Friday, August 31, 2012

So Great-ful for Sangria

As it is the last weekend of the summer, we have to make every minute of it count. And for my part I will be taking advantage of every opportunity to sit on the patio with friends enjoying a beautiful fruity glass of sangria, or 2. There are as many kinds of sangria as there are fish in the sea, but we prefer white sangria for those hot days.  You can make sangria with any kind of wine, traditionally it is done with cheaper bottles, but our rule is, if you want to like the drink you have to like the ingredients. Feel free to experiment with your favorite summer fruits and alcohols.
1 bottle of white wine, we used Hardy's Stamp of Australia - Riesling Gewurztraminer
1/3 cup of peach schnapps, we absolutely love Dr. Mcgillicuddy's® peach liqueur!
2 peaches, peeled and sliced
1 lemon, washed and sliced into rounds
1 cup raspberries, strawberries or other seasonal fruit
1 sprig of mint leaves (optional)
1/2 liter of ginger ale (use Sprite or 7-up if you like your sangria sweeter.

1. In a large pitcher, pour wine and liqueur and add fruit, stir gently.
2. Chill mixture for at least an hour to allow the flavours to blend.
3. Add soda and mint just before serving.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Give Chickpeas A Chance

All we are saying, is give chickpeas a chance. There is far more to these little nuggets of luscious indulgence than just turning them into hummus (Not that hummus isn't fantastic). This sexy little appetizer dish was inspired by an amuse bouche served at Mario Batali's B&B in Las Vegas and the ever present problem of making something fantastic to bring to parties that is quick, easy and best of all won't break the bank.

This recipe can be adjusted for personal taste, so the quantities below are just guidelines. Once you have tried this, you will never think poorly of the humble chickpea ever again.

Serves 6.


1 loaf of baguette bread or similar
Olive oil
1 can of chickpeas
3 cloves of garlic, minced and 1 whole clove
1 Tablespoon cayenne powder
1 Teaspoon cumin
1 lemon, zest and juice
3 Tablespoons italian parsley, chopped fine
Salt and pepper


1. Turn oven on to low broil. Slice baguette in 1" pieces and arrange on cookie sheet.
2. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and broil till lightly toasted (aprox 3 mins), flip and toast 2nd side.
3. When done, rub the oiled side of each piece with the whole clove of garlic.
4. Drain the chickpeas and rinse in hot water. Put in medium bowl.
5. Sweat but do not brown the minced garlic in a generous amount of olive oil. Add cumin and cayenne   to toast the spices.
6. Add garlic, oil, and spices to chickpeas, add zest and juice of lemon, parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
7. Mix well, smashing the chickpeas slightly.
8. Serve mixture on toasted bread.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hardcore Prawns

Looking for a perfect dish to serve for friends sitting on the patio with a glass of wine, or a great side to go with salad?  These prawns are spicy and mouthwatering.  We prefer using fresh prawns, size 20/30 peeled and deveined. Larger prawns are delicious too, but tend to be less sweet. We also put this marinade on scallops and cook them under the broiler.

1 lb raw prawns, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon rind
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon chili flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne powder
Salt and Pepper
Bamboo Skewers 

1. Heat BBQ to 350 - 400 degrees.
2. In a shallow baking dish soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes
3. Thread 4-5 prawns onto each skewer, by piercing the skewer through the body and tail. Check prawns at this time to make sure all of the intestinal vein has been removed. Rinse in cold water if required.
4. Put the skewers on a plate and mix remaining ingredients into a small bowl. Pour the marinade over the prawns ensuring even coverage.
5. Let sit for a maximum of 30 minutes, as the acid in the lemon juice will start to cook the prawns.
6. Put skewers on the BBQ, and grill 2-3 minutes on each side until the prawns have turned pink and are no longer translucent.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ode to the Olympics! - British Trifle the Canadian way

As dedicated Olympic fans we have spent endless hours over the last 9 days glued to our television sets cheering on the Canadian team in every possible sport. So how can we pay homage to the Olympic Host Nation of England?  We made Trifle, a recipe takes the gold medal for being rich, creamy, fruity goodness, while being able to make it in World Record time too.

Now some people may disqualify us for using store bought or box cake, but sometimes you just need a recipe that is a little less work but still results in a great desert. We prefer using pound cake or sponge cake, it has a nice density, and doesn't turn to total mush with the rest of the layers. Angel food, or plain white sheet cake is also good, but it is a little sweet for our liking.

Serves 4.


1 9" round sponge cake
1/3 cup raspberry jam
2 cups fresh raspberries
2 nectarines or peaches, peeled and sliced
300 ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

For the custard:
3 yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
300 ml heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

1. Spread the jam on the sponge cake and then cut into 1" cubes. Divide the cake cubes between 4 glasses or bowls.
2. Take half the raspberries and sprinkle them over the cake.
3. To make the custard, put the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over medium heat. While the cream is heating, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow and smooth.
4. Pour hot cream into egg yolks and stir vigorously. Return mixture to pan over low heat and cook, stirring, until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add vanilla when the mixture is cool and stir well.
5. Whip cream and sugar until soft peaks form.
6. Spread a layer of cooled custard over cake in glasses.
7. Add layer of nectarines, another layer of custard, the rest of the raspberries.
8. Top with whipped cream. Chill 2 hours before serving.