Friday, December 31, 2021

Chicken and Rice Soup with Green Chiles and Ginger- when you feeling “fluish”

What to do when a friend is fighting that winter flu, or worse, the latest COVID variant?  Luckily, it’s only aches and pains, stuffiness and coughs.  How about this chicken and rice soup from Laos?  It’s healthy, warm and comforting…  And, the very best news- You don’t have to be sick to enjoy it.  It is delicious!

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Saturday, October 30, 2021

Singapore Red Chili Sauce

Adding to my repertoire of canned and fermented hot sauces.  This recipe is from Ball.  This sauce is canned and uses up a good amount of chili peppers from the garden.  And, most importantly, is passes the Clark family taste test!

This could be called the Asian version of the ubiquitous Tabasco sauce.  It is delicious with Asian dishes but also with roast chicken, on hot dogs and burgers.  Watch out- it is hot!

Makes about 6 (8 oz) half pints 


2 1/2 cups       white vinegar 
2 1/2 cups       granulated sugar 
4 cups             chopped hot red chili peppers, such as Holland (Dutch), Fresno or jalapeño
1 1/2 cups       sultana raisins, rinsed 
1/4 cup            chopped garlic 
1 tbsp             grated ginger root 
2 tsp                salt


COMBINE vinegar and sugar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently for 3 minutes. Add chili peppers, raisins, garlic, ginger root and salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently until vegetables are heated through, about 5 minutes. 

LADLE hot sauce into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more sauce to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight. 

PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed. 

Braised Chicken with Tomatillos

This recipe is delicious and so easy to pull together.  Perfect for late summer when you have run out of tomatillo recipes but still have a mountain of tomatillos.  You can make extra sauce and freeze for later. 

To serve 6

Tomatillo Jalapeno Chutney

 I was desperate!  Such a big tomatillo harvest and so few recipes.  After canning a dozen delicious tomatillo salsa verdes, I turned to this recipe and what a tasty surprise it turned out to be!  Highly recommend.  

Makes 3 250 ml jars

Italian Beef Ragu

This beef ragu sauce was the hit of the neighbours dinner- pasta bar.  Served with rigatoni pasta and topped with roasted young carrots, it was a dish worth making again and again! 

To serve 6 - 8

Maple Pear Upside Down Cake

 I love Mark Bittman's recipes.  Delicious and perfect for the Fall overload of pears.  Note to self: I used a new springform pan and didn't realize the caramel had leaked out of the bottom of the pan until I removed the cake from the oven.  What to do?  Drizzled the warm cake with maple syrup.  And, the next time I bake this cake, I will use a different,"tried and true" pan- lol

To serve 8 to 10.

Caramelized Pear Gingerbread

 What to do with a surplus of pears?  Happens every Fall.  This recipe is from the LCBO's Food & Drink magazine. The recipes are well worth trying!

Classic soda gingerbread is topped with pears while caramel sauce enticingly drizzles down the sides. It is very rich in an English pudding-like manner-perfect fare as the days get shorter and pears are at peak ripeness.  This makes a dense cake with great ginger "y" notes.

Serves eight



3 tbsp        unsalted butter
½ cup        lightly packed brown sugar
2 ripe         medium-size pears, soft but not mushy


½ cup        molasses
½ cup        milk
1 egg
1 tbsp        finely grated fresh ginger
2¼ cups    all-purpose flour
¼ cup        granulated sugar
1 tsp          baking soda
¼ tsp         salt
¼ cup        butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

To make topping, put butter in a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan and place in preheated oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until butter is melted. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Peel pears, core and thinly slice into wedges. Arrange decoratively over brown sugar, overlapping as needed.

To make cake, whisk molasses with milk, egg and ginger until blended. Mix flour with sugar, soda and salt; add molasses mixture and melted butter. Stir until almost smooth (batter will be thick). Spread over pears. Level top.

Immediately bake in centre of preheated oven for 45 minutes or until edges of cake pull away from sides and a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven; run a knife around cake edge.

Place a large plate with sides over cake top. Together turn upside down; cake will fall onto the plate. Replace any pears that stick to pan; run a rubber spatula around bottom to get last of caramel sauce onto cake. Serve warm with crème anglais or lightly whipped cream.

**I made this recipe using four small springform pans (3") and one six inch pan.  I adjusted the cooking times accordingly:

For the three inch cakes, first 15 minutes, then another 10 minutes to cook the middle of the cakes.

For the six inch cake, about 35 minutes.  Be sure to check for doneness when you take out of the oven.

Homemade Focaccia with Caramelized Onions, Pears and Blue Cheese

I loved this recipe so much, I made twice in a week!  Easy to make and delicious.  Thank you Food and Wine Magazine... 

Makes a 9 x 13 inch focaccia


Ingredient Checklist


  • In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast and honey and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the flour and 1/4 cup of the oil; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt and knead until smooth. Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and let stand for 1 hour.

  • Scatter the onions over the dough. Arrange the pear over the onions and sprinkle with the blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the focaccia and bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack to cool. Serve.

    WANNA PLAY?  The second time around, I made half the focaccia with pears and the other half with thinly sliced potatoes, and sprinkled sea salt.

    The focaccia freezes well.  Feel free to eat half and save the rest for later.

Aaliyah's Buttermilk Waffles

Thank you Williams Sonoma for this wonderful waffle recipe, expertly crafted by Aaliyah,my granddaughter.  On a lazy Sunday morning, we decided to cook waffles- two different recipes- to find the perfect one.  This was it!  Delicious!

Makes 8 four-inch waffles

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Pineapple Jalapeño Relish



  • 8 cups diced pineapple (2 fresh pineapples or from frozen)
  • 1 medium red onion, diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 4-6 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground coriander seed

In This Recipe

  1. Prepare boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready to use, do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set aside with bands.
  2. Pulse pineapple, red onion and jalapeno in the bowl of a food processor a few times just to fine chop, being careful not to puree.
  3. Combine remaining ingredients in a non-reactive pot set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add pineapple mixture and simmer, stirring, until liquid has reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Ladle hot relish into a hot jar leaving a ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim. Center lid on jar and apply band, adjust to fingertip tight. Place jar in boiling water canner. Repeat until all jars are filled.
  5. Process jars 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat, remove lid, let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and cool 12-24 hours. Check lids for seal, they should not flex when center is pressed.

*Wear gloves when working with hot peppers.

Pairs well with: Grilled Pork Chops

Rhubarb Strawberry Jam


Rhubarb, the harbinger of spring.  And, this year, I have a beautiful, large rhubarb plant, just waiting to be harvested.  Pair it with strawberry and you know spring is definite here. Because both are low in pectin, this recipe adds the peel and the flesh of oranges to give this bright-flavored, tangy jam the body it needs. 

Perfect for scones and coffee on the patio.

This recipe makes 7 x 250 ml jars.

Strawberry Fig Jam

This week, figs season intersected with strawberry season.  This strawberry fig jam is delicious!  It's made without pectin, so it turns out to be less sweet and  slightly runny. 

This recipe makes a very small batch- 3 x 250 ml jars.


1 lb       fresh purple Mission figs, stems removed, cut into small pieces

1 lb       fresh strawberries, quartered

1/3 cup lemon juice

2 cups  white sugar


Place figs, strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a non-reactive saucepot.   Cover and let stand for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium and boil rapidly, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Continue to cook about 2 minutes more, stirring constantly, until mixture jells. Remove from heat.

Ladle into sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch (5-mm) headspace at the rim. Cover with 2-piece lids and process in a steam canner for 10 minutes.  Once cool, check for proper seal (the lids should be slightly concave) and store in a cool, dry place.

June 2021:  I let it stand overnight.  Next time, suggest removing the fruit from the syrup after it has macerated overnight.  Bring the syrup to the boil, until the thermometer reads 220 degrees, then add the fruit and boil for about two minutes.  Could also add grated lemon rind at the very end.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Pickled Figs

 Figs- in Ottawa the window for fresh figs is small.  I was looking for a fig preserve perfect to add to a charcuterie board.  I think this is it: sweet, sour, and delicious.

To make approximately 3 x 500 ml jars

Monday, May 17, 2021


Tiramisu, a classic, delicious Italian dessert is easy to make and a perfect end to that fancy dinner.  Be sure to use the best quality ingredients- there are few, and they need to be great.

I like to use "build" my tiramisu in small dishes or containers- even canning jars.  They can be frozen individually and they prevent me from eating way too much at a time- you know, "just trimming the edges." 

To make approximately six to eight servings.

Black Bean Burgers

With BBQ season here, it's nice to have a few vegetarian burger recipes to choose from.  These burgers taste every bit as good as meat burgers and can be so much healthier.  Better still, you can customize to your taste and there as no additives, preservatives, etc.

To make four large or eight small burgers.

Thai Yellow Curry Paste

I love having curry pastes frozen and ready to use from my freezer.  All homemade so I can adjust and personalize the heat, etc.  This recipe is based on one I found on a website- Hot Pepper Madness. com.  I have certainly made a few great curries using my version of this paste. 

Traditional Rhubarb Relish (with riff)

This is my first rhubarb relish.  I planted rhubarb in my garden a couple of years ago and finally this year have enough to make at least two batches of preserves, more to come in a few weeks.  I didn't grow up eating rhubarb, that very tart fruit and honestly, it doesn't look very appetizing in the canning pot- kind of grey.  My friend Barb, the rhubarb connaisseur assures me the tart flavour of rhubarb is there, it's just not very pretty.

Soooo, I used the recipe from the Time Life Preserving  book as the base for the first batch, then made the second batch my way :-).

Rhubarb Relish - one traditional
and one lemon and hot pepper

To make approx. six 250 ml jars