Category Archives: Breakfast

I am Canadian..Hockey & Bagels?

Tuna & Avocado on a frozen bagel ;(

Tuna & Avocado on a frozen bagel ;(

 

I’ve had this post written up since Sunday February 23, 2014 and held off from posting until I baked up these bagels to photograph. I’ll be honest, i havent had time and well i keep forgetting to buy rye flour so it’s turned into a “maybe this weekend” I will finish.  This is the 1st bagel recipe i have ever baked & has always worked well in the past when playing with different flours.

Stay tuned as i will edit the post with pictures & ingredients measured by weight as so much more accurate.

Bagels and Hockey, what do they have in common? Some bagels make for great pucks!

This is simple, i’m a hockey girl at heart. I AM Canadian and come from a hockey family, so of course the sound of skates gliding on the ice, the scent of an indoor ice rink, the screaming of profanity heard from man woman or child coming from the stands and the sound of the players being slammed into the boards really brings back some wonderful memories from my childhood. One must have spent many weekends as a child in ice rinks to grasp how any of the above could be a fond memory. With my daddio coaching and my brother playing, you could understand I am no stranger to a stinky stenchy ice rink/locker room or a famous hockey brawl between players and or parents!! ohh, i do miss those days.

I didn’t play ice hockey as a child, actually none of us girls on the block did. We just skated around in our  fancy girlie skates. Most of the times, we, the girls in the neighbourhood were included in the street ball hockey games with the boys and well as you could imagine it always led to arguments. One in particular I will never forget, when myself and my best friend (at the time) ended up hitting each other with our hockey sticks. Now, from what I recall, the fight was over Cabbage Patch Dolls while we played hockey! Ahh where went the days when you could beat on eachother with a hockey stick and all is good the next day? Must give this a try again, only challenge will be finding a hockey stick in the Caribbean.

February 23, 2014 and the Sochi Winter Olympics come to an end. Proudly i’d like to announce it ending with Canadian Mens Hockey defeating Sweden for the Gold Medal.

Humour related to the Mens Hockey game Canada vs/ Sweden refernce to Ikea! lol

Humour related to the Mens Hockey game Canada vs/ Sweden reference to Ikea! lol

Lets not forget, the Canadian Womens Hockey team claiming the Gold medal defeating USA just a few days earlier.

Bit of Humour between Canada & USA

Bit of Humour between Canada & USA for the Womens Hockey team.. Our Mascot the Beaver and the American Bald Headed Eagle at war!

Hockey, well it’s our sport so it only seems natural for us to hold onto those golds 😉

So, I was up with the chickens to watch the Canada vs/Sweden game with my espresso of course. By the 2nd period I realized I hadn’t eaten..no surprise, this is MY normal 😉   hmm, fresh avocado w/ tuna would hit the spot and hold me over till next feeding. Had no bread except for frozen bagels. Yes, i know, you must be wondering, why is this girl buying frozen bread when she’s surrounded by scumptious French & Dutch bakeries.  Well here’s why: The French nor the Dutch can bake bagels and well i’d rather they not try. Hence why I ocassionally fill my craving with the frozen ones. In fairness, I will not mention the brand. I’m quite sure if they were fresh and hadn’t sat in a container floating on the ocean for a few weeks to arrive here all squished with freezer burn then they’d probably be palitable. So there I was, watching a hockey game, eating my bagel sandwich,watching the puck slide across the ice I said out loud  “Hey”, these bagels would make great pucks!

Ahhh, reminising on the many bagel shops I would frequent on a regular basis back home in Toronto.

Here’s the thing, If i could click my magical heels (truth be known that I have a few of them) i’d be somewhere on Bathurst st in the Jewish neighbourhoods, at one of my favourite bagel spots, watching the fresh hot bagels fall off the belt, all eager to jump into my huge paper bag. Then i’d head over to the ACC centre with my bag of bagels, (I’d take the subway in the snow) catch a Maple Leaf game, take in the sweaty scent of an ice rink, enjoying my hot bagels with a cold Molson Canadian! Ohh wow, lets not even get into the real cream cheese or I may just melt right now!  Really now, this is what watching the Olympics has made me think of EH?!? 🙂  Ooops, almost forgot, then i’d click those magical heels to get me back to my island heat.

The title of this entry really wasn’t much work..however finding my bagel recipe was a little harder. Daddio sent me a load of my recipes from back home so I was confident in finding it. Only made them a couple of times in the past and well I think it’s about that time.

It’s funny, normally a post can take a full day between the photos, editing, writing and well the descipline to sit behind the computer long enough to finish it. Somehow I had this done in less than an hour however no bagels were baked on the same day. LOL 🙂  To be continued once recipe located and whole wheat flour purchased!

Bagels

4 Cups Bread Flour

2 Cups Rye Flour or/ Whole Wheat Flour

500 ml water (105-115 F)

3 tblsp honey

2 tblsp yeast

2 Eggs

2 tblsp olive oil

1 tblsp salt

 

In a large bowl combine both the flours & salt.  Set aside

In a small bowl combine & dissolve the Water, 1 tblsp honey & yeast. Cover with a tea towel & allow the yeast to activate.

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, 2 tblsp honey & olive oil

Once the yeast is active add it to the Flour bowl. Then add the beaten egg mixture to the flour bowl.

Get your hands in there and begin to knead. If your using your stand mixer well bless your heart!  I really do miss mine at times. Let it knead for at least 10 minutes until you reach a smooth dough.

Cover the bowl and allow dough to rest for an hour.

Time to form your bagels. Seperate dough into aprx 30 balls. Roll into a & form…place on parchment lined pan Press the tips together. Cover & allow to rise for an additional 60 minutes.

Set a large pot of water with 2 tblsp of honey to boil.  Preheat oven to 375 F

Once the water has come to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer.  Poach the bagels, turning to poach each side apex 2 minutes. Using tongs remove from the hot water. Place on parchment lined baking pans & bake for aprx 15 – 20 min.  Prior to baking is the time to top them with poppy seeds etc..

Buon Appetito 😉

Now I can’t help reading over this post and wonder if hockey was the contributing factory for my love to turn everything into a compettion and need to win? My opinion, every little girl should be brought up around hockey cause sure makes for someone who will never give up without a dang good fight!

BTW, for all the parents out there shaking their heads at me, please note I am not promoting violence..just a bit of healthy compettion to prepare for this big bad world! 😉

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You’re a Baccalà! Caribbean Salt Fish, Bacalhau, Morue : Cod Fish, all ’round the world we have our own name and use for it

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If I ever opened a restaurant I think I’d name it “Baccalà” just for fun. Calling someone a “Baccala as an Italian can be taken varies ways & not to kindly!  As a kid it was always funny to hear. As an adult, I don’t want to be called one. 😉   A clean xample, if someone was driving slow, there would be no cussing, it would be simply “Look at this Baccala”. I know it wasn’t just my family that used the term towards random silly acts because I heard other Italians “yelling” it as well. Who came up with all those slang funnies anyways? As usual, translated it just doesn’t make me laugh “you’re a Cod Fish”..Naw..

Baccalà, Salt Fish, Bacalhau, Morue..Simple cured w/salt, dried, Cod Fish. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you sprouted from I can bet there’s a traditional way to prepare it. This is truly one of my favourite dishes regardless of the method. Really, you must be thinking, Cod Fish is one of her fave? It’s ugly and it stinks. No matter the amount of times you scrub your hands, you will stink! Add some garlic to that and you’ll be sure to fend off anyone.

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after soaking in water for 3 days

Growing up I only knew the dish one way which is actually still my favourite. City Nonna bakes it almost Gratin style w/ raisins, walnuts, orange zest & well some other basic ingredients. Farm Nonna never cooked with it. Neither did my parents. It was always a Christmas Eve tradition and looking back I think I was its greatest fan. No one else was ever as excited. Later on as I branched out to portuguese cuisine I fell in love with their methods. Also similar to Gratin style but layered with sliced chorizo, boiled eggs/potatoes, peppers & a few more fun ingredients. Also of course snack style, “Pasteis de baccalhau’, which are a small croquettes mixed w/potatoes & deep-fried.  I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the French method of cooking Morue except as a Brandade & well that needs to be wrapped in a puff pastry & baked for me to really love it!

Over the past years I’ve become accustomed to enjoy as I now know it as “salt fish” the Caribbean way.  Sautéed with veggies and served with a johnny-cake for breakfast. Yes, with some hot pepper it’s the best breakfast.  Every island has their own little twist/technique with it. Also of course the famous Accra. Deep fried fritters. How can you not love them?

DSC_2148

Well I promise to post my versions of the mentioned dishes above in due time..which could possibly take me a year! 😉 Todays share will be Caribbean Style as I have some extra plans for the mixture.

To begin: I prepare a few days in advance for this dish. Rinse off the salt with cold water. Place in a bowl with cold water covering the fish entirely. cover & refrigerate. Next day drain water, re fill with water. 2nd day..do the same. I’ve gone to 3 days. Just makes for a less salty fish and allows you to control the salt. Also it allows the fish to rehydrated slowly into a plumper flesh.  I’ve seen others re hydrate it the quick way by boiling the crap out of it and then fry it. I don’t enjoy that. It doesn’t remove all the salt & it makes the fish quite tough. Also I only use boneless, No tolerance for plucking bones out of anything.

This mixture can be used on its own in sandwiches, over pasta and most recently I used as a filling for homemade stuffed buns with the addition of raisins. Sweet and spicy!

Caribbean Salt Fish

450 gram boneless dried salted cod-fish

1 medium yellow onion – small dice

1 Red pepper – small dice

1 green pepper – small dice

1 fresh season pepper – small dice

1 scotch bonnet (or not)

fresh parsley – a lot of it!

sprig of fresh Thyme

1 clove fresh garlic – crushed

salt, pepper

2 tsp Ketjap Manis (see below)

olive oil

soak the cod fish in water per above overnight. next day, drain & add fresh water. do this for 3 days is best/..move on baby…

Place the salt fish in a pot of water, bring to a boil to allow the fish to poach for only about 2-3 minutes is needed.

Saute everything in a saucepan with olive oil (except salt fish & parsley) until tender…add poached salt fish..stir breaking up the fish until fully combined & cooked..Stir in chopped parsley

Done! Easy as that…

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Buon Appetito 😉

my newest fav ingredient

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Crazy Corn Bread..Gone Mad! Thanks to the internet I found you my Love! Past to Present..

more then just a corn bread

more then just a corn bread

Naming this was real simple. The past few weeks I’ve craved cornbread. Not just a cornbread with cornmeal, I needed actual corn in it. Who am I kidding, I needed cheese and a part of the pig. I didn’t care if it was lardons, bacon or pancetta. I just needed a taste of my old-time cornbread. Problem, I couldn’t find the base of my recipe. So on the phone to my Daddio, begging him to find my recipe. It was from one of my favorite books, Robin Hood “Baking Festival” .

Robin Hood Baking Festival

Robin Hood Baking Festival

“Everythings packed in bins” he said. Ahh yes, my life over there has turned to Rubbermaid. So off to the internet I went in search of my cornbread past to bring it present.

A moist cornbread is always an issue. I didn’t grow up in the South USA but for some reason many kitchens back I took to a good corn bread. A bread with cornmeal could at times end up very dry. A funny married time in my life I had ran across this recipe in that said book & it was always the base for my corn creations. It was a hit, no matter how many times I changed it up. Well, a bunch of Italians experimenting with cornbread for the first time could have gone terribly bad.  😉  Looking back I realize I spent a heck of alot of time in the kitchen during those short years. Obviously I found much-needed refuge. Ahhh a blessing in disguise. Maybe this recipe brings me a sort of comfort, back to all that nutty kitchen time.

Back to Robin Hood, what can I say, grew up with the flour. Canadian grown wheat. It’s the only flour we know. Even the French here on the island swear by the flour. D’best they tell me. 😉  The price here has doubled over the years. I remember buying a 10 Kg bag for $10.99 Canadian at No Frills. Now I spend the same price here for 1/2 the flour..Is someone eating our wheat fields over there?

price is way up

price is way up 17.99 Naf Guilder

Fantastic baking book, wish I had it here with me. Note to self, ask Daddio to send it to me 😉

End note, Corn bread is not a West Indie food. Caribbean yes, certain islands, Jamaica yes, but not the West Indies.. It just doesn’t fly here like on other islands or back in North America. I had some strange reactions to what was a love of mine..not a love of here.. Time to tweek and keep baking this bread and show them how good a Corn bread really is! 😉

The original base recipe can be found here :

http://www.robinhood.ca/Recipes/Savoury/Appetizers-Sides/Bacon-Corn-Muffins

Crazy Corn Bread 

1/2 cup lardons, bacon or pancetta – a part of the pig! – sautéed

1 Cup (250ml) AP Flour

1 Cup (250ml) Cornmeal

1 Tblsp baking powder

1 Tsp paprika

1 Egg

2 Tblsp Honey

10oz / 284ml creamed style corn

1/2 cup (125ml) milk

1/4 cup butter – melted & cooled

2/3 cup grated Emmental cheese

1/3 cup canned or fresh corn kernels

Fresh parsley, chopped finely

Saute the lardon, bacon or which ever part of the pig you choose 😉 set aside

In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, salt, paprika and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk Egg, honey, creamed corn, milk and cooled melted butter.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in the grated cheese, corn kernels, cooled fried lardon/bacon and chopped parsley.

Pour into buttered/floured pans. I also topped the unbaked batter w/ extra corn kernels & grated cheese.

corn bread in pans

Presently I used an 8 inch loaf pan & 2 fun minis..

Bake loaf for 30 – 35 min…please check it along the way. Insert a toothpick always works.

If making muffins & minis less time is required.

corn bread

corn bread

So my crazy search for my original cornbread recipe has been put to rest.  Grazie to the internet and for my daddio being patient as I searched and of course my Caribbean buddy for reminding me that he is not North American! Corn Bread is not his deal! lol lol 😉

Buon Appetito  😉

End, End note…this is what I do w/ the rest of canned corn..I know it may sound gross but I enjoy it cold. Everyone has a few strange eating secrets!

Corn from the can, staright to the spoon, to the mouth!

straight to my mouth!

Boot shaped pancakes rounded’up to perfection. No excuse for store bought

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pancakes

Ask any Nonna (an Italian grandmother) to say “Pancakes” and they will almost all repeat “Panacakes”. Addition of that unnecessary vowel makes the word understandable to them. lol lol  My city Nonna never made and I dont believe ever ate a pancake. The closest I could compare anything she made that resembled the texture would be a fritter of some sort using the same basic ingredients but using more flour making a thicker batter, savoury then deep-fried. hmmm, well like I said there were no pancakes there. 😉  Farming Nonna would make us “panacakes” quite often. As I grew older with my hands in the kitchen I started to question why they were never round like i would see in restaurants. Honestly i’m still not sure why they were always so odd-shaped. Now that i think about it, my mothers pancakes were never round either. Both always tasty with at times bananas, apples or chocolate chips added. Just never round.  Possible reason was the batter was more on the thicker side. Italian style I guess, shaped like a boot! ha ha  Any who I’m not going to hurt my head over boot shaped pancakes now, all i can do is round them up myself.

Posting this easy recipe for a few reasons, 1st off I truly enjoy pancakes. One of my comfort foods. The fluffier the better. Secondly I’ve noticed friends here always mixing up the famous box of pre mixed preservatives. Not to knock her or anything, heck, her face is on a box on grocery shelves and the freezer section…eewl I call those frisbees.

Unless you don’t keep flour in the house you truly have no excuse to buy pre made.  Mix up the batter the night before and let it rest in the refrigerate overnight. Even just a few hours is fine. I’ve been out of milk at times and used almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk and always work just the same.

Canadian Maple syrup

Maple Syrup my Daddio sends to me

My perfect breakfast plate consists of pancakes spread with peanut butter, drizzled with REAL maple syrup, scrambled eggs on the side with bacon & sausage. ohh when the Maple syrup slowly creeps its way all over the dish giving everything a hint of sweetness is delightful. Whats yours?

 

Pancake Batter

1 cup AP Flour

2 tblsp Sugar

2 tsp baking powder

cinnamon

pinch of salt if using sweet butter

1 cup Milk

1 Egg

2 tblsp butter melted & cooled

1 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

In a small bowl stir together Flour, sugar, baking powder.  In a larger bowl whisk the Milk, Egg, cooled Butter, vanilla extract until combined. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients whisking gently until all incorporated. Sprinkle cinnamon to taste if desired.  Place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning breakfast couldn’t be simpler.. heat your pan, I always use my 8 inch pan to make perfect rounds. Add a pat of butter and desired amount of batter depending on the size of pancake you’d like. Allow to cook on medium heat until these beautiful bubble holes begin to appear.

pancake

Once the pancake is full it’s time to flip. Please don’t flatten your pancake with a spatula. I’ve seen people do that. A perfect fluffy pancake needs to work its magic!

Of course i rarely make them without adding something! Bananas, coconut, diced apples, blueberries, choco chips..the list is endless, use your imagination.

Buon Appetito! 😉

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