Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mustard Pork Chops With Gnocchi

In the past, one of my post was asking for advice on potato ricer. I was asking if it was necessary for one to have the gadget to use to make gnocchi. After reading my cookery books and having watched chefs use their potato ricer for gnocchi and mashed potatoes, I picked one up for myself. I didn't have to purchase it. I've exchanged a gift which I'll never use for the ricer. Fortunately, it was of equal value so I didn't have to pay more.

This past weekend my son and I were in the kitchen testing it out.  We put the potatoes in and as I squeezed  the gadget, strands of potatoes came out of the other end. I then added all the ingredients we needed to make the dough. My son's favourite part was to roll it down the back of the fork to get the gnocchi shape. He did an amazing job and was having fun doing so.

While he was shaping them I was throwing them in boiling water and on another burner we had the pork chops frying at the same time. After everything was finished, kiddies and I were excited for dinner. Hubs came home and dinner was ready for him. This recipe was inspired by Nigella's Mustard Pork Chops. I made some minor change in one of the ingredients. The family enjoyed it so much! They told me how much they loved it and it really made me feel great inside.

This potato ricer looks like something from a Star Trek episode.

My dear sweet boy shaping the gnocchi : ) Sissy was busy playing her video game.


4 pork chops
3 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup white grape juice (Nigella suggests hard cider, I didn't have any)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard


Wrap the chops in cling wrap and with a meat tenderizer or with a rolling pin bash them until they are thin. This is when I usually get my stress out. Heat the oil in the pan set to a moderately high heat. Fry each side of the chops for 5 minutes. Set aside on a warm plate.

For the sauce pour the grape juice or cider in the pan to deglaze it. Let it bubble away for a minute, then add the mustard and stir in the cream.

Let the sauce continue cooking before pouring over the pork chops. After pouring the sauce, cook the gnocchi in the same pan and let it absorb the remaining juices before adding to the plate.

Here's the link where I got my gnocchi recipe from. The sauce the chef made for it looks delicious. I'm going to try it sometime.

Italian Recipes - Preparing the Potatoes for the Gnocchi

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Avocado Smoothie

When I was a little girl my grandmother would make an avocado smoothie for breakfast. You're probably thinking that's like gross, right? It actually isn't. It's sweet and filling at the same time. It keeps your tummy full and it's healthy for you. I thought that this is perfect to share for St. Patrick's Day since it's green. Give it a go you might like it.


1 avocado
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
ice cubes


Slice the avocado in half and remove the seed from the middle. Scoop out the avocado and put it in a blender. Add the milk, sugar, and ice cubes and blitz until it forms in to a smoothie. Pour in a glass and enjoy.

Serves 2 in champagne glasses

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Oxtail Stewed with White Grapes (la queue de boeuf des vignerons)

I had an early start with March Random Recipe Challenge from Belleau Kitchen. The challenge is to count our cookery books from left to right until you get to your 17th book. There you would flip open a random page and that would be the recipe challenge you will have to create. My 17th book was  At Elizabeth David's Table and the random recipe I got was OXTAIL STEWED with WHITE GRAPES la queue de boeuf des vignerons.

When I first glanced at it I thought, oxtail! Now how is this going to taste? This looks difficult, can I do this? Where can I even find this meat? I've had to call 4 different grocery stores to find them. I was quite happy when I finally found a place where I can get them.

I'm no where near the level of expertise that most of the bloggers I see entering the challenges. We've not eaten this nor have cooked anything like this before. I'm not quite sure the kiddies and hubs would eat them if they knew what it was and I wouldn't want to waste food. I was willing to go out of my comfort zone. So here it is.............

TA DA!!!!

This was so delicious that both my kiddies ate them. My son particularly liked the sauce. It was sweet from the grapes and its juices, savoury from the seasoning and meat itself. The meat falls of the bones and melts in your mouth like butter. I never thought we would ever eat oxtail but this is one recipe you will enjoy. Hubs will give it a go tonight : ) I hope he likes it.


2 oxtails (5-6lb) cut into 2 inch lengths,
3-4oz pancetta
2 large onions
4 large carrots
a bouquet of 2 bay leaves, parsley, thyme and two crushed cloves of garlic tied in a bunch
salt, pepper and a little mace or allspice (I've used allspice)
2lb green grapes


Steep the oxtails in cold water for 2 hours, for the blood to soak out.
Chop the onions and dice the carrots. On a heavy cooking pan (I've used my cast iron dutch oven) place the pancetta with the vegetables on top. Start off on low flame or setting and cook for 10 minutes. Put the pieces of oxtail and the bouquet in the center. Season the meat with salt, pepper, allspice. Place the lid and gently cook for 20 minutes. Remove stems from the grapes and crush slightly in a bowl. Add them to the pot and cover with 2 sheets of parchment paper and the lid. Transfer to the oven at 275F and cook for a minimum of 3 1/2 hours. Once cooked transfer the oxtail and some of the pancetta bits to a serving dish. Skim off  the fat from the cooking liquid and press all the ingredients through a fine sieve. Pour the sauce over the oxtail.

Serve with mashed potatoes or rice.

Serves 6-8 ample helpings

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Orange French Toast With Orange Marmalade Syrup

I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning. Everyone was sound asleep. I sat in the living room and got one of my cookery books out. I found this recipe from Nigella Express book. The photo made me hungry and crave for it. I thought to myself, what a nice breakfast to start the day. I looked in my fridge and pantry and had all of the ingredients. I have to say that this is one of the best French toast I have ever eaten and I'm sure there are others that are more delicious. I would love to make a lingonberry one. Now that will be real nice. This recipe wasn't too sweet which I love and the orange zest adds the citrus flavour which balanced everything out. The aroma from the kitchen must've awaken the family. First one who came in to the kitchen was my sweet boy. First thing he says "Hi mummy, can I help?" Second was hubs, "What are you making?" Third was my sweet girl "What is that?"

I said with excitement, "It's Orange French Toast with Orange Marmalade Syrup!"


2 eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
grated zest of 1 orange
4 large thick slices white bread (I've used Texas Toast they are thick) or 4 smaller slices
juice of an orange
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter


Whisk the egg, milk, cinnamon, and orange zest in a bowl. Soak each side of the bread in this mixture.

Get a small sauce pan. I've used my teeny tiny one for the syrup. It's cute and has a little lid that comes with it. One of my sissy's gave it to me for Christmas. It looks like a measuring cup. Bring the orange juice, marmalade, and sugar to a boil.

then turn down to a fast simmer for 3-4 minutes. If you need to let the syrup stand while you cook the bread.

Heat the butter in a skillet and cook the eggy bread over medium heat until both sides are golden brown.

Serve the French toast with some of the orange marmalade syrup poured over each slice. Yummmmm....

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

This is Sophie Grigson's Beef Stroganoff recipe that I've found her making on YouTube. There wasn't any  specific measurements for this dish so I've just copied and eye balled everything she did. This was the first dish I was able to cook in a long while since coming home from the hospital. I'm still on the road to recovery. I have only been making my Prosciutto Salad everyday for dinner.


Beef strips
half a small onion diced
olive oil
package of sliced button mushrooms
sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
salt and pepper to taste


Set pan to medium high heat. Pour some olive oil to cook the beef in. When beef is cooked, remove from the pan and place in to a bowl. Add some butter and cook the onion and mushrooms. Once the onion and mushroom are cooked and tender, add the beef back in to the pan. Add the flour and stir well, then add the sour cream and stir well. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta noodles or rice.