" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Dream Dream Dream...

Here we are, smack in the middle of the dreary cold days of winter.

Are you dreaming of warm summer weather and craving a fruity summery type meal about now?
Unfortunately it is going to be a long time until those days are here.
Don't despair ,
this dish will have you thinking you are in the sunny region of Morocco with the sweet apricots, honey and exotic spices.

You can use chicken breasts or legs instead of the thighs if you prefer.
Cous Cous is a very tiny pasta grain made from wheat available in the rice section of your supermarket. It comes in white or whole wheat, I prefer the latter.

Moroccan Style Apricot Chicken with Vegetable Cous Cous.
  • ~ olive oil
  • 1 package of chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander and cinnamon
  • 1 cup of dried apricots cut in half
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
In a large frying pan heat the oil and add the onion and garlic.
Cook until softened.

Add the chicken and brown on all sides.

Add the apricots, broth, honey and seasonings.
Combine well and bring to a low boil.

Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 20 minutes and then remove cover and cook until chicken juices run clear when pierced and sauce has thickened.

Vegetable Cous Cous
  • ~ olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 small onion diced
  • chopped vegetables of your choice (carrot, red bell pepper or peas)
  • 1 cup of cous cous
  • 1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • salt and pepper
In a pot heat the oil and add the garlic, onion and vegetables.
Cook until softened.
Add the broth and heat to boiling.
Remove from heat.
Stir in the cous cous, cover and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Fluff with a fork and add the parsley.
Mix well season to taste and serve .

Wine Suggestion: Pinot Grigio


All Glazed Over

One of our favourite things to do on the weekend is to go for long family hikes with our dog.
We go in all kinds of weather with the exception of rain.

Wintertime I like to put a beef or pork roast in the oven before we head out, on our arrival back we are delighted with the most wonderful aroma as we open the door.
I even have put them in frozen!
For this recipe you can use just about any cut of pork roast, boneless or bone in loin, shoulder or sirloin end.
Using a citrus reamer will ensure you get the most juice and pulp from the orange.
It is easy to assemble and tastes like you have been hovering over it all day instead of enjoying a beautiful winters walk in the forest.

Simplicity at best!

Orange Cranberry Glazed Pork Roast with Thyme Savory Brown Oven Rice.
  • 1 2 to 4 pound pork roast
  • 1 tsp of allspice
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 can of cranberry sauce
  • juice and pulp of one orange
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 300F .
Place the roast in a casserole that has a lid.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and combine.

Spread 1/3 of the mixture evenly over the roast.

Cover and place in the oven for 2 hours if frozen or 1 if thawed.

Remove cover and baste with additional sauce for an additional 1/2 to 1 hour until thermometer reads 155-160F.

Remove from pan and let stand covered in foil.
Skim fat from drippings in pan and then pour into a saucepan and heat to boiling with any remaining cranberry sauce mixture.

Reduce heat and let simmer until thick and syrupy.

Serve roast with sauce on the side.

Thyme Savory Brown Oven Rice
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of apple juice
  • 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp each of savory and thyme
  • salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a large casserole dish with lid combine rice and liquids .
Add spices and mix well.

Cover and place in oven.

Bake for 1 hour or until all broth is absorbed.

Fluff with a fork.

Serve both with steamed string beans.

Wine Suggestion: Mission Hill Syrah


Last Hurrah

One of the things I enjoy most about making a large chicken or turkey is making my own soup stock from the bones.

It is so easy that it will make you wonder why you ever bought the store bought kind.
The stock can be used as a base for soup, in casseroles or to make gravy.

The first recipe is for the stock and the second is my homemade turkey soup.
This hearty soup makes a great light meal on a cold winter night when served with warm rustic bread.

Fragrant Turkey Stock
  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 1 carrot and onion roughly chopped large
  • 3 celery ribs roughly chopped large
  • About 10 cups of water to cover
  • 3 bay leaves
  • small handful each of coriander seeds, fennel seeds, salt and peppercorns
In a large stock pot place the turkey carcass. Cover with water and add the seasonings.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 2 hours. Skim any foam that forms on the top.
Pour through a strainer and refrigerate overnight. The next day you will see a layer of solid fat on the top. Simply remove and discard.
Your stock is now ready to be made into soup.

Hearty Turkey Vegetable Soup

  • ~olive oil
  • 1 small red or white onion diced
  • 1 celery rib diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 can of navy beans
  • diced turkey meat
  • handful of frozen peas
  • 8 cups of turkey stock
  • 1 tbsp each of parsley , thyme and basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a large soup pot heat the oil and cook the onion, carrot, garlic and celery until softened. add the seasonings and mix well.
Add the stock and bring to a boil.
Add the rice cover and reduce heat to medium and cook until rice is tender.
Add the peas, beans and turkey meat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Adjust seasonings to taste.
Ladle into bowls and serve with warm bread.


Better Late then Never

I finally have got around to cooking my turkey.

We celebrated Christmas and New Years out of town this year so my turkey sat patiently in the freezer and waited.

We had the luxury of wallowing in the leftovers for a week, turkey sandwiches piled high with lots of mayonnaise and black pepper, hot turkey sandwiches smothered in gravy all ending with a hearty turkey soup. It was total heaven!

I will be posting the homemade turkey stock and soup next.

Turkeys are not all that difficult to cook although many people will think otherwise. White turkey meat is one of the leanest meats you can eat as well as being extremely high in protein.

You can vary the stuffing ingredients as some prefer a drier stuffing to the rather moist one I have created here. I have left amounts out on some ingredients as much will depend on how big your turkey actually is and personal taste preference in seasonings.

Roast Turkey with Red Onion and Apple Stuffing with Pan Gravy.
  • 1 turkey thawed rinsed and dried with giblets removed.
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 2 apples peeled and diced
  • sage ,thyme, poultry seasoning and parsley to taste ( I use around a tablespoon of each)
  • 1 loaf of day old bread
  • salt and pepper
  • chicken broth to moisten stuffing
Preheat oven to 325F Place turkey in a large roasting pan.
You can place the giblets alongside if you wish.

In a frying pan melt the butter and cook the onion and celery until softened.

Add the seasonings and mix well.

Cut up the day old bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.
Add the apples and broth and mix well.

Stuff cavity of turkey and tail end if you wish.

Rub a little poultry seasoning and black pepper over the skin.

Cover and place in the oven. Cook according to the following chart.
Roast turkey weight and cooking chart:
10 – 12 lb (4.5 – 5.5 kg) 3-1/2 – 3-3/4 hours

12 – 16 lb (5.5 – 7 kg) 3-3/4 – 4 hours
16 – 22 lb (7 – 10 kg) 4 – 4-1/2 hours

20 – 25 lb (10 – 12 kg) 4-1/2 – 5-1/2 hours

After the first hour remove the cover and begin basting the turkey every half hour. The temperature of the thermometer inserted into stuffing should read 165F and in the turkey thigh 180F when the turkey is fully cooked.
Remove turkey from pan to a platter and remove stuffing to a serving dish and carve turkey as desired.
Place the roasting pan over 2 burners on the stove. Heat the drippings scraping the bits of turkey off the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup of chicken stock.
Heat to boiling. In a small jar mix 1/4 cup each of flour and water and shake until smooth.
Pour water flour mixture slowly into the hot broth , stirring well until thickened to desired consistency.
Season with sage , thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
At this point you may use a gravy separator to remove any fat for a lighter gravy if you wish. Strain gravy into a gravy boat and serve along side the turkey.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling


Back to Good

The holidays are over.

We are all settling back into our normal routines of returning to work and the kids going back to school.
The over indulging of rich and heavy festive foods has given way to healthier fare.

This dish is one of my favourites. The lean sirloin steaks, green peppers and lypocene rich tomatoes make it healthy and low in fat. It pairs well with mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Once this dish goes in the oven you will have plenty of time for helping the kids with their homework or relax and unwind from a long day at work.

Swiss Style Smothered Steak

  • ~ olive oil
  • ~flour
  • 4 lean sirloin steaks
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of beef broth
  • 1 tsp each of oregano and black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F
Sprinkle flour on a plate and coat steaks evenly on both sides.
In an oven proof dutch oven heat the oil and brown steaks.
In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the steaks.

Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Wine Suggestion: Cabernet Sauvignon