Brie with Sundried Tomato

For our party last week, I made brie with sundried tomato, a variation on brie with tapenade.

The brie can be filled, wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. This also works well with smaller rounds or wedges of brie.


Pecan-pie Bars

For our Winter Warm-up party, I made these pecan-pie bars. They were a hit! The crust is crunchy and the pecan topping is chewy and rich. For an special touch, you can drizzle the cooled bars with melted chocolate.


Barb's Chocolate Chip Cheescake Brownies are in print!

Barb's Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies, which she submitted a while back to, was recently published as one of the recipes in Allrecipes Tried & True cookies; Top 200 Recipes cookbook.

The recipe is while worth trying and very delicious! Check it out!


Ginger Tea

Whenever I have a cold or cough, as I do now, I put on a big pot of spicy ginger tea. It tends to soothe my throat and makes me sweat!

I don't know if there is any medicinal properties to ginger tea (which has no real tea in it!), but in some eastern cultures, ginger is known for aiding digestion. It's also great for quelling nausea (for my pregnant friends, please note!!).

The tea is also great served after Southeast Asian meals like Indonesian food (as we've tried at Pondok) or over ice on warm days.


Roasted Chili Paste

Roland and I love chili sauces and pastes, especially ones that have flavour as well as heat. I've been wanting to make my own Thai style chili paste with roasted chilis and shallots (my dad grew a lot of shallots this year!) and I've researched many recipes to come up with my version.


Torta di Mele (Apple Cake)

Here is the recipe for torta di mele (courtesy of Judy Witts!), the apple cake I served at our dinner party a few nights ago. This tastes almost identical to the torta di mele that we ate in Tuscany.

When I made the cake, I multiplied the batter ingredients by 1 1/2 times and I baked the entire recipe in one - 10 inch springform pan. It took about 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake and the cake ended up being just over an inch thick.


Roast Pork

Last night we served roast pork as well as roast turkey. After trying porketta in Italy, I was inspired to season the roast with more of a Tuscan flair by adding fennel seeds. But you can use whatever herbs you have on hand. I've made this with a combination of rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano and mint (the herbs that grow well in my dad's garden!).


Soy Chicken

My dad makes great soy chicken and it was always a staple dish around my house. After cooking the chicken, the seasoned soy sauce can be served along side the chicken or used to season other dishes. The sauce can also be fortified and reused to cook the next batch of chicken!

Leftover soy chicken is versatile. One of my favourite ways to use it is to shred the chicken, mix it with thin Chinese egg noodles, shredded green onion and ginger and tossed with leftover seasoned soy sauce and sesame oil.


Pumpkin Soup with Truffle Oil

Here's my recipe for pumpkin soup. I've tried making this with various types of squash and have needed to adjust the amount of broth in the recipe depending on the squash's liquid content.

This soup is extra special if you garnish it with paper thin shavings of white or black truffles. If you don't have truffles or truffle oil, drizzle the soup with really good extra-virgin olive oil.

For a non-vegetarian version, you can also brown some pancetta and crumble it into the soup just before you serve it.


Mushroom Risotto

Last Saturday our friend, Mark, came over for an Italian dinner. For our primo I cooked mushroom risotto. I developed this recipe based on a lesson we learned with Roberto, executive chef at Il Silene in Pescina.

For this recipe, you can use any combination of fresh mushrooms. You can also throw in dried mushrooms that have been soaked in warm water for 15 minutes. Strain the soaking liquid to remove and sand and add it to the risotto while cooking.



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