Basil Wine Sauce Over Grilled Salmon

It’s been a very interesting week getting the new business off the ground.  Aside from opening up the Etsy shop I also did a local art show called Art in the Park.  It was a great experience as I was able to get advice from fellow artists and everyone was so positive.  In addition to getting a few sales I also got great positive feedback which lets me know I’m not tilting at windmills.

I also upgraded this site to the business level and spent quality time with the “happiness engineers” to get a shop set up on my blog.  It took several hours as I seem to have a knack to ask for stuff that require special coding.  I still have a few more things to do but it’s all a go now!

Earlier this summer, when we were in Swanage, we took my in-laws out to dinner to thank them for putting us up and putting up with us.  We tried an Italian restaurant in town which wasn’t too bad.  The highlight of the meal was for my daughter and I as we ordered poached salmon with an amazing basil sauce.  She and I raved about it.  Once all the summer adventures were over I knew I needed to make this again as a treat.

I will admit, using fresh basil in it’s prime is best.  Our basil in the garden is a bit past it’s prime but the flavour was still there.

Prep the salmon first.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Slice a lemon to grill the salmon on.

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Pick a bunch, about three handfuls.  Wash and blend with a third a cup of dry white wine.

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In a saucepan melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter.  Add 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped, along with the basil and wine.  Sauté on low to medium heat.  The goal is to have a hint of the white wine come through with the basil being the highlight.  If need be, add more butter to get the right balance.  Sometimes the wine can be a bit harsh.

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While this is cooking, grill up the salmon.  I also grilled chicken for my husband and son. Do up a fresh salad and top with the salmon and sauce.

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I was hoping this meal was the swan song of the summer but the summer just won’t quit!  My daughter enjoyed this and was happy I can recreate the dish for us.  I think the best trips down memory lane are food related.

Korean BBQ Steak Salad

I am on a serious Asian flavour kick lately.  With the sticky hot weather it is great to be able to lean on all the flavours but not be heavy.  It also helps me from getting thoroughly sick of salads!  But even with air conditioning, the suffocating heat and humidity the idea of pasta and such doesn’t appeal.

I had made this dish a few weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner and I knew our kids would love it so now that camp is over it was time to make it again.  Their summer adventures are over and school starts next week so we’re getting back into routine again.  Our daughter is applying to universities and our son has four more years left before he flies the coop.  It goes by so fast.

I have a Williams – Sonoma cookery book simply called Asian.  A lot of thought went into that, obviously.  I adapted it based on the ingredients I had on hand.

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I made the dipping sauce/dressing and the marinade at the same time.  I did this several hours prior to grilling.  We’re still working on our bedroom so I knew I also wanted a quick dinner where I do most of the work before we exhausted ourselves painting and installing flooring.

Now I’ve tried the technique that the book mentions twice but without success but I’ll go over it and then just say not to stress or worry about it because you will still get the flavours needed.  They say to make a paste of sugar and garlic with the back of your knife.  I’ve seen it be successful on shows but for the life of me I couldn’t get it to do as it was supposed to.

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Chop up 4-5 cloves of garlic and add a tablespoon of brown sugar.  Attempt to make it into a paste.  Swear a bit then say to the hell with it and add 2/3 of it to one bowl and the rest to a smaller bowl.

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Add 6 tablespoons of soy sauce in the larger bowl and 3 tablespoons of soy sauce in the smaller bowl.  A tablespoon of sesame oil in the large and a couple of teaspoons of the oil in the smaller.  A tablespoon of rice vinegar in each bowl.  A small handful of sliced scallions in each along with a tablespoon of water.   In the larger bowl grate an inch/2.5cm cube of fresh ginger.  Add a dollop or two of the Gochujang paste to the dipping sauce.

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Mix both well.  Set aside the dipping sauce for later.  I had a pound of steak tips so I cubed them to be about 2in/5cm in size.  Toss the meat in the marinade, make sure the meat is well coated and covered.

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Cover and chill until it’s time to grill.

Fire up the grill and put the meat onto skewers.

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Grill it until the desired doneness.  We prefer medium rare for our beef.

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Once it’s done, add it to the salad and use the dipping sauce as a dressing.

Korean BBQ 9 2018It is also great as part of an Asian tapas night or over rice.  But for now we’re keeping it light until the cooler weather finally arrives.  Hopefully that comes soon!

 

Pineapple Asian Chicken

I have a little vent before I get to my recipe.  Thursdays are my grocery shop day and I headed to our co-op.  They leave water out for the dogs which is great on hot days like this but the whole front is covered by concrete which gets quite hot.  When I pulled in I could hear a dog whinging.  There was a small dog tied up outside on the hot concrete.  It kept lifting its paws.  I took out one of my cloth bags and laid it down and the pup immediately sat down on it.  I sat on the bench to wait for the owner so the dog could keep it’s paws off the concrete.

I only waited a couple of minutes before the owner came out.  She was not happy with me at all!  I said the dog’s paws were too hot because of the concrete and she very dismissively said the dog was fine.  I didn’t leave right away and said if a dog keeps trying to lift all their paws, they aren’t all right.  She was a bit shirty with me but I didn’t care and then she noticed the cloth bag and asked if it was mine and tossed it to me.  Honestly, while I would never tie my dog outside somewhere, if I did and someone said the pup was distressed I wouldn’t be bitchy about it!  I really don’t understand people.

I hope I got my point across!

Last week while we were running errands I got peckish and grabbed some turkey jerky.  A very strange texture but the flavour was really good so I made note of the ingredients as I thought it would make a great marinade for some chicken wings I needed to use up.

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Now I don’t get anything for “promoting” the ingredients in the picture, they just happen to be what we like to buy and use.  In a bowl or container add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, a splash of lime juice and 1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste.  Finely chop 2-4 cloves of garlic, depending on their size, and grate 1in/2.5cm cube of fresh ginger.

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Whisk until the ingredients are well blended.  Taste and adjust the flavours as you like.  Toss the chicken wings to coat well.

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Marinate for at least an hour, I marinated for most of the day.  When it was time for dinner I fired up the grill and prepped the ingredients.  Out I go to grill the wings and find we ran out of gas.  Thank goodness for the stove top griddle so I got that heated up and began to grill the wings.

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I also grilled some mushrooms and jalapeño as sides to the salad.  It’s much easier on the grill as the wings are surrounded by the heat.  When it is stovetop you have to keep turning and making sure nothing catches while you are trying to get it cooked through.

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Serve on top of a salad and enjoy.  A very easy meal to throw together if you have a crazy busy day.  🙂

Spicy Pork in Lettuce

When the kids are away the parents will play.  While the kids were off having the time of their life at camp we thought it would be fun to have friends over for dinner.  I was still going through the withdrawal from the fibro meds so food had to be simple.  I was a hot mess and a few days before I couldn’t really get out of bed so my husband was questioning my sanity.  I won’t go into detail on how often he does that.  😉

I was in the mood to do Asian tapas.  I did up chicken satay, Korean BBQ steak, some spring rolls and spicy pork in lettuce.  If you can find the type of lettuce that gives you small cups go for that.  I couldn’t so had to use Romaine lettuce.

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I chopped up a healthy handful of scallions and 2 garlic cloves.  Peel an inch/2.5cm cube of ginger and set aside.  In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and heat up.  Once the oil is hot add a pound of ground pork.  As it starts browning add the scallion, garlic and grate the ginger into the skillet

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Add a few tablespoons of Gochujang, which is a fermented hot chili paste, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and a few splashes of lime juice.  Simmer to allow the flavours to develop.

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Adjust the spicy heat as needed.  If you want more, add more Gochujang or red pepper flakes.  Season with fresh ground black pepper.  You shouldn’t need salt given the other ingredients.

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As I was finishing this dish our friends showed up so it was a quick photo so not to be rude.  Plus I had to make the Mai Tais.  First time making them and we’re totally hooked. Such a good drink to go with Asian tapas.  🙂

Peach and Jalapeño Grilled Steak

While I’m not a fan of the heat of summer I do love the flavours of summer.  The shops are starting to have peaches and other stone fruits which means light delicious meals and desserts.

It’s been a busy week but I wanted to make a nice meal for my husband and myself last night.  Peaches sparked an idea and jalapeño is one of my husband’s favourite hot peppers.  A match is made!

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I prepped the corn by soaking the ears before grilling and dusted the steak with chili powder and cumin.

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Slice up a quarter red onion.  Begin to sweat them in a hot skillet with olive oil.  Slice the jalapeño.  I removed the seeds because sometimes the pepper can be very hot and I didn’t want to overwhelm the peach.  I also started with half a pepper.

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Sauté the pepper and onion for a few minutes.  I sliced up three small peaches.  You can tell it’s the beginning of the season as the peaches were quite small.  Add the peaches.  Cook for a few minutes.  Fire up the grill to start grilling the corn.  I grill the corn, unshucked, 5 minutes a side.  Season the peach with chili pepper and cumin.  Add a splash of lime juice.  After tasting I added the rest of the pepper as there wasn’t much heat.

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Grill the steak to the desired doneness.  We like ours on the rare side.  Once cooked, rest the steak for a few minutes then slice.  Shuck the corn.  Place the steak on salad greens and spoon the peach over the steak.

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Bring on summer flavours, just not the heat.  Unless it’s in the food.  🙂

 

White Chocolate Muffins for a Sweet Treat

Oh blogger’s block!  We’ve all been there.  This week, with us getting ready to go across the pond and the school year coming to a close, my mind was blank.  Crickets!  I try to plan a week ahead but nothing came to me.  The other night we were watching the Great British Bake Off.  Sadly not the one with Mary Berry.  Sorry to say but Pru is not Mary Berry! But it finally sparked inspiration.

I have one of Mary Berry’s baking books, “Baking with Mary Berry”.  She has a recipe for white chocolate and strawberry muffins which calls for strawberry jam.  I had my strawberry rhubarb jam in the fridge so I thought this would be fun to make for the kids.

This is a very easy recipe to make, in fact most of it’s done by the time the oven is preheated at 400F/200C.

The recipe calls for 2 1/2 cups of self rising flour.  If you don’t have that it is easy to make it.  Add 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp of salt per cup of flour.  Sift all together and you are off and running.  I had to prep this and also melted 7 tablespoons of butter.

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In the mixer bowl add 2 large eggs, beat them.  Then add the butter, a cup/8 oz of milk.  I used full fat milk here.  Next add 2 tsp of vanilla and 2/3 cup of sugar.  Tip in the flour mixture then blend everything until it’s smooth and incorporated.  Once it’s mixed add 100g of white chocolate chips.  Mix well.

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Line a 12 well muffin tin with paper cups.  Spoon in half the batter divided equally between the 12 cups.  Spoon in a bit of jam in each cup.

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With the remaining batter cover each muffin evenly.

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Bake 25-30 minutes until they are golden and pass the toothpick test.  Allow to cool then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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I found this in the breakfast chapter but I think this would be a bit sweet to start the day with.  After school snack?  Perfect.  🙂  This would also work with a variety of fruit jams so the sky is the limit.

 

Easy Homemade Granola

We’ve all done it, keep meaning to make something homemade to save money but never getting around to it.  Then thinking about it all over again as you scoop the expensive stuff into a bag at the shop.  My husband enjoys having granola on his yoghurt in the mornings.  For at least a year I’ve been meaning to give it a try but something always distracted me.

The other week https://frugalhausfrau.com posted about making granola.  She made it look so easy and delicious I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer!  And quite frankly, with two teenagers in the house, any way I can save on the food bill is a good thing.

My husband loves raisins/sultanas and currants so I thought I would keep it simple with the addition of almonds.

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Preheat the oven to 300F/150C.

In a bowl add a cup of oats, a handful of almonds (chopped), a pinch of salt, a tablespoon or so of brown sugar, half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground nutmeg.  Mix well.

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Melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add this and a teaspoon of vanilla to the bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  Taste to see if you need to adjust the seasoning.

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Spread out evenly on parchment paper over a baking sheet.  Bake 30-40 minutes.  This is a wide range because you don’t want to bring out a burnt taste to the granola and every oven is different.  Stir the granola twice during the baking.  Once it’s a light golden colour it should be done.

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Once it’s baked, let it cool before adding the raisins/sultanas and currants.  I added a healthy handful of each.  If you find the raisins are on the sweet side you can back off on the sugar to keep it balanced.

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I enjoyed it over yoghurt but this is great as an on the go snack or over ice cream.  As we ended up with nearly 3 cups of mixed granola store it in an airtight container.  This is so easy and the variations are endless, there isn’t any reason to buy it anymore!

Creamy Lemon Bacon Chicken Pasta

It was a rite of passage this past weekend for our daughter with the high school prom.  She’s been to friends proms in the past but this was the first for her high school.  I have to say, proms have come a long way since I last had to worry about prom.  It’s much more inclusive and more often than not, groups of students go as friends rather than missing out because a date couldn’t be found.  Way better!

My daughter had a few friends over to get ready before her date showed up.  I did my first ever updo.  It came out ok, phew!  It was lovely to see that all the girls dressed in elegant dresses, no hoochie mamas.  Some of the dresses I’ve seen in the past few years leave little to the imagination.  Thankfully that trend wasn’t to prevalent this time round.

Unfortunately the weather was very rainy so we just did photos round the house.  The weather did bring in some cooler weather which called for comfort food!  I saw a recipe calling for bacon and mushroom in a cream sauce.  That sparked an idea.  Lemon and grilled chicken would be a great addition.

I kept the marinade for the chicken very simple.  With a ratio of about 2:1 olive oil to lemon juice, whisk those together with sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  Add the chicken and marinate for a couple of hours.

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When it’s time to cook up the dinner, grill the chicken and cook up the pasta.  Cut into small squares, 3-4 rashers of streaky bacon.  Start cooking the bacon in a large skillet.  Slice a few mushrooms and finely chop 3-5 cloves of garlic.  Sauté the ingredients with the bacon.  Add a handful of fresh thyme.

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When the bacon is nearly cooked add 1/2 cup/4oz of chicken stock and a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice.  You want this to be really lemony at this point so the brightness isn’t lost in the cream and pasta.  Bring this to a simmer then add a 1/3 cup/3oz of heavy cream.  Cook on low until the chicken and pasta are done cooking.

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Slice the chicken and add that and the pasta to the skillet and stir well.  Right before serving add a bunch of arugula or spinach and let wilt.

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Serve and grate fresh parmesan cheese over the dish.

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Comfort food with the lightness of lemon, great for a cool spring night.

Orange Thyme Grilled Chicken

On Sunday, the day I made this meal, we were faced with how surreal life is.  It was a gorgeous day and we were tackling the hops (seriously never plant those!).  We were struck by how busy the fire and police departments were.  While we were planting some veg in the back we realised the current set of sirens didn’t go past our house.

Out of curiosity we wandered out front to see 5 cop cars, 2 ambulances, and various other vehicles.  Something was definitely up.  A few minutes later an ambulance went tearing up the road.  The initial report was someone shot himself by accident and he was belligerent which caused the cops to be called to hospital.  Unfortunately the real story was worse.  The man died and the guy who shot him is in jail for felony manslaughter.

It’s a bit shocking in our small town.  What made it all surreal for me was as they were putting up the crime tape I noticed how life continues on.  The next door neighbour to the crime scene was mowing the lawn, people were walking their dog and we’re were putting about in the garden.  I know it’s how life works but I found it jarring.

After all the work in the garden we wanted a light dinner.  I had seen a few recipes involving orange juice and mustard, orange juice and thyme or orange juice and garlic.  I thought I could come up with a recipe involving all of it.  Lots of flavour and still keeping it light.

In a bowl add equal parts orange juice and olive oil.  Finely chop a few cloves of garlic and add it to the bowl with a handful of fresh thyme.  Add a dash of lemon juice and a good heaping spoonful of stoneground mustard.

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Season with sea salt and pepper.  Add the chicken breast to marinate for a couple of hours.

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When it’s time for dinner fire up the grill.

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I did up a fresh salad with avocado, tomato, cucumber and carrot.  I do love salad season!

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Here’s hoping the upcoming weekend is a lot quieter for all.

Brussel Sprout Sliders

A quick post today as we’re getting ready to hit the road for university tours.  It seems so surreal that our daughter is old enough to be thinking about university but it’s here!  She’s ready for the next chapter and excited about it.  I look forward to see where her journey takes her.

This past weekend I made a dinner for my husband as a thank you for holding down the fort during tax season.  It’s a lot of extra work for him for which I am grateful he takes on.

One thing he loves is Brussel sprouts so that definitely had to be on the menu. Just for him mind as I can’t stand the stuff!  I came across an idea on Pinterest for vegetarian Brussel sprout sliders with tofu, I think plus there were asian flavours.  I thought it would be a fun idea with streaky bacon and french flavours.

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In a small bowl add two parts olive oil to one part champagne vinegar.  Finely chop 2 small cloves of garlic and add a healthy dollop of brown mustard.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

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Mix well and coat the sprouts.  Reserve the remaining mixture.

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Roast in the oven at 350F/175C.  Cut 3 rashers of streaky bacon into squares.  Cook them up in a skillet, slowly rendering them.

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When the bacon has been cooked remove from the skillet and set aside.  Drain the bacon fat until you have a couple of tablespoons left in the pan.  Add to the skillet thinly sliced onion.  I was only making 4 sliders so I did a half a cup.  Cook slowly to soften and caramelise.

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When they are halfway cooked add the remaining mustard mixture to the onions.  Continue to caramelise.

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Once all the ingredients have been cooked assemble into sliders.

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My husband really enjoyed these so I’ll be making these again.  Just a small way to show my gratitude.