Roasted Red Pepper and White Bean with Anchovy Dressing



Don’t let the anchovies throw you off.  They add the ‘pop’ this dish needs to make it great.

This serves 4 for a light lunch 8 or as a starter salad.

Aside from tasting good, this salad is very pretty.  then scrape skins off using your fingers or a paring knife.   Plate individually for best effect, or  bring it to the table on a large flat plate and serve it family style.

Thanks to Martha Stewart for this one.

4 red bell peppers

2 oil packed anchovy fillets, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1/4 cup flat leafed parsley, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (from 15 oz can or home cooked) drained and rinsed

2 Tablespoons freshly grated parmesan (optional)

1 cup arugula or mixed baby greens

Char bell peppers over the flames of a gas burner or bbq, using tongs to turn as skin blackens and blisters (about 10 minutes per pepper).  Alternatively, you can do this under the broiler, turning as skins blacken.  Transfer blackened peppers to medium bowl and cover the bowl with a plate.  Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, whisk anchovies, garlic, vinegar, oil and parsley in medium bowl to blend.  Add beans and toss to coat.  Season with salt and pepper and let stand while you finish preparing the peppers.

Remove charred skins from peppers, using your fingers or a paring knife.  Cut peppers in half, remove and discard stems and seeds.  Arrange on platter and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Spoon beans over top, and scatter arugula over top.  Sprinkle parmesan over top and serve.



How To...

How to Char & Peel Bell Peppers

1. Char peppers over gas flame until skin is black and blistered. Transfer to bowl, cover with plate and let them steam for 10 minutes or so.
Char peppers
2.  Peel the peppers using your fingers and a sharp paring knife. Careful not to tear the flesh. It helps to have a bowl of water handy to help remove all the skin.
3. Pat dry with paper towels
char peppers 3
4. Cut slit down one side and remove seeds, and stems if desired.

Roast Chicken and Broccoli

We have a house full of guests, and our housekeeper, Marival,  has finally succumbed to whatever virus is going around lately.    So, while she is home suffering thru the virus, the cleaning of our guest rooms falls to us.

All of our rooms are rented, which means  a lot of laundry as well as guests with various needs that our require attention.

We are also having a pergola built on our roof top, and supervising the workers is one more thing that takes time out of our day.  Add to that our actual jobs that we get paid for and normal every day responsibilities and Kevin and I are kept busy these days.

Mostly, I am grateful for days like today because I am reminded of just how much abundance there is in our lives; though I will be very happy to see  Marival healthy and back at work again!!

Busy days are perfect for a sheet pan dinner that requires a minimum of fuss to prepare and not a lot of pots to wash.  Thanks, Canadian Living!!   This recipe will serve 4 and is ready in under an hour.


Roast Chicken and Broccoli


1/2 cup packed basil leaves , finely chopped

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes . finely chopped

1 clove garlic , minced

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Roasted Chicken:

4 chicken legs with thighs,  legs and thighs separated

1 Tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 sweet red pepper , cut in chunks

1 red onion , halved, then sliced lengthwise in 1/2 ” slices

1 head broccoli , cut in florets (about 4 cups)

Put it together:

Vinaigrette: In small bowl, whisk together basil, vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic,  salt and pepper. Set aside.

Chicken and Veggies: Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange chicken on baking sheet; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper.   Toss to coat.  Bake for aprox 20 minutes, depending on size of legs and thighs.  Add red pepper and onion during last 10 minutes of baking.  Bake until chicken is no longer pink inside and red pepper and onion are slightly tender.

Broccoli : Meanwhile, in pot of boiling water, cook broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain well.

In large serving bowl, toss together broccoli, red pepper and onion with about half of the Vinaigrette.  Top with cooked chicken and drizzle remaining vinaigrette over chicken.




Snowy Chocolate Cookies

Perfect for anytime really, but chocolate is so appropriate in February.   This makes about 20 cookies so you may want to double up.

Snowy Chocolate Cookies

Snowy Chocolate Cookies

1/2 cup butter at room temp

1/3 cup white sugar + 3 Tablespoons, separated

1 egg yolk

3/4 tsp vanilla

1 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted to remove lumps

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup icing sugar (plus more for dusting)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in medium bowl and set aside.   In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter with 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in flour mixture until combined.

Place the 3 Tablespoons of sugar and the icing sugar in separate bowls.

Roll dough into balls, about 1 Tablespoon each.   Roll each ball in sugar to coat.  Shake off excess, then in icing sugar, shaking off excess.  Place 1 1/2′ apart on prepared cookie sheet.  Press to about 1/2′ thickness, just until edges of cookie start to crack.  Bake 1 sheet at a time, until no longer shiny.  About 10 minutes.   Let cool on pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.  Once cool, dust with additional icing sugar.




Chocolate Lava Cakes

My brother in law visits us often and we tend to dine out more than usual when he is here.  A couple of years ago, he discovered the Molten Chocolate Cakes at La Traviata, in PV, and he is still talking about them!

We try to get to the restaurant at least once during his stays, but time ran out on us during his last  visit so he has suggested I try making them at home.   Why not, I thought.  It is really just an under-baked cake.  Turns out, the exact amount of under-baking is critical!

This one took a bit of practice for me to perfect, (OK, a lot of practice), but the disappointment of the imperfect versions was tempered by a tasty chocolate cake; or pudding, so it was sort of a win either way.

I have changed the original recipe just a bit, the most obvious is making 6 x 4 oz ramekins instead of 4 x 6 oz ones.   With so many practice versions, my waistline appreciates the smaller versions.  Plus, with 3 of us in the house, I could bake 3 one day and 3 the next so prep time (for the second night, anyway)  was cut way back.

The ingredients are decadent and somewhat expensive, but the effective cost of each of the 6 little desserts is about 14 pesos, or about $1 Canadian.  Another plus is that this batter can be made up to 2 days in advance!   Just pour it into the prepared ramekins, cover and refrigerate.  Take them out of the fridge about an hour before you are ready to bake them so they come to room temperature before baking, and be sure your oven is properly pre-heated.


Chocolate Lava Cakes

Unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting ramekins)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins

6 ounces semi or bitter sweet chocolate

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch salt

2 Tablespoons flour

Vanilla ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 450F.  Generously butter each of 6 ramekins.  Dust inside with cocoa powder and tap out excess.  Arrange on baking sheet and set aside.

Melt 1/2 cup butter and chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring often.  Be sure the water in the bottom pot is not touching the bottom of the pot on top.

Meanwhile, beat eggs, yolks sugar, cinnamon and salt together at high speed until mixture is pale, thick and very fluffy.

Stir the chocolate until smooth and any lumps have melted.  (NOTE:  Chocolate should be warm, not hot!  If it feels hot to the touch, allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding or you will end up with scrambled eggs.)  Pour into the egg mixture and sift the flour over top.  Working quickly and gently,  fold the chocolate into the egg mixture until flour and chocolate are fully incorporated and mixture is a uniform colour.

Pour into prepared ramekins (see Cooks Notes)  and bake for 9 minutes until cakes are slightly puffed and centre appears mostly (but not completely)  dry.


Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or 2.  Gently run a thin knife around each ramekin, then cover each with an inverted dessert plate.  Flip over and let stand until the cake falls onto the plate.  You may have to help this along by gently shaking the ramekin.

Add ice cream to the plates and serve immediately.  IMG_2791


  1. once the mixture is in the ramekins, they can be refrigerated until ready to use, up to 2 days.  Bring to room temperature before baking.
  2. if you use 6 oz ramekins, increase baking time to 12 minutes.


Main Courses · Pasta

Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes & Cream

Inspiration for this came from LCBO, whose recipe included Speck and Taleggio cheese.  Ingredients I have no hope of finding here in PV, so I  switched those ingredients for ones more easily found in my grocery.    If you are unable to find Taleggio, Manchego or Smoked Provolone, you can sub in Fontina or even regular Provolone.

The flavour of the bacon really shines in this dish, so buy your favourite brand to make this.



Gnocchi with Bacon, Tomatoes & Cream

1 Tablespoons olive oil

6 thick-cut slices bacon, cut into 1/2 ‘ pieces

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 large clove garlic, minced

4 springs fresh thyme

1/4 cup red wine

3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup manchego cheese, grated

1/2 cup smoked provolone, grated

2 packs store bought Gnocchi (500 gms each)

In large skillet, over medium heat, cook bacon until nearly crispy.   Be careful not to burn it, you don’t want bacon crunches in this dish.   Remove from pan , set aside and drain all but 2 Tablespoons bacon fat from the pan.

Add onions to bacon fat and cook over medium – high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  About 10 minutes.  Do not let them brown.  Add tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring for another minute, until tomato paste darkens a bit and garlic becomes fragrant.  Add thyme sprigs, white wine and chopped tomatoes.  Cook, stirring often over high heat for about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil over high heat.

Reduce heat under tomato mixture to very low and add cream and cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted then let simmer slowly while you cook the gnocchi.  Stir in bacon

Break apart the gnocchi and carefully add to the large pot of boiling water.  Cook Gnocchi only until it rises to the surface of the water.  Skim out the cooked gnocchi as it rises to the top of the water with a slotted spoon and add to the tomato cream mixture.

Once all gnocchi has been transferred to the tomato cream mixture, stir the mixture to coat gnocchi.

Pour into serving dish and serve hot.





Main Courses · Soups and Stews

Coconut-Curry Turkey Soup

As always, once our Christmas Turkey was picked pretty much down to the bones for turkey sandwiches, after the Big Day, I bagged the carcass and tossed it along with any leftover meat into the freezer, already looking forward to the soup I would eventually make with it.

This soup was inspired by one I made several years back, but as luck would have it, while the memory of great flavours remains with me, the recipe seems to have gotten lost along the way.

Actually not a bad thing, because this version is very tasty.

As a main course it will serve 2 very hungry people or 4 for a light dinner or lunch.


Coconut-Curry Turkey Soup

2 Tablespoons coconut oil

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 carrot peeled and diced

1 small sweet potato or, peeled and diced

1″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced

1 large clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

1/ 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably Madrass)

1 teaspoon Garam Masala

1/4 teaspoon Fenugreek (optional)

2 litres home made Turkey Stock

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

2 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey – pulled from carcass after making the stock

1 cup frozen peas

3/4 teaspoon salt (more or less, to taste)

freshly ground pepper

chopped green onion for garnish

In large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion, carrot and sweet potato and cook, stirring until onion becomes translucent.  Do not brown.    Stir in ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Add curry powder, garam masala and fenugreek (if using), and stir 1 minute, until spices become fragrant.

Add Turkey stock and bring mixture to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until carrot and potato are tender.  Stir in coconut milk, cooked turkey and frozen peas and simmer until heated through.   Add salt and pepper, taste for seasoning.  Sprinkle with chopped green onion for garnish.

Serve immediately with crusty rolls.