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turkey meatballs – with an Asian twist

turkey meatballsThis dish transports my foodie mind back to Thailand.  One of the first things introduced to us was a welcome snack called Miang kham.  The base is a betel nut leaf and piled onto the leaf are fried shallots, ginger, toasted coconut flakes, garlic, lime, peanuts, chopped chili peppers, and topped with a drizzle of palm syrup.  Then carefully wrapped up and popped into your mouth.  Talk about an explosion of tastes!  I can easily scoff down 6 they’re that good.  Continue Reading →

radish leaf pesto

Radish Leaf Pesto CrostiniPesto derives its name from pestâ which means to pound/crush.  A typical pesto consists of crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts mixed with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Pesto was originally used mostly to flavor vegetable soups. It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that it was used as a sauce for pasta.  Earlier versions of pesto used parsley or marjoram instead of basil, and did not include the pine nuts. Continue Reading →

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 →

Scotch Eggs

Scotch EggsI had too many hard boiled eggs leftover from the posting I did on how to dye eggs naturally. Of course the easy remedy was to make an egg salad sandwich but what would I do with the rest of them?  Scotch eggs had been on my mind while I was coloring the eggs.  I had never made them before and wasn’t really sure if they’d be my cup of tea or turn out the way my husband said they should.  It’s a snack he grew up on so my culinary skills would be dearly tested to rekindle that childhood food memory.  I was curious, though, why they’re called Scotch eggs when it’s an English tradition. Continue Reading →

Chicken Shawarma -easy to make

chicken shawarmaThis chicken shawarma dish isn’t as time consuming as the real MacCoy.  A traditional shawarma, originating in southern Turkey, is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated lamb on an upright spit. The shawarma turns and cooks on the spit for hours, basting in its own juices. When ready to eat, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large, sharp knife.  The word shawarma refers to rotation or turning.  Typically, shawarma is eaten as a fast food, rolled into a pita bread together with vegetables and a garlicky dressing.  Continue Reading →

Pork Belly Buns

caramelized pork belly bunsIt’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today and tomorrow millions will usher in the new year of the Sheep/Goat.  Most Chinese have already cleaned their house (literally) where the cleaning helps to drive any bad luck away from the house and discarding anything old to make way for a new start.  The years we spent in Asia got us involved in some of the celebrations and to this day I still replenish our rice jar (for good luck) and clean house where we sort through clothing and other items to give to charity.  Continue Reading →

Chocolate Scones

Chocolate SconesWhat is it about a storm that makes me want to bake? We were bracing for what was supposed to be THE storm of the century.  Forecasters got it wrong…it was just another snow storm – no crippling affect felt here.  All the hype, I suppose, got to me.  Continue Reading →

Overnight Oats in a Jar

overnight oatsMy kids always had breakfast and as they got older I reinforced the values of eating something first thing in the morning.  I still do even though they may roll their eyes at me.  I can hear them saying, ‘yes mom, we know’ (insert happy face here).  But all kidding aside, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, period.  Yes, I know there are those who say they get along just fine without it but as adults we need it to kick start our morning routine and kids need a breakfast, too.  Their bodies and brains are growing and need refueling from food.  Studies show that children who skip breakfast tend to be late or absent from school.   Breakfast gives us energy to start our day and if you skip it you may end up eating more during the day.  Continue Reading →

Yogurt Popsicles

yogurt popsiclesMr. S. enjoys eating yogurt for his mid morning snack but he realized that the ‘deal’ we got on buying 16 was nearing its expiry date.  He would have to devour 8 in the next two days!  We’re usually good at checking expiry dates but this one must have slipped through the cracks.  We had been to the grocery store where I eyed popsicles and it was there it donned on me how to solve the yogurt issue.  I had some star pop molds from when I made paletas. It was that simple and the yogurts were saved. Continue Reading →

Aussie Meat Pies

Aussie meat pieMeat pies in Australia and New Zealand are what apple pie is to North America – iconic. Years ago John and I visited Australia and everyone kept telling us to try the Aussie meat pies.  Not one to turn down an opportunity to see what all the fuss was, we tried our very first meat pie from a roadside convenience store in Rosebud.  Wow!  I’ve had meat pies before but none could have prepared me for the down-to-earth flavor sensation of this national dish.  Must have been the gravy-like meat mixture that had us hooked as we tried at least six different locations offering meat pies and all were downright scrumptious!  They’re a favorite at sporting events (football and rugby) and construction sites.  It’s the perfect snack food for on the run.

Makes 10 to 12 pies
adapted from Tobie Puttock

500g medium ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup beef stock
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 strips of bacon, chopped
ready rolled pie pastry

meat sauceCook bacon with garlic, rosemary, and onion over medium heat. Let this simmer, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and translucent (8 – 10 minutes). Turn heat up to medium-high and add ground beef. Stir to break up chunks. Lower heat to medium and once the meat is cooked, add tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Then add about a cup of beef stock. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low (gentle simmer). While this is simmering, take cornstarch and mix it with a bit of water and pour this over the beef. Simmer until the meat sauce has thickened and has a gravy-like consistency. Remove from heat and allow meat sauce to cool.

pastryPreheat oven to 400f. Lay the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out 3-inch circles. Grease a muffin pan and gently place the pastry dough inside the pan. Fill with meat sauce.  Top with a pastry circle and pinch edges or use a fork to press edges to seal. Place pies on a baking tray and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.  To remove from pan, run a knife around the edge and pop out the meat pie.  The Australians serve their meat pies with ketchup.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Make sure the meat sauce is cool otherwise it will make the bottom of the pie crust soggy.  These are good the next day and can be reheated or served cold.  Enjoy!