Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lemon, Ricotta and Almond Flourless Cake

Recipe adapted from Cakelets and Doilies

Lemon and ricotta...doesn't that just scream spring? Considering we've hardly had spring yet here in Winnipeg, it's nice to pretend. So, put on some happy music, bake this lovely cake and enjoy it in a sunny room with a cup of Earl Grey tea and pretend that spring has sprung! 

What you'll need
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon zest (zest of about 3 large lemons)
4 eggs separated and at room temperature
2 1/2 cups almond meal
300 g ricotta
Flaked almonds to decorate
Icing sugar for dusting

How to
1.  Preheat oven to 350F. Line the base of a 20cm springform pan with parchment paper.

2.  Place butter, 3/4 cup of the sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in an electric mixer and beat for 8-10 minutes or until pale and creamy. 

3.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then gradually add the egg yolks, one at a time, contenting to beat until fully combined. Add the almond meal and beat to combine. Fold ricotta through the almond meal mixture.

4.  Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with an electric mixture, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, while continuing to beat, until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the cake mixture. Repeat with the remaining egg whites.

5.  Pour mixture into prepared cake pan. Smooth with a palette knife and decorate the top of the cake with flaked almonds. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cooked and firm to the touch. Allow to cool completely in cake pan. Dust with icing sugar to serve. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chai Spice Smoothie

Recipe adapted from Coco Jenalle.

I can't get enough of this smoothie! It makes me very happy. I feel like I am treating myself, but it's so good for you that I don't need to feel guilty about eating it! It really does taste like your drinking a frozen chai drink...almost like a Chai Frappuccino. Yum!

What you'll need
Spice Blend
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup almond milk
1 frozen banana
1 heaping spoonful of almond butter
1 tsp chai spice
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 squirt of pure maple syrup

How to
1.  Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

2.  Combine all smoothie ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Maple Almond Granola

Original recipe from The Curvy Carrot

Here is another delicious granola recipe. Andrew said it's his favourite granola so far. What I like best about this recipe is that it's sweetened with pure maple syrup, which is apparently very good for you (besides all the sugar of course). I like it best with yogurt, Andrew prefers to eat it with milk like cereal. However you like it, it's still wonderful!

What you'll need
4 1/2 cups old-fashoined rolled oats
3/4 cup shelled, raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups slivered or roughly chopped whole almonds 
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups pure maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup raisins

How to
1.  Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, almonds and cinnamon. 

3.  Add syrup and oil, and stir until combined.

4.  Spread granola onto baking sheet in an even layer.

5.  Bake granola for about 40-50 minutes, stirring ever 15 minutes or so, until granola is golden brown. 

6.  Remove granola from oven and immediately stir in the raisins until combined. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

White Bean, Garlic, and Leek Soup

Recipe from Lattes and Leggings

My sister gave me this recipe because she said I had to try it. I will definitely be making it again. It's super yummy! I think it's the fresh thyme that makes it so delicious. The recipe is super easy and is a must try!

What you'll need
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 garlic cloves, halved
1 tbsp fresh time leaves
2 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to
1.  In a large pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and celery. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

2.  Stir in the garlic, thyme and beans. Add the broth and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until the garlic is softened.

3.  Puree 2 cups of the soup (include all the garlic cloves) in a food processor. Transfer the pureed soup back to the pot. Stir together until combined. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Apple Muffins

This recipe is almost identical to the carrot muffin recipe I posted a while back. I had some apples I needed to use up so I though I'd try substituting apple for the carrots and decreasing the amount of sugar.  I'm happy to say I love these muffins just as much as the carrot muffins. Sometimes I find apple muffin recipes can be dry, but these muffins are not! They are wonderfully moist and delicious!

What you'll need
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup grated apple
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

How to
1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

2.  In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar. Add the oil and vanilla and mix until combined. With a spatula, stir in the pineapple and apple.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir into wet mixture, just until combined.

4.  Fill greased or lined muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 22-23 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spicy Chili

Recipe adapted from original in Flavours magazine.

This chili is delicious and full of flavour. In fact, my husband said it's the best chili I've ever made! I think he might be right, it was pretty yummy!

What you'll need
450g lean ground beef
450g spicy Italian sausage, casings removed*
1 white onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed, diced
2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 can (796 mL) diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (540 mL) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Cheddar cheese and sour cream to serve
Chives, chopped to serve

*You can often buy Italian sausage without the casings, it just looks like ground pork. This will save you the step of removing the sausage from the casings. 

How to
1.  In a large and deep skillet, sauté the beef with the sausage until well browed and cooked throughout. Break the chunks of meat up well using a wooden spoon.

2.  Drain excess fat and set aside.

3.  In a large stockpot, sauté the onion in some olive oil until just tender. Add the garlic, red pepper, mushrooms and diced jalapeño. Soften on medium heat.

4.  Add the beef mixture to the pot and slowly stir in all of the spices: chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir in the sugar, molasses, Dijon, vinegar and ketchup. Incorporate well into other ingredients.

5.  Add tomatoes and kidney beans. Cook over low heat for 1-2 hours, allowing to gently simmer. 

6.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream, grated cheddar and chives.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chocolate Mousse

Recipe from Bon Appetit magazine.

Last week was my dad's birthday. We were having Chinese food for dinner, so I had to make something for dessert that wasn't too heavy (cause really...who needs dessert after Chinese food?). This was perfect! A few smooth, creamy spoonfuls of chocolate. Yum! The best part is that it's super easy to make and the ingredients are ones I almost always have on hand!

What you'll need
3 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 1/2 cup 51% cacao semi-sweet chocolate chips)
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 tsp sugar, divided
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

How to
1.  Place chocolate in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.

2.  Remove bowl from over water. Add egg yolks to melted chocolate and whisk until smooth.

3.  Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in another medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1 1/2 tsp sugar, beating constantly until whites are glossy and medium-firm peaks form.

4.  Using a silicone spatula, fold 1/4 of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Gently fold remaining whites into chocolate mixture just until incorporated (do not over mix or mixture may deflate).

5.  Divide mousse among four bowls. Cover and chill until set, about 4 hours.

6.  Beat cream and 1 tsp sugar in another medium bowl until peaks form. Spoon whipped cream atop mousse and serve.