Living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in BC, we have an abundance of fresh food to cook with, and believe me, I do!
We have 5 daughters, 3 grand daughters, and lots of honorary daughters ...I love cooking for family and friends and they all keep me busy in the kitchen. Here is hoping that this blog will allow my entire family to access those recipes they ask for, and maybe even enjoy a few travel photos!
Stella was insistent that I get my recipe for vegetable pancakes on the blog right away so she could make them at home with Hayley! Such a quick, easy and delicious way to have a meal on the table in minutes, these are great for lunch, dinner or snacking. I usually make a pile and they warm up quickly in the toaster oven. They are a bit of a mash up of Korean pajeon, Japanese Okonomiyaki and Chinese scallion pancakes (even a bit like my zucchini fritters!)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup potato starch or cornstarch
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup very cold water
4 cups very thinly sliced or julienned vegetables
oil for frying
Whisk dry ingredients together, then stir in egg and water. Add in all your vegetables and stir just to combine.
Preheat oven to 300 to keep the pancakes warm as you cook them.
Heat oil in frying pan, and drop in 1/4 cup amounts, flattening them out slightly. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy. You will have to do this in batches, so keep them warm in a 300 oven until you have them all fried. Don’t crowd the pan or they will steam rather than fry.
I first tried this recipe as Korean pancakes, adding some chopped kimchi as well as a bit of the juice, but ended up using it for many different vegetables.
Serve with dipping sauce:
1/4 cup soya sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil (I like toasted)
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp hot sauce (such as sriracha)
Stir together and set aside for service. Taste and adjust for your personal preference.
There is something about making breads that just feels like a win. Focaccia always does that! The very best focaccia recipes allow for the dough to rest anywhere from hours to days. If you are like me, some days you are driving home from work thinking focaccia would really boost dinner TODAY. Not 3 days from now. This recipe is for those days. If you’ve got a little over an hour, you’ve got enough time to pull this off – and trust me, it’s easy. No intensive kneading or stand mixer necessary!
2 Tbsoolive oil
2 Tbspfresh herbs – I used basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano and thyme. minced
Mix well and if it looks a little herb heavy, add a bit more olive oil. Set aside.
3/4cupwarm water (the perfect temperature for blooming yeast is between 105-115)
2 1/4tspdry active yeast (1 pack)
2cupsall purpose flour
Top with flaky sea salt and more fresh rosemary.
Proof yeast and sugar in 3/4 cup warm water – 105-115 degrees F until foamy and active.
In a bowl, combine flour, salt.
Add in yeast mixture & olive oil, and mix to get it all together. You may need to add a couple tablespoons more warm water. You want this to be slightly sticky.
Cover and allow dough to rise for around 30 minutes. The time isn’t as important as that you need to let the dough to pretty much double in size.
Add 1 -2 tbsp olive oil into small baking vessel – either 9 x 7 inch sheet pan, or this also works well in an 8 x 8 square baking pan. You want a fair bit of oil here, rub it all around the sides of the pan as well.
Add dough and stretch to fit pan, if dough springs back, let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes and try again. The rest helps the gluten to relax.
Once dough has been stretched enough to fit the baking sheet, allow to rest (covered) for 30 minutes. Honestly, do whatever time you have – I find this to be fairly forgiving.
Dampen your fingers and dimple the dough like you are playing a piano.
Drizzle herbed olive oil over dimpled dough and allow it to fill in the dimples, I like to be generous with the herb oil mixture.
Sprinkle on some flaky sea salt and more fresh rosemary that isn’t all minced up.
Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Once out of the oven, allow to rest on a cooling rack to keep the bottom crusty as well.
So many ways you can serve this;
Use it as an appetizer with a charcuterie board
Fresh out of the oven with simple oil and vinegar
Try it with your best olive oil and my dukka recipe, (If you’ve never tried dukka you are in for a treat!)
Need a quick, easy but delicious dinner idea? Here you go – this broth is amazingly flavorful for so few ingredients and can be packed with whatever you have in your fridge.
6 cups chicken broth (use veg broth if you. are looking for a vegetarian night!)
4 flattened but not minced garlic cloves – left whole
1 inch piece of ginger, sliced
4 green onion ends, white part only
3 tbsp light soy sauce (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp Shaoxing (chinese cooking wine)
1 tsp sesame oil
This is one of the quickest broth recipes I’ve ever made, and it is absolutely delicious. Ready in only 30 minutes, that gives you enough time to prep all the delightful ingredients you want to complete your lunch or dinner.
Heat a little neutral oil in a deep pot and lightly toast the garlic cloves, ginger slices and white parts of green (spring) onions. As soon as they are lightly roasted, add the broth, soy sauce, sugar, Shaoxing, and sesame oil. Bring to a gentle boil, and then turn down and simmer for 30 minutes. You can do this as early as you like and just keep it warm until you are ready to eat. When ready to serve scoop out the aromatics and you have a lovely clear broth to enjoy with as many fill ins as your bowl can hold.
Serve with: Any or all of the following!
Cooked ramen, udon or egg noodles
Vegetables (cooked in the broth if you like!)
Fresh bean sprouts
Garnish your bowl with the slivered green onion tops, toasted sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve alongside hot sauce and hoisin sauce if anybody wants to add a bit more punch.
I usually have another pot of boiling water on the go that I first cook the noodles in, then lightly blanch vegetables (bok choy, spinach, bell peppers, zucchini, snap peas). Frozen wontons (purchased or homemade) can also be cooked in this water. I find that if you cook everything in your seasoned broth it dilutes the seasoning and results in a cloudy broth. Both still good, but you may need to adjust seasonings.
There are plenty of one bowl dishes to be found – but we think this one is simply the best! The dressing makes more than you will need but it is amazing in so many ways – I also love to toss vegetables in it before grilling them
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 generous tbsp tahini paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
red chili flakes (optional)
1 1/4 – 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Your favorite hearty rice – we like red rice but brown would work well too.
lots of toasted almonds
spring pea shoots
cooked protein of your choice, really anything works (or leave it out for vegetarian)
Put the first 6 ingredients in a blender and give a good whiz until blended well – add oil in a slow but steady stream. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. On those days when I feel the need for a little extra winter warmth I add 1/2 – 1 tsp chili flakes.
Spinach, grated carrot, grated beet, and honestly – whatever items in your fridge look appealing to you! Spinach is a great green to use in this dish because it holds up so well with the hearty ingredients.
To make this a whole party on a plate, I also serve it with cooked chicken, sauted tofu or prawns.
Stir all the ingredients together: rice, vegetables and whatever protein you have decided on (if you want one!) and garnish with plenty of toasted almonds and spring pea shoots.
Cooking the bright flavours of Vietnam are the only way we can travel there right now and this one bowl was packed with lightly carmelized pork patties, tender rice, sautéed vegetables and the crunch of pickled vegetables. Finish it all off with fresh vibrant herbs and peanut crumbles. Don’t forget the nuoc cham to drizzle over! In Vietnam this is often served with enough of the nuoc cham to make you think it is a soup, here I just drizzle enough to make each bite sing! You can easily serve with rice noodles instead of the rice, but we sure do miss fresh rice noodles in Vietnam, so we often use rice. I guess I have to figure out how to make fresh rice noodles at home…
8-10 ounces ground pork
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp white sugar
1/3 cup finely sliced green onions
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp each freshly ground white pepper and sea salt
Oil – for frying.
3 tbsp white sugar
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup warm water
3 cloves minced garlic
1 small birds eye chili (or 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes)
This is really just a guideline – use whatever vegetables you think complement the vegetables that you are sautéing.
2 cups very thinly sliced vegetables – use a mandolin if possible
In a bowl mix up the vegetables, and toss with 1/2 tbsp each salt and sugar, then pour over:
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup warm water
Make this at least an hour before dinner to allow the quick pickling to work.
Mix all the nuoc cham ingredients together and set aside to allow those flavours to get to know each other.
Mix all the meatball ingredients together and form meatballs, then pat down into little patties.
In a lightly oiled fry pan fry all the patties until they are golden brown and slightly sticky.
Sautéed vegetables of your choice
Cooked rice or rice noodles
roughly chopped roasted peanuts, basil, cilantro & mint
Centre the rice or noodles in the bowl, and circle that with the pork patties, sautéed vegetables, pickled vegetables and drizzle with the nuoc cham. Finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and peanuts. Dig in! Serve with a little bowl of the nuoc cham to dip your pork into for a little extra juiciness.
Stella wanted a pure chocolate chip cookie bake up, and these fit the bill perfectly. Usually I can’t stop myself from adding nuts, oranberries, or oats …. you know what I mean! However, her request was clear …….. slightly crunchy edges, soft but chewy PURE chocolate chip cookies. These only take a few minutes to whip up, and the reward is huge. Win/Win.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, melted but not hot
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheetwith parchment paper or leave ungreased.
In a large bowl or the bowl of you mixer add the sugars and melted butter and mix well until creamy.
Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt to the bowl and beat on low speed until well incorporated, for about 30 seconds.
Add the flour to the bowl and mix until crumbles form. Note that you could mix your flour with the salt and baking soda, but I don’t find that it makes a difference at all.
Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and use a spatula to mix them in to the dough.
You can use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out cookie balls or use your hands to roll out the dough into balls, up to you how big you want your cookies. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet. This recipe yields around 50 cookies, so if you can only bake one tray at a time, place the remaining cookie dough in the fridge until ready for the next batch. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until just barely golden around the edges of the cookies. DO NOT OVER BAKE.
Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer them to wire rack to finish cooling or enjoy eating them.
This recipe came from one of my favorite websites, Jo Cooks, out of Calgary. Her recipes are almost always a winner, and so easy to complete. Stella and I found that we preferred the cookies cooked a little longer just to get the crispy edges, but if you love your cookies softer stick to the cooking times listed above.
WHAT???? Snickerdoodle cookies in cake form? A dream come true. This cake encompasses all the bits of the cookie we love, but in cake form – perfect for a dessert or just snacking.
PREPARE THE PAN
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
PREP THE PAN
To a small bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and whisk to combine; set aside.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Generously spray a 9-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan with floured cooking spray (or grease the pan with shortening), being careful to cover all the nooks and crannies, as well as the center tube. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. You will only need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cinnamon-sugar, but try to evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube.
Save the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture for layering in as the filling; set everything aside. (I used less than half the remaining sugar mixture but just couldn’t bring myself to put that much of a sugar layer in a cake that already has 2 cups of sugar in it!)
To a large bowl, add the flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer), add the butter and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the brown sugar and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color, about 2 minutes.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed for 1 minute after each egg.
Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and mix on medium speed to incorporate, about 30 seconds.
Add half the flour mixture, half the Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Add the remaining flour mixture, remaining Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
Turn half the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. The batter is quite thick and that’s okay.
Evenly sprinkle the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the batter, which creates the filling as the cake bakes. (As I mentioned earlier, use as much of the sugar mixture as you are comfortable with – I had lots left)
Turn the remaining batter out into the pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 55 to 62 minutes (I baked for 59 minutes), or until top is lightly golden brown and set, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Don’t overbake because the cinnamon-sugar crust will become overly crunchy.
Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
I found this recipe on a new site for me, Averie Cooks. This turned out so well that I might be hopping over to her site again to see what else she has going on.
Stela was quick to to make sure I saved the recipe so it could get it on the blog. Well, she asked if I screenshot the recipe and when I said I printed it out, her dad told her that was the old fashioned way of taking a screen shot.
I can’t pretend to be humble when it comes to my cooking, but these naan impressed me more than I usually impress myself! The dough is very pillowy soft and tender, they were so delicious I pulled six out of the oven and they were inhaled.
This is the kind of thing you do when you have a little time on your hands, not necessarily because they are so much work, but it is important to give the dough time to rise and develop that light texture you want in a naan.
1 tsp dry active yeast
2 tsp sugar (separated)
3/4 cup lukewarm water (around 100* )
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp plain yogurt
In a large glass, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, remaining 1 tsp sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and herbs.
Once yeast is nice and foamy stir in the olive oil and yogurt. Mix well and then stir into flour mixture with a fork. Using your hand, mix and knead in the bowl just until everything is incorporated. As soon as it is together, soft, and slightly sticky, cover it all and let it rest until doubled in size. This could be anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.
1 cup cooked & chopped up potato (could be leftover mashed potatoes too!)
Saute 1/2 -1 cup of minced onions in ghee, until nice and soft (amount of onion depends on your love of onions!)
Remove from heat and stir in one crushed garlic clove and 1/2 tsp dried coriander.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Set aside until cooled down.
(Ghee is clarified butter and most grocery stores carry it now, but you could easily substitute olive oil or butter)
Once the dough has doubled, gently punch it down and divide into 6, rolling those into balls.
Flatten each ball with your hands until they are 6-7 inches across. Divide the potato stuffing amongst the flattened dough pieces, and then gather the outer edges like you are forming a little pocket or purse.. Once you have completely encased the potato mixture press down gently until flattened and once again about 6-7 inches across.
Brush the tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, chili flakes and sesame seeds.
Bake at 400 until golden brown – about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and rub with a little melted butter and sprinkle with minced cilantro.
This naan dough originally came from an Indian Cookbook I have – Aarti Sequeira “Aarti Paarti”. I’ve loved watching her on Food Network. She added fennel and nigella seeds, and didn’t stuff them. I had something different in mind so I used this dough, and then watched endless YouTube videos on stuffing naan to come up with my own version. Have fun, play around and let me know if you come up with any other stuffings.
In making naan, I often stand over my cast iron pan, frustrated by trying to get nice char marks and yet still allowing the bread dough to be fully cooked inside without burning the outside. This often leaves me less than satisfied! This totally hands off approach yielded the softest naan and the breads were fully cooked while still having wee bits of crunchy dough around the edges and on the tops of the ones that puffed up like a pita.
This is the first time I’ve had a guest contributor …. and it brings me great pleasure to introduce my granddaughter Sloan – 11 years old and very comfortable in the kitchen. She’s made these delicious little morsels with her Australian Nanny and wanted to make them at the orchard for breakfast – we loved them!
3 1/2 cups self raising flour, plus extra for dusting
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sprite
To serve (sweet)
To serve (savoury)
Preheat oven to 200°C/390°F (180°C fan). Line tray with baking/parchment paper.
Combine the flour, cream and lemonade in a bowl and mix until flour is mostly combined. Do not over mix, it will make the scones dense! The dough should be soft and fairly sticky.
Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead gently just 3 – 5 times to bring dough together, then gently pat into a disc shape 2.5cm/1″ thick.
Use a 6cm/2.5″ round cutter to cut rounds – press straight up and down (don’t twist), flour cutter in between. (Note 4)
Use a knife or similar to scoop up (avoid touching sides) and place on tray, slightly touching each other (they help each other rise).
Brush the tops lightly with milk. (Note 5)
Bake for 15 minutes until golden on top. Place on rack to cool. Place tea towel over them to stop the tops from getting crusty.
Serve with copious amounts of cream and jam, and of course tea!
Less dough handling = fluffier scones. So only mix the batter until the flour is almost fully incorporated (ie can still some flour), then scrape onto work surface and knead as few times as possible to bring together into a disc shape with a pretty smooth surface (I aim for 5 kneads, 8 is ok).
Do not twist the cutter – press the cutter straight down and up, resist the urge to twist! If you twist, the sides of the scones gets “smeared” which affects how well they rise.
Avoid touching sides of scones – use a big kitchen knife or similar to transfer scones to tray to avoid touching the sides of the scones.
Place so they’re touching each other ever so slightly – because they help each other rise (isn’t that just so sweet? 😍)
Don’t be tight with the jam and cream – there’s nothing sadder than running out of cream mid scone scoffing!!
This recipe is from Recipe Tin Eats, thanks for a delicious breakfast!!
We love a good dinner bowl that packs a lot of flavour. This dressing kicks everything up a notch with the combination of sweet, smoky and spicy. I use it on everything, and tonight it did triple duty as a dressing to brush on vegetables before grilling, a marinade for the steak and then a drizzle over the completed dish.
1/2 cup avocado oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a blender and simply whizz it up until smooth and creamy.
In the same blender you used for the dressing, whiz up 1 tomato, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chicken stock and some minced cilantro stems. Supplement that with water to give you enough for your usual ratio of water/rice.
Season the vegetables with the dressing above and grill until just cooked and still slightly crisp.
Brush the steaks with a little of the dressing above and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour – Grill to desired temperature. We like ours medium rare.
Quarter mini tomatoes and mince up cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and give it all a squeeze of lime.
I think this would work equally well with any protein you chose to make – and at this time of year when the vegetables are coming in strong locally it would make an amazing vegetarian meal if you just added more of a variety of vegetables. I missed grilling onions tonight and I think that would have added a great punch of flavour.
The vinaigrette came from Love and Lemons, a great website with so many amazing recipes.