Everyone needs a dish that can be put together quickly from handy pre-made products. This tortellini pasta dish can be pulled together with a few pantry items and be on the table in less than one hour. This comfort food dish takes just a few minutes to mix together and 30 minutes to bake. The result is a bubbling and tasty dish that the family will love. The leftovers are even better the next day and ideal in school lunches. It is also a great dish for potlucks and can feed a large crowd of hungry people.…
Pomegranate Molasses Sugar Cookies
Pomegranate Molasses is a unique product which is not commonly utilized and for that matter, not commonly attainable. It is my objective to encourage you to consider pomegranate molasses and provide you with some compelling reasons why you should try it. I will introduce you to an easy recipe on how to make your own pomegranate molasses and how to use it to make deliciously distinctive Pomegranate Molasses Sugar Cookies. The recipe incorporates pomegranate molasses into the cookie dough as well as into a garnish on top of the baked cookie. The cookies are lightly spiced to compliment the flavour of pomegranate molasses. The cookie dough is rolled in organic cane sugar before baking to give them a crunchy exterior and a tender center. The flavour and texture of these cookies make them a pleasure to eat.
Let’s start with the fundamentals. What exactly is pomegranate molasses? It is essentially pomegranate juice that is boiled down to a syrup (a reduction). The syrup has a concentrated flavour with a pleasant lingering taste of sweet and sour on the tongue – a very unique tang. You can use it in almost everything from beverages, salad dressings or drizzling on roasted vegetables, glazing ham and as a flavour enhancer to many varieties of food – both sweet and savoury.
Pomegranates/pomegranate molasses are classified as a super food having many health benefits. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and anthocyanins. You can read additional information about pomegranates in my post, “Fun With Pomegranates”.
Pomegranate Molasses is a very popular condiment and flavouring ingredient in Middle Eastern cooking. It can often be found in the international aisle of most major grocery stores or stores specializing in Middle Eastern food products. If you cannot find it in stores near you, pomegranate molasses can be easily made at home. (see recipe below).
I was amazed to learn that pomegranate molasses is also helpful in reducing your body temperature in the summer (see my note below under “What Else Can I Do with This Recipe” regarding a refreshing pomegranate molasses beverage).
I encourage you to explore how easy it is to incorporate pomegranate molasses into your food and beverage preparation. Its versatility is unique in the fact that it enhances both sweet and savoury dishes.…
Holiday Fruitcake Made Easy
When someone says fruitcake, what comes to mind? The mention of fruitcake brings back all the nostalgic memories of my early childhood. My Mom would start the holiday fruitcake in the fall, usually after Hallowe’en. By the time everything was added into her large bowl, it would be chock-full of candied fruit, nuts (from our own nut trees), spices and other ingredients, such as citrus peel and booze of some kind. The most important part of this process was the traditional family stirring. Everyone in our family (from youngest to oldest) took a turn at stirring the mixture. Originally the three eldest girls of five little girls participated in this ritual – the two baby girls would join us a few years later. Mind you, our little arms were no match for this unyielding mixture, but our valiant attempts were praised and applauded by our parents. Dad even asked Mom to wake him up from his sleep (he worked the night shift), so that he could take part in our family tradition.
The reason Mom started this process so early in the season was simply that traditional fruitcakes needed time to age or mellow with the rum or other special liqueur that was included in the ingredients. A cheesecloth was soaked in the alcohol and wrapped around the fruitcake. This process was repeated a few times over the course of six or more weeks. My Dad worked for Hiram Walkers, so we usually had access to a special brandy or rum which was set aside for the fruitcake. While this recipe is not my Mom’s traditional fruitcake recipe (I will post that recipe at a future date), this Holiday Fruitcake Made Easy is a fruitcake that anyone can make with ease, without the need for a lot of muscle or strong booze or lengthy preserving time. Despite the fact that this fruitcake is not aged, it is flavourful, moist and delicious, and it can be made at the last minute in your holiday preparations. The mini cake size makes them ideal edible holiday gifts.…
Poached Pears with Cream Cheese Pecan Filling
Poached pears happens to be one of the first desserts that I made after I got married. It is a simple but impressive dessert that is easy to make and has outstanding flavour and appearance. Over the years and many moves later, the recipe for Poached Pears with Cream Cheese Pecan Filling has changed very little with only the variety of pears or locally available wine as adjustments. I prefer the elegant look of Bosch pears for this dessert, but any variety of pear will work well.
This dessert is an excellent gluten-free option. For a dairy-free option, use non-dairy cream cheese in the filling. For a nut-free version, omit the pecans in the filling. If you choose not to use wine in the poaching liquid, substitute apple juice or pear juice.
The poaching liquid is reduced to a syrup and used when plating the poached pears.…
Holiday Pinwheel Biscotti
Going into an Italian store is always an adventure for me. One of the many things that I am always fascinated by is the huge glass container filled with tall biscotti sitting upright in the jar. They are typically large enough to feed a family! As much as I like these huge cookies, they are just too big! I wanted a smaller biscotti that would be more suitable for a coffee gathering. I adapted a recipe that uses a filling in the biscotti dough to make them more distinctive. Biscotti are always a hit during the holiday season given their ease of storage and long shelf life, not to mention wonderful in texture and flavour.
I had a little leftover cranberry sauce from my Dairy-Free White Chocolate Eggnog with Cranberry Coulis, so it was a great opportunity to utilise it as a filling in the biscotti. These Holiday Pinwheel Biscotti are a tender, not hard biscotti and they are much smaller in size than traditional biscotti – you’re going to love them! They also make excellent edible gifts.…
Petite Home Baked Kingston Biscuits
Gluten Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free
If you love cookies that offer both chewiness and crunchiness in texture, you are going to love this recipe! These Australian favourites are irresistible chocolate cream filled sandwich cookies. They have not lost their popularity since their 1926 creation by the Arnott Biscuit Company. The cookies are similar to another popular Australian cookie called Anzac Cookies, which have similar ingredients and preparation methods to the Kingston biscuits. These Home Baked Kingston Biscuits adapt very well to gluten-free and dairy-free substitutions. Kingston Biscuits have always been egg-free and nut-free. For the purpose of this post, I am providing the gluten-free and dairy-free version of this recipe.…
Dairy-Free White Chocolate Eggnog with Cranberry Coulis
The holiday season would not be complete without eggnog. It is typically made with ingredients such as heavy cream, egg yolks, whipped egg whites, spices and, of course, generous amounts of alcohol. I have a love-hate relationship with this holiday drink. Personally, I have always found the off-the-shelf varieties too rich, too sweet, and with too much nutmeg for my taste. The fact that many members of our family are lactose-intolerant also makes this seasonal drink inaccessible. Therefore, my objective for this post is to introduce to you an eggnog that checks all the boxes: dairy-free, nutmeg-free and reduced in sweetness and with a little “something-something” that sets it apart from the rest – namely, Dairy-Free White Chocolate Eggnog with Cranberry Coulis.
The addition of white chocolate is not only festive, but it gives a creamy flavour without the cream. I decided to up the game by adding Cranberry Coulis. The thick coulis is drizzled onto the side of the glass and provides a unique look to the drink. Cranberries have a lot of natural pectin so the sauce holds its own on the side of the glass without disappearing or bleeding when you add the eggnog to the glass (see photos). As a bonus, cranberry pairs extremely well with white chocolate. This is a game changer.
Give this special dairy-free eggnog cocktail a try during the holiday season – you will love it! A sprinkle of nutmeg on top is entirely optional. 🙂…
Crispy Sage and Bacon Pasta
My herb garden is overflowing with sage, rosemary, parsley, chives, mint and basil. Time is running out, so I need to use as many fresh herbs as possible in my favourite family dishes. One of our best is this super quick pasta dish made with a few uncomplicated ingredients – Crispy Sage and Bacon Pasta. In the process of crisping the sage leaves, you need to use fresh sage leaves which is a key feature of this delicious pasta dish. You will have it on the table in the time it takes to cook the pasta. Just pour a glass of wine, relax and enjoy this delicious herb from your garden.…
Creamy Parsnip and Potato Soup
When I was a culinary student in Vegetable Cookery, we were asked if any of us had ever tried parsnip. I was surprised that there were only a few students in that class who raised their hand. I grew up with parsnips as a staple in my parent’s garden, much like other root vegetables such as carrots or potatoes.
James Beard thought that parsnips were one of the “most neglected” vegetables and I have to agree. My goal in this post is to encourage you to try parsnips, starting with this recipe. Creamy Parsnip and Potato Soup is a humble soup created from simple ingredients that are made into a silky fragrant soup that is fancy enough to serve for a first course. You will be amazed!
The parsnip is closely related to carrot and parsley. Parsnip originated in Eurasia where it was treated as a vegetable since ancient Roman times. It is interesting to note, before the arrival of cane sugar, parsnip was also used as a sweetener.
Parsnip is most often cooked although it can also be eaten raw in salads or crudités. I recently read about a great recipe from Nik Manojlovich for Crunchy Salad with Apple using shredded raw parsnip, carrot and my favourite Honey Crisp apple with a Feta Cheese Dressing. Delicious!
The health benefits of parsnips are impressive with significant levels of minerals, vitamins, fiber, water, protein and antioxidants. Parsnips are also low in calories, carbohydrates and sodium.
Parsnips can be interchanged with carrots in most recipes (see additional recipe links below). When a parsnip is roasted, it takes on a mild sweet taste that compliments many dishes such as roast beef stew or lamb. If you do not already use parsnips in your vegetable repertoire, I would recommend that you give them a try.…
Unbeatable Meat Loaf – The Ultimate Comfort Food
Urbnspice Ultimate Recipe Series
My daughters were both very involved in soccer during their childhood (continuously, for seventeen years), sometimes seven days a week during soccer season. Needless to say, we were very busy parents, often delivering one daughter to a field before driving to the other side of the city for our other daughter’s practice or game. As a working Mom, I needed to be extremely organized with meal prep for breakfast, snacks, lunches and dinners. I developed strategies to make my busy week simpler with a freezer reserve of homemade meals, a repertoire of slow-cooker recipes and a selection of make-ahead meals prepared over the weekend. One of our family favourites was this Unbeatable Meat Loaf.
We often had what we called ‘oven-meals’ on Sunday and meatloaf was a favourite comfort food of the kids. The addition of scalloped or lemon potatoes, roasted butternut squash and an apple crisp made this oven meal wholesome and healthy for two very hungry, fit and growing girls. Meatloaf is an excellent quick and easy make-ahead dish, which also keeps the budget in mind.
Meatloaf can be popped into the oven immediately after mixing together, or prepared up until topping (see Method) and refrigerated until the next day. This recipe makes two family-sized free-form meatloaves – one to have now and one to freeze for later. If you can resist eating it all, there should be leftovers for meatloaf sandwiches!…