Lemon Olive Oil Cake

lemon olive oil cakeIf you’ve been following my blog, you’ll see that I don’t post many desserts (the most recent was oats & cranberry bars back in March) and if I do it’s usually ones that are easy to make.  My sweet tooth tends to gravitate to things such as blue cheese with fruit and a glass of port, sherry, or ice wine.  Of course I have made my fair share of desserts over the years but I much prefer to focus around the appetizer and main meal.  I find I’m pleasantly satiated and to make room for dessert doesn’t make sense.  Continue Reading →

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Pasta e Patate (pasta and potato)

Pasta e Patate - a quick midweek mealPasta e Patate is a recipe from a dear friend of mine.  I met Francesca in Singapore back in 2001.  I had heard glowing accounts of her Italian cooking classes and was eager to meet this culinary wizard.  Francesca did not disappoint.  Her kitchen was light and airy and her cheery disposition made all who attended her class very welcome.  Continue Reading →

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Roasted Cipollini Onion Crostini

slow roasted cipollini onionsWhat do you get when grilled baguette slices (crostini) and roasted cipollini onions come together?  Answer:  a heavenly snack that’s so easy-to-make and ridiculously delicious!  Cipolini (chip-oh-LEE-nee) onions are small and flat.  The word in Italian means little onion and are sweeter than the average yellow or white onion.  I have seen them in food shops and always passed by them – in my mind they were just too small to make anything with until the other day. Continue Reading →

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Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Grilled Pork TenderloinFor whatever the reason, the air last night was perfumed with backyard barbeques.  I love that smell.  A simple sign our neighbors were venturing outside and grilling.  We were connecting once again with our neighbors with a casual wave of a hand or nod.  Pork tenderloin, also known as pork fillet, is one of our favorite dishes to cook on the barbeque.  It’s a lean, tender, and juicy cut of meat. Continue Reading →

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Halibut Fish Cheeks

halibut fish cheeksFish cheeks? The first time I heard this we were living in Hong Kong. The Chinese love fish and the prized part is the cheek. Why?  The cheeks are the tastiest and sweetest part of the fish…I kid you not! Tender chunks of flesh that smell like the ocean and are opaque. A smaller fish yields cheeks that tend to look like sea scallops whereas a larger fish can have cheeks the size of a hamburger patty. Continue Reading →

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Nova Scotia Mussels – Italian style

Mussels - Italian StyleEven though I cook through the week, it’s our weekends that I look forward to the most. Whether we are entertaining or it’s just the two of us, I like to plan a nice meal. And when I say nice, it doesn’t mean a long time in the kitchen…just a few key quality ingredients.  Continue Reading →

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Fried Eggplant with Tomato Sauce

fried eggplantEggplant, also known as aubergine, has not always been popular and yet there are oodles of eggplant recipes out there making this nightshade plant shine.  I’m sure if you ask your friends if they like it, you’ll receive mixed reviews.  It must be a North American thing ’cause everywhere else this humble plant is consumed weekly.  Eggplant had been in Asia for centuries before being introduced to the Mediterranean by the Arabs in the Middle Ages.  Continue Reading →

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Roasted Pork Belly

roasted pork bellyWhen we first moved to Hong Kong, one of our all-time favorite fast foods was char siu fun (Chinese bbq pork over rice with a side of ginger sauce – yum!).  This was our first introduction to pork belly and before that I hadn’t heard of it.  Well, that’s not strictly accurate.  Although I grew up in the country and during my teenage years my parents had a mini hobby farm with pigs and chickens, I never knew bacon was from the pig’s belly.  Continue Reading →

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Marinated Olives

citrus-marinated olivesThe olive bar at any food shop makes me stop dead in my tracks.  I’m a sucker for anything that reminds me of the Mediterranean.  I wasn’t always a fan until one day, a few years ago, I had ordered a cheese plate and Kalamata olives were on it.  At first I scrunched up my nose in displeasure but then I thought I have to try one and to my delight, I liked it.  Continue Reading →

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Salade Niçoise – slightly deconstructed

salade NiçoiseFresh and simple best defines my style of cooking.  When I’m pondering what to make for dinner, I look for dishes that look pretty (eye candy), have a nutritional benefit (help sustain a healthy body), and take little time or effort to make.  Salade Niçoise (knee-swahz) is a classic example of making a harmonious dish by building on flavors, using fresh ingredients, and presenting it in a way that looks sumptuous and colorful.   Continue Reading →

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