Mushroom and Spinach Ravioli/Fettucine

i've been wanting to try and make my own ravioli for a while. i love fresh ravioli! but i don't have a pasta maker. a friend of mine suggested buying fresh pasta for lasagna and making ravioli with it. so on wednesday i tried it. i made the filling by sauteing chopped mushrooms, chopped spinach, and garlic in olive oil and then mixed it with marscarpone cheese and parmesan cheese. then i cut the sheets of pasta in squares and put a little bit of the filling in the middle and placed another square of pasta on the top. however i was unable to get the pasta to stick together. it was like the sheets of pasta were just too stiff. it just wasn't going to work. so i ended up cutting up the pasta into strips and cooking it and then serving the filling on top and drizzling the pasta with a little bit of olive oil. it ended up being really good! and a lot easier than stuffing all that ravioli. i would still like to try making ravioli again some time. i think my friend is goint to lend my her pasta machine. i let you know how it goes.


Dessert Tray

on saturday i made these for a dinner dan was going to at ley street. this is a selection of some of my favorite cookies. ...lucious lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, mint brownies...

lucious lemon bars
recipe from Southern Living
2 1/4 cups flour, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
powdered sugar

Combine 2 cups flour and powdered sugar. Cut butter into the flour mixture until crumbly. Firmly press into a greased (or foil lined) 13 x 9 pan. Bake @ 350 for 20-25 minutes. Whisk eggs in a large bowl; whisk in sugar and lemon juice. Combine 1/4 cup flour and baking powder, whisk into egg mixture. Pour batter over crust. Bake @ 350 for 25 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into bars and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar.

mint brownies
i got this idea from my mom. she had brownies with a york peppermint pattie in them at a party. i took the idea and used my own brownie recipe. i can't get york peppermint patties here, so i use an after dinner mint that comes sort of close. the hershey's website does have a recipe for this here, but here is the recipe i used.

1 stick butter, melted
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
peppermint patties

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil and grease with butter. Whisk the cocoa into the melted butter and add sugar, egg, and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Pour half the mixture into prepared pan. Place peppermint patties on top of the brownie mixture to completely cover. Then spread the rest of the brownie mixture over the top. Bake for about 25 mintes. Cool completely in pan. Remove from pan and peel off foil. Cut into squares or triangles.

Sweet Potato Soup

i made this soup last week and it has become one of my new favorites. it is easy to make and delicious. here's the recipe...

...recipe slightly adapted from Take Three
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
2onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 pints chicken stock
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper
fried shallots
sour cream

Heat the oven to 350 F. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, rub with olive oil and bake, cut side down, for 1 hour until tender. Allow to cool, then scoop the flesh out of the skins and discard the skins.

Fry the shallots and the pancetta.

Cook the onions in a little bit of olive oil until they start to soften. Add the sweet potato flesh, bay leaves, chicken stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occationally. Remove the bay leaves and puree with a hand blender or in a food processor.

Serve topped with sour cream, fried shallots, and pancetta.


Birthday Girl

this is a picture of jodie dressed in all her birthday finery. yesterday was her third birthday. we had a party for her at the center yesterday after moms and toddlers. we invited everyone to stay for lunch to celebrate her birthday. we got all the kids happy meals from mcdonald's and had cake and ice cream. jodie had a wonderful time. last night we celebrated her birthday as a family at dinner. jodie requested lamb chops for her birthday dinner and we ended the evening with our traditional oreo ice cream pie. this morning she has enjoyed getting to play with all her new stuff.



i got this idea from seven spoons. the picture is delicious and i love aioli, so i just had to try it! it was also a good opportunity to use some of our tomatoes and beans from out garden. i took several shorcuts on this one. i didn't do all of the different foods in the original recipe and i make a cheat aioli. so here's what i did...roasted some chopped red potatoes in a little bit of olive oil, baked salmon fillets with a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, blanched asparagus spears, boiled runner beans, and washed some freshly picked cherry tomatoes. for the aioli i added some fresh garlic and freshly ground sea salt to store bought mayo. i loved dipping all the different foods in the sauce! happy dipping!


Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Goat's Cheese

after making the little pumpkin cakes this morning i had good amount of roasted pumpkin puree leftover so i decided to make a little soup with it for lunch. it turned out really well and made a great lunch! i was only wishing that i had a really good crusty loaf of bread to go with it. here's the recipe...

...recipe my own creation
roasted pumkin
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, pressed
ground cinnamon
ground cumin
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
double cream or whipping cream
goat's cheese

Puree roasted pumpkin. Saute onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle the onions with cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne and cook a little longer until the onions start to brown a little. Sitr in the pumpkin and broth. Then puree it all together again so as to blend in the onion. Sitr in cream and serve with a dollop of goat's cheese.

Roast Pumpkin Spice Cakes

i made these this morning to try them out before making at the cafe this week. they were really good and a good excuse to use my new individual cake tins again! i had a bit of a hard time getting them to come out of the pans. only one or two of them came out whole. i buttered and floured the pans, so i'm not really sure what went wrong. my only thought is that the kitchen was pretty warm this morning and the butter was a little melty in the pans instead of being firm. hopefully i won't have this problem next time. here's the recipe...

...recipe from Little Cafe Cakes
1 small pumpkin
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
3/4 cup plain flour

lemon cream cheese icing
1 cup cream cheese, softened
50 grams butter, melted
1/2 cup caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 200 C. Cut pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Place pumpkin halves in a roasting pan flesh side up and roast for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut the skin off of the pumpkin and cut the pumpkin into cubes. Put the pumpkin cubes back into the pan and roast a further 20 minutes. Puree the pumpkin. Measure 250g for the cake.
2. Grease and flour 12 individual cake tins.
3. Beat oil and sugar together and then beat in eggs until thick and pale. Mix in pumpkin, vanilla, spices, and salt. Stir in dry ingredients.
4. Divide batter between prepared tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
5. Turn out to cool then ice with lemon cream cheese icing.



this is my first time making truffles. they turned out pretty well. i was unable to get the butter to completely combine with the chocolate so after putting it in the refrigerator i had bit of congealed butter on the top that i had to scrape off. otherwise they were very easy to make and they still tasted really good even with the butter problem. here's the recipe...

...recipe from Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes
275 grams (10oz.) dark chocolate
250 milliliters (9oz.) double cream
50 grams (2oz.) butter, at room temp
50 grams cocoa powder

Place the chocolate in a large bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate has melted, trying not to create bubbles. Leave to cool for 2 minutes, then add the butter in two stages and stir gently. Once the butter is incorporated, the ganache should be smooth and glossy with no oil slick on the surface. Set the truffle mixture in the fridge for a minimun of 3 hours or over night.

Remove the ganache from the fridge about 15 minutes before you want to make the truffles, depending on room temperature. Put the cocoa into a bowl. Ensure your hands are cold and dry, then dust them with cocoa. Take spoonfuls of the ganache mixture and roll the mixture into a ball in your cocoa-dusted hands. Drop each shaped truffle into the bowl of cocoa, turn it around and then toss it between you palms to remove andy excess powder. The truffles can then be retruned to the fridge and kept for up to 2 days as long as they are stored in an airtight container.


Tower Bridge

the girls and i went into the city today to meet dan for lunch after divi day. while we were waiting for him to finish up we wandered around down by the river. this is a picture of the girls in fron of tower bridge.


Roasted Pepper Gazpacho

this is my favorite recipe for gazpacho. i found it a few years ago in an issue of Fine Cooking. i like this recipe because the gazpacho is chunky instead of smooth. the only down side to this recipe is that it is labor intensive, however if you have a lot of tomatoes in your garden that need eating this is a good way to use up a lot of them! here's the recipe...

3 red peppers (this time i used one red, orange, and green pepper)
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Roast and peel peppers. Put peppers and tomatoes and garlic in food processor and pulse. Put them in a large bowl and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Serve cold.

to peel tomatoes make an X through the skin at the blossom end and place in boiling water for 10 seconds and then immeadiatly plunge into ice water to stop cooking. then just peel the skin right off.


verona coffee syrup cakes

yesterday was my birthday and one of the things my parents got me was the cookbook Little Cafe Cakes by julie le clerc. dan also got me a gift certificate to a really cool kitchen supply store in islington, the gill wing cookshop, where i bought individual size cake tins to try out some new recipes from my new cookbook! so this is the first one i tried and they were really good, but really rich. here is the recipe...

250 grams butter
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup strong verona coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon finely ground verona coffee beans
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

syrup ingredients
1 1/2 cups strong verona coffee
1/4 cup coffee liqueur
1 teaspoon ground coffee beans
3/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease and flour 12 individual cake tins.
2. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffly. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add coffee, vanilla, nutmeg, and ground coffee beans. Fold in flour and baking powder.
3. Pour into prepared tins. Bake for 20 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely. Pour hot syrup over cooled cakes.

For the syrup boil all ingredients together in a pan until reduced to a light syrup.

verona is a starbucks blend of coffee and my personal favorite. feel free to substitute your own favorite coffee.


Fried Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing

recipe slightly adapted from the august 2005 issue of Southern Living
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
1/2 cup milk
2 cup mayo
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons pepper, divided
2 teaspoons salt, divided
8 slices thick cut bacon
2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 head green leaf lettuce, chopped
2 cups honeydew melon, cubed
sliced green onions
chopped tomatoes

honey mustard dressing
plain yogurt
cider vinegar

Cut chicken breasts in half, making a lenghtwise cut horizontally through the breast.

Stir together mayo, milk, garlic, basil, 2 teaspoons pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large ziplock bag. Add the chicken and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

Cook bacon slices in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in the skillet. Crumble bacon and set aside. Add oil to the drippings in the skillet and heat to 350.

Combine flour, remaining 2 teaspoons pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Scrape and discard excess marinade from chicken. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Fry 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and chicken is done.

Divide lettuce leaves evenly between 4 plates. Top with chicken, melon, and bacon. Drizzle with dressing. Serve immeadiatly.