Wednesday, 30 December 2020

HOMEMADE DOGFOOD: MEATLOAF FOR THE DOG!

This is Mr Ben. Meatloaf? Yes, please, he says. He can eat it every single day! 

I recently adopted a smol doggo from a local rescue who just happens to be the most finicky eater on the globe! That's the guy, Mr Ben, right there in the picture. 

I make this meatloaf for him and we do have success because he seems to like it and no longer goes without eating dinner. I've known and loved other dogs, not such finicky eaters as Ben, and I would make this meatloaf for them with turkey and without the cheese. So a turkey version is an option that other dogs may like. 

I am writing this post on New Year's Day. I would like to report that today, Ben chose to have grilled salmon for dinner because that's part of what I prepared for the hooman population that will arrive for dinner in about an hour from now. I mean Ben does live here, and the salmon was here, therefore it made sense to him that he indulge. 

I have not yet have had that conversation with Ben where I inform him that he is a doggo. I doubt this conversation will ever take place. As far as Ben is concerned, he's my son, and boy do I love him as a son!!!

The other day he asked me if I have opened a college tuition account for him. 
Of course, I have! 

Ben's Meatloaf

Ingredients:


2 pounds ground beef

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups mixed vegetables: use a combination of carrots, green beans, and broccoli.

One small sweet potato cut into chunks and boiled 

1/2 cup  flax seed meal (don't use whole flaxseed because the canine cannot digest it)

1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup shredded good cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

oregano and thyme to taste



Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Lightly pre-cook the vegetables. Pre-cooking will aid with digestion. Drain the vegetables and mash them. 

Mash the boiled sweet potato.

Mix all the ingredients.

Place the mixture in a lightly oiled pan. 

Bake for one hour. 

Cut into serving portions and freeze. Use as needed. 

P.S. Some times I'll get a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and the bones, chop the meat in small pieces and combine a portion of it with a serving of "Ben's meatloaf."



Friday, 27 November 2020

PUMPKIN CAKE


Ingredients   
     
3 cups/385 grams all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1  1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
the zest of one orange
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups/440 grams light brown sugar, packed 
1/2 cup/114 grams unsalted butter, soft but cool
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 (15-ounce) can/425 grams pumpkin purée
1/2 cup Greek full-fat plain yoghurt
½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted 

Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  • Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. 
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, black pepper, orange zest, and the rest of the spices until well combined. 
  • Add the walnuts to the flour mixture and stir until combined.        
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, butter, olive oil, and maple extract. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. This should take at least five minutes, or perhaps more. 
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between additions.
  • Add the pumpkin purée, and yoghurt. 
  • Mix until well combined, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • On the lowest setting of your mixer fold in the dry ingredients. Fold only until combined. Make sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure an evenly mixed batter. 
  • Pour into the prepared pan. Firmly tap the pan on the countertop to cause the batter to settle and release any large air bubbles. 
  • Bake the cake about 55 to 65 minutes until golden and puffed. The cake is done when a tester (such as a knife), inserted into the centre of the cake, comes out clean. 
  • Set the cake, still in its pan, on a rack to cool for at least an hour before unmoulding. Invert onto a rack and allow to cool completely.
  • Before serving,  decorate the cake with your favourite glaze if you so choose.

This recipe has been adapted from one published in the New York Times.
    

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

FROM STALE BREAD TO DELICIOUS CROUTONS!



These croutons may be the reason to give up candy!!! 



Here's the ultimate way to use up one's leftover bread or rolls. Ciabatta bread will do very nicely as will French bread. How about a combination of the two? Go ahead and make these croutons well ahead of time. They freeze beautifully and will be ready to be used as a topping for that favourite salad or soup!  

The croutons are very easy to make, and what's more, this is a recipe without a recipe! Use the amounts you want; let your inner chef take charge!



METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Cut a loaf of bread into cubes of an appropriate size and place them into a large bowl. If you prefer to have rustic bread cubes, don't use a knife. Instead, use your hands to tear the bread into nice pieces. Either way will work, but make sure that whether torn or cut up, all the pieces are of similar size so that they cook evenly. 
  • Drizzle the bread cubes with olive oil and melted butter. The combination of olive oil and butter is important because it gives an extra delicious taste to the croutons. However, you may omit the butter and just use olive oil. 
  • Sprinkle some garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper and a touch of salt over the bread. Toss until all of the bread cubes are well coated with the ingredients. 
  • If you are an oregano fanatic, add some extra dried oregano to the Italian seasoning before tossing with the bread.
  • Do you have some shredded Pecorino Romano cheese? How about adding a touch of it to the mix? Not too much, though. Just enough so that it will be absorbed by the oil and butter. 
  • Do you have some roasted garlic or better yet some garlic confit in your refrigerator? If the answer is yes, use it. Forgo the garlic powder, mash some soft roasted garlic, mash it well, and mix it with the oil and butter. Drizzle over the bread. 
  • Spread the bread cubes onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure the bread cubes are in an even layer and not touching. If they are too close and overlapping, they won’t cook evenly and won’t crisp up.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway through, or until the croutons are golden brown. Check early to make sure you don’t burn them. The baking time will depend on how thick your bread pieces are and how your oven cooks. 


  • Remove those golden croutons from the oven and let them cool completely. Do fight the urge to snack on them! It can be a strong urge ... Why fight it? Because otherwise, there will not be enough croutons left for your salad or for your soup, that's why!
  • The croutons can be stored in an airtight container for a week or they can be frozen for about a month. 


Friday, 16 October 2020

WHOLE, CITUSY TROUT IN PARCELS

 I've made this recipe a few times, either with the fish arranged in a baking dish or sealed up in parchment and aluminium foil parcels. Both are good, but there is something about the parcels which better seals in the flavour and enhances the taste of the fish. If you make the recipe in a baking pan, add a little water or wine to the pan and cover the top while cooking. 





INGREDIENTS:


2 trout cleaned by the fishmonger.

 

2 potatoes

 

2 cubanelle peppers (Italian frying peppers)

 

1 orange

 

1lemon

 

1 lime

 

1 onion

 

About 4 tablespoons of olive oil plus more to use on the fish after cooking

 

1/2 teaspoon of mint

 

2 teaspoons of thyme leaves

 

1 clove of garlic, chopped well

 

2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper

 

two sprigs of rosemary

 

a scant amount of salt

 


DIRECTIONS:


·        Wash the fish thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels.

 

·        Prepare parchment paper and aluminium foil sections large enough to accommodate each fish. Preheat the oven to 200° C / 400° F. 

 

·        Slice the orange, lemon, lime, onion, cubanelles and potatoes into rondelles.

 

·        Season the potatoes and cubanelles with salt and pepper.

 

·        In a small bowl mix the oil, garlic, mint, thyme and black pepper.

 

·      Season the fish with the oil mixture, using it to cover both the cavities and the outside of the fish.  

 

·        Place the onion and citrus slices into the fish cavities.

 

·        Spread out both sections of the aluminium foil and top it with the two sections of parchment paper.

 

·        Divide the potatoes and peppers in half and place each half onto the centre of each parchment paper. Top with a sprig of rosemary.

 

·        Place each fish on top of the potatoes and peppers.

 

·        Make two well-sealed parcels by folding the parchment over the fish and then folding the aluminium paper over the parchment.

 

·        Bake in the oven at 200° C / 400° F for about 30 minutes. The fish is done when its flesh appears opaque.

 

·        You could allow the top of the fish to brown if you so wish. In that case, cook in opened parcels for a further five to ten minutes (or more), depending on the oven.

 

·        Remove the fish from the oven and place in a serving platter along with the potatoes and cubanelle peppers.

 

·        Drizzle the cooking juices and some olive oil the top. Keep warm and allow to rest for ten minutes before serving. 

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Fudgy Brownies: The Katharine Hepburn Brownie Recipe




This is definitely a recipe for chocoholics. Notice the scant amount of flour as compared to the chocolate! The brownies are supposed to be gooey and fudgy! Whatever I’ve marked as optional is not included in Miss Katharine Hepburn’s recipe, but I have found that the extra ingredients add a whole new depth of flavour and temper the strong taste of chocolate. Either walnuts or pecans can be used here, but I prefer pecans (unless I am in the mood for walnuts). Cut these brownies into small pieces — about twenty pieces per recipe — and keep them in the refrigerator; they do taste better cold. They can be frozen, too!

Ingredients:


1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter (115 grams)
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/3 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
1 cup chopped or broken-up walnuts
1and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
 1/8 teaspoon of salt



Directions:


1.     Preheat the oven to 325° Fahrenheit / 160 ° Celsius
2.     Must do: Line an 8x8-inch (20x20 cm) pan with parchment paper. The brownies will stick and will not be easily removed from the pan without the use of parchment paper. Lightly grease the top of the parchment and set the pan aside.
3.     Combine flour, nuts, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
4.     Bloom the cocoa: Melt the butter and cocoa in a saucepan, stirring until smooth. Add the coffee and stir. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and add sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until the sugar is dissolved. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon.
5.     Add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.
6.    Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, but do not over-bake; the brownies should be gooey and fudgy!!! Let cool, then remove from pan and cut into bars. Cut into small pieces because these are rich brownies. I usually get 16 to 20 pieces. Place the brownies in the refrigerator or freezer. They taste better cold.
7.     Sometimes I add the walnuts on top rather than mix them in the batter.



Sunday, 14 July 2019

Greek country-bread / Horiatiko Psomi


TO PREPARE THE YEAST:
2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In a medium-size bowl dissolve the yeast in the water. Add sugar and the flour and mix until no lumps are left. Let rise for about twenty minutes.

FLOUR(S):
8 cups bread flour 
or
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup semolina flour
5 cups bread flour 

If using more than one type of flour, sift them together so that they are well mixed.

LIQUID INGREDIENTS:

2 cups water at room temperature 
8 tablespoons olive oil 
tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt 

Plus:

Some extra flour as needed for the work surface 


Directions:

Add the water, oil, sugar, and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer equipped with the hook attachment and mix for about two minutes.

Add the reserved yeast mixture.
Mix on low speed for about a minute. 
Begin slowly adding the flour and keep mixing on the low speed. The dough will be ready when it begins to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. 

Turn out onto a floured work surface and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. 

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around in the oil until it's covered on all sides. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about two hours. 

Punch down the dough and move it on a floured work surface. Knead it for about a minute or so and divide it into two to three equal portions. Shape each portion into a loaf.

Place the loaves onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Score the tops to your liking. 
Cover each loaf with a towel, and allow to rise for one hour.

Have the oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celcius.

Bake for about thirty-five minutes. You'll know the bread is done if when tapped on the bottom the loaves sound hollow. Allow the bread to cool before slicing.