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Gingerbread Apple Cider Cake November 20 2017, 0 Comments

This recipe quickly made it's way to the top of my Thanksgiving and Christmas baking lists. An incredibly moist cake, full of warm spices and fresh apples with a gorgeous crumb, made deliciously complex by the addition of homemade apple cider syrup, fresh and ground ginger and over a pound of apples. It bakes up perfectly in a bundt pan or as a layer cake in two 8 inch cake pans. I used Opal, Jonagold, Granny Smith and Honey Crisp apples. I love the different levels of sweet and tart, crisp and juicy. You can just as easily use one variety. 

APPLE CIDER SYRUP:

Reduce one bottle or can of apple cider on medium heat with two tablespoons of maple syrup for about 15 minutes, until it has reached a thick honey like consistency. I like Golden State Cider, Mighty Dry Hard Cider. It is perfect for drinking and cooking.

GINGERBREAD APPLE CIDER CAKE

WET INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter, (8 tablespoons) at room temperature

1/2 cup apple sauce

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Apple cider syrup (see directions below)

2 cups peeled and shredded apples (about four medium apples)

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

DRY INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

 

METHOD:

Place rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease your bundt pan or two 8 inch round cake pans with melted butter or cooking spray. 

Wash and peel your apples, then shred into a large glass measuring cup. You will need 2 cups, about four medium apples. Add your vanilla extract and grated ginger. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Sift your flours, spices, baking powder and soda together in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer (or large bowl and hand mixer) cream together your butter and sugars until fluffy. Mix in your apple cider syrup, then add your eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. 

Add your flour in two parts, alternating with your shredded apples. With each addition mix only until just combined. Overbeating will cause your cake to be dense and tough. Scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure all of your ingredients are mixed in.

Pour the batter into your pan and smooth out the top. Tap the pan on your countertop to reduce bubbles and place in the oven on the center rack.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until your cake tester (or a tooth pick) comes out clean.

Let your cake cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes, then place a cooling rack on top and invert your cake for easy removal. 

 

This cake is the perfect way to end a holiday gathering or warm up a cold weather brunch. Serve as dessert with homemade caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or at breakfast with coffee and good quality butter.


Spiced Banana Bundt Cake November 05 2017, 0 Comments

There are so many reasons to love this bundt cake. A tried and true recipe, which bakes up perfectly every time and slips right out of the pan. Giving you all of the definition and rich color you could want in a bundt cake with a little something extra...FLAVOR!

I love the look of bundt cakes, but I am almost always disappointed by the lack of flavor, with most recipes relying on vanilla or simple citrus for taste. This bundt cake is filled with warm spices, sweet bananas and has a gorgeous crumb. It is so simple and quick to prepare. If you can make banana bread, you can bake this beautiful spiced banana bundt cake! 

DRY INGREDIENTS:

 - 2 cups whole wheat flour

 - 1 cup all purpose flour

 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon

 - 1/2 teaspoon ginger

 - 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

 - 2 teaspoons baking soda

 - 1 teaspoon baking powder

 - 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

 - 1 cup brown sugar

 - 1/2 cup caster or granulated sugar

 

WET INGREDIENTS:

 - 1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks, room temperature) 

 - 2 large eggs (room temperature)

 - 4 large, overripe bananas

 - 1 cup Greek yogurt (room temperature)

 - 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract (we use Oaktown Spice)

 

METHOD:

Generously grease your bundt pan with melted butter or cooking spray.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Sift your flours, spices, salt, baking soda and powder together into a medium bowl.

In your stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand mixer) cream the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy.

Add your sugars and beat for a few minutes until smooth. Mix in your vanilla, then add your eggs one add a time until fully incorporated.

Reduce your mixer speed to low and beat in your bananas until creamy. 

Add your flour in two parts, alternating with the Greek yogurt. With each addition, mix until just incorporated. Overbeating will cause your bundt cake to be dense and rubbery. Scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure all of your ingredients have combined.

Pour the batter into your bundt pan and smooth out the top. Tap your bundt pan on the counter to reduce bubbles and place in your oven on the center rack.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until your cake tester (or a toothpick) comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, then place a cooling rack on top and invert your bundt cake for easy removal. It should slide right out onto your wire rack. 

This cake is a prefect tea time treat, goes beautifully with your morning cup of coffee and makes an incredible dessert when served warm with a scoop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream. 


Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate Marble Bread March 06 2015, 0 Comments

When bright, beautiful blood oranges make their way into our local market it is a wonderful omen.

Winter is coming to an end.

Don't get me wrong, I love waking up to a sparkling, snowy wonderland and drinking cinnamon tea in the evenings under a cozy blanket, but I enthusiastically welcome the inaugural flowers of spring and the warm sun on my formerly golden face. Normally the first bundle of blood oranges are made into a batch of our blood orange and ginger pirouettes. However, this morning I was craving chocolate and thought a twist on the classic combination of dark chocolate and orange would do the trick. 

 Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate Marble Bread

DRY INGREDIENTS:

2 cups organic wholemeal flour

3/4 cup organic sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup organic cocoa powder

WET INGREDIENTS:

3 large organic blood oranges

3 tablespoons organic coconut oil (melted) plus a bit more to grease your pan

2 egg whites

 

METHOD:

 

 1. Preheat your oven to 350F (170C) and grease your bread pan.

 

2. Zest and juice your blood oranges into your stand mixer or large bowl. You should have about a cup of juice. 

 

3. Add your melted coconut oil to your orange juice and mix well to combine. Then add your egg whites and mix thoroughly. 

 

3. In a medium bowl, sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then add your sugar and whisk to combine.

 

4.  Add your flour mixture to your blood orange juice mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape the sides of your bowl and stir in any bits that haven't made it into your mixture. Then transfer a little over half of your batter into a small bowl.

 

5. Add your cocoa powder to the batter in your mixer and mix to combine.

 

Make sure to read this next step carefully.

6. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into your bread pan, rotating your batter in a checkerboard pattern. One drop light batter, one drop dark batter, making three drops across and five or six drops down. Using a cake tester or toothpick, swirl your batter until it looks marbleised. Take care not to over stir. 

 

7. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until your cake tester comes out clean and your bread is pulling away at the edges slightly.

  

8. Remove your bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes, then tip over to remove and leave on a rack until cool completely.

Once cool, slice and serve. 

We love this bread as a weekend brunch treat with fresh berries and COYO natural yoghurt or for dessert, drizzled with melted dark chocolate and topped with Booja-Booja vanilla ice cream. 


Gluten-free Dairy Free Banana Date Bread February 09 2015, 0 Comments

On Sunday afternoon we had friends over for lunch. If you're a friend of ours, you know a meal in our home will always end with something sweet, fresh from the oven. This recipe was thought up Sunday morning for our dairy-free and gluten-free party people. 

 

Dry Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (we use Doves Farm gluten and wheat free plain white flour blend)

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 heaping teaspoon cassava starch or xanthan gum (we use isabel's baking fix or Doves Farm)

1/3 cup organic dark brown sugar (we use Tate & Lyle sugars in all of our recipes)

1/3 cup organic caster sugar

 

Wet Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic coconut oil (we use Biona cuisine oil) and a little extra to grease your bread tin

3 overripe medium organic bananas 

10-15 organic Mejdool dates 

1 organic large egg

1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar (we use Biona unfiltered)

3 tablespoons organic almond milk 

 

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease your bread tin.

2. In a medium bowl, sift your flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and your cassava starch or xanthan gum.

3. In a small bowl, mash your banana with a fork. Do not over mash. Leaving some larger pieces will give your bread a better texture.

4. Pit your dates and cut into small pieces, about the size or your thumb nail and add them to your mashed banana along with your vanilla extract, almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Stir to mix.

5. In your electric mixer or large bowl with a hand mixer, cream your coconut oil until light and fluffy.

6. Add your sugars to your coconut oil and mix throughly. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure your ingredients are well blended. Make sure to do this after each addition. Leaving flour or oil on the sides of your mixing bowl can effect the consistency of your bread. 

7. Add your egg to the sugar and oil and mix until well combined.

8. Add half of your flour mixture to your mixing bowl, stirring until just combined. Then add your banana mixture, also stirring until just combined.

9. Now add the last of your flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Be sure to scrape the sides of your bowl with your spatula to ensure all the ingredients are well blended. 

10. Pour your batter into your greased bread tin and put in the oven to bake for 35-45 minutes. When your bread is ready, it will be a deep golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides of your baking tin. 

11. Cool your bread in the tin for about 15 minutes, then turn over to remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled, slice and enjoy.

This bread makes a lovely treat on its own for brunch with friends and family, but we like it best served slightly warm with a drizzle of dairy-free salted caramel sauce and a scoop of Co Yo coconut milk yoghurt. 

You can find our recipe for dairy-free, cane sugar-free caramel sauce here: www.megpies.co.uk/blogs/megpies-blog/17096176-dairy-free-coconut-sugar-salted-caramel-sauce


Dairy Free Cane Sugar Free Salted Caramel Sauce February 09 2015, 0 Comments

Not too sweet and slightly salty, this rich salted caramel sauce goes well with just about everything.

You only need five natural ingredients to make delicious dairy-free and cane sugar-free caramel. This recipe makes a little over a 1/2 cup of caramel, but will not be quite as thick as traditional dairy and cane sugar caramel. 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar (we use Biona)

4 tablespoons water

1 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

2 healthy pinches of sea salt 

 

Method:

1. Add your coconut sugar and water to a small sauce pan and bring to a slow boil, whisking occasionally to melt your sugar. 

2. Once your mixture has reached a boil, whisk in your coconut milk, vanilla extract and salt.

3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Watch your mixture carefully to ensure it does not burn or boil over. 

4. Once your caramel is a rich golden brown colour and has thickened slightly, remove from heat and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Your caramel will keep in the fridge for a week (if you can stop yourself from eating it all in one go!) in an airtight container and can be served cool or warm. 

We like to put this caramel on almost anything. Try it drizzled over banana bread, farm fresh green apples, sticky toffee pudding or ice cream. 

Organic coconut sugar is unrefined and made from the liquid nectar of the coconut blossom. Coconut palm sugar is a low GI sweetener with a glycemic value of 35, compared to regular cane sugar, which is typically GI 68. 


Spiced Apple Crisp November 28 2013, 0 Comments

Today is a good day to tell our loved ones what we are thankful for. With the captivating smell of warm cinnamon, baking fruit and crispy oats making its way through our house, we are thankful for dessert!

 This recipe is the perfect ending to a fine feast or weekend dinner and will serve about 10 impressed guests 

 

Ingredients:

 FILLING

5 pounds (2200 grams) organic Granny Smith or Bramley apples (We buy our fruit from local farmers whenever possible and it is important for this recipe to choose firm fruit that isn't too sweet)

Finely minced zest and juice of 1 organic, unwaxed lemon

1/2 cup granulated sugar (We use Tate & Lyle Fairtrade in all of our recipes)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

 

CRUMBLE TOPPING

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (We use Doves Farm)

1 cup organic oats

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light soft brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt (We use Pink Himalayan)    

225 grams cold organic, unsalted butter, cubed

 

Method:

 

Preheat the oven to 180c (350f) and butter a 9 x 14 x 2 inch oval baking dish.

Peel, core, and cut your apples into large wedges.

 

In a mixing bowl, toss the apples in your sugar, spices, lemon zest and juice. Pour into your baking dish. (To save time, this step can be done the evening before, covered and refrigerated overnight. Simply bring to room temperature before adding your topping and baking).

 

To make the topping, combine your flour, oats, sugars, salt and cold butter with a pastry blender or in your mixer on low speed until your topping mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Scatter evenly over the apples.

 

Place your baking dish on a piece of foil or a cookie sheet to prevent the fruit from creating a sticky mess on the bottom of your oven. Bake for 1 hour until the top is brown and the filling is piping hot and bubbling.

 

This lovely crisp is best served warm. We like to add a scoop of Booja Booja vanilla ice cream before serving. 


Healthy Asian Chicken Salad November 14 2013, 0 Comments

I've been told to stop calling this my lazy day lunch. I suppose it is a bit too much effort to really be referred to as a lazy lunch, but it is just so simple and delicious. I like to make this salad the day after we have roasted a chicken for dinner, having saved the breasts for this lovely, easy meal. For a vegetarian or vegan salad, simply omit the meat.

 Serves a hearty lunch for two or 4-6 small, side dish portions

 

INGREDIENTS

Dressing:

 2 tablespoons organic coconut or grape seed oil

1 tablespoon organic rice wine vinegar

tiny splash of sesame oil

1 teaspoon organic soy sauce

1 teaspoon organic, freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoons organic honey or agave

the zest and juice of 1 washed, small organic orange

1 garlic clove, very finely minced

1 tablespoon organic cold milled golden flax seed (flax seeds add Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fibre to this dish)

a pinch of coarse sea salt (we like to use pink Himalayan) 

black pepper to taste

 

Salad:

2 roast chicken breasts

1 very large handful purple kale (rinsed, dried and torn) 

1 very large handful organic green kale (rinsed, dried and torn)

1 small head of organic butter lettuce (you guessed it, rinsed, dried and torn)

(feel free to substitute any healthy greens you have on hand)

a sprig of fresh organic mint and coriander, finely chopped

3 large organic carrots sliced finely

1/4 cup organic cashews, roughy chopped

1/4 cup organic peanuts, roughly chopped 

 

1. To make your dressing: In a medium size bowl, vigorously whisk together your dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. You can also use your food processor or blender, but why dirty more dishes?

2. In a large bowl, toss your greens (and purples), carrots, cashews and peanuts.

3. Drizzle on your dressing, toss well and serve immediately.

 

This dressing also makes a lovely marinade for chicken, seafood and BBQ steak.


Winter is on its way October 25 2013, 0 Comments

Autumn has arrived and we couldn't be more excited. Sure, we love the warmth of the summer sun, the sand between our toes and an occasional Mojito, but we welcome the falling leaves, crisp October air and getting to use the "something warm would be nice" excuse for a second cup of hot coffee in the afternoon. However, with Autumn comes the dreaded cold and flu season. We can attempt to avoid the tube for a few months and run from sneezing strangers, but sometimes that common cold is inescapable. 

Any physician will tell you the key to avoiding colds and flu is keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes and always keep a good antibacterial gel handy. If you don't already know the nasty truth about most store bought hand sanitizers, please take a little time to research the effects their active ingredients, Triclosan (a chemical used in wastewater treatment and pestisides) and ethanol (pure Ethanol Alcohol.)

Although washing your hands throughly with soap and water is best, this natural, plant-based hand sanitizer is a safe and effective way to help prevent illness. 

This simple recipe is made with essential oils, organic aloe vera and spring water and makes one 60ml/2oz travel size bottle.

Note, it is always wise to be mindful of the senstivity of your skin when using new products.

 

Ingredients and method:

 

60ml/2oz glass or recycled, durable plastic bottle 

 

2-4 drops of the following four oils essential oils:

Cinnamon

Clove

Rosemary

Eucalyptus 

5-10 drops of lemon oil

About 2 tablespoons Organic Aloe Vera

Natural Spring water

 

1. Pour/squeeze your aloe vera into you chosen container.

2. Add your essential oils.

3. Fill the remainder of your container with water.

4. Shake, apply to hands and rub together until absorbed.

  

And now, just in time for All Hallows' Eve, some good, old fashion folklore:

This mix of essential oils is often referred to as Thieves or Burglars blend. It is based on the legend of the four thieves, said to be sons of herbalists, who were captured and charged with robbing dead and dying victims of the plague. The thieves were offered leniency for their crimes in exchange for the secret of how they resisted contracting infection. They told of a special concoction of aromatic herbs and spices they applied, drank and inhaled before and after committing their crimes.

Mystery and historic intrigue aside, studies have determined that several essential oils, including cinnamon, rosemary, clove, lemon and eucalyptus, effectively fight bacteria; specifically six Staphylococcus varieties, including the dreaded MRSA, four Streptococcus strains and three Candida strains. 

Additional info:

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693916/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X06003407


Chouquettes October 22 2013, 0 Comments

For me, these sweet little choux pastry puffs bring back the loveliest memories of Paris. Staying in a flat above a boulangerie-pâtissière meant waking up every morning to the smell of warm butter and flaky pastries. My husband and I couldn't resist filling a paper bag with crisp, airy and dangerously easy to eat chouquettes to snack on while we wandered the city. 

 

This recipe makes about 20-25 chouquettes

240ml (1 cup) water

1/2 teaspoon salt (We use Himalayan Rose Pink Salt)

2 teaspoons sugar (We use Tate & Lyle golden caster sugar)

90g (6 tablespoons) organic unsalted butter, cut into small pats
140g (1 cup) sifted organic AP flour

4 large organic eggs at room temperature. Separate one egg. You will use the yolk for your wash and the white for your dough

See note above: 1 egg yolk, whisked with 1 teaspoon of almond milk (or your favourite milk) to make a wash

sucre perlé (Pearl or Nib sugar) for sprinkling. You can find this coarse sugar at most specialty food stores or French markets

     

    Method:

    1. Preheat the oven your oven to 220c (200 fan or 425f) and line a baking sheet with your silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

    2. In a medium saucepan heat your water, salt, sugar, and butter. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and your liquid is nearing a boil.

    3. Do not remove from heat. Pour all of the flour into your pan and stir rapidly using a wooden spoon, until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.

    4. Allow your dough to cool in a mixing bowl for about two minutes or until lukewarm to the touch.

    5. One at a time, vigorously stir in the 3 eggs and 1 egg white with your wooden spoon until smooth and shiny.

    4. Using a pastry bag, pipe walnut size mounds of dough onto your baking sheet. Flicking the bag at the end will help to keep your chouquettes from having a pointed top.

    5. Brush the tops of each mound with your egg wash then sprinkle your coarse sugar on top. Be generous with your sugar, as it will give a sweet crunch and appealing look to your pastries. 

    6. Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed and well-browned. If your oven browns one side of your pan faster than the other, you can turn half way through. HOWEVER, resist the urge to peek! Opening your oven door can cause the chouquettes to deflate due to the drop in temperature. 

    If you would like to fill them with cream, simply poke a small hole in the side of your chouquettes after you take them out of the oven to let the steam escape and to keep them crispy enough to hold your filling. Using a piping bag and small tip, pierce the bottom of you chouquette and fill.

    Chouquettes are most delicious right out of the oven and best eaten the day they are made.


    Gluten-Free Pie Crust October 14 2013, 0 Comments

    Beautifully flaky, golden brown, gluten-free pie crust can be difficult to achieve, but this tried and true recipe is worth the effort.

    Start by reading our baking tips below to ensure a perfect pie every time. This recipe utilises a pastry blender. If you don't already have a pastry blender this is the perfect time to change that! Every kitchen should have one. 

    This recipe yields one 9" pie crust, but can be easily doubled.

     

    Ingredients:

    1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (we use Doves Farm gluten-free plain white flour)

    1 tablespoon sugar (we use Tate & Lyle Fairtrade, but you can substitute coconut palm sugar or your favourite sweetener)

    1/2 teaspoon gluten-free xanthan gum (we use Doves Farm) 

    6 tablespoons organic, very cold butter (regular butter, not unsalted) and a little extra for greasing your pie pan

    1 large organic egg

    2 teaspoons organic apple cider vinegar

       

      Method:

      1. Lightly grease your 9" pie pan with the extra butter.

      2. In a large bowl, sift together your flour, sugar and xanthan gum.

      3. Cut your cold butter into small pieces then work into your flour mixture using your pastry blender until your mixture has a crumbly texture with some larger, pea-sized lumps of butter remaining.

      4. In a small bowl, whisk together your egg and vinegar until very frothy, then mix into your dry ingredients. Stir until the mixture holds together. You can add 1 to 3 tablespoons of ice cold water if your mixture is too dry to hold together.

      5. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, then flatten into a disk and chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

      6. After at least one hour, remove your dough from the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling.

      7. Roll your dough out between two sheets of parchment paper or on a silicone rolling mat.

      8. Gently transfer your dough into your pie pan, crimp, fill and bake as your recipe directs.

       

      BAKING TIPS:

      If the edges of your pie crust begin to brown too quickly, shield them with aluminium foil to prevent them from burning while the crust continues baking.

        If you are making a fruit pie, baking at a higher temperature for the first 20 minutes will help to prevent a soggy bottom. Bake at 220C/425F on the bottom rack of your oven for 20 minutes, move your pie to the middle rack, reduce the heat to 180C/325F and continue to bake until the crust is golden and the filling has begun to bubble. 

          If you're baking a custard pie, follow the directions above, then cool the crust until it is lukewarm to the touch before pouring in your custard. Bake your custard-filled pie according to your recipe directions. 

            Brushing your top pie crust with milk (feel free to substitute lactose free or your personal favourite) and sprinkling it with sugar before baking will add a sweet, golden crunch.


              Kale, Plum & Marcona Almond Salad October 07 2013, 0 Comments

               We love this salad as a side dish or on it's own for a bright and light Autumn lunch. Feel free to substitute your favourite citrus or leafy greens.

               

              Serves 4-6

              2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil

              1 tablespoon organic balsamic vinegar

              1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (make sure to use unwaxed, organic fruit)

              1 teaspoon grated blood orange zest (see note above)

              2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

              2 tablespoons fresh blood orange juice

              a pinch of coarse sea salt (we like to use pink Himalayan) 

              a pinch of crushed black pepper

              2 very large heads of organic kale (rinsed, dried and torn)

              2 ripe organic black or red plums (pitted and quartered) 

              1/2 cup of Marcona almonds (feel free to substitute pistachios or your favourite nuts)

               

              1. To make your dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, citrus juices and zest and season with salt and pepper.

              2. In a large bowl, toss your kale, plums and almonds.

              3. Drizzle in your dressing, toss well and serve immediately.


              Meg's Roast Chicken September 03 2013, 0 Comments

              Whether you are craving a classic, having a romantic date night or needing a never-fail recipe for entertaining friends, nothing beats a golden roast chicken. Few things will give you more pride in the kitchen than opening your oven to see that deliciously crisp skin or carving into your perfectly herbed and juicy bird. This recipe is just right for four guests or a couple who love their left overs.

               

              You Will Need:

              1 medium roasting chicken (we recommend free range, organic or kosher)

              1 large organic unwaxed lemon

              1/4 cup minced fresh organic chive

              1/4 cup chopped fresh organic flat-leaf parsley 

              1 small organic onion, halved

              3 organic garlic cloves

              2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil

              4 tbsp organic unsalted room temperature butter 

              freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to season

              kitchen twine

              roasting pan with rack

              (Need the perfect side? See our quick recipe for roasted veggies below. Start here first and make sure to purchase organic/locally sourced produce whenever possible)

               

              1. Preheat your oven to 250 C. While the oven preheats, pat your chicken dry and remove anything from the cavity. Set aside to reach room temperature while you prepare your other ingredients.

               

              2. Use a citrus zester or vegetable peeler to remove the zest from your lemon. Mince your zest and set your lemon aside for later use.

               

              3. In a medium bowl, mix together your olive oil, herbs and lemon zest. Season the mixture with sea salt and pepper to taste.

               

              4. Carefully slide your fingers between the skin and flesh of the chicken to separate the skin from the breast. This can be a tricky step for first timers. Be gentle and have patience. 

               

              5. Spread the lemon and herb mixture under the skin.

               

              6. Cut your zested lemon in half a place it inside the cavity of your chicken, along with the halved onion and garlic cloves.

               

              7. Rub your bird all over with the room temperature butter and season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and place your chicken on roasting rack and pan. Place in the oven.

               

              8. Roast the bird for about 25 minutes until it is golden brown all over. (If you are making veggies, the 25 minute mark is the perfect time to turn them)

               

              9. Reduce your oven temperature to 150 C and roast for about 35 more minutes or until your chicken is cooked through. If it helps, feel free to use a meat thermometer. Your bird should read 74 C or 165 F when done.

               

              10. Remove your chicken from the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Do not skip this step or you will lose the all of the juiciness and flavour.

               

              To make the perfect side:

               

              Roughly chop 1 onion, 6 to 10 baby or fingerling potatoes, 2 large sweet potatoes, 3 large carrots and 3 cloves of garlic and toss in olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place in your roasting pan below your chicken and roasting rack and roast with your bird, turning the veggies once during cooking.

               


              Blueberry Pancakes July 29 2013, 0 Comments

              We love the weekends! Nothing says Saturday morning like fluffy blueberry pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. We have a few different recipes and this is one of our favourites. This recipe makes about 4-6 "American" size pancakes.

              INGREDIENTS:

              3/4 cup almond milk (You can easily substitute your favourite milk, almond just happens to be ours)

              1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (Any white vinegar will do, you can even use lemon juice, but we prefer the flavour and acidity level added by apple cider vinegar)

              1/2 cup organic all purpose flour (We use Doves farm. They produce lovely gluten-free alternatives as well)

              1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour (See our notes above :)

              1 tablespoon sugar (Feel free to use any sweetener you like, so long as it dissolves easily. No one likes gritty pancakes. For our pancakes we use Tate & Lyle icing sugar)

              1/2 teaspoon baking soda

              1 teaspoon baking powder

              1/4 teaspoon fine salt (We use Pink Himalayan)

              1 egg (You can use an egg substitute, bananas or flax seed, but keep in mind this can effect the the fluffiness of your pancakes)

              1 cup blueberries

              A little butter or grape seed oil for your pan or griddle

               

              1. Stir milk and vinegar together in a small bowl and let sit to "sour" for 5 minutes. (Sour milk is not the same as spoiled milk. Adding an acid to milk, such as vinegar or lemon juice, causes it to coagulate or thicken. When mixed with baking soda it creates carbon dioxide bubbles that help our pancakes get their rise)

               

              2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl.

               

              3. Whisk egg into soured milk and pour into your dry ingredients. 

               

              4. Mix your batter until there are no lumps (careful not to over mix) and leave to sit for ten minutes. No stirring!

               

              5. Heat your large pan or griddle to medium heat and coat with butter or grape seed oil. If your pan or griddle isn't large enough you can make two pancakes at a time, otherwise, pour 4 even circles of batter onto your skillet or griddle, then add your blueberries (as many as you like) to the top of your pancakes and cook until bubbles rise to the surface.

               

              6. In a minute or two, check to see if the underside is nice and golden. Flip and cook until the other side is a lovely golden brown and your blueberries are warm and releasing their juices (warning: this will look delicious!) 

               

              7. Plate and eat!

               

              We like our pancakes with a touch of butter and a generous splash of good quality maple syrup.