Sunday, July 31, 2016

Swiss Roll with lime curd and whipped cream

I first learned how to make a swiss roll using these two recipes. Since then I have gotten fairly good at making them.

Here is my latest variation: Swiss Roll with lime curd and whipped cream

Tips before starting: Gather all of the ingredients for both the sponge and the curd, measure them and do what preparation is needed so they are ready to go right into the mixture once you start. If you are using the optional whipped cream, put the mixing bowl, whisk, and leftover storage container in the fridge before you start on the rest of the preparations.

Start the sponge first and work on the curd while the sponge is baking. Save whipping the cream until after the sponge and curd have cooled and are ready for assembly.


For the sponge (cake layer)

  • parchment paper
  • 4 eggs, three whole eggs plus an egg yolk (reserve the extra white for the curd)
  • 160g caster sugar, plus extra for rolling
  • 160g all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt 

For the lime curd

  • 55g unsalted butter
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 2 limes, zest and juice
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white beaten

Optional: whipped cream


For the sponge:

  • preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6
  • line a 10½x16in (26x40cm) baking tray with baking parchment. If possible use a tray with raised edges. If you don't have one, use a slightly larger cookie sheet so the batter won't expand over the edges.
  • place a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. 
  • add the eggs and sugar to the bowl and whisk until lukewarm (~100F/38C). 
  • remove bowl and whisk until the mixture is very thick and leaves trails when the whisk is removed. This can take 10-20 minutes by hand.
  • fold in the sifted flour using a spoon with a slim profile (metal or silicone, not thick wood)
  • the batter will be about the consistency of crepe batter but with more air in it
  • spread the mixture thinly onto the prepared baking tray. I find pouring it from the bowl into the shape I want works best-- it is difficult to spread once poured. 
  • place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until it springs back when touched. Don't overtake or it will be difficult to roll.
  • lay a large piece of baking parchment over a tea towel and  dust the parchment with sugar. 

For the curd (while the sponge is baking)
  • set a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water
  • put the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice into the bowl
  • stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved 
  • once the sugar is dissolved, add the beaten eggs
  • stir occasionally, until the mixture shows signs of thickening
  • stir more regularly until the entire mixture has thickened
  • transfer to a clean bowl to cool (this speeds the cooling process)

Final steps for sponge
  • once the sponge is baked, tip it out onto the dusted baking parchment and carefully peel off the baking parchment it was cooked on.
  • roll the sponge while it is still hot. Start from the short end and roll the parchment up with the roll so it will unroll nicely later. Use the towel to help protect your fingers and to hold the final roll together while it cools. Don't roll the towel up inside the roll. 
  • set the sponge aside to cool with the curd-- approximately 30 minutes


  • if using whipped cream, whip it up now
  • un-roll the sponge and spread the lime curd thinly and evenly over it
  • spread a slightly thicker layer of whipped cream over the curd
  • re-roll the sponge, note that some of the whipping cream will squeeze out as you roll
  • trim the ends of the roll to create a neat finish and give yourself a little treat
  • dust with icing sugar or pipe some of the extra cream on as a decoration or leave plain

Store in the fridge in an air tight container or wrapped in clingfilm when not serving. There will be left over cream and lime curd. Store both in airtight containers in the fridge as well.

Previous variation: Swiss roll with cinnamon, coffee, and hazelnut

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Madeira Cake - Modifed

Inspired by this recipe, I tried my hand at making Madeira cake. The first time I forgot to add the baking powder as the recipe called for self-rising flour and I used regular all purpose flour. 

The second time I made it I didn't read the recipe carefully as I was working and added the juice of an entire lemon along with the zest and forgot completely to add the sugar. It was awful.

The third time was the charm and it came out exactly right-- sweet and tasty and a delicious recipe.

That said, it was pretty sweet.  Also I've been working on ways to help my vegetarian housemate get more Omega3s in her diet and one of the ways has been to add ground flax seed to dishes she eats. The flax seed can add a nice nutty taste to things which I thought would go nicely with this cake.

I changed the almonds in the original to walnuts, again to improve the Omega3 content and also because I thought they might meld nicely with the flax seed and with the banana that I swapped in for some of the sugar and some of the butter.

This may be drifting closer to banana bread, but it came out tasting better than any banana bread I have ever tried to make.

  • 115g softened butter
  • 1 (~95g) banana, peeled, very ripe
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 30 g flax seed, ground/milled
  • 225g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 50g ground walnuts
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 1 med unwaxed lemon, zest only
  • (Optional: 2 tsp Grand Marnier)
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. 
  • Line a bread loaf pan with baking parchment
  • Warm the butter until soft and set aside (melted butter also works).
  • Grind the walnuts in food processor or chop very fine with a knife
  • Zest the lemon
  • Add the eggs to the lemon zest and whisk until the eggs are throughly beaten
  • Mix the banana, sugar, flax seed, flour, baking powder and walnuts together until well combined
  • Add the egg/lemon mixture and butter and stir until just mixed
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for a total of 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Leave to set in the pan for a further 15 minutes
  • Move to a wire rack to cool completely
  1. Swap the lemon zest for orange zest.
  2. Use a combination of 65 g avocado, 50 g butter and bake at 320F for 60-70 minutes

Monday, July 11, 2016


The base of my waffle recipe came from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian but I've tweaked it to get it where I want it and now it is very yummy.


  • 200g all purpose flour
  • 50 g milled flaxseed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 330 ml sour cream
  • 110 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • Grapeseed or other neutral oil for the waffle iron


  • Brush oil on the waffle iron and start it heating
  • Melt the butter and set aside to cool
  • Separate the eggs and whisk the whites to soft peaks (if you have a stand mixer the mixer can do this for you while you work on the rest of the recipe)
  • Sift the flour into a mixing bowl
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir until well combined
  • In a separate bowl stir together the sour cream, milk, egg yolks, melted butter (should still be liquid-- just not hot), vanilla, and molasses
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir gently until well mixed
  • Gently fold in the egg whites
  • Open the waffle iron to let the smoke out and close it to reheat it to the proper temperature
  • Spoon the batter into the waffle iron and let cook (I set a timer for 4 minutes)
  • The waffles are done when they are golden brown and release from the top and bottom irons easily. It may take some experimentation to figure out the best time to leave them in for.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

If you don't have flaxseed you can replace it with flour. If you don't have molasses it can be left out.

Leftover waffles can be frozen and eaten later. I find that defrosting them in the microwave and then popping them in the toaster works well.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

My Kitchen Scale

Question: "Wondering if you can put in cups and tablespoons, etc, too for those who don't have a scale."

Short Answer: Maybe, if I have time.

Long Answer: Some of my older recipes are in US Customary Units and I have converted them to metric. In those cases I have left both measurements in place.

However, ever since I got a Scottish cookbook and had to weigh out my ingredients I've become a convert to using the metric system in my cooking and baking. I have two major reasons for my love of the cooking scale. 

The first is that it cuts down a great deal on the number of dishes I generate during cooking because I can put my mixing bowl directly on my scale and pour or scoop my ingredients directly into it. This means that I don't get all of my measuring cups dirty (and then have to wash them later).

The second is that it does away with measurements like 'tightly packed,' 'a scant cup,' and 'a heaping tablespoon' as 100 grams is 100 grams regardless of if an ingredient is fluffy or packed. I still get some natural variation as humidity and other random factors can affect the weight of things like flour, but I still find I get much more consistent results using a scale and the metric markings on my liquid measures. I haven't quite gotten to the point of weighing my liquid ingredients but my kiddo was showing me that with liquids like milk and water 1 ml of liquid equals 1 gram on the scale.

As I have been working out my own recipes I have being defaulting to using the scale and metric measurements and I don't always have the time to test a version using the US measurement system.

So, when possible, and when I have time, I'll try to include US Customary Measurements but when pressed for time I might just leave everything in metric and hope you will be interested enough in the recipe to look up the conversions if needed-- or to buy your own scale if you don't already have one around the house that you can press into service.

I resisted using the scale for anything but those first UK recipes for years and now I can't bake without my digital kitchen scale.

Homemade Granola

I started with the King Arthur Flour Cruncy Granola recipe, and while it was tasty, I found it to be too sweet and my family found that the added fruit could send it over the edge into sickly sweet. I also found that 18 cups was a lot to make and have room to store, so I started tinkering with the recipe after I had made it as written a few times.

Here is what I came up with after getting feedback from my family and reviewing several other granola recipes online:


  • 300 g (3 1/2 c.)rolled oats, uncooked
  • 100 g (1 c.) sliced almonds
  • 100 g (1 c.) chopped pecans or walnuts, or mix of both
  • 100 g (1 c.) sliced hazelnuts
  • 60 ml (1/4 c.) vegetable oil
  • 120 ml (1/2 c.) pure maple syrup
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp.) vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • Prepare a large (I use a bakers half sheet) baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper
  • Pre-heat the oven to 250F/120C/1/2gas
  • Mix the oats and nuts in a bowl large enough to fit all of the ingredients with room to stir-- mix until well combined
  • Mix the vegetable oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a small bowl and wisk together
  • Add the liquid to the dry mix and stir until the dry ingredients are evenly coated in the liquid
  • Spread evenly in the baking sheet and press flat
  • Bake for 40 minutes, turning the pan halfway through
  • Remove from the oven and let the granola cool in the pan
  • Store in an airtight container at room tempurate for several weeks (if it lasts that long!). I use a 2.8 l (3 qt) container to store mine


Mix a batch of your favorite dried fruit, chopped into edible bits, and use it to flavor the granola to taste. Keeping the fruit seperate helps control the sweetness of the granola.

Tools: large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, large baking sheet

Sunday, May 22, 2016

All-Fruit Smoothie

This makes about a liter of smoothie (4-6 servings). I'm trying making some ahead and freezing it in ice-cube trays. One batch fills two-twelve cube trays.  This is one of those, 'takes longer to clean up after' than it takes to make-- which is why I'm experimenting with freezing a batch at the same time I make a batch to drink.

  • 150 g. frozen orange juice concentrate (⅓ of a can)
  • 400 ml water
  • 1 banana
  • 150 g frozen blackberries
  • 150 g frozen blueberries
  • 150 g frozen raspberries

  • Set up the blender
  • Open can of orange juice and, while frozen, cut off a 150 g chunk and add to 400 ml of water. (The partial can can be stored in a zipper bag and kept in the freezer. This take up less space than making up the entire can)
  • Put the water, orange juice concentrate and banana in the blender and blend until well mixed
  • Add the frozen fruit in batches until the smoothie is blended to taste and texture. I find it necessary to let the blender rest for a few moments as I'm working, and to stir the mixture to keep the blender from just stirring the bottom half of the mixture.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Triple-chocolate scones

I have some recipes for scones that I love and a recipe for triple chocolate muffins that I love.

Scones are a lot less work so I combined them into a triple chocolate scone recipe. 


  • 250 g. all-purpose flour 
  • 70 g. brown sugar 
  • 10 g. cocoa powder 
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder 
  • ½ tsp. baking soda 
  • ¼ tsp. salt 
  • 90-100 g. Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled 
  • 75 ml. sour cream 
  • 75 ml. whole milk 
  • 30 g. unsweetened bakers chocolate, melted 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 
  • 200 g. semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 100 g. chopped pecans 


  • Pre-heat oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6 
  • Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl
  • Cut the butter into 1 cm cubes and cut into the dry mix until the butter looks like coarse crumbs 
  • In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl combine the sour cream, milk, melted chocolate, egg and vanilla until well mixed 
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until a ball of dough just forms. If using a stand mixer the sides of the bowl should come clean and most of the dough should collect on the paddle 
  • Add the chocolate chips and pecans and mix until just combined 
  • Lightly flour a work surface and flatten the dough with lightly floured hands until 1.5-2 cm thick 
  • Handle the dough as little as possible
  • Using a 5cm biscuit cutter, cut out rounds until all the dough is used 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the dough rounds on it about 1-2 cm apart 
  • Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean 
  • Transfer the scones to a rack to cool for at least five minutes to avoid burning your mouth on the melted chocolate chips 
  • Move them to an airtight container once they are fully cooled 
  • Enjoy
I like to use a liquid measure for the wet ingredients because I can use it to measure the sour cream and milk (which should come out to 150 ml total) and then add the other liquid ingredients. This way I don't have to wash an extra bowl and it pours much more cleanly into the dry mixture. 

I also find using a pastry mat really helps, both with keeping the dough from sticking to the counter and during clean up, since I can carry the mess to the sink instead of having to clean sticky dough off of the counter.

Note that if you don't have unsalted butter, leave the ¼ tsp salt out and use salted butter.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

I've been looking for a good mushroom and rice soup recipe for a while. Last time I visited my parents I tried making up my own from what we had in the house but I got a bit carried away with rice and lentils and ended up with more of a paste. It was very tasty and worked well for filling tortillas but it wasn't soup.

I've been watching episodes of America's Test Kitchen on Netflix and one of the episodes featured a wild rice and mushroom soup and while their version had many things that we can't or don't eat there were several ideas in it that got me started on my own version.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup


For the rice: 

  • 4 c water, heated to a boil 
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 cup three grain rice 
For the soup base:

  •  4 Tbsp butter, salted 
  • 1 pound Cremini mushrooms 
  • 1 cup celery diced 
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida 
  • 1 tsp red curry paste 
  • 1 tsp pepper 
  • 3/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/8 c. apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar 
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce 
  • 3 c. water from rice plus water to make up the difference 
  • 4 c vegetable broth 
  • 1/4 c. corn starch 
  • 1/4 c. dried shiitake mushrooms shredded in to small pieces or ground 
  • 1/2 c cream 
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest 


For the rice: 

  • Use an oven-safe pot and start the water boiling 
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375F 
  • Add the salt, thyme, bay leaf, basil, baking soda, and rice to the water once it is boiling 
  • Bring back to a boil 
  • Put the pot of rice in the oven for 35-55 minutes 

 For the soup base: 

  • Using a sauté or frying pan melt the butter 
  • Add the celery and asofoetida and sauté until the celery starts to soften 
  • Add the curry paste, pepper, and salt and stir until well mixed 
  • Add the fresh mushrooms 
  • Cook on high for 10-15 minutes until well browned 
  • Turn down the heat to low 
  • Add the shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce 
  • Mix the apple cider vinegar with 1/8 c water and the sugar Add the mixture to the pan and cook for 2 minutes 
  • Keep on low heat until the rice is done 
For the finished soup:
  • Once the rice is done strain the cooking liquid from the rice. 
  • Reserve the cooking liquid and set the rice aside. 
  • Using the same pot you cooked the rice in combine the sauteed mushrooms, the rice liquid (add water to the rice liquid for a total of 3 c.) and the vegetable broth and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add a mixture of 1/4 c. corn starch and 1/4 c water to thicken. 
  • Turn the heat down to low or off depending on how well your pot holds heat. 
  • Add the rice, cream, and lemon zest and let sit in the warm pot for 20 minutes before serving. 

Equipment needed: large sauté or frying pan, large oven-proof pot

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cauliflower Soup

While my housemate and I were staying at a hotel recently she had the hotel's Cauliflower Soup and raved about it.  Now cauliflower is one of many foods I don't tolerate well, but I have many friends who love cauliflower or use it as a substitute for potatoes for dietary reasons, so I thought I would take a stab at making cauliflower soup.

I went easy on the salt because my roommate had said that the hotel's version was a bit to salty and it is easy for folks to salt their own portion to taste but difficult to remove salt once it's in the soup.

After looking at several recipes, this is what I came up with:

Cauliflower Soup

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • ½ tsp. asafoetida
  • ½ tsp. celery seeds
  • 700 g cauliflower florets (two smallish heads), chopped into roughly 1-2 inch pieces
  • 1 L. vegetable stock
  • 150 ml double cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat the oil on medium in a large stock pot
  • Add the cumin, coriander, celery salt, asafoetida, and celery seeds and fry in the oil for a few minutes until well mixed and fragrant
  • Add the vegetable stock and stir until warmed
  • Add the cauliflower and bring to a boil
  • Turn the heat down until the soup is simmering and stir occasionally until the cauliflower is tender (8-10 minutes)
  • Take off the heat and let cool. I poured mine into a clean bowl to encourage it to cool more quickly
  • Once the soup is cool enough to handle safely, run it through a food processor in batches until it is all pureed (be careful not to overfill the food processor-- it can get messy if you do)
  • Put it back in the pot and add the cream, salt, and pepper
  • Reheat on low on the stove top until it is warm through
Serve warm to your cauliflower loving friends.

Tools: large stock pot, food processor

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pesto Pinwheel variation

I found this Pesto Pinwheel recipe while watching the Great British Bake-Off and was inspired to try my own version. I'm not a fan of the vegetables used in the original. The first time I made it I used broccoli, potato, carrots, celery and mushrooms and that worked quite well.  This time I went even further afield and tried making a pesto with spinach instead of basil and with a different mix of vegetables.  I'm still amazed at how easy this is and very glad I tried it the first time.

So here is my take on the Pesto Pinwheel:


  • 500g strong white flour (bread flour)
  • 10g table salt
  • 25g caster sugar (bakers sugar)
  • 10g yeast
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50 ml milk (I use whole milk)
  • olive oil, for greasing the bowl
  • 125 ml warm water

  • 1 c. celery, sliced
  • ¼-½ tsp. asafeotida
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 small-to-medium parsnips
  • 4 small carrots 
  • 1 large or 2 small beets
  • 100 g feta cheese
  • 50 g toasted walnuts

  • 25g walnuts
  • 25g Parmesan cheese (I used shredded)
  • 75 ml olive oil
  • 75-100g baby spinach
  • ¼ tsp. oregano
  • ¼ tsp. molasses

  • 1 egg
  • 10g walnut pieces
  • sprinkle of flaked sea salt
  • sprinkle of ground black pepper


  • Beat the eggs
  • Put the bread flour, salt, sugar, yeast, butter, beaten eggs, milk, and 25 ml of the warm water in a mixing bowl
  • Mix until combined (I used a mixer with a dough hook)
  • Add up to 100 ml of water until a soft dough forms
  • Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic
  • Lightly oil a large bowl and put the dough ball in to rise
  • Cover with cling-film and let rise in warm place for an hour or so

  • While the dough is rising work on the filling
  • Pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3
  • Peel and chop the carrots, beets, and parsnips into ¾ -1 in. pieces
  • Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender
  • Sauté the celery and asafoetida in the butter until the celery is translucent
  • Take the vegetables out of the oven and set aside to cool

  • Toast the walnuts for the filling and pesto in a dry pan on the stove-top on low heat. Set 50 g of the walnuts aside for the filling and use the remaining 25g in the pesto.
  • Put the the spinach, the walnuts, and olive oil in the food processor and process until very fine. If the processor is small you might need to divide the ingredients and do it in sections.

  • Finish the bread dough by knocking it back and kneading for 20 seconds before cutting it in two
  • Wrap ½ in a moisture-proof wrapper and set aside
  • Roll the other half out into a 30cm round
  • Let rest for 5 minutes, the dough will shrink back some
  • Roll out to 32cm and place on a large baking sheet
  • Spread 3 tablespoons of the 'pesto' on the dough, leaving the last inch or so clear
  • Pile the roasted vegetable feta, and walnuts in a dome on the dough circle
  • Roll out the 2nd half of the dough in the same way as the first half
  • Brush the edges of the base layer of dough with a little water
  • Carefully place the top layer of dough on the base and seal the edges
  • Place a small bowl over the middle of the assemblage
  • Cut the dough into 16 equal wedges from the bowl to the edge
  • Gently twist wedges in pairs away from each other once (this will make a sort of star pattern)
  • Set aside to rise for 30 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5

  • Brush the top of the dough with beaten egg
  • Sprinkle the walnuts, salt, and pepper on the center of the wheel
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes, covering with foil after the top is brown to prevent the twists from burning
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving

Tools: sauté pan, baking dish, baking pan, food processor, stand mixer

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Vegetarian Curry with Tofu

This is another of my go-to recipes.  It is quick and easy.  If you can chop vegetables and stir ingredients together you can make this.

The first time I made it, I used a recipe off of the back of a curry paste jar.  I've been tinkering with it ever since.

I usually cook as I go with this dish and find that it is ready just about the time the rice is.  If I'm not using the tofu I use the larger amount of vegetables listed. The tofu can be used raw or prepared ahead.  I like to fry it in oil to make it crispy, but that makes the dish take longer to prepare.

This is a very mild curry sauce.  If you like anything over one star at restaurants then you might want to spice it up.

This is all made in a single frying or saucepan, so make sure you pick one that is large enough to hold all of the ingredients.  I use an 11 x 2.5 inch sauté pan and if I stir carefully it doesn't spill over.

Vegetarian Curry with Tofu


  • 1 ½-2 c. dry rice (white, brown, or multi grain)
  • 2 - 13.5 oz. (400ml) cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. red curry paste
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 ⅓ Tbsp. brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 - 8oz. can bamboo shoots
  • 1 - 8 oz. can water chestnuts
  • ½ - 1 c. broccoli florets, cut to ½-¾ in. trees
  • ½ - 1 c. carrots, sliced or chopped in to ½ to ¾ in pieces
  • ½ - 1 c. sweet or snow peas, whole
  • 1 ½ c. Thai basil (optional)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • 1 pkg tofu, firm cut into ½-¾ in cubes (optional) 
  • Start the rice
  • Set a large pan with high sides or sauce pan to heat on the stove
  • Add the coconut milk stir occasionally as it comes to a simmer (about 5 minutes)
  • Mix the red curry paste, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl
  • Chop the broccoli and carrots
  • Add the curry mixture to the simmering coconut milk and stir until well mixed
  • If using tofu, add now
  • Bring the contents back to a very low boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add the vegetables, Thai basil, and salt and cook on low heat for 10 minutes

Serve with rice

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Monday, March 14, 2016


My housemate came up with this recipe.  It is based off of her mother's meatloaf and is very tasty, easy to make, and filling.

F'loaf (faux meatloaf)

  • 453g / 16oz cottage cheese, creamed
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 60g / ½ c walnuts, finely chopped
  • 90-95g / 3c cornflakes cereal
  • 200g / 1 c mushrooms (after cooking)
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • ¼ tsp thyme
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
Alternate spices (one time I didn't have any of the above spices and the following improvisation also worked):
  • ½-1 tsp salt
  • ¼-½  tsp dill
  • ¼-½  tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp yellow mustard seed (grind before using)
  • ¼-½  tsp black pepper
  • Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  • Wash the mushrooms and chop them into about ½ in (1cm) pieces, and sauté until cooked. You want fairly small pieces to start with so they will be the right texture in the F'loaf.
  • Mix the beaten eggs into the cottage cheese, add the walnuts, cooked mushrooms, and seasoning and stir until well combined. Add the cornflakes and stir gently until mixed in (try not to crush the cornflakes too much). 
  • Pour the mix into an oiled or parchment lined loaf pan.
  • Optional: spread a thin layer of catsup across the top of the F'loaf mix.
  • Bake for 40-60 minutes or until cooked through and set. It will still jiggle a bit when it comes out of the oven. 
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 20-30 minutes or until cool before serving. This will let it set up to be easier to cut into slices.
That's all there is to it!


It took me multiple tries to come up with a pancake recipe that gave me fairly consistent results.  I still have better luck with waffles but these are tasty and sometimes pancakes are where it is at. This recipes makes about 15, 3-inch diameter pancakes,


  • 1 ½ c. white flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ¾ tsp. double-acting baking powder
  • 1 egg 
  • 1-1 1/4 c. milk
  • 3 Tbsp melted butter 


  • Start the pan heating while mixing the batter if you are using a heavy pan. Otherwise, heat after the batter is mixed.
  • Sift the flour prior to measuring, then measure our the 1 1/2 c. flour.
  • Sift together the flour,  salt, sugar, and baking powder
  • In a separate bowl: 
    • beat the egg
    • add 1 c. of the milk (reserve ¼ c.)
    • stir in the  melted butter
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together lightly-- don't over stir.  If needed, add the ¼ c. milk to thin the batter.
  • Cook in a heavy skillet or on a griddle using butter or oil as needed depending on your pan's requirements.  
  • Let first side cook until edges begin to dry and bubbles rise through batter. 
  • Flip and cook second side until done.  

Best when eaten fresh from the pan.

Tools: Large heavy skillet or griddle, mixing and measuring tools.

Inspired by: "The Joy of Cooking"

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Wheatless Flatbread

Wheatless Flatbread

  • 2 c. rye flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 c. milk
  • 3 Tbsp Instant dry milk
  • 2 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil

  • Combine rye flour, salt, and baking powder
  • In a separate bow combine milk, dry milk, honey, and butter/oil
  • Mix dry and liquid together until a smooth dough forms
  • Grease a baking sheet with butter or oil
  • Spread the dough 1/2 inch thick on the cookie sheet
  • Bake at 230C/ 450F about 10 minutes until golden-brown or until a fork comes out clean.

Assorted Cobbler

This recipe, like the Universal Biscuits recipe, is a quick reference for making several different types of fruit cobbler depending on the type of fruit you happen to have.

As a side note, I have fairly bland taste in food-- many foods taste much more bitter or sweet to me than to my housemates so I tend to err on the side of less-is-more with both salt and sugar. I encourage you to try the recipe as is, and then adjust it to your own taste.

Assorted Cobbler

Ingredients for base:

  • 4 c. fruit, or enough to layer 1 to 1 ½ inches in the bottom of the pan
    • For berries add:
      • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
      • 1 ¼ c. water
      • zero to ¼ c sugar
    • For rhubarb / apples add:
      • 2 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
      • ⅔ c. water
      • ⅔ c. sugar
  • Let fruit mixture sit for 15 minutes to soak
  • Bake fruit mixture for 20 minutes at 200C/ 400F
  • While the fruit is soaking and baking mix a batch of the Universal Biscuits
  • Add drop biscuits to the top and bake for and additional 15-20 minutes or until golden brown
  • Pull from oven and let set for 15-20 minutes or until cool enough to eat
Serve with vanilla ice cream or with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. This can be eaten warm or cool and holds up well when stored in the fridge for a few days.

Tools: shallow glass baking pan (mine is 7 x 11 inches), baking parchment

Universal Biscuits

This is another of my early recipes.  For some reason baking was always easier for me than stove-top cooking and scones and biscuits were one of the first things I learned to make.  I remember my paternal grandmother teaching me to make her biscuits but I don't have her recipe.  However, I'm pretty happy with mine. I call them 'Universal Biscuits' because the dough can be sweetened for use on sweet dishes or spices can be added to better pair them with as savory dish.

Universal Biscuits

  • 3 ½ c. all purpose flour
  • 5 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ c. salted butter (if using unsalted then salt the batter to taste, or use sugar to taste for a sweeter biscuit)
  • 1 ½ c. whole milk (any milk works but the creamier the milk the creamier the biscuit)

Instructions for mixing:
  • Heat oven to 400F/ 200C
  • Mix the flour and backing powder
  • Add the salt or sugar if using
  • Cut in the butter until finely mixed. I use a stand mixer and let it run on low until it looks right- there shouldn't be any large clumps of butter showing
Instructions for shaping:
  • For drop biscuits
    • Drop dough onto pan using two spoons (one to scoop, one to scrape)
    • Dough blobs should be ~2-3 inches across
    • Bake
  • For cut biscuits
    • Form the dough into a ball and pat or roll to ½-¾ inch thickness
    • Cut with a biscuit cutter to desired size (1-3 inches)
    • Note: smaller-diameter biscuits will take less time to bake
  • Bake at 400F/ 200C for 15-20 minutes or until golden-brown on top
These are best served warm with butter but do hold up for a few days if stored room-temperate in a sealed container.

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy with optional Faux Sausage

For many years now, I have not been able to eat biscuits and gravy at restaurants because the gravy frequently has onion or garlic (or both!). In general, when eating out I find it safer to stay away from gravy or any savory sauces-- it's just to difficult to tell if garlic or onion power has been added.

Last year I knuckled down and came up with my own gravy so I could have biscuits and gravy at home.  I wrote this up back before I discovered the joy of cooking by weight (and using the metric system).

1 lb. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 c. celery, sliced
1/4 c. butter or olive oil
2 ½ c. vegetable broth
1/4 c. flour
½ tsp. sage
½ tsp. marjoram
½ tsp. thyme
¼ - ½ tsp. asafoetida
1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce

Make ahead:

  • Vegetable broth:  using the same or compatible spices. Note, if making broth to the purpose go easy on the salt-- the soy sauce adds a lot of salt later in the process.
  • Faux 'sausage': mix the 'sausage' with the same or compatible spices as the gravy uses.  I use a pastry blender to break up the tube of 'sausage'.
    • in 1 Tbsp of butter or oil, sauté the 'sausage' in the skillet
    • continue to break up the 'sausage' into bite sized pieces and cook until browned
    • set aside for later use.
Instructions for the gravy:

  • Chop the mushrooms and celery.
  • Melt the butter or heat the oil a large skillet and sauté the celery with the asafetida over medium heat
  • Add the chopped mushrooms to the celery and cook until the mushrooms start to soften
  • Add the vegetable broth, seasonings, and soy sauce and stir until mixed
  • Slowly add the flour, stirring well to prevent lumps.  Continue to stir until gravy begins to thicken
  • Bring briefly to a simmer and then reduce heat to low
  • Stir for 8-20 minutes until the gravy thickens
  • Add faux sausage if using, and let heat on low until 'sausage' is warmed through

Serve with biscuits, mashed potatoes, or anything else you like with gravy.  This keeps well in the refrigerator and can be reheated in the microwave.

Tools: large skillet

Griddle Scones: Plain Butter

After trying out Sue Lawrence's Oatmeal Bannocks and finding them very tasty. I decided to try other types of Scottish griddle scones.

Plain Butter Scones


  • 225g (8oz) white flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 50g (2oz) butter, unsalted
  • 50g (2oz) caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 Tbsp milk


  • Set a large frypan or griddle on low to heat
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together until well combined
  • Beat the eggs and milk together
  • Using your hands, rub the butter into the dry mixture until it look like coarse crumbs
  • Add the sugar until well mixed
  • Working gently, add the milk & egg mixture
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface
  • Pat into an 20cm (8 inch) round
  • Cut into 4 quarters
  • Cook in the pan or griddle for 4-7 minutes or until golden brown
  • Flip and brown the other side for 3-5 minutes

Eat with jam, cream, butter or the topping of your choice. They are best eaten right off the griddle.

Tools: large fry-pan or griddle

Cinnamon Coffee Hazelnut Swiss Roll

I was inspired to try this by first episode of The Great British Bake-Off (UK season 5) and discovered  two things: the excellence of using caster sugar in making desserts and how to make my own self-raising flour.

Cinnamon Coffee Hazelnut Swiss Roll

Ingredients: Swiss roll sponge
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • caster sugar to sprinkle on the baking parchment

Ingredients: filling
  • 300ml / 10 fl oz whipping cream 
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp coffee essence
  • 50 g. sliced hazelnuts
  • powdered (icing) sugar for dusting

Instructions: swiss roll sponge
  • Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6
  • Line 33x23 cm (13 x 9 in) shallow baking dish or swiss roll pan with baking parchment
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar with the stand mixer on a low-medium setting (pick a speed that you could do if you were whisking by hand). Whisk until the mixture becomes airy and when the whisk leaves a  tail of foam when pulled out of the batter.  This took about 5 minutes with a stand mixer
  • Add the cinnamon and whisk gently until it is fully incorporated
  • Using the sieve, add the flour to the egg mix and fold in gently with a spoon until no flour pockets remain
  • Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched gently
  • Sprinkle sugar on a second sheet of baking parchment laid on top of a tea towel
  • Turn the baked sponge on to the sugared baking parchment
  • Roll the sponge and baking parchment up into a tight roll but don't squish the sponge. Use the tea towel to help protect your fingers from the heat. Don't roll the towel into the roll
  • Cover the roll with the tea towel and allow to cool completely (about an hour)

Instructions: filling
Make the filling after your cake has been successfully rolled and cooled
  • Mix the whipping cream and sugar together
  • Whisk the whipping cream until it forms soft peaks
  • Add the coffee essence and whisk gently until it is fully incorporated

Instructions: assembly

  • Gently unroll the sponge
  • Spread a ½-¾ layer of the filling to the edges of the sponge
  • Sprinkle the sliced hazelnuts over the cream
  • Re-roll the cake as tightly as possible without squishing the sponge
  • Dust with powdered sugar
  • Put some of the left over filling into a pastry bag and decorate the top

This is best eaten fresh, but can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for 1-2 days

Tools: 33x23 cm (13 x 9 in) shallow baking dish or swiss roll pan, baking parchment, stand mixer, flour sieve, piping bag

Inspiration:  BBC Food Recipes - Cardamom, pistachio and coffee swiss roll

Swiss Roll, 2nd attempt (no powered sugar)

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Many of my favorite dishes are best eaten just after they have come off of the stove or out of the oven. My sleep schedule is often back-to-front of my family's-- as a result I've been trying to incorporate some recipes that can be eaten cold or are just as tasty re-heated. That way I can cook something everyone can eat when they are awake.


  • ¼-½ tsp. asafoetida
  • 50g butter
  • 1 head celery, sliced (~¼ inch or narrower slices)
  • 3 carrots, chopped (½-¾ inch chunks)
  • 1 parsnip, chopped (½-¾ inch chunks)
  • 450 g. cremini mushrooms, stemmed and broken into quarters
  • 50 -100 g. portabella mushrooms, stemmed and broken into ~ 1 inches pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dired thyme
  • 500 g brown lentils
  •  1.7 l. vegetable stock
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ Tbsp. Thai red curry paste

  • 1.5 kg Yukon gold potatoes
  • 100 ml. milk
  • salt to taste
  • 50 g. cheddar, grated

Instructions: Filling
  • Make or heat vegetable stock and set aside
  • Heat the butter in a stock pot (mine is an 8 quart pot) to medium heat
  • Add the asafoetida to the butter and stir until the asafoetida is combined with the butter
  • Sauté the celery, carrots, and parsnips until golden or to taste
  • Add the mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes
  • Add the bay leaf, thyme, and lentils and stir until the lentils are throughly incorporated
  • Add the stock, apple cider vinegar, and red curry paste, stir well
  • Simmer for 40-50 minutes or until the lentils are cooked to taste.
  • (Optional: Add salt to taste -- but only after the lentils have cooked)

Instructions: Topping
While the lentils are cooking start the mashed potatoes.
  • Prepare the potatoes by washing and cutting into quarters
  • Using the stock pot the stock was in, boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until a fork goes through smoothly
  • Drain well
  • Mash the potatoes with the butter and milk
  • Season to taste with salt and/or pepper

Instructions: Assembly
  • Heat the oven to 375F / 190C / gas 5
  • Fill the oven-proof dish 6-8cm (2.5-3 in.) high with the filling.
  • Top with and equal layer of mashed potatoes
  • Sprinkle the grated cheese on the top
  • Bake uncovered for 30 minutes until the topping is golden
  • Remove from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes to cool to safe eating temperature

Serve fresh or reheat. The leftover filling can be frozen or eaten as stand-alone lentil stew.

This recipe can be frozen for later use.  Assemble the dish in an oven/freezing proof dish that has a lid or other way to cover and seal. Then assemble above but instead of baking it in the oven place it in the freezer for up to two months.

Tools: Two 7-8 liter stock pots, 1 larger or 2 medium sized oven proof dish (es)

Recipe inspiration: BBC Good Food: Golden veggie shepherd’s pie

Shepherd's Pie fresh out of the oven baked in a dish we were given for our wedding.

Cooking Basics: Onion/Garlic Subsitute

Many savory recipes have as their first step some form of: 'sauté onion and garlic'.  When you can't eat either of those foods you need a substitute. With some suggestions from friends and some trial and error, my housemate came up with a mixture of sliced celery and asafetida that is the basis of a lot of our cooking.


Onion Substitute
  • celery, sliced thinly in the same volume as the ingredients it is replacing
  • Asafoetida to taste (I use about ⅛-¼  tsp when sautéing an 'onion's worth' of celery)
  • Spices that complement or match the dish the faux-onion-garlic will be used in
Garlic Substitute
  • celery from the inner part of the bunch (the pale skinny stalks, but not the leaves) chopped as fine as the ingredient it is replacing and to the same volume
  • asafoetida to taste (¼-½ tsp)
Caramelized Onions
  • celery, sliced thinly in the same volume as the ingredients it is replacing
  • Asafoetida to taste (I use about ⅛-¼  tsp when sautéing an 'onion's worth' of celery)
  • molasses, drizzle to taste (again, based on the volume you are making)

Instructions for all:

  • heat a pan to medium heat
  • add butter or oil, again in proportion to the volume you are cooking
  • sprinkle the spices on the heated oil or butter
  • add celery and sauté until the celery becomes translucent or to taste
This can be made ahead with just the asafoetida & celery and frozen if needed.

Norwegian Pancakes

This is one of the first recipes I ever learned and ever made on my own.  My mother made them for us a kids and her Norwegian grandmother had made them for her. This recipe is very simple and is one of the few that I can recite from memory. The are best eaten hot off the stove. When I make them for my family I eat mine standing at the stove while the next one cooks.

I use fairly heavy pans, so I usually start my pan heating first thing and I use the smallest pan I have.  I like making my batter in my 2 cup liquid measuring cup the spout makes it easy to pour the batter into the pan.

Norwegian Pancakes


  • 1 egg per person
  • milk
  • flour
  • sugar (optional)


  • Beat the eggs with a fork or whisk until the whites and yolks are combined.
  • Whisk in flour a bit at a time until thick stiffly-creamy. 
  • Thin with milk until runny-creamy.
  • (Optional: add a bit of sugar to sweeten the batter)
  • Heat frypan to medium heat. Pick a pan that is easy to lift.
  • Pour a two inch pool of batter into the center of the pan. 
  • Swirl the batter around the pan to make a thin layer of batter 4-5 inches in diameter.
  • Let the pancake sit until the edges go from shiny to matte and bubbles rise through the batter.
  • Flip the pancake over. The top should be cream colored with a few light brown spots.
  • Wait a bit and remove from heat. Underside should be a nice golden color.

Tools: frypan, mixing bowl, spatula

I put butter, jam, sugar, and peanut butter out as toppings.  My favorite way to eat them is with butter and a sprinkling of sugar.


I've been teaching myself to cook for the past few years.  Cooking is not a skill that came naturally to me.  I have a long history of over seasoning, mis-reading ingredient quantities, and setting things on fire.

However, I also have food sensitivities-- reactions that don't rise to the level of allergies but make me unhappy to say the least.  In my twenties & early thirties it was dairy products. (I was thrilled when, after a trip to Norway, I came home and was able drink milk again).  Currently the list of foods I can't tolerate are onions, garlic, tomato, melon, and beans.  I live in a household with a vegetarian and am eat a mostly vegetarian diet myself.  Given that onions, garlic, and beans are staples in vegetarian recipes this has made finding food the entire household can eat a challenge.

Because of my onion & garlic issues, we are limited in the type and amount of prepared food we can buy.

All of these factors together combined to encourage me to take another stab at learning to cook.

Over the years I found that there are actually a fair number of people who have the same onion & garlic sensitivity that I do so I thought I would put the recipes I used up where other folks could use them.

Most of my recipes started off being based on someone else's work.  Wherever possible I will cite where the original recipe came from.

I am only a few years into learning how to cook and am just getting to the point where I understand a bit more about the underlying ideas behind cooking.  There is a lot that I don't yet know.

I invite you along on my cooking journey.