The Inspirational Apple Cider Doughnut

This morning, a simple question from a food blogger friend, Shareba Abdul (In Search of Yummy-ness), got me to thinking. ‘What do you do to prevent blogger burnout?’ It’s not as strange a question as you may think. Ask any blogger this question and they can tell you that what you see on their website is not always ‘true to life’. When all you see on the blog is great recipes and photos of perfect meatloaves and cinnamon buns, you (the reader) get a skewed idea of what blogging is really like. Blogging takes a lot of time and pre planning; it’s about forging a bond with readers and other bloggers and that means a lot of time spent sharing the love on social media. I wish I would have known this when I began this blog, back then my intentions were so pure… I just wanted to make food and share it!  Since then, I’ve realized that blogging is often a lonely job and connecting with others in person and through networking is important to have a successful blog, but also for my own sanity as well.

Regular readers may have noticed a bit of a lull in purely Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen food related posts recently. Truth be told I’m in a bit of a crazy time right now. I’ve had my head down and bum up for the majority of September, busily attending local events and doing a little food writing on the side. There’s football and regular visits to the Children’s Hospital in my family life. I love being involved, but as someone who doesn’t really manage her time that well…this ‘busyness’ has left little time for quiet moments of pure inspiration.

Inspiration. It’s another key to any happy blog ecosystem (in addition to connecting with others), for without it blogs can run the risk of becoming another site of recipe regurgitation, or the means to a different purpose other than what they were created for in the first place. I don’t mind developing recipe content for a product (and I actually loved the challenge of the recent Reese’s post I did), or talking about upcoming events (like Oktoberfest and Christmas in November) but when I haven’t been cooking and sharing in a while…I get itchy fingers! I get ants-y because I just want to cook.

So today I dropped all the projects on my ‘to do’ list and made doughnuts. They were basically the first recipe I saw on Twitter after I spoke with Shareba and I just decided then and there that today was the day I would give making doughnuts a try. The recipe promised to be quick and delicious…just what I was looking for.

Apple Cider Doughnuts (recipe via


  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (I didn’t have buttermilk but substituted 1/4 cup milk with a 1/2 tsp white vinegar)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Boil the cider in a small saucepan for about 5 minutes, until reduced to a syrupy 2 tablespoons. Set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar. Drop in the egg and mix well, and then add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula every so often. Drizzle in the reduced cider and the buttermilk, and mix until just combined. The dough should hold together, but still be on the sticky side.
  3. Scrape the dough onto a sheet of parchment paper and put another sheet of paper on top. Using a rolling pin, flatten and roll the dough until it’s 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick. Put the dough in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until it no longer clings when you try to peel off the parchment paper.batter3
  4. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer until the oil reaches 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets: one lined with paper towels, and the other dusted with flour.
  5. Peel off the top sheet of parchment paper and flip the dough onto a floured work surface. Remove the second sheet of parchment paper and dust the dough with flour. Using a floured biscuit or doughnut cutter, cut the dough into 2 1/2- to 3-inch tubular rounds (or another shape of your choice) and put them on the flour-dusted baking sheet.rings
  6. Fry the doughnuts in batches, taking care not to crowd the pot, until golden brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Drain on the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Don’t forget to fry the little doughnut holes!
  7. Toss them in the cinnamon sugarballs

Of course, sometimes first time recipes do not always work out perfectly. There are a number of reasons why these doughnuts were not really something I would usually put on the blog but I like the idea of them so much that I will revisit the idea of an Apple Cider Doughnut at a later date. I guess it’s also kind of funny when you think about what I mentioned earlier..these doughnuts look fabulous but they really aren’t. I think it’s important to be truthful to my readers rather than just offer pretty pictures of recipes that are crap!

  • the dough, even after it sat in the fridge for 45 minutes still stuck to the paper. I had to scrape it all off and re roll the dough using a lot of extra flour.
  • the doughnuts turned out quite greasy; I think 350 F was not the proper temperature for frying the doughnuts.

Do you have a ‘no fail’ doughnut recipe that you can share?

FRESH Dinner at Market in Support of Grow Calgary

The FRESH dinner at MARKET Restaurant in support of GROW Calgary was, for the second year in a row, a resounding success. The well crafted vegetable dishes using ‘just picked’ veggies from the GROW Calgary gardens were a sure fire way to draw hungry crowds for the compassionate food organization’s only fundraiser of the year. Each simple home grown ingredient was plated with respect and integrity…a reflection of the pride and care with which it was grown by the GROW Calgary volunteers. Just as the passion of the chefs shone through with every plate, so too did the passions of each patron and volunteer; from each garden volunteer to the garden managers and sponsors. 

035Paul Hughes (GROW Calgary founder and driving force) began the evening by thanking the volunteers, introducing the farm managers, sponsors, and the people without whom, the organization wouldn’t be able to provide quality fresh organic veggies to the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. While the chefs were busy plating, diners listened intently to the man whose every action has a purpose, keenly ensuring that the quality of life and comfort of those around him are put before his own needs. Always.
marketchefs1We began the dinner with an amuse bouche of lightly stuffed and delicately deep fried zucchini blossom. While I have never had the opportunity to try a stuffed zucchini blossom, I was a bit nervous to try one as I am allergic to zucchini. I’m very happy that I threw caution to the wind and gave it a taste as it was quite delicious, mostly because it was filled with cheese and was deep fried.
zucchiniblossomOur first course was a corny delight. I’m sorry, what I meant was that the primary ingredient for this dish was sweet fresh corn and it was utilized in several ways. First, the corn was roasted and then used to flavour a panna cotta, then it was dried, ground, and used as a corn chip. Lastly, we had slices of fresh baby corn and corn pollen to complete the dish. All of the sweet corn was contrasted with the slightly sour radish pods and gel.
cornradishmilkPeas and carrots are often the first vegetables and solid foods we are fed as humans. The simplicity of this dish matched our innermost memories of that first meal, however, its flavour inspired a new appreciation of these two elementary vegetables.  The salt roasted carrots became quite sweet during the preparation and the pea crema was smoother than any purée beyond memory. The dish was texturally completed with a carrot loaf crumb and complemented with pickled carrot tops.
peasncarrotsThe Potato and Onion course was a crowd favourite. On a single plate lay cloud-like soft gnocchi with a sweet onion soubise, tiny little fried potato cubes, braised small red onions, and tiny onion flowers that accented the dish in beauty and with their ‘larger than life’ onion-y punch. As I sat back and pondered the work that went into such a simple dish I could hear the gasps and excitement that buzzed throughout the room. Indeed, before I had even dug into my plate, I had already seen several social media images posted online. I guess word travels fast when a dish ticks all the right boxes: Warm and comforting, tasty and memorable. How is it that two such seemingly ‘lowly’ vegetables can be raised to such high standards?
potatoonion1Speaking of ‘low’ vegetables, there is none more lowly and controversial than the beet. There are some that can’t stand the ‘earthy’ flavour or colouration but there are others for whom the beet is the equivalent of earth candy. Kevin Yang, the pastry chef at MARKET clearly falls into the latter category as evidenced by his use of beets in the final dish of the FRESH dinner. The cheesecake contained beets that had been slow roasted to accentuate their sweetness, then blended and passed through a fine mesh sieve before being added to the mascarpone cheese. The sweetness of the beets became foiled with the bitterness of the liquid brandy chocolate paint and sunflower ganache, complementing each other perfectly. The sunflower croquant and dried beet chips added a thoughtful textural component that really completed the dessert.
beetcheescakeThe chefs and staff at MARKET worked tirelessly through the day and evening; creating, plating, and serving these memorable dishes and their time, as well as the use of the restaurant, was entirely donated by owner Vanessa Salopek.  I would like to thank co executive chefs Alex Edmonson and Sean MacDonald, as well as pastry chef Kevin Yang for their efforts. With very little overhead, the proceeds from this year’s FRESH Dinner will greatly benefit the users of the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank and keep GROW Calgary ‘growing on’ with their mission.

PSP (Pumpkin Spice Pizza) and YYCPizzaWeek

YYCPizzaWeek was so successful last year that they are back in 2015 and ready for a ten day feast fuelled by crust and cheese! This year promises to be the biggest ever and with over 40 restaurants taking part they are hoping to top last year’s grand total of just over $9000 in donations to Calgary Meals on Wheels.  I was just perusing the various pizzas on the website and I just can’t decide which pizzas to try first…should I go for the Banh Mi pie from Beer Revolution or the mouth watering Braised Bison Lengua Pizza from Cilantro. How about the ‘Tragically Hipster’ pizza featuring kale, sweet potato, and goat cheese from Spot On Kitchen and Bar? I think I’m going to be eating a lot of pizza beginning on Friday, September 25th.

I’m also pleased to announce that the pizza week crew has decided to hold another Food Blogger’s Pizza Competition featuring ingredients provided by the Scarpone’s, the Italian Store. Last year we chose one of three ingredients  (anchovies, fire roasted tomatoes, or chestnut purée) and I won using the chestnut purée in my Sweet 16 pizza.  This year they are making things a little more interesting because we have to use two of the four ingredients (ricotta fresca, house made pesto, fig preserve, sliced mixed olives) in our pizza creation. It was so much fun to think of all the creative possibilities for pizzas using those ingredients but in the end I settled on using the ricotta and fig preserve combination.

My pizza is again inspired by my daughter. It’s been a bit of a year dealing with her eating disorder and on top of that trying to feed both her and my family meals that satisfy all of us. One dish that I found that was nutritious and delicous AND could be easily converted to her vegan requirements was the Chickpeas in Star Anise and Date Masala dish that I made a couple of months back. Recently I’ve been wanting to make it again and when I heard about the pizza challenge I thought I could easily convert the flavours in to a pizza form.

So, I give to you…the PSP or Pumpkin Spice Pizza. It has a buckwheat base slathered with sugar pumpkin masala purée. There are tangy rounds of red onion, crunchy roasted masala chickpeas, and for the meat lovers in the group…spicy turkey ricotta meatballs. If you think that sounds good…please vote for my pizza! Starting on Friday September 25th every vote counts and I would love to defend my championship title. *****VOTE HERE*****pizzaweek4

Pumpkin (Masala) Spice Pizza

For the buckwheat pizza base:


  • 1 cup (250 ml) warm water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • extra flour if the dough is sticky after the rise


  1. In a bowl, combine the water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until the mixture foams on top, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, it is important to work with the plastic blade or the dough hook. Combine the flour and salt. Increase the speed to medium and add the yeast mixture until a soft ball forms.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for a few minutes on a floured surface to prevent sticking.
  4. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean cloth. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes in warm and draft-free area. Cut the dough in half.
  5. Use the pizza dough immediately or refrigerate it (less than 48 hours), otherwise place it in an airtight bag and freeze.
  6. This recipe will make two 23-cm (9-inch) thin-crust pizzas or two 20-cm (8-inch) thicker crust pizzas.

Bake at 400 F for 10 minutes.

For the roasted chickpeas:

  • 19 oz can chickpeas; drained, skinned (optional), and dried off
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Combine in a bowl then roast on a cookie sheet in a 375 F oven until completely crispy (about 30 minutes). Stir occasionally to avoid burning.071

For the pumpkin sauce:

  • 1/3 sugar pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • salt
  • olive oil

Cut pumpkin in large chunks and steam until soft. Purée with a bit of olive oil until smooth. Add seasonings.

For the onions:

Carefully slice a red onion into rounds and fry gently in an oiled pan until soft. Carefully remove and set aside.

For the sauce:

  • One jar of fig spread
  • 1/3 cup tamarind chutney
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • salt

Place all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and bring to a slight boil, taking care not to scorch the bottom. Set aside some of the sauce if you are making the vegan version of this pizza.

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro stems
  • 180 grams ricotta fresca
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs

Mix all ingredients together and form into tiny meatballs. Place on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and bake at 350 F until done. Mine were about 15 minutes but it depends on how large you make the meatballs. when they are cooked, add the meatballs to the saucepan with the fig sauce and simmer gently for about 8 minutes so that the meatballs become coated with the sauce.


Assemble the pizza, scatter some cilantro leaves over the top and you have a delicious autumn themed pizza to sink your teeth into for both meat eaters and vegans!

Second Annual FRESH Dinner at Market Calgary

As Grow Calgary’s only fundraising event for the entire year, the FRESH dinner event at Market Calgary is an important day for all involved. Funds raised during the unique dinner keep the Grow Calgary farm operational, which in turn helps them provide farm fresh vegetables to those who would otherwise go without. I was pleased to attend the event last year, and I was so very amazed at how the vegetables were prepared and elevated by the chefs (who donate their time to the dinner) at Market.

The present economy here in the province has led to an increase of 67% of users at the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank. Just sit back for a moment and let that sink in. So many people have been severely affected by the flailing economy in a province where virtually every business is tied to oil.  There is an ever growing need for compassionate food here in Calgary and Paul Hughes and his volunteers at Grow Calgary have pledged to do their best so that all Calgarians can have access to fresh, local food.

Why is this dinner so FRESH? Market’s chefs will race against the clock to harvest & prepare a 4-course meal made exclusively from Grow Calgary’s produce. The ingredients will have been harvested only mere hours before its plated and presented to the guest to enjoy. FRESH

Tickets are still available for this timely dinner. To attend, follow this link and help get Calgary growing!

Christmas in November

In just under a month, the magical season of Christmas begins. Sure, sure I may be getting ahead of myself (apologies to all you grinches out there!) but this year I will be celebrating early along with many other festively inclined guests at Christmas in November, held November 6-15 at the gorgeous historic Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. This year, with the 100th anniversary of JPL, Christmas In November proves to be one of the most festive yet with every last detail planned right down to the snowflakes. I’m not kidding, they’ve made their lists and checked them…twice!

There’s no shortage of Christmas cheer here, check out all the goodies the Christmas In November elves have in store.

2015 Christmas In November presenters:

  • Hosts Hosts Nik Manojlovich (Savoir Faire) and Micah Dew (Flair bartender)
  • Food Network Canada stars: Chefs Roger Mooking, Masimo Capra, Anna & Michael Olson, Dale MacKay, Elizabeth Baird, Emily Richards, and Christine Cushing show you how to make your most delicious Christmas ever!
  • Local favourite Chef Julie Van Rosendaal marks this her 13th CIN as a presenter
  • Local Chefs Duncan Ly and Dale MacKay
  • Decor and craft tips from craft expert Chris Standring and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Garden Experts Marna Praill and Sue Dunn
  • Cooking demos, tips, and delicious treats from CHARCUT Restaurant, Tres Carnales Restaurant, and Duchess Bakeshop owner Giselle CourteauCIN2

There are so many great seminars and social events, I’m not sure where I’m going to start!

  • Champagne tasting
  • Cocktail lessons
  • Ugly sweater reception
  • VIP Fire & Ice Outdoor Reception with Special Holiday Themed Cocktails served from the Ice bar and a Fireside Roast featuring Alberta Bison.
  • and more!

There are multiple packages available and tickets are selling fast. Hurry….Christmas is Coming! Visit www.ChristmasinNovember
for more information.CIN3

Vegan Barley Arancini with Shiitake Mushrooms & Seaweed

During our late August summer holidays there were a few projects that got away from me. I had every intention of keeping to a strict schedule of posting and completing projects this summer but our week of holidays at the farm ended up lasting much longer than intended due to so many circumstances. One of the projects that got away from me during my internet-free farm visit was the Mushrooms Canada appetizer contest. I had just arrived back home in Calgary and was checking through emails (yay internet!) when I was reminded of this contest and saw that the deadline was literally at midnight that same day!  I absolutely love cooking with mushrooms and I thought that having my fellow food bloggers try my mushroom appetizer at the Food Bloggers of Canada conference in October would be really cool. I just couldn’t pass it up and I was in a bit of a creative state of mind because I hadn’t cooked in my kitchen for a while.  I decided to go for it.
It didn’t take me too long to settle on a theme. I love how mushrooms and barley go together in a risotto and one of my family’s favourite appetizers is arancini. My original arancini recipe is not vegan because it includes smoked salmon and it has cheese in the risotto. I wanted to change up the recipe more by making a vegan version but I still wanted the arancini to have that great umami that a good Parmesan would provide. The addition of nutritional yeast flakes and very fine seaweed stalks is very common in vegan dishes as a umami element and in this case, they both went really nicely with the shiitake mushrooms. barleyarancini5
Barley Arancini with Shiitake and Seaweed (Vegan)


1/3 cup finely diced onions
2 garlic cloves; minced
olive oil
1/3 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
1 cup pearled pot barley
1 cup shittake mushrooms (or 1/2 cup dried mushrooms; reconstituted and chopped)
3 cups mushroom stock
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
3/4 cup fine seaweed stems; reconstituted in boiling water, then drained, and chopped (if desired)
salt and pepper
panko crumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
canola oil for frying
For the barley risotto: 
Add two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot on medium to high heat. Heat up mushroom stock in a separate pan. Add finely diced onion and sauté until translucent before adding the minced garlic. Continue to sauté for another minute or two. Add pearled pot barley and stir, coating the grains in olive oil. If the contents of your pan are sticking, it may require additional olive oil. Pour in wine and reduce so that the alcohol has a chance to burn off. Add heated mushroom stock, a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the liquid has absorbed into the barley in between each addition. In the meantime, finely dice the shiitake mushrooms and sauté in a separate pan until soft. Set aside. To tell if your barley is cooked, taste a grain and if you can chew it (but it still sticks to your teeth) it is finished.  Stir in the mushrooms, nutritional yeast, and reconstituted seaweed stems. Allow to cool thoroughly.
After the barley risotto has cooled, roll into balls and coat with panko. barleyarancini1If you find the mixture quite sticky it helps to have slightly damp hands. Deep fry in a large pot or deep fryer until golden. barleyarancini2

I served mine with a dab of kewpie mayonnaise and a dash of furikake which is usually used to season rice.barleyarancini3Mushrooms Canada announced the appetizer contest winner today and my Vegan Barley Arancini with Shiitake Mushrooms & Seaweed didn’t win but that’s okay because I’m really looking forward to trying the winning appetizer by The Busy Baker at the conference. Her Mushroom Crostini with Herbs and Garlic looks fabulous! If you want to see some of the other entries or get some ideas for cooking with mushrooms, the Mushrooms Canada website is a great place to start.

Alberta Beer Festivals – Oktoberfest Edition

Ladies and gentlemen; get out your dirndl and lederhosen, it’s time for Alberta Beer Festival’s annual Oktoberfest September 25th and 26th at the Upper Big Four Building, Stampede Park. Yeah, I know that’s September (not October) but think of it this way…you get to sample wobbly pops from many of our local and Canadian craft and authentic Bavarian breweries a bit early! Here are just a few of the participating breweries:


At some point in the evening you’re bound to get hungry and Alberta Beer Festivals has that covered too.  Visit some of these fine purveyors and they will suggest a dish pairing for your brew. restaurantsoktoberfest

Both beer and food samples are sampled using sample tickets only (these are in addition to your ticket to the event). Sample tickets are $1 and sold in sheets of ten. The minimum amount of tickets per 4 oz. beer sample is 2 and the food generally requires a few more.

Alberta Beer Festival will be supporting two charities this year; Kids Up Front ( gives donated event tickets to children and youth identified by a broad network of partner agencies that provide child and family services) and Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary (AAFS). Way to be charitable Alberta Beer Festivals!!!

NOTE: I wasn’t kidding about the dirndl and lederhosen…there are prizes to be won for those who come dressed in traditional Bavarian garb.

Friday, September 25th: 4pm to 10pm Saturday, September 26th: 2pm to 9pm

Online Advance Tickets $19 Weekend Passes $30 Tickets at the door are $25 and entrance is subject to capacity. ID required.

Tickets available at and in store at all Brewsters Calgary and area locations.

An Aussie Feast with Mallee Rock Wines

It’s been four years and four months since we left Australia and moved back to Alberta. There’s not a day that goes by when something doesn’t remind me of the life that we had there; the sessions with friends and their barbecues; the good times. When temperatures begin to cool here in Canada I know that things are just starting to heat up on the opposite side of the world. Sometimes, when our Canadian winters begin to feel like they will last forever, I wonder why we ever left our Perth home. I cook special treats like Aussie meat pies and chiko rolls that remind us of warmer days when we would bring dinner and a bottle of Aussie red to the beach and stay to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

When I was asked to promote Mallee Rock Wines recent launch in Canada with some recipes created by Aussie-born Chef Todd Bright I jumped at the chance. Though I’ve made some great Aussie pies in the past, I’ve never attempted chiko rolls at home. It turned out that this Aussie feast, complete with Mallee Rock Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon was the perfect after footy (grid iron, not Aussie rules) dinner that we enjoyed out on our deck in the dying sun. It wasn’t the beach, but it was close enough.


Beef and Bacon Meat Pies


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced (I used one yellow onion)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (I don’t own onion powder)
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (I had bison!)
  • 10 strips maple bacon, cut into small chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas (I used one cup)
  • 2 tbsp gravy powder (I assumed this was some sort of thickener so I substituted 2 tbsp ap flour)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (beef!)
  • 1 pkg frozen puff pastry
  • 16 unsweetened tart shells
OR make your own pastry from here.
  • 1 egg


  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onion, garlic and spices, and cook until onions are translucent.
  2. Add beef and bacon and cook until brown, making sure that any large clumps have been broken down. Add peas, gravy powder (flour) and stock and let simmer for about 7 minutes, or until a thick sauce has been made. Let cool.
  3. While waiting for the filling to cool, roll out the puff pastry and cut into rounds a little bit bigger than the tart shells (the pastry will shrink as it cooks).
  4. Preheat an oven to 400F.
  5. Place the tart shells on a non-stick cookie sheet and fill with the meat mixture.
  6. Place puff pastry rounds on top and brush it with a little egg wash. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top has puffed up and turned golden brown.
  7. Take out of the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving (this will ensure the gravy settles and isn’t too hot).


Chiko Rolls


  • 10 sheets of egg roll pastry
  • 200g ground beef or lamb (I used bison)
  • 2 tbsp butter (30 mL)
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in half and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot (25g)
  • 2 cups green cabbage, finely sliced (200g)
  • 1/2 cup green onions, diced (115g)
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced (50g)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of cooked couscous
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder (5mL)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstrach (30mL)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1.5L canola oil, for frying


  1. If your egg rolls wrappers are frozen, make sure that you have pulled them from the freezer a few hours before assembling the recipe.
  2. 2. In a non-stick skillet, cook the lamb or beef in 1 tbsp. of oil until browned and crumbly. Lamb adds more flavour to the roll, but beef is a good substitute.
  3. 3. In another pan, melt the butter on gentle heat and add the onion, carrot, cabbage, green onions, and celery and cook until softened. Add salt and pepper to the mix until it tastes good. Add the beef, couscous, brown sugar, curry powder, and cornstarch and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. 4. Let the mixture cool.
  5. 5. Lay out 1 sheet of pastry. Place about 4 tbsp. of mixture a quarter of the way into the wrapper forming a log shape. Cover extra wrappers and Chiko Rolls with a damp cloth to stop them from drying out and cracking.
  6. 6. Tuck the left and right side over the mixture, brush with egg and roll the Chiko Roll up from bottom to top keeping it quite tight.
  7. 7. Heat the canola oil in a pot on the stove until the temperature is 300F. Blanch the rolls in the oil for about 7 minutes (at this point we don’t want any colour on the rolls). Remove the rolls from the oil and let rest for a few minutes while the oil reaches a temperature of 350F. Place the rolls back in the oil and cook until golden brown. Alternatively, reheat in an oven at 400F for about 12 minutes until brown.


Interesting Mallee Rock Wine Tidbits

  • Shiraz (80%)/Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) grapes are grown for Mallee Rock Wines on the SE Limestone Coast; the blend is 14.5% ABV
  • Pinot Grigio grapes are grown along the Murray-Darling Valley; the blend is 86% Pinot Grigio with 12 % Cabernet Sauvignon with 12.5% ABV
  • The ‘Mallee’ in Mallee Rock Wines is actually the aboriginal name for the Eucalyptus tree
  • Launched in BC and Alberta in July 2015; search Liquor Connect for bottles near you


In My Kitchen – September 2015

The days are getting shorter and evenings have a bit of a chill to them. There’s no denying it, the last days of summer are passing by quickly and fall will soon be upon us. I don’t really mind because summer hasn’t been too kind to our family and I really am ready for a change. This time of year I’m busy keeping the boy fed in between football practices and using as much fresh produce as I can before carrots, beets, and kale are the only local vegetables I can find at the Farmer’s Markets.

This year I’m doing quite a bit more preserving, not just the usual jams and jellies but I’m making my own passata, canning peach pie filling, and putting up some pickled beets and beans for the teens. The whole family pitched to make creamed corn when I temporarily lost my mind and bought a whole bag of corn at the Farmer’s Market. creamedcorn

We spent some time at my parent’s farm where my youngest son had the chance to be a farmhand for a while. I know it’s not really ‘In My Kitchen’ but here he is with his uncle learning how to break down a chicken. I’m also throwing in this photo of Hazel, the orphaned Bison calf that my cousin is bottle feeding. She’s so darn cute!inmykitchen2

It’s been so long since I’ve posted for In My Kitchen I thought I would include these Spicy Meat Bombs made with jalapenos, cream cheese, spicy chorizo, and bacon. After I cooked them on the barbecue I slathered them with a sweet barbecue sauce.


There were some products that I enjoyed working with as well. I made a Reese Peanut Butter Chocolate Spread Frozen Dessert and enjoyed a bottle of La Marca Prosecco with hubby for our 19th wedding anniversary.
inmykitchen1I braved the insanity at IKEA because I saw that they have a gorgeous new tableware line called Sittning and I always have my eye open for cheap, stylish props. I was told that each year IKEA has a theme and this year the theme is… FOOD. Here is most of my haul: ikeaI have to get going now because football practice is almost over and dinner is still not ready! Tonight is fried rice, Spanish style because I have left over saffron rice in the fridge and I’m going to mix it with some fried chorizo and fresh green beans.

Much thanks to Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for hosting In My Kitchen every month. Do take a look at her lovely blog to see what’s going on in her Australian kitchen..

Everyday Extraordinary…La Marca Prosecco

I’ve had this bottle of La Marca Prosecco sitting in my refrigerator since the day it appeared on my doorstep. Since then, I’ve been waiting for the ‘right time’ to pop it open…for any type of ‘little celebration’ in our lives. It’s been a tough August, with many extra added trials and tribulations so there never seemed to be a right time to open it. It stood there in the back of the fridge kind of like a symbol of hope; a promise that our luck would turn eventually.

Summer is almost over and today is our wedding anniversary. 19 years.  They weren’t all wedded bliss (they had their own trials and tribulations) but today I am more in love with my hubby than I ever have been and that is definitely something to celebrate. We spent the last evening before school out on the deck enjoying each other’s company, reflecting on the past while at the same time looking forward to our future. I made some snacks for him and he poured the prosecco. I wouldn’t have it any other way. lamarca1
At first I paired the La Marca Prosecco with a splash of St. Germain elderflower cocktail but we both agreed that it was a bit too sweet. How I really enjoyed it was with a slice of fresh, juicy nectarine and a tiny splash of St. Germain. It was perfection.  We didn’t enjoy our La Marca Prosecco during brunch but I think it would be perfect as an aperitif with Crème de Cassis or as the base for a sparkling Sangria.

Here is a great weekend brunch recipe by Kevin Pendergrast, Executive Chef at Hilton, Toronto. In it he has reduced La Marca Prosecco, added it to ricotta, and used it to glaze figs.

La Marca infused ricotta cheese with herbs, Canadian Prosciutto, wild flower honeycomb, toasted walnuts, and figs glased in La Marca Prosecco, orange zest LaMarca RicottaHoneyGlazedFigs2Photo courtesy of PraxisPR


  • 500 ml (2 cups) La Marca Prosecco
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) wild flower honey
  • 2-3 fresh or dried figs
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) prosciutto
  • 3-4 pieces, toasted walnuts
  • 1 wild flower honey comb
  • Chives, edible flowers; to garnish


La Marca Prosecco Reduction

  • 500 ml (2 cups) La Marca Prosecco
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) wild flower honey

Combine both ingredients together in sauce pan over medium heat (275 F) and reduce until light golden syrupy consistency (about 1/4 cup). Cool to room temperature.

Glazed Figs

  • 2-3 fresh or dried figs
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) La Marca Prosecco reduction

Gently toss the fresh or dried figs into the La Marca Prosecco reduction and set aside to marinate.

La Marca Prosecco Spiked Ricotta with Fresh Herbs

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) ricotta cheese
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) La Marca Prosecco reduction
  • handful of chopped chives

Combine ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix well, season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside in the fridge.

To assemble: With a small spatula, spread 50 grams of La Marca infused ricotta on a plate. Artfully place prosciutto, toasted walnuts, wild flower honeycomb, and edible flower garnish on top of the ricotta. Enjoy with a crusty baguette. Serves 2 as a shared plate.

Interesting La Marca Prosecco tidbits:

  • It’s made in the Trevisio area of Northern Italy
  • It contains 100 % Glera grape varietal
  • It has an Alcohol level of 11.3%
  • Tasting notes include citrus, honey, and florals with a lively yet soft effervescence
  • It is widely available in Canada and Alberta including Sobey’s Liquor Locations
  • It retails for under $20 so you don’t have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy it!


***I was sent a bottle of La Marca Prosecco for review but I really enjoyed it and wanted to share it with everyone…unfortunately I drank it all!***


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