Friday, December 23, 2011

Red Velvet for Christmas

Red Velvet Cakes and cupcakes made a bit of a comeback a couple years ago.

But somehow, to me, it has to be eaten at Christmas!

These are perfect. I have tried a few from bakeries and none compare to these.

Joy the Baker has a knack for getting baking just right. These are from her.

So delightfully right for a certain person's birthday 'cake' perhaps...

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(Joy the Baker)

Click here for the recipe.

Joy does such a good job of explaining the method.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Everyone's Favourite Joe

When I make Sloppy Joes, everyone is happy.

They never disappoint. Ground beef, tomato, vegetables and a bun - It's all there.

I found this recipe over at Simply Recipes. I always have all the ingredients for these and they are, hands down, the kids favourite thing to eat.

I throw together a green salad for Jim and I.

That's it.


Sloppy Joes

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced carrots (or chopped bell pepper)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium onion)
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lb ground beef
1/2 cup ketchup (or tomato paste)
2 cups tomato sauce (or 1 15-ounce can whole tomatoes, puréed)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp vinegar (red wine or apple cider)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 turns of freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns

1 Heat olive oil in a large pan on med high heat. Add the carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. (If you are using bell pepper instead of carrots, add those at the same time as the onions.) Add the chopped onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent, about 5 more minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Remove from heat. Remove vegetables from the pan to a medium sized bowl, set aside.

2 Using the same pan cook ground beef. Season with ½ tsp salt. Strain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

3 Return the cooked ground beef and vegetables to the pan. Add the ketchup, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and brown sugar to the pan. Stir to mix well. Add ground cloves, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Lower the heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve with toasted hamburger buns. Serves 4.

Monday, December 12, 2011


So here you have some chocolaty, fudgy and not too fatty squares of something that is not a brownie.

I daren't call these brownies.

I served these to Jim under the title of Brownie...

"They're good." he said, "But they're not brownies!"

That said, I find these extremely hard to keep out of.

They're not too rich, not sickeningly sweet and a good base for a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream if you're in the mood for that.

I found this recipe on the silver flap of my Astro Original Yogurt container.

Give it a go.

The Un-Brownie
(Astro Original Yogurt Recipe)

1/2 C melted chocolate chips
1 C Plain yogurt
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C flour
1/2 C cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 C milk (soy or coconut milk work too)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Melt chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave. Mix chocolate with yogurt and sugar. Sift in flour, cocoa and baking soda. Just until combined. Add milk. Stir
3. Pour into a greased 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.
4. Cook 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
5. Cook completely and cut into squares.

Curried Shrimp

We love shimp.

I thought Ina's Garlic Shrimp Scampi was my favourite way to eat it until I tried this.
This curry is so easy and, because shrimp cooks so quickly, it's ready in no time.

I know I've said it before, but in a recipe like this it will really pay to use a nice curry powder. I used Arvinda's here.

So to make this, you totally throw everything in a big frying pan, cook and finish with a huge squeeze of lime and a swirl of plain yogurt. Done.

Serve it over rice.

I threw some finely sliced green beans in at the end, but small green peas would be even better.

Curried Shrimp
(adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food Cookbook)
Serves at least 4

1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped, or thinly sliced
pinch cayenne
Coarse Salt
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp heaped, ground ginger
Fresh pepper
1 1/2 C fish or vegetable stock
1.5 lbs shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 C chopped green beans or frozen peas
1/4 C plain yogurt (or sour cream)
1 lime, juiced (plus extra wedges for the table)
Cooked basmati or jasmine rice

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add onion 1/2 tsp salt and pinch of cayenne.
Cook 3-5 mins or until onion is soft. Add tomato paste, curry powder, ginger and a few times round with the pepper mill. Cook breaking up the tomato paste and stirring around the spices until fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add tomatoes and stock. Cook 5 minutes. Add shrimp, cook until pink and opaque. Remove from heat. Add peas.

3. Squeeze the lime over the top and add the yogurt. Stir again. Serve over rice with extra wedges of lime for the citrus fiends like me.