About Chatty Kathy

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!

Cacio e Pepe with bacon!

Every time I make spaghetti carbonara I think it would benefit from a bunch of crispy bacon, so here it is … a tangled mash up of cacio e pepe and carbonara. I think it is perfect! Also quick and easy.

A tangle of creamy pasta, sharp cheese and crunchy bacon can’t be beat. Apologies to Italian pasta grannies for any offence this mash up could cause, but it sure is delicious.

Kosher salt

  • 6 oz. pasta (such as egg tagliolini, bucatini, or spaghetti)
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed, divided
  • 1tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • ¾ cup finely grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
  • ⅓ cup finely grated Pecorino

This serves 2 as a generous dinner helping – adjust for your table!

Slice bacon into thin strips and cook over medium heat, stirring often to separate, until crispy and cooked through. Set aside on paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5-qt. pot. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until about 2 minutes before tender. Drain, reserving ¾ cup pasta cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling pan, until toasted, about 1 minute.

Add ½ cup reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add pasta and remaining butter. Reduce heat to low and add whisked egg, Grana Padano, stirring and tossing with tongs until melted. Do this relatively quickly so the egg doesn’t scramble. You only want it to cook through via the hot pasta. Remove pan from heat; add Pecorino, stirring and tossing until cheese melts, sauce coats the pasta, and pasta is al dente. (Add more pasta water if sauce seems dry.) Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve, with a generous helping of more Parmesan and cracked pepper.

If you only have one of the cheeses, that is fine too – I’ve had to adapt this a few times during our Covid restrictions to work with whatever I had on hand.

Serve with this aromatic green onion and pepper focaccia and a big salad.

Brownie Cookies

A little hit of salt, crinkly tops and a moist chewy interior. These cookies are so good!

Brookies??? If that isn’t a word it should be. My nephew and wife have started up Silver Star Chocolate Company, and these cookies were the perfect way for me to try out their chocolate. OMG. So so good.

  • 8 oz chopped dark chocolate – 60% recommended but their chocolate is a higher percentage so I used half semi sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup & 2 tbsp packed, light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350

Melt butter with chopped chocolate and set aside to cool slightly.

In a lare bowl add white sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer for at least 7 minutes. (honestly – 7 minutes). If you have a stand mixer use that – and set your timer. 7 minutes is a lot longer than you think it is if you are holding an electric hand mixer. This is what allows the eggs to create that luscious crinkly top when baking.

Mix in the melted chocolate and butter.

Sift together flour, cocoa powder salt and baking powder. Stir into egg/melted chocolate mixture just until combined.

Use a small scoop and scoop on to parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes to set before transferring to a cooling rack to completely cool.

These cookies are absolutely fantastic! Made originally for Christmas giving, now I love to keep them in the freezer for that moment when you just need a brownie!

Obviously I have trouble keeping to a straight line ……
I’m sure it is the quality of the chocolate that made these cookies extra delicious, but whatever chocolate you do have will produce a cookie you want on repeat!

Malaysian Laksa

It’s cold around here! If you are looking for a big bowl of comfort, well here you go! Dress it up however you like, made it vegetarian if so inclined, whatever you do, give it a try. This is perfect for a chilly night.

Once you have tried this creamy coconut broth, laced with spicy chili and fresh crunchy vegetables you will be putting this on repeat!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 cm (1 inch ish) ginger, grated
  • 1 lemongrass , white part grated
  •  2 birds eye chillis , finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (175g) laksa paste 
  • 400g / 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
  • 2 tsp fish sauce (sub soy but fish sauce recommended)
  • 2 tsp chili sauce
  • cooked noodles, either rice vermicelli or Udon noodles
  • any cooked protein if you like ….. chicken, prawns, crispy tofu, the options are up to you
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • sliced green onions
  • bean sprouts

METHOD

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan or small pot over medium low heat. Add garlic and ginger, sauté for 20 seconds, then add lemongrass and chillis. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add laksa paste. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and 2 tsp of Chilli Sauce. Place lid on and simmer on for 10 minutes.
  • Adjust to taste using lime juice (for sour) and fish sauce (for saltiness). Leave on turned off stove with lid on for 5 minutes.

To assemble, place noodles in bowl, add in vegetables and bean sprouts – top with broth and then any of the fixings you like

Personal touches added to each bowl make all the difference. I used the “Umami Crisp” from Big Smoke in Whistler, BC to add in place of the chili paste.
I love to make this a one dish meal, so I saute or steam a bunch of fresh veg for color flavour and brightness. Use whatever you like. Cook separately from the laksa broth so you retain their color and brightness.

I’ve tried a number of laksa recipes, and they tend to disappoint. Part of the problem is a difficulty sourcing different pastes and sauces where we live. Laksa paste itself is a very complex flavour compound. This recipe came from Recipe Tin Eats, and it was her recommendation to use a paste that convinced me to try again. Nagi was right on with that suggestion, by the time you have enough of the right ingredients to make laksa paste, you would have to be making it frequently to keep all your supplies fresh. Hop on over to her blog for even more components to this dish, even recipes to make your own stock and chili paste.

We love this served with my green onion pancakes, perfect for dipping!

Miso Herb Roasted Veg stock

The perfect base for any kind of soup – wonton tonight, laksa another night.

Cold dreary days lead to healing soups! Even the start of this, with the miso coated vegetables roasting in the oven promises great flavour. I promise you will feel like brighter days are coming by the time you finish this bowl of deliciousness. (Is that a word?)

  • 4 tbsp white miso paste
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 sheet of dried seaweed (optional but recommended)
  • 1 large yellow onion, skin on, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed clean and thinly sliced
  • 2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 heads of garlic, cut in half, skins on
  • 4 inch knob of ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
  • 5 sprigs parsley (or any other herb you have around!)

To finish: juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl combine miso, oil and water, whisk to combine.

Place piece of seaweed and all prepared veg on the parchment and toss well with the miso mixture.

Roast for at least an hour, until veg are lightly browned.

Turn into a large stock pot, and cover with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 1-2 hours.

Strain the stock off, discard the vegetables (you’ve cooked all the goodness out of them!) and add in the juice of 1 lemon, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

This is delicious!!! I got it from the kitchen of Jillian Harris, she calls it Gut Healing Veggie Broth, and it is a sure fired winner.

Don’t you just know how good it is going to be already??
Once that miso gets tossed in there with it all and starts roasting your whole house smells fabulous.
The broth alone is a great starting place for amazing soups.
LAKSA – totally delicious with this stock.

Grandma’s Pizza Dough (Farmhouse)

Soft, tender & chewy crust …. layered with a few toppings, and this is just the best pizza! Today we had salami with cartelized onions, mozzarella, then ham, red peppers and black olives finished with feta. You can only do this if you have a crust hearty enough to handle it all.

Okay, maybe not my Grandma’s dough …. I’m pretty sure my Grandma never made a pizza in her life. Today’s Grams …. yes! This is also commonly called Farmhouse dough. I really don’t know where that originated, but if you try this you will find the most amazing dough for a deep dish pizza anywhere. Seriously. That’s a big claim to make, but this dough is soft, chewy and such a flavourful base for whatever you decide to build it with. Normally we do a variety of thin crust pizzas, but for cold nights, and only one pizza … this is killer!

Start the day prior to pizza baking!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2¼ tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. plus ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for surface

MAKES ENOUGH DOUGH FOR 1 PIE

 

Preparation

Step 1. Stir together yeast and 1¾ cups warm water (105–110°) in the bowl of a stand mixer; let stand until yeast starts to foam, about 10 minutes.

Step 2. Mix in 2 Tbsp. oil, then salt and 2 cups flour. Attach dough hook and mix until just combined. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add another 2 cups flour, a cup at a time, mixing until incorporated and a shaggy dough forms, about 3 minutes.

Step 3  Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is soft and elastic and starts to pull away from sides of bowl, 5–6 minutes. It will still be somewhat sticky. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours.

Step 4  Coat an 18×13″ rimmed baking sheet with remaining ½ cup oil. Turn out dough onto a rimmed baking sheet and let sit 10 minutes to take off the chill. Gently and gradually stretch dough until it reaches edges and all 4 corners of baking sheet. (If dough springs back or is stiff to work with, let it rest a few minutes before continuing. You may need to let it rest more than once.)

Step 5  Cover dough on baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place (but not too warm!—about 70° is ideal for yeast to grow) until it is puffed and full of air bubbles, 30–40 minutes.

These instructions are for a stand mixer, but feel free to do it by hand, just takes a little effort to do the kneading.

This recipe came straight from Bon Appetit, one of my favourite sources for recipes that never fail.  I’ve made it enough times now that I wanted to make sure to get it on the blog so I never lose this!
My stand mixer makes this pretty easy, but if you don’t have one, just go ahead and knead by yourself …. make sure to do so for 6-8 minutes though.
You will end up with this pillowy, soft ball of deliciousness. Make sure to stop while it is still slightly sticky or the dough will be too dry.
When you put it into the fridge it is shiny and smooth. Make sure to use a a container large enough for the dough to rise.
I like using this covered container, the dough rises enough to hit the lid and then continues to aerate, but the lid prevents it from spilling all over the fridge.
This recipe is enough for one large sheet pan, or 3 smaller pizzas. Just 2 of us at home now, so if I make this recipe – one pizza and a salad is great for dinner so you have 2 to put in the freezer for another night.
Delicious pizza sauce – lightly saute cherry tomato with a generous glug of olive oil, salt and pepper. When soft, blend up with basil and oregano …. taste and adjust with a little more salt and pepper if needed.
I usually cook this at 425 convection, and then slip it out of the pan and put it directly on the oven rack for the last few minutes to get the bottom crispier.

Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs

OMG – these are delicious. It was all I could do not to gobble down a lot more than I should! The marinade is quick and easy. I let it marinade a day, but I’m sure you could get away with less.

Mouth-watering. Literally mouthwatering.

  • 5 pounds Korean style beef short ribs*
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
  1. Preparation: Sprinkle brown sugar over beef and mix well to evenly coat. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes while preparing marinade. In a bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Transfer beef into a large sealable freezer bag (you may need 2). Add marinade, press out excess air from bags, and seal. Turn bag over several times to ensure beef is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
  2. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot. Drain excess marinade off beef. Grill short ribs, turning once, to desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions, if desired. 
it was a pretty simple marinade, but absolutely delicious. Lucky for me – we still had some fresh asian apple pears and that is what I sued.

This recipe came off a Bobby Flay recipe on Food Network (who doesn’t love Bobby?) … but it is courtesy of his guest Judiann Woo.

The best caramel apples!

This caramel is amazing!

I’m not winning any style points for my first attempt at caramel apples but they tasted incredible!
  • 8–9 cold apples
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (240ml) light corn syrup
  • 2 cups (400g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Prep the apples: Rinse the apples with water, then wipe completely dry. Removing the slippery waxy coating will help the caramel seal to the apple. Remove the apple stem and insert a caramel apple stick about 3/4 down into the apple.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking sheet, or grease the pan with butter. Caramel usually sticks to parchment or wax paper. (I used parchment paper and didn’t have any trouble with sticking)
  3. Make the caramel: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Do not turn the temperature up or down– keep at medium the entire time the caramel cooks. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted. Once melted, brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush and attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure the bulb is not touching the bottom of the pan (as you’ll get an inaccurate reading).
  4. Without stirring, let the mixture cook and bubble until it reaches 235°F (113°C). Some readers have been cooking to 240°F (116°C) and saying the caramel sticks much better to the apples that way. Stick with anywhere between 235°F – 240°F. Reaching this temperature should take about 15 – 20 minutes, though don’t use time as your guide because it depends on your stove. Don’t be alarmed if your caramel is taking longer, just use the candy thermometer as your guide. The temperature will heat up slowly, then move quickly, so keep your eye on the pot. Once at 235°F – 240°F, remove caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. Avoid over-stirring which can create air bubbles in the caramel (and then on the apple). Allow caramel to cool for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. If caramel is too thin to coat apples, let it cool and thicken for 5-10 minutes longer.
  5. Dip the apples: Holding the caramel apple stick, dip the apple into the warm caramel, tilting the pot as needed to coat all sides of the apple. Lift the apple up and swirl it around or gently tap it against the side of the pot to let excess caramel drip off. Place coated apple on prepared pan. Repeat with remaining apples. Enjoy immediately or allow caramel to set, about 45-60 minutes. If you want to wrap the caramel apples in cellophane treat bags for travel/gifting, wait until the caramel has completely set.
  6. If desired, you can add toppings. Immediately after coating in caramel and before the caramel sets, roll the caramel dipped apples in finely chopped nuts, toffee pieces, mini M&Ms, sprinkles, or coconut. You can even drizzle with melted chocolate or white chocolate, too.
  7. For displaying or serving, I recommend placing on wax paper or another nonstick surface. Even when the caramel has completely set, caramel apples may slightly stick to a serving dish. To eat a caramel apple, you can bite right into it or sit it upright on a cutting board and cut slices around the stick. (Or pull out the stick and slice.) These are great for sharing!
  8. Loosely cover and store the leftover dipped apples in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
The cutest trick or treaters really appreciated the orchard treats!
Nothing better than an appreciative trick or treater!

I copied, and followed these instructions completely and believe me – patience is key as it took longer than I expected for my caramel to reach temp. If you want even more tips and tricks, head over to Sally’s Baking Addiction …. her website is amazing and so far everything I’ve tried has been great.

This is what you want your caramel to look like …..
My first attempt was completely ruined – using sweetened condensed milk. Next I turned to the recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it turned out perfectly.
I didn’t have trouble with the caramel sticking to the apple, but I had enough caramel left over so I drizzled some over the top and that allowed me to put a few more toppings on as it was hardening so quickly on the first go that I didn’t get much on.

Vietnamese Pepper Chicken Rice Bowl

I love THE FRESH BRIGHT FLAVOUR OF A RICE BOWL LIKE THIS! THE ADDED BONUS IS THAT IT ALL COMES TOGETHER VERY QUICKLY AND IS AS VERSATILE AS WHATEVER YOU HAVE ON HAND.

Today’s version included some stir fried vegetables to make it a one bowl dinner, and some quick pickled peppers.
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 180g (6.3 oz) dried rice vermicelli noodles 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 100g (3.5 oz) baby spinach leaves 
  • sliced cucumber, to serve 
  • finely julienned carrot, to serve 
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts, crushed or finely chopped 
  • roughly torn mint leaves, to serve 
  • Marinade: 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated 
  • 1 tsp sugar 
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper 
  • Nuoc cham dressing: 
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 3 tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp lime juice 
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped (or a pinch of chili flakes to taste)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, toasted peanuts, slivered green onions, and if you have them cilantro & herbs.

STEP 1
In a large bowl, combine the chicken fillets with the marinade ingredients. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the remaining ingredients. 

STEP 2
For the nuoc cham dressing, place the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Set aside for later. 

STEP 3
Cook the noodles in boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until just cooked. Drain and rinse until cool. Divide among serving bowls. 

STEP 4
Heat the oil on a large grill plate or in a frying pan over high heat. Add the chicken fillets and cook 3-4 minutes on the first side or until lovely and golden. Turn the fillets over and reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking for another 3-4 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and slice the chicken. 

STEP 5
To serve, arrange the baby spinach, cucumber and carrot on top of the noodles. Top with chicken slices. Spoon over a generous amount of the nuoc cham dressing. Top with the crushed peanuts and mint leaves and serve. 

For such a simple marinade, this chicken was very tasty! Fish sauce is a real flavour booster.

I’ve adapted the recipe here according to what I had at home, and we felt more like rice than rice noodles tonight. Honestly, we struggle with rice noodles after our trip through Vietnam and Cambodia, the noodles here at home just never taste as fresh and tender. We were in Cambodia, at the Kampot Pepper plantation and I keep finding ways to use that fabulous pepper.

This recipe is exactly as written from Marion Grasby of Marion’s Kitchen. If you haven’t followed her yet on Instagram or Youtube, you are missing out. She is amazing to watch, and every recipe is on point! Thank you Marion!

Thai Style BBQ Chicken

This chicken dish reminded me of chicken grilling over charcoal all along the streets of Thailand – you see the little stands everywhere!  The amount of effort vs the amount of flavour really helps knock this out of the park.  

 

This chicken was so moist, packed so much flavour, and don’t skip the som tum coleslaw, it adds lots of interesting heat, freshness and texture – sorry about the slightly too dark photo, these summer nights are coming to an end, and it was already dark by the time I took this.
  • 2 coriander roots 
  • 4 garlic cloves, skins removed 
  • 1 tsp white peppercorns 
  • 8 chicken thighs 
  • ½ tsp turmeric 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 1 tbsp dark sweet soy sauce (e.g. kecap manis) 

Som Tum’ Coleslaw: 

  • 3 garlic cloves, skins removed 
  • 3 birds’ eye chillies (use less or more as you like) 
  • 1 tbsp roasted peanuts 
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce 
  • 2 tsp sugar 
  • 2 tbsp lime juice 
  • 4 cups finely sliced Chinese cabbage (also known as wombok or Napa cabbage) 
INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1
Use a mortar and pestle to pound the coriander roots, garlic and peppercorns to a rough paste. 

STEP 2

Place the chicken in a large bowl and add the coriander paste, turmeric, fish sauce and dark sweet soy sauce. Mix well. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes but overnight would be ideal. 

STEP 3

In the meantime, make the ‘som tum’ coleslaw. Use a clean mortar and pestle to pound the garlic and chillies to a fine paste. Add the peanuts and pound to a paste. Then stir through the fsh sauce, sugar and lime juice. Just before serving, mix the dressing with the cabbage. 

STEP 4

Heat your barbecue grill plate (you can use gas or charcoal) to a medium heat. Place the chicken onto the grill and cook for 4-5 minutes each side or until the edges are charred and the chicken is cooked through. Rest for a few minutes before slicing. Serve with the ‘som tum’ coleslaw. 

I love my mortar and pestle sets – I have 3 and use them all the time …. bonus tips for those amazing smells that drift up when you are crushing ingredients.

This recipe came from marionskitchen.com and it certainly is one of my favourite blogs to either research recipes or watch her youtube.

Plum Torte

Or, Sugar Plum Fairy Cake as Leah called it. This is without doubt the most amazing result for the least effort! A quick cake batter that rises beautifully around the plums and your whole house smells like the closing days of summer with those purple plums and cinnamon in the oven.

All those little crevices hold delicious Italian plums!
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 12 (ish) plums, pitted and quartered
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • cinnamon (anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 tbsp depending on your love of cinnamon)
  • raw sugar (again depending on how much crunch you want)

Heat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan, by lightly spraying with cooking spray, or if like me, you don’t have one that size just use a 9 inch cake pan lined with parchment.

Cream butter & sugar together until light yellow and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time until mixture is again light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Stir just until combined.

Pour into prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Lay your quartered plums around the top.

Sprinkle first with lemon juice, then sprinkle cinnamon over. I didn’t even measure – just sprinkled until it looked good to me. Lastly, sprinkle raw sugar over top, covering all areas, but not so much you can’t see plums! (Of course you could use granulated sugar, but I love the extra crunch of raw sugar).

Bake about 45-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool on rack and remove from pan.

This would probably work equally well with any stone fruit, but I’ve only tried it with plums. Let me know if you do try it with another fruit.

This recipe comes from smitten kitchen.com and Deb Perelman claims that it tastes even better the next day, but we certainly didn’t let that happen …..

Look at how many plums are on there, yet the batter rose up above and hid them all!
Ready for the oven, you can see the raw sugar on top, but still see all the fruit as well as the batter.