Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Purple Yam Swiss Roll

I've seen purple yams/sweet potatoes used in many Filipino desserts here in Vancouver but I had never tried one myself. A vegetable as a dessert? Hmmm not sure about that ;) 

The thing that stands out the most is obviously the colour! I've never seen such a beautiful purple from a natural source before! Once steamed it is very sweet - more so than a traditional yam/sweet potato, I think - so it really does work well in desserts. The texture was certainly different than what I am used to in a dessert and at room temperature it wasn't my favorite BUT once refrigerated for a couple of hours it was great AND after our first night I froze the left overs and the next day it was heaven! It was very much like an ice cream cake! YUM.
Love the colour!

Roll the cake from the short end and leave half an inch of no filling at the
far side so it doesn't squish out.

Cut off the ends if you want a cleaner presentation.

I brushed some purple food gel onto my silpat
thinking it would  blend into the batter - it didn't!
But I  still like it!

So pretty!

I liked the texture best when frozen for a few hours.

Swiss Roll Cake (based on a recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

1/4 cup (33 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
2-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
icing sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Using a half-sheet pan (17-1/4 x 12-1/4) coat with non stick spray then place a silpat or nonstick liner on the pan. Spray the silpat with baking spray the contains flour.
  3. Separate 2 eggs, and place the yolks in a mixer stand bowl and the whites in another bowl and set aside.
  4. To the yolks add the two whole eggs, 1/2 c sugar and one more egg yolk. Beat this at high speed for 5 minutes. Add vanilla and mix in at medium speed. 
  5. You need the mixing bowl again so place the yolk mixture into another bowl. Clean the original mixer bowl really well as any fat left in the bowl will affect the beating of the egg whites.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and the cornstarch.
  7. Sift half the flour mixture over the egg yolk mixture. Fold it in very gently. Repeat with the remaining half of the flour.
  8. In the large, cleaned stand mixer bowl add the egg whites. Using the whisk attachment beat the whites on medium speed until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the whites form soft peaks. Add 1 tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form when whisk attachment is lifted. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture. 
  9. Pour the batter onto the baking sheet and smooth with an offset spatula. 
  10. Bake for 7-8 minutes until golden brown.
  11. Immediately loosen the sides of the cake from the sides of the pan. Gently slide the liner and cake out of the pan and on to a work surface. Sift the icing sugar over the cake. While hot, roll the cake from the short end making sure you include the liner as you roll. 
  12. Set the cake on a wire rack to cool for 45 minutes.

Purple Yam Mixture

1-1/2 cups purple sweet potatoes, peeled cut and steamed (they need to be hot)
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp cream cheese
1/2 c whipping cream


Using food processor with the steel blade attached, add all the ingredients. Process until smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Putting it all together

Unroll the cake and carefully detach the cake form the liner and them lay it back on the liner again. 

Spread the potato mixture evenly over the cake leaving 1/2 inch of no icing on one short end. Starting at the other end, tightly and firmly roll the cake. Place on a serving plate with seam side down. Refrigerate or freeze for at least an hour before serving.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Low Fat Greek Salad

Greek salad is one of my favourite meals especially during spring and summer. I love the crispiness of the veggies and the colours! I don't like many bottled dressings though so I often make my own oil/vinegar dressing. In this recipe though I use only reduced balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. By reducing the vinegar it becomes syrupy and much sweeter. I find that I don't need the olive oil - which is great if you are watching your calorie intake (and I would rather give up the oil than the feta!).

Serves 2.


2 large tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
1/3 c kalamata olives, pits removed and roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, grated
1 large bunch of fresh basil
3/4 c feta cheese (I use one that comes already cubed)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4-1/3 cup reduced balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Lightly toss all of the vegetables, olives, basil and feta together.
  2. Divide between plates.
  3. Drizzle vinegar and lemon juice on each plate.
  4. Salt and pepper as desired.

How to reduce vinegar:

  • Place two cups of balsamic vinegar in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat.
  • Bring to a simmer (not a full boil) and watch carefully for 20 or minutes.
  • I usually reduce it by half but it's totally up to you. Taste it every 5-10 minutes to see how it tastes.
  • Store in the fridge.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Easy Mini Caramel Cheesecakes

I make these mini cheesecakes when I want to serve a variety of desserts. I last made these at Christmas along with mini lemon tarts, and mini spice cupcakes with eggnog icing. By making  mini desserts after a large meal like Christmas or Thanksgiving your guests are more likely to try a small treat ... or three :) 

If you can't find dulche de leche condensed milk you can use regular..or learn to make your own here.

Preheat To: 300º F (150ºC)

Serving: 36 mini cheesecakes

1¼ cups (300 mL) graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) unsalted butter, melted
36 1-inch premade cookies (I like these with homemade ginger cookies)

2 pkgs (250 g each) regular or light cream cheese, softened
1 can (300 mL) Dulche de Leche Eagle Brand® sweetened condensed milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla extract

¾ c Caramel sauce or another can of dulche de leche to spoon on top (optional)

  1. Place about 36 mini foil or paper baking cups in muffin tins. 
  2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter; press firmly onto bottoms or simply place one pre-made cookie in each cup.
  3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy - about 4 minutes. 
  4. Beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. 
  5. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. 
  6. Mix in vanilla. 
  7. Spoon equal amounts of mixture into prepared cups.
  8. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until cheesecakes spring back when lightly touched. Cool thoroughly then refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  9. Top with a small spoonful of caramel sauce before serving. 
  10. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One Pot Dinner - Chicken & Vegetables

Our weeknights are busy...swim lessons, soccer practices, hockey games, the time we finish work, pick the kids up from school, and get them to their activities we don't really have a lot of time to make dinner! I bet it's the same in many of your homes too. Often, I try to make things on the weekend so we are ahead of the curve. Things like meat sauces, pesto, and roast pork can be made on Sunday and eaten throughout the week. 
One of my favorite do ahead meals is also a one pot wonder - chicken and veggies. Everything goes into my dutch oven and baked for 90 minutes. I add a few more veggies and finish it on the stove top. If I go light on the stock it's a hearty meal or if I add extra stock I call it a soup. Whatever I call it, it is easy and delicious!


1 chicken 3-4 lbs 
1 cup stock 
2 cups large diced carrots 
4 stalks celery 
2 medium onions 
3 bay leaves 
2 rosemary sprigs or 1 tbsp dried
1 tsp ground pepper 
1 tsp sweet paprika 
1 tsp dried oregano 
1/2 tsp ground chipotle 
1 head garlic 
2 tsp old bay (or 1 tsp salt) 
3 cups spinach leaves 
1 cup grape tomatoes 
1 cup stock


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. 
  2. Place 1 cup carrots, 2 stalks celery, garlic, 1 onion, bay leaves, and rosemary in large dutch oven or oven proof pot. 
  3. Mix. 
  4. Place chicken on top and sprinkle with paprika, oregano, chipotle, and old bay if using. 
  5. Cover and place in oven for 90 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove chicken and place on a plate.
  7. Strain veggies and juice. Squish veggies against strainer with a spoon to get all the juices out. Discard what's left in the strainer.
  8. Turn heat on stove to medium.
  9. Add the remaining veggies, spinach and tomatoes. Add stock. 
  10. Bring to simmer for 15 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile remove skin from chicken and pull apart being careful not to burn yourself! Add to the pot.
  12. Serve!