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My Favourite Savoury French Toast

It’s widely regarded that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s the kick start to your day, your metabolism, and helps fuel you for the rest of your day. It’s the meal you had made for you as a child (whether that was a bowl of cereal, oatmeal, or a full out Full English) and the meal you always dream of having brought to you in bed.

I grew up in a house where breakfast was more of a “fend for yourself” type situation. Sure, there was the occasional morning where you’d get your bread toasted and smeared with peanut butter (extra toasty, and crunchy peanut butter if you’re ever thinking of making me toast) but for the most part, you’d pour yourself some cereal, or get the kettle going for some instant oatmeal. However, about once a month- and after some prodding for days before- you’d wake up to the smell of bacon. You’d come down the stairs and in the kitchen would be trays of bacon, sausages, hash browns, pancakes, and all the fixings. It was one of the best days because you’d be so full for the whole day (and probably had enough salt to keep you a little plump for 3 days).

Fast forward to life on your own and you realize that you won’t magically wake up to breakfast anymore. It was one of the things I genuinely missed when moving out, and even more when I started living by myself. I made a promise to myself that breakfast would be a meal I wouldn’t miss, and I would always take the time for. Some people wake up early to do their hair and makeup. Some people wake up early to go for a run. Some people don’t wake up early at all. Me? Well, it often means getting up a couple hours before I need to start my day, putting the kettle on, and putting something together for myself.

I’ve learned a lot waking up to make breakfast for myself (and on occasion, for others). I’ve learned that there is a beautiful quiet around 7am- no one is emailing you, no one is texting you, and if you choose to keep the television off and opt for a playlist, you can really appreciate the soft glow the world seems to have. I’ve also learned that having that extra time to yourself really helps you ground yourself for the day. I spent a period of about a year where I woke up stressed out over a job I hated. I would wake up and dread everything about to happen during my day. It was to the point where I’d feel nauseous on my commute. After leaving that job was when I started waking up early. It allowed me to reverse my mornings waking up with dread, to waking up with something to look forward to- calm, quiet, and a warm breakfast. It’s amazing what two hours can do for your well-being.

Here is a breakfast I’ve been making since I moved out- Savoury French Toast. Not a fan of overly sweet breakfasts with whipped creams and fruits and jams, I opt for something a little more savoury, salty, and with a bit of a punch of flavour you want to go back to all day.

Ingredients:
1 loaf (8 ounces) day-old French bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
6 large eggs, beaten
2 cups 2% milk
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup minced chives, divided
1-½ Cup old Sharp Cheddar Cheese and ⅓ Cup Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Arrange half of the bread slices in a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, mustard, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup chives.
  2. Pour half of the egg mixture over bread; sprinkle with 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Layer with remaining bread and egg mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining chives and parmesan cheese.

I love when you try your hands at what I’ve put together! Feel free to share your comments, suggestions, and what you did below, and if you made it, tag me on Instagram at @JackDHarding

How to Make Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes”

I have always marvelled at people who have their “world famous” recipes. Growing up as a child, it was my Mom who made date squares the best of anyone (and still does). As I got older, it was friends’ parents who made different dinner dishes (tater tot casseroles courtesy of Rebecca’s mom, my friend Daniel’s dad is the first person to make me fish that I enjoyed (a beautiful maple salmon that made me forget about only eating fish sticks), and an ex’s mom who taught me the best way to make oven baked chicken wings (which I still use to this day and have received countless compliments on them)).

But what about finding your own?

I never grew up cooking. I was never the child at his parent’s ankles wanting to watch. I was more the kid who was saying “Is it ready yet?” It wasn’t until I was on my own that I wanted to learn how to cook. Thousands of meals, countless recipes learned, edited and made my own, and I’d say I’m on my way to being a good home cook. Learning how to cook, and becoming the person your friends refer to as “the one who knows how to cook” can bring some (and I use this term quite loosely) existential crises of their own.

“What is my style?” “What is my ‘Go To’ dish?” “If you were going to cook a meal for someone you’ve always wanted to meet, what would it be?”

All questions that for a while, made me sweat. For a while, I even had an entire Instagram dedicated to recipes under 500 calories thinking that would be “my thing.” Fast forward and that account has nearly 60k followers and I haven’t posted in ages. Why? Well, I realized I didn’t need to have a style, or a go-to, nor did I need to have the answers to question that would obviously never be asked in real life.

It’s only really been in the last twelve months or so that I feel I’ve really found myself in the kitchen- mostly out of stopping trying to figure out who I was. I learned to focus on finding great ingredients that allow your cooking to shine. I learned that oftentimes, less is more, and simple is better. A recipe doesn’t need to be hard, or difficult, to be good.

And isn’t it funny how life has a way of coming together when you stop trying so hard? This was also the year I found my go-to dish. It’s not a meal, but a side, and I have tinkered with this every time I make it (and I encourage you to do the same). This also happens to be a holiday favourite of mine. It’s low effort and I think you’ll love adding this to your meals.

Ingredients:
1 Large head of cauliflower, based removed and cut into florets
1 can salt free chickpeas
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
¼ Cup 35% cream
Fresh dill
Salt to season

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 (f)
  2. On a baking sheet spread out cauliflower and chickpeas and coat with 1 Tbsp olive oil
  3. Cook cauliflower and chickpeas in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until you start to see char marks on the cauliflower
  4. Remove from oven and set aside to cool a little (about 5 minutes).
  5. In a food processor, put 1 Tbsp of olive oil, fresh dill, and add the cauliflower and chickpea mixture
  6. Once the mixture is added, add the butter and place the lid on. Process on high until smooth.
  7. Once smooth, remove from processor and put into an ovenproof dish. Place bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes or until you get a light crust on the top (do not overbake or it will go dry).
  8. Serve with a square of butter on top and some fresh dill and black pepper.

 

How to Make Confit Chicken Legs

I honestly never would have thought to confit chicken legs. My great friend Teri (@NoCrumbsLeft) has done a great amount of confit items on her blog and her Instagram which I’ve always been in awe at (and made a few myself) so I knew that cooking anything in a LOT of oil was going to be great. So when I stumbled upon Alison Roman’s recipe for chicken legs in her book Dining In, I knew I had to give it a shot. As with most recipes I like, I made this a few times and made some changes to make this more my own. But I always like to give credit where it is due and make sure I showcase where I found my inspiration.

Ingredients:
4 Chicken Legs (Bone In, Skin On)
2 Cups Olive Oil
5 Stems of Thyme
1 Pint (16 oz) Cherry Tomatoes
1 Head of Garlic
Salt
Pepper
Fresh Dill

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325F (once it hits this heat, make sure you leave it for a while and ensure you have even heat)
  2. In a deep dish, place your chicken, thyme, tomatoes and garlic and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Pour over the oil and leave the dish uncovered. Bake in your preheated oven until the garlic is golden brown, the chicken falls apart at the touch, and the oil has taken on a slightly more golden, darker colour.
  3. In a large skillet or cast iron pan, take 2-3Tbsp of the oil from the dish and heat it up. Remove the chicken legs carefully and place them skin side down in the heated oil. Let them crisp at medium high heat for about 7-10 minutes depending on your preferences.
  4. Remove the chicken and let rest.
  5. Strain oil, tomatoes, garlic, thyme into a glass container (you can keep the strained oil and fat mix for about a week in the fridge to cook things like AMAZING scrambled eggs) and place the tomatoes, thyme and garlic with your chicken and serve.

I love when you try your hands at what I’ve put together! Feel free to share your comments, suggestions, and what you did below, and if you made it, tag me on Instagram at @JackDHarding

How to Make Devilled Eggs

I have a weird relationship with eggs. I am not sure about you, but I often think of myself as a ‘textural’ eater. Often times texture is just as important as taste to me. Something could be delicious, but if it is too slimy, mushy, or has the wrong kind of jiggle, I can’t bring myself to let it touch my lips let alone eat it.  Depending on how eggs are cooked, they can have that ‘wrong’ kind of jiggle. They can also be the ‘wrong’ type of runny for me. Devilled eggs are one of those foods I’m conflicted about. Depending on the mood I’m in, I love the texture of a hardboiled egg. Sometimes I really do NOT. I rarely make these for myself, but when I do, I practically eat the filling out of the bowl before I pipe it into the eggs.

So why do I make these? My dad loves them and they’re something my mom hates to make. After countless attempts at making these, I feel like I have finally gotten them ~perfect~ and am excited to share my recipe. (You know they’re good when a tray of 12 devilled eggs (6 whole eggs!) disappears within minutes of being put out.

Ingredients:
6 Large Eggs
3 Tbsp Mayonnaise
2 Tsp Yellow Mustard
Fresh Chives
Salt
Pepper
Hot Paprika

Instructions:

  1. Hard-boil the eggs. In a medium-large sauce pan, place the eggs in and cover with enough water to cover them by 1.5-2″ (water should be cool). Put the pan onto high heat and bring to a rapid boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.  Put the eggs into a colander and run under cold water (I find you get a much better consistency egg than when you dump them in an ice bath).
  2. One at a time, peel the shell off of the eggs. Tap the bottom and top of the egg on your counter, and roll under your hand to loosen the membrane and peeling will be a breeze.
  3. Cut the eggs in half starting at the tip and working your way to the bottom.
  4. Remove the yolks. This should be pretty easy. Gently push the around the yolk and it should pop right out.
  5. In a bowl with the egg yolks, add your mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and mustard and mash until smooth.
  6. Using a spoon, gently fill the eggs with the filling. Some people use a piping bag but I much prefer the more rustic look that you get this way.
  7. Sprinkle finished eggs with chives and hot paprika and serve!

Do you love devilled eggs? Have tips and tricks on how you make yours? Feel free to leave them in the comments below, and if you make these, tag me on Instagram at @JackDHarding.

How to Make Guacamole

I’m not sure about you, but I am really picky with my guacamole. It can’t be too simple (just smashed avocado, lime and salt) but also can’t be too over the top (I have been served some with so much “chunks” of other things in it, you’re not sure what you’re having. To be frank, I want my guacamole to be smooth with a little crunch, not more like a salsa which seems to be the trend lately. I was thrilled when I picked up Gaby’s new cookbook and one of the first recipe was a SIMPLE guacamole recipe. Calling for only jalapeños, red onion, chives, avocado, salt, pepper, lime and lemon, I was sold. I have made some changes to the original recipe to make it fit my tastes a bit more, but the base of the recipe I owe to her! Make sure to check out her blog and pick up her book. You won’t regret it.

Ingredients:

4 Ripe Avocados
2 Jalapeños (seeds included) finely chopped
1/3 Cup Red Onion (finely Chopped)
1.5 Tbsp Freshly Chopped Chives (You definitely want to use fresh opposed to freeze dried for this)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Tbsp Aleppo Pepper (this is quite hot, if you don’t LOVE spicy, reduce to 1 Tsp)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut the avocados, remove the seeds and remove the flesh into a large bowl. Add your salt, pepper, and juices and mash until smooth (I prefer my avocados smashed smooth so the other ingredients can lend a crunch but leave as chunky as you like). Tip: I use a mashed potato masher for this part
  2. Add in the Jalapeños, red onion, chives and Aleppo pepper and gently mix everything together (You don’t want to beat up your freshly added ingredients- folding these in gives you a bit of crunch in every bite instead).
  3. Serve with chips, smear on toast, or eat it with a spoon out of the bowl (guilty).
  4. Store the leftovers in an airtight container and use within 3 days.

If you liked this, feel free to tag me on Instagram at @JackDHarding and let me know your thoughts! Also, if you have any tips, tricks, or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

How to Make Tim Tams

“What’s your favourite cookie?”

I asked that to someone I was just getting to know recently.
Don’t ask me why, but it seems to be something that comes up with most people that I meet. Part of it is a weird fascination with wanting to know what people actually enjoy vs. what they think they should enjoy (the amount of times I have had people tell me they love stale oatmeal cookies, or undercooked chocolate chip cookies instead of saying a more “acceptable” answer like “fresh baked chocolate chip cookies with a crispy outside and gooey inside” has led me to believe that I am not the only one who is okay with a dessert or cookie that could be considered “wrong” from a traditional baking point of view). So when “TIM TAMS!” was blurted out with excitement I was surprised! I knew it was some sort of Australian dessert, but wasn’t entirely sure what it was. So always up for a challenge, I said I’d make him some homemade ones and he could tell me if they were better than store bought.

I realized quickly I should probably figure out exactly what it is. Wikipedia has this great description on them with their history here. But basically: “Tim Tam is a brand of chocolate biscuit made by the Australian biscuit company Arnott’s. It consists of two malted biscuits separated by a light chocolate cream filling and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.”

After searching for a few tips and tricks on how people made these, I headed into the kitchen and decided take a swing at these my way. I have shared these with not only the person who loves Tim Tams (who LOVED these) but also a few work partners of mine and friends and family. Every single one of them has come back asking for more. That’s always the best result!

Ingredients:
For the cookies:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter  (Do not try and sub in salted butter in this recipe)
1 Cup Icing Sugar
1 Egg at Room Temperature
1/3 Cup (Heaping) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
Small Pinch of Salt

  1. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, or a hand mixer and a large bowl, combine your room temperature butter, and powdered sugar and cream until it is nice and fluffy (it will likely become quite a pale colour, that is exactly what you want). Once that’s done, add in your egg and beat until it is incorporated. The colour should lighten a bit. Now add your cocoa powder and beat until smooth (you don’t want lumps). Now fold in your flour and salt (mix these together first) until everything is incorporated. Your dough should be soft and almost sticky.
  2. Layout a large sheet of wax/parchment paper and scrape out your dough onto this. Take a second sheet and place on top of your dough. Carefully, roll out the dough between these sheets making sure you are shaping it into a rectangle. You don’t want your dough too thick- roughly 1/4-1/3″ thick (remember, you’ll be stacking cookies on top of each other so you don’t want them too thick). Move this carefully onto a tray and place it in your freezer for 30-45 minutes until firm. (This way it won’t stick to the paper when you remove it).
  3. Preheat oven to 350F (if your oven tends to vary in temperature quite a bit, pump this to 370F. Now line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Remove your dough from the freezer and with a sharp knife (or pizza cutter) and cut it into small squares (traditional Tim Tams are rectangles, but I found the square shape made for a much more pleasant eating experience). You should end up with roughly 22 or 24 squares (enough for 11-12 Tim Tams). Place these evenly on the baking trays and bake them for 10-12 minutes (you know they’re done when they almost have the look of a brownie on top. Don’t overcook them or they’ll be very dry). Leave them out to cool completely.

For the filling: 

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
1-1/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 Heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Heaping Tbsp Ovaltine (if you don’t love malted drink powder, hot chocolate mix works well too)

  1. Using either a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Sift in your cocoa powder and ovaltine. Using ~1Tbsp of icing per cooking, spread or pipe an even layer of filling on half of the cookies and top with the other cookies. Refrigerate.

For the Coating/Final Step:

1 Bag Chocolate Chips or 8oz Chocolate Squares (Milk or Dark Chocolate)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

  1. To make the coating, you can melt the chocolate on stove top (not my favourite) or in the easier (and really the only reason I use it) microwave. Combining the chocolate and oil, microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring between. After your second melt, you’re likely ready to go. (Should be smooth)
  2. Using a fork, dip the cookies into the melted chocolate and place them onto a cooling wrack (if you place them back onto the baking sheet I find the chocolate sticks to the pan). Once you’ve done this with all the cookies, place them back in the fridge until solid.

    Enjoy!

 

Holiday Menu for Hosting Guests

When given the opportunity to cook a dinner when there are no dietary restrictions, my mind tends to wander (in the best of ways) and I get to be really creative with what I put together. Depending on the group I have over, I’ll sometimes test recipes I haven’t made that often, or even try out something totally new. However, when it comes to the holidays, I like to stick to the tried and true- the old faithfuls that I have tweaked and edited over the last few years so that way everyone leaves with a guaranteed great meal. This may seem like the easy way out, but I like to view it as being as best prepared as possible!

With this menu, I decided to stray away from the traditional turkey, or ham, or fish, and go for something a little brighter! Each dish is warm and feels like you’re eating a hearty home cooked meal. With the weather being colder, I wanted to make sure my guests would be comfortable, and leave comfortable. Also, I wanted to make sure this was a meal I could mostly put together on the stovetop! Using Frigidaire’s induction stove top made these a breeze: I can always count on fast and even heat = a delicious result every time.

Here is my menu for my second holiday dinner:

Starter:

Creamy Mushrooms on Toasted French Bread

Main:

Dry Rub Flank Steak with Corn Salsa

Dessert:

Blueberry Galette

Creamy Mushrooms on Toasted French Bread

This is such a versatile dish- you can have it for breakfast, lunch, you can use it as a side or even on its own. For the purpose of this meal, I’m going to be using it as the starter for my guests. I wanted to make sure they had something warm as soon as they sat down that would cling to their insides while the rest of the food is being prepared. Using Frigidaire’s induction stove top makes heating up the cream really easy– it is really responsive and can go from simmering to boiling on-demand, ensuring you end up with the perfect finished product every time.

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Olive Oil + 2 Tbsp for brushing
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Garlic Clove
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
8 Tbsp 35% cream
800 g Finely Chopped Cremini Mushrooms
2 French Sticks (Cut into ~24 rounds)
(Sprouts optional)

Steps

  1. Heat oven to broil
  2. Place the oil and butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the mushroom  and cook for a further 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cream and parsley to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  5. Cook until the cream has started to reduce, and you have a thick mushroom mixture- you don’t want it super runny.
  6. While cooking, brush the cut up bread with olive oil and place in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until broiled and golden brown.
  7. Serve the mushroom mix on the toasted bread and enjoy

creamy mushroom on toast

 

Dry Rub Flank Steak with Corn and Jalapeño Salsa

Ingredients:

Dry Rub:
2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1.5 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1.5 tablespoon paprika
2.5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1.5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.5 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 heaping teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon thyme

Steak and Salsa:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grill
3 cups corn
1/4 large red onion,finely chopped
2 jalapeño finely chopped (I keep the seeds)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 limes
freshly ground pepper
1 medium sized flank steak (about 1.5lbs- ask your butcher to get you the right size).

Dry rub:
Combine brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, granulated garlic, mustard powder, thyme and cumin in a small bowl.

Salsa:
Add your corn and jalapeño to a medium sized skillet on medium high heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes (closer to 10 if frozen corn). This will get everything hot and release some flavour from the pepper. Remove from heat and add in your onion, tomatoes, cilantro and juice the limes. Add in pepper and stir until well mixed. Set aside (or put in the fridge covered if you’re making your steak later)

The Rest:
Take your spice mix, and rub into each side of the steak (I lay it all out in a tray, and drag the steak through it, and then I packed the spices it didn’t catch and rub it into the steak by hand until it no longer falls off. Add a bit of olive oil to each side to keep everything on. Pre-heat your grill or grill pan until very hot. You only need about 4 minutes per side if you want medium rare (a bit longer if you have a thicker or bigger cut). Once cooked to your liking, remove from heat. DO NOT CUT RIGHT AWAY. Leave it for 10 minutes so the juices seal in. Once that’s done, I put it in the broiler on high for 1 minute or so. Serve by cutting against the grain and top with the salsa.

 

flank steak with corn salsa on top

Blueberry Galette

I always like to end my meals with something that has a bit of acid  to help with digesting, especially if there have been fatty foods. I find that this dessert sits nicely after a large meal and doesn’t feel too overwhelming. You definitely don’t feel bad going back for seconds.

Ingredients:
1 refrigerated pie crust (frozen works as well, just let it thaw briefly before using)
2 Cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
⅓ cup sugar
2 Tbsp  cornstarch or Tapioca powder
Juice of ½ Lemon
Zest from ½ Lemon
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp butter divided into pea sized amounts
1 Egg
2 Tbsp raw sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Prepare a baking dish with parchment paper and lay out the pie crust onto the baking sheet and set aside.
  3. In a bowl mix the berries (if you’re using frozen berries, let them thaw shortly first on the counter), sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, zest and pinch of salt.
  4. Spoon the berry mixture onto the center of the pie crust.
  5. Gently pinch up the sides of the pie crust to make crust bowl for the berry mix (remember, you’re not putting another crust on top, and want the sides to act like a partial crust coming in)
  6. Pull the edges in towards the center as you pinch around the outside of the pie crust. Dot the top of the galette with the pea-sized butter pieces. When completed, set aside
  7. In a small bowl whisk the egg and a splash of water together. Paint the edges of the pie crust with the egg wash (when baking, this will give the crust a nice golden color without overbaking). When done, sprinkle the edges with the raw sugar (be generous, if you need more sugar, use more).
  8. Place in the oven on the center rack and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove when the crust is golden and the center is bubbly.
  9. Let cool and serve with a sprig of fresh mint, or a scoop of your favorite ice cream.

blueberry galette

This post is Sponsored by Frigidiare Canada

Holiday Vegetarian Menu for Hosting Guests

The way I like to see it, there’s two types of people in life. Those who like to cook, and those who don’t. Growing up, I was one of the people who definitely did not like to cook. It was only after moving out that I started to venture into the kitchen.Over the last few years I have started hosting more and more dinner parties. These dinners have been for everything from “Let’s just have a dinner,” to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the like. My favourite meals to cook and my favourite dinners to host are holiday meals however. Why? Well, there is something about people gathering for a holiday in your home, celebrating over food that you’ve made for them that is really rewarding. It brings you closer together and leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime.

I have a lot of foodie friends who love cooking (and like me, are in love with the new Black Stainless Steel appliances which make your kitchen look so much more refined) and they’re pretty divided between vegetarian and not. Now, this isn’t the most difficult thing to deal with when hosting but it is definitely something you need to be aware of when putting together your menu, how you keep your dishes (making sure nothing mixes) and how you serve. What I’ve come to do, is host two separate dinners- one totally vegetarian, and one not. This way there’s no chances of mistakes, of one side being served more than the other. Everyone gets the meals they love in the way they like them! I’m going to share with you the two menus I’m planning on making this year- my vegetarian menu, and my other menu!

*Note* I like to keep my menus fairly simple, because not only do you have to make multiple courses, but there is nothing worse than finding a recipe, and not having, or not being able to easily find the ingredients. All of my recipes are pretty straightforward with ingredients you can get year round at the local grocery store.

Starter:
Parsnip and Apple Soup

Main:
Roasted Cauliflower with Wow This is So Good Sauce

Dessert:
Orange Cranberry Loaf

 

Parsnip and Apple Soup
(This is one of my favourite soups, and is a breeze to make. The Frigidaire Induction stovetops make cooking this really easy. Everything heats up and cooks that much faster, it’s easy to control the temperature so you don’t overheat or burn anything, and it’s a breeze to clean if you spill anything).

Ingredients:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds (from 3-4 pods)
40g butter
2 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onion, chopped
700g  parsnips
3 garlic clove, crushed
5 cm fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
150g peeled and chopped Golden Delicious apple (about 1 medium-size apple)
1.2L fresh vegetable stock
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tsp chopped chives to garnish

  1. Heat a small, dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds and shake them around for a few seconds until they begin to get a bit darker (you’ll also smell them toasting). Put these into a mortar and pestle or a pepper grinder and turn them into a powder.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a medium-size pan. Add the onion and cover. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Meanwhile, peel the parsnips and cut them into 2.5cm pieces. (Peeling is important or your soup won’t have a nice consistency).
  3. Uncover the pan, add the garlic, grated ginger and all the spices, then cook for 1 minute more. Add the parsnips, chopped apple and stock, then bring to the boil, cover and simmer. Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the parsnips are tender when you poke them with a knife.
  4. Remove soup from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Using either an immersion blender, or blender, blend.. Pour it through a sieve into a clean pan, using a wooden spoon to push it through. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, stir in the crème fraîche. Pour into heated bowls and top with chives.

Apple parsnip soup

 

Roasted Cauliflower with “Wow This Sauce is So Good” Sauce

This has been one of my go-tos for a while after being taught it by a friend last year. It is really beautiful when brought to the table, and the sauce, if you couldn’t tell by the title, is one that will leave people talking.You’ll love having the induction stove top for the sauce because you need to watch it somewhat closely to keep it from burning and having better control over the heat than a gas stove top is really helpful.

Ingredients:
1 large cauliflower head, trimmed (Get as big and pretty of one as possible, fresh)
300ml dry white wine (pinot grigio preferred)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
Garlic bulb, halved horizontally (This is the whole bunch of garlic, not just a clove)
1 large egg, lightly beaten and seasoned well
Sharp cheese that you can sprinkle over the top (this is optional)

For the sauce:
Olive oil for frying
1 shallot, very finely chopped
50ml dry white wine (a pinot grigio works for this)
300g vintage or extra-mature cheddar, grated
125ml whipping cream (35% cream)
1 jalapeno, deseeded and finely chopped (I keep the seeds in because I like the spice)
2 green onions, finely sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Put the cauliflower in a large pan with the 300ml wine, bay leaves, peppercorns and garlic halves. Pour over boiling water from the kettle to just cover the cauliflower – there’s no need to worry if your cauliflower floats, it likely will – and simmer for 20 minutes, turning it halfway through.
  3. Lift the cauliflower out of the poaching liquid into a colander and leave for 10 minutes to steam dry. (Be careful when lifting- it will be hot, and you don’t want to be rough with it, you want to keep its shape).
  4. Put the cauliflower in a roasting pan (anything that is deep enough), brush all over with the egg, then grate over a generous amount of cheese so it covers all of the top and on the sides.
  5. Roast in the top third of the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden (watch this closely after the 15 minute mark, it can go from perfect to burnt pretty quickly)
  6. To make the sauce, heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan (cast iron or nonstick is fine), add the shallot and cook for 5-6 minutes until translucent and soft.
  7. Add the 50ml wine and bring to a bubble (not a rapid boil) until evaporated by two thirds. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting, then add the cheese and cream. Stir constantly until the cheese melts to a smooth sauce. Stir through the chilli and spring onions, season, then pour into a warmed container. Put a piece of cling film directly onto the surface of the sauce and keep somewhere warm (I will put a stool in front of the oven and put it there so it gets the warmth off of the oven).
  8. When the cauliflower is roasted, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Take it to the table, then pour over two thirds of the sauce before carving. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Orange Cranberry Loaf

I was taught how to make this by a friend of mine who recently launched a bakery, and I never would have thought to make it. When I did, it was strange, apparently it was a dessert that a lot of my friends families made for them growing up. It was great to be able to bring back those memories for them. This is a breeze to make, and lasts in the fridge for up to two days after.

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in orange zest, and cranberries. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in orange juice. Beat in flour mixture until just moistened. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until the bread springs back when lightly touched. Let stand 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Orange cranberry loaf slice

This post was sponsored by Frigidaire Canada

Creamy Mushroom and Prosciutto Pizza

I have always been a fan of “different” pizzas. When I would order from a pizza shop it would never be a regular “Normal cheese, normal sauce” kind of ordeal. It was always “Light cheese, extra sauce,  toppings, additional sauce on top” or “No cheese, thick sauce, toppings that will sit well in the sauce” order. It must have driven the local chain pizza store insane. (Before you start thinking my taste is awful, I do enjoy a great Italian pizza, and will never make substitutions to ones I order at restaurants. This is simply me being picky about the basically cardboard pizzas you order for $6.99 on a Wednesday night when it’s cold and you don’t want to go outside).

Because of this pickiness with my pizzas, it usually meant I don’t make them myself. Everyone has that one meal or item they don’t make because it’s not worth it to them. Some of my friends only buy their curry out because it’s too much effort at home. Some friends only buy the rotisserie chickens because it’s so much cheaper than buy a raw whole chicken and making it yourself. For me- it’s pizza. That was until I was inspired by the creamy mushroom pizza in Martha Stewart’s Appetizers book. I realized that making pizza didn’t have to be that hard (especially if you cheat like I did and buy ready made dough). I have made some changes to the original recipe, making it more to my liking. Let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

3Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 to 1-1/2lb mixed mushrooms (depending on how much mushrooms you want)
1/2 cup pinot grigio
3/4 cup heavy cream (35%)
Pizza dough (store bought)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh tarragon leaves
Prosciutto (for serving)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500F with rack in lowest position and a baking sheet (with rim) upside down in the oven.
  2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat and add shallots cooking until they’re softened (about 3 minutes).
  3. Add mushrooms,salt, pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add wine, bring to a boil and cook until evaporated. Add cream and cook until mostly absorbed (about 5 minutes)
  5. Stretch your dough into an oval (about 6″ wide by 18″ long) and place on parchment paper. Brush your dough with 1tbsp olive oil and add the mushroom mixture (leave about a 1/2″ border)
  6. Place your pizzas onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp (about 12-14 minutes).
  7. Remove from oven, sprinkle with tarragon and prosciutto and serve!

I hope you enjoyed this- if you did take a picture of your creation and share it with me at @JackDHarding on Instagram!

Parsnip and Apple Soup

There is nothing better than when the summer finishes, the colder weather has started to roll in, and you know the holidays are on their way. For me it means more dinner parties, more chances to host, and more chances to make and share food with those around me. It’s the perfect opportunity to create moments, and make bonds that you wouldn’t otherwise make. So when I have guests coming over and I want something to warm them up right away, this is my go-to dish! It’s soothing and the you smell it as soon as you walk in the door.

This may seem like a lot of ingredients, but you’ll be surprised by what you already have. Most are pretty basic spices and the rest are things like an apple, some stock, and a cream. If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, skip the cream- it won’t change the dish drastically.


Ingredients:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp green cardamom seeds (from 3-4 pods)
40g butter
2 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 medium onion, chopped
700g  parsnips
3 garlic clove, crushed
5 cm fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
150g peeled and chopped Golden Delicious apple (about 1 medium-size apple)
1.2L fresh vegetable stock
2 tbsp crème fraîche
1 tsp chopped chives to garnish

  1. Heat a small, dry frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the cumin, coriander and cardamom seeds and shake them around for a few seconds until they begin to get a bit darker (you’ll also smell them toasting). Put these into a mortar and pestle or a pepper grinder and turn them into a powder.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a medium-size pan. Add the onion and cover. Cook for 10 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Meanwhile, peel the parsnips and cut them into 2.5cm pieces. (Peeling is important or your soup won’t have a nice consistency).
  3. Uncover the pan, add the garlic, grated ginger and all the spices, then cook for 1 minute more. Add the parsnips, chopped apple and stock, then bring to the boil, cover and simmer. Simmer for 45-60 minutes or until the parsnips are tender when you poke them with a knife.
  4. Remove soup from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Using either an immersion blender, or blender, blend.. Pour it through a sieve into a clean pan, using a wooden spoon to push it through. Season to taste.
  5. To serve, stir in the crème fraîche. Pour into heated bowls and top with chives.

I hope that you enjoy this, and if you did, feel free to tag me at @JackDHarding on Instagram and share your creation with me!