Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Gingerbread House Photos


The graham cracker house to the left was mine. It had some stability issues. The roof kept pushing the left-wall over. By the time it completely dried, it looked a little "off."


I must give kudos to this house in a box. We had a blast building and decorating it. Making these from scratch isn't for the faint of heart.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Screaming latkes and condemned gingerbread houses

I'm taking the week off -- there won't be a recipe this week. The xmas break was great for everybody. Jacob got a great book explaining how Christmas is very different from Chanukah: The Latke Who Wouldn't Stop Screaming.

We also put together a gingerbread house kit. It was amazing. The kit comes with the cookie walls and roof pre-cut, candy decorations, and an icing package that's the perfect consistency. Jacob instructed where to put the icing and he decorated it. It looked fabulous! I'll post the pictures on Wednesday in lieu of a recipe.

Penny from Sweet Sadie's didn't have as much success. Of course, her gingerbread house was made from scratch, however, it had to be condemned. Truth is, I'd still rather eat her condemned gingerbread house than a house from a kit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No-bake Chocolate and Coconut Cookies (Cow Patties)

Ah, the semi-annual office bake sale. It can be kinda sad in my office, actually. Nowadays, many people just buy something from a grocery store bakery – I think that defeats the purpose. There's something special about home made baked goods, even if they don't belong on the front cover of Martha Stewart's magazine. They still taste good!

My colleague Kasandra brought these great no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies that are essentially brown blobs plopped onto waxed paper (I'm guessing their name – cow patties – comes from the plopping process ;-).

She thankfully allowed me to share the recipe.

No-bake Chocolate and Coconut Cookies (Cow Patties)
  • 1/2 cup of margarine
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 cups white sugar 
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 package (8oz) shredded coconut
  • 3 cups quick oatmeal
  1. Combine margerine, milk, sugar, salt, vanilla, and cocoa in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in coconut and oatmeal.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper or foil and let cool.
  5. Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to serve.
(recipe courtesy of Kasandra Mathieu)
Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Butter Chicken

Apparently, butter chicken was actually invented in England. So butter chicken is really Canada's equivalent of Chinese sweet and sour chicken balls.

I think England got the tastier fusion/import. But really, you'd think that England would've perfected the deep-frying part. Does a deep fried curry exist?

Butter Chicken
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cardamom pods, lightly bruised
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  1. Heat oil at medium, brown chicken in batches and set aside.
  2. Reduce heat and add butter.
  3. Add the garam masala, paprika, coriander, chili powder, cinnamon cardamom and ginger. Stir for 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
  4. Add back chicken and stir to coat in spice mixture.
  5. Add crushed tomatoes and sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the cream and lemon juice and simmer for 5 minutes.
Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dry Potato Curry

Okay, it was a big curry night and I tried to make a variety and not just have three dishes that all taste the same. Most of my curries have tomatoes in the recipe; my two favourite ingredients are tomatoes and onions.

I found this great dry potato curry recipe on a site called and did my thing with it; mainly because I didn't have every single ingredient. I was nervous that the recipe was going to stick to the bottom of the pan, but the pan survived. The most significant substitution I made was using poppyseeds instead of caraway seeds (I know those seeds are nothing alike, but I like how the curry looked and tasted). The first time I tried it, I also used a bag of licorice spice tea because I didn't have fennel seeds. Look at me, the Iron Chef :-)

Dry Potato Curry

For the Panch Phora
  • 2 tbsp black mustard seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppyseeds
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  1. combine all ingredients in a resealable container and set aside.
For the Dry Potato Curry
  • 1/2 kg potatoes
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Panch Phora
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  1. Peel and cut potatoes into 1-1/2 cm cubes and set aside.
  2. Heat oil to medium-high and sprinkle in Panch Phora until seeds brown and start popping.
  3. Add the onion and fry for 5 minutes.
  4. Add cilantro, turmeric, salt and chilli powder and potatoes and water. Stir, cover and let simmer on low for 20 minutes–shaking pan occasionally to prevent the starches from sticking.
  5. Add garam masala and lemon juice let simmer for another 10-20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
(inspired by Group Recipes Dry Potato Curry

Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No Tomato Curry

Okay, it was a big curry night and I tried to make a variety and not just have three dishes that all taste the same.

Read more: Dry Potato Curry


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chicken Korma

Wanting to make something new for dinner last week, I decided I wanted to make a Korma curry. I picked the first (read: simplest) recipe I could find and went from there. But something wasn't right.

The recipe just called for everything to be dumped into the pot. Nothing in a particular order, no browning the chicken or the onions separately, etc. Obviously preparing an actual recipe for the blog was going to be fun, since I'd only be using the original recipe as a guide for ingredients.

But there were still problems. When the curry was about half-cooked, something was off. It was the colour. It was a pasty grey and looked gross. As in those disastrous chicken meatballs from 1998 that Katie still teases me about, but worse (I used 11 chicken legs) so imagine a bunch of chicken legs in a pot filled with wet spackle.

I looked up a few more complex recipes and figured out what the problem was. No tomatoes to give it an appetizing look (and taste). Fortunately, a bottle of Sarafina's homemade tomato sauce fit the bill and saved the meal.

Chicken Korma
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 8 Chicken pieces (thighs, legs, breast)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven and brown the chicken in batches for 3 minutes per side and set aside.
  2. Add another tablespoon of oil to the pot and fry the onions for 2-3 minutes, scraping any chicken from the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, tomato sauce and yogurt and stir.
  5. Add the chicken back and bring to a boil.
  6. Simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Reduce to low, add lemon juice and raisins and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
    Recipes by the Haggis and the Herring: tasty world recipes tested in our kitchen
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