Alexander’s Caesar Salad

Alexander’s Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Our grandson Alex hates vegetables and above all, he detests salads! This is the one salad that he is crazy about. The croutons and bacon can be made ahead of time but the final preparation should be delayed until just before serving.

Alexander’s Caesar Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • bacon pieces *
  • 1/3 cup (85ml) olive oil
  • 1 tsp (5ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp (3ml) salt
  • 1/2 tsp (3ml) dry mustard
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • large romaine lettuce
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (30 gm)
  • garlic croutons *
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise (85ml)

 

METHOD:

*Garlic croutons:

Heat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Trim the crusts off four thick slices of white bread and generously butter the bread on both sides.

Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp (1.25ml) garlic powder (unsalted).

Cut into 1/2″ (1cm) cubes and bake on a cookie sheet for 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

*Bacon pieces: 

Take five rashers of extremely lean bacon (I prefer to use a ham type bacon product) and cut into thin strips approximately 1″ long (2.5 cm).

Fry in a little oil to the desired crispness.

Prepare croutons and bacon pieces as directed above, set aside.

Combine garlic cloves, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, mustard powder, black pepper and lemon juice in a small bowl.

Mix well.

Tear lettuce into bite-sized pieces in a large bowl.

Toss with the garlic/lemon juice mixture. Mix in the bacon pieces and mayonnaise and then the Parmesan cheese and chopped eggs.

Beef Kebabs with Onion and Red Peppers

Beef Kebabs with Onion and Red Peppers

Beef Kebabs

An incredibly easy barbecue treat, be sure to marinate for two hours for best results!

Beef Kebabs with Onion and Red Peppers

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (45 ml)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (45 ml)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano flakes
  • 1½ pounds sirloin tip steak, or inside round beef (740 gm)
  • 1 – 2 medium yellow onions, skinned, quartered and separated
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1″ (2 cm) square chunks
  • bamboo skewers (soak in water for an hour)

METHOD:

Cut beef into 1½” (3 cm) cubes and thread onto bamboo skewers, alternating each chunk of beef with a piece of red pepper or a slice of onion.

Place completed skewers in a large casserole and cover with the marinade mixture.

Allow to sit for two hours, refrigerate if leaving for a longer time.

Barbecue over medium heat until meat reaches desired doneness, turning frequently.

Baste with left-over marinade while cooking.

Carrot Salad with Apple & Pecans

Carrot Salad with Apple & Pecans

Carrot Salad with Apple & Pecans

Carrot salad with apples and pecans is a delightful salad for Summer that will appeal to the whole family! Serve with Quiche for an ideal meal on a hot day.

Carrot Salad with Apple & Pecans Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium carrots, scraped and chopped into toothpick-sized pieces
  • 3 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup (200 grams) raisins
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) chopped pecans
METHOD:

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl in sequence, being sure to add and toss in the lemon juice immediately after the apple to prevent apple chunks from oxidizing.

Curried Potato Salad

Curried Potato Salad

Curried Potato Salad is wonderfully cooling, but with that tang of curry. Good with curries, and other meals or on its own as a light Summer lunch.

Curried Potato Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 large new potatoes, boiled and drained
  • 1/2 cup (85ml) frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, diced
  • 240 ml fresh natural yogurt
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp (5ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Cut cooled potatoes into 1″ chunks and chill in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least one hour before proceeding.

Add peas, onions, celery, garlic and tomato and mix.

Add all other ingredients and mix carefully to avoid crushing the potatoes and tomato.

Chill for several hours before serving on a bed of lettuce leaves.

Trim with sprigs of coriander leaves.

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Dijon-Hazelnut Crusted Beef Medallions

Dijon-Hazelnut Crusted Beef Medallions

Sirloin beef medallions are quite a popular cut of beef and make an easy meal. The crispy Dijon-hazelnut coating in this recipe makes a nice change from the bacon-wrapped version sold by many stores.

Dijon-Hazelnut Crusted Beef Medallions Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup un-blanched hazelnuts (60 gm)
  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes (10ml)
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) each Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce
  • Sirloin beef medallions
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil (25ml)

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Chop hazelnuts and two slices of whole-wheat bread with parsley flakes in food processor or blender until finely ground.

In a small bowl combine Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

Rub beef with pepper and salt, then sear on all sides in oil in skillet on medium-high heat. (About 5 minutes in total)

Transfer to board and allow to cool slightly.

Coat sides of beef with Dijon-Worcestershire sauce mixture and then roll steak firmly in crumb mixture to form a crust.

Lightly roll the crumbed surface in the oil remaining in the frying pan.

Place steaks on a wire rack in a roasting dish.

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, turning once until crust is golden and meat is cooked to desired level.

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

Greek Grilled Pork Chops

Reminiscent of Souvlaki, these barbecued chops have a wonderful oregano, garlic and lemon flavour.

Greek Grilled Pork Chops Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 pork loin chops, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) ground black pepper
  • juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

METHOD:

Place lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, black pepper and oregano in a plastic food storage bag and mix well.

Use a sharp knife and make several small slits into the pork chops before adding them to the marinade mixture.

Marinate for at least one hour, mixing occasionally. (Two hours is ideal at room temperature)

Barbecue or grill in the usual manner, using the marinade to brush on while cooking.

Greek Salad

Greek Salad

Greek salad is my favourite type of salad at this time of year! The quantities and ingredients can be varied according to what is in season, or what you have to hand; however I feel that you can’t omit the olives, feta cheese and oregano.

Greek Salad Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium romaine lettuce
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 medium sweet red onion
  • 1 red or green sweet pepper
  • 15-20 Kalamata olives
  • 100gm (3½ oz) feta cheese
  • 1 – 2 tsp (5 – 10 ml) dried oregano

METHOD:

Wash the romaine lettuce and tear into bite-sized pieces.

Cut the tomatoes into rough chunks and add to the lettuce.

Using a fork, score grooves into the cucumber lengthwise and then slice.

Cut the red onion into half and then slice thinly, breaking the pieces up into individual curved strips.

De-core the pepper and cut into strips.

Combine and mix all the above ingredients in a large salad bowl. (It’s easiest to just use your hands!)

Remove the pits from the olives and scatter them over the mixed salad decoratively with crumbled chunks of feta cheese.

Sprinkle with dried oregano.

(For most tastes there should be no need to add salt, as the feta and olives are quite salty.)

Serve with a red wine vinaigrette, or your favourite dressing.

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Blackberry Cobbler

Blackberry Cobbler

My mother used to make this all the time when we were kids growing up in England, using fresh blackberries that we would pick by the bucketful. Happy days – although we used to get some fearsome scratches from the brambles! Mum used to have a saying,”When all fruit fails, welcome blackberry.” which goes to show how under-appreciated this great fruit was because of the sheer quantity of it that was available.

When we lived in Kent, we found an abandoned market garden that had a huge and overgrown blackberry plot that provided us with bushels of fruit. Mum would make jams, jellies, pies and of course blackberry cobbler; it was almost with relief that late autumn would bring an end to the season and our scratches would finally heal for another year.

In fact it was considered wrong to pick blackberries after Michaelmas (September 29) as folklore has it that Satan fell into a bramble bush when he was expelled from heaven and cursed the fruit from this date onwards!

Unfortunately fresh blackberries are relatively expensive to buy in Canada but you can use frozen ones and still get excellent results (hopefully they were picked before Michaelmas!).

A great old-fashioned dessert, especially in summer, served with ice cream.

Blackberry Cobbler Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup (72 gm / 2½ oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 gm / 3½ oz) sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup (70 ml / 2½ fl oz) milk
  • 1 cup (100 gm / 3½ oz) cake and pastry flour
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
  • 2 cups (220 gm / 8 oz) fresh or frozen blackberries (thawed)
  • 3/4 cup (210 ml / 7½ fl oz) syrup made by combining equal parts hot water with any type of berry jam
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Beat in the egg, followed by the milk.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl to get an even mixture.

Place the blackberries in a 1½ quart (1 – 1½ litre) casserole greased with butter.

Mix the cornstarch into the cooled jam syrup till smooth, and pour over the berries.

Use a tablespoon to ‘dollop’ the batter onto the berries and syrup.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean.

Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie

This is a very popular British dessert that is hardly known in the rest of the world. It is super-decadent, and yet is so fabulously delicious that it’s worth spoiling yourself once in a while! The name comes from ‘banana – toffee’.

There are several versions of this recipe on the internet, and after exhaustive comparisons of recipes we settled on this as our family recipe.

Banoffee Pie Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

Base:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz – 114 gm) melted butter
  • 2 cups (lightly compressed)(9 oz – 250 gm) Graham crumbs

Caramel Layer:

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz – 114 gm) butter
  • 1/2 cup (3½ oz – 100gm) brown sugar
  • 1¼ cups (10½ fl oz – 300 ml) condensed milk

Topping:

  • 3 bananas
  • 1¼ cups (10½ fl oz – 300 ml) whipping cream
  • grated chocolate

METHOD:

Combine the melted butter and Graham crumbs and press into an 8½” (21 cm) springform pan with a disk of parchment paper lining the bottom.

Press to the sides to a height of about 1½” (7 cm)

Place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar until combined.

Add the condensed milk and gently bring to a low boil, stirring constantly.

Simmer gently, stirring continuously until the mixture starts to thicken and caramelize.

Pour into the crust and spread evenly.

Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Slice the bananas and place evenly on the caramel layer.

Whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Add the cream over the bananas and trim with shards of grated chocolate.

Refrigerate for a further hour before removing the sides from the pan and serving.

Baked Pear Pudding

Baked Pear Pudding

Baked Pear Pudding is true comfort food! Use fresh pears, or even canned pears – the result will be loved by all members of the family…

Baked Pear Pudding Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 pears, peeled and cored, cut into quarters
  • 4 tsp light brown sugar (20ml)
  • 4 tsp water (20ml)
  • 1 vanilla pod, slit in half and the seeds scraped free
  • 1/2 cup butter (125gm / 4½oz)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar (125gm / 4½oz)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sifted self-raising flour (125gm / 4½oz) (see baking tips)

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)

Put pears, brown sugar, and vanilla seeds into a saucepan with water and simmer for five minutes.

Place fruit mixture into a well greased ovenproof casserole.

Beat together the butter and the white sugar, then beat in the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Then beat in the flour until well combined.

Pour this mixture over the pears and bake for about 35 – 45 minutes.

Serve the baked pear pudding with English Custard.