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Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup

Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup

A hot, steaming bowl of soup is my favourite comfort food during the cold winter months. While I love meal type soups that include the protein, starch and vegetables, I also love pureed vegetable soups that can be served at the beginning of the meal. I came across this recipe here and made it right away. It was excellent the day it was made and it reheated beautifully the next day. I left out the cumin in the recipe and used a generous amount of coriander and fennel seeds and cooked the vegetables in a rich, homemade chicken stock. The sour cream makes this smooth creamy soup velvety and rich.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 4-6 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 tsp crushed mixed coriander and fennel seeds (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup sour cream or heavy cream

Heat the oil and butter in a pot, and add the onion. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.  Add the crushed coriander and fennel, if using. Pour the chicken stock and add the potatoes and bring the pot to a boil, add the spinach and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Turn off the heat and puree the soup either with immersion blender or let it cool and puree in a regular blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, add the nutmeg and the sour cream, heat gently and serve hot with crusty bread.

Creamy Potato and Spinach Soup


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Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Torte

Gluten Free Almond Chocolate Torte

I love to serve chocolate desserts in the winter; they are rich, full of flavour and the best accompaniment to a freshly brewed cup of coffee after dinner on a cold winter evening.

Flourless cakes tend to be denser, so a little goes a long way. This torte is a variation of my mom’s almond chocolate cake, it uses the same ingredients but the technique is so different that I thought I would share this version too. The resulting torte is a super moist, tender almond and chocolate dessert. I like to serve it slightly warm from the oven but if you make it ahead of time, warm it in an oven preheated to 275F for about 5 minutes while brewing the coffee or tea.

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) dark chocolate, I used 70% cocoa
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 125 grams ground almonds
  •  

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 7 or 8 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Melt the chocolate and butter, let it cool.

Separate the eggs, put the egg yolks in a bowl, set aside. With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites into soft peaks, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until it forms firm peaks. Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar for about a minute, add the melted chocolate and butter, then the almond meal, fold in the egg whites gently but quickly using a spatula and pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 35-40  minutes, the torte will rise and there will be cracks on top.

Dust with cocoa or icing sugar or serve with  sliced almonds or a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

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Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Roast chicken has to be one of the easiest main courses one can make, it requires a few minutes of preparation and the oven does all the work, and the best part, the leftovers! Our family of two and a half people can’t finish a whole roast chicken, so we always use the leftovers in frittatas, casseroles or salads.

In the salad recipe below, I used fresh sage but tarragon is also an excellent fresh herb to use in this dish. I often add toasted nuts or seeds for an extra crunch; dried fruits are also a good addition. This chicken salad is an excellent lunch when served over a bed of mixed greens, or use fresh out of the oven sourdough baguette to make a very yummy sandwich.

  • 2-3 cups roasted chicken breast, cubed
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • ½ red onion, finely chopped

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sour cream
  • 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the dressing, in a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar and sage, season with salt and pepper, add the chicken celery and red onion, toss well to coat the chicken with the dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Buttermilk Mastic Panna Cotta

Buttermilk Mastic Panna Cotta

I know I have posted a panna cotta recipe before but once I tasted the combination of tangy buttermilk, mild honey, fragrant mastic and the delicate vanilla beans, I knew I had to post this version too. It took a little convincing though, I must have mentioned this before, my husband is the photographer of the blog, so, when I asked him to take the pictures of the panna cotta, he told me it would look like duplicate post but once he tasted it, he had to agree with me.

Most panna cotta recipes use a combination of milk and cream and some use only cream, and that to be honest while it tastes delicious and has the most amazing texture, it’s a little too heavy for my taste, buttermilk on the other hand gives it a similar rich texture without being too heavy.

  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 tsp agar agar powder or 3 tbsp agar agar flakes
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • ½ tsp mastic, crushed to a powder
  • 1/3-1/2 cup honey
  • 2½ cups buttermilk
  • Pomegranate seeds (about 1/3 cup)

Heat the milk, the seeds of half a vanilla bean and fine agar agar over high heat mixing with a spatula for about 2 minutes, make sure the agar has completely dissolved, off the heat, add the honey and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in the buttermilk and pour the mixture into the serving cups, bowls or ramekins.

Refrigerate until set or ready to serve, decorate with pomegranate seeds.

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Onion Tart

Onion Tart

I love reading recipes, discussing recipes, methods and techniques. I also love trying new recipes and exchanging them with friends. I found this recipe in my inbox a few weeks ago, it was from my friend K., I compared it to my mom’s recipe and not able to choose one or the other, I decided to combine the two; we ended up with this delicious onion tart. The crust is tender and flaky, the onion is sweet and thyme just brings everything together.

Crust:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1 stick (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, into small cubes
  • 4-5 tbsp ice water

Filling:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 ½ lb yellow onions, finely sliced
  • 4-5 thyme sprigs
  • Sea salt
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • Freshly ground nutmeg
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To make the crust, place flour, salt and fresh thyme in the bowl of a food processor, pulse for 2 seconds to combine, add the cold butter and pulse until the butter cubes are the size of peas. Start with 2 tablespoons of ice cold water and add 1 tablespoon at a time pulsing, try to avoid adding too much water, the dough should come together when you squeeze the mixture in your hand. Gather the dough together on the counter, form a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll the dough and fit into a 9 inch tart pan, using the rolling pin remove the excess dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, dock the dough with a fork, and line the tart shell with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil and use either pie weights or beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the weights and return the tart to the oven, bake for another 10 minutes and let it cool to room temperature.

To make the filling, melt butter in a large pot over high heat, add the onions and thyme sprigs, season generously with salt, cook for a few minutes to let the onions wilt, then cover with a piece of parchment, and a lid, cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, and most of the liquid has evaporated. The onions should take on a deeply golden colour but they should not get too dark. Remove the thyme sprigs, let the onions cool.

In another bowl combine the sour cream and eggs, add a generous pinch of freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper, mix in the onions and pour this mixture into the baked tart shell.

Bake until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Onion Tart

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