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Archive for November, 2021

I saw this recipe on Celia’s Instagram account and was instantly curious. I have an old blondie recipe that is completely different so I was intrigued by Celia’s recipe that creamed the butter instead of melting it, I wondered what kind of textural differences are there? To my absolute delight, I loved Celia’s recipe, it makes more of a fudgy cookie bar than a crispy, chewy blondie as my ancient recipe does but I loved the addition of the chocolate chips. Even though there is an entire cup of brown sugar, it is not as sickly sweet as my recipe is which really surprised me. Although this recipe takes a bit of planning (bringing the butter to room temperature), it is worth it. It makes a nice treat on a chilly winter’s day.

Butterscotch Blondies

For the original recipe, please click here.

Makes one 23 cm x 23 cm (9 inch x 9 inch) pan

Ingredients:

  • 300 g AP) flour
  • 5 g baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 250 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 215 g brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 125 mL milk (I used hazelnut almond milk, because I had it)
  • 10 mL pure vanilla extract
  • 360 g mixed chocolate chips (I use Belgium dark and milk)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300° F.  Prepare a 23 cm x 23 cm (9 inch x 9 inch) pan by lining with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and creamy then beat in the egg, milk and vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour and then fold in the chocolate chips. This makes a rather stiff batter.
  5. Turn into the prepared pan and spread evenly to the corners and sides with a stiff spatula.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.
  7. When completely cooled, cut into desired bars or squares with a clean, sharp knife.

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Let me begin by saying that this is not an authentic Thai pumpkin soup but it is a sophisticated blend of Thai flavours that make a super creamy and flavourful dish. I used a small white pumpkin which makes this beautiful lightly pumpkin flavoured, pale celery coloured soup. I garnished it with lightly toasted pumpkin seeds but lightly toasted coconut shavings would be gorgeous as well.

We recently had friends over for brunch and I had expected that it would be cold out and that soup would be a well-received course. We lucked out and had an exceptional November day so we sat outside for hors d’oeuvres and then retreated inside for the main course and back outside for dessert. Even though it wasn’t cold at all, particularly on our heated patio, the soup was very well received. This recipe is a keeper.

Thai-inspired Pumpkin Soup

A KitchenInspirations Original Recipe

Makes about 1.5 L of soup

Ingredients:

  • 430 g pumpkin, roasted and cubed
  • 15 mL roasted garlic purée
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf
  • 5 mL galangal, finely grated
  • 5 cm lemongrass, sliced lengthwise and pounded to release flavours
  • 1 L chicken stock
  • 30 g coconut milk powder
  • 50 g creamed coconut
  • toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Directions:

  1. Combine the roasted pumpkin, garlic purée, kaffir lime leaf, galangal and lemongrass and sauté on medium-low until you can smell the gorgeous aromas. Add the chicken stock and bring to a rolling, gentle boil for about 45 minutes; you are trying to infuse the stock with the Thai aromatics. Taste and continue to boil if necessary to infuse more flavours.
  2. Once the chicken stock has been infused, remove from the heat and blitz the stock with a stick blender until all of the flavourings are puréed. Allow to cool on the counter for 1-2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. Strain the soup through a fine sieve, pressing the pulp until you get most of the liquid out, discard the pulp. 
  4. Return the highly aromatic stock to a pot and reheat gently. Add the coconut milk powder and blitz with a stick blender until smooth. Continue to heat without bringing it to a boil. Add the creamed coconut and blend well.
  5. Serve with toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish.

Notes:

  • You may substitute a can of coconut milk including the cream instead of the coconut milk powder and creamed coconut, I forgot to buy it and resorted to things I had in my pantry.
  • Blitzing the aromatics with the stock is unconventional but it really does impart a sophisticated blend of Thai flavours that is a little more forward than just simmering the flavourings in the stock. 
  • To make this totally vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.
  • As you know, Thai food is a carefully weighted combination of salty, sweet, sour and bitter and this recipe incorporates all of those flavours and imparts a significant amount of umami. Personally, I find coconut milk sweet enough so my recipe does not include sugar but it would be entirely up to you; if you use sugar, I would use cane sugar.

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We are trying to get back into “normal” life. Restaurants and event venues (except strip clubs and dance clubs) have been permitted to return to 100% capacity since October 16. We have ventured to restaurants, dining in but we are still rather uncomfortable in going to an event. Masks are supposed to be worn, but who is policing that? It will be quite some time before I even want to attend a large event.

Century Park Tavern is an upscale tavern that we tried for Brunch a few weeks ago. It is situated in a gorgeous century-old foundry in Davenport Village, not too far from Bloor West Village. The beautifully restored building is the perfect venue for a gastropub.

The brunch service is relatively new for Century Park Tavern and they were still waiting on their coffee machines when we dined there, but they definitely have the food part down! We ate one course and it was delicious enough to want to go back and sample a few more items.

JT had the Porchetta Hash, house porchetta, crispy potatoes, tomato, cilantro, green onion, poached egg, smoked chili hollandaise.

I had the Smoked Salmon Benny, toasted English muffin, herb hollandaise, pickled onions, fried capers, fresh greens. Both dishes were outstanding. The porchetta was perfectly crisp and quite moreish. The smoked salmon was lovely and to be honest, I would have been happy with one. We didn’t eat dinner that night.

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French Baguette

  • 500 g AP flour
  • 4 tbsp Fleishmans’s Bread Booster
  • 10 g salt
  • 360 g warm water
  • 3 g yeast
  • 25 g honey
  • 2 tbsp each flour and rice flour

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the flour, salt and bread booster.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and the honey in the water.
  3. Make a well in the flour and add all of the water mixture at once, stirring to combine into the flour.
  4. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Over the next 1.5 hours, stretch and fold the dough 3 times, placing the seem down each time.
  6. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-15 hours or until double in size. The next morning, remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  7. Divide the dough into three equal portions. Roll each into a rectangle and roll up into a baguette shape, stretching to the desired length and placing the seam side down. Sprinkle a clean dish cloth with the flour and rice flour mixture and nestle the baguettes into three separate rows for 30 to 60 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 500° F and add a pan filled with water and a rolled clean dish towel (helps distribute steam evenly). Add a baking stone. Once it reaches 500° F, reduce heat to 475° F.
  9. Cut slits into the baguettes and carefully lay them onto the baking stone and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. (Be very careful as the steam may be very hot).
  10. Cool completely and enjoy.

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Jalopeño Jack Scones

Makes 9 5 cm (2 inch) scones

Ingredients:

  • 280 g AP flour
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 15 g baking powder
  • 6 g salt
  • 56 g cold butter, in cubes
  • 1 L egg
  • 120 mL buttermilk
  • 100 g grated sharp cheese (I used jalapeño Monterey Jack)
  • 5 mL milk
  • 10 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  2. In the large bowl of your food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter and pulse to combine. 
  3. Whisk to combine the egg and buttermilk and slowly add it to the dry ingredients while running the processor. Change the blade to the plastic blade and add the cheese. Pulse to combine.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the scone dough to about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Cut into even squares. Lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spaced out about 2 cm. Brush the tops with the milk and sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on the top of each scone. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

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