Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vanilla Syrup

Vanilla syrup is the key ingredient in one of my favourite drinks, the London Fog.  I will be posting the London Fog recipe next week.


1 Cup water
1 Cup sugar
1 Vanilla bean (you can also use vanilla extract, but the bean will give a deeper vanilla flavour)


Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly.  The sugar will dissolve and the mixture will become clear. Once mixture has come to a boil, continue to boil for about 5 minutes. 

If you used vanilla beans, remove the large pieces left behind.  There will still be smaller bits that look like coffee grounds (unless you strain first through a coffee filter), those will add to the flavour of the syrup.

Once cool, bottle and refrigerate.  Goes well with coffee or tea.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Heineken Sweet Potato Stew

This is one of my husband's original recipes.  While not a cheap recipe to make, you will not be disappointed!  This stew is rich in flavour and high in vitamins.  It will warm you up on a cold day from the inside out.  This recipe makes about 12 cups and freezes really well.  Since the alcohol boils off during the cooking process, this stew is safe for all ages.  :) 

- 1 lb of your favourite beef (we usually use tenderloin or other cuts of steak)
- 4 - 900 ml containers of beef broth
- 1 bottle of Heineken Beer
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato
- 3-4 medium potatoes
- 1/2 medium turnip
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large parsnip
- 2 medium onion
- 2 bay leafs

- You can also add any other 'root' vegetable you like

Flour mixture to coat beef
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tsp each granulated garlic, pepper
- 1/2 tsp each basil, oregano, rosemary


Chop the sweet potato into small cubes and set aside. 

 Chop the rest of the vegetables (potatoes, turnip, carrot, parsnips, onions) into bite sized cubes and combine in large bowl and set aside.

Chop meat into bite sized cubes and set aside in a separate bowl.

Flour Mixture

Combine flour and spices (granulated garlic, pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary).  Set aside.

Combine 3 of the broths and bring to a boil over high heat. 

Add the sweet potatoes and bring back to a boil stirring often.   Once it’s at a boil, reduce heat to medium high and cook for 15-25 minutes, continuing to stir often.


Once the sweet potatoes become soft, start breaking down the pieces with a whisk.  As the sweet potatoes break down, they will begin to melt and become part of the broth.

Add the beer and the last container of broth to the pot and bring back to a boil.

Coat the meat in the flour mixture and shake off the excess.   Coating the beef in flour will help to thicken the stew.

Fry the meat in a preheated, olive oiled pan until lightly brown.  I use about 1 tbsp of olive oil per batch (I usually cook the meat in two batches).

Once browned, add the beef to the pot and cook for 20 minutes on medium high heat, stirring occasionally.

Add the vegetables and bay leafs to the pot and bring back to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce heat to medium.

Simmer and cook an additional 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and all of the flavours have blended.


- Nutritional Info (per cup) -
Calories - 202     Fat - 7     Carbs - 11     Protein - 14     Iron - 10     Fibre - 1

Sunday, January 16, 2011

French Onion Soup

This recipe comes from my husband's Uncle Frank, who has enabled me to make amazing French Onion Soup that you could make too.

- 3 sweet onions (or regular onions)
- 1 L of beef stock
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp worcheshire sauce
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Bread (French bread is the best for this recipe).
- ½-1 cup white cheese (Gruyere cheese is the best for this recipe, but if I don’t have any I use Mozzarella)

Optional: splash of red wine (I freeze leftover red wine in ice cube trays for recipes such as these)


Slice onions as thin as possible and set aside. 

Preheat 4 L pot on medium heat.  Once preheated, melt butter into pan and mix in the olive oil.

Add the sliced onions and sauté until tender.  Pour beef stock, worcheshire sauce, and wine into pot and turn the element to high, stirring frequently until soup comes to a boil. 

Crouton Method # 1 (Stovetop soup with one big crouton):

Once boiling, reduce to medium-low heat and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.

Slice French bread on an angle and lightly butter.  Top with cheese.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until cheese is melted and slightly golden.   Top each bowl of soup with a slice of cheese toast and enjoy!

Crouton Method # 2 (Baked French Onion Soup):

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour soup into a large casserole dish, (or 4 small oven safe dishes) and sprinkle in half of the cheese.  Tear 4 slices of bread into crouton sized pieces and spread evenly over top of soup.  Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is golden.

This recipe makes 4 - 1 cup servings.

- Nutritional Information (per cup) -
339 Calories    19 Fat    28 Carbs    16 Protein    6 Iron    3 Fibre

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homemade Butter

I had been wanting to make butter for quite some time, so one day in the kitchen I thought to myself "what if I just whip the heck out of some whipping cream?" Turns out it works just fine. 


1 L of whipping cream (I use Dairyland - Old Fashioned).


Whip cream using electric mixer (handheld or stand) for 10-15 minutes or until butter and cream seperate.  Strain butter with cheesecloth or metal strainer.  Get as much moisture as you can out of the butter. You will be left with approximatley 2 cups of butter & 2 cups of buttermilk, which you can reserve and use in recipes that call for such.

Note that butter will expire when the cream would (unless frozen).

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Blueberry Pie Breakfast


1 cup of steel cut oats*
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (Europes Best works great)
1 cup of blueberry juice (I use Oasis)
3 cups water


For Best Results:  Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook for 2-4 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low until it reaches the consistency that you like.  Be sure to stir every hour or so.

* You can also cook longer without stirring as often, but you have to add more water liquid and it does come out a bit mushier.  Add an extra cup of liquid for 7-8 hours in the slow cooker.Delicious when topped with a drizzle of organic maple syrup, honey, or a sprinkle of brown sugar.

This recipe makes 6 - 1 cup servings. 

Nutritional Information (before additional toppings):

110 Calories  2 Fat  24 Carbs  1 Protein  2 Iron  2 Fibre

* It must be steel cut oats, regular oats get very soggy when cooked this way.   You can find steel cut oats in your local grocery store (sometimes they are called "irish oats" or "pinhead oats").

I usually make the entire recipe and then we eat the leftovers for a few days, as cooking only half of the recipe doesn't have the same consistency. 

Apple Pie Breakfast

I recently updated the picture for this recipe, but you can still find the original picture and the rest of the post below:

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