Friday, August 31, 2012

Cucumber Dill Dressing

During cucumber season in July, everything cucumber was on sale. I made some batches of my microwave sweet pickles and tried to look for something new as well.

Meredith wanted me to change the salad dressing up for a bit - getting bored with some of my standards), and Judee's Cucumber Dill Dressing recipe was perfect timing. I didn't stumble across Judee's recipe by accident - I follow her blog through my news reader so I get her most recent updates, along with my other favourite food bloggers, including Food Floozie, Hungry Jenny, Gluten Free Edmonton, Maroc Mama and many others.

Anyway, Judee's recipes are always great - never too complicated, and this was no exception. A simple combination of ingredients for an excellent flavour. I ended up using dried dill instead of fresh, and I added a little salt and pepper (optional in her recipe). This dressing was perfect for a small lunch salad - with lots of leftover dressing for the next couple of days.

Cucumber Dill Dressing

1/4 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
5-7 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp (generous), dried dill
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 cup Greek yoghurt
pinch salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper

  1. Combine all ingredients using an immersion blender.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Strawberry Muffins

Well, strawberry season has come and gone again, and Meredith was very busy making all sorts of stuff. There were several evenings where dessert was strawberries and cream, and there was, of course, pie.

Meredith took the little guy strawberry picking as well, and he had quite a good time. You can see him surveying the area during coffee break here.

...and sampling the haul. I think he was weighed on his way out at the register (just kidding, he only ate two or three, and promptly wiped his hands on his shirt :-)

The day after the excursion, I read an email with a recipe and was told to get ready to take a photo when I got home. To my delight, I arrived home to some yummy strawberry muffins Meredith had made using whole wheat flour. It's mostly based on a recipe she read earlier that week.

Strawberry Muffins

2 eggs
1/2 cup mango apple sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 bananas, mashed
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup fresh sliced strawberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375-degrees and line a 12-muffin tin with paper inserts.
  2. Using a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs, apple sauce, oil, sugar, vanilla and bananas.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and slowly add to the banana mixture.
  4. Stir in the strawberries by hand and spoon batter into muffin cups.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the top.
  6. let muffins cool on a wire rack.
recipe inspired by

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Mama's Pastel (Moroccan Shepherd's Pie)

My aunt sent me another of my grandmother's recipes in earlier June, for a Moroccan shepherd's pie called pastel. This is another dish that I haven't eaten in roughly 12 years - since my grandmother passed away.

Many of the measurements weren't exact, so I did need to use mu judgement along the way, and I think I'm getting better at guessing these type of things. It turned out exactly as I remember it - crispy on the outside and yummy inside.

Mama's Pastel (Moroccan Shepherd's Pie)

1/2 kilo ground beef
1/2 cup water
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt (for meat)
1/4 tsp pepper (for meat)
10 potatoes, boiled in salted water and drained (reserve 1/2 cup liquid)
1 tsp turmeric
salt, to taste (for potatoes)
1/4 tsp pepper (for potatoes)
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs, boiled, peeled and sliced
1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

  1. In a deep pan on medium heat, add beef, water and start to brown the beef, using a potato masher to break up beef. Add the lemon as soon as the meat starts to break up.
  2. Drain excess liquid and discard lemon, and add nutmeg, salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  4. Combine the 1/2 cup of potato water and turmeric and mash the potatoes using the 1/2 cup of liquid. Separate into two portions.
  5. Grease the inside of a large casserole dish, (8" x 13") using the olive oil and gently spread half of the potatoes evenly across the bottom.
  6. Spoon the meat over the first layer and gently spread, trying not to compress the layer of potato underneath.
  7. Place the egg slices evenly over the meat.
  8. Lightly spread the remaining potato mixture over the meat and eggs and make a pattern (or just lines) using a fork.
  9. Brush the egg wash over the top layer of potatoes and bake for 45-60 minutes, until top starts to turn golden brown.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Donut Muffins

Note to self: do not use the camera on a loaner phone when
your phone is in the shop :-(
It's the August edition of Secret Recipe Club and my assignment for this month is Danielle from Nashville who writes Mostly Food and Crafts.

There are a ton of great recipes under the "mostly food" category to choose from. I really wanted to make her Chicken Paprikash, however, the latter-end of July and the beginning of August were crazy for me, so Meredith agreed to take the SRC project on herself - meaning that it was going to be a baking project.

Meredith chose to make Danielle's Donut Muffin recipe. She followed her recipe using a mini muffin tin - next time we might use our donut tin.

The chicken will need to wait until September (and it will definitely happen).

Donut Muffins

3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and lightly grease mini muffin tins with shortening.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and egg until they're light yellow.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and add to the egg mixture and stir well.
  4. Continue to stir and add the vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla.
  5. Using a tablespoon, fill each mini muffin cup about 3/4 full and bake for 5 minutes at 500-degrees.
  6. Immediately lower the temperature to 350-degrees and continue baking for 5 minutes until done.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon for the topping in a small bowl. Keep the melted butter in a separate small bowl.
  8. Dip the muffin tops into the butter, then into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Rhubarb Pie

We had devoured most of the pie by the time I remembered
to snap a photo. It was very, very tasty.

Rhubarb season has started in late May, and Meredith got her hands on some. She was quite excited. What she didn't know was that there wasn't enough rhubarb for the pie she wanted to make, so she winged in and threw in an apple as well. Very creative (and super tasty, of course!).

The one warning Meredith offered is for the prepared pie crusts in those shallow tin pans. They're not as big as they say they are, and there's a big risk of everything bubbling over. The next time she makes this, she's going to buy the flat pie crust and put it in her ceramic pie plate - it's much deeper and will do a better job at containing the mess.

The recipe is loosely based on one of Martha Stewart's rhubarb pie recipes, however, Meredith substituted a few ingredients, did her own thing with the pie crust and left out the plastic kittens thermal glued to the jail cell bars.

Rhubarb Apple Pie

prepared pie dough
5 cups rhubarb, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 apple, peeled, cored and cubed
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp tapioca starch
pinch salt

3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp sugar
pinch salt
6 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Press the pie crust into a deep, 9-inch pie plate, trimming edges if necessary. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the crumble topping: in a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, sugar, and salt. Using a spoon (or your hands) MIX in the butter until clumps of mixture form. cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Move oven rack to the lowest level and preheat to 400-degrees. 
  4. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Transfer mixture into pie shell and sprinkle with crumble topping.
  5. Place pie on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any overflow.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 375-degrees and bake for 90 minutes, until topping and crust has browned lightly. If the pie starts to brown too quickly, cover pie in a tin foil tent.
  7. Let cool before serving. 
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Friday, August 3, 2012

Chicken Tikka Pie

A Friday in May ended up being a long day. By the afternoon, I was ready to get the heck out of the office and get moving on dinner. My original plan was to make a chicken dish using some leftover white wine, however, my friend Hungry Jenny changed my mind.

Jenny had published a porky tikka pie for her regular Friday Pie Day feature, and I loved the idea. It's just what we needed for dinner. Of course, I wanted chicken (since it's Friday), and I had a couple of ideas for minor changes to make it my own, but really, it's Jenny all the way.

My mini Corningware set isn't nearly as nice as Jenny's proper ceramic English pie plates, but they still held together, and it tasted great. I'm so glad I tried it out, and I'm sure I'll be making it again (if I'm not trying yet another of her pies.

Chicken Tikka Pie

1/2 kilo chicken, bonless, skinless, cubed
2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
2+2 tbsp olive oil
2 large tomatoes, cubed (around 500g)
2 cups mushrooms, sliced (around 150g)
1 medium onion, diced (around 100g)
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
4 medium potatoes (around 750g), peeled, chopped and boiled
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup milk
(4 small ceramic pie plates)
  1. In a large bowl, combine the garam masala, paprika, ginger, garlic and 2 tbsp oil, and whisk together using a form. Add the chicken, mix well and leave for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees
  3. In a large pan on medium heat, add the remaining oil. Brown chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and onion, and stir.
  5. Add the ketchup and almonds and let simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Transfer mixture into four individual pie dishes.
  6. Add the turmeric and milk to potatoes and mash together. Spoon potato mixture evenly atop each pie dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the potato begins to brown on top.
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