Rhubarb Coffee Cake 

Coffee cake was an alien food to me when I first came to Canada. I was invited to ‘coffee mornings’ where you drank coffee and ate coffee cake. “I don’t like coffee”, I would tell people. “No problem”, they said, “there’s no coffee in the cake and we make tea”. This morning we were hosting our monthly book club meeting and I really fancied making an old-fashioned coffee cake, with no coffee. They generally have some kind of sugar and cinnamon topping and many of them include fruit. This recipe is from “The Harrowsmith Country Life Baking Book”. 

Cream 1/2 cup shortening with 1 1/2 cups sugar. Add 1 egg and beat well. In a separate bowl mix 2 cups all-purpose/plain flour with 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. We added 1 tsp baking powder as well. Add some of this to the creamed mixture and then add part of 1 cup buttermilk. Add alternatively the flour and buttermilk until it is all combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb and 1 tsp vanilla. Pour into a prepared 9×13-inch pan. 

Combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the cake batter. Bake at 180C/350F for 35-40 minutes. 

This was a light fluffy cake with a bit of crunch in the topping. The rhubarb did not overwhelm the cake, but seemed to keep it moist. It went down a treat. 

It was nice enough to sit out and enjoy the garden. 

We all had seconds. Our next book choice is “My Italian Bulldozer” by Alexander McCall Smith. Looks like a fun read. One person left with cake, one person left with rhubarb and one person left with plants. What a lovely way to spend a morning. 

Have a great weekend!

Cheryl and Becky

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Two Soups, One Book

These are recipes 9 and 10 from our challenge to try one new recipe a week for a year. We are still having some cool days here in southern Ontario, and the perpetual rain has raised the lake levels almost a metre. We find ourselves turning to comforting soups again and again. These recipes are from Williams-Sonoma “Soup of the Day” cookbook. 

Becky picked out Parmesan Straciatella with Kale. We still have two bags of kale in the freezer so any new recipes to use that up are very welcome indeed. This is so easy that it barely needs a recipe and it’s very quick to make. 

Chop the kale and bring the chicken or vegetable stock to a boil. Put the kale in the soup bowls. Mix a small amount of cornflour with a tsp of water. Whisk eggs. We only used one for both of us. Add eggs to the cornstarch. Stir Parmesan cheese into the soup. Stir and then slowly drizzle the eggs into the soup. Leave it off the heat for a couple of minutes. Ladle the soup over the kale. 

How easy is that? And it tastes good. 

I chose kielbasa and Sauerkraut Soup. Chop kielbasa and fry for a minutes. Add a sliced onion and 2 cloves of garlic minced. 

When the onion is soft, grate a peeled potato into the pot and add 3 cups chicken stock. Cook for 10 minutes and then add 250g, or whatever amount looks right, of drained sauerkraut and a tbsp tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season and serve. 

We both loved this recipe as well. 

Two new soup recipes and both were winners! One was super fast, they both used ingredients we had on hand and they were both tasty. 

Have a great week!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Mushroom Pesto and Cheese Melt

This is a quick post for a quick recipe. Number 8 is a Donna Hay sandwich recipe from her book “Seasons”. 

Fry some mushrooms in butter. We had three left in the fridge. 

Spread pesto on sturdy rolls. We happened to have homemade sourdough bread and homemade pesto. 

Spread goat cheese on top of the pesto. We had ricotta left over from our Lasagna recipe, so we used that. 

Grate Swiss cheese on top and broil or grill until the cheese is bubbling. Add the mushrooms and any juices. 

I said, “yum” and Becky said, “yum”. This was fast, easy and delicious.  This recipe ticks all the boxes so we’ll certainly be making this again. 

Have a great day!

Cheryl and Becky

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Mushroom and Kale Lasagna 

We found this recipe in “Skinny One-Pan Recipes” magazine. It has taken a while to find the type of pasta. The recipe calls for “campanelle” but the closest we found was “fiorelli”, which worked really well. This is recipe number 7. 

Cook pasta. Chop an onion and slice 3 cups (?) of cremini mushrooms. Fry onion in oil until soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until starting to brown. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced. Turn this mixture into a bowl with the cooked, drained pasta. 

In the same frying pan, add 6 cups chopped kale leaves. We used our own kale from the freezer and just used what we had. Cook until wilted.

 Add this to the pasta and mushrooms. Stir in 1 23-oz jar of pasta sauce and 1 cup of grated Italian cheese. We didn’t add the cheese. Transfer to a baking dish. 

Mix 3/4 cup ricotta cheese (about half a little tub) with 1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning or parsley, 1 tbsp milk and seasoning. Shape into balls and place on top of the pasta. 

 Cover loosely with foil and bake at 375F/190C for 35 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese and bake 5 minutes. Leave stand for 10 minutes. 

Serve with a nice crispy salad. 

We loved this! It was like easy, low calorie cannelloni. This is easy to make vegetarian by switching the cheeses. 

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Rhubarb Crumble 

We’ve made rhubarb and custard cupcakes, rhubarb meringue tarts, rhubarb muffins but never have we used rhubarb for a crumble. This is number 6 of our challenge and the recipe was from Gordon Ramsay’s “Sunday Lunch”. 

 Chop the rhubarb. 

Toss with vanilla sugar and put in a roasting pan with 2 tbsp water and a little butter. Roast at 375 F/190 C until tender. Add minced ginger and leave to cool. 

Make the crumble with flour and butter. Add 1/4 cup/50g brown sugar, pinch nutmeg, 1/2 cup/40 g oats and 1 cup/150 g toasted hazelnuts. We used untoasted pecans. 

Sprinkle on top of the rhubarb and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Serve with mascarpone mixed with lemon zest. We used sour cream mixed with icing sugar and vanilla. 

We weren’t impressed. It was very dry and very tart. Not enough fruit or sugar for our tastes. Is Canadian rhubarb so different to English rhubarb? Maybe that was the problem. We added some sugar water and thought it improved the rhubarb. The vanilla sour cream was delicious. It’s like liquid cheesecake. It’s something we use instead of cream.

We have two rhubarb plants in the garden so will probably try recipe this again with some tweaking. 

Happy Baking and Happy Victoria Day!!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Mother’s Day Frittata 

We’ve made frittatas before, but never with leeks or peas and this has both. We were looking for some leek recipes and found this in “A Cook’s Guide” by Donna Hay; Pea, Pancetta, Leek and Onion Frittata. 

Slice the onion and leek and fry in butter and oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. 

Whisk six eggs, 1 cup/250 ml cream and 1/4 cup/25g grated Parmesan in a bowl. We used skimmed milk and cheddar cheese. Pour the eggs over the leek and onions and cook for 5 minutes on low heat. Top with 1 cup/120g frozen peas, 200g ricotta and 5 slices of pancetta or ham, roughly chopped. We used Camembert instead of ricotta. Cook for 15 minutes until the eggs are almost set. Place under a hot grill or broiler for 5 minutes until golden brown. 

Serve with a crisp salad. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful Moms out there!

Cheryl and Becky 

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Double Kimchi

We borrowed a cookbook from the library and fell in love with it. Matt Basile’s “Street Food Diaries” is creative, daring, spicy, and Canadian. We have never eaten kimchi in our lives and this book made us want to own a jar of kimchi. Matt obligingly has a kimchi recipe, so we started with that. Recipe number 3 of our challenge. 

Cut up a napa cabbage. Put a pot of salted water on and bring to a boil. Let cool for ten minutes and add the cabbage. Leave for 30-60 minutes and drain. 

While the cabbage is soaking, blend 2 apples, 2 pears, 6 cloves garlic, fresh ginger, a bunch green onions and 2 lemons, minus the peel. We used lemon juice. Turn that out and add 2 cans chipotle peppers, 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup sriracha sauce, oil, fish sauce and cilantro. Blend to a paste. We majorly adjusted this part as we figured Matt must have an asbestos mouth! Just try and get a bit of all the different flavours in the sauce. Mix with the apple paste and stir in the cabbage. Put it in jars and refrigerate. In 24 hours you will have kimchi!

We wanted to make Matt’s Kimchi stew, so that is recipe number 4  of our new challenge. It is close to a cabbage soup recipe but using kimchi and adding more heat. Matt’s recipe uses celery, carrot, onion, leek, Roma tomatoes, tomato juice, water and kimchi. We used half cabbage, half Kimchi and adjusted the other ingredients to match the vegetables we had on hand. Cook for an hour. 

That looks pretty good, right, but we’re not done. Cook your favourite rice. Fry an egg per person. Put some rice in a bowl. Add the kimchi stew. Place a fried egg on top and chopped green onion. 

Wow, wow, wow! This was amazing! Becky doesn’t normally like spicy food but she loved this. We have never eaten anything like this before but we are so glad we tried it. We are also glad we made the kimchi and have found other ways of using it. Result….

…empty jar 🙂

We will be making more of Matt’s wonderful recipes as they look so yummy. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheryl and Becky 

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