Mincemeat Tarts

mincemeat tartsEveryone has their traditional list of sweets to enjoy over the Christmas season.  Mine is loosely based on the Victorian era with some tried and tested recipes that have been handed down to me.  Mince pie originally contained minced meat (usually a combination of chopped meats), suet (beef fat), dried fruits, and spices.  Mom used to make her own mincemeat.  It seems odd that something with meat could taste sweet.  These days, one can easily find commercial jars of mincemeat, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find any with meat in it.  As far back as the 16th century, mince pies were considered part of a traditional British Christmas.  Continue Reading →

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Roasted Marrow Bones

roasted marrow boneEntertaining on a budget?  These marrow bones aren’t only good in a base for soup or for the dog to chew on.  And before you say eew! give this recipe a chance.  Many generations have enjoyed roasted marrow and some added it to puddings and pastries.  Have you ever eaten an Italian dish called osso buco (stewed veal shank)?  One of the main attractions of the dish is the prized marrow.  You can also find a marrow bone in a ham steak – one of my favorites.  As a kid (heck, I still do) I recall saving the bone for last so as to savour the cooked marrow.  Continue Reading →

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Homemade Limoncello

Easy To Make LimoncelloThis recipe is 4 years in the making! When we lived in Bangkok, we heard about a new Italian restaurant that had recently opened down the street from where we lived. Yay! Eager to sample the menu Mr S. and I made our way there. OPUS Wine Bar was open only a few days when we arrived.  We were warmly greeted by Alex Morabito (designer and manager of OPUS) and were then offered a glass of Prosecco (complimentary I might add) while we waited for our table to become available. That icebreaker was all we needed and the evening was off to a wonderful start.  Continue Reading →

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3 Easy Appetizers

goat cheese ballsEntertaining is fun or at least that’s my view but for some, though, it can be a dreaded task.  Why?  The ‘idea’ of having friends over for a bite to eat is simple enough until one starts to ‘think’ about what to serve, the timing, and execution of each dish.  I believe that when you invite friends over for dinner it’s a social gathering where conversation flows regardless of what’s served.  Remember, they come to see you, not what’s on the table, or how your home looks.  I think hostesses put way too much pressure on themselves and in doing so empty all the fun and love out of the planning process.  Continue Reading →

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Christmas Bark

Christmas BarkIf you make your own candies then I applaud you for your dedication and patience.  Years ago, a friend of my mom’s would stop by to drop off her annual Christmas gift of handmade candy.  Mrs. Scarborough would spend hours on her candies and they looked so delicate and professional.  She would tenderly explain to mom what each one was and any that might have given her grief in the making.  My siblings and I would eye the candy and savour each mouthful…there weren’t that many to go around but boy were they delicious! I like candy/desserts that don’t require much finesse or fuss but deliver that wow factor via visual presentation and taste.  Continue Reading →

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Make Your Own Spice Rub

all-purpose spice rubChefs and home cooks from the southern part of the United States take pride in their spice rubs.   Some are passed on from one generation to the next so it comes as no surprise these secrets are heavily guarded.  To be honest I have never used a spice rub.  It was while watching shows about food trucks and popular southern smoke pits that peaked my interest.  Those that highlighted smoked pork or beef and cooked to perfection had my mouth watering.  Continue Reading →

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Pear and Blue Cheese Pizza

Pear & Blue Cheese PizzaWhat to do with overly ripe pears? A few things come to mind: fruit leather, smoothie, crumble, juice. But it’s Friday night and I’m looking to make pizza so why not incorporate pear and blue cheese.  I’m into the culinary balancing act of sweet and salty and pear is magical with blue cheese.  Continue Reading →

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Melrose Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter CookiesThis peanut butter cookie recipe is from my maternal grandmother. I’m not sure what the name Melrose has to do with the cookie but I can definitely say it had absolutely nothing to do with Melrose Place! As much as my grandmother enjoyed cooking her first love was being an artist. Continue Reading →

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DIY Spice Jars

 

DIY Spice JarsI like to think I keep a clean and orderly house until I look at my spice cabinet…eek! I am a hoarder!  There are tiny bags of spices and herbs, different bottles of all sizes, mixed on two levels.  Is it any wonder I think I am out of something only to find it hiding in the back.  I was surfing Pinterest the other day and noticed pretty farmhouse herb and spice labels by Lia Griffith.  Being an eager beaver, I downloaded the file, changed some of the herb names to suit what I had and was quite proud of myself until I realized I had no idea how I was going to print them!  Continue Reading →

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and MeatballsThe culinary snoop in me wonders if this well-known classic Italian dish originated in Italy or the USA. Turns out it’s all American! Italians from 1890 to 1920 emigrated to America by the millions. These impoverished immigrants (some on the brink of starvation) went from spending 75 percent of their income on food in Italy to only 25 percent of their income on food in America. With more money came more food. Continue Reading →

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