Sweet Potato Muffins


These are moist and delicious like a carrot cake. They are made with healthy sweet potatoes and good olive oil. Just cause it’s a muffin doesn’t mean it can’t have some benefits. This is a half recipe that makes 6 muffins which I find is perfect for two, enjoyed over a few days. They stay nice and moist .



You will need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sweet potato puree/mash
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla or rum (I used my homemade vanilla rum)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 cup blood orange avocado oil)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar and 1-2 tbsp orange juice or maple syrup just until makes a thick glaze to drizzle on tops.



Step 1: peel and steam or boil sweet potato until soft. In a small bowl add dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Mash sweet potato with a potato masher or food processor until smooth puree.



Step 2: Heat oven to 350 degrees and get 6 large muffin cups ready. I use parchment liners. In a large bowl add sweet potato puree, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, egg and olive oil. You can use some orange flavoured avocado oil and some olive oil or all olive oil. Mix well with a whisk.



Step 3: add flour mixture and fold in with a spatula until incorporated. Do not over mix.



Step 4: scoop with an ice cream scoop into cups.



Step 5: bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool.




Drizzle glaze on top and bite it!




Vegetable Bolognese with Fresh Pappardelle


This is a perfect pasta for a hearty meatless meal. it is also a good way to get loads of vegetables into your family without them knowing it. You process everything in a food processor so it is very fine and it cooks until it is thick and meaty. I have prepared fresh pasta but, you can easily replace with a good quality store bought fresh.



You will need:

  • 1 oz dried mushrooms = about 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 5-6 fresh cremini mushrooms
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small fresh chili – medium heat
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 red wine
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • water (you might need 1/2 cup to keep sauce from going too dry while vegetables get soft)
  • fresh basil to serve
  • freshly grated Parmesan to serve
  • more extra virgin olive oil to serve.


  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup semolina flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

OR use store bought fresh pasta



Gather all your ingredients.



Step 1: if you are making pasta. Add all ingredients to a food processor and turn on until a ball forms. This will take less than 1 minute. Wrap in plastic to let rest 30 minutes.



Step 2: take your dry mushrooms and add to boiling water. Set aside 5 minutes.




Step 3: take carrot, celery, onion, red pepper and chili. Pulse until fine. Remove and place in a hot pan with a generous amount of good olive oil.



Step 4: pulse fresh mushrooms, garlic and fresh herbs until fine. (I didn’t even clean out the machine from the first chop)



Step 5: cook the carrot mix on medium high heat for 10 minutes to let much of the water evaporate. Add Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.



Step 6: add mushroom mix cook 5 minutes.



Step 7: add Worcestershire, balsamic, tomato paste and red wine. Let cook 10 minutes until almost dry.



Step 8: add a bit of milk (any kind) and then water to make a sauce. Cover and cook on low for 20 minutes checking from time to time to see if you need more water. Taste it and adjust salt and pepper as necessary.




Step 9: prepare pasta. I have a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid mixer however you can roll out and slice by hand to form thick ribbons. You can also prepare your store bought fresh pasta if you want to skip this step.






or thick pasta!! Make sure you save some pasta water to toss your thick Bolognese with the pasta. Add some fresh grated Parmesan, parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.


























Minestrone Soup


It is the first snow of the season today and this is the perfect meal! This is a filling vegetable packed  soup. Hearty and satisfying on a cold evening. A slice of crusty bread and you have a very good meal.



You will need:


  • 2 slices bacon/pancetta or smoked turkey
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley and basil combination
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks-sliced
  • 2 carrots-sliced
  • 1 leek
  • 5-6 small potatoes – sliced
  • 1 litre chicken/beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 small fresh tomatoes
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning spices
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup orzo or small pasta
  • 1 14oz can of white beans – rinsed
  • 3 brussel sprouts-sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil




gather all your ingredients.



Step 1: chop a bit of smoked bacon, turkey or pancetta.



Step 2: puree onion, garlic, parsley, basil and celery stalks in food processor.



Step 3: add to a large pot with olive oil bacon and saute 10 minutes.



Step 4: add sliced carrots, leeks, potatoes and cook another 5 minutes.



Step 5: add chicken broth.



Step 6: puree tomatoes in food processor.



Step 7: add tomatoes, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and bay leaves. Cook


Step 8: rinse beans, chop brussel sprouts, kale and more basil and parsley. I placed herbs in a small bowl with some a bit more great extra virgin olive oil.



Step 9: in the last 10 minutes before serving add remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.



Prepare to feel warmed!!



Spicy Turkey Steamed Buns



These little steamed buns are like the pork buns you get in Dim Sum restaurants but, they are made with turkey. You can cook the meat one day and  the dough on another day. You will not be able to eat just one! YUM!



You will need:


  • 450 grams turkey breast or thighs – chopped into chunks
  • 1 onion- chopped fine
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 1 small fresh chili- chopped fine
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
  • 1 tsp Ancho chili powder
  • 5 Szechuan peppercorns – crushed
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • beer -enough to cover meat (1 small bottle)


  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil




Step 1: add yeast, water, honey and olive oil to a large bowl. Wait 5 minutes to make sure yeast activates by floating to the top. Add flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon in bowl until the dough becomes too stiff. Turn out onto a counter and continue to mix and knead with your hands until you form a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and let rest in fridge 1 hour.



Step 2: chop turkey into large chunks.



Step 3: chop onion and garlic.



Step 4: in a small pot cook onions in olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes until just starting to brown.



Step 5: add garlic and chopped chili pepper. Cook another 5 minutes.



Step 6: add turkey.



Step 7: add spices, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, hoisin, Worcestershire, sesame oil, bay leaves and rice wine vinegar.



Step 8: top with enough beer to just cover meat.



Step 9: slowly cook on medium-low for 2 hours with the lid on until meat just tears apart.



Step10: remove the meat from broth. Discard bay leaves.



Step 11: shred turkey.



Step 12: cook broth for a few more minutes to thicken and form a thick dipping sauce.



You could put in the fridge to cool or to assemble the next day.



Step 13: divide dough into 6 balls. Roll out but keep quite thick so filling stays contained.



Step 14: place some cooled meat in centre and seal bun.



Step 15: spray or grease cupcake papers or make squares of parchment paper to place buns on. Place in steamer.



Step 16: place steamers over gently boiling water and cook 15 minutes.































Welsh Rarebit



This is a jacked up melted cheese with great big flavour from the beer, aged cheddar and mustard. You are going to love it. It can easily be made ahead and kept in the fridge for a few days. When you make a nice bowl of soup get out your cheese spread and make up a few slices of crunchy toast to go with it. Delish!!



You will need:


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sharp aged cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup beer (dark beer is preferred but any beer will work) or milk
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • sliced toasted bread


Step 1: gather all your ingredients. If you have a dark beer like Guinness use it.



I have added some of this smoked cheddar to my cheese mix for a bit of smoky flavour. You can use it or not.



Step 2: in a small sauce pan add butter, flour, mustard and Cayenne pepper. You can use Dijon if you don’t have dry mustard. Cook for 1 minute. Essentially you are creating a roux to thicken your cheese sauce.



Step 3: add beer or milk, Worcestershire, salt, pepper and let come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and add grated cheese. Slowly let the cheese melt into a thick sauce. Remove from heat and allow to cool. You can even put it in fridge for a few days.



Step 4: if it gets thick or grainy after being in the fridge you can heat the mix on the stove for a few seconds to loosen or place in a microwave for 10 seconds. It will then be able to be spread.



Step 5: slice hearty bread into slices. Toast and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top.



Step 6: spread on some of your cheese mix.



Broil for a minute (watch it!! or it will burn)



eat right away!!












Stuffed Turkey Cutlets


A small turkey breast can create several meals for two people. I have cut thick cutlets out of a small turkey breast, then sliced a pocket and stuffed with a typical bread stuffing. You could easily change this to a mushroom and cheese stuffing or ham and cheese. The leftover meat went to making an Asian steamed bun filling. Just because you only have one or two in the house doesn’t mean you can’t eat great meals that freeze perfectly for another day. One cut of meat can create several meals and is more economical.


You will need:



  • a small turkey breast
  • 2-3 slices of day old bread
  • 2 slices of bacon or pancetta
  • 6 button mushrooms
  • 1 small onion-diced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic -crushed or chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries – chopped
  • some fresh herbs – I used sage, rosemary and thyme chopped = 1 tbsp mix
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground poultry seasoning
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/4-1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • olive oil for sauteing turkey


Step 1: gather all your ingredients.



Step 2: chop bread into cubes and place in a small bowl. If it is stale that is perfect. If your bread is fresh toast the slices before chopping. Chop bacon, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cranberries and fresh herbs.



Step 3: add all chopped ingredients (except bread) into a small saute pan with a few tbsp of olive oil. Add poultry seasoning and salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the water has evaporated out of most of the vegetables and the bacon is browning. Add mix to cubed bread and some chicken broth to soften the bead and make the mix moist. Set aside. All the chicken broth should get absorbed after 10-15 minutes.




Step 5: Take the turkey breast and slice off the flat half of the breast. You want to use the thicker half on the left. Slice thick slices so that you can carefully cut a pocket to fill. I make 5 cutlets from the left side of this breast. I cut the pockets with a sharp small paring knife.



Step 6: place a few tbsp of stuffing in each breast. Do not overfill. I then placed a sheet pf plastic wrap over the tops and gently pounded the thick portion of the cutlets to try and make them more uniform. You don’t want to be too aggressive or you will pound all your stuffing out. I also did not seal the pocket with a toothpick although you can if you like.



Step 7: set up the standard breading station. Place each cutlet in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs making sure to seal pocket opening.



Step 8: in a large pan add enough olive oil to come up to halfway up the cutlets. When oil is hot saute each breast until browned. Season with salt and pepper as soon as they are done frying.  If you wish to prepare this in advance of serving you can place the cooked cutlets on a baking tray and let cool. You can then place in the fridge for up to a day then just take tray and heat in a 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes to re-heat.  I like to finish in the oven to make sure the turkey is cooked through and all are hot before serving.




I served mine with some homemade cranberry sauce, some more stuffing I had leftover and just sauteed in a pan, sliced potatoes and honey glazed carrots.















Beef Machaca Tacos


Machaca is a Mexican shredded beef. It is slow cooked and full of big flavour! I have used it in Tacos for one meal and then I used some leftovers on a pizza.


You will need:


  • 2 lbs/1 kg of beef chuck or ribs – cubed
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup beer
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 lime juiced (plus another 1/2 at the end)
  • 4 cloves garlic – chopped fine
  • 1 onion – chopped fine
  • 1 red chili – chopped fine
  • 2 small tomatoes – chopped fine
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp Frank’s Red hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • cilantro and lime to serve



Step 1: I used a combination of chunks of stewing beef and some beef short ribs. I always rinse under cool water and dry with paper towels.



Step 2: add smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and ground ginger to meat and toss to coat spices. It also keeps the meat dry (like when you sprinkle meat in some flour before searing) I also find the the spices bloom well in the oil when they are seared on the meat.



Step 3: add olive to hot pan and sear meat (in batches if you have to) to get good colour on meat. If you put too much meat in the pan you just steam the meat and you don’t get a nice colour. After the meat is nicely browned add all the meat to pan and pour in the beer to get the browned burnt bits off the bottom of the pan. I do not like to use a non-stick pan for this. You want the burnt bits so you can scrape them up with the beer after the meat has seared.



Step 4: add Worcestershire  sauce, lime juice, chopped fresh garlic, chopped onion, red chili, tomatoes, dry oregano, hot sauce and honey. Stir and cover with a lid.



Step 5: turn heat down to low and let slowly cook with lid on it for 2-3 hours until tender and falling apart.



Step 6: let meat cool slightly and then remove meat and then shred slightly (leave some chunks) and remove all the fat or nasty bits and any bones. Add reduced sauce as necessary to keep moist or you can use it as a sauce.



Step 7: reduce sauce on medium heat to get nice and thick. Set aside.



Step 8: in a bowl or food processor mix dough for flour tortillas. Let dough rest 1/2 in fridge then divide into 8 balls. Roll out each ball forming tortillas (I make mine quite thin). In a dry non stick pan place one tortilla in pan at at time to slightly cook on each side. Keep wrapped in foil to stay warm while you cook all of them. You can also slightly warm store bought tortillas this same way. If you have a gas stove you can start them in a pan and then cook right on the element, flipping often to avoid burning.



Step 9: prepare your salsa or guacamole (I mix both together) add your favourite taco topping like grated cheese, sliced lettuce, cabbage, sour cream, hot sauce, lime etc…



Step 10: assemble as you like it, wrap and eat it! REPEAT!



It also makes a great topping for your pizza. If you have leftovers they can be frozen if you don’t use them right away.


















Carrot Pineapple Coconut Cake



This is a very moist and delicious carrot, pineapple, coconut and pecan cake. It has the pineapple and olive oil which keeps it fresh even after a day or two.  This is a nice small cake or you can bake it as 6 muffins. In a house with two people a smaller dessert is a better size but, you could double the recipe for a large cake or many more muffins. It is made entirely in the food processor so it goes quick. The icing is a simple icing sugar and pineapple glaze that just takes a second to make but of course you could make a traditional cream cheese icing to go on top if you prefer.

You will need:


  • 2 large carrots- washed and grated = 1 cup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fruity olive oil
  • 1 tsp rum
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut


  • 1 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice from the can of fruit you used.




Step 1: heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a small 8 or 9 inch pan. My pan is 8 inches but, is very deep. If you have a 9 inch traditional round use it.



Step 2: place chopped carrots in a food processor and puree until fine.



Step 3: add eggs, olive oil, rum, both white and brown sugars, pineapple, cinnamon and mix well.



Step 4: add baking soda, salt, pecans, coconut and flour and mix a few seconds until blended.



Step 5: pour into prepared pan and bake in 350 degree F oven for 50-60 minutes depending on which pan you use. Place a toothpick in the centre of cake and if it comes out clean it is done. Let cool 5 minutes in pan. Run a knife around pan and flip onto a cooling tray.



Step 9: mix icing sugar and pineapple juice until you get a thick glaze but it must be able to pour. If it is too thick add a drop or two more of pineapple juice to thin out. Let cake cool and then pour glaze over top. I also crumbled one ginger cookie in my hands to create a bit of a crumb on top (optional)




















Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup


A nice creamy soup doesn’t have to be made with cream. I like to make many vegetable soups thickened with a handful of rice and for some added richness you can use almond milk or even a bit of milk or yogurt instead of high fat cream and you still get a thick rich warm soup to satisfy.


You will need:

  • 1 small garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 small broccoli
  • 2 tbsp white rice
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • salt/pepper to taste




Step 1: add onion, garlic and olive oil to a large pot. Saute for 5 minutes.



Step 2: slice cauliflower and broccoli into pieces.




Step 3: add to the pot. Add chicken broth and a bit of rice to thicken instead of using cream.  Cook 20 minutes until soft.



Step 4: place in blender and puree.




Place back in pot and add a bit more water or milk if you feel it is too thick. Taste and add salt and pepper.



Serve with a drizzle of olive oil or truffle oil and a shaving of Parmesan.








Varkens Stoofvlees – Belgian Pork Stew cooked in Beer


This recipe is for Theo. He said this is a traditional pork stew made in Belgium. He challenged me to find the best beer in his opinion a Flemish Grimbergen beer however, my selection of beers from Belgium was limited so I made it with Affligem. I bought 2 dark beers for the stew and two blonds for drinking with it! Plus I did all the prep work on the stove however then I cooked it in a slow cooker which worked out perfect.


You will need:


  • 1200 grams/1.2 kg or 2.5 lbs of pork shoulder or sirloin chops – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4-6 tbsp good olive oil or a combination of olive oil and butter to sear meat
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 small onions – processed in a food processor or chopped fine
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small apples
  • 2 cups of sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp dry mushrooms- re hydrated in boiling water 2 tbsp and chopped
  • a bunch of thyme
  • 3 cloves – crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 3 dark Belgian beers
  • 3 sliced bread -with Dijon mustard spread on them


  • more sliced mushrooms to saute just before serving cooked in olive oil/salt and pepper.
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


Step 1: slice pork into strips and then into chunks.



Step 2: dust meat lightly in flour and cook in a hot pan (I have used a cast iron pan because it gets nice and hot and leaves lot of crusty bits on the bottom of the pan) Do not over crowd the pan. Cook in batches so you can get some carmelization on the meat. Set aside.



Step 3: puree onions and garlic until finely minced.



Step 4: add onions and garlic to pan scraping up all the bits and cooking for another 5 minutes.



Step 5: puree apples.



Step 6: slice mushrooms and soak dry mushrooms in some hot water for 5 minutes then chop fine.



Step 7: add meat, onions and garlic, mushrooms and mushroom liquid to a large slow cooker.



Step 8: add 2 of the 3 beers now, plus the thyme and bay leaves, salt and pepper. Stir.



Step 9: spread Dijon mustard on 3 slices of bread.




Step 10: place mustard side down on top of stew and cook on high for 5 hours.



Step 11: after 5 hours stir and break up all bread to combine. Add last beer and taste. Adjust salt and pepper. Set for 1 hour on low.




I made some fried potatoes and served with a blond bitter beer which was perfect with the sweet, rich stew. The meat is fall apart delicious.  Pork, apples, mustard and beer all perfect friends.