea how to eat), sprinkle some parsley over top to make it look pretty, ( if you have a very good bottle of extra virgin olive oil, drizzle a little over the top, the flavor and aroma from the fresh Olive oil will just add to the experience)
Serve immediately with a nice crusty bread (and extra grated cheese if your like me) and just enjoy this culinary masterpiece, completely in less than 30 minutes.

Now wasn't that a treat, thanks again Chef Dennis :-)

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Vietnamese Roast Pork Chops

I made this easy and super delicious Vietnamese pork chop I got the inspiration from Xiao Yen Recipes, a wonderful blog filled with yummy eats. Oh and we had a great time at the children's museum if its been a while since you visited one grab a kid and have a good time!


Adapted from Xiao Yen Recipes
  • two large pork chops
  • 4 large tablespoon of frozen lemon grass and chili mix, from Asian store, I struggle to get good quality fresh but the original uses this
  • 1/2 a red onion sliced
  • 4 cloves of chopped garlic 
  • 4 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • one tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon of fish sauce
  • some oil

  1. combine all the ingredients and marinate for a few hours (better overnight but I wasn't that organized he he)
  2. add heavy bottomed pan, I used Le Creuset and fry onion and brown pork chops on each side
  3. then add the rest of ingredients back and bake at 350 for 40 minutes
Serve with Jasmine rice and steamed vegetables, this one is a keeper its so easy to make and packed with flavor. 

What's your favorite new recipe you have made lately, feel free to link for me to try them!!

Oh and I am sending this for Two for Tuesdays - REAL FOOD 


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Friday, June 25, 2010

Brie and Apple Panini

This is a delicious and super simple panini made with thinly sliced apple and Brie from Ile De France
Simply add the Brie and apple and grill till melted. Brie is a world famous French soft cheese with a creamy interior and edible rind. It becomes even more yummy when melted. Its great to add to BLT's, salad, omellete, the list goes on.

Have a wonderful fun filled weekend everyone, we are of to the Childrens Museum in Greensboro tomorrow, then going to our favorite Vietnamese Restaurant- fun and good fun perfect combo ;-)

What's your favorite way to eat Brie?

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lebanese Style Pancakes and Giveaway Winner

I made these egg less pancakes the other day for my Mum in law as she doesn't eat eggs on her diet. I found the recipe on Joumana's blog  I adore her blog, and upbeat personality. Also the presentation of her dishes are first class.

It was easy to make and tasty and fabulous with fresh cherries and nutella:


slightly adapted, please see the link to Taste of Beirut for better directions- she had hers with clotted cream and a cherry sauce much more gourmet!

  • One cup of cake flour
  • one tablespoon of baking powder
  • one tablespoon of salt
  • one cup of milk


  1. whisk them all together till quite a thick batter,
  2. heat a little canola oil and cook, Joumana says not to turn them over I cheated a little and did on a few lol

Enjoy, they make a fun afternoon snack with a cup of tea

And the winner of the Turkish spice giveaway is Reeni of Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice, please email me with your address, I wish I had got more to give out sob. But when I go to India in September I will get more goodies and do another giveaway 

True Random Number Generator  31

What's your favorite topping for pancakes?


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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Black Chick Pea Curry

Heres a great vegetarian curry, packed with micro nutrients, protein and fiber. I have posted it before and make it a lot one of hubby's favorites in fact my Mum in Law has made this already for him and she only arrived last week!

  • chana - little black chick pea, available in Indian stores
  • ginger/garlic paste
  • coconut shredded
  • 1/2 red onion
  • salt to taste
  • one tablespoon masala powder
  • 1 green chili
  • curry leaves- if you have some
  • 3 small tomatoes
  • a little tomato puree
  • tamarind paste 1/4 handful soaked in hot water

1. Soak the 
Channa in water overnight
2. pressure cook the 
Channa 4 times, with onion and tomato, these little things need a lot of whistles to soften them up!
3. heat a little canola oil, add onion, chili, ginger and garlic and tomatoes and simmer down to a paste for about 10 minutes
4. then add the cooked chick peas, some water, masala powder, salt to taste, coconut and tamarind (its fine without it as well) and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Tomorrow don't forget to tune in for an Interview with the lovely and most talented Girlichef, I can't wait to get to know her better and hear her voice

Wednesday June 23rd 6pm

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Guest Post: Exploring Indian Spices with Roberta

It is with great pleasure to introduce you to Roberta a talented Dietitian and Published writer and founder of Spin A recipe, a site to help you randomly select the days meals like a slot machine. 
Enjoy her lovely post about spices and a great Indian inspired recipe

- Rebecca

Exploring Indian Spices
by Roberta Schwartz Wennik, MS, RD

We take spices for granted today.  But before the birth of Christ, spices were a treasured commodity used for commerce in the Middle East.  Pepper was the most common spice, while saffron was the most exclusive.  Originally, spices made their way to Europe over land routes. Only the wealthy could afford them because they were so expensive.  When the Ottoman Empire started charging hefty taxes on spices headed to Europe, the Europeans set out to find a route by water that would take them to the source of the spices.  If it weren’t for these much desired spices, Christopher Columbus would never have discovered the New World.  He set out from Spain to find a maritime route to the Indies and once making landfall, he assumed he had arrived.  Of course, he didn’t make it but he was followed by many explorers who established ocean routes for the trading of spices.

I often cook with ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon and ginger.  Yet a whole new world of cooking became available to me when I started exploring the recipes of India, using whole dried spices.  I found that by roasting the whole spice in some ghee or clarified butter, the flavors literally exploded.  Until you’ve experienced cooking with whole spices, you can’t appreciate how much of the volatile flavors are lost when spices are ground and kept in a jar for months and months. 

The challenge, though, is finding a market that carries whole spices.  I ended up by going to an Indian market where I not only found whole cumin, coriander, mustard, fennel and fenugreek seeds, I was overwhelmed by the variety of dal or legumes.  Indians eat such dals as chana dal (split chickpeas without their seedcoat), kala chana (small chickpeas with brown skins) and masoor dal (red lentils). 

Because of the marvelous mélange or mixture of spices, dals, and vegetables in typical Indian dishes, meat doesn’t seem all that necessary to have at the meal.  There is plenty of protein in dals, though you could add small pieces of meat to most Indian curries.  In my experimenting with Indian ingredients, I cooked up a marvelous dish I call “Indian Dal Stew with Yams and Raisins.  Enjoy.

Indian Dal Stew with Yams and Raisins

Serves 4-6

2 cups chana dal (or you can use yellow split peas)
6 cups water
1 large yam
1 ½  teaspoons ghee or clarified butter, divided
1  ½ teaspoons peanut oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin
½ teaspoon whole coriander
½ teaspoon whole yellow mustard seed
1 yam, peeled and diced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
½ - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup raisins

1.     In a large pot, place the chana dal in the 6 cups of water.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30–35 minutes or until the dal is tender.
2.     Meanwhile, peel and dice the yam.  Set aside.
3.     Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and melt 2 teaspoons ghee or clarified butter.  Add the cumin, coriander and mustard seed, toasting the seeds until golden.  You may want to keep a lid at the ready since the coriander and mustard seed might start to pop.
4.     Add the yam and sauté for about 2-3 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, their juice, chicken broth, ground cinnamon and sugar.  Lower the heat and cover the pot.  Continue to cook until the yam is tender.
5.     Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
6.     Drain the chana dal and stir it and the raisins into the yam mixture.
7.     Continue to cook the mixture over low heat until the raisins are plump and the juices have been absorbed. 
8.     Stir in the last teaspoon of ghee and season to taste with salt.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Chinese Fried Black Rice

I first saw black rice on Cottage Cozy, a sweet blog with an interior design and craft slant, I loved the look of it and when I found some online, I got some. I figured a cool way to eat it would be to make fried rice as the color contrast with the veggies would be cool. It is higher in iron and trace minerals than white rice and has a great nutty taste.


  • one cup of black rice
  • 1/2 a yellow squash chopped
  • 1/2 a zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 red onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • a little fish sauce
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • one teaspoon ground ginger
  • one tablespoon of Chinese five spice or to taste
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 2 eggs


  1. cook the rice and set to one side I used a rice cooker, but it will take longer to cook than white rice
  2. heat some canola oil and add garlic and ginger, onion and vegetable and stir fry for 5 min
  3. then add the egg and scramble into the mixture the fish sauce, spices and soy sauce, stir fry for another 5 minutes
  4. add the rice, I added a little white rice as well as I didn't have enough black.
  5. Enjoy!

Has anyone else tried this or had any other different types of rice?

 Hope you all have a wonderful Fathers Days with your Dads, My Dad is the best he is an inspiration to me 

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Italian Seasoned Roast Chicken and Salad

A while ago I saw a lovely roast chicken on Ruth's blog I love Flavor Me, I adore her blog she is also a sweet person living in Italy the same company Ariosto from Italy contacted me about trying their seasonings. I thought sure why not there was a novelty about getting seasonings from Italy!

They came in a cute box, that looked like a book. So I roasted chicken legs as suggested in the chicken mix and potatoes in the potato seasoning and had a tasty salad with it.

The salad was a mixture of raspberries, cucumber, lettuce and cherry tomato with olive oil and balsamic vinegar topped with the yummy chaumes cheese.

I would say the chicken was tasty but don't use too much its quite salty in my dietitian opinion. But I had fun making it and will use them again but maybe not so liberally!

Have a great weekend all and don't forget to comment on my last post Chaumes and Sumac Spiced Salad to win some Turkish spices from Istanbul's Ancient Spice Bazaar.


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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chaumes and Sumac Spiced Salad and a Turkish Spice Giveaway!

I made this wonderful salad last week and got to try out the Sumac seasoning I got in the Spice Bazaar. Sumac is a plant the drupe or flowering part is ground to make a spice powder that imparts a citrus taste. I was fortunate to receive some Chaumes cheese from ILE de France a Southwestern French Soft Cheese, with a creamy taste and lovely texture.


  • a big bowl full of mixed greens
  • one tomato quartered
  • a hand full of blueberries
  • one small Persian cucumber sliced
  • one tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • sumac powder sprinkled on the top to taste
  • about 8 wedges of chaumes

  1. simple toss all the ingredients together and enjoy with fresh ciabatta or a French baguette 

So Turkish spiced cod, Turkish meatballs and a Turkish spiced salad has been featured on the blog. 
Now onto the fun part, I brought back an extra pack of meatball spice and sumac to giveaway from Istanbul's Spice Bazaar, all you have to do is leave a comment with what you plan to cook!
 Its open to anyone, anywhere in the World.

I will announce the winner picked at random next Friday June 25th

 happy cooking with new spices!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Afternoon Tea: A British Tradition

Afternoon tea is a British tradition, something to savor and take pleasure one of life's little perks. Whether going out to a tearoom or a castle in the countryside or at your Grandmas house or even at home by yourself. Once in a while its fun to bake a cake sit down and savor a good cuppa with a slice of homemade cake. I have so many fond memories of cake as a child my mum would bake a lot and we would often have cake in our lunch box. But my Grandma is the families cake maker she is famous for her chocolate cake. She tells me that baking is therapeutic and lifts her spirits if she is feeling a wee bit low. When we stayed at the cottage in the Cotswold's my Grandma brought not just one but three cakes for all - a chocolate 3 layer none the less, ginger and a fruit cake and my great Aunt brought a malt loaf. 

heres Jasmine eating it!

One of my favorite British cakes and my sister in law's (an Indian that has been romanced by the British tea shops he he) is the Victoria Sandwich. Named after Queen Victoria as it was also her favorite. I have featured it on Chow and Chatter before but couldn't resist a shot with my new little tea cups I got in England. Its a simple sponge cake with butter cream and Jam in the middle.

Mine didn't rise perfectly aw well it was delicious anyway


  • 6 oz of self raising flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 oz of butter 
  • jam 
  • icing sugar
  • 6 oz of sugar

  1. cream the sugar and butter, slightly melted butter works better
  2. then fold in the flour and eggs to make a smooth batter
  3. add to a baking tin and bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes 
  4. when cool cute in half and fill with butter icing and any desired jam then sprinkle with icing sugar
Or make two cakes with 4oz proportions in two tins I was a bit lazy lol

Butter icing - simple mix in icing sugar to a gold quality butter

Garnish with fresh strawberries for a treat

Cirencester cathedral 

The beautiful village where we stayed in the Cotswold's 

Join me tomorrow evening at 5pm for a chat about Tea and Cake, memories, history and fun, feel free to call in and tell us about your memories of cake, tea and family

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Guest Post: From Down Under!

It is with great pleasure to bring a guest post from the talented Ron from Australia I adore his blog every post is like a mini foodie adventure, be sure to visit his blog for more-

Winter is here in Brisbane, located in the sunshine state of Australia, Queenland; winter is normally not as cold as the other states. One still can get away with shorts and a jacket; although it does get pretty chilly at sometimes.This winter some kind hearted person has gone and Knitted the warm it up.

After checking out the knit wares, we popped into Vapiano; a fairly new concept type restaurant here in Brisbane. With their modern decor and ambiance ,freshly made pasta and fresh ingredients it Italian Joint has become a big hit here.

Before you get in, you are given a card which is almost like a credit card. Once inside, there are 4 counters divided into the Pasta, Pizza, Salad and Drinks. How it works is, you order, you swipe your card,the food gets prepared right infront of you, you eat and before you leave ... you pay off your credit card.
The food here is mafe with fresh ingrediance, even the basil is plucked fresh from the pot.

How cool was that!!!

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