For the love of food

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens*Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens*Brown paper packages tied up with strings*These are a few of my favorite things*Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels*Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles*Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings*These are a few of my favorite things*Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes*Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes*Silver white winters that melt into springs*These are a few of my favorite things

What to bring back from Barcelona? November 14, 2008

Filed under: Food,Travel,Uncategorized — lovemyfood @ 3:13 pm

You got it…FOOD!

My husband was in Barcelona last week for a conference and brought back a few really good things – mainly cheese and chocolates :)

The chocolates came from Cacao Sampaka, all 5 boxes :)

cacao-sampaca-chocolates

One box contained chocolates from various countries of origin, the second one – chocolates with various spices (saffron, cloves, cinnamon, curry, cardamom, ginger, hickory, pepper, vanilla), the third – chocolates with flowers and herbs (lavender, thyme, rosemary, jasmin, rose, violet, pepper mint), the forth – chocolates made with Criollo cocoa and the last one contained various truffles. They had quite a few other options in the store – if those didn’t appeal to you (yeah, right…).

Another thing from this store came in a bottle and its also delicious – Vino Dulce Natural which is fortified dessert wine made by Pedro Ximenez.

The cheeses are as good as they look :) Just find a store and buy all the cheese you can carry :)

torta-del-casartorta-canarejalspanish-cheeses

 

Benkei Ramen on Robson

Filed under: Canada,Food,Travel,Vancouver,Vancouver Restaurants — lovemyfood @ 2:03 pm

benke-ramen1This place is always full, so are the few other Ramen places in the vicinity; I always wanted to visit and finally the weather is really suitable for hot soup and we went to check this place out last weekend and I glad we did because it is my new “crave” item :) The menu options are very limited and I liked it – one small restaurant, one specialty! There are three types of broth – Pork, Pork & Chicken with soy and Pork and Chiken with Miso (they also had a spicy miso off the menu, but I do not know if they always do); by definition it comes with noodles and some veggies but there are about 8 (or so) additional topping you can get or choose the option of “all toppings” which is what we did. The portion is very big so be ware, the “all toppings” option includes pork, nori, corn, sprouts, green onions, butter, spinach, boiled egg and kimchi (I do recommend ordering extra pork) and it is delicious!!! They also serve a few small side dishes like Gyozas which were so tender and delicious.

Go, enjoy and then crave to go back :)

Address: 1741 Robson Street   Tel: (604) 688-6790

 

Mushroom and Ricotta Phyllo Cups

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 1:44 pm

mushroom-and-ricotta-pastryThose are pretty and delicious especially right out of the oven; they look sophisticated while truth to be told there is nothing quicker or simpler – you really are going to like those :)

You will need:

Phyllo dough

butter or oil (if oil, an easier way is to use an oil spray)

button mushrooms (or any other mushrooms) – sliced if small or coarsely chopped if large

shallots or onions

Ricotta cheese

Gruyere cheese – grated

salt and black pepper

I am not posting quantities because it really depends on your preference and quantity and it is so simple you really don’t need exact instructions :) Trust me.

mushroom-ricotta-phyllo-cups1) Mix mushrooms with chopped shallots, add enough Ricotta to bind it all together; add salt and pepper to taste.

2) Butter (oil) a sheet of phyllo dough and put another one on top, butter again and put another one on top – do that with 5 sheets. Cut the sheets into squares big enough to fit into your muffin mold so the edges stick out like they are on the picture.

3) Butter your muffin (I used a mini muffin one and I think its perfect) mold.

4) Fill the cups with the mushroom stuffing.

5) Put grated Gruyere on top (see picture – the ones on the back already have the cheese).

6) Bake according to manufacturing instructions (on the dough package) or until golden brown.

7) Take out of the mold immediately.

Dig in :)

 

Blackcurrant swirl ice cream

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 1:01 pm

berry-swirl-ice-cream

This ice cream can be made with any type of coulis, store bought or home made (mix berries/fruits with sugar, puree and strain if desired). I just happened to have some leftover blackcurrant coulis (from a store) which was purchased to be a cheese cake topping. The process is simple – make a neutral ice cream (yogurt, vanilla, french vanilla) and when it is done add the coulis by either layering it or injecting it using a pastry bag with a very small tip or even a zip lock bag by cutting a corner or which ever other creative way you can think of.

Basic neutral pastry cream ice cream:

4 egg yolks

2 1/2 cups milk (625ml) – I use 2% but feel free to use any other kind

1/2 cup sugar (100 gr)

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup flour (50gr)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Steps:

1) Heat the milk and vanilla until bubbles form on the rim.

2) Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light yellow. Slowly beat in the flour until all is incorporated. Mix in the lemon zest.

3) Start tempering the eggs aka adding a tablespoon of milk at a time while whisking to prevent the eggs from curdling. When about 1/3 of the milk was incorporated add the rest in a slow stream while continuing to whisk. If you fear some curdling did occur – just strain the custard and continue on.

4) Put the custard back in the pan and on the stove, continue whisking until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

5) Let cool, preferably in an ice bath while whisking occasionally to prevent the formation of a skin. Now, if you wish to store it for some time, cover with plastic wrap that is touching the surface of the custard (again – to prevent the formation of a skin).

6) Churn.

7) Swirl :)

 

Chunky-Monkey Ice cream @ home

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 12:29 pm

chunky-monkey-banana-ice-cream

I love this Ben and Jerry’s classic banana ice cream with walnuts and chocolate but since I bought my ice cream maker I obviously stopped buying ice cream. The idea came with 3 over ripe bananas hanging out in my fridge and then slowly moving to the freezer until I find something to do with them…So, inspiration struck on Wednesday night and a a chunky monkey ice cream emerged.

3 medium bananas – if frozen like mine, defrost to the point you can peel them.

2 cups of milk

1/2-1 Tbsp butter (1/2 if bananas previously frozen, 1 if fresh)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Juice from 1/4 lemon

pinch of salt

4 Tbsp Rum – can be substituted by a bit more lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup chopped bitter-sweet chocolate

To make:

1) Preheat oven to 400F.

2) Cut bananas into chunks, put in an oven safe dish with the sugar and butter (if frozen there will be liquid in the dish because of the defrosting, leave it there.

3) Bake for 30 minutes.

4) Puree with the rest of the ingredients except for the walnuts and chocolate.

5) Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions (I churn on high speed).

6) Add the walnuts and chocolate in the last 2 minutes of churning.

 

Hazelnut Raisin Biscotti November 7, 2008

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 8:35 pm

hazelnut-raisin-biscotti

I made these a long long time ago and forgot to publish them but i still have the photo as well as the recipe the idea for which came from the Bay Wolf restaurant cookbook. Those are absolutely delicious and keep well in an air tight container. Next time I will be making those I will double the quantity.

What you need (makes 2 dozen):

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 dark raisins

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp flour

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts

2 tsp ground aniseed

2 tsp orange zest

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

What you do:

1) Soak the raisins in hot water, drain reserving the liquid.

2) Mix flour, sugar, baking powder,hazelnuts, anise, raisins & orange zest.

3) Mix egg yolk & vanilla.

4) Mix the dry with the wet.

5) Add 0-3 Tbsp raisin water to the dough until it comes together – it should be firm but not sticky.

6) Preheat oven to 350F.

7) On a floured work surface, roll the dough into a log  or two logs depending on the length of your baking sheet.

8) Bake on a parchament lined baking sheet for 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

9) Reduce the oven to 300F.

10) Cut the log into cookies and lay them cut side up on a parchament lined baking sheet with another baking sheet underneath.

11) Bake for 30 minutes. Ramove from the baking sheet and cool on a rack .

 

A hot bowl of CHILI

Filed under: Food,Recipes — lovemyfood @ 8:16 pm

homemade-spicy-chili

The days are getting colder and at least here and now it is pouring rain and there is nothing that makes people happy as one of those half soup half second course one pot meals and chili happens to be one of them. I like my Chili hot but you are welcome to adjust the hot pepper to your own liking :)

What you need:

1 cup kidney (or northern) beans, soaked for a few hours or over night, drained

2lb ground beef

1lb ground pork

1 small onion or a couple of shallots – chopped fine

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 Tbsp ground cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 teaspoon paprika

2-5 Tbsp hot chili (can substitute some of the chili with fresh hot peppers of your choice or if you like the smokey flavor of chipotle chilies be my guest)

4 Tbsp flour ( a bit more or less depending on how thick you want your chili)

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

2 cups beef or chicken stock

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

What you do:

1) In the pot/casserole/dutch oven, heat the oil and saute the onions, garlic and spices for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

2) Add the meat and brown while braking it into small chunks with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and mix well.

3) Add beans (drain first), tomatoes and stock. Adjust salt and pepper.

4) Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours until the beans are tender. Stir every once in a while.

5) Adjust seasoning and serve with some fresh cilantro on top. You can also offer to your grateful guests some fresh tomato salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, green onions, chopped onions -raw or caramelized, fresh avocado, tortilla chips and anything else you/they like.

*** Chili is a forgiving dish so any change you like to make will be welcome by it; want to use the opposite ratio of pork and beef – be my guest, don’t eat pork – use beef only, you don’t have kidney beans use northern beans or black ones, hate cilantro – use parsley etc… Enjoy :)