Those lovers of exotic flavours. The intrepid, adventurous cook. You who love the fabled stories of The silk Road and camel caravans loaded with precious spices. All of this is here. In your kitchen. You toss red chili peppers, coriander, cumin, and black mustard seeds and black peppercorns in a heated pan. It becomes pure alchemy. This fragrant aromas of spices you have created becomes your personal curry powder. Your Poudre de Curry Maison.

This recipe for curry powder is a blueprint. You add a little more fenugreek seeds. A whisper of ginger. A little more turmeric. Your whole concept of curry power seasoning changes when you make your own.

The inspiration for homemade curry powder comes from the pages of Patricia Wells cookbooks. She is one of my favourite sources for French recipes . I use my homemade curry powder in salad dressings, soups, curries and frequently add just a touch of curry powder at the end of many dishes.

: spice
Cuisine: soups and main courses
: 12
One can always y find curry powder on the grocery store shelves, but if you make your own the mixture can be as complex and spicy as you want. The recipe is simple and convenient to make.
  • 2 small dried red chili peppers
  • 2 tbs coriander seeds
  • 1 tbs cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  1. In a small dry skillet, combine the peppers, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and peppercorns and toast over medium heat. Shake the pan often to prevent burning - for 2 or 3 minutes. If you listen carefully you will her the seeds start to pop. This is when the pan should be removed from the heat.
  2. Let cool to room temperature.
  3. Add the fenugreek seeds.
  4. In a spice grinder or coffee mill, grind the mixture to a fine powder. (SEE NOTE BELOW)
  5. Transfer to a small bowl. Stir in the ground ginger and turmeric.
  6. Store in a cool place for up to 3 months.
  7. CHEF'S NOTE; To clean a spice grinder or coffee mill add a couple of tablespoons of white rice.Grind to a powder and discard. Wipe the inside of the grinder with a damp cloth then dry thoroughly. (It is always a good idea to unplug any equipment BEFORE you clean it.)


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When someone lists their favourite cookies this cookie is almost always on their list.  It is a classic and I collect classics.  I call it a polite peanut butter cookie.   It is at once crisp and chewy.   There’s a whisper of a crunch and then a murmuring of sweet, closely followed by an exclamation of salt.  This polite cookie does not have an aggressive peanut butter flavour.  Your know the kind of cookie.  The peanut butter cookie that clings to and overpowers your taste buds.  This peanut butter cookie can be kept simple.  Or, you can adorn it with chocolate.  A little cocoa powder and a sprinkle of finely chopped of  your-very-best chocolate and you have a winner.  Then you sign your cookie creations with the traditional  classic crisscrosses.

When you’re whipping up this cookie creation refrain from using all-natural peanut butter.  As with most peanut butter recipes you won’t get the texture you want with this type of peanut butter.  Save this for sandwiches and midnight munchies.

This is a generous recipe.  If you allow a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie the recipe will give you four to five dozen cookies.  Wrapped well or in a cookie jar(graciously separating the layers with parchment paper) they will keep for about five days at room temperature.  You can freeze these cookies.  They’re good for about two months.

: cookies
Cuisine: baking
: 50
A classic peanut butter cookie with a light, crisp delicate flavour.
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted b utter at ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 1 cup peanut butter - crunch or smooth BUT NOT NATURAL
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ ciup sugar
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1½ cups chopped salted peanuts
  • About ½ cup sugar for rolling the cookies (set aside)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and position the rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. (2 or 3 sheets as needed)
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and powder, salt and nutmeg.
  4. Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for minute or two until smooth and creamy.
  5. Add peanut butter and beat for couple of minutes.
  6. Add the sugars and beat for 3-4 minutes more.
  7. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
  8. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and on low speed add the dry ingredients. Mix only until they just disappear
  9. Briefly. mix in the chopped peanuts. You'll have a soft, pliable (quite mushable, actually) dough.
  10. Pour the ½ cup sugar in a medium sized bowl. Working with a level tablespoonful of dough for each cookie, roll the dough between your palms into balls and the balls, a couple at a time into the sugar.
  11. This recipe will yield between 40 and 50 cookies depending on the size of the cookies you measure out.
  12. Roll the balls around in the sugar to coat them, then place on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between them.
  13. Dip the tines of a fork in the sugar and press the tines against each ball first in one direction and then in the other. You should have a FLATTENED round of dough with crisscross indentations.
  14. Bake the cookies , one sheet at a time, for about 12 minutes rotating the sheet from front to back at the midway point. It is time consuming but I never bake more than one tray of cookies at a time.
  15. When done the cookies will be lightly coloured and still a little soft.
  16. Let the cookies SIT on the sheets for a minute before transferring them to cooling racks with a wide metal spatula. This minute resting allows the cookies to firm and crisp a little more.
  17. Cool to room temperature. Again the cookies will crisp up a little.
  18. Using the extra cookie sheets allows you to continue forming cookies while one batch is in the oven.
  19. Repeat with the remaining dough making sure to cool the baking sheets between batches.
  21. For the chocolate version of this cookie reduce flour to 2 cups and sift ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder in the dry ingredients.
  22. Use 1 cup chopped salted peanuts and add ⅓ cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (or mini chocolate chips) along with the nuts

This recipe is from the fabulous book BAKING FROM MY HOME TO YOURS by Dorie Greenspan.

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ZUCCHINI AND SWISS CHARD GRATIN . . . Laura Calder’s recipe from Dinner Chez Moi

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It has been pointed out to me I have neglected to identify the origin of this recipe.   I do not steal recipes.  I share them.  Whenever possible I name the source or the cookbook.    It was remiss of … Continue reading

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PASSIONATE PIZZA … you can make it at home!

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In another life we had a pizzeria in the city.  We introduced artisan pizzas to Vancouver away back when.   Our pizzas  won awards,  but they  did more;  they participated in romance (an engagement ring nestled in a bed of basil … Continue reading

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This is one of my favorite blueberry recipes.  It is a straightforward  light, tender cake.  It’s easy to serve for breakfast, dinner or a midnight snack.  The dominant flavour is the berries, those wonderful deep full-flavoured blueberries.   If you are using frozen blueberries don’t thaw them out.  If they are little frosty rinse the berries off with cold water and dry them gently.   Don’t be tempted to increase the amount of walnuts in the topping – scarcity makes them even more delightful.  And keep the crumb mixture in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

This is an excellent recipe to have tucked in your apron pocket.  It works well with most any berry (except strawberries-they’re too watery)  in place of or with the blueberries.  You can use slices or cubes of soft fruits such as peeled peaches or nectarine, apricots or plums.

This recipe is from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.    It was published in 2006.  If baking is your forte it is a valuable book to have in your collection.

: coffee cake
Cuisine: serve at breakfast, lunch dinner or snacking
: 8
A light, tender cake with a walnut-studded crumb topping. This batter works well with almost any berry (except strawberries). Slices or cubes of peeled peaches or nectarines, apricots or plums can replace the blueberries.
  • 5 tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (do not increase this amount)
  • 2 cups blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
  • 2 cups plus 2 tsp. all-purpose flour for the blueberries
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • Grated zest of half a lemon or half a small orange
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Butter generously an 8-inch square pan. Pyrex is great for this. Line with parchment paper with a generous overhang on two sides. This will help you remove the cake from the pan
  4. Put all the ingredients EXCEPT the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed.
  5. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic against the surface.
  6. REFRIGERATE UNTIL NEEDED IN THE RECIPE. Covered tightly the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
  8. Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 teaspoons of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries and set aside.
  9. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, the baking powder, the baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  10. Working in the bowl of stand mixer or in another large bowl rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic,.
  11. Add the butter and with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar with butter at medium speed until light , about 3 -4 minutes.
  12. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about one minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don't be concerned if the batter looks curdled - it will soon smooth out.
  13. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, the flour in three parts and the buttermilk in two (begin and end with the dry ingredients). You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula gently stir in the berries.
  14. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula.
  15. Remove the crumb mix from the refrigerator and with your fingertips break it into pieces. There's no need to try to get even pieces - these are crumbs, they're supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size.
  16. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
  17. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife insert into the center of the cake comes out clean. If you have used frozen blueberries the cake will take a little longer to bake.
  18. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.
  19. Using the flaps of parchment paper ease your cake out of the pan and place it back on to rack until you want to serve it.

Like all good coffee cakes, this needs nothing but coffee or tea.  It is best served the day it is made, the cake can be wrapped well and kept overnight at room temperature.



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Carrot-Coconut Soup

Of all the soups I make this is my number one favourite. This recipe is wonderful to serve to friends and family when you want something impressive, completely different and absolutely delicious. The recipe is beautifully spicy but you can easily adjust this by the amount of red curry paste you use. The recipe is easily adapted for vegetarians. Simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Carrot-Coconut Soup
: Asian
Cuisine: lunch or dinner
: 4
This soup recipe is easy and quick to make. It has just a few ingredients and the coconut milk and red curry paste called for in this recipe is generally available in the Asian Foods section of most supermarkets.
  • ¼ cup (2 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1 generous pound of peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 2 cups home-made chicken stock (or best quality low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley for garnish
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add carrots and onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes
  3. Add red curry paste and continue stirring occasionally for another ten minutes until vegetables are softened.
  4. Stir in broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are very soft and liquid is slightly reduced, 40 - 45 minutes.
  5. Let soup cool slightly, the puree with a hand-held blender until smooth.
  6. Check your seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary
  7. Divide soup among soup bowls and garnish with cilantro of parsley.
  8. DO AHEAD; Soup can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.





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If there ever was a time we needed comfort food it is today.     Something sweet to sooth the soul and have you smiling with delight.  A jelly roll to the rescue.    What a delightful idea.  Bake a cake.   Spread jam on it and roll it up.  Easy, peasy.   The ingredients  are all there in your kitchen – eggs, sugar, flour, flavouring and jam.



5.0 from 1 reviews
: cake
Cuisine: Canadian
: 8
A superb sponge cake roll filled with a variety of fillings such as jam, jelly, lemon curd, whipped cream and rich custards. Serve with ice cream for a spectacular dessert
  • 6 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1¼ cups sifted pastry or cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or grated lemon,lime or 2 teaspoons grated orange or tangerine rind
  • Your choice of spreadable jam or jelly
  1. Butter a 12 by 18 by 1 inch jelly-roll pan. Line it with parchment paper. The paper should cover both the bottom and sides of the pan. Lightly butter the paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Place the eggs in a large bowl and place the bowl over a pan of hot water. Whisk for 3 or 4 minutes to keep the eggs from cooking on the bottom.
  4. Add the sugar and let rest over the hot water until the mixture is a little warmer than room temperature.
  5. In a stand mixer, using the balloon whisk beat for ten minutes or until the mixture thickens, triples in bulk and is full of air.
  6. Sift the flour over the egg mixture a little at a time. Carefully fold the flour and the flavouring used into the eggs and sugar. Be careful not to disturb the air bubbles too much.
  7. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. The top of the roll will spring back when touched lightly. Do not over-bake.
  8. As soon as you take the roll out of the oven turn it out on to a dish towel sprinkled with granulated sugar.
  9. Peel off the paper and trim the edges of the cake.
  10. Immediately, while the cake is still warm take the short end of the cake and roll. Place the cake with the seam end down and let cool thoroughly before unrolling and filling.
  11. Fill with spreadable jam or jelly, lemon curd, whipped cream or custard.
  12. Dust the roll with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite frosting.

A classic sponge cake is not difficult to make.  Simply carefully follow the instructions. The eggs must be a room temperature, or a little warmer, and then beaten with sugar for at least ten minutes, or until thickened, tripled in bulk and full of air. It requires no leavening other than the air that is beaten into the eggs.



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RHUBARB UPSIDE-DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE This unprepossessing plant.  This long awaited harbinger of spring type of plant.  This new darling of avant-garde young chefs.  This wonderful rhubarb is the upside-down topping on the most delicious of brown sugar cakes. It … Continue reading

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This is the epitome of decadent desserts.  Deeply dark, warm chocolate cake served right out of the oven.  Warm chocolate cake has an edgy  reputation for being a difficult production.  Many  recipes have you making the cake,  baking the cake, then serving the cake.   It is all too last minute and stressful for the hostess in the kitchen preparing the cake while dinner guests wait for dessert.

This is a straight forward recipe.  It requires a few ingredients.  The very best chocolate, butter, eggs, sugar and flour.  The secret to this gorgeous dessert is to MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME.    One refrigerates the cakes for 24 hours before you bake them.

You bake the chocolate cakes for twelve to thirteen minutes.  The centers of the cake will feel soft and not quite fully set when you touch the centers.  The edges will be firmer.  This is the magic moment to pull your spectacular desserts out of the oven

You can serve these little darlings with a tiny sprinkle of fleur de sel (or flaky sea salt).     A generous scoop of cherry custard ice cream and you have a deconstructed Black Forest Cake.    When I want the dessert to be very very French I pour liberal lashings of my salted caramel sauce over the cake.


5.0 from 1 reviews
: Dessert
Cuisine: French
: 8
Individual soft-centered chocolate cakes prepared ahead of time and baked just before serving. The recipe is easy to make and can be served with ice cream or salted caramel sauce.
  • 2 tablespoons sifted Dutch-process or natural unsweetened cocoa powder , plus extra for ramekins
  • Soft butter for the ramekins
  • 8½ ounces (250 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (preferably Callebaut or other high quality chocolate) coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz/85g) butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup (85 g) SIFTED powdered sugar
  • ⅔ cup (90g) all-purpose flour
  • Sprinkle of sea salt (preferably flew de sel)
  1. Butter eight six ounce ramekins generously and dust them with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess.
  2. Sprinkle a little flaky salt into each ramekin.
  3. Place the chocolate and the butter in a bowl of a pot of simmering water and melt until it is nearly smooth. Be extremely careful you do not get any water in your chocolate mixture. Remove the bowl of melted chocolate and set aside.
  4. Whip the eggs and powdered sugar on high speed of a stand mixer for about 5 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape when you lift the whip.
  5. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and sprinkle in the flour and coco Beat until it is just mixed. Do not over beat.
  6. Fold about one quarter of the whipped eggs into the bowl of melted chocolate.
  7. Fold half of the lightened chocolate mixture BACK into the eggs, mixing thoroughly.
  8. Now gently fold in the rest of the chocolate mixture until completely combined.
  9. Divide the chocolate mixture between the ramekins and cover tightly with saran wrap.
  10. Refrigerate over night.
  11. About an hour or two before you plan to bake your cakes remove them from the refrigerator. Remove the saran wrap and let the cakes sit to bring the ceramic ramekins to room temperature.
  12. Preheat the oven to 3530F (180c). Set the cakes on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 13 minutes. The centers of the cakes should feel soft and not quite fully set when you touch them in the center. Remove the cakes and let sit for 5 m minutes to settle. The heat of the ceramic ramekins will continue to bake the cakes so it is important that you do not over bake. Usually not quite 12 minute will be perfect, but it will depend on the ramekins you use.
  13. To unmold your cakes carefully run a knife along the inside of your ramekins to loosen the take.
  14. Flip the ramekins on to your serving plates and covering the hot ramekins with a pot holder give them a quick hard shake. They should come out with the first shake. If not do it again.
  15. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or salted caramel sauce.


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CHRISTMAS FRUIT CAKE … make it, bake it, and enjoy it the same day!

Last December I baked  this rich fruit cake  in a loaf tin.    This year I adjusted the recipe slightly and baked it as a traditional Christmas cake.   You have lee way as to the size of cake tin you use – any spring form pan between eight and ten inches.  Using a cake tin allows the cake to bake more evenly.    You simply adjust the  oven baking time.

The ingredients are simply guidelines.  The recipe calls for candied mixed peel, cherries and dried apricots.  You could  use dried figs or dates.  Pecans, slivered almonds could replace the chopped walnuts.  The brandy decanter is empty –  substitute sherry or perhaps an exotic liqueur.  The recipe is so forgiving.

There is so much pressure surrounding the holiday season.  We need to be calm and take a step back.  Enjoy our family.  Glory in the season.  This fruitcake is more than the sum total of its parts.  Its very simplicity gives one a chance to take a breath and enjoy preparing  food for those we love.

This cake also freezes well.

: quick bread
Cuisine: desserts
: 20
An easy to make to glazed fruitcake loaf that slices beautiful. Enjoy it the same day you bake it.
  • 1 generous cup halved red or green glace cherries
  • 1½ cups of a mixture of candied mixed peel, dried currants and golden or dark raisins. Your choice.
  • ⅔ cup dried apricots, chopped (about 6-8)
  • ½ cup brandy or sherry
  • ⅔ cups (5.3 oz) soft, unsalted butter
  • ½ cup each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda and salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp each ground allspice, ground cloves and freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or a combination of pecans and slivered almonds your choice
  • Brandy or Sherry Glaze
  • 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
  • 7-8 tsp tsp brandy or sherry (approx)
  1. Two hours before you plan on baking this loaf combine glace cherries, mixed peel, currants, raisins, apricots and brandy (or sherry) in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F. Generously butter a spring form pan - eight, nine or ten inch pan. The smaller sized pan will give you a higher cake, but all are exceptable. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  3. In large bowl, using electric mixer, beat together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium speed until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in Vanilla.
  5. In separate bowel whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg until combined.
  6. Stir into the butter mixture just until combined.
  7. Stir the nuts into the fruit mixture and mix well.
  8. Stir the nuts/fruit mixture into the butter mixture in two additions - JUST UNTIL COMBINED.
  9. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top.
  10. Bake until cake tested inserted in centre comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes.Start checking your cake about 15 minutes or so before the end of baking time. The smaller springform pan may take a little longer to bake. Don't overbake your fruit cake.
  12. In a small bowl whisk icing sugar with brandy or sherry. Add additional brandy ¼ tsp at a time, if needed, until consistency of very cold thick molasses.
  13. Brush half of the icing over hot loaf and let cool completely in pan. This helps even out the cakes bubbly surface.
  14. Remove the cake from the pan and spread the remaining glaze over the cooled loaf.
  15. Spread remaining glaze over cooled loaf.


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