Monday, February 20, 2017

Chocolate Pots à la Jamie Oliver...

As far as decadent chocolate and simplicity goes, these individual two-toned chocolate pots can't be beat. With just four items in three easy steps, you are on your way to baked chocolate heaven baby! A perfect indulgent treat for the kids to celebrate family day and also my birthday ode to doing a rendition my way, adapting Jamie Oliver's Chocolate Pot recipe for our Toronto Food Revolution February Cookbook Contest. Cakey on the outside, bake it a few minutes less for a molten lava centre, or as I have done to a gooey chocolatety inside. As Jamie exclaims in his recipe, it is utterly a mind-blowing chocolate experience! Try it! Share it! Spread the chocolate joy!

Chocolate Pots à la Jamie Oliver (adapted from Jamie Oliver)
Makes 4 pots (double the ingredients for double the batch)

170 g (6 oz.) quality dark chocolate (70%)-- I used Baker's Premium Dark Chocolate
100 g or 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup golden or light brown sugar
2 large eggs
maple syrup for drizzling (optional)
nectarine, thinly sliced for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F. Break or coarsely chop chocolate and place into microwaveable bowl along with butter, cubed. Microwave on medium-high heat for one minute. Stir well to blend the melted ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together until thick and fluffy. Whisking constantly, pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs, until combined. 

Divide between four small ovenproof teacups or ramekins, then place them in a deep roasting tray. Place the tray in the oven, then carefully pour enough boiling kettle water into the tray to come halfway up the side of the cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, then carefully remove the cups from the tray and leave them to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Baking 20 minutes will give you a molten centre, with five minutes more, a gooey interior. Each oven's temperature results differently. I used my small convection oven to save on energy and baked for 25 minutes.

Crispy on the outside...

For maximum pleasure, enjoy the chocolate pots warm – if they’re hot, they can be too runny, and if they even touch the fridge, they become too firm. Serve with a spoonful of crème fraîche and a drizzle of good maple syrup. Or as I've done, a few slices of nectarine for a simple presentation.

This recipe is perfect for the kids to get hands-on and make! 
Can't wipe the eager smile off these faces...

This is my chocolate monster!! Nom Nom...

Looks like a mini cake...

But oh so ooey, gooey on the inside.... Now that's what I call heaven in a pot!

There's still a week left in our Toronto Food Revolution February Cooking Contest to enter to win a Jamie Oliver cookbook. Won't you give this ridiculously delicious chocolate recipe a try! Click to see contest rules.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Creamy Dill Pasta with Smoked Salmon Rosettes...

This is one of those classic combination pasta dishes that is simple but also simply impressive. Smoked salmon slices are turned into rosettes and added to the delicious pasta like a decorative garnish. With leeks, baby tomatoes, spinach, capers and fresh dill cooked in white wine and cream, this is one pertyy plate on Valentine's Day to dish up for a romantic dinner twosome or a special dinner for family dearest.

My kids spent all night making Valentine cards and came home with a stash each.

Creamy Dill Pasta with Smoked Salmon Rosettes
Makes 6 servings

(454 g) large shell or bowtie pasta, cooked al dente and drained 
300 g smoked salmon slices
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, white part only, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 to 3 Tbsp. capers, drained
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup white wine, divided
1 cup baby tomatoes, halved
a handful baby spinach
1 cup half & half cream (table cream (10%))-- instead of using whipping cream to reduce fat
fresh dill, chopped
lemon for splashing
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
red onions, chopped for garnish (optional)

Prepare the rosettes. Slice the salmon pieces diagonally in half. Roll up each half salmon slice and curl out the edges to form a rose. Place on a plate and refrigerate when ready to use.

If the centre end is loose, tuck it inside. 

A rose, is a rose, is a rose...

Prepare all the ingredients. Over medium-high heat, add to the skillet the oil and leeks. Cook and stir for one minute then add the capers and mustard. Stir, and pour in 2 Tbsp. white wine. Let simmer for a minute.

Add the tomatoes and dill, give it a stir then pour in the remaining 1/4 cup white wine. Let it cook for one minute, stirring a few times; add the cream. Bring to a simmer and add the spinach. Squeeze lemon juice and season to taste. Toss in the pasta and mix well until heated through.

Divide pasta into individual shallow dishes. Place smoked salmon rosettes in a cluster, and top with more dill, splashes of lemon and chopped red onion before serving!

We also had a side of garlic bread and roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

Bon Appétit! 
I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Gastropost-- Happy Lunar New Year...

It's been a week since ushering in the Year of the Rooster with food celebrations with family and friends! My Home-Style Cantonese-Style Ginger and Green Onions Lobsters was featured in last week's National Post's Gastropost mission sharing what we've been cooking up to ring in the Lunar new year!

See here for the original article.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Food Revolution Toronto February's Cooking Contest...

Resharing from Food Revolution Toronto:

Hey #Canada - come join us and #CookWithFoodRevTO this February and bake up Jamie Oliver's chocolate pots with clementine syrup for your chance to win a Jamie Oliver cookbook thanks to Harper Collins Canada! It's a perfect recipe for both Family Day and St Valentine's Day which both fall in February but we also like the idea of baking up a batch of these and sharing them with colleagues, friends and family who might be in need of a little extra sweetness this month.

“Crispy on the top, but super-gooey in the middle, rich and an utterly mind-blowing chocolate experience, these pots are an honest and delicious expression of chocolate – they really celebrate the quality of the chocolate you choose.” Jamie Oliver

Photo Credit: Chocolate Pots

How To Enter:

Make Jamie's chocolate pots, snap a picture and share it on social media using the hashtag #CookwithFoodRevTO and tag us on FB, or at @FoodRevToronto on Twitter or Instagram and you'll be entered to win a cookbook!

Eligibility and Contest Rules:

– Contest begins on February 1st 2017 at 9am EST on and closes February 28th 2017 at 6pm EST.
– Prize consists of one (1) Jamie Oliver cookbook
– Open to readers of the age of majority with a Canadian mailing address.
– No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
– Winner will be chosen randomly (using from all qualified entries on February 28th 2017 after 6pm EST.
– Winner will be notified via email March 1st 2017 and will have 48 hours to respond to the email.
– Winner will be required to answer a skill testing question.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Lunar New Year Feast to Usher in the Rooster...

Little New Year is the eve and is enjoyed with a reunion "toon neen fan" dinner with the family. While feast-ivities involving meat is popular, on the new year's day it is actually celebrated by eating meatless dishes. Combining reunion dinner and new year's day food traditions together, I made sure there were plenty of vegetarian-friendly offerings at my extended family party! 

This soy product specialty by my mom is one of my family's favourites! Delectable and tasty!

Layered Bean Curd Sheets (aka vegetarian goose or duck)

1 pkg. dried bean curd sheets (large sheets that come folded in packages found in the refrigerated or frozen sections in an Asian supermarket).
1 can (397 mL) chicken broth

oil for pan-frying

Take one large sheet, cut into half and fold it several times until you get a layered flat roll as per photo. Secure open fold with a toothpick. Repeat to make as many pieces you wish.

Add two Tbsp. oil in a hot skillet. Pan fry bean curd rolls in one layer in batches until golden brown on both sides. Place cooked bean curd in a shallow pot to fit; pour in chicken broth. Cover and simmer to cook for ten minutes. Add more broth if drying up. Turn over and simmer for five minutes more, until roll is soft but not falling apart. Transfer rolls, stacked two high to a large container. Cover and chill for 5 hours or overnight. Turn rolls over once to moisten them. Slice into bite-sized layered strips. Serve cold. You can also serve warm up by pan frying rolls on both sides before slicing.

Simmering the bean curd rolls gives a wrinkled skin result.

I made it simple by preparing a few dishes: Marbled Tea Eggs, Spicy Szechuan Smashed Cucumbers, Deep-Fried Spring Rolls and Jellyfish and Cucumbers, and buying a variety of Asian deli-prepared meats and roasts. My parents, sister and cousin's family all brought their homemade favourites to add to the big meal. 

Spicy Szechuan Smashed Cucumbers and Jelly Fish and Cucumbers

Deep-Fried Thai Shrimp Chips

My mom and aunt cooking Chinese greens

My mom slicing up whole roasted chicken

The complete Chinese New Year food spread!

My sister's Korean gimbap rolls

Shredded green vegetable salad

Other vegetarian dishes included sliced lotus salad, seaweed salad and braised soy mushrooms.

Gimbap and seaweed salad

Coconut Jackfruit Tapioca Dessert