Monday, December 8, 2014

Oeufs en cocotte (eggs in cast iron pots)

I know it's been a while since I have blogged...sorry, been doing lot's of cooking etc.  Photography Thanksgiving getting ready for winter etc.  Promise to do better and blog more frequently.

A few months ago I purchased a wonderful book by Mimi Thorisson, A Kitchen in Paris..WOW, it is an awesome book and it inspired me to do the Artichoke tartlets and soon to make Artichoke soufflé.  I love artichokes and have been so excited to see these great ideas and recipes.

Soooo, when I saw the artichoke soufflé and they were cooked in these little cocottes (cast iron pots). I immediately went on line to search for the them.  I found them and bought them immediately.  They are expensive, but I will find lot's of use for them.  

However, I have not made the soufflé yet, but made a very classic French egg dish "Oeufs en cocotte".  Saw them made by Rachel Khoo of the little Paris Kitchen she did them in tea cups..  

I found the French Staub mini cocotte enameled cast iron pots in cobalt blue, love the color. You may be interested in reading about Staub cocotte pans, they are totally unique in there cooking..  I want more

 So, here is my journey, it was a lot easier than my Cannele journey a few years ago.

Oeufs en cocotte (eggs in cast iron pots):


1 large egg
4 tablespoons of ricotta cheese
bacon 2 strips cooked crispy and minced
salt & pepper to taste
chives cut up
Baine marie
1 mini cocotte 
crusty white (French or Italian) bread sliced


Preheat the oven to 190C (375F). 

Spray or butter the cocotte.  Add a tablespoon of ricotta to the bottom, then add the chopped bacon, another tablespoon of ricotta, then the egg.  Season with salt & pepper.

Place a pan in the oven and fill to come half way up the cocotte.  Place the cocotte into the baine marie and cook for 17 to 18 minutes, depending how you like your egg.  

When done, remove and enjoy with crusty white bread!


You can make these a number of ways, you can use shitake mushrooms, red sweet peppers, cheese.

Have fun!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cod and Beans in Tomato Sauce

Cod and Beans in Tomato Sauce

This is a really great dish and so easy and fast to prepare.  I went to my fishmonger and got a great fresh Cod fillet and the rest is history.  My Mom used to make something like this and when I tasted it I felt as though she was here.

It has been hot here this summer and no complaints from me, so I wanted to prepare something fast and easy.  This is just the dish and all you need is some good crusty bread and your all set.....Oh of course some nice wine.

So, here are the ingredients:

One Cod fillet cut into large pieces

Tomato sauce, make your version.  Mine is pretty simple

Cannelinni Beans, I used dried ones and soaked them overnight, I think they are so much nicer than the canned ones.

Fresh basil chopped and some whole

Salt & Pepper to taste


Put the tomato sauce and heat, when it starts to bubble, bring it to a simmer and add the Cod pieces and beans and cook for about 15 minutes or until the fish is done.

DON'T forget the bread!!!  

Would love any comments...have a nice Summer!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Lemongrass Chicken breast Supreme and Lemongrass Prawns

My WOK......I love my wok and remember the first wok that I bought, and still use to this day.   It was a long time ago and my friend Mr. Joe (a wonderful Chinese gentleman with a great smile), who helped me to get my first wok.  I said 'Mr Joe, can I get a small wok' and Mr Joe said, NO, you can make the big wok small but you can't make the small wok big.   So, Mr. Joe went and got my Wok in chinatown. I have had this wok for over 30 years, it is better than any non-stick pan.  Mr Joe made sure that I seasoned the wok properly.  It is better and healthier than any non stick pan.

I found this wonderful recipe in Donna Hay magazine, I had to modify it because I could not find Kaffir lime leaf, so I used the zest of lime and also the juice.  This is a quick and easy recipe and really yummy.  Like most Asian cooking it's all in the prep and then it takes just moments to cook.

Make whatever rice you want.  I used long grain white rice.

Prawns (Shrimp) are really delicious and this marinade makes them incredible.  There are a few parts to this dish.

1.  The Sesame Dressing
2.  Lemongrass Chili Prawns
3.  Bok Choy
4.  Rice

Above is the chicken supreme, which was also nice, I think I prefer the Prawns, but try both.

Sesame Dressing:

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce 
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons caster sugar
a good piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated

Lemongrass Prawns:

20 large prawns, peeled tails in tact (or if you are using chicken, 1 chicken breast, boned and skin removed).
8 kaffir lime leaves, coarsely chopped, if you can't find them use the zest of 2 limes and also the juice
2 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and halved and finely chopped
2 fresh hot small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped 
2 garlic clove, crushed
 small piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped, use what you like
small bunch of coriander (cilantro), coarsely chopped
1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil

Wok-stirred Bok Choy:

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bunches baby bok choy, quartered
1 tablespoon soy sauce
steamed rice to serve

To make the sesame dressing:
place the vinegar, soy, sugar, ginger, sesame oil in a small bowl, stir and set aside.

To make the marinade for the prawns:

Place the chopped lemongrass, kaffir lime, chili, garlic, coriander and olive oil in a pestle and mortar.  Mash all the ingredients together to form a nice paste.  Spoon over the prawns and marinate for 15 minutes or so.

Heat your Wok to high add the oil and cook the prawns on both sides.   This won't take long, remove from the wok to a plate.

Heat your Wok again, add oil , garlic bok choy and soy and stir fry for 2-3 minutes or until just tender.

Toss with coriander and serve with the prawns and steamed rice and sesame dressing.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Pasta Fagioli

Pasta Fagioli, one of my favorite pasta dishes, so on this cold snowy day that is what I made.  Actually, I did not want to go to the store shopping for anything, so used what I had in the house.   It worked out really nice.


1 can (400 g) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 garlic clove, cut in half
salt and pepper to taste
Parmigiano grated
fresh Parsley, mince about half handful (if I had basil, I would have used that)
400 g bacon
400 g short pasta
extra virgin olive oil


Cook the bacon on a sheet pan in a preheated oven 180C for about 35 minutes, turning occasionally.  When done, remove to a plate with paper towels and pat dry.

Drain the beans and rinse well, in a heavy bottom pan, add a good glug of olive oil and cook the garlic till it starts to turn brown a little and then remove it.  Add the beans, and season with salt & pepper.

Bring a large stock pot with water to a boil and add salt, then the pasta.  Cook till al dente. Drain the pasta, and place into a dish (save some of the pasta water).  Add the beans, parmigiano, parsley, crumbled up the bacon and maybe a little more oil if you wish.  Mix everything together and taste for seasoning, you may need some salt and pepper.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Fontina Cheese Appetizer

Watching TV chef Ina Garten make this recipe, it looked so good I decided to do it for a birthday party that I was invited to.  

It's been real cold here and thankfully I had the ingredients in the house, because I really did not want to go out.

You will need a heavy bottom pan, cast iron is great.  I used a 26 cm heavy pan which worked out great!


700 grams of Fontina Val d'Aosta cheese, rind removed and cut into small pieces
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tablespoon of minced thyme leaves
1 tablespoon of minced rosemary leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty french baguette

Preheat the broiler and position the rack to about 12 cm (5 inches)  from the heat.

Place the cubed cheese into the pan , drizzle the olive oil, add the salt & pepper, rosemary and thyme leaves.  

Place the pan under the broiler for about 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.  

Serve right out of the oven in the pan it was cooked in with pieces of bread.

PS.  you can vary this dish with other cheese if you wish.  This is really delicious and a great appetizer!!!  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

It's what's for Supper -- Skirt Steak with roasted potatoes

It's what's for Supper, something real simple and light.


Roasted Potatoes with Skirt Steak:

one skirt steak. skirt steak about 500g, depends on the steak is really delicious and inexpensive
new potatoes
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
heavy bottom pan

Cut up potatoes into small pieces rinse and place into cold salted water.  Bring to a boil and cook till al dente.  You don't won't the potatoes cooked all the way.

Drain potatoes and pat dry.  Season with salt, pepper, rosemary, olive oil and some grated parmigiano.  Mix together and place into a preheated oven 180C for about 30 - 40 minutes.  You want them crispy and slightly browned.

Prepare the skirt steak, season with salt, pepper, rosemary and olive oil and place into a preheated pan.  Cook till brown on one side, then turn over and brown the other side, this is about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the pan to a heated plate, cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

When the potatoes are done, plate them onto a plate with the steak and enjoy with a nice glass of red wine.  This is fast easy and really delicious.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pasta Crudo (Uncooked pasta sauce)

This is a great dish in the summer when the tomatoes are the best.  I found some hot house organic cherry tomatoes and thought this would be a nice Super to watch the football game.  It's easy to prepare and a one dish meal, so all I have to do is just watch the game and enjoy the pasta with some nice red wine.

It has been freezing cold here in the North East and of course there is always the snow factor.  So, with thoughts of Spring/Summer, I decided to make this great easy dish.

The only cooking is the time it takes to cook the pasta, about 12-15 min. No other cooking involved

Ingredients: serves 4

400 g cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
100 g or so or gaeta olives, pitted
1 tablespoon of capers
parsley, about a handful cut up
fresh basil, about handful
extra virgin olive oil, I use first pressed unfiltered, 60 ml or so, however you like it
fresh parsley & fresh basil


Mix the tomato, garlic, olives, capers, cut up basil and parsley and add a good clug of extra virgin olive oil about 2 tablespoons or your taste.

Boil a large pot of water and when it is a rolling boil, add some sea salt.  Let the pasta cook till al dente, drain and add to the tomato mixture.  Stir and let it sit for a  few minutes before eating.

Add some grated parmigiano if you wish and enjoy!

You can add or remove ingredients as you wish

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Prosciutto Wrapped Meatloaf

I enjoy making meatloaf especially in the winter.   I found this recipe on Donna Hay for mini meatloaf wrapped in Prosciutto, so thought it would be great to do on this rainy day.

Usually when I make meatloaf, I use my Dad's recipe which is with beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, parsley, onion and garlic, however, when I saw these prosciutto wrapped meatloaf, I thought yum! 
So, I went to buy the meats.  I had the other ingredients.  Great day to make these, rainy and windy, so the oven sounded having the oven on sounds like a great idea.

So, started my miss en place cutting up my onion, garlic & parsley

Then, combined all the ingredients (except for the Prosciutto), mixed well and turned the oven on to 180C (350F).

Spray the mini loaf pans with non stick spray and put the prosciutto inside.  Then add the meatloaf mixture press down and lay prosciutto over the meat.

These then go into the oven for 20 minutes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion ( I only had red so that is what I used)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (70grams) fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (60 ml ) milk
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 eggs
400g pork mince
400g veal mince
1/2 cup (70 g) chopped dried chorizo
sea salt and cracked black pepper
maple syrup

Preheat oven to 180 C (350F).  Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.  Cool completely..  Line the mini greased loaf pan with 3 slices of prosciutto in each one.  Set these aside while you prepare the meat mixture.

Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or until the milk is absorbed.  Add the onion mixture, parsley, eggs, pork, veal, chorizo, salt and pepper and mix well to combine.

Press the meatloaf mixture into the tins and press down, overlay with the prosciutto.  Place into the preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and wait about 5 minutes before turning the meat out of the tin onto a sheet pan lined with oven (parchment) paper.  

Brush the meatloaf generously with maple syrup and place back into the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden.  Remove from the oven and let the meat rest about 15-20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Arugula Salad with Beets & Chèvre Cheese

It's been freezing cold so today's mid-day meal is a salad with arugula, fresh beets and chèvre cheese.  It is yummy and easy to make.  For the dressing I used extra virgin olive oil and a splash of champagne vinegar, salty and pepper.

Great with some bread or as a side dish.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pepperoni Balls

It has been a very cold winter, in fact this morning is was a little warmer than it has been it was -12C (10F) and very windy, but it was a sunny day, so I thought  it's just best to stay and and cook up something fun and turn on the oven.

My friend in Erie Pennsylvania Diane Verdecchia Byrne told me about these pepperoni balls, at first I just couldn't get a handle on it until she explained that is a ball of dough with pepperoni inside and cooked in the oven, and that they are so good.

So, she sent me a foto and I thought it would be a great idea to recreate these "pepperoni ball".  I was fortunate to have a pizza dough in my refrigerator and also a sopressata, so I didn't have to venture outside.  I decided to use the sopressata  since that is what I had in the house.

First I preheated my oven to 200C and took the dough out to get to room temperature.  And placed my pizza stone in the oven.

This is the foto Diane sent me, and I just took it from there.

I took the sopressata and cut it up into pieces

Then rolled out the dough and stuffed it with the sopressata and formed a ball and placed them on a floured surface

Once the oven was ready, I place the balls onto the pizza peel and cooked them for about 30 - 35 minutes.

So here is what it looks like inside..OMG, so yummy a real keeper.     What surprise when you bit into one of these balls.
I will be doing this again.    I am going to work on this , maybe use some olives also.   
Thanks Diane, will do this one again….