Date squares

19 Dec

date squares

Each December I faithfully reproduce the traditional family Christmas baking, and each year the ghost of Christmas past haunts my efforts.

The shortbread, cherry slice, butterscotch fudge and nanaimo bars are never as good as I remember them tasting in my childhood.

The only exception to this slightly depressing state of affairs are the date squares. Continue reading

Rosolli (Finnish root vegetable salad)

14 Dec

Rosolli salad

Rosolli is a Finnish root vegetable salad traditionally served at Christmas. What I enjoy most about it is the satisfying mixture of textures, from soft potato to the crunch of gherkin.

Crème fraiche and vinegar bring a sharpness to the dressing, balancing out the natural sweetness of the beets and carrots.

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Roast carrots with pomegranate molasses

8 Dec

roast-carrots-with-pomegranate2

In January my friend Margaret sent me a copy of the gorgeous “A Taste of Haida Gwaii” by the Canadian writer Susan Musgrave.

This wonderful collection of stories, recipes and photographs documents Musgrave’s life in the islands, where she is proprietor of The Copper Beach bed and breakfast. Continue reading

Roasted cauliflower couscous salad

5 Dec

roasted cauliflower couscous salad

I’m pretty organised with food shopping and meal planning, but even so, there are regular occasions when I just need to get something to eat on the table in minutes.

Leftovers are a lifesaver at such times, or a quick pasta like linguine with sardine pesto or pasta cacio e pepe. Eggs are good — scrambled, fried, or in an omelette or frittata.

And there’s usually a tub of salad that can be combined with some toasted pitta, hummus, olives and chopped vegetables for what we call a “lunchy dinner”. While it’s often kisir or tabbouleh, this roasted cauliflower couscous salad has recently joined the rotation.

Roasted cauliflower softens without going mushy, and has a deep, almost nutty taste. I find that the textures of the cauliflower and couscous really complement one another. Continue reading

Chicken tinga tacos

2 Dec

chicken tinga tacos

Chicken tinga tacos – fun to say, fun to eat… And a great leftover to use in packed lunches throughout the week.

Another bonus of making chicken tinga is the delicious stock that results from poaching the chicken. Sometimes I freeze it, but more often it gets added to soups or risotto over the following days.

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Lemon meringue pie

24 Nov

Lemon meringue pie

Next on my belated list of Great British Bake-off signature bakes is a classic lemon meringue pie.

Where I grew up, most restaurants (at least the kind my family ate in), had at least three types of pie on offer.

Apple, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin, raisin, bumbleberry, saskatoon, rhubarb, pecan, peach… I’d happily order any of them, but if lemon meringue pie was on the menu, they wouldn’t get a look in.

After reviewing several recipes, I settled on this one from The Great British Book of Baking, which was published to accompany the first series of the Great British Bake-Off.

Sweet shortcrust pastry, a tangy lemon filling you could stand a fork in, and pillowy French meringue – it looked and tasted like the lemon meringue pie of my childhood. Works for me.

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Sweet potato and black bean tacos

18 Nov

Sweet potato and black bean tacos

Sweet potato and black bean tacos are currently the “go-to” taco around here. Last year was all about fish tacos, but the tilapia I favoured has vanished from the fish counter, for one thing.

Also, we are make a conscious effort to have more meat-free dinners each week, and these are helping with that ambition.

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