Thursday, 15 March 2018

Cinzia's Shepherd's Pie

Quantity : 6 servings
Preparation : 25 min Cooking : 30 min
380 calories/serving

5 potatoes, peeled then halved 1 kg
1 1/2 onions, finely chopped 300 g
16 button (white) mushrooms, thinly sliced 220 g
2 tbsp olive oil 30 mL
500 g ground beef, extra-lean
3/4 cup canned tomatoes (diced) 200 g
2 tbsp tomato paste 30 mL
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 15 mL
1 cup beef broth 250 mL
1 cup frozen peas 120 g
1 cup milk, partly skimmed, 2% 250 mL
2 tbsp butter, unsalted 28 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g

Before you start

For individual pies, choose baking dishes which contain about 375 ml or 1 ½ cups when 3/4 full.


Preheat the oven to 205°C/400°F.
Prepare the vegetables: finely chop the onion; thinly slice the mushrooms; peel the potatoes, cut them in half then boil them 20-25 min until very tender. Drain them well and set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and sear it until it looses its red colour, about 4-5 min, then break it up with a fork. In order to brown the meat, it is important not to stir it at the beginning, otherwise it will release its juices and will «boil» rather than brown.
When the meat is golden-coloured, add the chopped onion then cook 2 min with stirring. Stir in the diced tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and broth. Add the frozen peas and continue cooking until heated through, about 4-5 min. Add salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the contents to one large baking dish, or distribute it into individual baking dishes.
Pour the milk into a large microwave-safe bowl. Add the butter and microwave on medium-high a few minutes, uncovered, until very hot. Add the cooked potatoes and mash the mixture until it is creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place a spoonful of the potato mixture on top of the beef mixture, then gently spread it with a spoon to cover evenly.
Bake in the middle of the oven until the top is golden-brown, about 30 min. Serve.


The pies can be frozen right after having been covered with the mashed potatoes and individually wrapped. They can be baked (taken directly from the freezer) for about 50 min at 205°C/400°F.

Sweet Potato Muffins

Image result for sweet potato muffins

1 cup cooked and pureed sweet potatoes
2-1/4 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soa
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg beaten
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
Optional:  1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries coarsely chopped

Cook and mash sweet potatoes.  Combine flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl combine mashed sweet potatoes, beaten egg, oil and milk.  Mix well.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Add sweet potato mixture just until combined.  Do not over-mix.  Fold in cranberries.

Spoon into muffin tins.  Bake for 16-20 minutes at 350 F.

Rice Cakes

Rice cakes


2/3 cup Basmati rice
250g skinless smoked chicken breast supreme, diced
2/3 cup semi-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 1/3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
3 green onions, thinly sliced 
1/4 cup basil leaves, finely shredded
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Step 1
Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease an 8 x 2/3-cup capacity mini loaf pan. Line bases of holes with baking paper.
Step 2
Cook rice, following absorption method on packet. Rinse. Set aside to cool.
Step 3
Place rice, chicken, tomatoes, 1 cup of cheese, onions, basil, eggs, and pepper into a large bowl. Mix well to combine.
Step 4
Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cakes are firm to the touch and light golden. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Run a flat-edged knife around edges of cakes. Turn onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely. Place into an airtight container. Refrigerate until ready to pack into lunch boxes.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Braised Brisket of Beef

This is probably the best pot roast I have ever made. Hubby is not a big meat eater and he had TWO plates . . . LOL. Served with cabbage salad and beet relish. The only thing I did different is that I put a lid on and cooked it in the oven.

Quantity : 6 servings
Preparation : 15 min Cooking : 2 h 30 min
410 calories/serving

4 carrots, cut into large pieces 400 g
4 potatoes, whole or halved 800 g
3 turnips, cut into large pieces 500 g
3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces 200 g
2 onions, finely chopped 400 g
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1.2 kg blade pot roast
3 1/2 tbsp butter, unsalted 45 g
1 1/2 tbsp canola oil 23 mL
1/2 cup beef broth 125 mL
1/2 cup water 125 mL
3 tbsp tomato paste 45 mL
ground pepper to taste [optional]
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g

Before you start
A pressure cooker will reduce the cooking time from 2½ h to 40 min.

Prepare the vegetables: peel the carrots, potatoes and turnips, then cut the carrots, turnips, and celery stalks into large pieces (about 2-3 cm thick). Leave the potatoes whole or cut them in half if big. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Leave the meat whole.
Heat the butter and oil in a pressure cooker or in a thick-base roasting pan over medium heat. Brown the meat thoroughly on each side until golden, 7-8 min total. Take the meat out and set aside.
Add the onion and garlic to the pressure cooker or pan and sauté 3-4 min until translucent. Add the other vegetables and cook 2-3 min, then pour in the broth. Scrape the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon, then pour in about 1 cm water. Add the tomato paste and put the meat back into the pan. Add salt and pepper.
If you are using a pressure cooker, cover and close, and bring to high pressure (*Follow the manufacturer's directions to determine when high pressure has been reached). Cook for 40 min. If you are not using a pressure cooker, cover the pan, lower the heat, and simmer for about 2 h 30 min.
Serve the meat and vegetables with the cooking juices.

This stew can be made a few days ahead and reheated over moderate heat.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

French-style Flank Steak

Quantity : 2 servings
Brining : 12 h Preparation : 10 min Cooking : 15 min Standing : 5 min
240 calories/serving

200 g flank steak 
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil 23 mL
1/2 shallots, finely chopped 20 g
2 tsp herbes de Provence 1 g
3 tbsp red wine 45 mL
ground pepper to taste [optional]
aluminum foil
1 tsp butter, unsalted 5 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.1 g

Before you start
The steak must be marinated at least 12 hours before cooking.


Using a knife, make cross-hatch incisions in the steak then place it into a dish. Add the oil, shallot, herbs, and half of the wine. Season with pepper to taste. Let stand in the refrigerator at least 12 h (up to 24 h).

Grill outdoor or in the oven
Preheat the oven to 195°C/375°F or an outdoor grill to 'medium'.
Take the steak out of the marinade. Drain the steak and pat it dry. Set the marinade aside. Put the steak on the rack of a broiler pan, or, alternatively, put the steak on a grill rack.
Cook in the middle of the oven or on a medium hot grill. The exact cooking time depends on the steak's thickness and on how you prefer it cooked. For a steak of 300 to 450 g, calculate 10-12 min for rare, 15-17 min for medium-rare. For a steak of 500-600 g, calculate about 15 min for rare, 18-20 for medium-rare. It is important not to overcook the flank steak since it will become tough if overcooked.
Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover it loosely with aluminum foil, then let the meat stand for 5 minutes in order to reabsorb the meat juices.
Meanwhile, heat the reserved marinade in a small pan together with any remaining cooking juices. Pour in the rest of the wine and cook 1 min over high heat. Add the butter, and stir until it has melted, about 1 min.
Cut the steak into serving size portions, add salt to taste, pour the sauce over the steak, then serve

Baked Custard

Image result for baked custard

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups milk, scalded
1/2 tsp vanilla
few grains of nutmeg

Add sugar and salt to eggs.  Beat until thoroughly mixed.  Add milk to egg mixture, stirring constantly.  Add vanilla.

Strain into buttered custard cups.  Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg.  Set molds in baking pan.  Pour enough hot water into pan to reach level of custard.

Bake in slow oven 325F until firm, 25-35 minutes, or until knife put into centre comes out lean.


Serves 6 to 8.

Large Mold:  Use 6 eggs.  Bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

Christmas Refrigerator Cookies

2-1/2 cups sifted enriched flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter or margarine
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chopped candied cherries
1/4 cup chopped or broken pecans
1 ounce (square) sweet milk chocolate, melted.

Sift flour, measure; sift twice with baking powder and salt.

Cream butter until soft and gradually blend in sugar.  Add egg and vanilla, and beat vigorously until smooth and fluffy.  Add flour mixture and mix thoroughly.

Divide dough into 3 portions.  Add chopped cherries to one portion, and nuts and chocolate to the second.  Roll each portion into rolls about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap each roll in wrap paper and chill several hours in the refrigerator.

When ready to bake, slice very thin.  Place on buttered cookie sheets and bake in hot oven 400F about 10 minutes or until delicately browned.

Dough can also be placed in a cookie press and pressed into fancy shapes on buttered cookie sheets.  Bake at the same time and same temperature as those that are sliced.

Makes about 8 dozen thin cookies.