Mango Chili Lime Chutney

Mango Chutney is a sweet and spicy condiment great on a piece of fish or chicken or even crab cakes. You can use fresh mangoes when they are available or frozen.

You will need:

  • 3 cups mango cubed
  • 1/2 white onion -chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 chilies -medium heat
  • 2 Thai chilies- hot
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 inch tender centre piece of lemongrass
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 scallions/green onions- chopped fine
  • a handful of cilantro- chopped fine
  • 1 more lime juiced to top at the end
Step 1: put the onion, garlic, chilies, zest and juice of the lime, chopped lemongrass into the food processor. Process until fine.
Step 2: add the mixture, the mangoes, vinegar, honey, ginger, salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 30-40 minutes until most of the water has evaporated and the mix is thickened.
Step 3: add the mixture back to the food processor and blend until smooth.
it can be stored in the fridge or frozen. 

Caramel Apple Hand Pies

Many years ago we used to spend all our vacations in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida where my in-laws used to have a condo on the beautiful gulf. There was a restaurant called the Hungry Fisherman on Gulf Blvd that made the most wonderful apple pies served with this yummy syrup. The pie was hot and the syrup with nuts was poured on top. I am sure it was probably pancake syrup with nuts in it but, it was such a good combinations. You had to get there early and order your slice at the beginning of the meal or else you would miss out. This reminds me of that pie but, it is topped with a simple caramel for added decadence.
Apple Pie is always wonderful in any of it’s forms but, an apple pie that you get to eat all yourself is even better! These are perfect because I can bake one or two and freeze the rest for later. If there is just a few in your house this is the perfect solution to a large pie. The crust is flaky and the apples are soft and full of cinnamon and the addition of caramel is just the perfect topping. 
You will need:
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup & 3-4 tbsp ice water
  • egg to brush on top or a bit of milk 
  • sprinkle of course sugar for tops
  • 5 apples-granny smith and others (a mixture of tart and sweet is nice)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste (or liquid)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream 
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • pinch of course sea salt

Step 1: chop cold butter into small cubes and stick in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
Step 2: add flour, vanilla sugar and salt to a food processor. Pulse 3 seconds to mix.
Step 3: add frozen butter and pulse 8 times.
Step 4: add apple cider vinegar to 1/4 cup of ice cold water and pulse another 6 times. If it does not look like it is starting to come together stop machine and try to squeeze i your fingers to see if it holds together. If not add 2 more tbsp of water and pulse again 3-4 times. If you need more water add 1 tbsp at a time and check after each mix. 
This is what my dough looks like when I turn it out from the machine. I know it is ready because when I squeeze it in my hands it is wet enough to hold together. 
Step 5: with a few kneads I can gather all the flour and form a smooth ball. Wrap ball in plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1 hour.
this is vanilla paste and it is a beautiful product well worth finding
Step 6: peel your apples and then on a mandolin thinly slice the apples. I like this method because i don’t need to core them. I just slice on the mandolin and turn the apple when I reach the core. I continue until my apple is sliced completely and toss the core away. Add the vanilla paste (if you can find it or real liquid vanilla if you can’t -never buy artificial!) sugars, lemon juice cinnamon and salt. Stir and leave for 10 minutes to allow the liquid to start coming out of the apples.
Step 7: start your caramel by adding sugar to a large saucepan (you will need the room) On a medium heat start to melt the sugar.
You can stir the sugar only at the beginning of the process.
Once it starts to melt you can stir and then leave it to come to a boil. You can occasionally swirl the pan to mix.
When it has reached the desired brown colour (don’t burn it and never walk away from the pot) and it boils…..
Step 8: remove from heat and add the butter and whipping cream. Be very careful as it will bubble and come high up the inside of the pot. Stir and let come to a normal state. This is why you need a large pot.
Step 9: Pour into a measuring cup to cool. Add a sprinkle of course sea salt. 
Step 10: remove pie dough from the fridge and place onto a floured counter.
You can roll out the dough and cut circles or you can divide dough into 8 balls and roll them out to a mini pie. I think this was is easier and there is no re-rolling the dough etc..
Step 11: drain off the liquid from the apples and evenly divide the filling on to your pie crusts. I put  the filling to one side so I can fold over and pinch the other to close the pie. 
Step 12: I add a tsp of caramel to the filling. You will have lots left for drizzling on tops.
Step 13: with a bit of water run your finger around the edge of the crust and fold over. You can use a fork to press down and seal edges or just pinch and fold with your fingers. Cut a few slices on top for steam to escape. Brush with egg wash or milk and sprinkle a bit of course sugar on top if you want. I place the finished pies in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. This will get the butter back to a solid state again and then when it hits the hot oven will puff and get flaky.
You can freeze the remaining pies for a later date. I store in Ziploc bags.
or bake at 375 degrees F for 30- 40 minutes or until golden and flaky. I always bake on a piece of parchment paper for easy clean up. 
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream and a drizzle of your caramel sauce. You can buy a mustard or condiment bottle at the dollar store for easy drizzling or just use a fork. 

Ricotta Parmesano Gnocchi

I love gnocchi whether they are made the traditional way with potatoes or this way with ricotta  and Parmesan cheeses. These Gnocchi are soft and cheesy and I have pan fried them with some sage and thyme and served them with fresh Parmesan shavings. They are easy to make, quick to prepare and can be frozen for a later date.

You will need:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese- drained
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesano Reggiano
  • 10-15 scrapes of a freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • salt/pepper

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 fresh sage leave- chopped 
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme- removed from stems- chopped fine
  • more Parmesan to top
Start with a regular ricotta I usually buy the small container which is 1 cup.
Step 1: put ricotta in a sieve and let water drain into a bowl for at least 1 hour.
Step 2: add the freshly grated Parmesan and mix in. Depending on how dry your ricotta is you may need 1/4 -1/2 cup
Step 3: add some freshly grated nutmeg
Step 4: add one egg yolk- you are trying to keep the moisture content down but, the egg yolk helps to bind the gnocchi. 
Step 5: at this stage I remove the mix onto a counter and add 1/4 cup of flour and incorporate by gently kneading the four into the cheese mix. You can add up to the additional 1/4 cup if required. You are looking to add only as much as necessary to get the dough to the stage where it is no longer sticky to the touch. If you wish to test your gnocchi. You can roll out a small piece and test it by adding your test gnocchi to boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. If they fall apart you know you need to add a bit more flour to the mix. If they don’t you are good to go.
Step 6: cut dough in half and then into half again.
Step 7: on a floured counter roll each ball into a log and cut the gnocchi. Toss with some flour to make sure they do not stick.
Step 8: you can simply press a finger into each one to for a dent in the middle or gently roll on the back of a fork to create ridges. Place on a floured plate and freeze for 30 minutes before boiling.
Step 9: chop your fresh herbs
Step 10: put gnocchi in boiling salted water, once they float, cook one more minute. This takes approximately 2-3 minutes in total.
Step 11: in a pan add oil and butter and fry herbs while gnocchi are boiling. Gently remove the gnocchi with a slotted spoon dire and directly into the pan to saute until the little pillows are lightly golden.
Serve hot with some additional Parmesan shavings and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
or mushrooms and onions.

Apple Honey Wholewheat Sourdough

This is without a doubt the best bread I have ever made! 
I have made it using my homemade sourdough starter that I made from organic apples (see post on creating your own starter) and then baked it in my Le Creuset enamelled cast iron pot. This technique was created by Jim Lahey from the Sullivan Street Bakery in New York City. It is a way to get a home oven hotter to create a bread with a gorgeous bakery style crust. You have got to try this recipe just once to become hooked on how extraordinary the bread is made using this method. 
You can then adapt it to create your favourite bread.
You will need:
  • 1 cup of sourdough starter
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups white flour (bread flour or all purpose)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp regular dry yeast 
You will need to start your bread a day before you bake it. When you use a sourdough starter the bread typically takes more time to rise and develop better flavour. This bread also requires less kneading. It is so worth the wait I promise you!

Step 1: take your sourdough starter out of the fridge and let come to room temperature (this may take 1-2 hours) Once it is at room temperature add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup warm water. Stir and leave at least 1 hour. It will start to bubble and ferment again because you are feeding it the additional flour.
Once it is bubbly you can remove 1 cup of your starter for your bread.
Cover and return your starter to the fridge to store.
Step 2: add 1 cup starter, 1 cup warm water , 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 tsp yeast (this is a tiny amount just for an added boost) honey and 1 cup whole wheat flour to your large bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix well. Leave this mix uncovered for 30 minutes.
Step 3: add remaining 2 1/4 cups flour and salt. You can also add additional flour if/as necessary. I like to use a plastic scraper to make sure I scrape off all the dough from the counter while I am kneading the bread and incorporating the flour. 
I roll the dough and use the heel of my palm to press and turn always making sure to add flour as necessary.You are feeling the dough as you knead it. When it feels smooth and no longer feels sticky you have added enough flour. (this may take 4-5 minutes)  You can also press the smooth finished dough and if it starts to spring back from your press it is ready. You do not need to knead the bread very long  in this recipe because you are giving the bread lots of time to develop. Once it has absorbed all the flour you are done!
Step 4: I lightly oil a large bowl rub the oil on both sides of your dough and cover with plastic wrap. I leave it on the counter for 12-14 hours. You want it to more than double in size. When you make a bread using a natural starter it takes much longer to rise than when using a commercial yeast. If I was making this bread with a commercial yeast I could still leave it overnight however, I would leave it in the fridge to slow down the rise while in this example the natural yeast in my starter is much slower to develop so I have left it on the counter.
This photo shows when the dough has risen almost too long.and  if left much longer it will start to fall in on itself and will lose it’s structure and ability to have beautiful air pockets. You don’t want to lose all the power that the yeast has developed in your bread. My bread had a 13 hour rise to reach the perfect rise. Scrape out dough on a lightly floured counter and lightly knead for a minute or two until smooth again.
Step 5: once your ball is kneaded. I take the same bowl and place a sheet of parchment paper in the bowl and place the dough on top. I slash the dough with a sharp knife and cover with plastic to rise again for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 450 degrees F and place your enamelled cast iron pan with the lid on it in the oven to heat for 30 minutes to get very hot. (so… at the 1 1/2 hour point of your second rise turn on oven.When the pot is heated your bread will be ready to put in the oven)
Step 6: Remove lid carefully because it is very hot. Gently lift the bread with the parchment paper and place in pot. Cover with the lid and place in hot oven for 20 minutes.
Step 7: after 20 minutes remove lid and bake another 15-20 minutes uncovered.
Carefully remove bread to a cooling rack. The smell is out of this world. It smells sour and slightly of apple. The sound of the crust crackling as it cools is wonderful to compliment the aroma…..ah heaven must surely smell like this! Let cool completely before cutting. I know it’s hard but, you will squish the beautiful interior if you don’t wait. 
The interior is soft and fluffy and the exterior has that wonderful chewy, crusty texture of good bakery bread. Served with butter and honey or along with some homemade soup this is an awesome loaf of good bread made in your kitchen.

Maple Bacon Brussel Sprouts

If you think you hate brussel sprouts you have to try them like this! Like most people I never liked brussel sprouts because they were always boiled and overcooked and they smelled disgusting. There was nothing appetizing about them to me. These are sliced into ribbons and stir fried quickly and then glazed in maple syrup and served with bacon bits. Everyone loves these!

You will need:

  • 2 cups sliced brussel sprouts 
  • 2 slices of bacon- chopped and cooked until crispy
  • 2-3 tbsp maple syrup -only use real maple syrup
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp water

Step 1: slice and then chop 2 slices of bacon. I always keep my bacon wrapped in the freezer in 2 slice sections. I use a long strip of wax paper and place 2 slices, then wrap, 2 slices and wrap. If you need a few slices you can always remove just what you need. Cook on medium/low heat to get crispy without burning. Drain on paper towel and set aside. I remove any bacon fat that is in the pan but, do not wash the pan because it will have all those bacon bits stuck to the bottom which I can remove while cooking the brussel sprouts. It is also less to wash and what cook doesn’t love that!

Step 2: remove any outer leaves that look beat up and slice in half through the core. I then slice into ribbons discarding the core. I used a total of  2 cups of sliced brussel sprouts.
Step 3: in the same pan you cooked the bacon add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter. Heat to cook off most of the milk solids in the butter. Add your brussel sprouts and cook for 1 minute. Add the water and cook until the water evaporates and the sprouts start to fry again You will hear it start to sizzle just takes a minute or so. 
Step 4: add your bacon bits and maple syrup and cook for another minute to coat and get sticky. Add salt and pepper to taste.
you will be amazed at how good brussel sprouts can be when not boiled and over cooked.

Creating a Sour Dough Starter – from Apples

If you have ever wondered how to make your own sour dough starter to make fresh sour dough bread this is one way.
A starter is a homemade yeast. You can make bread with commercial yeast available in either dry or fresh forms or you can use a starter or some of both.
You can make a sour dough starter which you can keep in your fridge for years as long as you continue to keep it alive. It is a nice way to start bread or add to your bread  recipes. I had a starter that I had alive for 5 years and then we moved so I had to let it go. I had previously created my starter with a bit of warm water and a package of yeast and flour and then just kept it going.
This starter is made with yeast that is on  organic apples. Yeast is naturally on some fruit and some vegetables like apples, grapes or red cabbage. I have used organic apples and some filtered water plus an organic flour. I like this type of sour dough starter because it retains a slight apple essence when you bake your bread. 
This is a 5 day project however, it only takes a few minutes of activity each day.
You will need:
3  organic apples – peeled with a bit of the fruit on the peel
1/2 cup of warm filtered water
2 tbsp of flour- you can use organic white or a rye or whole wheat
second day
1 more apple peeled with some of the fruit attached to the peel
2 tbsp flour
third day
1 tbsp flour
fourth day
1 cup warm water
1 more apple peeled with some of the fruit attached to the peel
1 cup flour
Day 1: peel some unwashed organic apples along with some of the fruit. There is natural yeast that is attached to the skin of the apples and well as some in the air. I add the peels to a bowl along with the warm water.
Sprinkle the flour over the apples and warm water and stir. Flip the peels to be touching the liquid. You want the yeast to ferment with the flour and the sugar in the fruit. Leave uncovered on the counter for 12 hours.
Day 2:  discard the peel and add a bit more flour and a new apple peel then leave overnight again. This time cover with plastic wrap.
Day 3: discard the peel and add 1 tbsp of flour, stir and leave covered for another day.
Day 4: I am starting to see little bubbles  which indicates fermentation. Smell it. It should smell yeasty and like apples. If it smells bad start again.
add 1 cup flour, 1 cup warm water and another apple peeled. stir and cover with plastic wrap for another day.
Day 5: your starter should be active and bubbly. You can now store in a sealed container I like to use glass. You can keep it in the fridge and then you need to feed it once a week. You simply remove from fridge, smell it to make sure it does not smell bad, it should smell sour and of apples. Stir it because the liquid will separate to the top. Allow to come to room temperature, and then remove 1 cup of your starter and use in your favourite bread recipe and then replace the amount you removed with 1 cup warm water and 1 cup flour to keep it going. Let it start to bubble again before putting it back in  the fridge. Once it is active you can keep it alive for years as long as you keep feeding it. Do not let the sour dough starter come into contact with metal as it is very acidic. I like to store it in a glass jar in the fridge- this way I can see it and it reminds me to use it and keep it going. I like this recipe because it will continue to hold on to the apple essence even as it ages. 
I will make some bread in another post with the sour dough starter.

Piccalilli Chutney

Piccalilli is a typical British condiment normally served on cold meats and cheeses and originates from  Indian influences and flavours. It is essentially an Indian Pickle made from pickled vegetables, spices and fruit. Normally it is quite yellow from lots of mustard and turmeric and usually has larger chunks of pickled vegetables in it. My version is more of a cross between a Chutney and a Piccalilli. I like the ingredients finer which creates a smooth  relish or chutney or piccalilli. It’s full of vegetables, some apple, hot chillies and Indian spices. Perfect on so many things and keeps for ages in the fridge. I am totally hooked on it.

try it on a pizza or add a layer to your grilled cheese, or just to a chunk of cheese or your next sandwich. It’s not too hot but,  there is some heat with tons of flavour!!

Make it chunky or fine add more mustard, turmeric or chilies…… just try it.

You will need:

  • 2 onions – 1 red and 1 white chopped in large pieces
  • 2 apples – chopped in chunks – you can leave skin on 
  • 6-10 hot chilies – I like to use a variety for depth of heat/flavour
  • 1 cup cauliflower – chopped (I used a broccoflower or green cauliflower)
  • 2 small lemongrass inner stalks- chopped
  • 2 celery stalks-chopped
  • 2 tomatoes – chopped
  • cover with cold water and 3 tbsp salt.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds (you can increase to 2 tbsp if you want more)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin 
  • 1/4 fresh grated nutmeg
  • 4 cloves garlic- chopped fine
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger – 1 tbsp grated fine and 1 tbsp chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp Moroccan Spice seasoning – if you have it! 
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey

Step 1: rough chop all the vegetables, chilies and fruit you want to include. Place in a large bowl with cold water to cover and add a few tbsp salt. Leave for 1-2 hours. Drain and rinse to remove salt.
Step 2: add all vegetables and fruit to food processor to create fine dice. Set aside.
Step 3: chop tomatoes if you wish to have larger pieces -I like the contrast in texture and colour.
Step 4: in a hot pan add olive oil , then mustard and cumin seeds. Let fry for a few seconds and add remaining spices garlic and ginger
This is an optional item if you can find it. I like the cinnamon and other spices in this Moroccan spice blend.
Step 5: add remaining ingredients to spices. Add vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and honey to combine.
Step 6: add chopped vegetables and fruit and cook for 20- 30 minutes until much of the water has cooked out of the vegetables and it starts to thicken slightly and soften.
cool and store in a glass jar or container that can be kept in the fridge for weeks.
serve it on cold meats, cheeses etc…
I added it to some chicken and created a pizza which I also topped with the piccalilli! Spicy and bold and truly delicious.

Hot Chili Condiment

Lately, I have been crazy for hot chilies. I am not normally someone who is a chili head but, maybe I am changing with old age! I understand why some people just go nuts for them. This recipe is a medium heat however, you could use habaneros or other extremely hot chilies to kick it up a notch.

You can add this condiment to burgers, stir fry dishes, eggs or mix in mayonnaise as a topping. You can use it when you want some added heat and flavour. I use it all the time and it keeps for ages in the fridge.

You will need:

  • a variety of chilies
  • 3-4 green onions
  • a handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • olive oil
  • lime juice
  • salt
Step 1: take a variety of hot chili peppers and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add some garlic cloves. 
Step 2: roast them at 375 degrees F for approx 10 minutes. I don’t want them completely cooked. I just want to be able to peel some of the skins but, I still want some of the peppers somewhat raw. In fact you can do this recipe with raw chilies.

Step 3: I remove the stems and seeds and peel some of the chilies with the tougher skins. If it doesn’t peel then leave it and toss in the food processor along with the roasted garlic, fresh garlic, green onions, cilantro, sugar, lime juice and salt. Process until fine.

Pour into a covered container and top with olive oil. Keep in fridge and add to anything you like.  You will be amazed at how often you will use it when you know it’s there.

Chili Pork Burgers

I make a spicy chili paste in the food processor and then add some to the burgers and even mix some in mayonnaise for the topping. Get some good quality ground pork add a few spicy seasonings and some grated apple to contrast and you have an awesome burger.

You will need:

Chili Paste

  • 3-4 different fresh hot chilies of your choice (stemmed and seeds removed if you want to have less heat)
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1 clove fresh garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • a few tbsp of olive oil to top paste
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 apple -grated
  • 1 clove garlic -crushed
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chili paste (above)
Take a few different chilies a variety is best.
some roasted garlic (you can buy them in oil or make them)
Step 1: in a food processor add chilies, roasted garlic, fresh garlic, cilantro, thyme and sugar. Process until chopped to a fine dice. You can store in covered container with some oil on top in fridge. I use this in meat, on sandwiches, mixed in mayonnaise etc..
Step 2: in a medium bowl add pork, chili paste, grated apple, crushed garlic, soy and sesame oil.
 Mix to incorporate.
Step 3: form into patties and let come to room temperature before grilling.
I have added some chili paste to mayonnaise to create a topping and served this moist, spicy burger with some fries and a fresh salad.

Breaded Broccoflower

great seasoning and wonderful crunch make the coating perfect for the soft interior
I saw this beautiful green Broccoflower in the grocery store. It also had the label Green Cauliflower on the plastic wrap and is a cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower. I partially boiled it then breaded and fried it in olive oil. I added lots of  herbs de provence and then finished it with some grated Parmesan. It makes a wonderful appetizer or a delicious side. You have to try it.
The flavour is bright with the herbs and the crunchy coating is a nice contrast to the creamy soft inside. 
You will need:
  • a head of broccoflower or cauliflower
  • 1 – 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs de Province
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • salt/pepper
  • grated Parmesan to finish
  • grapeseed oil for frying
Step 1: clean and cut broccoflower into similar sized pieces.
Step 2: boil or steam broccolflower until cooked through. You can slightly under cook it because it will also be fried and you do not want to over cook it so it turns to mush or starts falling apart.
Drain and let cool slightly before breading.
Step 3: in three bowls prepare the breading station:
Flour bowl -with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper
Egg bowl – with a tsp of water or milk
Breadcrumb bowl – with fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, dried herbs de Provence and granulated garlic
Step 4: add each piece to flour and shake off excess before moving into egg mixture and then toss into breadcrumbs. Once all pieces are breaded heat oil in a small pan or pot. I normally fry in a saute pan with enough oil to come up to approximately halfway up the broccoflower so I am pan frying and turning it a few times so all of the broccoflower gets browned.
Once fried to a nice golden remove from oil and place onto paper towel to drain. Immediately grate some Parmesan over the hot broccolflower and sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper.
I enjoyed them as an appetizer by serving along with some mayonnaise that I added some hot chili paste to for some added zip.