Tag Archives: recipe

Family Recipe Friday: Christmas Edition

When we cleared out my mother’s condo, I grabbed her recipe boxes with the intent of uploading the family favorites to share with my siblings.

I knew that there were a few cards in my grandmother’s handwriting that I wanted to save and possibly make. I’m one of the increasingly rare breed who love fruitcake and today share three Christmassy recipes.

The first is for Dark Christmas Cake. I recall these cakes arriving by mail (?) in Ottawa from my mother’s mom, Daisy Goddard, who lived in Toronto.

My Grandma Gear (Eva Daisy Goddard) in her kitchen on Nairn Ave, Toronto.

One day, I came home from school to find a syringe in the sink and the cake on the counter. My mother (a physician) had been injecting some kind of alcohol into it well in advance of Christmas so that it would have time to absorb the goodness. The recipe is in my grandmother’s handwiting.

Family Christmas recipes_0001

Next up is a recipe for Mince Meat from Daisy’s mother, Emily Minnie Price. Minnie was born in 1869 in Chester, England, the second of four children of James Dobb Price (bookkeeper) and his wife Eliza Rycroft (a grocer).

Emily Minnie Price
Emily Minnie Price

Minnie’s mother died in 1881 when she was twelve and she and her sister went to live with her maternal grandmother, Sarah Rycroft, and three of Sarah’s unmarried children, then in their 20s. Sarah was a pawnbroker with a shop at 26 Princess Street. The younger two children went to live with their paternal grandmother mother.

Minnie emigrated to Toronto in 1889 a couple of years after Sarah died and, two years later, married my grandfather, Stephen Robert Goddard. Here is her Mince Meat recipe: it has no instructions, just the ingredients, which was probably pretty common in those days.

A Christmas Pudding recipe labelled “Grandma Gear’s” was from my great grandmother Janet Forbes Morren. She was from Aberdeen and emigrated to Canada in 1899 where she married a Walter Gear in Calgary. Janet’s father, WIlliam Morren, was an engineer and was away a good bit of the time on steam ships. (The census regularly showed his civil parish as “Vessels”.) Janet’s mother, Barbara Gordon, died in 1886 when Janet was just eight years old, and she and her sister Margaret went to live with her older sister Williamina (who was 15 years her senior) in Edinburgh (then Leith North.) She ended up in Toronto (a long story for another time) and lived close by my grandmother and family.

Her Christmas Pudding recipe. Again, no instructions.

Family Christmas recipes_0002

Would love to hear from relatives who have stories or anecdotes about these recipes or these three women. The second and third recipe are in the same handwriting. Can anyone identify it? I hope to take a crack at the recipes in about six months.

Lent(il) Pie

Yesterday was Pi Day (and a Lenten Friday) and I intended to make some kind of non-meat pie for dinner. I confess to not (yet!) having mastered pie crust so I count on frozen pastry shells, of which I only had one.

So on to plan B.

I’ve always got lentils etc on hand so I googled <lentil pie> and found this terrific recipe for Lentil Chilli Pie with Cornbread Crust for which I had all the ingredients. I used a dutch oven so that I could simply put the cornbread batter over the chilli in the same pot, and then pop it in the oven.


I served it with chopped avocado, hot sauce, and greek yogurt. And then had it again for breakfast this morning!


Speaking of Lent, this giving-up-refined-sugar thing is working in that (1) every time I crave sugar, I’m reminded of this penitential season and say a quick prayer or make the sign of the cross; (2) my sugar addiction seems to be breaking; and (3) I’ve lost 7 pounds, with no other dietary restrictions.

This sacrifice is the hardest one I’ve done in the 10 years I’ve been Catholic. Giving up alcohol was a breeze in comparison. I’m going to consider continuing on with trying to live with a vastly sugar-reduced diet.

Zou and I went for coffee on our walk back from the library today and i got a bran muffin.  It’s sometimes hard to know where to draw the line: is a plain croissant “better” than a bran muffin? I got the muffin. it wasn’t sweet. And I put the little chocolate squares that came with the coffee in my pocket for the chocolate addict who lives in my basement. The one who serves himself small bowls of chocolate chips during Lent because his mother isn’t dealing sugar at the moment.

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A lemony partner for salmon

Vintage Fish stamp courtesy of the Graphics Fairy,
Vintage Fish stamp courtesy of the Graphics Fairy,

I’m not a big fan of white fish: tilapia, sole, haddock etc., but i love salmon and steelhead trout, and my partner absolutely adores this accompaniment for oily fish. I usually double the recipe and triple the amount of cooked rice if I’m making it as a side dish (rather than stuffing.) 

Fillet of steelhead Trout
Fillet of steelhead Trout

Lemon and Rice Stuffing
(from The Canadian fish cookbook! by A Jan Howarth):

1/3 cup butter
1 c. minced celery
1/3 c. minced onion
1-1/2 c. cooked rice
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Melt butter in a frying pan and sauté celery and onion for 3 to 4 minutes until tender-crisp. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Makes 3 cups. Use to stuff fillets or whole fish. 

Two nights ago, I made two large fillets of steelhead trout and had a lot left over. Today, I made a quiche using the leftover trout  and some asparagus with this recipe. I added an additional egg and some extra milk (I used goat milk) to fill the pie shell. It turned out very well and I’m pleased to have used up leftovers as we’re both out tomorrow night.

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Food memory: chicken cacciatore

PrintWhen I was visiting my mom in Ottawa last week and we were reminiscing, i reminded her how much I loved her chicken cacciatore. I seem to be able to conjure the taste in my mind, and it’s one of the favourites from my childhood.

I mentioned this to my husband upon my return and he decided to prepare it for Sunday dinner after I returned from book club. I have her old recipe files and notebooks, and I found it in her “Do it yourself Cook Book”, a blank-ish notebook designed for home cooks to record their tried and true recipes.

It was wonderful, with exactly the same taste as I remembered.

Here’s the recipe. Mom noted that it was from the “Old Good Housekeeping” cook book.

Chicken Cacciatore

6 tbsp oil
2-3 lb broiler-fryer chicken, cut up
1 cup minced onions
3/4 cup minced green peppers
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 28 oz can tomatoes
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chianti [yikes…we never had wine in the house]
3-3/4 tsp salt [bizarre quantity – reduce this by at least half]
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp allspice
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Dash cayenne

Sauté chicken in oil on all sides until golden.
Add onions, peppers, garlic; brown lightly.
Add rest of ingredients and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Serve with rice.

Makes excellent leftovers!

Easing my way into VB6

vegan heartI posted recently about my interest in Mark Bittman’s Vegan Before 6 eating plan and have been slowly making my way there. I’ve eased of dairy with my cereal, opting for yoso’s Soygo yogurt. My grocer doesn’t carry the unsweetened version so I must request it, or perhaps I’ll move to almond milk with my granola. I’ve stopped using cream in my coffee, and have had a few peanut butter based sandwiches for lunch.

But I don’t really like sandwiches, in general, so need to amp up the vegetarian evening meals so that I have leftovers for lunch. I have determined that it’s pretty hard for me to get a decent vegan fast food meal as the moment I walk in to, say McDonald’s thinking about a salad, the smell draws me inexorably to the forbidden. So for the time being, I’m eating at home. Which is a good thing.

I did a Costco run yesterday and picked up some Veggie Patch Mediterranean Chick Pea and Spinach patties which I heated up for lunch today. Yummo! I have a recipe for a similar made-from-scratch patty so must dig it out, but these ones are great for a quick meal. I’m using lentil hummus in place of tzatiki, but there must be some vegan way to make the latter. I also picked up a jumbo (to me) pack of four blocks of tofu so will be scouring my recipe books for ideas. (Please post or link to your fave tofu recipes in the comments. Please!)

Besides the VB6 book which has lots of recipes, I picked up a couple more at thrift shops:

The New Vegetarian Gourmet by Byron Ayanouglu
Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson
Detox Dieting by Nicola Graimes

I already have The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest but have found most of those recipes to be very time consuming. I will also dig into Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi which like so much of the food from that region, has a wealth of vegan options.

The wonderful food-blogger Jenny Newlon at Dinner of Herbs has lots of great ideas, and I’m hoping for more videos from vegan chef Anita Shepherd, like this one:

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Dinner that made my boy go “Oh my gosh, Mom!”

PULLED PORK SANDWICHES WITH BARBECUE SAUCE (Bonnie Stern, in National Post, February 5, 2011)

Even if you don’t need this much pulled pork, it makes sense to braise a whole pork shoulder (a. k.a. pork butt) because you can use the leftovers for poutine, on pasta or in grilled cheese sandwiches and macand cheese. Or freeze the leftovers for future meals. The trick to braising a pork shoulder is to cook it until it is fork tender. It can easily be made a day ahead. Ask for Canadian pork at your butchers, or look for the Canadian flag on the package at the supermarket.


– 2 tbsp brown sugar

– 1 tbsp kosher salt

– 1 tsp each paprika, pepper and cumin

– 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

– 3 cloves garlic, minced

– 4 lb boneless pork shoulder (pork butt roast)

Cooking liquid:

– 2 cups apple juice

– &frac12;cup maple syrup

– 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

– 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

– 6 whole cloves garlic

– 2 onions, thickly sliced

Maple barbecue sauce:

– 2 cups favourite barbecue sauce

– &frac12;cup maple syrup

– 2 tbsp each Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar

– 1 tbsp Dijon mustard


– 12 soft buns

– coleslaw (see recipe below)

– chipotle mayo (see recipe below)

– guacamole -your favourite, optional

1. Combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, cumin, mustard and garlic. Rub into roast. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Combine apple juice, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Place garlic and onions in the bottom of a Dutch oven and set roast on top. Add liquid. Cover roast with a piece of parchment paper and then cover pan tightly. Cook in a preheated 325F/160C oven for 3 to 4 hours or longer, until pork is so tender it falls apart when pierced with a fork.

3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan whisk barbecue sauce with maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and mustard. Bring to a boil. Cook gently 5 minutes. Reserve.

4. When roast is ready, remove from pan. Slice thickly and chop. Combine with half the barbecue sauce, adding some of the strained cooking juices if meat is too dry. Reheat meat just before serving in a 325F oven for about 30 minutes.

5. Make sandwiches on the soft buns with meat, extra barbecue sauce, coleslaw, chipotle mayo and guacamole (if using).

Makes 12 sandwiches


This creamy coleslaw tastes great either in a sandwich or on the side.

– 4 cups shredded green cabbage

– 1 tbsp kosher salt

– 1 carrot, grated


– &frac34;cup mayonnaise

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 tbsp sugar

– 1 tbsp vinegar

– &frac14; tsp freshly ground black pepper or to taste

1. Make coleslaw by combining shredded cabbage with salt. Place in a colander set over a bowl, with a plate on top, pressing down on the cabbage to extract excess moisture. After about one hour, rinse cabbage and pat dry, pressing again firmly. Combine with carrots.

2. For dressing, combine mayonnaise with garlic, sugar, vinegar and pepper.

3. Combine dressing with cabbage mixture. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Makes 12 servings


Chipotle chilis are smoked jalapenos — hot and delicious. When I buy a tin of chipotles, I open it up and puree it all, transfer to a Ziploc bag, flatten the bag so that the mixture isn’t too thick and freeze it. That way you can just break off any amount you need and it will defrost quickly. If the sauce is too spicy, add more mayo or some thick yogourt or sour cream. This mayo is also great on grilled chicken sandwiches or burgers.

– 1 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellman’s)

– 1 tbsp chipotle chili puree or to taste

– 1 clove garlic, minced

– 1 tbsp lemon juice

1. Place mayonnaise in a bowl and stir in chipotle puree, minced garlic and lemon juice to taste. Keep in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 cup/250ml

This is seriously good eating. It looks long and complicated, but the only things I had to buy were the pork roast and some BBQ sauce (I used Diana’s traditional). Everything else I had on hand.

I made the pulled pork and chipotle mayo but decided to forgo the coleslaw for sauerkraut that we had in the fridge. I tweeted Bonnie Stern the day before to see if I could make this in my slow-cooker and she gave me the thumbs up.

It is all I can do to not take leftovers out of the fridge and scarf them down cold.  Some went (cold) in lunch bags today. And the house smelled fantastic!

Salade créole à l’ananas … from this morning’s Telematin on TV5

Vie pratique / Gourmand

lundi 12 juillet 2010

Salade creole a l’ananas

Temps de preparation : 15 minutes
Temps de cuisson : 12 minutes

Ingredients :
300g de chair de crabe
1 boite de mais
150g de riz
1 ananas Victoria
1 poivron rouge
huile d’arachide
1 citron
Sel & poivre

Faites cuire le riz. Egouttez et rafraichissez-le, mettez le dans un saladier, puis preservez-le.
Egouttez et emiettez la chair de crabe. Egouttez et rincez bien le mais. Epluchez l’ananas, coupez-le en tranches pour la presentation et decoupez le reste en petits des.
Coupez le poivron rouge en petits des.
Ajoutez l’ananas, la chair de crabe, le poivron rouge et le mais dans le saladier.
Emulsionnez l’huile et le jus de citron. Salez et poivrez genereusement. Versez la sauce sur la salade et melangez bien.
Ajoutez de la coriandre hachee.

Z likes to watch French television in the morning and he came down today, requesting a crab, pineapple, and rice salad he saw demonstrated on Telematin. I’ve grabbed it from the website above. Excuse the lack of accents…I have no ideas how to produce them on my keyboard so I just went through and replaced them with the unaccented letters.

The original recipe is here.  There’s also a video demo (in French, but it’s pretty self-explanatory.)   I substituted tomato for the red pepper as we have some pepper-haters in the household, and I also added a chopped avocado.  I served it with store-bought rosemary focaccia and everyone loved it.  A definite winner meal!

Loubia B’Zeit

A favourite side dish that has come to me from my mother-in-law is this classic Middle Eastern dish that translates as Green Beans with Oil. These were simmering on the stove while I made the cookies, and I just had a bowl for lunch. The kitchen smells wonderful!

1 lb. fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 8 oz can of whole tomatoes, undrained, crushed or 2 large tomatoes, diced (I use fresh tomatoes)
Salt, freshly ground pepper, and allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil 

Cut the large green beans in half. Mix beans, onion, tomato, salt, pepper, and allspice in a large saucepan. Pour oil over the vegetables and simmer over very low heat, stirring occasionally, for 40-50 minutes. Serve hot or warm.

This would often be eaten on Fridays when Zs Catholic family followed the fast from meat. Many of the family recipes have both meat and oil versions, the latter being suitable for fast days (or just-before-the-pay days.)


My mother-in-law cooks without any written recipes, as do most middle-eastern women of her generation. She has taught me to make many of the traditional dishes, but I tend to rely on (now out-of-print) Rose Dosti’s Middle Eastern Cooking as my back-up. Z claims that the recipes in this book are fairly close to his family’s traditional food tastes, at least the Lebanese ones. The book also has foods from other countries that then to have different spice (e.g., Iraq, Morocco, etc.)


For this recipe, the only thing that I added to the written version was the allspice. Also, I tend to use extra-virgin olive oil in place of vegetable oil.

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