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Category Archives: Wine

Mama’s Autumn Stew

Mmm..stewSo autumn is definitely my favourite time of the year. Lovely root vegetables are in abundance and the cozy feeling of comfort food makes me all gushy inside.

This is the time of year for pickling, stewing, jam and jelly making and slow good food all from Mother Nature’s bounty!

I sometimes play around with different ingredients to create the rich flavours that this bounty deserves. This is a good example!

PS. I know some ingredients sound like..say what?? But trust me my chickadees, you’ll love it!

Mama’s Beef Stew

Ingredients to serve 4

1.5 lbs good quality stew beef or pork butt (even half half is nice)

Butter and olive oil for browning meat

3 medium potatoes

2 medium turnip

3 carrots

1 onion chopped

And any other root veggies you’d like to add such as sweet potatoes, yams or parsnips

3 c Homemade beef stock (or good quality organic beef broth)

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dry thyme

This is where it gets weird!…

4 anchovy fillets in brine

2 T organic maple syrup

1 t pomegranate syrup (found in ethnic shops) or tamarind paste

1/4 c red wine (optional)

1/4 c cream or white gravy

White pepper, black pepper and salt to taste

Now let’s put it all together..

brown your meat in a Dutch oven or similar, add onion and sauté for a few minutes. Add stock, and stir well to bring up the goodies on the bottom of the pot. Add everything but the root veggies and cover. Slow cook for 1 hour until meat is starting to get very tender. Add the veggies and cook another 30 mins.

At the end I like to add a bit of cream to soften and bring the flavours together.

Thicken using either corn, rice or potato starch mixed with water first. Bring back to the boil to thicken and serve.

Try it, and let me know how you like it!

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Gluten Free Gnocchi al Forno

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Gnocchi al Forno with Bolognese sauce
(Fluffy potato pillows baked with meat sauce)

worked for years perfecting my bolognese meat sauce for spaghetti. It’s my kids favorite meal. Today I decided to use it in a gluten free meal with potato dumplings called gnocchi. You can however use this sauce with any type of noodles, gluten free or not. 

Bolognese sauce

2T olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic mashed
Pinch of chili flakes (to taste, optional)
1/2 onion finely chopped
1lb ground beef, lean
1cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4c thinly sliced sun dried tomatoes
1 can fire roasted chopped tomatoes
2/3 small can tomato paste
1/4 cup good red wine (optional)
1T oregano and basil each
Salt pepper to taste

Pasta
Gluten Free potato Gnocchi, or make it spaghetti noodles

1cup fresh grated cheese such as mozzarella or a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan 

This recipe depends on time to cook..the longer the better to meld the flavours!
Start by adding olive oil to a medium sized pot on medium high heat. Sauté the garlic, onion and chili flakes until translucent.
Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add ground beef to the pot and cook until no longer pink. Sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms get added next and sauté again for about 5-10 mins. Add herbs salt and pepper, red wine, tomatoes with liquid and tomato paste. Stir to incorporate and add the garlic and onions.
Cover and let simmer on low for at least 1 hour but preferably longer. If the sauce gets too thick as it’s cooking add more wine or water. The sauce should be fairly thick so as to cling well to yep the noodles.

Boil gnocchi until they float, drain and add the bolognese sauce stir to cover the noodles completely. Place into a oven proof bowl or pan. Sprinkle with cheese and broil on high approx. 5 mins until cheese is melts and slightly brown.

Serve immediately, serves 4 hungry eaters!Image

 

 

Mama Mia! Gluten Free Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Mama Mia! Gluten Free Spaghetti and Meatballs!

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I use this brand of noodles. They're great!

I use this brand of noodles. They’re great!

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I’ve recently been working on transitioning many of my family’s favourite dishes to healthy gluten free recipes. Today I offer one of my kids ultimate favourite dishes Spaghetti and Meatballs!

Of course if you are not gluten free by choice you will still love the wholesome and delicious recipe 🙂

The Meatballs

1/3 lb lean ground beef

1/3 lb lean ground pork

1/3 lb ground veal (can substitute dark meat ground chicken or turkey)

1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

1 large egg

1/3 cup cream (dairy free, use almond or cashew milk)

1/2 grated onion (keep a tissue handy!)

2-3 garlic cloves mashed

1 Tbsp each, dried basil, oregano, pepper

handful of finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (the real thing dahlings, not the one in a can..ick!)

salt and pepper to taste

Lets start with the juicy meatballs, shall we? I do mean juicy!

its important to do this first step, as this will be the difference between rubbery dry meatballs and juicy ones.

In a large mixing bowl combine the bread crumbs with cream, grated onion, garlic, egg, herbs, salt and pepper. The mixture initially will be fairly wet. Let this stand for a good 10 mins to allow it to thicken slightly.

Now add all the rest of the ingredients and and mix.  It’s very important not over mix at this point, just enough to incorporate  the ingredients together.

I like to wear disposable gloves to make my meatballs. Set out a fry pan on med-high heat and start rolling your meatballs into 2″ diameter or golf ball size. Roll and add to pan as you go. You want them browned, not cooked.

Once you’ve browned them, drain any excess fat from the pan.

The Sauce

1 12 oz. can fire roasted chopped tomatoes (I use organic)

1 12 oz. can organic crushed tomatoes

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine (optional, but it seriously makes the flavours meld!)

1/2 cup organic low sodium veggie stock

3 cloves garlic minced

oregano, basil, or Italian seasoning about one Tbsp or so

Add all the ingredients to your pan with the meatballs. At this point you can also use a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. Or cook on the stovetop on a low simmer, covered for  at least 2 hours, the longer the better!  Do check every once in awhile that it’s not getting too dry or thick, if it is add water or more veggie stock.

This recipe might seem a bit involved but it really is simple, and you’re free the rest of the day after getting it on the stove to do what you like!

For spaghetti I use brown rice pasta, I find it the most similar to gluten pasta. You can also use spaghetti squash for an interesting and healthy switch. Don’t forget a healthy sprinkle of shredded Parmesan to serve. Enjoy And feel free to share and comment!

This will feed 4-6 people

Greek braised Lamb Shanks

shank

Hello my lovelies!

I’ve had some ask me to post my recipe for braised lamb shanks recently, so I thought mmm, yes one of my favorite dishes and I wanted to share it with you all! You can thank me after you’ve cooked it! 🙂

First of all, I’d like to remind you that good food does take time! If you are crunched for time, don’t rush this one as you will not be as happy with the end results. I recommend  you pop this in the oven at least 4 hrs before you intend to serve.

I don’t claim to be Greek, in fact I don’t brush my teeth with Hummus ..ever! This is,  however, my all time favorite Greek dish and after playing around with the recipes for years..I think I’ve finally got it!

Ingredients:

Serves 4

4 Spring lamb shanks (cleaned and silver skin and access fat removed)

1 head of Garlic minced – yes ONE HEAD, don’t worry, it will meld into the flavors cooking for so long a time

Juice of 3-4 lemons or 1 cup fresh lemon juice

Fresh or dried rosemary – dried use a handful, fresh 4 stalks

2 Tbsp dried oregano

1/4 c dry white wine

Water if necessary to bring liquid up to middle of the shank

Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

photo (25)

Rub all ingredients except the liquids generously all over the lamb. Some at this point believe they should be browned previous to braising, I beg to differ, I’ve found this is the juiciest and tastiest way.

Place the lamb into a roasting pan and add wet ingredients topping with water if necessary to make sure the shanks are covered about halfway with liquid.

Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven moderate to low heat. I recommend 325 F degrees.
Leave them to cook for at least one hour, take them out and make sure they are not drying out, if so add more lemon and water. Turn them over at this time. You can repeat this each hour, but if its too tedious, just check liquid levels so the lamb won’t dry out ..or burn!

Lamb will show as done after about 1.5 hours, but the longer it cooks in the bath of lovely lemon, garlic and wine the better!! I recommend no more than 3.5-4 hours as the meat will begin to separate and fall off the bone.  Baste the sauce over the lamb in between glasses of wine..you can do it!

To Serve

1 shank per person

with..

Lemon Potatoes (recipe with my lemon chicken)

Tzatziki dip (also on my page)

Hearty Greek Salad (recipe to come!)

ENJOY!

Rockin’ Lobster Bisque

Today’s recipe is for those cold nights when you feel your little tootsies may just turn purple and fall off! Ok not that much drama chickadee’s, but you get my drift?

I love Lobster, but I get slightly disheartened when I see people eating only the tail and the claws then throwing the body into that bucket like it’s garbage! PEOPLE!!  I love to eat lobster for hours, there are so many good hidden morsels of flesh that are probably the sweetest little tidbits of delight you could ever imagine.  Alright, I get it, you think its too much work for such little amount of meat, okay okay if you must toss that lovely body with all those juicy legs and crevices, make me a deal will ya?  Toss all those used shells, legs and body or whatever else you threw into that bucket to throw away. Lets make the most of that luscious and expensive garbage, k?

Next time you splurge and bring a live beauty home, please try this recipe the next day..I’m certain, my fair ones, you will love it!

Shells of 1-2 lobsters Rock or full size

Water to cover in a large stock pot (6 cups approx)

3 bay leaves, large pinch of thyme

6 cloves garlic (just bruise them dahling..no chopping necessary)

1 large onion cut in half

10 or so peppercorns

peel of one lemon

a pat of butter (ok use that leftover butter from the drawn butter last night, really..do it!)

a stalk of celery or leaves whole

1 carrot

1/4 cup White Wine (the end of that bottle from last night..or what the heck, open a new one..you know it won’t go to waste anyway!)

Salt to taste

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp corn starch (optional)

1/8 cup sour cream (you’ll understand later lovey)

Okay, add all the ingredients (except cream,starch and sour cream) to the stockpot and let it come to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for at least 1 hour. You can go do your nails, shower, play gin or better yet drink it :)_

Lift that lid off the pot..ahhh the smell is truly devine lovlies!!

Strain all the ingredients  and save the stock into a smaller pot. Let it cook on medium heat until reduced to about two thirds. Now the stock is ready.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t had too much Gin or Wine, it’s time for the messy work. Once the shells have cooled enough, go through them and pull any bits of lovely lobster meat and set aside.

Back to the broth, stir in cream (reserve a few spoons of the cream). Now some like their soup thick and rich, some not so much. If you prefer your soup thicker then add some of your soup to a small cup and add in the starch. Stir to mix well and add back to the soup. Bring up to almost a boil and immediately take off the stove and stir in the lobster meat you reserved earlier. *If your soup is still not thick enough, repeat.

I like to cut corners when I can, so my quickie version of Creme Fraiche is to mix the sour cream with a bit  of cream to make it a bit runny.

Ladle the soup into 4 bowls and drizzle some of the ‘Creme Fraiche” over top. Add some fresh greens like parsley or whatever herbs you may have on hand. Serve with crusty rolls. C’est Magnifique Dahlings!! Not even a drop of sweat off your lovely brow for this one and your friends or family will think you’ve turned a leaf into a super powered major chef!

Enjoy Mon Petits!