Thursday, 23 April 2015

Almond Carrot Cake
Lemon & Strawberry Cloud Filling
As my hubby's Birthday approached, I decided not to buy a cake but, to take my pans out and give them a dusting.
You see when my kids were young I always
designed Birthday cakes for them.
I remember making Big Bird cakes, The Grouch, Barbie with an actual doll stuck in the top of the cake!....
that one I did many times for my daughter.
They are still popular 20years later!
But, I hadn't made a fancy cake in year.
I didn't think my skills at decorating were still there, truthfully.
But, a lot has changed in 20 years.
We, my hubby and I really don't want to eat too fattening and I don't want gluten as I am very sensitive to it and would prefer not to be bloated!
Basically I want my cake and to eat it too!
So I checked my cookbooks and realized
Europeans have been making gluten free nut cakes for centuries!
This cake is not only nutritious but it truly is delish!
Everyone who saw it and had some loved it!
They didn't even know it was homemade until I told them.
Let's face it with this dwindling art form everyone appreciates homemade goods.
Because nut cakes really don't rise high like gluten does, this is only a double layer.
I just thickened the top layer of cream to heighten the cake.
I used my processor to grated and mix but this can be easily made by hand.
Here's what you'll need:

3 cup Almond meal
3 cup grated carrots
5 lg eggs
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tsp baking powder
lemon pie filling
500 ml Nutrifill tetra
2 tbsp. cocoa
1/2 lb strawberries
1/4 cup dark chocolate
Mix the almond, spices and baking powder into the carrots, tossing to coat.

Whisk the eggs, sugar and oil together.
Fold all of the ingredients together.

Scrape and spread into a sprayed 8" or 9" spring form pan.
Place on a baking sheet or wrap the bottom of the pan with foil to prevent any spills.

Bake in a preheated 325F bake for 40-50min. or until an inserted scewer comes out clean.
Cool for 10 min.
Run the back of a knife around the inside rim.
Unlock and cool completely.
Slice horizontally in half making 2 layers.

Make the lemon filling or pudding according to the directions.  This can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Whip the container of dairy free whipping cream with the cocoa.
No extra sugar is needed as this is sweetened.
Wash, hull and chop strawberries, reserving 4-6 for the top.

Dry the remaining strawberries with paper towel.
Melt the chocolate for 30 sec intervals, stirring until all chocolate is melted.
Dip the strawberries into the mixture and place on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap to harden.

Spread all of the filling onto the bottom layer of the cake to within 1" from the edge.
Top with the 2nd layer of cake.
Apple a thin layer of the frosting.
Refrigerate to firm approx. 1-2 hrs or
1 day ahead.

Add a thicker layer of frosting to the cake using a cake spatula to smooth the top and edges.
Run the spatula through hot water to clean the spatula. This allows the knife to slide and colours the cocoa.

Place the rest of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
Pipe a design below and on top of the cake.

Make large swirls on top of the cake and place
Chocolate covered strawberries on top.

Enjoy with Love~

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Tasty Delights French Apple Torte

Tasty Delights

As far back as I can remember a
was made for any Italian celebration in my home and most homes that, as a family we visited.
Crostata, a flaky crust that is crisper than pie dough but softer than a cookie,
in my opinion is the only dessert that
closely resembles the North American
fave, a pie!
Having travelled to Europe I never did quite see my favourite; an apple pie.
But in a pinch this is an elegant and sophisticated addition to any dessert table.
I have many recipes for the dough of crostata and this one takes the cake!
Sorry for the pun ;)
It's delicateness comes from the larger than usual amount of fat in the dough.
If you can put that aside this is really a delicate dessert that will get a lot of ooohs and aaahs
when you are serving it.
I have to thank Angela a wonderful lady in my
Older Adults Fitness class
for this recipe which I have reduced some of the fat for you, as I found it leaking out of the false bottom pan when baking.
For the pics I sliced it like pie but, truthfully
crostata is sliced like you would slice cookie bars.
My Crostata has homemade jam but you can use pie filling or any flavor of jam you'd like

Here's what you'll need:
3/4 lb butter, margarine or shortening, room temp
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk or dairy free beverage
3 cups sifted flour
1 cup of ground almonds
3/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla
icing sugar

Beat in a mixer; butter, yolks and sugar until fluffy.
Add the milk, vanilla and zest, continue to mix.
Turn the mixer to low speed add
1/2 of the flour and all of the baking powder.
Stir to mix.
Continue to add the remaining ingredients.
Do not mix completely!
Drop the contents onto a cleaned, floured surface.
 Knead to form a ball.
 I did not get directions to refrigerate the dough but, you certainly can as this dough remains sticky at room temp.
So sticky that I added another cup of flour! and the recipe was still wonderful!!! Fool proof!!!
Refrigerated rolls with a rolling pin.
Do you like my Turquoise Crackle Nail polish?
Using your hands press 3/4 of the dough onto the bottom of a false bottom 12" pan.
*A smaller one will do but, you will have leftovers*

Push and form the dough up the sides of the pan.

 Take your time to make a nice edge at the top of the pan as this is your crusts edge.
Spread a jar of jam on the bottom of the dough to the edges.

Break a piece of remaining dough off and begin to roll the dough to form a log the width of the pan.
Begin to place strips across the crostata and press to the edges to break off.
*Refrigeration firms the dough, then you can actually roll with a rolling pin and cut with decorative cutting wheels*

Criss cross the strips attractively.
Place a finishing edge of dough around the dish.
Don't worry if it's not perfect.
It bakes beautifully and no one will notice.
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 50 min or until the dough is golden.
Cool completely and sprinkle with icing sugar.
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mmm"Egg"a Muffin
Mmm"Egg" a Muffin
With Spring just around the corner,
I know we start to want to clean the clutter around us.  Cold winds disappear as warmer winds invite us out for cool walks on sunny days.
We usually begin to think of what we want to
leaning towards reflection and renewal for the
coming summer months.
Perhaps rethinking the way we eat and exercise??
These tasty little "muffins" are great
meals on the go for little or big hands.
Full of colour, with bright added veggies,
these can be made ahead and you have a
nutritional breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner,
perfect for spring when we want to shed some
of winter's extra pounds.
On our way to a great summer!
Here's what you'll need:
5-6 asparagus stalks, washed, ends snapped off, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 tsp garlic puree or 1 clove, minced
2 tbsp. EVOO
dash of salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 cup soft cheese
I used Canadian Oka but, any cheese will do
Sauté all ingredients together on med. high heat for 2-3 min. Cool to the touch
2 lg eggs
2 tbsp. original yogourt
1/4 tsp salt
Whisk together, set aside.
3 sheets of filo pastry
Stack sheets.
Cut into 4 even strips lengthwise
Brush 1 strip with EVOO
Fold in half
Press into a greased muffin form
Repeat with another strip and place crosswise into form. Continue until you have 6 forms shaped.
Fill form with vegetable mixture.
Stuff with cheese.
Spoon in egg mixture
Bake in a preheated oven for approx. 20min.
or until pastry is golden.

For anyone with dairy and egg allergies,
these can be made without.
Place 1/3 of the filling on an oiled and folded piece of 1 filo sheet.
Fold over.
Fold ends over.
Turn the pkg over and brush with oil.
Place on a baking sheet.
Bake following the same above directions.

Vegan Veggie Packet
Enjoy with love!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Lentil Revelation Challenge
is back again!
Last year I had a lot of fun making new recipes with
Canadian Lentils
I even had a wonderful opportunity to meet
Chef Michael Smith
Cirillo's Professional Kitchen
He is as tall as he looks and friendly too!
Lentils are always in some dish in my
Italian home.
They are a great source of inexpensive fibre, vegetable protein and are so easy to cook.
My vegetarian daughter incorporates legumes into her diet all week long.
My Canadian contest journey into baking, sautéing, boiling, green, red and black lentils is coming to a near close, not that that will stop me from using lentils, a nutritious vegetable protein staple in my home.
I have saved the best for last!
This Coconut Cream Nocciola Torta is light, delicate and its crust is nutty, chewy and completely gluten, vegan and dairy free to boot!
I have tested it on friends and family who love tasting my fun foods and know to expect the unexpected!
Delicious and flavourful, who would guess that there are lentils in the crust?
 Lentils take on the flavor of whatever you are using them in and up the fiber and protein content, while keeping the fat and caloric intake down.
that's a win win
for me and my family~
This Show Stopping 
Coconut Cream Nocciola Torta
is easy and can be make ahead. 
Perfect for weekend entertaining.
That's why this is my 5th and last entry in
the Dessert category for
Coconut Cream Nocciola Torta
Here's what you'll need:
Nut Crust:
1 1/2 cup mixed almonds and hazelnuts
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup cooked red lentils
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup solid coconut oil, melted
1/8th cup of cocoa
Place nuts in a food processor and process until finely ground.
In a med. size bowl stir nuts, coconut, sugar, lentils, cocoa and oil.
Spray a 9" false bottom fluted tart pan.

Using the bottom of a glass, press the nut mixture up the sides and bottom of the pan.

Using your thumb and forefinger press the sides firmly creating an edge.
Bake for 15min in a preheated 350F
Cool completely
You can refrigerate this before of after baking up to 1 day ahead.
Coconut Cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 cups of shaken, canned coconut milk
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp each coconut extract + vanilla
1 orange zested
Tip sugar, salt, cornstarch into a small saucepot.
Pour in water and coconut milk.
Whisk to mix thoroughly.
Turn the heat to high, whisking constantly.
When the mixture is heated, turn the burner down to med. heat. Continue to cook and thicken for approx. 5-8min whisking to prevent scorching.
When it is a thick pudding consistency, remove from heat.
Stir in zest, extracts and coconut.
Cool to room temp.
This can be refrigerated, covered at this point for up to 1 day ahead.
Spread the coconut cream into the bottom of the nut crust.
1 lb of strawberries
1 pint of blackberries
1 pint of blueberries
1/4 cup of apple jelly or marmalade, melted
orange zest for decoration
Slice, wash and prepare fruit as desired.
Toss with melted jelly for gloss
Decoratively place over tart.
Refrigerate for 2-3hrs or overnight.
Enjoy with love~
Here is my 4th Entry into the

Lentil Recipe Revelation



Tiny Black Beluga Lentils are suspended in this
delicate Gratin Cheddar Soufflé.
Is it a side? a lunch? or appy?
That's why this Canadian dish with a French twist is entered in the "Freestyle" category.
When you dig into this dish you will find a
surprising aromatic
Mushroom & Lentil Duxelle filling 

 Most people are intimidated by soufflés but, they are actually quite easy to make and
oh so impressive.
If you can whip egg whites then this recipe is foolproof for you. Besides the machine does all the work.
My boys loved the taste of this soft speckled soufflé. They wondered about the dark specks and raised an eyebrow when I mentioned that they were black lentils which get their name "Beluga" because they resemble tiny Caviar nuggets.
Sharp Canadian Cheddar adds a gooey welcoming comfort to this dish.
The Black Bottomed Duxelle of mushrooms, black lentils and onions added a surprising  textural contrast and it was like dipping into a treat at the bottom of each ramekin.
The Gratin topping added extra golden crunch to this petite dish. The mouthwatering scents permeated my home, beckoning to all who arrived hungry and ready for dinner.
Here's what you'll need:

4 lg eggs, room temp, separated

2 tbsp. butter, room temp+ extra

2 tbsp. flour
(the flour can be omitted for GF needs and baked 10min longer to set the filling)
2 cup sharp cheddar
1/2 cup cooked, (whole) black lentils, pureed
(red ones are wonderful in this too!)
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch of black pepper
2 tbsp. EVOO or butter
2 cup finely minced cremini mushrooms
1 large onion, minced
1/2 cup (whole)black lentils, cooked
pinch of salt
1 tsp dried thyme

 Gratin: Mix
1 tbsp. bread crumbs + Extra
1 tbsp. parmesan
1 tsp dried thyme

In a large preheated skillet add oil/butter.
Sauté onion, mushrooms, herbs and lentils stirring to reduce moisture.

When you start to hear a sizzle the mixture is ready. This takes 8-10min on med. high heat.
Butter 4 ramekins and sprinkle the inside with breadcrumbs, turning to coat. Tap out excess.
Press Duxelle into the bottom of ramekins evenly, cool.

 Place egg whites into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment.

Whisk on high to firm but not dry peaks 

Remove whites to another bowl.

Using the same whisk, whip the egg yolks to a soft yellow colour.
Continue to whip adding pepper then
break 2 tbsp. of butter into pieces and add while mixing.
Add flour then fold in cheddar and pureed lentils.
 Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to loosen the mixture.
 Gently fold in another 1/3 of whites then remaining whites

Spoon the mixture over the ramekins.
Run your thumb around the edge of ramekins to "clean" and separate the filling from the edge to prevent cracking.
 Sprinkle with  Gratin mixture
 Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 16-20 min. (10 min. longer if there is no flour)

 This version uses Red Lentils

 Enjoy with Love!
Here is my 3rd Entry into the
Lentil Recipe Revelation
This recipe uses
Red Lentils, Two Ways;
As a smooth low cal Hummus and as a crispy
Rosemary scented Red Lentil crispy Lavash.
Each preparation can be eaten separately or best

Tropical Salsa w
Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Hummus
Red Lentil Rosemary Lavash

I love "crunchy" foods;
don't we all?
So to stay away from unhealthy high in calorie carbs;
I have developed a
 Red Lentil Rosemary Lavash Cracker
with wholesome
Red Canadian Lentils
They add  such a pretty speckled orange throughout the cracker!
Of course there is the added benefits of fibre and minerals.
This is so fast and easy to make you can wow your family and guests in no time at all.
The are really crispy and can me made way ahead
because they just get crispier!

I have always have Hummus in my house
and I decided to make a big batch of
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Paired with my Rosemary Lentil Lavash Cracker
you have an elegant and fun appy ready in minutes
Here's what you'll need:
Red Lentil & Rosemary Lavash
2 cup flour + extra for rolling
2 tbsp EVOO
1 cup red lentil, cooked, drained
1 tbsp rosemary fresh or dried
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 lg egg
3/8 cup water, more or less depending on the weather
In a large bowl, toss the cooked lentils with salt and flour.
Add rosemary and pepper, stir.

With a fork mix the egg and water together. Pour into the flour mixture. Toss with the fork, when it gets too thick to stir,
use your hands to knead the dough to a stiff consistency.
Use extra flour to prevent the dough sticking to your hands and the dry surface.

Turn the bowl upside down over the dough and allow to rest for 15min.
Pinching off chunks, roll dough on a lightly floured surface in on vertical direction to make a long cracker.

*If the dough tears don't repair it, this has a charming rustic look
and gets crispier when baked

Continue until all pieces are formed.

Place directly on the racks of a preheated 350F oven!
After 10 min turn the dough over grabbing quickly at an edge of the dough, using your fingers,
being careful not to touch the rack.
Bake for another 10min or until lightly browned and crispy all over.
*the thinner the dough the quicker it bakes and the crisper the cracker

Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Hummus
Roasted Red Pepper Lentil Hummus
will leave your kitchen enveloped with delicious aromas of garlic and roasted red pepper.
Paired with pureed red lentils this makes a thick
ready for any party, snack or my fave,
spread on sandwiches for a healthy alternative to mayo
Here's what you'll need:
Red Pepper Lentil Hummus
2 cup red lentil cooked, drained
1/4 cup EVOO
1 red pepper, roasted*
1 tsp thyme
1 cloves garlic
1/2 hot red pepper
1/2 lemon juiced, zested
2 tbsp tahini
Blacken the skin of a red pepper and hot pepper on a hot grill, grill pan or under a broiler, turning to blister the skin.

Scrape off the blackened skin, core and chop the red pepper and chop the hot red pepper, keeping the seeds.

Place all ingredients into a blender or processor, puree.
The garlic taste develops as it sits! 
Store for up to 1 week refrigerated.
Tropical Salsa

Colourful and exciting!
This Tropical Salsa explodes with
juicy fresh fruits and veggies
that burst with fresh flavours.
Easy and fast, this can be made in minutes.
Heres's what you'll need:
1 large ripe avocado, cubed
2 tbsp. red onion, diced
1 ripe mango, peeled and cubed
4" piece of washed, diced English cucumber
1 red tomato, washed, cubed
3 tbsp. sliced black olives
3-4 leaves of mint or basil
3 tbsp. EVOO
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
Toss together all ingredients.
Crack desired size of Rosemary Lentil Lavash
Spread with a generous amount of
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
top with a generous amount of
Tropical Salsa
 Enjoy with Love!

Here is my 2nd Entry into the
Lentil Recipe Revelation
Did you know that
supplies the world with our
Canadian Lentils?
High in minerals and protein this tiny legume
s t r e t c h e s
the budget and is a dry staple that doesn't expire!
On its own or with added aromatic ingredients, this legume adds fiber and goodness to any meal.
It is the fastest cooking legume in the bean family,
adds a richness to any meal, making it look like you spent all day in the kitchen.
I added some Eastern European ingredients to make a new main dish for my family.
They loved the woodsy taste that the
smoked sausages added to this dish.
I loved the colour that the paprika and tomato paste added to the dish.
Here's what you'll need:

2 tbsp EVOO
4 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
1 smoked paprika sausage, casing peeled and cut into coins
1 red pepper, seeded, cut into 1" lengths
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup green lentils
1 cup white wine
2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt & pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 hot red pepper or more
2 cup water
1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley
3 cup cooked quinoa
In a large preheated skillet brown chicken on both sides in olive oil.

Drop in sausages and sear on both sides.
Remove meat to a platter. To the pan, add onions, herbs and spices, stir to cook until softened and fragrant. Add the tomato paste, stir to cook, it will darken slightly.

Add the wine, turn heat to high.
When the pan comes to a boil simmer for 1 min. to evaporate the alcohol.  Add  lentils, stir to mix.
Add the water, seasonings and reduce to a med. simmer. Cook for 15-20 min. 
When the lentils are almost cooked and the liquid has reduced, add the chicken and cook for another 4-10min or until juices run clear when pierced through with a knife.
Suggested Serving: Serve over 1/2-3/4 cup of quinoa
Enjoy with Love


Here is my first entry into the
Lentil Recipe Revelation

Warm Tuscan Style Lentil Salad
This is a salad that is served warm,
perfect for our cold winter months.
It is a nutritional side incorporating
Canadian Lentils, chickpeas, kale
herbs, and colourful crunchy veggies!
This recipe is huge enough to serve a large family, easily transportable for pot luck and makes great leftovers for lunch.
Here's what you'll need:

2 tbsp EVOO
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/2 red pepper, diced
540ml can green lentils, drained and rinsed several times
540ml can chick peas, drained and rinsed several times
2 cup chopped Kale or Endive lettuce
4 cup cooked quinoa, room temp
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 carrot, shredded
Dressing: Mix together in a small bowl
1/4 cup EVOO
1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp each salt & black pepper or to taste
1 tsp pureed garlic or 1 clove chopped garlic
In a large preheated skillet on med. high heat, add oil, jalapeno, rosemary, red peppers and onions. Sauté for 5 min until softened, stirring to often.
Add lentils and chick peas cook for 3-5 min.
Add Kale, stir until softened for 2min.
In a large bowl toss quinoa, legumes, carrots, parsley and dressing together, serve hot or warm.

Enjoy with Love