According to a study done by a private food company, there are 291 different kinds of Kofta and I thought I could add another version… mine!
Now let’ talk about it… Kofta is a meatball made with either chicken, beef, mutton, lamb or pork. The meat is mixed with fresh ingredients, herbs and spices. Depending on the region, the spelling as well as the ingredients may vary.
I was introduced as a teenager to Egyptian food. My father knew a gentleman who was from Cairo and many times when I was visiting my dad (yes my parents were divorced…), this man was making a dish from his country. There was so much taste in his food… flavors I never thought could go so well together – oh and some spiciness but not too much that I couldn’t handle it without drinking a liter of water and eating half a loaf of bread.
A few years later I found a few Middle-Eastern restaurants in Montréal with my culinary friend Mario. After I moved to southern Ontario, I started travelling a lot and one of my favorite spots to go for a few days was New York City.
While visiting the Big Apple, I discovered a restaurant in the heart of Greenwich Village where they were making awesome food from the Middle East. It’s Mamoun’s Falafel and after many years, it’s still around. This is where my passion to cook this incredible cuisine all started.
Many of you know that Egypt and Jordan are on my bucket list. Since childhood, I always wanted to go to Egypt. I have tons of books on that incredible country and its fascinating ancient history. Because of it, I wanted to become an archeologist when I’d get older… or a journalist. At least I did one of the two.
When I discovered this little gem in New York (Mamoun's Falafel), I met a couple from Amman and the way they described their country gave me another reason to want to go to visit that part of the globe. This is when I added Jordan to my bucket list. Petra, Aqaba, the Dead Sea as well as Wadi Rum are Jordanian places that are as intriguing as Egypt
One of their dishes that was easy for me to make beside Hummus and Baba Ganouj was Lamb Kofta also spelled Kafta or köfte or keftés… As I mentioned, it all depends where it’s from. The way I prepare my Lamb Koftas is more Jordanian style as supposed to other countries.
Now here’s the way I like to serve them. When it’s not BBQ season or just too cold outside to venture out to the grill, I serve them with flatbread and a yogurt sauce. Other times when it’s nice and warm outdoors, I put these lamb Kofta meatballs in sliders and top them once again with my yogurt sauce but also with my Muhammara which I will post next year… stay tuned!
Some of you might not be big lamb fans but this recipe can surprise you! The combination of ingredients along with mint, parsley and other spices gives these meatballs a totally new aspect of flavors! David, my husband, is not a lamb type of guy and he loves this dish.
As grilling is here, this is a delicious change to add to your BBQ recipe folder and amaze everyone at your next backyard party with these scrumptious Middle East meatballs! Bon Appétit
YOGURT SAUCE • ½ cup plain yogurt • 1 tbsp. tahini • ½ tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice • 1 tsp. mint leaves, finely chopped • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste • ½ tsp. cumin
In a small bowl, stir in all the ingredients; taste and adjust if necessary. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, about 30 minutes.
People giggle when I say there’s 5 seasons in a year… As you know, there’s spring, summer, fall and winter but when the May 2-4 holiday weekend (Victoria Day) is here, my fifth season officially starts… BBQ season!
From May to October, I’d say it’s safe to grill outdoors without having to carry a tray of seasoned food to the BBQ along with a shovel. Yes I realize that some years it might be the case but generally, we’re good!
I love a great steak on the BBQ. One of my favorite cuts is a T-bone. That beautiful filet just melts in my mouth… yum! The other one is filet mignon but I reserve this cut for special occasions. More than likely, that’s the one I order when I go to a steakhouse.
Besides having my protein, I enjoy a salad and a nice side dish to complete my meal. There’s one steakhouse classic side that I’ve ordered a few times but only a handful of restaurants made it really good! The one I’m talking about is Creamed Spinach.
Creamed Spinach is extremely delicious with a steak but I find that most places make it pretty bland. They’re just using butter, flour, milk and barely any seasonings… that’s all. Lucky for me, there are a few steakhouses I’ve been to that made Creamed Spinach … scrumptious! They were adding more to it…
I’ve made this side dish a few times without adding anything extra to it until I asked myself – “Why not?”
Here’s the thing about cooking… it’s all about creating and making a recipe to your liking. When people tell me that they’ve never heard of a specific dish with this or that ingredient, I respond – “ here’s one!”
You have to open your mind when it comes to cooking. Just like singing or painting, cooking is an art form. It’s a way to express your creativity by combining ingredients, mixing, cooking, seasoning, and finally savoring it…
I put a twist on my Creamed Spinach Steakhouse Style and believe me it is far from being bland. There are just enough ingredients added to make it… deliciously interesting! This is a pretty quick recipe because it only takes 15 minutes to cook all together… okay plus 5 minutes to prep (if you are quick with your knife skills). This is a lovely recipe to have when you want a quick, tasty side dish… Happy BBQ season! Bon Appétit!
Having problem making perfect homemade whipped cream?
I can’t resist rolling my eyes when I see prepared whipped cream in the dairy section at the supermarket. This is one of the simplest recipes every home cook should be making. There are only a couple of tips to know to make perfect whipped cream every time…
– Always place your bowl and whisk attachment in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 20 minutes – Depending on your recipes, you might have to adjust or dismiss the pure vanilla extract and the powdered sugar – Start slow then increase the speed to max and let it go until stiff peaks form
Here’s the basic whipped cream recipe… – 1 cup 35% heavy cream – 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract – 1 tbsp. powdered sugar
When it comes to adding sugar, if you incorporate granulated sugar, your whipped cream will have some crunch to it as the sugar is still crystalized. Every time I make my whipped cream, I strictly use powdered sugar. It is quite pricey at the supermarket but you can make it at home without extra cost… To know how, click on this link>>> Powdered Sugar – Make it, Don’t Buy it
As I mention many times, homemade is the best and that saying includes this one. It tastes better and you’re in control of what goes in it. Please take a short moment to make it and you’ll see just how easy, quick and delicious it is to make your own Perfect Whipped Cream! Bon Appétit!
When you start a new relationship, friendly or romantic, it is nice to start new habits together. Going to a new place that becomes your “special” spot, book a trip that no one has been to, have a get together once a week, enjoy the same kinds of drinks, are many examples of creating new habits. One thing that is quite common for couples or friends to share together is either their hangout bar/pub or a restaurant.
When David and I started going out, our thing was to try new restaurants… what a surprise! It had always been my “thing” to do but not so much his. I guess my passion rubbed off on him. So after I moved to British Columbia, we went to many new restaurants and bistros together. I believe he wanted me to feel welcome and comfortable in my new hometown and its surroundings.
One nice and sunny autumn afternoon – Vancouver is breathtaking during the fall season when it doesn’t rain –, David and I went by the pier in White Rock. As we were walking along Marine Drive with its many quaint bars, bistros, pubs and restaurants, we decided to go to Iguana’s Beach Grill. With its crooked wood floor and walls filled with records and posters from the 60s’, 70’s and 80s, we sat comfortably by the closed garage door window to enjoy the view of the ocean.
Oh my! This restaurant became our favorite “spot” right from that day! It wasn’t any fancy pantsy “foo-foo” food, it was simply comfort food at its best! Everything and I mean everything on the menu was absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g! It had just the right selection to appeal to everyone. Linda, the owner of that lovely establishment, had the perfect set up; nothing was too posh or too pricey! She had a decent affordable wine selection along with a well stocked bar. Unfortunately Linda sold her business and we found out the hard way. One evening after being away for a few weeks, we were walking to our “spot” and saw a sign hanging at the door advertising the new owners menu… bummer!
After this sad discovery, somehow David was able to contact Linda’s daughter who recognized him right away – we went there at least 3 times a month. During the conversation, David asked for a few recipes and without hesitation, she willingly emailed them to us. One thing we were not thinking straight about was these recipes were based on restaurant volume… not for home cooking!
Today I’ll be sharing our version of Linda’s famous mushroom sauce that was served over chicken breasts. As delightful as it was, we couldn’t easily subtract the recipe amounts down to home meal portions without losing some serious flavors from it. Here’s the thing… there are certain recipes that can easily be doubled or reduced but there are also some you can’t which was the case with this sauce. Also, unlike Linda, we didn’t have to serve 100+ patrons a day therefore we’ve decided to spice things up a little… just a little!
The moral to all this is by losing our favorite restaurant, we were able to recreate a similar recipe that we both really enjoy. Each time we make this incredible Iguana’s Mushroom Sauce, nostalgically we think of our lovely friend Linda, her competent staff, her incredible dishes and our “special spot” that no longer exists. Cheers to you Linda… we miss you! Bon Appétit!
If you are a seafood lover, you’ve probably had many dishes even drinks with some in it. I love seafood… they’re so scrumptious! From lobster to scallops, along with shrimp, sea urchin, mussels, clams, crab, squid, cockles, and so on, they are a “treat”. Depending on where you’re from, fish are also included as seafood and are not in a separate category…
David is a great cook and has come out with many recipes on his own. Like me, he likes to experiment and try new taste sensations. He wasn’t when I just met him but I guess my culinary curiosity rubbed off on him. I sure like that! I would be miserable if I was with someone who’s super picky….
One day he decided that he was going to make some clam fettuccine. Obviously he had it before and wanted to make it at home. From his first attempt, this pasta dish was amazing! I was impressed! The ingredients blended so well together and the flavors were perfectly balanced. A little something was missing and the next time he made it, I added lemon zest to his recipe.
Although he’s not using fresh clams, don’t think the taste is lessened. Au contraire… This Fettuccine alle Vongole is perfect the way it is. If you would have to match the same amount of fresh clams with the ones from the cans, you’d have to buy a few dozen. There are a lot of those little guys in one can let alone two. That way, it’s more economical and you can still enjoy a classic Italian dish without compromising the incredible flavors!
It’s a dish that you can enjoy anytime and even serve it at your next dinner party. So easy to make, it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and besides being incredibly tasty, it is also an elegant dish to serve. Next time you feel like having seafood pasta, you’ll know exactly where to go to get a succulent recipe… Bon Appétit!
I’ve always liked sausage. There was an indoor market called Marché du Village near where I was living in Brossard which my mother and I shopped there quite often. There were a lot of small shops and one of them was selling deli and sausages. Going to this quaint little store, I discovered many kinds of sausages that I never knew existed. There was a wide selection of European, African as well as South & North American sausages to choose from. From mild to spicy, they were sure to please anyone’s taste!
David and I are quite independent when it comes to buying what we want. He doesn’t need me to buy stuff and I’m the same way until a couple of months before Christmas of course, then it’s another story. We both write a list and send it to “Santa”.
A few years ago, I put a sausage attachment kit for my stand mixer on the list and because I was not on the naughty list…. sure enough Santa got it for me! At that point I had no choice but to learn how to make sausage.
It’s not really hard to make them… you just need some practice and make sure that the casing is not overstuffed. I’m not an expert sausage maker but after a few tries, I got the hang of it and I’m sure you can too.
In this episode, I will not share any specific recipes with you but just show you the technique used to make homemade sausages. After watching this video, I hope it will give you some inspiration to not only make them but also to experiment with new taste sensations using different herbs and spices… that is the fun of making your own sausages. Have fun with your sausages, brats, bangers and wienerwurst! Bon Appétit!
Andouille Homemade Sausage (coming up June 12th, 2018)
Just a quick reference… If you have 2 lbs. of meat, you should be able to make about 8 sausages (1/4 lb. each) and it’s good for 4 people. Five pounds of meat will make 20 sausages therefore 10 servings.
It’s a beautiful Mexican dish made with corn tortillas, stuffed with meat and covered with a tomato-chili sauce… yummy!
The first time I ever had Enchiladas was when I went to Puerto Vallarta back in 1987 with my boyfriend Carlos who proposed to me while we were vacationing down there. It was my first time in this amazing country and I ate anything that I wasn’t familiar with. I don’t remember having one dish that I didn’t like although some of them were quite “hot”. Back then, my palate wasn’t used to spicy food and many times I had to reach for either crema or milk… water doesn’t really do anything.
During my time down there, I had a great culinary experience and this is when it all began. I wanted to start making Mexican food at home. My “now fiancé” was Italian and he loved experimenting in the kitchen. The idea of us trying to make those incredible Hispanic dishes really appealed to him.
As soon as we returned home, we started looking for supermarkets were they carried Mexican ingredients. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find much in that small Ontario city where we were living. This is when Carlos had a great idea to look in the Detroit area and its neighborhoods… we found what we were looking for. Slowly but surely, we started cooking Mexican dishes and experimenting with ingredients and spices.
I love the depth and intensity of Mexican cuisine. The mix of ingredients, spices, herbs, and sauces brings such a beautiful complexity to their dishes. Mexican food is definitely not boring! When I created my Pulled Pork Enchiladas, I really wanted to have layers upon layers of flavors. With my Texas BBQ Slow Cooker Pulled Pork recipe along with my Enchilada Sauce, this was a great starting point for me to create these Enchiladas.
It’s a fantastic dish to enjoy anytime you crave Mexican food. This easy and yet flavorful Pulled Pork Enchilada recipe will be sure to become a favorite in your house as it is in mine! Bon Appétit!
My mother did a bit of baking when I was younger. She made so many desserts from scratch. The odd times, she bought “prepared mixes” from the store. I liked the Chocolate Cake from Duncan Hines until I was old enough to make my own chocolate cake. She made some pastries and lucky me, some were my all- time favorites… Chocolate Éclairs and Cream Puffs!
When it came to other pastries, my mother was buying them directly from the pastry chefs at the boulangerie store. I asked her once why she never attempted to makes other pastries at home besides the Chocolate Éclairs and Cream Puffs and her answer was – “They are too challenging!” – and I’m sure they can be…
Baking cakes, cookies, muffins and so on is one thing but when it comes to pastry, it’s a totally different story. It seems more complicated and more technical! To me, making pastries is like chemistry – a little too much or too little and you’re looking at a disaster. I’ve been baking pastries for a while now and it’s not always obvious at first. A few that are not complicated to make in my (pastry) book are Chocolate Éclairs, Cream Puffs and Profiteroles.
Sinfully delicious Éclairs
Today I will show you how I make my Chocolate Éclairs. It is an easy and incredibly delicious French pastry recipe! After making Pâte à Choux, the rest is quite easy to achieve. Filled with a beautiful custard (crème pâtissière) and dipped in chocolate for the icing, these oblong pastries are sinfully scrumptious!
When you are having people over for dinner, how cool is it to say that these éclairs are “homemade”… right? The only technique that I can suggest to you is to relax and take your time because quite frankly this is not complicated at all. So go ahead and try these yummy éclairs… Bon Appétit!
P.S. If you decide to change the chocolate icing to caramel icing instead, they are called Bâton de Jacob in French…
There are so many good finger foods out there such as pizza, sliders, lumpia, cheese dips, cocktail meatballs, focaccia, and much more. There’s one dish that we eat quite frequently and it is our Baked Chicken Wings. They are awesome as an appetizer or even as a meal. This is a great recipe to have for parties or game nights! I like to serve them with carrots, celery and bell pepper sticks along with a couple of dipping sauces.
Because we eat them often, I don’t want to have the same sauce on them all the time. I like to mix it up… it makes wings night more interesting. Years ago David and I went on a cooking spree, creating new chicken wing sauce recipes. I have to admit, we did pretty good! We ended up with quite a delicious selection of sauces…
One of them is the featured recipe in this episode… Triple Chili Wing Sauce! It’s a beautiful blend of sweet and spicy. After cooking for a while and reducing the sauce down until it thickens nicely, almost to a syrupy consistency, you end up with quite a flavorful sauce for your wings and drumettes.
Like many sauces, this one is versatile as well as you can use it on grilled chicken breast, pork or as a dipping sauce for your chicken fingers. On wing night, we like to have at least 2 different sauces so here are a few more you can choose from…
For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you know I have a weakness for pastas, seafood and delicious sauces. Let me correct that… my weakness list might be longer. Burgers, pastries, salads… All right, I admit it… food is my weakness! Let’s try that again…
For those of you who have been following me for awhile, you know that FOOD is my weakness! Better…!
Years ago when I was still living in Montréal, there was an Italian chain restaurant that I quite enjoyed. The name of the place was Pacini which is still around after so many years. The concept was fun and different!
There was a Bread Toasting area where patrons had choices between different kinds of bread and a few different selections of butter. In the middle of that particular area was a grill to toast the chosen buttered bread and metal tongs provided to flip them over when one side was grilled. It was awesome!
Besides that cool toast concept, I really liked their individual pizza. I think they were one of the pioneers that began serving singular pies. The one I always ordered was the Seafood Pizza! Oh my, oh my! It was so good!
I haven’t been back to Pacini since the 90s’. A few years ago though while my mother and I were on the phone talking about restaurants we used to go, Pacini was brought up. I suddenly remembered my favorite pizza. When I hung up the phone, I knew that one day I would have to make a similar one.
That day has finally come and here’s my Seafood Pizza recipe!
The combination of prawns, scallops and crab meat in a beautiful Mornay Sauce gives this pasta dish a unique taste. My pie differs from theirs – I make mine on a thinner crust versus their deep dish pizza… too much dough! There weren’t any scallops in Pacini’s version. C’mon, a seafood pizza needs some scallops on it!
If you are a seafood lover then there’s no doubt you’ll love this pizza! It has the right amount of seafood in it – you won’t feel like you won the lottery when you find some – and enough cheese on it to not overpower the delicate flavors from the proteins. Overall the best way I can describe this amazing pizza is you just have to try it… you’ll be so happy you did. Bon Appétit!
Tips & Tricks
It’s a labor intense recipe but if you decide to make everything from scratch like in the video, here are a couple tips you should keep in mind…
– When pouring warm water for the yeast, do not exceed 105ºF otherwise if it’s too hot, the yeast will get kill – When you roll your dough to the desired size, if it starts to shrink back, leave it alone and let it rest for a few minutes. The best flour to use is 00. – If the Mornay Sauce is not use right away, place a wax paper on top, making sure it touches the sauce to prevent skin formation (it applies to almost every sauces) – As I always mention, recipes are based on your liking so if you cannot stand scallops for an example, use something else that YOU like!
There are so many great sauces out there… Most of them are easy but others can be slightly more challenging and Homemade Mayonnaise is one of them. With a little practice and when it’s mastered, this sauce is so incredible, you’ll never buy from the store…
My grandmother on my mother’s side was an excellent cook. She went to a private school where the nuns were the teachers. Yes she went to a Catholic school. She learned everything that any high society young lady should know; cooking, sewing, decorating, playing piano (she was amazing!), singing, nursing, accounting, and so on as well as being a great hostess with all the proper etiquette…
She made mostly everything “homemade” and it tasted so delicious! I remember as a kid when visiting her that she made the best sandwiches ever. How hard is it to make a sandwich? Of course, it’s not hard and I’m not basing her culinary skill on two pieces of bread with ingredients placed in between but there was something in hers that tasted better than my mom’s. It was only much later in life that I finally got it… There wasn’t anything missing in the sandwich making, it was just the difference in taste; one was a commercial ingredient while my grandmother’s was homemade!
If you’ve never made or tasted Homemade Mayonnaise before then you are missing out on great flavor. It is actually quite simple to make and the results are definitely superior to what you buy at the store although it’s not too shabby! This homemade condiment will make a huge difference in any dish you use it in.
Last month I shared with you my Sardine Cups recipe and I do use this Homemade Mayonnaise recipe… Wow what a difference in flavor let me tell you! Also till this day, I prefer making my own mayo when I have a sandwich because I want it to taste very good like my grandmother’s. Hey who said that sandwiches are underrated when there’s real homemade mayo in them? Bon Appétit!