Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Baked Halifax Meat Egg Rolls
Growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia I was lucky enough to experience many amazing gastronomical creations that were not available elsewhere. My three top food items were:

  • Moon Mist Ice Cream - a combination of grape, banana and bubblegum flavours - the day I recently found out that Save-on-Foods carries it way out here in Vancouver was a very happy day indeed!!!!
  • Donairs - Halifax has the BEST donairs in the world. I miss them. I read that King of Donairs is expanding west. I hold out hope that some day they will open a shop out here on the west coast. 
  • Meat Egg rolls - Here is something that I have never found outside of Halifax - egg rolls made from a meat paste. No visible veggies, just meat. They are more flat than round and they are soooo good. Below is a recipe that is as close as I can come up with (based on a compilation of other recipes) to the memories of my childhood. Any other Haligonians out there missing their childhood egg rolls?

Makes 10 egg rolls.
Time: 40 minutes (20 prep; 20 bake)


1 lb ground pork
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
2 tbsp cornstarch
1-1/2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp garlic, chopped
10 egg roll wrappers

extra oil for brushing


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Heat large pan over medium high heat and and oils.
  3. Add pork, salt, pepper, and onions. Brown pork until cooked through – about 10 minutes.
  4. Add celery, cabbage, and five spice powder and cook until vegetables are soft – about 5 minutes.
  5. In a small, bowl combine cornstarch, soy sauce and water.
  6. Add to pan along with garlic, cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Take off heat.
  8. Place pork mixture in food processor and pulse until a smooth paste is formed.
  9. Place 3-4 tbsp of meat mixture in the middle of an eggroll wrapper.
  10. Brush beaten egg along the outside of the wrapper (about an inch wide).
  11. Fold one end of the wrapper over the long side of the mixture and press down. Then fold the other long side over that (like an envelope fold). Don’t make them too tight – they might burst.
  12. Fold the ends over about half an inch – all seams should be on one side of the egg roll. If they don’t stick you can add a bit more egg wash to make ends stick.
  13. Brush oil over both sides of egg roll and place on baking pan, seam side down.
  14. Bake for twenty minutes, flipping at 10 minutes.
  15. Serve with plum sauce or for something different serve with mango chutney!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

S'more Tarts - A Grown Up Treat

I love s'mores! Who doesn't, right? But sadly, we don't have access to a roaring campfire all that often. These individual tarts are a great way to bring back the s'more feeling when you can't make it outside (and bonus you can avoid all the smoke and ash of a real camp out).

This sour cream ganache has a tart/sharp flavour to it and is very rich! I think you could serve two people with one individual tart, if desired.

Makes 4, four inch tarts.


1-1/4 c graham crackers
1/4 c coconut
1/2 c unsalted butter, melted


  1. Combine all three ingredients in a mixing bowl. 
  2. Remove two tablespoons of crumb mixture and set aside.
  3. Press into 4 mini tart pans (10cm/4 inches each) - as compactly as possible.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.


1 cup full fat sour cream at room temperature
210 grams dark chocolate, broken into small pieces


  1. Melt chocolate in double broiler.
  2. Take off heat and stir in sour cream until smooth.

Instructions - final steps

  1. Spoon ganache into graham tarts and smooth.
  2. Place mini marshmallows over ganache to cover tarts.
  3. Set oven to broil with rack about 4 inches from burner.
  4. Place all tarts on a rimmed baking pan and place under broiler. 
  5. Carefully watch until marshmallows are golden brown. You may have to remove individual tarts if you find some browning faster than others.
  6. If desired, drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with left over crumbs.
  7. Can be left covered at room temperature for up to 6 hours.
Too many marshmallows? Never!
Decadence at its best!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hummus and Kale Salad Recipe

Remember when everyone was in love with kale?? Well, honestly I did not jump on the bandwagon because I just didn't like it even though I wanted too. But I didn't like it raw, I didn't like it steamed, or stir-fried or baked.
And then the love fest with kale seemed to die down a bit.

Jim Gaffigan and kale:

Of course, that's when I finally found a kale dish I like, no, love.

One afternoon while walking on Granville Street and spending too much money and time shopping, I realized I was hungry. Hungry to the point of not caring what I ate. I grabbed a salad at a specialty grocery store without really looking.....turned out it was a hummus and kale salad.

Obviously, I didn't expect to like it but thought it would take care of my hunger and then figured I'd grab a coffee to cover the kale aftertaste. Except, I liked the salad. Mind blown. Today, I made my own simple version - chopped kale mixed with my favorite commercially made hummus. It's great on its own or with grilled chicken thrown in. Simple. Delicious.

PS - bonus -  kale is such a sturdy green that this salad will last 2 days in the fridge before it wilts!

Serves four as a side dish.


1 bunch green kale, chopped small
1 cup hummus
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped


In a large bowl, mix the kale and hummus together.
Add red pepper and onions. Mix.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Kefir Rye Soda Bread Recipe

With St Patrick's Day just around the corner, I thought I'd share this easy, no yeast recipe for soda bread. It will go perfectly with Guiness Irish Stew or, heck, with a slab of butter and jam! If you don't have kefir, buttermilk can be substituted.


1-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cup plain kefir


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flours, oats, baking soda and salt.
  3. In another bowl or large measuring cup, mix kefir and egg.
  4. With a fork, stir wet into dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
  5. Flour hands and shape the dough into a flat, round loaf.
  6. Place on floured or corn meal sprinkled baking sheet.
  7. Flatten into a disc that is approximately 4-5 cm high.
  8. Score a cross into the dough with 1 cm deep cuts.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped.
  10. Transfer to a wire rack and cover with a tea towel (keeps it soft).

Monday, March 7, 2016

Brown Sugar- Spice Cookies Recipe

These cookies are simple, crispy yet chewy, buttery, and sweet - perfect in a lunch for the kids, or as a treat with your afternoon coffee. They also make great ice cream sandwich cookies.

Adapted from a recipe by Serious Eats. I like to add my favorite spices to this - cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. I also will often use 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 cup all purpose flour. It adds a bit of fiber and I like the texture of the cookie with the pastry flour. 

Leave some room around each cookie as they do spread. This recipe makes two pans of cookies (12 on each pan) so I refrigerate the second pan while the first bakes. It helps ensure the second batch doesn't spread too much.

Quantity: about 24 cookies

  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (7 ounces; 200 grams)
  • 1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar, divided (10.5 ounces; 300 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (3g)
  • 1 large egg (50g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (10ml)
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour (285g) or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour plus 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (4g)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (2g)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
  2. Mix butter, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add in egg and vanilla and stir.
  4. Add to the bowl, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom and gently mix until combined.
  5. Pour 1 cup raw or turbinado sugar into a separate bowl.
  6. Scoop dough using a 1 inch cookie scoop, or about the size of a walnut sized and gently roll in sugar. 
  7. Place on cookie sheet and press down slightly to ½ inch thickness. Place 12 on each pan.
  8. Bake about 10 minutes - until golden edges appear and the tops have puffed and crinkled a bit.
  9. Let cookies cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Messy, Mouthwatering Drippy Beef Buns

This messy, drippy beefy sandwich is great on any rainy, cold day...or any other day for that matter.

We've had lots of beef dips before but never with peperoncini peppers until today - you can thank Ree Drummond for that! If anyone in your house doesn't like the peppers (they are quite mild) they are easy to pull out.

Based on a recipe from Pioneer Woman.


2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 lb blade pot roast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
2 cups beef stock
1-1/2 cups water
1 tbsp ground rosemary
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1 375 ml jar of pickled peperoncini peppers (12 ounces)
dash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 drops liquid smoke (optional)

2 medium onions, diced
1 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt

8 crusty buns


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C.
  2. Season the roast by sprinkling salt and pepper evenly over it.
  3. Add the butter and oil, over high heat, to a medium sized dutch oven or oven proof pot.
  4. When the pot is very hot (almost smoking), seer the beef on all sides. You want a beautifully brown, caramelized colour on all sides.
  5. Once seared, remove beef from pot and remove left over oil/butter. You don't have to clean the pot, just get rid of the extra fat.
  6. Add back the beef, beef broth, water, rosemary and garlic.
  7. Remove the stems, if desired, from the peppers (I usually just pull them off) and add them and all the juice from the bottle into the pot.
  8. If desired, add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke.
  9. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat.
  10. Turn off heat, cover and place in the oven for 3-1/2 to 4 hours. To test: The beef should easily pull apart with a fork when done.
  11. You can remove the beef to another bowl to pull apart or shred the beef (if your roast was held together by string - remove it!) with two forks or just keep it in the cooking liquid.
  12. Heat saute pan over medium heat and add butter.
  13. Add onions and salt.
  14. Saute until golden brown, approximately 10 minutes.
  15. Slice buns (you may want to take out some of the bread so you have room for more meat!) and pile with meat and onions. Add some extra beef cooking liquid to make a moist, drippy, beautiful mess of a sandwich!

If you want to make this the day ahead of time, complete step #10. Take out the peppers, cool and refrigerate overnight (beef and peppers separately). The next day, use a spoon to remove the layer of fat that congeals on top and discard it. Add the peppers back into the pan and reheat on stove top over medium heat. Go to step #11.

You can also toast your buns before loading them with meat - this is a good tip if your buns are really soft.


Fresh rosemary.
Ground rosemary.
Spicy but not super hot.
Mouthwatering, right?
Practically falls apart.