Although spring is coming soon, I am still in the mood for winter comfort food. We have been having some very cold days, so I was inspired to tweak a pumpkin muffin recipe that I often use and amp it up a bit with three types of ginger; candied, dried and fresh. I hope you try these out, they are delicious.
Triple Ginger Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 tsp Xanthan gum (omit if using regular flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground dried ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of black pepper (optional)
2 eggs room temperature (or equivalent amount of egg replacer)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup of coconut or other plant-based milk (use regular milk if not Vegan)
1/3 cup melted butter or Vegan substitute
1/4 cup finely chopped candied ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Mix dry ingredients together well in a large bowl. In another bowl mix wet ingredients together well until well mixed. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix gently until they are well incorporated. Do not over mix. Spoon into muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes until tester comes out clean. Allow to cool if you can resist the urge to eat them hot out of the oven like I do. These are spicy and delicious and great comfort food. Hope you try them out. Cheers, Michele
Whether you are spending this holiday season with just a few close family, friends and loved ones or a huge festive gathering is in your future, I just want to wish you a very happy holiday season. May it be filled with all the best things in life; love, the closeness of family and friends, good food and drink and all your holiday wishes coming true. From my family to yours; Happy Holidays!! Cheers, Michele
During this time of holiday food over-indulgence, a light fresh meal is always appreciated. This Thai beef salad is a huge hit with my family. It is a delicious light supper that is salty, sour, sweet and spicy. It is healthy and makes a great pack able lunch with the left overs if there are any. Just make sure to drain off the excess dressing before packing into your lunch container and use one that is water tight. I hope you try it out.
Thai Beef Salad
zest of one lime grated
juice of four limes
3 Tablespoons of fish sauce
1 Tablespoon soya sauce
3 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of sesame oil
3 cloves of garlic finely minced
4 green onions sliced thin
2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 cup loosely packed fresh chopped cilantro leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh chopped fresh mint
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh chopped fresh Thai basil
3 hot red Thai or regular hot chilli peppers finely minced
1/4 red onion cut into thin matchsticks
1/2 tsp black pepper
10 ounce rump steak 1 inch thick
2 English cucumbers cut into thin half circles
5 tomatoes chopped into chunks
Mix all ingredients of dressing and set aside for half an hour to soften onions and allow ingredients to meld. Grill steak on BBQ or in a hot sauté pan medium rare. Allow steak to cool. While steak is cooling, place vegetables in the dressing. Once steak has cooled to room temperature, slice thinly across the grain and place in salad. Toss all ingredients and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Serve. This is excellent over fresh greens and some steamed rice or cooked rice noodles on the side as a main course, or makes an excellent side salad as well. It is a wonderful salad to use up left over cooked steak as well. I hope you enjoy this delicious dish. Cheers, Michele
My husband makes this dish quite often and it is a family favourite. Serve with steamed rice. You can mix the Stirfry and rice and place it in a fresh lettuce leaf to eat it…delicious.
Shrimp and Pork Stirfry
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound ground pork
1 onion chopped fine
4 cloves garlic chopped fine
thumb sized piece of fresh ginger peeled and minced fine
1 red pepper chopped
1 hot red pepper minced fine
3 cups snow peas cleaned and cut in half
1 pound cooked shrimp, peeled and cut in half
2 tbsp sherry or Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
In a deep sauté pan or wok, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the pork, onions, and ginger and cook til no more pink is showing in the meat. Turn the heat under the pan down to medium and add the garlic, hot red pepper, sherry, oyster sauce, soya sauce and sesame oil. Cook and stir to coat the meat with the sauce for 3-5 minutes. Add the sweet red pepper, snow peas and shrimp and cook for 5 more minutes. Top with the fresh cilantro and bean sprouts and cook 1 minute more. Serve in lettuce leaves with steamed rice. You can add a little extra oyster sauce in the lettuce leaf package if you like. Enjoy. Cheers, Michele
The cooler days are inspiring me to cook more hearty comfort foods which still keep within our healthy eating guidelines. This Pork and Chorizo stew is a perfect example of a hearty and delicious dish which warms your stomach and your soul. I was inspired by a recipe from the BBC Good Food website and of course tweaked it to my taste.
Pork And Chorizo Stew
2 Tbsps olive oil
1 pound of pork tender loin or pork chops cut into 1 inch cubes
2 chorizo sausages
1 onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 yellow pepper chopped
1 orange pepper chopped
1 tsp crushed dried oregano
1 large pinch hot chilli flakes
2 tsps smoked paprika
2 tsp chilli powder (I used Ancho Chilli pepper powder)
4 bay leaves
1 small can of tomato puree
1 large can of chopped tomatoes
3 Tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups of chicken or beef broth
1 large can of chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups of baby potatoes, halved
1 large sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Cook the pork until browned all over and remove to a bowl. Add sausages and cook until well browned, remove to cutting board and slice into thin slices. Place onion, carrot, peppers, herbs and spices in pot and saute until onion is translucent. Return the pork and chorizo to the pot and add tomato purée, chopped tomatoes, vinegar, wine and broth. Cook til bubbling. If too thick, add some water or more chicken stock. Cover and allow to cook for 45 minutes over low heat, or in a 350 degree F oven. Add peppers, beans and potatoes and return to oven. Cook for 45 minutes more and check periodically and add liquid if the stew is too thick. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
I hope you try out this recipe inspired by the BBC Good Food website. Cheers, Michele
I mentioned in my Bibimbap post that I love Korean food and a quintessential part of this cuisine is their delicious fermented foods. Kimchi with Napa cabbage being one of the most common types. I was inspired and borrowed this recipe from one of my favourite Youtubers; Maangchi who has a wonderful channel and blog as well as her own cookbook. You should check her out. This is a quick and delicious version of Kimchi when you don’t have weeks to prepare it ahead and just have a sudden craving for something delicious and spicy.
1 large Napa cabbage (you can substitute regular green cabbage if needed)
1 cup water
1/4 cup of salt
6 cloves of garlic finely minced
1 carrot peeled and finely julienned
1 Tbsp sugar
3 green onions chopped
1/4 cup of fish sauce (I will reduce this a bit next time as the result was a bit too salty for my taste)
1/4 cup of dried hot pepper flakes (I got mine in an Asian Market)
Finely shred the cabbage, removing the hard core at the bottom. Place in a large bowl and mix in the salt and water. Massage the cabbage well, coating it all with the salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. While the cabbage is soaking, mix together the garlic, carrot, sugar, green onions, fish sauce and hot pepper flakes into a paste.
Once the cabbage has soaked in the salty water, pour off the excess liquid and rinse at least three times in cold water until the cabbage doesn’t taste salty. Squeeze out the excess water and add the paste. Mix well, massaging the paste into the cabbage until completely coated. Place in a large lidded container and press down to remove all the air. Put it in a safe spot on your kitchen counter for a day or two. Check to see if it is fermenting by pushing down on the mixture with a spoon, bubbles should come up and there should be a bright red liquid in the container, yeah, it’s working. Science and food are amazing!! Then place the container in the refrigerator to allow the fermentation process to continue slowly. It can be eaten fresh which is delicious or you can keep this for months and serve with what ever you want, Korean food or otherwise. It has been scientifically proven that eating a diet with fermented foods added in is very healthy and nutritious. I hope you try this recipe out and check out Maangchi’s blog and Youtube channel. Cheers, Michele
So lately I have been watching a lot of Youtube videos of Korean cooking as I have been craving it and I got inspired to make my own Bibimbap which is one of my favourite dishes of all time. I won’t give all the recipes for the various toppings and the side dishes as I got them all from a lady named Maangchi who is an amazing Korean cook and shares her recipes on Youtube, in her cookbook and on her website at www.maangchi.com. You should check her out!
First you need a well-seasoned heavy stoneware or cast-iron pan.
Then make some short grain rice in the usual method that I have shared several times on this blog.
I already made some Kimchi yesterday and it is already fermenting, yeah science!!
I made some seaweed salad as a side dish as well.
And a daikon radish and Korean pear salad too.
For the toppings, I made the following:
Steamed sweet potato
Preserved turnip that I bought at a local Asian store.
Steamed bean sprouts
Sauteed Shiitake mushrooms
Thinly sliced pork with seasonings
Thinly sliced beef with seasonings
Lotus root sautéed with garlic and green onion
So once my rice is well cooked, I heated up my cast-iron pan over medium high heat add some vegetable and sesame oil and add about 4-5 cups of cooked rice. Then I arranged my various toppings on top and place a raw egg yolk or three (since there are three of us for dinner tonight) in the centre. Once the rice starts to cook on the bottom and crackle and sizzle and steam will rise up from the pan. Then I removed it from the stove and stirred it all together at the table. The point is to stir in the ingredients and the heat of the hot rice heats them up. I decided to err on the side of caution and cook the meats up before adding them to the Bibimbap but traditionally the meat goes on top raw and cooks in the sizzling hot rice.
Here is the hot pepper paste that I served with our dinner.
Here is the finished product!! Gorgeous, delicious and nutritious!!! It was very well received by my daughter Kate and her fiancé Chris. Definitely a repeatable dish.
I hope you try out making some of the recipes from Maangchi’s website and Youtube videos. She is a wonderful cook and teacher and is quite enjoyable to watch. Cheers, Michele